Monday, March 11, 2013

Insert Bad Superhero Name Here (part 2 of 4)

Two days. Two long, dark days since the Library blackout and the death of another Society agent. Phoenixia and Dave had been over every inch of the kitchen looking for evidence of who might've done it. No fingerprints, no hairs, no footprints. The sentient hologram-turned-human took it personally. The Society itself was shaken that one of their own was killed within Library walls. Someone got @ to take down the security system to let them in, and kill the lights to give them the cover of darkness. The best suspect was another Sue.

The question was who, why, and how.

As much as many of the agents would like to point fingers at Willie, as the last person to see Rhia alive, and the one person who got into a heated enough argument to possibly supply enough motive for the murder, Willie had no connections to @, which cleared him as a suspect. That didn't mean people didn't whisper behind his back whenever he walked by, or glare at him whenever he walked into a room.

Cristoph, for the first day after Rhia's death, had spent it training, hard. He had left his room at 9am with Algazdun and entered Training Room C. He reemerged at 1pm to go back into his room for a moment, and returned to Training Room C without Algazdun soon after. Cristoph did not appear again until 10pm that night, completely exhausted. Any attempts by anyone else to talk to Cristoph were either ignored completely or met with grunts.

Tash, for the most part, was functioning only slightly better than she had when Adrian died. She avoided both kitchens like the plague, and ate very little. She kept up with the normal duties, but retreated to her room after finishing them and stayed there for hours.

The second day came, and hopefully it would lead to some closure. It was the day of the wake and the will reading. The wake was simple, short, and closed casket, via a request from a note attached to Rhia's will.

The will itself was in video form, created and given to Phoenixia a month after Adrian's death, just in case.
"I, Rhiannon, in sound of mind and body, hereby leave my last will and testament."

She was in her room, the wall behind her a pale blue. She sat on a simple, metal fold-out chair. Her outfit was a bit more formal than the normal dark jeans and a t-shirt. She wore a purple and black corseted tube-top, black netted elbow length fingerless gloves, and black pinstripe slacks. Her hair was down but swept back, and she wore a pair of simple stud earrings.

She wasn't quite smiling at the camera, but the corners of her eyes were turned up.

"First: Sound mind? Meh. I'm only saying that because the lawyer said I had to. You know better." Rhia smirked on the screen. The whole Society had gathered in the theater to watch the will, to watch one of their own say goodbye. Cristoph had to be metaphorically dragged out of his room.

"Second: Unfinished stories. I know I have a few; I'm constantly working on the things. I keep detailed outlines on my laptop. Whoever wants to finish them can. Just, post them? Some stories might require an executive decision, go ahead and take it where you want." Rhia waved dismissively and shrugged. It seemed as if she was trying to get the trivial things out of the way first.

"Third: My kitchen. Wow. Look at my priorities if my kitchen is third thing on the list…" She laughed. "Anyways. Keep it clean, you guys. Don't let the living, mutated, almost sentient mold back in. That stuff was hard to kill. Use it however you want, I know that stasis pantry will come in handy." She leaned into the camera, as if to make her point. She then relaxed against the chair she was sitting in.

"If a new agent comes in who also cooks a lot, let them have it. An area where one doesn't have to compete for space, where one can cook wherever and whatever one wants, it's extremely valuable. Don't begrudge the new agent this gift. And if they don't want to cook for you, let them be. Cooking for others is nerve wracking. You never know what the response is going to be." She ticked things off her fingers.

"Ah! Fourth: Bury my wakizashi with me, yes? I like those swords." She paused again, and took a shuddering breath. This was the hard part.

"Fifth: The Society in General." Rhia snorted. "Well. Something got me. I do hope you guys got whatever got me back. And I hope the person responsible died a properly ironic death. If not, eh. I'll be waiting on the other side for them with one heck of a sledgehammer.

I left a few recipes in a folder in my kitchen for you guys. Feel free to try them." She tapped her chin with her finger.

"Oh yeah! And feel free to raid my room for whatever you want. I don't think I'll need anything in there anymore."

Rhia smiled again.

"The Society's roots are in crack. Don't be upset over me too long? I really rather be remembered when you bite into something. Bye guys." She waved.

"Sixth: Natasha.

"This is the second time you've lost someone close to you, isn't it? All I ask from you Tash is that you forgive me for leaving you like this. I'm sorry. Don't let this eat you. Please? In fact, as a command from this Will, someone must immediately hug Tash. Right now. And don't let go for a full minute. Or until she turns blue. Whatever happens first." Rhia was grinning, a full-blown, huge grin that took up most of her face and practically lit up the room. Michael, Miri and Harriet immediately all leaned in to hug Tash, who disappeared under them.

"Ok, now that you've had your hug, I want you to know. Thank you, thank you so much for telling me about the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. I've had the absolute time of my life here. I know I'd be a different person without it, without having met you, or anyone else here and it's some of my most precious memories. Thank God for fanfiction and Piczo, huh?" The Fourth Wall shook a bit at this on the screen and in the Library.

"Keep smiling, yes?" Rhia arched an eyebrow. "Or I swear I'll come back from the dead and poke you till you do."

Tash choked on a grin. "Do you mean that, Rhia? Would you really come back just to make me smile?"

"Seventh: Cristoph.

This…" She took another breath, and her eyes got bright. "This is where it gets hard. Everyone, do you think you could leave the room for a bit; this part is kind of private, for Cristoph only. If he wants to share afterwards, fine by me. I mean I'm dead, what fuss can I put up? I'll give you five minutes for you to pile out. I have a feeling there are a lot of people watching this."The Society complied. If there was one thing they all listened to, it was a dead woman's last words. Michael gripped Cristoph's shoulder as he walked past. Cristoph barely acknowledged it.

"Cristoph." Rhia rubbed her hand over her face. It seemed that was the only thing keeping her from breaking down in tears. "I am so sorry. If I could have done anything to keep this from happening, I would have."

Rhia gave the camera a small, sad smile. "I remember how we first met face to face. You were trying to steal some habañeros from me. And me being me just gave them to you with the offer of more later. What caught my attention was the fact that you were polite about it. And then, well, it went from there. In a place where many people are just so chatty, and more than a little insane, you were very much a calm, soothing peace." Her eyes were bright, water was gathering in the corners. Cristoph was fighting to keep his breathing slow and even. He knew that if he let himself, he'd break down then and there. Rhia wiped again at her eyes and gained a bit of vehemence to her voice.

"Cristoph, your memories mean so much to you. They've left you with nightmares and so many sleepless nights that you can't help but wonder exactly what happened to you. I understand that the past shapes the future, and that these memories are an extremely important missing piece to you. Don't fear them.
Whoever you were before, it won't change who you are now. And if you ever do get those memories back, you'll still be Cristoph, because some things just don't disappear or change with the memories. You'd still be the same person."

Rhia paused and took a breath. "What I'm about to say is something I've never had to courage to say before, and it seems I died before I got to say it in person. If there's one regret I have it's that. For that, I am sorry, Cristoph.

I realized my true feelings for you a little after Adrian died. Woke up one day and ran all the way to your room and almost barged in before I knew what I was doing. Then I went and turned red and ran back to my room in embarrassment. Remember that day in the kitchen when we were taking stock of everything and I admitted to you that I was more relieved that you were ok than grieved at Adrian's death? I damn near said it then. Wish I had now. I was hinting at it, I was hinting at it so much. But I was afraid I would scare you off. Do you remember?"

He remembered.


"Cristoph… this is hard… God his death hurts, but I'm grateful that if someone had to die, it was him. And not you.

"I understand where Tash is right now, and if you had died, I'd be right where she is. And for that, for the fact that I do not have to deal with that pain, I thank him with all my soul. I'd give almost anything to bring Adrian back for all of us, but I can't.

"I almost thought I'd lost you, when the Smiths said they'd found you, and turned you into one of them.
I know exactly where Tash is, in her grief. I don't have to imagine it."


"Well, I'm gonna say it now, even if it's too late, it should be said." She smiled, and it lit up her face like a beacon.

"Cristoph Asahina. I love you."

"Goodbye, my gallant knight errant." Rhia stood up and looked directly into the camera, it made Cristoph feel as if she was really there. He just had to reach out and touch her.

"This concludes my Last Will and Testament." Her voice turned rather flat, in comparison to everything else she had said, like she didn't want to stop talking. She knew, long ago when she had recorded this that when she stopped talking, it would be the last thing anyone heard of her. Rhia gave one last, small smile, and the picture went dark.

Cristoph exited the theatre and was met with everyone who had left a few minutes earlier.

"It's over." He told them, quietly. The only evidence that he might have been crying was his red-rimmed eyes. He pulled out a few pellets from a pocket and threw them on the ground. A cloud of smoke grew and expanded, and by the time it was gone, so was Cristoph.



With an electric fizzle, the lights went out, dropping the kitchen into pitch blackness.

"Oh dear, that's not good." Rhia got up to flick the light switch when someone grabbed her from behind. She screamed, and was cut off when a cloth went over her face. Rhia struggled, twisting her body every which way to get free. 'Damn it, I can't breathe!' Rhia tried to wrench herself out of the other's grip but couldn't. 'What is on… this… cloth…?' She dropped to the ground when her legs failed to support her. She couldn't tell that her sight was going dark, but her body failed to respond to her. 'No…' In the end, everything disappeared into the black abyss.

End Flashback


Reality returned to Rhia in short, mismatched signals that almost made things worse. Her head felt like it was floating, and not at all connected to her body in the way that it should be; which was at the end of her neck. Instead it was only connected by a thin string of some sort, letting it spin every which way, like a balloon.

'Nnngghhh… bit groggy… don' wanna open my eyes.'

"Great! Our guest is awake! How are you, dear?"

"Roxelana? The hell?" Rhia's voice was quiet, and just a bit raspy. 'Ooooh, looking up was a bad idea. Everything's fuzzy and spinning… and hurting, stupid headache, I didn't ask for you.'

"Hello!" Roxelana was bouncing on the balls of her feet, a huge smile on her face. "Told you you'd see me again."

"Where am I?" 'And where are my glasses? I need those…'

"Ooooh, somewhere, some-when." Roxelana shrugged, those two facts were completely unimportant to her. It also helped that not saying anything would unnerve her 'guest.' "Nothing you need to worry about, my dear. What you need to worry about is how long you're gonna live, and how long it's gonna take you to make peace with your Maker."

"What have you done?" Rhia's raspy voice hid her fear. 'No, no, no no no no no no no no…!'

"Oh, nothing overly distressing, dear." Roxelana's smile was no longer all that innocent, and it was impossible to tell the difference between her irises and her pupils, the black was so dark. "Just kidnapped you, and made sure your little Society friends won't be coming after you." She laughed a cute little giggle that just set Rhia on edge even more. "They think you're dead. This'll be true eventually; don't worry, but just not yet."

"Bitch." 'What? No, what did she do, oh angels, Cristoph…'

Roxelana raised one haughty eyebrow. "Tsk, tsk, dear, now, no naughty words. Must make this as pleasant as possible, now."

"…How?" 'Please be something stupid, something easy, let it be seen through, no, no, no!'

"Grabbed some of your DNA earlier. It was such a nice date, wasn't it?" She sighed, as if remembering pleasant memories. "It's the second date now, aren't you just so lucky?" She smiled. "Got a temp-clone made and I slit its throat as soon as I had you under control. Body won't even be there anymore after a couple days… @ got me in. Such a nice sentient computer program, don't you think?" The Sue put her chin in her hand, in mock thought.

"No." 'No...'

"Aww, such a spoil sport, dear. I think I need to cheer you up. Otherwise, this date won't be much fun at all. We'll be starting soon, dear, don't worry."

"What?" 'I'm not your dear!'

"You'll see!" She teased, skipping around Rhia's chair like a school girl. She giggled in that high-pitched way again. "We're gonna have so much fun!"


Tash's communicator buzzed in the holster on her hip.

"Tash here. What do you need?"

Valerie's face appeared in miniature on the screen. "Morgue. ASAP."

"What? Why?"

"Just… get down here." Her face was unusually pale, even with the communicator's slight distortion.

Tash huffed and put her hands on her hips. The morgue was one of the last places she wanted to be at the moment. "Right, I'm here. What's going on?"

"Tash, what do you see?"

Tash looked around the morgue with a quick scan. Stainless steel tables, white walls, coolers for dead bodies along one wall. "Nothing. Why?"

"That's exactly it, Tash. Nothing. Rhia's body is gone."


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