Tasmin and Allison sat in their office relaxing after their last mission, waiting for their next. Tasmin was reading an SF novelization. She had quite a collection of those Allison had noted. She had also noted that there was very little space left for her stuff. She wondered where Tasmin's last partner had kept her stuff. She wanted to ask, but previous partners was ill advised as a conversation topic between new PPC-partners. Allison, herself, sat on one of the desk chairs throwing playing cards in an imaginary circle. She usually managed to throw all the cards within the circle.
Both agents looked at the console and then at each other.
"Beep? Has it suddenly gotten shy?" Allison asked.
"I don't know. Maybe Makes-Things has come in and finally fixed the volume."
"Maybe this is not about a Sue firing on all cylinders, but about a Sue that just needs a little slap on the wrist." Allison got up to read the Intelligence Report.
"There is no such thing." Tasmin put a page marker in her book and got up. "But from the look of it, you could be right. Let's go in." Tasmin pushed some buttons on the console. The portal opened. "Don't forget your notebook."
"Of course not." Allison grabbed a notebook, measuring approximately two by four inches and put it in her back pocket. She stuck a pen behind her ear and quickly tapped in a few commands before stepping through the portal.
"What did you do?" Tasmin asked with a sour looking face.
"Nothing. I just got us some disguises."
"You dressed us up like Murdock." Tasmin said with disgust.
"Hardly. I just gave us a T-shirt with a funny line." Allison bounced back and forth on the balls of her feet. She was wearing a dark blue fitted T with the word 'kitten' across the front in oker.
"What does mine even say?" Tasmin pulled on her black T-shirt to read. "I'm not asking for trouble."
"You should see what it says on the back." Allison wore a big smile.
"What does it say on the back?" Tasmin asked suspiciously.
"I kick trouble."
Tasmin squinted dangerously at her partner. "You're very lucky your name isn't trouble."
This remark did not upset Allison's good mood. "It looks great on you. Don't worry."
"Since I met you there hasn't been a moment that I didn't worry. C'mon, we have a Sue to investigate."
A few minutes later the two agents found themselves at the back lot of the Aquamaniac set. There they saw Hannibal puffing away at a cigar before it was time for him to get into his costume.
"What year do you think this is?" Tasmin asked.
Allison shrugged. "It doesn't say."
"It's pretty easy. If the story has Amy in it, it's set in 1983, unless it's an obvious future fic. With Tawnia it's 1984."
"I don't think this story is gonna have Tawnia in it, whatever the year." Allison pointed at the Words of the disclaimer.
Tawnia Baker would NEVER have exsisted.
"Yeah, Tawnia was never very popular. But I'm still guessing it's mid-eighties."
The two agents pretended to be busy cleaning some props and at the same time kept a close eye on the conversation Hannibal was having with a young girl.
"Hey, what's Hannibal wearing?" Allison suddenly asked.
Her dirty blonde hair just barely reached her shoulders and was pulled back behind her ears, showing off the bright blue eyes that were peering through red rimmed eye glasses. She was slim, but not so slim that one would think she starved herself, and the clothes she wore — a blue denim jacket with brown suede leather sleeves over a plain yellow t-shirt, with black denim pants, blue sneakers and a small purse slung over her shoulder — were loose-fitting and she looked to be very comfortable in them.
Tasmin looked at the words but didn't have a clue. "Charge number one," she sighed with satisfaction, "excessive attention to the clothing of the Sue."
"Maybe you should call them OCs until you have enough evidence that they are Sues?" Allison suggested as she made a note of the charge.
"I call 'm as I see 'm. There's some more evidence for you. Something only a Sue would say." Tasmin pointed at the Words.
Girls always have to be the hostages, never the heroes. It’s really stupid.
Allison chuckled. "What did she expect of a movie that is so far in the B-devision it's an H-movie? Those are just as cliché as Mary Sue fiction." With a smile she wrote up the charge. "There are lots of books and movies with believable, strong female characters."
The conversation between Hannibal and the girl called Robyn — Tasmin wanted the alternative spelling written up as a charge — continued to amuse Allison and Tasmin. And when Hannibal knew for a fact he liked the girl; Tasmin knew for a fact she didn't.
I need the money, so I can’t complain.
"If she needs the money than why is she in acting?" Allison asked. "There are lots of jobs out there that are a little more secure in their pay. There are more actresses working as waitresses than in acting."
"Working as a waitress is probably also not heroic enough for our little Sue. No matter how lowly the acting job, it is still more glamorous than serving coffee at a diner."
"Maybe no one wanted to hire a twelve-year-old for a proper job?"
"She could have become a dog-walker."
"Dog-walker? That actually sounds pretty glamorous." Allison scratched the back of her head. "No really. Other people have to walk their dogs in their spars spare time, and you walk dogs and actual get paid for just lazily walking about. Now, if that isn't glamorous, I don't know what is."
"I think you're right about that last thing."
"C'mon, we have to follow the Sue."
Tasmin and Allison followed the girl into an alley where she got ambushed by two men. A moment later both men were gone and Robyn was lying on the ground in a puddle of blood.
"What just happened here?" Tasmin asked.
"I don't know. I must have blinked."
"Let's retrace. Okay, man approaches girl from behind, says: 'I want something you've got'. She turns around. Other guy comes from the other side, shoots the first guy and knocks girl down. Then takes off with first guy?"
"I think she hadn't turned around yet when the second guy came up to her. First guy shot second guy, then hit the girl on the back of the head and takes off with second guy."
"No, no. It doesn't make any sense for them to take off together if one shoots the other."
"Well, I'm sure who ever shot meant to shoot the girl."
"Still, for this much blood to be around, the guy must have been bleeding on the ground for a bit. He somehow managed to get up and walk away without leaving a trace of blood."
"And also, he got up before she was knocked down, because she is now lying in a puddle of his blood, but there aren't obvious traces that she was moved."
"I think we should write her up for this."
"For not giving enough information so that readers can make sense of the situation."
"Maybe she wanted us to to be as confused as Hannibal?"
"Don't stick up for the Sue. Give me the notebook. I'll write her up myself." Tasmin pulled the notepad from Allison's hand. "Pen!" Allison rolled her eyes and gave her the pen. Tasmin wrote down 'confusing readers about how scene took place'.
"Maybe we can ask her to explain her motivation for this scene when we charge her."
"Have you gone soft in the head?" Tasmin gave her an examining look. "I told you not to eat too much cafeteria food. It rots the brain."
"What got your knickers in a twist?"
"You did! What's with all this soft approach for the Sue? Giving her the benefit of the doubt sort of thing?"
"Well, doesn't she have the benefit of the doubt?"
"No! When we go into a fic there is a Sue in it."
"You noticed yourself that the console only gave off a very modest beep for this fic. It could mean this is a borderline Sue. In which case I say we have to give her the benefit of the doubt and just point out a few things she can improve on."
"When we get back to the office I'm putting in a transfer for you. You do not belong in the Mary Sue Department."
"Whatever. I didn't want to be in this devision anyway."
"Where are they now?" Tasmin looked around. "Now what have you done? They're gone." She pointed at the Words.
Seconds later she was gone. And seconds after that, Hannibal was following her.
Allison shrugged. She had just about had her fair share of Tasmin for the day. "We can still catch up with them. We know where they are going." She pointed at the Words of the next chapter.
Tasmin growled at her and opened a portal with the remote activator.
Allison had installed herself in one of the passenger cars near the boxcar marked 'Robyn's nest'. She read the Words of Robyn's and Hannibal's journey. She doubted it would take only an hour to cross the better part of Los Angeles. Unless by the better part actually the good bits of it were meant. She wasn't about to discuss this point with Tasmin. If Tasmin wanted to write up this charge she had to think of it on her own. Tasmin was probably not thinking of charges; she was walking around the train yard, drooling and undoubtedly trying if there was anything that was still running. Allison leaned back and enjoyed the flashback to Hannibal's youth.
“I love you too, sweetheart,” he replied, kissing her forehead. The girl giggled softly, cuddling close to him. Her name was Caroline Anna Smith — she was Hannibal’s little sister.
"How old do you think Hannibal is?" Tasmin's face suddenly popped up by the window and startled Allison.
"I don't know. Sixty? A hundred? Old," Allison said after she recomposed herself.
"His kid sister is two years younger than he is," Tasmin said as she climbed into the car.
"I thought you weren't paying attention to the Words."
"I'm always paying attention to the Words." Tasmin flopped down on the bench next to Allison. "George Peppard was born in 1928, so he would be about fifty-seven around this time."
"You can't just assume Hannibal was the same age as Peppard. Characters are often played by actors much older than them. Most notably teenagers who are played by people in their twenties, late twenties."
"For arguments sake we're going to say Hannibal is in his fifties. He looks that way anyway. Two years younger would also make his sister in her fifties. Which means she would have been in her forties when she had this kid. I do hope you are following the suggestion that Robyn reminds Hannibal of someone and that someone is his sister, because she's that sister's kid?"
"It wasn't lost on me. But lots of women have kids in their forties."
"There's another thing." Tasmin pointed at the Words again.
Cali had gotten married while Hannibal was in Vietnam, to the same boy that had taken her out on that first date.
"She went on her first date with that guy when she was sixteen. That would have been in 1950 at the latest. Even if Hannibal had been in Vietnam from day one that means she dated this guy for fifteen years before she got married to him."
"Maybe she broke up with him after a couple of dates, dated someone else in the mean time and met him again years later."
"I'm not buying it. I'm writing her up."
"For having a different idea about what age Hannibal is than you?"
"Yeah. And don't tell me I can't do it."
"Nope, just making sure you got your motivation straight and aren't making things up."
Allison had the feeling her sarcasm had been lost on Tasmin.
He would love to see Cali and Tim, see how their lives are going — see if they started a family. He’d love to have a niece or nephew — even if right now wasn’t the best time for a family.
"And I'm writing her up for that one too." Tasmin pointed.
"Nothing goes unnoticed by you," Allison mocked. But actually she agreed on this one. If Hannibal and his sister had been this close as kids she would have written him if she had had a kid, or he could have picked up the phone to give her a call; let her know he was all right, that she shouldn't believe what the military was telling her about him, and to just catch up with her on how she had been. Allison did not buy that Hannibal would have been unable to find his sister for fifteen years.
Allison watched from the window as the thirteen-year-old — she wondered a moment: going on thirteen meant being twelve, didn't it? — was an adult on the verge of being a kid again as she took her stuffed panda in her arms. The next scene with Hannibal was heart warming. Allison glanced over to Tasmin and wondered if she even had a heart that could be warmed. Tasmin kept looking at the Words, pen ready to write anything down.
He felt like his heart was breaking — but why? He just met this girl, where was this — emotion coming from? Why did he care so much about someone he knew nothing about?
"Thinking about writing that one up too?"
"No, I'm thinking why did you have to bring such a ridiculously small notepad."
Allison looked on as the scene of Hannibal hugging Robyn froze. "Er, I think that is because the story has ended but isn't finished yet?"
"What happens to the characters now?"
"In a moment they will fade away and another story loop will start."
"Fade away? And what will happen to us?"
"Nothing. We will leave before that time. Now, what shall we do with this Sue?"
"Call Child Protection Services," Allison suggested.
Tasmin cocked her head and for a moment looked like she was taking this option into consideration."Nah, I say we charge her."
"And when do we do that? She's frozen now. She has to be conscious when we charge her."
"I know just the place." Tasmin opened a portal and when they stepped through it Allison found herself on a roof.
"Where are we? And when in the story?"
"We're on one of those rooftops the Sue uses as a short cut on her way home. And we're here just before the story starts."
"Before the story starts?" Allison looked puzzled. "Can we do that?"
"Sure, we can also hang around after the story ends. We did that with Becky, remember."
"Yeah." Allison shivered; it was chilly this early in the morning. "But when the Becky story reached the incomplete things didn't freeze. Why did they do that now?"
"Because the author didn't give enough clues as to how the story would continue." Tasmin looked around. "I think she will be coming from that direction. I think we should hide and catch her in surprise."
"I'm not comfortable with charging the Sue before the offenses take place. I've already got one reprimand on my record for charging the Sue too early."
Tasmin gave her a surprised looked. "Just when I thought you had become a Sue-lover, you lay a surprise like that on me. Don't worry: I'll write the report saying that there was no other possibility to charge the Sue, and that we went through the entire story."
Allison and Tasmin hid behind the wall of the staircase. A moment later they heard the thud of someone jumping onto the roof. Allison was off like a shot to catch the girl running across the roof. She jumped and knocked down the girl. Both rolled over the tarmac. Robyn struggled to get away, but Allison, whatever Tasmin might think, was an experienced PPC-agent, not to mention an excellent amateur Greek-Roman wrestler, and held on to her tightly.
"Freeze, Sue." Tasmin pointed her Beretta at Robyn. The girl stopped struggling and Allison picked the both of them up.
"Will you put away that gun? I don't like it that you are aiming at something this close to me."
"Don't worry. I'm aiming at the Sue and I'm an excellent shot."
"I don't doubt that for one second. I also don't doubt that after the afternoon we've had you want to shoot me. Put that thing away and charge the girl."
Tasmin stared at Allison, rolled her eyes and with a sigh tucked the gun behind her belt. She took the notepad from her pocket.
"Robyn Austin, we hereby charge you with giving excessive attention to your own clothing and decoration of your home, but not paying as much attention to detail when it comes to other things. For instance, leaving it very unclear to us how the attack went."
"Attack?" Robyn asked. "What attack?"
"Don't interrupt, Sue. We charge you with saying that Hannibal was very close to his sister as a kid, but never have him pick up the phone in ten years time to find out how she's been. We charge you with the suggestion that you are his long lost niece. We charge you with thinking it stupid to play the victim, but still being in acting, even if those are the only roles you can get. We charge you with being a Sue."
"Borderline Sue," Allison added.
"No, a Sue. The punishment for this is death."
The girl started to struggle again and tried to kick Allison's shins. Allison had it tougher to hold on to her, but did not let go.
"Any last words?" Tasmin asked.
"You can't kill me. I'm only thirteen."
"We don't do age discrimination," Tasmin replied and took her gun.
"May I do the honors?" Allison asked.
Tasmin nodded, but with a little reservation. She didn't know what Allison had in mind.
Allison dragged the kicking and screaming girl to the edge and threw her off the roof. "I love it when a plan comes together," she said with a wide grin and turned to Tasmin. The grin faded instantly as she found herself staring down the wrong end of Tasmin's Beretta.
"You do know you can't actually kill anyone in the A-Team domain by throwing them of a roof, don't you?"
"Yes, I knew." Both agents looked over the edge and saw the girl dust herself off, look up and then run away quickly. "I just wanted to give her a warning about what could happen if she didn't clean up her act."
Tasmin glared at her. "We're never going to be able to catch that Sue again."
"We don't have to if she cleans up her act. Besides I know a place."
"Oh, yeah, where?"
"I'm not telling. Open the portal."
Tasmin growled, but opened the portal. A moment later the two agents were back into their office. Tasmin flopped down on the sofa.
"That went horrible from the word go." Tasmin opened her book. She made herself comfortable on the sofa before she started reading. Halfway down the page she looked up. "I'm glad I'm out of that T-shirt too."
"Next time I'll dress us up like BA."
"No way am I going to chase after a Sue wearing twenty pounds of bling around my neck."