As she was unable to communicate with most people given the state she is in, she was just another silent tool Cauldron used to achieve their ends.
Yet she is still able to use her abilities to communicate with The Number Man,Satyrical and Taylor each developing ways to give a 'voice' to the voiceless women.
The Custodian is a parahuman made of air, invisible and almost completely incorporeal. She is bound to the Cauldron complex occupying the entire structure, essentially omnipresent excepting a few key areas.
When she manifests her powers she is shifting where her focus is and incarnating temporary duplicates of herself. She can do this in enormous numbers, which she can either use for combat or to patrol Cauldron's base. She can manipulate objects with heavy or delicate force.
Very little is known about the Custodian's past, other than that she was a girl or woman who took a Cauldron vial and lost her body. Despite the horrendous wrong done to her she voluntarily, of her own free will,took on a role in Cauldron.
I’d sensed it at the meeting the Doctor had arranged. The spirit, the ghost. So subtle it was almost impossible to notice. The currents of the air, the faintest of traces in dust that marked where she’d traveled… all things I’d mentally dismissed. Air tended to move. Only the fact that this was a closed space, without any kind of air conditioning or temperature difference made the movements in the air curious.
Paying attention, I could see that there was a pattern, a consistent repetition in air currents so feeble they might not have moved a feather.
The lights flickered back on, went out, and then settled in a compromise, the dull translucent pane of the ceiling lit up with a patchwork of maybe two thirds dark to one third light.
“I don’t think it’s a who,” Imp said. “Try ‘what are you talking to?'”
“Shh,” I bid them to be quiet.
I could sense more movements in the air, close… no. That was a result of Lung’s fire heating the air.
Further down the hall. If I use enough bugs, try to get a sense of dimensions…
A head, part of a torso. I could feel the contours of narrow shoulders, the waist. Female.
She disappeared, or she became less coherent, the movements in the air continuing, but ceasing to suggest a general human shape. Another appeared behind us, roughly as far away. No arms, no legs. Just a broken figure.
“I’m not getting anything usable,” she said. “Video cameras suck like that.”
“Right,” I said. Louder, I called out, “We’re here to help the Doctor! You’ve got two other groups in here, one that’s definitely hostile, angry and destructive, and another I think is worth being suspicious of.”
A movement, a reaction to that last sentence.
I explained, “Maybe they seem friendly, but they’ve got a bad history of backstabbing, making subtle plays for power. I think the Doctor would back me up on this. If she’s cooperating with them at all, she’s doing it with knowledge they’ll capitalize on any weakness she shows… and she’s never been weaker than she is right now.”
The figure turned around, briefly fading out of existence.
She reappeared in a way that made me wonder just how long she’d been there, a foot away from me.
“We’re not your enemies,” I said, holding my ground. “I want to stop Scion, and the best, easiest way to do that is to get things back into working order here.”
For an instant, she was in four places at once. Then she settled on three.
It struck me that I’d never fared particularly well against stranger-class powers.
“If it helps,” I said, “I’m pissed. The Doctor called you the Custodian, which probably means you’re the one taking care of this place. If you’re not completely emotionless, it hurts, that they’re tearing it apart. If you care about the doctor, I’m betting you’re worried. Maybe you feel like I do. You want to retaliate, but something is getting in your way-”
↑ 2.02.1He withdrew a pen from his pocket, spun it around one finger. The notation billowed around it, and through it, he could see the movement of the pen, the plotted trajectory, the velocity and rotation of it. The numbers clicked into place with a speed that made the rest of him, his very perceptions, seem like slow motion.
Here and there, there were incongruities. Painting an entirely different picture. His companion was here, near him. Bending the most fundamental rules. The Custodian.
In another scenario, she would have been kept here and disposed of once we’d found a way to dissect her.
“I know you want to help,” he commented. He wasn’t even entirely sure if he was being heard. “You see it as your responsibility. But it’s best you stay behind.”. - Excerpt from Interlude 21.x
↑The damage continued outside. The Custodian pursued the group in the stairwell, harassing, bludgeoning. She separated the crowd into groups and then bulled them back, driving them towards empty cells. I was drawing my bugs back to me in stages, concentrating them on a few people at a time, trying to track what she was doing.
Yet even with that, I couldn’t follow it all. Flayed skin, people holding their hands against one eye, joints bent the wrong way, bleeding wounds.
↑PitaEnigma: So basically Contessa refused to talk to anyone other than Doctor Mother PitaEnigma: and people outside of Cauldron? Cyrix: eeeeh Cyrix: I am unsure how and why you jump to that conclusion Mishie: Uh PitaEnigm>: Because it's a funny mental image, mostly Mishie: Wat Cyrix: thats not a very good reason Wildbow: Not refused. Just wasn't necessary. The Triumvirate would've felt like their hands were being forced if Contessa got involved. Wildbow: Doctor Mother speaking is a little less threatening & a little more organic. abyssonym: that's right, they agreed to let her do most of the talking Wildbow: They're ~surrounded~ by mostly mute people acting as tools. Wildbow: The clairvoyant, doormaker, the custodian, countless deviants. Wildbow: The slug. - Wildbow on IRC, archived on Spacebattles
↑“You need to narrow it down,” the Number Man said. “Help me find the trouble.”
His voice resulted in an outcry, the people in the cells nearest him realizing he was there, shouting, swearing, insulting him in twenty-nine different languages.
He ignored the shouting, instead extending his right hand. “Is it this floor? Yes…”
He extended his left hand, “Or no?”
The faintest brush of air touched his left hand, so faint he might not have felt it while he was walking.
↑Four copies of the Custodian appeared before us as we made our way into the fourth floor. Each moved slightly out of sync with the others as they moved their heads. It was only when the third and fourth moved that I realized just how they were moving their heads – raising their chins to look up.
“I know, my dear,” Satyr said. “How close?”
They didn’t respond. Instead, they disappeared. First one pair, then the remaining pair.
“Second floor basement,” Satyr said. “Scion is taking his time making his way down.” - Excerpt from Venom 29.6
↑I spread my bugs out through the area. Felt the Custodian flowing through the air, a little faster than before.
She flew towards me, and I flinched, taking a step back.
She repeated the process, looping back, then charging me.
This time, when I took a step back, it was on purpose. She’d done it a second time because she wanted me to take a second step. And a third, a fourth…
“Go,” I said. “This way. Move.”
We ran. I focused on my swarm, spreading the bugs out as much as I could behind us and in front of us.
Different cells sat at the end of the hallway. Bigger cells, arranged so that they faced the opposite direction, with paths leading in, then to the right, then back into the room.
Two-nine-three. An empty, unlabeled cell. Two-six-five. Two more empty, unlabeled cells.
Bastard shook his head again, opened his mouth in an almost yawning, lazy bite. I could sense the Custodian there, brushing by the side of his face.
I moved the swarm to block the other inmate’s view of us.
“Head-” I started, but Rachel was already making her way inside one of the empty cells. She’d put the pieces together. “…right.” - Excerpt from Venom 29.4
↑“That was the basic idea. But I’ll need to do something else,” I said. I turned off the effect around it, watched as it dissolved into smoke. “Custodian.”
I felt out with my bugs. She reached directly into the swarm, letting me feel the slow movement of her hand.
“Generally speaking, you think you could handle most of the ones out there?”
She slowly floated through my swarm. The movement of her head… was she shaking it? - Excerpt from Venom 29.5
↑ 9.09.1I was going to speak, when I noticed another presence. A non-presence. It was a shift of air currents that seemed unprovoked, affecting certain bugs when it should have touched other bugs in front or behind them.
The topographical sense I got from the movements of my bugs suggested a woman’s form, nude. It wasn’t entirely gone when another appeared across the room. The way they moved in sync- not two people. One person, if she could be called a person; a phantom, flowing through the space around me and the woman in the suit. - Excerpt from Scarab 25.5
↑ 10.010.1The Custodian, as well, loomed. There but not there, filling every space in the complex, moving not her physical body, because she had none, but her focus, as if that were a concrete object. - Excerpt from Interlude 27.x
A vast quantity. Filling empty spaces, overlapping.
A duplicator? I thought.
Like Velocity, the Brockton Bay Protectorate member who’d died against Leviathan. He’d been a fast cape, capable of outrunning vehicles, striking a hundred times in a minute. But that came at the expense of a limited ability to affect the world.
The Custodian was the same.
She was weak, standalone, barely a wisp of air. And she couldn’t turn it off. Couldn’t get back to a state where she was fully material, capable of affecting the world normally.
But she duplicated, combined her strength, made hundreds of herself, thousands…
She tore into the crowd like an elemental force. My bugs could feel the air ripple, felt prisoners get thrown into cells.
Felt the blood, the limbs being bent in ways that wasn’t possible, when they refused to be thrown.
Energy attacks cut through the open air, and she barely slowed down.
The remaining special case fifty-threes from the floor below started to attack, to use abilities I couldn’t quantify as sound or fire or lightning, and the Custodian let hundreds of duplicates disappear in her attempts to get out of the way. - Excerpt from Venom 29.5
↑ 12.012.1He leveraged the telekinetic power, slashing his hand out to one side. The desk moved like a bullet-
-And stopped, no more than a hair from the wall.
The Custodian, invisible but to his other senses, gently set it down.
↑Custodian basically is like the guy Number Man fought in his interlude. She's a reality-breaking Case 53. Rather than get brainwashed/contained, she took on a role within Cauldron. She occupies all space within an area, but her strength is diffuse. - Wildbow on Reddit