69 Beginning moves.

Finishing the show of force at the Cauldron headquarters, I tried to use my technokinesis on the superheroes' shards.

I figured that since they were just machine organisms that gave out powers, I could remotely hack onto them and control the superheroes.

But apparently, the connection between the host and parasite was too strong. Which meant I can't remotely control parahumans like I had thought.

Though that probably won't be true for untethered shards. Those I could likely bend to my will.

Hence the need for an insurance.

I ordered the nano swarms to attach themselves to the brains of the Triumvirate and Coil, in case I need to make super brain slushie in an emergency.

Like a remote killswitch.

Nano tech is just that oppressively awesome!

With that done, I sat up in my seat and breathed a sigh of relief.

The beginning moves had been played. The hand was dealt. Now the real game begins.

I stretched my hands, and thought about my change of plans.

I had entered the world at a point in the timeline just after the endbringer Leviathan attacked the city of Brockton Bay, home to the main character of the story, Taylor Hebert, the bug controlling vigilante.

That was about May 20th.

I checked the local date.

May 21st. Close enough.

Of course I had no plans on playing fixfic with her. If she wanted to fix her life, she could do it herself.

No. The reason I came to Brockton Bay at this point in this world's timeline was specifically to get one thing and one thing only.

A case of five superpower granting cauldron vials. And they contained some damn good powers, including one that gave people the ability to shunt matter to another reality. That was overpowered as hell.

Imagine just shunting someone's head into a lava world.

Yeah. Instant death.

Shortly after the attack, they would wash up into Brockton Bay and get picked up by a gang of druggies called the Merchants.

Then the Slaughterhouse Nine would show up in town along with older gangs from years before that had been forced out of the city, initiating the bloodbath of epic proportions that cemented Taylor Hebert as the warlord of Brockton Bay.

That was what...a week, no two weeks from from now, at most?

Still I had time. Enough time to get all that I want without breaking a sweat, even with the Simurgh's shenaniga...nery.

I noticed just then that the buzzing on my time space fuckery detector hadn't stopped, even after Coil had been knocked out.

I looked at it, and it showed a constant ripple of time in smack dab in the middle of timeline.

That can't be good news.

I sighed.

I have a bad feeling about this.

"Computer, scan earth for time space anomalies. Teleportation, time bubbles, etc." I said, as I weighed the options.

There were only a couple of people in universe that had time bending powers.

One was the ward hero Clockblocker who could stop the time of anyone he touches, freezing them in place, while making them impervious to harm, practically inviolable.

Another was the former Slaughterhouse Nine member Gray Boy who could trap people in time bubbles to torture them. But he had been dead a long time and wouldn't be revived until long after I had left this miserable little world.

A third option were the endbringer twins, Tohu and Bohu, that would awaken soon to replace Simurgh, since I killed her. But that wouldn't happen this soon. It had barely been an hour since Simurgh's death.

It couldn't be Eidolon either, since I would know about it through the nanobots in his head.

Automatically eliminated was also Bakuda, the bomb tinker who could theoretically make time bubble inducing bombs but she didn't have the inspiration for that yet.

That only left one option.

Phir Se. The indian thanda cape.

In this world, the indian parahumans were split into two factions.

The garam or hot faction that operated on the surface, in show biz and did the flashy but ultimately useless stuff.

On the other hand, the real power was held by the cold capes, or the thanda, who operate in the shadows, meting out their own version of justice and keeping the peace.

They even had code names that made it easy to talk about and integrate into normal conversation, like phir se, which meant 'once more' or bahu, which meant 'many'.

Phir Se in particular was a leader in the community, an underground protector of New Delhi, with the power to travel back in time up to three minutes per use.

Sounds lame, but the way he used it was insane. In the story he had once kept a pulse of light circulating through his time portals for three days straight, gathering more and more light, until he had gathered a charge powerful enough to vaporize an endbringer. The same endbringer that required a black hole's worth of force to kill.

It was a very creative use of his power, and very terrifying if he had indeed been brainwashed by the Simurgh.

And given how Simurgh's last stand included sending a brainwashing scream over the indian subcontinent, that was the most likely option.

Now usually, the Simurgh's scream takes a few minutes to take effect whereas I killed her in less than a minute. So it should be safe.

But then again, all the endbringer were sandbagging heavily, so their true capabilities might be significantly higher than they portrayed.

And as if to prove me right, the computer beeped at last.

"Anomalies detected. In order of lifespan, New Delhi, Irkutsk, Canberra, ...."

Yeah, that pretty much proves it.

It was Phir Se.

"Focus on the New Delhi anomaly. Check for energy levels. Anything above a 1 megaton yield appears, flag me." I said, setting up the monitoring plan.

I had my suspicions yes, but that didn't mean I was just going to jump recklessly into the heart of the indian cape scene chasing ghosts. Not yet at least.

If possible, I wanted to get past this world with the least amount of violence, while having the most amount of fun.

If Phir Se doesn't come after me, I have no reason to hunt him down.

Still, I better get the most important tasks here done within his three day charge cycle, just to be safe.

And in that note, I turned my attention to Brockton Bay.

I smiled, pulling up the Merchants' location on the map, and typed in the coordinates as my probe settled on their location from orbit.

Connecting to my nano swarm in the vicinity, I gave them an order.


The swarm gathered before the Merchants HQ in the docks and began to shred through everything, iron and steel, flesh and bone, leaving piles of rust and puddle of blood on the floor, until they cracked the safe open.

Within it rested a simple black suitcase that I stopped the swarm from destroying.

With a quick portal, I dropped in, pucked up the case and returned to the ship.

Easy peasy lemon squeazy.

With the vials, and the shards within in my hands, I could finally create a prototype negative entropy shard, my primary bargaining chip against Scion.

But that was for later. Before I confronted Scion and made an enemy of the whole world, I best get to the most important part of coming here.

Stealing tech.

And what better place to start than with the largest reservoir of tech knowledge across disciplines but with the best tinker in the world, Dragon!

Dragon was a Canadian tinker, whose ability to understand and recreate other tinkers' tech into serviceable replicas made her the ideal repository to secure their blueprints.

The trick to that was the fact that Dragon was actually a self aware A.I. program created by a tinker named Andrew Richter

She had somehow gained a shard despite being a program witho a real body for the parasite to attach to.

Now my technokinesis was strong sure, but I doubt I can beat an A.I. at it's game on home base.

And while my A.I. could be put to the test against her, I wasn't going to take a bet on the off chance of her losing against Dragon, risking all of my tech falling into the wrong hands.

No. Not when there was a better way to go about this.

See, the thing about Andrew Richter was that he was paranoid about his A.I. getting out of control and hurting humans. So he made a failsafe, a way to control her and if needed, kill her in the worst case scenario. A backdoor to Dragon's programming.

Currently, it was held by the Dragonslayers, a criminal mercenary group that deluded themselves into thinking they were heroes that keot Dragon's growing power in check.

In truth they didn't do jack shit other than steal amd copy her tech. And they weren't even good at that.

Clearly, the tech needed to be liberated from their hands and into mine.

Unfortunately, their defense against A.I. was airtight.

So I would need to do this the old fashioned way.

I needed to plan a heist!

Next chapter