Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Disguises and Diseases

"Y-y-you want what?" Makes-Things backed even further away from the agent. "No. No! That's just... You're even c-crazier than the other assassins."

"Possibly," admitted Sean, not wanting to dwell on his past. "But you've gotta admit, it makes sense."

"Sense? How can that possibly m-make sense?" Eyes darting left and right as he searched the DoSAT lab for a refuge, the terrified technician desperately tried to keep the madman talking.

"Simple. A lot of missions take place in the twentieth or twenty-first centuries, where there aren't any Random Orcs to kill people, right?"

"Yes, I know that." By now, Makes-Things had squeezed into the gap between two cabinets and was pulling his labcoat over his head in imitation of Elliot Dunkel's coat of solitude.

Sean started to lean round to get a better view of the man he was trying to talk to, but then decided against it. He took a deep breath and continued as if nothing was happening. "Terrorists are obviously right out because they're in bad taste. Insane serial killers would be good, but what would they look like?"

Some mumbled words came from the hidden figure, but Sean could only make out the phrases "Have you," and "mirror lately?"

Ignoring him, Sean said, "So that only leaves one thing that could randomly kill people."

"Yes, but y-you can't expect me to program that into the disguise generators."

"Why not? They can already turn people into different species, so why not a virus? And there are lots of different types to choose from, so even if Ebola is too difficult, there's always SARS or Anthrax."

"But a single virus cell isn't enough to k-kill anyone."

"Yeah, obviously you'd have to turn us into a colony of the things. And most agents are multi-celled organisms anyway, so that should make it easier for you." By now Sean was enthusiastically gesturing with his hands as he explained his great idea. "And we'd spend the mission breeding and incubating inside the Sue's body, so she would never spot us. It's the perf—"

Sean suddenly felt a hand on his shoulder. Slowly he turned and found himself looking at two ogres in FicPsyc uniforms.

"Agent Bellman?" asked the first ogre, the one with his hand on Sean's shoulder.

Sean just nodded.

The other ogre called out, "It's all right. You can come out now."

Makes-Things emerged, straightening his coat. He was holding a mobile phone in one hand. "You got my text then?"

"Yeah. We'll take care of this now."

"Come along, Agent Bellman," said the first ogre. "Doc Freedenberg needs to remind you about the dangers of mixing too much Bleeprin with your prescription antidepressants."

Special thanks to Hieronymus Graubart for unofficial beta reading.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

The Very Edge (of Destruction)

All right.  Here’s my (long overdue) first mission.  I know it’s not the one I said I’d write when I applied for Permission a year ago, but that fic proved too difficult for me to handle, so I decided to get some experience with a simpler, shorter fic first.

Big thanks to my betas Desdendelle, Irish Samurai and SMF.  Also thanks to Hieronymus Graubart who acted as an additional beta.

Anyway, the PPC was created by Jay and Acacia.  The Jeeves stories were created by P.G. Wodehouse.  Middle-earth (Hild’s home continuum) was created by J.R.R. Tolkien.

The fic “The Very Edge” is by charlotteicewolf77.  (At this point it’s traditional to say something like, “and she can keep it because I don’t want it!”)

I own nothing here except my own characters – Hild and Sean – and their actions.


Sean Bellman let out a low whistle, then said, “She cleans up real nice,” in what he always thought was a pretty good impression of an American accent.  (So far, no real American had agreed.)

“Very funny.”  Hild, who was standing in the bathroom doorway, had even less idea than Sean of what a good American accent should sound like, but even she could tell her partner was teasing her.  “Besides, I’m still in my regular uniform.”

“Yes, but you actually showered without being reminded for once.  I’d almost forgotten your hair was blonde.”  He grinned and leaned back in his chair.

Hild shrugged.  “Well, I didn’t think I could turn up at Luxury’s RC without a wash first.”

“I’m sure it wouldn’t put her off.  But you and Lux?  Since when are you—?”

“No!  Nothing like that!”  Hild interrupted him, her eyes wide with shock.  “How could you even think that?  Besides, you know I wouldn’t steal her from you.”

“Yeah, right.  You know I’m not that Sean.”

“Your mind’s dirty enough,” joked Hild as she stepped forwards into the room.  “Anyway, for your information, a bunch of agents are organising evening classes.  They think it’ll help keep us sane, or something.  And Lux is teaching one of the courses.”

“Evening classes from Lux?”  Sean leant forward, a wild glint in his eye.  “Well, I guess you’ll learn some useful techniques for when you finally get Boromir to yourself.”

Hild shook her head.  “It’s taxidermy.  Swift Araw!  Are you sure you’re not Lux’s Sean?”

“Taxidermy?”  It was hard to make one word sound relieved and disappointed at the same time, but Sean somehow managed it.

“Yes.  Might be fun.  I never got a chance to have any hobbies with the Dunlendings.”

“I dunno.”  The joking tone began to fade from his voice.  “You’re not thinking of doing it in here, are you?  All that blood and guts all over the place.  And the smell.”

Before Hild could reply, a loud [BEEEEP] filled the air.  She turned to the console.  “That’s odd.”


“It’s an unfamiliar continuum.  Have you ever heard of someone called...” She hesitated over the strange name.  “P. G. Wode house?”

A large grin spread across Sean’s face.  “Heard of him?  I love those stories.  This is going to be great.  You are in for a treat.” He paused, then added, “Oh, and it’s pronounced Woodhouse.”

Hild said nothing.  Although she had been taught to read as part of her basic training, she often wondered if the teachers had done a bad job of it.  It seemed that words rarely seemed to match up with the letters in them.  Maybe she’d figure it out one day.

“I’ll set the disguises.” Sean moved to join Hild at the console.  “How d’you fancy being a flapper?”

Hild had no idea what that was, but she agreed anyway.  She got up and moved over to the shelf.  “Oh, and we’re going to need a crash dummy.”

“Oh yeah, it’ll be first person.”

“No.  Second person.”

“What?”  Sean’s manic Cheshire Cat grin started to crumble.

Hild shrugged.  “That’s what the report said.”

“Oh well.”  Sean gave a deep, long sigh, and then opened up the portal.

Once the agents had gathered their equipment, Hild chucked the dummy through, and they both followed behind.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Beaten by Bobo's Buttocks

This is based on the Random Prompt from my PPC Permission application: One or both agents realise they are beginning to lose enthusiasm for their favourite canon due to all the badfic.

* * *

“I still don’t believe it,” grumbled Sean, as the two agents stepped through the portal back into their RC. “Upstairs gave us an Observer/Bobo PWP.”

“Well, they were Replacement Sues, after all,” said Hild. “The Sorting Room probably thought assassins would deal with them better than badslashers. It’s like that Hunger Games/Crying Game crossover we had a couple of weeks ago. The one where she couldn’t’ve been the real Katniss because she had a —”

“No, it’s not that.” Sean slumped into his chair. “It’s just that fic. I mean, how could someone call herself an MST3K fan and still write that?”

Hild had never seen Sean like that before. Normally after a particularly bad fic, he would take out his frustration on the punch bag hanging in the corner of the RC. But this, this was different.

She walked over to the fridge and took out a couple of Bleepbeers. “Want to tell me about it?”

“MST3K means a lot to me.” Sean accepted the proffered drink. “When I had that dead-end job with the publishers, sometime the only thing that got me through the day was imagining Mike and the Bots riffing the manuscripts.” He took a long drink of his Bleepbeer, then continued. “I still do it on missions sometimes, but I don’t think I can manage that after this.”

“Why not? You coped after that fic where the Sue tried to save Frank from Torgo.”

“This was worse. Much worse. Now every time I think of MST, I’ll imagine Bobo with that big heart shaved into his hairy back, and the words ‘Brain’ and ‘Guy’ tattooed on his bright red buttocks. No amount of Bleeprin’s gonna get an image like that out of my mind.”

“Could FicPsych help?”

“I’m not letting them mess around in my head! I had enough of that back on World One.”

“Well, is there anything I can do?”

Sean managed a little smile. “No, but thanks for offering anyway.” There was a brief, awkward pause, then Sean continued, “You’ll understand when it happens to you. Not the shrinks. Losing your love for your favourite canon after too much badfic.”

Hild thought about this for a moment. “Maybe one day. I don’t know. I don’t think I’ve got a favourite yet,” she said. “I mean, I know quite a few canons from basic training, of course. But that’s about all. ”

“What about Middle-earth?”

“That’s different. That was my home. You don’t stop loving the land where you were born because of stuff that happened after you left.”

“Guess not.”

Another pause; the two agents continued drinking their Bleepbeers lost in thought. Sean was staring down at the floor. Hild wanted to go over to him and give him a big hug, but she knew that wouldn't help much. Sean was not a touchy-feely person.

She turned her glance away from him, and found herself looking over towards the console. It's ridiculous, she thought. With all this magical technology at our disposal, there must be something we can do to change things. What if...

“Hey, I have an idea.” Hild broke the silence and leaned forward in her chair, a grin spreading wide across her face. “Could we reopen the portal back into the beginning of the fic?”

“I don’t know. I don’t think anyone’s ever tried it before. But why go back there?”

“We get whatshisname, Cambot, on our side, get him to record everything, and play it back for Mike and friends to riff on afterwards. That should help, right? Now when think of it, you’ll think of their riffs instead.”

Sean paused for a moment or two then said, “It’s probably impossible, and even if it isn’t, it probably won’t work, and even if it does, it’ll probably be against every rule in the book. But what have we got to lose? Let’s give it a go.”

He sprang from his chair and dashed over to the console, with something of his old determination in his face again.

An Author and an Advert.

This was the Control Prompt for my PPC Permission application: One agent tells the other how they were recruited/We see both agents recruited.

 “So, you’ve never told me, how did you come to join the PPC?”

Sean Bellman’s favourite way of distracting himself while walking to the Cafeteria was by talking to his companion: in this case his partner, Agent Hild.

“Oh, the usual way,” she replied. “I fell through a plothole and landed in one of the corridors.”

Sean grinned. “Only in this place could that be considered ‘the usual way’.”

“Well, my plothole was larger than most, if you want something unusual. My author had never actually written my story, and very little was fixed. I didn’t know at the time, of course, but she actually thought she was doing me a favour by keeping it unwritten and flexible.” Somehow Hild managed to giggle and sigh at the same time. “Have you ever heard anything so silly?”

“I guess not. So what happened?”

“Well, apparently she never quite decided whether the messengers with Boromir’s ransom demand would be sent to Imladris, Isengard, or direct to Minas Tirith, and what happened to them anyway. Not that I knew anything about that. The first I knew anything was wrong was on our flight from the bandit camp. We overtook the messengers to Imladris, who were flickering in and out of existence. I reached out to touch one, and fell into the space where he wasn’t.”

She gestured around at the corridor, and continued. “When I landed in HQ, I thought I’d died and gone to Mandos. I was disappointed that it wasn’t as grand as I’d expected. I wondered if maybe that was just for elves, and humans got the plainer end of the Halls. Then half a dozen or so agents ran in, grabbed me, and dragged me off. And after I’d been analysed and tested, they told me who I was. And that’s when I learned I was fictional.”

“Must’ve been a nasty shock.”

“Not really, it explained all the strange inconsistencies in my life. Everything seemed to make much more sense. Maybe it would’ve been different if I’d been from a written story. One that was complete and made sense” She shrugged, then continued. “Anyway, I decided to stick around because I had nowhere else to go. What about you?”


“Yes. How did you join?”

“Oh, the usual way.” Sean smiled. “Well, what would be the usual way in most places. Nothing as usual as yours, of course!”

“Very funny!” She shoved him playfully. “Come on, tell me more.”

“It’s really not that interesting.”

“Come on. You know I love learning about your world.”

“Well, after I lost that job with the publishers - I told you about that, right?”


“OK, well, I was having trouble finding a new one. One day, there were a couple of ads that looked promising. It was either this, or be paid five pounds to move a piano from one room to another.”

Not surprisingly, she didn’t get the joke. “And you chose this one?”

“Yeah. The job ad was pretty vague, but I applied anyway. Went for an interview, at a small office in south London. I saw a pompous little guy named Rogers. He asked me all sorts of strange questions, but wouldn’t say what the job was about. And the really weird thing is, when I left, I could’ve sworn the building was a couple of blocks away from where it had been when I entered.”

“Knowing this lot, I’m not surprised. Probably a final test or something.”

“Yeah. Anyway, I must’ve passed. The next day, a portal appeared in my living room, and Rogers asked me to step through. I didn’t know what was going on, but went along with it anyway. Curiosity, I guess.”

“And when you found out, you decided to stay?”

“Yeah. They wanted to put me in Bad Het because of my experience rejecting romance manuscripts, but I’d had enough of that. And besides, I still don’t see why they need two departments. Bad romance is bad romance, no matter whether it just happens to be het or slash.”

“Ooooh! Did someone mention slash?” The new speaker was Agent Luxury. She jumped up from her table and bounced over to them excitedly. “That’s my fave subject ever.”

They’d finally reached the Cafeteria.