Actions

Work Header

Cold Lights

Chapter Text

Meganopteryx asked: "Forgive me if I've already asked this, but if I was a superhuman, what power do you think I would have? And the side effect? ... I know powers aren't related to personalities though... but I still want to know what you'd pick."


An ability to induce entropy in things.

 

At a touch, things start to degrade, hairline fractures form, patterns start to become random. Things age and warp, falling apart and withering as you exert your power. Mould and mildew spread like frost over surfaces, metal tarnishes and starts to disintegrate. You don’t want to know what happens when you use it on something, or someone who’s alive.

The thought frightens you, but not as much as the whispers. Things creak and rustle, and no-one else can hear. You can. You can tell how fragile this is, and can see where just a small touch of your power would bring it all crashing to the ground. Every complicated system whispers at you, begging to be eroded and destroyed. You hear the creak of the metal fatigue in your bedsprings as you lay down to sleep at night.

Sometimes, when you overuse your power, you cough up dust. Your skin cracks, and fine sand pours out when you move. You can’t even feel it when it happens.

 

Art by Meganopteryx.

Chapter Text

crimson-mage asked: "You know, I think I'd rather let the Cold Lights decide my power than you. And the Cold Lights sound terrifying."


 

IS THIS AN INVITATION?

 

When you close your eyes, you can still see the world outlined in sound and vibration. The low buzz of the concrete, the whine of the asphalt and the creaking of glass and steel in the wind fill your mind’s eye with a picture more detailed than the one you get with your eyes open.

The sound of worms moving beneath the soil, scratching their way through burrows, is oddly soothing. Insects rattle and flutter their way around as you turn your head, listening to the slow croon of your blood moving through your veins. The drip and creak of aged plumbing rises like a symphony as a kettle is filled in a building behind you. You take a deep breath of the city air, take a step forwards and dive into the road.

You slide through the earth, the silken noise of it closing behind you filling your altered ears. The first time you used your powers, you ended up trapped underground in a hollow space barely large enough to contain yourself. It took agonising minutes that felt like hours to calm down enough to reactivate your powers and make it to the surface.

You surface, blinking in the bright sunlight. You look down at the translucent spines piercing the surface of your skin, and realise what that itchy feeling was.

 

Art by Crimson-Mage

Chapter Text

thehappinessmachine asked: "DO ME what powers would I have, and how dangerous would I be in Chiasmata-verse?"


 

Okay.

 

Everyone has their own light, flickering in their chests.

The glow of joy, the glint of grief, the vibrancy of a creative light. Beautiful and terrifying and wondrous and unique. You know people better than they know themselves, and to see the breadth and vastness of humanity, towering colossi of emotion, of joy and grief and laughter and tears. The most wondrous of prophets, the most depraved of monsters, their hearts are lain bare to your gaze. The rest of the world lost its colour shortly after you got your Sight, fading into monochrome against the breadth and depth of emotion.

You can see in the gifted where the power meets the original light, a fusion of something alien and something familiar, something warm and human against something cold, a Light that fell from the sky and burrowed into their being. A scintillating fusion of glittering human and iridescent power, residing within one person.

Sometimes, you look around at all the people walking around you through their dreary lives, see their souls in all their unique majesty, and you just can’t help yourself.

It’s too tempting.

You reach out, and snuff one out like a candle.

 

Art by Friday (thehappinessmachine)

Chapter Text

terminallydraconic asked: "Oh man. I probably shouldn't ask and I think I might regret this but now I really want to know what kind of power I'd have."


 

TEMPT FATE HARDER.

 

Potential fire is all around. You feel it as surely as if you are teetering on the edge of an abyss, and it would be so easy to see the flames in real life as well. Everything smells like smoke. Out of the corner of your eyes, you see flames flicker over burnt buildings, see people reduced to bone by living flames.

You keep telling yourself it’s not real, that it’s all in your head. The fire isn’t real. It was never real, and the crackling noise - the noise that rises and falls as your control does - and dark whispering of fire and brimstone never quite goes away. There are days when everything tastes of wet ash, and you can feel burning deep beneath your skin. There are days when not even standing for hours in the rain, watching it steam as it touches your skin, can dampen the visions of conflagration.

You could just let it all catch fire. You’d be a monster and they’d destroy you, but you would be at peace. You would be at home in the dust and ash, and you wouldn’t be restraining a monster beneath your surface. The inferno rests, and even in its slumber, it is almost too much to resist.

You can only imagine how difficult it would be if it awoke.

 

Art by Minty

Chapter Text

anonymous asked: "What would a man named Anonymous have, powerwise? One would think they'd be a mindhive able to influence thoughts on a mass scale, seen in things like Ruby Quest."


 

You are Anonymous.

 

It’s hardly even a name. A client once used it to refer to you and it stuck.

Your mind flits through a crowd, barely alighting on someone’s consciousness before jumping again, landing on someone else. You have a short range, but with enough skill and timing, you can get anywhere as a passenger in someone else’s mind.

You feel a sudden painful itching, distant and faint. It’s your meat body, its skin peeling in patches as the downside of your power comes to the fore. You sigh inwardly. The mission is much more important than a little dry skin and crawling discomfort.

Your host is now in an elevator, alone, and the nearest people are out of your range. You sigh impatiently with someone else’s lungs, and take on the disposition of a disinterested commuter until the lift gets close enough to someone for you to jump ship.

No-one notices you in their minds, save those who have powers of their own, and not even most of them. Once, when you were flitting through an SCU like an insubstantial ghost, you were caught. A young man with eyes like emerald flame looked straight through the shell you were wearing and grinned. You awoke suddenly in your own body, your heart pounding and a cold shiver spreading up your spine.

You are Anonymous. You are mostly infallible, and you always find what you are looking for.

Chapter Text

nuclearinsanity (who hadn't got a Tumblr at the time this was asked) asked: "This is Nuclearinsanity. I rather want to know about a power for lil' old me. I don't mind nasty, as long as powerful comes with it."


 

No-one will ever find you.

You cut a hole in it and crawled away into a space where nothing was except remembered things that twist and writhe and form new monsters carved from creativity and the bones of a civilisation. These are the catacombs of detritus, replete with ancient masonry and modern garbage, from mesoamerican carvings to burnt-out cars.

Steel and glass and concrete tower in columns towards a mist-hidden ceiling, and stone flagstones overgrown with creeping vines of glass and copper underfoot. Flowers made of steel and oil send black rivulets down the sides of the trunks of the concrete pillars, the concrete tree trunks replete with creeping plastic moss.

You hear things slithering around in the darkness, vast spooled things made of wires and stones and fractured glass, glittering in the half-light at the edge of your vision. They are as big as buildings, and their mouths are full of teeth like shattered windows and trail ropes of oily drool. Smaller creatures clamber around on creaking steel legs, rustling with whispers and bristling with spines made from crushed aluminium cans.

They are yours.

A single wave of the hand brings metal spiders as large as cats running, trailing the plastic entrails of some unfortunate beast.

Everything is yours.

A gesture brings groaning, shuddering new trees bursting from the pavement, shedding marble fragments carved with the images of forgotten gods. They spear off into the distant fog, sending boulders the size of cars crashing down from the distant, invisible ceiling.

This is your domain.

You walk for miles through the ghostly fog and glittering mist, watching flocks of plastic bags flitting through the vaulted ceilings far above your head. You are never fatigued nor famished, and the doors back into the world of the sun are always right around the corner, where you decide they are.

No-one will find you.

 

Art by me.

Chapter Text

megarock35 asked: "WAIT you're giving out powers I WANT POWERS"


 

Are you sure?

 

Everything has a price. For every second you travel at impossible speeds, sharp translucent ridges slide out from under your flesh like opalescent fins.

You can reach out, without moving, and grab the world by its edges.

Time is suspended, with the only motion endless flickering dark shapes on the edge of your vision. If you lean further on the surface of the universe, time begins to slide slowly backwards, and brittle flakes of sharp powder begin sloughing off your fins, and you feel your bones warping, your spine hunching and your vision dimming as second eyelids slip over your eyes.

Objects and people slowly, elegantly, move back to their older positions, like clockwork figures on rails. You can maybe buy thirty seconds at the limit of your power, and you can move so fast that your vision fills with blue and your nose fills with the scent of ozone and burnt hair. You once tried throwing a tennis ball in slowed time. It stopped as soon as it left your hand, and when time resumed it went off like a grenade, leaving a crater in the ground as large as a car. You’re only ever doing that again in an emergency.

Sometimes, it’s a beautiful sight, to see the world slowly slipping backwards. Sometimes it’s terrifying.

For some things, it’s too late to change what happens.

Chapter Text

finalvortex asked: "I'm totally down to receive an exciting, yet horrifying, superhuman ability."


 

Excellent.

 

The air moves, and things move through it.

It whirls around you and through you, the roaring of blood and the wheeze of your lungs. You can almost see fountains of air leaving people’s mouths and noses, like a cold day, like coiling mist. Ripples and vibrations pour from their tongues, filling every empty space with the motion of air and the passage of breeze. It slides over every surface like silk. You could close your eyes and feel the ripples, see the world around you in beautiful motion as the air moves through it.

The air is yours. It swirls and gathers, moving around things, letting you feel them, then letting you turn the air sharp, hardening its edges and flaying concrete, scoring metal. Flakes of glass, bits of soil and chunks of steel are carried along with the air, and you can feel every single one. Each piece can tear more material from walls, from floors, from buildings - all the while held aloft by the beautiful flowing contours of pressure in the air. You can open your eyes to see the glittering swarm, curves and sharp edges of detritus, flowing through the sky like flocks of strange birds. As you exert yourself, you can feel yourself unwinding, coming looser at the edges, skin fracturing, flesh turning to smoke, pouring endlessly out into the sky, becoming one with your creations.

It is art you are creating, and if someone is foolish enough to get in your way, too bad for them. A splash of colour won’t go amiss among your flock, among your sharp-edged masterpiece.

Chapter Text

Hob asked: "Is it too late to request powers?"


 

Well it is now. But not at the time you signed up.
Or something. I dunno, I may re-open in future.

 

The best laid plans oft go to waste.

Each and every event sends ripples, sends vibrations into the future. Everything that happens, every event that occurs, it emphasises the future. Like a flash of light in a room so deep and dark that you cannot see the other side. Flickers of motion are illuminated, edged in golden light, indistinct.

You see the silhouette of a man walking down a street, etched onto the possible future, along with a dozen others. The man is your friend, a greater emotional connection making the future sharper. Blurry visions of the theoretical - shown by the echoes of your footsteps - cover the street, but sometimes you need a sharper view. Out of one of your deep pockets comes a plastic bottle, and you drop it on the pavement. A second later, the shadow of someone picking it up and putting it in a bin, the trail of her actions clear along the street for a dozen steps before fading back into the indecision of the hypothetical.

Your musings about recycling are interrupted by a burning pain in the side of your head. You curse, and gingerly reach up to your head, where another horn curls up through your skin. Darn. If you’re going to be wandering around like a hobo, dropping things on the ground and picking them up again, you’d rather do it without random spiral horns poking out of your head. Maybe you need a hat.

Some of the images have been worse. You once saw a car careen off the road, outlined and flickering in every piece of wreckage. You tried to stop it repeatedly, more frantic every time, until you saw it was no use, each change merely shifting a piece of debris, or moving the car from one storefront to another. You ended up calling an ambulance a few minutes before the accident happened, and later that day, a good deal of your teeth fell out, replaced by strange twisted bony things that you could barely chew with.

The people from the accident will make a full recovery - and nowadays a lone figure wanders the streets just after dawn, trying to change the future.

Chapter Text

luvianblue asked: "Well, I'll try sending this again then. Since both you and Meganopteryx have essentially said "Do eeet".... If I found myself on the receiving end of certain, falling lights.... wat happen? ᴵ ʳᵉᵃᶫᶫʸ ʰᵒᵖᵉ ᴵ ᵈᵒᶰ'ᵗ ʳᵉᵍʳᵉᵗ ᵗʰᶦˢ ᴰ﹕"


 

I wouldn't dream of making you regret this.

 

You used to be lonely.

Then your gifts manifested, and you then had as many friends as you could make, carved out of flesh and sinew that bubbled from your skin, dripped from your fingers.

You try to make them look like people, but it hardly works. Sometimes you lose concentration, and your latest child gets a mouth propped open by inch-long, twisted teeth. Sometimes you forget the eyelids, or the nostrils. You don’t think they mind, it’s not like they know different from the typical grey and scaly. That’s what humans look like, right? You forget sometimes, living down here in the sewers.

They’re your friends, your subjects and… And sometimes your army, your “gang”. You need the parts, you know this. And you can’t bring yourself to melt down any of your friends! And you can normally make do! It’s just the occasional person, you can totally make do on rats and stray cats and stuff most of the time! But it’s only most of the time, and occasionally someone has to disappear. Your friends need it.

You used to be alone, and now you have all the friends you’d ever need.

 

Art by Luvian

Chapter Text

everanix asked: "Can I be the next one to ask what my powers would be in the Geneverse :v"


 

You SURE CAN.

 

It’s very dark, and the sound of water trickling echoes through the spaces inside your head. Earth crunches between your teeth - stone and flint and chalk and and and… Worms. Worms move through your midsection, they are part of you and they move at your command and the concrete is… Cracks and splatters sound as you shed the skin of soil and stone and step through a wall, leaving the other side as a creature of polished marble, creaking in your totality, creaking in your ears, creaking and cracking as you move while you shouldn’t. You trip, and everything goes black.

You wake up face down in a fountain, the dim sound of water rushing filling your ears. You roll over and sit up and feel the burning of evaporation, as layer upon layer of your skin is flayed off by the breeze and sun and you want to get away and get away and and you open your mouth and gurgle. A scream through water. Running across the courtyard with feet of stone. You frantically dive through a metal door, coming out the other side with the ringing of tortured metal in your ears.

You slump to the floor. You are safe for the moment, a steel statue silently weeping save for the cacophony in their head as steel tendons stretch over steel bones and steel sinew. You idly scrape dried paint from the back of one of your hands.

You just want to get somewhere quiet, once in a while.

 

Art by Nix.

Chapter Text

squornshellous-beta asked: "May I have a power?"


 

You may.

 

You know where things are, a sense of space and distance that you can still feel when you close your eyes.

Everything is a complicated mesh of shapes and weights and masses, and you can see how easy it is to just give it a little twist, to shift this, pull at that and with a gentle creaking noise and a rush of displaced air, the world changes. You can fold a street back on itself, see the endless reflections of yourself stretch off into the infinite horizon. You can walk through walls, the shapes creaking and breaking like tissue paper, rows of paving stones orbiting you like little flat satellites, plucked from the ground with all the ease of gathered flowers.

It isn’t all easy. You move your hand, deflecting the flow from a burst pipe in a pleasing arc, and with a sickening crunch your arm gains another elbow - halfway between the previous one and your wrist. Another series of clicks extend your fingers a couple of joints, and the sensation is unpleasant enough to almost drop what you are doing.

All power seems to come with a price, but walking up walls and bending space so tightly the light goes red?

Coiling lamp posts, twisting buildings, bending people like a psychic with spoons?

That’s worth much, much more than what you paid.

Chapter Text

stevenquartzuniversal asked: "Hey what power would I have? Something psychic preferably. (I was told to come to you)"


 

Something psychic, you say?

 

People are easier to read now. You can read them like books. You can tell what they’re thinking. It’s almost written on their faces. Every lie, every falsehood, plain as day. It’s all written in words that only you can see. You scratch the words into the walls of dark places, your fingers tracing bloody purple lines onto the stone, where they glow faintly.

You stay in dark places so people can’t see your new eyes. Or new tongue.

You learned to write the words into people’s thoughts, making them dance to your little tune and say the words you want them to. They don’t resist, because how can they? Their minds are yours. Their words are beholden to you now. Words are power, and you - the one of the words - can change everything. You don’t use words yourself, aloud.

They’re too powerful to waste. There are things out there older and more powerful than words, and you have no idea what you can do against them.

You control the words, but what can be done about things that have no words to control?

 

Art by Jeff

Chapter Text

minitiate asked: "Uh hey can I get on queue for powers requests?"


 

YOU CAN.

 

There’s a feel you have for things that sound right. You hum and the earth and city around you sings back to you, an infinite multitude of voices raised in unison.

You reach out, and that which is pure rises from the ground, singing softly as it reaches the surface in glittering rivulets. you pull it out of oxides, out of sands, out of pipes. You clench your fist and the glinting cloud of dust collapses into a ball about the size of a grapefruit, glowing red with heat as it starts to melt.

You hum again, and the lump of metal hovering before you hums too, calling more metal to it. There’s a rattle as a drinks can bounces across the pavement and leaps into the sphere before you, along with a tinkle of nuts and bolts and the creak of a nearby window fitting. You hum again, almost under your breath and the sounds in your head increase tenfold, bouncing off the metal frames of buildings and slowly starting to drag a parked car across the tarmac.

The metal before you is now about the size of your torso, bolstered by the contents of a garbage can from a nearby alleyway. It keeps growing, and with every murmur you make, it sings in a voice only you can hear, calling to its siblings, making metal sing throughout the city. Its surface glows a deep orange now, and its singing sounds louder, stronger. You can feel its heat upon your skin.

You smile. A good start, considering that there’s so much more metal to go.

You can hear its voice, calling out for freedom.

 

Art by Minty

Chapter Text

scalydweeb asked: "If, uh, there aren't any restrictions for requesting powers... Well, if you have the time, may I please have one? Take your time, 'salright..."


 

There are secretly millions.

 

Concentrating hard, you reach out your cupped hands and drop the paperclip you had been working on. It hisses through the air beneath the balcony and strikes the concrete with a sound like a gunshot, a spiderweb of cracks almost three feet across surrounding the impact site. You reach behind you for one of the bowling balls, holding it out in front of you with no small difficulty. You let it go, and it floats slowly off, drifting in the breeze.

After a moment, you clench your fist, and the ball plummets. You’re going to find it pretty difficult to explain the craters in your backyard to any guests, and the neighbours have been complaining about the noise, but it doesn’t matter. You have things to do, and it’s fun to experiment.

The broom handle you now have in your hand weighs, well, as much as a broom handle. But the effect that a twelve-tonne broom handle has on other things is profound. As you drag the pole along the ground behind you, the pavement buckles and splinters, a shower of sparks scattering from the ultradense wood. A single poke puts an impressive dent in a dumpster, and you manage - leaning heavily on the pole - to sink it almost completely into the road with a series of crunching noises.

You’ve tried to see how far your power can go, standing in a carpark, feeling your ears pop as the air pressure increases, seeing the light around the pebble you were holding go dark red as space bent around its terrifying new mass, but feeling nothing more than the weight of a solitary pebble in your outstretched hand. You remember the sharp, stabbing pains as moist vents opened like mouths in your skin, hundreds of whisper-thin white tendrils blindly waving in the air as the noxious steam exuded from your skin.

Once you stopped screaming, you decided not to overstretch your powers like that ever again. Then you read a lot of books about black holes.

 

Art by Vi.

Chapter Text

Bobert asked: "Yo K25ff! What superpower would I hypothetically have?"


 

Hopefully, a cool one.

 

It’s a fundamental truth of reality that larger things are made of smaller things. These too are made of smaller constituents, ad infinitum. You have learnt this more thoroughly over the past weeks, the past months, than you would ever want to know.

There’s a creaking noise as all the rivets pop out of the door, and a rattle as they fall to the ground. You kick the door over, and it lands with a clang, letting light into the old factory.

A sudden noise behind some of the machinery, and your power lashes out like a rattlesnake, reacting to your surprise. You hear a soft noise as a small animal, probably a rat, gets unraveled like a skein of wool, the various liquefied organs landing on the concrete floor with a splatter. You feel bile rise in your throat, and hurriedly walk deeper into the factory, trying to forget what your power felt and what you saw. Remain calm. Stay focused.

Reaching the centre of the production floor, you look around. What you came here for is obviously not here, and you can’t see it in the wrecks of fabrication machines and mangled car parts and whatever. Damnit! You growl and kick one of the wrecked machines, your power shimmering over it as it collapses into a pile of loose parts.

But machines are made of smaller parts than that. Each of the pieces of metal fractures suddenly into tiny crystals, and another flash of viridian energy reduces those to an impossibly fine dust. You stand in the middle of a ruined factory, breathing heavily as the monoatomic dust from a wrecked machine drifts round your ankles. You stare at your hands with mounting horror as thick, hexagonal green scales slowly rise from beneath your skin, spreading down your arms like ink in water.

You never pulled something apart so completely until today, and now you don’t know if you want to.

Chapter Text

alexwiththehat asked: "Here's an ask. See you in a few months."


 

I’ll have you know that I answered this WITHIN MINUTES.

 

You’re lost.

This place looks exactly like your hometown and yet you’re lost. You tread the pitted asphalt, stepping gingerly over clusters of rocky barnacles the size of tennis balls, looking around at the dark green sky and its slowly writhing clouds. The air is filled with the low rumble of distant thunder, and while the buildings are the right shape, the stone and brick they’re made of is pitted, as if eaten away by acid, and there are patches of the same barnacles that cover most of the road.

You close your eyes and try to shut out the sounds, from the all-too-nearby rustling behind the broken windows of a store nearby, to the low groaning of the fleshy clouds as they drop their hail of human teeth onto this strange, alien city. You take a step forwards, and set it down on a different city’s road, a spongy greyish-green substance that almost squelches as you walk across it. The buildings around you now resemble vaguely-artificial piles of pale yellow coral, thousands of tendrils moving slowly in the still, humid air. This version of your hometown is dead silent, save for the gentle creaking noises as dark shapes move slowly under your skin, the consequence of venturing this far from the light of the sun.

You tread slowly away from this version of your town, upstream through the layers and layers of alternatives, stopping at the cracked tarmac of a road strewn with wrecked vehicles, overgrown with moss and long grass. On the pavements, in the wrecked stores, in the broken cars are statues of people, eroded by time, their faces barely visible, frozen at the moment that you stepped away from the real world. Time doesn’t pass here, down in the layers.

You inhale deeply, then take a faltering step forwards into the light and bustle of the real world.

 

image

Art by Alex