Fanfiction – Taylor Varga

Taylor Varga by mp3.1415player

Length: 2,058,592 words
Status: Ongoing
Crossover: Worm + Luna Varga (but with the assumption nobody but the author has seen Luna Varga)

Today’s fic is a doozy and not just for its eye-opening length. Like the stories by mp3.1415player on my review TODO list, it’s excellent on its own merits. (Among other things, it feels as if at least 95% of all memorable moments in the Worm fanfiction I’ve read come from this story.)

Being so long, it’s one of those stories where more than just the plot evolves over time… so I’ll discuss it in segments. There will be things that are technically spoilers but, because this fic is so much about the journey, I don’t think knowing the high-level details ruin anything.

When things start out, it’s Yet Another Alternative Trigger Fic (Buffy the Vampire Slayer fandom has YAHF (Yet Another Halloween Fic), so I think I can make a mild commentary on the prevalence of alternative triggers). Being a Luna Varga crossover, as you might expect, Taylor winds up stuck with a tail and body-sharing with/changing into a Godzilla knock-off.

However, that’s where things diverge. If there’s one summary that would fit the entire story, it’s “What would happen if you dropped an Outside Context Problem into the Worm setting on the side of good?” …very much so. Taylor Varga is essentially a fix-fic that doesn’t feel like a fix-fic. It’s a story that could be summed up as “destiny trolls the Worm setting”. It’s a light, character-centric story that’s a lot of fun.

Just look at what Director Piggot has to say about informing the Chief Director:

“I was really hoping to have more to tell her than ‘I don’t know what the fuck is going on but it’s scaly and snickers a lot‘ though. Never mind this entire damn Coil problem.”

Taylor Varga, Chapter 98

…and yes, them thinking that Coil is a problem is a result of Coil’s problem status being neutralized. More specifically, because Taylor is now bonded to a magic alien dinosaur demon, she doesn’t quite follow the same laws of physics anymore, which causes a ton of problems for any thinker abilities that would otherwise make it difficult to write a fix-fic which runs off the canon rails as gleefully as this one does over its couple-million-word run. In Coil’s case, he spends the first half of the fic hiding in his bunker, bothering nobody, as he desperately tries to figure ouy why timelines where he meddles keep ending in black voids.

Of course, it it were just a Luna Varga crossover, that’d be too simple. Whatever “Greater Power” decided to hijack Taylor’s trigger event also unshackled Varga’s abilities… watch out Brockton Bay, Taylor Hebert is now an infinitely variable dinosaur (her words, not mine) with a human-form tail hidden under a magical Somebody Else’s Problem Field and a permanent new best friend with a questionable sense of appropriate humor.

So, yes. Stage one in the story is Taylor Hebert or, more correctly, “Saurial” the anthropomorphic velociraptor girl, wandering around Brockton Bay and stopping crime she bumps into while she gets used to her changed situation… and then starting to experiment with other forms. Enter PHO. Playing into people’s preconceptions because it’s fun and/or helps keep a secret identity will be a recurring theme.

Combine that with yet another twist on “The locker incident leads to Taylor and Danny manoeuvring Blackwell into a corner” and Taylor winds up at Arcadia where a chance encounter (Amy Dallon trips over Taylor’s invisible tail and then Taylor unknowingly gives her a glimpse at her biology when offering her a hand up) and Taylor’s ambient Outside Context Problem-ness (which will be lampshaded later) lead to a new friendship for Taylor and Panacea finally accepting the idea that she needs some “me time”.

Throw in an incident with Taylor saving the Undersiders from Lung, and the stage is set for phase 2.

In Phase 2, Amy Dallon gets talked into actually using her abilities and, before you know it, Ianthe (Amy) and Metis (Lisa), the reptilian exo-suits made from repurposed onion biomass, are wandering around and PHO is inadvertently helping them to build a backstory about The Family, a species of reptilian aliens from deep time who H.P. Lovecraft might have taken inspiration from.

Phase 2 also involves a lot of “Let’s use fix-fic as a vehicle to troll the setting by way of varga magic” humour, including a supermaterial Varga can conjure up that he only knows as “the good stuff”.

This is also a fic where Taylor is so good at math that she arrives at Vista’s powers from another direction, and then makes a “desktop R’lyeh” as a gag gift for Danny which inspires Vista to unintentionally traumatize her classmates and teammates by discovering how to create Lovecraftian “monstrous geometry” using only a pencil and paper… and one where Taylor helps Amy realize that, if she creates a bioconstruct to do it for her, she can enhance herself, including her brain, and do so without the risk of wrecking something. (Something which, combined with Taylor bringing novelty wherever she goes, makes the shards of all Taylor’s growing circle of cape friends very happy… though Lisa isn’t particularly pleased with how much she’s inadvertently taught hers to feel smug when they start to sense their presence.)

Basically, once the story really gets going, it’s a fun character piece about three smart, wildly OP young women with offbeat senses of humour (one of whom is still clinging to the idea of being “the normal one”) slowly fixing the Worm setting with the power of trolling, confusion, unknowingly having moments of comically good luck, being genuinely good people, and being so visibly OP in their alternative identities that it completely stymies people who would plot against them.. (Gotta love stories where people are unarguably OP but it doesn’t hurt the story because “not even Superman can punch clinical depression”.)

If you’re thinking this sounds vaguely reminiscent of stories like Make A Wish by Rorschach’s Blot which rely heavily on “humour based around a gigantic misconception and that misconception slowly becoming reality by default”, you’d be right and this also inspired a slew of third-party contributions. In later chapters, look forward to omakes like “Saurial is not pleased that Odin from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is claiming her old hammer (Mjolnir) to be his own work” and spin-offs like The Long Slow Lizarding of Hermione Granger.

So, what would I rate it? Well, it gets a bit slow around the bit when they finally go in to dig out Coil, and I do think the omakes got a bit too numerous at points, but, overall, it’s still good enough that I’d probably give it a 4.9 out of 5. Definitely would recommend.

CC BY-SA 4.0 Fanfiction – Taylor Varga by Stephan Sokolow is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.

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2 Responses to Fanfiction – Taylor Varga

  1. Thrawn says:

    It’s interesting that you rated this one so highly. The usual consensus on eg the WormFanFic subreddit is that it has its strengths but it draaaaaaaaaaaaaaags on, squeezing 100k words of plot into 2M+ words.

    Having read several of mp3’s other stories, I can 100% believe the “smart, wildly OP young women” part; it’s just what he does. I even find it mildly interesting, and he executes it well. I’m just not sure it can really sustain *that much* writing.

    • It really depends on what you’re looking to get out of it. If you go in expecting something where the plot advances quickly then, yes, it will be unsatisfying.

      However, while it’s been far too long and I can’t say how good they are to my adult eyes, I remember reading and enjoying stories by Black Dragon6 like Guardian and Millennium.

      A story which runs for hundreds of thousands of words and then has its muse die can be appreciated on its own terms if the reason it does that is because the author’s knack for engaging with their characters blinds them to their lack of progress in the bigger picture.

      Here’s an example quote I saved so you can see what I mean:

      Ranma yanked him over around the back, then swung open the lever and opened up the truck.

      “Now let’s see what all this fuss is about!” Ranma helped Sakura up first, then followed, pulling the thug behind him.

      Sakura blinked, then inspected one of the numerous cardboard boxes stacked inside the truck. Opening it up, she took out a small, thin, paper envelope.

      “Well? What is all this?” Ranma leaned over her shoulder to get a good look.

      There was no sound for a few moments until Sakura responded. “Tea. Lipton brand tea.”

      There was some more silence.

      “All of it? All of this is tea?”

      Sakura checked a few other boxes to make sure, but only found varying flavors of tea bags.
      “Uh huh.”

      Ranma stood silent for a few seconds, then pulled the terrorist up to look him in the eyes.

      “You hijacked a truck full of tea?” he asked calmly.

      The man laughed nervously. “Well, ya see, there’s this one guy that helped plan this, and he’s new, so he kinda sent us after the wrong truck. We were supposed to hijack a weapons transport over on the east edge of Tokyo.”

      Ranma chewed that thought over in his mind. “So when you found out you had just stolen a load of tea, you destroyed a large section of the highway and holed yourself up to defend it against the police?”

      The man blinked, then shrugged. “Wasn’t my idea. A lotta the guys really wanted to shoot at something, and our commanding officer really isn’t too bright, so we decided to make a stand here. We were expecting a heavy military escort for the weapons, see?”

      Guardian, Chapter 5

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