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"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.
In both the real world and in Worm, one can not view the future. One can take into account the many disparate variables that will likely lead to events in the future, but this is imprecise given the immense volumes of data involved. In Worm however, specialized thinker abilities use hyper senses to evaluate all relevant data points, calculate the likely interaction of same data points, and provide semi accurate extrapolation of the future. This provides as close to a window into the future as is possible to.
An important point to note is that unless it is otherwise noted the use of these precognitive abilities creates "causality interference" with one another. If two precognitives make prognostications about the future and provide this information to relevant groups these groups will likely work at cross purposes to each other while trying to influence events based on information their precognitives provided. Thus it is noted the tendency for those with precognitives to interfere with each others powers.
As with the history of Earth Bet, parahumans presumably started appearing around 1983. In the years since, large amounts of people triggered with many powerful abilities.
Unlike in previous cycles, and unlike the Warrior, Eden did not instruct most of her shards to seek out hosts at the beginning of the cycle. Instead she deployed the shards personally to adjust the global situation in various ways,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag. Tag has more than one name associated with reference. such as creating tinkers and other capes with helpful powers to revive damaged areas of the world and/or outfit armies, personally sabotaging alliances and sending "Endbringer Lites" to break them up.
Ethnic and social tensions inflame the world. Certain groups are periodically and miraculously reinforced to keep from going under when surrounded by enemies, this only prolonged conflicts. International communication is down, though the exact means are not outright stated.
Features - power differentials, entities placing restrictions on things
Tinkers are able to create mass productions of their equipment much faster while still being safe.
You're talking about infrastructure, but quite honestly, infrastructure wouldn't survive the 90's. By the mid-2000's, getting food from the agricultural states to the areas with the highest population density (ie. New york) is a struggle, because of bandits, threats, organized crime, disorganized crime and more. Things come to resemble the theoretical Edenverse, but you don't have Eden shoring up the population by putting tinkers and capes capable of reviving areas anywhere particular (you also don't have her sabotaging). Scion ends up playing a pretty big role in keeping society alive, more than before, with keen attention to the biggest threats and only those threats.
Clarent who was equipped wielded a long sword and grew stronger over time. He is likely a version of Dauntless, this is supported by the tags for the chapter. Was altered by Eden. Squad leader in the Wardens.
A man who has a special sight that lets him sees powers. He was altered by Eden within the vision to keep him from making the connection between the entities and the powers. Evidence points toward him being the intended version of Chevalier. Squad leader in the Wardens.
The perfect world has its own form of Endbringer and other S-Class threats, these serve to increase the chaos on which the shards thrive, and keep the various regions of the earth separated and segregated from each other.
Dinah's abilities function by forming a mental image around a person, event, or object. This -then allows her to predict the probability of that image coming to pass. She was able to affect the outcome of events by relaying information. She accounts for the changes created by telling a person the odds as well making her a rather accurate prognosticator.
Dinah has made several predictions about the end of the world and specifically Jacob's part in it. but has said that it could also happen several years down the line with the final terminal point being 300 years in the future.
Although Coil experiences his alternate timelines simultaneously with the events in the real world, they are actually possible futures generated by his passenger at the point he chooses to "split the timeline". For this reason, sources of "causality interference" interfere with his power - including most precognitives, meaning he can't make use of information-gathering powers an unlimited number of times in throwaway timelines.
Roulette's power allows her to live out visions of possible futures (generally hours long at most), seeing multiple possibilities in a matter of moments. These visions aren't very accurate, but do serve as an information-gathering tool. Sometimes her visions differed dramatically from the real world, such as seeing into a world where the Moon had been partially destroyed.
The most notable possible future seen by Roulette is the events of PRT: Department Sixty-Four; the strain of such a long vision sent her into a coma. There were several lesser visions contained within this larger vision, including one where she encountered a powerful Master and was briefly driven insane in the real world by his power.
Contessa doesn't really see possible futures, just the "steps" toward victory?
Contessa is able to see the "path to victory". Essentially the steps one needs to take to get the outcome they seek. It can provide details on the likely hood of these outcomes and the effort involved in bringing about these same outcomes. She is essentially using her ability non-stop.
This too is not explicitly looking into possible futures but is essentially close enough for the purposes of this article, as she can choose how she attains the victory she seeks.
Effectively has its own version of the Eden shard that Contessa 'stole', it is not less efficient then Contessa's but rather Scion has effectively thousands of years which while massive is still a finite amount, and using a path to victory shard burns some of his lifetime away. He needs to package his time over what could be thousands of years, Contessa has at most a hundred years to use her abilities.
As an example, Zion modeled a trigger event 33 years in the future while refining literally millions of other shards for use on Earth. Further Zion looked at an alternate future where Jack Slash died and he decided to kill people of his own accord after talking to Jack.
The Simurgh is blind in the present; every action she takes is based on a vision she saw of what would happen. This is how she's able to dodge things so effectively, but it also allows her to predict how a person will behave years in advance if she focuses on them.
↑Coil's powers get discombobulated by other causality interference, which is why he can't just have Dinah give every answer in Coil-generated universes that he discards. - Comment by Wildbow on Reddit
↑hitherbydragons: I think the interference works like this: When a precog sees the future, it changes how they act. That change in their actions changes the future. Each future-seeing power has a way of solving for that—a way of bringing that to a point of convergence. For instance, the basic human power of imagining what a possible future would be like avoids interfering with itself because it’s imperfect and also because humans _tend_ to hypothesize about the future starting from a baseline of “what I might do differently than baseline.” But when you get two different modes of prediction interacting, then there’s a feedback effect. Let’s say that Simurgh and Contessa are fighting over the Precog Prize, a marvelous blue ribbon that goes to the precog of the year. (Next year, to be precise.) Simurgh considers how to arrange things so that the prize committee delivers the prize to her. She sees a way to do this by threatening the family of Judge #1, who is from France, but that doesn’t work because Contessa is about to take a portal to France and kidnap Judge #1’s family. She sees a way to do this by threatening the family of Judge #2, who is from Russia, but that doesn’t work because Contessa is about to take a portal to Russia and kidnap Judge #2’s family. She sees a way to do this by telling Judge #3 about Contessa’s shameful kidnapping behavior, but that doesn’t work because Contessa is about to take a portal to Judge #3’s living room to hang out and play Mario Kart, bringing Judge #1 and Judge #2’s families with her. The Simurgh sees a way to do this by subverting one guy who’ll subvert his sister who’ll subvert her teacher who’ll subvert her greyhound who’ll subvert another greyhound who’ll subvert its owner who’ll subvert Judge #4, except that Contessa is about to take a portal to the two greyhounds and steal one of them. Only, Contessa isn’t actually going to do all of these things: it’s just that she’ll do those things _in the world where the Simurgh is doing that plan._ So her power becomes a shape, a shadow, over the set of futures that the Simurgh can build. And normally vice versa, except that Contessa’s power apparently wins. Taylor’s swarm sense wouldn’t natively have that kind of effect, because while Taylor would act differently based on what Simurgh does, Taylor can’t act differently based on what the Simurgh *sees.* I think a Thinker power only interferes with a precog if the Thinker power is able to select for a given future in some fashion. Like, if you’re Lightbulb, with the power that you can always come up with a good idea and strobe a momentary light from above your head when you do so, then you don’t have to be a precog to interfere with precogs: you’ll have different good ideas depending on which future you’re heading towards, and that’s enough to create interference. But if you’re Snap Judgment, with the power that you can instantly and simultaneously consider all the options available to you as if you’d taken an hour to think about each one individually, you don’t interfere with precogs at all. This could be wrong, though. It could be that Thinkers interfere with precogs by complexity alone—that the precog’s ability to predict the future is slowed down or compromised by the effort of _having_ to predict the Thinker’s choice, in which case Taylor would in fact be partially immune. That doesn’t _seem_ like the Simurgh—you’d think she could trivially account for the added brainpower of however many millions of insects getting involved—but it depends on how her power works, exactly. It’s possible that she only actually manipulates a very small number of fates at once, for some smurfing reason or other, and Taylor counts as many.
Wildbow: That is pretty much exactly right. I’d say that it’d be a relatively rare non-precog thinker power (like Coil’s) that would really trip up precogs, and even then, some precogs would handle it better than others. - comment and answer on Crushed 24.4
↑The shard that allows the entity to see the future is broken up, then recoded with strict limitations. It wouldn’t do to have the capabilities turned against the entity or the shards.
The fragment it just used is sent off, directed to a small female.
In a haste to decide matters before it enters the stratosphere of that barren planet, the entity casts it off to a similar location as the future-sight ability. A similar time, thirty-one revolutions from now. The destination is a male, thin, in the company of strong males and females, drinking. - Exerpt from Interlude 26
↑Things come to resemble the theoretical Edenverse, but you don't have Eden shoring up the population by putting tinkers and capes capable of reviving areas anywhere particular (you also don't have her sabotaging). Scion ends up playing a pretty big role in keeping society alive, more than before, with keen attention to the biggest threats and only those threats. - On Spacebattles
↑ Eden's tinkers aren't so limited in mass production and often outfit armies, which helps to spur things on. In key places, shards for cloning, plant and population growth, and resource production shards are deposited, to help crushed areas revive. Eden might liken it to pruning a tree - except she's pruning humanity to produce maximum conflict without utterly destroying it. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑ If people start forming alliances/peace and Eden sees it as too much trouble to sabotage, then she sics an Endbringer Lite on them, and then works with the remains. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑“Trick being that you can only have two realities running in parallel at a time, and the only differences between those realities hinge on the choices and calls you make. So you delegate. You find people who will follow orders. Sometimes you send them out to do something in only one world, so that if things don’t go the way you want, you can default to the reality where you didn’t send them. Or, in simpler terms, in one world, you flip a coin. In the other, you hold on a second, delay, say something.”
“Until every coin you’re flipping gives you a heads. You’re talking about Coil,” I realized. - excerpt from Extermination 8.8
↑Universe one: I, Coil, notice Taylor and nod. Taylor flips the coin, reveals it.
Universe two: I Coil, pretend not to notice Taylor. I speak to Grue. "It's a question of power. I can manipulate events, I have manipulated events for your benefit, and I have a wealth of resources at my disposal..."
Stop as soon as the coin is revealed. If Taylor's coin landed heads, go with that universe. If it didn't, then...
Universe 1: Notice Taylor, "Oh, yes, go ahead." She flips and reveals coin.
Universe 2: Keep talking. - Wildbow on Reddit
↑“Anyways, point of this explanation is this: Knowing we had an imminent fight with Lung coming, knowing Lung planned to pyrokinesis our general area until he rooted us out, got civilians to finger us or brought in enough capes to make life difficult for us, I called Coil. He said he’d help, told us to wait five minutes, then take the more direct route, straight into the heart of ABB territory.
“We go, we take out a contingent of ABB gangbangers and scare off Oni Lee. Then I get a call back from Coil. The other reality? We left earlier, went a different route. Got in a fight with Lung before you showed. You decided to attack both our groups while we were occupied fighting each other, worn out, only Lung was stronger at that time, too strong for you to do too much. By the time you realized you’d have to work with us to stop him, which wasn’t long, it was too late. Lung was too tough.”
I tried to picture that scenario.
“I got away, managed to call Coil, let him know what had happened. Coil, in turn, informed me in this reality, the one you remember. Told me to watch out for a junior hero in the area.” - excerpt from Extermination 8.8
↑The bank robbery, he had our back. But timing was sensitive, and I guess he wanted to maximize the chances that he’d get Dinah, so he didn’t have a concurrent reality where he kept us out of action. And, according to him, we succeeded in both cases, though Bitch got hurt in a fight with Glory Girl in the other one. Lucky for us, I suppose, that the world where she didn’t get hurt was the same one where Coil got his captive. - excerpt from Extermination 8.8
↑“We didn’t have him for the fight with Bakuda, but we did have him for the fundraiser. He had the other version of us in reserve.” - excerpt from Extermination 8.8
↑“And the fight with Empire Eighty-Eight?” Lisa frowned, “Apparently that was one case where he saved our hides. Remember that call I got? Telling me to be careful? Same thing he did with the bank robbery. Tells one version of me to push us to be careful, tells the other to go in for direct confrontation. Knowing how he works, I try to nudge us in one direction or the other. The group of us that went in for the headlong attack? We got taken down.” “That happened?” my eyes widened. That would have been the fight with Night and Fog, and it hadn’t been pretty as it was. “Did we die?” Lisa shrugged, “Not sure. He didn’t elaborate, often doesn’t, unless it’s key info. But Coil decided not to go with that option, so it was clearly worse than what did happen. Or worse in his eyes.” - excerpt from Extermination 8.8
↑Krieg used his power in the first 'lost chapter' - the chapter which (now) opens with Brian's chest getting stitched up after fighting Cricket. I wrote it at a point in time when I was pretty damn busy (IIRC, end of last semester at University?) and preoccupied (end of last semester at University?) and I rushed it. It came out rushed, a lot of conflict that made no sense. I pulled an all-nighter to rewrite it before the sun came up.
That chapter doesn't exist anywhere except in the email notifications and minds of the earliest Worm adopters. Before anyone says "Death of the Author", remember: it is canon. In the last chapter of Arc 8 before the interlude, Lisa talks about Coil's power - and how the events of the lost chapter were merely lost as a Coil altworld. - Wildbow on Spacebattles
↑ I changed events for two reasons. The first is that I know from experience that I get really bored and frustrated if I do sweeping edits and/or rewrite a segment of story with the exact same events. The second will become apparent later – I’m simply having some fun with the mistake. There’s no change to actual powers, here. The previous chapter is canon in many respects. - Comment by Wildbow on Buzz 7.9
↑Roulette can, in her words, ‘shotgun precog’. She views a spread of futures in a matter of moments, with the number of events and the length of the viewing periods varying depending on the time since the last ‘shotgun’, her emotional state and her degree of rest. The number of futures viewed and the duration of each viewing vary from six to two and hours to seconds, respectively. The ability hits a ceiling at the point where she is incapacitated for longer than the visions last.
Capabilities and priorities Roulette observes are reasonably accurate, but events can diverge wildly, and should not be a reason for deployment on their own. The ability is primarily a learning and experimental tool, with more research and investigation required. - PRT FilesPRT Quest document
↑Roulette – Ward. A ‘shotgun precog’ – she could see multiple theoretical futures which had a low probability of coming to pass, but which nonetheless provided some information gathering ability. - FAQ Parahuman Response Team Quest
↑"You know you're having a vision, then?"
"Not usually. It's like dreaming. Sometimes you can figure it out. I use cues. Sometimes I notice colors are off, or there's some big part of the world that's different, like, half the moon is gone. Then I have a moment where I'm like, 'Yeah that isn't right', and 'duh, my power'."
"Half the moon? You work from alternate histories?"
"I think I work from alternate histories to alternate futures, but I dunno. The power testing guys always say different things when I see 'em. Like I said, my power screws around at my expense. There's usually a point of contact or something so it's close. It's never, like, crazy different. Same people, same place, things moving in the same direction." - PRT Quest thread i page 29
↑PRT Quest is canon [but] the events of the PRT Quest never happened. It was all a vision that Roullette saw and [the vision] put her in a coma, though not before writing down as much as she could. - Spacebattles
↑The entity looked to the future, looked to possible worlds, and it saw the ways this could have unfolded. It burned a year off of the entity’s life, but he had thousands to spare anyways. - Exerpt from Interlude 26