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Taylor Anne Hebert,[1] also known as Skitter, is the main character of Worm. Her surname is pronounced "Hee-bert".[2]

AppearanceEdit

Civilian Identity Edit

Taylor was a tall, rail-thin, pale, young woman with long, curly black hair[3][4] and glasses. She had a thin-lipped, wide, expressive mouth she inherited from her mother, and her large eyes and gawky figure made her look a lot like her dad.[5][6] She was approximately 5'6" at the story's outset[7] Taylor didn't wear clothes that showed skin, or bright colors.[5] At various times, she wore a brown hooded sweatshirt over a green t-shirt.[5]

As time went on and under the influence of Lisa Wilbourn she began to vary her wardrobe more. Learning to vary her appearance to blend into situations. She also grew taller and gained some muscle form her training regime and activities as a parahuman.

Parahuman Identity Edit

As Skitter, Taylor wore various costumes made of spider silk.

Initially, she wears a black-and-grey spider silk bodysuit with armor panels made out of insect shells and exoskeletons augmented with more spider silk. The costume's prototype had fabric that was a dirty yellow-gray color, and the armor was colored dark mottled brown-gray[8]. She later dyes it black with grey paneling before she goes out[9]. The lenses of her mask are durable, high-end swim goggles tinted to help filter out bright lights, with lenses from an old pair of her glasses sealed inside with silicon.[10] Her mask leaves the back of her head uncovered and her hair free to fly behind her.[11]

She kept her costume clean by having bugs eat and clean any waste and wiping it down with a cloth.[12]

The spider-silk fabric is too tough to cut with an x-acto knife, although it can be slowly cut through using wire cutters.[8] It was mostly waterproof.[12] The costume lacks the full extent of the armor paneling she planned, including protection for the back of her head, but the armor covers her face, chest, spine, stomach and major joints.[9] Eventually it included shoulder pads, elbow pads, wrist guards, a chest guard and kneepads, possibly more. Each had "layers" resembling a pillbug.[13] The mask design features dull yellow lenses and sections of armor designed to imitate a bug’s mandibles.[14]

Later, after a redesign, she incorporated clawed fingertips into her costume.[15]

Taylor has a utility compartment for storing necessary items, weapons, and insects in the shape of a spade-shaped armor panel that covers her back.[14], Taylor's backpack contains "a set of EpiPens, a pen and notepad, a tube of pepper spray meant to hang off a key chain and a zippered pouch of chalk dust."[14]

In Queen 18.3, Miss Militia takes a look at the contents and sees: A handgun (Trickster's spare), a length of spider silk fashioned into a long cord, pepper spray, a change purse, containing cotton swabs (to muffle the noise), needles, smelling salts, and change, a collapsible baton, and a combat knife (sturdy enough to be used as a crowbar if needed)

As Weaver, Taylor uses a flight pack developed and maintained by Defiant. She first wears a generic version of her costume created by Dragon, which lacks the armor of her earlier costume simply being a light grey bodysuit with cleaner, slim dark grey armor panels. The mantle around her shoulders and the cloth hanging from her belt are marked in electric blue with the Undersiders' emblem (a beetle facing downwards) in miniature at each corner, flipped upside down so that it faces upward. [16]

When she deployed against Behemoth in New Deli Defiant spray-painted her last Skitter cosumtume white to match her weaver colors and allow her additional protection.

After The Timeskip Weaver was properly outfitted with a silk body suit and her usual armor. Her later costume had extra armor, with a coil of silk hidden beneath an armor panel at the back of the hand.[15] Wildbow had her down in his notes as 5’8″ (175 cm), 125 lbs (56 kg) during her stay in prison[17]. According to her Wards physical, she was five feet and nine inches tall[18]. She later described herself as a hundred and thirty pounds and 5'10"[19]

During the oil-rig battle, she wore a black bodysuit with white armor panels and lenses. She carried primarily symbolic weapons - a handgun, taser, and pepper spray - and wore her flight pack.[15] Afterward, she wore a similar costume, including flight pack.[20][21] She carred the same tube of pepper spray, rescued from the remains of her previous costume.[20] She carried a knife in a holster, and supplemented it with a nano-thorn knife created by Defiant.[21]

As Khepri, Taylor wears a black bodysuit with white armor panels and lenses.[15] She is missing an arm, and appears to not be able to control her body very well. Throughout the fight with Scion, she usually had Doormaker and Clairvoyant attached to her, though when Doormaker ran out of energy for his power, she left him behind.

After the Timeskip, she wears a spider-silk version of her Weaver costume. After it's partially destroyed during the oil-rig battle, she wears a costume that combines elements of several provisional costumes she had created in different color schemes.

PersonalityEdit

BackgroundEdit

Taylor is initially a shy and awkward teenage girl with a keen interest in capes. She looked forward to the part of her World Issues class where they discussed capes "since the start of the semester".[5] She had seemingly never heard of Trigger Events, but this may have been a mistake by the author.[22]

She was "'surviving', for lack of a better word," from the point her mother died, and then surviving from the point she started getting bullied -- she just wanted to get by. She responded to stress with silence and withdrawal.[23][6] She suspected that she would hurt herself before she hurt the Trio.[8] However, Wildbow has stated that if she hadn't triggered, Taylor would likely have simply stopped going to school.[24]

She was afraid of illegal drugs, saying she "had this sense" that they were like "an unstoppable black hole". Just the idea of being around someone that was high made her mildly anxious.[25]

Story StartEdit

She has shown some insecurity in her femininity, describing her long, dark curly hair as her "only feminine feature".[5] She would always stress over choosing her clothes.[26]

Taylor considered joining the Wards, but felt that "the notion of escaping the stresses of high school by flinging myself into a mess of teenage drama, adult oversight and schedules seemed self-defeating".[27] She had no trust in organized institutions, and felt happier having some independence and control.[28]

She had increasing difficulty attending school.[29] Sometimes she would make deals with herself to attend for part of the day, then convince herself to attend for more.[30]

Post-LeviathanEdit

She suffered from nightmares.[31]

She also started to take the lead more in engagements the undersiders participated in. Eventually taking the lead when dealing with Dragon.

Post-TimeskipEdit

She is an exceptionally accomplished martial artist; her enhanced senses enable her to react to events faster than she should be able to. She can easily defeat even many powered opponent's hand-to-hand. She is noted to be cold and ruthless by many characters.[citation needed]

She became concerned that her passenger was influencing her behaviour.[32][33][34] She even blamed ordinary emotions on her passenger.[35] She tried hypnosis and bartering with it to control it, to no avail. Eventually she made a kind of peace with it.[36]

Gold MorningEdit

She ultimately resolves not to focus overmuch on her identity as Skitter or Weaver, but to try and combine the strengths of both as Taylor.[37]

She refused to give in to "forces of nature" again.[38]

Relationships Edit

Civilians Edit

Taylor had a strained relationship with the students of Winslow High. Because she was bullied extensively by "other girls and a small handful of boys" with the "trio" - Madison Clements, Sophia Hess, and Emma Barnes[5] acting as the ringleaders, she was reluctant to make friends and believed that boys didn't like her.[5] She speculates that the few boys that bullied her sought approval from three of the prettier and more popular girls.[5]

As Weaver, Taylor visits Ms. Yamada for therapy. The public start to see Weaver as a hero following the New Delhi battle.[citation needed]

TeachersEdit

Taylor disliked Mr. Gladly viewing him as one of the ‘popular kids' who had become a teacher.[5]

Mrs. Knott, who taught Computer sciences, was Taylor's favourite teacher.[39][40]

Taylor's Bullies Edit

Madison Clements, Sophia Hess, and Emma Barnes - The Trio of students responsible for bullying Taylor. Emma was Taylor's best friend from first grade to middle school, the two girls stayed at each other's houses every weekend.[8] Upon entering high school, Emma suddenly abandoned her for Sophia and Madison. The three then tormented her - Sophia physically, Madison superficially and Emma emotionally. Because Emma knew some of Taylor's psychological weaknesses, such as the death of Mrs. Hebert, she was the only one really able to hurt Taylor.

Taylor resisted attacking the trio with her powers, no matter how much she wanted to.[5] She considered the thought of her father's disappointment on seeing that she had attacked the Trio "daunting" but less than her anger and frustration with them. Emma Barnes' parents blame Taylor for their daughter's eventual death.

Danny HebertEdit

They develop a somewhat strained relationship after she becomes Skitter. but repair it over the time she acted as Weaver. She always saw his teachings as a source of strength.

Other Parahumans Edit

Taylor was a big fan of Alexandria. Taylor is close to Golem, serving as something of a mentor figure. She also spends a large amount of her time with Chicago wards but is considered not to be as close with them as she is with the Undersiders. The impact she has on the events of the fight while in this state is large enough to warrant her being referred to simply as her in the aftermath. As Weaver, Taylor visits Ms. Yamada for therapy. The Public start to see weaver as a hero following the Behemoth battle.

After the time-skip, she is close to Golem, serving as something of a mentor figure. She also spends a large amount of her time with Chicago wards but is considered not to be as close with them as she is with the Undersiders. After recovering from her injuries during the oil-rig battle, Taylor collects a team of parahumans with a semi-rotating membership from capes she had known in the past. This group includes Lung, Tattletale, Shadow Stalker, Cuff, Tecton, and Canary at different points.

Armsmaster Edit

He was the first real Cape that Taylor worked with. She loses her respect for him after he betrays her, and they later become brutal enemies. After gaining perspective, Armsmaster apologizes to her (which catches her off guard.) Afterwards they're able to have a civil (if not friendly) relationship.

Lisa Wilbourn "Tattletale"Edit

Lisa is one of the first to trust Taylor from their first meeting and eventually becomes her closest friend.

Brian Laborn "Grue" Edit

Taylor develops a crush on him and the two date for awhile. After the timeskip, though they have long since separated, she is still surprised to see that he had moved on with someone else.

Rachel Lindt "Bitch" Edit

The two initially have a rocky relationship, but by the end of Worm, Taylor is one of the few Rachel could call a friend.

Alec "Regent" Edit

Taylor is wary of Regent. She knows that he's a sociopath and considers his membership on the Undersiders a necessary evil.[citation needed]

Aisha Laborn "Imp" Edit

Taylor thinks she's annoying, but tolerates her out of respect for her brother. They develop a close personal relationship later on.

DefiantEdit

Despite his earlier betrayal, Defiant becomes something of a friend to Taylor, or at least a respected colleague. He and Dragon work to create her equipment and ferry her from place to place, at least partly as an apology.

Abilities and Powers Edit

Taylor posesses a form of telepathy[41] that grants her total control over most arthropods.[42]

ControlEdit

She can make her subjects do things that they would not normally do,[43] such as walk into fire[citation needed], produce so much web silk that they physically couldn't produce any more[44] or stinging while injecting little[45] to no venom.[46] She doesn't require "organized" insects. Once she stops controlling them, her bugs revert to their normal behavior patterns.[42]

MultitaskingEdit

Taylor has an almost limitless ability to focus on multiple insects at once, or to focus on other things while also using her insects.[45][47] She can give general instructions, in which case she is only vaguely aware of their movements, or guide individual insects through complex tasks, in which case she is more precisely aware of their movements and environment.[48] However, she could be distracted by the difficulty of focusing on her insects' senses,[49] and by Panacea's modified insects providing contradictory signals.[47][50] As of Colony 15.7, she was only capable of holding one conversation at a time, even while controlling multiple clones.

Her power would sometimes perform actions by habit,[34] when she was incapacitated,[51] or when she was in an altered mental state,[33] without her conscious instruction.

EmotionsEdit

Taylor would sometimes use her bugs to "channel" her emotions, lending her an "aura of indomitable calm".[32]

SensesEdit

The sensory input from her bugs is "fuzzy" and difficult for humans to interpret.[48][52] She can sporadically hear and see clearly, but the "signal quality" is unreliable.[52]

Practicing doesn't seem to produce results.[49] However, over time, Taylor does learn to more reliably hear through her bugs.[citation needed] As of Cell 22.4, she was unable to understand a phone message heard with her bugs, but was able to identify it was a recording. She was only able to discern tone of voice at "rare moments".[53]

Based on the combined sensory input of large numbers of insects, Taylor can gain a very clear mental picture of whatever they're interacting with.[48] She can also sense the biology and location[41] of every bug she can control.[54] This gives her enhanced aim[55] and the ability to dodge attacks with supernatural reaction times.[citation needed] However, in environments where bugs are scarce, or when dealing with materials that they don't interact with well, her image of the area can become less reliable.[citation needed]

Taylor also receives some knowledge of her bugs' biology from her power,[56] giving her an understanding of their limits, capabilities and the effects of adaptions such as any venom they have.[57]

LimitsEdit

Taylor has a limited range. During periods of stress, it would increase, but the increases weren't permanent.[58] Nevertheless, her range did slowly increase over time[citation needed], eventually reaching over six and a half blocks.[59]

Her power doesn't work on creatures below a certain size.[60] At different times, she speculated that she could control anything with an exoskeleton or shell -- which wouldn't explain how she could control earthworms -- and that it was the subject having a non-complex nervous system.[61] Her power does not affect squid. It's possible that she could control bug-like Case 53s, depending on their brain makeup & chemistry.[62] At one point, Taylor is able to distract Scion underwater by forming simulated bodies out of sea creatures.[citation needed]

SkillsEdit

Taylor has come up with a multitude of creative uses of her power. For example, she can produce and manipulate large quantities of spider silk, coat her insects in petroleum jelly and capsaicin to use them like pepper spray, deploy groups of bugs to create humanoid figures,[63] mask her movements, and clear out rat infestations. She was able to catch containment foam on glass carried by her bugs and stick it to her attackers.[64] She can disguise or project her voice by having her insects buzz and chirp together.[65]

She even had some tricks she wasn't consciously aware of learning. For example, she would occasionally use her bugs to cover her while she moved without noticing, making her difficult to track.[citation needed]

Taylor had an unusually high pain tolerance, which she blamed on her exposure to a pain-bomb of Bakuda's.[66]

ClassificationEdit

Taylor was rated by PRT analysts as a Master 5,[10] which was later upgraded to an 8.[67] A rating of Thinker 1 was officially added when Emily Piggot deduced she could see through her bugs in a limited fashion.[67][68] Piggot suggested that this should be upgraded when Taylor admitted she came up with the plan to raid the PRT to stop Dragon and demonstrated the ability to anticipate incoming attacks through her bugs.[69] Even later, Director Tagg ordered her rating to increase by two in every category, trying to make sure his soldiers didn't underestimate her, and to authorize various means of containing her.[70]

Taylor's trigger event, which involved both an environmental stressor and a thinker stressor, led her primarily Master power to have Thinker and Shaker overtones.[71]


QuotesEdit

  • (To Lung): "Don't underestimate me."
  • (To Triumph): "Sorry. I didn't want this to go this far."
  • (To Doctor Mother): "I know what that's like, I've walked down that road. Maybe not so ugly a road, but I've gone that route. All the way along, I told myself it sucked, but I wouldn't do it differently. I did everything I did for a reason. Except now, having reached the point I was working towards, I finally do regret it all. The last two years, the way I treated my teammates, leaving the Undersiders... I'd change it all in a heartbeat."[72]
  • (To Tecton): “Being good or bad was never a thing for me.  Not really.  It was all about the actions I was taking and why."
  • "I didn’t follow that stuff, didn’t buy into the hero worship. I’d always found the capes interesting, I’d followed the non-gossipy news about them, but with the exception of a phase around the time I was nine where I’d had an Alexandria t-shirt and had my mom help me find pictures of her online, I had never really got giddy over any particular hero." - Tangle 6.7

TriviaEdit

  • Taylor likely triggered Monday the third of January 2011 as it was described as the first day of school in the new year.
  • "Khepri" is a god in ancient Egyptian religion connected with the scarab beetle, because the scarab rolls balls of dung across the ground, an act that the Egyptians saw as a symbol of the forces that move the sun across the sky.
  • Glaistig Uaine calls Taylor "Queen Administrator"[73], queen being one of the regal titles that Glaistig Uaine uses for those with powerful and fully developed shards[15], which became a popular fan nickname for the power.
  • Originally, it was considered that Taylor would die during the Leviathan fight, with Wildbow even writing death scene out. However, due to other factors he ultimately decided to keep her alive

Fanart Gallery Edit

ReferencesEdit

  1. Prey 14.8
  2. Comment on spacebattles by Wildbow
  3. Sentinel 9.6
  4. Interlude 19.z
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Gestation 1.1
  6. 6.0 6.1 Interlude 22
  7. https://forums.spacebattles.com/posts/14723063
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 Gestation 1.2
  9. 9.0 9.1 Gestation 1.3
  10. 10.0 10.1 Extermination 8.5
  11. Hive 5.10
  12. 12.0 12.1 Comment by Wildbow on Tangle 6.6
  13. Comment by Wildbow on Tangle 6.6
  14. 14.0 14.1 14.2 Gestation 1.4
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 15.4 Extinction 27.4
  16. Cell 22.6
  17. Comment by Wildbow on Drone 23.1
  18. Scarab 25.1
  19. Sting 26.2
  20. 20.0 20.1 Cockroaches 28.3
  21. 21.0 21.1 Venom 29.3
  22. Comment by Wildbow, archived on Spacebattles
  23. WoG archived on spacebattles
  24. Reddit - "What would've happened to Taylor if she'd never triggered?"
  25. Hive 5.8
  26. Tangle 6.2
  27. Gestation 1.6
  28. Comment by Wildbow on Gestation 1.6
  29. Kicking myself even as I did it, I turned away and walked back down the hall towards the front doors of the school. I knew it would be that much harder to go back tomorrow. For one and three-quarter school years, I had been putting up with this shit. I'd been going against the current for a long time, and even though I was aware of the consequences I'd face if I kept missing school like this, it was so much easier to stop pushing so hard against the current and just step in the other direction. - Agitation 3.1]
  30. I stared out the window of the bus, watching the people and the cars. On days like this, after being publicly humiliated, getting myself to the point where I was willing to walk through the door was about making deals with myself and trying to look past the school day. I told myself that I would go to Mrs. Knott's computer class. None of the Trio would be there, it was usually pretty easygoing, and I could take the time to browse the web. From there, it was just a matter of convincing myself to walk down the hall to Mr. Gladly's class.
    If I just made myself do that, I promised myself, I would give myself a treat. - Agitation 3.1]
  31. Commment by Wildbow on Infestation 11.1
  32. 32.0 32.1 I was using my bugs to channel my feelings, even with my concerns about my passenger and how it might be merging with me. I was wearing that aura of indomitable calm, even though I wasn't sure I liked the Taylor of this past year and a half, who had been doing just that as a matter of both habit and necessity. - Extinction 27.3
  33. 33.0 33.1 Passenger, I thought. Been a while, trying to figure out how to make peace with the fact that you're there, that you're affecting me somehow, taking control whenever I'm not in my own mind. I think we've made strides. I've sort of accepted that you're going to do what you're going to do, whether that helps me or hurts me. -Sting 26.2
  34. 34.0 34.1 Had I? Not wholly consciously. I'd set up the string, but how much of that was intentional? Was it habit, now, to have a measure on hand when dealing with any weapon?
    I focused on the swarm, focused on the cords and threads that traced the room. One in the doorway, one at each of Phir Sē's feet, just waiting for me to finish the deal and bind him. Others extended between us, spiders poised to cut the threads or tie them, as the situation demanded.
    The passenger, or was it me, being wary?
    "I guess I did," I said. I made the spiders cut the threads between us. [...] My heart was still pounding, my mouth dry, and it wasn't just the Phir Sē thing, or the teleporter. The passenger. - Crushed 24.4
  35. "It's been a bad day, in case you haven't noticed. You're allowed to feel bad. It's kind of normal."
    Normal.
    I'd been thinking of my feelings as being off-kilter, out of control, unreasonable and irrational.
    Were they just regular feelings? Emotions that weren't being reined in by my discipline and bottling everything up, by distraction and disconnection?
    Somewhere along the line, I'd stopped thinking about my feelings as being mixed up or fucked up and stopped concerning myself with them altogether. On a level, I'd blamed my passenger.
    But I wasn't sure I could justify that with what I was experiencing now. Why would the passenger take away, gain ground in subsuming my identity and then give it back, all like this?
    Was it just me?-Extinction 27.3
  36. Sting 26.4
  37. I can be Taylor without being weak. Keep the best parts of Skitter and Weaver. Extinction 27.3
  38. Want to prove this isn't hopeless, that we can do something. I don't want to lose to another bully. I'm done with surrendering to forces of nature, human nature or otherwise. - Extinction 27.5
  39. Computer class was one of the few parts of the school day I didn't usually dread. For one thing, it was the one class in which I was doing well. [...] Mrs. Knott was an alright teacher, if not the most hands on; she was usually content to give us advanced students an in-class assignment and then focus on the more rambunctious majority for the rest of the class.
  40. I looked at my teachers. At Mrs. Knott, who I'd even say was my favorite teacher, "Don't you see how fucked up this is? He's blackmailing us right in front of you, and you can't understand that this manipulation has been going on from the beginning?"
    Mrs. Knott frowned, "I don't like the sound of it, but we can only comment and act on what happens in school." - Hive 5.4
  41. 41.0 41.1 Comment by Wildbow on Extermination 8.4
  42. 42.0 42.1 Comment by Wildbow on Plague 12.1
  43. Comment by Wildbow on Spacebattles
  44. Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.4
  45. 45.0 45.1 Colony 15.9
  46. Tangle 6.7
  47. 47.0 47.1 Comment by Wildbow on Infestation 11.2
  48. 48.0 48.1 48.2 Comment by Wildbow on Shell 4.3
  49. 49.0 49.1 Comment by Wildbow on Prey 14.4
  50. Agitation 3.12
  51. Hey, passenger, I thought. Do me a favor. If I get taken out of action and you step up to fight, work on taking out Jack, alright? -
  52. 52.0 52.1 Comment by Wildbow on Tangle 6.1
  53. Cell 22.4
  54. Comment by Wildbow on Cell 9.1
  55. Sting 26.6
  56. Prey 14.6
  57. “Yeah,” Lisa raised an eyebrow, “You do know which bugs you had biting him, right? Black Widow, Brown Recluse, Browntail Moth, Mildei, Fire Ants-”

    “Yeah,” I cut her off, “I don’t know the official names, but I know exactly what bit him, what stung him and what the venoms do.”
    --Excerpt from Insinuation 2.6
  58. Comment by Wildbow on Infestation 11.3
  59. Chrysalis 20.5
  60. Comment by Wildbow on Colony 15.1
  61. “I used to think I could control anything with an exoskeleton or shell. But I can control earthworms too, among other things, and they don’t have shells. I think all it takes is that they have to have very simple brains.” -excerpt from Agitation 3.1
  62. Comment by Wildbow on Interlude 5
  63. Infestation 11.3
  64. Parasite 10.5
  65. Comment by Wildbow on Sentinel 9.6
  66. Venom 29.9
  67. 67.0 67.1 Cell 22.1]
  68. Queen 18.3
  69. Monarch 16.2
  70. Tagg slaps a '2 of everything' on Taylor because it gives full authorization for all special measures, and it's a constant reminder to his people that she's a threat in every department... Comment by wildbow on spacebattles
  71. <TFS> Is the fact that Taylor was trapped a reason why her Master powers act the same way as Shaker powers do?
    <soulpelt|> do tell
    <Wildbow> Yeah, there's overlap.
    [...]
    <soulpelt|> Taylor is needing help from being trapped in a sucky environment.
    <Wildbow> Environmental stressor, thinker stressor, more thinkery shakery master power. - Wildbow on IRC, archived on SpaceBattles
  72. https://parahumans.wordpress.com/2013/08/17/extinction-27-2/
  73. Scarab 25.5

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