Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Insert Dramatic Finale Here (part 1 of 3)

Tyler examined the Sues and Stus currently occupying the basement. There weren't many of them-most of the longer-standing Sues and Stus were atoms on the wind now-but there still appeared to be a need for a basement monitor.

Tyler flashed the Sues and Stus an evil grin, and began speaking.

"At the moment, I have been assigned to stare at you all as if you were capable of escaping. The Prohibitors on your wrists have been specially modified to shock you should you cross the threshold of your cell."
This was a lie-the Prohibitors were completely normal-but it had the effect that Tyler wanted. A Stu edging toward his cell door yelped and jumped back. Tyler grinned.

"Also, I brought you some Mad-Libs."

He tossed a book and a pencil into the cell. The Sue whose cell they had landed in grabbed them and began reciting parts of speech.



"No, orangutan!"

"No way! Grape!"

"How about noun?"

As the Sues and Stus argued, Tyler took the opportunity to read a book. He was halfway through when a loud alarm blared. This was normal, but the next announcement wasn't.

"All Agents into the conference room! This is not a drill!"

"You're right, it's a jackhammer."



"Is this thing still on?"

"Right in the middle of the book, too…" Tyler mumbled, running out of the basement to rejoin the world.


"There's a massive amount of Sue energy in this fandom."

Marcus raised a hand. "Higher or lower than the Elementals?"

"Higher. It's probably at least level 8."

Ben raised a hand. "How about Chuck Norris?"


"Anyway, all of you are going in."

"Out of curiousity-,"


"What fandom is this?"

"We're not sure. We're not even sure if it's an actual fandom or just a dimension. Either way, it's showing up on our monitors, and it's riddled with Suenergy. Let's go."


Several minutes later, in the fandom, in a cave…

"It seems deserted," Tyler mumbled.

Drake swatted him.

"Don't say that! Any time someone says that, they're doomed!"

"That's just an old author's tale."

"No it's not! Haven't you ever noticed it happening?"



"Oi! You two! Stop potentially getting us killed!"

"Told you."

"Shut up."


"On the record, I blame you for this."

"Yeah, probably justified."

Something massive dropped from the roof of the cavern, plummeting toward the Society. As everyone scattered, the something skidded to a halt, kicking up a huge cloud of dust. Before anyone could do anything, dozens of tentacles whipped out of the cloud, slashing at the Society. Everyone quickly shifted into whatever combat mode they had. As the dust cloud cleared, something was revealed to be a gigantic bat/squid/jiggimathingy. It's tentacles ended in lethal hooks, and small, unpleasant-looking suckers dotted them.


Jared dodged a tentacle-swipe.



"Give me the syringe!"


"I need to test how they shoved together the DNA of a bat and a squid!"


"Just give me the syringe."

"…Here." Chloe tossed a large syringe at Jared.

Jared caught the syringe, and as the tentacle swiped again, he jabbed it with the syringe, extracting a cup of blood. As the syringe filled, the tentacle went pale, shriveled up, and turned to dust.

"Hah! Take that you stupid tentacle!" Jared held the syringe vial to his face.

"Huh. It seems the blood is actively attempting to separate…."

Jared pointed the syringe at the giant bat-squid.

"Eat your own blood, bat-squid-thing!"

The syringe exploded, and glass, a needle, and blood shot at the bat-squid at incredible speed, striking its wing. The bat-thing let out a bellow of agony, leaping into the air. Jared and Chloe darted to one side as the bulk of the bat-squid slammed down where they had been standing a moment ago.


Jared slammed the Boomhammer onto the bat-squid's gigantic toe. Three seconds passed for comic effect, then…


The scream of pain echoed throughout the cavern, knocking the entire Society off its feet. The cavern shuddered with the force of the cry, and several rocks dropped to the sandy ground.

"That worked better than expected…"

"Don't mess with nukes!"

All heads turned toward Ben, who was pointing a single finger at the bat-squid. A loud whistling sound echoed through the cave.



A mushroom cloud erupted around the bat-squid, engulfing it in nuclear flames. The bat-squid let out a loud, screeching cry as nuclear flames engulfed it (and the author let out a loud. screeching cry as his bill from the Department of Redundancy Department grew even higher), its tentacles shriveling and combusting. It took to the sky (the roof of the cave, anyway), slamming into the walls over and over again.

"My eyes…" Tyler mumbled. He had been staring at the bat-squid when the nuke had hit it, and the resulting flare, combined with the semidarkness of the cave, had left imprints on his eyeballs.

" My ears…" Jared mumbled. He had been standing near the bat-squid after its shriek.

"My nose…" Drake mumbled. He had been standing next to the bat-squid when the nuke hit, and the smell was awful.


Meanwhile, on the PCMSPS ship…

"My finger!" A random Uber-Stu screamed. "I jammed my finger!"

The suddenness of the cry startled the nearby Relyt, and so…

"Mih thun! Ih bfith mih thun!"


Far from this random assaultation of the senses…

Retsa was talking to shadows.

Well, not really, but for all the response the listener was giving, she might as well have been. In fact, she was speaking to a man dressed entirely in black. His face was obscured by the shadows that had been mentioned previously.

"Anyway -,"

The man's name was drowned out by a massive explosion.

"As I have said your name, I feel no need to repeat it. Anyway, the Society is attacking. You know what to do."

As Retsa left the room, she gave a deep sigh of relief. She didn't like talking to him. Especially she nobody ever saw his face. A few jokes had been made about his assumed appearance, but they rarely lasted, seeing as they weren't usually funny.


Back in the creepy dude's room….

"So, the Society's on it's way here, huh? Ah well… I was getting tired of these games anyway…."

The man drew a Plothole Generator, generated a Plothole (and a bill), and stepped through it to parts unknown.


Back in the cave…

The bat-squid slammed into the ground, finally dead. All the Society Agents watched in awe.

"That was awesome!"

"Ben, nuke it again and see what happens!"

"I liked the part with the moose!"

"What about the ferris wheel!"

"Eh, that was okay."

"Okay everybody, show's over, let's move!"

The Society moved. The bat-squid was in the way, so they moved again to go around it. Then they moved a third time, towards the end of the cave.


"See, Retsa? I told you that the bat-squid was a bad idea!"

"Oh, shut up, Sirahc. It didn't cost us anything."

"Except 5 dozen Ubers to transport it!"

"Like I said: It didn't cost anything. Why are you complaining anyway? At least we got to watch the show when they nuked it."

"Eh… I suppose so…"

"Exactly. Besides, the bat-squid was only act I. Act II will come when they get to our ship. There we'll destroy them!"

"How do you know? I mean, they beat us last time."

"That was barely, and now that their strongest member's dead, they don't stand a chance against us! Especially not with our new weapon…."

"New weapon?"

"Yes. I had Deraj design it."

"Oh." Sirahc looked irritated. "Why him? I could have done it just as well."

"We need Deraj to be working constantly to keep him from dwelling on the loss of Sue Storm and potentially damaging the ship again."


"Soon, not only will we purify the multiverse, the Society will be out of our way as well!"

Retsa tapped a button on the side of the chair she was sitting in, and recorded evil laughter blared out of speakers that had been strategically placed around the ship, making sure that nobody would miss anything.

"Attention all PCMSPS members, Uber-Sues, Uber-Stus, and vermin that got into the ship despite our best efforts. Man your stations."

Around the ship, each and every PCMSPS member, Uber-Sue, Uber-Stu, and rat stopped whatever they were doing, tensing slightly.

"The Society is coming."


"I still say the flying pinwheels were best!"

"They were okay, but the moose was better."

"You two in the back! Pipe down!"

"We're in a desert with no one around for miles! Who'll hear us?"

"Another bat-squid?"



"Am I jinxed today or something?"

"It's a possibili-,"


"This can't be good."


"Do we ever catch a break?"





Fine, fine. Anyway…

A spray of sand arced over a nearby dune.

"What? We just went through one fight scene!"

"The Suenergy level was 8 or higher, did you think one bat-squid was all?"

"Who's talking anyway? The author hasn't really specified voices for a while!" Tash demanded.

A pair of floating mouths quietly vanished.

Tash let out a sigh of annoyance. "Better."

Cristoph raised a hand "Now that we know who was talking, does anyone know what those are?"

"What what are?"

"Those." Cristoph pointed behind Tash, who turned.

"Oh… those."

Dozens of beach-ball sized metal spheres were rolling down the side of the dune.

Tash blinked. "If I had to take a guess… I'd say they were probably robots that got around in the form of beach-ball sized metal spheres."

As each sphere reached the end of the dune, it unfolded into a robot. The robots stood about six feet high, with a single electric eye.

"Battle droids?"

"No, too dangerous-looking."

One of the robots charged forwards. "Rogerrogerrogerrogerroger…"

"Shut up!" Tyler hurled an energy blast into the robot's "Stomach." Said robot folded back into its beach ball form, and then exploded, forming a deep indent in the sand. Another of the beach ball forms rolled into the indent, launching itself into the air…

"Jurai-Ken… Rinwi!" Tash slammed into the beach ball feet first, sending it flying into a group of robot forms. The resulting explosion left a patch of glass in the sand, which slipped up another two beach ball forms, sending them plowing into sand dunes.

Several meters away, Kyle stabbed the Omniweapon, currently in the form of a katana, through a gap in a robot's armor, then jumped away as the robot exploded in a massive fireball. Bits of metal stuck into nearby robots, which also exploded, although less violently. Then he ducked as another robot, in beach-ball form, went flying over his head. He turned to see Drake rubbing the back of his head.



Up on the PCMSPS ship….

"Since when do we have robots?"

"I dunno, somebody must have built them."

"Yes, but-,"

"OUT!" Retsa charged into the room, brandishing her staff.

The two floating mouths squeaked in fear and vanished again.

"We've been infested by mouths again… ULRIC!"

The Uber-Stu came running up. "Yes?"

"Go find those mouths before they start breeding!"

"Okay." The Uber-Stu ran off.


Back to the action…

"Die, bizarre-looking robot, die!"

"Robots can't die, Tyler."

Tyler finished swallowing the robot's head, then looked up at Drake.

"It all depends on how hard you hit them."

"No it doesn't. A robot isn't a living thing, and thus, you can't kill it."


Drake blinked. "Oookay… I propose a competition."

Tyler was suddenly standing up. "Hm?"

"Most enemies smashed and/or vaporized."

"You're on."


The fight raged on….


Chrys fired a blast of desu at a robot, short-circuiting it.

"This is weird… why would the PCMSPS make robots when they have the Ubers?"

Valerie fired energy arrows into a group of the robots, blasting them apart.

"Maybe there was spare Suenergy, and they used it?"

Pete fired a spray of energy bullets into the robots.

"Whatever it is, they aren't very well made…"

Ben nuked a swarm of robots.

"Really? I didn't notice."

Jared Boomhammered a robot, while Chloe stabbed through the "skull," of another.

"He's right," Chloe agreed. "When I stabbed one of them, it just sort of… fell apart."

"And Ben, how would you notice if you keep nuking them?" Jared asked.

Rhia slashed one in two.

"Well, a robot that was built to be radioactivity-proof might be able to survive a nuke."

Claire and Michael cut down robot after robot.

"It would take a lot of radioactivity-proof…ness to survive an actual nuke," Michael pointed out.

"It would probably blow the PCMSPS budget." Claire continued.

Harriet smashed a robot with her cricket bat.

"They could sell that green laser. That might account for it."

Miri wedged her staff under the head of a robot before popping it off.

"I don't think selling a green laser would pay for lead coatings…especially not forty-foot-thick lead coatings…"

Terrie hurled a knife into a robot, which promptly exploded.

"Or they could just have a teleport spell built in or something…it would be a lot cheaper."

Ezra shattered the legs of several robots.

"I don't think that would be practical. Robots would be appearing out of nowhere at inconvenient times."

Danielle sent the head of a robot flying with a sharp whack.

"Yeah, like on the dinner table or in the middle of the night."

Thought Marcus opened his umbrella in the face of a robot, sending it stumbling backwards…right onto the sword of Emotion Marcus.

"Th-they could have p-p-protected them from n-nukes w-with a shielding sp-spell."


Willie blasted a robot with the Bolero of Steam.

"Maybe they just made the robots really cheaply, so they don't have to worry if a few dozen get nuked."

Kyle swung the Omniweapon as a mace, crushing a robot to bits.

"They did. We're just wondering why."

Jess jabbed one with her needle, and it fell apart.

"Maybe they have other minions, like the bat-squid."

Tyler rolled the Wall of Defense down a hill, knocking over several robots.

"27… 28… 29… and they do. They have the Ubers."

Drake punched the head off a robot.

"34! They also have the green laser."

Karissa swung her chain whip, ripping a gash in a robot. The robot, being shoddily made, exploded.

"What's so important about a green laser?"

Joe ripped a robot apart.

"Maybe it's a particularly dangerous green laser?"

Cristoph hurled a shuriken into a robot. The robot sparked, went dead, and fell over.

"It is. It's certainly powerful enough to fuse sand to glass, at any rate."

Ossa sliced a robot in two, and it fell apart. Ossa was turning away to deal with another robot when something caught her eye. She sliced the second robot in two, then picked a a bit of its armor that had fallen off. It was corrugated.

"Hey, everybody! These robots are made of cardboard!"

Mizuho blasted a robot with magic, reducing it to rubble.

"Cardboard? Really?"

Dave swung his axe, beheading a robot.

"Well, it would explain why this fight is so boring."

Shirley lunged at Dave, who narrowly dodged her.

"Ugh! Even for you, that was bad."

Lily smashed a robot with her Ice Blow.

"Blame the author."

Alice sliced a robot to bits with her sword.

"Yes, let's do that".

Louise shot a robot.

"Or we could just ignore the whole thing."

Tom beat a robot to death with a shrubbery.

"Take that! And that! And that!"

Danielle stabbed a robot with her staff (somehow).

"3… 2… 1…"

The robot fell apart.


Twenty minutes later…

The last robot fell to the ground, its head who-knows-where.

Jared grinned. "Well, that was easy."

"Don't say things like that!" Chloe admonished. "Do you want to fight another few thousand robots?"

Jared smirked. "You really think the author is going to bother writing another fight scene?"

"You've got a point there…"



Sirahc frowned.

"So far, it's Society 2, Deraj's weird inventions 0. Why is he still here?"

Deraj leapt to his feet in anger.

"Like your Negatizer Magnet was any better? It was supposed to make sure there were only our Elimination Society counterparts there! Instead, we get two of the leaders!"

"And you're saying your Sue Storm device went perfectly?"

"You little-,"

Deraj was about to lunge at Sirahc when a wall of rock separated them. Retsa stood up.

"Sirahc, there was nothing wrong with the Sue Storm device. And Deraj, Sirahc made the Space Hammer cards and the Prohibitor-removal technology. I keep you two around for different reasons, and as long as those reasons exist, neither of you are leaving this ship.


"46! Beat that!" Tyler announced.

"52," Drake replied calmly.



"Soon our Society counterparts will get here, and then they'll taste the power of our ultimate weapon!" Ekard proclaimed.

"Didn't we already have an ultimate weapon?" Relyt asked.

"What, the green laser? Please. That's old hat by now."

"Ah. And the multi-cannons?"

"Pebbles compared to our new weapon."

"The Razor-Lazor?"

"That never worked in the first place."



"So, if the first threat we encountered was the bat-squid…" Tash started.

"And then the robots…" Harriet continued.

"Crack logic dictates that the next threat will be the Ubers, and hence the PCMSPS Agents themselves!"

The Society let out a loud cheer.

"However, as it required about a mile of walking between the bat-squid and the robots, we think it will be about twice that to get to the PCMSPS!" Harriet yelled.

The Society let out a loud groan.

"Just kidding!" Tash confirmed.

The Society let out a loud sigh of relief.

This could have gone on all day, or at least until the author ran out of synonyms for "said," but it was interrupted by a massive shadow that enveloped all the Society members, and the humming that precedes spaceship landings in all good sci-fi movies. The Society scattered to avoid being crushed by the rapidly descending PCMSPS ship. However, instead of landing, the ship released dozens of Uber pods, quickly followed by the PCMSPS members parachuting down to join them.

"Well… that was a lot shorter than a mile," Harriet mumbled.

Retsa sliced off her parachute, then formed a fireball in her hand, pointing it at various Society Agents.

"Well well well. Society, we meet again."

"Quit ripping off old lines and let's get to the fight scene!"

Harriet frowned. "Okay, who said that?"

"They did," responded Karissa, pointing at the mouths, who had appeared out of nowhere.

For the first and last time in all of recorded history, a ACMSES member and a PCMSPS member worked together. Both Tash and Retsa launched a blast of fire at the mouths, incinerating them instantly.

Retsa smirked. "The first shots have been fired. Let the battle begin."

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Insert Rather Anti-Climactic Passing of Exam Here

A blond-haired girl rushed into the room, breathing heavily. "Sorry," she panted. "The LPGB made a gigantic pitfall and several Agents fell into it..."

She cleared her throat. "All right then. I'm Tash, the Librarian, but you probably knew that since you've passed the written part of the Rookie Exam. What's your name?"


Although Akai was generally an apathetic person, at the moment she was worried. After nearly sixty attempts, she had finally passed the written exam for the Anti-Clich̩ and Mary Sue Elimination Society. Her first worry was that someone would find out that she had cheated by simply folding down a page in one of the books she used to study for the exam. Her other worry was that after all this work, she might fail the exam again Рafter all, she had never taken the practical exam before.

Akai paused in her thinking. Or had she? Did the memory gas wipe that out as well?

"Ah, forget it. Get me a blueberry muffin."

The jun-akuma, which was floating near her shoulder, whipped out a plate with a napkin and muffin on top of it.

"Huh. You even remembered that I hate getting crumbs on my clothes," Akai remarked, taking a bite of the pastry. "And to think I used to think you were annoying and useless."

The jun-akuma stayed silent, as usual. Akai had never seen it talk, or give any indication that it had the power of speech.

Having finished her muffin, Akai wiped her mouth with the napkin, which she stuffed into the front pocket of her hoodie.

"Oh. I should be more careful with this."

Akai rummaged around in the pocket before pulling out a Communicator. She inspected it for a moment, found it free of damage, and then turned to the jun-akuma. "Prohibitor?"

The jun-akuma pulled out two of them from apparently nowhere.


After floating around aimlessly for a second, the jun-akuma produced several of the stickers.

"Scene Transition?"

As before, the jun-akuma made it appear.

"All right then, last but not least, Plothole Generator."

The jun-akuma stared blankly at her.

Akai stared back. "...you've got to be kidding me. Plothole Generator."

The jun-akuma spun around in mid-air and shook its head a few times.

"What the hell is that supposed to mean? Give. Me. The Plothole Generator. Now."

The jun-akuma floated around a bit more before shaking its head again and shrugging its shoulders.

Akai growled. "The thing that looks like a ray gun! The Plothole Generator! You idiot, I just gave it to you five minutes ago! Give me the damn thing or I swear I will rip your head off!"

The jun-akuma blinked several times before reaching behind it and displaying the gadget. Akai grabbed it.

"I'll keep it, you stupid midget."

With that, she fired up the generator, created a portal, and stepped into it, heading towards the destination of her practical exam.


"...and make sure that you get the Prohibitor onto the Sue securely, since there are cases where your target can break away from it," Tash said. "I'm pretty sure that whatever Sue you encounter in the fandom you're going to won't be too powerful, but you can never be too careful."

Akai nodded in response, and then said, "I haven't seen Aster or Chrys around. Where are they?"

Tash sighed. "Gone."

"They're... gone?"

Tash sighed again. "Yes, gone. They went a few days ago to catch a Sue in the Portal fandom, but they haven't returned since. I'm sorry that they couldn't be here to celebrate the fact that you finally passed, but there's really nothing I can do about it."

Akai raised an eyebrow. "You're not sending any backup? What if they're in big trouble?"

"Aster and Chrys are capable agents of the Society, despite their, ah, shortcomings at times," Tash replied. "Besides, we got in contact with Mizuho and she told us that the two of them are still alive and kicking."

Akai's eyebrow went a notch higher. "You're okay with leaving two clumsy idiots in a fandom dominated by a murderous artificial intelligence that has mastery over both dangerous weaponry and sarcasm? You have no second thoughts, none at all?"

Tash paused. She opened her mouth to speak, but then closed it.


The exam seemed simple enough. Akai was told that her goal was to catch a Sue (preferably alive), and that she was free to use whatever powers or skills she had. Her performance would then be graded and the resulting score would determine if she was to remain a Rookie or become an Agent.

Akai knew the fandom she was entering. The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya. The fourth novel in the Haruhi series, it covered the events of main character Kyon in an alternate world where the people he knew became normal humans (in the original world, he had met an alien, a time traveler, an esper, and a girl with god-like powers). Although the Haruhi series was dangerous because of powerful characters and a plot where anything could happen at the whim of a high school girl, Disappearance was somewhat safer since everyone was normal. Well, there was the knife-wielding classmate, but she didn't appear until later, and Akai had made sure that she was entering the fandom before the classmate went berserk.

Akai was also given information about the Mary Sue she was to capture. It was Level 2 – easy enough for a seasoned Agent to tackle alone, but difficult enough to challenge a Rookie. The Sue was detected after the Society registered large amounts of OC pairing activity. The Sue was fairly strong, but Akai was certain that she could handle the mission.

What she did not expect was her portal opening straight into a classroom where Kyon, the main character, and a girl, probably the Sue, were making out and looked to be on the verge of doing...well, to be perfectly honest, each other.

"...I totally feel for Taniguchi now," Akai said.

Kyon stared at her. "I thought I locked the door."

"I, um, didn't get here through a door," Akai replied. "And put your freaking shirt back on. I got enough of that during the Endless Eight arc. But that's not why I'm here." She turned to the girl, who was trying to edge discreetly towards the door. "Amaya Ayanami, by order of the Anti-Cliché and Mary Sue Elimination Society, you're under arrest for making out with Kyon, intending to do much more than making out with Kyon, stealing the last name of an awesome character from another series, and pairing Yuki Nagato with the President of the Computer Research Society." Akai paused. "I'm supposed to capture you alive, but for that last offense, I'm considering whether or not to stab you through the gut. No one. Messes. With. Nagato."


Michael poked his head into the Monitor Room, having heard a loud 'thump' while passing by. He saw Tash with her head planted firmly on a desk. "Aneki? What's wrong?

Tash groaned. "The Rookie I sent to the Haruhi fandom is a fangirl of that series..."


Amaya was pretty, in a doll-like sort of way. She had porcelain skin, emerald green eyes, and golden brown hair. The best trait about her, however, was her smile. It was shy yet dazzling, and made everyone in the vicinity want to sweep her up in their arms and protect her to their death.

"What are you talking about?" Amaya said. "I am a Humanoid Interface sent by the Integrated Data Thought Entity to observe –"

"I have no recollection of 'making out with Kyon' being related at all to simply 'observing'," Akai replied. "But then again, you seem pretty stupid for a Sue. The IDTE isn't supposed to exist in this version of the world."

Amaya's only response was to smile. Kyon blushed and muttered about how "cute" it looked.

Akai twitched. "You call that a smile? That's nothing near Nagato's..." She gave a nod to the jun-akuma, who deposited a spear into her waiting hands. "Surrender now or prepare to fight!"

She paused. "Crap, I sound like Team Rocket."

Amaya smiled again, only this time, her grin was full of malice. "If that's the case, then prepare to lose." Her lips began to move at a speed too quick for the eye to follow, and Akai realized that Amaya was not lying when she said she was an interface.

"Get that stupid look off your face and move your ass!" Akai growled, slapping a Copyright sticker on Kyon's forehead. Within a few seconds Kyon was back to normal, his face growing visibly confused at the scene before him.

"I said MOVE!" Akai roared, pushing him towards the door. "I'm only a Rookie and I'm nowhere near strong enough to fight the Sue and protect you at the same time."

Kyon had been in enough interface battles to understand that he was in danger, and fumbled with the lock before bursting through the door and running a safe distance away. As soon as he did so, the door disappeared, as did the windows, desks, and chairs in the classroom.

Akai felt her hands shake and gripped her spear tightly. "She's just a Level 2 Sue. She's not Asakura or anything," she muttered to herself. "Calm down already!"

"This area is under my jurisdiction now. I control all data in this space." Amaya suddenly appeared barely a foot away from Akai, her creepy grin still present. "You do know that you're doomed, right?"

Akai rolled her eyes. "Like hell. You may be an interface, but I doubt whatever author that created you brought back the IDTE to this world."

"True," Amaya said. "But why would I need the IDTE when I can do this?"

Before Akai could even blink, a katana materialized into Amaya's hand and Akai had to bring her spear up to block an attack.

"A katana? Oh, like I haven't already seen that before. At least, in the genderbent version of this series," Akai said. She sidestepped and jabbed her spear at Amaya, who gracefully dodged.

"How weak. I was hoping that the Society would send someone strong, but I guess not," Amaya said.

"Try coming closer and saying that again," Akai retorted.

"All right." Amaya became a blur as she moved towards Akai.

"Damn –!" Akai swung her spear up so she could block the oncoming attack, but Amaya's strength and speed nearly knocked her over. While Akai fumbled with her spear, Amaya kicked her hard in the stomach, knocking the wind out of her. The Sue raised her katana to strike, but Akai delivered a straight punch to the Sue's nose, distracting her long enough for the Rookie to back away and slip into a defensive stance.

Amaya glared at Akai, blood streaming from her nose and mouth. "You'll pay for that."

Akai gripped her spear firmly and tensed.

Amaya rushed at Akai at a speed only an interface could mirror. Akai brought up her spear to block again, but this time she pushed hard with her spear, making Amaya lose her balance and almost drop her katana. Amaya recovered quickly, though, and threw her katana. Akai ducked low to the ground, and threw her own spear in retaliation. It hit Amaya's shoulder, who cried out in pain.

"Didn't know that interfaces could feel pain," Akai commented as she walked up to the wounded Sue. She yanked the spear out and then stuck it through Amaya's other shoulder, drawing out another scream.

"You got my Spear-tan bloody. That won't do." Akai made a 'tsk tsk' sound as she pulled out her spear and pointed it at Amaya's heart. "Any last words?"

"P-please... don't kill me," Amaya said. "I'll tell you something... please..."

Akai raised an eyebrow. "What are you going to tell me that I don't already know about this series?"

"In the tenth novel, Asakura –"

"I told you, I already know that! Now shut up before you spoil it for any people reading this fanfiction who haven't seen that article yet!" Akai shouted.


In the Library, a large rumble resonated throughout the structure, causing several Agents to drop whatever they were holding, fall over, or wake up from a nap. The shakings soon ceased, but the noise was far from over.


"O-ouch..." Thought Marcus said, rubbing his backside. "C-c-c-could someone please t-tell Aster to s-s-stop breaking the fourth w-wall?"

"Actually, Aster's still on her mission," Michael said as he bent over to help Thought Marcus up.


"It actually happened because I was watching Akai's progress with Aneki. You know, the Rookie," Michael added when he received blank stares from both Marcuses. "...Aster's friend?"

"Th-that explains a l-l-lot," Thought Marcus said.


"No, w-wait!"

"I'm tired of waiting! Let me stab you and get it over with!" Akai snarled.

Amaya coughed harshly. "T-there's another...a Stu...he's in this school."

"Really now?" Akai said. "And why do you think I would trust you, seeing as you've lied about being an interface?"

"Please... he goes by the name of Wakahisa Shouta, and he's dating Mikuru-senpai. He's got dark violet hair, red eyes... maybe. One of his eyes is covered by an eye patch –" Amaya flinched as Akai held the tip of the spear to her throat.

"Did you say 'eye patch'?" Akai said. Her face was dead serious as she pushed the spear against the Sue until it drew blood. "Tell me, does he look really young?"

Amaya tried to nod, but the spear was still pointed at her neck. "Y-yes... he's supposedly a child prodigy. He's eleven but he's already a junior."

Akai glared at her. "You're very lucky, you know that?" She pulled out a Prohibitor and clapped it onto Amaya's wrist. "Congratulations, I'm not going to stab you." Akai then dragged Amaya to a storage closet, pushed her in, and then locked the door. "Try not to die of blood loss before I'm done with the Stu, okay?"


"There. All done!"

A young girl held up her notebook proudly. On one page were drawings of four characters with a short description next to each of them. On the other page was a larger, more detailed version of a fifth character. The proportions were incorrect – the fingers were too long, the head was too large, and the legs were too short, but nevertheless, the girl was happy that she completed her drawing.

"Now, what should your name be?" The girl looked around her room for inspiration. Her eyes landed on a volume of manga. "Yuki? He does kind of look like a girl, and he has a similar hairstyle...but that would be stealing, wouldn't it? Maybe Zero...but that sounds stupid."

Her eyes alighted on her character's face. One blank eye stared back at her. The other was covered by a hastily drawn eye patch – she always had problems getting her characters to have symmetrical eyes.

"I guess he'll have a power to go with it then," the girl mused out loud. "Like, he can see into the future, maybe...? What's that called again? A soothsayer? A seer?"

The girl snapped her fingers.

"That's it! Seer! But since his eye is really, really, special, I'll call him SEEer!" the girl cried, showing off the effect of the Internet on her capitalization sense. She quickly scribbled down a description next to the character, occasionally pausing to think over the details of her character.

"SEEer. A mastermind assassin, and he's only twelve years old! Wait, that sounds familiar..."

The girl's eyes shifted towards her bookcase. "Shoot. Now he's Artemis?"

She frowned and looked at her drawing disapprovingly. "This isn't working. It's like that one fox-hybrid character I made in third grade... SEEer's just too... perfect."


"...I think he's a Stu."

The girl sighed and flipped the notebook open to a new page. Time to try again.


"Not again," Akai groaned.

The couple broke apart from each other. The girl blushed madly and covered her face with her hands as if she were trying to hide.

"Holy hell, Mikuru!" Akai shouted. "I don't care if he's in your grade: he's freaking eleven years old!"

"My, my. You haven't changed," the boy said.

Akai whirled around and pointed a finger at him. "You're disgusting, SEEer. The last time I saw you, you were an emo twelve-year-old that liked to kill people. Now you're an eleven-year-old player?"

SEEer wrapped an arm around the trembling Mikuru. "On the contrary, Mikuru here is my girlfriend. Got a problem with that?"

"Of course I do. You're messing with canon, so it's my job to kick your butt. How did you even get in this fandom anyways?" Akai asked.

"Simple. I'm a slider," SEEer replied.

Akai groaned. "Thank god this is Disappearance and not the regular series...otherwise Haruhi would've made things much, much worse..."

"S-S-Shouta-kun?" Mikuru squeaked. "W-why is she holding a bloody spear? Is she your girlfriend?"

Akai nearly burst a fuse. "Me? And that shrimp? Together?"

SEEer chuckled. "You're one to talk. You're barely five feet tall."

Akai did burst a fuse then. "I. Am. Not. Short," she grounded out. "I'm taller than Mikuru!" She was about to rush at SEEer and punch his face in, but she stopped. Akai squinted at SEEer. "Hold on. Since when was your eye patch on your left eye? Wasn't it on your right?"

"As you've pointed out, I've changed," SEEer said, flipping his violet-colored hair. "For example, I can do this now." He lifted up the patch to reveal an eye with a silver iris.

"Goddamn it, please don't tell me you have a demon summoning contract," Akai said.

SEEer paused. "Nope."

"...is it a Geass?"

He shrugged. "Close enough." He gazed directly into Mikuru's eyes. Suddenly, Mikuru stiffened, her expression becoming blank. She began walking towards Akai.

"Dammit, dammit, dammit!" Akai said, flipping her spear to the blunt end so she wouldn't hurt Mikuru.

"Well then, have fun," SEEer said. "I'm off now." He then opened up a plothole and disappeared.

"Get back here you –!" Akai dodged a punch from Mikuru. "Damn, I can't bring myself to hurt Mikuru..."

She then realized something. Akai reached into her pocket, pulled out a Copyright, and slapped it onto Mikuru's outstretched arm.

"I forgot. You can't fight worth a damn," Akai said, facepalming. "I'm so going to get that little punk...but I should probably go back. I hope the Sue hasn't died yet."


Tash crossed her arms. "Okay, what was that?"

"SEEer. He's a character my author made when she was younger, but she gave up on him since he was so Stu-ish. I guess he escaped from her and became a full-fledged one," Akai said.

"I see. So do you have a grudge against him?"

"Not really. He should have one towards me, actually," Akai replied. "In my early days my occupation was critiquing a lot of my author's work. I made quite a lot of vicious comments about SEEer. You know: 'Pshhh, what kind of assassin names themselves something as stupid as SEEer?', 'Wow, red eyes. Just... wow. How lame.', and 'He's a freaking shota. How the heck did he even get his job?'. Stuff like that."

"So, you stabbed a Sue in the shoulder, threatened to kill her, and then let a Stu escape?" Tash said.

Akai thought for a moment. "Hm. That about sums it up."

Tash sighed. "Well, seeing as you did bring in the Sue and the Stu had to be at least Level 4 or 5, I guess you're all right. You pass."

Akai blinked. "...that's it?"

Tash blinked back. "Did you expect a parade or something?"

"Not really... just, I thought there would be something a bit special since I took this exam over sixty times," Akai admitted.

Tash shrugged. "Hey, it's the Society. No one knows what the hell is going to happen next."


"Where's the damn kitchen?" Akai grumbled, wandering in the hallways of the Library. She felt like celebrating her promotion to Agent with a large bowl of ramen, but she had quickly gotten lost.

"Ah, whatever. Hey, can you make sandwiches?" Akai asked the jun-akuma.

It floated around for a while, and then pulled out a bag of potato chips.

"...you fail."

Just then, Tyler walked by.

"You're the new Agent, right?" he said. "Nice to meet you, I'm Tyler."

"Akai. Do you happen to know where the kitchen is?" the hungry girl asked.

Tyler laughed. "I don't need the kitchen when I can eat almost anything."

Akai blinked. She wasn't quite used to the Society yet.

"Well, thanks, I guess?" Akai was about to continue down the hallway, but paused. "Hey, Tyler? Want an Altoid?"

"What's that?"

Akai dug into a pocket and pulled out a tin. "Mints. Originally from Britain, they're very popular in America now. It contains pure mint liquor, so it's quite strong. 'Curiously Strong' is the company's slogan, actually."

Tyler stared at the tin. "Are they good?"

Akai shrugged. "Personally, I like them. It's my own special kind – they have a touch of crack in them."

"Well, sure. Thanks." Tyler took a mint from the tin and popped it into his mouth.

Akai watched him expectantly.

Tyler blinked once. Then, his eyes began to roll around, and he started bouncing up and down. Up...and down. Up... and down. Up... and down... all the way to the ceiling. Then he started moving sideways.

"Interesting. People can actually bounce off walls when they're sugar high," Akai noted. She continued walking. "I wonder what will happen if I slip a crack pill into Tash's drink..."


It had been three days since Akai joined the Society. During that time, she made 'that's what she said' jokes every other time she saw Michael and Claire together, gave Emily a speech that frightened her to tears, spiked Ben's Firebrand Whiskey with half a tin's worth of crack pills, and blatantly told Tom that it would be okay for her to assault him because she was a female and he was a male and juries usually ruled in favor of the female.

"Objection!" Akai screamed at her Nintendo DS. "Damn it! I said, OBJECTION!"

Karissa shivered in the corner of the room, along with several other Agents who were huddling together and trying to stay out of Akai's line of sight.

Suddenly, a plothole opened, and Chrys and Aster came stumbling out of it. Tash quickly got up to reprimand them.

Still, everyone was extremely eager to trade in peace and quiet in exchange for protection against the newest Society Agent.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Instert Fantastically Snarky Computer Here

Today, Aster and Chrys had the job of proctoring the test for the new rookies. They'd traded it with Harriet whom had wanted dusting duty very badly for some reason. (They suspected it had something to do with the fact Dave was also on dusting duty, and that there had been an incident involving Dave, a newt, and Harriet's tea last week.)

Well, yeah.

Aster and Chrys now had the job of scaring away the members not fit to join the Society…

A very bedraggled Akai Minami walked in. She didn't look happy – this was the fifty-seventh time she was taking the test. Fifty-seventh. Now, with any normal test a normal person would not under any circumstances fail after that many times, but Akai had a problem – the Society mind-wiped her after every test to make sure she didn't remember what the test was on (since the Society test writers were too lazy to rewrite the test). Thus, it was likely that Akai had been studying the wrong material fifty-seven times.

"You'll do it this time!" said Chrys encouragingly.

"Nah. I feel like a failure." Akai collapsed on the desk in a manner akin to Tamura Hiyori whenever she feels especially put down. "This isn't fair… This isn't fair at all…"

The jun-akuma circled around her head, making it look like a cartoon in which Akai had gotten knocked out (and she certainly looked like it).

The last few piled in and Aster cleared her throat. Akai sighed. She'd heard similar things to this fifty-six times. The Society could have at least wiped those.

"You are now about to join a very desperately horrific Society, kyaa," said Aster. "Even if you pass this test, which involves mental, physical, and genetic endurance, you'll have to go through the initiation, which involves a man-eating crocodile. There's always that archangel demanding a pint of blood every time you enter any fandom, so I wouldn't recommend an anemic joining. Also, please be aware of the gigantic leech we feed with the ones who misbehave."

Chrys fainted.

"…And that happens too," said Aster. "Well, if you're having second thoughts, I suggest you leave now. The electroshock chains will bind you to the chair in thirty seconds."

Half the people left. Akai snickered.

"…well, the chains don't seem to be working. You're in luck kyaa. Well, begin the test."


"I failed, again…"

Akai was ushered into the room where the mind-wipe gas was going to wipe all of the rookies.

"How does this stuff work, anyway, wiping minds so specifically?" said Akai.

"Phlebotinum, kyaa~" shrugged off Aster.

Phlebotinum, huh? Akai pondered this for a bit. Maybe I can cheat phlebotinum.

She pulled off a copy of Sue Theory for Dummies from the nearest pile and turned to a page, showing it to the jun-akuma.

"Signal me next time I get to this page," she said.

The jun-akuma just stood there – it didn't talk or know how to make any body language, so it was difficult to tell whether it understood anything.

Akai realized something with a shock – this might be the fifty-seventh time she'd tried this…


One week later…

"Good luck!" said Aster, waving to Akai as she went to take the test for the fifty-eighth time. Tash approached Chrys and Aster.

"Mission. Do you know this fandom? It's an American game."

Aster inspected the title.

"Isn't this the one that had the ending song played at the Symphony of Games?"

"Yeah. Remember? We played it. Took only five hours. Remember, it had the snarky computer?"

"Oh yeah…"

"The snarky computer that scared me."

"Well," said Tash, "we'll send you in. The Sue's Tato, if you haven't already guessed. And here are some portal guns to help you. Be careful that you don't confuse the portal gun here with the portal gun that leads you to the Library…"

"All right!" said Chrys, and looked at the portal gun.

Already Aster could see what kind of fun Chrys was planning with the gun alone, and sweatdropped.


Akai was at a loss. She hadn't been able to send herself any signal, and she was probably screwed for the test – This is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this.

She wondered if she'd ever pass; maybe she was destined to be left out while Chrys and Aster had all of the fun. This is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this, too.

And it probably wasn't possible to pass the test until they changed it – oh God this is probably the fifty-eighth time I'm thinking this! I'm thinking like Kyon from Endless Eight!

…And then she realized something.

It's probably the fifty-eighth time I thought that, too.


When Aster and Chrys reached the fandom, they could tell that GlaDOS was shocked by their arrival. Why wouldn't she be? With two girls appearing out of nowhere, with the portal guns she thought only she had – there was audible stuttering of the sentient computer.

I see we have company. Welcome to the Aperture Science Center. The Aperture Science Center would like to welcome you. The Aperture Science Center also wishes to inform you that there is nothing dangerous going on here, particularly not a girl ridiculously evading my attempts to murder her.

"Well, I'm not quite convinced," said Aster.

It breaks my heart that you don't trust me.

"Everything seems to break your heart," said Chrys.

Maybe all humans seem to be this way.

"You're a computer," said Aster. "A computer, kyaa. Don't expect us to understand you. Now, where's the Sue?"

How sad. You don't seem to care about me, just the girl that's going to be dead by the end of the day. Do you have no respect for the ones who really care?

"Let's just drop the act," said Aster. "Where's the Sue?"

I could tell you, but there's no reason for me to tell you. I mean, we've already established ourselves as people who hate each other. That is, if I can even consider people like you…as people.

"C-can't we make a deal?" said Chrys, feeling slightly intimidated by the sentient computer.

"I'll put it this way," said Aster. "We take care of the Sue, and then you'll have an easier time murdering her kyaa. How about that?"

Chrys was clutching herself. Murdering a Sue like this didn't seem like the best thing here.

And why do I have any reason to trust you? We can probably most likely confirm that at least one of us is lying.

"Well, if you don't, you could just watch while we do it anyway."

Fair enough.

Aster and Chrys pulled out their portal guns and fired them across the large lava pit GlaDOS had slowly been opening while keeping them distracted with the conversation.

You seem to be more perceptive than I thought. This will probably be advantageous, although considering at least one of us will be dead by the end of the day, there's no reason to be celebrating.

"Do we get cake if we murder the Sue?" said Chrys, still trying to recover.

Why not.

"Oh, I know why," said Aster.


Akai tensed as she worked on the next problem, which was no easier than the last. Akai had a strange feeling that the test was specifically rigged against her. Maybe she'd thought that fifty-eight times…

Frustrated, Akai skipped the problem and went on to the next problem. This one was no easier than the last one. Crud.


"Falling spikes are really scary…"

"Then you're supposed to jump in the portal when I tell you to, not when you think that maybe possibly you can wait another second!"

"But I might end up falling out the wrong way and plopping on the ground!"

"Which would you rather want happening, the spikes squashing you into a spot of blood or falling?"

If it were my choice, I'd go for the cake.

"Yeah," said Aster, "if there is cake, kyaa."

It was that girl's fault there's no cake. She destroyed my morality core.

"Well, let's not reference Chell," said Aster.

I'm surprised you even know her name. Her lips were sealed like hot glue.

"Bwaaaaaaaaaah!" yelled Chrys, falling over through a portal, then falling into a portal right under her feet, in a constant flood of falling from the ceiling into a floor into the portal in the ceiling into the portal on the floor into…

"…Please disregard her," said Aster.


"Well, you found me," said Tato. "Was it worth it?"

Oh, dear, you seem to have stolen my lines. I suppose you're a master of plagiarism.

"Hey, GlaDOS," said Aster, "anything you know about what happens when you fire a portal into someone?"

No. But I suppose she won't have any fun if you try.

Chrys tried, and nothing happened.

Tato opened a portal and lashed her whip into it, which landed expertly through the portal, from the ceiling, and finally landed on Chrys.

"Ow!" she flailed.

Aster in turned opened a portal above Tato's head and nearby, and held something round and white.

"You think a bomb will stop me?" said Tato.

"It's not a bomb," said Aster.

"What is it then, huh? Something poisonous and deadly?"

Aster threw it, which fell and splatted onto Tato's head, revealing something yellow.

"Egg," said Aster.

There was a long bout of silence.

You threw an Aperture Science Egg at the girl an Aperture Science computer is trying to murder. That has got to be the stupidest thing I've ever heard of.

"So uncreative, GlaDOS," said Tato, "and I expected you to be a more formidable enemy. But even though you've allied yourself with the Society Agents, there's nothing you can do to me."

In response, GlaDOS let fly a ton of firing turrets embedded in the wall, which fired every which way. Chrys ducked and Aster flew up a few feet off the ground. Both of them realized that GlaDOS didn't care if the two lived or died.

Aster opened a portal underneath her and one over Tato's head and tried to rush at Tato, but Tato was too quick; she opened a portal beneath her feet and put the other one elsewhere. Aster fell into the new portal Tato had made, and an interesting chase scene occurred, the two relying on momentum speed more than physical endurance.

"Get her while she's flying!" said Aster.

But Chrys was a little preoccupied. Trying to dodge a turret, she had ended up opening another portal by accident, and was falling once again into an infinite loop from the ceiling to the floor to the ceiling to the floor…

GlaDOS fired turrets from the wall, making it worse. Aster swerved to dodge one and instead of landing through the portal Tato had made, she fell onto the floor. The amount of momentum that she had collected while falling didn't kill her (she had ankle springs like Chell's), but it hurt.

You're all being very uncooperative, said GlaDOS.


Akai turned in her test – thirty minutes early – and sighed. Another mind-wipe for her. Half of the answers were blank.

She looked at the jun-akuma, which was floating in the air behind her, and said, "Gimme a plate of cookies and a glass of milk, will ya?"

The jun-akuma held out its stick-like hand – if one could call it a hand – and on it materialized a plate of cookies and a glass of milk. (The way the thing balanced on that tiny stick thingy didn't make sense, but Aster and Chrys had figured out that being around that thing required a little bit of suspension of physics belief.)

As Akai munched on the cookies sadly, the jun-akuma pulled out a miniature violin and began playing.

"Okay, we don't need that," said Akai.


A turret fired at Aster. Aster took out her portal gun and redirected the fire towards Tato. Tato took the portal gun and redirected it towards Chrys. Chrys flailed, making Aster redirect the fire for her. The fire headed back towards Tato, but Tato took the portal gun and redirected it towards Aster, who took the portal gun and redirected it towards Tato…

The battle got nowhere for about an hour.

Tato finally realized she was really bored, and that nothing really big was going to happen. She decided to opt out.

"Well, then," said Tato, "I think I'll see you and Chrysie in a fandom where I can rip you guys to pieces and actually enjoy it. See you!"

She opened a plothole and vanished.

Tracking location, said GlaDOS. Cannot find location of target. Target assumed to have vanished off the face of the planet. How unfortunate. I will have to choose a new target.

Aster and Chrys only had three seconds to process that they were the next target.

Chrys pulled out her plothole generator…

…and then suddenly GlaDOS fired a shot at her.

It was impossible to gear up the generator with GlaDOS firing. They had to dodge turrets left and right; Chrys didn't even have time to rant about how cute they sounded. Things got worse when GlaDOS started injecting neurotoxin into the room while firing.

"Chrys-chan!" Aster exclaimed. "Don't try to set it to the Library! Pick a random fandom!"

"But we never got the cake! And if we don't, we'll have to use the Library portal guns to – "

"Just do it!"

Chrys in panic opened up the plothole generator and the two escaped. GlaDOS fired a shot through the plothole, but it only grazed Aster's sleeve, ripping the cloth but not touching her skin. (She needed a new outfit anyway.)

They were in a white fandom, standing in the middle of nowhere.

"Okay," said Aster. "Just open up the portal to the Library, since we have to use the Library portal gun kyaa."

Chrys fired and the two stepped in.

They used the wrong portal gun.


Akai walked into the mind-wipe chamber clutching her copy of Sue Theory for Dummies, wondering what she had missed. There had to be something particular she had to study! It wasn't possible for her to fail this many times! What was it? What was it? What was it?

And the epiphany hit her, and with the rage of an impulsive Kyon on the 14,598th loop of Endless Eight…

…she found the relevant page in Sue Theory for Dummies and folded it.


"Two weeks."

Tash glared at Aster and Chrys. "Okay, ten days. But still. If it wasn't for the fact Mizuho had informed us what had happened to you, we'd have been worried."

"Well," said Aster, "we tried to use the portal gun to get back to the Library, but Chrys accidentally used the normal one. And it's supposed to make a rip in the space-time continuum. I guess when you use it in places outside Portal… it rips time, too…"

"Well, you're back." Tash sighed. "Be more careful next time. Oh, and I have news for you too. Your friend Akai has joined the Society."


Chrys perked up, excited. Aster grinned.

"Did she pass her test?"

"Yes, both practical and physical," said Tash. "Although how on earth she managed to score a 100 on the practical when she usually got lower than 50 before eludes me…"

"Well, she did good, and that's what matters!" said Chrys. "Where is she now? How are the other Society members taking well to her?"

"Well…" said Tash. "That's a problem. See, it's only been three days since she joined, and…"

She pointed.

Akai was playing a video game on her DS. She seemed rather unnerved, although she occasionally cursed at the game characters. The jun-akuma was floating next to her shoulder. Huddled on the other side of the room against the wall were the rest of the Society members. They were shivering, and they all looked practically petrified.

"Yeah, that tends to happen," said Aster, as Chrys noticed her desu sparkles fading away. "You'll get used to her. And if you don't, well, we'll figure it out… somehow… I hope…"

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Insert Reincartnated Evil Here

Production at any price
Admiration of those who earn
With blood on their hands
We will never learn
A gift of today's world
Heroes to us!
-Kalmah, Heroes To Us


Soma Cruz panted for air as he leaned against the doorway, staring up at the malicious blood red moon in the dark night sky. Bats flitted back and forth through the air, sending flickering shadows across Soma's face. The moon seemed so close Soma half believed he could reach out and touch it. Turning his gaze away from the moon, he stared up the crumbling stone staircase that led up to the throne room of Dracula's castle. The throne room itself was located in a high tower that stood separate from the rest of the castle. A long set of stairs reached from the castles top floor, over a grassy, statue filled courtyard several hundred feet below to the spire where the throne room lay. The stairs had most likely been ivory once, but centuries of wear and weathering had turned them an aged yellow color.

Soma sucked in a deep gulp of air and straightened up. He had fought his way through the castle for hours, cutting down hordes of demons that stood in his path. His long white overcoat was covered with dust and stained with blood of various hues, some of it his, most of it his enemies. It hadn't been easy, but he'd finally reached the top floor of the castle. All he had to do now was defeat the insane missionary Grahmn and he, Mina and everyone else trapped in the castle could go home. Rested, Soma adjusted the oversized Claimh Solais sword on his back and started up the staircase, his eyes fixed on the door at the top.

Before he was even half-way up the stairs though, there was a bright flash of rainbow-colored energy right in front of his face. Startled, Soma stumbled and nearly fell backwards down the staircase. By the time he'd recovered and blinked the stars from his eyes, the light was gone and there was a boy his age dressed in a blue tunic and holding a large red book in one hand standing a few stairs above him, looking around almost appraisingly. When he noticed Soma he blinked, as if just now seeing him.

"Oh, hey." He said casually. "What's up?"

Soma blinked, unsure what to think of this nonchalant newcomer. "Who're you?" He asked suspiciously, his had creeping towards Claimh Solais' handle.

"Who? Me?" The stranger grinned, looking up from the open book he was now flipping through. "I'm Matthew. Matthew Slaymaker. Hey, could you do me a favor and hold still for a minute?"

Before Soma could respond, the stranger slammed the open book into his chest, knocking Soma backwards and sending him tumbling down the stairs, knocking crumbling bits of stone off to plummet to the ground far below as he fell. Soma groaned in pain as he came to rest at the bottom of the staircase and got slowly to his feet. His white overcoat had gained a fresh layer (oayer) of dust, and his newly collected array of bruises were doing their best to impede his progress.

Matthew sauntered down the stairs slowly, his eyes fixed on The Book of Prophecy, doodling in it with a quill pen. "Very interesting..." He said slowly. "The Power of Dominance, is it?"

Gritting his teeth against the bruises, Soma charged back up the stairs, Claimh Solais drawn and ready to strike.

"And what's this called?" Matthew asked, still not looking up. "The Claim Soles?" He flicked his wrist and instantly an identical twin to the diamond sword in Soma's hand appeared in his.

Soma's eyes widened with shock as sparks flew when the two sparkling blades met in mid-swing and gasped in pain as Matthew sent him tumbling back down the stairs with a shove.

This time Soma managed to halt his fall before he reached the bottom of the stairs. Tears of pain were gathering in the corner of his eyes as he stood. His bruises were screaming at him, but he still had plenty of fight left in him.

"Legion!" he barked, raising a hand and three tentacle-like appendages sprouted from his back, each firing a beam of blue energy at Matthew.

Matthew didn't even blink. "Chronomage," he responded smugly, waving his wrist lazily.

Instantly, the color spectrum inverted and time stood still. Frozen in place, Soma could only watch in horror as Matthew strolled towards him, twirling his version of Claimh Solais, the sparkling diamond blade reflecting the light of the red full moon evilly.

What's going on? Soma throught desperately. There was only one Chronomage in the castle and I absorbed its soul! I thought I was the only one with The Power of Dominance! Just who is this guy?

Matthew stopped not two feet in front of Soma and shrugged apologetically. "Sorry," he said, pulling back with the Claimh Solais like a baseball bat. "But I can't have you getting in the way around here. Fore!"

With that he swung Claimh Solais as hard as he could. Soma screamed and blood sprayed from his body as he died and Lily let out an outraged gasp sighed as the "Game Over" screen showed it's mocking face once again. She shot to her feet and stalked out of her room, DS still in her hands.


Lily had gained a reputation as quite a gamer over the past few weeks, something that had come by quite by accident.

Two weeks ago she stood in the one of the Library's many training room, staring dejectedly at a training dummy several feet away, covered in rips and scorch marks inflicted on it by her Pin's Psychs. She had started this training regimin in the hopes that it would prepare her for her next conflict with Matthew Slaymaker. She had even attatched a dummy 'Book' to the dummies hand and spent several hours practicing shooting the book out of the dummies hand. But it was one thing to shoot at an immobile target and yet another to hit one that was constantly in motion, and she doubted she'd be able to convince Matthew to stand still and let her hit him for anything.

She sighing, she decided to take a break and go find Charis and Karissa. Normally, she would have sought Ben out for companionship first, but Ben was still trapped on cleaning duty as punishment for his recent rampage in Metalocalypse.

Hey, Charis," Lily said, opening the door to her lab. "What's-AAH!" Lily ducked just in time to avoid a miniature missile that screeched over her head to impact on the wall behind her, creating a small crater.

"Forward, men!" General Idea shouted from atop a filing cabinet upon which several mortars and rocket launchers were being manned. "We must crush the communist spies once and for all if we are to acheive victory in this war!"

"JARED!" Charis screamed from where she was hiding behind her overturned desk. "Get these things away from me!" The desk was covered in burns and scorch marks from where several advancing toy tanks had fired on it.

Just then, the LPGB's unmanned Predator drone whined into the room, fully armed and making a beeline for the desk Charis was taking shelter behind. Without hesitation, Lily raised her hand and was preparing to shoot the drone out of the sky with Excalibur, when it suddenly veered off-course and crashed into the wall as the rest of the LPGB collapsed where they stood.

A second later, a harried-looking Jared scurried into the room and hurriedly started scooping up handfulls of deactivated army men.

"You idiot!" Charis raged, standing up from behind her overturned desk in order to better berate Jared.

"Sorry, sorry!" Jared winced, scuttling around the room, avoiding eye contact with his fellow techie.

"That's the third time this week!" Charis shouted, turning her desk right side up. "If this happens again, I'm going to melt all of them down and force-feed you the result!"

Jared was bending over and trying to pick up the Predator drone without dropping any of his soldiers. He wasn't having much luck.

Charis sighed and turned to Lily once Jared had retreated back to the safety of his own lab. "Sorry about that." She winced. "Did you need something?"

Lily shrugged. "I was just wondering if you were free and wanted to hang out."

"Oh, I would trust me," Charis said, bending over to pick up the objects that had been knocked off the desk when it tipped over. "But I was working on a project even before I was engaged by the idiot brigade." She straightened up and looked around her trashed lab. "Despite everything they managed to mess up, it doesn't look like they really broke anything, so I should be able to salvage almost everything. So, no, sorry." She gave Lily an apologetic grin.

"Oh, well do you know where Karissa is, then?"

Charis shook her head. "I actually haven't seen her for a while either."

"Oh, well, thanks anyway. I'll let you get back to your work!"

"See ya!"

Lily sighed as she closed the door to Charis's lab. So Charis was busy and Karissa was MIA. Mabye Ben had managed to get off work early somehow.

When she found him, Ben was in a foul mood. It wasn't leftover resentment at Justin Cloudbreeze for screwing with his favorite band, no, sticking him in a room with Shirley was just about the worst fate imaginable and it easily quenched his thirst for vengeance.

It wasn't anger at Michael for Blacklisting Metalocalypse either. Ben's hero worship of Dethklok ran so deep, he considered himself unworthy to even set foot in the fandom, so he never visited that world either.

Neither was it the fact that he'd been sentenced to cleaning duty as punishment for his rampage. Ben got into trouble so frequently he was almost constantly on cleaning duty, so he was used to it by now. In fact, Ben had gotten so good at cleaning, that most people considered him the semi-official Library Janitor. No, what pissed Ben off was the fact that Michael ordered him to wear a frilly pink apron while he worked.

"W-w-w-WHAT?" Ben had spluttered on hearing this and seeing the apron. "Why?"

"Because," Michael had replied calmly. "Given the amount of trouble you get into, it seems the usual punishment isn't enough of a deterrent for you to learn to discipline yourself. Mabye this will get the message through your thick head."

So over the next several weeks a glowering Ben stalking around the Library pushing a mop became a common sight. It also became apparent that he was in no mood for jokes either when Tyler was seen fleeing down the hallway with nuclear fire consuming the seat of his pants. Anyone who inadvertently caused a mess could usually count on wringing coffee out of their clothes for a while.

Ben was in a foul a mood as usual when Lily found him, but when he saw her, his scowl morphed into a smile and he reached up to pull his headphones off. The headphones were just one of the little things Ben did that never failed to reassure Lily about how he felt about her. He normally never removed them for anyone, and would only turn them down if a Leader was speaking, but only for Lily would he take them off completely.

"Hey," he said, glad for a distraction. "What's up?"

"Well, I was going to ask you if you were still busy but I guess I just got my answer."

Ben grimaced. "Yeah, I've still got to finish mopping this hallway and the cross-hallway, and then Michael wants me to wax it too. Sorry I can't hang out with you. Why don't you go find Charis or Karissa?"

"Charis is busy, I can't find Karissa at the moment and I've trained all I care to."

 "Bored, huh?"

Lily shrugged. "Don't mind me. I'm sure I'll find something to do."

"Well, why don't you try this?" Ben asked, pulling his DS out of a pocket and handing it to her. "That should keep you entertained for a bit."

"You sure?" Lily asked, flipping the device open. Ben shrugged and gestured at his mop and bucket. "Hey, I'm too busy with this to play any games anyway. I've got more games in my room if you don't like that one. You know where they are, right?"

Lily nodded, and slipped the DS into her own pocket. "OK, thanks, Ben."

"No problem!" Ben said, slipping his headphones back on and muttering along with the song under his breath as Lily walked off.

Lily took to video games like a duck to water, quickly blowing through Ben's library of DS games before starting on his older Game Boy Advanced collection. She had nearly finished Castlevania: Aria of Sorrow when Matthew invaded the fandom and interrupted her play-though.

Soon, she was standing in Michael's office, explaining the situation to the situation to the Leader.

"So Slaymaker popped up again, did he?" Michael asked, leaning back in his office chair.

Lily nodded. "He's still got the Book of Prophecy and he's killed Soma Cruz, the game's protagonist and stole his powers."

"He killed a canon character?" Michael frowned. "You'd better get him out of there right away. What's Aria of Sorrow about, anyway?"

"From what I've heard the Castlevania games revolve around the centuries-old conflict between Dracula, and the vampire-hunting Belmont family."

"From what you've heard?" Michael asked.

Lily shrugged. "Apparently the Sorrow games break the usual tradition, since the hero is a high school student named Soma Cruz. Also the game takes place in the near future, as opposed to the past, decades after Dracula's final destruction."

"OK, so what's it about?"

"When Soma and one of his friends go to watch a solar eclipse, they get sucked into the eclipse itself, where Dracula's castle had been sealed. Only there he finds out that he not only has the ability to absorb the souls of the monsters he kills and can use them for his own, but that he is Dracula reincarnated."

Michael raised an eyebrow. "Really?"

"According to canon, he was supposed to nearly become Dracula himself, but avoided fate with the help of his friends."

"Sounds dangerous."

"The fandom is just this side of the Blacklist," Lily admitted.

Michael frowned. "You'd better take Ben with you then."

Lily shook her head. "I'm not a Rookie anymore, Michael. I can take care of myself." She didn't want to tell Michael the real reason she didn't want to go with Ben.

Michael considered it for a long second before nodding. "Be careful."


Lily jammed her Plothole Generator into a pocket and looked around. She was standing in a dark granite hallway, filled with demonic, ominous statuary. Apparently she was on the top floor of Dracula's castle, one of the game's final areas. She pulled Ben's black DS out of her pocket and flipped it open, using the in-game map to figure out her exact location before starting down the hall.

Her footsteps resounded loudly in the empty hall, providing an appropriately ominous counterpoint to the flickering shadows cast by the pale blue flames burning in the wall-mounted braziers periodically placed on the walls.

Lily frowned as she ascended a staircase made of the same dark stone as the rest of the hallways. Something was wrong. According to the map she was already halfway through the area, but she had yet to encounter a single demon, monster or an enemy of any sort. The Top Floor area should have been swarming with some of the strongest enemies in the game, but she had yet to encounter a single opponent. She was getting nervous.

Suddenly, something clattered behind Lily and she whirled, hands raised, Pins at the ready, prepared to annihilate whatever was sneaking up behind her.

There was nothing there. She turned slowly, surveying her surroundings. It had been easier in the game when she could actually see her enemies. Whatever was going on there, it was creeping her out and she wanted to finish this mission as soon as possible. She continued her journey warily, keeping a weather eye on the shadows.

Finally, she spotted the glow of moonlight coming from a bend ahead and when she turned the corner she found herself standing at the foot of the stairs Matthew had killed Soma on. At the top of the staircase was the engraved blue door leading to the castle throne room, and most likely, Matthew.

Giving one last wary glance behind her into the castle's gloom, Lily started up the stairs tentatively, her white sneakers blending in with the colorless stone stairs. She wouldn't put it past Matthew to try the same trick he had with Soma and pick her off while she was exposed like this.

Surprisingly, Lily reached the top of the stairs unmolested. The enchanted blue door stood before her, pulsing gently with magic. These specific doors were used in the game to indicate a boss battle area. Lily guessed that Matthew's leaving it up like this was his way of making a joke. Reaching out, she gently pressed a hand against the barrier and it rose with a rumble.

The throne room lay on the other side of the barrier. The floor was covered in blood flowing from the eyes of a giant bust of the Virgin Mary that stood behind the throne at the top of a dais. Marble pillars lined the walls, bearing tattered curtains that stirred deadly despite the fact that there was no wind in the room.

Matthew lay sprawled casually across the throne, one leg hanging over the throne's arm, flipping through the Book of Prophecy idly. He looked up as Lily entered and sighed in exasperation. "You again?"

"Matthew Slaymaker," Lily began formally. "You are hereby charged with two counts of Fandom mutilation, the murder of a canon-"

"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Matthew waved a hand dismissively. "Let's just get this over with." He said, standing from the throne.

Lily took the opportunity to assess her opponent. Matthew wore what appeared to be a miniature version of the black and blood-red armor worn by the giant Shadow Knight demons and if the way the armor bulged was any indication, Matthew had bulked up, most likely by using the Book of Prophecy to graft the strength of a high-level demon into his body, probably a Red Minotaur. He still had Claimh Solais slung over his back, dangling in between two spiny, bat-like wings that Lily guessed he'd stolen from a Demon Lord. His fingernails had grown and sharpened as well, and had a purple tint that suggested they were a Skull Millione's and thus, poisoned.

"Looks to me like someone's over-compensating," Lily said, running a critical eye over Matthew.

"Starting the smack-talk early, are we?" Matthew raised an eyebrow, amused. "Guess you don't like wasting time, do you?"

Lily shrugged. "Not really, and that's why I'm prepared to offer you the same deal as before. Surrender now, and I'll see what I can do about getting you an early parole."

Matthew just shook his head in disgust. "You Society Agents," he said. "Always running around, acting too high and mighty. Who gave you the right to burst in and screw with our lives, huh?"

Lily started to reply, but Matthew cut her off with a wave of his hand. "I'm not in the mood to get a lecture on morals from a traitor. So are we going to do this or not?" he (He) asked, closing the Book of Prophecy and standing from the throne.

"If you insist," Lily sighed. "It would be a lot easier on you if you'd just surrender the Book of Prophecy and turn yourself in."

"As if I'd do that," Matthew snorted. "I've got big plans for this baby!"

"Such as?"

"Oh, you'll see," Matthew smirked. "Providing you survive! Beam Skeleton!" With that, Matthew thrust a palm forward, a beam of bright blue energy surging forth.

Excalibur!" Lily cried, countering with a blast of lightning from her own hand. The two energy streams crackled and sparked as they collided and canceled each other out.

Matthew pulled Chlaim Solais from it's place on it's back and sprang from the throne at in human speed. Lily responded instantly, triggering her Top Gear and Ice Blow simultaneously. In a flash, she teleported several feet to the side and a giant shard of ice several feet tall sprouted from the ground where she'd stood an instant before, angled perfectly to impale Matthew mid-charge. With a contemptuous sneer, Matthew swung Clhaim Solias with ease and shattered the icicle into millions of shining fragments.

Before Lily could respond, he half-turned and used one of his bat-like wings to clobber her to the ground. Lily hit the ground so hard she actually bounced once, earning a gasp of pain as she slammed into stone, the blood on the floor staining her clothes. Even stunned, Lily retained the presence of mind to roll out of the way as quickly as possible and not a moment too soon, as a boulder smashed into the ground where she had lain only seconds before and shattered into fragments.

Lily was covered in blood as she rolled to her feet, but she ignored it, shouting "Live Slow, Die Fast!" and making a throwing motion with her hand. In response, one of the limp, stained curtains ripped from its bracket and entangled itself around Matthew, snagging on his claws and tangling around his wings.

As Matthew stumbled around trying to free himself from the enveloping fabric, Lily took several steps back and raised both her hands high above her head, the purple Wild Line pin on her wrist glowing as it charged. "Wild Line!" Lily shouted, swinging the giant glowing sword down with all her might. At that same instant, the diamond blade of Chlaim Solais tore through the curtain trapping Matthew and shot up the block the blade. The sword exploded into motes of light and Matthew slashed through the rest of the entrapping curtain and was free in an instant.

"Skull Millone!" He spat and the indigo claws sprouting from his fingertips extended even farther outward, giving the resulting swipe a surprising range. Lily saw the blow coming though and the puff of air generated from Top Gear's Psych activating was dispelled from the slipstream of Matthew's extended blow.

There was a rustle of fabric not two feet to his left which gave Matthew just enough of a warning to open his mouth in time. "Buer!" he roared at the same time she shouted. "Excalibur!" A cloak of fire surrounded Matthew just before the lightning bolt struck it and was carried away. Lily was forced back from the heat, using a hand to shield her face from the blazing barrier Matthew had enveloped himself in. Within the raging inferno, Matthew smirked.

Got her.

The ringing in Lily's ears from Matthew's activation of the Buer Soul ended just in time for Lily to hear the words "Bomber Armor!" and the hand she held up lowered just in time for her to see the large black round explosive flying towards her. Her eyes widened in shock, then slammed shut again as the resulting explosion blew her clear across the room, through the door and back out onto the stairs.

Lily flailed around wildly, trying to find something to grab onto to halt her tumble down the stairs, but all she got was a numb, bleeding arm when her elbow connected painfully with the stone edge of the stairs. She got to her feet slowly, her battered body screaming at her, but she gritted her teeth and shook the stars from her vision just in time to see Matthew floating in the air several yards up the stairs, the Demon Lord wings on his back beating gently. "I've gotta say," Matthew smirked. "It's been real, but to be honest, you're starting to get on my nerves." He raised a palm. "So, not only will I have the Book of Prophecy, but I'll be the executioner of one of the most heinous traitors the Sues have ever known." His smirk changed into an evil grin. "This is gonna be an honor."

Lily's eyes widened.

"RED MINOTAUR!" Matthew roared and instantly, an obscenely large battle-axe appeared in his hand. Despite having grafted incredible strength into his muscles with the Book of Prophecy, not even Matthew could control such a gargantuan weapon with just one hand. Fortunately, he didn't need to as gravity did all the work for him. Still half-stunned from her tumble down the stairs, Lily could only watch in horror as the giant axe descended relentlessly towards her. It fell slowly at first, but picked up speed until it raced at her, growing so large it consumed Lily's entire field of vision.

Forgetting she was standing on a staircase, Lily stepped backwards reflexively, stumbled when she discovered there was nothing directly behind her to support her weight, and fell. The axe roared past, barely missing cutting Lily's foot off at the ankle and crushed straight through the staircase instead. It was too much for the decrepit stone staircase to handle, and it crumbled under the trauma, dropping Matthew and Lily towards the ground several hundred feet below. Matthew snapped his bat-like wings out to their full extension and his fall stopped immediately, leaving Lily to plummet to the earth alone.

Matthew's smirk had been disturbed by his short-lived impromptu sky-diving lesson, replaced by a wide-eyed look of shock, but it reasserted its position on his face as he watched Lily's tumble. He was looking forward to seeing her splatter. Just before Lily reached the ground though, she vanished from sight.

Matthew's smirk morphed into a scowl. That teleporting ability of hers was starting to get on his nerves.


Ben grimaced and shook his hand to work the writers cramp out. He'd had more time to work on his project that he'd thought. He had hated having to send Lily off on a misson alone, but if if the project panned out, the nobody would have to go on a solo mission ever again. He pulled out his Communicator and turned it on. "Hey, Michael? You there?" There was no response for a moment before the Head Agent's face came on-screen. "What do you want, Ben?" Michael's voice sounded just a tad irritated. "I'm busy."

"Can you meet me in your office in five minutes? It's important ."

Michael sighed. "It better be," he said, before breaking the connection.

Michael's shortness didn't faze Ben one bit. He couldn't really blame Michael, given all the trouble he'd caused, Reaching out, he gathered up the scribble-covered papers strewn across his desk and collected them into a folder.

Michael looked up from a stack of paperwork on his desk when Ben walked in. "We have over 30 Agents currently on active duty and apparently I'm the only one capable or required to do paperwork," he said with a sigh, dropping his pen and shoving a dangerously high stack of paper aside. "Have a seat. You said it was important?"

"I've got an idea." Ben said, sitting. Michael groaned. "Ben, no! Have you forgotten what happened the last time you got an 'idea'?"

"Hey!" Ben protested. "The blood stains came out, didn't they?"

"Yeah, along with about a gallon of gasoline."

"Well this doesn't involve any gasoline." Ben said, opening the folder and flipping through it. "Tell me," he said. "What is the one thing the majority of the Society has in common?"

"We're all insane?"

"I said majority, not everybody." Ben chuckled. "No, what I was thinking of was the fact that over-half the Society are self-inserts, and thus, Authors."

"So?" Michael frowned.

"So, the fact that the Sues sorely outnumber us has always been the biggest obstacle standing between us and victory."

"Well, there's not really much we can do about that, is there?"

"More than you'd think," Ben said, selecting a few sheets of paper from the folder and sliding it across the table.

Frowning, Michael picked them up and started reading. "You've created a character," he said at last.

Ben nodded. "His name is Avak."

"I still don't get what you're getting at."

"Think about it!" Ben urged. "As Authors we have the power to create! Why not create more characters to boost our numbers and give us an edge?"

"But we can't just churn out characters like an assembly line!" Michael protested. "And what makes you think this will even work? "

"I developed Avak as a test case, a prototype, so to speak," Ben replied. "You can watch and evaluate him for a while, and if you decide he isn't worth the effort, we can always scrap the project and I'll find another use for him in one of my own fics. I already talked it over with Avak in my Imagination. I told him if he didn't want to become an Agent, then he could become a character in some of my original fiction where I guaranteed him a happy ending.

"What if they go Sue?" Michael asked. "I mean, there's no way for you to guarantee that won't happen."

"Actually, there is." Ben said smugly. "After Avak agreed to become an Agent, I took him to the Hall of Personae so the Great Personae could screen him and filter out any overly Stuish traits."

Michael leaned back in his chair, pondering Ben's proposal for a long moment.

"You said this Avak is just a test case?" He asked at last. Ben nodded.

"All right." Michael sighed. "I'll squeeze him into the next testing session, but you're going to take full responsibility for his actions. If he snaps and ends up going Stu, I'm going to hold you accountable."

Ben nodded. "Understood."


Matthew sat crouched on a ledge jutting out from the castle walls, high above the courtyard down below, scanning the ground for Lily. His irises had turned red as a result of his using the Book of Prophecy to give himself the eyes of a Peeing Eye demon.

He shifted slightly on his perch, stretching his bat-like wings to work the kinks out of the joints. He had sat nearly motionless for several minutes, waiting for Lily to emerge from her hiding place. He considered bombarding the area with a salvo of Bomber Armor explosives in an attempt to smoke Lily out, but decided against it. If it didn't work, all it would do was drive Lily even deeper into hiding.

For all he knew, she'd already retreated from the fandom entirely to lick her wounds and prepare for a second attempt later. If that was the case, he may as well leave now. He'd already gotten what he'd came for, and there was no reason to give Lily an edge by remaining where she could easily find him.

Standing, Matthew spread his wings and prepared to fly off when movement on the ground caught his eye. Lily had emerged from her hiding spot and stood in the middle of the open courtyard, apparently fiddling with her communicator. Matthew frowned and dropped back into a crouch.

What was she doing? Bad reception? Either way, Matthew wasn't about to allow a golden opportunity like this to pass by. Lily was completely exposed and apparently defenseless. From this heigth, he could swoop down and kill her in a single blow before she knew what hit her.

He stood, spreading his wings and drawing his sword silently, although at this distance it was unlikely Lily could hear him anyway. Flexing his grip on Chlaim Solais' handle, Matthew bent his legs and sprang into the air, beating his wings once to gain some height, then folding his wings flat against his body as he plummeted towards the ground.

Lily was still preoccupied with her communicator, shaking it and holding it up to her ear, completely oblivious to his approach. A mad light grew in Matthew's eyes and an insane giggle was welling up in his throat. He was less than 30 feet above her now. He pulled his sword back and swung (swing) with all his considerable strength, intending to separate Lily's head from her shoulders when she vanished into thin air. Surprised and thrown off-balance, Matthew had no time to halt his descent and crashed head-long into the ground. The bone-crushing impact would have killed anyone else, but since Matthew was a Stu, he was merely stunned.

Lily's trap had worked perfectly, Wild Line's charging period ending just as she activated Top Gear, teleporting several feet into the air as Matthew crashed to the ground. The giant energy blade flared to life and Lily wrapped her hands around the handle as she descended, using the momentum of her downward fall in addition to put even more force behind the blow. Suddenly, a figure appeared from nowhere, grabbed the Wild Line blade, and with an effortless swing, sent Lily flying. She crashed into one of the courtyard's numerous statuary, the Wild Line blade fizzed into nothingness. Sparks lit up behind her eyelids as the back of her head struck stone and everything went black.


Valerie's workload had been considerably lighter over the past several days, mostly because Ben had been too busy with cleaning duty to raise Shirley's ire. Since she no longer had to drop everything every 15 minutes in order to deal with various puncture wounds or stuff Ben's intestines back into his body, she had the opportunity to finish other projects she'd had sitting on the back burner for what felt like forever.

Having finished most of her usual duties, she picked up Seiryu off her desk and started for the door, intending to get some practice down at the Archery range when it opened and Ben walked in. Valerie sighed and set Seiryu down, reaching for the bandages she always kept close at hand for Shirley-related injuries.

"Just have a seat on the bed," she said in a semi-tired voice. "Where'd she get you this time?"

"I'm actually not here about an injury for once." Ben laughed.

Valerie frowned. "Oh?" This was unusual.

Reaching into a folder he carried under his arm, Ben handed her a sheet of paper.

"Project Warpath?" Valerie asked. "What's that?"

"Read it," Ben replied, leaning against the steel frame of one of the beds as the healer read the document.

"OK, so basically you're creating a super-soldier project," Valerie said at last.

"Well, not exactly "Super", but that's the gist of it. With this, we'll be able to create our own foot soldiers."

"OK, so what are you talking to me for? This is something you should talk to Michael about, not me."

"I already ran it past Michael," Ben said, pushing his glasses up. "And he gave the the go ahead to create a single test subject."

Valerie raised an eyebrow.

"Come on in!" Ben called. "This is Avak," He explained as Avak walked in. "He's the first of the soldiers I've created."

Valerie took the opportunity to look Avak over as Ben continued. Avak was shorter than Ben, and appeared to be about a year younger. He had a broad, stocky form that, while not exactly muscular, definately suggested the potential for strength. His eyes were the same color as his messy brown hair. Valerie didn't need to be an empath to tell he was nervous, the way he kept shifting his weight from one foot to the other and looking anywhere but at her was a dead giveaway.

"It's nice to meet you, Avak," Valerie said gently, trying to soothe him, reaching out her hand.

"Nice to meet you too," Avak replied shyly, shaking her hand in a calloused, yet firm grip that bespoke the strength of his arms. His voice held only the slightest hint of an accent.

"This is Avak's base," Ben explained, handing Valerie the folder he was carrying. "How I created him and everything about him are in there."

Valerie hefted the folder. It was surprisingly light "

Ben streched. "Well, I better get going."

Avak's eyes widened in alarm. "You're leaving?"

"Don't worry," Ben chuckled. "She won't bite. I promise. See ya!"

Avak stared plaintively at the door for several seconds after Ben had left before turning back to Valerie, his face pale.

Something wasn't adding up, Valerie could tell. If Avak was supposed to be a super soldier of sorts, why was he so easily intimidated?

Moving slowly and deliberately, so as not to alarm the already frightened teen, Valerie sat down in her chair, putting Avak's folder on her desk, leaving it unopened. She had a feeling she'd learn more about Avak from himself than from his base story.

Avak himself was still standing, looking distinctly uncomfortable. Valerie gestured to a near-by chair. "Would you like to sit down?" she asked gently.

Avak's eyes widened in mild alarm, darting from Valerie to the chair as if gauging the possibility that her offer was a trap. Then he realized his own hesitation and sat down rapidly, blushing with embarrasment and glancing furtively at Valerie then looking away.

Valerie smiled kindly but her mind was working overtime. The only reason she could think of as to why Avak was acting like this was because of something in his past, either abuse or abandonment issues. The problem with that was that both of those pasts had Stu-ish connotations to them. It didn't make any sense, Ben had developed Avak specifically as an anti-Sue weapon, so why was he acting this way?

"Why don't you tell me a little about yourself, Avak?" Valerie asked gently.

Avak nearly jumped. "W-what do you mean?" he asked hesitantly.

"Well, why don't you tell me about your background?"


"Yeah. Like, what did you do before Ben asked you to join the Society. You know, your past?"

Avak bit his lip. "Um... I don't think I have one..."

Valerie's eyes widened. "What?"

"I said I don't have a past," Avak repeated slowly obviously afraid he'd done something wrong.

Valerie frowned. "So... you have amnesia?"

Avak shook his head. "I don't think so... I just don't remember anything up until about ten minutes ago."

Ben created a character with no past? Why on earth would he do that, Valerie wondered. It could just be because he was trying to avoid Stu-ism, but this was taking it to an extreme, not to mention the fact that this boy didn't seem like he could hurt a fly, and he was supposed to be Ben's big plan? What was he thinking?

Avak flinched. "S-sorry," he said nervously and it was only then that Valerie realized she'd been glaring.

"Oh, no, I wasn't angry at you," Valerie said quickly. Avak nodded, but he still looked scared. Valerie sighed. Great. Here she was trying to comfort the poor boy and so far all she'd done was frighten him even worse. She was going to have to have a serious talk with Ben later.

"Hey," she said gently, leaning forward and putting a hand on Avak's knee, causing him to jump again. "Nobody's going to hurt you or anything here, I promise, OK?" Valerie smiled reassuringly. Avak nodded, his fear lessening somewhat and his smile steadying.

"So, let's take a look at your file here, shall we?" Valerie asked, picking up Avak's folder and flipping it open. It contained surprisingly few sheets of paper and what was in there was spartan. Outside of a basic physical description of Avak, the first few pages were bare. Valerie had to admire the almost antiseptic quality of Ben's work. Only the last page presented any intangibles. "Well, this is interesting," she murmured.

"What is it?" Avak asked, leaning forward to get a better look.

"It seems Ben took a page from Amanda's book when he created you," Valerie said, re-reading the sheet of paper.

"Who's Amanda?"

"Amanda is... or was the Author of Lily, Ben's lover."

"Ben has a lover?"

"She's former Mary-Sue," Valerie explained. "What set her apart from the rest of her race was her altruism. Rather than just using her powers for her own ends, she was trying to help people. Ben took her in and she just recently became an Agent here now."

Avak nodded as Valerie continued. "I had a look at Lily's original fanfic a while back when she first joined the Society and I can see a lot of paralells between her personality and yours. Most notably, you both share the same desire to help other people. I suppose Ben had to give you something to start with, otherwise you problably would've been a soulless husk."

Avak cocked his head to one side. "Do you think it would be possible for me to meet this Lily?"

"I think she's out on a mission right now," Valerie replied. "She should be back soon though..."


It was the voices that woke Lily. She started to open her eyes, but the vice squeezing her head in its iron grip discouraged that notion. One of the voices she recognized through the grinding shriek of her headache belonged to Matthew. The other was high pitched and drilled right through her aching skull.

"Hey! Looks like she's finally waking up!" There was the sound of footsteps drawing nearer and a second later someone was slapping at her face. "Hey, hey, hey! Rise and shine, Sleeping Beauty!"

Lily weakly raised an arm to try to bat the slapping hands away and wedged her eyes open. The slapper was a girl with bubblegum pink hair, rich blue eyes, and a cute face that just screamed trouble.

She looked Lily over, shaking her head ruefully. "Seriously, Matthew," she pouted, planting a fist on her hip. "It's one thing to cheat on me, but to do it with something like this? You must be joking."

"Sorry, Holly," Matthew smirked, walking over. "But she forced herself on me."

Weak as she was, Lily still managed a growl and tried to sit up. A sneer distorted Holly's face as she planted a heel on Lily and forced her back down to the ground. Her head struck the ground again, igniting a fresh batch of stars on the interior of her skull and cranking the shriek of her headache up a few decibels. "Stay down where you belong, traitor." Holly spat, then turned back to Matthew, keeping one foot on Lily's stomach. "So," she asked. "What's so important that you had to drag me half-way across the multi-verse to this little backwater fandom just to end up saving your cute, yet sorry butt from this thing?"

"This," Matthew replied, hefting the Book of Prophecy. Holly frowned. "But you've already showed me that before."

"And I showed you what it could do, didn't I?"

"Yes, modify anything it scans and change it anyway you want."

Matthew nodded. "The thing is, I got so caught up in the Book's more advanced powers, that I missed the possibilites of it's most basic features."

"And that is?" Holly prompted.

"The more I delved into the Book's secrets, the more I realized just how similar it is to our powers. The only difference is, whereas even we have limits, this book has none!"

Holly's eyes lit up as Matthew continued. "It's like a reactor. Even if you only put a spark of power in, you still get an entire ocean of power back out."

"So, what are you going to do with it?"

"You remember what I said about the Book's most basic abilities? The Book's most basic power is that of duplication, creating clones of the original data contained inside. I didn't realize the potential at first, underestimating the Book's limits, thinking that at most only two or three copies would be feasible."

"But since the book has no limits-"

"-there are no limits on how many clones can be created!" Matthew finished. "You could create an army with just this book without ever having to worry about running out of troops!"

"So what are you doing here then? Why haven't you already crushed half the fandoms in the multi-verse then?"

"I brought it here for a test run, just to be certain it would work the way I intended it too. It took me longer than I'd anticipated, but I finally managed to use the book to absorb every single demon in the castle."

"I was wondering why this place was so empty..." Holly nodded.

"So," Matthew smirked. "Shall we take her for a test drive?"

"We shall," Holly replied, an evil grin plastered on her face as the two backed away from Lily, Matthew flipping through the book until he found the appropriate demon. "I think a Red Minotaur should do nicely, don't you?" he asked, golden energy swirling around the Book Of Prophecy. "Ready... Aim... FI-GAAACK!" Matthew was cut off as Karissa materialized behind him, Gekkou wrapped tightly around his throat.

"What?" Holly whirled taking her attention off Lily for a split second.

Lily took advantage of Holly's distraction to activate Top Gear and teleport away. Holly spun back just in time to see the statue Lily had been lying against a second before falling towards her, propelled by Live Slow, Die Fast. She threw herself to one side as the statue crashed to the earth and scrambled back to her feet. Matthew had dropped the Book of Prophecy in his struggle with Karissa, and Holly scooped it up, opening the book to a random page and pulling out a gun of all things. A surprising weapon to be available in a fantasy fandom like this, but she had no time to ponder the game's avalabale arsenal.

Raising the weapon, she fired, the bullet whizzing past Karissa's ear. The Agent ducked, releasing her grasp on Gekkou as she did so.

Gasping for air, Matthew broke free and stumble towards Holly. With a flick of her hand, Holly opened a plothole and started helping Matthew towards it.

"Oh, no you don't!" Lily shouted, leaping over the fallen statue and running towards the fleeing couple. In response, Holly half turned, raising the gun still in her hand and firing off several rounds. Lily ducked and the bullets went wide. By the time she looked up again, both Holly and Matthew had vanished.

"Hey," Karrisa called, jogging over, Gekkou safely stashed away in its sash. "Are you OK?"

Lilly nodded "Yeah, I'm fine." She sighed sighed, staring at the place where Matthew had vanished. "How'd you find me?"

"I was the one on monitor duty," Karissa explained. "Sorry it took me so long to get here."

Lily shrugged wordlessly.

Karissa follwed her gaze. "Hey, you'll get him next time."

"Will I?" Lily's tone was unconvinced.

Karissa didn't know how to reply.

"C'mon," she said at last. "Let's go home."


"Matthew's planning to use the Book of Prophecy summon an army," Lily said bluntly. She and Karissa were standing in Michael's office, who was apparently losing the war with the paperwork covering his desk.

Matthew's eyes widened. "Are you sure? Is the Book even capable of that?"

Lily shrugged. "According to him it is. At least that's what he told Holly."

"Oh, yes." Matthew sighed. "I forgot you mentioned her. So now we have another Sue to worry about."

"You might want to put a freeze on Aria of Sorrow too," Karissa added. "Apparently Matthew used the book to absorb every single demon in Dracula's castle."

Michael groaned. "That's two fandoms we've had to put on lockdown because of this Stu. You'd better catch him quick, Lily."

Lily shrugged. "I'll try."

"Didn't you mention something about him killing a canon character too?"

"Oh," Karissa giggled. "I took another look at the monitors on the way here and apparently Soma re-spawned at the last save point without remembering a thing. Fortunately Matthew didn't meddle in the fandom more, or it would have been harder to undo."

"Thank god for small mercies," Michael sighed. "Anyway, I'll be sure to tell everyone else to keep an extra close eye on the monitors from now on. You're dismissed. Try and get some rest, Lily. You look beat."

Lily nodded and started out the door and down the hallway, keeping her eyes fixed on her white sneakers.

"Hey! Wait up, Lily!" Lily turned to see Karissa hurrying to catch up. "Hey, what's wrong?" Karissa asked.
Lily shrugged. "Nothing."

"Don't lie to me. Something's bothering you, I can tell. Now what is it?" Karissa asked.

"It's nothing, just-" Lily sighed. "That was my second mission," she explained. "And it was the second time in as many missions that I had to be rescued by someone else." Her hand curled into a fist. "How am I ever supposed to prove myself strong enough to fight alongside Ben if I keep needing someone else's help?"

"You think that Ben never needed anyone's help?" Karissa asked in disbeleif. "Why else do you think Shirley follows him everywhere he goes? It's to make sure he doesn't get himself killed!"

"He doesn't always need her!" Lily protested. "He beat both me and Neb without help from anyone!"

"Lily," Karissa sighed, putting a hand on the smaller girl's shoulder. "You don't have to prove anything to Ben! He loves you!"

"I know that!" Lily replied. "But I don't want to be a burden to him! I need to be able to hold my own!"

Karissa was about to say something but she was interrupted by a voice from behind. "Um, excuse me?" The two girls turned to see a short, stocky boy with messy brown hair standing behind them, looking. "You're Lily, right?" he asked shyly.

"Yes, but who are you?" Lily asked.

"I've never seen you around here before. Are you new?"

He nodded.

"I'm Avak."


Ben, Shirley and Jess sat on the floor with their backs to the wall in a small colorless room in a secluded part of the Library. A well worn drumset, several amps and a purple stationary keyboard on rusty legs sat dejectedly in one corner of the room. The keyboard's keys were smoking gently.

"Ooooh..." Jess moaned, massasing her aching fingers. "I haven't played that loud or hard since...I've never played that hard."

"Well, you nearly drowned out Shirley if that makes you feel any better." Ben grinned from where he sat hunched over Bahamut, fiddling with the machine heads.

"If that's the case I'll just have to start practicing on you in my free time, won't I?" Shirley growled.

Ben gulped.

"Knock it off, you two," Jess mumbled from around a stubby pencil as she looked over the clipboard in her hands.

"So what do you have for us?" Ben asked, keeping his gaze fixed on Bahamut.

"Well, so far, all we have is the three of us, and our instruments. We still need a vocalist and a bassist at the very least."

"Not to mention a band name, genre or any original material," Shirley put in.

"Give it time, girl," Ben said, plucking Bahamut's strings methodically. "I mean, we've barely had two jam sessions. The band hasn't even existed long enough for us to write any songs."

Shirley huffed and folded her knobby arms.

"I'm surprised you're so dedicated to this, Shirley," Jess said, glancing up deviously. "I thought your new boyfriend would've kept you too busy for things like this."

"Are you kidding me?" Shirley growled. "Your mutant freak is driving me crazy. Sure, he's giving me some space, but nowhere near enough. This is one of the few times I can get away from him."

"I'll have a word with him," Jess said distractedly, attention back on the clipboard. "Let's take one thing at a time." She sighed. "What genre are we even going to play?"

Ben shrugged, still not looking up from Bahamut. "Doesn't matter to me, so long as it's heavy."

Shirley raised an eyebrow. "That's pretty shallow for a Metalhead like you."

Ben glanced up breifly for the first time in five minutes, before looking back down at the instrument in his lap again. "It's not that," he said. "It's just that I can work with any genre. It doesn't matter if it's Thrash, Death, Power or whatever. I can work with anything."

"And so long as it's not symphonic, right?" Jess asked dryly. The lack of a symphonic element to their music was really going to cramp her style.

Ben shook his head. "I never said that. I don't mind symphonic music, I'm just picky about them is all. We can be symphonic if you'd like."

"So symphonic, yet heavy. What, are we going to play Symphonic Death Metal or something?" Shirley snorted.

Ben and Jess glanced at one another.

"Works for me."

"Same here."

Shirley looked from one of her bandmates to the other in disbelief. "I was kidding!"

"I wasn't."

"Me neither," Jess agreed as she added their new genre to the clipboard.

Shirley sighed."OK, if you keep taking everything people say seriously, we're going to end up being a Psychostick copy-cat band here."

Ben shrugged. "Well, we already have ONE Psychostick..."



Jess ignored them.