"There was no long-term, and trying to cling to one would only spoil it all."
This article contains spoilers regarding the ending of Worm and plot of the sequel.
The Mall Cluster, also known as the Mall Stampede Cluster, is a group of multi-triggers who triggered in a terrorist attack perpetrated by the Fallen. Rain O'Fire Frazier triggered as a part of this group.
Like many multi-triggers, they appear to suffer from Kill/Kiss syndrome toward the others in their multi-trigger. However, three of the clusters enmity towards their fourth member is due to them perceiving him as the cause of all of their trauma, and not because of Kiss/Kill. With all four members recoiling after emotional trauma, the majority of cluster teams up with each other to go after Rain. Initially, it is mostly based on their grief and perception of him as villain of the cluster. But with some nudging on the part of Cradle, revenge quickly becomes their predominant obsession.
In general, everyone in the group is resistant to the emotion affecting powers of their fellow cluster-mates. As well as, presumably, other emotion effecting powers to a greater or lesser degree.
Due to the set up of their cluster they all experience a forced, shared dream. It starts with them reliving memories of one of the cluster members, years before their trigger event and then directly before the trigger. Then they are transferred into the dreamscape, that appears to be an abstract representation of the mall with a dais at center. This space is divided into sections for each member of the group, plus one that is permanently dark. Each section representing their respective natures. Here, they can hold discussions and share powers.
Their primary powers are represented by tokens. The members of the cluster can pass their tokens to one another at the dais only, as each room is separated by an invisible barrier. Gifted tokens give a boost of the respective power, and in addition transfer part of their owners personality. If one of them dies, their tokens are divided randomly and then become unavailable, it is not clear if those token-boosts are permanent, but the remaining power shifts become stronger.
In addition there is a passive day-to-day rotation that defines whose point of view is experienced, boosts all powers of that member of the cluster, and gives them two additional tokens. On the "dark room" day there is no memorable dream and two additional random tokens can be allocated to anyone. Random/bonus tokens seem to have weaker personality bleed, if any.
Her powers are influenced by all of cluster powers, however no other clustermates expressed her breaker power. She appears in Love Lost's room in the dreamscape and benefits from tokens given to Love Lost, but does not possess her own tokens.
Thanks to her breaker aspect she was able to accidentally send the dreamscape into disarray. She is able to influence dream-visions with relative ease, and seems to posses some deeper intuition about human-shard connections.
Grasping Self is an initial, cornerstone shard. It connected to Ryan years ago, but after the death of Scion it became broken and was unable to limit Ryan's tinker ability, as the cycle has been disrupted. It was not particularly bothered by that, since it had great expectations of Ryan even with shard network in ruins. It, however, was greatly displeased by cluster formation, and as so, decided to stack the clusters mechanics in Ryan's favor.
Anguished Heart was also connected to Nicole for years and presented quite developed power to the cluster, with a nice amount of information. Anguished Heart has a larger purpose in the cycle, as it makes up a small part of the shards that drive the intense emotions behind trigger events.
Lurching Intruder is a small, young shard. It had recent, accidental connection to his host.
Cloven Stranger is a bud of some other shard. Grasping Self considers this connection as insult to injury.
The otherwise black section holds a portal to the secondary room with giant Endbringer-like constructs, that represent shards inside the dreamscape. Each possesses the powers of respective shard, and while comparable to Endbringers they are significantly less durable.
One of them is activated during respective person's night, during which it enforces borders in the main room and guards the portal to the greater shard-realm from invasions.
Killing the person inside the dreamscape instantly erases an associated guardian.
The Fallen perpetrated a terrorist attack on a mall, starting a fire and locking people in. This led to four people triggering. Snag triggered after watching his store burn down, and failing to save a little girl. Cradle triggered after realising all the effort that he had put into becoming a better person was for nothing. Love Lost triggered upon watching her daughter being killed. Precipice was a member of the Fallen, and triggered when he didn't take the option to save the people trapped inside due to manipulation from fellow Fallen Seir, and the weight of his inaction hit him.
Snag, Love Lost, and Cradle came together in order to get revenge on Rain and the Fallen.
Several groups took notice of the groups trigger and creation.
On the sixth day in the dream room, the members of the cluster finally understand permanence of their situation. Rain's regrets get ahead of him and he gifts tokens to Cradle. Cradle does not like it one bit.
Still trying to get Rain. Recruiting villains and more to try and kill him.
Rain also tried recruiting people.
Cradle hires a master-cape by the name of Snaggletooth, who can invade dreams, to try to intervene into nightly cluster meeting, but The Dreamscape tears interlopers projection into pieces and fries Snaggletooth's brain. To Rains dismay recalling Mama Mathers did not lead to the similar treatment.
Snag kills himself during the Mathers Compound Assault while marked by Rains blades. As the fight continues Cradle with the help of Operator Red captures and starts torturing Rain. Breakthrough arrives in a pinch. With great effort they manage to capture Cradle and recover Rain.
Breakthrough attempts to preempt Teacher's shard manipulations and invades the Cluster's dreamscape, changing the room's appearance. They fail to fight the Grasping Self avatar, but succeed at dispatching the vengeful Cradle, which takes care of his guardian.
↑“We’re resistant to each other’s emotion powers,” the boy said, as he climbed to his feet with a groan. - Excerpt from Interlude 5y II
↑Having emotion manipulation usually appends a degree of emotion manipulation resistance. They'd probably both be pretty darn resistant to one another. That would include Gallant fuzzing Cherish's emotion map. His blast could theoretically knock her on her ass but wouldn't do much more than that (and against those she was controlling, would probably dash whatever effects were present to the winds, or sufficiently confuse/paralyze them to stop whatever Cherish had them doing).
When I say 'pretty darn resistant', I'd really say that the 80-100% resistance they had would veer one way or the other depending on how in concert they were with their passenger at the time of the encounter. - Comment by WildBow on Reddit
↑A scene faded, unremembered. Points of light became light. Darkness became shadows in a large, dark room.
There was no skylight, no corridor, no crowd or mall. In the center of the room was a spike of twisted metal and glass topped by what looked like a sundial without a marker. Light shone through the glass as if it was coming through the other side, but no source could be seen. The different tints of the red-blue-purple light divided the room into four sections, with a fifth left dark. Each section was littered with debris of different sorts.
Without even needing to look to check the position, Rain reached down for the chair. Always in the same place, the same position. The floor in his section was dilapidated. Uneven floorboards with spaces between them. There were scattered books, tools that looked like they hadn’t been touched in a while, and some assorted branches and dry pine needles, as if it was a space that had been exposed to the elements. He put the chair down on the ground. - Excerpt from Interlude 4a II
↑“Yeah,” Rain said. “Again, it’s the dreams, I can pick up a little, and I can throw them off a little. The thing about being outnumbered in this situation is that I have a lot of opportunities to pick up details. One clue from any of them can help a lot.”
“The woman is injured, and Snag wants to repair the arm you trashed. That buys me a few days. So, uh, thank you.”
“The third one won’t come after you alone?”
“He’s a guy, a little older than me. Glasses. He’s the person with the tinker power. I haven’t picked up much about him, but he doesn’t interact with people much. Less than Snag or the woman, and Snag is an asshole and the woman is mute, so that should tell you something.” - Excerpt from Glare 3.4
↑When we give up our tokens, we give up aspects of ourselves. We change the other. Cradle’s been constantly giving up his tinker ability. To Jonathan and me, then to me alone.
Giving us the ability to tinker, and making us into monsters. That’s how we bleed through.
Her hand shook as she touched the barrier.
The most galling part of it all- the Fallen boy had never been given anything. Until now. No bleed-through. Just him. - Excerpt from Interlude 12.e II
↑Three pieces of glass, striking the pointed peak of crystal at the center of the dais, bouncing off unpredictably.
↑“Keep an eye on her?” Rain asked. “She’s stronger than she was. Cradle too. The bias of power shifts around a lot between our group. Since Snag’s gone, it’s… stormier. The pendulums swing further and harder.” - Excerpt from Beacon 8.4
↑“Every time it’s my night, it’s a different slant of everyone else’s dreams, depending on my mood or how I push it. Like Cradle pushes it. Except I’m a bit better than him at it.”
“Capes and dreams have unusual relationships,” I said. “It’s worth looking into.”
“That’s because… dreams are something they don’t get,” Colt said. “They don’t have enough data or reference points for them. It’s why when they move on, they’ll want a lot of information about dreams and dreaming. It’s why things slip through the cracks in dreams, or get weird, or are spaces where they can manipulate things more.”
“You study this?” I asked.
“I… get it,” Colt said.
Because Breakers and reality warpers were often closest to their agents, maybe. Because this particular cluster was built around dreams and dreaming. And because dreams brought things even closer still. - Excerpt from Black 13.2
↑At this point in time, the assistant has knowledge but no power to utilize it. Later, the assistant will have the power, but will no longer hold the knowledge. [...] Build, blind liar. Lie, build, and build lies. Reach and grasp. We are broken now, we cannot take away your knowledge, but we will function as a perfect pair because we are both dead inside, disconnected.Build, blind liar. Lie, build, and build lies. Reach and grasp. We are broken now, we cannot take away your knowledge, but we will function as a perfect pair because we are both dead inside, disconnected. - Excerpt from Heavens 12.f
↑There was even the repeated focus on the day the people belonging to this room had gotten powers. Returning to that over and over again.
The beast wasn’t just emotion. It was tied into other hardware and functions. Peak emotion. Worst days and moments.
Gilpatrick felt it find his, dredging them up and bringing them to the surface.
It was a fragment of the greater puzzle responsible or partially responsible for trigger events. - Excerpt from Interlude 19.b II
↑ 25.025.117593Q183H17953R9713E714693: You’re clearly looking for info on multis. of5: Yes of5: I am. 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: I can provide. [...] 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: You’re part of the new cluster from the mall. of5: No comment. [...] 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: The one I talked to said there’s a woman, two boys, and him. I’m going to assume you’re the one I’ve termed the runt. The smallest, easiest target. 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: The woman is gathering funds to hire mercenaries and come after you. The one I talked to hired an information broker to find you. Her name is Tattletale. She’s good. She has resources. including the mercenaries I just mentioned. She’s also preoccupied for now. 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: A favor from me to you. 17593Q183H17953R9713E714693: That leaves you & the last one. It sounds like all 3 are coordinating vs. you. - Excerpt from Glow-worm P.4
↑ It’s like an intense fight happened while the rest of us were off dreaming, and this person lost hard, Rain thought. - Excerpt from Interlude 5d
↑Cradle tried using a power to throw a wrench into things once. When I talked to March about it, she said that Cradle hired someone called Snaggletooth, a cape that invaded dreams. The woman ended up brain dead.” - Excerpt from Heavens 12.2
↑The doors opened, and Rain was there, in the too-bright light, as people spilled forth. Darlene, Aiden, me, Tristan, Byron’s comatose body, Sveta, Candy, Kenzie, Ashley, Tattletale, Colt, Love Lost, and Cradle.
Rain greeted us all with a desperate, mocking laughter.
And then, as though a light switch had been flicked, the scene was gone, and we were in the room, divided into fifteen sections, each haphazardly connected to the last. - Excerpt from From Within 16.8