Thursday, April 5, 2012

Insert Address To Hell Here

Note: Again, it is nowhere near Christmas. But just go with it. The dates on all entries will (probably) be fixed once the archive is complete.

The second kitchen in the Library Arcanium, recently rechristened 'Rhia's Kitchen,' had many sounds coming from inside it. First and foremost was the loud, overbearing music that was heard over everything else. Songs from Nightwish, Evanescence, Within Temptation, Trans-Siberian Orchestra, Madonna, Kansas, and Linkin Park blared from the room and made the door vibrate. Under the music the sounds of clanging pots, pans, and knives could be heard against different surfaces. Finally, under all that could be heard the muttered curses and frustrations of one person of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. Some of these curses would at times spectacularly pepper the music in the foreground when something went terribly wrong.

Cristoph winced at all the noise coming from one room, and he wondered how one person could make so much sound, even with the help of a sound system. Adrian had told Cristoph to retrieve Rhia for a mission, but he was wary of entering. Rhia had a habit of throwing things when irritated.

He was about to open the door when he noticed a sign next to the handle. Cristoph blanched when he saw it, all the blood running from his face.

Do Not Enter This Room UNLESS:

1. It Is the End of the World: I should be told about this.

2. The Sues and Stus are Invading. I am an agent. We all have bones to pick with the too perfect people.

3. You have a Mission for me (Rhia). Again, I am an agent and have a job to do.

4. Your name is Adrian, Tash, Lauren, Harriet, or Cristoph. The first four are my bosses, I can't keep them out. And Cristoph's sane and won't destroy my kitchen.

If You DO NOT fall under one of these categories, expect pain, screaming, the throwing of hot pans at your head, and the sick-ing of Leonard and Shirley at you.

Thank You,

Kitchen Management.

Well, his name was Cristoph, so he fit the bill. But he was still nervous when he opened the door and saw an outraged Rhia right in his face. He pulled out his smoke pellets and was about to make a quick getaway when Rhia's expression changed from an angry one to a calm and pleasantly surprised one.

"Oh, hey, Cristoph, what ya doing here? I'm a bit busy at the moment." She turned to look at someone behind her. "Merlin, get the second turkey out of the oven! Get ready to glaze the third turkey and throw it in! So yeah, Cristoph, what'cha need? More habeneros?"

It was well known that Rhia was Cristoph's supplier for habeneros, the main ingredient for his black eggs, which Cristoph called the original mace. "No, not today Lady Rhia. My supply has not run out yet. Adrian requests your presence in the monitoring room for a mission."

"What fandom is it and why couldn't someone else take it?" Rhia looked very anxious, and she kept looking over her shoulder, like something would explode if she didn't keep her eyes on it.

"Lady Rhia, Lord Adrian did not tell me."

Rhia slumped and sighed. "I don't have time for this!" She closed the door and started on her way with a fast clip. Mind, this was fast for Rhia, who was 5'4'', and had shorter legs than Cristoph, who was 6'1'' and had much longer legs.

"Just, what are you doing in there, Lady Rhia? To my knowledge, there isn't a party in the next couple of days."

"Not in the next couple of days, no."

"Then what…?"

"I'm uh… well…" The girl seemed a little unsure of herself. "Getting a head start on the Christmas dinner party. I roped Merlin in for help. His memory will be erased once things are done."

"But the party is a couple weeks away. Won't the food go bad?"

Rhia laughed nervously. "That's where I blurred the lines a bit. I got Q from Star Trek to make an area of space that was frozen in time and larger on the inside than the outside. Throw the food in, and it's fine until I need it on the 25th." She laughed again. "I'm gonna owe him if I ever enter the Star Trek fandom."

"How much food are you making exactly, Lady Rhia?" Cristoph was amazed. He had heard stories that last year's Christmas party had been a total nightmare. Food had plastered itself to the walls, and the mess at the end of it all had taken a near miracle to clear up.

He took another look at the quieter girl that had taken on an Olympic-sized challenge. Rhia, while captain of her kitchen, was a hermit crab. She stayed in her kitchen. When she wasn't cooking for massive parties, she had all the food and equipment packed away and was doing another of her hobbies. The laptop might come out of its waterproof case to work on a piece of writing, or she'd spread loads and loads of paper and art supplies over the tables and counter surfaces and work on putting visual art to paper. Seeing Rhia outside of the kitchen was unusual. Uncommon, even. If she wasn't in her kitchen, she was in the other kitchen that used commonly by everyone, grabbing a bowl of cereal and making sure there wasn't any animate mold in that kitchen. She used her room for sleeping and clothes storage. She made an appearance in the Library's collection every now and then to expand her fandom knowledge and grab a random book. And there were also the mandatory training sessions for all active agents to make sure they didn't get rusty.

All in all, Rhia kept to herself in her kitchen, and at times it took direct orders from the founders to get her to leave it.

Said girl rolled her eyes about the amount of food she had to prepare. "I have to cook for forty-five people, maybe more, maybe less. Forty-Five! That's at least three turkeys, five chickens, three hams, galactic proportions of mash potatoes cooked in multiple different ways, sweet potatoes, candied yams, cranberries, three different types of stuffing, one serving of green bean casserole, celery with cream cheese in it, red bean buns, and I have to corner Aster about the different types of foods that Asians eat at Christmas, I just don't know. And I have to make a couple of different gravies, bread buns; mostly white, wheat, and sourdough. And then I have to order at least 20 bottles of sparkling cider. Depends on who wants what. I feel like I'm feeding an army. Maybe I am." Rhia's shoulders slumped as she leaned against a wall and went over what she just said. She hadn't gone over the whole list so she wouldn't drive herself insane. Now that she had said the whole thing, it was like a mouse looking at a mountain. How was she going to finish it all? "God, Cristoph, I don't think I can do it this time. It's just so much."

Rhia blanched as she realized she had revealed weakness to someone whose memory she wasn't going to wipe. She ran an eye over her talking companion to look for signs of…something. She wasn't sure. She just had to be careful. Cristoph was tall, and in comparison to Rhia, made her feel very, very short. That was… intimidating. That was good for Sue hunting, but here? Not so much. He was wearing a full black outfit; black pants, and a loose shirt cinched at the waist for easy movement. Rhia thought it was silk, but she wasn't sure. It could've been good quality cotton. The boots were also black, with black matte finish steel at the toes. His cowl was also black, and it hid the lower half of his face. This made reading any of his emotions hard. Compared to her green t-shirt, black jeans that were smeared with this and that from the kitchen, and her normal sneakers she did almost everything in, Cristoph was very militaristic, and with that, untouchable. So why had she just spilled that very embarrassing secret? She was the de facto cook in the Library. She had conquered and destroyed the living mold that had taken over kitchen 2, and had served the food flawlessly for the Halloween party. It wasn't in form for her to just drop this job. Doubts shouldn't even be entering her mind, let alone take hold.

There were wrinkles at the corners of Cristoph's eyes, he was smiling. Why he was smiling, however, was beyond her. "Lady Rhia, you will do fine. I believe you can do it, even if you think you can't. Now, Adrian has a mission for you, and you cannot be late for it. The Sue is taking over a fandom, and that is unacceptable. Let us go stop it."

"Right. I wonder what fandom it is."


"Babylon 5."

Rhia broke out into a slew of curses that spanned from English into Spanish, Japanese, and a few other things that will not be identified here.

Adrian was surprised. "Rhia, is something wrong? It can't be that bad."

Rhia snorted. "Oh, yes, it can. Babylon 5 is an American sci-fi show that ran for a complete five seasons. Depending on the season we could land smack dab in a fist fight between two really pissed alien races, or on the bridge of a space ship that could explode in the middle of a firefight. And not only is there a massive lump of violence in that series, the place is such a big Gordian's knot of politics that Alexander's solution can't easily solve it." Rhia rubbed at her temples like she was getting a headache of massive proportions. "Adrian, depending on how well my mission today goes, Babylon 5 should be considered Blacklist."

Adrian nodded, and glanced at Cristoph. "Cristoph, since Rhia is the only one who knows about this fandom, you will be going with her as backup."

Cristoph accepted with a small bow. "I shall, Lord Adrian. Come, Lady Rhia, let us get ready for battle."


It wasn't often that Cristoph got mad. It took quite a lot to rile him in the first place, and then even more for him to act on that anger.

But being told he couldn't take most of his weapons with him took the cake. "What do you mean I can't take my weapons with me?" A red anger mark was starting to pop on his forehead.

Rhia shrugged. "Well, I think you can take your shuriken with you, and anything really small, but the bigger weapons have to be left behind. This is a sci-fi fandom, Cristoph, swords are noticed! I'm leaving my wakizashi here!" She giggled. "I'm bringing a few easy to hide phasers though."

"Can I at least bring my sais with me?" His voice had taken a slight plaintive tone. He liked his sais.


The plothole device opened up in a very crowded room, with people and aliens going left and right, back and forth. A loudspeaker announced departures and arrivals in English, Interlac, and a couple of languages that didn't sound like they came from Earth. Neither agent had even been in a sci-fi fandom before, but at least Rhia knew what to expect. Both reeled from the pure amount of people around them. No one noticed their appearance into the area just in front of the gate, and the crowds immediately started to buffet them around.

"Cristoph! Head for that wall!" Rhia raised her voice over the crowd. "We need a plan." Swimming through the crowd was easier for Cristoph than Rhia. He was a head taller than most of the people there and he simply pushed his way through. Rhia on the other hand, had to weave her way through, getting pushed when she stopped in one place for too long. When she finally made it out and made her way to Cristoph, her hair was mussed and multiple strands were coming out of their tie.

"Lady Rhia, are you alright?"

She nodded. "It's like playing chicken with cars on the highway. They aren't going to stop so you better not."
He nodded. "What is our plan?"

"Ummmm… I really don't know. This place is huge, there are a load of people here, and I don't even know what season we landed in. My guess is just…look around, see if anything catches our attention. If we're lucky we'll see what the Sue is after." Rhia started to trot off and called over her shoulder, "And I always wanted to see this place in person. C'mon!"

Cristoph ran off after her.

They were headed towards the Zocalo, the marketplace of the space station. Rhia's head was turning each way, and she wasn't looking where she was going. Cristoph was just trying to make sure he didn't get too separated from his guide and partner. The already loud commotion reverberated against the gray and blue steel walls. He could see Rhia's head just a couple of people in front of him. When it suddenly disappeared, he got a bit worried and rushed over to where he last saw her.

Rhia turned around to look behind her, to see if Cristoph was keeping up. She was being a little hyperactive, and bouncing around everywhere was not helping things. When she turned back, she felt a definite push against her side. She tried to rebalance herself, but tripped over a step below her feet and fell flat on her face. "Ow!"

She picked her head up and was surprised to see a large, black gloved hand reaching down to help her up. Rhia pulled herself up with the mystery helper's hand and found herself looking into a pair of bright red eyes.

"Tripping in the Zocalo is usually a bad idea. People don't look where they walk."

"Yeah… uh… yeah, a bad idea." Rhia was so surprised she was stammering. She was talking to one of the main characters of the show! Ambassador G'Kar! She couldn't believe it! Thankfully, Cristoph came to her rescue.

"Lady Rhia, are you all right?" He appeared almost out of mid-air, and immediately shoved her behind him.

"Cristoph, it's fine. He helped me up."

G'Kar twitched an eye ridge. "I thought that the Earthers didn't have any nobility."

Rhia smiled. "We don't. Cristoph's just being polite. And… it seems…"She tried to get out from behind Cristoph. "Protective." She pushed on his arm again. He didn't budge. "Cristoph!"

"Lady Rhia! You almost got trampled. Please, stay behind me."

Why was Cristoph being so protective?

G'Kar smiled and chucked. "Please be more careful, I don't think I'll be there to help you up again. Good day." And he walked off into the crowds and disappeared.

Rhia got in front of Cristoph, just a bit peeved. "What was that for? He was a main character! His name is G'Kar, he's the Narn ambassador. I was fine, all I did was trip! What was that about?"

Cristoph shrugged, and the skin at the corners of eyes was wrinkling again. He started humming 'Age of Aquarius,' and waited for Rhia to continue to lead the way. Rhia, for her part, threw up her hands and continued on.


The two agents sat at a table at the edge of a fast-food restaurant as they watched everyone go by. They would see faces here and there, but no one made eye contact. The mission had begun. Find the Sue/Stu. Capture if possible, kill if necessary. Repair the damage to the fandom plot line and leave without a trace of ever being there.

"Cristoph, here's a quick cliff notes guide to the various alien races of Babylon 5. Any I don't mention aren't a big enough part to worry about."

Cristoph nodded.

"First and foremost are the Minbari. Humanoid, except for the head, which has a bony head crest at the back, a bit like a crown, but in reverse. They're also bald. Those head crests are sharp and can slit your throat, so don't piss them off. They are physically stronger than humans, so fighting one is a bad idea. The humans in this place just had a war with them about ten years ago. The humans were almost wiped out. Unless a Minbari has business with you, they will not approach you. The saying is, you leave me alone, and I'll leave you alone."

"Why weren't all the humans killed?"

"A specific plot point in the story that isn't too important at the moment. The Sue can't play with it." Rhia paused to think about who should be next on the list. "The Centauri." She shook her head when she thought of them and laughed ruefully. "The Centauri were the first alien race to encounter humanity. They came to us and got the ball rolling. They males can be identified by the fan of hair that sticks up. It is specifically styled like this. The females shave their head bald, except sometimes for a ponytail in the back. The Centauri are almost direct mirror images of the Italian Medici in human history. They love to drink, spend copious amounts of money, and get themselves tangled in nasty political plots. Placing a Centauri in the same room with a Narn is like mixing Nitro and Glycerin. A very bad idea. Expect fighting.

"The Narn are easy to pick out of a crowd. What you saw with Ambassador G'Kar is generally what every Narn looks like; brownish-orange skin with darker spots, bald, and bright red eyes. Ever since the Centauri first invaded the Narn homeworld and conquered them as slaves, the Narn have hated the Centauri ever since. They used to be a peaceful farming people."

Rhia paused for a minute to count off on her fingers. "That makes the Minbari, Centauri, and Narn." She pursed her lips. "Oh yeah. The Vorlons and Shadows. For the Vorlons, there's only one on this station and he's in a big brown encounter suit. Hard to miss. He almost never comes out of his quarters, and when he does everyone gets out of his way. He's the Vorlon ambassador here, and his name is Kosh.

"You won't see any Shadows on this station. But if you meet a guy named Mr. Morden, run in the other direction. Fast. He's their agent and completely bad news."

"Can I kill him?" Cristoph asked, completely innocently.

"I wish." Rhia sighed.

There was a crash and the sound of breaking glass a few meters off from where the two were sitting. They looked, and two aliens of the same race were fighting each other, with more joining in as the seconds passed.

Cristoph raised an eyebrow, "Is this normal?"

"Somewhat…" Rhia adjusted her glasses and squinted down the space to where the fight was. "Cristoph, your sight is better than mine. Tell me, are those Drazi wearing green and purple colored scarves around their necks?"

"Those are Drazi?"

"Yes, those are Drazi. I don't know much about them except that they have scaled skin and pop up a lot in the story."

"Sounds like the Pokemon name, Drazi. I didn't think I'd hear a name like that anywhere else. That's cool, I mean—"

"Cristoph! Pay attention! Are they wearing green and purple scarves?"

Cristoph, knocked out of his rambling habit, got back to the world around him. "Yes, Lady Rhia, they are wearing green and purple scarves."

"Geometry of Shadows!"

"I'm sorry, Lady Rhia? Geometry of what?"

"Geometry of Shadows! That's where we ended up! I know exactly where we are in the timeline; second season, third episode. I guess this means I'm a bit too crazy about the series, but this was a major event in the episode. And it was lots of fun to watch." She giggled.

"Lady Rhia," Cristoph interrupted her fangirlish giggling. "Why are two factions of the same species fighting each other?"

"Oh… Umm…" Rhia looked totally lost for a minute, but then it came to her, complete with the light bulb above her ahead. "It's the way the Drazi pick their leaders for the next few years. A bunch of green and purple scarves go into a barrel, and the Drazi reach in and either pull out a green or a purple. Then the groups fight. Whoever has the highest count of victories gets to rule. Easier than voting."

"Hmm…" Cristoph blinked. "Lady Rhia, I believe we should move."


"Because the fighting is coming our way."


And then the chaos was upon them. The table that the two were sitting at was quickly pushed away, and then they had no point of origin against the raging flurry of green scaled fists, feet and a few blades that were flying everywhere.

"Dammit you idiot Drazi, don't you see I'm human!" Rhia ducked under one fist, punched another Drazi herself, and tried not to get killed. You see, poor Rhia was wearing a lot of green, and the Drazi surrounding her had purple scarves around their necks. Rhia had liked the color purple. Not anymore.

"Lady Rhia!"

"Cristoph?" Rhia used a nearby Drazi to leapfrog above the crowd to try and spot where her partner was. "Cristoph!" Cristoph himself did not have the problem of being mistaken for another Drazi, but that small blessing did not help. He was stuck in a knot of the fighters; each intent on getting their opponent. Getting on one's hands and knees and just crawling out did not work when the group was this big. He was having a hard time evading all of the attacks, regardless of his ninja skills.

All the Drazi saw was green and purple, and anyone in their way was in for a world of hurt.

Cristoph and Rhia eventually made their way to each other, and stood back to back. They had to ride out this storm, and hope it didn't last long.

The two sighed in relief when the station's security came to break up the fight, but it was short lived when that same security decided to arrest them for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.


"At least they put us in the same cell." Rhia remarked.

Cristoph only huffed.

"It could be worse."

Another huff.

"Oh, what are you upset about, anyway?"

He only looked at her.

It was then the door opened, and a middle aged man came through. His hair was a light brown and still thick for his age. There weren't that many wrinkles on his face and life hadn't been too hard on him.

'Huh. That's Zack Allen. Why isn't Garibaldi here? Oh, yeah…he was shot and he's not sure if he wants his job back. Zack's got his place until he decides.'

"So, what, exactly, were you two doing in the middle of a Drazi brawl riot?"

Rhia blinked. She knew that if she opened her mouth that she'd start laughing and that'd be no good.

"We got caught in the middle. We were sitting at a table when it just started and we didn't have a chance to get away." Cristoph answered dryly. This was not helping the mission. The Sue could be doing untold amounts of damage and they were stuck in a holding cell?

Allen got a sour look on his face, but didn't contest the answer. It fit. Barely.

"Who are you? You don't have any IdentiChips and you don't come up in any databases. If you ever want to see freedom again, you'll tell me."

"You want to know who I am?" Cristoph was annoyed now, rising slightly out of his seat to meet Zach Allen's eyes. "I am the dark void. I am the cold steel. I am the just sword. I am the-!"

Rhia rapped on Cristoph's head with her knuckles.

"Ow! What was that for?"

Rhia gave Cristoph an exasperated look.

"Right. Sorry." Cristoph sat back down, his ninja rant interrupted. Rhia conquered the fangirl laughter inside to make a point.

"Look, we're not going to tell you anything, and we didn't do anything wrong. So just let us go, and you'll never see us again. We'll disappear like the ghosts you claim we are."

"I don't think so. You see, I don't believe in ghosts." With that, Zach Allen left, apparently to deal with other security business.

"Oh well." Rhia sighed. "Cristoph, you have a Scene Transition on you?"

"Yes, Lady Rhia." He pulled it out and began to activate it.

"Great. Let's go."


The Scene Transition dropped them off in an empty area of red sector. Whereas the restaurants, shopping stalls and other recreational areas were in the Zocalo, located in the blue sector, the red sector was the residential area for humans and aliens that breathed oxygen.

The last part of the Scene Transition kicked in and memories flooded their minds for a quick moment. The two had been released because a charge could not be raised against them, but they had been warned to watch what was happening around them and not get caught again.

"Why are we here?" Cristoph asked as the tension leaked out of his shoulders from all the crowds. He had never liked crowds. An empty corridor was nice for once.

"In this specific episode, a group of nomads call the Technomages are traveling through, and using the station as a pit stop. Not much is known about these Technomages, and everyone from the Earth government to the Centauri Republic is interested in why they are here. They're mysterious enough that I thought the Sue would use them to blend in and start warping the fandom from here. The two canon Technomages that we meet, Elric—who makes an appearance in this episode—and Galen—who pops up later in a spin-off series—are relatively powerful, though in an abstract way. We never get to see a Technomage's true power. All too easy for a Sue to fiddle with."

"Why are we here, in red sector, specifically?"

"Oh! The mages have a base around here somewhere. We'll wander the halls until we see some weird signs on the walls. Then we start asking for an audience with the Technomages. That should get the Sue's attention to draw it out." Rhia planned, thinking it would take quite a bit of walking to find where the Technomages had hidden themselves.

"You mean like those weird signs?" Cristoph pointed to the wall a few feet from their right.

Rhia nodded. "How…how do you want to do this? Attack the Sue head-on or I can distract it and you can attack from behind?" She was nervous all of a sudden. This was her second mission. And it was a fiction that was going to be Blacklisted as soon as she was done. Her confidence flew out the proverbial window.

"I will come in from behind and attack the Sue, Lady Rhia. Are you sure you wish to draw the Sue out?" He locked his gaze to hers. He could probably sense her fear. She took a deep breath and nodded.

Cristoph disappeared into the closest shadow.

He was gone. How did he do that so easily? Yes, the corridor was rather dark, but a 6'1'' person just couldn't go 'poof'. She chalked it up to his ninja skills. A lot of her resolve went with him. The dark scared her. It always had, even if it was slightly irrational.

Rhia took one deep breath, and another, and then one more. It was time.

"I request an audience with the head Technomage!" She yelled into the darkness. "I am agent Rhia of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society and I claim that there might be an imposter within your ranks!"
A roar reverberated from within the darkness and the sound vibrated inside Rhia's ribcage. A voice came from the left of Rhia. "Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. That is something I have not heard of before. What does this Society do?" Elric appeared out of the shadows of the hall, the hood of his cloak down. He seemed truly curious.

"Our mandate is to protect the dreams of any literary creator from those who would warp it to their own desires."

Elric's eyes narrowed. "You claim that we have an imposter in our ranks. This is a serious claim and one that I do not take lightly. How would I know who the imposter is, and how do you know it is not me?"

Rhia smiled. That was easy. "Simple." She pulled out a Copyright. "Attach this sticker somewhere on you, and if it stays you are not the imposter."

"And if it falls off?"

"It won't."

"What is this sticker for?" Elric was turning the Copyright over in his hands, and he noticed the large black 'c' in a circle. He stuck it to his upper arm and his face went blissfully blank.

'Well, at least I don't have to explain the Copyright to him.'

"Elric, has anyone new appeared in your ranks lately? Perhaps with a tragic past of some sort?"

Elric scratched his head, an odd look for someone so wise. "Yes, in fact there has." There was a slight shuffling in the shadows behind Elric. Rhia hoped it was Cristoph. "Her name is Mira. She's my second. Do you wish to see her?"

"Please." Rhia steeled herself.

Another figure walked out of the shadows next to Elric. The way she appeared was so graceful it defied all description. Her hood came down and her long reddish-brown hair fell down her back in—

"Oh no you don't! Sue, you are under arrest for fandom manipulation!"

The Sue's eyes narrowed. "Don't you remember me, Rhia? I'm hurt. Surely you couldn't've forgotten your first fanfiction so quickly. Oh wait, you did."

Rhia froze in place. It couldn't be that Mira. No. "But, you weren't a Sue when I wrote you, I made sure of that!"

"Are you so sure? I had no father and a mother that sure as heck didn't love me, and all my friends fell from me as the adventure went on." She cackled. "You gave me the beginnings of power, and I cannot thank you enough. How 'bout, as a gift, I kill you?" The floor shook as a dragon came out from behind her. It reared back as flame gathered in its mouth.

"Cristoph, now!" Three kunai knives came shooting from the right side of the corridor, followed by their owner, who wielded his sais. The knives made contact with the dragon, which promptly disappeared into sparkles.

"Hologram." Cristoph growled. Rhia pulled out a phaser from one of her hidden pockets and held it in front of her as she searched for her target. This was personal.

"Where'd she go?" Rhia's head was turning from side to side when a sphere the size of a grapefruit rolled between Rhia's and Cristoph's feet. Rhia's eyes went wide. "Grenade!"

Cristoph grabbed Rhia and jumped away but the concussion blast from the explosion still slammed them both into the wall. They had only evaded the burns and shrapnel. Rhia felt a definite crack in her left leg and heard another crack from Cristoph. She leaned against the wall on the floor, gasping in pain as her broken leg introduced itself to her. Cristoph was clutching his side next to her with one arm and his breathing was short and shallow. She turned to him and winced. "How many ribs?"

"One, for sure. Maybe three."

"Stay here. I'll get her." Rhia stood up with all her weight on one leg. She tried to put some on the other but quickly found out this was a bad idea when it gave out on her with just the smallest bit of pressure. She reached down to lightly touch her leg and found that her upper leg had an odd bulge in it and her knee had more lumps in it than usual. "Great. That leg's useless."

"So are you." Mira appeared in front of her with a futuristic gun pointed straight at Rhia's head. Rhia froze at the realization. "I hope your stay in Hell is comfortable." She cocked the gun.

"You forgot someone." Cristoph had picked up Rhia's phaser from where it had landed next to him and had it pointed at Mira. He fired. The bolt hit Mira's hand and she dropped the gun to cradle her hand.

Mira grimaced and backed away. An agent had the only weapon and looked ready to use it. She knew when to run. A plot hole appeared and she ran through it.

"Shit. She got away." Silence reigned in the hall as Rhia fell to the floor again. "Damn." Rhia knew neither of them was in any shape to go after her, but that didn't make the hurt of failure any less.

"I am sorry, Lady Rhia." Cristoph's voice was soft.

She twisted to face him. Her leg wouldn't let her do much else. "Why? We succeeded in keeping the Sue from warping this fandom."

"It still needs to be said. I am sorry." Understanding permeated the air. Mira was Rhia's own creation, and the realization that she had turned into a Sue could destroy any author.

"Thank you." Rhia dragged herself back over to sit next to Cristoph. She wasn't going to get back up again anytime soon if she could help it. "Thank you for being here." She dropped her head onto his shoulder. "I'd be dead otherwise; either from the grenade or from her shooting me outright."

"You're welcome, Rhia."

The lack of a proper pronoun in front of her name did not go unnoticed by Rhia, but she was too tired to care. She pulled out her Communicator, a modified cell phone that she could use anywhere, any-when. She dialed a number, and put it to her ear.

"Tash? Yeah, it's Rhia."


"Mission? Besides done for now, I'll tell you later."


"Why am I calling? Because Cristoph possibly has three broken ribs and I have a leg so broken it's shattered? Could you bring a medical team with you when you come pick us up? I think I'm about to lose consciousness and I think Cristoph's there already. Thanks." Rhia hung up the phone and relaxed. "Ow."


Consciousness came back to Rhia very slowly. First came the notion that she was lying on something soft. That was confirmed when she gripped the covers on the bed she was on. Then she realized that she couldn't move her left leg at all. She could wiggle her toes, but that was about it on that leg. Her eyes opened up to a white ceiling.

"Hey, Rhia, welcome back to the land of the awake." Valerie said. "You want to sit up?"

Rhia nodded. Valerie grabbed the switch to elevate one half of the bed and flipped it. When Rhia was comfortable, she raised her hand and the bed stopped.

"What happened back there, Rhia? We got through the plot hole and the place was a mess."

"The Sue had a grenade. We were thrown against the wall. She got away."

Valerie winced. "Ouch. Well, you were lucky. All you've got is a shattered kneecap and a broken femur. Keep that leg elevated and in that cast for a few weeks and you should be fine."

"How's Cristoph?" Rhia craned her head to get a look around her and saw her mission partner on the next bed over.

"Not as lucky as you. He's got two broken ribs and another that was fractured. He'll be out of it for another couple days."

Rhia bit her lip and nodded. "You know, he saved my life. The Sue had a gun to my head and she had almost pulled the trigger. He shot the gun out of her hand."

Valerie watched as Rhia started to shake. It was Rhia's first near-death experience, and that shook her to her core. "Shhhh… It's ok." Valerie comforted Rhia as best she could. "You're fine."


As soon as she had been released from the hospital wing, she had been told there was a Secret Santa thing going on, and that she was to get Cristoph something. The idea of getting something for him had made her blush deeply, and had made the messenger, Jess, cackle loudly.

She had spent two days trying to figure out what exactly what to get Cristoph. It had finally hit her when she was thinking about why he had come to the Society. He had said that he did not know or could not remember his past. And everyone knew that he didn't sleep. People would walk by his room late at night for a snack or something and would hear him meditating. The only time people had seen him sleep was at the Halloween party, and he had been snappish and sharp with everyone for about two days afterwards. Rhia knew enough about post-traumatic stress disorder from history to see it in someone else.

So, Rhia had gotten him one black, leather bound journal so he could write down whatever he wanted in it. Fears, hopes, dreams; Rhia hoped it helped him in the end.


Rhia, in her wheelchair, commanded a platoon of other people in her kitchen to finish the Christmas dinner in time. It was December 24th, and the Christmas party was only hours away.

"Doug, are you watching that soup?"

"Yes Ma'am!"

"Tash, how are the potatoes going?"

"I'm almost ready to start adding in other ingredients!"

"Shirley, keep Tyler away from that ham!"

"With pleasure!"

"Ossa, sit rep on the Yorkshire puddings!"

"Another five minutes, Rhia!"

"Marcus, how're your latkes?"

"Almost done!"

Rhia nodded, satisfied at the progress the group was making. She thought she would have to draft people to help, but they all pretty much volunteered. It gave Rhia a warm feeling inside to think so many people would help so quickly. Emily and Miriku were setting the table, but that wasn't as time sensitive as the food was. The idea was get it done now so it didn't have to be worried over later.

Rhia was near the door to her kitchen, watching everyone work like a well oiled machine when she heard a knock at the door. Maneuvering around in a wheelchair was difficult with a leg sticking out, but she managed it. Valerie was on the other side of the door.

"How're you doing, Rhia?"

"Oh, fine. Feeling a little harried, but I guess that's expected."

Valerie smiled. "There's someone who wants to see you."

"Really?" Rhia rolled out of the kitchen into the hallway and gasped. "Cristoph!" Anyone who had been in her way would've been run over as she wheeled herself as fast as she could towards him. Valerie had wisely stepped out of the way and gave the two some space. She had a feeling they wouldn't want an audience.

Rhia was so excited that Cristoph was out of the medical ward that as soon as she got to him she leaped out of her chair, supported on her one good leg, and hugged him around the waist. Cristoph winced but was pleasantly surprised to be greeted this way.

'She is truly happy to see me. I wonder how she will react to the arm bands and bracers I got her for the 'Secret Santa.' He thought.

"Lady Rhia, it is good to see you, but…"

"Oh! I'm sorry, did I hurt you? I didn't mean too, I was just so happy that you're out of bed and up and"
Cristoph smiled. "I'm fine. Thank you for concern. Are you well?"

"Me? Oh yeah." Rhia flopped back down into her chair. "M'leg's stuck in this cast and it's like a rock. I've even bumped into a few things and not felt it." She shrugged. "You?"

"Breathing deeply is a bad idea at the moment." Rhia giggled a bit at that.

She looked down and fidgeted a bit in her seat after a moment of awkward silence. "Look… uh… I know I said this already, but I gotta say it again. You saved my life. Thank you."

Another silence followed, but this one wasn't as awkward as the one before. Cristoph got down on one knee to meet Rhia's line of sight. "Lady Rhiannon, you were my partner during that mission, and even without that, you are my friend. I never thought to do otherwise." Rhia's tears said it all, and both their blushes sealed it.


December 25th. Christmas day. Spirits were high and everyone had the giddiness of a five year old. There were a few extremely hyper people—Emily, Tyler, Miriku and Monika—that somehow for that day lost all pretense of self-preservation and went banging on everyone's doors to get them up.

There were multiple squeaks, awkward coughs, laughs and blushes when each person realized who was giving them what. Cristoph was unfailingly polite when he handed Rhia his gift to her, and Rhia had lost her ability to speak and was completely unable to look him in the eyes when she handed him his. Rhia was awestruck when she pulled out the stainless steel armbands, engraved with delicate designs and swirls. The bracers were steel, padded with leather that was dyed a light tan, and went almost to her elbows.

Cristoph unwrapped the simple black leather notebook and nodded once. He opened it up to see what the pages looked like, and noticed a paragraph of writing on the front page.


I know that you don't sleep much, for various reasons. I also know that you don't remember your past beyond joining the society. But the soul never forgets, and that's why you can't sleep. I'm thinking that maybe if you write stuff down it might help. Write whatever you want. I'm hoping, in the end, it helps.


Cristoph smiled. "Thank you, Lady Rhia."

Rhia squeaked in reply.


No one had gotten dressed until one in the afternoon, long after all of the gifts had been opened and wrapping paper had flown everywhere. Dinner was to start at 5:00pm. Rhia was working on last minute preparations by 4:30.

One by one, she had rolled up to Adrian, Tash, Harriet and Lauren and asked them to help set the tables up with food. It was buffet style, with the food on one side of the room, and the table that everyone sat at was in the center. When 5:00 rolled around, the table was set and everyone was ready to eat. Rhia was nervous about the reception until the sounds of awe reached her ears. Even with a little help, Rhia had set up a huge dinner for forty-five people and was completely successful.

Rhia was floating on cloud nine.

Everyone had sat down, with drinks in their hands, and food on their plates. But before people could really start eating, Adrian stood up and got everyone's attention by pulling a bullhorn out of the middle of nowhere and yelling into it, "Everybody quiet!"

You could hear a pin drop. "Before we get started, and I know you guys are starving, but first we should thank the one person who got this all together. Round of applause for Rhia, everyone!"

The resulting sound shook all the liquid in the room like a localized earthquake. Then something else started up. First it was just a couple of whispers, but then Emotion Marcus made a quick appearance and yelled, "SPEECH! SPEECH!" That was what really started it.





Rhia blustered and all the blood went to her face, but she rolled to the front of the room and faced everyone. She even stood up on her one good leg.

"Ok, this is gonna be short 'cause I'm just as hungry as you guys."

There were a few laughs down the table.

"Christmas is an evolution of the words Christ's Mass, from an older form of English. Now, I know everyone here isn't Christian. There are a few, but I know a couple of you are Jewish, and few of you haven't quite decided yet. This meal isn't just to celebrate the birth of Christ; it's to celebrate the connection between friends and family. It's to give thanks for what we have, even more than the American Thanksgiving. To remember to have goodwill to all men on Earth, and all that stuff."

A few people started to clap, but Rhia raised her hand for one more thing. "Ya'll are on your own for New Years." She had a huge smile on her face.

Everybody laughed. "Dig in, folks!"

Rhia sat back down in her chair to the glare of Valerie. She rolled back to her spot between Cristoph and Doug and dug in.

"Hey, thanks for the dinner, Rhia." Doug said between bites of mashed potatoes.

Cristoph didn't say anything, just leaned over as much as his ribs would allow and hugged Rhia. Her face turned bright red.

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