Allison glared at the console. A new mission had just been announced and the accompanying notice from Intelligence only listed her name. Meaning, she was supposed to go on a mission on her own. While it would be nice to be out of her partner's hair for a while, she wondered what she had done to deserve another punishment expedition. She didn't recall groping any canons lately, no signs of being a Sue herself. She was pretty sure half the agents in the PPC would score higher on a Litmus Test than she did.
She looked at the notice again. Mission into Voyagers! Allison shrugged, at least she'd been there before.
"You're the only one that's been there before," the notice said.
"Sounds like a good idea to let someone else get some experience there too," Allison commented to the text on screen.
"No, the fandom is too small to have many agents running around with experience of going into Voyagers!' It is not efficient."
"Since when are the PPC worried about efficiency?"
"We started trial runs about five minutes ago. Now, get into that fic!"
A little disturbed that whoever wrote the notice knew exactly how she was going to respond and had written appropriate responses Allison sighed. She glanced over the first chapter of the fic she was supposed to go into. Liverpool, England, 1961. That wasn't too bad. She set a disguise, grabbed the FLF and a notepad and jumped into the fic.
Allison is sucked into the story the moment she crosses the portal's threshold. She falls to the ground. Supporting herself on hands and knees she waits for her head to stop spinning. "Present tense. I can deal with that. Never been in a fic that had present tense proper, but I can deal with that." She takes a few deep breaths and slowly gets up. "It's the tense switches that are the problem. Present tense is a piece of cake."
Phineas Bogg and Jeffrey Jones walk past her and Allison decides to follow them. Landing in Liverpool in the sixties inspires Jeffrey to lecture Bogg about the Beatles.
"Well Bogg, the Beatles become really big in America in 1964 and well even in 1982, people still listen to them and worships them. When they did split up and go solo, some of them stayed famous."
"Some? Which of John, Paul, George or Ringo is not famous?" Allison asks. Then she realizes that Jeffrey is not talking about the 1964 version of the Beatles, but about the 1961 group, and has to agree with him that not all Beatles stayed famous.
Bogg and Jeffrey turn into Mathew Street and Allison makes a quick note that Jeffrey got the date wrong when Ringo joined the band. Jeffrey spots the Cavern Club and urges Bogg to go inside. The two Voyagers hand the man by the door some money before they enter the club.
Allison tries to slip past this man saying "Press" and waving her notepad.
He grabs her by the shoulder. "Where's your Membership Card?"
"Er?" Allison vainly searches some of her pockets. "Must have forgotten it."
"A member who does not produce his or her Membership Card must 'sign in' as a visitor." The door man points at a poster by the door.
Grumbling about fics that are not specific and still manage to fill in the gaps with true facts, Allison complies. Then she can go through into the club.
On their way to a table Jeffrey has knocked someone down. He helps her up, apologises and continues towards his table.
Allison only catches the last of the minor scuffle, but decides to keep an eye on the girl. This is the Sue. The intelligence report told her that, and in a way, the Sue herself does too, as the story skips to her, shortly after Jeffrey sits down with Bogg. The Sue sits down with a woman and talks to her about the Beatles and an omni.
The woman looks at the girl and sighs. "You know, I've only read about them." The girl smiles. " Well it's only 1961, Ringo hasn't joined yet, he doesn't join until 1962 and then in 1964 they invade America and that's when the whole craziness starts."
Allison likes to contest that. Beatlemania existed before the Beatles went state side. She will allow that things didn't go crazy in the USA until the Beatles went there, but that's just part of the craziness.
Before the band even starts to play Bogg gets up from his seat and tells Jeffrey he is going to the hotel across the street for a room. Jeffrey gets up too; he wants to go to the bathroom.
Allison makes a note that nightclubs in Britain do not have public baths. She ponders whether that would be a viable charge. Jeffrey and the Sue are American, and Americans have a thing about saying "toilet". Though that sort of awkwardness is not exclusive to Americans; Allison remembers an elderly aunt who always said she was going to wash her hands.
Near the toilet Jeffrey and the Sue bump into each other once again. The Sue explains this happens to her a lot because she is short. They go into the Gents and Ladies, respectively, and when they come out return to their respective tables. The Sue pulls an omni from her pocket and checks to see if the light is still green.
From his table Jeffrey has been watching the girl. He tells Bogg about the omni. Bogg finds this odd, but a moment later he recognizes the woman sitting with the girl as fellow Voyager Olivia Dunn. The two male Voyagers decide to join the two women at their table.
Olivia does not display surprise or happiness at seeing the Voyagers. She introduces them to her partner, the Sue. The Sue indicates she bumped into Jeffrey already a couple of times. Bogg asks Olivia if they can talk in private for a moment and the two of them leave the table. Jeffrey sits down with the Sue and asks her what her story is.
Morgan begins in the beginning, she occasionally stops. Jeffrey listens as she tells him what happened to her. "If it wasn't for Olivia, I'd be dead, so since she couldn't take me back, cause her Omni only goes up to 1971, she had to take me with her and if you're wondering about her guidebook, she lost in the fire when she saved me."
Pretty much the same backstory as Jeffrey, Allison scribbles down. That is definitely a charge. The fire is different, but losing the guidebook isn't. The latter thing is probably an indicator that the Sue is also acting as a guidebook substitute, just as Jeffrey is.
The two young Voyagers drink their sodas and eat some pretzels while they talk.
"Hey," Allison calls out to the barkeeper. "You're giving away the salty snacks? You are aware that in England you can make patrons pay for crisps and such that will make them more thirsty?"
The barkeeper shrugs. "It attracts the American customers. But you should've seen it here before, they were drinking beer... from bottles."
Allison collapses against the bar. It takes a moment for the feeling to return to her legs. She pulls herself up by the edge of the bar. "I guess that would explain why you installed baths."
An in-paragraph scene switch causes Allison to be knocked against the bar again. The room spins around her. When it stops she's facing Bogg and Olivia. Bogg asks the female Voyager what happened that she is now working with a partner. Olivia admits it's a long story, but it turns out it doesn't take that much time to tell. Her omni took her to 1983, which was impossible she notes, where she landed next to a house a girl was trying to get out of. Olivia broke a window, climbed inside, grabbed the girl, and the omni triggered on its own and took Olivia and her new charge somewhere and somewhen else. Olivia didn't have the heart to leave the girl behind and was now voyaging with her.
Bogg leans in. "But you don't need her, you got your guidebook."
That's nice, Bogg, Allison thinks, questioning Olivia's morality like that.
Unlike herself, Olivia does not tell Bogg off about his presumption. Rather, she tells him she has lost her guidebook, but the Sue is book smart and helps her out a lot.
Allison squints an eye. She had figured Olivia for someone to know her history; she wouldn't need as much tutelage as Bogg. To her, the guidebook was just a back-up for her knowledge. Though, Allison has to admit, the Words do not say the Sue is consulted more often than the guidebook.
Olivia tells Bogg she's glad to see him again; she's missed him. Bogg admits to the same. He leans in for a kiss. When Olivia breaks off the kiss he suggests to her to go to the room he reserved for himself and Jeffrey.
Allison watches them go in amazement. Apparently, the senior Voyagers are so horny they don't even bother to tell their respective partners where they are going. She decides to go and see how Jeffrey and the Sue are doing.
The two teenagers are waiting patiently. The Sue says she has a feeling that Bogg and Olivia decided they needed a room and won't be back all night.
Allison quickly checks her FLF is set to manual. The fic has a distinct lack of scene breaks, and the agent would appreciate not to be suddenly propelled into a scene of a sexual nature. She'd much rather enjoy a before-they-were-famous concert of the Beatles. That is not to be, as the fic quickly fast-forwards to the applause the audience gives at the end of the concert. Allison sulks.
Jeffrey and the Sue have enjoyed themselves. Jeffrey leans across the table and asks the Sue if she doesn't miss her family. The Sue divulges her family died when she was eight.
Allison rolls her eyes. Female Jeffrey, she writes in her notepad.
Morgan yawns. "Well I'm gonna turn in, you can stay in our room if you want, there is another bed there." Jeffrey shrugs his shoulders. "I guess it would be ok, since I can't go into the room that we got."
"How would they know that?" Allison asks herself. "A moment ago she thought Bogg and Olivia took one of their rooms, and neither of them has been back to tell her which room they took." She makes a note of the continuity error.
The Sue gets up and walks out of the club. Jeffrey follows her, and Allison follows him. She stops short of joining them in their hotel room. The Sue can see her, and that could lead to an awkward situation. The agent stays behind in the lobby and focuses on the Words to keep track of the story.
Jeffrey asks the Sue if Olivia ever thought about quitting Voyaging. The Sue admits she has, but often would quickly change her mind. The Sue says she likes voyaging because that means she doesn't have to worry about getting close to anyone. Jeffrey acknowledges this is one of the reasons he likes voyaging too.
Allison drops her head in her hands. Giving the boy commitment issues, she writes when she has pulled herself together.
The two junior Voyagers fall asleep. Some hours later Jeffrey's woken up by some strange noises. The Sue is not in her bed. He finds her cowering in a corner. When he gently touches her shoulder she pushes him away and runs to the opposite side of the room. Jeffrey tries to grab her, but she fights him off. Then she collapses. Jeffrey carries her to her bed and lies down with her. Something stirs in him, but the fic does not disclose what.
A brief black-out announces to Allison that the story skips to the next chapter. Bogg and Olivia are getting dressed and talking about the previous night. The awkward paragraphing makes it impossible for Allison to make out who is saying what. She just catches the gist of it: for both Bogg and Olivia the previous night was no strings attached sex. Allison shrugs. Both of them are adults, and their attitude towards sex is none of her business. What is her business is that Bogg and Olivia know that Jeffrey and the Sue have spent the night in Olivia's room. They shouldn't have known this, as no one could have told them.
Olivia unlocks the door - the Sue and she each have a key in case they are separated; Allison makes a note that they also could have left the key at the front desk - and the senior Voyagers find the teenagers are asleep in the same bed. Bogg decides they should let them sleep. He and Olivia head for the restaurant next door to have breakfast.
Allison decides to follow them when they pass her in the lobby. She sits down at the next table and slightly leans their way so she can hear their conversation. Not that the Voyagers are talking quietly.
"I think I might need to have that talk with Jeffrey now."
Olivia's response implies he means "the sex talk". Allison makes the quotes in her head. She would have imagined Bogg would have had this talk with the kid ages ago. Somewhere around the time his voice first broke and he started to take more than a cursory interest in girls.
Olivia wonders out loud whether the Sue had another nightmare. She explains to Bogg that the Sue has still not worked through the issues concerning her parents' deaths. They were killed when the Sue was eight, and she still has regular nightmares about it.
Bogg puts the menu back in its holder. "Poor kid."
Messed up kid more like, Allison notes. She's not a psychologist by any stretch of the imagination, but if someone is afraid to go to sleep because of nightmares nine or ten years after the fact, they need some serious help. They have well passed the point they can work through things on their own, or with a patient friend. But Allison doubts she can blame Olivia for not acting pro-actively in this regard. She wonders whether the Voyagers organisation provides psychological counselling for their field agents. She can imagine that their work can be very traumatic at times.
A waitress takes Bogg and Olivia's meal orders and flirts with Bogg. When she's turned her back Olivia mentions her last meal was in 1930's New York, and a hotdog.
" I can tell you, they taste really good with lots of mustard, catsup, relish and onions."
Olivia shakes her head, "Oh man that sounds gross, I only like it with mustard, catsup and some relish."
Both options sound unfit for human consumption to Allison. But, she points out to herself, different strokes to different folks. She imagines there are also a lot of people who wonder how Brits can eat a full English breakfast first thing in the morning. Sometimes, she wonders the same thing herself. All this thinking of food makes her hungry. She wishes there was a breakfast buffet in the story; that way she could have also grabbed a bite to eat.
The two teenage Voyagers walk into the restaurant and join their partners at their table. They tell them they had a good time at the concert and the Sue expresses a desire to meet the Beatles. The waitress brings two plates of food. Jeffrey steals some food from Bogg's plate. The latter objects to this.
Jeffrey smiles. "It's only a few fries."
"Fries!" Allison nearly exclaims. She turns around. This she has to see. And indeed, there are potato fries on Bogg's and Olivia's plate. Not a fry-up, not chips, but fries. "Right." Allison decides there is a limit to the amount of Americanisms she will accept in a fic set in Britain. Fries on the breakfast plate is definitely it.
After breakfast - a little past eleven - Jeffrey and the Sue decide they want to try and meet the Beatles. Bogg and Olivia stay behind and order some liquor for themselves.
Though permitted hours have just about commenced, Allison still thinks they are setting a bad example for their teenage partners, and writes them up for it. She then hurries to follow the two younger Voyagers.
Jeffrey and the Sue's search for the Beatles doesn't last long, as soon after they started, she gets knocked down by one of them, John Lennon. The Beatle completely forgets why he was heading out once the teenagers tell him they saw him play and ask if they could meet the rest of the band. John takes them up and introduces them to the rest. The Sue tells them that after they go to America they don't have to work in small clubs any more. Then the Voyagers leave again.
Jeffrey stops the Sue and tells her off about shooting her mouth off. Telling people about their future could possibly lead to changing it. The two then reminisce about some things yet to come for the Beatles.
Allison notes they get a few more facts wrong.
The two Voyagers return to their hotel room. There they talk a little about the Sue's nightmare. She says she feels safe with Olivia, and with Jeffrey, even though she has only just met him. They kiss. Afterwards both admit never having been kissed before.
"What?" Allison has stayed behind in the lobby again. She rereads the Words to make sure she read right. Jeffrey says he's never kissed a girl. Jeffrey never struck her as someone who came up short in the social skills department, and he met a lot of people all the time. She can't quite imagine the opportunity and the inclination never came up at the same time. Though it would explain why Bogg has not yet explained the boy about the birds and the bees.
The Words show Allison that Bogg and Olivia are talking about exactly that topic over drinks. Neither of them has given their young charge "the talk", and both resolve to do so soon. But first they decide to go for a walk. Olivia wants to buy a present for herself and the Sue. She finds two identical necklaces in a jewellery shop and has them engraved.
The girl runs up the price on the cash register. "That will be four dollars total with the necklaces"
Allison searches the Words from some bizarre author's note claiming that Liverpool, England is located in Australia. She doesn't find one. She does come across two scenes where Olivia and Bogg have "the talk" with their respective partners, and it seems "the talk" consists of telling the youngsters to forget about the other as they are not likely to meet again.
Allison considers this rather poor advice from a man that has kissed women all over time. She pulls the remote activator from a pocket and skips ahead to the next chapter.
Allison soon finds she has actually skipped more than a chapter ahead. She glances the Words to find out what she has missed.
Jeffrey tells the Sue about Drake and what he did, and Bogg tells Olivia the same story.
Allison doesn't mind missing that. Stereo scenes are more boring than they are chargeable.
Also, Jeffrey and the Sue have sex. That, Allison finds a chargeable offence, considering that both of them had never even kissed a person of the opposite sex less than twenty-four hours previously, and the sex wasn't in the least bit awkward.
That Bogg and Olivia have sex too doesn't bother the agent at all. They weren't the ones depicted as sexually ignorant.
Allison is pretty much up to speed with the story by the time the Sue has finished dressing and opens the hotel room door to find a man with a gun on the other side.
Jeffrey looks up from tying his shoes and recognizes who it is. "Drake!"
Allison rolls her eyes. It had to be him. What with all the talk about him he couldn't just make a no-show. She wishes a similar thing would happen when she and her friends talk about winning the lottery.
Drake grabs the Sue and pokes the gun in her side. He asks Jeffrey where Bogg is. Jeffrey tries to stall him throwing lines of cliché at him - you will never get away with this - without impressing Drake in the least. The Sue then stomps on his foot and grabs his omni. Drake tries to shoot Jeffrey, but the Sue gets in his line of fire. Finding his omni gone, Drake drops the gun and makes a run for it.
The Sue is wounded. She falls unconscious before she can tell Jeffrey she has Drake's omni. Another hotel guest calls an ambulance.
Allison decides to take a portal to the hospital.
Now sporting the disguise of a nurse, rather than a rock-concert goer, Allison can easily move around the hospital. Not that it is very big, just consisting of two floors and a waiting room.
The Sue is still asleep after surgery and the three Voyagers are gathered in her room talking about what happened. Bogg and Jeffrey figure that Drake would have used his omni, rather than run away, and think that the Sue took it. They search her clothes - which were placed in the closet in her room, rather than thrown in the trash after they were cut up to prepare her for surgery - and find the omni. The three Voyagers then all take a seat in the room and fall asleep while they wait for the Sue to get better.
Allison wonders why there is no hospital staff available to tell them the difference between a hotel and a hospital, and to kick them out.
Morning comes and the senior Voyagers go out to get breakfast. The doctor asks Jeffrey to come and talk to the police, and a nurse asks Olivia if she is the Sue's mother. Olivia lies and says "yes". She is asked to fill out some paperwork. Bogg advises her to not fill out any of it.
Allison notes that Olivia could have said she is the Sue's guardian, which wouldn't be that much of a lie, and still get her stuck with the paperwork.
Then the Sue wakes up and everyone is happy. They are all worried though that Drake will come back.
I took the liberty of informing the police that the robber might come back, so they have a guard by the door outside.
"Damn," Allison whispers. "That could have been my disguise."
Morgan grabs the remote for the bed and pushes the button, the bed moves so she's in a semi sitting position.
On the other hand, nurses can walk around with clipboards and make notes, such as that the Sue uses technology that is not available in 1961 yet. Nurse is not that bad a disguise. It even means she can follow the doctor when he takes Olivia to his office to talk to her.
The doctor informs Olivia that the Sue is a very lucky young lady, and that she will have to stay in hospital for a couple of weeks, depending on the healing process.
"Why? Does she have an infection?" Allison asks out loud, forgetting that the doctor can hear her.
"Excuse me, nurse?" the doctor addresses her. "What are you doing here?"
"I have the Su- patient's chart here." She shows him the clipboard. "It doesn't say anything about an infection. It actually says that she has a clean wound and no tissue or nerve damage. I'm not a doctor, of course, but she may be one of the healthiest patients we have in the hospital. I'd say, if there are no further complications, she, and a compliment of painkillers, could go home tomorrow."
The doctor glares at Allison. "Thank you, nurse, for your professional opinion, but as you pointed out: you are not a doctor. I am. And I decide when I discharge the patients."
"I'm sorry, doctor," Allison says. She writes the Sue up for free-loading on the NHS. And really not knowing the difference between a hotel and a hospital.
Allison follows Olivia back to the Sue's room. There the Voyagers watch a news report about the shooting on the telly. The news report does not call the hotel by name, but rather refers to it as a hotel near the Cavern Club. Allison wonders whether the hotel manager paid the reporter to avoid bad publicity, or the reporter is just bad at reporting the facts, like the name of the hotel.
Olivia and Bogg step outside and a nurse steps inside the room. She tells the Sue to take her pain medication.
Morgan takes the cup and water, she puts the pills in her mouth and then drinks the water, she hands the nurse the cup and glass.
To Allison that looks like she's using both hands. Being able to hold on to a glass or cup and being able to bring said glass or cup to mouth while the shoulder is so badly injured it needs hospital care for at least a few weeks, Allison writes on the charge sheet.
Then Jeffrey asks if a cot can be placed in the room - he wants to stay the night with the Sue. The nurse replies this is possible and she will see to it immediately.
Allison adds another "really" to the hotel charge. She also makes a note that the nurse does not return with the requested cot, but brings a foldout bed. But then, it was to be expected that all the Brits in the story would speak American English. Bored with Jeffrey fawning over the Sue the agent decides to find out where Olivia and Bogg went. She thinks she saw Drake follow them when they stepped out.
The agent finds the two senior Voyagers in a far corner of a little café. Drake is sitting near them, hiding behind a menu. Why he isn't drawing any attention to himself is a mystery to Allison. She wonders if he has a SEP field as well.
Bogg and Olivia briefly talk about their change of plans now the Sue is in hospital and Drake is on the loose. Then they return to the Sue.
Allison decides to stick with Drake. The other characters bore her, with their constant talk about the Sue and Drake. She at least won't have that coming from him. She might miss a few charges, but Drake is bound to do something stupid that will make up for that.
Drake turns out to be quite a bore himself. He just sits and abides his time. Allison turns to the Words and finds out that Bogg and Olivia find out their kids have had sex. And love each other. Allison rolls her eyes. It's like Romeo and bloody Juliet. At least they killed themselves. Allison scowls at herself. It wouldn't be good if Jeffrey killed himself, and it probably wouldn't be good if the Sue killed herself either. Canon wouldn't be able to snap into place if she killed herself.
Another chapter break comes and goes, and the Words announce that the story is picked up few weeks later. During that time, Olivia has continually managed to dodge the hospital staff about filling in paperwork, and Drake has not made any move to get back his omni, or finish the revenge job that he started. It's four in the morning and the Voyagers are sneaking out of the hospital to avoid having to fill out the paperwork.
Why none of them have figured out they could have just lied on the forms is a mystery to Allison. So is how they got out. She finds herself stuck behind a locked door. Allison decides to resort to portal technology.
The portal opens behind the same shrubs Drake is hiding behind. There's a near three quarter moon, and no clouds, so he can see the Voyagers excellently, but again he doesn't take any action. He just stalks them.
The Voyagers return to their hotel rooms and device a plan: Olivia and Bogg will go, clearly displaying Drake's omni, to the Cavern and hope that Drake will make his move there. The teenagers will stay behind at the hotel.
This sounds, to Allison, like the kind of trap only a particularly stupid person would fall into. But then, what other options does Drake have? The Words tell her that Drake has the option of placing two men with guns in the Sue's hotel bathroom.
Jeffrey quickly triggers the omni to escape the men.
"Finally, some Voyager action." Allison grabs the remote activator and opens a portal.
Stepping through the portal into new surroundings Allison also takes on a new disguise. 1960's nurse from England doesn't seem very appropriate for late nineteenth century New York. She takes on the disguise of a young man. She figures that will get her around town, and through the story, with the least trouble, i.e. will blend into the background easiest.
Allison looks up at the brick buildings surrounding her. Her stomach turns. "Great, now I've got fear of heights looking up at things." She's surprised at the amount of detail she sees. Up until this moment, the fic had been rather lacking when it came to descriptions, making everything looking generic and non-specific. But then, this could be generic New York. She's seen that often enough in films.
A glance at the Words tells her she is not far off: the author's note tells her that next part of the story is based on the film Newsies. Allison doesn't know that film herself, but she guesses it has taken some liberties with history. Making a crossover in and of itself is not a charge. It would become it, if the crossover led to out of character behaviour.
Allison hears the Sue and Jeffrey talking at the other end of the alley and quickly ducks behind some crates.
The Sue lectures Jeffrey on what event should be about to happen.
"If I remember correctly the newsboys are going on strike against the big newspapers when they raise the selling price to 10 cents a hundred (...) the Newsies strike set in motion better child labor laws Jeffrey."
This would be a case of out of character behaviour, Allison notes. Or rather, out of character lack of knowledge. After all, New York is Jeffrey's home town and knowing history is his main talent. Surely he has heard about the Newsboy Strike of 1899. At the very least he might have corrected the Sue that the publishers had raised the purchasing price by ten cents a bundle.
Jeffrey does no such thing. He even needs to be reminded by the Sue that they have to change out of their 60's clothing.
Allison hears a little poof and when she peers around the crates she sees smoke clearing and Jeffrey and the Sue wearing era appropriate clothing. Well, almost, as both Jeffrey and the Sue are wearing trousers, and Allison doubts that is thought of as appropriate for women at the time.
The two teenagers ask a man in the street where the distribution office is and he quickly points them in the right direction.
"Distribution of what?" Allison mutters, as she follows Jeffrey and the Sue at a slight distance. "In 1899 Manhattan had a population of over one million. Surely, there are many things distributed in a city, even part of a city, that populous, and at many places."
The man was apparently a mind reader, because without being asked specifically, he sends the teenagers to the place they wanted to go: a distribution centre for the New York World. They get in the line formed in front of the distribution window and soon are introduced to several of the other kids waiting. One of them even lends them some money.
Mush looks at the two and asks. "Have you've ever sold papes before?"
The way the boy pronounces the word, pape rhymes with drape. Jeffrey doesn't understand him. The Sue explains he's talking about a newspaper.
Allison scowls. She's quite annoyed with the Sue for having to explain everything to Jeffrey.
Jeffrey, the Sue and their new friends - Jack, David and Les - then go to a good spot to sell their papers. Allison follows them around. Including when all of them run from some cops up to a roof. Excluding when all of them jump off that roof. She can't see where they go, but her vertigo prohibits her from finding out. She consults the Words instead, but they aren't very helpful. It appears the little troupe jumped off the roof into a hiding place.
The Words further narrate that the troupe goes to see a friend of Jack's and later all go to the house of the other two boys. Allison decides to pick up with the story from there.
David takes Jack and the Voyagers into a ghetto and to his house. The Sue takes notices of how run-down the place is.
Allison sits down on a crate in an alley. It's as close to the family as she dares to go. There are clothes hanging on washing lines crossing from one building to the one adjacent. She smiles at the details she's making up for her surroundings. The story doesn't give any such description. Considering it is now largely copying events from a film, Allison finds that rather disappointing. Even the things that happen in the film are only rewarded with one or two line summaries. Except for the dialogue, which seems to be copied copiously.
David introduces his friends to his family, and vice versa, and puts the money he's earned on the table. His father is quite impressed.
Mayer smiles. "Esther, why don't you put some more water in the soup, we have guests.
Food, Allison thinks. She'd like some food too. Her stomach churns. "Thanks, that's helpful." She pats her pockets. Nothing edible in there. She growls. Too used to a partner that always takes care of provisions. If she's going to starve in this fic it's going to be on the head of whatever Flower sent her in here. She ought to eat him, or her, as retribution. She tries to imagine someone coming out and offering her food, but no one steps forward.
Meanwhile the Voyagers are having a nice, hot, watered-down meal. Mayer notes that the Sue was introduced with the last name Jacobs.
Morgan nods her head. "Yes, it is, but I'm sure it's a common last name here." Mayer looks at Morgan and shakes his head. "Not around here."
"Yeah, right." Allison rolls her eyes. "Seen as Jacobs is both a Jewish and an English patronymic and New York has both a large Jewish and English population, it's probably a relatively common last name. Except perhaps in Chinatown." She stops herself, was there a Chinatown in 1899? Yes, there was, she decides. Sometimes she could use a guidebook herself.
Mayer suggests that the Sue may be family. After dinner, the Sue wanders around the apartment, and, on a shelf she finds a framed picture of her great aunt, Mayer's sister-in-law. The Sue claims it is the same picture she used to have on her night stand.
For instance, Allison muses, she could look up how likely it was a late nineteenth century family would have photographs on the dresser. Or she could whack the Sue over the head with it for having another thing in common with Jeffrey, or with having eighty-year-old pictures on her night stand. In the faint light of the Words, Allison scribbles down the charge of meeting her distant relatives.
The Sue gives further evidence that the Jacobs are her relatives: she recognised the plates and glasses they ate and drank from as heirlooms her mother received.
Allison wonders if she can charge the Sue with being from a line of people who never accidentally drop their dishes.
David suggests that Jack and the two Voyagers stay the night. Jack declines. He says that he and Jeffrey can go to a Boys Lodging House, but that the Sue should stay, because they wouldn't allow her at the Lodging House.
The next morning when Jeffrey, the Sue and their friends return to the distribution office, they find out that the purchasing price of papers has gone up ten cents for a hundred. Several of the newsies complain about this increase in price. They sit around feeling sorry for themselves, until the Sue suggests they could strike.
Race looks at Morgan and asks. "Are you nuts?" Morgan shrugs her shoulders. David looks at Morgan. "Morgan we are we suppose to do, we're just a bunch of angry kids with no money." Morgan looks at Jeffrey. Morgan snaps her fingers. "Then take up a collection."
Apparently, all the newsies were already convinced enough to go on strike that holding a collection is no problem. One kid goes around with his cap, and all the others throw in their money. Jack holds a moving speech. He is then ushered to tell the owner the demands of the newsies.
Jeffrey checks the omni. The light is still red. Then he and the Sue argue; Jeffrey thinks she's a bit too interested in Jack.
"Ah, troubles in paradise." Allison chuckles. "Well, that's what you get for sleeping with someone you know less than twenty-four hours. They can turn out to be unexpectedly fickle." Allison follows the Sue back to the distribution office, and is leaning against a wall observing the Voyagers as they wait around for news from Jack.
A man enters the terrain and introduces himself to David.
Morgan leans over to Jeffrey and whispers. "He's the reporter that covers the newsie strike Jeffrey. (...) He's the only one that covers it."
"Perhaps in the film he's the only one, but in real life, if the paperboys of one paper go on strike, all the papers will report about it. If only to tell their readers that they have made better arrangements with their paperboys and they won't go on strike."
Jack is thrown out onto the street without result. The newsies decide to spread the news of the strike. The Sue is asked to take Les home. She does so reluctantly.
Allison follows her. Also reluctantly.
The next morning the newsies on strike gather on Times Square. Allison is there too, in a disguise of a newsie. The rumble in her stomache isn't fake, however. She hasn't eaten since she entered the fic, but when she looks around she notes the same could be more or less said about half the newsies. Someone speaks up, it could be Jack, but Allison is feeling slightly faint and the paragraphing isn't unambiguous enough to be helpful.
"We need to go over to the D.O and get the scabs to join." Jeffrey gets a confused look on his face. "Scab?" Morgan turns to Jeffrey. "It's when someone is working for the people who are striking."
"Hunger induced delusions aside, to my knowledge a scab was someone that continues working while others are on strike. Quite the opposite of what a scab seems to be in America. Must be another example of being divided by a common language." Allison shakes her head. This has the effect of making her more dizzy. She holds on to her head for a moment before she decides to write the definition of scab down as a charge. Or rather, two charges. One for Jeffrey not knowing what a scab is, and one for the Sue not knowing what a scab is.
The newsies that want to strike march up to the distribution office where they block the newsies that want to sell papers from going out into the street. A fight breaks out, which doesn't end until the police shows up, and all the newsies scatter. Except for a few who get caught.
Jack quickly devices a plan to free the ones that were caught. The Sue is sent home again.
Jeffrey looks at Morgan. "Besides this is a guy thing."
"Right, Jeff. Real mature." Allison doesn't know what it is, but there is something strangely appealing about forced conflict between the Sue and her romantic interest. Except when that forced conflict leads the canon character to say out of character things. She isn't quite sure how to rate this comment by Jeffrey. Perhaps he developed some male chauvinist pig manners in the six years that passed for him since canon. On the other hand, Jack is sticking up for her, and he's from an era when they were a lot clearer about men's and women's roles in society then they were at the time Jeffrey's from.
The plan does not succeed in freeing the boy who was caught and the three young men return to David's house, where they all stay for dinner. After dinner the Sue goes to the fire-escape where Jack joins her a little later. They talk a bit about the failed rescue and Jack tells her that he likes her.
Jack leans in and kisses Morgan. The kiss is lasting a long time, until someone clears their throat and they break the kiss. Morgan and Jack look to see Jeffrey standing in the window leaning on the windowsill.
Allison shakes her head. "Cheating on Jeff right under his nose. The kid deserves better than that."
Jeffrey apparently takes the event in his stride and only gives the Sue a disapproving look.
This leaves Allison confused. Not too long ago that boy was adamant he and the Sue love each other. People who love each other don't generally kiss other people. Or are only mildly annoyed if their lover kisses someone else.
On their way back to the Boy's Lodging House Jeffrey tells Jack to stay away from the Sue because she is leaving soon.
Allison wonders whether she can charge the Sue with making Jeffrey jealous while at the same time absolutely reasonable. Storywise it probably would have been a lot more interesting if Jeff had been openly jealous of Jack. The two of them would still have to work together to bring the strike to a successful end, and jealousy could put an interesting strain on that collaboration. Allison makes a note of the missed opportunity.
Then she scans the Words to find a scene with food and an opportunity to get some for herself. She doesn't have to read far ahead: the next day there is another fight at the distribution office and the newsies get their picture taken. Their reporter friend invites them all to a meal. "Works for me," Allison says to herself, pulls the remote activator from her pocket and sets in the new coordinates.
At the diner Allison blends in very well with the newsies, she looks just like them and is stuffing her face as much any of them. She tries to ignore the looks Jack and the Sue are throwing each other.
David says they need something big to stay in the news and the Sue suggests they hold a rally. Jack jumps on the idea.
The newsies roll the left-over food in napkins and stuff those in their pockets. Allison follows their example. It looks like she may be in this fic for the long haul, and she doesn't want to get caught without a meal again.
Jack pulls the Sue to the side to thank her for her great idea.
Morgan leans against the wall. "It was nothing."
Allison rolls her eyes. "Why's she always leaning against a wall? Does she think that's sexy or does she have a very bad back?"
Jack leans towards her for a moment, then grabs her hand and offers to walk her home. David, however, steps in and says the Sue can walk home with him.
Allison turns to look at Jeffrey, who's still biting his jealousy away. She yawns. This part of the story is hardly more exciting than the previous part. Who'd have thought a love triangle could be this dull.
The agent, who has followed to Sue home again, decides to take a nap, and pick up with the story again where ever it is after she wakes up. She makes herself comfortable on the crates in the alley.
Allison wakes up when Jack and Jeffrey try to quietly climb up the fire escape to the Jacobs' apartment. Still drowsy she looks at the Words to see what she has missed. Someone from a prison for boys came looking for Jack at the Lodging House, so he and Jeffrey decided to take refuge on the Jacobs' fire escape to get some sleep. Sleep sounds pretty good to Allison too, and she closes her eyes again.
She wakes up again when she hears talking coming from above her. The Sue has spotted two persons on the fire escape and she and Sarah get out of bed to investigate. They find Jack and Jeffrey on the fire escape, and after asking what they are doing there and listening to their answer, Sarah tells them to go to the roof and she and the Sue will bring them some food.
Jeffrey suggests that only Jack and Sarah go up to the roof so he can talk to the Sue. When the other two are gone, Jeffrey and the Sue sit down in the window sill together.
"It's ok, besides I have a feeling those two belong together." Jeffrey whispers back. "Yeah, I realized that yesterday,
"You what?" Through the landings and stairs of the fire escape Allison can't see the Sue, but she can hear her fine. That doesn't mean that what she says makes sense to the agent. "You think they belong together? How much did I miss since you were making goo-goo eyes at him?"
The Sue butters some bread for herself and Jeffrey and the two of them talk about how much they miss Bogg and Olivia. Sarah returns from the roof and is near crying. After exchanging some looks Jeffrey goes up to the roof to talk to Jack and the Sue talks to Sarah. It appears that Sarah likes Jack and hates it that he's planning on going to Santa Fe.
"Guess she didn't notice that he's been holding hands, and lips, with her parasitic house guest. Can't imagine she'd be okay with that." Allison squints an eye. "No, if the Sue wants everyone to forget about her little fling with Jack, then everyone forgets about her fling. 'cept that one lonesome agent, sent in to investigate her crimes. This being one of them." She makes a note that no one is bothered any more that the Sue kissed Jack.
The Sue manages to comfort Sarah by telling her that Jack may change his mind, when he realises how much her family means to him. Sarah gives the Sue a hug and leaves for work.
Allison turns to the Words, and reads that Jeffrey is putting a worm into Jack's head.
"They really care about you Jack and you're lucky to have a family like the Jacobs that care about you."
Jack isn't biting though, he changes the subject and starts talking about the newsie rally.
"At least he knows what's important."
The day passes mercifully quickly and with the aid of a few scene breaks, the next day starts and Allison hardly feels the pain. Well, no more than the fic is already making her suffer.
It is a Sunday now and the Jacobs expect the Sue to help around the house with chores. When she is finished, however, they have a gift for her.
Esther pulls something wrapped in paper out from the beautiful wooden chest and she carefully hands it to Sarah, "You can give this to Morgan now."
They give her a dress they made themselves. They say it was a pleasure to make it.
"I told you, I don't wear dresses!" Morgan runs to the window and climbs the fire escape to the roof.
Allison jumps up. "You ungrateful brat," she shouts up the fire-escape. "Have you looked around you in that flat? These people water-down their soup so they can offer their guests something to eat. Their kids drop out of school to help with the family income. These people do not make dresses just for the hell of it." Allison starts climbing the fire-escape all the while shouting abuse at the Sue, who for some reason fails to take notice.
Esther climbs out the window of their flat, but when Allison passes her she pushes the woman back into her home. "Stay there. I'm dealing with this."
Allison finds the Sue sitting on the roof, her arms wrapped around the knees, sobbing self-indulgently.
I'm not use to people giving me gifts, especially from a nice family.
"I gathered that much."
The Sue looks up startled.
Allison holds out a warning hand, indicating the Sue to stay where she is.
"Who are you?"
"I'm a Protector of the Plot Continuum. I'm here to charge you with crimes against fanfiction in general and the fandoms of Voyagers! and Newsies in particular." Allison pulls her notepad from her back pocket. "Morgan Jacobs, I charge you with bad grammar, bad spelling, bad punctuation and bad paragraphing. These are the basic elements of any story. If they are not correct, readers have to work hard on reading the story. And though my grandfather always said, 'Hard labour makes for good resting' that is not what most people are looking for in a story."
The Sue gives Allison a confused look. "What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about this story here." Allison gestures around her. "There's a lot wrong with it. I've written down some charges. Well, more than a few." She tears a number of sheets from the notepad and waves them at the Sue. "I used very fine print. Anyway, to the charges. I charge you with supplying false information about when Stu left the Beatles and when Ringo joined. I charge you with suggesting Beatlemania started in the USA. I charge you with making the Beatles stay at a hotel in Liverpool. They are from Liverpool. Did you think they stayed at hotel rooms because they thought that was fun?"
"Look, if you have a problem with the story, I wish you would just move along."
"And I wish I could. But it looks like we are both out of luck today. I charge you with making the USA the measure of all things. I charge you with putting baths in UK nightclubs and with having jewellers charge in dollars. Pounds is the currency of choice in Britain. It has been for over a millennium and will stay that way for another.
"I charge you with having the same backstory as Jeffrey, including losing your parents, getting rescued by a Voyager despite being out of their travelling range, and said Voyager loosing their guidebook. I charge you with acting like a guidebook substitute. I charge you with, like Jeffrey, meeting distant relatives when travelling through time. I charge you with being a female Jeffrey.
"I charge you with Jeffrey not knowing about the newsie strike of 1899. I charge you with making Jeffrey be out of characterly ignorant about history. I charge you with not knowing what a scab is, and with Jeffrey not knowing what a scab is."
"What? I know what a scab is."
"No, you don't. A scab is someone who works while others strike. It is not someone who works for the people who strike. If your dictionary tells you otherwise, you need to throw it away and buy a new one."
"Yeah, I'm done listening to this." The Sue scrambles up. "I'm leaving."
"Sit down." Allison pushes the Sue back down, but in this push her grip on the notepad sheets loosens and one of the pieces of paper slips away. It is immediately caught by the wind and flutters away. Allison scowls at the piece of paper. "I charge you with making me lose part of my charges," she says to the Sue. "And I also charge you with making me hungry, and bored. A lot of potentially exciting stuff happens in your life, but you manage to squelched it all by making everything about you. You even made a love triangle boring. There was a lot of potential for interesting fic there, but ... nothing. Nothing." Allison studies the pieces of paper she has left a moment before she continues. "I charge you with making Bogg and Olivia beat a horny retreat rather quickly, without even telling their partners where they are going. I charge you with knowing or suspecting Bogg and Olivia have gone off to have sexy-times. Or does she often run off with strange men while you're around?"
"I charge you with knowing what hotelroom Bogg and Olivia took without being told. I charge you with Bogg and Olivia knowing you and Jeff slept in the same room, without being told. I charge you with claiming Jeff has never kissed a girl before and with giving him commitment issues."
"Well, how do you know he has kissed someone before? Maybe he didn't. He was all business when the light was red."
"He was twelve or thirteen when the show ran. He hadn't hit puberty yet. Besides, he also was always complaining that they should take breaks and holidays. And with an example like Bogg, I'm pretty sure he's kissed a girl or two, or twenty, by the time he was eighteen."
The Sue scowls at Allison.
"I charge you with being Jeffrey's first kiss. I charge you with having sex with Jeffrey less than a day after both of your first kiss ever. I charge you with that sex being any kind of good. If you're both so socially awkward that you haven't even kissed someone of the opposite sex by the time you were eighteen, it's not very realistic you have perfect sex the next day. Unless maybe you practised dry humping a lot."
The Sue doesn't reply. She doesn't even look at Allison any more.
"I charge you with getting shot in a melodramatic fashion. I charge you with needing two weeks of hospital care even though you can move both shoulder joints without feeling pain. You showed that when you took your pain medication and a glass of water, one in each hand," Allison explains. "That's also a charge for a continuity error. I charge you with treating a hospital as if it is a hotel. I charge you with nurses putting up camp beds in patient's rooms. I charge you with putting technology in a hospital room that didn't exist yet in 1961.
"I charge you with not wearing era appropriate clothing in 1899. I charge you with that clothing coming out of nowhere. I charge you with no one making much of a fuss that you wear boy's clothing, except when they want to give you a dress. Coming to that. I charge you with noticing how run-down the Jacobs' place of residence is, and still acting like they have enough money to make a stranger a dress, or to own dishes that are worth being heirlooms eighty years on. These people are not rich. The sons drop out of school to help with the family income. I charge you with being related to the Jacobs family, and with making them think you are related by claiming Jacobs is not a very common last name. Are you Jewish, by the way?"
"What has that got to do with anything?" Tears are rolling down the Sue's face and she hugs her knees tightly.
"Nothing. I was just wondering. I charge you with having a second love interest in Jack, with having Jeffrey being jealous of this, but quite suddenly both of you deciding Jack and Sarah belong together, and everyone pretending nothing happened between you and Jack. I charge you with all the charges that got blown away in the wind, and finally, I charge you with being a Mary Sue. You have been charged."
The Sue sniffs.
"Do you have any last words?"
"It's customary before an execution, last words, last meal. Though, before you waste your last words on specifying your menu, I'm not going to feed you." Allison stuffs her notes of the charges in a pocket. "I'm just going to kill you." She leaps forward and before the Sue has even recovered from the surprise of the sudden attack, Allison has snapped her neck.
"Right." Allison gets up and pads the dirt of her hands. "Now to set this canon straight. First a place to dump you." She hoists the Sue over her shoulder. "Thank goodness you're short and light."
The agent takes a portal to the Brooklyn Bridge, where she unceremoniously drops the Sue into the East River. Then she takes a portal to the Boys' Lodging House. She finds Jeffrey in one of the beds and wakes him up.
"What? What?" He rubs the sleep from his eyes. "What?"
"Why are you here? Shouldn't you be somewhere else?" This would have been so much easier if she had a neuralyser. She could just hypnotise him with the light and tell him to go back to Bogg. "Shouldn't you be with Bogg?"
"How do you know Bogg?"
"Never mind that. Whatever problem you were here to fix has been fixed and you can go back to Bogg."
Jeffrey gives her a puzzled look, but reaches his hand into his pillow case and pulls out the omni. He opens it and stares at the green light for a moment. "Did you fix this? How?"
"I had this chat with a little girl with delusions of grandeur. But you have to go now, because... well, because this girl's brothers are after you."
"Something I said. They think that you... and her..." Allison makes an apologetic gesture.
"Thanks a bundle." Jeffrey jumps from the bed, quickly puts on his shoes, gives Allison one last glare and presses the omni's trigger button.
With the canon character from Voyagers! out of the Newsie canon Allison relaxes a bit. Until she realises there is also some things she needs to fix in the former canon. Like getting Drake his omni back. She grumbles and opens another portal. This could be a long one.