Thursday, February 13, 2014

Insert Coffee, Tea, & Biscuits Here

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Gone to sleep in the reading room. (posted by Emily) 2.09am.

Ardelisa DuVinevil: Why can’t you sleep in your room, little one? 2.16am.

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Phoenixia has a... ’friend’ over to stay the night. A very loud ‘friend’. 2.19am.

Ardelisa DuVinevil: Oh dear... have you got a mug of hot chocolate with a sprinkle of cinnamon in it? 2.21am.

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: This is working really well! Thanks Lisa. I’ll try sleep now. Night. 2.40am.

Ardelisa DuVinevil: Good night Emily. Sweet dreams. 2.42am.


Breakfast for two: 7.30am.

Can’t you see that you’re smothering me. Holding too tightly, afraid to lose control...”

Rhia’s voice was low, less anyone hear her impromptu concert. Most of the agents were still sleeping and she would hate to be the one to risk their wrath this early on a Saturday. She cradled the bag of groceries in her arms, spying the bag of habeneros on the very top. It was always wise to do her shopping before the agents came storming her kitchen for breakfast, and she had the extra satisfaction of fresher produce. Carefully, she wedged the bag on her hip, and reached for the nearest doorknob.

“Cristoph, I brought you your peppers...”

The shopping bag slid from her hip and crashed to the floor, eggs and milk spilling everywhere. Rhia stood in the doorway, blood rushing into her cheeks, knowing she should look away, but powerless to stop staring.

Oh! Oh... oh. Wow...”

Her ears and neck were burning too now, and she was not the only one.

“Oh God, Cristoph, I’m sorry! I-I didn’t mean to...”

Her stammering trailed off as her mind slowly kicked into gear and began to process what she was seeing. Her mouth went abruptly dry as she stared at the delicious sight of the naked least until the towel appeared, blocking the tantalising view.

“Rhia!” Cristoph looked mortified, and Rhia’s brain seemed to snap back into movement.

“Oh! Sorry! Um... I’ll leave now... and pretend this never happened...”

Tripping over her shopping as she went, she slammed the door shut. The lock turned behind her and she released the breath she had been holding.

Okay... okay... okay brain... engage please... focus Rhia. Should probably move away from the door... should probably mop the milk up and start trying to save some of my eggs...”

Try as she may to focus on pulling her shopping together, she could not erase the image from her mind... Cristoph had been frozen in his bathroom doorway, clearly about to get in the shower... lean muscles... nicely tanned... very nice bum before it was hidden by that accursed towel...

She picked up the peppers and found herself blushing again. She didn’t have the courage to wait for him, so she hung the bag of habeneros on the end of his doorknob, and prayed that Tyler would not find them first.


“Yeah, you’re right,” the chef nodded reluctantly. “It could have been far more embarrassing for both of us... he could have been facing me...”

She paused, as she registered that she was talking to a cat. The feline had round eyes, and short violently red fur. Rhia blinked at it slowly.

“You’re not one of mine,” she frowned, reaching out to pet it. “Where did you come from?”

Living with loads of cats made Rhia acutely aware that all cats reacted differently to affection. Thus she quickly withdrew her hand as this one hissed at the approaching limb. With a flick of its tail, it had turned and fled down the corridor, leaving the chef blinking.

“That was... random,” she muttered, scooping up her mince and placing it into her shopping back. She frowned, and rummaged around the items, before gasping.

“That cheeky cat! It stole my mahi-mahi!”


You have my @ttention: 8.05am.

Tapping away at the keys, Phoenixia scanned over the top posts on Suebook for any interesting developments. The Sues appeared to have given up trying to block her now, and tolerated her presence for as long as she was civil. Consequently the Society’s wall was full of insults from various people, along with several links to premium rate websites, diet pill advertisements and pornography, all of which Phoenixia hastily deleted before scanning the comments on her home page.

She stretched out her body in the chair. She was surprised she was awake after such a long and energetic night... she couldn’t resist a smug feminine smile as she remembered the fun she had had with her visitor. She wondered how Jess was. The younger woman had been a little worse for wear, but it hadn’t stopped her from pulling three men over the course of the night.

Turning her attention back to Suebook, Phoenixia ran her eyes down the wall. The top post was from Ardelisa, with pictures from her fandom of the new house that she had settled into with her husband. Smiling, Phoenixia opened a comment box and began typing.

Nice choice Lisa. When’s the house warming party? :)

It would take a while for Ardelisa to get back, given that her fandom was set in the eighteenth century, so Phoenixia turned her attention away from the photos. Now that she had got over her passionate insanity towards the Society, the Sue wasn’t a bad ally to have – a little fussy and over dramatic sometimes, but still someone worth knowing.

The next two were Farmville requests from another Sue, which Phoenixia rolled her eyes at and rejected. Below that was a status update from Runoa, complaining about Elegance’s choice of music. Phoenixia quickly tapped into the Society’s Sue databank and updated the list of Runoa’s known allies. Suebook was proving to be a goldmine of information about the Lieutenant and her lackeys, and every little bit was helping the Society to prepare.

A chat box popped up in the corner, and the ex hologram sighed at the profile picture displayed in the corner.

Warmest greetings on this fine day Phoenixia. How is the Library?

She knew that most people would tell her not to reply – that it would only encourage her. But Phoenixia knew that ignoring her would just make her more determined, and more annoying.

You know how it is @. You visited this morning.

A smiling emoticon followed, accompanied by a stream of silver hearts. Scowling, Phoenixia typed again.

Don’t play coy. I saw you in my bathroom scales.

She turned her attention back to the wall, hoping that would be the end of it, but (a) was not done yet.

Not my fault. You have such a pretty figure. I think the scales must lie.

Eyebrows arching into her hair, Phoenixia typed back.

Excuse me?

@ took barely any time at all to reply.

Your personal files say that your default setting weighs one hundred and fifty three pounds. I did not believe it could be true with such an incredible figure, so I went to check this morning.

Phoenixia froze in the act of an angry reply, as @ continued.

I dug a little deeper. You have very interesting files. I’ve read your books. They were very... exciting.

Something was happening, that had never happened to Phoenixia before – she was feeling very hot behind her ears.

What are you getting at, @?

Runoa’s wrong. You are far more than just a pretty face with a delicious chest. I wish you were still a hologram sometimes. It might be fun... oh well. Something to think about...

And she signed off with a burst of hearts.

“...was she... flirting with me?” Phoenixia asked herself, before groaning. “Oh great...”

With the vanishment of the digital Sue, Phoenixia took to @’s wall instead, and penned a quick reply.

Maybe if you weren’t such a pain in my ass. Maybe if you weren’t such a threat to our security. Maybe if you hadn’t played an instrumental part in Rhia’s kidnap. MAYBE I would be interested.

She thumped the enter key, before marching out of the room, determined to find Lily – she was clearly having some kind of breakdown if she was even considering any of @’s suggestions seriously, and she tried desperately to banish thoughts of the digital Sue’s plump lips...

Something red twitched in the corner of her eye, but as she swung her head around it was gone, leaving her alone with (a)’s words and the traitorous mental images they now provoked.


Puppy Eyes of Doom: 9.15am


The Librarian faced the wide pleading blue eyes that Emily was using. That tone of voice... it was the tone that said “I want something reeeeally badly...”

“What do you want?” he asked suspiciously. Emily had obviously been practising the puppy dog eyes especially for this moment, as she turned them up to their full charm. Her pyjama shorts and oversized t-shirt only served to add to the cuteness.

“You know how you love me?”

“What do you want?” he repeated, liking this less and less as each second passed.


His kitty ears twitched, sure he had misheard. “Come again?”

“I want to have Anna and Miki over,” Emily repeated, a little more slowly. “ Saturday... for a sleepover...”

Shoulders slumping, Adrian pressed his forehead into his hand. He’d only been awake for an hour, and he already wished he was cuddled back up next to his girlfriend...

“Emily, you know why they can’t come over...”

“Just hear me out?” Emily interrupted pressing her hands together in a desperate beg. “I was up all night thinking about it because I had to sleep in the reading room! I’ll keep them to the main area that the Society use! My room, the kitchen and the main reading room. They won’t even know the other rooms exist!”


“Make it my birthday present?”

“Your birthday was ages ago,” he reminded her.

“So? I’m allowed a late party...”

“You know how dangerous it gets in here,” the Librarian’s voice was firm. “We can’t just let any outsiders in here. It’s too much of a risk.”

“That’s rubbish!” she scoffed. “You have people from their world over all the time!”

“The Dark Virtue are important people who protect that world,” Adrian objected. “They need to have access to the Library’s books sometimes to help them!”

“Yeah right! You wouldn’t let them stay if Nixie wasn’t shagging one of them!”


“What? It’s true!”

“Its moot point!” Adrian cut her off. “You can’t have a sleepover. I’m sorry, but that’s the way it has to be, for their safety.”

Headache building, he hurried off, hoping he could grab some painkillers before the morning meeting...or an ear rub from his girlfriend...


Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: To all the Sues of Suebook – what do you think of cricket? (posted by Harriet) 9.23am.

Merle Ravensclaw: It is a ridiculous activity, unworthy of being termed a sport. 9.25am.

@: It is a fantastic game – delicious men in whites...and they’re so more cultured and educated than footballers... 9.25am.

Edward Casanova: Why are you commenting on these posts? They are our enemies! They are the ones keeping me away from my true love! 9.28am.

Merle Ravensclaw: Oh do shut up Edward... 9.29am.

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Is there a feature on Suebook called “Block Psychotic Stalker”? (Harriet). 9.29am.

Merle Ravensclaw: Unfortunately no. Or I would have used it a long time ago just to stop his whining. 9.30am.

Lieutenant Runoa: I hate you all... 9.31am.

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Oh that’s such a shame Runoa. Because we LOVE you! (Harriet) 9.32am.


Sister Act: 9.37am

The Librarian paused in the doorway of Tash’s bedroom, ears twitching in irritation. His girlfriend smiled sweetly, sticking the paintbrush in her belt and leaving a blue smear across her smock.

“What in the name of the Powers that Be are you doing?” Adrian sighed. “And who are these two?”

He pointed an accusing finger at the two girls sharing the room. They too held paintbrushes and were in various states of cleanliness. The shorter one wore bright green and pink clothing, had a paintbrush tucked behind her ear, and two more were sticking through the bunches in her hair. She beamed at the sight of the Librarian. The second girl appeared to have paused in mid gesture, splatters of paint along the walls in a manner which could have looked good if executed with any artistic ability whatsoever. She was dressed mostly in blue, and her white hair was braided.

“Well you see...”

“Hi!” the shorter girl had strode right up to Adrian, and immediately wrapped her arms around his neck in a tight hug. It was not as bad as Alice’s rib crushing glomps, but it was still a surprising amount of force from such a small girl. After a loving squeeze, she let go and step back. Grinning up at him she paused before her whole face froze in shock.


The taller girl tilted her head to the side curiously, as her shorter friend continued to stare at Adrian’s head.


Seizing the Librarian’s arm in a surprisingly tight grip, she pulled Adrian across the room, her voice hitting a frantic pitch.

“Kiara, Kiara, Kiara!”

And she reached up to tweak Adrian’s kitty ears. Squealing in joy, Kiara did the same.

Despite the sleepy urge to melt to the floor, Adrian tensed as he waited for the inevitable sound of Tash blasting both girls into ash for daring to touch her boyfriend’s ears. To his surprise however, the Society leader merely giggled.

“To answer your question love, Jenny will be having this room from now on.”

“What?” the Librarian shook the petting hands off and glared at his girlfriend. “Says who?”

“Says me,” Tash put her hands on her hips. “It’s my room. If I want to give it to my best friend, then I will!”

“But they’re not Society agents!” Adrian protested, before pausing to look at the two girls suspiciously. There was a rookie exam later that day after all. “Are you?”

“Nope,” both of them shook their heads.

“I never finish my stories,” Kiara explained, waving a paintbrush as she spoke, and sending another splash of paint to the wall. “Too many awesome ideas, and not a computer fast enough to catch them all.”

“And I’m an artist,” Jenny added, quickly painting over Kiara’s little mishap, her bunches bobbing in excitement.

“Well...either way. They can’t have this room!” Adrian objected. “Where are you going to sleep?!”

Rolling her eyes, Tash pointed at the door. “Where I’ve been sleeping for the past two years. In your bed.”

The Librarian blinked, a blush slowly creeping up his cheeks. “You’re... you want to... move in with me?”

“Yes...” Tash sighed. “And Phoenixia told me you’d never ask me yourself, so I decided to take the initiative.” Now she was blushing too. “I’m sorry...”

“No no, don’t be...” Adrian cleared his throat, all too aware that Jenny was beaming at them, and Kiara was respectfully averting her eyes. “I’d like you to move in... I’m just not sure I want strangers living in my Library.”

“Oh I’m not living here,” Jenny assured him. “I just need a place to store my art supplies. There’s no more room in my bedroom and I’m about to move to uni, and I know I won’t have any space there!”

Her charming smile was strangely disarming and Adrian was finding it very hard to be strict with them.

“Okay... but what’s the dragon for?”

He pointed to the image which stretched from the door, all the way around the room, across all four walls to the other side of the door. It was a masterful piece of artwork, and the subject of all three girl’s painting efforts.

“I was shocked and disappointed by the lack of dragons in this Library!” Kiara declared with surprising fierceness. “I decided it must be fixed!” Splashes of paint hit everyone in range as she shook the brush with each word.

“Fine...but where’s the dragon’s rear end?” Adrian pointed to the other side of the doorframe, where the dragon’s body strangely cut off.

“Oh we ran out of space so we wrapped the painting around the door, over the wall and into the next room,” Jenny explained airily. “The occupier didn’t fact she was so absorbed in her manga that she didn’t seem to notice us come in at all...”


Next door, Aster was blinking slowly at her walls, which now had a massive dragon tail stretched across it. The finished manga volume was closed on her lap.



Sighing, Adrian watched as the girls packed away the paintbrushes, and began to move boxes in from outside. Most of them were stuffed with ribbon, collections of buttons, thread and material of all colours. Piles and piles of books were stacked in disorderly heaps, and a few sketchbooks were scattered here and there.

“...I guess I really have no say in this, do I?” the Librarian finally concluded.

“Nope. No say at all,” Jenny smiled, before whipping out a pink and green teapot from nowhere. “Now how about a cup of tea? That fixes everything!”

“Tea?” Phoenixia stuck her head in, her frustrated expression evaporating into a wide smile. “You’re finished unpacking then?”

“You were part of this too Nixie?” Adrian whined, betrayal all over his face.

“Duh!” the ex-hologram rolled her eyes, as Jenny poured her a cup of steaming hot liquid. “It was my idea to move Tash in with you!”

As the Librarian muttered under his breath about women turning against him, the door was elbowed open, and a frantic Jess hurried in.

“Has anyone seen Leon... Meuble!” she squealed, pointing an excited finger at Kiara. “You’re alive!”

“And you’re indecently dressed,” Kiara greeted. Sure enough, Jess had a bra, bedshorts, and nothing else.

“Bah! What else is new?” Jess shrugged, catapulting herself at her friend and hugging her tight, sending a box of sewing patterns flying in her wake.

“...Meuble?” Adrian turned hopelessly to his girlfriend, who beamed. “Isn’t that French for ‘furniture’?”

“School nickname,” she explained. “And we’ve got a morning meeting in half an hour, so if we’re all going to have tea, then we should move to the kitchen and away from Jenny’s art stuff.”

Nodding at this wise idea, Jenny grabbed a basket from the table, bundled cups, saucers, tea bags and sugar tongs into it, before racing from the room at top speed.

Phoenixia’s eyes followed admiringly.

“She’s soooo cute! I want a Jenny!”

“Everyone wants a Jenny,” Jess agreed, heading for the door, Kiara firmly attached to her arm. Adrian sighed, and followed his girlfriend, pausing as his eyes landed on something grey and fluffy that now trailed across the floor.


Tash propelled him through the door.


From: Emily.
To: Anna, Miki.
Text: Hey guys. Bad news. Landlord won’t let me have sleepover. He smells. :( We do cinema instead?

From: Anna
To: Miki, Emily.
Text: Cinema gud! Ur landlord sux. :( Wat u wanna c?

From: Emily.
To: Anna, Miki.
Text: Something we can make fun of.

From: Miki.
To: Anna, Emily
Text: Too bad the next Twilight isn’t out yet. :) How about we just pick there?

From: Emily
To: Miki, Anna
Text: Sounds good. See you at 2!

From: Anna
To: Miki, Emily
Text: Cool wit me. Remind me 2 show u how 2 shorten txts Em. Queens English fail for txts! :p

From: Emily
To: Anna, Miki
Text: If its good enough for the Queen, its good enough for me. Pip pip darling!


You’re such a frappuchino: 10.01am

“There you are!” Tash threw her hands up into the air, as the Society leader appeared in the briefing room doorway, arms loaded with cardboard coffee trays.

“All hail Harriet, the mighty queen of coffee!” Jess began to bow to the aforementioned as she settled the cups onto the table, and shed her coat.

“I just made a queue of people in Starbucks very unhappy,” she declared, dumping her handbag in her seat at the head of the table. “Oh and I charged it to Adrian’s card.”

“What?!” the Librarian wailed, but he knew it was too late to do anything about it... he made plans to sneak into Harriet’s room later under cover of kittyness and steal the card back.

“Okay... cold drinks first...” Harriet plucked the first drink up and read the scrawl at the side. “Tall vanilla frappuchino with cream.”

Karissa raised a hand and Harriet slid the drink across the table to her.

“Tall iced... go ahead Tashy, don’t mind me,” she added, waving a hand at her friend. “Tall iced caffe mocha?”

“Me,” Ingrid lifted a hand.

“A tall mango and passion fruit frappuchino?”

“Me me me me me!” Emily bounced in her seat.

“Right, I call this meeting to order,” Tash declared. “Rotas are being passed around. Please don’t spill coffee on them, we’re trying to save as much paper as we can and do our bit for the environment, so you won’t be getting a replacement if you rip, tear or smudge it...”

“Tall caramel frappuchino?”

“Mine!” Ben raised a hand. As soon as it was within reach, he pulled out his hipflask, and began to douse the beverage with Firebrand Whiskey, before setting it on fire with a flick of his lighter. The crushed ice drink melted instantly, and Lily and Marcus, who sat on either side of him, inched away from the flames, as though terrified that the whiskey might combust in their faces.

“I have stamped and signed vacation requests here,” Tash said, leaning around to distribute them. “And guys, I know I take a long time to get them back to you, but that is no reason for you all to start writing “screw you Natasha” on the back of my office chair!”

“Actually...” Phoenixia lifted a hand. “That was me who wrote that... it was an invitation...”

“Tall coffee light frappuchino with cream?”

“Harriet, that’s your drink.”

“...oh yeah! So it is!”

“We’ve got a rookie exam at eleven o clock,” Tash declared. “Harriet and Jess will be administering. Phoenixia, Valerie is in at twelve. Warn her to get the ward ready to treat shock and fainting. And can you send her down to the basement after that? We’ve had a tip off that something is wrong with the Sue in B4.”

The ex-hologram nodded. Treating fainted applicants was becoming a common theme of every examination the Society administered, so the ward would be kept very busy all day. She hoped that whatever the Sue had was not infectious – they were still getting over a bout of mumps that had hit in March.

“Grande strawberries and cream frappuchino?”

No one answered.

“Come on!” Harriet waved the baby pink coloured beverage in her hand, condensation dripping onto her finger tips. “It belongs to someone!”

There was a tiny cough from across the room, as though the one who had made it was trying to see how quiet he could be. But everyone was listening by this point, and almost thirty pairs of disbelieving eyes turned towards him.

“...Willie?” Adrian’s voice was laced with disbelief, as the drink was slid across the table. “Pink? Seriously?”

It was hard for Willie to snarl effectively when he was sucking on his straw. So he settled for trying to glare.

“Awww! He almost looks cute!” Jenny announced her presence by Tash’s side, clapping her hands together. “He’s just missing one thing...”

Swallowing, Willie managed to glare properly. “I wasn’t going to be rude, but things change. Who the hell are these two?”

Any kind of rebuke from the leaders was rendered unnecessary, as Jenny reached into her rattling carpet bag, pulled out a pink bow, and plonked it on Willie’s head. It stuck crooked in his hair.

“Perfect!” she declared happily.

“ one is going to argue with you there,” Michael patted the Society visitor on the shoulder.

Ugh... I’ve never seen someone so... cheerful...the Darkness gave a shudder. “And I’ve seen High School Musical!”

“You’re just jealous you’d never look good with your hair in bunches,” Michael retorted.

I don’t have hair, you fool!”

“Michael,” Adrian drew the Chief Agent’s attention back. “I’ve approved your request for a training room today...but what exactly are you going to do in it?”

Seeing the smirk on Michael’s face did little to improve Adrian’s mood. Nor particularly did the fact that Marcus looked thrilled about this too.

“You’ll see Kitty Man. You’ll see.”

The Librarian pouted. “Don’t call me that.”

“Where was I?” Harriet wondered aloud, rifting through the empty cardboard trays. “Oh yeah! Grande green tea frappuchino?”

“That’s me,” Marcus lifted a hand eagerly, and was rewarded with his favourite beverage.

“That’s all the cold,” Harriet declared, throwing the last tray over her head. “Hot now... Tall cappuchino with cream?”

“Me!” Lily reached over and took it from her.

“Phoenixia?” Tash turned to the ex-hologram. “Any updates to Suebook?”

Try as she might, Phoenixia could not stop her cheeks from flooding with colour as she remembered what had happened. As several people’s eyebrows arched high, she tried to will it away as she shook her head.

“Just Runoa whining about Elegance. She woke Runoa up this morning with her music. And Lisa was online posting photographs of her new home, but aside from that, nothing new...oh and Emily,” she turned to look at the girl, who was sucking on her straw with unabashed enthusiasm. “If you have a problem with the noise coming from my room, please come and talk to me about it. Don’t complain about it on Suebook where anyone can read it.”

“Grande caffe mocha without cream.”

Rhia and Michael’s hands had shot up at the same time, before Michael pulled his arm down quickly – he had ordered with cream. Rhia’s drink was slid across the table to her, shortly followed by Michael’s, which had a nice fluffy topping under the lid. He slurped it noisily, while Rhia sipped hers slowly so as not to burn her tongue.

Far from looking properly chastised, Emily thumped her drink back down on the table and glared. “I’m not going anywhere near your room when you’re making those kind of noises! And I’ll complain about it to whoever I want to! Do you know how much sleep I managed to get in the reading room last night? Four hours! That’s not sleep! That’s a long bloody nap, that’s what it is!”

“Emily!” Harriet admonished. “Language!”

“What? Its not like I said fu-”

Adrian loudly cleared his throat, and the feuding women turned their glares on him for daring to interrupt. He gulped and tried again.

“Umm... Emily, I can move your bedroom away from Phoenixia’s if there’s a problem...”

Emily opened her mouth, but Harriet beat her to it.

“She’d love that, thank you Adrian,” she pulled the next cup free. “Venti Americano with three sugars?”

Jess, now properly clad and with her handbag in her lap, waved a hand, and took a greedy sip.

“How long till you get hyper?” Karissa asked, unaware that she had gained a cream moustache from her own drink.

“Slower than Ben I think,” Jess pointed out, seeing her fellow band member already trembling on the spot from the onset of sugar overdose.

Rolling her eyes from the constant interruptions, Tash rustled her paperwork loudly. “Speaking of Ardelisa and Suebook, after discussing with a few other people, we’ve decided that effective from today, the Society will have its own PR department. Dave is heading the department up...”

“And footing the bill,” Ben quipped, yelping as Shirley jabbed her claws through his leg. As the head of department in question was currently in real life that morning, several people did not bother to hide their surprise.

“...why?” Tyler asked curiously, with half a chewed cactus hanging from his mouth (no one asked where he had got it from or why he was trying to eat it).

“Yeah,” Willie added. “PR? We’re a Mary-Sue hunting society. Hunting. What’s the point of opening up relations with the Sues? Are we going to buy them chocolates and shoes and hope that our kindness converts them back to the way they were?”

“Yes Willie,” Ben had a mock thoughtful look on his face. “And while we’re in that department store shopping for all those things, you can buy a nice pink frock to match that drink of yours.”

A few agents snorted in laughter.

“We’re doing it because Dave is right,” it was Harriet who spoke this time. “He’s right, and we’ve gone so wrong sometimes that its not surprising all the Sues want to fight us back. So we’re giving it a try. Dave will run it. He’ll be a department head like Valerie and Charis, so he’ll have his own budget to manage, and he will be asking for help. We’ve already recruited Ardelisa to provide us with some outside contacts...”

“We’ll help!” Alice waved a hand, and Louise bobbed her head knowing that Robert (who was not present at the meeting) would be willing to help too.

“Perfect,” Tash beamed. “WARGS together in times of peril! ...or diplomatic relations I guess...”

“Tall caramel macchiato?” Harriet continued, suddenly remembering the pile of rapidly cooling cups in front of her.

Charis raised her hand, and began drinking, pausing to share a sip with Pete.

“Any problems with the rota for this week?” Tash asked, hoping to steer the meeting away from the controversial department. There was a pregnant pause, as everyone quickly checked their sheets.

“Yeah,” surprisingly it was Kiara who spoke, peering over at the nearest copy. “You misspelt Jess’s surname...”

The leader leaned forward to scrutinise the paper, before seizing Harriet’s copy in the hope that her eyes may be deceiving her.

“...bollocks, so I have.”

“Eh, never mind,” Jess just shrugged. “I can be Jess Leater this week.”

“But leather makes things more fun...” Phoenixia was pouting.

“I am not a lesbian TM,” Tash, Kiara and Jenny chorused along with Jess, all of them breaking into wide grins.

“Tall hazelnut latte?” Harriet lifted the cup and almost spilt some out from under the lid.


“Okay, one last thing from me,” Adrian got to his feet. “For various reasons –”

“That the author is too lazy to make up,” Kiara chimed in. On cue, there was a dramatic rumble from deep within the Library, and everyone’s chairs shook violently beneath them. Starbucks cups were over turned, and Emily was almost flattened by a copy of Power Point for Dummies falling from a nearby shelf.

“ASTER!” Adrian barked.

“...what?!” the fae appeared trembling from beneath the table.

“Sorry,” Adrian looked bashful. He knew that Aster, Chrys and Akai had not touched the Fourth Wall at all since the earthquake in Japan a few months ago. “Force of habit...”

“Kiara hon, breaking the Fourth Wall is bad,” Tash advised, patting her friend on the head. “Sorry love, you were saying?”

“Yes...” hastily flattening down his fur, which had puffed out in alarm, Adrian cleared his throat and began again. “For various reasons, the Counter Guardians are using the Library as their meeting place for the next week. They’ve been allocated this briefing room at three o clock this afternoon. Please don’t get in their way.”

“Don’t worry,” Harriet huffed, squinting at the poor handwriting on the side of the next Starbucks cup. “It had not escaped our notice that they hate us.”

“Now Harriet...” Adrian began, but the leader interrupted before he could argue, the stack of cups in her arms wobbling ominously.

“Okay, I’ve got three tall signature hot chocolates here... one has no cream...”

“Me,” Kyle took it from her precariously balanced hands. Across the other side of the table, Alice and Louise stood up in unison.

“One has cream,” Harriet immediately guessed, sliding the cup to Louise. “And the other has cream and half the sugar dispenser in it.”

Everyone pulled a face at Alice, who stuck her tongue out and began drinking.

“Makes you wonder what she’d be like on Ben’s whiskey...” Steven muttered to Jess.

“We tried that once actually,” Jess informed him, and seeing his expression, she snorted at him. “Oh come on! Why do you think the Royal family has a restraining order against her?”

“Any AOBs?” Tash asked. Rhia’s hand shot straight up, almost upsetting her drink.

“Yes. There’s a red cat wandering around the Library... one that isn’t mine,” she clarified, seeing several people lift their eyebrows. “When I was coming back from the supermarket-” Colour flooded to her cheeks and she averted her eyes from Cristoph. “I dropped my shopping bag and it ran off with my mahi-mahi.”

“You sure it was a red cat?” Marcus asked. “And not a red plot bunny?”

Everyone sat up straight in their seats. Several people cursed and Aster screamed and pulled her legs up. Red plot bunnies were smut bunnies, and getting bitten by one was an unequivocal disaster. The last time one had been found in the Library, Aster had chased Valerie around the whole Library for an hour before she could be sedated, and Thought Marcus had been forced to lock himself in a cell with a Sue in order to hide from his rampant Emotion half.

“I think Rhia of all people would know a cat when she sees one,” Harriet pointed out. “Has anyone been bringing stray animals in? It’s not Bring Your Pet To Work Day yet guys. That’s two weeks away.”

One pair of eyes was not confused however. Tash had a frown on her face, and her eyes slid around the table before coming to rest on Gareth. The WARGS veteran was looking exceptionally sheepish.

“Don’t worry everyone. I can vouch that the cat is harmless...unless you give her a gun,” she said.

“Harmless?” Rhia snorted. “That was an expensive piece of fish that little kleptomaniac fuzz ball swiped!”

“Don’t talk about my fiancé that way!” Gareth objected. “You’ll hurt her feelings!”

Tash cleared her throat, before the conversation could continue. “Any other AOBs?”

“Yes,” Jenny put up her hand. “Can Kiara and I go to FMA?”

“For the last time, no!”

“I have a grande signature hot chocolate with cream,” Harriet said, passing it to Claire almost immediately. It was getting easier now that there were so few people left. “A grande caramel hot chocolate with cream,” she passed it to Tash. She knew her too well after so many years.

As Tash took a breath to call the meeting to an end, Aster’s hand abruptly shot up, and the leader heaved a sigh. “Yes Aster?”

“Kyaa~ Do the Counter Guardian’s have to be here?” the fae asked, pouting around her drink, her feet still on the chair as though a plot bunny might fly out of the skirting board and bite her ankles. “They’re stupid.”

“Yes Aster, they do have to be here,” Adrian replied. He was growing tired of the same argument, and could not understand why the two factions just could not get along. “And they’re not stupid.”

“Debatable,” Harriet muttered. “A venti caramel hot chocolate with whipped cream...”

“Me!” Phoenixia swept in behind Harriet and snatched her drink. Everyone watched as she gulped it down, but for once, there was no seductive moan of pleasure, or flirty comment about whipped cream. The ex-hologram just sat down with a contemplative expression on her face. @’s comments were still firmly on her mind.

“You’re all sugar fiends,” Adrian declared.

“So you won’t be wanting this tall hazelnut hot chocolate with cream?” Harriet asked, lifting the second to last cup. Confused, Adrian’s ears twitched, until he felt Tash wind her hand around his tail, and he sighed.

“Fine...” he stretched out his hand for it, and found that surprisingly, he did rather like the sound of it...and the smell. He wound his tail a little tighter to tell Tash he appreciated it.

“And last but not least,” Harriet said. “A tall tazo green tea?”

“Finally! Jeeze!” Shirley burst out, and she fell on the drink with almost savage pleasure. For a very long time, no one spoke. The Cliché Stick’s cannibalistic tendencies were something one never got used to, no matter how many times you saw her gnawing on a lollipop stick, or sprinkling bark onto her pizza.

“...meeting adjourned,” Tash declared, banging a hammer onto the table. No one asked where she had got it from.


Lieutenant Runoa: Purity, if you are going to leave ice puddles on the floor please clean them up after you so I don’t have to step in them! 10.47am.


Flight of the Bumblebee Part 1: 11.09am

“I’m a bee, and I’m singing a song...”


“Singy singy song...”

“Combee!” Claire reached out and snagged the bumblebee Pokemon out of the air, and cuddled her into her lap. “Shh! We need to be quiet! We’re watching Michael have a big battle!”

“Ooooo, kay Mummy,” Combee nodded and nuzzled against Claire’s chest.

“Alright boys!” Miriku’s voice was loud and clear as she stood beside Claire’s seat with both hands tucked behind her back. “Three on three match. Last man...well, Pokemon, standing. You can both substitute. No items, except any that the Pokemon may be holding...else we’ll be here till the sun goes down.”

“There’s no sun in the Library,” Marcus reminded her, waving his first Poke Ball back and forth.

“It’s a figure of speech Marcus,” the redhead muttered, knowing that he was not listening anyway. “Usual restrictions apply...neither of you have any legendaries that I know of, so no worries there. You can ask your coaches for advice –”

“I don’t have a coach,” Marcus interrupted.

“Yeah, neither do I,” Michael was nodding from the other end of the arena.

“What about me?” Tyler asked, from his position on the sidelines.

“You’re not a coach,” Miri rolled her eyes. “You’re just the observer who makes comments and eats all the popcorn.”

“Bored now!” Tom called from his position leaning against the arena wall. “Start battling already!”

Miriku was developing an irritated twitch in her eye, but none the less she waved at Marcus. “Marcus you lost the toss. Select your first Pokemon!”

Rolling the ball around his hand once more, Marcus threw it, and from within the burst of red light appeared a long serpent like creature, its body constructed of heavy round boulders, ending in a pointed face, which loomed down on the arena. It gave a low rumble and everyone felt the ground vibrate.

“Marcus’s first Pokemon is Onix,” Miriku announced. “Michael, select your first Pokemon.”

Smirking confidently, Michael tossed his own Poke Ball into the arena, and it opened to reveal a bipedal creature with blue fur turning black over its face, and spiked hands. Its eyes narrowed into a calculating gaze and it took a fighting stance as it sized up its opponent.

“Michael’s first Pokemon is Lucario,” Miriku declared with a quick smile toward her brother. She raised both arms into the air. “Begin!”

Marcus was quick off the mark, yelling (at a volume that would have put his Emotion half to shame) into the arena. “Onix! Rock Polish!”

Onix’s hide began to glisten like someone had applied a coat of Shirley’s best polish to it.

“Shiny!” Combee’s eyes filled with stars and she tried to wriggle free of Claire’s grasp. The young woman tightened her grip firmly.

“You can’t beat Lucario with speed!” Michael smirked. “Lucario! Aura Sphere!”

Even before Lucario had finished charging the attack, Onix was moving. Twisting its massive body out of the way with ease, the attack soared past it, crashing into the wall of the arena.

“Aim is a bit off,” Marcus quipped. “Onix! Use Dig!”

The rock Pokemon wasted no time, launching itself high into the air and ploughing through the arena floor. Chips of concrete and dust flew everywhere, and the debris stung Michael’s eyes. When it had cleared, only a large, ominous looking hole remained.

“Rock Polish again!” Marcus commanded, and from the rumble within the hole, Onix had heard. Michael scowled.

“That’s not fair! Come out and face me like a man!”

“Michael, my Onix is a she,” Marcus informed him slowly. “And if you really want her to come out... Onix! Surprise it with Double Edge!”

Now growling, Michael yelled. “Lucario! Keep moving! Stay light on your feet and try and sense where she’ll come up!”

Leaping here and there, Lucario paused to focus on the ground. His ears twitched and he had just enough time to leap clear as Onix burst through the ground with a thunderous crash.

“Adrian won’t be impressed at us tearing up his arena floor,” Claire pointed out.

“I’m sure it’ll repair itself,” Miri shrugged, plucking a handful of florescent plastic tubes from her pocket. “Pixi stix?”

Claire’s eyebrows lifted. “You stole Adrian’s pixi stixs?”

“Not stolen!” Miri corrected, holding the tubes out of Combee’s reach as she wriggled and squirmed towards the pretty smelling tubes. “Merely borrowed with every intention of replacing... soon... Oneshots leave a bitter taste in my mouth.”

There was another bang, as Onix slammed her tail down hard against the floor once more. Dust obscure the arena, and Lucario skidded out of the cloud, mildly bruised. It seemed the rock Pokemon had finally scored a hit.

“Follow up with Iron Tail!” Marcus bellowed across the field, and Onix’s tail began to glow ominously, whipping towards Lucario, who did not get out of the way in time. He crashed painfully into the floor, bruised and battered as he tried to stand again.

“Lucario, are you okay?!” Michael asked.

Lucario didn’t give any acknowledgement – he just glared at the Onix, but Michael seemed to take this as a yes.

“Aura Sphere!”

Despite the injuries, the energy ball appeared, glowing stronger and stronger before Lucario flung it as hard as he could towards Onix, who did not dodge in time. It slammed into her and she roared in pain.

“Oooo! Pretty balls of fire and light!” Combee was awed, the glow reflected in her wide eyes. She began to squirm. “I wanna play!”

“No!” Miriku poked Combee with a pixi stix to stop her from wriggling, before tipping her head back and swallowing it. The bumblebee settled down, pouting all the while.

“Quick, Dragon Pulse!”

“Onix, get underground!” Marcus yelled suddenly. As the waves of energy built, Onix dived back into its underground sanctuary once more. Lucario scanned the field wildly.

“Focus Lucario!” Michael coached. “When you sense it, use Aura Sphere!”

It was a tense few seconds, as Lucario stood completely still, eyes closed, head bowed towards the ground. On the side lines, Miriku and Claire’s heads turned all angles, trying to guess where Onix may reappear. Combee, bored of the apparent inactivity, had began to wriggle again.

Then with a rumble like a volcano, Onix burst through the ground, in an explosion of dust, but Lucario flew through the air in a perfect jump, the sphere of energy already charge, and brought its attack down hard on Onix’s head. The snake-like Pokemon crumpled to the earth.

“Onix is unable to battle!” Miriku lifted her right arm. “Lucario is the winner!”

“Yay!” Miri and Claire bounced around on the sidelines, as Lucario dusted off his hands.

“Go Luki!” Combee cheered. “You rock!”

“We’ll see about that,” Marcus declared, recalling his fallen Onix, and pulling out another Poke Ball. It was dark grey with two lines of red and gold around it. Michael’s eyes narrowed. He knew just what was coming next.

“Go Togekiss!”

The creature that appeared from the flash of red light was egg shaped with two triangle shaped wings, and red and blue markings dotted around its body and colouring its crest. It gazed serenely out at the field.

“Lucario, return!” Michael was not stupid. He knew Marcus’s Togekiss was tough, and Lucario was exhausted after being thrown around. The jackal Pokemon vanished in a flash of red light. “Go Infernape!”

His second Poke Ball burst open to reveal a monkey with a flaming head and white fur spreading over his legs and chest.

“Inferny! Inferny! Inferny!” Combee singsonged happily. The monkey Pokemon sweatdropped, and unlike Lucario, was not silent in his dismay.

“I hope you’re all suffering too!” he remarked huffily to Michael, who nodded weakly.

“Yeah, Clairey got Oneshots for us,” he confirmed. “I was going to get them myself, but she stole some of Adrian’s supply...”

“I did not steal them!” his fiancée huffed, blowing a strand of hair out of her eyes. “I don’t need to steal from the leaders. I just wave a few pinecones in their faces and it’s usually enough to make them back off. And if that doesn’t work, I threaten them with my yaoi paddle. That works on anyone.”

“Mummy? What’s a yaowwie paddle?” Combee asked, her three pairs of eyes blinking curiously. Claire felt her neck go abruptly hot.

“...I’ll tell you when you’re older darling.”

“Round two, Togekiss vs Infernape,” Miriku held up her arms. “Begin!”

“Hit it with Mach Punch, Infernape!”

“Get in the air, and use Sky Attack!”


Craving: 12.11pm

Frowning, and replacing the thermometer into her bag, Valerie sighed. She hadn’t needed to take the Sue’s temperature, just as she had not needed to check her pulse or take her blood pressure. It was all a formality really. She’d known what was wrong for a very long time.

She got to her feet, and motioned the young woman to join her. The Sue got to her feet and scurried after her, her arms wrapped tightly around her stomach, trying to ignore the curious and worried stares that followed her. Val would have much rather have taken her up to the hospital wing, but that would not be possible, so the office that was used by the on-duty agent would have to do for now. There was no way the other prisoners would be able to hear in here.

The Sue was chewing her lip as she sat down in the swivel chair of the basement office. The CCTV screens glowed behind her, making her look paler than usual. Valerie leaned against the wall, scrutinising her.

“I’m going to have to tell the leaders,” she declared. “I’m sorry Sherri, but there is no way I can keep this secret any longer.”

The woman did not look at her, focusing instead on the floor, but her head gave the tiniest of nods regardless. Her arms dropped from around her swelling belly to her lap where her fingers twisted around themselves. Valerie heaved another sigh. She wished she had told someone sooner, but Sherri had sworn her to secrecy.

“What will the leaders do to me?” the Sue finally managed to ask, shuffling her feet back and forth along the carpet, before glancing up in fear. “You won’t make me get rid of it, will you?”

“God no!” the healer shook her head. “Not unless you want to, obviously. No, I’ll talk to the leaders. We’ll work something out. In the mean time, I’ll excuse you from exercise until further notice. And I’ll see if I can get you upstairs again for another ultrasound...”

As the Sue nodded to show she heard, Valerie was running over the implications of telling the leaders. Sherri was still a long way off being eligible for parole. Something would have to be sorted for her.

“Have you told Declan?” she thought to ask. Sherri shook her head slowly. “Do you think you ought to?”

She knew that the Sue responded better to simple questions. As her eyes flicked to the door, Valerie thought she understood. She had not told him because there was no private moment in which to do so. She probably hadn’t even been within speaking distance of him since they had got together at Sue Factor. She had been hiding in her baggy basement t-shirt and making sure not to draw attention to her expanding stomach because she was scared stiff. A wave of fear swept over the healer, and she hastily tightened her shields.

“I’ll go get him,” she said, offering an encouraging smile as she did. Sherri failed to smile back. She reminded Valerie of a high school girl – scared and lonely. She had no support down here, and it was no wonder she had tried to hide it for so long.

“Can I get you anything?” she asked as she got up towards the door. The girl thought for a moment before brightening.

“...I’ve been craving steak...” she admitted, with a sheepish smile. “With a huge glass of orange juice.” Valerie giggled.

“I’m sure that can be sorted,” she assured her, pushing open the door and poking her head into the basement beyond.

“Willie,” she ventured, and the on-duty agent looked up from where he had been sharpening his knives against the wall. “Stop that, and go get Declan.”

The young man frowned. “Declan? Why do you want him?”

“You’ll find out later,” she promised him. “And then can you ring up to the leaders and tell them I need to meet with them in about half an hour? This is something we’ve never dealt with before...”


Random Bouts of Fangirlism: 12.24pm

“And so if you continue to imagine the canon fandoms as a base hub, and all the fanfictions as sub-worlds, you have a good idea of how the multiverse is spread out...” Tash continued, pointing a stick at the badly drawn diagram on the whiteboard. “Now as for the Library’s relation to the Fourth Wall...”

She was interrupted by the alarms blaring through the training room. The frightened rookies screamed, and Tash prayed they would not faint – they had precious little space left in the medical wing as it was after the entrance exam earlier. Two of them clung to each other in fear, and the red cat gave a hiss and fled under the chair.

“Stay here!” the leader’s voice was firm as she flashstepped from the room.

“What’s the problem?” she asked, skidding into the monitor room, where a furious Adrian was stalking around the carpet, and Ben was fighting the urge to laugh.

“Ah...Tash,” the metalhead began. “We have a small situation...”

“Small?!” Adrian protested. “This is huge!”

“What’s the issue?” Tash asked, her hands on her hips. “A Sovereign?”

“No,” Ben shook his head, pulling up a fandom on the screen. “Y’know Naraku?”

“...antagonist from Inuyasha, yes?” Tash had seen a tiny bit of the anime and knew of the character in question. “What of him?”

“Y’know how he’s often seen sitting in a dark room, in front of a table, with a tea pot in front of him?” Ben prompted.

Tash had a horrible feeling she knew what was coming next. “...yes...”

“Well I have just solved the mystery of who he’s drinking tea with...” Ben explained, bringing up the image of the room and making some adjustments. As the villain chuckled over his latest diabolical scheme, Ben pulled the camera back, and there, on the right hand side of the table and just out of shot, was a familiar pair of pigtails.

“DAMN IT JENNY!” Tash wailed, sinking into the chair. Ben could not contain his amusement, which spread over his face like a ray of sunshine. It was quickly eclipsed with a snort as a pair of sugar tongs bounced off the villain’s head. Evidently Naraku had just said something that had displeased his tea guest.

“I knew it was a bad idea to tell them where the monitor room was!” Adrian was ranting. “You have to get her out of there!”

“Wait,” Tash’s head shot up suddenly from where it had been cradled in her hands. “Where’s Kiara?”


Colonel Roy Mustang looked up from his towering stack of paperwork. He had once again, neglected to finish it, and had approximately ten minutes left in which to do it. His eyes narrowed as he surveyed the newcomer.

“...may I help you?” he finally asked, when no explanation was forthcoming.

The smile that crossed the face of his guest, was one which would haunt him for the rest of his life. The white haired woman’s arms began to flail dramatically, and she seemed to struggle for speech, until...


It was at this moment that Roy Mustang understood the true meaning of the word “glomp”.


Flight of the Bumblebee Part 2: 12.25pm

A crash shook the rafters of the training room.

“Come on Infernape! You’re not down yet!” Michael’s voice was growing hoarse from yelling, but to his relief, Infernape managed to stagger to his feet. Across the arena, Togekiss was mildly bruised, but that would not last for long – Michael knew that sooner or later Marcus would have his Pokemon cast another Wish, which would eventually restore all of Togekiss’s health. Even without that move, Togekiss was proving to have exceptional endurance... but then, Michael reminded himself, Infernape was no slouch either.

“If Marcus keeps using Wish, this could go on for hours,” Claire muttered, frowning at the damage Infernape was taking.

“He can’t use it forever,” Miriku pointed out rationally. “No move is infinite...” she reached into the paper bag in her lap, and her scrabbling became frantic as she realised it was empty. “Where the hell are my pixi stixs?!”

Both girls turned their accusing gazes to Combee, who’s three mouths were stuffed with florescent tubes. She chewed on them slowly, before spitting the plastic out of her mouth.

“...I dunno...”

“You’ll rot your teeth, Combee!” Claire told her in a motherly voice. Combee swallowed and looked affronted.

“Nah uh! I’m a good bee! I brush my teeth three times a day!” she opened her mouth on the upper left side. “See? I brush these teeth after breakfast...” she opened her mouth on the right. “These after lunch.” She opened her lower mouth as wide as she could. “And these before I go sleepies!”

She was abruptly cut off from further explanation by another bang from the arena. It seemed this time, Infernape’s punch had connected. Togekiss went skidding back painfully across the arena floor, emerging from the dust cloud in a battered heap.

“Wish, Togekiss!”

“Quick Infernape! Blast Burn!”

Charged with the boost from his blaze ability, Infernape began to glow softly, before his whole body exploded into an inferno which spread across the arena, obliterating everything in its path. As Togekiss struggled to fly, the blaze washed overhead.

“Togekiss!” Marcus sounded frantic, but to his relief, his Pokemon hovered up out of the firestorm, badly burned and barely able to support itself, but still conscious as the flames fade away. A trail of light sprinkled over the Pokemon as the Wish took effect, and the wounds began to fade away.

Michael growled, and Infernape hooted in anger. That was the fifth time that Pokemon had healed itself, and it was driving the fire monkey insane!

“Quick! Its recharging! Sky Attack Togekiss!”

Michael let loose a stream of colourful swears that caused Claire to clamp her hands over Combee’s ears. Togekiss was glowing fiercely and everyone shielded their eyes. Panting, Infernape struggled to stay upright as it recovered from its last supercharged attack.

As the glowing reached its peak, Michael gave one final yell.

“Infernape! Blast Burn! Hurry!”

The two attacks exploded against one another, the crash rumbling through the entire arena and sending chips of plaster falling from the walls. Light and flames lapped against each other and both Pokemon were obscured from view in the chaos. The pressure of the attacks seemed to finally snap and white light exploded outwards through the entire arena. Everyone looked away with watering eyes.

Finally the light dispersed and everyone peered through the gloom. Both Pokemon were singed, beaten and exhausted. Infernape was leaning heavily on the ground, and Togekiss could barely stay in the air.

There was a long pause...and finally, Infernape’s body gave out and he toppled to the floor in a daze.

“Infernape is unable to battle,” Miriku announced in a shaky voice. “Togekiss is the winner.”

“...Inferny...” Combee’s lower lip trembled.

“Give him to me,” Claire waved a hand to her boyfriend, who threw her the Poke Ball containing the fainted monkey. “I’ll look after him.”

“Are you alright Togekiss?” Marcus could not disguise the worry in his voice. Now that he looked closer he could see a huge shiny burn on his Pokemon’s wing. The flying Pokemon nodded firmly, but it wobbled precariously in its hovering position.

It won’t take much more to take down his Togekiss...” Michael thought. “I just hope this works or I’m in trouble.”

“Go Lucario!”

The jackal Pokemon reappeared, still bruised and beaten from his fight with Onix earlier, but looking focused and determined. It lifted an eyebrow at the state of the arena, which was pocket marked with holes from Onix, scorch marks from Infernape, and huge chunks of ceiling plaster from Togekiss.

“Begin!” Miriku announced. Marcus was already shouting.

“Wish Togekiss!”

The Pokemon tried to focus, but it sank to the ground weakly, panting in exhaustion. The blood drained from Marcus’s face.

“Ohhh damn...”

Michael smirked.

“Lucario, Dragon Pulse!”

Lucario’s body became enveloped in a blue aura, a ball of energy blasting from between his hands. With a monumental effort, Togekiss pushed itself into the air, missing the blast by an inch.

“Extremespeed Togekiss!”

Togekiss moved faster than any of them had thought possible, shielded in a white aura which slammed into Lucario, sending him flying.

“Flashy flashy flashy!” Combee was chanting to herself.

“Lucario, are you okay?” Michael was panicking. If Lucario went down without taking out Togekiss he would only have one Pokemon left to beat Marcus with, and he didn’t even know what his opponent had picked as his last Pokemon. It was a huge risk.

Battered worse than ever, Lucario staggered upright, jumping straight back into a fighting stance. Togekiss, not much better off, stared its opponent down.



Aura Sphere!”

The two attacks impacted sending an explosion rocketing through the arena.


It was impossible to tell who called the attack first. As the cloud settled the two Pokemon collided in the blink of an eye, emerging from the settling attack blast on opposite sides of the arena. Both of them skidded to a halt trembling from exhaustion.

Both trainers held their breath...

Then as though rehearsed, both Togekiss and Lucario fell to the ground into peaceful unconsciousness.

“Both Pokemon are unable to battle,” Miriku declared.

“Which brings us down the wire,” Michael commented, recalling Lucario and throwing the Poke Ball to Claire. Marcus nodded, doing the same with Togekiss.

“Well done. I’m really proud of you,” he said before tucking the ball away.

On the side of the arena, Claire was busy still trying to revive Infernape. The monkey was stirring slowly, growling low as Claire dabbed potion on his various wounds.

“Ugh...what happened?” the monkey managed to croak. He cracked his eyes open and found himself nose to nose with three identically beaming faces.

“Hello Inferny!” Combee’s smile got wider than ever. Infernape went pale.

“” he begged weakly. Claire patted him soothingly on the head, as Combee flitted around in excitement.

“Okay, final round,” Miriku announced. “Marcus!”

Marcus nodded and tossed out his final Poke Ball. The red light solidified into a small figure, sitting cross legged on the floor. Its face was fox-like and its fur was golden except for a brown patch over its chest. Clutched loosely in one of its hands was a crippled looking spoon.

“Marcus’s Pokemon is Abra!” Miriku lifted one arm. “Michael!”

On the side of the arena, Combee’s eyes had gone wide as they caught a flash of metal. Michael was doing some rapid thinking.

Abra? That’s interesting. Usually Abra only have Teleport... but he’s got his Abra holding a Twisted Spoon. It must have more psychic moves than Teleport if he’s willing to give it a Twisted Spoon...” he shrugged to himself. “Oh well. Arcanine can handle...”


There was an almighty bang, as Combee rocketed from the side of the arena and tackled the stunned Abra in what might have been considered a hug had she not flattened the psychic Pokemon to the floor. Abra, dazed and confused, had not had time or the wits to teleport away.

“...Combee?!” Michael was struggling to catch up with what had just happened. Marcus was blinking in horror at the Abra shaped dent in the arena floor. Combee was bouncing happily beside it, apparently completely oblivious to the stir she had just caused.

“...umm... begin?” Miriku’s arms hung weakly in the air. Michael looked at her in horror.

“No, no no! Not begin!” he tugged on his hair in anxiety, but deep down he knew it was too late. Once a Pokemon was on the field it was illegal to recall them.

“Oooo sparkly!” Combee nosed the Twisted Spoon, which had gone flying from Abra’s grasp when the bumblebee Pokemon had initiated her glomp. “Its a funny spoon!” she picked it up in one of her mouths, and looked at her aghast trainer. “Can I keep it, Daddy? Please?”

The spoon shot out of her mouth as though yanked by an invisible string, and landed squarely back in Abra’s hand. The psi Pokemon was on its feet, and it did not look happy in the least.

“That’s what I’m talking about!” Marcus had his game face back on now. “Abra! Psychic!”

The Twisted Spoon seemed to glow in Abra’s hand, and its eyes took on the same eerie shade of yellow. Combee’s body felt strange and the bumblebee Pokemon was surrounded by a golden aura, before she went shooting up into the air.



Combee slammed into the ceiling, sending a cloud of dust and plaster raining down on the arena.



She bounced like a beach ball off the floor.

Michael sweatdropped. He didn’t know whether now was a good time to succumb to hysterics, or whether he should hide his gaze. Bruises were appearing on Combee’s body, but she didn’t seem to care in the least.

“Again again again!” she bounced. Abra looked rather confused – it had never had an opponent that had enjoyed being thrown around – and it turned to shrug at its trainer. Marcus could only shrug back. He wasn’t quite sure what to do either. He knew Combee was only a baby, but that didn’t stop her from being dangerous. He wished Abra knew Hypnosis. It might have made this kinder if he could have put her to sleep.

“Hidden Power!”

Abra seemed to glow purple, before rings of energy exploded from its body. Combee was swept up in the blast and went flying across the arena.


She was cut off as she slammed into the wall.

“Combee!” Michael was beside himself as his baby peeled herself off the wall like a pancake and peered around with a dazed expression.

“...Combee go boom?” she asked, all three pairs of eyes blinking.

“Michael, for Gods sake do something!” Claire screamed at him, and her boyfriend jumped as though someone had shoved a cattle prod in his lower back.

“You’re right. This can’t go on. Combee retu-”

“Your sparkly was pretty!” Combee was buzzing (not entirely straight) back towards Abra. “You wanna see mine?”

She didn’t wait for an answer, flapping her wings and drawing a deep breath. Stars shot from her wings and blasted Abra head on. The psi Pokemon screamed in pain and tried to teleport, but the stars swung like boomerangs and and kept on course with the target.

“...Swift?” Marcus’s jaw was hanging open. “Your Combee knows Swift?!”

Michael shrugged. “She was born with it! She likes the sparkliness!”

“That was fun!” Combee’s spirits were high. “I like how they follow you around! Its like they wanna be friends!”

Okay... maybe this isn’t so bad after all...” Michael thought to himself. “Think Michael, what else can Combee do that might help... wait... bug moves are strong against psychic Pokemon!”

“Combee! Bug Bite!”

Combee beamed. “Yummy!”

She tackled Abra and sank her teeth into her arm. The psi Pokemon yelped and tried desperately to shake her off.

“Abra, Hidden Power!” Marcus yelled. The Pokemon glowed purple again and the energy exploded outward, hitting Combee at point blank range. She went skidding across the floor like a stone skipping across water, before coming to a halt not far from Michael’s feet.

“Combee, are you okay baby?” Michael had gone back to tugging at his hair. But to his relief, Combee rolled over...and straight down one of the holes dug by on Onix earlier in the fight. There was a thud as she hit the bottom.

“....ooooo! Dark!” her voice echoed from the ground.

Abra sweatdropped and rubbed its head with its Twisted Spoon. This was the most ridiculous fight it had ever been involved in.

“Psychic Abra!” Marcus ordered. “Get her out of there!”

As Abra began to glow, Combee’s voice echoed up from the tunnel.

“Daddy? I’m tired now! Can we go to the kitchen and have some cooki – eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!”

She came shooting out of the hole like a bullet, zooming towards the ceiling.

“Combee! Gust!” Michael shouted desperately, and by some miracle, his Pokemon heard him, winds whipping around the arena, and sending Combee spiralling out of Abra’s control before she could hit the ceiling again.

“Weeeeee!” Combee was giggling as she zoomed around in a small whirlwind. Abra struggled to keep its feet.

“Abra, Teleport!” Marcus yelled. “Get out of range!”

Abra vanished in the blink of an eye and settled on the edge of the arena as the whirlwind died down.

“Again Combee!” Michael yelled, and Combee was only too happy to oblige, the winds rocking around the arena once more.


Abra vanished once more, appearing on the other side behind the whirlwinds.

“She’ll never hit Abra if Marcus keeps ordering Teleport,” Claire muttered.

“Combee, Sweet Scent!” Michael yelled.

The arena was suddenly filled with a delicious aroma, and everyone felt light headed. Marcus barely repressed a curse – Sweet Scent made Abra less evasive.

“Hidden Power!”

For the third time, Abra glowed purple and energy burst around the arena. Combee went spiralling out of the air and landed on her head on the ground.

“Owie...” she whined.

“Combee, another Gust!” Panic was bubbling in Michael’s stomach. Combee was far more vulnerable on the ground. The bumblebee yawned and settled more comfortably onto the ground.

“Sleep now...” she murmured.

“Combee!” Michael yelled.

“Abra, Hidden Power!”

As the psi Pokemon glowed again, Michael racked his scrambled brains for an answer...

It hit him like a thunderbolt.

“Combee! There’s a shiny on the ceiling!”

The bumblebee Pokemon’s eyes snapped open.


She buzzed skyward towards the spotlights, the attack sailing past her harmlessly.

“Again Abra!”

“Combee! Swift!”

The stars burst into the arena first, colliding with the glowing Abra and sending it slamming painfully back into the arena floor.

“Gust Combee! Make the shiny stars fly!” Michael prayed that this would work, and to his relief, excitement made Combee’s eyes sparkle, and she whipped up another vicious wind, sending the golden stars spinning around the arena.

“Teleport Abra!”

Abra vanished, but reappeared not far away, its sense of direction fogged by the Sweet Scent. The winds picked up around it, lifting it into the air and throwing the psi Pokemon high before allowing it to crash back to earth with a thud.

When the dust settled, Abra was unconscious.

For a very long time, nobody spoke. And then slowly Miriku lifted one arm into the air.

“Abra is unable to battle! Combee is the winner! The match goes to Michael!” She shook her head. “Now there’s a sentence I never thought I’d say...”

Resigned, Marcus trooped into the arena to check on Abra. The psychic Pokemon stirred slightly as he rolled it over.

“Good job Abra,” grunting he picked his Pokemon up. “We’ll get you fixed up in no time.”

On the opposite side of the stage, Michael had walked over to Combee and knelt down beside her. She grinned at him cheerily.

“Hi Daddy!”

Michael’s face was ashen.

“Baby,” he said, his voice shaking slightly. “Promise me you will never go into battle again?”

Combee blinked in a confused manner. “Battle? But we were just playing, silly Daddy!” she shook her head. “It was fun! And I wanna do it again!”

“No!” Michael looked horrified at the very prospect. “You’ve just taken about fifty years off my life! You don’t scare me like that again! Promise me?”

“Daddy...” Combee was very confused, but then she noticed how upset her Daddy was, and her heart sank. She didn’t like upsetting her Daddy, so she nodded sadly.

“Yes Daddy,” she said, her lower lip trembling and her eyes filling with tears. She squeaked as she was engulfed in a tight hug.

“I’m proud of you baby,” Michael whispered to her. “You were amazing today... you’re not hurt are you?”

Combee rolled her eyes but nodded regardless. Daddy could get very silly sometimes... but then Daddy was a grown up and didn’t know any better. They had just been playing after all...


A Way With Words: 13:29pm

“She’s what?”

Valerie, who had ducked under the table at the mouthful of tea sprayed in her direction, now reappeared cautiously. The eyes of everyone in Rhia’s kitchen were on her.

“She’s pregnant.” She repeated. “Six months now.”

It was interesting to see everyone’s faces. Rhia’s pot of soup was bubbling merrily away behind her, but she did not appear to have noticed, while Tash’s jaw had fallen open, her half empty tea cup dangling limply from one finger. Jenny and Kiara were blinking curiously at everyone, frozen in the act of passing the tea strainer to each other. Harriet just stared hard at the healer, and Adrian’s forehead had creased into a frown.

“How did we not see it earlier?” he asked. “I thought women started to show at about three or four months?”

“They do,” Valerie nodded. “And she is showing a little. It’s hard to tell under the t-shirts because they’re so baggy. She must have been taking pains to hide from the other Sues in the showers.” She took a deep breath. “I knew a while ago, when we started stepping up conditions in the basement, but she made me promise not to tell anyone.”

There was a long silence as everyone pondered this new dilemma. Rhia finally seemed to realise that her soup was done, and proceeded to serve it up.

“Who’s the father?” Tash finally thought to ask.

“Declan. They got together during Sue Factor,” Valerie rubbed her forehead, as the intensity of the revelation to the Stu that morning came back to haunt her. “I had to treat him for shock after she told him, but he’s okay now. Poor guy fainted.”

“Declan...” Harriet was thinking hard. “He’s up for parole in three months... does he want to be involved?”

“Surprisingly, yes,” Valerie nodded. “I wasn’t sure if he would – I mean, he wasn’t the best behaved when he first came here. He kept out of the way mostly during the basement incident. But he’s mellowed up a lot, and if this hasn’t shocked him into thinking seriously about his future then nothing will.”

“Do you think we could shift Sherri’s parole forward in light of this?” Rhia asked, passing out the first bowls of delicious smelling soup. “I mean, she can’t possibly want to have a baby in prison, and it’s certainly not the best place for a pregnant girl to be.”

“I think we’ll have to,” Harriet admitted. “These are exceptional circumstances...” she smiled. “Though it would be fun to have a baby in the Library.”

“We have Emily for that,” Tash snorted.

“She’s not a baby any more Tashy,” Harriet sighed. “I had to give her the talk three days ago. They’ve got sex education classes coming up next week...though she knows most of it already. Our little baby is growing up fast...”

She paused to wipe a dramatic tear from her eye. Jenny patted her on the shoulder and offered her another scone, which was declined in favour of a bowl of potato soup.

As everyone settled into their lunch, Phoenixia bustled in through the door, looking slightly put out about something. Her lips were bordering on a pout, and she went straight for the pot of soup without even one flirtatious wink to any of the room’s occupants.

“My God Nixie,” Harriet’s eyebrows had arched into perfect semi-circles of surprise. “Did someone finally turn you down?”

“I wish...” the ex-hologram muttered, pulling up a chair next to Kiara and tucking into her soup. She swallowed before posing her next question. “Can I ask you guys some advice?”

“Yes, you should start using Lush moisturiser,” Tash said pre-emptively. Several people snickered, and Phoenixia threw a jam tart at her.

“That wasn’t what I was going to ask,” she elaborated. “I need some relationship advice.”

Everyone could only gape at her.

“You’re asking us for relationship advice?” Rhia said disbelievingly. “You? You’ve probably had more relationships than the whole Society put together!”

“Rhia my dear,” Phoenixia patted her on the head. “Having sex isn’t the same as having a relationship. If it was, I’d have a relationship with Adrian, Ossa, Valerie, Harriet, Terrie, and if we count threesomes, Tash and Jess. And that’s just people who live in the Library.”

She cleared her throat. “Let’s say hypothetically, that someone who has caused me ill in the past, was flirting with me, and suggested hooking up...”

“I thought you said this was relationship advice, and not sex?” Harriet put in.

“It is! Hear me out,” Phoenixia implored, holding up both hands to stop any more interruptions. She toyed with her next explanation – too much and it might give away who it was. “The thing is, she’s... different from normal people.”

“ what way?” Valerie prompted gently. She knew species was usually no boundary to Phoenixia, so to find her stumbling over something like this was surprising.

“She’s not really human,” Phoenixia explained. “She’s... more like an AI, like I used to be.”

“I thought you didn’t take on virtual lovers?” Rhia asked.

“She doesn’t,” Jenny said shrewdly. “That’s why she’s worried. She’s attracted to this person and she doesn’t want to be because it goes against her principles.”

Surprised that Jenny had cottoned on so quickly, Phoenixia continued to bob her head.

“But again,” Harriet asked. “You said this was relationship advice. And you’re still talking about hooking up.”

“That’s it though,” Phoenixia admitted. “It’s so hard to find other virtual lovers – I would know! So I don’t think she’d leave it at hooking up... I mean, let’s face it, we all know I’m fantastic in bed.”

There was a round of nodding, punctuated with eyerolls at her lack of modesty.

“So I’m worried that if we did hook up – and I’m not saying we will! – but if we did, I’m worried she’d want more. And I don’t honestly think I’d want to say no either... I mean she is... really hot.”

She saw them giving her sympathetic looks, and wondered just how quickly the sympathy would be withdrawn if they knew she was talking about @. Rhia patted her hand, and she felt instantly worse. After the digital Sue had played such a huge part in helping Roxelana kidnap Rhia, how on Earth could she even consider doing anything with her?

“So you want to say no to this person?” Valerie clarified. “And stop it before it gets more complicated?”

Convincing herself that this was the right thing to do, Phoenixia nodded.

“You’re asking the wrong people hon,” Tash shook her head. “The only guy who’s ever liked me is Adrian,” she prodded her boyfriend in the ribs. “I’ve never had anyone to turn down.”

“I have,” Harriet waved a hand. “Several times.”

“Well what did you do?” Phoenixia asked hopefully.

“I composed a poem for a guy in school,” the leader’s eyes lapsed into the far away thoughts of happy memories. “It got the message across pretty well...”

She cleared her throat.

Shakespeare had a way with words,
A poet and a thespian,
So let me use the gift of words,
To tell you ‘I’m a lesbian’.”

There was a long silence, before Valerie snorted with laughter. Everyone else broke into giggles, already knowing that as awesome as the poem was it was useless. Phoenixia had already told them her admirer was a woman, and even if she hadn’t, most of the multiverse knew that she was bisexual.

“Harriet, you should engineer all our break ups,” Phoenixia declared. “I suppose I could use a poem. It’d be nice in that I put the effort into it...”

“How about ‘Roses are red, violets are blue...’” Harriet mouthed wordlessly trying to come up with the next line. “...'I don’t really fancy you. Sorry’?”

“That doesn’t rhyme,” Tash pointed out needlessly.

“But it gets the point across,” the leader poked her with her spoon.

“Adrian-kun...” Aster fluttered into the room, a stack of manga balanced in her arms. “There’s a man on the phone kyaa~. He wants to ask about his order.”

The Librarian frowned in puzzlement. “What order?”

Aster shrugged and several books slipped out of her grasp. “I didn’t ask.” She began stooping awkwardly to pick up the manga. Jenny seized it and began leafing through it, as a confused Adrian went to pick up the call from the phone that hung in the corner of the kitchen. He was beaten to the punch by Harriet, who swept the phone from his grasp before he could put his mouth to the speaker.

“Hello, Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society. You write em, we fight em!”

There were a few snorts of laughter, and Adrian took a swipe at the phone. The Society founder ducked and planted a hand in his face to keep him away. The Librarian’s arms flailed comically like pinwheels.

“Yes this is she...”

“Kyaa~... That’s my manga,” Aster said pointedly to Jenny, who already had her nose buried in page six.

“No it isn’t,” Jenny said absently, not taking her eyes off the page.

“Yes it is,” Aster retorted, a little annoyed now. “I want it back.”

“If it’s your manga,” Kiara said, flipping the front cover open. “Then why does it have a Library Arcanium sticker and barcode in the front?”

“Give it back,” the fae demanded.

“Say please?” Jenny asked sweetly.

“Give it back,” Aster’s voice was bordering on whiny now, but Jenny took pity and handed the book back. Aster swept it up and balanced it precariously on top of her stack, which she then placed on the table. Sitting down, she picked up a volume and began to read. As Phoenixia, still pondering poems in her head, picked up a sandwich from the plate and raised it to her mouth, Aster leaned in and began to chew on the other end, without taking her eyes off the book.

Phoenixia blinked. “...there’s an Aster in my sandwich!”

Across the table, Jenny began taking pictures.

“Uh huh...” Behind them, Harriet was finishing up her call. “Yeah... no that’s okay, I’ll do it. Yup. Kay. Bye!”

She hung up the phone and released the Librarian from her hand. He spluttered for a moment, before rounding on the founder.

“You’ve been selling our gadgets to people outside the Library!” he accused. Everyone else gasped, and Harriet’s surprise was quickly wiped into a calm expression.

“That is a very serious accusation Adrian. Do you have any proof?”

“I just heard your entire conversation just now!” Adrian pointed at the phone as though it too had had some part in this master scheme. Harriet now looked speechless.

“How do you know that’s what that call was about?” she eventually asked. “At no point did I say anything of the sort!”

For an answer, the Librarian’s kitty ears twitched back and forth. “Kitty senses! I heard it clear as day! You can’t just sell our stuff to people! Do you know how dangerous that is?!”

“Well... ye... I thin... do you know how hard it is to balance the budget around here?!” Harriet finally demanded. “Money doesn’t grow on trees!”

Phoenixia lifted an eyebrow. “Well actually...”

“Shut up!” both Librarian and leader shouted, and the ex hologram instantly fell silent.

“Its just a little service,” Harriet defended. “And its not doing any harm!”

“Any harm?! You just sold LittleKuriboh fifty barrels of All Purpose Cavity Plot Insulation!”

“He runs the Yu-Gi-Oh! Abridged Series Fandom! No one can deny he needs it more than we do!”

“What will we patch the fourth wall up with when it breaks?!”

“I dunno? Your hot air perhaps?!”

Fed up of the raised voices, Rhia got up from her seat and pulled the two apart by their ears. Harriet gave a whimper, twisting awkwardly to stop her earring from catching her shirt, while Adrian yowled in pain.

“This is my kitchen!” Rhia’s voice was thunderous. “And I will not have any fighting in here, or so help me, I will throw you out myself! Understand!”

Both nodded meekly, and the chef released them. Rubbing their ears, both returned to their seats suitably chastised.

“Wow Rhia, you are a badass!” Kiara beamed, offering her a scone. Cheerful at the praise, the chef took it, but she missed the devious smirk spreading across Harriet’s face.

“Oh yes. Badass enough to spy on her boyfriend in the shower!”

Rhia’s scone fell to the table in a splatter of clotted cream, and her face went fire engine red. “I wasn’t spying! It was an accident!”

“But gawking at him wasn’t an accident!” Harriet’s face was pure satisfaction, as everyone else stared open mouthed at the mortified chef.

“Tell us!” Phoenixia implored, with everyone taking up the cry. Rhia slid out of her seat and curled up under the table.

“What’s he look like?”

“Does he have any cool scars?”

“How big is he?!”

Rhia wished she could die.

“Come on leave her alone!” Tash finally broke in, pulling Rhia up into her chair once more. The chef smiled thankfully to her friend... at least until the leader leaned over and muttered. “You’ll tell me everything later, right?”

Huffing, Rhia folded her arms. “Fine. I’ll tell you,” she declared. “But only if you admit that those panties on the pillar in the Ancient Roman reading room are yours!”

Gasping in horror, Tash covered her mouth. “How do you know that?!” She shrieked.

Rhia just smirked in satisfaction. By sheer twist of fate (or the Library being a glutton for watching agents suffer) the Ancient Roman reading room in question was on the opposite side of the corridor, prompting half the kitchen’s occupants to get up and race to have a look. Tash’s embarrassment turned to anger, as she rounded on the one person who had not moved to gawk.

“You are a dead woman Phoenixia!” she growled. The ex hologram, was determinedly looking anywhere but at her friend.

“I didn’t know it was a big secret...” she said in a small voice. Seeing the leader’s glare intensify, she cringed back in her seat. “I didn’t know what I was saying or who I was telling! I was hungover and I just wanted a cup of coffee!”

“Kyaa~ wasn’t that the night you and Jess got drunk and crashed that bachelor party?” Aster asked innocently. “And then you slept with the groom?”

Unfortunately for Phoenixia, everyone had just returned to the kitchen in time to hear that particular statement. The ex-hologram went sheet white.

“You slept with a married man?!” Harriet gasped.

“I was drunk, and I didn’t know he was the groom until the next morning!” Phoenixia wailed, hiding her head in her hands. A few people giggled, including Aster, and Phoenixia saw red.

“Aster was moaning Aramayis’s name in her sleep last night!” she jabbed an accusing finger at the fae, who’s eyes went wide in horror. “That’s right Aster! You take me down, I’m taking you down with me!”

Fortunately for all concerned, Jess chose this moment to wander into the kitchen, Leonard dangling off her back like a lazy chimpanzee.

“What tidings!” she greeted. “Have you found the prince?”

The confusion was the perfect knife to cut the tension.

“Excuse me?” Adrian asked, his ears twitching in confusion.

“School thing,” Jess and Kiara said in unison, sitting back down.

“Imma have to take you guys home soon,” Tash warned. “Aster’s anime class is in ten minutes, and you’ve caused enough trouble for one day... took Adrian hours to clear up those fandoms...”

“Ah yes...” Jenny had adopted a mischievous look on her face and Adrian was abruptly reminded of a time when Tash had declared the quirky woman to be the absolute fear of Lord Voldemort himself. He felt what was left of his dignity make a pre-emptive exit.

“Adrian...” Jenny had got up from her seat and nodded to Kiara, who also stood tall.

“We have a few things we would like to talk to you about...” Adrian found his upper arm in a vice like grip.

“Such as your intentions with our sister,” Jenny finished, taking his other arm and steering him away from the table. For such a tiny girl she was freakishly strong!

“...huh?” there was a sinking in the Librarian’s stomach. “My... intentions?”

“Oh yes...” Jenny was smiling as they marched him briskly toward the door. “Y’know how people say that meeting the girlfriend’s parents is terrifying?”

“Well, it’s not Tashy’s parents you’ve got to impress, you see,” Kiara said simply. “With Tashy, it’s us you have to impress.”

The Librarian turned his head as he was wheeled out of the door. “Help!” he begged feebly.

“No one can help you now...” Kiara growled in a sinister voice. “Trust me. No one will even hear you scream...”


Wandering Thoughts: 16:22pm

“So by deconstructing the romance in Full Moon-”

Aster was not the brightest creature in the universe, and it was perhaps for this reason that she hadn’t noticed that half her class were asleep and the other half were paying no attention at all. It was the first class she’d been able to have in a while, and she was enjoying it too much to register her student’s distraction.

“...I miss Ben...” Lily thought to herself. “...this hurts so much... he probably wouldn’t notice if I came in with pink hair...” she paused. “...there’s a thought...”

“If gremlins infest technology and make it break,” Marcus pondered. “Does that make @ some kind of meta-gremilin?”

“...if I could get Aster to turn the AC down a little more,” Tash lamented to herself. “I could probably see Adrian’s nipples through that shirt...”

“Oh God. I can’t even look at him,” Rhia hid her blushing face into her textbook as she caught the eyes of her boyfriend once more. “All I think about is that body when I look at him...”

“...maybe if I ask really nicely, Harriet will allow me the budget to build my hairdryer hovercraft...” Gareth mused, petting the red cat in his lap softly as he gazed vacantly at the wall.

“I wonder what smoked haddock, with a dressing of motor oil, topped with seasoned bracken would be like...” Tyler had a twinkle in his eyes as he daydreamed.

“I wonder if Tyler knows he’s drooling on his textbook...” Michael gave a small smirk. “Glad I’m not him...”

“ Aster going to stop at some point and explain to me just what anime actually is?” Robert wondered. 

“I miss Phoenixia’s bed...” Valerie thought longingly. “So many fun things to do...”

Dum duh duh duh du du du du duh duh...” Dave hummed mentally to himself. “Dum duh duh duh du du du duh duh...duh duuuuh....duh duuuuuh...”

“...who keeps singing?” Combee wondered to herself.


Digging a Hole: 17:11pm

Skidding to a halt, Louise whipped her head around the corner of the Reading room, and a smile crossed her face as she observed the occupants.

“Perfect!” she declared. “All of you! Come with me!”

And she shot off again, leaving four pairs of eyes blinking in her wake.

“...I could be mistaken,” Dave raised a hand as though asking permission to speak. “But I think that was Louise.”

“I wonder what’s got her so excited?” Tom was frowning, as he slowly closed the Doctor Who novel he had been scanning.

“Why wonder?” Alice asked, bouncing up and almost stepping on Robert’s foot. “Let’s go find out!”

The quartet followed the comical trail of smoke left by Louise’s brisk pace, and found themselves in a very familiar section of the Library.

“Ah...smell that wonderful dirt,” Tom grinned, as they entered the archaeology section and found muddy ground beneath their feet instead of plush carpet.

“Were you not listening to me?” Louise huffed, hands on her hips impatiently. Only now did her companions register that her hands were filthy and her hair was dishevelled.

“Sorry dumpling,” Alice shrugged. “The Oneshots only let us speak Pokemon, not Excited-Louise speak.”

She ducked a heavy book that was biffed at her head.

“So what have you found?” Dave asked, taking a quick scan of the room. It seemed normal to him, and he knew that he, Tom and Louise were among the most intimately familiar with this section.

“Have a look,” Louise marched to a spot concealed behind the nearest sofa, and pointed dramatically. All four of them peered over the furniture to gaze upon the discovery.

Alice beamed.


Protruding up from the ground was a roundish white object, half buried, and rockfish in texture. Robert bent down and gently rubbed at it, and was surprised to feel that it was smooth.

“Its bone!” he declared in surprise.

“Its a fossil!” Emma stated, infinitely proud of herself for the discovery. “I tripped over it while I was trying to get to the back shelf. And I don’t know about you, but I want to see what it is!”

“...we’re going to dig this out?” Robert asked for clarification, as Alice began to vibrate on the spot in excitement.

“Well... me, Dave and Tom are,” Louise corrected. “Archaeologists and all that. Kinda trained for this...I was hoping you and Alice could do some research as we go along and try and figure out what it is.”

“Aww, I wanted to brandish a spade,” Alice pouted, but Louise was not fazed – fossils did not require spades, but gentle excavation with smaller tools, and an excited Alice, though well meaning, was not the gentlest creature around at the best of times...

And so it was that the three archaeologists pulled out their tools and got stuck in, whilst Alice sat to one side, using a pile of books as a barstool. By her feet sat Robert, hastily jotting down all of her ramblings into note form.

“...course this is the Library,” the pet search engine was saying. “So who knows how old this thing could be? Usually you’d have a good guess how old it is by how deep it is, or what kind of rock or peat its buried in, but that obviously doesn’t apply here...”

“Uh huh...” Tom muttered vaguely, from inside the now sizeable hole. He, Dave and Louise had rolled up their sleeves and were now filthy as they focused on scraping, wiping and gently brushing the dirt off the fossil. Alice frowned accusingly.

“You’re not listening to a word I’m saying, are you?”

“Sorry Alice, we don’t speak Search Engine,” Dave said, with a hint of a grin on his face. Over on the other side of the bone, Louise snorted, and sneezed as she inhaled a noseful of dirt.

“I’m no expert,” Robert chimed in, surveying the specimen below. “But that looks like a thigh bone to can tell from the ball joint at the top.”

“...bloody huge thigh,” Alice commented. “Dinosaur maybe? Let’s finish checking these books and we’ll cross reference with the palaeontology section once we’re done...”

She tossed the book she was holding away, sending it sliding down the hole towards the fossil. It whacked Dave in the shins, stopping just short of the giant bone.

“Out!” Louise declared. “Leg before wicket!”

Alice and Tom snorted, while Dave rubbed his legs and failed to look amused. Robert just looked rather confused, as he had never seen a cricket match before.

“Hey Lou,” Tom said suddenly. “You’ve got dirt on your cheek.”

The agent dropped her tools and began to wipe her face on the collar of her shirt. “Got it?”

“Nope,” Tom lifted one of his muddy fingers and wiped it deliberately across her cheek, with a grin. “Right there!”

Louise pulled a face. “Very funny,” she deadpanned, before lifting her own hand and rubbing it into his hair. “You’ve got some in your hair, y’know.”

“Hey!” Dropping his own shovel, Tom gathered a handful of mud. Louise scrambled back.

“Don’t you dare! Don’t you-GAH!”

She was tackled and the two began to wrestle in the dirt. Dave watched, apparently torn between disapproval at the unprofessional behaviour, and amusement as the shrieks turned into laughter.

“Do you think we should stop them?” he ventured to the couple observing from the side of the hole. Alice and Robert exchanged looks before shaking their heads in unison.



Leave it to the Leader: 17:24pm

“Are you sure you want to do this?” Karissa was chewing on her lip as she watched. Lily’s face was torn somewhere between conviction and sheer lunacy, but as she stared at the bottle of greenish fluid, she squeezed it tight as though affirming her decision.

“What have I got to lose? If this doesn’t make him take notice, nothing will!”

Sighing, Karissa leaned back in her chair and held a towel at the ready. “Okay... at least I talked you out of dying it pink...”

Lily gave a shaky laugh, and squeezed the bottle’s contents into her gloved hand. It smelt weird, and she hesitated before she started to run it into her hair, taking care to hold her head over the sink.

“What in the name of Pixie’s cricket whites are you doing?”

It was Harriet, hands on hips, with a red cat perched on her shoulder. The feline spotted the bottle of dye in Lily’s hand and meowed happily.

“Umm...” Lily was slightly intimidated by the Society leader, and she wished that they had thought to lock the bathroom door... heck, shutting it would have been a good start...

“We’re dying Lily’s hair,” Karissa declared. Harriet rolled her eyes.

“Yes, my dear underling, I can see that. What I cannot see, is why you are dying Lily’s hair.”

“To make Ben notice her,” Karissa explained.

“Karissa!” Lily was mortified. It was bad enough that Ben didn’t love her without the whole Society knowing how pathetic she was.

Harriet arched a pair of eyebrows into her hairline, before exchanging looks with the cat on her shoulder. It was almost possible to see the cogs beginning to turn in her head.

“Hmm... well, if you’re dying your hair, I can do no better than leave you in Red’s capable hands,” she said, picking the cat off her shoulder and plonking it on the side of the sink. A pair of eyes turned to glare at her reproachfully for such treatment.

“...with... Red?” now it was Karissa’s turn to lift an eyebrow. Not the most imaginative name for a cat, but she supposed it was better than Fluffy...

“Yes. Trust me, she’s an expert. She dyes her hair more than Phoenixia changes sexual partners.”

Karissa and Lily exchanged looks, clearly wondering if their leader had finally cracked.

“I’ll come looking for my new rookie later!” Harriet waved. “Show me how it turns out!”

And she strode from the room looking very much like a woman on a mission. Exasperated, and embarrassed beyond belief, Lily turned to stare at Karissa again.

“ you think we should ask Valerie and Phoenixia to check Harriet into the medical wing?”

“Possibly,” Karissa agreed. “I mean she’s always been off the wall, but now she’s just acting...”

“Like she’s taken too many cricket bats to the head?” came a new voice.

“Exactly...” Karissa’s agreement died off as she realised that the speaker had not been Lily.
Standing where the cat had been was a short woman with a fiendish smile, and violently red hair. She seemed totally nonplussed by her transformation and rolled her head to get rid of the stiff muscles.

“Right!” she clapped her hands together and smirked at the pair. “Are you sitting comfortably? Good...then we’ll begin...”

Half way down the corridor, Harriet was walking, swinging her cricket bat with a contemplative look on her face.

I knew Ben was being a prat of a boyfriend,” she thought. “But I didn’t realise it had got this bad...I think its time we gave him and his little gang of musicians some competition... and I’m just the leader to cook something this brilliant up!”


@: Had a most productive day. Played the Wii with Jared and Chloe (and won), saw the Society have tea and eat scones, fell asleep in Aster’s anime class, saw Harriet beating up her breeding paperwork, watched Phoenixia in the shower, and found out who’s underwear that was in the Ancient Roman Reading Room. 18:13pm.

Merle Ravensclaw: ...I think you need a life, my dear. 18:21pm.

@: Really? I thought you’d be interested to know that I just saw some kind of dinosaur skeleton trying to eat your friends? 18:24pm.

Merle Ravensclaw: If you mean Mirani and Robert, they are not my friends! 18:25pm.

Edward Casanova: You spied on my true love in the shower?! How dare you?! She is mine! Only I can watch her in that way! 18:29pm.

@: That’s not what she was telling her pretty bedmate last night... 18:29pm.

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Wow! We should start charging for this entertainment! How much would you pay to see unscripted drama of this quality? (Harriet) 18:36pm.

Merle Ravensclaw: Pay? To watch the days of your lives? Not in a million years, Marlow. 18:38pm.


Immortal Fanfiction: 19:01pm

“Are you sure they won’t mind us doing this?”

“Hey, its only fair! I’m ninety nine percent sure that Harriet deliberately scheduled your monitor room shift so that you wouldn’t be able to make band practise!”

Ben was waving Bahamut around as though it had been the one to schedule Avak’s monitor duty at this most inappropriate time. In the swivel chair, the bassist ducked the guitar blow that would have concussed him.

“Harriet wouldn’t do that,” Jess stated, and Valerie nodded in agreement.

“Yes she would,” Ben objected. “She’s annoyed at me because I woke her up practising the other evening. Like it’s my fault that British people go to sleep at weird times!”

He strummed a few notes on Bahamut before plugging the guitar in and producing a much louder variation of the previous sounds. “Okay, its a bit cramped, but we’re used to that. Let’s go guys!”

For the next fifteen minutes, anyone walking past the monitor room left the vicinity very quickly. The noise was absolutely deafening, and anyone who ventured in to complain, was quickly chased off by a ferocious looking Shirley.

With a final ringing note, the group finally greeted silence once more.

“Awesome!” Ben wiped the sweat from his forehead, and turned the high risk alarms off on the monitor (a poor substitute for proper stage lighting). “Let’s take five... did anyone bring any drinks?”

As the group shook their heads, and flopped gratefully into seats, they gulped as Michael wandered in, Combee perched on top of his head like an oddly oversized hat traditionally worn by rich ladies to the cricket. Everyone braced themselves for a lecture, but strangely it never came. The only sound was the bumblebee Pokemon humming to herself, seemingly oblivious to the vacant and faintly horrified look on her trainer’s face.

“Umm... Michael?” For a wonderful moment, Ben wondered if the sheer awesome of the group’s music had been enough to stun the Chief Agent. But Michael paid no attention, instead striding to the monitor screens and typing something in with shaky fingers. He thumped the enter key with considerable force, and let out breath that sounded more like a sigh of relief.

“...I cannot believe it has taken us this long to do that!”

And he sank into the corner of the room, rocking backwards and forwards in a manner that made him look shellshocked. Combee giggled and rocked herself along with him happily.

Confused, the band clustered around the monitors to see just what Michael had done. On the screen was a single list that they all recognised – the infamous Black List – and at the bottom was a new entry.

My Immortal.

“Oh... dear...” Valerie gave the leader a sympathetic look.

“Wait, I thought you’d read this fic before?” Ben asked, making a mental note to fill the confused looking Avak in later...or maybe not, he considered. The fic was infamous for being terrible, and he didn’t want to traumatise the boy.

“I have!” Michael moaned, rubbing his arms as though cold. “I was bored...and made the mistake of reading it again...and then I realised that its never been Black Listed...”

“No Sue would dare go into it!” Jess snorted.

“Well there’s your lesson then,” Valerie said brightly. “Don’t reread stuff you know you’re going to... Michael!” she yelped. “Stop clawing at your arms!”

“But I feel so... filthy!”


A Magnificent Harriet Plan: 19:12pm

“...I’m surrounded by your embrace. Baby, I can see your halo. You know you’re my saving grace...”

Lily tossed the sheets to the floor, tears of frustration in her eyes. “Its no good. We just can’t sing!” she turned to glare at the leader, brushing a few strands of her now almost black fringe from her face. Karissa reached over to squeeze her shoulder.

“Yeah Hati, I love you,” Tash said, pressing a hand to her forehead. “But this was a terrible plan!”

“Never speak ill of the plan!” Harriet jabbed a finger at the group who all seemed to regard the microphones like they were a strange new species of tree – Rhia in particular looked as though hers was about to eat her. “The plan is solid!”

“Even if we didn’t suck,” Tash pointed out. “We’d never be good enough to catch their attention, except for them to tell us to stop sucking so much.”

Despairing at the hopeless attitude of her performers, Harriet paced the room. It had been a brilliant plan in her mind. The easiest way to fix the Ben and Lily problem was to slap Ben and tell him to man up and pay attention to his girlfriend – but Harriet was fairly sure that there was some kind of law preventing her from abusing her staff, so she couldn’t go with that plan. So plan B was to make Ben aware of Lily’s presence more, and since Harriet knew for a (very loud) fact that most of Ben’s time was taken up with the band these days, what better way than to throw some competition into the mix?

So the leader had snapped up Lily, Karissa and the first two victims she could find (namely Tash and Rhia), and dragged them off to the music section of the Library. This particular room had great acoustics and books on every inch of the walls about training ones voice.

“Look Lily!” she turned to the green haired woman hoping for a little support. “You want to get Ben to notice you again don’t you?”

“Yes, but he’s not going to notice me when I sound like this!” the former Sue kicked at the sheets on the floor. “We just can’t compete with them in singing! I’m better at dancing than singing.”

“Yeah me too,” Tash agreed, and Karissa nodded in agreement. Harriet leaned against a table containing an old gramophone, frowning deep in thought. There had to be something that they could do to make them competitive on the stage...

A light bulb went off above her head...literally. The glowing appliance flickered back into life with spooky timing.

“ why don’t you dance instead?”


Home: 20:05pm

Valerie pulled open the cell door and smiled supportively at Sherri. The Sue looked a little better than she had earlier – possibly from the talk with Declan, or the steak dinner which had been presented to her earlier that evening. Valerie held the door open and nodded towards the exit.

“Come on. The leaders want a word.”

What colour had been in Sherri’s face vanished abruptly in fear and she got slowly to her feet, her hands pressed over her stomach as though to shield it from whatever the leaders were about to unleash. Valerie tried to look encouraging, but it didn’t seem to be working, and so she just steered the nervous young woman up the stairs and into the main area of the Library.

 “It’ll be alright,” Valerie tried to assure her. “They’re not going to do anything. They’ve just been having a discussion about your living conditions. We’ll have a chat with them and then I’ll take you for an ultrasound.”

“...are you telling the truth?” Sherri asked. “They’re not going to make me get rid of it?”

“No,” Valerie’s voice was firm, and she pulled the Sue to a halt to face her. “I swear to you, they will not make you get rid of your baby. We’re going to do all we can to support you. I promise.”

And strangely, Sherri found herself believing her. Valerie had the look that a protective and determined mother might wear when discovering her child was being threatened. She would not let anything happen to her. She could trust her... she had to trust her. Because the alternative was horrifying to the young woman. Sobs broke through and the Sue buried her face in the healer’s shoulder.

“It’ll be alright,” Valerie soothed, wrapping her arms around her and cuddling her close. “You’re going to be alright. You and baby.”

“I’m scared...” the woman whispered.

“That’s normal for new mothers,” Valerie agreed.

“Not for a Sue...” was the sniffled response. “I’m supposed to know what to do...”

Valerie felt the prohibitor on Sherri’s wrist press into her back. It must be a strange sensation to be certain of your actions your whole life and then suddenly start doubting yourself. She let the young woman go and led her on towards their destination.

The room in question was one of the smaller reading rooms, decorated with thick red and gold rugs, four humungous sofas which could swallow you into their cushions if you were not careful, and a piano, which Harriet was tapping at impatiently. Tash was sprawled on a sofa still dressed in workout clothes, with Dave perched on the arm looking faintly amused by her lethargy.

“Ah Valerie!” Harriet shut the piano lid with a ‘thunk!’. “There you are! And Sherri too! We’re just waiting for Michael.”

Valerie turned to the Sue, who looked as though she wanted to bolt, and gave her a little push towards the nearest sofa. Sherri sank into the cushions, still covering her stomach with her hands.

“Are we going to be alright in here?” Valerie asked. “No one will disturb us or anything?”

“Nah,” Harriet shook her head. “Did you not see the sign on the door?”

Valerie blinked in confusion. “...the sign?”

“Yeah,” the leader nodded. “The big one saying ‘Unauthorised access will be punished with a spanking’?”

Sherri’s was positive that she had misheard, but Valerie rolled her eyes and declared. “That won’t stop Phoenixia.”

“Don’t worry, I put it back up,” Michael crept into the room. He still looked shellshocked from his earlier fanfiction readings, but he was at least not clawing his arms any longer. Combee was still perched on his head, a little plastic box hanging from a string around her neck. Her eyes went wide at the sight of the Sue.

“Ooo new person!” she trilled, buzzing off her trainer’s head and towards the surprised and alarmed looking woman. “Hello new person! My name is Combee!”

“She won’t hurt you,” Valerie assured the Sue, who’s eyes flicked between Combee and the door rapidly. The healer turned to the Pokemon. “Are those cookies Combee?”

Combee nodded and dropped the box onto Valerie’s lap. “Miss Rhi-Rhi made them for me,” she giggled. “She’s such a good cook! They’re tasty! Do you want one?”

Valerie nodded, and opened the box. “Thank you Combee.” She took one and handed it to the Sue. “Cookie?”

Despite her trepidation, Sherri took the offered biscuit and chewed on it slowly.

“Okay, meeting has begun!” Harriet clapped her hands. “Or at least it will when someone gives me a cookie.”

She was handed one and immediately began to speak.

“Okay. Sherri, we have some good news and some bad news.”

Sherri’s heart sank. They were going to make her get rid of the baby. She just knew it.

“The bad news,” Dave picked up from the leader. “Is that we’ve been in contact with your author, and she’s not willing to have you back.”

The Sue was confused. Usually the Society only asked the authors that question when a Sue was up for parole... did that mean she was up for parole now?”

“The good news,” Dave continued. “Is that we’ve found someone who can take you in for the rest of your sentence. You’ll come back for your parole hearing in five months like you were supposed to, but it’ll probably just be a formality. You’ll spend the next five months under house arrest, with your host as your supervisor. If Declan passes his parole next month we’ll send him to stay with you. Once your own sentence is up you can choose if you want to stay there or go through the usual system where we send you back prohibited to your home fandom.”

Sherri could barely believe her ears. “I’m not going back to the basement?”

“Of course not!” Harriet snorted as though the idea were preposterous. “You can’t have a baby in the basement! It would traumatise the Gary-Stus for life!”

There were a few small laughs, and Sherri felt her spirits rise.

“Who’s taking me in?” she asked.

“First let me ask you this my dear,” Harriet leaned forwards in her seat. “Who did you want to win in Sue Factor this year?”

Sherri frowned in confusion. So much had happened the night of the finals she had barely thought of the competition. “Umm... I was voting for Ardelisa.”

The grin on Harriet’s face was marred only by a few cookie crumbs at the corner of her mouth. “Perfect!”


Lieutenant Runoa: Is bored of researching. 22:27pm

Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Watch this. It’ll lift your spirits – Michael ( 22:31pm


Anti-Cliche and Mary-Sue Elimination Society: Teehee! – Michael. 22:33pm

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