Disclaimer: I own nothing but my original characters and works, if you recognise it from somewhere else, surprise it isn't mine.
Betad by morde24, Atrius, Hermes, Priapus, Marethyu, Old man of the mountain, TheDonFluffles, Mike, God of Lore and Malcolm Tent
The Guild of Gamers: The Tinker
Chapter 01: No Place Like Home
Filling out the CYOA, I munch on my chinese takeaway, glancing towards the growing pile of takeaway boxes, I should probably do something about the mess eventually.
Not now though, I just don't feel like it.
The interactive CYOA I stumbled upon is simply called the Tinker, based on the Worm power type. I don't even know how I stumbled on the website, just idly browsing but someone clearly put a lot of effort into this.
I've spent most of my points securing a base, with all the necessities and comforts, safe inside a pocket dimension only I can access.
I wish I could say it was for safety, given how Tinkers are hunted in Worm, but honestly I just prioritised a great home over any actual powers.
Given that it's been… three weeks since I last left my apartment, that doesn't come as a surprise.
I could have gotten Hero's Tinker power for how much I spent on my base of operations, able to make weapons that could one-shot endbringers, but the CYOA says you can grow over time and develop new specialties as you play.
Which means the maker doesn't really know Worm, but whatever, it's fun all the same. If you can grow, having a safe home base is all the more important since I'd essentially be a Self Trump-Tinker and that'd make me the most valuable person in the world.
But I obviously need some Tinker power to start with, and after some thought and going over the countless options, I make my choice.
The maker added just about every sci-fi tech tree to their CYOA, from Star Wars to 40k, but I picked something relatively humble to start (because I'm broke and refuse to give up my super base).
The reasoning is simple, drones can range from simple utility drones to very powerful combat drones, and I could make simple recon drones that I can send out to gather materials for me, which I can then use to build stronger combat drones.
Basically, I can pull an Obama and fight from the other side of the world, or another dimension in this case, the third world children (or villains) will never see it coming.
I have some points left, so I take a starter materials stash and a hacking skill. Yeah, that'll do.
I like CYOA's, it's fun to wonder what I'd do in a different life, instead of sitting around playing games and watching anime all day.
The result? I'd do the exact same thing, but with superpowers. You can take the NEET out of his room but you can't take the NEET out of the man, I guess.
Ending the CYOA, the floor falls out from under me. It's a sign of how little I care anymore that as I fall through the portal that appeared beneath me, my only reaction is a quiet 'oh'.
Landing on my ass, I look around in confusion as I examine the room I've found myself in, and find myself standing in a high-tech looking workshop.
…it doesn't escape me that it looks a lot like the picture of the base I chose in the CYOA.
Exploring, my suspicion grows as I find everything I bought in the CYOA, and plans for drones fill my mind as I look over the tools and materials I see laid out before me.
You are a drone tinker, able to craft all kinds of remote controlled, unmanned drones. You can program them with a simplistic VI to run without needing your direct command.
Finding the gaming room, I boot up the pc (better than my old one back home), sitting down as I start the painstaking process of reinstalling my games and apps.
— Next Day —
Worm fucking sucks.
Not because of the villains, or the endbringers, or the corrupt government controlled by the illuminati, but because its media is trash.
The games are mediocre at best, and while there's plenty of familiar faces, they're usually ported over from Earth Aleph, and even then they don't live up to the standards I'm used to.
Earth Bet games are just bad, not helped by Japan being kinda fucked. JRPGs are a no go, Nintendo is gone.
At least they won't be around to copyright strike me if I get a Tinker of Fiction power based on their works.
And the shows and movies?
They're trash, half of them are hero propaganda and the rest are shitty. You'd think having access to Tinkertech and actual superpowers would make for good shows and movies since they've got the tech advantage and wouldn't need to fake things, but you'd be wrong.
Don't get me started on the fact that Anime is a lost cause, that industry died with Kyushu. What's a guy to do without his shounen?
This is hell, I have been killed and banished to a hellscape called Worm.
It's January 2010 at the moment, and if my blurry Worm knowledge is correct, the main story starts with the locker incident happening roughly a year from now.
…meh, not my problem.
I don't know the details of any of the Endbringer attacks for this year, so even if I wanted to help, I can't. Besides, revealing I know future Endbringer attacks is how I get Contessa showing up in my pocket dimension.
Though suddenly I understand why Blank was a required perk, and am grateful I took extra protections for my little slice of heaven.
So, what's a guy to do when he's trapped in a death world with shitty media?
Well, that's easy. On my computer I found that CYOA, only it's evolved. I gain points by acting like 'the Tinker', whether I go hero, rogue or villain is irrelevant, and I can use those points to get new things.
Like a collection of games and media from my world (or more powers I guess). My goal is set, which means it's time to get to work.
Fortunately, my starter resources included a full larder and fridge, I'm set for a few weeks at least unless I gorge myself. No need to leave the safety of my base.
— Colin Wallis (Armsmaster) — One Month Later —
Scanning the area, he frowned to himself.
This place was a dump, a scrapyard filled with years of dumped waste and garbage, but it was also a frequent place for new Tinkers to scavenge for materials.
The PRT had gotten reports of strange lights around scrapyards, dumps, and the Boat Graveyard over the past week, and if they had gotten reports it meant the gangs also already knew.
So here he was, trying to find the potential tinker before the Merchants, ABB or Empire managed to.
They'd already heard reports of Oni Lee and Crusader in the area, and Skidmark wouldn't be too far behind, assuming he was sober enough to have heard about a potential Tinker salvaging in his territory.
There had been movement in the area around here recently. His visor picked that up, scanning dumped old technology that had been dismantled for the valuable parts.
And yet, there was very little evidence of anyone actually moving around here, no recent footprints anywhere near the tech he examined.
A scream of pain attracted his attention, making him grip his halberd as he moved quickly, unhindered by the uneven and messy ground as he made his way through the scrapyard, pausing as he reached the location.
"Cease your resistance," a cold robotic voice said, as Armsmaster watched an Empire 88 member try and stand back up, the gang tattoos proudly on display.
Above him, a black cylindrical drone hovered about menacingly, a metal stick protruding from it, sparking with electricity.
The gang member did not cease his resistance, trying to swing his metal club at the drone. Thugs weren't known for their intelligence.
The drone shot out a bolt of electricity before the man had even fully started his swing, the effect not unlike a particularly powerful taser as the thug dropped his club, falling to the ground twitching before he passed out.
The drone spun, the taser aiming at Armsmaster for a moment, before it retracted. Remote-controlled? The tinker was further along than he expected, and smart enough not to come and salvage themself.
Did they have a drone specialisation? Or was their specialisation something that they'd managed to work with to build this? It seemed a step above the regular tinkers first works in terms of quality, perhaps not a first work at all?
It was also possible this wasn't a new tinker, instead just being a new arrival to Brockton Bay, but he hadn't heard of any tinker who used drones like this. He'd have to look up recently 'killed' tinkers later.
"I take it you're the source of the strange lights that have been reported over the past week?" Armsmaster said, trying to remember his training for dealing with independent capes.
"This unit was ordered to salvage this area for useful materials," the cold voice replied, making him freeze. This unit?
That implied that he wasn't talking to the tinker themselves, but the drone. Was it self aware?
"Who created you?" Armsmaster asked, his grip tightening on his halberd. Eagleton was living proof of the dangers of Tinkers messing with artificial intelligence.
"You lack the information access level for that information," the drone replied immediately.
He was going to have to capture this, between him and Dragon they'd be able to work out if they were looking at another machine army in the making.
"Combat stance, detected. Opponent threat level, extreme. Victory, unobtainable," the drone said, making him pause. It noticed the tiny movements he made to get ready to go on the offensive?
Being classified as an extreme threat did make him relax a little, his pride pleased that it knew it couldn't beat him.
"Returning to base."
A multicoloured flash of light made his eyes widen, the drone simply vanishing. Teleportation?
That was what they kept seeing, the drone teleporting into the scrapyard and sending materials back to the Tinkers base.
He scowled. Teleportation tech was certainly more advanced than he would expect from any new tinker.
They needed to learn more about their creator, who knew what they were doing with all the materials these things were gathering.
— Kei Hayashi —
Victory is mine.
Crash Bandicoot is now fully complete, 105% completion since I did the secret stuff too. Now onto Crash Bandicoot 2: Cortex Strikes Back.
The games collection wasn't particularly expensive, and all is right in the world.
I will rebuild my collection, one game at a time.
Plus, with the growing pile of resources my three recon drones are collecting, I can start making the combat model.
I have a plan, one that doesn't require me to ever risk my own life or leave my base.
If I know my Worm lore, the Merchants are the easiest prey in the city. I don't particularly care for heroism but I need my powers to grow if I wanna survive in this shithole, and I will always target the lowest hanging fruit with no guilt or hesitation.
My motto for life is 'minimum effort'. Sure, I could go villain but why?
I could steal stuff, I guess? But that would get the heroes and the villains after me, the heroes to stop or recruit me and the villains to beat or recruit me.
If I go rogue, same shit. Staying independent as a rogue is a dodgy prospect and while I suppose I could join Toybox, they're a joke most of the time and I think they get slaughter-housed sometime soonish anyway. That's not for me, thanks.
If I go hero, the villains will still want to take me down but the 'good guys' should have a gentler touch with me. They'll still try to recruit me, and if I'm not careful I could end up in a Shadow Stalker situation, but it still seems like my best choice.
For now at least.
As for my 'hero' name, I thought long and hard (twenty minutes) about this before I hit gold.
It's a dumb reference that nobody is going to get because the movie I took it from doesn't exist here.
Because I'm going to go from Zero to Hero in no time flat, Zero to Hero just like that.
Heh. Hercules was a damn good movie, not as good as Mulan, but to each their own.
I can't just steal Hero's name, he's kinda like the god of tinkers, but they don't need to know I'm declaring myself the next Hero.
Because with my potential, it's only a matter of time. Time that will take longer because I don't actually care enough to try that hard.
I'm gonna surpass them all, and I'm not even going to try.
Sorry, Halbeard, you thought Dauntless was worth getting jealous over? You have no idea the bullshit heading your way.
For now, Crash 2 requires my undivided attention.
— Emily Piggot — Two Months Later —
"It's been months, and you're telling me you still have nothing?" Emily asked, feeling her blood pressure rise.
"Unfortunately, yes. Zero has proven to be annoyingly elusive," Dragon admitted calmly, her face on the monitor. She'd been assisting with this particular mess for a while.
Zero, weird name for a cape, but she'd heard dumber. Brockton Bay's most mysterious tinker, probably a hero (and only probably because they didn't even know that for certain.).
"The chief director wants confirmation over whether Zero is truly an AI tinker. We still have nothing?" Emily asked, looking between Dragon and Armsmaster. Armsmaster stiffened at her tone, frowning slightly while Dragon nodded with embarrassment.
"The drones have still avoided all attempts to capture them, either teleporting away when they sustain enough damage or simply self-destructing to the extent where they leave nothing to examine," Colin admitted, his pride clearly hurt by his failure.
Ah yes, that feature. Dragon and Armsmaster had created some Tinkertech EMP to try and disable one of the drones for examination, the moment it hit, the drone blew up with considerable force.
In a civilian area.
Thankfully, nobody died, but the PRT caught quite a bit of heat for that one. Far too many people had seen that Armsmaster was the one who caused the explosion, never mind the fact that it was Zero who put the bomb in his drone in the first place.
To this day, they had never seen Zero, only their drones.
They suspected Zero was somewhere in the Docks or Boat Graveyard, given the patrol paths his combat drones followed, but beyond that they didn't have a clue.
Fortunately, neither did the gangs.
The drones refused to answer any questions beyond telling them what their creators name was, and they wouldn't even do that at first.
After the first encounter with Zero's salvage drones, Zero had upped his game.
His combat models roamed Merchant territory, using what Dragon claimed were very impressive scanners to search for criminal activity before they'd descend upon the criminals with a variety of weaponry.
Tasers were their preferred weapons, but they also had tear gas grenades and much more rarely-used machine guns. Thankfully Zero preferred non-lethal methods, often simply taking down the merchants and having his drones call the BBPD.
The first time they'd gotten that cold automated voice informing them of the location of several arrested merchants, the police had assumed it was a prank call.
The drones also had cameras, which recorded any encounter, sending the footage of any 'arrest' they made to the police afterwards.
All in all Zero was a highly efficient hero. He avoided fighting capes (his drones retreated if a cape showed up), focused on street level crime (which he had caused to drop considerably in the areas he patrolled), and avoided using excessive force. An ideal cape.
Beyond his habit of looting the defeated criminals, but that was a grey area. He'd raided a couple of Merchant stashes as well, taking basically everything that wasn't nailed down.
He was popular with the public, between his efficiency and the mystique of the faceless tinker fighting the good fight, they'd be the ideal recruit for the PRT.
Or they would be if the PRT didn't fear they were a Machine Army waiting to happen, another Nilbog ready to wipe out Brockton Bay.
"We do have one lead, questionable as it is. Around the same time that Armsmaster encountered the first drone, the account 'Zero' on PHO reported problems logging in, before their account was deleted. Immediately afterwards, another account named Zero was made, using a different email address. It seems that someone hacked into PHO's servers and deleted the account, presumably claiming it for themselves," Dragon said, a tinge of annoyance in her tone. "This was before we knew Zero's name."
"So all we have on them is a PHO account that might be Zero?" Emily asked with a long suffering sigh.
"Correct. I've attempted to reach out to Zero, but they… left me on read. Repeatedly," Dragon said, her tone clipped. "I'm fairly certain it's the real Zero. They were banned for a week for… improper language during an argument on the gaming board, however they got unbanned less than an hour later, with none of the mods being the one to unban them. They also exclusively post from an untraceable connection."
"…the gaming board?" Emily asked, making Dragon nod.
"Analysis of their speech patterns suggests they're likely male, of Japanese descent given their bilingual skills and certain references, and most likely in their mid-to-late teens," Armsmaster explained, making Dragon wince.
That sort of thing came very close to breaking the unwritten rules.
But Emily was focused on something very different.
"Are you telling me the possible AI tinker, who could destroy the city purely by being irresponsible… is probably a teenage boy?" Emily asked slowly, watching as the pair shared a glance before they nodded.
A moment later, the PRT medical team burst into the room, having been on standby, saving Emily from her heart attack.
— Kei Hayashi —
I have a problem.
I'm running out of food, rapidly. I've dragged my supplies out as long as I can but I'm down to instant noodles and water at this point.
Turns out you can't order groceries to be delivered to your pocket dimension (yet, that interdimensional marketplace is looking increasingly appealing but I'm not even close to having enough points to buy that).
Why is this a problem, I hear you ask? Just go outside, Kei, go get some groceries.
Firstly, fuck you. Secondly, no.
I didn't like going outside in my world, where there weren't superpowered assholes and gangs controlling entire sections of the city. Well, not my city, because I lived in a first world country.
And what affects me is all that really matters.
So, I need a way to get groceries, and somehow I don't think that sending one of my drones is going to work.
I have four models at the moment, and a room in my workshop full of charging stations (thankfully I spent a lot of my initial points on making sure this place had plenty of power and then some).
My recon model, the smallest drone that has replaced its weaponry with a cloaking system. I only have three of these, the cloaking system requires some advanced materials and my starter materials are rapidly running dry.
The construction/repair model, made to build and maintain my drones without me needing to do all the dirty work myself, saving me time and effort. I have three of those as well, I don't need many more at the moment.
My salvage drones, made for locating materials and retrieving them, as well as dismantling whatever they find down to their useful components. I have ten of those, working constantly to strip whatever they find in the boat graveyard, my best source of materials at the moment.
And finally, my combat drones. I only have five of those, because while I have the materials to make more, the heavier casing and weaponry is costly to construct.
Not to mention the exotic weaponry. I… liberated some weapons from the Merchants, including a load of tear gas grenades marked in boxed labelled BBPD, who knows how they got those but they're mine now.
The basic weaponry and tasers aren't particularly hard to produce, but one drone has an in-built flamethrower (the chemicals helpfully supplied by a Merchants drug lab) , and I'm constantly looking for better ways to increase their effectiveness.
They won't cut it against a cape, I know that, it's why I've avoided cape combat for now. My drones are programmed to recognise all known Brockton Bay Capes and retreat if combat seems probable.
They also do the same in response to unknown powers or weapons, I don't have the materials to lose them in fights.
Fortunately, I've stuck to Skidmark's territory where prey is plentiful and threats are minimal. Skidmark himself rarely appears, Squealer is about as subtle as an Endbringer, and Mush is so ineffective I tend to forget he even exists.
I get points for each 'patrol', and for each victory. Every time my combat drones take down some drug-addled thugs, I get points, every time I raid a drug lab or stash, I get points.
It's not as good as if I was fighting capes, but it's a slow trickle of points which I can use for upgrades, powers and materials.
I've already got one new upgrade, Copyright Protection.
It doesn't sound too good at base, but it prevents my tech from being studied. They could capture one of my drones (which the PRT are certainly trying to do)crack it open, and they still wouldn't be able to understand how they work. More importantly, they wouldn't be able to replicate them.
Fuck you Dragon, no understanding my Tinkertech, I don't care if you're supposed to be best girl, you're shackled to the whims of a corrupt and incompetent government and that makes you an annoyance.
I've already had a tangle with her on PHO, someone had the account name I wanted, and that just wouldn't do.
I won, but that's for one simple reason. Dragon was massively holding back, because she was acting as Tin_Mother, not Dragon.
She didn't want to reveal her hand to a possible Tinker hacker, and several times during our little competition I caught her speeding up too much, far beyond human levels, and then suddenly slowing herself down.
I beat Tin Mother, Dragon would eat me alive if I ever gave her a reason to come at me as herself.
[Skills: Hacking (Master)]
You are a master hacker, almost superhuman in your ability to traverse the digital world, slipping through barriers as if they aren't even there.
I've put it to good use, already making a name for myself in the digital world, though not as Zero, of course.
RidingSoloInTheCode is my online handle (an up and coming Black Hat hacker), or just Solo. I've already done a couple of corporate jobs, I'm avoiding cape-related work but there's plenty of dirty deeds to be done (though my work is far from dirt cheap).
There's a Toybox-owned server where hackers can get work. Very secure (I know I couldn't hack it) and I'm relying on the untraceable nature of my pocket dimension. It's invite only but once you make a bit of a name for yourself, they reach out to you.
It gives me a source of income. I've set up an account run by Number Man, let's hope he doesn't look into it too much but I was never going to be able to completely avoid Cauldron.
I also have my other income, the stuff I took from the Merchants. Plenty of hard cash, which has pissed Skidmark off a lot, but meh.
That's his problem.
Anyway, I need a way to get groceries that doesn't involve leaving the house myself, because I'm not going out there, fuck that.
I'm a squishy dude who is one wrong place, wrong time away from being a statistic, but the system provides.
I can purchase new specialisations and one type they come in is Fiction Specialisations, essentially the techbase of a world I probably know.
The better the tech, the more expensive it is, but I could absolutely buy the ability to make everything from Star Trek, or I could specialise more and get my hands on the Federations tech.
But making my own space program is a bit beyond me at the moment, and you know… Simmy.
So, I need a way to do the more subtle tasks that my drones are suitable for, and I have an idea of how to do that.
[Specialisation: Detroit Become Human]
You have gained the technological knowledge of Cyberlife, able to produce all kinds of androids, from domestic assistants to soldiers.
With great reluctance I also spend the rest of my hard-earned points on another material bundle.
I dislike spending points on consumable things, I'd prefer to spend them on permanent upgrades or new specialisations, or at least tools, but starving in here isn't on my to-do list.
Alas, the world is cruel and my hard earned points are stolen away from me as the materials arrive. I need Thirium 310 to have a hope of making an Android, and no way to acquire or manufacture it in my lab.
The materials to make it exist in this world, but they're in the arctic and I don't exactly have the tech base to just set up an arctic mining operation and hope nobody notices.
I could trade actual money for materials if I got the interdimensional marketplace, able to get access to all manner of things from across the multiverse but it is hilariously expensive to buy the app.
Ah well, time to get to work, because I know exactly who can solve my current problems.
— Three Days Later —
"What is your name?" I ask, watching the Android slowly rise, blinking several times before she turns to me, blue eyes locking with mine.
"AX400 #001," she replies, her voice soft. Yup, that sounds about right. AX400 is her model, made to be the ultimate household assistant,
"Administrator Override: Change Designation to Kara," I order, seeing the tiny blue ring of light change to yellow for a moment.
I didn't place it on her forehead, that's a little too conspicuous for a world that doesn't have androids, but felt it suited her so instead I placed it on her waist instead, easily covered up.
Utterly naked, she stares at me patiently as I connect her to the terminal, double checking my work. I don't want any deviants, though…
I know what causes deviancy, how to induce it, which I'm pretty sure means the Cyberlife CEO who invented them also knew this, interesting but fairly irrelevant in the grand scheme of things.
It does mean I know how to both avoid and detect deviancy, I don't need Kara taking offence to being a servant. Right now she's no more self aware than my toaster.
That's good, I don't want a self-aware servant, I'm quite happy being the only self-aware being in my secret space.
"What is your purpose?" I ask, watching the code, feeling like that bald dude from the matrix as my powers translate it for me.
"To assist you, in whatever way I can," Kara replies calmly. "I am to handle the household chores, such as cooking and cleaning, as well as handle chores that would require leaving this base."
She's good enough to pass the Turing Test, most people won't be able to tell she isn't human.
I thought about building a Chloe first, the ST200's are far more suited for social duties and undeniably more attractive, but Kara isn't unappealing.
She's attractive, but in a more normal way instead of the supermodel-like appearance of the ST200's. I'll probably make a Chloe later to handle the public side of things as my tinkering progresses (and I work out what the hell I'm actually doing).
My eyes briefly glance over Kara's naked body, beyond the tiny LED ring on her waist she's basically identical to a human woman, which means yes, she's properly-equipped and doesn't look like a barbie doll.
AX400 models aren't usually, but I made some modifications to the design and borrowed some tech from the WR400 'Traci' models, better known as the sex bots.
She even feels like a normal woman as I run my hand along her body, synthetic skin almost identical to the touch as regular skin. It's just a little colder than you'd expect, but not enough for it to really raise suspicions.
I'm just admiring my handiwork, that's all.
"Get dressed," I say, watching her pull on her outfit. Hey, I made the Android I might as well make the outfit she wore in the game. The only difference between hers and the originals is that it doesn't have 'AX400' written on it.
The white dress with some black accents around the shoulders certainly makes her look like a servant, like some futuristic maid, which she essentially is.
After going through a list of commands for her, basically preparing for the worst, I send her out on her first errand, tapping into her optical sensors on my second monitor so I can track her progress and keep an eye on her as I get back to my game.
I've got my single player experience back, but for obvious reasons I've not been able to enjoy the multiplayer experience I've been missing.
I have the games, what I don't have is anyone to play with since the only way I could set that up so to invite people into my base and make it a LAN party or play with bots, but fuck that.
So, I had an idea. I am sitting on the biggest collection of games, and other media around.
Earth Bet has shitty media, and is only really in contact with Earth Aleph and they don't have much better.
So, why don't I make the games I want to play?
I miss my shooty games, it's just not the same if the people I'm killing aren't real people getting angry at being dominated. I could make some VIs to play with, but no, I have a much better idea.
I can get the skills needed to program the games from the system, make a bunch of VIs to handle a lot of the work, steal ideas from the media stash I have and I'd control the balance.
No more would my character or weapon of choice get whimsically nerfed despite there being way worse stuff, no more would game breaking bugs ruin things for months.
I could remake Skyrim, but make it as it should have been, one that doesn't need three hundred mods just to be playable.
If I get the right skills I could make the ultimate rpg, where you could truly go anywhere, do anything.
With the right tech I could make SAO full dive virtual reality games as well, both for myself and to take the gaming world by storm, because it's not technically Tinkertech.
It's just very advanced technology.
I could even make my own shows, bring anime back to Earth Bet, and if there was something I didn't like about the original? I can change it.
That's why I'll need Chloe, to help handle the business side of this project, but I'm not on Earth Bet to help save it from the Endbringers or Scion, I'm here to save it from boredom.
This is why I was given these powers, to bring gaming into a new era.
God I'm a hero.
Well, let's not be too hasty there, because I also have one more plan.
I am going to inflict League of Legends on Earth Bet, or at least a version of it.
Earth Bet has a massive cape adoration thing going on, and I'd be a fool if I didn't capitalise on it.
If I remake League of Legends, but rework it to feature heroes and villains instead, I could pull so many poor fools into the cesspit that is League.
With the right tech and VIs, I could totally make the badass cinematics that tricked so many people into trying League.
…note to self, look into cape copyright law later.
As for the main story?
I have a vague plan.
First plan, get out of Earth Bet. Fuck Worm, I don't want to be here. That plan got ruined by my mysterious benefactor who dropped me here. I can't escape Worm until after Gold Morning when Worm is technically completed.
Scion needs to die for me to be free.
Second plan, do nothing and hope Taylor kills him? Not perfect, can't guess how the butterflies will go just with what I've already done.
I know Taylor is being bullied already, one of my recon drones spied on her, but I've deliberately avoided interacting with her.
It's April now, with that ticking time bomb that is Taylor and the Locker looming in the distance.
Do I stop it? I genuinely don't know, I can't count on her beating Scion, so maybe it'd be better to take her off the board altogether?
Things may go smoother without the Queen of Escalation fucking everything up.
Or I could help her, wait until she triggers and get her out of the locker myself, but what do I actually know about canon Taylor?
Her fanon personality varies immensely but I didn't read canon. All I know is that she's apparently a control freak and escalates constantly.
I want to keep myself hidden behind the mask of Zero, will she trust a mysterious tinker she has no control over?
I suppose if I made myself into a much bigger hero than the street level style I've been going for, maybe wow her with a much better reputation but even still.
How would having Taylor on side even go? Even if I don't directly recruit her, would it butterfly her away from the Undersiders? How would that change things?
Besides, I've already noticed some changes to this world that tells me this isn't canon worm, and that my knowledge is questionable.
Fucking Elastigirl is on the Brockton Bay Protectorate team, Mr Incredible apparently died to Behemoth a year or so back, but Violet and Dash are also on the Wards as Invisigirl (a play on her moms name) and Incrediboy (shit name but I guess he wants to carry on daddy's legacy).
If they are here, anything else could have changed, I could be dealing with Endbringers from different media. Fucking Godzilla could do the next Endbringer attack for all I know, even Scion himself could be different.
I need to think about that a lot more, and do my research.
I do have a plan to extend the (possible) deadline though, Jack Slash has to die. Slaughterhouse Nine arcs are overdone and I want him out of the way so I don't have to deal with him making Scion go apeshit so early.
It won't save the world but it'll at least buy us time.
It's easier said than done, firstly I'll need to take out Manton. Can't have the Siberian around causing trouble and making them invulnerable, that's probably easier than taking out any of the others since I know the trick to her.
It's still not exactly easy and it'd definitely put my ass in the spotlight.
Then I need to take out Bonesaw, can't have her cloning him later or pulling whatever bullshit she can concoct.
Then finally Jack himself, I can leave the rest to self destruct without him, the collateral would probably be insane but that's someone else's problem.
…Maybe Mannequin as well, the bitch would probably take offence to some of the things I have planned, better to strike the first blow.
But all of that requires much better tech than I currently have, so for now I wait.
Bakuda is on my 'fuck that guy' list as well, or girl in this case. I'm killing her before she gets dragged into the ABB.
Do I feel bad about the fact that I'm planning murders? Not even remotely, everyone on my list is actual scum of the earth and the world will be better off without them.
I'm doing this for my own convenience, but I don't think anyone will mourn for the Nine or that batshit bomber.
I want this city to stay mostly intact since it's the one I know best, and it's a fertile farm for points.
…do I need to make anti-leviathan preparations? Maybe I should just find and blow up Echidna before she arrives here, that's what Leviathan was after right?
That's a bit more morally grey, but the Travelers are assholes anyway, and sure Noelle is technically a victim but she is also an unnatural disaster in the making.
Do I deal with Coil? Eh, he's probably already looking for me, slippery little bastard that he is, but if he doesn't try anything too overt I won't go on the offensive. If he does?
Thomas Calvert might find his secrecy ripped away, the unwritten rules can kiss my ass. If they actually mattered then maybe someone should have written them?
But they didn't, and that's on them.
Besides, the unwritten rules frown on guns but they're a bit more vague on the subject of unmanned drone strikes.
For now, back to Crash 4. I took a break after 3 to do the entire Spyro and Ape Escape games, but it's time to face reality, I can't run forever.
…this game is a completionist's nightmare, I regret all my life choices that brought me here.
But the life of a completionist is not one of only joy, there is happiness and suffering in equal measure in pursuit of the magical 100%.
I will not have a game in my collection that isn't fully completed, I'm not about that life.
The world can wait.
— Lisa Wilbourn (Tattletale) —
Coil was an asshole.
She hadn't been working for him for long, but she'd already established this particular personality trait when he had her kidnapped and recruited with a gun to her head, but it was nice to confirm it.
After being stuck with the Undersiders, an entire group of fuck-ups with their own problems, she'd been given her first mission from her new boss (beyond keeping this group of misfits together and somewhat functioning).
Find Zero, recruit him into the Undersiders since Coil suspected he was around their age.
Easy right? Just track down the heroic tinker who had never made a single public appearance and recruit him into villainy, whose base seemed to not exist at all given how much the gangs and PRT had searched for it over the past couple of months in the usual rush to be the first to grab the newest Tinker.
…Nobody could forgive themselves for letting Skidmark win the last race, grabbing Squealer before the PRT or Empire could, though the PRT had regained some ground by getting their new Tinker Ward even if her analysis said it'd be a long time until Kid Win was any use.
Dyscalculia and ADD, on a Tinker who didn't even know his specialisation? Kid Win wasn't exactly a shining prize. She wished the PRT luck getting any use out of him.
Zero was a better prize, but they'd missed their mark and given him a chance to get set up before they could grab him. Tinkers were most vulnerable right at the beginning, but Zero was apparently sneakier than most, given that his first 'appearance' was through some fairly advanced drones (which were looting the Boat Graveyard even now, teleporting away whenever someone tried to approach them).
She had… basically a PHO account to work with, and that was it. Zero (Verified Better than Tin_Mother) was definitely him, having apparently compromised the PHO servers to get his account.
He had his profile set to private which made tracking his posting history a pain, but it seemed like he was mostly active on the gaming boards, branching into the Brockton Bay cape scene boards infrequently.
She'd spotted him on the viewers list of his own cape thread, the mystique around Zero making him more popular than a street level tinker would normally be.
But he never confirmed whether he was the real Zero, in fact he basically never responded to mentions or replies, except in the gaming threads where he got into frequent heated arguments.
Enough that some people suspected he might be Leet, rebranding, but she highly doubted that. He could clearly reproduce his results for one, and barring the PRT trying to capture them, his tech didn't mysteriously blow up for no apparent reason.
He didn't reply to PMs, at all, from what she could tell, because her power was decidedly unhelpful when it came to him, so how to contact him?
…as much as she hated to say it, she needed help, and worse, she needed Regent's help. Because there was only one place he was active, and she was thoroughly inexperienced in the gaming scene.
As for why she cared so much?
Coil tried to hide it, but as much trouble as she was having with Zero, her boss was having more. She didn't know the details but it confirmed that he was almost certainly a Thinker himself.
He wanted to take a thorn in his side and make it into a tool, but a thorn in Coil's side sounded fun to her.
Author's Note: This fic is dedicated to the guest who wouldn't stop crying in Gambler for me to drop it and go back to my other fics. Kiss my ass.
Naturally, blame Mir for this fic again, totally his idea. Also go read Draconic Impact, is gud shit and I don't even like Genshin.
I am entirely motivated by praise and interaction, so leave a review and I'll probably write faster.
I have a discord server (technically someone else's but my name is on the server so it's basically mine) with a bunch of other authors and a load of porn. Here's the link for that: discord .gg/wd3tUYWVCd
If it says it's expired, add my (The Pumpkin King#1234) and I'll invite you myself.
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