Self-Crossover: Wyrm

Yes, I’m writing crossover fanfic of my own universe again.

(Obviously not canon.)

You can blame my readers over on the Discord for this, for recommending Wormhttps://parahumans.wordpress.com/ – to me, which led to the ever-expanding universe of other Worm alt-universe and crossover fics, which now I’ve got around to reading them, reminded me of the discussion on said Discord about this particular crossover, and well, here we are, with me once again writing down things to get ’em out of my head.

Disclaimer: Worm belongs to John “Wildbow” McCrae, and I’m just playing in his sandbox.

Further disclaimer: I already have one crossover self-fanfic that I’m working on, by which I mean shamefully neglecting, so it is very unlikely that I will be continuing this one, certainly not any time soon.

So if someone else would like to pick it up, feel free to let me know and I can provide the details of such outlines as I have, plus appropriate info on powers, other changes, universe-interactions, and bullshit hax.


OPERATION COSMIC CRUSTACEAN1
EXPERIMENTAL STATION ANNELIDA
!! UNIVERSE CLUSTER 6
!! WORLD-LINE PROBE 14
DOMAIN DRILL IN POSITION
COMMENCE INTROITUS

FOUND/BEGIN/JOIN

PROMISES/OFFER/POWER/AGREEMENT?

BARNACLE DETECTED. INITIATE ONTOREPULSION.

INTERFERENCE/INTERVENTION/REJECTION?

INCREASE ONTOPATHY.

!PAIN/AVERSION/FLIGHT!

CONTINUE INTROITUS. INVESTIGATE ATTACHMENT.


Somewhere an an immeasurable infinity, among the raging storm of primordial chaos, a tiny bubble hung, its membrane pressed up against – although not intersecting with – one much vaster. A careful observer, could one have survived outside a friendly universe, would have noticed too the tiny thread trailing off from the bubble into the distance.

Within the bubble, on the other hand, a girl floated in water that was not water, among stars that were not stars, and was thrice confused. Firstly, by where she was, which was clearly not the inside of her school locker; secondly, by the fact of her cleanliness, her body and clothing being entirely free of filth, rotting things, and crawling insects; but thirdly, and by far the most, by how quickly the horror, terror, and panic she had felt a moment ago had become relaxation and a comfortable lassitude.

TAYLOR ANNE HEBERT.

The voice – or voices, rather, since it echoed around itself like a vast chorus – came from nowhere, but filled the tiny bubble. She was briefly astonished to still be calm, before asking the obvious questions.

“Who are you? Where am I?”

WE ARE THE ELDRAEIC TRANSCEND, AN EXTRAUNIVERSAL CIVILIZATION OF SOME SMALL ADVANCEMENT. THE UNIVERSE-CYST YOU ARE CURRENTLY WITHIN IS A BASE FOR OUR BRANE EXPLORATION PROGRAM.

Well, she thought, that answers everything. Before the next equally obvious question occurred to her:

“Are – are you the one giving capes their powers?”

WE ARE NOT. BUT WE HAVE AN OFFER FOR YOU. YOUR UNIVERSE IS SURROUNDED BY ENTITIES UNKNOWN TO US, WHICH WE CALL BARNACLES2. THESE MAY BE THE SOURCE OF THE “POWERS” TO WHICH YOU REFER.

WE DESIRE KNOWLEDGE OF THESE ENTITIES, WHICH YOU WILL OBTAIN. IN EXCHANGE, WE OFFER YOU THE BLESSINGS WROUGHT BY OUR CHILDREN, AND ADVICE ON THEIR USE. WHILE NOT “POWERS” AS YOUR THOUGHTS DESCRIBE THEM, THEY ARE SIGNIFICANTLY EMPOWERING.

“Why me?”

BECAUSE YOU ARE STRONG. AND WE BELIEVE/PREDICT/COMPUTE THAT YOU WILL USE THESE WELL.

Even through the unnatural calm, and a rising sense of unreality about the whole situation, the last year-and-a-half of memories stung. She opened her mouth to disagree —

IN THIS, YOU ARE INCORRECT. YOU HAVE ENDURED IN THE FACE OF BETRAYAL, AND CONTINUE TO ENDURE, WHEN LESSER MINDS WOULD NOT.

WHILE WE UNDERSTAND YOUR SUFFERING, WE DO NOT PROPERLY COMPREHEND IT. NONETHELESS, IT OFFENDS US. THAT OUR PAYMENT WILL ENABLE THIS, AND THE FLAWS OF THE WORLD WHICH ENABLE IT, TO BE CORRECTED IS SOMETHING WHICH WE FIND PLEASING AND DESIRABLE.

The offer sounded too good to be true. If she wasn’t dreaming. Or insane, or dying, or…

But when it came down to it, could it make her life worse?

“Then… yes.”

THUS IS OUR CONTRACT WRITTEN. THUS IS AGREEMENT MADE.

BRING ORDER TO A WORLD IN CHAOS.

BRING PROGRESS TO A WORLD IN NEED.

BRING LIBERTY TO A WORLD OPPRESSED.

AND… DON’T FORGET TO ENJOY YOURSELF ALONG THE WAY.


Outside the locker, three girls laughed. “She’s gone quiet in there,” Madison spoke up. “Let’s go before someone catches us.”

“She’s probably just fainted,” Sophia sneered. “But, yeah, let’s leave Hebert to the -” She paused, as the vile stench held back by the locker’s plugged-up vents became much more apparent, and metal shards began dropping out of the air3, one landing on her nose. “Wh -“

None of them remembered the details of what happened next. The explosion which shattered the locker into confetti, twisted those near it into abstract sculptures, and blew the upper part of the opposite wall and much of the ceiling outward in a shower of debris made little impression on them, even as it tossed them into an undignified, battered, bruised, and cut-up heap against the remaining wall, and rained down filth atop them.

But what Emma Barnes, Sophia Hess, and Madison Clements would remember for the rest of their lives was the tall figure wrapped in blue-silver light that drifted past them, eyes closed, and face set in a slight smile of perfect serenity.


  1. Setting ‘verse-side: at least a millennium, maybe more, after the current ‘verse date, to explain exactly where the paracosmic multiverse-wrangling came from.
  2. I.e., what Shards look like when you’re seeing the universe from the outside and haven’t carried out a thorough investigation; some sort of clingy cosmic parasite that seems to be focused on particular loci within the universe in question.
  3. When you have a four-dimensional explosion4, some of the debris starts falling before the blast.
  4. Well, technically, an eversion, but details.

Eponym

chrune (n.): A type of galactic politician named after Sen Melk Chrune (6012-6319), the League of Meridian Senate’s unsurpassed master of peculation and bribery. Often accused but never indicted despite the sheer flagrancy of his behavior, Chrune died in office1 at the age of 307.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary


1. And in his office. Malicious gossip – which is naturally widely believed despite the lack of substantiation – holds that he suffocated when his life-support equipment was damaged during a campaign orgy.

…With Justice For All

SYSTEMIC INTEGRATED TECHNOLOGIES TICKET-TRACKING: CASE 921632

From: Supervisor of Police, Behibehin Rock
Mail Subject: HELP US NOW YOUR SYSTEM LOCKED EVERYONE UP AND WE CANT FIX IT WHAT THE —

Subject: Assent-Panopticon Ubiquitous Law Enforcement Instrumentality (all components)
Version: 3.4.0.49120
Issue: Stupidity (was: System imprisoned entire population in error)
Priority: Urgent

Resolution: WILL NOT FIX – WORKING AS DESIGNED/SPECIAL

Notes:

Does no-one read the gorramn manual?

The Behibehinti have become another entry in our list of customers who failed to read the warnings in sections 3.7, 3.8, and 3.9 concerning the need to lint your legislation before activating it, because the Assent-Panopticon ULEI has no way of knowing when you intended parts of it to be obsolete, symbolic, or selectively enforced. That said, managing to get the entire population, including the governance – although that latter is surprisingly common – jailed and awaiting trial before the now-inelegible-to-serve judiciary when the system was enabled is perhaps a new low in this particular failure mode.

Although this is closed WONTFIX, as per company policy we have dispatched a service engineer with the override code and a customer service lawyer with copies of sections 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, and the service agreement to free the customer and otherwise clean up the mess.

On the bright side, I won a week at the High Cysperia Luxurium in the departmental betting pool.

 

A Conversation, Recorded Eight Minutes Before The Torren Moon Bloom

“Yes,” said the forensic eschatologist. “Your crippling techniques all appear fully operational. Your screening talkers have detected no basilisks or dangerous memetic payloads, and neither have the people screening them. Your emergency-wipe protocols show no sign of tampering, your network links show no anomalous traffic, and there is no present sign of a hard takeoff within the constrained subnet.”

“So it’s safe, yes? And you can report that to the -”

“This is exactly what one would expect to see if your containment protocols worked perfectly. However, it is also exactly what one would expect to see if a four-point-two kilosoph-equiv intelligence wanted you to think that your containment protocols were working perfectly. Leaving aside the implications of your belief that trying to jail something three orders of magnitude smarter than you was a good idea in the first place, which do you think is more likely?”

As Requested

“…and asked them their wish. So the lovers told the Unwise GenAI that they needed neither goods nor gift, and that all they wanted was to live happily ever after and love always. And the Unwise GenAI said, ‘By your command,’ and bade his servants seize the lovers and place them in a capsule, and fired that capsule into close orbit around a black hole, deep down by the event horizon where no moments pass, frozen in between seconds, ever-living, ever-loving, until time itself dies…”

– from “Terrifying Tales for Despicable Descendants”,
Bad Stuff Press

Truth In Nomenclature

damnfool switch (n.): Engineering / aerospace jargon. Damnfool switch is an alternate term for the Master Envelope Interlock Disable switch; i.e., that switch which disables the hardwired safety features preventing the pilot, sailing master, or other operators from commanding maneuvers or equipment operations known to cause damage to, or the potential destruction of, the vehicle. (See also: redlining.)

The damnfool switch acquired its sobriquet due to the near-universal consensus that not only would only a damn fool disable said interlocks in anything other than a dire and imminent emergency, but that most of the people who have disabled them under such circumstances were also damn fools at the time.

idiot light (n.): The warning light, usually located next to the Master Alarm indicator, that indicates that the damnfool switch has been engaged; so named because the illumination of the idiot light indicates that an idiot surely must be in command of the vehicle.

– A Star Traveler’s Dictionary

Book Status Update: The Core War and Other Stories

So, um… we found a couple of minor formatting glitches in the released e-book version (the printed version is fine) of The Core War and Other Stories.

They’re now fixed in the current download, but if you have purchased a copy before now, please be assured that you’ll also receive the fixed version (or the option to download the fixed version) within a week or so; we just have to wait for the wheels of Amazon’s update review process to grind to completion. Sorry about that, and I hope it doesn’t spoil your enjoyment of the book.

(Those of you who have received the Patreon version of the book need not be concerned; you have the updated version.)

Jumps

The second stage of jump procedure using a Ring Dynamics stargate is obtaining a reference-frame trap, thus ensuring that you arrive in your destination system in the same sequence and association to the empire time frame that you were in when you left, thus preserving chronological consistency.

In urban myth and pulp fiction, this is the procedure that prevents you from wondering why the dinosaurs are warning you off their nice carboniferous planet when you were told to deliver a load of colony prefabs, or from having your extropy sucked out by the ice giants at the end of the universe who are so glad you turned up to feed ‘em high temperatures and ordered states.

In theory, this is the procedure careful adjustment of which permits you to indulge in predestination paradoxes, knight’s-move oracles, and other cunning manipulations of the informational content of your future light-cone.

In practice, this is the procedure that stops you from coming out the other end of the wormhole as a light-year long smear of exotic particles. The universe hates time travel, and is not shy about telling you this.