Sunday, December 15, 2013

Insert The Original Indestructible Captain Here (part 5 of 5)

As the smoke cleared, there was no sign of the society team in the Team Rocket base. The Electrode duly vanished off to wherever fainted Pokemon go in the games, and all was silent.

That was, until Emotion Marcus's Kirlia appeared as if from nowhere, looked around a bit, then vanished from whence it came. A few more seconds passed, then it reappeared, with Thought Marcus's Kadabra, Murkrow, Tyler and his Grovyle, and both Marcus' in tow, now they were sure it was safe.

"Well," Tyler said. "That was unexpected..."

"ONE OF US SHOULD HAVE BROUGHT A POLIWHIRL." Emotion Marcus put in. He was thinking of the "Damp" ability.

"Ab-b-bilities don't work in th-th-this generation." Thought Marcus reminded him.

Murkrow flapped off, having had enough for one day, and not even the detachment of LPGB that tried to arrest him as a soviet spy on the way out could stop him.

A quick search of the transmitter room determined that whatever had been broadcasting the interference had been blown to scrap by Electrode, along with their answers. Charis eventually reported that she would be able to get the plotholes working again inside of an hour, possibly faster. No-one however, had any explanation for why Mesha had made her own life so difficult by not defending this installation. It was eventually put down to Sueish over-confidence.


It was becoming clear to the Society Leader that Mesha was just toying with her. She had yet to draw her sword, and was merely using her arms to block the swings of Harriet's Cricket bat. She decided to call the Sue's bluff, and fell back, waiting for her to make the next move. Mesha pouted in mock disappointment.

"Had enough already?" she said, the bruises practically falling off her arms as she spoke. She drew her sword. "Too bad, because I haven't!"

Mesha swung her sword, using the magical abilities she had forged into it in the Slayers fandom to fling a wave of Blue-green energy at Harriet. The society leader pictured herself at the Rosebowl in Hampshire, and promptly hit it for a six. Mesha responded with another wave, and another.

"Miss Yana..." Captain Black put in. "There is a-"

"Whatever it is, deal with it!" Mesha snapped. "I'm busy!"

Black smiled quietly to himself. That vague instruction gave him the necessary loophole to make life easier for the escaped society agents. He gave orders into his communicator.


"If it was any easier, it would be a shooting gallery." Captain Grey commented, as he downed another cleaner.

It was true, the number of clones Mesha had brought with her were nothing if they were dispatched piecemeal. This of course, was exactly what Black had done. By encountering them in two's and three's, they were a lot easier to defeat. Not that there weren't a few nasty moments though...

As if to prove the point, the sloping access way that led to the control cabin of the Spectrum headquarters was suddenly filled with bright Promethium flame. One of the Jem'hadar devastators was armed with a heavy flamer.

The team navigating their way up to the bridge were forced back into cover as the jet scorched past, setting off the fire defences and filling the air with a cool Halon gas that restricted visibility. It restricted the range and spread of the clone's own weapon as well however, so Symphony Angel was able to get close enough to take him out with a well-aimed shot from an Electrode Rifle.

Colonel White looked back at the rest of the Team assaulting the Bridge, which consisted of Rhia, Ingrid and Lieutenant Green, and saw the girls loading their weapons with Copyright Darts to bring the non-coms to their senses.

"Everyone ready?" He received an affirmative nod. "Right, then lets get up there and vent this gas before we suffocate!"


Heading for the wheelhouse were Alice, Louise, Wille, Two Angels (Rhapsody and Harmony) and Captains Magenta and Ochre. Their problem was the Jem'hadar scout clones, which were the ones with the personal cloaking abilities, more than making up for their light armour and lack of any weaponry more advanced than knives and pistols.

The major advantage they had against them was Alice's goggles, now set on X-ray again, which picked them up wherever they were hiding. For the second time in as many minutes, Alice stabbed thin air and was rewarded with a reptilian gurgling noise as the trooper faded back into visibility.

It was at this point that a pair of cleaner clones came up behind the team in the corridor and tried to ambush Captain Magenta. A bad move by anyone's standards, as although he couldn't bring his rifle around in time to deal with the nearest one, the knife (Which was NOT Spectrum issue) in the former crime boss's left hand found the offending clone's eyes and disabled him long enough for Wille to use his Hellfire on him. His partner, attempting to retreat, was unsuccessful in doing so...

Ochre meanwhile was exchanging fire with another cleaner, further down the corridor, and eventually struck the man's weapon. With an impressive reaction time for someone with a burnt arm, the trooper pulled out a combat blade and lunged at the nearest enemy, which happened to be Harmony Angel. With her black belt (Fourth Dan) it was no contest, and he was probably relieved when Alice dealt with him a few seconds later.

That done, Alice stole ahead to the wheelhouse door so the goggles could see through it. She looked for a moment, then said something in sign language back to Louise.

"Three people in there, only one clone." She translated.

"Twelve..." muttered Ochre, who was keeping score. "She must be running out of them by now..."


Aside from the ten clones or so that Mesha had with her on the deck of Cloudbase, most of the rest of them were guarding the deck access corridor that Phoenixia, Tom, Pete, Ossa, Aimee, Jamie and the remaining Angels (Destiny and Melody) were trying to traverse.

The blizzard of fire that was shrieking towards their position was suddenly stilled for a second to allow a ravening blast of thermal energy to gush forth from another devastator, this time armed with a Multi-Melta.

Phoenixia threw herself against Destiny Angel and pressed her into the wall as the blast passed them, earning her a French expletive in her left ear, and a sudden feeling of being roasted alive on her back, accompanied by the smell of charred fabric.

"Damn it, I liked this outfit..." She muttered, mentally directing her healing abilities at her injuries and aiming a Incandescent Silverreign pistol at the nearest clone.

Melody sank into a firing crouch with a dropped Phaser Rifle and aimed a series of placed shots at the heavy weapon. Two cleaners fell to the deck, but the Jem'hadar was a cagey opponent, lurking at the back of the pack. This was when Tom, by pure chance and at extreme range, managed to put a Tungsten cored Bullet into the Multi-Melta itself.

The resulting high-pitched whine from the weapon gave those agents that were close in to the group the opportunity to dash back into cover before it blew itself out of existence with a deafening roar.

Melody Angel covered her ears and grimaced in pain as blood dripped through her hands. Any advantage the surviving clones hoped to gain from her vulnerability was swiftly blown away by Ossa and Pete as they closed once more and took care of them.

Waiting for a few seconds while her burns healed Phoenixia heard a crackling noise from her Communicator. She smiled as she began to make out Emily's voice.


"That sounds hopeful." Rhia remarked, as she became aware of the same thing. "Emily this is Rhia, can you hear me?"

The bridge was secure now, and the Spectrum portion of the team were regaining control of the affected systems. With little left to do save make sure Canon characters weren't killed late in the game, she could afford to focus on this for a while.

"Juzzzzzarely." came Emily's voice, through the crackling. "Michael and the rest are on their way now, and you wonzzzzzzz..." The signal degraded again, but Rhia had heard enough. Alice and Louise returned from the Wheelhouse at this point.

"Green? Are there any aircraft that look like they're on an intercept course? I'm told some reinforcements are on their way now."

"Got one." Green came back after a second. "Approaching from the west, height 30,000 feet and descending. Speed..." he paused and stared at his instruments in disbelief. "...Seven point five thousand miles per hour?"

"Lets see it." Colonel White said, thoughtfully. Green brought the image up on the screen. Alice and Louise's eyes widened.

"Is that...? No way!" Alice spluttered.


Harriet realised something was up when the clones that had up to this point been watching and waiting for Mesha's orders, abruptly looked back at the airlock she had been brought through and shifted to combat stances. If Mesha was aware of this, she gave no sign, but continued to throw blasts of blue-green magic at her, which the society leader duly deflected in short order.

She began to wonder if Mesha was trying to keep her at arms length because she was useless at close combat. She grinned as her mental tally of her score passed 100 runs.

"That's a Century for me!" she taunted. Mesha responded with a menacing smile and threw an especially large blast that sent her skidding backwards a full three feet as she batted it away. That had happened quite a lot during the course of this battle...

As the society team emerged onto the deck, Ossa was the first to spot Harriet's predicament.

"Hati! Behind you!" she yelled.

The society leader chanced a quick look over her shoulder. "There's nothing behind meeeeeee!" Harriet suddenly felt the deck slope away behind her under her feet. Mesha grinned.

"That's the point." She said, and with an expansive gesture, fired the widest blast at her yet.

Harriet swung the cricket bat for the last time, and promptly lost her balance.

"Oh Knickers!" she squawked with surprising politeness as she fell out of sight.

Da-Da-Daa, Da-Da-Da-Daaa!

Something struck the aircraft's wing with a clang.

"Gotcha!" said Captain Scarlet, not bothering to conceal his relief. Dave too let out the breath he'd been holding in.

"Too close... Far too close..." he muttered. He looked up at the pilot. "Okay Scott. Lets get up there and really give them something to think about!"

The pilot nodded, and manipulated his two control sticks.


Mesha's grin became diabolical as she watched Harriet fall out of sight. If she had calculated it right, (and of course she had, she was perfect!) the society leader would land directly on top of the largest stone at Stonehenge. Once part of a great Trilithon, it had a nasty knob on top that had initially held the lintel on. That was bound to cause a mess.

Only a Sue could have heard the clang Harriet made by hitting the aircraft's wing over the cries of outraged abuse from the remainder of the society, so Mesha heard it alright, and the grin flickered, then vanished as the aircraft rose into view beyond the edge of the Cloudbase deck.

Presenting its left side to the gob-smacked onlookers meant that Harriet Marlow was clearly visible, clinging to the leading edge of the wing, her face a strange mixture of "Am I alive?" and "This is almost fun".

As the silver-grey aircraft turned its red nose cone towards Mesha with the air of a disappointed schoolmaster turning to rebuke a child that had just thrown something at him, it was the word written down the underside of the fuselage that caught every eye.


And beneath that, on a blue piece of hull, the number one.

Mesha's remaining Devastators were armed with a Missile Launcher, Plasma Cannon, and Heavy Bolter, and while the one with the Bolter was too busy with suppressing fire in the direction of the society, the others opened up on the giant craft.

Harriet squawked, and buried her face in the Thunderbird's wing as a Frag (anti-infantry) Missile glanced off the hull and spun off into space not three metres from her. Faced with a direct assault, Scott Tracy responded in kind, and the air was suddenly filled with the chatter of machine cannon fire.

The resulting detonation of the Plasma Cannon created a large sphere of super-heated matter that atomised it's bearer and the Missile Trooper, burnt three cleaners to the point they couldn't lift their weapons any more, and cooked off a fuel storage tank on the deck below which knocked almost all the combatants on the deck over with the shockwave.

The Thunderbird lowered itself until Harriet was able to slide over the back of the wing and drop down to the deck (unhurt, but without much grace). As she did so, the hatch underneath opened as well, and a figure dropped out, to the astonishment of all present.

Dave landed on his feet, with his right fist planted into the deck in what he no-doubt thought was a heroic pose. This was slightly undermined by the loud snap of breaking bone that accompanied his landing.

"Ow!" he said simply. "Remind me never to do that again." He stood up, and a flash of green light next to his injured ankle signified that it had healed, but he still favoured it for a few steps as he walked towards Mesha.

"Mesha Alicia Maria Susan Maylene Violet Abigail Yana." he said, "You are under arrest for fandom manipulation, creation and maintenance of an army with the intent of further counts of the same, killing m- Oh Bog!" He snapped, as Bolter shells detonated around him, some in him. "Scott, if you wouldn't mind?" he added into a Radio Microphone in his hand.

The words, "Don't bother big brother, I've got him." reached his ears and Mesha's. The last of the Jem'hadar was suddenly propelled rapidly forwards by a missile that had struck him in the small of the back. The unfortunate clone kept moving until he was pushed from Cloudbase's deck by the rocket's force.

"Thanks Virgil." Dave said into the microphone as the blood drained away from his clothes back into him. "But I bet you couldn't do that again if you tried!"

"Not sure I'd want to." Came the younger Tracy's voice as Thunderbird 2, minus it's pod, rose above the cloud it had been hiding in, it's missile launcher smoking. Several harnesses dropped from a lower hatch, each holding a society member. At the same time, a spluttering and sparking, but relatively stable plothole opened, and several other agents came through until almost the whole society were standing on the deck of Cloudbase.

"This endeavour is no longer viable, Miss Yana." Captain Black put in, not without a certain snigger in his voice. "I am instructed to retreat. I urge you to do the same." And without further ado, he leapt from the carrier and was gone.

"Where was I?" Dave muttered, distracted. ", fandom manip..., Oh yeah! Killing me several times, traumatising my Luxray, and wilful deception of a society parole board." He paused. "Have I missed anything?"

"Embedding my Cricket Bat six feet in the ground in the middle of Stonehenge?" Harriet suggested. She wasn't sure whether to trust him yet, but was willing to go along with this. Dave clicked his fingers, or more accurately speaking, tried and failed to.

"Thank you Madam Society Leader." he replied, glaring at his fingers in annoyance. "Wilful destruction of Society property!" Harriet frowned. That didn't sound as good.

Mesha blinked several times.

"But... You turned. You didn't want to be part of it. You never did..."

"That may possibly be true..." Dave sighed quietly. "But its less a matter of wanting to be a part of the society, and more a matter of needing to be."

"Yeah right." Mesha retorted viciously. "You're just another Nazi out to destroy us after all!"

"Yeah, about that." Dave said, "Did you really think someone with an Archaeology and History degree wouldn't see the potential for that to happen? Or at least," he swiftly amended, in deference to the incredulous looks he was getting. "that it could be interpreted like that by cynics such as myself?"

It would be fair to say he had everyone's attention now, and took full advantage of that fact.

"That's one of my reasons for joining the society I didn't put on my entrance form. I joined as a voice of reason, to reign people in before they got vilified for trying to do a good thing the wrong way. Thing is, to do that, I needed some kind of proof that Sues could be reformed, that it was possible to save them from themselves. Emily, Lily, and you, so I thought...And then, just to put the cherry on it, you go and make the very thing you're so afraid of more and more likely!"

"What?" shrieked Mesha. "How do you work that out?"

"Think about it." Dave said, his voice dangerously quiet. "What have you done to prevent a war of mass extermination? I'll tell you. You went and proved the opposite point! If you go around betraying those who would help you and trying to kill anyone who gets in your way, then you're only going to prove in the minds of others that extermination may be a worthwhile course of action! Which only makes my job, and yours for that matter, a lot harder."


"Who?" Dave said, suddenly confused.

"I think those were the Sues in Primeval at the same time she was." Michael put in. "You know, the ones Helen Cutter killed and left for the scav-"

"LIAR!" Mesha roared, launching a massive wave of blue-green magic at him. It missed, and dispersed harmlessly over southern England. "YOU MURDERED THEM! JUST LIKE YOU ENGINEERED THE OTHER'S DEATHS WHEN YOUR PANDORICA GOT TOO FULL!"

"No, Willowe set them loose..." Valerie said, wincing from Mesha's rage.

"LIAR!" Mesha shrieked again, clapping her hands to her head as if it were about to burst open.

"If you were perfect," Dave said slowly, "You'd know we weren't lying..."

Mesha considered this for a moment, but before she could respond, two things happened in quick succession.

First, the Archangel Necklace, which had been glowing brighter and getting progressively hotter to the touch for the last few minutes without anyone (not even Mesha) noticing, blew a fuse with a spectacular bang and began to spit sparks.

Second, a bright flash of light lanced out from a point just in front of where the Angel aircraft sat at ready launch position and shot Mesha in the back.

Many eyes turned to the source, and found a woman with red hair and dressed in a Dark Red coloured Spectrum uniform holding a bow, from which she had just launched the arrow now sticking out of Mesha's back. In all the excitement, they'd forgotten all about Captain Burgundy.

"You dropped this Marlow." she said, throwing Harriet's cricket bat into the crowd. Then, with a flash of emerald light, she was gone.

Mesha collapsed with a gasp. The arrow was crackling with electricity, and had gone fairly deep into her back, but it was still a minor wound as far as a Sue was concerned. So it was a surprise when Mesha apparently couldn't heal herself, even when the arrow vanished, calmly and without fuss, a second later.

Valerie swiftly cleared everyone away from where she was lying, muttering deliriously to herself, and began trying to heal her, with little success.

"R-romani... No...It can't...they...He tricked me..."

"Mesha." Dave said, kneeling down next to her. "Where's that pellet thing? You'll have to regenerate."

"Not...working...Why can't I...?...He lied!" she spat, with unexpected venom. ""

"I'm loosing her!" Valerie said, quite calmly under the circumstances.

"Who did?" Dave put in. Mesha gave him a glazed look that was supposed to be a glare. She didn't have long left...

"Mesha, you owe me." Dave insisted, presenting his right hand. The burn he had sustained saving her life in Primeval had long since faded, but she understood. Her voice was so quiet, only Dave and Valerie heard her at all.


With that, Mesha Alicia Maria Susan Maylene Violet Abigail Yana collapsed with a sigh, and immediately decomposed into a cloud of purple glittering particles that spiralled away on the wind, dispersing over the Captain Scarlet fandom until none were visible to the naked eye.


The man in the shadows watched this, then closed his eyes as a mark of respect.

"Like father, like daughter..." the man called Stormherald said quietly. "May you find redemption for the crimes you committed in another time..."


"Captain Burgundy, or Romani as Mesha called her, was never a Sue." Phoenixia said. "Looking back at all the readings we got from her proved it conclusively. The bracelet she left behind on Harriet's cricket bat was a highly advanced Suergy generator."

The senior society members present at this emergency meeting in Adrian's office looked at each other in some surprise.

"I thought there was a way to tell the difference?" Valerie put in, recalling her own experiences in the Heroes fandom. Phoenixia sighed.

"Usually yes, and this thing could allow for that, seeming to be real unless you knew exactly what you were looking for. Which we didn't at the time."

"So to the untrained eye, my cricket bat was a Sue briefly?" Harriet asked, faintly amused by the idea. "Interesting concept..."

"Speaking of Sues," Adrian put in, "I think mine was a deliberate distraction." He was tired and worn from battling her for an extended period.

"She wasn't all that hard to get the measure of." he explained, "Problem was, she deliberately fought with the intention of keeping me occupied as long as possible, so I very seldom got to grips with her." He frowned deeply before continuing. "Of course, I couldn't just leave her running around in there, so I had to keep fighting. Eventually she received a message from an unknown point in the multiverse and bailed out of the fandom as soon as she could."

"What message?" Michael asked.

By way of response, Adrian turned in his chair and brought up a picture on a screen behind him. This was what had appeared on the Zord's screens, and those of the Sue's Evangelion. A stick man, holding a flag aloft, bearing a stylised thundercloud on its fabric. Valerie gasped.


Adrian nodded. He'd come to the same conclusion.

"Why do I get the feeling Mesha wasn't the real threat?" Harriet muttered.

"Well, if we turn to questions we can answer for the time being..." Tash said, over her neck brace. She wouldn't need it for longer than a few days thanks to Alan Tracy and the medical supplies in Thunderbird 2's pod (that Virgil had left at the mine), but trying to glomp him immediately after she regained conciousness hadn't helped it. "These Star Trek lizard men. What can you tell us about them Val?"

Valerie frowned. "Louise was right, they aren't all Jem'hadar. They have genes for Klingon redundant organs, which have been modified to produce an organic substitute for Ketracel-White, and Gorn gene sequences that allow them to regenerate lost limbs in a matter of days if they're severed... Basically speaking, they have all the strengths and few if any of the weaknesses."

Michael grimaced. Project Warpath was looking more useful by the minute...

"And Dave?" Adrian asked. There was a brief silence.

"Well," Valerie said at last. "There aren't any sleeper programs in his head, we know that much..."

"Good." Again, silence.

"He did raise some fair points." the healer eventually continued, "What we do can look, to an ill-informed outside observer, like ethnic cleansing. Look at Tash and Harriet's experiences with Lisa. She was convinced to the point of self-delusion that we had murdered her boyfriend. Dave's right. We're going to have to do some major public relations work if we don't want any more like her or Mesha."

Phoenixia frowned to herself as she thought of something else, and made a mental note to Email Mesha's author later.

"If anyone's worried about Dave turning traitor," Tash said, "on his suggestion, Asuka is staying close to him in case of an emergency. Although I don't think she really expects to have to do anything if she was that cut up about stopping him before."

"Would she be able to do anything anyway?" Adrian asked, "He survived it last time."

"Since he's left the fandom, there isn't a ready source of retro-metabolic energy to super-charge that ability." Valerie explained, "An electric attack like Thunder Fang should do it... if it has to. But I don't think he's any immediate threat to anyone save himself. He's still depressed. I'm going to run a few more tests to see if I can find out what his nightmares were about so I can help on that front though."

"Any ideas on how the psychic paper got into the library?" Tash asked.

"Well, logically," Michael began, then he stopped and knocked on the side of his head with a fist. "Shut up in there! I do know what logic is! Anyway, it could only have been planted at four points in the past year, assuming Mesha or her allies were involved somehow. One; Mesha's abduction from the library."

"That's a no." Phoenixia interrupted. "I've already checked that."

"Two;" Michael went on, "Rhia's abduction, when @ turned off the security cameras. Or three; when the Doctor Who villains were running around the library and we had to do the same thing to stop the Weeping Angels..." His face darkened with the memory.

"Unlikely coincidence as the last one is, the plothole sensors were still running while the cameras were off both times, and there were no anomalies." Phoenixia paused. "Besides, the collection of psychic paperwork would need time to cross-breed and develop, so my bet would be during the chaos of the battle of the library."

Michael nodded. "That was option four."

"All very well and good, but how do we get rid of it?" Tash put in again.

"Well," Adrian said, "there is an event in the Hitch-hiker's Guide to the Galaxy fandom that disperses telepathic power. If we open a few plotholes to that point at strategic places in the library, the telepathic signal should be diffused harmlessly."

"Mesha didn't know it had been planted at all." Valerie said suddenly. "When I confronted her before, she didn't have a clue what I was talking about..."

"Again we're back to this Stormherald person..." Harriet said, "What kind of a name is that anyway?"

"We know he's male." Phoenixia began, "He's not a Gary-Stu, and he's good with technology. His name might indicate that he's from the Doctor Who fandom like Mesha was. "The Oncoming Storm", as in the Doctor."

"So he's comparing us to the Dalek's." Tash said. "Blindly hating and exterminating anything that doesn't fit with our world-view. Or at least, that's the front he choose to portray to Mesha..."

"We need more information..." Adrian sighed, unaware that elsewhere in the library, Jared was granting this wish.


He was studying the remains of Mesha's Archangel Necklace and Counts-As-Pellet, and he was confused.

The Necklace was designed to direct a lot of its power inwards towards Mesha, controlling her as much as it protected her. That wasn't the biggest surprise though...

He ran another scan to check his suspicion, and was just about to write it off as an attack of paranoia, when the scanning programme he'd borrowed from the Star Trek fandom displayed the last thing he'd expected.

He double checked it. Same result.

Another chip in the same device. Different result, but only by 00000000000000000.1 or something stupid like that.

Chloe's entrance to the lab and her request to borrow a tool went unheard as he stared at the screen.

"Chloe..." he said, remarkably calmly. "Can you look at this for me?"

"Sure. What are you doing exactly?" she asked, coming over to him.

"I was looking at the gadgets that were brought in from Captain Scarlet. Mesha's I mean. I guessed they might work along similar lines to some of ours, but..." he stopped and thought. "The circuit diagram of the Archangel Necklace is derived from a miniaturised version of the society S.E.P field. Its far too similar to be a coincidence. The same goes for the C.A.P and the Guest Appearance."

"That's impossible!" said Chloe. Those gadgets hadn't even been thought of when Mesha first used hers. The very idea was laughable.

"I know, but I ran this quantum dating program through the scanner, just to check it. That's what I don't quite believe..." He let Chloe look over the data. Her jaw dropped, as he knew it would.

"Minus...This is relative to time here in the library, right?" she asked, uncertainly.

Jared nodded. "I'll run some more tests before I show this to a leader, but the way it looks now... Relative to us here and now, some of the stuff in these circuits was synthesised between 2020 and 2025. Ten to Fifteen years in the future..."


A tunnel of cloud, occasionally lit by flashes of lightning. A figure strode through the chaos, along a road that didn't exist.

A hole formed in the clouds, showing a scene.

The woman had a pair of brown fox ears sticking through her dark red hair, and two long brown tails with red points wound their way out of her outfit. She was beautiful, bleeding, and slowly vanishing into thin air.

"I guess this... is as far as I go... My Storm Angel..." She said, as she faded from sight completely.

The man strode on. His fists tightening.

Another hole in the passageway showed him himself, fighting alongside this woman, as did the next three. That had happened a lot in the last few years...

Another hole. Another time.

A group of Gary-Stu's, gloating over their latest cruelty. A bright white beam shot through a plothole, down through a red sky and struck Stonehenge. The high, evil laughter turned to surprise, then astonishment, then uneasy apprehension as a dome of red and black light expanded from the circle and began to twist the landscape into shapes only possible in fiction.

More images.

Tash, now about thirty, standing in front of the Counter Guardians, yelling at the top of her voice and pointing at the door, a crystal encased Adrian sleeping serenely through the whole scene.

A black haired Mary-Sue, standing over Dave, her sword pinning him to the ground by his stomach. His mouth wide in a roar of rage as he gripped the hilt tightly, denying her its use.

Emily, fifteen now, stumbling through the rubble of a destroyed city, supporting a cut and bleeding Harriet, who obviously didn't have much more time left on this earth.

Several W.A.R.G.S stood around a grave, more than one was missing...

Mesha Yana, exchanging blows with Silri in the Heroes fandom. She suddenly noticed Valerie emerging from a plothole, flash stepped over to her, and coldly slid her sword through the healer's heart.

"Mind your own business, Society Ant!" she said, pushing her back into the closing plothole with a contemptuous flourish as Kuroneko arrived too late to help...

"They Betrayed us..." The figure muttered to himself. "I can't let it happen again!"

Tash and Willowe trading blows over the Sahara Desert... Ben and Neb fighting in the tunnels... Chi and Xavier in the Yu-Gi-Oh Abridged fandom...

"Ah. Here's my stop!"

Six wings, so black that light seemed to just fall into them and get lost, erupted from the figure's back. He flew on the stormy wings up to a point in the cloud funnel, jinking almost contemptuously around the lightning that spluttered around him.

"Shadow Ignite!"

A black sword blade emerged from an object in his hand. He swung it to connect with the cloud funnel, and opened a great gash in its side. The length of tunnel that the figure had walked through began to disperse like windblown smoke...


Dave woke up, alert but far from scared.


He looked over to the rug in the centre of his room, where Asuka had now taken up semi-permanent residence. As he flipped on his bedside light, it picked out the metal of the translation collar he had found in the same storage area of his imagination as Martha. It was designed for a Flareon initially, so it was ill-fitting and occasionally rendered her language into a series of clicks and squeaks, but since she was sticking around for a while, it would do the job.

"Another nightmare?" Asuka asked, putting her front paws on the bed next to him. "But Val said you wouldn't CLICK WARBLE SQUEEEEEEEEE." The Luxray grimaced as the collar disgraced itself.

"Not a nightmare." Dave said, ruffling her mane affectionately. "It was disturbing, but..." He wasn't sure how to describe what he could remember of it, and gave up. His head diverted into other thoughts.

It was strange. He had expected to feel different.

He literally wasn't himself any more. He was a replica, a perfect replica of Dave. So perfect he didn't know where "Proper Dave" ended and the new him, "Other Dave", began...

To Asuka's Luxray-vision, or Alice's goggles, he was a Dave-shaped blur. The other agents seemed to avoid him, giving him mistrustful glares in passing. Or was that just him being cynical?

What do I have to worry about? I'm indestructible! He thought, clenching a fist in front of his face. Electricity and Old Age are the only things that can kill me, and Valerie isn't even sure about that last one yet! Maybe now is the time. Maybe now I can finally show those serene little-

He terminated that line of thought in something approaching disgust.

"Penny for them...?" Asuka asked, in a slightly strained voice. Dave abruptly realised he had very nearly torn a clump of her fur out by clenching the hand that had been stroking her.

The Society Agent sighed and flopped back on his bed. "Wonderful... I turn on my friends and try to kill them...Mesha's patron has it in for own head is out to stop me sleeping... Ye Gods and little fishes, I've actually died in the line of duty! That was too much for Jenny Lewis, so why am I still here? Am I a masochist?"

"Don't be like that!" Asuka said, in the most matriarchal voice the simulator could muster. Dave's response was to turn off the light again and turn to face the wall. He heard his Pokemon sigh, felt the bed move, and a weight settle across his shins.

He sighed himself, as the Luxray's body heat warmed his legs. "Sorry... Thanks, Mousey."

A yellow eye opened in response. "Don't call me that." But Asuka smiled slightly none-the-less as she watched him drift off.

Please don't make me kill you again... She silently pleaded, her tears dripping onto the bedclothes, as she drifted off into troubled dreams herself. Your pride will do that anyway if you're not careful...

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