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Vim & Vigor 4 (A Worm/Bioshock Fanfic)

Vim & Vigor 4

(A Worm/Bioshock Fanfic)

{-{ V & V }-}

Winslow, April 11th

“Greg, check this.” Taylor said as she handed me a few stapled pages with typing on it. On the cover page was our names, along with Sparky’s, and our report title: Scion’s Death and Changes in the Endbringer Engagement. I gave it a quick glance through as we walked through the front doors of the school. Taylor did her research.

It starts with the Behemoth Engagement shortly after the death of Scion. With the golden man gone, people weren’t sure if there was anything that could be done to stop the rampaging Endbringer besides hitting it until it got tired of leveling the area. Then there was a sudden ringing noise from above, like a giant bell, and nearly half the capes present at the fight died.

Before anyone could figure out what happened, the Endbringer shrieked in pain and a giant white whale appeared above the battlefield. It was later named Bismark, and its very presence made the Endbringer bleed. The PRT had a theory about it being a projection from an unknown Master 12 cape that had something to do with wavelength synchronization, but the point was that when it appeared the Endbringers got nerfed. In the end, Eidolon managed to kill Behemoth and a new Endbringer showed up when its cycle came up again.

Since then Endbringer battles involved holding out long enough until a projection appeared and then hitting it harder. But there were problems with this. For some reason, capes dropped dead before it came out like they were sacrifices. And if there weren’t enough capes present for the battle, the projection wouldn’t show up at all. Nobody liked the idea that they were being sacrifices, sentenced to death because of some unseen force passing judgment on them.

So that meant they had to start dipping into the Birdcage, which was a whole other set of problems. Capes who went in could earn their freedom by participating in three Endbringer battles, with a least one being a solid kill before they could leave and a Kill Order if they went back to crime again afterwards. So far they hadn’t managed another kill yet, but with Leviathan predicted to come soon it was looking like that was a very real possibility.

“It’s good, but you look a bit tired,” I noted. “Did you spend all night working on it?”

She tilted her head lower and shook it a bit, covering her mouth as she yawned slightly. “No, I was working on a special project.”

“Oh, you mean—” She narrowed her eyes at me in warning. “—shutting up now.”

I struggled not to smile. That meant she had a new power in a bottle for me. I wonder which one it was. She mentioned that some of them were based off bursts of inspirations that came from watching cape battles on recordings, like with Stormtiger—at least before he, Hookwolf, and Cricket were killed anyway.

We went to class and took our seats. Sparky was already at the table we usually got stuck on, so we were all set. All that was left was to wait until the presentation….

That was until Mister Gladly had decided to try and stick one of Madison’s friends with us, a girl named Julia. She looked at us like something you would scrape off your shoe and said she wanted to sit with Madison’s group. We supported that and said we didn’t need the extra help.

He didn’t listen and, naturally, Madison’s group moved so that she and Julia were next to one another and could talk. Somehow nothing exploded for a good while until Julia nicked the report from in front of Taylor while she was fishing around in her book bag and then handed it over to Madison behind her back, where she couldn’t reach it. I was too slow to stop it.

“Hey, this isn’t bad,” Madison said as she flipped through the pages. “Mind if I borrow this?”

A look of pure hatred flickered in Taylor’s eyes as she grabbed the bottom of her crutch leaning against the table. Without a word, Taylor sent it straight through the top of the report, tearing it down the middle while Madison shrieked. The only reason it didn’t hit the girl was because her head moved faster than her hand, but no one was using that copy.

Mister Gladly was drawn to her shriek. He looked down at the papers on the floor and Taylor’s hand on the crutch. “What’s going on here?”

“I was showing Madison the report Greg and I worked on over the weekend when my crutch slipped. I tried to catch it before it could hit her, but it still tore my report in two,” Taylor lied flawlessly, before any of the others could pin it as an attack. “Right, Greg?”

I nodded dumbly, and a little afraid. I think that the others were either the same or shocked a bit, because neither of them said anything either. “That’s why it has our names on the front page and headers. No other reason she’d have it.”

“Good thing it didn’t hurt her,” Taylor continued, a false look of concern on her face as she stared at Madison and then Julia. “I would have hated for someone to have gotten hurt by accident.”

The teacher crouched down and checked it. “Alright, but you still need a report for your grade. Do you need to print it out again?”

“Greg will do it for me,” she said, pulling a flash-drive and handing it to me.

I took it and went to the computer to do just that. When I got back to the table, I saw that Julia was looking a little pale and Taylor was writing something down in her notebook. I ignored the stares we were getting until it was our turn and the teacher called on me.

After the report went off flawlessly, thanks to me doing the speech, it was Madison’s group that went afterwards. Their report was on the New Wave scandal that happened not too long ago, when a leaked film caught Glory Girl putting some Empire 88 thug an inch within his life after he surrendered, with what was clearly excessive force, and then calling Panacea to heal him. There was some controversy over it, to say the least.

Now, in general, no one would argue against the fact that the gangbanger had it coming. Cricket and Stormtiger did kill two members of the New Wave bunch while they were unmasked, as well as a bunch of other innocent people, in retaliation for Brandish killing Hookwolf when he got a Kill Order placed on him. So it was clearly personal, and I think that it was a set-up given how that camera went unnoticed to record the entire thing.

But the damage had been done. The issue being raised was that, from what was being said between them, this happened multiple times before that particular incident and they were covering it up. New Wave was all about accountability, and they were spitting in the face of that.

Things got uncomfortable from then until we were told to go to our next class. They looked like they were going to start something until Mister Gladly asked Taylor and me to stay behind. The smug look on Emma’s face afterwards clued me in I wasn’t going to like what was going to happen.

“Julia has informed me that you both threatened her while you were sitting together,” he said. “She said she felt a legitimate threat to her life.”

Yep. I didn’t like it.

“Did anyone see us do that other than Madison’s table, who are her friends?” Taylor asked him point-blank. “Because that’s a lie.”

“I don’t think it’s true either,” he said. “You two are some of the tamest students in my class and, believe it or not, I do know what goes on in here. I know that some people are giving you a hard time.”

“Then you know for a fact that Julia always hangs out with Madison and the latter moved her table over just to talk to her. You don’t think for a second she wouldn’t lie to cover herself, and if you know that some people are giving me a hard time you can put two-and-two together that this is their way of trying to screw me over.” She pointed to the table. “Julia took our paper and gave it to Madison behind my back. When I tried to reach for it the crutch fell. Instead of letting it hit her, I grabbed it.”

“Then why didn’t you say something about them taking your paper?” he asked.

“I covered for them trying to take it because it wasn’t worth the hassle when at best they’d get a day’s suspension, but if they’re going around trying to get us in trouble then that’s a different story.”

“Take it easy, no one is getting in trouble,” he said. “I just want to make sure that it wasn’t an intentional lapse in judgment from a moment of anger.”

“It wasn’t, I promise you.” Taylor said with no hesitation. It was a lie, but I’d believe her with the way she said it. “This entire thing wouldn’t even have been an issue if you didn’t stick her with us in the first place.”

“I put her in your group because it needed to be balanced,” he claimed.

Now, that I called bull on. “Julia spent that entire time talking to Madison,” I pointed out. “And you always put us with Sparky, who sleeps the majority of the class or is out of it. Taylor and I did the rest of the work ahead of time because of that.”

Taylor continued on from there. “So in short, they’re lying. If you really think we went through with it and want to make it an issue with the principal, take us to her office and let’s get this out of the way.”

He didn’t. He just let us go. Emma, Madison, and six other girls were out there waiting for us. I could make out Sophia heading towards the exit with a gym-bag in her hands. It must’ve been another family emergency. She’d been having those a lot lately.

“That was stupid of you, Emma,” Taylor said, interrupting the rest of them as they pretended to talk to one another. “It’s one thing when it’s a petty insult, it’s another when you do something that would get the teacher’s involved.”

“But you did threaten her,” Emma pointed out smugly. “Something along the lines of ‘touch my work again and you’ll end up at the bottom of the bay,’ I believe. A threat to someone’s life is a criminal offense, if I remember what Dad told me. ”

“Prove it,” Taylor said. I noticed she didn’t actually deny it. “Because the moment we go to court is the moment you, Madison, and Sophia get slapped with so many charges that you won’t see the sun from whatever dank cell they put you in for a decade.”

“Did things get better for good old Danny to the point he could afford to make a case?” Emma asked, feigning happiness like really badly. “Because I remember him backing off when Dad mentioned how expensive it would be to go through court the last time. Not that it matters since my dad would take you for every last penny you have if you did.”

Realistically, Taylor’s dad probably couldn’t afford a court case. But I don’t think she’d spent the money she’d gotten from the Merchants yet. Given how she was acting, and how mad she looked when Emma brought up her father, she could very well put it towards her own legal defense. And it’s probably a good thing she didn’t have access to her Nevermore power right now, otherwise things would have might have gotten… gory.

“She’s already too poor to buy any decent clothes, isn’t she?” one of the girls asked.

Before one of the others could answer, Taylor held a hand up to them. “Be quiet and stay pretty like the accessories you are, I’m talking to the one of you who has a brain.”

Then she turned back to Emma. “Your dad knows my family, they’d never let him handle the case in the first place if we take it to court. On top of that, I’d make it as loud as possible and drag as many people into it as I can just so that his practice hears about it. Then we’ll see whose dad is poor when his bosses fire him to save face.”

Emma’s expression changed for a moment, judging if she was telling the truth. Since it went back to a smirk, I didn’t think she bought it. Thankfully, whatever else was about to be said was cut when Mister Gladly stuck his head out of the door and saw everyone out there.

Taylor used that to push past Julia and kept moving. I followed after her, stepping around her as one of them made a sound like they were disgusted with me. When they were a good distance away, I breathed easier.

“What was that?” I asked. “I thought you said to stay low?”

“Gladly is useless and they’re bitches, Greg. I’ll put up with them because they aren’t worth the hassle for their grade-school crap. But no one—and I mean no one—steals the credit for my work.”

I looked back and saw Emma giving her a look like Sophia did after she threatened to castrate me. It looked bad. “She’ll come after you.”

“Us,” she corrected. “I told you that you made yourself a target before. This is where it led to. I’d suggest not bringing anything you value to school and not relying on your locker. You have your spare spy-camera, right?”

“Yeah…?” It was small enough to be hidden, but I wasn’t exactly sure where she was going with it. “Why?”

“If they escalate this to that point, I guarantee their going to have a bad time.” That said, she went off and left me behind.

It… must’ve been a Tinker thing. Yeah, that was it. I guess they would get pissed if someone took any of their work, Tinker-tech or not.

Still, I couldn’t help but think that this was going to end really badly…


End Notes: There are three things you don’t do with a Tinker: You don’t touch a Tinker’s stuff without permission, you don’t stifle their creativity, and you don’t ever try to take credit for their work. They pressed two of her buttons at once. Pressing all three will not end pretty for anyone.

One response

  1. Pingback: Fanfic Recommendation 41 | Twilit Dreams Circle

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