February 2006 HST
Agent Scott Logan of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum sighed as he read through the words of the badfic in front of him. It was never pleasant to see canon stretched thin by some adolescent author; even less so when it was one of his favourite fandoms that was being overrun.
It had seemed like just another run-of-the-mill Suefic resulting from the recent release of the latest Star Wars movie. Canon was being warped by yet another self-insert Mary Sue spawned by an author firmly besotted with Hayden Christensen and hoping to turn Anakin back to the light through the power of her true love.
Except that most Mary Sues are moreconcerned with their appearance and apparel than with actual combat skills, whereas this Sue - Aether Starsfire by name - was a powerful Jedi as well as being "famed throughout the galaxy for her beauty". Logan supposed he'd better get used to overpowered Sues, now that he was working for the PPC's Eclectic Subdivision of Advanced Species.
He had been transferred to ESAS from the Department of Mary Sues just weeks before, along with his partner in the DMS, Agent Entropy. For their first weeks in ESAS, however, both Logan and Entropy were temporarily repartnered with more-experienced ESAS agents to get them up to speed with the procedures of their new division.
Agent Kern, onetime Jedi Knight and now Logan's temporary partner, rolled his eyes as they watched the Sue upstage Jedi after Jedi in practice duels. She was fighting to impress Anakin, so that he would turn away from the dark side (and Padmé, for that matter) through her love and general all-round Sueish wonderfulness.
Logan's canonical datapad was being used to add the latest charge to the list - causing fully-trained Jedi to be bested by a an untrained Padawan - and they were close to amassing enough charges to kill the Sue and return to HQ.
He checked the words: the Sue had several more duels remaining, most of them highly skilled Jedi.
"I really don’t want to watch any more Jedi humiliated by that schutta," he said. "Why don't we find something else to do and find her again after the fight?"
"No complaints here," Logan replied. "I've got no desire to be around that Sue any more than is necessary. Lead the way."
Logan and Kern were disguised as master and apprentice , and so easily passed for regular denizens of the Jedi Temple. Kern started walking down a corridor leading to the Temple's training rooms, choosing the first unoccupied one. He activated one of the remotes, and as the little spherical droid soared into the air he handed a lightsaber to Logan. "Here - get some practice!" Kern said, giving Logan a gentle shove towards the remote.
While Kern was a fully trained Jedi Knight, Logan hadn't used a lightsaber before transferring to ESAS just weeks before. Kern was taking every possible opportunity to make Logan practice, both in HQ and whenever they were assigned together.
It's one thing having a temporary partner who is kept on the right side of sanity only by copious amounts of iced tea - that's normal for PPC HQ - but it's quite another to have the same partner almost decapitate you with a lightsaber the first time he turns it on. Kern's face took on a haunted look as he remembered Logan thumbing the lightsaber on and starting to swing it around as he would a sword.
While Logan was fairly proficient with a sword after a year working in the DMS, a lightsaber used a very different fighting style, not to mention being far more dangerous.
It was later. Both Logan and Kern had all limbs still attached, and Logan was starting to get the hang of the weapon by now. The Sue had finished her show-off fights, and the agents left the training room and followed her into a corridor of the Jedi temple, where Anakin Skywalker was waiting for the Sue. Kern pulled out his CAD and pointed it at Anakin, covering its speaker with his robe. A muffled beep sounded and he read the display:
Anakin Skywalker, Human Male. Canon. Out of Character 84.6% CHARACTER RUPTURE
"Sithspawn," Kern swore as he watched Anakin and the Sue kiss. The CAD beeped again, this time louder.
"She's officially ruined canon now," Logan said as he entered this latest charge into his datapad. "I'll charge her, you get ready in case the Chosen One here gives any trouble."
Kern nodded and unclipped his lightsaber, following Logan towards the Mary Sue.
"Ahem!" Logan coughed, as he walked towards the pair. The Sue broke off and looked up at him, scowling.
"Aether Starsfire," he said, "it is my duty to inform you that you have been charged with the following charges…" Logan paused and reached for his datapad.
A series of beeps, starting loud and continuing well on the way towards 'deafening' emanated from Kern's CAD. A strange metallic smell filled the air, and Logan thought he saw a flash of glitter out of the corner of his eye. Kern's CAD gave a final anguished wail and disappeared in a puff of smoke and flame.
Then the corridor twisted into a swirl of colour and Logan felt himself falling. He could just make out Anakin Skywalker backing away before the Jedi Temple disappeared and the plothole dumped Logan, Kern and the Sue unceremoniously on something hard and cobbled.
Rohirric Monkey finished typing, reviewed what was currently on her computer screen and pressed the 'Enter' key with a satisfied look on her face. The screen flickered, and then she saw her post appear on the PPC Posting Board. As she scrolled down the screen looking for more interesting posts, she heard a strange sound. It was very faint, but sounded something like high-pitched laughter mixed with something that sounded like tinkling bells.
She frowned and looked around the room. There seemed to be nothing out of place. Then, as she watched, a shower of pink sparkles fell from the ceiling, leaving in its wake a deep blue rectangle that shimmered strangely. The portal opened wider and started to move towards her, faster than she could move away. Then the portal reached the desk and Rohirric Monkey disappeared, leaving behind only a startled cry.
She landed on some patchy grass. The portal trip had left her slightly dazed, and it took a few moments to take in her surroundings. The first sensation that flared back to life was scent - a strong and unpleasant combination of horses, earth and sweat. She heard a clinking sound and looked up, seeing only some fields. Then, looking to each side, she saw a roadway, still rough-edged and unfinished.
"Prisoner 24601! " a harsh voice cried. "On your feet, you lazy dog!"
Rohirric Monkey was confused, thinking that maybe she was still dazed. 24601 - that was Jean Valjean, of course. But Valjean is a fictional character, of course, so why was someone telling him to stand up?
It was then that she looked down. Her arms were hairy and smudged with dirt, and when she turned them over to look at her palms the skin was calloused and leathery.
She felt her face, and something tickled her hands. It was then that she discovered that she had a beard.
And then she realised that not only was she no longer wearing her glasses, but also that she no longer needed them.
She blinked a couple of times, trying very hard not to make a sound. Then, hesitantly, not sure what she was going to find, she looked down at her trousers.
There was a brief moment where the world swam around her, during which she used all her willpower to keep silent.
Then her mind caught up to what her senses were telling her and she screamed.
It was a rather more deep scream than she was used to.
Rough hands seized her and pulled her to her feet, then turned her around. There was a chain gang, staring at her as if she had gone mad, and in the distance a port city, which looked uncomfortably old-fashioned.
The full enormity of the situation crashed down again, and she screamed a second time.
She was Jean Valjean.
The PPC Cafeteria was filled with a nervous and worried feeling, far in excess of the usual worry and concentrated anxiety that accompanies so many psychotic beings gathering in one place.
Agent Flip stood at one side of the vast room and shuffled nervously from one foot to the other, fiddling with a strange-looking ring. She hadn’t seen Agent Rez, her partner, for what seemed to be hours (not that she could ever be sure in HQ), and the other agents were giving her a wide berth after she'd overreacted to a nervous joke by Agent Alagos and thrown him into a wall, using strength she probably didn't actually have. Being a character blip can be rather unpredictable, especially in times of stress...
It was a sign of the shared tension amongst the Agents that Alagos just moved away quietly - normally any excuse for a fight would be enough for a PPC agent (especially an irritable Noldo) to start blowing up things.
Crowded amongst the table in front of her were hundreds of agents - the most she'd seen gathered since that time DoGA had that mass exorcism - and more were entering in a steady stream from the doorways. In the centre of the cafeteria, the tables had been pulled back, clearing a space in which more Flower Officials than she even knew existed were assembled. She tried to link each Official to department, but soon gave up - it was clear that the secretaries and minor functionaries were in attendance, not just the heads of department.
The Sunflower Official looked worried, as far as a sentient flower is capable of this look, and she saw what seemed to be the Coriander and the Strangler Fig sharing a nervous whisper. The Marquis de Sod's petals were clearly drooping - she supposed it was the flower equivalent of stress and fatigue.
The Sunflower Official extended a tendril and motioned for silence.
Everyone please be silent. I have a disturbing announcement to make. There has been a great disruption in the Les Miserables canon. Plotholes have opened in hundreds of fanfics in many continua, and through these plotholes the Les Miserables universe has picked up hundreds of non-canon characters. Many of these are Mary Sues, but the Marquis de Sod has informed me that some PPC Agents have also been sent into the continuum. Most worrying of all, we have reports that people from the World 1 have been abducted by these plotholes and are in the Les Miserables universe. The Marquis de Sod has posted a list of those trapped in the continuum outside the Personnel Department.
Under the pressure of so many non-Canon characters, the Les Miserables continuum has started to collapse. While the collapse is currently incomplete, it is serious enough that the continuum has been corrupted by some of the Sue fics, and has become songfic dominated.
Due to the damage to the continuum, we can only risk sending a few more agents into Les Miserables, but these agents must rally those agents already trapped inside the universe, for if the Mary Sues are allowed free reign, the continuum may collapse completely and all the inhabitants will be lost forever. This includes the agents and the real world people, most of whom are PPC Boarders, possibly targeted due to their close affiliation with the PPC. We cannot rule out this situation being instigated by the Mary Sues, and if so, this represents a worrying development.
While normally I would not be so naïve as to expect any of you to volunteer for anything, given the circumstances I would ask any of you who want to volunteer to see the Marquis de Sod. We can only accept a limited number of agents, so do not delay.
During the SO's speech the agents were almost completely silent -a few bouts of maniacal laughter were to be expected, after all - but as soon as the speech had finished the cafeteria erupted into a buzz of conversation. The Flower Officials started to move out of the cafeteria, and Flip started to follow them. She wanted to go to the Department of Personnel to find out what had happened to Rez, but she forgot to think about something else and spent minutes wandering the featureless corridors. Eventually Flip's innate absent-mindedness kicked in and she started to daydream about clothing designs, then suddenly she bumped into someone.
Flip looked up and saw it was Agent Jo. Flip apologised, feeling slightly disappointed that she hadn't bumped into the good-looking ex-Stu Agent Shae, and then realised that she stood in front of the Department of Personnel.
Flip started to scan through the long list of the missing. It was in no particular order, and so she had to read through each name, becoming more and more worried and depressed with each entry. Finally she read past "Agents Cat and Sara" to find "Agent Rez Montrose". Flip let out a little cry of frustration and started to kick the wall.