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Old 01-24-2016, 08:30 AM   #1
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Worm Intrepid by Cerulean - T - Worm

Title: Intrepid
Author: Cerulean
Rating: T
Genre: Fantasy/Adventure
Status: WIP
Summary: Once upon a time, three girls bullied a fourth until a tragedy occurred. In the aftermath of that tragedy, all four embark on their own separate paths through the complicated world of capes. Worm AU focusing on the separate viewpoints of Taylor, Emma, Madison, and Sophia. They each have their own stories to tell, their own friends, teams, and enemies. Let's see how they do.
Words: 274 533 (more on spacebattles)
Link: fanfiction.net, spacebattles

So, another fic by Cerulean. Similar yet also quite different story. Similar in the theme of redemption,probably even more so and honestly, better handled than in Atonement.

I liked Atonement, but it had definite flaws, flaws which are avoided in here.

Story is set up relatively simple, the locker incident, was a bit more drastic. Taylor doesn’t emerge kicking, screaming and ranting, but rather, catatonic, seemingly as a vegetable. She can’t talk, can’t move, can’t do anything, bound to a chair or her bed. She is being fed by a nurse, unable to do anything any more. Her trigger allows her to see, hear and feel through other peoples bodies in her range, but can’t do much on her own.

This has a different and much bigger impact on the bullies. Madison and Emma, wrecked by guilt, confess to what they did, unknown to Sophia. All of them get restraining orders and their own but relatively light punishments. Emma and Madison have community service, they get split up, all going to different schools (Sophia to Arcadia, Madison remains in Winslow and Emma goes to that other school that is not the more well known other school), Sophia gets shit duties and much heavier supervision and restrictions in the Wards, alongside the scorn of her team and superiors.

This also makes all of them embark on different journeys:

Taylor gets sought out by Faultine and is eventually recruited into her crew, being offered to find a way to get used to her new power, which is the reason why she is unable to control her body.

Sophia remains in the Wards but even she is haunted by her guilt, never having wanted THAT for Taylor. This alters her behaviour, making her act more sympathetic and nice/decent to victims, trying to save her teammates, trying, grudgingly to be a better person. She eventually teams up with a few other characters, taking them under her wing, trying to save them from making similar mistakes as she did.

Emma, eventually, joins the Undersiders. Her home-life is different, since this has a big impact on her family. She clashes with her father, whom she blames for letting her get away with too much, for not allowing her to genuinely repent by shielding her from the bigger consequences of her actions. Upon learning that Danny had to sell their family home to pay for Taylor’s treatment, Emma, until then wanting to be a hero to make up for her deeds, decides she has to do everything in her power to make things up to Taylor. She knows she can never really do that, but at least she can get her the house back, her childhood home, as a start. So, she joins the Undersiders to get that money.

Madison, much similar to Atonement, tries to redeem herself by being a hero, to make up for her bad deeds by helping others. This eventually throws her in with New Wave, who have a slightly different dynamic and role. She basically becomes an independent hero cape.

Also, none of them know what the others are up to, outside the fact that Madison and Emma know that Sophia is Shadow Stalker.

So, we have four major POV characters, all on different teams and sides, with different goals, enemies, allies and problems. This is the biggest difference to Atonement which, interludes aside, was mostly Madison vs the world. In Atonement, unlike the source material, she never really faces a situation she can’t solve by grit, honesty and determination. Madison makes friends, allies, is able to wield the strongest power in the worm verse, to communicate and understand others, make them work together, willingly. What Taylor needed mindcontrol and a broken shard to do, Madison mostly achieves on her own (probably still with the help of her shard but still).

This isn’t really the case here. The nature of the split POVs, all of them compelling (although I'll admit, Taylor's is the least compelling one of the bunch although her power makes for fun action scenes), makes it impossible to have all of them win. Quite often, they find themselves on opposing sides, with opposing goals yet all of them are compelling characters and you root for them. And yet, someone winning, means someone else losing.

All of this coupled with an interesting new setting as this is also an AU beyond the divergence in the beginning. Several characters have different powers and are in different teams/positions/circumstances than compared to canon. Quick example, Iron Rain, for example, Kaiser's sister is still alive and competing against her brother and New Wave is still the Brockton Bay Brigade, never having unmasked and stiff have their full force. There are more changes within their ranks as well.

So, you have four interesting POVs journeys, all doing their own thing but interweaving regularly, making them still seem connected. Then there are the interludes, with rather fascinating and compelling secondary characters, showing us insight into the other factions and groups. Their subplots are often quite well thought out and in fact, a lot in the story seems that way.

Stuff that got introduced relatively early or on a throwaway line becomes relevant way later. It uses canon characters that didn't have much/any role in really great way.

A personal, but minor, favourite of mine was Zoe, Emma's mother
who was recently revealed to also have been a minion of Lustrum, alongside Annete. In fact, that's how the two families were friends to begin with. That's just brilliant and headcanon for me no.

Stuff like that. So, you have the journey of the four characters and in the background, you have Kaiser scheming, Coil scheming, Cauldron doing their thing, Iron Rain scheming, Teacher scheming, the Protectorate and Brigade reaction, the Undersiders doing their thing, new or re-purposed groups doing starting to act. The pov characters being pulled into all those events, their decisions and goals influenced and derailed by them.

All in all, it makes for a very captivating read.

It's not without its flaws, there are more than a few cosmic coincidences, where people meet under specific circumstances that seem a bit...unlikely. You can roll with them though. As a comparison, if you were okay, in the Star Wars film, for the new characters to stumble on the Millennium Falcon at the beginning, you should be okay here.

A few situations do resolve themselves a bit too softly, Madison still has that uncanny ability to talk people out of villainy, writing could be a bit tighter and it's still not spiritually Worm, being lighter and much funnier.

While it can get serious and has a lot of engaging and well thought out twists, it lacks the weight of Worm. The tension and seriousness. That's not bad, per se, depending on what you look for but the difference is there.

Say what you will about Cerulean's writing skills, though, the man can write excellent comedic dialogue and witty banter. They are consistently funny and engaging. It's very much not Worm, true, where the closest thing to witty banter is characters tearing each other down viciously with words but both, Intrepid and Atonement made me laugh very often with their in battle banter. Can honestly say that Atonement out-Spider-Man-ed Spider-Man.

One drawback to that is, though, that it makes characters who use those quips and remarks sound more alike than one would like. If I were to lift all the banter quotes without character attribution, you wouldn't really be able to tell them apart, except maybe for Rune and only because she tends to work the fact that she's a Nazi in relatively often.

In that regard, some character traits tend to blur a bit, since Emma makes funny quips at times, Madison makes them more often and even Sophia has a few. Others do so as well. It's always entertaining and amusing, at least for me, but I can see why it would annoy some.

So, yeah. It's a long story, spacebattles has more chapters than the ff.net version, where he only posts finished arcs as one chapter once they're finished.

Flawed and all, but I had a blast reading this.

One really big thing to come, which will make or break the fic is how the reveal is going to be handled, once the girls learn what the others are doing and who they have become.

Still, so far 4/5

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Old 01-24-2016, 09:19 AM   #2
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Personally I give this about a 3/5. It suffers a lot from having too many characters it follows and each character suffers a lot from it imo. Every time I see an update to this story, I always check to see which POV it is and if it is Sophia or Madison, I just don't care. Since I don't care and don't like their parts of the story, it effectively halves the story for me and it really slows down the plot for Emma and Taylor who I actually like the story of.

The fact that he updates about once a week and often doesn't really have an order for the chapter POVs, this can often lead to very long periods of time where I don't read anything of interest to me. For example, in the latest Arc, the last time we saw Taylor was in 9-03 and we haven't seen anything from her in 8 chapters.

And still sticking with the Worm fanfiction cliche of having interludes just makes the whole thing worse especially since a lot of them are of people I really don't even care about in the slightest. Honestly, a lot of Worm fanfiction should just get rid of interludes and this one especially so.

I like the story when it is about Emma or Taylor but I just skim all the Sophia and Madison parts at this point. That regrettably makes the story feel like the update rate is painfully slow as well.

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Old 01-24-2016, 09:45 AM   #3
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I guess the changing POVs are a bit of a mixed blessing, and I can see why you wouldn't like neither them nor the interlude chapters.

They absolutely worked for me, though, and I quite enjoy them.

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Old 01-24-2016, 04:47 PM   #4
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I personally really enjoyed Intrepid. I think that over the course of the nearly 1,000,000 words that make up Atonement and Intrepid Cerulean has definitely improved as an author. Even though it might slow down the rate that the story moves forward overall, I think that the decision to follow all four of the protagonists was the right idea. I think following each protagonist separately doing their own things keeps the story snappy, as opposed to how I think Atonement has sort of gotten bogged down under it's own weight. Granted Intrepid is a quarter the length of Atonement so this might change going forward. Also, having four protagonists will probably avoid the other problem I had with Atonement in that it sort of seems like everything revolves about Madison. I did enjoy Atonement though (I just don't really want to put in the time to sit down in for a reread at the moment).

As Nemrut said, you can tell that Intrepid is written by Cerulean. It has the very strong undercurrent of redemption/becoming a better person as major character motivation. Granted that makes perfect sense as three of the four protagonists are trying to deal with having bullied Taylor into a coma. I'm personally really enjoying their attempts to become better people myself. With what's out so far I think that Taylor's storyline has been the weakest. Though, that could be due to the fact that Faultine's group has been mainly out of Brockton Bay mostly off doing their own thing.

Despite looking similar to canon Intrepid is obviously an alternate universe. Cerulean has thrown in a lot of interesting plot elements that I'm looking forward to see elaborated on further in the future including:
Hero still being alive and running the White Company (the largest mercenary group in the world). The Sins (a group similar to and rivals with The Slaughterhouse Nine). The fact that Glaistig Uaine is a member of Cauldron and has a very different view of Scion.

There are a lot of coincidental connections between the characters. At this point I'm not really sure who knows what. Basically everyone is connected by one or two degrees of separation. There is a chart on SpaceBattles here that maps out all of the connections, but, it's about three arcs out of date at this point. Still when stuff starts getting revealed I think these connections will become even more significant. At this point a lot of them are just sort of funny world building stuff.

I'm personally super excited for the start of the 10th arc.
Interlude 10A (Danny) ended with Danny's place being ransacked and a box of Taylor's stuff (including the journal detailing her bullying) was taken (by Greed). The last lines of the chapter were the reveal that Blackwell with murdered with a message to Taylor saying that everyone responsible dies left over the body. So Emma, Madison on Sophia are on Elsa's hit list and I doubt that Taylor is going to just let someone go on a murder spree in her name. Furthermore Greed and Lust are in town to track down Canary who's joined up with Sophia's independent hero team Normandy. So basically it looks like all four of the story-lines are about to come together in a high-speed full on collision. I think it'll be amazing.

Overall rating: 4/5
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Old 02-17-2016, 04:43 PM   #5
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Chapter is essentially the fallout of Blackwell's death on Madison, with her finally realizing she's gay as all hell and an ensuing breakdown as she realized she tormented Taylor 'cause she was horny without even realizing it.

Originally Posted by Menace View Post
"Be my friend, motherfucker!" Naruto howled, slamming the rasengan into Gaara's face.
When his life was ruined, his family killed, his farm destroyed, Job knelt down on the ground and yelled up to the heavens, "Why god? Why me?" and the thundering voice of God answered, "There's just something about you that pisses me off."

-Stephen King
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Old 02-23-2016, 06:21 PM   #6
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Must be jarring for it to take a formerly Nazi Supervillain to point out to you that you're hella gay to be fair
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Old 05-28-2016, 12:55 PM   #7
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anybody still keeping up with this? I feel like the stroy is finally getting into some really interesting territory although I'm a bit worried that this story is going to turn very comic booky like his other story.

I like that Taylor just learned about Emma's other identity as I'm pretty sure this was always going to be one of the main dramatic moments in the story and everything has been building up to this. However, I don't like that Taylor and Emma (Or Madison or Sophia) have had pretty much 0 interaction up until this point. It just feels like a lost opportunity that Taylor didn't get to really form an opinion on Redshift before learning that Redshift is Emma.


I like that the end bringer is going to be the Simurgh rather than Leviathan but the addition of the extra dimensional creatures being added is the part that I find weird. Granted, this development isn't exactly something that has been expanded on very much yet but I just feel like this is going in a very comic book direction that is just not going to work for this story. I just feel like dimensional stuff just doesn't work in Worm fanfiction.

Peace and Prosperity be damned.
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Old 12-16-2016, 02:43 AM   #8
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So a lot of shit has happened. Taylor and Emma met again and it was pretty satisfying and emotionally powerful. We also meet the mysterious Pride, and he's actually pretty well executed. He's sort of the opposite of Jack in that he has a more sympathetic motivation but is still cuckoo for coco puffs
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author: cerulean, emma barnes, madison clemens, sophia hess, taylor hebert, worm

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