"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.
The Elite do not pursue traditional villainous enterprises, instead seizing an area on the economic or political level before undermining local opposition using sabotage, connections to organized crime and blitzkrieg-style strikes while remaining consistently off the public’s radar by subterfuge or careful manipulation of the media. Although they would start with the recruitment of rogues and independent heroes in some cases.
The Elite then force other villains and villain groups to be beholden to the Elite and nobody else.Rogues are folded into the organization to function as performers, Thinkers, designers and innovators, while the Elite also control a lot of Corporate 'hero' teams from behind the scenes.
When the Elite take control of an area, resistance is systematically crushed. The Elite use sweeping series of plays, constantly moving around members, preventing opposition to gather accurate information to adjust or counterattack. Once an area is firmly under control, resources are leveraged to expand elsewhere, although they are careful not to spread themselves too thin, giving them an advantage against the PRT.
The Elite consists of a loose pyramid-style structure of cells, with the top cell managing interests on the national scale from San Francisco. Each established cell is independent and able to operate however it sees fit. Some, such as the one headed by Uppercrust, are strictly corporate ventures. Others would be keeping the peace and helping the owned corporate heroes. Others, such as Bastard Son’s are considered only slightly better than the Slaughterhouse Nine. The Elite take care to match their most dangerous elements against the most dangerous opposition.
The Elite control territories across the Western seaboard, maintaining presences in:
The states of California, Nevada, Arizona, Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Florida.
While the PRT designates the Elite as hostile, the Elite and PRT are not open adversaries. Along the West Coast, cities often have the resident Protectorate hero group and the Elite as a resident villain group, with some scattered villainous organizations that get snapped up or stamped out if they get too big. The PRT is willing to accept that rogues will be inducted into the Elite as the cost of the stability that the Elite bring.
Interaction with the Elite, or even cooperation, is a hotly debated subject within the PRT, from the lowest to the highest levels; the Elite do reduce crime numbers where they are active, but they also aggressively target rogues and powerful parahumans the PRT would rather support. The PRT’s current stance is to address the Elite on a case by case basis, with individual directors using varying approaches. Promotion is unlikely for a director that can't at least maintain the upper hand over the Elite.
The Elite started in San Francisco as 'Uppermost', an organization composed of rogues, involved in production and entertainment. In 1998, Uppermost asked the PRT for assistance in managing the NEPEA-5 bill, which sought to curtail parahuman involvement in business and media, and was arguably targeted directly at Uppermost.
After a great deal of consideration, the PRT’s head office turned down the request for assistance. NEPEA-5 was passed, and Uppermost disbanded. Many former members of Uppermost joined either the Protectorate or Wards to manage the fines and fees that followed the bill’s passage and avoid bankruptcy.
However, Uppermost’s core group took a different course, with the support of outside investors. They divided themselves, and set up their own businesses within the new laws, while keeping in contact outside the PRT’s and public’s knowledge. By the time this became apparent, the members had combined assets, employees and businesses as a loose confederation, under the banner new group dubbed the Elite, quintupling Uppermost at its peak. Many core members have since been supplanted by a more ruthless leadership, titling themselves after elements of aristocracy, combined with ostentatious as possible costume choices.
Manager of corporate heroes and some time participant. Attended Cauldron's meeting. Could grow organic structures that hardened to stone, able to build a city in two and a half days. Killed by Leviathan.
Runs one of the more violent cells, called only slightly better than the Slaughterhouse Nine. Who grants neigh-impossible skill with a random object, consequently repressing personality. Speculated to be one of Entourage's possible sponsors. Speculated to operate in Las Vegas. Appears in one of Wildbow's Weaverdice campaigns, WD Oakland.
Built various defense systems along the coasts at vital port locations, including Brockton Bay. Operates from New York, but is dying from the same medical problem that led to his trigger event, causing the defense systems to suffer. Runs one of the least violent and most professional cells.
Speculated to be one of Entourage's possible sponsors.
↑ 1.01.1The largest villain organization and arguably the second-largest parahuman organization in the United States, the Elite got their start in San Francisco as ‘Uppermost’, an organization of rogues organized by rogues, involved in production and entertainment, managed by parahumans. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑The Elite does not pursue traditional villainous enterprises, though they may temporarily maintain connections to organized crime if it suits their purposes. If they have any pattern, it is to seize an area on the highest level -economic or political-, then undermine local opposition on the fundamental level with sabotage, blitzkrieg-style strikes, remaining consistently off the public’s radar by subterfuge or careful manipulation of media. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 3.03.1If and when they made a move on Brockton Bay it would be part of their initial plays on the East coast (and would follow their securing of the entire western coast of US/Canada from Alaska to California). Parian would get an offer like 'Here's an astonishingly good deal, including access to resources, everything you need to get your feet under you on the fashion front, and fantastic pay. You have twenty-four hours to say yes, or we're going to crush you." Other independents might get other offers, New Wave might get brought on board as a corporate team that is really under the Elite's umbrella, and so on. Then a brief peace followed by the striking out of the larger and more obstructive villain groups. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 4.04.14.24.3The Elite expect villains and groups to be beholden to the Elite and nobody else, Rogues are folded into the organization, and resistance is systematically crushed. Once an area is firmly under control, these resources are leveraged to expand elsewhere. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 5.05.1The Elite, a villain group expanding a subtle control over the western seaboard of America, putting pressure on rogues to bring them under their thumb as performers, thinkers, designers and innovators. He could see the numbers, extrapolate from the data to gauge their rate of growth. They were developing too slowly to be useful, not developing fast enough to outpace the predicted end of the world. They’d reach Brockton Bay in about a year. There would be time to decide if countermeasures were needed in the meantime. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
↑ 6.06.1Being on the West Coast, LA is caught up with the Elite, which is the second largest cape group in the US and the largest villain group, though it's villainy is ambiguous. I won't say much more, but they appear in brief in Worm. Long story short is that they snap up all of the rogues (ie. if Brockton Bay were on the west coast, Parian would be leveraged into joining one of the Elite's subsidiaries) and they control a lot of corporate 'hero' teams from behind the scenes. They're organized crime with an emphasis on organized and a varying emphasis on crime, depending on the city. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑As an entity, they're most effective when they're heavy hitters - they show up and they crush any opposition in one sweeping series of plays. You can't do what you do for most major players, study up on the opposition, adjust, and counterattack, because 50-75% of the people who made the initial moves will be gone before you've finished the information gathering, and the next batch of Elite are now in the mix. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑But they don't move on Brockton Bay because they're smaller than the PRT and their advantage is that they don't need or want to spread themselves that thin... they can maintain a strong stand against the PRT's interference or investigations so long as they outnumber the PRT in those locations... which means staying concentrated and keeping their numbers more tightly packed. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑The organization forms a loose pyramid-style structure of cells. The head cell, based in San Francisco, manages interests on the national scale, while each step down involves a step down in scale. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑“A little bit. Depends on who you’re talking to, and where you find them. Different subsidiaries, different branches, each led by one of the head members. The Gentleman, Agnes Court, Blueblood, Regis Rex, Bastard Son… and the others, a bit of shuffling in the works, while we decide what happens when Uppercrust passes. Nothing you need to concern yourself with. Each group has their own style, and that’s alright, so long as it doesn’t interfere with the rest of us.” - PRT: Department Sixty Four, thread II [Worm Quest] - Page 82
↑ 11.011.1Lyova: Random question in hopes Wildbow's still around: considering she's out of the picture, can you tell us anything about Agnes Court? It's interesting how she was one of the more prominent cell leaders of the Elite, despite having a construction-oriented power that she probably couldn't fully stretch back on Earth Bet. (Is she also a cape who creates flawed materials? Cauldron client?)
I really want to explore her in something. Plant powers best powers.
Wildbow: Not a lot to say. She was a heavy hitter with a really legit front. Closer to being Bastard Son's counterpoint in her overall methodology. Do good business, recruit good people, and periodically, if villains are infringing on her turf or not respecting the local peace, take on a role as a prominent figure in a corporate hero team under the Elite's umbrella (not as team leader, even though she technically managed the company that managed the team) and go stomp them out.
PRT knew her greater income flow came from illicit business (the broader Elite) but it's really hard to justify leveling the necessary heavy guns against her to bring her to justice for those shady dealings - so it comes down to watchdog & the IRS, and she was circumspect enough to tie them up in loose ends and goose chases, so she could continue operating in the meantime.
Uppercrust would be on the very far end of that sliding scale of legit, justified business and helping out. He's at '1' on the 1-10 scale. Agnes would be like, 2-3.
↑ 12.012.112.2"Exactly what it says in the files. Varies from case to case. Bastard Son's gang is very nearly as bad as the Slaughterhouse Nine. Uppercrust are strictly business, with no villainous activity we can detect. Others fit in at different points along the spectrum. I would recommend you do some investigation, get a sense for how this particular group operates, and then get in touch with me when you've decided what you're doing. You can call in a favor, I won't hold it against you, given the situation, you just need to decide what that favor will be. A permanent increase to your roster, building, staff, addition to a department? Or even a serious strike squad, if you think you have a good battle plan." - PRT: Department Sixty Four, thread II [Worm Quest] - Page 82
↑They remain in play because they, by and large, keep the peace. The most dangerous elements of the Elite (ie. Bastard Son) go up against the most dangerous opposition, which is almost always villainous, they win, and then the more dangerous Elite move on to bloodier pastures and things become stable or mostly stable in the wake of their departure, as other members of the Elite are settled into place there. Not as good as the PRT taking that ground, but better than the slaughter continuing. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 14.014.114.2The Elite have set up in Anchorage, in a bid to finalize their hold on the western coast of North America. The team appears to be small, rooted in the front company ‘Estrella’. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 15.015.115.2The Elite currently control territories across the Western seaboard, maintaining presences in:
◈ N.Y. (Tentative)
◈ Other (various cape cities, tentative) - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 16.016.116.2At the same time, however, despite the ‘hostiles’ designation in the files, the Elite are not open adversaries of the PRT. Cooperation or interaction with the Elite is a hotly debated subject within the PRT, from the lowest to the highest levels; the Elite do reduce crime numbers where they are active, but they also aggressively target rogues and powerful parahumans the PRT would rather support. While official judgment is pending, the present stance is to address the Elite on a case by case basis. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Being based on the West coast, their interest was more on extending their hold than in scattering their people. Yes, they could have had some involvement in areas like New York or Brockton Bay, but that makes for long, long travel times if they want to shuffle people around. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑So what happens (and what's happened, largely, across the west coast) is that you end up with the PRT as a stable hero group, the Elite as a stable villain group, and said cities have some scattered villainous organizations that get snapped up or stamped out if they get too big. While not ideal, the PRT is willing to accept that rogues will be inducted into the Elite as the cost of the stability that the Elite brings to the picture. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 19.019.1Well, they're willing to accept it as a whole, anyway. Individually, PRT Directors vary in how they deal with the Elite and the Elite vary in how they deal with the PRT. If a Director can't at least maintain the upper hand over the Elite in their town, they won't advance to bigger and better places. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑In 1998, Uppermost reached out to the PRT for assistance in dealing with a bill (NEPEA-5) that sought to curtail parahuman involvement in business and media, arguably targeted directly at Uppermost. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑After a great deal of consideration, the head office turned down the offer for assistance, the bill was passed, and Uppermost disbanded. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Many members of Uppermost found their way to the Protectorate and Wards as a way of avoiding bankruptcy and to manage the fines and fees that followed the bill’s passage. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Absent Cauldron's meddling, there's no PRT for one thing. There's no Suits, no Red Gauntlet, no Elite Sentai group or whatever I called them, no Elite; all groups that Cauldron set up or supported. Groups are formed but can't sustain themselves past tight Undersider-like groups of 5-10 individuals. Conflicts are more tightly contained and devastating, recovery is slower, and an area that ends up lost or fucked doesn't get the backup needed to revive. Such areas are abandoned or occupied by whatever groups are willing to make do with the aftermath/ongoing occupation by X gang or Y high-level threat. - Spacebattles comment by Wildbow.
↑The events that followed have been pieced together from hearsay and investigation - Uppermost’s core group divided and started up their own businesses and independent directions, still in the open, in keeping with NEPEA-5. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Unbeknownst to the PRT and the public, this group of members were still in contact. By the time it became apparent what they were doing, the new group, dubbed the Elite, had combined assets, employees and businesses quintupling Uppermost at its peak, and formed a loose confederation. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Many core members have been supplanted by a more ruthless leadership, titling themselves after elements of the aristocracy. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑ 27.027.127.227.327.427.5There were capes I knew to be the Elite: Nonpareil and Patrician, Agnes Court and Blueblood. They were the opposite of faceless, taking great pride in their appearance and their powers. The Elite were an organized crime syndicate, shutting down anyone who tried to use their powers for profit, unless those people worked for them. - Excerpt from Extinction 27.2
↑ 28.028.1“This is common sense. No matter. The Elite, though?”
“They were attacking civilians.”
“They were nonviolent. Refugees in the vicinity of the portal were evacuated. The Elite then made contact with possible settlers who they thought would be interested in paying a premium for good shelter, for resources and supplies. If not paying with cash, then paying with skills. Doctors, talented artists, scholars… it was one of our best bets for re-establishing a hub of development across all of the Earths.” - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.5
↑Agnes Court, I thought. I’d studied all of the major players in anticipation of the end of the world, I knew who the Elite were, and I knew who had built this.
She fit somewhere between Labyrinth and the Yàngbǎn’s Ziggurat. Organically grown structures. Seeds that swelled into pillars, stairs, houses and bigger things, given enough time in proximity to their master. The wood-like substance hardened to stone of varying colors after she terminated the growth.
In the span of two and a half days, she’d grown a walled city, one with an elaborate castle at the northmost end, with shelters and what looked like a sewer system, if I was judging the perfectly round hole in the cliff face below right. It was gushing water. - Excerpt from Cockroaches 28.5
↑“Court grows things exponentially, given time,” Tattletale said.
“Grew things exponentially.”
If that was the case, then we’d lost a possible asset. Fuck this, fuck the Elite for bringing things to this point. - Extract from Cockroaches 28.5
↑Bastard Son appears in my Weaverdice stuff on occasion. A predisposition for one note laughs (heh), a teacher-like ability where he awakens god-tier skill levels in use of seemingly random tools and improvised weapons (roller skates, glass shards, ribbons, paper, ball peen hammers, darts) and strips away sanity and volition from the recipients. He's an attack dog with a whole contingent of attack dogs at his disposal. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 32.032.132.232.3Elite sponsor not yet known. Given frequency of her associating with certain other parties and businesses, the database suggests that Gabriella may be a direct subordinate of:
↑Apex received a phone call, this time from Bastard Son, one of the Elite. With Poe gone, Bastard Son is working to put the Elite on the map, and as it happens, the Digital Boys have a standing arrangement with the Elite, giving them first dibs on new members. - WD Oakland, document by Wildbow.
↑ 35.035.1"They've also got a cell here in New York. One of their leaders, Uppercrust, is dying. Same medical problem that led to his trigger event. He was the easiest to work with - one of our contractors for the large-scale force fields at sensitive port locations. His failing health was a small factor in why Brockton Bay was hit as hard as it was. Can't get around to his work sites. Now you've got splinter factions vying for his seat." - PRT: Department Sixty Four, thread II [Worm Quest] - Page 82
↑ 36.036.1The forcefield defense was provided by Uppercrust (not to be confused with Upperhand), in one of the more neutral (as opposed to hostile) cases of Elite dealings with the PRT. Unfortunately, Uppercrust was ailing as 2011 rolled around and his attention to the various defense systems along the coasts was suffering as a consequence. - Reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑ 37.037.1➥ ENTOURAGE; Gabriella Disposition: Villain (?) Last known location: Anchorage
CEO of Estrella, also a duplicator with apparent long range duplication abilities. A gregarious, charming young Hispanic woman.
- PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑➥ UNKNOWN; Granholme, Erik Disposition: Villain (?) Last known location: Anchorage
Low level R&D personnel employed by Estrella. Apparently a tinker with emphasis on drones and remote tanks with crystal core of some sort. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑➥ UNKNOWN; Dirks, Marion Disposition: Villain (?) Last known location: Anchorage Human resources director of Estrella. Powers unknown. Ex-singer and actress. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑[05:01] <~Wildbow> Listening to speaker of the house builds up a latent cascade of mental/sonic energy. Stuns/deafens people at will based on how much they've heard her talk. [05:01] <~Wildbow> (Amount resets after use) - Discussion with Wildbow, archived on Spacebattles.
↑ 43.043.1➥ UPPERHAND; Fraser, Don Disposition: Villain (?) Last known location: Anchorage
Financial manager of Estrella. Powers unknown, a heavyset man, reports suggest the ability to turn opposition into ‘hamburger meat’. - PRT Quest (Anchorage)
↑Upperhand Trump. Could copy the general nature of powers with an output, and produced his own output in form of powerful hypergravity, pulverizing targets. - parahumanList, bolded edit by Wildbow.
↑As I think on it, I really like the notion of Panacea joining the Elite. They're very much like Marquis, and through them she could remember her dad. The progression from being a rogue with nationwide backing, being assured she's in good hands and thinking she might find relief from the pressures of her power, to realizing she's working with people very much like her father would be an interesting one. - reddit comment by Wildbow.
↑Rex. He's one of the Elite, who could be called the bogeymen of the superhero community. They're an organized crime cartel run by a cadre of top-tier supervillains. Rex is one of those supervillains. Him walking up and asking to talk to me is the equivalent of an entire convoy of mafia bigwigs showing up on a small time dealer's front step. - Before Worm (2008)
Before he finishes, I'm already running. Within three seconds I've kicked off my sandals, bare feet slapping against cold sidewalk hard enough to bruise. It doesn't matter. I need to get away. - Before Worm (2008)