[Worm] No Pasaran [Antifa!Taylor]

Chapter 1
Pronouns
She/Her
No Pasaran

There was a swastika on my locker door.

It was stupid, really. I avoided using my locker after what happened in January. In the objective sense, this was relatively minor compared to everything else that the trio had done to me.

But for whatever reason, I couldn’t let this go. This was going to be where I draw the line.

Was it because allowing that on my locker was an implicit endorsement of their fucked up ideology?

For a brief moment, I thought that there was a line that the trio would never cross. Even after what happened in January, I thought that there would be something that would be beyond the pale even for them.

Then again, this might not have been them at all. Winslow’s reputation as a gang hotbed preceded it, so it was just as likely that some junior member of the Empire 88 had done it to mark Winslow as their territory.

In a fit of petty rage I grabbed a sharpie out of my backpack to scribble over the swastika.

That was when it hit me.

I didn’t need to just scribble over the empire graffiti, I needed to send a message, and I knew just what to draw to do that.

I took out a red sharpie marker and drew three parallel arrows pointed down and to the left, and then circled it.

Then I wrote above it the words “¡No Pasarán!”

“What’s that?” asked a girl next to me. She had short dark brown hair that barely graced her shoulders.

“It’s a symbol that the Social Democrats used to use in Weimar Germany to fight back against the Nazis, Monarchists, and Communists,” I said, pointing to an arrow in turn as I explained the symbology. “Later on, the three arrows got picked up as a more general anti-fascist symbol. The slogan, No Pasarán, comes from the Republican forces in the Spanish Civil War who used it against Franco, and later saw use by British anti-fascists who were pushing back against Britain’s own nascent fascist movement.”

As the moment hung in the air I suddenly felt awkward, as if the old motormouth Taylor had momentarily risen from the dead.

“I mean, sorry to infodump on you like that,” I said. “I’m kind of a history nerd but not like regurgitation of technical minutiae about WW2 tanks like most history buffs but social movements and such... and I’m doing it again, sorry.”

“No, it’s fine,” the girl next to me said. “That’s cool actually.” And as I watched, she pulled out a sharpie of her own and drew the same three arrow symbol on her own locker.

“I’m Charlotte. By the way,” she said, smiling at me.

“Taylor,” I replied.

As we walked down the corridors of Winslow to our next class, or rather, I was walking to my next class and Charlotte decided to walk next to me for some reason, I started using my bugs to keep track of the trio. Luckily, none of them were near where we were.

So I was taken off guard when I got shoulder checked from behind, since Sophia wasn’t anywhere near where I was.

“Fuckin’ heebs,” muttered the guy who had nearly knocked me over. I was momentarily distracted by that utterance, since I didn’t realize that some random Empire skinhead knew my last name, before it hit me that “heeb” in this case was short for Hebrew, not Hebert. I wasn’t Jewish but I could see how they could come to that conclusion with my skin tone and hair.

“God damn Ferguson,” Charlotte uttered next to me.

“Huh?” I asked.

“Peter fucking Ferguson, he’s one of the main Empire 88 people here,” Charlotte replied.

“Can’t say that I’ve ever paid enough attention to the skinheads at Winslow to figure out their names,” I said. “Too busy dealing with Emma, and Sophia’s shit.”

“That’s… not really an option for me, since I’m Jewish,” said Charlotte. And just like that my problems with the trio seemed miniscule by comparison. I mean, yeah, things were bad, but at the end of the day it was only three people, not one of the largest gangs in the city that wanted me dead.

“That’s gotta be rough in this city,” I said, my sympathies sounding trite even to my ears.

“Oh yeah,” said Charlotte. “Being Jewish in a city where the largest group of parahumans are literally neo-Nazis isn’t exactly ideal. It doesn’t help that the police and PRT treat them with kid gloves half the time. Look at Hookwolf, he’s already been sentenced to the Birdcage and the PRT still gives him the pretense of a secret identity, unlike every other cape that’s bound for the birdcage.”

That… was a good point. As soon as Charlotte had pointed out that instance of the PRT treating the Empire lightly, it was like a dam bursting, and I remembered countless other examples. Like how they had rescinded the arrest warrants on Purity just because she started calling herself an ‘independent hero’ who conveniently looked the other way whenever her former Empire buddies were committing crimes; or look at Bastion, who was caught on camera shouting racial slurs, and how the PRT and Protectorate lined up to give excuses about how ‘he doesn’t have a racist bone in his body,’ ‘he was having a bad day,’ ‘it was a heated moment,’ and that he was ‘taken out of context.’

I thought about the notebook I kept in my backpack, detailing my costume sketches and my plans to become a superhero. The Empire was the biggest threat to the city, and yet, it seemed like the Police and the PRT were content to just ignore them and let them build up their power base.

I could do better.

I would do better.

------​

As I sat on the bus that would take me home from school, the rest of my day having been mercifully free of the trio’s antics, I thumbed through my hero notebook, mulling over the conversation I’d had with Charlotte.

I realized that I was stalling at this point. I’d finished weaving together the spider silk for my costume’s bodysuit earlier this week and the armored plates were already done. As I looked out the window on the bus, I saw that there was an arts and crafts store in one of the strip malls we were coming up to, so I pulled on the stop cord for the next intersection.

As I browsed the aises looking at fabric dye and paint for the chitin armor plating, my first instinct was to go for dark colors like Alexandria so that I could blend into a swarm of bugs. I almost went for it, but then I changed my mind. I kept the paints and the dyes I had, but I also added some iridescent paint. My hope was that I could add a layer of iridescent blue over the grey of the chitin shells to give the armored segments a more colorful look that would make me look like less of an Alexandria rip-off.

I paid for the costume supplies and quickly stuffed them into my backpack and walked over to the sporting goods store in the same strip mall. Here, I picked up a set of goggles for my costume, I had initially gravitated towards the yellow tinted lenses, but then a set of blue-tinted swim goggles jumped out at me. The blue lenses would be less visible at night, especially under those yellow sodium vapor lamps that Brockton Bay used for street lighting. It wouldn’t do to give myself away because the yellow lenses of my mask reflected the street lighting perfectly.

Unfortunately, the blue goggles I liked were a bit pricier than I would have liked, so I put the chalk dust I was about to buy back on the shelves.

I put everything I needed into my basket and used the last of the cash I had with me to check out of the store. I stuffed my new goggles into my backpack, and made my way back to the bus stop. By now I’ve spent enough time at this strip mall that the next bus should be due to arrive soon.

A walk that lasted a few minutes until I suddenly got drenched with a cold liquid.

It says something about me that this barely even phased me.

“Oh my god, I am so sorry!” said somebody behind me. I turned around to look at my mystery splasher. A tall african-american guy in jeans and a t-shirt was holding the lid of a water bottle.

“It’s okay.” I said.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I was putting the lid back on my water bottle when it slipped out of hands and splashed you.”

I almost laughed at the sheer irony. I had gotten so used to the trio’s pranks on me that I had forgotten that genuine accidents could still happen.

“Still, I feel really awful about splashing you like that.” he said. “Can I make it up to you with a cup of coffee at that coffee shop over there?’

“Well I’m not much of a coffee drinker.” I replied. “But I wouldn’t say no to a cup of tea.”

“Tea it is.” He said. “My name is Terry, by the way.”

“Taylor.” I replied.

We walked into the cafe and Terry went to order the drinks while I grabbed one of the tables.

While I was sitting there waiting, I pulled out a blank sheet of notebook paper and started sketching, drawing different variations of the three arrows emblem, trying to find the fastest and easiest way to draw them on a surface.

In addition, I started sketching out the antifa flag emblem, an image of a black flag superimposed over a red one inside a circle. As I started sketching, I realized that this one was too complex to be able to be tagged over swastika graffiti easily. I’d have to use my spiders to make a flag out of silk and paint the symbol on there myself.

“What’s that you’re drawing?” Terry asked me, setting our drinks down on the table.

So for the second time today, I began explaining the origins and symbolism of the three arrows emblem.

“Have you thought about doing a stencil?” Terry suggested. “Get a sheet of cardboard and cut out the shapes you want, just spray over it with spraypaint.”

I thought about it. It was a good idea. It was cheap, and it could be painted on quickly.

“I like that idea.” I said.

------​

The first thing I noted when I walked into Winslow that day was that almost all of the swastikas that had littered the walls, and lockers had been covered over with the three arrows.

“Uh, Charlotte, what’s with the arrows?” I asked.

“Someone saw it and asked me what the arrows meant so I told them, then it started taking on a life of its own.” Charlotte explained.

Looking around the halls, I could see that the junior members of the Empire 88 looked visibly uncomfortable, as if they no longer had free reign of the place.

Good.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sophia taking a photo of one of the arrow drawings and texting it to somebody. My heart almost skipped a beat at that. Had she figured out that I had started this trend and was running to Blackwell to get me in trouble?

Instead she just walked past me without a second glance. Weird, but I wasn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

The Empire 88 had thrived on the idea that everybody else was too polite to tell them to fuck off, allowing them to spread their message unimpeded. Most people in Brockton Bay weren’t Nazis or even Nazi sympathizers. But the Empire had used that basic decorum that all points of view were equally valid and should be given a fair hearing in the marketplace of ideas to spread their hateful message, a message that kept those they targeted from speaking up out of fear of retaliation. Karl Popper had called it the paradox of tolerance, if a society extends unlimited tolerance to those who are intolerant, it will be seized by them and be made intolerant.

“Hell yeah!” shouted somebody in the hallway.

My face flushed red as I realized that I had said that whole spiel about the paradox of tolerance out loud. I looked around and there were a ton of people staring at me.

Oh my god I had started a movement.
 
Chapter 2
Pronouns
She/Her
<< Part 1 | No Pasaran | Part 3 >>

No Pasaran - Part 2

New Popular Idol Rises in Bavaria - New York Times, November 21st, 1922​
Several reliable, well-informed sources confirmed the idea that Hitler’s anti-Semitism was not so genuine or violent as it sounded, and that he was merely using anti-Semitic propaganda as a bait to catch masses of followers and keep them aroused, enthusiastic, and in line for the time when his organization is perfected and sufficiently powerful to be employed effectively for political purposes.[1]​
The Hatemongers Next-Door: The Brockton Bay Gang Trying to Make White Separatism Respectable - Brockton Bay Independent - September 27th, 2004​
When asked privately if Kaiser genuinely believed in the violent messaging attributed to his gang, a source close to the gang leader assured that "Actually, Kaiser doesn't buy into that ideology at all. He pretends to, and uses it to motivate the rank and file." [2]​

[HR][/HR]

When I got home from school that Wednesday, I spent the afternoon after school dyeing and painting my costume. I had waited long enough. This weekend, I was going to be a superhero. My black and white speckled notebook, which contained all of my notes about my powers, costume ideas and notes cribbed from PHO about the various villains in Brockton Bay had been my guide. I had also pulled out some of mom's old books from the basement and from dusty bookshelves. Among them included Huey P. Newton's Revolutionary Suicide and a write-up dad had made about the tactics of the ILA local during the union's protests in 1995 that had created the Boat Graveyard.

I had spent the week putting the finishing touches on my costume and now that it was Friday, I was ready. I shimmyed into the bodysuit for what seemed like the umpteenth time after all the 'test fittings' I had done while I attempted to work up the courage to actually go out in it. I grabbed the mask with the newly added lenses and straps, along with a police surplus utility belt I had found at a thrift store.

For the first time ever, I had the full costume on and assembled. I looked at myself in the full length mirror I had found in storage down here and looked at myself.

Gone was the awkward and gawky teenager who looked like an upright frog. I looked lithe and powerful, not like a kid playing dress-up as Alexandria, but an actual superhero.

I could do this.

I was ready.

[HR][/HR]

I flew above the rooftops with Dauntless, my quasi-official patrol partner, down below. As we passed through the docks towards Downtown, I spotted another business that had been boarded up and abandoned. On the plywood boards that covered the windows, I could see a Sonnerad, the black sun symbol used by Krieg's cell of the Empire 88, painted on them. Evidently this business had closed up and left due to pressure from the Empire.

I dropped down to the ground level to where Dauntless was.

"What is it Glory Girl?" he asked me.

"Boarded up shop on 19th & Hill." I said. "Looks like it's been tagged by Krieg's cell."

"Thanks." He replied. "I'll call it in."

As Dauntless called in the tag so that the PRT could get a better idea of the state of the gang situation downtown, I continued my patrol forward. Crossing west, away from the boardwalk, I was soon heading into the docks. Unlike downtown and the boardwalk where there was still a core of major businesses to keep people employed, the docks were dependent on the import and export market, which had dried up in the 1980's after the dockworkers union had nearly shut down the city over an open shop law that the city was considering passing. The protests had gotten ugly, with one group hijacking a container ship and sinking it in the harbor to block the channel.

Once the situation had calmed down, the port facility was declared a superfund site, and was deemed too costly to repair. Shipping companies instead went down the coast to Boston to unload, and Brockton Bay was left to wither on the vine, creating a fertile ground for any would-be-supervillains to have an ample supply of newly-unemployed people to hench for them.

Crossing another block into the docks, I saw a moving cloud of darkness obscuring the streetlights. The only cape that met that description was Grue, a minor villain who had been independent until fairly recently. There were rumors that he had teamed up with some other minor villains like Hellhound but that hadn't been confirmed.

I grabbed my cell phone and made a quick call to the Protectorate switchboard who then put me through to Dauntless.

"Hey Dauntless, it's Glory Girl." I said. "I think I've spotted Grue on 49th and Temple. Doesn't seem to be doing anything, going in for a closer look."

"Copy that Glory Girl." He replied. "Possible sighting of Grue on 49th and Temple."

As I got closer, I realized that the cloud of darkness was too light to be Grue's. Where Grue's darkness clouds were an inky black so dark that you couldn't perceive how deep they were, this was lighter and more defined. My first thought was that Grue had decided to lighten his darkness for some reason, maybe so that his rumored teammates could see through it better. Getting closer, I started to hear a buzzing sound, like I was near a beehive. And then it hit me.

That wasn't a cloud of darkness.

It was a massive swarm of bugs.

"Glory Girl to Dauntless." I said into my phone. "Negative on that Grue spotting. Do you have any records of an insect shaker?”

"Did you say an insect shaker?" Dauntless asked.

"That cloud of darkness I spotted? It's a swarm of bugs and there's someone in a costume in the middle of it." I answered. "Costume looks professional, likely an out of towner.”

"Jesus Christ." Dauntless swore. "Okay console is checking for known insect capes."

"There's a Stinger over in California who's a villainous tinker. Does power armor, flight packs, missiles, things like that." The Protectorate console operator said, cutting in.

"Not seeing anything like that." I said, relaying what I could see about them to the console. "She's got a dark bodysuit with armor panels and a swarm of bugs around her."

"The other possible match is Pestilence in London." The console operator said. "He's a striker who can induce diseases into people on contact."

Neither of them fit the bill for this cape.

"I'm gonna go talk to her." I said.

[hr][/hr]

When my bugs spotted Glory Girl flying overhead, my heart stated racing a bit. All I could think of was what the heroes, the real heroes, were going to think of my costume. Would they see the slapdash nature of my costume, the obvious brush strokes on the armor paneling, all the uneven seams in the body stocking and laugh at my amateurish attempt at a costume? Would they see the color scheme I used so I could blend into the swarm if I needed to and assume I was a villain right off the bat?

I really wished I could hear what they were saying through my swarm but while I could get some kind of visual or auditory sense from my bugs, it was impossible to make out actual words just from what my bugs were hearing. Maybe I shouldn't have rushed out to do this tonight, obviously I still needed to practice using my bug's senses so I could see or hear through them.

As I was tracking Glory Girl with my bugs, I sensed her suddenly do a loop in the air and then dive down to the ground in front of me, whooping.

"Whoo-hoo!" Shouted Glory Girl and she hit the pavement in front of me in a nearly perfect three point landing, cracking the sidewalk and sending chunks of asphalt and concrete into the air. The column of air that Glory Girl had pulled with her on her dive followed after her and made her hair and cape flutter in the breeze, with her platinum locks whipping around her head.

"Hi there!" She said. "You must be-ack!" Glory Girl's introduction was cut off by the sound of her gagging on the hair that had flown into her mouth during her landing. The superheroine quickly pulled the stray locks of hair out of her mouth before running her fingers through her hair to straighten it out after it had gotten messed up by the landing. "Note to self, using more bobby pins next time." I heard her grumble to herself.

"Let's try that again!" She said, her cheerful demeanor returning. "I'm Glory Girl! Are you new in town?" She asked me.

"Uh yeah." I replied. "It's my first night."

"Welcome to Brockton Bay then!" She said. "Always good to have another... hero?"

"Yeah..." I said. "I'm a good guy."

"Awesome!" She said. "You ever need somebody to show you around the Bay, let me know."

"Huh?" I asked. What on earth did she mean by that? Did she think I was from out of town or something?

“You know, show you where the best places to eat and shop are, what the most effective patrol routes are.” Glory Girl said. “I’d say where to get costume supplies from but you look like you’ve got that part handled.”

“I’m, uh..” I started to reply, not sure how much information I should give about myself, I didn’t want to say anything that could be traced back to my personal life, even between heroes. “I’m from Brockton Bay.”

“Ooooh my bad.” She said. “I thought you were from out of town.”

“No, I grew up right here in the Bay.” I replied. “Why did you think I was from somewhere else?”

“Well your costume looks professional.” She explained. “Which means that you have both the means of paying for a pro costume and the requisite connections to cape costumers.”

Well that was oddly complementary. I preened internally at her assumption that my costume was professionally made.

“Since there are only a handful of cape costume makers in the Bay, and they haven’t said anything about a new bug hero in the bay, that rules out a local.” She said.

That was a bit concerning, but then she knew the in’s and outs of the cape scene better than I did.

“You’re not a villain,” Glory Girl continued. “You were wandering around in costume without a specific destination in mind, that means you were patrolling, looking for something to happen, which rules out you being a villain.”

Suddenly I felt like a bit of an idea. Of course supervillains weren’t going to just be wandering around the streets. What was I expecting to find, Lung out on the streets taking a midnight stroll?

“A rogue also wouldn’t be out this late unless it was an emergency, and again, you were aimlessly wandering, so that rules that out.”

That chain of logic was actually a decent point, I had to admit. And I found myself wondering why Alexandria packages were so often stereotyped as dumb brutes. “Actually uh…” I said. “I made this myself.

“Wait really?” She asked. “That’s awesome. What’s your name anyway bug girl?”

I winced internally.

“I haven’t thought of one yet.” I said. “Do you know how hard it is to come up with a bug-themed name that doesn’t make me sound like a supervillain or a complete dork?”

“What about Weaver?” Glory Girl suggested. “You wove that costume yourself right?”

“I did, yeah.” I said. “And let’s go with Weaver for now. If I think of anything better, I’ll let you know.”

As I scouted the blocks around us with my bugs, I felt something with my bugs two blocks away. Two guys were cornering a girl in an alleyway. As I directed my swarm to get a better sense of the situation, the two guys were bald or had shaved heads, which meant they were probably Empire.

I started running towards the alleyway. Glory Girl chased behind me.

“What’s up?” She asked.

“Two guys with shaved heads, cornering a girl in an alleyway.” I said.

The superheroine snarled. “Sounds like Empire 88.”

“That’s what I thought as well.” I said. “Block and a half that way.” I pointed in the direction of the alleyway.

I ran towards the alley, pulling all of the bugs in my range into a large cloud. With smaller bugs that couldn’t fly I came up with the idea of making the flyers pick them up and carry them. As I continued running, I sensed Glory Girl diving towards them through my swarm.

As I rounded the corner, I used the swarm to hide my approach, I didn’t want these guys seeing me winded from running. Taking the opportunity, I used my bugs to pull my canister of pepper spray from my utility compartment, palming it in my hand.

I sent some house spiders out ahead of me and snuck them onto the clothes of the two guys menacing that girl.

Ahead of me I felt through the swarm the two guys running away, Glory Girl flew off after one, and in one smooth movement, grabbed him by the shirt collar and lifted him up. The other guy was running directly towards my swarm, I redirected where I was running to intercept him, and as he ran through my cloud of bugs, I bent down and rammed my shoulder into his gut. The guy doubled over almost immediately to gasp for breath.

With the cloud of bugs covering the alley, it made it hard to see what was going on in the limited moonlight and street lighting. So I went ahead and parted my cloud of bugs and had them land on the walls of the buildings.

Getting my first good look at these guys with my own eyes, I had no doubt that these guys were Empire. On the one in front of me, the nazi trying to catch his breath had a tattoo of three interlocking triangles[3] on his upper arm. I had seen that same symbol on enough E88 paraphernalia at Winslow to know a hate symbol when I saw one.

The other guy in the alley looked over at me in fear. I felt awkward standing there saying nothing, so I walked over slowly, hoping that I was intimidating them.

I had a house spider lower itself down on a thread from my fingertip.

“This right here is a brown recluse spider.” I bluffed. “They are all under my complete control. Three of them are already on you, waiting for my order to bite you. If they do, it won’t be pretty. Brown recluse venom makes your muscles necrotize. That means it decays while you’re still alive. It takes days, but the only real cure is taking a knife to the area around the bite. That might be okay if you have one bite, carve out a half-pound of flesh, let the wound drain, stitch it up. But what if you have three or four bites? Or ten?”

“You...” One of the would-be muggers stuttered. “You fucking psycho!”

I ignored him. As much as I tried to train as a fighter, I knew that I had no chance against them in a fistfight. I had to scare him without having to throw a single punch. “It’s excruciatingly painful. Nothing you experienced during your initiation into the Empire even compares, I can guarantee it. You’re rotting alive, your flesh turning black as it liquefies. So maybe you shoot me. Maybe you even kill me, though I doubt it. Either way, whether I walk away from here alive or not, you get bitten. They’re already on you. Both of you.”

Internally I was praying that they’d take the bait.

“F-fuck you bitch!” One of the Empire thugs said. I ordered one of the house spiders on him to bite down. He screamed in pain immediately.

As the other guy saw this happen, he tensed up.

“H-hey look! We don’t want any problems okay.” The other guy said.

“You should have thought of that before you started mugging that girl.” Glory Girl said.

I took a step closer, to try and get the girl they were mugging to safety. The would-be mugger scrambled away from me.

“S-stay away!” He shouted. I felt the guy I had knocked down start to get up through my bugs.

“I’m not afraid of you bug bitch.” He snarled. I didn’t turn to look at him, I knew exactly where he was and what he was doing. Using my bugs to guide me, I raised my hand with the pepper spray, pointed it right at the guy and squeezed.

I was rewarded with the sound of that guy screaming out.

“Fuck!” He screamed. The other mugger tried to crawl away from me only to be blocked by Glory Girl, holding a dumpster above her head.

“Going somewhere?” She asked. I took the set of plastic zip cuffs that Glory Girl had handed me and cuffed the guy. As soon as I finished, I looked over and saw that Glory Girl had cuffed the other guy.

Walking over to the girl that they had been going after, I dismissed my swarm to try and make myself as non-threatening as possible to her.

“Hey, are you okay?” I asked her.

She looked over at me and I realized that I recognized this girl. Hell, I went to school with her.

It was Charlotte.

<< Prev. | No Pasaran | Part 3 >>

[HR][/HR]

Footnotes:

1: This is an actual New York Times article from 1922: https://www.nytimes.com/1922/11/21/archives/new-popular-idol-rises-in-bavaria-hitler-credited-with.html

2: Paraphrased from a real Wildbow WOA statement.

3: The actual name for this is the Valknut, and it was recently made infamous during the events last week by being tattooed on one of the people involved.
 
Last edited:
Pronouns
She/Her
Nice! A more politically aware Taylor and a better introduction to heroing could go a long way.

Hmm. I'd not noticed the similarity between the WoG and historical coverage of Hitler. Ah well. Max is a evil piece of work either way.

Its nice to see Charlotte getting more of a spot light earlier on as well. I wonder if she'll recognise Taylor? Her hair is meant to be pretty distinctive.
 
Chapter 3
Pronouns
She/Her
<< Part 2 | No Pasaran | Last

Content Warning: Depictions of antisemitism in the chapter.​

No Pasaran (3)

The rest of the weekend felt almost surreal. Like I hadn’t spent Friday night in costume beating up Nazis with Glory Girl. Charlotte had been shaken up by her near-miss but remained unbowed and unbroken. The cans of spray paint in her bag and the messages of “Never Again” and “Żegota Lives” painted over some Empire 88 graffiti went unmentioned.

Despite running into little else with Glory Girl that night. I had opted to end my patrol at 3 AM and head back inside, Glory Girl—or as she insisted I call her, Vicki—had given me her cell number for when I went on patrol again, so she could show me the ropes as a hero. I had resolved to go out and buy a burner phone for cape work going forward. Having to rely on increasingly scarce payphones wasn’t going to work, I realized.

I spent Saturday ordering my black widows to make some patches of cloth, my costume might have been knife-proof but that didn’t mean it wouldn’t eventually get cut. So I wanted some patches of cloth that I could have on hand to repair my costume. It also made me wonder about adding spider silk linings to my regular clothes, to make them more durable in case I ever got caught up in something in my civvies.

Looking through the boxes of old and ruined clothes in the basement, I found an old jean jacket of mine. Emma had bought it for me for my birthday before I went to Nature Camp, before she turned her back on me; it had been stained in a couple of places but I could work with that.

Trying on the jacket, I discovered that all my work towards getting into shape for my superhero career had an unintended consequence, the new muscles in my arms made getting through the sleeves fraught with difficulty.

I guess this would just have to be a denim vest then.

Taking a stitch remover from my eclectic collection of sewing supplies, I turned the jean jacket inside out and started unstitching the sleeves from it.

Having removed the sleeves, I turned the newly made denim vest inside out again to put it back to normal. Unfortunately the old juice and soda stains from the trio, and the bleach stains from my early attempts at washing out said juice and soda stains were very visible.

The bleach stains I couldn’t do anything about, but they gave it character. The juice and soda stains not so much, so I grabbed some leftover fabric swatches of spider silk from when I was testing different fabric dyes for my costume and sewed them over the stains on the vest, with the biggest patch going over a large stain on the back where some juice had gotten between my backpack and the jacket, spreading out.

The end result had a patchwork look that had an almost punk rock aesthetic to it. I could either try to hide that from the finished product, or I could own it and make it seem intentional.

I went with the latter.

Pulling out the fabric paint that I had leftover from my costume making, I painted the symbol for the historical Antifaschistische Aktion on the back, along with the three arrows and the anarchist circled A on the front.

Monday morning finally rolled around and I felt like a slug. After everything I did over the weekend, finally becoming a superhero, to have to go back to being ordinary Taylor Hebert felt almost wrong.

It was fortunate then that my first class of the day was computer class.

Mrs. Knott typically divided the class between the beginners and the advanced students, as Winslow didn’t have the budget to offer multiple classes. The beginners were learning how to use Word and Excel, while the more advanced students like myself had to write a program in Python that would be given a text file of random numbers and would output the same list in numerical order using a binary search tree. We had already done most of the fundamentals in the advanced group so it was just a matter of putting that theory into practice with this assignment. I managed to hammer it out in fifteen minutes, tested it and uploaded it to Mrs Knott’s dropbox folder.

With that out of the way, opened up a browser window and started browsing PHO.

To my surprise, searching for “Weaver” on the PHO wiki turned up a page.

Weaver is an independent Hero operating in Brockton Bay as of 2011. Her power is the ability to manifest and control swarms of insects, which she uses to block her opponents vision and distract them by having her bugs crawl over them.
As I continued to read the wiki entry about me, I was put off by how subtly off everything on it was. None of the information that was on there was wrong about me, but it felt incomplete. My initial instinct was to go in there and edit it to be more accurate about my powers, but I stopped myself. Villains probably read PHO too, I wouldn’t want to give away everything I could do with my bugs just to correct some wiki.

Scrolling to the bottom, I saw that the page about me had only been created yesterday, and that somebody named “Point_Me_At_The_Sky” had been the one to create it.

“She saved me, you know.” Came a voice from behind me. I looked over and it was Charlotte sitting at the computer next to me.

“Weaver?” I asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yeah.” Charlotte replied. “Rune’s cell torched our Synagogue last week and I wanted to fight back, so I grabbed some spray paint to say that we wouldn’t be forced out of the bay. I got cornered by some E88 groupies afterwards and then Weaver and Glory Girl saved me.”

“Well uh…” I said, awkwardly, “I’m glad you’re okay.”

“Thanks.” said Charlotte. “When I saw that cloud of bugs, I thought it was Grue for a second.”

“You wouldn’t be the first one.” I muttered.

“Huh?” She asked.

“Nothing.” I said. The awkward silence dragged on until the end of the period, with the silence ended by a lilting ding dong from the PA speakers.

I was halfway through the door when I heard Mrs. Knott speak up. “Miss Hebert, can I speak with you for a moment?”

[hr][/hr]

I didn’t have any other classes with Taylor today other than that first period computer class. I didn’t know her that well but I didn’t take her for a cape geek so I was curious how she already knew about Weaver, a cape who—as far as I could tell—only made her debut this weekend.

Lunch was… fine. I sat with my usual group of friends in the cafeteria while we ate reheated chicken sandwiches and the cardboard-tasting pizza the cafeteria offered.

“So then Hebert starts talking about some tinker in Des Moines, and Knott totally backed down on the dress code thing.” Said Allison Nguyen.

“Des Moines?” Jenna asked. “Are there even any capes there?”

I shrugged my shoulders, and took another bite of my chicken sandwich. It wasn’t the most appetizing thing, but it was the best of what Winslow’s cafeteria had to offer.

As I looked around at the cafeteria’s lunch tables, the junior members of the Empire were being a lot more aggressive today, probably lashing out because people around here weren’t putting up with their shit anymore.

“Looks like we’ve got the affirmative action table over here.” came a very familiar and very annoying voice from behind me.

“Fuck off Ferguson.” I growled.

“Oh don’t be like that Raimi.” Ferguson said. “What happened to free speech? The first amendment and all that?”

“You spammed my phone with text messages that said ‘six million was not enough.’” I said, incredulous.

“I was talking about the powerball lottery.” He said, blatantly lying. “The grand prize was only 6 million dollars. I thought that was way too small of a prize.”

It was the usual routine for the Empire kids. Say something bigoted but couch it in paper-thin deniability that those of us on the receiving end could see right through, we speak up, they deny it, and the teachers take their obvious bullshit excuse at face value. This time, Peter was wearing a t-shirt that advertised the fictitious “Pinochet’s Helicopter Tours,” which featured a drawing of a helicopter with somebody falling out of it.

I didn’t want to deal with this shit so soon after what happened on Friday, so I bussed my tray to the trash and then left the cafeteria.

My next class was over on the third floor so I figured that I might as well head over there a bit early and kill some time over there, away from the Nazis. Plus, almost nobody uses the girls bathroom on that floor and I didn't really want to deal with any people right now, so I could hide out there for a bit.

I froze as I walked into the bathroom.

A chitinous mass of insects covered every surface of the bathroom. A veritable carpet of bugs made the worst, most unmaintained rest stop bathroom on I-95 look positively hygienic. It was only my rescue at the hands of Weaver on Friday that kept me from screaming at the sight in front of me. I watched in mute horror as bugs poured through a broken ceiling tile as an almost undulating mass.

Then, just as quickly as they seemed to appear, the bugs dispersed through cracks in the walls, broken ceiling tiles, and old drill holes where a paper towel dispenser used to be mounted.

There in the center of the bathroom by the sinks was Taylor, covered in juice and soda.

“Weaver?” I asked.

<< Part 2 | No Pasaran | Last​
 
Pronouns
She/Her
Sorry for the late read/review.

Its good to see Taylor doing better by doing good. It will be interesting to see how being outed to Charlotte and having a conection to Vicky will change things for Taylor.

The nazi harrasment of Charlotte's table is very real.
 
Top