Friday, September 23, 2011

Insert Lack of Living Killing Machines Here

Bored, bored, bored.

Yes, that was right; Karissa – despite being a new Agent of the sometimes quite hectic Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society – was bored.

She wandered through the Library's stacks aimlessly today, picking up books briefly before setting them back on the shelves, but nothing caught at her interest. She hadn't read a library book since the summer started. Her long fingers itched for a new title, and her brown eyes were fractionally twitchy – which you could tell only if you squinted really hard – but she was unable to sate her addiction. The Library Arcanium was impressive in so many ways, but even it couldn't produce books before they had been published in the real world.

She drifted, now, between the Fantasy and Sci-Fi shelves. Looking rather like a lost puppy, she rounded the farthest bookshelf to search out the Mystery section and almost jumped out of her skin when another Agent accosted her. "Jeez, Charis! You nearly gave me a heart attack." Karissa hated to give away the shock she'd experienced, so she adopted one of the sarcastic retorts of Chandler Bing from Friends.

Charis, for her part, didn't seem at all fooled by her sister's act. "Yeah, I nearly did, didn't I? Next time I'll do one better." The older-but-shorter girl tossed her long auburn hair over one shoulder charmingly. For a moment, her poise was perfect...and then she crumbled. "Karissa! I got lost in here more than an hour ago, and I can't get back outside! You know where my lab is." She shuffled closer to her sister, identical brown eyes opened wide, pleadingly. "Lead me to my lab, Ka-ris."

Karissa sighed. "I thought it was odd that you were inside. Fine, I'll take you back to where you belong. You're like a misplaced book."

"That I am," Charis agreed, immensely relieved that her sister would help her.

The two girls walked a while longer in that corner of the Library, and then suddenly Karissa tugged Charis through a gap between two carousels. Almost immediately, warm gold light washed over the pair. Karissa got ready to leave her grateful sister behind. "Wait, Kris!" Karissa responded obediently to her sister's voice, although she'd mangled her given name again in some parody of an affectionate pet name. She turned just in time to catch a well-thrown object tossed at her by her sister. "My latest invention! The prototype is courtesy of the ACMSES Science lab, and I'll give it to you in thanks."

Karissa smiled warmly in the direction of her sister. "You know just how to win me over with gifts."


An hour later, Karissa had returned to wandering – though she no longer appeared so aimless – and this time it was an apparently disembodied hand that loomed out of the shadows to scare her. "Ack! Tash!" Karissa clutched at her composure all the more quickly when she saw that the Society's de-facto leader faced her.

"Karissa, a while ago our computers picked up a signal in the DGray-man fandom. The signature didn't resemble that of a Sue, but then I added in those search parameters that you recommended... someone Bookmarked is certainly present in DGray-man."

"You think it's Lela?" Karissa guessed knowingly.

"I think it has to be. Only two Bookmarks have been activated so far, and the Protection Society would probably make it trickier to track their Agents."

"Alright, I'm on it-"

"Wait. DGray-man is a black-listed fandom, as you may or may not know. I'm afraid I'll have to require you to take a partner on your mission."

Karissa visibly blanched, her pale complexion becoming more ghostly than usual. "Charis-"

"Is needed here for her work. Besides, she has no weapons or abilities to defend herself with in a hostile fandom."

"None that she'd let you know about," Karissa muttered.

"According to the Librarian's rules you'll need one of the Society's founders to go in with you. Or we can ask Adrian himself, if you're comfortable with that."

Karissa shook her head a little too vigorously. "I'm sorry, no offence, but-" She couldn't bring herself to expand upon her height issues to the Society leader. It would sound too ridiculous, especially since Adrian wasn't all that much shorter than her.

"Well? I can't let you enter DGray-man alone." Tash frowned at what she thought to be simple stubbornness.
"I can contact my Author! She owes me one!" Karissa exclaimed in inspiration, excitedly pounding a fist into her other hand.

Tash blinked. "Wait, you're not a Self-Insert? That's what you listed yourself as on the application."

Karissa brushed past the trifle. "I get lazy when I fill paperwork. But if you need proof, my Author stated on her FanFiction profile that neither 'Karissa' nor 'Charis' was her real name."

An ominous rumble thundered in the distance. "NO. FOURTH. WALL. REFERENCES!"

"Oops. And I was so careful to avoid Adrian's attention- or anger – before now. Can I go?" Karissa turned a panicked face on her superior.

"Get your Author. Then run," was her pitying reply.

Karissa made tracks, glancing over her shoulder fearfully every few seconds until she was able to lock herself in her room.


"Remind me why I'm here with you again? I'm all for letting Lela have her dalliances. She's practically harmless, anyways."

Karissa and her Author had been walking together in a companionable silence up to this point, but the Agent was unaccountably glad that she wasn't the one to breach the quiet. "You're here because I needed company, and otherwise I would have informed the Society about that Sue-ish fanfic that you're writing with your friend on Facebook, even though you know better."

The deliberately masked Author could be said to wince at this utterance. "But Ren started it. I just wanted to collaborate with her, and she decided to write a World Ends With You fanfic where she ended up with Joshua. I didn't want Neku either! She forced him on me!"

"It doesn't matter! As long as you help me, no one needs to know about the affair! That's why this is called blackmail."

Karissa's Author lapsed into a hurt pout. "To think, my own creation turns on me."

"Hey you! Shut up!"

"I told you could call me 'Cay' for the time being. Just because I'm battling my mom on the whole privacy issue, that doesn't mean I appreciate 'hey you!'"

"Well, Cay, can you allow me to focus? We're nearly at the point where Tash informed us Lela would be. DGray-man is dangerous enough without a rogue half-Pureblood roaming the fandom, and who knows if Lela's acquired any other powers while she's been here?"

"She wouldn't have," Cay said confidently. "But I agree that the Akuma and the Noah, especially, are scary enough when considered by themselves."

"Right! So zip it, and let's not let Lela know that we're coming for her." Until now the two girls had been conversing in the airy expanse of a small Greek Island-esque town. Just then, they'd reached a house like any of the others, and now Karissa reached out a hand for the door. The moment that they stepped through the portal, Gate 9 of Noah's Ark deposited them inside the second Headquarters of the Black Order.

"Oi!" Alert, Karissa rolled into a fighter's crouch, invisibility slipping over her like a light, outer skin. However, no one in the room – a training room, by the looks of it – had paid them any notice. Most of the attention in the room was focused on a fight between a slender-but-muscled long-haired male and a short caricature of a Chinese martial arts master. Both Karissa and Cay recognized Kanda and Bookman instantly.

"This is Chapter 185," Cay said in recognition. "Kanda and Bookman fight, Allen and Marie are in the midst of a fight...and then the Third Exorcists arrive." She swung her head wildly to catch a glimpse of the manga's young protagonist. "I always loved that short fight scene between pages 09 and 14."

"Well, you're not going to see it," Karissa spoke tersely. "Look who's over there with Allen." Her finger pointed unerringly at the only head of white hair in the room – there was Allen Walker.

Allen was a 15-year-old Exorcist of British origin, a handsome teenage boy. His unique hair colour, cursed eye (marked by a pentacle) and "deformed" left arm marked him out from the other older Exorcists in the room. Of course, Allen's left arm was actually his parasite-type anti-akuma weapon. In this fandom, living weapons called Akuma were created by the antagonist, The Millennium Earl, in order to bring about a Doomsday-like scenario. Chosen wielders of Innocence - a divine substance able to harm and kill the Akuma – were called Exorcists, and they were recruited by the Black Order – working under the Church itself – to oppose the Earl.

Allen looked every inch how he was supposed to, but on his right arm hung an attentive and attractive girl who had no right to exist in DGray-man. Lenalee Lee, maybe, would have looked natural at Allen's side (although even that wasn't an official canon pairing yet), but Lela Persim Spica Clover Ginger Sarah Minnie Ono-Kuran definitely did not. Her short but lustrous dark hair, slender and robust figure, and iris-tinted eyes drew the human eye harshly towards her. In this fandom, her appearance was plain, but still Karissa and Cay were forced to look at her with loathing (albeit considerably less loathing on Cay's part).

As Cay had predicted, the Third Exorcists – half-breeds of human and Akuma genes – chose that moment to show up, and they did walk through the training hall like they owned the place, but this time no fight erupted between Allen and Goushi. Only Inspector Howard Link's sharp eyes caught the passing of the people of Crow. Because Allen was not fighting with Marie he was neither pushed into Goushi, and his Innocence did not provoke a reaction from Goushi's Akuma side that would have lead to a – let's face it – rather humiliating defeat on his part. In fact, Lela clung so tightly onto Allen's arm, nuzzling his shoulder with one porcelain cheek, that Karissa doubted if he could even stand up. Disgusted, she abandoned her concealment and marched right up to the Mary-Sue.

"Lela Persim Spica Clover Ginger Sarah Minnie Ono-Kuran, I hereby arrest you for protagonist harrassment!"

"Oh, it's you again." Somehow Lela hadn't noticed her own tagalong Agent until the very last second, but she didn't seem that surprised to see her. Attached to her hand, Allen tried to rise at last, but a murmured reassurance from Lela easily set him at ease. "My last name's not Ono-Kuran anymore. You were right, it was an alias particularly suited for my last fandom, nothing more. Now I claim the surname Kai-Lee. Get up to speed."

"Whatever!" Karissa scoffed. "Anyhow, isn't Allen a little young for you? He's 15, for crying out loud!"

The teenager in question looked affronted. "I look older than my age! And I'm good enough for Lela, regardless! Who is this girl?" Allen directed the last at Lela, truly confused. His cursed eye wasn't reacting (ergo it wasn't bursting out of his face, swivelling in warning) so all he knew for sure was that she wasn't an Akuma. She wasn't an immediate threat.

Lela shrugged his question off condescendingly. She no longer looked infatuated with the Exorcist, allowing her sincerely Sue-ish side to show. She shot back at Karissa, "Kanda's drawn too femininely for my tastes, Lavi's too immature, and I don't date above my age. That ruled out all the rest of the hot guys. The situation wasn't exactly ideal, I'll admit, but I convinced myself that it was better than a blind date."

"Ugh, must you always go after the men? I'm just surprised to see that you haven't tried to take over the fandom, like you elected yourself Queen in Vampire Knight."

"DGray-man's on hiatus since the mangaka injured herself. It's hard to warp too many events when the plot isn't moving."

"She has a good point," Cay noted, coming up belatedly behind her creations. Lela didn't recognize the person that was her Author as well; Cay's blank mask really must have worked wonders. "So you didn't need me for this trip, after all." Inside her red Pitter Patter Plaid coat, Cay carried a small notebook that her former Writing teacher had mandated all his students must carry. The backup plan had been that she would endow Karissa with some temporary skills to empower her in this fandom, and by simply tearing out a page in her notebook she could just as easily dispose of Karissa's extra abilities later on.

"I guess not," Karissa said grudgingly. She was frustrated – precious blackmail evidence gone! – but a deal was a deal. "I'm still going to take you in, Lela."

Lela threw off the arm of a thoroughly bemused Allen, who remained the only witness to this whole confrontation – the more experienced Bookman had just beat Kanda to a figurative pulp, raising cheers from the rest of the fallen, and effectively diverting all attention from this three-person showdown – before she stood up in a flash. "Here we go again. What makes you think you can catch me?" Lela pulled off an incongruous purple cap that had been resting on her head, and a pair of luxurious cocker spaniel ears cascaded down her shiny locks. "Your dog ears have been nothing but an aggravation. They don't actually do anything."

"Let me correct that." Karissa calmly took an object out of her red trenchcoat pocket, and this time around she allowed Lela to see what it was. It looked like nothing more than a Deluminator from the Harry Potter books. She flipped the lid, and when she pressed down on the trigger for the lighter... there was light. A bright flash of light illuminated the room, finally drawing any and all notice, and when the brightness died away Lela's ears (her dog ears) trailed to the floor. "A booklight makes errors in writing even clearer, for me, anyways. I always used my booklight at home to stay up late, read through a book for the second time, and dissect it. I can't help but notice mistakes even in works that I love. This Booklight emphasizes non-canon discrepancies in a fandom. Its cleansing light washes out all that's right and desirable, leaving behind anomalies like you that are vivid in contrast."

Lela shrieked in pure indignation, whether at her looks being further marred or being called an anomaly, it was uncertain. The characters that had been previously warped by her Sue powers even looked afraid of her, now. Kanda went so far as to give a sneer at the un-ladylike behaviour of the "Beansprout's" girl.

"Yeah, Charis says hi." Karissa put the Booklight back in her pocket, patting it satisfactorily, and that action was followed up with the disclosure of a standard Prohibitor. "I couldn't get our Author to bless this. But an ordinary Prohibitor should be good enough for a Level 1 Sue like you."

"Just try it!" Lela seethed. She was too angry to call up her own plothole, and Karissa knew that. Their Author had written Lela as someone tied to emotion in every way. She felt emotion comparably deeper than anyone else and, similar to an empath, her powers were therefore tied into her emotions. With no other options, Lela charged at the Agent, grappling against Karissa's grasping hands with some practiced blocks. Only an observer with a bird's eye-view could have seen her circuitous dance with Karissa lead eventually towards the opening of Noah's Ark. Cay had stood to the side, believing Karissa could handle the Sue by herself, and so she was the last person Lela passed when she finally managed to dash past her opponent to freedom.

"Good luck, Lela." Cay's voice was soft and sad. It disappointed her to see the girl so angry; her perfect countenance was meant to radiate with happiness born of a smile.

Lela turned marginally at the tug of recognition that assailed her. Falling backwards into the embrace of the Gate, she could just be heard to whisper in horror, "Oh no, it's you."


"What the hell did you say to her, Cay?"

"I wished her good luck, as I would for any of my creations."

"And what did she have to say about that?"

"She reacted much like you would. Hopelessly livid on the outside, she wouldn't hear me."

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