It is said that silence is the absence of sound. In a way that is true; where there is no sound, it is silent. But silence can have an existence of its own: a heavy, suffocating air that covers everything within its grasp.
RC log e was covered in such a silence ever since a couple of DIA officers forcibly removed the not-so-sane Anebrin from the Sunflower Official's office. His erstwhile partner, Desdendelle, did not leave his bed. The console didn't even [bip], somehow feeling the atmosphere, and even the minis quieted down after Des shouted at them to shut up.
Des alternated between sleeping fitfully, having bad nightmares, and chewing himself out for his partner's insanity. His bed was a mess and so were his clothes; his goatee was growing wild, and he positively stank. His belt was lying on the table, its loop still torn. He still hadn’t mended it after he tore his axe from it in a futile attempt to stop Anebrin from executing the Sue and the other two OCs in their last mission. He would have roused from his stupor — by pangs of hunger if nothing else — sooner or later. As things were, it was ‘sooner’.
A few days after the mission, when even Arctic circle (who was an animated circle of ice) couldn't bear the stench, someone opened the RC's door. The creak of the wooden door's hinges caused the minis to stir in their corner of the RC's main room.
The person who stood in the doorway, leaning on the doorpost, was tall — even taller than the five-foot-ten Anebrin — and wore black, high-quality clothes and a billowing brown trenchcoat. A hood denied any glimpse of the person’s face.
“Hello,” that person said in a deep baritone. “Is this Response Centre number zero-point-four-three-four-two-nine-four-four-eight-one-nine?”
Doctor who the mini-Reaper screeched in response, wildly gesticulating with its hands and tail.
“That is surprisingly intelligent for an inferior specimen.” The person fully opened the door and entered the RC’s central room. He ignored Doctor who’s indignant screech; a wave of stale, malodorous air hit him and he dug a kerchief out of a pocket, pressing it to his nose. “Such stench...”
“Hey, didn’t your mother teach you to knock before entering someone else’s room?” a very disheveled, pajama-clad Des asked. He entered the main room, rubbing his forehead. “Who are you anyway? What are you doing here?”
“To answer your questions in order, no, as I was Loomed; I am the Librarian; and I am here because a Flower called ‘The Marquis de Sod’ told me this is to be my base of operations henceforth,” the Librarian said, his face twisted into a scowl. He finally found the light switch and flipped it.
The room was flooded in orange light, and Des cursed, his eyes tearing. “Oh, great,” he groaned, rubbing his eyes, “y’know what happened to my last partner? No?” A pause. “He went insane. Or rogue. Possibly both.” Des blinked and scratched his goatee. “I have bad luck with missions. Well, not terrible luck — didn’t get any legendary badfic yet — but that’s the only thing that’s worse than what they gave me.” A pause. “So why don’t you waltz back to your TARDIS and go on with whatever Time Lord-y business you were busy with before?”
“I would like nothing better,” the Librarian said, sitting down on the nearest chair, which was wooden and old, “but unfortunately that is quite impossible… According to the Technician I met earlier, the ‘story’ I apparently come from is nigh-impossible to detect” — he frowned — “because it is not published, or some equally strange reason.” He huffed. “His intelligence, as well as his sanity, were obviously lacking.”
“So you’re here to stay?” Des said, rubbing his temples. “Well, it’d be impolite to not at the very least offer you a cup of tea.”
He went to the stove, lifted the kettle and peered inside. Shrugging, he filled it with water from the faucet and put it back on the stove, lighting the flame beneath it. He went back to the other room and half-closed the door behind him. “I’ll get some clothes on,” he said over his shoulder. “Wait a sec, OK?”
Without waiting for a reply, he closed the door, leaving the Librarian to take a tablet computer out of one of the big pockets of his coat, put it on the table, and start looking around. He found the room rather, well, roomy, and the various bookshelves lined against the walls certainly interested him — maybe he could find some clue here…?
He got up, but instead of going to the bookshelves, he went to one of the cupboards and opened it. It contained a large assortment of rifles; most of them looked rather futuristic. He lifted his hand to pick one up, but then the kettle started to whistle and the door to the other room opened.
“Don’t touch those,” Des said from behind him. The Librarian turned around and saw that Des, now wearing his usual attire — a dark green Polo shirt, black cargo pants, and a large Department of Floaters flashpatch on an armband — was standing behind him. He looked much more focused, the frown from before replaced by an inquisitive expression. “Those guns are from a continuum where guns aren’t really safe, and getting a ricochet in here might be dangerous,” he said.
“Your behaviour has changed,” the Librarian stated, returning to where he sat before and sitting down again.
“Weeell...” Des said, “in this place, you can’t really fight fate, so to speak, neh?”
The Librarian just stared at him.
Des shrugged. “Hm, how do I explain… Well, basically, there’re two sorts of things in the universe: things you can affect, and things you can’t. You being my partner I cannot affect, so why bother trying to change it or feeling bad about it?”
“Look, Mr. Know-It-All,” Des said, “you don’t know how this place works — inasmuch you can call HQ a place, it’s very wonky, definition-wise — and I do. So take my word for it instead of staring at me, OK?”
Going back to the stove, he busied himself with the kettle and a china teapot (which might or might not have been in an orbit between Earth and Mars before he got it). After a minute or so, which the Librarian spent tapping on his tablet, he took the teapot to the table, pouring some tea for himself and the Librarian.
“Drink up, it’s good for your health,” Des said. Following his own advice, he sipped his tea and sighed contentedly. “Nothing like a cup of tea...”
The Librarian raised an eyebrow but drank a bit from his tea, too. He stared at the cup, lifted his gaze to regard Des for a few seconds, and returned it back to his tea. “This tea is exceedingly bitter,” he said, “and I think I saw something move in my cup.”
“Well...” Des said, getting up and peering above the Time Lord’s shoulder into his cup. “Hm, someone didn’t quite kill the tea,” he said. “Remind me to have a word with my supplier the next time I hop home, willya?”
“‘Kill the tea?’” the Librarian asked doubtfully. “While I am not familiar with your inferior habits, I seem to remember that tea is a beverage made from a plant; therefore, it does not need… killing.” He put his cup down.
“Well...” Des said, going back to his place and sitting down again, “I’m not from World One. Well, technically I am, but the point is that in my home universe some things are quite different. For example, guns.” His belly rumbled and he frowned before getting up and walking toward the stove again. “For some reason, there aren’t any.”
“What does this have to do with—” the Librarian began to ask before Des continued.
“The tea? It’s another difference; it is quite predatory. You have to kill the leaves before roasting them, or you get what you have in your cup.”
“I understand,” the Librarian said, raising his eyebrow again. He adjusted the handkerchief he was holding near his nose.
Des sniffed, looked at himself, and shrugged. “Yeah, I stink,” he said, then added something in Hebrew.
“‘Unwashed teenager?’ I did not need to know that,” the Librarian said, wrinkling his nose behind the kerchief.
Des replied, but whatever he said was drowned out by a strong [BEEEEEP!].
The Librarian scoffed while Des ran to the console and punched a random button, which only served to make the noise louder.
Rolling his eyes, the Librarian tapped something on his tablet, and the noise stopped. He turned to Des and found the teenager staring suspiciously at him.
“How did you do that?” Des asked.
“I didn’t. Tablet did. It was a small matter for it to interface with the computer, find the volume meter, and mute the atrocious noise.”
“You know that this console is probably more sentient than this Tablet of yours, don’t you?”
“Surely you jest.”
“Do I look like I’m kidding?” Indeed, Des’ expression was a cross between anger and bewilderment. He took a few deep breaths. “I’m gonna like you...” he muttered under his breath, then brushed his shirt with his hands. “Anyway… that ‘atrocious noise’, as you’ve called it, means I — means we — have a mission.”
At the Librarian’s questioning stare, Des rolled his eyes, but continued anyway. “The PPC basically sends people into badfic — bad fanfiction — to fix the canon… Don’t stare at me like that, grab your stuff and you’ll see for yourself.”
Cracking his knuckles, Des retrieved his bag from his room. Returning to the main room and taking his axe from the table, he tried to put it in its normal place, but noticed that his belt was torn. “Shimatta,” he muttered, then shrugged. Going back to the console, he let the axe lean on his leg (a deed that earned him another stare from the Librarian) and tapped a few more buttons, opening a portal. Before the Librarian had any chance to say anything, he stepped through the portal.
In the benigging there were six tribes of elfs. They was the sun Elves the Wood elfs the Moon Elfs the See Elves the Drow elves and the Wide Elfs. And they were all in war. But hidden deep beneath the mountains of Faerun was a seventh typo of elf…
“Where are we?” the Librarian asked, looking around. He saw nothing but grey, aside from his so-called partner he found in RC log e.
“Pre-fic space,” Des said. “Basically, author didn’t describe anything. Also… Did you hear that?”
“The booming voice that sounded like it originated from multiple places at once? Of course I heard that. My hearing is superior to yours.”
“Yup, that. That’s the author. And...” Des removed his glasses for a second, then groaned. “First of all, misspellings. That’s a charge. We collect those, note them down, then read them to the Sue before we execute her. We do that to avoid mistakenly killing good — or non-reality-warping — characters.” He was scribbling in a worn notebook even as he spoke. “Misspellings belong to the ‘mangling the English language’ family of charges. I imagine you know what the rest of them are.”
“... How do you know the… author” — the Librarian doubtfully stressed the word — “misspelled anything?”
“Oh, right. When we’re in a Word World — a story, basically — we can read the Words — the story itself. You have to unfocus your gaze to do that. That’s why I take my glasses off; I heard about a Troll agent that hits his head to read the Words.”
The Librarian nodded and tried to unfocus his gaze, to let it wander, but he found that he could not. Whenever he tried, he found himself focusing on some small detail — no small feat, considering that there was nothing worth looking at around him at the moment.
“Oh, you can’t? Well, nevermind that then. Though, do notice that the author completely fucked up the way elves are divided… first came the Lythari, the Green Elves, and the Avariel — the Winged Elves. Then came the Dark Elves, not yet drow; the Sun Elves; the Moon Elves; and the Aquatic Elves… that’s seven already. The author’s ‘seventh’ ‘tribe’? The Star Elves? Those are Elves from the hidden kingdom of Sildëyuir, existing on a separate plane...”
“You are telling me that this… author… did not research their subject before writing about it?”
“Yup. That’s badfic for you… that’s messing with canon, which is a charge. Specifically, messing with the Tel-quessir — this universe’s elves; you do know what elves are, I hope? Anyway, messing with their history.”
“I am a Time Lord. We do not forget.”
Suddenly, the agents found themselves in a Generic Wood; a drow was standing a few metres away from them, pacing to and fro.
Drizzt Do-Urden was restlessly. The goddess Lolth had send him a message saying that THE DAY OF TH STARS IS COME and, he didn’t know what it means. So he was hiding in the wood to try and not be found by anyon.
Dragging the Librarian behind a bush and crouching, Des motioned the Time Lord to do the same.
“Well, if it ain’t Drizzt Do’Urden,” he whispered, annoyed. “Or, rather, look.” He pointed, and the Librarian turned his gaze to where the human was pointing; a miniature corpse-like humanoid was staring imperiously at its surrounding.
“That’s a mini-Slayer,” Des continued. “A mini is created whenever an author misspells a name — for every name spelled wrong in Rings, a mini-Balrog gets its wings — and this is the mini Drizzt Do-Urden.”
“Let me guess,” the Librarian whispered back, distaste evident in his voice, “that is a charge?”
“Correct.” Des read the Words again, then sputtered. He opened and closed his mouth several times.
The Librarian raised an eyebrow in a questioning manner, but Des didn’t even look at him; rather, he headed toward the nearest tree and proceeded to hit his head on its trunk. So the Time Lord, who decided against prying the man from the tree, watched as a large spider descended from the suddenly-appearing ceiling of the forest.
“I know it was you, Lolth,” said, Drizzt, while drawing his swords Twinkle, and Icingdeath and holding them at Lolth. “You can’t not hide from me.”
“But why do you think I am Lolth?” asked the spider, and it turned into… a Drow Elv! Then Drizzt said, “Gasp! But you are dead?”
“The ways of the Underdark are dark and mystery,” said the Drow Elf. “It is I, your sister who is called Vierna!”
The Librarian tapped his partner’s shoulder, and the human stopped hitting his head for long enough to get a look at the scene — and, judging from his surprised reaction and grammar-related curse — the Words as well.
“Does this make any sense to you?” the Time Lord asked. “One, this Drizzt, whoever he is, exclaims like a badly-written character, and two, something wrong with the way time is flowing.”
“Pffah, badfic logic, no sense,” Des muttered. “One, the way Drizzt is being written is even stupider than canon — no small feat, by the way, he’s one of the worse Canon Stus around; two, those extra commas are probably messing with the way the World interprets the Words; three, we have another mini;” — he pointed at the mini-Slayer that stood near the now-present Drizzt Do’Urden and the other drow — “and four… the author had the gall to kidnap a fucking goddess and transform her into Drizzt’s dead sister, who, by the way, tried to kill him multiple times.” He pointed at the female drow as he beckoned the mini to come closer.
Drizzt, meanwhile, was slowly catching up, stupidly repeating what he said before, and not!Vierna gave him a cryptic message.
Des muttered something about capital letters, and the Librarian opened his mouth to ask a question, but then another character made her appearance.
“IT MEANS ME”, said the voice as the woman, revelled herself to be a woman. “I am call Marchessa, and I am the Queeness of the Star Elf.”
“Charge,” muttered Des as not!Vierna and the Sue bickered. The Librarian stared at the character, which, thanks to the lack of description, looked like a glittery cardboard cutout.
“Why is the character like that?” the Time Lord whispered to Des. “I do not like not knowing.”
The human massaged his brow. “No description equals Genericness. Since, surprisingly, the Sue wasn’t floridly described, she’s like that.”
“Mary Sue. Really badly-written character, tends to serve as wish fulfilment for the author and suck the conflict out of stories. They also have a tendency to warp the canon and be… floridly described.”
Of course, the Ironic Overpower heard him, and the fic promptly described the Sue in the purplest way possible, which was also beige at the same time:
Drizzt locked at Marchessa and saw that she had curves in all the write places. Her hair, was a luscious red with silver highlights and, it ran down her beck like a waterfall of ice.
Curves of twisting writing appeared on her body; her hair, which was somehow arousing despite being red with silver highlights, turned into a frozen waterfall and started writhing around like it was alive; and her skin suddenly shone more brightly than the sun.
The agents cursed and closed their tearing eyes, which spared them seeing the Sue’s large and pruple with god flecks eyes and from noticing that she did not wear anything at all.
Drizzt declaring that he was in love with the Sue, however, managed to cause Des to open his eyes. Fortunately, the light somewhat abated — though it was still strong enough for him and the Librarian to cast a long, unnatural shadow — allowing him to witness Vierna’s transformation from her canonical appearance to to a busty Sue lookalike, described with the same confusing terms used to describe the Sue herself; then something curved struck his head and he staggered, cursing.
The Librarian, having opened his eyes as well, crouched and picked the curved thing up. It looked like a black, slightly curved line, and the Time Lord got the feeling that it was one of a pair merely by looking at it. He distastefully threw it away.
He felt a hand on his shoulder and saw that Des, having gotten over his grogginess, was standing behind him.
“What is that?” the Librarian asked, flicking Des’ hand off.
Des shrugged and read the Words again. He rolled his eyes. “A parenthesis. Misplaced punctuation usually materialises in the Word World, and my forehead seems to attract them.” He watched as Drizzt declared that he loved his sister as well, which earned the addled canon a disgusted stare from the Librarian and an exasperated sigh from Des.
“O that’s’ okay,” says Vierna” because Lolth has made it so we are not related now. And so you’ are free to love me.’
Scribbling charges in a notebook while dodging errant punctuation requires quite a bit of agility, so the Librarian was rather surprised when the decidedly-not-athletic-looking Des managed to do it, only suffering minor bruises in the process (including a self-inflicted one when he hit his belly with his elbow).
Seeing that the punctuation shower had abated, the Librarian tapped his partner’s shoulder, then pointed at the Sue; she was offering Drizzt ‘magic powers’ and a differently-coloured skin, were he to choose her.
Des dodged the errant comma, then read the Words again. He sputtered. “Hey, Librarian,” he said, “point the CAD — wait, never mind that. You don’t know.” He took a small device, which looked like a cross between a calculator and an old cellphone, from a pocket and showed it to the Librarian. “This is a C-CAD — Combined Character/Canon Analysis Device. Point it at a character and it’ll tell you how much out-of-character they are, or, if they’re original characters, what their effect on canon is. Fickle tech—”
“Human, I would assume,” the Librarian said. “Time Lord tech would function no matter what.”
“It tends to explode,” Des continued with a sigh, “so handle it with care.” Pushing a few buttons, he pointed it at Drizzt, then showed its screen to his partner.
[Drizzt Do’Urden. Ssri-tel-quessir (drow) male. Forgotten Realms canon: major character. 34% OOC and rising. Suggested action: Neuralyzation.]
“He is becoming more and more out of character?” asked the Librarian while another mini-Slayer spawned and a whirling comma nearly struck Des’ forehead.
“Yep,” Des said. “This is an advanced model, it tells you what to do; in this case, wipe the poor sod’s memory.” He busied himself with his notebook again, missing the large male deer that appeared in front of the Sue.
The Librarian cleared his throat. When that didn’t quite get Des’ attention, he disdainfully tapped the human’s shoulder again.
“What? Oh, the Sue got ‘stabbed through the hart’. How trajeck.” Des barely spared the Sue a glance.
“You sound rather bored.”
“Consider the alternative.” A pause and some frantic dodging. “Ow.”
The Librarian had tapped his partner’s shoulder again. “This overlong no is a charge, correct? How clichéd.”
“Correct. Not to mention the — ow! fukkenay! — flying punctuation!”
“No!” Drizzt grabbed his other sword Twinkledeath and lunged at Vierna but, she lifted Icing and stopped him.
The Time Lord saw Des’ expression and sighed. “More charges, my unstable partner?” the Librarian asked.
“Yeah, Librarian. First of all, author combined Drizzt’s two swords into one — remember to grab it once we finish here, we can’t let the badfic contaminate the canon — and second, Icing? As a sword?” Des barked a laugh. “Look.”
Indeed, Drizzt was wielding one of his swords — it was impossible to tell which — while the Suvian lookalike of his sister had her fist covered in something pink and glossy.
As the replacement and the canon character ‘fought’ — waved their hands around because of the lacking description — another comma came flying, and surprisingly it did not hit Des; rather, it whirled around like a boomerang and struck the Librarian, who in his turn shot Des a haughty look.
Suddenly, the Sue was back, all aglow and crying something about the Sun Elves’ one true goddess who is called Seldarine before chanting a spell in German. Drizzt seemed to be invigorated by this, somehow breaking the Vierna-replacement’s icing-sword on his knee.
After a few messy sentences about fantasy-world religion and one flying equal sign later, the characters abruptly stopped moving.
The more experienced agent pulled the Librarian aside. “Whew, it’s done,” he said, wiping his brow. “Now we gotta kill the Sue, neuralyze Drizzt and cause Lolth to leave Vierna’s body.”
The Librarian gave him a doubting look.
“Watch and learn.” Taking one last glance at his notes, the human agent picked his axe up from the ground and marched right into the Sue’s line-of-sight.
“who are you” she asks
“I’m Agent Desdendelle of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Marchessa, I hereby charge you with the following: disrespecting the spelling, capitalisation and punctuation of the English language; tense shifts; messing with the Tel-quessir’s history and religion; creating minis and spatial distortions; kidnapping a fucking goddess and transforming it into Drizzt’s dead sister; being speshul; further messing with Vierna Do’Urden’s character, including her relationships with other canon characters; driving Drizzt OOC; having him get friendly messages from Lolth, whom he denounced ages ago; messing with his swords, including turning one into cake icing; dying a trajeck death; causing Drizzt to shout a big no like some bad Darth Vader ripoff; and being a Mary Sue. Any last words, Sue?”
@Drizzt laves me” Marchessa says, glowing whit and chantal in, a strange tongue.
Des charged the Sue. “Eulalia!” he screamed, lifting his axe over his head.
“You $hall be redeemed~’ the Sue sayd, casting a spell at him!!
Des grimaced, his mind getting number; he felt groggier and groggier. His grip on his axe weakened.
“How inferior,” someone said. The Sue? No, not the Sue, she couldn’t form a two-word sentence without making some sort of mistake. His partner. His oh-so-superior partner. Des shook his head, using the anger the Librarian’s statement caused him to feel to bolster his resolve. He managed to shake the enchantment off and surveyed his surroundings.
The Sue was busy gloating over the Librarian’s prone form. Des cringed and snuck up on her — an easy task, considering her attention was focused on the Librarian.
An axe came up and went down in a crackling arc, and suddenly the Sue was missing most of her head. Then her body crumpled to the floor.
Des groaned and staggered but caught himself. “Augh, Sues and their spells.” He crouched and wiped his axe’s blade on the Sue’s clothes, then put it aside and leaned to check on the Librarian.
The Time Lord was breathing, but he seemed down for the count.
Des got up and pulled a small, silvery rod out of a pocket. Closing his eyes, he pressed a button.
“Drizzt Do’Urden, you’ve never met someone called Marchessa, your sister is long dead, and Lolth isn’t sending you cryptic messages. You’ll shortly walk through a portal, and this will be a weird if ultimately forgettable dream. Capisce? Good.”
He opened a portal for the dazed drow and turned to not!Vierna. The drow’s face was contorted, and Des figured it was because of the divine essence of Lolth, which was probably eating Vierna’s… soul? Wait, wasn’t she already dead? Grinning, he opened a portal behind not!Vierna and pushed her through it. “Have fun in the Demonweb Pits!” he shouted before closing the portal.
Disclaimer: The PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia. Forgotten Realms was created by Ed Greenwood, and Drizzt and family by R.A. Salvatore. Marchessa and her story are mine. Time Lords are the property of the BBC. Desdendelle and the Librarian belong to Desdendelle, and this mission was written by him.
Desdendelle’s A/N: Well… after eighty or so days, I finished this mission. It is special, because the badfic it is sporking isn’t actually a badfic. Rather, it was written by Huinesoron as part of his Ispace Wars project. What for, exactly, I don’t know, but I must say he did a pretty good job of imitating a rather amusingly-written badfic.
As always, an e-cookie for you guys and girls that catch the reference that is the title, plus another one for catching the stealthier one hidden in the body of the mission.
Desdendelle’s Second A/N: As mentioned in the original mission, the badfic isn’t actually a badfic — it was written by Huinesoron for his Ispace Wars project. Anyway, I edited this mission because the writing was clumsy, and, more importantly, the Librarian was very OOC. All fixed now, though. I’ll keep the original in case anybody is interested in it.
This is an edited version of the original mission; I thank EviI Paladin from TvTropes, Huinesoron, Sergio Turbo, Antigone68104 and son_of_heaven176 for betaing the original mission.
I thank DawnFire, Iximaz and Darkotas for betaing the edited mission.
Huinesoron’s Note: Many thanks to Desdendelle for writing this mission. If you want to read more of his missions, searching Desdendelle PPC on any good search engine should lead you to them.
The Ladies’ Academy’s plan was to distract Ispace so as to allow one of their Sues to break into Ispace Mountain. Unfortunately (for them), it looks like the Protectors of the Plot Continuum are accidentally running interference for Ispace…