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Glow-worm
Glow-worm P.7
Date posted 2 November 2017
Link Glow-worm P.7
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Part 7 is the seventh chapter of Glow-worm. Kenzie hangs out in a chatroom for kids before hitting up two old teammates who aren't very happy to see her. Graham from IT uncovers Kenzie's chatroom deception and learns that she has her own server. He asks her to shut it down. Kenzie and Mangled_Wings consider other's perceptions of them and then discuss a deal.

Plot

Heart_Shaped_Pupil (HSP) doesn't use default forum settings or a curated list. She has another way of approaching browsing her web experience. Chat: Treefort Lookout #1

HSP joins chat: Treefort_Lookout. The topic notifies those joining chat that it's a place for those under 16 with inquisitive minds and and an eye on the goings-on around them. It's one of three connected chats for a community: Pillowfort_Lazytalk and Snowfort_Mission being others.

K is immediately greeted by a number of people. Maxtag greets her as Kenzie. My_Own_Gren calls her K, Thistlesoup calls her 'love' and greets her with hugs. Dogtooth calls her 'optics'. She responds to each by name and nickname. A new member asks if HSP was the Ward and HSP confirms. Small talk follows: she was down last night (0.6) but is feeling better and ready to start the day. She checks to see if anyone needs anything, has someone nag her about minding her typing, yadda yadda. We get back to HSP/Kenzie's stuff though. She'd asked them to keep an eye out for old teammates and two have popped up online. Aven and Houndstooth She marks herself as away and ducks off to talk to Aven, excited. Private Conversation: HSP and Aven

Aven is initially puzzled. HSP clarifies, "It's me, Kenzie" and "I’m not supposed to be sharing out my name and tying it to this account but I figure in this context it’s okay. You’ve seen my face, you know my name, you know my powers, I trust you." HSP doesn't want to be a bother, she wanted to say hi, that she's glad Aven is around, and if Aven wants to talk or leave a message, she can. Aven's response: No offense, I probably won't. She elaborates, 'I’m trying to get a fresh start, the Wards were pretty good times but that was then. You and I didn’t talk then, with the age difference, so it’s strange to talk now.' HSP says it's ok, Aven was frontline, HSP was backline, Aven was a teenager, HSP was a brat. "There are lots of reasons I’m sure but ‘no’ is the only one that matters. I wish you the best. 🙂" Treefort Lookout #2

HSP marks herself as back - she returns to the treefort lookout. She's open about the fact that it didn't go great, Aven didn't want to talk. She gets another hug from Thistlesoup and some words of support from others. She goes to talk to Houndstooth, and marks herself as away. Private Conversation: HSP and Houndstooth

Houndstooth isn't puzzled to see HSP pop up - in the time since HSP finished talking to Aven and started talking to Houndstooth (H.T., she calls him), Aven let Houndstooth know about her reaching out. Houndstooth is slightly warmer at the outset. He actually says hi and responds to "I'm glad you're alive" with "I'm glad you're alive too'. He goes on to outline that he's pretty sure the other members of the group are fine, except for 10-59, who Kenzie already found. Their team made it out okay, compared to most. They only lost Pigeonhole. HSP segues from this into how glad she is, that she liked everyone, everyone was cool. "It was an important time for me. Coming back to Baltimore to join the team was the first time I got to stop and settle down." "It was home" and "so it means alot to me to hear you say *we** when talking about us making it out mostly okay."* And Houndstooth's response? "You know that was then, don’t you?" "Back in the past. Things have changed." Kenzie: "uh huh" Houndstooth changes direction: He knows HSP got a raw deal, "Not the worst I’ve seen but I’ve seen a lot of people get better hands than what you got." - HSP tried really hard and did good work. He describes her as a better hero when she was four and a half feet tall than some adult capes he knew. HSP stops him there. This is familiar ground for her. She's heard variants of the pity/praise thing before - including once before from Houndstooth. "you don’t have to let me down easy. I’m tough. 🙂 / just cut to the chase. 😉" Houndstooth cuts to the chase: he tells her not to reach out to her teammates. They have their own things to work through. They're rebuilding, looking forward. HSP: "huh. was i really that bad?" - Houndstooth is adamant she wasn't. But- He doesn't finish that, because HSP launches into a response. Her messages no longer read clearly. She stops being mindful of capitalization and punctuation and just pours it out: She was ten. She's grown up since. She was there for the end of the world and she did stuff. She actually helped. Houndstooth is on the back foot - he can't articulate what he wants to say, he keeps typing and deleting things. He cuts straight to saying that people are gunshy. "of me?" HSP asks. Houndstooth states he feels bad now, he has a lot of respect for her. To which HSP rallies. She wants a shot, a chance to prove herself. H.T. interjects with his doubts, and HSP pushes through with another jumbled/rambled message, similar to how she asked Meat/C for a date... (separate bullet point for clarity, spelling & punctuation fixed) H.T. is smart and a good leader. He knows how things work. He knows her power has uses and people would kidnap her for it. She's offering herself to him and he'd be stupid not to use her. "use me. please." / "if you respect me so much then let me prove myself" H.T. agrees. Okay. In the replies that follow, he says he'll reach out at a later date to draw on her as a resource or give her that shot at proving herself. He'll give her info to their old teammates and those people can reach out to HSP if they want. Then he has to go. The conversation ends there. Continued below, hit comment length limit & this was closest to halfway point.

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Chat: Treefort Lookout #3 HSP rejoins chat. She caught onto the thrust of what Houndstooth was saying at the end there: "The high point of the conversation was toward the end when he said don’t call us we’ll call you." - a few members of the chat express confusion. HSP rallies once more. "It doesn’t matter. I’m choosing to view this in a positive light. My day has to get better from here." She wants other news. The chat drops some on Tattletale, that Tattletale is busy with a new job on Earth N. Relevant in that Tattletale is one of the people hunting of5. HSP admonishes the chat member for not letting her know sooner about this thing that is so relevant to her teammate, and ducks off to talk to the group chat, marking herself as away... Group Chat

Cap, MW/A (marked to away) and Mystery_Meat/C are idle in chat when HSP enters. As soon as HSP appears and asks if of5/R is around, Meat ducks out. HSP's response: 'Bye C. / Rawr. K is here. everyone run away! >:3' R has dropped off the grid for the time being. Meat is grabbing lunch, A is eating too - she's 'practically living at the library' according to Cap. Small talk ensues. It's a lazy Sunday. HSP describes her day as interesting. She's looking forward to seeing 'S' and the next meet. Cap is afraid they're going to get yelled at but HSP is skeptical that'll happen. Cap apologizes. He's got to run. His family is attending church on the Sunday afternoon, because demand is such that the church is holding service in blocks. HSP is left alone in chat. She /twiddle thumbs but it's not a recognized command. She leaves. Back again to Treefort_Lookout... Treefort Lookout #4

HSP immediately gets down to business. More info relevant to HSP's teammates: Weld is back in town. HSP didn't know he was gone. Her chat is interrupted. PHO Admin want to have a chat with HSP about her conduct, to which HSP laughs. 'Hahahahaha XD / Today has been quite a day. I’m having a run of bad luck. Admins want to talk to me and I think I know why. Haha.' Admin Chat

Graham/Shower is a PHO admin. They've noticed some unusual search activity that's causing congestion. Does HSP know about this? Yes, she admits she does- but she concentrated it during off-peak hours. The problem, it seems, is that they update infrastructure around then, and it's causing problems. She's piggybacking off of the servers for (her description) ' a stupid hobby project', and trying to be helpful by contributing to the wiki and stuff as she does it. The timing is bad and she's urged to cut it out. She asks if there's any leeway and gets a 'no'. She has to reboot to get going, so she drops out of the conversation. Treefort Lookout #5/

HSP joins chat. The responses are familiar. Hellos and hugs. HSP, this time, states she wants to get right to business. She tells everyone to be quiet. She's idle for five minutes, and is auto-set to away. There's no conversation in the meantime. She uses a command. /Kill Toxicfish216 - one of the chat members. She gets an automated response, and the chat member disconnects. One by one, she /kills chat members. Each one is a bot. She explains to the admin who pops in. They're programs, and not AI (that'd get her labeled a class-S threat), just preprogrammed responses, giving hugs on request and responding to key phrases (like getting down to business). Mugasofer has a good list & commentary here. She asks if they want to use her server, and gets an alarmed response: use of a server the way she describes it could give her a 'man in the middle' view and access to things. No - offer definitely refused. - the PHO staff member leaves. HSP goes idle again. She returns to chat and an 'Executioner' joins chat, doing the rest of the /Kill work. HSP changes the channel name and deletes the text from the topic, then leaves while the executioner continues its work with her gone. Private conversation: HSP and Mangled_Wings

MW/A has a question. Is HSP busy? No, HSP is "staring at a blank screen." MW/A wants to know what 'King Dark or Queen Dark' is - HSP informs her that it's a 'paste', a mocking joke (a la the Navy Seal copypasta) As MW/A goes silent, HSP stresses that the internet isn't MW/A's medium - she's intimidating in person and trying to be such online backfires. Meat/C is actually more intimidating online, which galls MW/A some (" I think I hate the internet to the very center of my being.") - HSP, after ruminating on where that 'center' is, when one's plugged into a vast, interdimensional, power-granting cosmic being... agrees that the internet sucks. HSP flounders. She doesn't know what she's doing and she doesn't know what she'll do if the group thing falls apart. MW/A reminds HSP of their deal, HSP wasn't sure if MW/A was serious about it or not. They'll handle the current group project, and if it falls through, MW/A will be an independent villain again. When she does, she'll have HSP work for her. HSP is surprised: "people run scared from me. it seems even non-people run from me, if I pay attention to what happened in the last hour." - she refers to her chat bots leaving her. MW/A? " I don’t scare. / The world is filled with blithering idiots. More are only blither and more are silent idiots. You’re the exception. If you will work for me then I’ll damn well make good use of you. I’ll incentivize you to stay around." HSP: "you’re one of the cooler people I know, you know?" - which gets a response of "See? Not a blithering idiot."==Characters==

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Baltimore Protectorate & Wards

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