Friday, January 27, 2012

Insert Frankly Barking Si-Fi Plot Here

Dreams. Jumbles of disordered thoughts and memories in a human mind, a distorted highlight reel of a person's life.

Memories. Fragile crystals of thought that are so easily shattered by other events, but yet can reform at surprising and unexpected times...

A Woman cried out as she vanished into a collection of crystalline pixels, someone shouted out, addressing her as mother...

A Scream of pain. She turned to look and saw an army enter the room. Arcane devices she didn't recognise fell to earth. Where the army of Stu's walked, people died.

"This is what you get for daring to challenge the lieutenant!"

She watched a Woman with Electric-Blue hair turn and generate a plot-hole for herself and flee. She saw a Stu follow her through into a Sci-fi fandom. He looked like the one that had pursued her weeks before...

She was running through an extra-terrestrial jungle now, he was close on her heels. Suddenly a shadowy figure cut a tree down behind her, dropping a nest of vicious whip-wasps onto her pursuer's head. He ran away, screaming.

"You are the last of them! The Lieutenant will reward me well for killing you! I'll hunt you down!"
The man from the shadows was standing over her.

"Vengeance, territory, power, you can have it all. Just serve me well..."

The Woman sat in a chair, with something attached to her head. That couldn't be good. The thing glowed and spat sparks, the woman cried out...

She wanted to help, but the pain erupted in her own mind, and she understood.

The Woman was her.

Mesha... Alicia... Maria... Susan... Maylene... Violet... Abigail... Y-

Mesha woke with a start. The piles of paperwork that covered most of her room seemed to loom out of the semi-darkness like demon's teeth, and for a second she forgot where she was. Then, she remembered.

I am in the Library Arcanium. I am serving a Community Order with the Anti-cliché and Mary-Sue elimination society. I have just had a nightmare.

But about what? She couldn't remember anything about her dream. The sand was running out of her memory, as if she wasn't supposed to remember it...

One thought was clear though. This wasn't the first time she had dreamt this...

And then you forgot!

The words appeared in her mind, unbidden. She wondered vaguely why it was she had woken up, then decided that it didn't matter really.

She crossed the room to her desk and began to work on the paperwork sitting on it. What with the security breaches recently she hadn't been allowed to leave her room unaccompanied, so she might as well do something productive while she waited for an Agent to arrive with some breakfast for her. They never had explained exactly what these breaches were though...

She turned over the page she had been working on the night before and began to fill in the blanks.

Character Displacement Form CD352

Character: Dialga

Native Fandom: Pokemon

Reason for displacement: Inexpert Plothole usage by Mary-Sue (Ref: MAS145).

Result of Displacement: Minor Non-Canon damage to Deep space Nine, and mild casualties amongst its crew.

Mesha settled into the task, ignoring the camera as it whirred away in the background.


Meanwhile, in another universe entirely...

Captain Paul Travers steered the Martian Excursion Vehicle (M.E.V) of the exploration craft Zero X away from the planet Verspona. Doctor Ray Pierce tended to Greg Martin as he slowly recovered from having his part of his flesh turned to bone by contact with a living alien skeleton. As the vehicle pulled itself free of the Extra-terrestrial atmosphere, Travers' attention was pulled towards the instrument panel. An energy discharge near one of Verspona's moons. Type and cause unknown...

"What...? Paul, those bones- The creature..."

Captain Travers turned from the panel to his semi-concious shipmate.

"Relax pal, we've taken care of them. Now you lie back and get some rest..." Travers observed the instrument panel had started reading normal again. Probably a glitch, he thought, dismissing the discrepancy from his mind. "All we have to do now is re-connect with the main body, set a course for earth, then get some food inside us."

Martin grinned weakly. "Sounds good, Paul! But suggest a meal of T-bone Steaks... and I'll scream!"

The Canon characters may have missed the plothole, but the society agent on monitoring duty saw a one-man spaceship of a design certainly not indigenous to a Gerry Anderson fandom slowly descending towards the planet in the background of the comic strip panel. Turning the library's sensor equipment towards the Thunderbirds spin-off, Rhia quickly established the presence of a level 4 Gary-Stu, and sent out an alert.

"Finally, the mission." said Tyler, "I was wondering when the author was going to get to the point..."

"You'll understand why all that was necessary soon." Dave replied. Both agents were wearing bright orange spacesuits with yellow helmets, as seen in the Doctor Who episode "Impossible Planet", only with a society logo replacing that of sanctuary base six. Anything essential, their prohibitors, plothole generators and Tyler's ping pong paddle were hanging from their belts or in one of the various pockets adorning their suits legs. Dave's Axe (the same one he had grabbed from the society armoury to fend off Shirley weeks before and hardly dared let go of for this very reason) was slung across his back, which had caused many historically inaccurate comments about his looking like a Viking from outer space.

As they walked through a dried up sea, Verspona's nickname of "Planet of Bones" became apparent. Every inch of the plain was littered with giant bones.

"Are you sure we need these things?" Tyler asked, referring to the Spacesuits. "I'm hungry..."

"Well, if the bones lasted this long in the open, then the planet must be low on oxygen," Dave explained, producing a trowel from one of his suit's pockets and indicating a nearby femur, "And they look like they've been attacked by more than one corrosive agent, so..." He saw Tyler blink in confusion through his visor.

"Sorry, I'm an Archaeology student." He said, putting the trowel away again, "Put simply, I don't know what's in the air, but it would probably get your carpets nice and clean!" When in doubt, quote Douglas Adams. He thought.

Tyler sighed. "Are all ProperDaveXD001's fics going to be like this? Standing around talking?"

All right! Stand by for Action!

A massive explosion ripped through the alien air, throwing a large amount of rock skywards. A full half of an outcrop that had stood several hundred metres to their right suddenly disintegrated in the wake of the disturbance, and began to form a deadly rain of boulders that shattered the inanimate bones around them.

Tyler quickly erected a magical shield, behind which both agents hid until the debris stopped raining down.

"OK that was a bad time for a Stingray reference," Dave said in the hush that followed. "but I suppose it simplified matters a bit..."

Dave and Tyler ran over to the epicentre of the explosion, and saw a figure in a yellow spacesuit walking cautiously towards an opening in the cliff face, with a laser pistol pointed in front of him. He seemed to have a Vacuum Cleaner attached to his back...

"Our Stu?" Tyler asked.

"Looks like it," Dave fiddled with his spacesuit radio for a moment. "Testing, Testing, am I on your frequency yet?" A laser blast struck a rock a few centimetres away from his left foot. "I'll take that as a yes."

"Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society." Tyler added, "You're under arrest for-"

"I haven't altered this fandom one bit!" the Stu shot back, "The characters have left, Verspona won't be mentioned again, you've got no right to arrest me!"

"What's with the vacuum then?" Tyler asked.

"To steal the Bone-forming matter in that cave, so we can use it to create an unstoppable army of invincible skeletons and conquer this fandom...I shouldn't have said that!"

"What is it with Villains and the instinct to explain their evil plan to the protagonists?" Dave muttered.

"I'm not a Villain!" The Stu exclaimed, waving his arms around to add drama and emphasis to his speech, "I'm a main character that had to watch his entire family slaughtered by demons, then studied for five years with a wise master in the Himalayas before he too was brutally slaughtered, then began to fight back when my author decided I should sacrifice myself for a new protagonist to defeat them, and-"


"Don't Shhhh me!"

"Well, at least stop waving your arms around..." Dave urged, shielding his eyes from the light that was emanating from deep inside the cave.


"Tak, Tak, Tak, Tak."

The noise came from the cave as the light faded. The Stu turned. Dave gaped. Tyler stopped trying to manoeuvre the chocolate bar in his right hand (which he'd pulled into the torso of the suit) through the suit's neck ring to his mouth, and looked up just in time to see a skull emerge from the aperture. The skull was closely followed by shoulders, and a body, until an entire creature that seemed to have escaped from the Night in the Museum fandom was standing blinking in the daylight. (Alright so it didn't have eyes in its sockets, but if it did it would have been blinking them.) This was the reason that Captain Travers and the Zero-X crew had sealed the cave. It might be docile now, but its default Settings were deadly, hostile, and practically indestructible.

The Stu however seemed to think this was a good thing. "Tell you what, why don't I just steal the bone forming matter, while you play with Fido here." He fired his pistol at the rocks near Dave and Tyler. The creature, noting the movement of the rocks, turned and ran towards them with a clattering noise.

Yakita, Yakita, Yakita.

Fortunately for the readers, Dave's less than polite exclamation was truncated by the activation of the Scene Transition.


Meanwhile, back in the library...

Adrian found Tash in kitchen one, talking to Valerie. Val noted the librarian's presence and called to him.

"Adrian, we were just going to look for you."

"Oddly enough," he replied, "I was looking for Tash."

"Maybe later love." Tash replied, with every sign of reluctance. "We might have something important here." Adrian blushed slightly.

"That's not what I meant..." he mumbled.

"Its Mesha." Valerie put in, before she lost both leaders completely. Adrian's ears pricked up.

"What about her?"

"Val's just convinced me that her prohibitor might not be working properly." Tash replied.

"That's impossible!"

"I know, and that's what the telemetry readings said as well, but I can't think of any other reason for it..."

The librarian's eyes narrowed slightly. This was worrying. Even though she wasn't allowed out of her room, and there were twelve different alarm spells and some of his nastiest booby traps waiting if she or anyone else unauthorised went anywhere they weren't supposed to, he wasn't comfortable with a Sue outside the basement. Chi and Xavier at Halloween, and more recently the Pro-Cliché Society had been able to plant things in the library all too easily as it was...

"For what exactly?"

"Several agents seem to be more fond of her than is usually healthy." the Empath elaborated. "That's a bit of a surprise. Bella and Emily are known quantities, but we don't know much about Mesha."

"And the fact that its impossible to say her full name without being interrupted, or attacked." Tash added, "Reading the charge sheet was a laugh a minute...I'm not even sure we know her full name!" She paused and grimaced. "Even thinking too hard about her gives me a headache!"

"And then there's the big one." Valerie added "Neither of us can remember the reason we didn't put her out on parole or in the basement."

Adrian frowned. "I can." he said, "In fact that's why I was looking for you." He took a sheet of paper out of his trench coat pocket and gave it to Tash.

"She begged not to be put on parole because they'd try to kill her." Tash sighed with relief, scanning the paperwork as she did so. "Well I finally managed to check up on the prohibitor telemetry signals from our paroled Sues, and..." he paused, waiting for Tash to finish reading.

"They're all accounted for." Tash muttered.

"Exactly. She claimed some were murdered as collaborators, so either she was just panicking, or she was making it up."

It was Valerie's turn to frown. "She wasn't making it up... or at least, she didn't think she was..."

"Did you talk to her about her nightmares?" Adrian asked. He had passed on Phoenixia's observations to her earlier and asked her to investigate.

The Empath cast her mind back to her chat with the Sue.

"Yes, and she didn't remember anything about them." She said in a surprisingly dark tone. "Something wasn't right though. I can't put my finger on it, but there was definitely something missing from her mind when I scanned her, like she had pulled a thought out to stop me finding it..."

"Wouldn't that have shown up when you spoke to her just after she came in?" Adrian asked. Valerie's frown deepened.

"Now you mention it, it did, but something told me to forget it." She winced as the aforementioned headache made itself known.

All three were silent for a moment. Given the distractions they had suffered recently, the implications were mind boggling. But even before the Pro-Cliché infiltration, security had been pretty tight. Had she been able to do anything to undermine the society? Tash broke the silence.

"If she were consciously aware of doing anything untoward, you would know, right Val?" The healer nodded.

"Even so," Adrian added, "I think we should find a safe fandom to put her in, and get her out of the library as quick as possible..."


As the Scene Transition cycled down, Dave vaguely remembered diving to one side as the skeleton thundered past. Further detail was hard to come by as he had struck his helmet on a protruding rib on the way down.

"Tyler?" he called, receiving only a strange crunching sound as a reply.

"Please tell me that noise is the hazelnuts in your chocolate..." he said, wiping his visor with his suit's glove. There was a gulp.

"No" Tyler said, "Gravel that got into my suit while I was mending it."

With the dust cleared, Dave could see Tyler sitting on a rock. One sleeve of his suit was empty, and the arm that was supposed to be inside it could be detected as it moved around inside the Torso, shovelling the aforementioned gravel into Tyler's mouth, which was below the suit's neck ring leaving only his eyes visible through the perspex visor.

"What?" he said, seeing Dave's expression, "Shame to waste it..."

Dave shook his head. Anyone who hadn't met Tyler before would have attributed this to oxygen starvation, but a quick glance at the mass of Duct tape on his suit's right leg was enough to squash that theory.

"Where'd Boney get to?" he asked, failing to hear the tell-tale clatter of the skeletal creature. Tyler shrugged.
"I blew it up." he said, off-handedly, gesturing to a newer looking pile of bones nearby. Well, that was why Dave had asked him along...

Dave was about to say something about leaving him unprotected with explosives going off, when he saw the Stu exit the cave and march off into the bones.

"I'll get him, you'd better seal the cave again. Take it from someone who knows, having a dinosaur sneak up behind you is not a pleasant sensation..."

Tyler swallowed the rest of the gravel, then took out his explosives and headed for the opening. Dave meanwhile unslung his Axe and followed the Stu.

As the newer agent walked away, Tyler approached the cave mouth with no small feeling of trepidation. Dave had lent him his copy of the Zero X strip called "Planet of Bones", so he knew that a creature would be preceded by a bright light from deep inside. Always assuming of course that the Stu hadn't stolen all of the bone forming matter, which although possible was unlikely.

He rounded a bend in the tunnel and came upon the pool itself, which was glowing dimly with a strange phosphorescence, a dark high-water mark the only evidence that some had been taken.

As Tyler began to place his explosives around the natural archway he had entered through, the pool glowed brighter, bubbled and roiled, until at last a skull emerged. This creature was just a skull, identical to that of the creature outside, but joined to the pool by a length of Vertebrae. A guardian, summoned by whatever conciousness the pool possessed to defend its dwelling.

Unfortunately, it had bubbled and roiled so much that Tyler had had forewarning of its coming, so when it did emerge he merely threw a grenade into its eye socket. The result was predictable, and sprayed cranium fragments all over the room.

"Bone-head..." Tyler muttered, then face palmed, (well, visor palmed anyway, but you know what I mean!), "Great, Dave's bad puns are contagious!"

There was a second bubbling from the pool, and this time Tyler had almost no time to react. An giant arm and hand made entirely of bones emerged and grabbed his leg.

"Muffins!" Tyler yelled, transforming his ping-pong paddle and trying to cast a spell. The arm lifted him high above the cavern floor, and he dropped his staff.

"Further Muffins!...Wonderful, now I've made myself hungry!"

As Dave followed the Stu, the readout on the computer on his arm was updated, and attracted his attention with a beep. Rhia had finally got some information on this guy. His name was Marty Andreas Strong (He had more middle names than that, but they were all in an unpronounceable dialect of Tibetan his Author had made up), and apparently his earlier rant had been reasonably accurate. The only other addition to what Dave already knew was that his Author had reported him AWOL a full two months earlier.

From the look of his spacesuit, and the ship he was fast approaching, he had spent these two months in the original Dan Dare strips, and despite his fantasy roots, seemed to have developed a taste for sixties science fiction comics, which were a good choice for a take over, Dave had to admit. Obscure enough that not many people would notice, and full of bizarre alien creatures. Zero X had Fire-spitting rock-snakes, Sentient mind-controlling plants with eyes, and Living Skeletons to name but a few. All very useful if you had it in mind to conquer a universe...

"You know, if you're going to sneak up on me, at least turn your radio off!" Marty said as he unexpectedly span round. "I could hear you breathing in your helmet... from..." He abruptly realised that Dave was no-where in sight.

There was a tap on his shoulder, and as he turned, Dave dashed his laser gun out of his hand with his Axe, flinging it into a jumble of rocks where it fell down a crevice.

"How'd you do that!" Marty exclaimed. Dave shrugged.

"Being two-dimensionally thin has its advantages. I hid behind the bones as I sneaked up on you." He brought the flat side of his Axe down on the Stu's arm as Marty made to punch him. There was a dull clonk as the weapon made contact.

"AAAAAHHHH! You vicious...Only joking!" The Stu punched again, this time connecting with Dave's stomach. The agent was flung back into a collection of bones, and it was only by the grace of the author that he didn't rip his spacesuit.

As the coffee tables danced around his head, the rational part of Dave's mind noted that Marty was walking stiff-legged, and hypothesised wildly as to why this might be.

Option 1: He has Rickets.

Option 2: He's trying to swagger.

Option 3: He was attacked by a Skeleton creature in the cave. It ripped his suit and scratched him before the suit's Self-sealing properties (They can do that in Dan Dare) kicked in and repaired it. Parts of his flesh are turning to bone and he's decided to use it as a natural body armour against me.

After a moment's reflection, Dave decided option three was most likely. He got up just in time to be punched across the landscape again. This time he landed on a sand dune, and was able to contemplate the fact that his first mission barely a month before might have been easier than it had a right to be. Marty was certainly nowhere near as co-operative as Mesha had been...

Whatever the author is foreshadowing must be big if he's laying it on this thick... He thought.

As Marty approached for the third, and what would possibly be the last time, Dave desperately scrambled to his feet and charged heroically... in the other direction...

Tyler finally achieved his freedom from the bony hand by kicking the wrist joint with his left leg, which had the unfortunate side-effect of dropping him unceremoniously onto the cavern floor, with a hand attached to his right leg.

He reached for his staff to cast a spell, then decided he couldn't be bothered and beat the hand soundly about the knuckles with it instead.

"Get. Off. Get. Off. Get. Off."

The hand eventually let go and scuttled off into the pool, pausing only briefly to make an insulting gesture back at him.

Tyler sighed wearily, and walked out of the cavern, setting the timers on the explosives as he did so.

The sooner he found Dave, the sooner they could get back to the library and eat something...

Dave was running still, but at least now he had a plan. Keep running.

Sooner or later the Alien bone-tissue would get into Marty's joints and inhibit his ability to move at all. Once that happened it would be a simple matter of picking him up and carting him back to the library.

Looking over his shoulder, it seemed that that moment wasn't that far off, as the Stu had been reduced to a walk that was almost a waddle. That said, Dave wasn't exactly in such good shape either, having been punched twice in the belly with a bone armoured hand, so it was surprisingly hard to stay in front of him.

All in all, it was perhaps the wrong moment for Tyler's explosives to go off.

The pressure wave sent them both sprawling into the sand, but after the dust had settled, it was clear from the volume of abuse coming out of Dave's suit radio that Marty couldn't get up again. This allowed the society agent the chance to rest his own aching limbs.

"Sue hunting's harder than you think." he announced to the world in general and making a mental note to get some more skills before his next mission, "No bones about it!" There was a short pause.

"Please, just lock me up..." groaned Marty.

Adrian tore along the corridor as the alarms blared. Phoenixia had warned him that the camera in Mesha's room had stopped functioning, I.e. It had been physically blown out, and immediately afterwards, a plothole had been detected at the same location. He used his authority as librarian to seal the door, just so no-one ended up in a situation that they couldn't get out of.

When he reached her door Adrian was careful to draw his sword before opening it. The interior was a jumble of papers, some of which were still settling from the disturbance caused by the plothole, but...

"She's gone!"

He was right. The Sue had completely vanished.


The figures bundled Mesha into a room. Her wrists and ankles were bound.

One figure held up an object in front of her. Her terrified mind failed to identify it as an old-fashioned pocket watch, covered in a seemingly random pattern of circles. The watch was opened, gold light streamed into her eyes.

And then she remembered...


"Okay Dave," Tash said, gesturing around Mesha's now vacated room, "You're the archaeologist, so what happened here one hundred minutes ago?"

Dave smiled tolerantly. Forensics wasn't really his strong point. Still, he might as well give it a try.

He looked around the room and thought hard, calling on not only his archaeology knowledge, but all the forensic skills Patricia Cornwell, Sherlock Holmes and episodes of Medical Investigation had taught him as well. The pain in his belly from Marty's Punches didn't help his thought processes, but he did his best to ignore it.

While he applied his trade, Tash and Adrian stood and waited in the doorway. Or if you prefer, waited and stood, which is merely standing and waiting in reverse. As good as any time for the author to cut out the Spike Milligan references and skip forward five minutes to when he found something.

"These dents in the carpet." he said, "Mesha was sitting at the desk, on the chair..." he paused. "Where is the chair?"

Tash shrugged. "Not a clue."


"Dave," Adrian interrupted, "No offence, but I'm old enough alreadyyyyyy..." he broke off with a contented purr as Tash rubbed his ears. Dave chuckled.

"Actually, I think I have it."

Tash stopped petting her boyfriend, much to his annoyance. "Well?"

Dave stood up straight, and gestured to the piles of paperwork, already breeding rapidly around them.

"These piles of papers were blown over by a disturbance in the air, right?"

"The plothole Phoenixia detected, just after the camera shut down." Adrian replied, gesturing at the now repaired device in the corner.

"Exactly. Well the way they fell suggests that it opened pretty much where I'm standing, right behind Mesha's chair. The chair was tilted backwards, putting all of her weight upon the rear legs, which is why the marks are so deep in the carpet. At that angle, she would have been tipped backwards into the plothole."

"And the chair followed her to an unknown destination." Tash finished.

"Precisely. I think I'm right in saying that the chance of a Plothole opening, just as she tipped back in her chair and stretched her arms out on a whim is fairly minute? Yes? Good, then the conclusion must be that she was pulled through the plothole physically by a lasso or pair of strong hands belonging to person or persons unknown."

Tash was impressed, but something was bothering her. "We're assuming she was abducted. Some of us were thinking that she might have found a way around the prohibitor. What's to say she didn't just generate the plothole herself and set things up to look like an abduction to muddy the waters?"

"There was no time." Adrian answered. "The time between the camera going out and the plothole closing was just under four seconds. You'd need to be of a higher level than just a level two to pull that off, according to Phoenixia."

This response seemed to set Dave thinking again. "Did any other unauthorised plotholes open today?"

Adrian frowned "No. She'd know if any had."

Dave rapidly arrived at the same conclusion Adrian had. "So they opened a plothole into a library that has recently been Sue-proofed to the Nth degree, specifically at the exact point they wanted, on their first try!"

"What are the odds of that?" Tash exclaimed.

"Nil." Was the librarian's response. "Unless, of course they knew exactly where to find her..." His frown deepened.

"What if she had a tracking device on her?" Dave asked.

"Well, it could be done... But it beats me what they were homing in on. Phoenixia was monitoring all frequencies for that very reason." Adrian seemed to be taking this as a personal insult, as well he might, it was his library.

"Looks like she wasn't all she appeared." Tash added.

There was a short pause.

"What's the punishment for bringing a traitor into the library?" he sighed, gloomily, all thoughts of his successful deduction evaporating.

"We don't know if its treachery on her part or the work of some outside force yet." Tash replied, "And we certainly don't know it was your fault."

Dave mumbled a thanks and excused himself awkwardly. Adrian watched him go.

"Keep an eye on him." He said, quietly to Tash. "He has the makings of a good agent, but..." Tash waited for him to go on. "...I'm not sure he knew what he was getting into when he joined..."

"What do you mean?"

Adrian looked directly at Tash. "Some people take pressure and frustration and bottle it up inside them until they can't take any more. He's so quiet normally, and from what he wrote on his entrance exam he seems to be very principled, I just can't help but get the feeling that when he does erupt..." he paused, "...I hope its a Sue in the firing line and not an agent."


Mesha sat in the chair, still bound, but waiting with the appearance of patience.

Eventually she was joined by the same shadowy figure from her dreams, except now she knew him.

"Long time no see." said he by way of introduction, "You have had a busy few months. I didn't expect you to elude capture for that long, but even that unforeseen circumstance had its advantages."

"I aim to please." she replied, "But if you expect me to entertain you further by struggling you're sorely mistaken."

Her friend chuckled. There was a gleam of blue light and a strange whirring noise, and Mesha felt the ropes around her wrists and ankles go slack.

"Is that my Sonic Mascara?"

"Intriguing device. I'm slightly surprised you use it, given your father's disdain for sonic equipment." He threw the mascara to her. "That prohibitior however is deadlocked, so don't even try using it on that. The most I could do was block the tracking signal... I presume you have something that will remove it? That was the reason we smuggled you into the library..."

Mesha sighed. "The ranks of the arrogant ruined it for us again. The library was infiltrated twice fairly recently, so security was pretty tight. I haven't got all my memories back yet, but I don't think I got more than a list of names and a rough idea of how their filing system worked."

"Well, I suppose I can live with that, but I assume you have an alternative arrangement?"

Mesha waved a hand airily. "I still have some powers, thanks to this device you built for me, and to my dear Daddy of course..." she gestured at the Angel necklace that had been unnoticeable until she mentioned it. "I have a back-up plan."

"You'll have to make it quick. The Librarian turned Lieutenant and "Saint" Foxblade are planning something big, and I don't think they'll tolerate rivals. We'll have to lie low while that blows over."

Mesha stared at her comrade. "How do you know that?"

"I don't question your back-up plan do I?" he responded. "But once they make their move everything will change, that much I will say." The shadowy figure looked up at the ceiling. "Well, I think we've given the readers enough hints. Come now my dear, we'll use what we have, enlighten me as to the filing system of the Library Arcanium..."


Dave lay on his bed in his room, staring at the fading burn on the palm of his right hand. The burn he had got for saving Mesha's life in Primeval. Finally he snorted.

"Sues can be trusted. Huh! How naïve can I be?" he said savagely to himself, grabbing a handful of bedclothes and turning to face the wall. But sleep eluded the troubled agent...

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