• Published 12th Dec 2013
  • 8,514 Views, 555 Comments

A Friend In Need - sopchoppy



Something has happened and Twilight finds herself in a strange and dark new world. The Bipeds here have strange magic, advanced technology, and a lot of problems. She needs a few friends, and they just might need her. WORM crossover.

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Interlude 4 - Taylor

Interlude 3 - Taylor

Taylor walked towards school. It felt strange to do so. Hours ago she had been a life or death fight with a supervillain, met a fairy tale, and been thanked by a rival gang of villains she had unwittingly helped. The two hours of sleep she had gotten didn’t help with the feeling of unreality. She had nearly died last night and now she was worrying about the kind of trouble she was going to get in for skipping class on Friday. That was ridiculous, but she couldn’t stop the anxious dread that crept up on her as walked into school.

First period was computer class, and normally the one bright spot in her day. None of her tormenters were in it, and she did well enough that most of the time she could do what she wanted with the hour. However, the feeling of waiting for the other shoe to drop didn’t subside as the teacher gave her a tight smile and she made her way to her computer. Deciding to make some productive use of her time before finding out whatever fresh hell school had in store for her, she began digging for information about what happened last night.

Parahumans Online was the place to go for information and discussion about capes all over the world. The front page had major news from all over the world, with links to a wiki and message boards that focused on particular groups or cities. Taylor drilled down to the Brockton Bay message board and opened it and the wiki in new tabs. She decided to start with the weirdest thing about last night, the teleporting purple unicorn.

Searching for “Twilight Sparkle” didn’t return anything and searches for “Twilight” or “Sparkle” returned to many erroneous links to search through. “Unicorn” came up with entries asking if she had meant “Narwhal”, a famous Canadian cape that had a large horn growing out of her forehead who could project forcefields. Dismissing that she went to “teleportation” and pulled up the list of capes known to have that power. When that didn’t pan out she went to “projection,” even though Tattletale had said the unicorn wasn’t, and came up empty as well.

Frustrated she decided to move on. “Tattletale” produced an article with a blurry picture and not much else. “Grue” finally got some results. It said he had been active in Brockton Bay for three years, starting with petty crime and being an occasional enforcer for hire. Recently he had moved up to larger crimes, robbing a few corporate offices and a casino with his new team. His power was listed as darkness generation, but the site didn’t provide any further details on it.

“Bitch” returned no results, but the more PC “Hellhound” delivered a full page of information. Rachel Lindt had apparently never made an attempt to hide her identity and had spent most of her criminal career homeless and moving on whenever the police or a cape started to pursue her. Her powers had manifested at fourteen and had resulted in her destroying the foster home she was in and injuring the people there. Looking under the powers section it didn’t appear she had any physical enhancements, but she could turn ordinary dogs into the giant beasts that had torn into Lung and provided them their quick getaway last night. A red box at the bottom of her page warned that she was antisocial and violent, and if seen you should not approach her.

“Regent” came up with nothing at all. Just a page asking if she would like to create the entry. Digging into the message boards didn’t uncover anything either. For a group that had apparently angered Lung enough for him to set out to murder them it was a depressingly little amount of information. And Frustrating, which didn’t help the dark mood Taylor was already in.

She took a few minutes to do the busy work that had been assigned for today, she wasn’t in a mood to do more than the bare minimum required, and 15 minutes later she was back on the boards looking for more information. When she had decided to become a superhero she had researched the local villains, wanting to be prepared for who she could run into. So it didn’t take long to navigate to the page for Lung and his gang. His description and powers seemed pretty accurate to her own experiences, it didn’t mention his being fireproof, but Taylor wasn’t inclined to add that fact from her high school terminal.

The ABB had about 40 regular members and two lieutenants that Taylor supposed she should be on the look out for. Oni Lee and Bakuda. Oni Lee could teleport, but not like the purple unicorn had done last night. When he teleported he left behind a copy of himself that lasted a few seconds before dissolving. Apparently he used this ability to distract and attack people while his new self appeared somewhere else. His page also had a red warning box similar to Hellhound's saying that he was a sociopath and should not be approached. He wore an ornate Japanese demon mask and his costume made him look like a well armed ninja. Lee would be a tough bastard to fight, and Taylor made a mental note to think of ways to go about doing it just in case.

Bakuda’s entry was new, having only been added to ABB’s page ten days ago. The picture showed a girl with straight black hair wearing goggles and a gas mask style filter over the bottom of her face. She had made her debut as a villain holding Cornell University ransom. Apparently her power gave her the ability to craft high tech bombs with various effects.

Moving down the page a section titled “Defeats and Captures” had a string of minor defeats the local heroes had managed against Lung while being unable to actually capture him. The bottom of this section however had a large new entry.


Lung defeated by an a rival gang and unknown villain.

The Protectorate East-North-East reported this morning (4/12/11) that the supervillain Lung was ambushed and defeated by previously unknown villain with some degree of control over insects. After being weakened by this new cape a group called the Undersiders arrived on the scene and member Hellhound finished incapacitating Lung with her dogs. When Armsmaster, the leader of the Brockton Bay Protectorate, arrived at the scene Lung was unconscious and the other villains had already departed. A first hand witness to the battle brawl stepped forward and briefed the hero on the battle. Lung has been taken into custody at PHQ where he awaits trial by teleconference, if found guilty he is expected to be sentenced to the birdcage.


Taylor felt her heart rate star to speed up as she read. Everyone thought she was a villain! She searched the message boards and sure enough found dozens of pages speculating on who she was and how her powers could have enabled her to defeat Lung. Two days into her career as a superhero and somehow she was already a notorious supervillain! Taking a deep breath she willed herself to calm down. She wasn’t sure how she was going to deal with the situation but panicking about it wasn’t going to help.

She opened more tabs and found people speculating about a gang war, apparent minions or villain fans of Lung vowing revenge on the newcomer, and speculation on whether Bakuda would try to use a bomb to ransom Lung out of prison. All of this was going on, and here she was sitting in class. It was insane. Twilight had obviously filled the Protectorate in, but she hadn’t had the full story. On a whim she searched the message boards for “Twilight Sparkle” and was surprised when she got a hit in the connections section.


Subject: Ta

So things are pretty crazy, but owe you one and would like to return the favor. Could discuss our mutual acquaintance Twilight Sparkle.

Send a message,

Tt.



Taylor suppressed a gasp, Tattletale had found a way to get in touch with her. She looked at the clock and hurriedly closed out of the tabs and cleared the history. The bell was about to ring and her least favorite class with some of her least favorite people was about to start.

——————————

Taylor fled from the school, fresh tears marks on her face. Angry at Emma for finding a new low in her quest to torment her and even more angry at herself for letting Emma get to her. Emma, Sophia, and her friends had been harassing her for months and while nothing had been as bad as the incident that lead to her powers they were starting to escalate again. Like before the teachers and the administration were proving just as useless this time around. To top it off her planned escape from this, becoming a superhero, had been halted before she even began. Before she even really thought about where she was going, she was already most of the way downtown.

She wasn’t that surprised her feet had lead her here, the only two real nice areas of town within walking distance of her school were the boardwalk and downtown. If she was going to skip, this was as good a place as any to go on a day with good weather. Not wanting to deal with what had happened to her at school her thoughts turned towards her cape life. Everyone thought she was a villain and that she was making some sort of play on the ABB. Another group of villains wanted to meet with her, and she had been informed on by a purple unicorn. The irony that this was easier to deal with than her school life was not lost on her.

Still, she was proud of what she had accomplished last night. On her first night out in costume she had taken down Lung! Someone the Protectorate had been trying to take down for years. That thought led to one that stopped her in her tracks. ‘Do I really want to join such an ineffective organization?” The thought was harsh, she knew that they did do some good, but it was also undeniably true. The more she thought about that the more she agreed with it. Her mind flashed back to what had just happened at school, and how little help the system seemed to be for the people that really needed it. Did she really have any reason to believe that the Protectorate was any different? The city had plenty of heroes, but life hadn’t improved much for the people that lived here.

Everyone already thought she was a villain, and that wasn’t likely to change in the near future. So could she leverage that perception? Last night she had demonstratively helped the city by, however unwittingly, teaming up with some lesser villains against a greater one. Could she keep doing that? Stay off the heroes radar, play villains off each other, support the less destructive against the true crazies and assholes? Really actually make a fucking difference in people’s lives? She started walking again, heading for the library. Each step she took was a little more confident than that last.

When she got there the lunch crowd was starting to clear out so it didn’t take long for her to get a computer and pull up the message from Tattletale. With only a slight hesitation she typed a reply and sent it.


Subject: Re: Ta

Ta here. Would like to meet, do you have proof your Tt? I can reciprocate if needed.


Taylor surfed around the message boards, mostly idly while she waited for a response. The rumor mill was going full speed, but it didn’t look like anything new was coming from it at the moment. The reply came surprisingly quick, only a few minutes after she sent the message.


Subject: Re: Ta

Proof? Last night you weren’t very talkative. When G asked what happened I let him know what you and our lost girl TS had done. Good enough? G R and me will meet you where we crossed paths. Formal wear optional, the three of us will be dressed casual.

3 o’clock give you enough time to get from the library with everything you need? Let me know.

Ta ta. ;)


Taylor’s eyes widened and her pulse picked up speed. How had Tattletale known where she was? Was she some sort of expert hacker? She knew her way around computers well enough, but also knew enough to know that she didn’t know all that much when it came to that kind of thing. 'Screw it,' with everything else going on the idea that she was dealing with a hacker wasn’t that much more wood on the fire. That Tattletale had said that would be meeting without costumes did surprise her. They obviously didn’t think she was much of a threat, wanted to earn her trust with a show of their own, or both.

Didn’t matter, this was just the in she needed if she was going to start putting the plan she had been thinking about on the way here into action. She didn’t know what she was getting herself involved in, had no real idea if her scheme could work, all the same she felt the best she had all day when she replied.


Subject: Re: Ta

See you at three.



———————————————

Taylor swung by her house and donned her costume and then put some over sized jeans and a sweatshirt on over it. Throwing her mask into a backpack with a bottle of water she hopped a bus headed in the right direction and got off about five blocks from the meeting place. She ran into a rundown connivence store to make a purchase. After exiting the store she slipped into an ally to put on her mask and then pulled the hood of her sweatshirt up. Unless someone looked right at her face she wouldn’t look out of place on the street. While Tattletale had said they would be showing up without costumes, she didn’t have any reason to trust them that far, and it wouldn’t play into the plan she had worked out either.

Taylor scouted ahead with her bugs and it wasn’t hard to find the three people standing on the roof. Putting her foot on the bottom rung of the fire escape she had a last minute surge of trepidation. ‘What the hell am I doing?’ She willed herself past it and climbed to the roof. When she got there she recognized them right off, a girl and two guys. The girl was green eyed and freckled wearing a T-shirt and a denim skirt. The younger of the two guys had to be regent, looked italian, and put off the kind of vibe you might get from a pretty boy. Dicapcrio lite. The other was a foot taller, dark skinned and had his hair in corn rows. She let her gaze linger for a moment, he looked like he spent a lot time in the gym.

“And she arrives,” Tattletale crowed, “Pay up.”

Regent didn’t look happy as he pulled a wad of bills out his pocket and handed them over to Tattletale.

The bigger boy extended his hand and Taylor shook it as he introduced himself.

“I’m Brian.”

“You can keep calling me Ta for now, until we settle what this is about.”

“Cool.” Tattletale introduced herself next.

“Lisa,” seeming friendly but not offering her hand.

“Alec, and Bitch is Rachel.” Regent said.

Taylor decided that if she was going to pull off her new personality she would need to show some initiative. She spoke before they could continue.

“Okay, you wanted to meet me, and you wanted to meet me enough that your trusting me with your identities, or at least you want to appear as though you are. I’m afraid I’m a little suspicious given that the only thing we seem to have in common is an enemy in the ABB.”

Brian opened his mouth then closed it again, Lisa stepped forward with a plastic lunchbox.

“I said we owed you. All yours, no strings attached.”

Taylor took the lunchbox and popped the lid. It was filled with cash.

“Two grand,” Lisa said, while Taylor looked it over. She resisted the urge to smile, perfect. Instead she nodded and shut the clasps back on the lunchbox. “You have two options. You can take that as a gift. A thank you for, intentionally or not, saving our ass from Lung. Maybe a bit of incentive to count us among your friends when your capering about. Its rare for villains in the same city not to clash over something, so it would be nice if we could avoid that.”

“And the second option?” Taylor replied.

“You can take it as your first months payment as a member of the Undersiders.” She waved a hand indicating the three of them. Taylor took a moment, steadied herself and put her plan into motion. She knew villains wouldn’t accept her goals at face value, so she had come up with a way for them to relate to her.

“Thank you, but no. Last night raised my profile pretty high, higher than I’d like. I did some research and you guys seem like your about to make a splash. With everything going on I feel wet enough already.” Lisa looked flabbergasted, obviously she hadn’t expected that response, and Taylor continued. “I have a third option to propose. I attacked Lung, well I’ll be honest, mostly it was a misunderstanding. But I also attacked him because he’s an asshole that makes people’s lives miserable. Like I said I did some research on you guys and that doesn’t seem to be your thing. So take this.”

Taylor extended her hand to Tattletale who still seemed to be trying to catch up and put a folded piece of paper into her hand. “Thats a number you can reach me on. You know what I can do. If you need assistance in the future and it’s not going to make the people suffering in this city suffer any more, call me and we’ll work something out on a case by case basis. Fees variable depending on the assistance needed and who’s involved.” With a bit of whimsy that bubbled up from underneath the stress of the situation she added in a light tone. “Tell your friends.”

“Fucking shit.” Alec exclaimed, “You’re not a villain, you’re a vigilante.”

“Hmm, not a vigilante - more like a mercenary, with morals.” Brian looked at Tattletale, who seemed to have come back to herself. She shook her head as if to clear it, looked down at the paper in her hand and spoke up before he could.

“So what do we call you, if we call you?”


“I guess you can call me Skitter.”