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Hope Through Overwhelming Firepower

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“It seems like just yesterday I was assuming my powers didn't extend beyond Energy Projection and an Enhanced Physique.” Taylor commented to the empty air. “Now look where I am. And I still haven't gotten an actual costume by now.”

It had been approximately fifteen minutes since Leviathan had been driven off, and Armsmaster had stalked off in anger.

Taylor sighed. That was going to be something she would be dealing with for a while longer.

She had been shuffled off through the crowds of well-wishers to the Protectorate headquarters where she now resided in a sparsely furnished waiting room.

The door opened. “Buster, the Director will see you now.” A female PRT officer spoke in.

Taylor nodded, and followed the woman.

They walked in silence for a moment, before the PRT officer began to speak. “You know, I just want to thank you for what you and Armsmaster did out there. I have a sister who's a Parahuman, and she very well might have died out there if not for you.”

Taylor smiled. “You're welcome. But it's not like either of us could have done that without Eidolon freezing the waves, or Alexandria showing up to actually drive it off.”

The officer shook her head. “I would never discount the efforts of all the other Parahumans in that battle. Undoubtedly, you all played a part. But, it was no bigger a part than they ever played. It was Armsmaster who fought Leviathan single handedly for the better part of three minutes, and then it was you who ultimately enabled the first Endbringer battle without a single fatality in... Ever.”

Taylor sighed. “I just feel like the world is going to put more credit on my shoulders than I really deserve.” She could acknowledge that the majority of the reason for the battle having such an incredible result was from her efforts, even Armsmaster's life saving efforts during the latter half would have been impossible without her enhancing Armsmaster's programs. But there were other people who helped.

“Gonna be blunt, kid, you're probably going to get it.” The PRT officer replied. “The world is gonna see you holding down Leviathan so Alexandria can stab it, and that's it. By tomorrow, no one who wasn't there is going to remember anyone but you, Alexandria, and maybe Armsmaster had any impact on that battle whatsoever.”

“You're probably right.” Taylor grumbled.

They walked in silence for a few more moments, before arriving at the door to Piggot's office.

The officer nodded at her, and Taylor entered.

Piggot was currently talking on the phone with someone indeterminate. “I'll have to get back to you.” Piggot spoke into the phone, before pushing a point on the screen and setting it aside. “Buster, we meet again.”

“Yes ma'am.” Taylor replied.

“This is our third meeting. And each time we meet, you've done something even more ridiculous than the last. Are you planning to take out Scion for our fourth?” Piggot questioned with a raised eyebrow.

“I don't plan on it, at least.”

“And yet, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. I find it hard to believe anyone's plans are in much of state worth talking about by this point.” Piggot commented, before switching topics. “To get to the point, I wish to formally invite you to join the Wards once more. The Chief Director has even offered to perform the swearing in ceremony, if you wish.”

Taylor could guess that if she refused once more, things were likely to become... difficult for her. It was unlikely they would directly move against her, but she could easily see them becoming very obstructionist.

Not that she really had anything against joining the Wards anymore. “That was actually what I was originally going to request of you, before the whole Shadow Stalker debacle. So, yes, I will join the Wards.”

Piggot appeared to ease slightly at that pronouncement. “Good to hear. Now, I'm afraid there is some paperwork you are required to fill out.” Piggot dumped a large packet of papers onto her desk.

Taylor groaned slightly.

-

An hour of filling out forms later, and Taylor was finally released to go home.

Nothing was official until she brought her father in to sign a few things as well. But, unless her father was adamantly against the concept, she was effectively a Ward now.

“How much one's life can change in a week...” Taylor muttered to herself as she walked into her home.

“You think? I woke up to an average morning, and naught but a few hours later my daughter is fighting side by side with Alexandria against Leviathan.” Her Dad replied from his position in front of the family computer.

He was scrolling through the page Parahumans Online had on her.

“Dad, when did you get home?” Taylor questioned.

“About half an hour before you did.” He answered. Suddenly, his eyes widened in horror. “You did what?” He stood and demanded of her.

Taylor winced; he was on the section about the ABB incident. “I... presume you're talking about the whole Bakuda thing?”

Bakuda thing?” He questioned with a hiss. “You were standing there and letting a mad woman bomb you and you call it a 'thing'?”

“Dad, I understand that you're angry that I let myself be bombed there, but what else was I supposed to do? Miss Militia and Earthshock would have died otherwise.” Taylor replied.

“But I don't care about them, I care about you.” He answered, and then fell back in the computer chair with a sigh. “When did you become such a martyr, Taylor?” He chuckled self disparagingly. “Look at me, forced to search the internet for information on my own daughter’s life.” Her father ran a hand over his face. “What happened, Taylor?”

Taylor sighed, and sat down. “It all started after I came back from that summer camp...”