Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Insert Pun on Genetic Mutation Here


"Shirley's at it again," Aster commented, not even looking up from her manga as Ben came screaming past the door, which was slightly ajar.

"When is she not?" Jess mumbled.

Neither Aster nor Marcus, who was performing routine umbrella-maintenance in the corner, paid any attention to the fact that Jess was sitting upside down in an armchair, her head resting on her hands on the floor and her feet in the air – it was getting to be a fairly common sight in the Library Arcanium when she was trying to work something out for her latest novel.

"If you were an Italian gypsy with a motorbike living in France, would you call your daughter Amélie or Roxanne?" she asked.

"Amélie," Aster put in, as Marcus said "Neither."

Suddenly, a terrific sound echoed through the hallways. All three Agents looked up, aghast. It was like rhythmic thunder, pounding through the Library with the force of a storm...

"I'll get the Galaxy!" Jess made a movement towards the gargantuan purple handbag on the floor in front of her for the precious bar of chocolate, but it was too late.

With a crash, Tash kicked the door fully open and stomped into the room.

"Jess, your t-shirt's ridden so far up I can practically see your arse. Marcus, don't you have a report to file?"

"I'm just letting my tattoo..."

"I'll do it in..."

"Never mind! I need one of you to go into The X Files fandom. The computer's picked up..."

"X FILES!" Tash's words were drowned out by Jess giving a shriek and dramatically leaping to her feet.

"...are you sure?" Tash fixed a steely glare on Jess, who was flinging her handbag over her shoulder and attempting to strike a dashing pose (it should be noted that dashing poses only work on people who can see past their fringes). "I know what you used to be like about Mulder, and the threat seems to be coming from one of the earlier X Files seasons. You won't let anything interfere with your work...?"

"Oh, never." Jess put on her most solemn expression. "Besides, I love the X Files canon pairings far too much to mess this one up. So what am I up against?"

"It's too early to be sure, but we have what looks like a Sue-aged girl wandering into an episode about a circus-type thing and a small creature that chews on people..."

The other agents watched in some interest as Jess's mouth closed (a rare occurrence as it was quite unknown for her to ever stop talking) and her face went completely white.

"Not... Humbug?" she squeaked, her voice a good octave and a half higher than usual.

Tash checked a computer printout she held in her hand. "Yes, that's the episode name. Humbug. Apparently a new 'sideshow freak' has popped up who wasn't there before..."

"Oh good god." Jess sank into her armchair, the right way round this time. "That's... that's the Leonard episode."

"The what?" Tash raised her eyebrows. "Look, if you're not up to this..."

"I'm up for it." Jess took a deep breath and sat up straight. "You see, this is the only episode of The X File I've ever been scared of. The monster in it... well..." She gulped. "He's haunted my nightmares for years. But now I have the chance to..."

"No, you're not getting it drunk!" Tash interrupted.

"I wasn't going to suggest that! I was going to say, I finally have the chance to make my peace with it and see it's not really all that scary. And," she stood up again, clutching her handbag like a lifebelt. "I'll take as many invading Sues out as possible while I'm at it."

With a self-possession that was almost frightening to watch, Jess marched from the room, to face her issues (and the possible Mary-Sue) head on.

Tash shook her head. "I give her ten minutes."


Agent Dana Scully rolled her eyes. Her partner, Agent Mulder, was getting far too into this case, even though she had a niggling feeling it was supposed to be just a normal, run of the mill paranormal (well, not so normal then) case that could be solved in a couple of days.

People in the small circus town of Gibsonton, Florida, were being subjected to a terrible fate, and the recently-arrived FBI agents were getting no closer to finding out what was going on. Each victim was dying in the same way, with horrible wounds in their sides, all seemingly carried out with the same weapon. Yet there were no other similarities – they were people of all ages, races, religions... there was just no discernible pattern.

Yet somehow, one resident of the town was identifying each victim just hours before they met their maker.
Leonor Chelle Cassidy was fairly unusual, as winter residents of Gibsonton went. She didn't have a beard, she wasn't overtly tall or short, and she couldn't ram nails up her nose... not your average sideshow 'freak'. She stood a few inches above five feet tall with short black hair cut in a sweeping fringe across the side of her face. Despite her somewhat odd attire (for the early nineties, at least) of ripped skinny black jeans and a large Rolling Stones t-shirt, and the studs in her nose and tongue, there was something about her that pulled the residents of the town around her in a protective force. Maybe it was the big, trusting brown eyes and flawless white skin contributing to make her look a lot younger than her twenty two years, but it was certainly making her friends... Agent Mulder among them. He seemed to find her attempts at looking 'tough' somehow endearing.

Leonor claimed to have been cast out from a travelling funfair she had been part of for accurately predicting the demise of its bearded lady. She came to Gibsonton to get away from her 'cursed gift', but it had followed her in a horrible way. Whenever she mentioned this, those big brown eyes filled with tears in a way that had every male within a ten block radius sprinting for the tissues... but there was still something doubtful about her, at least to Agent Scully.

Could this girl have been causing the suspicious deaths? Was she the murderer? The fact that she had accurately told Mulder and Scully the names of the most recent three victims before they'd been found dead was a factor that led Scully to strongly believe the girl had something to do with it. Yet Mulder was convinced she was innocent.

Scully stood outside her trailer, looking over to where Leonor had assembled half of the men of the trailer park around her. From somewhere she had produced a guitar, and was singing in a voice so sweet it grated on Scully's ears. The men seemed happy, though, from the sappy grins on their faces. Seriously, Scully had never seen Mulder look so dippy. All of Scully's years of training were screaming that something wasn't right... but she couldn't for the life of her work out what it was. For goodness' sake, even she was starting to feel a little bit protective for this lonely girl, cast out from her home and so sad, so alone...

"Ugh, definite Sue." Suddenly, Scully realised she was not alone. As if from nowhere, a fairly young woman had materialised next to her. In a panic, she reached for her gun. "Oh, put that away, I'm here to help. I'm Jess. And I'm going to need your help here, so you need this." The girl was rummaging in a large purple handbag. With a flourish, she whipped a small object out, and Scully jumped about three feet into the air as Jess smacked a sticker emblazoned with a large letter 'C' onto her back.

"Oh!" Scully gasped. It was like her vision was clearing... Suddenly Leonor didn't look half so innocent, sitting over there with her little cluster of males.

"Copyright," Jess nodded wisely. "Now she is not meant to be here, and we have to get her out. I've been watching what she's been up to..." Suddenly Jess jumped, as a cat ran out from under the trailer. "Holy shit, I thought that was... never mind. Anyway, point is, she's not the one killing people, she doesn't even have a purpose here. She's turned up to warp The X Files and somehow get herself tangled up with Mulder."

"With Mulder?" Scully raised her eyebrows.

"Yeah, don't ask. Let's just say she's not supposed to do that..." Jess stopped herself from carrying on. After all, Leonor had plonked herself into Series Two of The X Files... Mulder and Scully's relationship wasn't set to develop for a while yet. Though it wouldn't develop at all if she couldn't get Leonor out of the way.

"Right, so what are we supposed to do? I'm meant to be working out this murder case, not sorting out lovesick, guitar playing..."

"Leave her to me," Jess's eyes narrowed. "You do your job, though try and get Mulder away from her as much as possible. I have a hint – you're not supposed to be hanging around here right now. I suggest you go and check out the local jail. There's a guy in there with a conjoined twin problem I think you might want to go and see."

As Scully obediently trotted off, dragging Mulder away from Leonor by the scruff of his neck, Jess sat back to wait until the impromptu concert was over. She hoped it would be soon. She knew that once Scully and Mulder reached the jail and saw Lanny, the man with an undeveloped conjoined twin called Leonard hanging off his side, there was going to be one hell of a chase scene that she didn't want to be in the middle of.

By the way, the murderer was Leonard, the conjoined twin. His brother was dying, and he knew it. In his undeveloped little mind, the only way he could survive was to find a new person whose side he could burrow into. Yes, he could detach himself at will. Yes, he was an exceedingly creepy looking creature, like a deformed baby with huge teeth. Yes, it was him that Jess had feared since watching the episode for the first time when she was thirteen. She had no desire whatsoever to still be around when he started tearing around the trailer park.

"I'm sorry, but I have to go to bed for the night," Jess realised Leonor was saying. "I'll play some more tomorrow..." She started to head back towards her trailer, Jess following a leisurely few paces behind.

Leonor strode confidently into her trailer, flinging her guitar onto the sofa and sighing happily. Suddenly she wheeled around.

"Do you think I didn't know you were following me?" she spat. Jess didn't flinch as the girl's eyes flashed. Not so trusting and innocent any more – more like evil and glittering. Typical Mary-Sue, Jess thought calmly.

"Then you know why I'm here," she said, nonchalantly. "Are you going to come quietly or am I going to have to take you out?"

"Come quietly? I'm not going anywhere with you." Leonor pulled out a small gun from her pocket and swung it around her finger.

"You're going to tase me?" Jess raised her eyebrows in disbelief, recognising the weapon. "Come on, surely you've got something more interesting than that up your sleeve..."

"Oh yes," Leonor nodded.

Aha, Jess thought. Why is it that Sues always have such a desire to show off about their masterplans? Jess reached slowly into her pocket, hoping that Leonor wouldn't see her inching her way forward with her Prohibitor.

"Yes, come close, that'd make it so much easier," Leonor laughed a tinkling laugh. "You see, I've been nosing around this series of The X Files and I've found these useful little implant things... once you're unconscious, I'll insert it into you and you'll be under my control... I knew I'd attract your attention by coming into The X Files, you see I've done my research... You're one of the weaker agents, you're so easy to overcome. I'll be able to cause so much havoc in that Society of yours..."

"I'm sure you will," Jess said nicely.

"Though I'll have to change some things," Leonor ruminated. "I mean, you call yourself a metal fan? Nightwish aren't metal..."

"You what?" Jess leapt back in shock. "Now that's going too far!" In an instant, she'd rammed the Prohibitor back into her pocket and reached into her handbag to pull out her faithful body piercing needle, and with her famous battle cry lunged forward.

Now usually in this kind of situation a Mary-Sue would jump backwards, shrieking "no, no, not my beautiful flawless skin!" However...

Leonor stood her ground.

"Oh come on," she said, sticking out her tongue to reveal the tiny diamond stud. "Do you think I'm going to care about being pierced?"

"Oh." Jess stopped in her tracks. "Bugger."

"And don't you dare even try seducing me, I'm straighter than a metre ruler. I know your tricks, Miss Leather."

"Oh... bollocks." Absently, Jess reached around to scratch her back. "Um..." Instantly, all her Society training seemed to vanish. She'd never come across a Sue who wouldn't flinch away at her needle before, and she didn't have time to plug in her straighteners and cause damage that way.

Suddenly, Jess realised her new tattoo was feeling really itchy. She'd been told not to scratch it, but hey, she was about to be put under the control of a Mary-Sue. Why not go out minus an annoying itch? She gave the bottom left point of the pentagram a quick scratch...

And the trailer exploded.

"What the fuuuuuuck..." Jess yelled as she was catapulted through the air. It was like the ground beneath the trailer and risen up and burst through the walls and floor, sending both Jess and Leonor zooming up through the ceiling. Jess could hear Leonor shrieking somewhere next to her as they both hit the ground with identical thuds.

It was like Jess's wits had been returned to her with the shock of the explosion. She rolled over and bounced onto her feet, pulling out the Prohibitor from her pocket and snapping it onto Leonor's wrist before the stunned Sue could react.

"Yes!" Jess whooped. "You're coming with me, girl!" With a quick snap of the Plothole Generator she wore on a chain around her neck, Jess opened a portal to the Library and dragged Leonor through.


"Well done, Jess," Tash patted her on the back as she made sure Leonor was securely sulking in the Basement of the Library. "Quick thinking there."

"But what I want to know," Jess said slowly. "Is why the ground did that kind of erupty thingy? Why did the whole bloody trailer explode?"

"Me and Adrian have a theory," said Tash as the two agents started up the stairs back to the main Library. "You said you had the overwhelming itch on your tattoo? Well isn't the pentagram one of the most powerful magical symbols you can get?"

"Well... yes..."

"And they can be said to represent earth, fire, wind and water controlled by the spirit? Maybe it was something to do with that..."

"You mean I'm actually getting some magical ability?" Jess looked truly shocked. "Bloody hell... Wow. Man, now I need a drink..." She reached for her handbag to find her trusty emergency hip flask. "Oh shit!" she exclaimed.

"What's the matter?"

"When the trailer exploded, my handbag was still in there! I've got to go and get it!"

"Look out for Leonard!" Tash called after her as Jess activated her Plothole Generator.

Jess picked through the remains of Leonor's trailer, desperately searching for her big purple lifeforce. Without that handbag, she was useless. It had everything in it – it had similar properties to the famous carpet bag belonging to Mary Poppins, and contained everything from Nurofen to Galaxy chocolate, along with Jess's much needed supply of sugared almonds and four-colour pens.

"Hey, who are you?" Jess looked up to see Agent Mulder standing over her.

"Oh, hi, I'm just looking for my handbag," she said€, blushing at the sight of the character she had such a big crush on for so many years. "Have you seen it? Purple, leather, rattles a lot..."

"No, I haven't, sorry. Have you seen a small humanoid creature, covered in blood, answers to Leonard?"

"No..." Jess leapt to her feet in fear. "Is he around here? Oh my god. Oh my god. Oh my good freaking god. Leonard's on the loose and I don't even have my handbag... shiiit..."

"Calm down," Mulder laughed. "We have a theory... you know the geek here?"

"What, Lee's here?" Jess shook her head in surprise at the thought of her friend from Real Life turning up in the X Files fandom. What the hell was going on?


"He's the biggest geek in the world, you know, computerish, spends a lot of time listening to podcasts, studies far too hard for his exams..."

"No, not that kind of geek!" Mulder laughed again. "Are you not from around here? We're in a circus town, a geek is a really weird kind of person..."

"Oh, the guy who looks like a walking doodle?" Jess nodded in comprehension.

"Yes, that's the one. Well, he was around the area where Leonard escaped... and he eats anything. And now he's complaining of a stomach ache..."

"I see..." Jess visibly relaxed. "Well, thank god for that... my handbag!" Forgetting Mulder entirely, she flung herself across the wreckage. "Oh and it's not even damaged! Thank god!"

"Bye then..." Mulder waved and started to leave. Jess didn't even notice; she was so pleased to see her handbag again.

As Jess flung it happily over her shoulder to make her way back to the Library, she didn't notice that it was somewhat heavier than usual... or twitching slightly.

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