Friday, December 6, 2013

Insert The Original Indestructible Captain Here (part 2 of 5)

"So there's no danger from mine gas?" Dave asked, as he and Captain Scarlet walked back to where he had left Martha outside the mine workings. Scarlet shook his head.

"None, but you might want to lose your fleece, it's quite warm down there."

Dave nodded. He had a spare set of clothes that were completely metal-free with him, just in case gas had been an issue. The fact that there was no danger that a stray spark would set off an explosion meant that the gadgets he had would be safe down in the mines as well. Assuming of course that the upgrades Charis had built into the latest generation of the Scene Transitions and Communicators to combat magnetic interference didn't negate this problem to begin with.

As he was already wearing boots and trousers designed for use on building sites, Dave merely removed his University hoodie as Scarlet had suggested. It was this which caught the character's attention.

"You don't sound like you're from Hampshire."

It was a second before Dave remembered that Scarlet had gone to the same University as him, and the W.A.R.G.S of course.

"I'm not, but it was the best for Archaeology and History in the country, so 350 miles wasn't all that far." he replied, throwing it on Martha's passenger seat, "I understand you know the history department yourself."

Scarlet nodded, a nostalgic look coming over him briefly. "How are the W.A.R.G.S doing?" he asked. "Country champions while I was there... Mind you, were they around sixty years ago?"

Dave's hopeful feeling regarding his university society abruptly vanished, to be replaced with a feeling akin to a small man inside his head kicking him and calling an idiot.

His hoodie had "Class of 2010" written on the back, and this fandom was set in the late 2060's.

Oh dear.

Scarlet had one hand on his gun, but seemed to be waiting for him to explain himself. Dave decided to give him a little of the truth.

"Paul..." he said, hoping the use of Scarlet's Christian name would help, "There are factions out there, beyond earth, with a vested interest in Spectrum's conflict with the Mysterons. They could end it tomorrow if they liked, but they could just as easily give those means to the Mysterons as to Spectrum." Dave turned to face the character he regarded as something of a role model.

"So Burgundy is a member of an opposing faction to yours?" Scarlet asked.

"It's not quite that simple, but essentially so." Dave replied, "That's saying too much as it is, but the essence of my organisation is that no-one has the right to play god in matters that aren't their business. Especially not if they then used the power and influence thus gained to cause major nausea for everyone."

At this point, Captain Blue appeared, holding a pair of hard hats with head torches.

"Okay, these should do for you both. Just need to fit them." he noticed the hoodie. "Class of 2010?"

"His grandmother's, apparently." Scarlet said, utterly deadpan.

"She thought it would cause a stir when I enrolled." Dave said, adjusting the head-strap of his helmet as if he had been expecting Scarlet's response, hoping Blue had missed the momentary pause before he answered. To his relief, Blue laughed.

"I'll bet it did!"

Heading for the mine entrance, Scarlet fell back to talk to Dave.

"Am I going to regret that?"

Dave thought for a moment. "I don't like making promises I might not be able to keep..." he said at last.


"That was close!" Claire sighed, having witnessed the near-miss on the monitor. As she spoke, Pete emerged from the plothole, having tried to reach the fandom, dripping wet and covered in something that looked disturbingly like mucus.

"Monster hunter, I think..." he said, by way of explanation. Jared punched the portal console viciously, showering Emily with dislocated wires as she worked on the circuit boards themselves.

"What's up with this thing?" he growled, "We've practically taken it apart already!"

" got through to Battalion Wars okay." Chloe said, "so the problem must be with something in the fandom Dave's in."

Chloe and Phoenixia were trying to get a reading on whatever was causing the plotholes to be diverted away from the Captain Scarlet fandom from the scanners, but whatever it was was frustratingly elusive. If the snarky offer of help that had appeared on the monitor a few minutes before was any indication however, (a) had nothing to do with this.

Emily emerged, covered in small scratches from the sharp edges of the circuit boards. "There's nothing wrong here." she said, "And I don't get how anyone could interfere with this unless they had designed this system themselves."

"You don't think a Sue's captured Camille and Doyle do you?" Jared said, his eyes widening.

"I doubt it." Phoenixia put in. "We've upgraded so much since they left they'd be of limited use, so for now that idea stays on the Wild Mass Guessing page."

The fourth wall rumbled. "Kyaaaaa..."

Claire grinned at Aster's response, instinctive despite Adrian's absence. "You know Phoenixia, you are evil!"

"Okay, lets try this..." Emily said, signalling Drake they were ready to try again.


Dave and Captain Scarlet moved through the mine tunnels. Much to Dave's surprise, the workings were recent, but had clearly been worked with pick and shovel, and the occasional Jack-hammer. For a fandom with a steady supply of machinery powered by atomic reactors, the fact that Spectrum was using traditional methods was surprising. Unless...

"Are you mining Luvenium down here by any chance?" he asked. Scarlet stopped and looked at him.

"Do we have any secrets from your people?" he asked in turn.

"That was a guess."

Luvenium. A rare mineral in this fandom, found mostly in Arizona and Australia, that could be refined for use in rocket fuel. A vein here in Nevada, a stone's throw from the Space-port at Glenn field, would be just the Maguffin Spectrum needed to send rockets to Mars, and the Mysterons. The unfortunate thing was, it's presence interfered with the atomic powered machinery used in the fandom, causing it to speed up to the point at which it was barely controllable.

Blimey, if I'm a self-insert of him, Dave thought, then I'm probably that sad as well. That's more than a little depressing!

"These are Spectrum issue boots." Scarlet said, pointing out a set of footprints on the tunnel floor. "Burgundy went this way." He paused at a bend. "Well, this is interesting..."

"Problem?" Dave asked, catching up.

"Maybe. We cut all power to the mines before we sent Burgundy down here, so where is that light coming from?" Scarlet pointed down the tunnel. From around another bend a few metres away, a dim glow issued forth.

"She might have confederates down here." Dave replied, lowering his voice. "We'd best be careful..."

"I'm curious to know how we fight beings that can influence minds and probability to gain advantage in battle." Scarlet said, remembering how Dave had explained the Sues to Blue and himself earlier.

"Don't worry about the former, as for the latter..." Dave paused. "Suffice it to say, all I need to do is get close enough to snap one of these on her wrist." He showed off a prohibitor.

Scarlet nodded, and led on with his gun drawn. They rounded the bend, and came to a large shutter door. Light was streaming out from under it. There was a button on the left side that looked like it opened it. Dave pushed it, standing aside just in time to see six pairs of booted feet become visible in the widening gap.

Scarlet cracked off a shot to one set of legs, dropping their owner, and followed up with a second through the abdomen as soon as the unfortunate man dropped into view. He was preparing to do so again, when he noticed that the man, although alive, was making no attempt to stem the bleeding, observing his wounds only with a passing interest, and disregarding his dropped gun completely.

Dave, who had raised his axe, was forced to arrest a high arc swing. All six men were exactly alike, dressed in black military fatigues. The only thing that allowed him to identify them as different people was their weapons, as each was armed with a different weapon from a high technology fandom. It was a second before he was able to notice this however, as he had met them before. They were the same type of cloned shopping mall cleaner from Primeval that Mesha had used against him and Rhia in Bonekickers!

It was then that both men saw what was beyond the six at the door.

The tunnel was slightly wider here, and brightly lit, with the sound of a diesel generator roaring away to itself in a distant alcove. There were several off-shoots of the tunnel in view, and each one was similarly lined, with clones. Arranged along the walls as if part of a strange, subterranean parade that had stood aside for them to pass.

Dave glanced down an off-shoot, and noted the presence of other clones, with far more varied origins than a lowly cleaner, although they were all dressed in black military fatigues. Long red hair here, scaly grey skin there, and several objects that looked like Pokeballs sitting on a bench further on. Suddenly, Scarlet caught his elbow.

"What are these things?" he asked, obviously unsettled. The clones closest to him turned and regarded him with a loose sense of curiosity as he spoke.

"Clones..." Dave said, slightly lost for words. "Thing is, they shouldn't be here...

"Obviously..." Scarlet muttered, "Aren't you going to help your friend?" he added to the clones. They gazed at him, as if they had trouble understanding.

"Their thought processes are a bit limited." Dave quickly explained. "Hang on a mo'... Obey my voice! Take your injured friend for medical attention!"

The effect was immediate. Three clones discarded their weapons and bodily lifted their injured colleague off the ground, carrying him further into the tunnel.

"Why do they recognise you?" Scarlet asked, slightly suspiciously. Dave shrugged.

"Maybe they expected to get orders from whoever turned up next. Can you contact the surface from here?" Scarlet shook his head.

"We're too deep underground."

Dave's communicator was currently sitting in Martha's glove compartment, and apparently non-functional, so he was effectively deaf as well. "Whoever is in charge here must have a way of getting in touch with the surface," he mused as the clones walked away, "and they would probably keep the medical area at a similarly central location..."

"We need to go back and report this to Spectrum."

"No Paul, you do. My instructions..." Dave paused in thought. "...didn't cover this... but it's something my people need to know the specifics of, so I'm going to grab some intel. I can escape myself whenever I need to."

"Be careful." Scarlet replied, backing into the tunnel, covering his own escape with his gun. Dave followed the group as they proceeded onwards.

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

"Um, what was that noise?" Claire asked, as the fourth wall rumbled.

"Sounded like a Scene Transition from the Fandom." Phoenixia explained. "They usually only kick in when something dramatic or sinister has just happened."

"That bodes well..." Claire replied. Tash suddenly dashed into the room.

"The next one to break a certain wall in the library will rebuild it themselves." She snapped.

"Can't you still open doors to other worlds?" Jared asked, sticking his head above the level of the console. "'Cause I think that's what you're going to have to do for now..."

The communicator console lit up. Emily, who was nearest, scooted her chair over to it, narrowly missing Jared's fingers.

"It's from Adrian." she said.

"On his way back?" Tash asked.

"He says, "Don't worry too much about Dave. He's sensible, and stronger than you'd think. I on the other hand, need the Phoenix Zord sent to my co-ordinates. Now! Phoenixia, you're needed where you are, so stay there for the moment."."

Having stood to go to the Zord herself, Phoenixia sat down again with a slightly disappointed look. She then closed her eyes for a few seconds. "Got them! She's on her way." The sound of moving machinery echoed through the library.

"Where is he?" Claire asked.

"Evangelion, I think..." Emily replied.

"No more Fourth Wall breaking please." Tash added. "He has enough to worry about..."She went to get her gadgets.


Dave could hear voices. Several people were calling for help. He traced them to behind a large round door, which had no apparent means of opening it, save a small sign saying "Push". Dave tried, and failed.

"Hang on." he called, "I'll be with you in a minute." The voices became high and sounded ecstatic with relief.

"You four over there." Dave called to a number of clones. "Push this door open. Obey My Voice!" The addition of Helen Cutter's signature command seemed to be the key to controlling them, as they performed this task immediately.

It was as they did so that Dave noticed that these ones had a facsimile of the society logo on their uniforms. He wondered about this as he entered the room beyond the door, until the contents diverted his attention in the most spectacular manner.

Seven women were bound to upright pillars dotted throughout the room. None were exactly drop-dead gorgeous, but none were completely unremarkable either. It seemed that Dave had found a secret storage facility for the damsel in distress cliché.

"Oh great, its just someone else come to gloat!" One of them spat.

"No we won't turn against our kind, especially not after what you just did!" Another screeched.

"I thought you said we wouldn't be executed if we accepted parole!" another cried out, almost in tears.

Dave was at a loss for a moment, then it clicked. "You're the Sues that broke parole!"

That sentence seemed to act as a stimulant, as all seven started to yell at great length and high volume exactly what they thought of that accusation.

"Those goons of yours abducted us!" One sue roared above the cacophony. "We did what we were told, and you took us to execute us anyway!"

Dave had a sudden, nagging sense of Deja Vu. This sounded very like what the Red headed gun woman had said the previous day. Hang on a minute...

She was the Sue he was tracking here... and now couldn't find...

The little man kicking him in the head and calling him an idiot was back.

Mesha Yana! It had to be her, if the clones were involved. And she apparently had a Sueish confederate, besides her mysterious technician friend.

"Ladies... SHUT UP. Thank you. It seems we've all been deceived..."


"What thing?" Dave asked, looking in the direction she gestured. "What's going... oh!"

"You are!" said another Sue, facetiously.

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

"A trap!" Captain Scarlet exclaimed. He had barely returned to the surface, when a pretty girl had literally dropped out of the sky and accosted him, claiming to be Dave's superior. Tash was as surprised as he was, she had been aiming for the mine tunnel...

"Hang on now Ma'am." Blue interrupted, "If you work for the U.S.S, then we need to see your credentials..."

Tash's retort, which was short, vicious and anatomically improbable, was drowned out by the master radio set in the command post crackling into life.

"Agent... Umm... Smith to Spectrum, come in please."

Tash yelped and grabbed the mic herself, before anyone could react. "Dave. Its Tash, you've been set up! Get out of there!"

"I can't." Dave replied, "My plothole generator won't work. What's more there's a bomb down here, and I don't dare try disarming it, not to mention seven prohibited Sues that are convinced the society left them down here to die, and angry as hell because of it." he paused. "Other than that..."

Scarlet gently eased the Mic from Tash's grasp. "Scarlet here. Can you get back to the pit head? We'll have a welcoming committee ready for your... um... prisoners."

"Roger that, will com..." The radio descended into static. There was a loud snap and a yell from outside.

The command post emptied. Captain Buff was sitting where he had fell, staring at the pit head gear, where a frayed wire rope was dangling listlessly. A pair of identical green rings of light sat almost mockingly on the cable drum of the lift into the mine for an instant, before vanishing as if they had never been.

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

"Hey, who turned out the lights?" yelled Dave, living up to part of his pen-name. "Clones, Lights please. Obey My Voice!" Every clone that had a torch promptly turned it on, while Dave fumbled for his own head torch on his helmet and switched it on as well. One of the former-Sues, a woman named Joanna, stuck her head out of the prison.

"Whatever that was, the bomb's still ticking." she reported, "And the timer's helpfully glowing a deep red to illustrate that fact..."

Dave knew that she had surrendered to Ossa without a fight a week or so before the Battle of the Library, and had been on parole in one of the Star trek fandoms, but he was slightly suspicious of her apparent willingness to co-operate. And he wasn't the only one...

"Hey, there's still three of your own kind tied up here, you stinking collaborator!" A voice yelled out. This one belonged to an argumentative Sue by the name of Mariana, who had been captured the previous month, and had apparently been waiting for an excuse to strike back at the society ever since. Joanna responded before Dave.

"I'm only interested in surviving, you white-haired tart!" she snapped back. "And whatever's going on, he's our best chance of doing that, so deal with it! And while I'm on the subject..." she added, turning to Dave, " ...If the society is responsible for all of this, then I will personally separate certain pieces of your anatomy from your body, and shove them down your throat."

"Thank you madam." Dave replied, unsure how seriously he should take that remark. "Now if you have any skill with generators at all..." he gestured towards the alcove where the aforementioned device sat, inoperative.

"None." She ducked back into the room. "Gail, didn't you say you wor-"

The generator exploded, with apparently no provocation at all, forcing Dave to take shelter behind the defunct radio set.

Joanna emerged, cautiously. "Never mind..."

This is the voice of the Mysterons. We know that you can hear us, beings from beyond the Universe.

Dave jumped away from the radio set, which seemed to momentarily forget that it had no power to run on. The former-sues immediately raced into the room to listen.

Know that your lives will not be wasted. You will become our instruments of destruction...

The voice fell silent. Mariana, now freed and mad with rage, took 0.006 seconds to jump to her pre-decided conclusion that Dave was doing this to torture them. She rushed at him, spitting abuse, until she was struck over the head by Joanna. Just as well, because Dave was paralysed by the full ramifications of what he had just heard. The Mysterons were about to apply their retro-metabolism upon the mine and those inside it!

"We're leaving now." he said, remarkably calmly. "Erm... You boy's lead off. Obey my voice!" The clone troopers ignored him.

"Did you hear me? I said-"

"Your orders contradict..." one clone said, slowly.

"Wha...? Then why did you listen before?"

"Our instructions were to wait here... Your orders... did not contradict..."

"Ten minutes and counting..." one sue muttered, nervously.

"Wonderful..." Dave muttered. That left him with a full mile of underground tunnels he barely knew to navigate, in the dark, with seven wary Sues in tow, that could turn on him at any moment, unsupported. Well, most of them seemed to agree with Joanna's appraisal of the situation, but if Mariana was able to panic them, then that would be of little help...

"What's that noise?" The Sue Joanna had identified as Gail asked. Dave listened. There was a juddering roar coming from the tunnels every so often.


"Come on..." Scarlet was hand cranking an ancient diesel engine that drove the ore conveyor. An atomic generator here was useless because of the Luvenium, so the older motor was essential, but it was being stubborn. Unfortunately, this was Dave's only way out of the mine.

"Let me try." Blue said, taking over the handle. Again, the conveyor juddered into life, only to stop a few seconds later. Tash decided she had had enough, and laid a hand on the engine casing.

"Listen you." she said to the engine , in a syrup-sweet seductive tone that no-one trusted. "If you don't get your act together, I will be forced to take you apart, slowly and methodically, until you are a pile of nuts and bolts on the floor, then melt the pile to atoms, and then... No more miss nice girl!"

Blue cranked the handle again, and it roared into life with almost indecent haste.

"Is that possible?" he exclaimed. Scarlet shrugged and grinned.

"Who cares, as long as it works!" he said. "Don't envy the man that marries her!"

Tash's triumphant smirk faded, thinking of Adrian now. Or rather, his recent resurrection.

We might not always be so lucky. She thought. The next fatality could be for good. Why am I thinking this now?

Tash shook her head to clear it. No sense in being pessimistic...


"Just pretend it's a fairground ride." Joanna said to one of the Former-Sues, bodily lifting the reluctant girl onto the moving ore conveyor.

"Never liked them..." the girl muttered, closing her eyes as the belt carried her along.

"Keep down!" Dave called after her, "There might be a tight squeeze ahead!" The girl obligingly fell flat onto her chest.

"He's going to send us through the rock crusher." Mariana slurred, dazed from repeated blows to the head to shut her up. "They'll kill us all, you'll see..." She swung a punch at Dave from where Gail was supporting her, and both girls crashed to the floor.

"I've got her." Joanna sighed wearily, "You climb on, Gail. We'll follow."

As Gail swung herself onto the belt, agent and Sue somehow managed to get the semi-concious white-haired woman onto the belt in such a way that passing machinery wouldn't amputate anything, then climbed aboard themselves. Dave checked his watch.

"Three minutes and counting..."

"Going to be tight." Joanna muttered from somewhere behind him. "I hope those guys on the surface know what they're doing..."

"Heads." Dave interrupted. Both of them fell prone as the belt passed under another iron brace. Dave's face went into the dust, and he sneezed violently.

"Bless you."


"So, if this wasn't the society, and I'm not fully convinced it wasn't, who was it then? Disgruntled author, mad at us for messing up his carefully laid plans?"

"Would you believe another Sue?" Dave asked, rolling over onto his back so he could see her without hurting himself. What he could see of her expression in the head-torch's light answered that question for her.

"Thought not. Why did you accept parole anyway?"

"Because if I didn't put up a fight, I figured you would eventually realise I hadn't done anything wrong and send me back to my Deep Space Nine fic."

"You really think you haven't done anything?" Dave asked, choosing not to remind her that the fic belonged to her author, not her. "It looked to me like you ended the dominion war two years in advance."

"I did what I was written to do." Joanna replied, "Namely, be a member of the Defiant's crew. Doing the job right entailed ensuring the end of the dominion war. I just did it better than my author expected. And because of that, I'm labelled a criminal."

"No-one's calling you a bad person. But-"

"Oh, you think we are people then?" Joanna clearly wanted to believe him, but was a bit cynical. Understandably so, after what she'd just been through.

Dave sighed. He wasn't really in the mood for this. "Look, lets just get out of here first."

Joanna frowned, then looked up. "Watch out!"

A stone clonked the top of Dave's helmet, and he rolled over again to see what was going on. Mariana had stood up, taking advantage of a chamber with a high ceiling, and was somehow keeping her balance on the moving conveyor. That didn't last long, as a metal pole attached to a piece of machinery caught her in the back of the knees and she flipped over it, landing hard on her back. Dave ducked under as he sped past it, and a muffled curse told him Joanna hadn't quite been quick enough. He grabbed Mariana's feet.

"Stay down, you'll hurt yourself!" Her response was to kick him in the face and tell him not to look up her skirt.

Dave sat up into a crouch, and discovered that sneezing through a broken nose was extremely painful. Mariana meanwhile, threw another stone, which soared over Dave's head and struck Joanna between the eyes, knocking her out. She stood up again, eyes unfocused from concussion, and launched herself at Dave.

It was at this point that the conveyor started to incline upwards, the small gap between the two belts opening under her feet as she jumped. Over-balanced, she caught Dave at a bad angle. This was unfortunate for both of them.


"Why is there a gap?" Scarlet asked, as the belt thundered on relentlessly. No sooner had he said it, than a pair of hands came into view at the opening. As Joanna's prone form shot past them, Scarlet and Blue lifted her up and off the belt. Gail saw this from where Tash and Captain Buff were guarding the other former-sues beside the rock crusher.

"But... Mariana was behind me, then..." She stuttered. "I thought Joanna was last..."

Before Tash could properly comprehend this, the ground shook beneath her feet. A great quantity of the ground above the mine tunnels fell inwards, with a slow, inexorable finality.


Dave wondered vaguely why the ground was dancing before his eyes. And why was the world red? Then he remembered.

And then...

...He forgot...


The dust had yet to settle. The green rings made their slow and stately progress over the rubble.

Miss Yana. The primary objective has been achieved. We will now proceed with the next stage of our plan.

The rings stopped travelling across the shattered rock, and instead rose up the figure of a man dressed in a uniform like Captain Scarlet's, but as black as the night sky. The slight smile made his deathly pale face look even more disturbing.

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

Whatever had blocked the plotholes from reaching the Captain Scarlet fandom stopped working when the mine caved in, so within the hour, the surface workings around the spectrum command post echoed to the sound of several society members going about the grim business of extracting their colleague's body from the rubble.

Michael and Captain Scarlet stood on the roof of the command post, looking out over the devastation. The tunnel collapse had caved in a large area of land to the north of the mine workings. Thankfully, no lives had been lost there.

Jared and Chloe were setting up the large scale plothole generator on the edge of the crater left by the collapse. The plan was to transport everything non-canon back to a large room in the library and sort it out there. There was a distinct shortage of volunteers for that duty...

Scarlet observed all this, from a professional, military viewpoint.

"You're not used to this, are you?" he asked.

"Meaning what?" Michael asked.

"Meaning no offence, but you're clearly an amateur group-"


"Could you hear me out please? I don't know your... Society... so I could be mistaken, but I was a World Air Force colonel, before I joined Spectrum." Scarlet paused. "Some of the cadets I saw then thought that they were ready for anything just because they'd passed basic training. That's not necessarily true."

"Prepared physically, but not mentally..." Michael said, quietly. Scarlet nodded.

"Pretty much." The Spectrum Agent looked out over the remains of the mine workings. "It was invariably the Cadets I saw boasting to their squad-mates about scores on the firing range that ended up in trouble after their first real engagement."

Michael grinned. "We can cope with most things. You haven't heard the unexpected stuff we get regularly. I'm not giving up on Dave until I see the body, and know for certain that it's him!" He was thinking of Rhia's apparent death. And then Adrian, of course.

Scarlet looked squarely at Michael. "Fine, but don't forget, there are no Guarantees in this job."

"Meaning what exactly?"

"I'm virtually indestructible, and its that virtually that people generally forget. There was no Guarantee that I would wake up after I crashed an SPV into a Jetliner a few years ago. There's no Guarantee that I will recover after any of my severe injuries. You start taking things like that for granted, its all the harder when the miracle you're depending on fails to turn up."

Neither Michael nor the Darkness could think of a suitable answer immediately, and settled for looking down at the group of girls beside the rock crusher. The Sues had been packed off to holding cells until this could be investigated, so the group consisted of Tash, Claire and Valerie.


Tash was numb. Valerie could feel the shock as a tangible entity in her mind. She and Claire stayed silent, letting Tash make the first move.

"I thought... didn't think..." She said at last. Claire understood. She had been thinking the same thing.

They had had their heads in the clouds after Adrian's rebirth, and someone else being killed in action so soon after was the rudest possible awakening. Not unlike the Halloween party the previous year, where celebration had been dashed aside by bad memories and only partially restored by copious amounts of Domino's pizza.

Some people had begun to assume that if another agent was killed in action, then it was going to be one of the veterans, not a comparative new boy. Claire shuddered, as she realised what that implied. She looked up at Michael, who was now speaking to Captain Scarlet with an expression on his face that said clearly, "I respect who you are, and I recognise your authority in this fandom, but I would be most grateful if you shut up now".

Given the fact that Scarlet climbed down soon afterwards, that might have been exactly what he had said. Claire began to wonder whether they were in over their heads...

Valerie's thoughts however were travelling down dark roads. Had they stopped to think about the consequences of bringing Adrian back from the dead? It hadn't exactly been easy, but the procedure had seemed a bit too straight forward... Was this some sort of blood price?

Life is seldom fair. Ari put in gently. There is no cause to speculate upon such things because of its... dubious... sense of humour.

Stacey's voice burst over the Communicators.

"Attention all agents! You have a Sue at your location. Level 5, trying to identify..."

"Don't bother," came Michael's acid tone over the link, "I can see her..."

The girls looked up at Michael. He was holding his communicator, but looking up at the pit head gear. Following his gaze revealed a woman sitting at the top, with long purple hair, and dressed in clothes of varying shades of light blue. Mesha Yana!

"Helloooooo, all you little society ants down there!" she called. "And welcome to your demise. I hope you like it, I prepared it myself. Well, with a little help..." Dust had adhered to her hair while she leant against the metal but that didn't dull the shine, in fact it seemed to be rich in Iron Pyrite, and glittered in the light, enhancing her natural...

Good lord, I'm going to be sick in a minute!

Tash's reaction was immediate. Spreading her wings, she shot towards the Sue with a look that spoke of bloody vengeance. Mesha's response to this was to lazily draw a sword, and swing it vaguely in the blonde girl's direction. The wave of blue-green magic caught Tash by surprise, and she tumbled through the air as if caught in heavy turbulence. She was able to land, but did so with a considerable bump.

"Owwww! My ankle!"

"Not too shabby is it?" Mesha giggled, standing up and showing off her new weapon. "The ranged abilities of the Howling Sword from the Slayers fandom, and the cutting ability of Excalibur, all rolled up into one tidy package."

Ben and Avak produced their instrument-weapons, but before they could play a note, Lily shrieked and pointed at the crater. Sitting over the rubble was a pair of green rings, side by side. More horrifying still, were the figures standing on top of the pile of rubble. The entire clone army seemed to have survived, or had they?

Captain Scarlet abruptly swayed on his feet, and began to sweat as if in a heavy fever.

This is the voice of the Mysterons. As agreed with our ally, we shall unleash our new force upon her persecutors, and upon Spectrum in equal measure. Those sent to resist us shall be reborn into our service. Our Agents are invincible. Your only Surrender is death...

"Just in case there's any mistake..." Mesha giggled. "Now if you'll excuse me, I'd like to get a good seat for little Tashy's battle." She jumped onto the roof of another mine building, and the clones with ranged weapons opened fire.


"Holy ...!" Harriet exclaimed. This wasn't what she had expected at all. She punched a button.

"All agents report for duty!" Her voice thundered through the library. While waiting for the slower or half-asleep agents to reach the portal, Harriet began barking out orders to those already present.

"Aster, Chrys, Akai! Some of the clones on the left look like Animé characters. Deal with them!"




"Rhia! Set up a sniper post. Christoph, go with her and cover her!"

"By your command Lady Harriet." Christoph replied, Rhia merely nodded. Drake approached at this point.

"That's the Sue that messed with Dave's mind so he hit me?" he asked.

Harriet nodded. "You, Marcus, Pete and Joe, get behind them. Make a few hit and run attacks on their rear." The four agents looked at each other, nodded, and stepped through the plothole.

"Plothole in the library!" Gareth cried, from one of the monitors, "Oh wait, false alarm. Jared and Chloe getting the Large-scale generator to safety. Charis and Emily have it now."

Harriet breathed a sigh of relief. But that reminded her of something just in time...

"Make doubly sure @ doesn't mess with us now!" She said in Phoenixia's direction.

"Harriet, this is Monica." said a voice on the communicator. "If Terrie, Danielle, Stephen and I leave the basement now, the Sues will be unattended."

"Don't leave them!" Harriet replied, "I'm sending Ingrid, and Kyle to assist." The relevant agents nodded, and left the room. A sue breakout, unlikely as it was, while they were distracted was the last thing they needed.

"Ossa, you, Aimee and Jaime don't bother coming to the portal." Harriet went on. "Go straight to the Medical wing and set it up for maximum efficiency. Val's occupied right now." The communicator registered rumblings of disappointment, but all three acknowledged.

Harriet mopped the sweat from her brow. The last crisis involving the Doctor Who villains could be solved on home territory, but this was different. "How's Adrian doing?"

"If the feedback I'm getting from the Phoenix Zord is anything to go by, he'll be a while yet..." Phoenixia replied. Normally she would have gone with him into a fandom famous for giant robots, but he had insisted she was needed more in the library. A quick check of the monitors confirmed this analysis, so Harriet got on with shouting orders.

"Karrissa, Inara, go to the training rooms and stay with the rookies for the time being. Don't let them blunder about trying to help, they'll only make things worse..."

"What about us?" The Society Leader turned and saw a small group of Agents she had almost forgotten in the confusion.

"Harriet. Dave's our friend." Louise said, firmly. Alice nodded, holding up her power sword aggressively. Harriet noted the use of the present tense.

"We've all got friends out there." Miri reminded them. Gareth tried to say something similar at this point, but was cut off.

"No." All of them looked at Harriet like she had lost her mind. "There might be any number of other Sue problems while this is going on. We will deal with them if that arises, as will Jess, Wille and Tom wherever... No, don't argue Louise! I know for a fact Dave wouldn't want the society to stop working just for revenge for his sake."

There was a short pause. Everyone present was abruptly reminded of why Harriet was the society leader. Needless to say, there were no further arguments.

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

Rhia squeezed the trigger of her rifle, and a clone abruptly fell to earth, clutching his abdomen. She tracked another target, uncaring of her exposed back. Christoph lay nearby, concealed in a patch of long grass, and ready to deal with anyone who tried to take advantage of her prone position.

She settled on a man holding what she knew from Star Trek: Insurrection to be an Isomagnetic Disintegrator, a nasty looking shoulder mounted cannon, when he suddenly swung his weapon around, as if trying to draw a bead on her. A round through his forehead put a stop to that.

She looked around for another target, and caught a glimpse of a clone taking aim at her with a frighteningly large weapon that seemed to have it's origins in the Halo universe. That glimpse was all she needed to trigger her survival instincts, and she rolled away from the edge of the quarry where she had lain. A second later, the lip of the quarry vanished in a bizarre multi-coloured barrage of Laser, Phaser, and Disruptor fire, showering her in warm smelling earth.

"I'm fine, I'm alive!" she said, drawing attention to that fact so Christoph wouldn't reveal himself unnecessarily. In this case, the lack of reply was a good thing. She lay on her back for a moment, letting the clones think they had killed her.

I don't remember them being that smart when we met them before. Rhia thought. Either they've refined the process, or being restored by the Mysterons has upgraded them. Or both...

One of Christoph's throwing stars shot into the air, bringing down something purple that struck the ground near Rhia's left hand with a wet slap.

A Zubat? That was what it seemed to be, despite the strange orange blotches on its body, which Rhia took to be a side-effect of the cloning process. Rhia quickly put the cloned Pokemon out of it's misery.

"Umm... Rhia..." came a murmur from close by. Christoph had spotted a large swarm of Zubat flying in from nearby. Flying in amongst them was a Yanmega, which took aim with a Hyper Beam. Every shot or throwing star aimed at it merely hit a Bat-like bodyguard, and Rhia began to look for cover from the attack.

Salvation came in the form of a blast of fire from the main battle ground, scattering the Zubat with its sheer volume, and fouling the bug Pokemon's aim into the bargain. Rhia made a mental note to thank Marcus later, and beat a hasty retreat, closely followed by the unseen Christoph.


Marcus re-focused his attention on the clone troopers, using the Dragon Talisman copy as liberally as he dared without hitting the others. Without armour like Pete, Joe or Drake, he made the most of the scant cover that the rubble offered, while his team-mates engaged the clone army's rear.

Drake suddenly slid behind a piece of rock, not far away.

"Less of them than we thought." he shouted above the noise, "Problem is, it takes a lot to put even one of them down. We only got two of them because Rhia distracted them."

"Right..." Marcus replied. "Were any of the downed clones carrying something like a grenade launcher we can use?"

"No, and I don't think the author is going to make it that easy either."

"Point taken..."


Aster circled above Akai and Chrys, lending aerial support when they needed it, which wasn't often. The Animé clones seemed to mostly minor characters, or faceless goons, so fighting them was easy. Had they known how hard the others were finding it to put down even one clone, they might have noted something suspicious in this, but they didn't.

The trio suddenly found themselves against a rock wall, getting rid of the last few, when a voice rang out.

"Power beyond Twilight and crimson blood that flows..."

Aster whipped around in mid-air, looking for the owner of the voice. On the ground, Chrys and Akai found themselves being pressed against the rock wall by the remaining clones, as those they thought they had slain jumped to their feet and tried to press them further against it.

"Buried in the flow of time is where your power grows..."

Aster found her. A clone of Lina Inverse, star of the Slayers Fandom, in the process of casting one of her most powerful spells.

"I pledge myself to conquer, all the foes who stand..."

Her friends weren't going anywhere, pinned against the cliff-face until the Dragon Slave scoured them from existence.

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

"You're not fighting us..." Tash said, staring up at Mesha, who was lying down on top of a mine building with a rusted corrugated roof, apparently content just to watch.

"I think you'll have your hands full with him, never mind me." She replied, pointing to a shadow beside another building. A man stood there.

"Wha..." Claire squawked.

Tash brought Nepthys up into an on-guard stance, unable to fully comprehend what she was seeing.

Valerie ignited Seiryu. Their opponent was chillingly familiar, even the Empath was struggling to detect anything that could be identified as different about the former society agent.

Dave merely smiled, the Mysteron rings settling on the wall behind his head like a pair of demented Mickey Mouse ears.

"Hello Ladies..."

No comments:

Post a Comment