Sunday, April 28, 2013

Insert Frankly Disturbing Shipping Here

"Get the fuck OUT, Leonard!"

It was a peculiar feeling, zooming through the air, but it was one Leonard was getting used to pretty quickly. Once upon a time he had leaped through the air, mouth gaping, reading to latch onto his human prey with fearsome incisors.

Now, his airborne experiences tended to come from Jess, usually bodily throwing him out of the Den of Sin when she wanted to use it for her own special purposes. There were always men involved, Leonard pondered. Men with long hair and quite often strange beards. This one was no exception.

Leonard wondered what his personal pet human could be doing with all these men in her room. Maybe they were playing board games? His old brother used to play board games when he wasn't rat-arsed beyond belief. As she also spent quite a lot of time rat-arsed beyond belief, maybe that was what Jess liked to get up to, too.

As his legs were still too stick-like to hold his skinny body off the ground, Leonard dragged himself along the Library corridor, shooting a hiss at Dave as he pelted past. Hopefully someone would have ordered pizza in the past couple of hours... Leonard felt very strongly that he could do with a nice slice or six of his favourite Meat Feast topping.

However, he was very much distracted as the reason for Dave's dash past sped around the corner and nearly collided with him.

Leonard quite liked Shirley. Considering she was a sentient piece of wood and he was a deformed ex-parasitic twin, they had a lot in common. Claws, fangs, inducing mutilation and fear, chasing people... Shirley seemed to be a fan of aiming for the vital organs when she took offense, whereas Leonard had a predilection for ankles... though, of course, that was more because Jess would severely punish him if he started going for the liver again.

Ambling along the corridors, Leonard wondered what to do with himself. When would pizza be arriving? There didn't seem to be anything at the delivery point, which was a shame. With a disappointed hiss, he dragged himself in the direction of the Main Reading Room. Maybe someone would have left some pizza in there...

However, before Leonard could find anything remotely pizza-like, something strange caught his bloodshot eye, shimmering quietly in a side-corridor not far from Jess's room. He edged towards this strange, bizarrely-rainbow coloured patch of air with some trepidation. He'd seen these before... Jess and the others seemed to be going in and out of them all the time. Maybe he'd been through one himself, once upon a time...

Could it possibly be...?

Was it even imaginable...?

Could that be... where the pizza came from?

With a semi-shriek of delight, Leonard hurled his skinny body through the Plothole, and tumbled into another world.


"One of these days I'll get you, you bearded British birdbrain, and you will know a whole new world of pain!" Shirley shook a fist as she drew to a halt at a crossroads in the Library corridors. Damn Dave – he'd managed to get just a tiny bit of a head-start on her after his last punning-related incident. Now he'd disappeared into one of four possible corridors... and Shirley didn't know which one.

Maiming needed to be achieved, and Shirley needed to be the one to achieve it, if she had to search the whole Library Arcanium to do it.

With a huff of annoyance, the rather-beautifully polished (if she said so herself) piece of wood shifted her gaze onto each corridor in turn. Her black eyes narrowed, and she decided she'd try the most obvious hiding place – she knew that Dave's room happened to be in the same nook as Ben's and Jess's, just down the corridor that twisted off to her right.

Shirley's anger levels, never exactly far from the surface, seemed to rise even higher with every metre she covered. She hadn't beaten anyone up for approximately, oh, twenty minutes. To be honest, it was making her tense.

And a sodding great Plothole appearing right in her path wasn't exactly going to make her any happier.

Of course, that's what that over-punning Agent would have done – sprung a Plothole and hidden in another world. Some people would do anything to protect their beloved limbs and vital organs. Pah. Well, Shirley wasn't going to fall for that one... especially if the Agent in question was too dim to close the Plothole behind him! Pausing only to make sure her claws were at their best (she thanked whatever deities pensive planks pray to that she'd given herself a full claw-maintenance check only a few hours earlier) she threw herself head first into the fandom.


Shirley wasn't quite prepared to land herself in the middle of a Lord of the Rings torture scene. Especially when that scene seemed to be in the middle of a post-battle Helms Deep.

"Well, I suppose this is as good a place as any to hide..." was her first thought.

"...did someone else get him first?" was her second.

"Wow, I never noticed how strange his screams are!" was her third.

It took just that long for Shirley to realise that she wasn't the only person to stumble into this fandom... though 'person' was pushing it as a term.

Instinctively, Shirley ducked behind a conveniently situated rampart to fully take in what she was seeing.

Leonard was writhing around as much as he could from his position smashed against a portion of blown-up wall, pinned at the neck by a pair of large, distinctly Aragorn-like hands. His inhuman screeches were almost painful to the ear; many soliders of Rohan were backing away, wincing and covering their ears. Legolas, Gimli, King Theoden and Gamling were gathered loosely around the struggling, shrieking creature, while Gandalf poked him in the stomach with his staff.

"Insolent creature!" the wizard boomed. "Stop that noise and make sense! Why are you here?"

"We were of the impression that you were following Frodo," Aragorn spat. "Is this some kind of trap? Are you leading him here? Or have you decided to follow us instead?"

"It must be some ploy of Saruman," Theoden growled. "This creature must be answerable to him..."

"Gollum has never had any dealings with Saruman, or so I thought..."

"They think Leonard is Gollum!"Shirley laughed to herself. The canon characters, Gandalf in particular, must have been quite surprised that Gollum's appearance had deteriorated quite so much... and that he had lost the power of speech.

"We'll take him to Saruman," Gandalf declared. "This must be one of his more twisted experiments. We shall set out now."

"We'll have to wait," Theoden frowned. "Éomer must come with us... where is he, anyway?"

"The last I saw he was talking to a girl..." said Gimli, slowly. "I must have not seen correctly, for she had purple hair..."

Shirley laughed out loud this time. Now she could see what had happened. The Plothole hadn't been opened by Dave after all... Evidently Jess had tired of heavy metal musicians, and she had moved onto Lord of the Rings characters. Well, most of them had long hair and beards...

"Enough of this," Shirley yelled, leaping from the ramparts into a knot of confused canon characters. "Gimme that... Leonard."

Nobody spoke. Shirley quite hoped that the Library monitors were picking up what she was seeing – she was quite enjoying the look on Gandalf and Aragorn's faces and she was hoping she could show the others back in the Library.

"Now come on, let him go, or you won't like what's coming your way." Shirley flexed one of her claws and grinned malevolently. Ooh, that Aragorn looked like he had a couple of nice kidneys. She wouldn't mind having a go at one of those... or, you know, both.

Sadly, Aragorn let go of Leonard's throat just as Shirley was about to have some fun. With a terrified hiss, Leonard shot towards the still-open Plothole. With a sigh and a shrug, Shirley followed.

The assembled characters just stared at the Plothole for a moment. Gimli looked down at the pipe in his hands.

"I'm going to have to find out what they put in this pipe weed..."

Shirley let out an exasperated sigh as she stepped through the shrinking Plothole back into the Library. She would have liked to spend more time in the fandom in order to further acquaint her jaws with Gimli's trachea, but any longer in Helm's Deep and chances were Leonard would've ended up being eaten by an Orc or something.

"OK, numb-skull... or... half a skull or whatever you want to call yourself, exactly why were you--gah!"

With a shriek, Leonard had pounced at her and appeared to be trying to bite her in half. Shirley stumbled backwards in surprise, trying to decide whether to tear the little freak limb from limb or just to throw him off her when she realized he wasn't attacking, he was giving her a hug.

"OK, OK real nice, but get off!" Shirley snapped, smacking Leonard on the head with a gnarly fist. With a yelp, Leonard toppled over and fell backwards, his stick-like limbs flailing about wildly in the air for several seconds before he managed to right himself. He turned back to Shirley and started jabbering something in a peculiar combination of shrieks and growls.

"Yeah, yeah, whatever." Shirley waved a hand dismissively. "Little freak nearly ruined my polish." She muttered as she turned to leave.

Leonard watched her go with his head cocked and a strange expression on his face.


It took a couple of hours for news of the stray Plothole to reach Tash's ears. By this time Alice and Louise, who had been on monitor duty at the time, had sensibly and quietly Copyrighted any Lord of the Rings characters who had witnessed the kidnapping of one of their own, along with a deformed humanoid and a bloodthirsty piece of wood apparently storming the fandom. They felt it might be sensible to get things back to normal and perhaps save Jess from some of the inevitable wrath that would be coming her way.

Plus, Jess was still ensconced in the Den of Sin with Éomer and nobody particularly wanted to disturb them.

When Tash found out, mind you, she wasn't quite so considerate.

"JESSICA!" she hollered, stamping down the corridor and slamming open the wooden door. Thankfully, the couple had apparently finished whatever they were doing and were in the process of getting dressed. "You are in big trouble this time!"

"Calm down, dear, it was only a bit of fun." A voice came from under the bed. "There's my bra."

"PHOENIXIA!" Tash's jaw dropped, then she turned to a slightly flushed Jess, who had frozen in the act of pulling her boots on. "Didn't I hear you say once you were straighter than a metre stick?"

"I am not a lesbian – TM." Jess shrugged. "I never said I wasn't up for experimentation."

"And I just couldn't leave this one untested," Phoenixia appeared from under the bed and gave Éomer a pat. His eyes were strangely unfocussed and there was a particularly out-of-character dreamy look on his face. Apparently he'd had a rather good time...

"Right." Tash's voice was measured. "Phoenixia, please take Éomer back to the Lord of the Rings and make sure he's well and truly Copyrighted. You... come with me."

As Phoenixia led an obedient future-King-of-Rohan out of the room, Jess made to follow Tash... but the pair of them were met in the doorway by a rather sorry sight.

"...Leonard?" Jess's eyebrows raised so high they practically became characters of their own.

The small creature on the floor had never looked so pathetic. If his major mode of transport hadn't been dragging himself along on his arms, he would have been dragging his feet as he slowly slid into the room.

"Is... is that a tear?"

Leonard let out a particularly heartfelt sigh, and, barely-formed lips trembling, he made his slow way towards Jess's iPod and speaker. Before either Jess or Tash could react, the (rather incredibly depressing) Nightwish song 'Forever Yours' was blasting out.


Over the next few days, things got worse and worse. Even if Jess had been free to go back to her room from the stacks and stacks of paperwork and cleaning she'd been put in charge of, she wouldn't have wanted to. For roughly eight hours each day, more and more emo-ish music was being played at top volume, while Leonard howled and hissed along.

For the remaining hours of the day, he was tailing the object of his affection everywhere she went, a big-eyed expression of pure adoration on his face. Several Agents had a bet on how long it would take Shirley to crack and cause Leonard some serious bodily harm. Some were privately psychoanalysing why she hadn't broken in the first fifteen minutes and just snapped him into pieces, one limb at a time.

On one particular uneventful day Tyler decided to follow the pair of muses/creatures/whatever they were just to see how many times Shirley yelled "BEAT IT YOU LITTLE FREAK!". He counted twenty three in a period of four hours, interspersed with one incidence of "I WILL EAT YOUR LIVER!" and one over-emotional burst of shrieky crying (the latter from Leonard).

For almost a week, Ben's tolerance of the whole 'affair' was impressive. He seemed to find Leonard's attempts to win Shirley's love amusing, if nothing else – he just had to make sure that he was out of the way at that special hour each day when Shirley finally had enough and had to take out her anger on someone. That was the time of day when Ben closeted himself with Lily and the pair of them firmly barricaded the door.

However, he finally got fed up when things came to a bit of a head and he ended up in the hospital yet again... though for once, it wasn't a Shirley-related injury.

Leonard had changed his approach after god-only-knows-how-many cries of "BEAT IT!" He just hadn't been able to understand how his dogged devotion wasn't working – he had even tried to get Shirley to come and play Monopoly with him. What could be more of a draw than that?

But then Leonard found himself watching Harriet wander into her office, clutching an armful of flowers and explaining to Emily that her boyfriend had given them to her. From the way she was smiling at the time, she had to be happy...

A plan was forming in Leonard's small mind.


"It's good to be free," Shirley sighed, enjoying a rare moment of peace in Ben's room. "Leonard must be off listening to Paramore again."

"Has he washed off the Magic Marker yet?" Ben asked, striking a random chord on Bahamut and causing the light fitting to shudder.

"God knows," Shirley rolled her eyes and cracked her knuckles. "I know he's an emo now but trying to look like he was wearing eyeliner? Too far..."

"Oh, I'm not sure," Ben grinned. "There's the hair..."

"The hair," Shirley cracked her knuckles harder. "We are not mentioning the hair."

"For a creature with only about three strands of hair, getting them into a side-fringe was pretty impressive." Ben paused. "Especially as he took the Magic Marker to them, too."

Shirley groaned.

"You should be flattered, really," Ben pointed out.

Shirley opened her mouth to speak... but suddenly the Library was rocked by a fearsome holler.


"That didn't sound good..." Ben leapt to his feet, clutching Bahamut.


"Oh," the Agent sat down again. "It's just Phoenixia. Maybe someone let some poisonous slugs in from somewhere again."

Shirley raised an eyebrow. "She sounds pretty angry this time... Oh no. Oh, we're for it."

The reason for Phoenxia's irk was poking his (still covered in black Magic Marker stains) head around the door... a 'bouquet' of somewhat bedraggled-looking flowers extending towards Shirley.

Shirley groaned. "You again?"

Leonard growled something softly and pushed the ragged flowers a little closer to Shirley.

"OK, OK, fine," the Clichè Stick snapped, snatching the flowers, causing several dying petals to flutter to the floor. "Now beat it!"

She rolled her eyes and turned back to a snickering Ben as Leonard shuffled out, feeling that he may at last have accomplished something.

"You'd better not let Phoenixia catch you," Ben snickered. "She'll blast you from here to next week!"

"Oh, I don't intend to," Shirley said, tossing the flowers at Ben and running out of the room.

Ben caught the flowers awkwardly with a confused look on his face. "Hey, what do I do with these?"

He got up to follow his muse just as Phoenixia appeared in the doorway, Incandescent Silverriegn in her hands and murder on her mind.

"Oh, snap."

Ben tried to hide the stolen flowers behind his back, but it was too late.

"So it was you!" Phoenixia shouted.

All color drained from Ben's face.

"No! Wait! Listen, it wasn't me, it was—"

"Hold still!"







"Right, Shirley, this has got to stop." Ben groaned, struggling to sit up in his designated hospital bed (it seemed to him like he spent more time in it that he did in his normal bed).

"It really does," Lily scowled from the chair beside Ben's bed (it seemed to her like she spent more time on it than she did on any other chair in the Library).

"I agree," Shirley heaved a sigh. "I'm the only one who's meant to send you to this bed... But." She paused. "This is so... strange. I actually don't want to hurt him."

"Shirley..." Lily began. "Are you...?"

"Shut it! Right, I'm off to talk to him."

"He won't be far away," Ben provided helpfully. "I'm surprised he hasn't come in here yet with chocolates. Or tried serenading you..."

"He already tried that," said Shirley grimly.

"Be nice to him, Shirley," Valerie bustled over, privately thinking 'if you can'. "He's only just working out what it is to be human, and whatever he looks like now, he is human. Sort of. He can't seem to control his feelings and emotions, you need to take a gentle path with him or else he might regress entirely."

"Gentle," Shirley scoffed. "Well, I'll try."

Shirley had to admit there was something almost sweet in the way Leonard's scrunched-up little face lit up when she marched determinedly into Jess's room, giving the iPod speaker a firm whack and shutting up Evanescence mid-wail.

"Right you, we need a discussion." Shirley put her hands where hips would be on your average human. "This has got to stop."

Leonard looked up at her, naked admiration in his eyes, and gave a gentle hiss.

"I know you're only just discovering your humanity or whatever it was Val was on about. But this is getting too much. So I saved your life – I'd have done it for anyone in the Society."

Leonard raised what would have been an eyebrow, if he had more hair. In a split second, Shirley realised that what she had just said wasn't entirely true.

"Oh fine, fine. So I like you." Shirley sighed loudly as Leonard nearly knocked her off balance in one of his clumsy attempts at a hug. "Woah, calm down, I don't like you that much. Now if this is going to work, I don't want you hanging around me all the time, all right? I need space."

Leonard nodded eagerly.

"And another thing, I'm a busy piece of wood, I have lots of things to do and not enough time to do them. I could definitely use your help with a few things..." Shirley's black eyes took on a slightly evil glint. "First things first... I never quite got Dave back for that Stonehenge pun. You know what to do."

With a happy growl, Leonard scampered off.

"What have I got myself in for?" Shirley sighed. "Oh well. Everyone needs a devoted slave or two."


As Leonard dragged himself happily down the corridors, he felt his first twinges of triumph. He knew stealing those flowers would get results...

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Few, The Proud, The Plastic

Oh, you'll meet lots of new friends and you're sure to get paid.
We'll show you the world and we'll teach you a trade. It's
not a job, it's an adventure, Oh yes sir I got that,
ahh but you never told me I'd get my ass shot at.
~The Ballad of Balad by Toby Keith Feat. the Hogliners

Private Industry pulled the pin on his flash grenade as he leapt just beyond Shirley's effective range.

"Shield your eyes!" He shouted to the other LPGB members as he threw the grenade, which was pointless since the LPGB's eyes were made of green paint.

Shirley leapt forward and swallowed the flashbang whole, there was a loud pop and light burst out from between Shirley's teeth.

"The flash was good, but it could have used a little more bang..." she commented, tearing up a piece of floorboard to block and smash a battalion of LPGB flamethrowers.

Shirley was getting irritated with these things, for months they had been nothing more then convenient snacks scattered throughout the Library, then as their numbers grew and their weapons evolved they became outlets for amusing little hunts. A month after that they became annoying as they began to use wood glue to hinder her mobility, but this was the first time they had actually sought her out and attacked her without provocation, she would have to deal them a heavy blow if she was to remain the dominant one in her relationship with the LPGB, which she admitted was a fun prospect.

"Industry! Take control of the predator!" Captain Crunch said, firing a burst from his M-16.

Private Industry pulled out a laptop and began operating the targeting mechanism for the unmanned aircraft that was flying around the room, after locking on to Shirley's position Industry launched the predator's AGM and began guiding it towards it's target.

"Missile inbound!" shouted Major Detail as he fired a rifle grenade at Shirley, the weapon exploded uselessly on her back.

Shirley looked up just in time to see the missiles strike, sending up a cloud of smoke in a six foot radius in every direction.

"Way to go men! We got her that time!" General Idea shouted, only to see one of two halves foot soldiers fly through the air past him.

"What! How can she still be combat effective! That air-strike should have reduced her into a brush pile!"

"Incoming!" Captain Crunch shouted, opening fire with an RPD as Shirley emerged from the smoke.

"You're fighting outside your weight class, General!" Shirley shouted, swatting aside battalion after battalion of soldiers.

"Gentlemen, we have no choice, prepare the 'Fat Lady Sings' anti-cliche stick missile!" General Idea shouted.

"But sir! The FLS hasn't been fully tested!" One of the foot soldiers objected.

"It's gonna get tested now! Now make it happen!" Idea insisted.

From the rear of the room a coffee table sized missle platform smashed through the door, carrying a similar sized warhead.

"What the heck is going on here!" Jared yelled, bursting in the room. "I'm getting reports from every single one of our leaders saying you guys are demolishing a room!"

"We are currently mounting an offensive against our deadliest enemy, the room is just a casualty of war!" Idea responded.

"I don't think Tash would feel the same way..." Jared remarked.

About that same time, Ben came in through the other door.

"Hey Jared, what the heck is going on here? You can here the noise all the way over in the monitor room!" Ben shouted over the LPGB weapons fire.

"Your muse and my army are going at it, their conflict appears to be escalating." Jared shouted, frantically trying to restock a bookshelf that had been knocked over.

"I'll say, have you noticed the sparking rocket over there?" Ben asked.

"Oh no! You had better put these on, and don't look directly into the explosion for the first ten seconds." Jared said, frantically handing Ben a pair of sunglasses and putting on a pair of his own.

"Gentlemen! Twenty seconds until we get to see the rocket's red glare! Fall back!" General Idea shouted as the LPGB blew the cover off a vent and began retreating.

"No thanks Jared, I'll be alright, I'm used to throwing nukes around rememb-"

Ben was interrupted by the sound of 'the Fat Lady Sings' rockets firing, Shirley stood her ground as the missile hurled itself through the air.

"Don't say I didn't warn you..." Jared said, putting on his glasses and kneeling in the corner with his hands over his head.


"GOOOD HEAVENS WHAT WAS THAT THING AND WHY HAS EVERYTHING GONE WHITE!" Ben shouted on his backside at the opposite side of the room he had been standing!

"You call that a missile! I'll show you a missile!" A furious and smoking Shirley shouted, storming into the vent after the retreating LPGB.


"Well, as far as I can tell Ben has been both blinded and deafened from the blast, but thankfully that will wear off after a couple of days..." Valerie said, stepping out of the medical ward.

"What about Jared?" Tash asked.

"Charis still hasn't figured a way to get him out of the wall yet, as far as I've been able to tell from his spastic leg movements he's all right."

"Well, he better hope Charis takes her sweet time getting him out, because he is receiving more monitor duty and sue patrol than he has had since he joined up when he gets out!" Micheal remarked.

"Who said that and where am I!" Ben shouted from his bed in the corner.

"Hey guys, we have a problem!" Chloe said, coming into the room.

"We've got blond-wearing-blue-jumpsuits-identi-sues in the Army Men fandom!"

"Great, you feeling up to it Chloe?" Tash asked.

"A little too up I'm afraid, the characters in this fandom are an inch tall, if we send just any agent in they are going to do unspeakable damage to the fandom on account of being too large!"

"Well then, we have a problem... unless we have a shrink ray somewhere around here." Micheal responded.

"Well, there is a group in this Library that might be up to the job..." Chloe suggested.

"Who are you talking about, none of our agents are..." realization suddenly dawned on Tash's face.

"You aren't seriously suggesting... not after all the damage..."

"They have the best chance of getting the Sue you have to admit." Micheal chipped in.


"Gentlemen! I've just received orders from President Wasson, we are shipping out and opening up a new front in the Army Men fandom!" General Idea announced in front of the gathering of LPGB soldiers, minus those injured by Shirley occupying the med ward at the back of the lab. "Are their any questions?"

"What are the rules of engagement sir!" Asked one of the soldiers.

"We are to storm the enemy facility, wipe out all the sue-energy constructs and take the big bad as a POW before returning to base, green soldiers are friendly. All others are hostile. Now move out!"


A dozen miniaturized Sue Constructs began pacing the base that was serving as Tan forward command on the maple street, since the sues arrival they had been able to launch multiple successful offenses against the green army, forcing the miniture soldiers farther and farther down the street. At the rate the army was progressing, they were expecting a surrender within the week.

"Number 33 and 1/3, we have a problem!" said one of the constructs.

"Yes Number 24 over 2?" responded the constructs.

"We have multiple plotholes opening behind Green enemy lines, it appears the society is on to us."

"That isn't possible! They don't have any agents that can function in this fandom!" The Sue objected.

"They aren't sending any agents! It's the LPGB!"

"That isn't good, there weaponry could give the Green the edge they need to start winning this war, activate the Sue Storm device! Let's see if we can't attract some kind of assistance!"


LPGB Cobras and Apaches began pouring out of plotholes, souring over the ranks of the Green army, it wasn't long before their radio started receiving transmissions.

"Unidentified aircraft! State your intentions!" Crackled over the loud speaker.

"This is General Idea of the Little Plastic Green Beret, we have been authorized to provide air support for your men! Please allow us to pass through your air space."

"Access granted, you have my permission to use any of the resources of the green army to reduce the Tans back to puddles of molton goop!"

"Sir, we are approaching No Man's Land!" Announced the pilot.

General Idea picked the radio back up.

"All hands, arm all weapons, we are penetrating the enemy's defenses and going for their forward command post! Now Industry, get on that MK-19!"

Author's note: An MK-19 is a type of mounted grenade launcher.

"Tan AA batteries on top of the parked car!" Shouted the pilot, maneuvering just in time to avoid the anti aircraft fire, but the helicopter behind them was not so lucky.

"The Blackhawk is hit! I repeat, we have a Blackhawk down!" Industry declared.

General Idea shuddered, "Let's all be thankful Shirley isn't here..." He said solemnly as the Cobra's Gatling gun began shredding apart the Tan AA operators plastic bodies.


Tan soldiers began converging on the wreckage of the Blackhawk helicopter, Major Idea and Commander Follower began digging their way out of the wreckage, Major Detail felt around for ammo for his M-16, Follower had to make due with his pump action SPAS-12.

"This is Blackhawk 5, we have been shot down behind enemy lines, pilot and two infantry men are dead, we have hostile closing in on our position, please advise!" Follower spoke into his radio.

"This is General Idea, it is too hot for us to land in your position, we will not be able to extract you, your best option is to gather what you can and head back towards Green territory..."

"Roger, we will keep in touch, over and out..."


"Enemy tank! Evasive maneuvers!" General Idea shouted, grabbing the controls from the pilot and pulling up aggressively.

Outside the helicopter, an artillery shell from the Tan tank whizzed by the chopper, narrowly avoiding the fuselage.

"Industry!" Idea shouted, as the pilot fought to keep the helicopter under control.

"I got him!" Industry said before opening fire on the tank with the MK 19.

"Pilot! Set down by that barbecue grill, we'll proceed on foot from here!" Idea ordered.

"Aye sir!" The pilot replied, throwing the helicopter into a tailspin.

"Hang on, it's gonna be a rough landing!" Colonel O'Korn called out over the sound of stray bullets hitting the chopper.


"Адмирал! Мы обнаружения уникальных чтении энергии в "Army Men" франшиза!" The leader of the Little Plastic Spetsnaz called out.

"I don't see how unique lawn chairs in the Army Man fandom concern us in any way..." Deraj muttered with his nose in a copy of a Russian for Dummies book.

"No sir, what I meant to say was that we have detected the Sue Storm device." The leader replied.

"Well then what are you waiting for, get your men ready and deploy immediately!" Deraj said, pouring a large container of molten red plastic into molds containing motor servers and indo-skeletons.

"Right away sir! Все докладе Спецназ на службу! Мы движемся в течение часа!" The leader shouted to his subordinates.


"How Much farther to Green lines?" Follower asked, reloading his SPAS 12 behind the right front tire of a parked car.

"About one block, we might be able to make it if we stay near the curb..." Major Detail whispered, watching a battalion of Tan try to cross No Man's land, only to be obliterated by a Green MG.

"C'mon, lets go!" Follower said, pumping the SPAS.

The two LPGB officers began running along the curb, when they suddenly became aware of a plothole opening up inside a storm drain.

"Commies!" Detail shouted, drawing his M-16 and firing into the storm drain.

"уничтожить капиталистов во славу матери России!" The Spetsnaz leader shouted, raising an AK-47 and burst firing at the two LPGBs.

Commander Follower let out a yell as the bullets tore through his leg.

"I'm hit!" He yelled, as the leg snapped off at the hip, exposing the metal support rods on the inside.

"This is Sarge, leader of the Green Army, may we be of assistance?" Came a voice from Detail's radio as the soldier dragged his injured comrade to cover.

"Absolutely!" Follower shouted, ejecting a round from his SPAS and loading an unusual looking shell.

"What's that? It doesn't look like standard issue?" Detail asked.

Follower pulled the trigger, a burst of flame shot out of the end of the barrel of the gun, colliding with and melting a group of Spetsnaz unfortunate enough to have pursued the LPGB around the car they were taking shelter behind.

"That's because the Admiral didn't design it and doesn't know about it, it's called the Dragon's Breath. It's a special type of shotgun round that can allows the gun to function as a short range flamethrower. I had the engineers at the Anti-Shirley Glue Trooper division headquarters work it up..." Follower said, "But it's too dangerous to use continuously, it can warp the barrel of the gun after extended use, and a couple of our test subjects held the gun too close and melted from the excess heat." He concluded just as the stream of flame began to wane.

"You shouldn't have done that..." A deformed, partially melted LPS soldier on the edge of the burst said as he limped towards the group.

Detail raised his M-16 and pulled the trigger, he was answered with a dull click.

"Dang, I'm out of ammo!"

"My guns too hot, I can't risk another dragon's breath!" Follower shouted, fumbling for a pistol as the soldier raised his AK-47.

That's when a wild RPG shell exploded, blowing the soldier into a multitude of plastic bits.

"It's the Green army!" Follower shouted, helping himself to an LPS AK-47 while tossing Detail the SPAS 12.


"Incoming Spetsnaz forces!" General Idea shouted, picking up a Dragnov sniper rifle from the Cobra's gun rack as the Red soldiers began pouring out of plotholes around the hibachi.

"RPG!" Industry warned, as a rocket shot over the top of the cobra.

"I believe the B1 Bomber stationed at the Green airstrip is in a position to be of assistance, may I give the order to begin fueling?" Colonel O'Korn asked.

"By all means, we are grossly out numbered." Idea shouted, firing his Dragnov with reckless abandon into the swarm of Spetsnaz, not even bothering to use the scope. "And while your making phone calls, tell the pilot to refire the engines! We're getting out of hear while we still can!"

"Tank coming up the street!" Private Industry shouted, right before a rocket fire blew the Cobra in half.

"O'Korn! Get some C4 on the front stands on the grill, we need more cover! I'll send up a smokescreen!" General Idea shouted, tossing a smoke grenade.

Colonel O'Korn dashed over to the first leg of the grill, placed the charge and began running towards the second, only to be confronted by a Spetsnaz soldier that had wandered through the smoke.

"They don't call it plastic explosive for nothing!" O'Korn said, assaulting the LPS in the face with the butt of his rifle and attaching the charge to his chest.

O'Korn delivered a final kick which caused the Spetsnaz to fall next to the other stand on the grill.

"Kaboom!" O'Korn said, detonating the charges, the legs of the grill were blown off and with no support on the front the whole structure fell into the ranks of the LPS, crushing the ones leading the charge and spilling hot charcoal and burnt hamburgers into the rear.


The Green Armies advance was swift and brutal, Cutting through tan and Spetsnaz alike, enforced with the advanced weapons and training of the LPGB Anti-Shirley Shock Troopers that had been held in reserve until the final push into tan lines.

"Keep it up men, at this rate we'll be knocking on General Plastro's door in no time!" Sarge yelled.

"Ye-haw! Keep it up men, let's show this Tannies how we do it in the LPGB!" Major Pain of the Anti-Shirley Special Engagement Tropper division shouted, firing his minigun into the ranks of the Tan. The gun was designed for attaching large amounts of glue to a tree foot stick, as such the glue rounds went straight through the tan foot soldiers and attached plastic bits to the soldiers behind them.

"Those A.S.S.E.T. guys really freak me out sometimes..." Major Detail whispered to Commander Follower as he reloaded his SPAS 12.

"You'd be a little crazy too if your sole reason to live is to hunt murderous sticks of wood which you have little hope of ever overcoming..." Follower answered.

The army advanced like a tsunami, crushing every defense in it's wake.

"This is way too easy... weren't the Green's close to defeat when we got here?" Detail asked.

"Hey you're right, somethings not right..."


Idea, Industry, and O'Korn fired around the cover that the grill provided, finding it harder and harder to remain active as the Spetsnaz grew closer and closer.

"I can't get through to the bomber pilot, he's not answering his radio!"

"I ordered him to be standing by for immediate deployment! Why is he not at his post!" Idea ranted, as a stray bullet ripped his helmet off, "We need air support right now!"

"General Idea, this is Cobra 2-7 of the Green Army, we are reading you loud and clear, stand bye for extraction!"

"Thank goodness, it was getting a little too hot for us!"


Detail looked around, the Tan compound was now insight, but both he, Follower and Pain were feeling very uneasy about the ease of the attack.

Major Pain looked around, his keen eyes scanning the field of battle, he noticed almost every Green soldier was wielding an AK-47, which was quite unusual, then it hit him.

He and several members of the A.S.S.E.T. ran up to Follower and Detail and made a hurried whisper.

"What did the Nazis do at the Battle of the Bulge..."

Both LPGB officers sat bolt upright, raising there weapons.

"Ну, шевелитесь! Садись! Мы послали четкий сигнал с этим нападением, Макаров..." One of Sarge's supposed aids whispered.

"Это сообщение не ..." Sarge's impostor said, pulling out an M9 and firing into the back of the nearest A.S.S.E.T.'s head.

"Теперь это сообщение!"

The remaining A.S.S.E.T.s opened fire with their miniguns as Detail and Follower dove for cover.

"Idea! The Green Army are Spetsnaz in disguise! Do not trust them!" Detail shouted into his radio, only to get static in return as General Idea climbed up the landing ramp of the stolen Green helicopter 2 blocks away.

"Dang it! What can we do now!" Detail shouted over the sound of the A.S.S.E.T.'s miniguns.

"Call the Anti-Shirley Experimental Weapon Research and Design Station. They've got to deploy the Weapon if we are going to win this battle!"

"Are you crazy! That thing hasn't been field tested yet, and if we use it then we won't have another to use on Shirley!"

"Well, if we get gunned down by Commies, we won't have another one of us to use on Shirley either soldier. So are you gonna make that call or am I gonna have to come over their and rip that radio out of yours hands!"

"Very well, This is Major Detail calling the Anti-Shirley Experimental Weapon Research and Design Station, prepare the Weapon of Minute Destruction!"


Somewhere in a bunker far below a nondescript bookshelf in an undisclosed room in the Library, an LPGB telegraph officer sat in a dimly lit corner office as the telegraph machine punched out a coded message, the officer picked up the message and carried it over to his secretary, who then took it over to the translation department for decoding. The secretary their then took it over to the authentication department for confirmation, and that secretary took it to the secretary of the command station in the second floor of the bunker, who brought it in to the commanding officer, General Incharge.

"Are you sure this is accurate?" Incharge asked the secretary.

"Yes it is, we verified the fandom, coordinates and command codes twice before we did it again for third time," said the secretary.

"Very well, it was difficult to say the least to collect enough uranium to construct the mini-warhead, and I was hoping to use it on Shirley. But if we must use it, we will mobilize immediately!'


Alarms and flashing lights began going off from the first floor of the bunker as the motors beneath the bookshelf began to slowly slide the bookcase aside, revealing the entrance to the bunker.

It was unfortunate for Tyler that he chose that moment to enter the room, as mounted turrets hidden between books began firing on him.

"Ow! Ow! What gives? I was just heading for monitor duty! OW OW!" He shouted.

"You are entering restricted airspace! Leave immediately or we will be forced to fire surface to air missiles!" A voice over a loudspeaker demanded.

"Fine! I'll go through the science hall!" Tyler said, retreating from the barrage of friendly fire.

Once the Station believed that the coast was clear, the bookshelf resumed moving until the bunker was fully exposed.

The entrance began widening, exposing a B12 bomber on a runway, the aircraft began lifting off, until it faded away through a plothole. Once it was gone the bunker sealed up and the bookshelf began to move back into place.


"What is the command codes to deactivate the American Forces!" Deraj's favorite officer said, slapping General Idea across the face from where he was tied up at the back of the chopper.

"I'll never talk! You'll pay dearly for every LPGB and A.S.S.E.T. soldier you and your men have killed today soldier!" Idea shouted, attempting to spit in the Spetsnaz's face, which proved impossible without salivary glands.

"Well... we have ways of making you talk," said the soldier.

"You are aware that we LPGB can't feel pain right? The Admiral never designed pain receptors for us." Idea said flatly.

"That... complicates things to say the least, but never the less you'll give us the information."

"Actually, I no longer have the information... my computer brain automatically deleted all important information on my capture, you're really wasting your time."

"Very well... I suppose there's nothing to do but just kill the three of you," he said, drawing a Desert Eagle.

"Sir... there's something you need to see..." The pilot said in Russian.

"Not now!" The officer replied.

"Sir, it can't wait!" He shouted as the LPGB B12 tore past the chopper.

Idea smiled.

"Kaboom!" Follower shouted, as a mushroom cloud rose steadily upward from down the street, then the helicopter started spinning out of control as the concussion struck the craft.


"Did we get em?" a partially melted Major Detail crocked, crawling out of the sewer grate.

"I think so... and I think we've destroyed the Tan compound as well," said Follower.

"Yee-haw! Do you folks realize the three of us just went a nucular explosion and came out in one piece!" Pain shouted, slapping Detail on the shoulder, which had the unintended effect of removing his arm. "Sorry Detail-io, I'm sure the Admiral can fix up a nice new body for you when we get back!"

"I could sure use a new leg..." Follower commented, limping on his metal framework, then his eyes spotted a crashed green helicopter.

"The General!" Detail shouted.

The injured Detail and Follower were quickly outrun by Major Pain and the remaining and largely uninjured ASST soldiers, leaping over melted LPS infantry.

Pain got to the chopper and wrenched the door of it's hinges, finding only the three LPGB officers.

"The cowards plothole'd out before the choppers could crash, fortunately this helicopter is covered with lead based paint. It made it the perfect helicopter for flying into a nuclear explosion..." General Idea said, as Pain and the A.S.S.E.T. untied them. "Now get that B12 back here, we need it's plothole generator to get back to base..."

"And I thought we only had to worry about Ben and Doug nuking fandoms..." Tash sighed, using a magnifying glass to read General Idea's very tiny print.

"How big was the explosion anyway?" Jared asked.

"It could have leveled an entire room of the Library... you need to do a better job at policing the weapons they design without your knowledge..."

"What about the sues?" Chloe asked.

"Presumably killed in the explosion, although as simple constructs they weren't really alive to begin with," Charis said, pouring over monitor logs.

"Well, if that's all you need me for, I have to go..." Jared said, getting up.

"What for?" Chloe asked.

"Didn't you hear? Private Industry is getting promoted..."


"And for your outstanding performance, I hear by bestow upon you the rank of Major," General Idea said, handing the now Major Industry a ceremonial saber.

Idea then brought the promotion paperwork over to Jared for signing, which he did to make it all official.

"That concludes today's ceremony, dismissed!" Idea said, as the LPGB went back to their previous assignments.


"So was the experiment a success?" Asked a shadowy figure.

"Yes, the sue storm device was enough to defeat the protagonists of the series. Victory would have been complete had the LPGB not intervened... All in all a successful test." Said a blond sue construct.

"Very well, we will proceed with the final stage of the plan..." Said the shadowy figure.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Insert All-Powerful Tome Here

Don't care what people say
Just follow your own way
Don't give up and use the chance
To return to innocence
That's not the beginning of the end
That's the return to yourself
The return to innocence
-Enigma, Return To Innocence

Michael's forehead was creased with concern and worry as he strode through the Library's hallways. He had a new-found respect for Tash and all she had to put up with as Head Agent for the Society. Of course, now that she was the Librarian she had even bigger concerns to worry about.

His hand curled into a fist. The only reason they'd won the battle with Death was because of the Morpher Adrian had left behind, but with only a limited number of uses left in the device, he was hesitant to use it again. He needed to find something, not only for himself, but for the entire Society, to prepare them for the upcoming battles. He considered ordering increased mandatory training sessions, but that wouldn't help much. Most of the Society's Agents were pretty well experts at what they did already, and a few more hours of training wouldn't mean much against a Sovereign for those of them who weren't.

Michael sighed. It had been nothing short of a miracle that everyone had escaped the battle not only alive, but without any permanent injuries. He had a sinking feeling though, that the next Sovereign was going to be more dangerous than any of them could realize.

Hey! Hey! You! You! I don't like your girlfriend!
No way! No way! I think you need a new one!
Hey! Hey! You! You! I could be your girlfriend!

Michael's train of thought was cut short by the obnoxious music blaring from behind the door of one of the training rooms. With a growl, he yanked open the door to tell whoever it was to turn down their music, only to find Ben lying on the floor in a pool of sweat.

Michael rolled his eyes as he stalked over to the CD player in a corner of the room and snapped it off with an irritated gesture.

"You know," Michael said as he helped Ben up. "For once, I don't blame Shirley for doing this to you. I mean, Avril Lavigne? Seriously? I though you were supposed to be into Heavy Metal!"

Ben shook his head, panting so hard he was on the verge of hyperventilating. "Not-Shirley." He gasped. "Was-working on-Fast-Step."

Michael scowled. "Your Fast-Step?"

Ben shook his head again, holding up a finger to let Michael know he needed a few minutes to recover himself.

"I was practicing my Fast-Step." Ben said several minutes later after he'd recovered, sitting up against the wall, taking a long drink from his flask.

"Practicing? Why?"

"I'm trying to increase how long I can keep it going." Ben explained. "At the moment I can only do it for about 30 seconds and if I do," He gestured towards the place on the floor where he'd been lying only seconds before. "You saw what happened."

"So why even bother using it at all if it exhausts you this badly?" Michael asked.

Ben shrugged. "Because while I'm doing it, I'm basically untouchable."

Michael's eyes narrowed. "Really?" He asked slowly. Ben nodded.

Michael raised an eyebrow. This Fast-Step of Ben's could very well be the answer to his problem...

"Tell me, Ben, would it be possible to teach someone how to do the Fast-Step?"

Ben thought for a moment. "I suppose it wouldn't be impossible," He said at last. "But now just anyone could pull it off either. Why?"

Michael's other eyebrow rose up to join the first.

"I have a proposition for you..."


"First off, let me thank all of you for agreeing to this," Ben said, standing before an assembled group of Society Agents.

"Agreeing?" Shirley scoffed. "They were ordered to! Why else do you think they'd agree to attend a class taught by you?"

Many of the Agents did look uncomfortable, if not downright nervous. Christoph in particular was shooting a dirty look at Ben.

Ben glared at Shirley. "Why don't you go help Rhia get the stuff ready, huh?"

Shirley shrugged. "Whatever. Just don't blame me when this blows up in your face."

"Anyway," Ben said, turning back to his students as Shirley walked out. "As I was saying before I was so rudely interrupted, thank for agreeing to this training session."

"You still haven't told us exactly what you're supposed to be teaching us." Chloe folded her arms.

Ben frowned. "Michael didn't tell you? You're hear to learn how to do the Fast-Step?"

"And why would we want to learn how to do that?" Christoph asked challengingly.

"Because, outside of my nukes, the Fast-Step is the most effective move in my repertoire. While dancing, you will be virtually intangible and almost anything thrown at you will miss entirely."

"So then why don't you use it all the time when you're fighting then?" Tyler asked.

"Because the Fast-Step is extremely draining." Ben replied. "Most of you will be lucky if you can keep it going for more than six seconds, and afterwards, you'll be almost completely exhausted. Use it at the wrong time, and you'll be a sitting duck. But if used correctly, it can save your life."

"So how do you intend to teach it to us if it takes all this energy?" Drake asked.

Ben gave an evil grin. "I was hoping you'd ask..."

At that moment Shirley and Rhia came into the room, pushing carts bearing water coolers filled with Firebrand Whiskey.

Ben jerked his head towards the coolers. "Get chugging."

A minute later the room was in chaos. Jared was chasing Tyler around with his Boomhammer, shouting "Whack-A-Mole!" every time he brought the hammer down, each blow barely missing the diminutive Agent.

In one corner of the room Chrys and Aster were jabbering to each other in an extremely rapid fashion, their words growing faster and faster until it reached the point that their mouths were blurs and their speech was far past being able to be understood.

Drake, meanwhile was using his spear as a pogo stick, bouncing around the room, each impact blasting a crater into the floor.

Ben took a sip of the Firebrand Whiskey from one of the coolers and frowned. "You know, I think you might've made it a little weak."

Rhia sweatdropped, looking around the room. "Y-you think?"

Ben nodded. "Oh, yeah. I mean look! Jared hasn't even managed to hit Tyler yet. Oops, never mind." He took a swing from his flask as Tyler went flying past, propelled by Jared's Boomhammer.

Just then the door flew open and a panting Michael demanded "What in the name of Arceus is going on here?"

Ben turned. "Oh, hey, Michael! Come to get in on the lessons?"

At that moment, eyes rolled up in heads all across the room and everyone passed out.

Ben glanced down at the watch on his wrist. "Yep. Way too weak. That only lasted them a minute and forty-five seconds!"

Rhia's sweatdrop grew as Michael closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose.


Twenty minutes later, Ben was standing in the medical wing, watching Valerie move among the beds which were filled with his students, all exhausted, pale and gasping for air. Valerie only gave each of them a brief once over before coming over to where Ben and Michael stood.

"They should be fine," She said, her expression somewhere between exasperated patience and amusement. "But they'll need to rest for several hours."

Michael nodded tersely, folding his arms. "OK. Thanks."

Valerie shot Ben a semi-amused look before walking away, shaking her head.

Michael sighed, closing his eyes and pinching the bridge of his nose. "Ben..."

"What!" Ben demanded. "You asked me to teach them how to do the Fast-Step!"

"Yeah, teach them to do the Fast-Step, not turn them all into diabetics!"

Ben shrugged. "Hey, it's not my fault if they can't handle their Whiskey!"


All color drained from Ben's face. "Oh, snap..."

Dropping his flask, he turned and tore out of the room, Shirley hot on his heels. "Get back here!"


Michael shook his head. "Hey, Valerie! You might want to get Ben's bed ready!"

"Is it a Code 2 or a Code 3 Shirley Attack this time?"

"I think it's a 3!" Michael replied, listening to the crunching sound of bone bending in ways it was never meant to bend and Ben's continually rising shrieks of pain.

He sighed and sank into a nearby chair.

"You look tired." A voice observed.

Michael looked up. "Oh. Hey, Lily. How're you feeling?"

"Better," She admitted. "Valerie gave me a shot and now I'm right back where I used to be."

She looked around at the occupied hospital beds. "Let me guess. Ben's Firebrand Whiskey, right?"

Michael nodded wearily. "How'd you guess?"

Lily chuckled. "Ben let me try some of it once. By the time I came down off my sugar high, I had already set the "How-To" section on fire."

"Oh, yeah." Michael gave a little laugh. "I remember that."

Just then, Shirley stalked back in, carrying Ben's bloody spine in one clawed hand and dragging a moaning Ben, who had been twisted into the shape of a pretzel, in on his back by his shirt.

Lily gasped. "Shirley!" She snapped, snatching Ben's spine away from the Cliche Stick. "What I have I told you about beating up on my boyfriend?"

"Hey, I told you, I've known him longer, so I get first dibs!" Shirley shot back.

"You can have first dibs on an Anguis Beam to the face if you lay a finger on him again!"

Shirley bristled. "I'd like to see you try, Celery Head!"

"Bring it on, you over sized piece of driftwood!"

Both Michael and Ben, who was still twisted up, sweatdropped.

"Are... they always like this?" Michael asked.

"Pretty much." Ben grunted, trying to pull his head out from in between his legs and failing because his arms were in the way. "Say, do you think you could give me a hand getting to a bed here?"

Michael nodded. "Hey, Valerie!"

The healer looked up from giving Tom an insulin injection.

"Could you help here?"

Valerie nodded, and after finishing with Tom's shot, walked over to Ben's convoluted form and grabbed one of his arms while Michael held onto a leg. Between the two of them, and with many winces from Ben, they managed to lug the Agent into a bed.

"Whew. Thanks." Ben winced.

"No problem." Michael panted, looking around the full medical ward. "Just great." He sighed. "Over half out agents out of commission while we have a Level 6 Stu running around the Avalon Code fandom."

Ben, who had been trying to unwrap his torso from around his big toe, froze. "Avalon Code?" He demanded.
Michael nodded. "You know it?"

Ben re-doubled his efforts to extricate himself from himself. "Michael, you've got to get someone in there right now!" He said urgently.

"Yeah, but who? You've basically rendered all of our Agents bedridden! And why are you so freaked out?"

"The Stu is after The Book Of Prophecy!"

Michael's brow furrowed. "The what? Look, just settled down and start from the beginning."

Ben took a shaky breath and nodded.

"Good. Now what's this fandom all about anyway?"

Ben shrugged as best he could with his shoulders pressed against the back of his thighs.

"The game starts off normally enough. Yumil, the main character, is having these prophetic dreams about the end of the world, and when he wakes up, he finds he's been given The Book of Prophecy."

"To keep the world from ending, right?" Michael asked as Valerie went about untangling Ben's various appendages.

"Hardly," Ben smirked. "It's actually Yumil's job to use The Book of Prophecy to record everything of value in the doomed world so it can be re-created in the next."

Michael frowned. "So is that all the Book does? Why are you so worried, then?"

Ben shook his head. "The Book of Prophecy's powers go far beyond xeroxing."

"Oh, yeah? So what else can it do?"

Ben looked Michael straight in the eye. "Anything. Once something or someone has been scanned by the book, they're basically the plaything of the books wielder. They can edit any attribute it or they have, make them stronger or weaker, or change anything about it. You name it, it can pull it off!"

"But surely this thing must have some limits!" Valerie protested, pulling Ben's knee out from his ear canal.

"Of course it does," Ben winced. "Otherwise it'd be broken and the game would be boring. But in the hands of a Gary-Stu, I doubt those restrictions will be in place for long."

"So just how far does the Book's powers go?" Michael asked. "Just how powerful is this thing?

Ben shrugged. "The Book of Prophecy brought two characters back from the brink of death on two separate occasions." Ben said. "From there, it's only a short step to resurrection. And I doubt it'll take that Stu very long to figure that out."

There was silence for a moment as Valerie finished untangling Ben's convoluted form.

"So what do we do?" The healer asked at last.

Michael glanced at the prone forms of the exhausted agents around them. "I give it a couple of hours tops before most of them are back on their feet again. We can assemble a team to go after the Stu then."

"We can't wait that long!" Ben protested. " We need to get an Agent in that fandom, pronto! The longer that Stu has the Book the stronger he's getting!"

"Weren't you listening?" Michael demanded, making a sweeping gesture at the semi-conscious agents around them. "There's nobody left to send who's capable of taking on a Stu of that level! You've incapacitated all of them!"

"But there has to be somebody!" Ben insisted.

"No!" Michael half-shouted. "There's nobody!"

"I could go."

Ben, Valerie and Michael all turned. Lily had finished her argument with Shirley and had come up behind them while they were talking.

Michael shook his head. "Are you kidding? You're a Rookie! I can't send you out alone against an enemy that powerful! He's a Level 6!"

"Which was the same Level that I was before I was Prohibited," Lily pointed out. "Just because I'm a Rookie doesn't mean I'm helpless OR inexperienced. Don't forget, I held my own against Ben and fought him to a standstill three times in a row. Not to mention I defeated Cassandra all on my own during that whole Asasca incident."

"But that was before you were Prohibited." Michael pointed out. "You don't have any of the same powers as you did back then!"

"But I do have these!" Lily countered, holding up her arm so that her flowing sleeves fell back, revealing the Pins attached to her bracelet.

Michael raised an eyebrow. "You'd pit the power of a few pieces of metal against the might of the Book of Prophecy?"

Lily raised her chin defiantly. "I can take care of myself."

Michael thought for a moment before he shook his head again. "No, we can't risk it."

"Oh, for the love of Yggdrasil! You men!" Shirley growled as she stalked over. "Look, I'll go with Lily. Would that soothe your male ego any?"

Michael thought about it for a moment. "Alright." He agreed at last. "But I want both of you to be careful."

Neither Shirley nor Lily heard him though. They were both halfway out the door.


Lily opened her mouth to ask a question as the two hurried towards Charis' lab, but Shirley beat her to it.

"I know what you're going to ask. Why did I offer to help you, right?" The Cliche Stick glanced back at Lily. "Look, I don't want you to start thinking I like you or anything, it's just that we're pressed for time and I'd rather put up with you for half an hour than put up with those two back there bicker for ten minutes and get nowhere. So don't think this makes us friends."

Lily scoffed. "No worries about that."

"Just so long as we're clear." Shirley growled as they arrived at Charis' lab.

Lily ignored her, sticking her head through the door to the lab. "Knock, knock!"

Charis looked up from her workbench. "Hey, Lily! Come by to chat?"

"Not today, Charis," Lily said, walking into the room. "There's a Stu in the Avalon Code fandom and we're a little short on time, not to mention manpower."

"Obviously," Charis remarked dryly, looking at Shirley who was hovering impatiently in the doorway.

"So, your first mission, huh?" Charis asked as she produced a small black box from under her workbench."Nervous?" She asked Lily as she slapped two Copyrights into her hand.

"Not really. But got any tips?" Lily asked as she tucked a Scene Transition within in easy reach.
Charis thought for a moment, then replied "Hit B instead of A."

Lily looked blank.

Charis shook her head. "Ignore me." She said as Lily hefted two Prohibitors.

"Where are the Plothole Generators?" She asked, looking around.

Charis snapped her fingers. "Oh. I almost forgot."

She reached into one of the drawers in her desk and pulled the ray-gun like device out. She frowned as she straightened up.

"Lily," She began slowly, eyes downcast. "I know it may not be my place to ask you this, but...are you sure you're ready for this? I mean, after Amanda and everything?"

Lily was quiet for a moment, looking down at her own hands which were resting on the workbench's top. "I've made a decision." She said quietly at last. "I chose to give up my powers and become human." She looked up, meeting Charis' gaze steadily. "I have to face my past. I'll never be able to respect myself if I just run away or deny my past."

She looked down at the bracelets on her wrist before looking back up at Charis. "Besides," She said. "If I don't, how will I ever be able to fight alongside Ben someday? If I can't stand beside him when the time comes, then I don't want to stand anywhere at all."

Charis nodded in approval. "That's good." She said, handing Lily her Plothole Generator. "Good luck."

Lily nodded. "Thanks." She said, firing the Generator. "You coming?" She asked Shirley, and leapt through, Cliche Stick in tow.


When they emerged from the Plothole, the Rookie Agent and Cliche Stick found themselves in the town square of the town of Rhoan. All around them, townsfolk were arguing, gossiping and going about their daily lives.

"So," Lily asked, looking around. "How do we find this guy?"

Her communicator beeped and Charis came on screen. "According to the computer, his name is Matthew Slaymaker and he's currently at Gustav's training hall."

"Which way is that?" Lily asked.

"This way," Shirley gestured. "I've seen Ben play this game a few times before."

They struck out from the center of town in a southeastern direction, heading in the direction Shirley had indicated.

"What can you tell us about him?" Lily asked Charis.

After several quick keystrokes, Charis said "Not much. He's a Level 5, as you know, and apparently he's chosen to master the Sword and Flying Dagger skills of this fandom."

"Any idea how long he's been in the area?" Lily asked. Charis shook her head. "Nope, sorry."

Lily sighed. "OK. Thanks anyway."

Charis nodded. "I'll keep an eye on the situation from here. Good luck!"

By now the unassuming, square, colorless stone training hall had come into view and the sound of steel ringing on steel filled their ears.

Shirley flexed her claws. "Let's do this." Lily nodded.

The clanging sounds of combat grew louder as Lily pushed open the door to the training hall.

Two swordsmen were locked in a grim duel. Yumil, the game's main character was armed with two swords and pressing a vicious attack on the teen across from him. The teen was dressed in a sleeveless blue tunic, the better to display his muscular tanned arms with. He fended off Yumil's vicious twin assault casually armed with only a single blade. There was also a large book tucked under his other arm. The cover of the book resembled a half-finished red jigsaw puzzle with two large yellow eyes peering from holes on the front and back cover.

Shirley nudged Lily. "There's The Book of Prophecy." She said, pointing to the book.

As the two watched, Yumil gave a final desperate attack and with a flick of his sword, Abel knocked both blades from his hands.

Yumil fell to his knees, gasping for breath, sweat pouring off his forehead. "I thought I had you that time, Matt." He panted.

Matthew laughed, giving his sword a casual twirl before sheathing it in a scabbard at his side. "Almost, Yumil." He said, as he helped the canon character to his feet. Then he noticed the two females standing in the doorway.

He raised an eyebrow. "Can I help you?"

Lily took a deep breath. Here we go... "Lily Adamson, Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society." She introduced herself. "We're here to place you under arrest."

Matthew rolled his eyes and gave an exasperated sigh. "Are you kidding me? I was just getting settled in here."

Lily shrugged. "Too bad." She said. "Now come with us."

"Or else." Shirley put in.

Matthew blinked, somehow only managing to just now notice Shirley. "And... who are you?"

"Shirley the Cliche Stick." She folded her knobbly arms. "Now are you coming or do I have to introduce my incisors to your small intestine?"

Matthew's brow furrowed for a moment. "Cliche Stick? Aren't you muse to that one idiot Ben?" He looked back at Lily and snapped his fingers. "Wait a second! You're Bella Aubrey, aren't you?"

Lily gritted her teeth. "My name is-" Matthew ignored her.

"You really have gone over to the other side, haven't you? Oh, man! I heard the rumors, but I never thought someone would actually be stupid enough to do it!"

"Matthew, do you know her?" Yumil, who had been forgotten, spoke up.

Matthew smiled slightly. "Her name's Bella." He said. "She once had the power to create miracles and help others, like me. But she turned traitor to her own kind and now she hunts us down."

Yumil turned questioning eyes on Lily. "Why would you do that if you were helping people?" He asked.

Lily took a deep breath. "Because," She said slowly, meeting Matthew's gaze unflinchingly. "Sometimes people need to help themselves."

Yumil frowned, still confused, but Lily ignored him.

She raised her chin defiantly. "My name is Lily." She said. "And you are under arrest. Come quietly with us, or face the consequences." She raised one hand menacingly, letting her sleeve fall back to reveal the Pins attached to her bracelet.

Matthew sighed, re-drawing his sword. "Looks like we're going to have to do this the hard way."

Faster than the eye could move he produced a dagger out of nowhere and flicked it at Lily, lightning-fast.

Lily didn't even blink. "Ice Blow!" She shouted, stomping her foot, and a seven-foot shard of ice shot up from the ground, intercepting the dagger which embedded itself into the ice. Matthew whirled at a puff of air behind him and raised his sword just in time to block a blolt of lightning from Excalibur.

Yumil had no idea what was going on, but he jumped into the fray anyway. Grabbing one of his swords from where it had fallen, he charged at Shirley, thinking she couldn't possibly be as powerful as the stranger grappling with Matthew. He was wrong.

Shirley grabbed Yumil's sword in mid-swing, and with Yumil still attached, gave it one hard swing over her head and let go. Yumil was sent flying and crashed into the back wall of the training hall, he slumped to the floor, dazed.

"Give it up for your own sake, kid," Shirley said, turning back to where Lily's and Matthew's battle was raging. "Without the Book of Prophecy, you don't stand a chance."

Matthew was in the middle of a headlong charge when Lily tore apart the floor under his feet with Live Slow, Die Fast, causing him to stumble. He threw himself to the side as he hit the ground, just in time to avoid impalement by another Ice Blow. He rolled to his feet, produced several daggers from nowhere and hurled them at Lily. She quickly activated Top Gear again and disappeared from the path of the projectiles, reappearing several feet to the side. She raised her other hand to retaliate, but her knees suddenly gave out from under her and the wind escaped from her lungs in a rush.

She quickly tried to stand but her legs refused to cooperate and she slumped back to the ground. Her heart leapt into her mouth. Ben had warned her about this. Over-use of Top Gear would lead to dizzy spells, but in the heat of battle she'd forgotten all about it. She tried to get up again, she had to get back on her feet before-

"Well, now... what's this?"


Matthew walked towards her slowly, twirling his sword. "Run out of steam, have we?" He snickered. "Something like that would never have happened had you kept your powers. Oh, well. I suppose that's what you get for betraying your own kind."

He raised his blade. "Give my regards to that Librarian friend of yours."

Lily's body wouldn't respond. In desperation, she tried to activate her Top Gear Pin one last time, but it refused to work.

Matthew brought the sword down with all his strength, intending to separate Lily's head from her body when Shirley pounced onto his back, digging her claws in as deep as they would go. Matthew roared in pain and backpedaled, trying to crush the Cliche Stick against the back wall of the training hall, but Shirley held on, tearing into Matthew's back with everything she had.

With a bestial cry, Matthew reached over his back and drug Shirley off of his back, her claws leaving deep gashes in his back. He hurled her across the room, where she landed on...what ever it is she lands on other than feet and slid over to Lily who was shakily getting to her feet.

The back of Matthew's tunic was in tatters and blood flowed freely from the multiple lacerations inflicted by Shirley. "You... worthless... scum!" He panted. "I'm going to crush you!"

He yanked the Book of Prophecy out from under his arm and began to flip through it like a madman.

"What's he doing?" Lily asked, still slightly unsteady on her feet.

"I don't know, but we can't let him finish!"

The two ran towards the Stu, but just as they reached him he shouted "Gotcha!" and slammed a palm down onto the page. They were enveloped in a globe of golden energy. There was a flash of light and when the light died down, they found themselves in a dark, stone chamber.

Lily turned around slowly. "Where are we now?"

"The resting place of Kullervo."

Both Lily and Shirley turned to see Matthew standing several feet away, sword in one hand, the Book of Prophecy in the other.

"Who?" Lily asked.

"The game's overall villain." Matthew explained. "He was defeated long before the game began, but his body was preserved here."

Lily looked around. "So where is it?"

Michael gave a dark grin. "I was hoping you'd ask."

He turned and jumped, and Lily realized with a jolt that they were standing on a platform several hundred feet above the ground.

She raced to the edge just in time to see Matthew land with a crash onto the chest of a demonic giant lying at the bottom of the tower. He slammed the book, open faced onto the giant's chest then began to scribble in it madly.

"What's he doing?" Lily asked as Shirley rushed to the edge and looked over.

"Oh, crap, he's resurrecting Kullervo!"

"What? Can't we stop him?"

At that moment, there was a massive groaning and the giant stirred. Slowly, inexorably, it got to it's feet, standing taller and taller until it's chest was level with the platform upon which Lily and Shirley stood.

"No. You can't" Matthew said smugly, standing on Kullervo's shoulder.

"Tch!" Lily raised a hand to retaliate, but the giant was faster. Kullervo brought a fist up, and brought it down with all his mammoth strength. Lily and Shirley leapt to the side and were cast into the void as Kullervo's fist crushed the platform they were standing on like a graham cracker.

The world was spinning and Lily could hardly think straight as she plummeted downwards. The wind was roaring in her ears and she could hear Shirley's shouting something and Matthew's cackles of triumph. She gritted her teeth and forced all of her will into one of the Pins on her wrist. She opened eyes she hadn't even realized she'd closed. The ground was getting closer and the Pin was only faintly glowing.

"Oh, come ON!" She shouted, devoting all her focus into the small circle of metal and with a flash, the Wild Line blade flared into life. 100 feet from the ground, Lily stabbed the energy blade into the tower wall. The jolt nearly caused her to lose her grip on the sword's blade but she held on with all her strength, her descent slowing drastically until her feet touched the ground and the sword vanished.

She let out a breath of relief which turned to a startled scream as Kullervo's foot blasted a crater in the tower floor next to her.

"Dang, missed." Matthew grumbled. "Oh, well, just hold still. I'll get you eventually."

Shirley had chosen to employ Lily's method of landing and had used her claws to gouge a trail down the tower wall. Landing silently next to Kullervo, she gave Lily a meaningful look.

Lily nodded back, then turned to Matthew. "Hey, Stu! Eat this! Live Slow, Die Fast! " She shouted, launching a piece of platform rubble at his head with her telekinetic Pin.

Meanwhile, Shirley snuck up behind Kullervo, and began to climb up the back of the giant unnoticed, while Lily distracted Matthew.

Matthew ducked. "Still got some fight left in you yet, eh? We'll just have to stamp that out of you!"

"Oh, he is so dead now." Shirley muttered to herself as she continued her ascent.

Meanwhile, Lily continued her diversion. "Excalibur!" She exclaimed, thrusting a palm towards Matthew. He ducked again, and the lightning bolt whizzed past.

"You're really starting to tick me off!" He shouted. "Get her!" Kullervo raised his foot again and brought it down.

Two things happened at once.

Shirley, having finally climbed far enough up Kullervo's back undetected, pounced.

As Kullervo brought his foot down, Lily triggered her Ice Blow Pin and a seven foot icicle penetrated straight through the giant's foot.

Shirley managed to grab onto what was left of the back of Matthew's tunic, but quickly lost her grip as Kullervo toppled over backwards, taking both Matthew and Shirley with him.

Kullervo crashed to the ground, shaking the tower violently, forcing Lily to struggle to keep her balance.

"Shirley! Are you alright?" Lily shouted, running over to the fallen giant once the tremors had subsided.

"I'm fine." Shirley said, picking herself up off the ground where she had fallen. "It's gonna take a lot more than that to take me out."

"Good." Lily looked around. "Where's Matthew? Wasn't he on-"

Shirley gave Kullervo's prone form a meaningful look.

"Oh." Lily took a deep breath. "I guess we won't be seeing him again anytime soon."

"Sooner than you think." Charis said over the communicator, causing Lily to jump.

"Geez, you scared me!" She said, pulling the communicator out.

"Sorry," Charis laughed. "I've been monitoring the whole thing from here."

"What were you saying about us seeing him again?" Shirley asked, folding her arms.

"Oh, yeah. The computers indicate a Plothole opening in the Avalon Code fandom just a few seconds ago!"

Shirley and Lily shared a look as Charis continued. "My guess is, Matthew opened it and fell through it just before being crushed by Kullervo."

Lily sighed in defeat, slumping to the ground. "Even after everything we did, he still got away?" She asked dejectedly.

"Sorry, Lily," Charis said sympathetically. "C'mon back and we'll get him next time."

Lily sighed as she fired her Plothole Generator. Her first mission had been a complete failure.


Michael leaned back in his chair in his office, Lily and a now-recovered Ben standing in front of him.

"So, the Stu got away with the Book of Prophecy, huh?"

Lily nodded dejectedly.

Michael sighed. "Well, that's going to be a problem, especially if he keeps getting stronger like Ben suggests."

He glanced at the guitarist. "How long do you give him before he's mastered everything it has to offer?"

Ben shrugged. "Teleportation? Resurrection? He very nearly has already."

Michael nodded grimly. "With the Book gone, we've had to freeze the fandom until further notice."

Lily hung her head. "I'm sorry..."

Ben looked surprised. "What for?" He asked. "You stopped the Stu!"

"But he got away!"

Michael laughed. "Lily, hardly anybody catches their target the first time around. Plus, now Matthew is on the run, so it's going to take him longer to master the Book. You did a fine job and you should be proud of yourself. At any rate," He said, standing. "You have completed your field test, so it's my pleasure to officially welcome you as an Agent of the Anti-Cliche and Mary Sue Elimination Society."

"Congratulations, Lily!" Ben exclaimed, hugging her.

"Thanks, Ben," Lily said, hugging him back. "But I have a favor to ask," She turned to Michael. "If Matthew shows up again, I want first crack at him."

Michael nodded. "You got it."

She turned to Shirley next. "Thanks, Shirley. I couldn't have done it without you. I know we disagree sometimes, but...thanks. Seriously."

Shirley scoffed and turned around, folding her arms. "Whatever."

"Awww...Shirley's a big softy." Michael snickered.

"Actually," Said Ben. "She's a sharpie, and I don't mean the marker."






Friday, April 19, 2013

Insert Vampires Catering to Fanservice Here

Somehow between the fluid slips of time Karissa had missed the coming and going of a few important anniversaries. Adrian had been lost to the Society for over half a year; her old rival Lela had been dead for months, and she was still to be pitied; and her Author had turned nineteen in the Real World. Flowing naturally from the last event, Karissa and Charis had reached their respective birthdays not soon after. The sisters were both products of creativity not forced to be directed towards school; as well, they were born of the free time abundant in August. They had jointly celebrated their birthdays on a date exactly bisecting the week-long break that separated them in age by an extra year. Their festivities were quiet, if they could even be called such. As usual Charis had prepared a lavish dinner – notable only for the quality of the ingredients, not due to her decidedly modest culinary skills – but instead of serving only Karissa she'd also invited some of their closer friends to share the meal.

Ben and Lily contributed to the table conversation easily, and Chloe shared dry and humorous anecdotes about Jared (the LPGB were deactivated for the night, safely stowed away in their toybox). Pete dropped by to exchange pleasantries at about dessert time but he also trailed Shirley, who then entered into competition with Lily in telling embarrassing stories about Ben. Muted though their chatter might have been, everyone stayed up well past midnight continuing to talk. Charis may have been legal under Canadian law, but the rest of their company certainly had not been of age, so no alcohol had been served the last night. Therefore, Karissa was understandably confused when she woke up fuzzy the next morning.

"W-what? What is it? Charis, what do you want?" There was hardly any time for Karissa to feel alarm before she recognized the familiar presence of her older sister. For some reason, Charis was trying very hard to wake her, but she could swear that the clock on the stand clearly read 6:00. "Charis, let me go back to sleep! Whatever's the matter, surely it can wait for four more hours."

Charis was already fully dressed – had she even gone to sleep, Karissa wondered – but she visibly fought back her own yawns. It didn't seem like she herself was awake of her own accord. "Michael wants you," she explained, "So I don't think it's something that can wait, actually. Apparently there's a Sue loose in the Vampire Diaries fandom, and you're the only one who would keep watching a teenage television series about vampires, despite having escaped Twilight's clutches. You're to go after the Sue."

Karissa groaned. She hadn't had a mission for weeks...but right now what she wanted to do most was sleep. "What level?" Like it or not, her speech was getting more coherent with wakefulness. "What level is the Sue?"

Charis held up all the fingers on one hand before she noticed that Karissa's eyes had closed once more meanwhile. "Hey!" She reached down and pinched her sister's cheek, observing satisfactorily its rousing effect. "This Sue is potentially a Level 5. Is that going to be a problem for you?"

"No, no," Karissa muttered. At last she resigned herself to the fact she would be leaving her bed. "Just give me a moment to get changed, and I'll go," she said, all sighs, to make her sister leave the room. Despite her grumbling, once she'd lain feet on the floor it didn't take long after to exchange her pyjamas for the black overall set that she wore in the day. She paused twice, once to tie the ribbons of her shoes round her ankles, and then to secure the sash in which she kept Gekkou, but these small delays did for her what coffee couldn't. She closed her eyes as she dithered, imagining that for each second that went by she'd gotten one more hour of sleep, and so left her room 'refreshed'.


"How's Karissa doing with the mission?" Charis asked casually mid-morning. The Library was not like any office building in the real world, and the 'work' the Society did was so specialized that it could hardly be called that, but the equivalent of 'meeting around the water cooler' typically occurred inside the doors of the monitor room. Sometimes more entertaining missions were viewed en masse, and then the 'meetings' were more rowdy than others. Most times, like this, only a few people sat among the number of chairs present. Today Charis addressed Emotion Marcus and Thought Marcus, both whom were on-duty, and also Akai who might have been there because she was bored.

"WHAT MISSION?" Emotion Marcus replied to her, loudly.

Charis looked a little put off. "Er, Karissa left for The Vampire Diaries at 6:00, and it's now 9:00. Is she having some trouble Prohibiting the Sue, or what?"

Thought Marcus peered acutely at the screen closest to him. "As a matter of fact, I'd almost forgotten about your sister. It's true that she entered the fandom around six in the morning, but there hasn't been any change in activity there for quite a while. Maybe she hasn't found the Sue yet?"

Charis was sceptical. "I would have said that, if anything, Karissa's a little too unhealthily obsessed with the show. Surely to her the Sue would stand out like a nail."

"The nail that stands out gets hammered down," Akai interjected evenly before downing a small handful of Altoids.

"Ri-ight." Charis' expression creased into a frown. "I really hope nothing happened to her. Maybe she tried to take the Sue down with a little too much aggression, and she ended up getting hurt instead. Maybe the Sue killed her – if the Sue was a vampire! Oh god, my baby sister killed at age 17!"

"Calm down! If a character died in the fandom then the computers definitely would have registered a shock. You and your sister are characters, right? 'But there hasn't been any change in activity there for quite a while.'" Akai spoke again, and even as the Library rocked to the sway of the Fourth Wall, Charis saw the logic in her words.

"If you're so worried about Karissa, go in after her. Two Agents are better than one. And it's not like you can go back to your lab anytime today, anyways." Akai sucked on another mint reflectively.

"Why ever not?"

"Well, I saw the LPGB sneak in there earlier with what looked like miniature sticks of dynamite. Either they mean harmful intent towards you, or else they're just using your lab as a shortcut to smuggle weapons past Shirley; in any case, I don't think you want to go downstairs for the time being. Go ahead and check up on your sister – and take an Altoid for your trip, why don't you?"

Charis hesitated one second more, shrugged, and then decided to hell with it, why not. She would take the original suggestion offered to her – she would pay a visit to the vampire-based fandom too – but as for the latter proposal she was still a little too wary of the possessor the jun-akuma to take 'candy from a stranger'. "Thanks, but no thanks, Akai. I'll see you later."

She pulled a Plothole Generator from its loop on her skirt's belt and made to go.


She wasn't dead. She wasn't hurt. She didn't even seem to be uncomfortable – when Charis literally tripped over her sister, she was lounging on a grassy knoll outside Mystic Fall's only high school, eating from a bowl of popcorn to boot. "Karissa, what are you doing, and where's the Sue?"

Karissa waved a hand vaguely in the direction of the parking lot. "Shush, Maria's parking her car."

"Excuse me?"

"That's her car – the black Venturi Fetish." Karissa didn't know many cars, but she was adept at singling out those she liked. She'd hung a small poster above her bed back in her Library room, so Charis knew exactly which vehicle she referred to. The Fetish performed a neat back-in parking job and the engine had been silent for barely a second before its occupant made a move to come out.

Maria revealed herself to be a tall and dark beauty crowned innocuously with a full head of ash blonde. Her hair was piled ridiculously on top of itself to resemble a style that normally only a Japanese hime might have worn without drawing comment. Part-beehive and part-waterfall of pale greyish tresses, the hair was the first thing that anybody noticed. Although Charis cast a critical eye over the rest of her body everything ultimately led to a comparison with the girl's hair.

Her long brown and tanned legs seemed too skinny to support such an overladen head; the same was true of her thin and slender neck. Her hands were tipped with long flawlessly painted nails, but even that added length left her arms a full foot shorter than where the bottom of her hair curled out from her back. "Enough. Don't make me look at her anymore," Charis moaned quietly. But she hadn't yet observed the quaintly sewn sundress Maria wore, nor the impractical cork platform heels on her feet, not to mention all her sparkling jewellery...

Charis' eyes gratefully alighted on the next person to emerge from the car – main character Stefan Salvatore – that is, until he walked promptly up to Maria and kissed her. Charis' jaw dropped. She tensed for an outraged fangirlish reaction from beside her but none came. Karissa kept a neutral expression as she took some more popcorn for herself, and it seemed like she was still watching for something more.

Another sleek black sports car pulled into the parking lot at that point. The sudden sharpness of Karissa's gaze alerted Charis that these newcomers were important people, and they were. Other main characters Damon Salvatore and Elena Gilbert staggered out already locked in a passionate embrace. This was madness. Charis waited again for an explosion of epic proportions. None came. "What is wrong with you?" she finally burst out instead.

"Who, me?"

"Yes, you. First you started off by addressing the Sue casually by first name, as if she was your friend. Now you're not batting an eyelid at the distortion of one of the canon's most central pairings. Did you take a bad knock to your head? Can you possibly be seeing right?"

"I can see perfectly fine," Karissa retorted smartly. "And it's not hard to memorize Maria's name – I have perfect recall for this storyline, that's all."

"That completely wasn't the answer I was looking for. May I remind you that Maria – the Sue – is not intended to be part of this series?"

Karissa blinked quickly, once; twice. "Back up again. She's not?"

"Of course she's not!"

"Oh...right. Now I remember." Karissa appeared to deflate as all her built-up enthusiasm escaped into the air. Abruptly she clapped her hands together, wearing a look of contrition. "I'm sorry! I got so caught up in events – and I've always felt sorry for Damon anyways – so I suppose I let my imagination get away from me. I mean, without me stepping in to take action, it's almost like I had a three hour-long, personally-scripted episode being presented just for me, hot Delena scenes included! The temptation to stay idle was just too great."

Charis couldn't deny that the evidence presented by the presence of the popcorn painted her sister in a bad light. "Karissa, how could you be so stupid? Acting content to let Maria go simply because you've been enjoying the show she's put on for you? In our profession we have to treat these characters as if they were as real as you or me. Even if she's only doing it so that Damon and Elena can get together, Maria is bending Stefan's will in order for him to love her. We betray Stefan if we don't do our best to put things back as they should be."

Karissa managed to look even guiltier than before, as if that were possible.

"I think you and I are going to have a little talk with Maria Sweet Sophe V." Charis grinned. "At least I did my homework before barging in here – I looked into both this series and the Sue. I think I can actually offer you some assistance with any vampires now."


Maria was in the act of exchanging her Chemistry book for her Literature text – shoving the first, hated tome into the back of her locker with a savage push – when she became aware of another body's presence behind her. "Hello Stefan," she said, turning round to greet him with an indulgent smile. "Have you come to walk me to class?" One of her long blonde curls tickled his arms as she pulled him closer.

"Mari-" He started to say her name but broke off to give her a long kiss instead. "Mm, Maria, I missed you last night," he murmured against her lips. Blackish veins swept from the corners of his eyes as lust, rather than thirst, consumed him. When their embrace continued Stefan made an attempt to pull his vampiric features back – there were humans everywhere in this school, and who knew if anyone could see – but each time Maria that renewed their kiss he lost a little more control.


With supernatural speed both vampires whipped around, all traces of their true natures hidden, and displays of bright teeth crossing their faces. Maria's expression slipped a fraction. "Oh, it's only Damon. And Elena! How are you?" She stepped forward to give the only human in their midst a hug, drawing their little group closer yet to her open locker.

"Maria. Brother." Damon drawled amusedly at the lipstick stain sitting crookedly over Stefan's lips. "Keeping busy as ever, I see." His easy smirk hid a hard edge. "I don't suppose you had any time to research Katherine last evening. Were you too preoccupied? I suppose there's no hurry. Elena only wants to know why she looks to be the spitting image of her undead ancestor, but I do understand that takes backseat compared to love your love life. He's been single for a long time." Damon's sarcasm was biting. Equally as strong was Elena's sharp jab to his ribs, halting her boyfriend's surprisingly affectionate teasing of his brother (surprising because you wouldn't know it was affectionate, am I right?)

"You'd be surprised at how much we got done in truth," Maria said slyly. "For example, Elena, Stefan and I were talking, and we thought you might ask Alaric to take you through Isobel's things left at Duke."

"That's a really good idea," Elena said seriously. "I'll get in contact with Ric after school."

"Was that all you came to say, Damon? Were you just checking up on your little brother and his girlfriend?" Maria sang.

"No, that wasn't all, actually." Damon lowered his voice conspiratorially. "There was this Asian chick at the Administration Office who was asking after you. Except she added a few extra surnames to your own, and-"

"Maria Sweet?" This time all eyes spun around to regard, yes, Karissa. She stood in the hallway by herself, achingly obvious although she'd taken off her red sash and thrown it around her neck like a scarf in an attempt to appear less outlandish. Her uneven bangs fell across her face as she tilted her head, articulating clearly, "Maria Sweet Sophe V, isn't it? It is you. I'm a big fan."

Maria didn't sense any harmful intent coming from the human girl. She sauntered forward, hair swaying in time to her steps, to take her right hand. "I don't think I know your name, even though Mystic Falls is such a small town. That's terribly awkward for me. How do you know me, and what do you mean by calling yourself my fan?" She aimed to smile winsomely.

"How could I not know of you? Maria Sweet, cheerleader, most popular girl in the school, girlfriend of Stefan Salvatore; a Mary-Sue."

Maria froze. That's right, Damon had mentioned this girl knew her full name; she had addressed her by her full name too, how had she missed that both times? "You're an Agent of the Anti-Cliché and Mary-Sue Elimination Society, aren't you?" she hissed from between clenched teeth.

"Correct. I won't ask how you know us. I've gotten used to exactly how far gossip travels among your kind."

"Stefan, back down," Maria ordered, catching the slightest movement in her peripheral vision. They couldn't kill the Agent – the hall was still far too full of students, curious nosy humans of which the entirety they'd never be able to catch and compel. She still held the Agent's hand – with a show of dominant force she dragged her further away from the main trio. Strangely the girl didn't resist. "Now surely we can be reasonable," she said lowly. "I haven't killed anyone – not even maimed one townsperson – and as for relationships, I've only pushed these two in a direction they're meant to go. The show's writers can't keep Damon and Elena apart forever. I've just shown them some... shortcuts."

"For that I was terribly grateful, for three blissful hours this morning," Karissa said sincerely. "But this cannot go on. It's not natural for you to be manipulating the characters' feelings this way, and sooner or later there will be a backlash. The next time that Katherine comes back to your little AU fantasy land, I might return to find Damon dead. Or Elena dead. I don't even know what's going to happen next week in the real world show, so what makes you think that through your perfect control you'll be able to stop events from spiralling out of control in here?"

Maria twitched at the P-word. "I would try my very best to keep everyone alive," she said evenly. "If Katherine dared show her face one more time in my town she'd be sorry."

"You speak like someone I might be interested in befriending," Karissa congratulated her. "But the fact remains that I have to take you out of this fandom now. Come quietly and I might let you put on a Permanent Prohibitor and face probation."

"Ha!" Maria let a laugh loose through her parted lips. "You're all talk! I hate to ruin the civility of the conversation we've been having, but how would you enforce my arrest? You don't look like you can back up your words with action!" Beneath her grip the Agent's arm flexed. "I've got you restrained, all by myself, with barely an effort," she laughed. The next thing she knew a strong chain had lashed around her wrist and forced her hand away from the Agent's. The girl held some type of Japanese chain weapon in her left hand.

Karissa raised her chin contemptuously. "Did you think I was useless with my left hand? I'm ambidextrous!" She leaned in closer to the Sue. "Last chance. You can surrender and we will waltz out the nearest fire exit. I won't have to bring out my other motivator." While she spoke Karissa carefully pulled an inch or two of Gekkou's chain back through her fingers so that it wouldn't be noticeable to the three wary stares still directed hotly at her.

Maria pulled a haughtier look than hers. "You're bluffing."


All at once Damon and Stefan Salvatore crumpled to the ground. There were two distinct screams from elsewhere in the building – Caroline Forbes and Taylor Lockwood, Karissa guessed. Maria was also bending in agony within her hold. Charis appeared at her sister's shoulder and in her palm she cupped a carbon copy of the old Gilbert anti-vampire device (it might be considered an anti-werewolf device, too). It looked just as any viewer should remember except it was much too shiny. "I surpassed my own expectations," Charis chirped happily. "I duplicated the Gilbert device in only a quarter of an hour."

"You can really make anything you put your mind to," Karissa marvelled. "If you put that on the ground, there, could you help me with this incapacitated Sue?"


The sisters stepped through Charis' Plothole in unison, carrying the slumped Sue between them like a towheaded sack of potatoes.


Karissa was afraid that her success on the Vampire Diaries mission set a bad precedent.

Two weeks later she was sprawled in one of the common room's more comfortable chairs, talking to Lily, when Michael hurried up to her.

"Karissa, I'm going to require you to assume another mission."

Karissa waited a beat before asking, "Let me guess? The mission is set in a fandom of my 'particular expertise'".

"Yes, those are more or less the words I was going to use."

"That means it's a vampire fandom."

"Yes." Michael didn't know what to make of her reaction. Karissa didn't seem overtly hostile, but she wasn't anywhere close to greeting his news with joy either.

"What fandom?" Against her better judgement Karissa began to rise from her seat, tacitly signalling that she would accept the request. "What fandom is it?"

"An American supernatural crime/drama television series called The Gates."

She nodded. "I've heard of it. Its vampire mythology is not as original as The Vampire Diaries. Let me grab my wooden stake." An idea suddenly formed in her mind. One of the reasons these vampire missions had become so boring was the fact that no one else readily volunteered accompany her. However-

Karissa turned to Lily. "Could you drag Ben and Shirley out from band practice for five quick minutes? I need a favour from all of you, and I promise I won't take up too much of your time."

Lily didn't know what to think of the strange way she was asking for help – they were friends, weren't they? – but she headed towards the third music room anyways.

Karissa beamed at her retreating back. She and Lily were friends. In her opinion Ben hadn't been spending nearly enough time with his girlfriend recently, so she was going to make time for them. Even five minutes would be enough – if that specified time didn't end up stretching out for longer. They could all find a nice green spot on a hill where they could recline; she'd supply the popcorn. And Shirley – the best, living, running, lethal wooden stake – well, she could deal with the Sue in any way she wanted.