A life i never had
Tasmin returned from her ten mile run to find Allison sleeping on the sofa in their office. She looked like she had passed out before falling onto the sofa. Tasmin frowned a little then jogged into the bathroom to take a hot shower. There was nothing she liked better than a good long run followed by a nice hot shower.
She was just soaping up when she heard a loud beep coming from the other room. 'Let Allison take care of this one,' she thought and continued soaping up. There was another loud beep, a little more demanding this time, followed by a thud. Probably Allison falling off the sofa. Tasmin rinsed herself off and heard the third beep.
"Tasmin! How do you shut this thing off?"
Tasmin rolled her eyes. Forget about moisturizing when you have an incompetent partner. She turned off the water and wrapped herself into a towel before leaving the bathroom. Allison was frantically tapping every key on the console keyboard. In reply it was beeping at her louder and louder. Tasmin pushed her partner aside and quieted the machine with a simple key combination.
"That's how you shut that thing off."
Allison looked her up and down. "You're not going into the fic dressed like that, are you?"
Tasmin gave her a weary look. "Don't touch anything while I get
dressed." Allison froze into a salute. Tasmin went back into the
bathroom to get dressed. A few minutes later she returned, fully
dressed, and found Allison was still standing in the same position. She
grabbed her bag and tapped a few keys
on the console to open the portal into the fic. "In you go." She pushed
Allison through the portal and jumped in after her.
"I liked the summary," Allison said as she puzzled over the disguise Tasmin had chosen for them: tight fitting jeans and a loose fitting white men's shirt on top. She didn't like clothes that could possibly hamper her kicking range. "I mean, apart from the lack in punctuation. It didn't give away right away that there could be a Mary Sue in this fic."
"The opening lines are a pretty good clue." Tasmin nodded.
Hi I'm Jessica and I am 19.
"Could be a video message," Allison suggested. "For a dating agency."
Tasmin glared at her. "Do you seriously believe the things you say or are you just yanking my chain?"
Tasmin growled and turned her attention back to the Words. "I can't even begin to think where this is wrong."
"Let me grab my notepad, 'cause I'm sure you'll figure it out." Allison licked her pencil and before she had said "Shoot" Tasmin had already started.
"All four guys living together! With a teenage girl! What is she, their cook? And for over three years! Without BA killing Murdock!" Allison quickly scribbled down the keywords as Tasmin ranted. "The spelling hurts my eyes. And why is she introducing these guys? We all know who they are! That's the whole point of being in fanfiction: we can skip the introductions. And where does she get off saying Murdock isn't really crazy? Anyone who prefers living in a VA rather than the big bad outside world is crazy."
"I think she meant to say he hides his sanity well."
"Stop sticking up for the Sues; it's annoying. Murdock is crazy; it's the only defense he's got against the outside world. Let's not take that away from him."
"Yeah, she should have put quotation marks around Face as it is his nickname. Whole sentence probably should have read: 'Lieutenant Templeton "Faceman" Peck just Face'. Faceman is his full nickname; it's Face for short, not the other way round." Allison gasped at her. "What?"
"I'm writing you up for actually pronouncing the quotes." She turned her notepad over and made a note.
"Whatever." Tasmin shrugged. She quickly grabbed hold of the nearby wall.
Allison frowned her brow. She yelped as the floor suddenly shook and she was knocked into the wall. "What was that?"
"Tense shift. The opening paragraph was in present tense; the rest of the story is going to be in past tense. Nothing harmful."
"Well, it hurt my head," Allison said as she got back to her feet and rubbed the back of her head.
"I'm sure there is nothing fragile in there."
"Where are we?"
"At the Sue's school." Tasmin nodded at the Words. "I think this one is going to spend a lot of time telling the story rather than showing it."
I had a boyfriend his name was Harley I really loved him and I was pretty sure that he loved me but I was wrong.
"Aargh!" Tasmin yelled and pressed the heels of her hands to her eyes. "You read the Words. The punctuation hurts my eyes too; I can't take it anymore."
Allison read the Words, moving her lips as she did. Tasmin watched her, shook her head, but still had to ask.
"When I move my lips I get a better feel for where the commas, full stops and semicolons go."
"I guess I was wrong about the fragile." Tasmin peered into the classroom through the window and saw a boy and a man enter the classroom. The Sue tried to leave, but the others wouldn't let her. One of them hit her and her lights went out. The man lifted her onto his shoulders and carried her off, two boys on his trail. "Too bad none of them said anything."
"They scared her pretty bad nonetheless."
"True, but I got no clues what so ever why she was angsting. Was Scott a bully? Was Mr Hodgkin a particularly scary teacher? You know if he looked like Lurch, I would have been scared. But this guy teaches PE; he looks like an athlete. I'm thinking 'yummy'. I wouldn't mind being carried off over his shoulder."
"And I'm sure Jessica wouldn't mind switching positions." Allison chuckled.
Tasmin threw her a look. "Make a note: insufficient description to transfer the anxiety of the character. And because none of them said anything, we don't know why she was carried off like that. It could be anything. It could be rape fest."
"I doubt that. This story is Kplus rated."
"Kplus?" Tasmin put her head in her neck so she could read the letters above the Words. "Kplus. You better make a note of that. Sue stories are rarely Kplus."
Allison made the note. Tasmin took the remote activator from her bag and opened a portal.
"Onwards we go." She courteously let Allison go first.
Hannibal walked out of the Laundry mat and removed his wig, Mr Lee had just heard a very interesting story and he had accepted a mission from their client.
"Why didn't you bring us in at the beginning of the scene?" Allison complained. "I always loved Mr Lee. Or do you think my laughing would have disturbed the OC? I can laugh quietly, you know."
"I know," Tasmin replied, remembering a curious moment in their first mission. "And this is the beginning of the scene."
"I'm writing her up for that." Allison licked her pencil again, found it didn't write when wet, wiped it on her jeans and tried again. "Leaving out the best bits. What's an A-Team story without Hannibal playing a couple of characters?"
"You know, that thing works better on TV."
"Doesn't matter. It has entertainment value on paper too."
Tasmin chuckled. Now this was more like the kind of partner she wanted. She'd make a proper PPC agent out of Allison yet.
Tasmin walked across the street following Hannibal. She read the next scene from the Words, even though that hurt her eyes. She knew she wouldn't be able to get any closer to the real scene.
"You may want to hold on to something that is grounded," she called over her shoulder to Allison.
"What for?" A force strong as an earthquake knocked Allison over. She looked up, but wasn't in the street anymore. She was lying on a drive way. She looked around for Tasmin; she wasn't there. What had happened? A portal opened next to her and Tasmin stepped through. "Another tense change?"
"No. Change of location without giving visual warning." Tasmin stuck out her hand to help Allison up.
"How come you see all these things coming and I don't?" Allison tried to pad the dirt off her.
"I read the Words."
"I read the Words too."
"Guess I read a little bit faster than you." Tasmin walked over to the window and looked into the room. The Sue was lying on the floor chained to the bed. She stirred. "Duck, she's about to wake up."
The two agents pressed themselves against the wall on either side of the window. They heard the clung of a handcuff against a metal bed post.
"Who's in Punctuation these days?" Tasmin asked.
"Alice, I think. Why?"
"We should call her. She'd have a field day here."
"Why? Isn't this world going to fold in on it self when we take out the Sue?"
"Good point." Tasman smiled. A facial feature Allison always found quite disturbing in her. She turned her head away and looked at the Words.
My left hand was chained to the bed post, I guessed that it was about 5.30 in the afternoon I heard movements outside the door.
"I already wrote her up for punctuation. How often can we charge her for that?"
"I think you can mention it about three or four times. And write her up for making a time estimate, but not telling us on what she bases it." Tasmin glanced through the window; when she saw three men enter she quickly pulled her head back.
Harley walked over and squatted beside me, "She's awake" he exclaimed. There was no use hiding it now I opened my eyes and glared at them.
Tasmin clacked her tongue. "She can't know who squats beside her until she opens her eyes. Write her up for that."
"I would if this was a present tense fic. In past tense she can do this. She can give the information in a different order than in which she found it out."
Tasmin growled in reply.
"Hey, we're hunting Sue here to encourage others to write good fics. We're not helping them if we shoot at everything."
Tasmin muttered something under her breath. It was probably best that Allison did not hear it. Laughter came from the room. Tasmin leaned in again to look through the window.
"What do they want from her?" she asked.
"Information," Allison replied.
"What kind of information?"
"Apparently they think she has gathered some information on them, and they want to know what."
"But she doesn't know what they are talking about," Tasmin stated.
"Nope." Allison shook her head. "There would have been easier ways for them to find out. I mean, one of these guys is the Sue's boy-friend. He could have subtly questioned her."
"Probable plots are not a Sue's strong suit."
"It never was the series strong suit either."
"Hey! Don't mock the series."
"Okay, sorry. Maybe she just wanted to show that these guys have double digit IQs."
"People with double digit IQs don't worry about what others know about them. That sort of thing well extends their grasp of the world."
"Well, we're not going to learn anything new here. Can we go see how Faceman breaks Murdock out of the VA? That is always fun to watch."
"I hope you are not going to be disappointed." Tasmin opened the portal and they stepped through, right into the reception area at the VA.
"Hi I'm here to see Mr Murdock his vaccinations are due" explained Face, "right this way" the nurse responded.
"Okay, I am disappointed. First she robs me of a good Mr Lee scene, and now she makes it this easy to get Murdock out of the VA? At least she could have had the nurse say 'Vaccinations? But he's not a little kid anymore; he's had all his jabs.' And then Face could reply, 'yes, but Mr Murdock has a rare physiological condition: his red blood cells forget how to make antibodies after so many years. We need to repeat his vaccinations or otherwise this man could die of something as simple as chickenpox.' The nurse would be all shocked and quickly brings him to Murdock. This." Allison pointed in frustration. "This's just lack of imagination. It would have been better use of Face's character if he had just walked past the nurse and given her a friendly smile."
Tasmin chuckled. "It's the white blood cells that make the antibodies, and they don't vaccinate for chickenpox."
"What do I know?" Allison made a throw away gesture. "I'm not writing this story."
"Ah, don't worry." Tasmin gave her a slap on the shoulder. "The actual author of this story also doesn't have much of a clue." She opened another portal. "Let's go back to school."
"Right." Allison threw a last look at the Words.
Murdock was talking gibberish as he walked past the nurse.
"Number one charge," Allison said with her finger raised as she walked through the portal, "not using characters' full potential. Actually, that's charges one through three: not using the full potential of Hannibal; not using the full potential of Face; not using the full potential of Murdock. Ah, she makes me so angry I want to strangle her."
"I'll happily shoot her for you."
"Don't tell me you can't strangle anyone in A-Team fandom?" Allison stopped in her tracks and looked very disappointed.
Tasmin turned in surprise. "I -- I don't know. I'm not sure it has ever been tried. All on screen deaths were from getting shot."
"Am I ever in the wrong fandom." Allison tried to stuff her hands in the pockets of her jeans, but they were so thight there wasn't any room. Next time, she would be picking the disguises.
The black and grey van pulled up by the curb and Face and Hannibal got out.
Face was dressed in a detective uniform and Hannibal was dressed as a corporal.
"Did I see that correctly?" Allison turned a puzzled face to Tasmin.
"I know, it was in the Words too. Face wore a detective uniform." They watched them go into the school.
"If it had said Murdock I would have thought he jumped out of the van dressed as Sherlock Holmes."
Tasmin nodded in reply. "Detectives are plain clothes."
"What are they doing at the school anyway? Wouldn't the client have told them everything they could possibly find out here?"
"Ah, little glasshoppel, you have found anothel plot hole," Tasmin said with a solemn face.
Allison slowly turned her head to Tasmin and lifted her eyebrows. "I think it is now my turn to say: shut up, fool."
"Silence, little glasshoppel. You shall not be dislespectful."
"I think it is time to leave again." Allison nodded at the Words. After the last impact she had been careful to take notice of the Words and if a new location was to be expected.
They decided to check out where the three of them lived and have a look at their records.
"Yes, I also want to know what kind of music these guys listen to," Tasmin said and pressed the remote activator. Allison chuckled listlessly. That was about the best joke she had read in the fic all day. And it wasn't even there on purpose.
Tasmin had brought them to another house.
"I've jumped ahead a bit. Most of it is just really boring telling stuff. And she keeps on repeating the same things we are already charging her for. Her punishment won't be any different if we start tallying multiple offenses in one fic."
Allison glanced over the Words. There were about eight paragraphs of catching up to do. "You missed there that she mentions Face making a date with a woman."
"So? Hannibal is making him cancel it." Tasmin shrugged. Face making a date was nothing special.
"She mentioned earlier that Face had a girl-friend."
"Good call." Tasmin actually looked impressed. "I missed that one. Write her up: plot continuity."
A few more minutes later Allison had finally caught up. "I see why you brought us here."
"Kplus she said. That's not Kplus."
The police arrived at Jess's home only to find 3 body's drenched in blood and stab wounds in their throats.
"Nope, but is that our job to mention? Surely someone else can report her for that."
"Sure, and other readers can also leave lengthy reviews and tell the Sue what needs to be changed about her fic. What do you think will be more impressive?"
"I'm hoping it is us. But since no one ever actually gets to see our work, I doubt it's us."
"Yeah, bit of a bummer." Tasmin opened a portal. "Time to kick some butt."
"It is best to take the Sue out of the story before she gets too involved with the Team. Sadly that is not always possible as we're not allowed to shoot the Sue in the opening paragraph." Tasmin ushered Allison through the portal and followed her.
It was dark. There were no street lights and the sky was cloudy. A great night for stealth. Just the way Tasmin liked it. The house was located well off the road. Light and merriment was coming from the front room. The two agents snuck over and hid underneath a window.
"Are you sure we're not going to be disturbed by the A-Team while in here?" Allison asked a little worried. She didn't think the A-Team were the kind of guys she wanted to run into when they were in a saving mood.
"The Sue has sent them all to have a proper night sleep. Very uncharacteristic. Hannibal never sleeps." Tasmin put her bag on the ground and opened it. "First we go in and kill the three bad guys. Shouldn't be too hard. They sound drunk."
"You have the gun."
"Yes, I do." Tasmin pulled her Beretta 92SB from her bag and padded it lovingly. Then she screwed on a silencer and flicked the safety. "Let's rock."
Tasmin got up and hunched over she made for the front door. It wasn't locked and both agents entered the house. They found the three bad guys in the front room. The bad guys were surprised to see the two women; the two boys didn't get time to get over their surprise before Tasmin put a bullet in their heads. Mr Hodgkin was a little more trouble. He lunged forward and knocked over Tasmin. He started pounding away at her until Allison managed to grab him in a choke hold. She cut off his air. He tried to grab hold of her and pull her away from him. Tasmin tried to distract him by kicking and hitting him. The lack of air caused him to lose consciousness and he fell forward. Allison let go of him. Tasmin picked up the gun she had lost in the struggle and shot him between the eyes.
"Bet you're glad you weren't carried off by him."
Tasmin didn't reply, but headed for the stairs to find the Sue in one of the upstair's bedrooms. All the rooms were empty.
"Where is she?"
Allison chuckled. "I guess you missed that the Sue sat down on a cold stone floor." Tasmin glared at her. "I think she's in the basement."
Tasmin ran down two flights of stairs with Allison on her heels. The basement had an open storage, and a closed storage. The door to the closed storage was locked.
"Kick this in."
"Less than 140 pounds of woman. Not likely."
Tasmin sighed and put a couple of bullets in the lock. "How about now."
"Now is much better." Allison took a little sprint and knocked the door open. She fell into the room, quickly scrambled to her feet and looked around for the Sue.
"What's going on?" the Sue asked.
"Agents Tasmin and Allison from Protectors of the Plot Continuum, we have come to take you out of here."
"But you're not the A-Team."
"You've got that right. Allison, will you do the honor of charging her?"
"It will be my pleasure." Allison got a wide grin on her face. "If you will turn on the light, then I will read her her charges." Allison pulled the notepad from her back pocket, cleared her throat and started. "Jessica Luke, we hereby charge you with being a Mary Sue."
"Being ignorant of the laws of fiction is no excuse for breaking them." Allison tried to give her most pleasant yet devilish grin. "To support this charge we further charge you with not using Hannibal's character to its full potential. We charge you with offensive punctuation. We charge you with not using the character of Face to its full potential. We charge you with offensive punctuation. We charge you with not using Murdock's character to its full potential."
"And let me guess." The Sue folded her arms and gave a defiant look. "You charge me with offensive punctuation."
"We've got a live one," Allison crowed.
"What are you on about? Charging me?"
"Shut up while you're being charged." Tasmin punched the Sue in the face. Still weak from the previous beatings she had taken that day, the Sue went down. Allison continued charging her while on the ground. "We charge you with thinking it's 5.30, but not explaining why. You've been out cold; how can you know anything about time? We charge you with using the wrong rating for your fic."
"Kplus means suitable for more mature children, 9 years and older, with minor action violence without serious injury. May contain mild coarse language. Should not contain any adult themes," Tasmin quoted.
"Stab wounds to the throat is serious injury. Further we charge you with insufficient description, and we wonder if you yourself even know what this is all about."
The Sue shook her head. "No, I don't know why I was kidnapped, and I don't know what you are doing here."
"We are here to charge you. And we meant: do you as the writer even know the motivation of these guys to kidnap you. We think you don't know, and because of that you make it hard for us to think of the bad guys as anything more threatening than lawn furniture."
"Great simile," Tasmin commented.
"Thanks. And lastly we charge you with getting rescued by the A-Team and then move in with all of them. Damn it, you gave away you were a Mary Sue in the first line of the story." Allison paced away in anger, turned around and addressed the Sue again: "You have been charged. Do you understand these charges?"
"No," the Sue cried. "What are you doing? What do you want? Where's the A-Team?"
"They're not coming. We want to rid fiction of Mary Sues. They serve no purpose other than to be made fun of or to be hunted down."
"Say bye bye," Tasmin said.
"Bye bye," the Sue said with a weak voice. Tasmin shot her between the eyes and blew the smoke from the barrel.
"Time to go home." She tossed Allison the remote activator. Allison looked surprised. This was the first time Tasmin let her handle any kind of equipment when she was able to handle it herself. "You did well today." Tasmin gave her a smile. Allison smiled back and opened a portal.
"You know, I could imagine some of the A-Team living together: Hannibal and Murdock, actually. That would be like a Men Behaving Badly kind of thing. Hannibal and Murdock as Gary and Tony." Humming the Badly tune Allison danced through the portal.
Tasmin rolled her eyes. She already regretted letting Allison get a hold of any of the office equipment. She stepped through the portal and bumped into Allison. Allison had stopped dead the moment she had come through the portal.
"It's our office, but it's kind of dark and forbidden." She gave Tasmin the remote activator. "I don't know what's going on."
"Well, go turn on a light so we can see."
Allison made her way across the dark room in the direction of, she hoped, the light switch. She stumbled over a desk chair and heard Tasmin's faint snickering. She found the light switch just at the moment something occurred to her: "Don't you have a flashlight in that bag of yours?"
"Yeah, I do. But this is more fun."
Allison flicked on the light and glared at Tasmin. Then she looked around the room. There were shutters in front of the windows and even in front of the door. On the inside of the room. Tasmin seemed to be as surprised as she was at it all.
"It's almost like we entered the drawer of a filing cabinet."
"I know what this is." Tasmin smiled. "Don't worry. It's good."
"Care to enlighten me what the good actually is?"
"We've been archived."
"Archived? What does that mean? Stuck in the bottom drawer somewhere? Has Upstairs taken us of our assignment?"
"No, no, we've still got the same job."
"I thought you said being archived was good." Allison inspected the shutter blocking the door. "Does this open up again or are we stuck in here, together, for ever?" Allison suddenly felt her life-expectancy fall by sixty odd years.
"Relax." Tasmin made herself comfortable on the sofa. "It's just a temporary measure. Sort of like a quarantine. Just to see if we and the archive are a good match; it will only take a couple of hours. Or days," she said with a menacing grin.
Allison lowered herself to the floor and sat with her back against the wall. Just to be on the safe side she would try to stay out of Tasmin's reach for the next few hours. She wondered how many bullets Tasmin had left.