"I won't spoil the conclusion if you're eager to see this through."
This article contains MAJOR SPOILERS relating to
some of the most pivotal parts of Worm. Although all articles contain spoilers, this article will reveal major plot twists and should almost certainly be avoided unless you have finished the story.
Eidolon, we possibly could have dealt with. Or Tattletale could have. Even Legend, possibly. Alexandria was something else.
Alexandria is a member of the Triumvirate, the former second-in-command of the Protectorate and leader of the Los Angeles Protectorate team. She is also known in another identity as Rebecca Costa-Brown, the Chief Director of the PRT.
Alexandria has a perfect memory, and as such, she has a vast understanding of many concepts. Her indestructibility and high position give her an extremely strong sense of confidence. She has an "air" about her, causing people to get out of her way, treat her with respect and hush their speaking. Those who talked to her felt like they'd better shapeup or else, different from the aura other 'triumvirate' members gave off.
She was initially unsure of her power, but willing to risk getting in the way of Behemoth's attacks in the hope she could survive them.
She dislikes lying as a result of her experience in a hospital as a child - "She was being poisoned by people with smiles on their faces." - and, early in her career, she was uncomfortable with Legend allowing the Siberian to kill a civilian as bait. However, she grew increasingly comfortable with such tactics as her career progressed. Legend noted that since being injured by the Siberian, she was the most willing of the Triumvirate to "take the hard, ugly road." However, she refused to condone allowing the Siberian to go free in order to further Cauldron's goals. She claimed that all that she has done was to save lives.
She was considered one of the top heroes in the Protectorate, and as the organization's enforcer. She headed a Critical Action Squad that deployed to trouble areas.
Alexandria is a tall, muscular woman with long, straight black hair. She is missing an eye, but it is replaced with an advanced prosthetic visually indistinguishable from a real one. She stopped aging shortly after adolescence.Rebecca was visibly hispanic, at least while out of costume.
She wore a black costume with a skirt, knee-high boots and elbow-length gloves. It was black and light gray, with an image of a tower in the center of her chest. The costume featured a wide, heavy cape that flowed over her shoulders and draped onto the ground beside and behind her. She designed the costume herself to be elegant without being attention-getting.
Her costume originally included a visor that covered the upper half of her face and held back her hair. Following her first encounter with the Siberian, which left her with one eye missing and a permanent scar, she began wearing a steel helmet whenever she went out in costume, closed and somewhat similar to an ancient Spartan helmet in design. Her hair spilled out of the back of the helmet, and her eyes were visible.
In her civilian identity as Rebecca Costa-Brown, she was the Chief Director of the Parahuman Response Team. There she often dressed in a suit and jacket. She wore makeup to give the appearance of aging.Taylor described her as "the sort who could be forty but looked like she was in her late twenties".
Abilities and Powers
Alexandria is considered the epitome of 'flying brick' capes. The triad of flight, strength, and invincibility reoccurs often enough, in enough variations, that it's frequently referred to as 'the Alexandria package' in honor of her. According to Doctor Mother, Alexandria is one of the strongest parahumans that Cauldron recorded as of 1988.
Alexandria's body is virtually invincible. She could endure flame hot enough to melt sand into glass. Alexandria's power didn't defend against abilities that made heavy use of inter-dimensional phenomena. Eidolon made use of this vulnerability to destroy her clones. She was, however, capable of being pushed around by external forces.
Alexandria's seeming invincibility derives from the hardening and strengthening of her tissues that places her body in a form of stasis. This manifested when she first gained her power and increased as she grew, eventually keeping her from aging. Thus despite being a 'perfect' example of parahuman potential, she is as warped as any deviant case. Her nails and hair stopping growing; her body is more like a statue than flesh. However, Alexandria was still capable of feeling pain when facing an opponent capable of injuring her.
Alexandria can fly at incredible speeds, fast enough to appear as a blur to viewers. She can fly so fast when zig-zagging between buildings that people couldn't follow her with their eyes, though Skitter could still sense her movements with her bugs. Even in Eidolon's time-distortion bubble that slows objects to a tenth of their speed, Alexandria could still fly as fast as a running person. She could also fly fast enough that when entering the PRT ENE Headquarters via the roof, photography or being spotted wasn't a risk for her.
Alexandria has vastly enhanced strength; only a few capes such as Chort could surpass her in strength. She is strong enough to crush concrete in her hands and lift the 9-ton Leviathan into the air. Alexandria in Brockton Bay slammed Leviathan hard enough onto the ground to cause an earthshaking crash.
Using Alexandria's body, Pretender toppled Behemoth hard enough in New Delhi to tilt the nearby lightning rod created by the Chicago Wards. At the Cauldron Compound, he also held up a full third of a ceiling made out of steel, concrete, and granite over a single room; this ceiling section that looked ready to collapse was part of a 1.73 million-ton structure currently being held up by walls and a column.Pretender could only buy time for Golem to build the necessary supports for this ceiling section because the ceiling slab continued to crack and break down due to its own weight and lack of support in other spaces.
Alexandria has near-perfect memory retention, and accelerated processing and learning. As a result, she has the ability to sense emotions based on body language. However, those who could hide their emotions through expert training or the use of abilities of their own could still fool her. She could also disbelieve the evidence of her own senses as any human could. She never forgot a detail, absorbed information quickly, reading two pages of a book with a glance, and she learned quickly, retaining everything she picked up. She knew most commonly spoken languages, no less than ten styles of martial arts, and she could match some of the best non-tinkers in the world when it came to computers. This gave her a high rating in the Thinker category.
Her mental faculties were offloaded to her Passenger; this rendered her immune to the effects of those such as the Simurgh, and were the source of her Thinker abilities.
Rebecca contracted cancer in her teens and grew increasingly disaffected as a result of her perception that people were lying to her about her chances of survival. She was approached by Doctor Mother as an early test subject for Cauldron in exchange for service.
After gaining her powers, she spent two years guarding her doctor while earning a reputation as a superheroine. Alexandria first appeared in Los Angeles.
Eventually, Alexandria would be introduced to the other members of Cauldron. She presented a proposal she had come up with: that they form a team that followed the regulations and stipulations of the United States government, led by Hero or Legend. She told them that it was part of an eight-stage plan to incorporate parahumans into society before telling them how they could set up the organization she was proposing. Her civilian identity would take a position in the government to quietly steer things.
She lost an eye to the Siberian during the same fight that led to Hero's death, and required Eidolon's powers to heal her enough to use a glass eye to maintain a normal appearance. Even he was unable to reattach the lost eye.
Shortly after this Alexandria had an incident where she publicly killed a villain during a desperate situation, setting a precedent. She also settled as the leader of a smaller team based in Los Angeles.
Alexandria was an internationally recognized cape.
After Tagg unsuccessfully tried to have Skitter captured by outing her secret identity, Director Costa-brown threatened to go to Saint to get the access to Dragon's technology just as Dragon and Defiant were threatening to withhold the same from the PRT.
Following the revelation that she was a parahuman, she was demoted to deputy director while she trained her replacement. She had no authority, but rather obeyed the new Chief Director's instructions. Alexandria gave her notice that she intended to resign, but continued with the Protectorate until that time.
She confronted Skitter after she turned herself in to the PRT. In order to properly control the teenage villain, Alexandria tried to engineer a situation that would make Skitter try to attack her. This would then allow her to arrest Skitter and shore up her standing in the PRT. What the heroine failed to account for was Skitter's ability to offload her emotional responses to her swarm, much as Alexandria did with her own mental abilities. This caused a severe miscalculation when Skitter snapped after thinking that Alexandria had butchered one of her friends and suffocated the fallen heroine with bugs, leaving her brain-dead. She was widely reported to be truly dead.
"Threats is the wrong word … But English is a limited language in some ways. There's really no word to articulate what I mean. A threat with a measure of inevitability to it. A promise? Too feeble. People break promises too often. A curse? A malediction? Too... magical. An oath? The connotations are wrong. When I say I'll do something, I make it happen." ~ Alexandria to Skitter
The etymology of Alexandria effectively means 'Defender of Man'.
Humans generally stop growing around the age of 25 when the final stages of bone development end with the clavicle fusing into a solid piece. People continue to have some bone development after this as a natural process of upkeep and adaptation.
↑They had reported coming away from meetings with Alexandria feeling like they’d better be better, or else they’d be seeing her again. Sometimes there would be a smile on their faces as they joked, sometimes not. The joke was sour to even think about now, when it had been reported her downward turn and violent tendencies had been partially because of Simurgh interference.- Excerpt from Sundown 17.2
↑ Parahumans IRC said: Wildbow: Armsmaster appears in the posters and such of the top Protectorate heroes. Wildbow:When they do the image of everyone standing in a 'v' formation
Parahumans IRC said: Wildbow: Nah. Legend in front, Alex and Eidolon to the left and right, respectively. Then Myrddin, Chev, Cinereal, Narwhal, Rime, Exalt, Armsmaster, Dragon suit silhouette in the background, wings echoing the wings of the PRT logo over their heads. - IRC conversation archived on Spacebattles
↑But Cinereal was scary as shit. She was almost scarier than Alexandria in pure attitude and disposition, and Alexandria had been the Protectorate’s enforcer, their scary woman in black and steel. - Excerpt from Polarize 10.11
Well, and the canon description of her helmet is fully closed - which makes sense considering her civilian identity.
On the helmet - it got described to me by Bow as very smiliar to a "Spartan" helmet, but closed up.
“Brain dead. Her body’s peculiar. Doesn’t really age. Hair doesn’t grow, nails don’t grow. Wounds don’t really heal or get worse. She used cosmetics to look older, to throw people off. Only the brain was left pliable, adaptable. Even then, most of it was hardened, protected, those duties offloaded to her agent.”
Satyr studied Pretender’s new body without shame. His eyes rested on Pretender’s forehead. “I see. And with that plasticity, the brain was left more vulnerable.”
“Only a little. Enough to be an Achilles heel. She’s a case fifty-three, I suppose. All of us may be.” - Excerpt from Interlude 24.y
↑ 17.017.117.2Alexandria – Second in command of the Protectorate. Flies and has enhanced strength, a virtually invincible body, eidetic memory, and senses emotions. The triad of flight, strength, and invincibility recurs often enough, in enough variations, that it’s often referred to as ‘the Alexandria package’. Runs the team based in Los Angeles. Member of the now-disbanded Triumvirate. - Cast (in depth)
↑ 18.018.118.2The Doctor spoke, “She’s as strong as any parahuman we’ve recorded. Flies at speeds that match your own, Legend. Near-perfect memory retention, accelerated processing and learning.” - Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
↑HamiltonsGhost: Obviously we don't know the mechanics of Alexandria's powers, but I have always guessed that it was some kind of interdimensional or multi-dimensional attack. Not that I have any evidence, but the all-powerful nature of Sting combined with the fact that all powers are cross-dimensional in nature to some extent (because the power source/computing substrate is in another dimension) makes me think that it had to be something like that.
Wildbow: This would be an accurate guess, though the bit in brackets is a little off. The likes of Scrub, Damsel, Foil, or March would be able to damage Alexandria. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ 20.020.120.2Rebecca Costa Brown Alexandria Invincibility via. body in stasis, flight and vastly enhanced strength, with perfect eidetic recall and consequent mastery of many skills Protectorate/Cauldron Brute Mover Thinker - Parahuman List, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑ 22.022.1Alexandria flew low to the ground, striking and catching hold of a traffic light. In one second she was a blur, the next she appeared to be moving as fast as a person did when they ran. Charging into the effect’s area, Alexandria made a beeline for Echidna.
The swing was slow motion, but Echidna was too. Alexandria struck her with the metal pole, and Echidna moved like she’d been hit full strength. - Scourge 19.5
↑Alexandria had found an alley and promptly took to the air, zig-zagging between buildings and flying with enough speed that people couldn’t follow her with their eyes. - Cell 22.4
↑Eidolon was making his move before Alexandria was even free. He cast out a bubble that swelled as it moved through the air. By the time it reached Echidna, it was twice as big around as she was, enough to reach from one sidewalk to the other. The colors around her became muted, and her movements slowed to a tenth of the speed.
↑Alexandria arrived the same way she had after her last two excursions, through the hole in the roof. With the speed she moved, she didn’t risk being spotted. Even photography wasn’t in the cards.
With the speed she moved, she didn’t seem to notice the bugs that followed after her as the aperture began to close behind her. - Cell 22.4
↑Legend hadn't tapped his full speed at that point in time, probably out of reticence. He's had time to develop his powers and test his limits. - Archived Comment by Wildbow
↑Legend and Alexandria still fought above us. I could, when he passed into my range, note how he got faster the longer he flew, giving him the ability to put distance between himself and Alexandria, but he couldn’t stop to take aim and shoot without losing that acceleration and giving her a chance to close the gap.
The result was that he was flying in loops and circles, using the turns to find opportunities to take aim and fire on her. She dodged most, but the hits that did land bought him distance and time to stop and laser down clones who were attempting to escape. - Scourge 19.6
↑“Come, look up at me,” she told Chevalier. She put a hand at his chin, and Chort helped her, forcing Chevalier’s head up until it couldn’t move any further. Chort wore a wolf pelt with goat horns over head and shoulders, and despite being only sixteen, was strong on a level that surpassed even heroes like Alexandria. When he moved, he did so with care. To him, Chevalier was like eggshell. - Interlude_15.z_II
↑ She set her hands on the wall, dragged her fingertips through the concrete, then crushed it in her hands. It should have ruined her skin, left scrapes or torn her fingernails, short as they were, but it hadn’t. - Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
↑Legend caught him square in the chest, and Leviathan slowed long enough for Alexandria to catch him by the tail.
She flew straight up, holding the monster by the tail. Between Leviathan’s dark scales and Alexandria’s black costume, they disappeared in the gloom.
Leviathan fell, and the resulting impact was oddly out of sync with his mass. The water in particular seemed to react, a single ripple extending outward, clearing an area around him of any and all water. - Interlude 22.y
↑It was Alexandria who speared forward to confront Leviathan. He saw her coming, ceased his onslaught to rear back and then lunge ahead to meet her. When they were only fifteen feet apart, he stopped, let his water echo rush forward to meet her.
Anyone else might have been staggered in the face of several tons of water moving forward at the speed of a locomotive. Alexandria intertwined her fingers, swung her arms forward as though she were holding a baseball bat, and cracked her hands against the image a second before she disappeared headlong into it. There was a sound like a bomb going off, water spraying everywhere, followed by an earthshaking crash as Alexandria used the crook of her arm to catch Leviathan around the neck and heaved him backwards and onto the ground. - Extermination 8.3
↑A crash heavier than any we’d had yet made the dogs stumble, falling. It very nearly overturned the sleds. Bitch had fallen from where she sat on Bentley’s back. [...] The lightning rod had tilted, leaning against an adjacent building, the supports Golem had raised had crumbled. Behemoth, too, had fallen.
Eidolon and Legend hovered in the sky, flanked by four dragon-craft.
Another figure was there as well, hovering where Behemoth had been standing an instant ago. The Endbringer had been toppled with one massive blow. - Crushed 24.1
↑ 33.033.1“The structure isn’t going to hold. Even with the reinforcements she put in… no.”
“So?” Rachel asked.
“When the walls break,” the Number Man said, “one million, seven hundred and thirty thousand tonnes of steel are going to drop on our heads.” [...] My bugs told me the ceiling was arching slightly. I could see where the ceiling met one wall, how a crack was forming along the edge.
“Ceiling falling,” I said. I moved my arm to point, and I only wound up moving my stump, suppressing my reaction to the pain so I wouldn’t provoke Lung.
Golem reached into the side of his suit. A hand began emerging.
Too slow. A full third of the ceiling over this room looked ready to collapse, and it was big enough and close enough to wipe us out.
Alexandria flew forward. She caught the shelf of steel, concrete and granite.
Buying time, even as the slab continued to crack and break down where the stress of her holding it warred with the sheer weight and lack of support in other spaces.
Golem’s hand propped it up, fingers curling around the edge to secure it. [...] Golem began creating the hand. The entire room shook as fingertips emerged. Each a small building unto itself. Cupping over, a protective barrier.
Nothing that would hold out against the kind of weight the Number Man had been talking about. [...] We brought the column down. One and three-quarter million tonnes, dropping down on our heads. - Venom 29.8
↑ 34.034.1Wildbow: Alexandria set up a perfectly arranged situation, aimed at cornering Taylor and effectively gaining control over her as a playing piece. It had nothing to do with moral event horizons. Her psychoanalysis and read of Taylor was perfect, but she wasn't dealing with just Taylor. Wildbow: This is explicitly stated in story. Logos01: I... can't agree with that tbqh. Wildbow: This is explicitly stated in story. chc4: Are you talking about the bug emotion offloading, or just not being able to anticipate her reaction to her friends "death"? Logos01:I get that, and I recall reading it. Logos01:But it doesn't *fit*. Wildbow: Taylor defies being read, and actively fools powers and senses, because of the way her mind works.Logos01: It's not about being *Read*. Logos01:I'm talking about profiling. In the forensics sense. Wildbow: It fits fine, Log. Had it not been for this, Alexandria would have won with her approach. Wildbow: 100%. Wildbow: Nah. See, look at it from Alexandria's perspective. She wants to provoke a reaction, push Taylor to the state she was in pre-undersider, where Taylor is withdrawn, beaten down, and desperate. She wants a degree of lashing out, but in the ineffectual 'Carrie school shooting' sense that Taylor was approaching in chapter one. Alexandria and the tools were in place to deal with that. Wildbow: Had taylor broken, raged out, in the sense of chapter one, they would have had a scapegoat for everything that happened in Brockton Bay. She could have tapped Cauldron resources and been on the alert. But Taylor offloaded all cues to her shard. She appeared far calmer and more subdued than she was, Alexandria calibrated her approach with this in mind, and things tilted off differently Wildbow: Taylor was absolutely not a killer at that stage, unless she had a reasonable target, and Alexandria presented herself as that target. Alexandria looked at Taylor, talked to her, and saw someone different. All of the profiling and information worked -against- her. Wildbow: Much like Contessa stumbling when her path to victory fails her. Marcy: basically although alexandria is a powerful thinker, she wasn't the right thinker for the job Wildbow: Well, she was, but leaning too heavily on a thinker power can screw one up when the thinker power isn't equipped to analyze a problem. Wildbow: (See basically every thinker in story) Wildbow: By presenting herself as a target, knowing who Taylor was [note: broken knowledge], gauging Taylor's state [note: broken gauge] and being able to anticipate the attack as it came [note; broken thinker power/read, again] she would have turned the situation around into a massive victory. Wildbow: There was no Imp-like read on Taylor where "The bugs act funny around you while your emotions are riled up" came up and the PRT took particular note of it and put it in the files. Marcy: yeah it's pretty subtle chc4: So if Taylor actually had a swarm with her in the room, Alexandria wouldn't have died. That's...ironic - Conversation with Wildbow archived on Spacebattles
↑“So long as he’s active, people will be flocking to join the Protectorate-”
Alexandria slammed her hand on the stainless steel table beside her cot.
Silence rang between them in the wake of the destruction.
“I will not condone the loss of life for your ulterior motives. I will not let monsters walk free, to profit from the fear they spread.”
“You’re right,” the Doctor said. “I… must be more shaken by Manton’s betrayal than I’d thought. Forget I said anything.”
If Alexandria saw a hint of falsehood in the Doctor’s body language, she convinced herself it was the strain of one eye compensating for the job she’d used to perform with two. - Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
↑ 36.036.1keyonte0:Why is Alexandria immune to Ziz, exactly?
↑Rebecca allowed herself a smile, letting go of the girl’s hand. She could stand under her own power. Everything around her appeared sharp. She hadn’t realized how bad her vision had become.
Even her mind seemed to be operating like a well oiled machine. Had the drugs and poison made her stupid?
No. She’d never been like this. It was like her brain had been a bicycle and now it was a Ferarri. Even as her eyes flicked over the interior of the warehouse, she could tell she was processing faster, taking in details and sorting them better, as if her thoughts were no longer limited to the confines of her skull. - Excerpt from Interlude 15.z
↑Around the time I joined the PRT proper, the Siberian killed one of the greatest heroes. Alexandria publically[sic] executed a person with powers that wouldn’t stand down; controversial then, but nowadays we don’t think about it.” - Excerpt from Breaking 14.z
↑Around the time that they were a group, they were simply 'the Protectorate' or 'the guys at the top'. You could say, perhaps, that the loss of Hero splintered the team. They didn't hate each other or resent each other, but it was about time, and served as the catalyst to the group each going to their own individual cities - New York, LA, & Houston. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑Alexandria – An internationally known cape, she flies, is durable and has super strength, as well as some mental augmentations from her powers. Member of the Triumvirate and runs the Protectorate branch in Los Angeles. Wears a black costume with a helmet and heavy cape, with long, straight black hair. - Cast (spoiler free)
↑“No. We’ve been in contact with an individual who has a proven track record with Dragon’s technology. He feels equipped, eager, almost, to step into Dragon’s shoes should she take a leave of absence.”
“Saint,” Defiant said. “You’re talking about the leader of the <Dragonslayers. Criminal mercenaries.” - Excerpt from Interlude 20.x