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.