AV: Yo. I know it's been ages, sorry but real life got in the way. I finally finished rewriting my first mission, and it somehow turned into a rewrite of my writing sample too. I hope it's better. I renamed it because I felt it was a new product, so it needed a new name. Well, one down, three to go...
The Marquis de Sod hated interruptions of any sort, it was well known- even if he had been the one to create them. This had not bypassed the intern who, having been summoned to the Marquis’ office, was the cause of said interruption. Her name was Ally Malet, and she was managing to ignore the irritation in the Flower’s tone as he talked.
Intern Malet, you are now a full Agent. You have been assigned to the Department of Floaters, beginning immediately.
Ally blinked. “Wait. I thought I had another agent pair to intern with."
Incorrect. Due to staffing issues, you have been reassigned to the Department of Floaters. The Marquis set a flash-patch on the desk.
The intern thought about this for a moment and shrugged. “Fine. So, who’s my new partner?”
Her name is Grace Leon. She’s an ex-Technician who recently transferred from DoSAT.
Ally kept her face carefully blank as she thought, An ex-Technician? Great, my first partner and I get landed with some gadget-obsessed nerd who’s probably never fucking been in combat before. Just my luck.
The Marquis did not sound amused. Agent Malet, I don’t particularly care whether or not you like your partner. Now that I have informed you of your placement, would you please leave?
“Hang on. Where am I meant to be going? What’s the RC number?” Ally asked.
The Marquis flicked through some papers. The number has been lost, apparently, in an incident involving a small bowl of custard, an anthropomorphic sheep, five pint glasses of dolphin blood and a bootleg of early Mozart concertos. However, there is a note here that suggests that instead, you look for your partner’s RC.
Ally sighed and nodded. Of course this couldn’t be simple.
Kindly linger and whine somewhere else. I have work to do.
Rather than argue, Ally left the office and headed back to her RC.
A while later, with her bags slung over her shoulders, Ally walked through the corridors of HQ, carefully avoiding thinking anything along the lines of ‘I need to get to Grace Leon’s RC’. After what felt like an hour but could have been five minutes without success, she stopped, leaned against the wall and took a breath as she tried to readjust her bags.
The hallway was nearly empty, the walls dented and scratched from only the gods knew what. Further up the hall, the wall looked like an elephant had stormed through it; it showed obvious signs of repair, as did the battered door nearby.
Ally paused as she debated whether or not to continue immediately.
The Laws of Narrative Comedy decided to solve the problem for her.
Five seconds later, the door exploded.
Ally threw herself to the ground, her bags landing over her head and shielding her from flying debris. Once the sounds of falling debris had died away, she got up and looked around.
The door, and quite a bit of the wall, was gone. There was surprisingly little smoke.
An agent emerged from the hole that used to have a door and groaned. “Great, that’s another door.” She had a strong English accent, and sounded more exasperated than shocked or worried.
“What happened?” Ally asked, feeling more than a little annoyed.
The other agent looked over in surprise and gasped. “Oh no, are you all right?”
“I’m fine,” Ally said shortly. “What happened?”
“I tried to build a laser cannon and it exploded,” the other woman said, running a hand through her hair. “Oh well. It wasn’t working, anyway.”
“A laser cannon? You build your own weapons?”
“Oh no. I used to be part of DoSAT, but now that I’m an agent, I just build whatever I want.”
Ally bit her lip. “Your name isn’t Grace Leon, is it?”
“How did you know?”
Ally extended a hand. “Hi, I’m Ally Malet. I’m your new partner.”
Thankfully, the explosion was more outward than inward, so the RC wasn’t in a state of total devastation.
None of the furnishings looked new, which was probably best considering the size of the burn marks that scarred the desk, some new, some old. Apart from the large number of parts lying around, the place seemed OK, Ally thought.
Grace led the way in and stopped, grimacing at the sight. “Oh, sorry about the mess. I haven’t been too organised lately, I just moved in…” She began to gather up parts and set them down on the desk.
Ally shrugged. “No problem. You haven’t been here for long?”
“I moved in about… oh, maybe two days ago? I’ve managed to unpack most of my stuff, but I haven’t really got organised.”
“And you decided to build a cannon instead?” the new agent asked, eyebrows raised.
“I’d nearly finished it before I transferred. I thought I should try to get it done. I might not have been thinking clearly.”
Ally resisted the urge to say something like ‘Well, that’s obvious’ and instead helped her new partner to clean up.
Once they were done, Grace stepped away from the desk and pointed to an open door. “That’s the kitchen. The bathroom’s there,” and she pointed to another door. “My room is the one on the left, yours is the one on the right.”
Ally nodded and picked up her bags. “Guess I’d better get settled in. We don’t have a mission, do we?”
Grace shook her head and flopped down onto the couch.
Ally shrugged and headed over to her room, bags in tow.
Her room was a little bare, but it looked perfectly comfortable. Once she’d unpacked, she returned to the main room, where Grace was fiddling with something electronic.
“What’s that?” Ally asked, leaning against the desk.
Grace looked up in surprise and then down at the thing as if she didn’t know how it had got there. “Oh, right. A while ago, DoSAT put a team together to try making a Combined CAD. I’m not part of the team, but I thought maybe I could see if I could make one, or even just try to make something that could help them.” She looked down and sighed ruefully. “It’s not going well, though.”
Ally shrugged. “Good luck, I guess.” She paused. “So, where are you from? What continuum?”
Grace paused, and Ally took the time to really look at her new partner. She was fairly tall, though shorter than Ally’s six feet, and she looked to be about a decade older. Her hair was a dull shade of brown, her eyes slightly darker, and she looked oddly familiar.
Much to Ally’s chagrin, there was absolutely nothing about her that suggested that she was in any way skilled in combat.
Grace answered, “I’m from Primeval. Have you heard of it?”
Ally nodded. “I’ve seen the first season and about half of the second season. It was really good.” After a second, she blinked. “That’s who you remind me of!”
“Connor Temple,” Grace confirmed. “I was supposed to be his twin sister.”
“Well, that explains a lot,” Ally said. She paused. “Hang on, supposed?”
“My author seemed to have confused the concept of ‘original lines for your original character’ as opposed to ‘taking Connor’s lines from canon because you’re too lazy’,” Grace said somewhat bitterly. “I’m more like a genderbent Connor with some extra personality traits tacked on.”
Ally winced. “Could be worse, though. You could have been Ithalond.”
Grace shuddered. “Good point. What about you?” She paused. “And why does your name ring a bell?”
Ally lifted her right arm and pressed her left thumb to the palm. The palm shone with a steady green light that lasted until Ally lifted her thumb.
“Oh, that’s right! We made you those limbs! How are they doing?” Grace asked eagerly.
Ally flexed her right arm and smiled. “The arm’s great, haven’t had a problem with it. The eye’s good, too. There’s just one problem.”
“The eye has perfect night vision, but my other eye doesn’t. Screws up my vision like hell.”
Grace blinked. “…Crap. I’m sorry.” She went bright red.
“But I don’t need night vision that often,” Ally said hastily. “And it’s great, apart from that. Really. I’m OK.”
“Are you sure? We could make you another eye, or alter that one…”
“No, I’m good. It’s not a big problem. I’m fine.”
The ensuing silence became increasingly awkward, and Grace cast around for a new topic. “So, what continuum are you from?”
“The Hunger Games,” Ally replied.
“Oh, I’ve read those! Well, the first two. They were pretty good. What did you do in your fic?”
Ally shrugged. “The usual. Killed lots of people, batted my eyelids at a Stu and acted my part like a good little puppet.” She spat the last word out.
Ally sighed. “More than a little, I’ll admit.”
Grace took the ensuing pause as a chance to survey her new partner. Though she looked to be around seventeen, she had to be at least six feet tall, maybe a couple of inches taller. She was thin, though muscular, and her arms and legs bore many old scars. Her hair was long, red and in an unremarkable braid. Her eyes made the older agent hesitate, though- the contrast between Ally’s natural brown eye and her artificial grey eye was enough to make anyone pause (excepting possibly the crazier Agents, Luxury and the Flowers), and her stare carried a hint of insanity only just repressed.
The pause grew longer, becoming rather awkward until the console decided to break the silence.
[YOU ARE THE GHOOOOOOOST! OF UTOOOOOOOOOOPIA! YOU’RE THE CONQUERED STAR, THE DIVIDED HEARTS!]
Ally reacted, instantly leaping to her feet and pulling out a knife, and Grace jumped in surprise. Her hand moved and two parts of the device connected and the entire thing shorted out with a flash of light and a cloud of smoke.
Grace leapt to her feet with an exclamation, dropping the device in the process. While her pants had a small scorch mark marring them, that appeared to be the extent of the damage.
“Are you all right?”
“I’m fine, I’m fine. Just surprised.”
“What the hell was that?”
“The console,” Grace replied. “I tried hooking it up to my computer and now all the alerts are from my songs.”
“Ah,” Ally said after a moment’s pause. She slid the knife back into its sheath and walked over to the console. She hesitated for a second and finally hit a button as though expecting snakes to jump out of the screen.
Once reassured that the RC would remain snake-less, she began to read the mission.
“Oh, this will be fun.”
“What’s the continuum?” Grace asked.
“Watership Down. Ever heard of it?”
“Of course, it’s a classic. It was one of my favourite books when I was younger. Have you heard of it?”
Ally nodded. “I read it a few weeks ago. It was pretty good.”
“Oh, good,” Grace said. “I’ll go get the things we’ll need, then.” She put down the device and hurried off to her bedroom.
In her absence, Ally returned to her room and found her backpack. She filled it with an RA, a CAD, some food, her copy of Watership Down and a crowbar. As she packed, she thought.
I’d better bring along the necessities. From the sound of it, she’s got no mission experience whatsoever- and she’s a tech-geek besides. With my luck, she’ll be totally useless. She sighed. I suppose I should give her a try, she might surprise me.
In her own room, Grace was packing all manner of things into her bag, and carefully keeping a mental list.
RA, CAD, DORKS, handbook, food, water, copy of the book, DVD of the movie, laser... That looks like everything. Hopefully this mission won’t be too terrible- but they gave me a fresh-out-of-Interning rookie who’s probably a psychopath. She’ll probably destroy half of my technology five minutes in. I’d better pack a back-up. Oh, I need to stop being so judgemental- I barely know her. All right, I’ll give her a chance- but if she breaks my gadgets, I’m transferring.
Both agents emerged from their rooms and paused.
“What kind of fic is it?” Grace asked.
“A Sue-fic, but I think it’s a trollfic. I didn’t read that far in, though.”
“Wonderful,” Grace muttered. “Just wonderful.” She took a breath, straightened her shoulders and opened the portal into the fic. “Onwards we go!”
Whatever, Ally thought. She hefted her axe and headed through after her.
They emerged in an indistinct land. Around them, the landscape constantly faded and shimmered, grass and hills appearing and vanishing in seconds.
“What the…” Ally muttered.
Grace winced and unfocused her eyes, scanning the Words. “Ah, I see. The fic never said when it was set, so the world is constantly flicking between Sandleford Warren and Watership Down.”
Ally glared at the landscape. “You don’t have any sunglasses or anything, do you?”
Grace nodded. “First, let me try something.” She inhaled, looked at the still-changing landscape, and said clearly, “Since this fic mentions the Threarah as a living character, this fic is probably set some time before the events of the book, at Sandleford Warren.”
The landscape changed, settling into the idyllic pastures of the Sandleford Warren. The agents now stood at the edge of the wood, under a tall oak tree. The sun shone down strongly, and Grace pulled her jacket off and sat down under the tree.
“I’m impressed,” Ally remarked.
Grace shrugged. “Beginner’s luck.” She looked around. “Oh, now that I mention it, there’s no Author’s Note or disclaimer.”
“Wait, isn’t that a-”
Not many people know about Rosebelle's story before she became Fiver's mate. She was a beautiful doe and had many un-serious mates- until one rabbit. No, not Fiver, it was someone else.
“-charge?” Ally completed belatedly, and winced.
Grace glanced over to her. “Do you have any objection to me doing the charges, or would you prefer to?”
“I don’t mind,” Ally answered.
Grace dug through her bag and emerged with her notebook and pen. She opened the book to a fresh page and began to write. “No disclaimer… well, given that disclaimers have the legal bearing of a dead fish, I suppose they’re not absolutely necessary unless the author of a work has explicitly asked for fics to have one, which Richard Adams hasn’t as far as I know. Author’s notes aren’t necessary either… no charge, I guess.”
“Charge for using terms like ‘un-serious’,” Ally commented.
“Oh, definitely,” Grace replied, scribbling.
“Weren’t they supposed to be monogamous?” Ally asked. “I mean, you had pairs that seemed pretty monogamous, like Strawberry and Nildro-hain, and Fiver and Vilthuril.”
“But, on the other hand, there was that line in Efrafa about how the Owsla could take any doe they liked- but then again, Efrafa wasn’t exactly a standard warren. I don’t know, I suppose we can charge for that.” Grace wrote down the charge. “Actually, since you mentioned it, that’s another charge, for usurping Fiver’s mate. Also, we need to start looking for a mini-Sue. This fic is called ‘Rosebel and Her Life Before’, but the fic calls her ‘Rosebelle’.
Ally shrugged. “Easy enough.” She looked around and finally caught sight of a tiny rabbit sitting nearby. Rosebelle had pink fur and looked like someone had dumped a bucket of glitter on her. Without hesitation, Ally walked over to her, lifted her foot and brought it down as hard as she could.
There was an extremely unpleasant noise, a combination of the crack of broken bones, the squish of crushed internal organs, and the pathetically cute squeaks of the mini-Sue.
Grace looked up. “What was that?”
Ally wiped her shoe off on the grass. “That was Rosebelle.”
Grace stared at her in horror.
Ally was confused. “What?”
“You crushed her?”
“It was the easiest method,” Ally replied, wondering why Grace was getting so freaked out.
“That’s… disgusting,” Grace managed, trying to restrain her nausea. Death disconcerted her, and crushing tiny, defenceless animals was not endearing her to her partner.
Ally frowned. “It was the easiest method,” she repeated. “By the way, did you get that other charge?”
“What charge?” Grace asked, startled at the sudden change of subject.
“If this Sue is Fiver’s mate, she would have had to survive the extermination of Sandleford Warren. But apart from Hazel’s group, the only ones to survive were Holly’s group, and of them, only Bluebell and Holly lived to make it to Watership Down. Charge for an implausible plot.”
“She might have planned to explain it in a future chapter,” Grace argued, trying not to think about the corpse lying nearby.
Ally shrugged. “OK then, your call.”
Hahira otherwise known as Dhaira was a buck who had an old Owsla father and a mother, daughter of the Chief Rabbit. He was spoiled, they were rich and the Thereah in a way resented his father. They of course came over for feasts in the good seasons, because rabbits know no holidays of any sort.
“Hang on, what?”
“So apparently, rabbits have nicknames, feasts, money and can spoil their kittens,” Ally said in disbelief.
Grace scribbled down charges, her face white with anger. “Oh, I hate this guy. I don’t care that he hasn’t said anything yet, I still hate him!”
Movement nearby caught Ally’s eye. She turned and saw a mini-Woundwort sitting nearby nibbling on some grass- ‘the Thereah’, evidently.
Because Hahira's parents were always at work when he was young, he was taken care of by a nanny he loved until one day he called her "Mommy" and she was sent away by his mother. He missed her stories and he was terrible to all the nannies that his mother hired until they all quit and warned the other does on the warren board to stay away so his mother was forced to quit her job or rehire his nanny as long as she wasn't known as his mother.
But his nanny Helga died a couple years later and Hahira would've topped Santa's naughty list- not that bunnies knew about Santa- and became a rotten kid. Then he was kicked out by his parents for chasing after does at the start-of-the-season feast.
Both agents stared in stunned shock.
“Remind me,” Grace said finally, “we are still part of the Department of Floaters, right? We haven’t been transferred to the Department of WTF?”
“I don’t think so,” Ally replied. “I think writing these charges up would just be redundant, they’re so similar.”
“So I’ll charge for contradictory sentences, turning rabbits into furry humans and trying to destroy canon,” Grace concluded.
Around them, the world was becoming pale and the characters slow, as though the life was being leeched out of it.
Now he went and started to dig his own hole in a place that he scanned and found no burrows whatsoever in the area. He spent all day building it and it was 1 in the morning when he finally finished and dozed off. When he woke in the morning, the hole he saw was small to him- before he lived in a hole wider than a tennis court. He ate a breakfast of grass that left his belly empty, for he was a built-up buck.
He started to dig into the far wall but at noon he had a gigantic lunch and then feeling nauseous began to dig again. He took a nap but when he woke up he still imagined the hole as puny. He kicked into the wall and the surprisingly burst through the wall three inches from a doe's face.
"What in the blazes do you think you're doing?" she said angrily. He replied, "Making my burrow." She stepped back and glared at the size of her burrow to the size of his- his was maybe four times bigger than her modest little home. Then she stepped back against her wall and scowled.
“Buck rabbits don’t dig!” Grace protested. “He’d be a hlessil, a vagrant, living out of abandoned holes! Besides, it’s a hole, not a building! How much effort do you need to spend on it?”
“I suppose that if you dug it close to the surface you’d want to make sure that the roof didn’t fall in, but I agree,” Ally said. “Also, you can’t eat food that makes your stomach empty. And they’re acting like humans again. Plus, didn’t the Words say that there were no burrows in sight? How can this doe be there? Even if the network of tunnels was that extensive, there’d be surface entrances somewhere.”
Grace nodded and began to scribble, the pen pressing deeply into the pad.
"Hey, I know you. Nephew of the Thereah, huh?" She muttered something about lazy rich people and raised her eyebrows. "Let's go, rebuild the wall!"
Hahira, spoiled as he was, was rarely told off and he was astounded. "No. I'm royalty in this warren, I deserve respect."
Rosebelle knocked him over. His fur was coated with dirt. He got up and said, "I'm going to go build my burrow somewhere else- where does don't act like bucks."
“Rich rabbits, my arse,” Ally muttered. “Besides, wouldn’t it be easier to just turn the hole into a door?” She looked around. “Grace?”
The older agent was staring at the Words, her face colourless and her eyes narrowed with fury. She was gripping her pen so tightly it looked like it might break from her grip.
Ally edged away from her, nearly bumping into the Thereah.
Grace snarled and snapped the pen in two. Ally dodged a piece of flying plastic and winced as Grace began to rant.
“Royalty? Rabbits don’t have royalty! Damn this Sue, doesn’t she have any respect for the story at all? Does she have any idea how much effort Richard Adams put into this story? No, of course not, she’s a Sue! She only cares about herself!”
Ally glanced around and saw something she hadn’t expected to see. Rosebelle the mini-Sue was nearby, cringing from the force of her partner’s anger- and surprisingly, alive and completely intact.
Ally decided to end the problem before Grace noticed it and brought the axe down on the mini-Sue. With Rosebelle safely dispatched, she sorted through her bag, found a bottle of water, unscrewed the cap and threw it in her raging partner’s face.
Grace was abruptly shocked out of her furious state and blinked. “What the…”
Ally decided to just ask the question and get it over with. “Are you really sure you want to go on missions? Because if you’re going to go off like this every time you see a Sue, I may as well just chain you to a wall in FicPsych and save myself time.”
“No, I… this Sue is destroying one of the foundations of my childhood!” Grace protested. “I have a right to be mad!”
“Hey, it could be worse.”
“She could be fucking Hazel, Bigwig, Strawberry, Fiver and Pipkin all at once. She could have led the rabbits against Woundwort and won. She could have been the most beautiful rabbit ever seen. He could get Bigwig pregnant. He could be a teenage… I think the word is ‘emo’. You get my point?”
“I guess so,” Grace answered finally. “I’m sorry, I over-reacted. I wasn’t expecting my first mission to be like this.”
Ally shrugged. “Don’t worry about it. I don’t mind some hysterical rants every so often. Actually, I kind of like you more now. You seemed so… normal when we first met.”
Great, the psychopath likes me because I went nuts. This is going to be just wonderful, Grace thought darkly.
Rosebelle jumped, and said, "Why thank you for building me this lovely home, I'll just patch up that ridiculous hole of yours, patch up the absurdly thin roof of yours, and I'll invite the house mothers over for tea and I'll tell them all about the loser who built my house."
Hahira thought of this, "Hahira. I'll be living right next to you; we'll be the best of neighbors!"
Ally looked over at Grace, anticipating another vengeful reaction, but Grace seemed calmer now. She found another pen, picked up the pad from where it had fallen and began to write. “Charge for the term ‘thought of this’, charge for Rosebelle acting like they’re still at Sandleford and charge for general ridiculousness. That sound good?”
“I suppose so,” Grace answered.
Rosebelle the mini-Sue appeared next to the Thereah. The larger rabbit looked at her and cuffed her violently. Rosebelle squealed and began to run, but Ally set her axe down, picked her up, leaned back and threw her as hard as she could toward a distant rock.
There was a rather ominous thud. Grace’s eyes widened in horror.
Rosebelle was off her rocker, "Rosebelle, I'm making sure you do no such thing!"
Hahira, "I'm just going to go out for a late dinner, why don't you patch up the wall, roommate?" But then they heard panting up above and-
Rosebelle the mini-Sue appeared, glanced around, spotted Ally and immediately started to run. Ally lifted her axe, aimed, and threw. The axe landed directly on the mini-Sue, splitting her in half.
Grace resisted the urge to throw up as the pungent odour of sickly sweet sugar mixed with the tang of blood reached her nose. “Did you have to do that?”
Ally shrugged, picked up her axe and wiped the blade on the grass. “I need to keep in practice. No point in having an axe if you don’t make sure you’re good enough to use it. Charge for… let’s see… improper phrasing of sentences, using human slang and trying to invoke a… I believe the term is ‘slap slap kiss’… relationship when it really just looks like they’re having chronic mood swings.” She finished writing and nodded in satisfaction.
Rosebelle trembled, "Elil- fox, I think. You fool! He'll burst through the roof and kill us both!" The roof started to lean in and a big crack opened. "Goodbye," said Rosebelle. They both closed their eyes and suddenly... the elil walked past.
“I suppose,” Grace remarked, “she gets points for using words like elil, but at this point it just looks like she’s throwing them in to remind us that she’s a rabbit and not a human, or an anthro rabbit like in Redwall.”
Ally nodded. “Although, I think we can charge her for improper animal behaviour. I mean, if you were walking around and the ground started to crack and open under your weight, what would you do?”
“I’d get the hell off it.”
“Exactly,” Ally said. “I don’t think a fox would just casually keep walking over ground that could fall in.”
The mini-Sue appeared again, and Ally rolled her eyes. “This is getting boring.”
“What, you can’t think up enough horrible ways to kill her?” Grace asked.
“No, I’m good,” Ally said, setting down her axe, rummaging through her bag and withdrawing her crowbar. She grabbed the mini-Sue, tossed her into the air, and swung the crowbar like a baseball bat.
The mini flew off into the distance.
“Please don’t make a Team Rocket joke,” Grace begged.
Ally blinked. “A what?”
Grace heaved a sigh of relief. “I’ll explain later. Shouldn’t they be running from the fox?”
Ally thought about it. “Well, holding still and hoping it won’t notice you is a viable tactic. However, they’re rabbits. In canon, I think they’d be running. It’s a charge.”
Ally wrote the charge down. Grace glanced over her shoulder, saw the large list and a thought struck. She turned to Ally. “Say, why aren’t you angry at this?”
Ally looked up, startled from her thoughts. “Sorry?”
“This Sue and Stu are doing their best to destroy canon, and you’re not angry?”
Ally shrugged. “Look, I liked the book, but to me, it’s just another book I like, one of dozens. It wasn’t my childhood. Besides, this fic isn’t really anything to get mad about-”
“Oh, now you’ve said it,” Grace muttered.
“There are some things that make me angry,” Ally continued, “and other things that just make me laugh and say ‘Well, isn’t this stupid’. This fic is stupid, so it isn’t making me angry- that, and I don’t really care what a couple of OC’s do in their own time. If it was a Sue who made Bigwig a wimp or Hazel indecisive and weak or Fiver a drama queen, I’d be angry. But like I said, I’m not going to get mad at a stupid fic.”
Hahira was shielding Rosebelle when they opened their eyes and they both blushed. Hahira said, "I'll go. Good luck with the remodeling." he started to walk out, but Rosebelle kicked the wall until it was no longer there. "Roomy, do you mind the house mothers coming here for tea? They've never been over. We could expand it and make beds of straw from the farm and we could make an underground tunnel to the stream for drinks and baths. My mother could baby-sit the kids while we go to work. How about it, roomy?"
Hahira said, "Perfect," And they repaired the house and made a tunnel and raided farms.
“I don’t buy it,” Ally said flatly. “OK, surviving a near-death experience can make people form a bond, but it can also have no effect whatsoever- or just make them feel awkward. As a plot device, it’s pretty stupid. ‘Oh, a fox walked past! I love you!’
Grace sighed. “You know what’s depressing? There’s so much stupid stuff in this fic, I’m not even surprised any more.”
Both agents’ attention was drawn by a rabbit fight. The Thereah and Rosebelle were fighting- well, Rosebelle was huddling in a ball, squeaking, while the Thereah was beating her up.
“I can’t believe I’m saying this, but my inner feminist thinks I should go help her.” Grace sighed. “I’m terrible at this.”
Ally shrugged. “You’re just new. Don’t worry about it. Besides, you come from a world where small defenceless cute animals should be protected. In my world, they’re either natural selection in action or lunch.”
She rummaged through her bag, found a piece of string, picked up Rosebelle, found a suitably springy branch of the oak tree, tied the mini-Sue to the end of the branch loosely with the string, bent the branch back as far as she could, and let it go. The branch snapped back and the force snapped the string, hurling the squealing mini into the distance.
“Isn’t there some kind of rule against that?” Grace asked.
Ally thought about it. “There’s rules against torture, rape and the like, but I don’t think there’s a rule against thinking up unusual and entertaining deaths for mini-Sues.” She paused. “What’s a feminist?”
“I’ll explain later,” Grace said. “Hang on, what’s that?” She squinted. “Oh, no…”
A Year Later...
The sudden time distortion, combined with the lack of scene breaks, made the world compress itself, invert, turn upside down, distort and shatter into a billion pieces before it stopped and returned to something resembling such normality as could be found in a badfic.
The agents had been knocked backwards against the oak tree and lay still on the ground. Above them, the Thereah awoke and found himself on the end of a tree branch. Unfortunately, his next move was precisely the wrong thing: he took a step back and landed on Grace’s head. Grace opened her eyes, sat up, dislodged the mini, coughed and groaned. “Shit, that hurt.” She looked around for Ally, saw her lying nearby, and nudged her with a foot until Ally finally woke up and sat up, rubbing her head.
“What hit me?”
“More like what did we hit,” Grace replied. “And what we hit was that rather solid oak tree.”
Ally looked at the oak tree uncertainly. “I feel like I got hit by a train.” She gingerly prodded her head and cried out involuntarily. “I think we need Medical.”
“Sue first,” Grace said reluctantly. “Then we can get fixed up, and then we can get drunk, because I need it.”
“Do you object to me killing the mini-Sue now?” Ally asked.
Grace sighed. “After that, I don’t think I do.”
“Good, because we’ve got a fuckload of OC’s to kill here,” Ally said. “The Sue, the Stu, their kids-”
“Oh no! I am not killing innocent kids!” Grace immediately snapped back. “Even if they’re rabbits!”
Ally didn’t look happy. “OK, but where do we put them if we don’t kill them? Rabbits from this verse can barely understand the concept of floating on water- they’re not smart enough to recruit.”
“Well, once the canon snaps back, they’ll probably just be random kittens,” Grace said. “We won’t have to kill them.”
Ally nodded thoughtfully. “Right, good point.”
While they were talking, the fic had progressed, and without warning, the Author’s Note that ended the fic arrived, making both agents clap their hands over their ears.
OKAY PEOPLE! Did you like it? I know that rabbits don't do half the things in the story but I had to improvise. I forgot how to spell Rosebel's name so I did it both ways. PLEASE REVIEW, EVEN IF YOU DIDN'T LIKE IT! LOVE YOU GUYS!
Julia whacked out!
“Whacked? Understatement of the century,” Grace muttered.
“No, I don’t think I’ll review,” Ally said, picking up her axe. “I think I’ll hack this Sue and Stu into pieces.”
Grace picked up the torn charge list and sighed. “Oh well, it’s still legible.”
“Charge for forgetting how to spell her main character’s name,” Ally said. “And charge her for ‘improvising’. It’s called rereading the book and thinking up a plot that doesn’t require destroying the canon.”
Grace searched through her bag for some sticky tape and found none. She sighed and looked at the sheets. “They’ll do, I guess. Shall we go?”
“We can’t go to them,” Ally said thoughtfully, “because then we wouldn’t be able to use weapons and they’d outnumber us. Can we make them come to us?”
Grace pulled the Remote Activator out of her bag and began to fiddle with it. “I’ll open portals under them and drop them here. But how will they understand us? I don’t have any kind of translating device.”
“Well, these OC’s are uncanon enough that they might understand English- they were certainly using enough modern terms,” Ally replied. “I don’t know for certain, though.”
Grace kept fiddling with the RA until a sudden movement caught her eye. Ally had grabbed Rosebelle the mini-Sue and was looking at her critically, her free hand moving toward her axe.
“Hang on,” Grace said. “A regenerating mini? I just realised- we should send her to the Department of Mary Sue Experiments and Research.”
“You write a note telling them why, I’ll tie it to her and we can just drop her in,” Ally suggested. “Unless you want to give it to them in person?”
Grace shook her head. “It’d take time we don’t have.” She tucked the RA into a pocket, found her pen and wrote a quick note. She handed it to Ally, who tore off the spare paper, tied the note to the mini, and held it out. Grace opened a portal, and Ally dropped the mini through.
“Now can we kill the Sue?” Ally asked. “I want to go back to HQ.”
Grace nodded and returned her gaze to the RA. After a few seconds of twiddling, a portal opened in mid-air. Rosebel/Rosebelle and Hahira fell out and hit the ground hard enough to stun them. Grace closed the portal and opened another. Kara, Hahira’s father, tumbled out and landed on the ground next to his son.
“Nice one,” Ally complimented her.
“Thanks,” Grace replied. “Let’s charge them while they can’t run.”
Ally cleared her throat. “Rosebel, Hahira and Kara, we are agents of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum and we are here to charge you for crimes against canon.” She looked over at Grace. “That’s right, isn’t it?”
“We charge you with the following crimes: uncanonical names, persistent and continuous creation of the mini-Sue ‘Rosebelle’, creation of the mini-Woundwort ‘the Thereah’, the use of Coney-Grelvish, completely destroying Lapine culture, attempting to displace a canon character- namely, Vilthuril- so you could take her place, and not using scene breaks.” She took a breath, and Grace picked up the slack.
“We charge you with continually using modern World One terms, attempting to blend the Lapine and modern World One cultures, creating ridiculous structures, and for selectively using Lapine terms. If you can use ‘elil’, you should be able to use ‘fu Inlé’ and ‘ni Frith’ and ‘silflay’ and ‘hlessil’ too. We charge you with trying to turn rabbits into furry humans, incorrect grammar, and ‘improvising’ because you couldn’t be bothered to reread the book or think up a half-decent plot. The penalty is death.”
Ally looked at her. “Now what?”
“You don’t have any ideas?” Grace asked.
“I have lots of ideas, but I don’t think you’d approve of any of them.”
“Why would you care if I approve or not?”
“Because I don’t want to work with a partner who hates me.”
Grace shrugged. “Fair enough.” She looked down at the Remote Activator and bit her lip. “I suppose I’ll have to kill a Sue eventually, even if I don’t do it now. May as well get used to it.”
She opened a portal under them and the three rabbits fell through.
A few seconds later, the canon snapped back with a lurch, nearly knocking the agents over.
“Where did you send them?” Ally asked curiously, once she’d regained her balance.
“Sandleford Warren, just when the humans destroyed it,” Grace replied. “No one’s going to notice some extra corpses.”
Ally smiled. “Nice one.” She looked over at the Thereah. “So, what do we do with you?”
“I say we keep him. He shouldn’t be too much trouble, especially given who he’s named after,” Grace replied.
Ally looked down at the Thereah and shrugged. “Why not?”
Grace opened a portal to Medical, and once the agents had been healed, they and the Thereah went back into their RC.
“Well, nothing exploded,” Grace said, sinking onto the couch. “That’s always a plus.”
“Where should we put the Thereah?” Ally asked.
“There’s an empty cardboard box and some old rags in the kitchen,” Grace suggested. “I need to check this machine, but if you could get them and put them… near the couch, say, that could work as a bed- and I know where we can get him a litter tray and some food.”
Ally nodded and went to get the box. Once she’d placed the improvised bed next to the couch, the Thereah hopped into it and twitched his ears contently.
Ally looked around for Grace and found her looking at a small, innocuous machine sitting on the desk. She swore quietly.
“What?” Ally asked.
“I think I put the wrong thing in it again… hang on, let me get a look at this…”
There was a noise resembling a zap, and Grace’s hair turned from short, dull and brown to slightly longer, spiky and electric blue.
Ally burst into laughter.
Grace looked at her, confused, before walking over to the bathroom, opening it and walking in.
Seconds later, there was a screech. “My hair!”
Ally managed to stop laughing. “I take it that it wasn’t meant to do that?” she called.
“No! It was meant to create a hologram of a door until we can fix it!” Grace called back.
The fact that Grace had tried to make a hologram machine and ended up with a hair-changing machine just made Ally laugh harder.
“Stop laughing, it isn’t funny!”
Ally tried to say ‘Yes it is!” but she was laughing too hard. Finally, she sat up, rubbed her aching sides and made an effort to sound normal. “What did you do wrong?”
Grace emerged from the room, glaring at her partner. “I don’t know! It should have worked! This happens every time!”
“Try it again?” Ally suggested.
Grace frowned. “No!”
Ally shrugged. “OK, I will.” Before Grace could stop her, she walked over to the machine and twisted the knob on the front, while standing well out of the way.
There was another zap, and a white beam of light flew past her and hit the couch. The upholstery changed from black and drab to rainbow-striped suede.
“Cool!” Ally said, her eyes shining. “Now what?” She looked at the Thereah with a thoughtful look in her eyes.
“No live experiments!” Grace exclaimed, picking the Thereah up and hugging him protectively. “I’m not letting you near that machine now!”
Before she could get Ally away from the machine, her partner turned it toward the wall by the door and twisted the knob.
Ally turned the machine and twisted the knob again.
The wall turned a rather nice shade of orange. Ally leaned over and prodded it, and it seemed to be the same Generic Surface as before.
“That’s… not bad, actually,” Grace commented.
The door to Ally's room, on the other hand, was now lime-green and made out of what looked like clouds.
“Maybe we could still use it as a decorating device,” Ally suggested.
“Oh no,” Grace said immediately. “If it turned my hair short and spiky, and made the couch rainbow suede instead of black Generic Cloth, I don’t want to know what would happen to the other walls.”
Ally shrugged. “Just a suggestion.”
The Thereah, not liking the rather tight grip in which he was being held, began to struggle until Grace set him down.
“So I take it you’re going to stay a Floater?” Ally asked.
Grace nodded. “It might be rough, but I can handle it.”
Ally smiled at her.
Grace smiled back.
Just as Grace was thinking that maybe her partner wasn’t quite so bad after all, Ally got a mischievous gleam in her eyes. “Hey, why don’t we go try it on the Floating Hyacinth?”
“It was just a joke…”