A Chance for a New Life
Beepbeepbeep, the console said, and continued to say. Allison looked in surprise at the console. Tasmin, however, had jumped to her feet.
"Quick, give me the asbestos trash can."
"The asbestos trash can."
Allison saw only one trash can and handed that to her partner. Not a moment too soon. The console ejaculated a small fire ball. It flew across the room and was caught in the trash can by Tasmin. Small purple and brown flames flared up. The fire ball spit and gurgled before it slowly extinguished. Smoke crinkled up to the ceiling.
"What was that?"
"A little flame," Tasmin said as she put the trash can down.
"It was kind of pretty."
"It could have been a lot bigger if it had been properly spelled and punctuated."
Allison looked up at the ceiling. "I was wondering what those scorch marks on the ceiling were about."
Allison jumped. She knew she should always be prepared, but the fireball had distracted her.
"That's more like it." Tasmin walked over to the console to check their new mission.
"That better not be another Murdock-lover," Allison said as she glared at the console.
"Nope, looks like a Sue in trouble story."
"And she hasn't even met us." Allison grinned wickedly.
"Let's not keep her waiting." Tasmin opened up a portal.
Allison tutted disapprovingly when she saw their disguises. "Blue duster coats. That's a bit dull."
"It's very appropriate for the situation," Tasmin said. She nodded to the side to indicate the Chinese laundry.
Allison looked around and started to smile. "We're going to see Mr Lee in action? Wicked."
"We should get out of the way of the Sue; she's going to come in any moment." Tasmin walked around the counter and crouched down.
Allison ran up to the counter, jumped up, pushed herself off and slipped over the counter. She crouched down next to Tasmin.
"How often do we get a fic that has a counter in it?"
Tasmin rolled her eyes in response.
Hannibal, disguise as Mr. Lee, was setting up the laundry place when a young girl, about fifteenish with blue eyes and blond hair, came running in out of breath and with a scared look on her face.
"At this moment it still could go either way," Allison said.
"In a fic that says 'about fifteenish'?" Tasmin asked. "Both about and -ish mean that the speaker thinks she looks to be fifteen. They don't need to be used at the same time."
Allison got her notepad from her coat pocket with a sigh. "First sentence, first charge: redundancy."
Seeing the girl wasn't joking, Hannibal took her to the back room to discuss this much further. He first claimed the young girl and asked her, her name.
"Second charge: that word does not mean what you think it does."
Hannibal explained he was a member of the A-Team.
"You don't have to count them out before you write them down," Tasmin said in an annoyed tone. "Just write down: Hannibal telling her he's part of the A-Team before checking and double checking she's not with or followed by the military."
"Actually, I was going to write down: Hannibal taking this girl in the back and totally forgetting about the client for whom he was playing dress up in the first place."
"You can't know that for sure."
"I want to bet that at no point in this story that client will get a mention."
"Forgetting relevant information is a given in Suefics."
"By which it will seem that Hannibal dresses up as Mr Lee for kicks."
"But Hannibal taking on a client while waiting for one to show up is not something I would put past him."
"I'm still writing her up for never mentioning that there was a client."
"I'm not stopping you. I'm just narrowing the width of the charge."
"And a lovely job you do at it," Allison mumbled as she jotted down the last two charges they had identified.
The shop door opened and rang a little bell. Two men entered and waited patiently for Hannibal to come in from the back. One of them asked if a girl had ran into the shop.
"Those men are following her? What took them so long getting in?"
"Perhaps they were waiting for one of their colleagues to get round back to make sure she hadn't gotten away through there."
Just then a scream from the back room came and Mandy was carried out by other man who can in from the back door.
"You read ahead, didn't you?" Allison eyed her partner. "That's how you knew this. Otherwise you never give explanations."
Tasmin grinned in reply. "It's not that hard to predict how a Suefic will continue."
"Okay. How will this continue?"
"The bad guys take the girl away and Hannibal calls in the Team."
"That's how any A-Team fic would continue."
"I told you it wasn't hard to predict."
Allison glared at her partner.
The three men dragged the Sue out of the shop and the two agents got up to follow.
Mandy struggled and screamed all the way to the car but no one came to help.
"Because everyone realized she was a Sue and no one wanted to get their hands dirty on that one," Allison said.
Tasmin gave her partner a questioning look.
"I've been MST-ing a bit lately. I guess I'm still in MST-ing mode."
"I wasn't saying it was a bad thing."
In the car the Sue was knocked unconscious. When she woke up she was back at the place she had tried to escape.
She never had what people would say a normal childhood. She was abandoned from birth and was taken in by the government and was made into one of their secret projects when they found out how smart she was at the young age of three. They feed her government information and taught her how to read code, but some where along the way they had turned against the very government that supplied them with their operation.
"That doesn't sound like your average A-Team plot," Allison commented. "They help the underdog in their struggle against local bullies. Making minors part of secret projects, I'm pretty sure that's the plot of a different TV show."
"Pay attention, please. They turned away from the government, so now they are the local bullies."
"Did you eat something you shouldn't have? You sound very forgiving towards this fic."
"I don't feel any different than usual."
Allison eyed her partner suspiciously. "I'm keeping an eye on you."
Face pulled up in front of the shop.
"So Hannibal, what's so important that you needed me here so fast?" Face asked.
"I think that counts as proof there never was a client for whom Hannibal dressed up as Mr Lee." Allison smirked at her partner.
Tasmin shook her head. "Often, Mr Lee is the first in the line of contact between the A-Team and the client. Face usually doesn't show up until at the end of the wild goose chase."
"That's not true. Face and BA should be around from the beginning to check out that the potential client wasn't being followed by the military. So it's not likely that Hannibal had to call Face and tell him to come over quickly."
"Sounds reasonable." Tasmin gave a little nod. "Well, BA is going to pick up Murdock. Shall we go see where the Sue is hanging out?"
"Does that mean getting out of these blue coats?"
"Sure." Tasmin shrugged.
"Let's go then."
"Dark blue coveralls. Exactly what were you thinking?"
"When asked, we're here to fix the central heating."
Allison tore a page from her notepad and gave it to her partner. "Seriously, write down what you have been eating so I can avoid that stuff in the future."
Tasmin folded up the piece of paper and stuck it in her pocket. A man walked past them carrying the struggling Sue. He took her into a room. The agents turned their attention to the Words to keep up with what was going on.
"My, my Mandy. We try so had to give you what you want and what do you we get in return, we get you trying to tell what we're doing and we punished you hoping to teach you not to do it again. But no, you run off and tell some stranger. Now we have to punish you again."
"Bad guys that think people should be grateful for being held prisoner. Isn't that on the Evil Overlord list somewhere as a nono?"
Tasmin thought for a moment. "I don't recall. But I think there was something there like: I will not taunt my enemies in run-on sentences. It will leave me out of breath and will undermine the fearsome effect my taunt will have."
Allison chuckled and wrote down the charge.
The Sue was beaten up and taken back to her room. Meanwhile the Team decided to help the Sue. Hannibal had memorized the license plate of the car the Sue was taken away in and Hannibal suggested getting the address of it.
They went and found the nearest police station, where Face knocked out an officer on his way inside.
"What?" Allison exclaimed. "Face would not knock out a police officer. That would draw serious attention to the Team. Really, why can't these Sues ever come up with a good scam?"
"We wouldn't be calling them Sues if they could."
"It would make a lot more sense if Face broke into a police car that was parked outside a donut shop and asked for the registration information over the radio, while chatting up the desk sergeant."
"A conveniently abandoned police car would be a contrived plot device."
"There's more leeway for contrived plot devices if they provide comic relief. Which having the get-away-car registered to the bad guy hangout address does not provide."
Tasmin chuckled. "It does if you put it that way."
Allison snarled at Tasmin. "And why are they handing each other the address on a piece of paper? Can't Face just jump into the van and tell BA the address as they speed off?"
"I guess the Sue didn't want to make up an address."
"We're in LA, where the streets have no names." Allison flicked a page on her notepad. "I'm writing her up for it."
"What makes you think we're in LA?"
Allison gave her partner a look. "Were you hit in the head recently? Mr Lee's laundry is in LA. Hannibal never used the Mr Lee disguise outside of LA."
"Doesn't mean the Sue knows this."
Allison gave her a blank look. Tasmin returned the look. Allison shook her head.
"That comment. I have no words for it. I'm gobsmacked." She sighed and turned her head back to the Words. "Team's here."
There Hannibal laid out the plan.
"OK, guys. Were going to split in two teams. BA, you're with me. I want you two to come through the back way, BA and I will come through the front."
"Ah, the infamous pincer movement," Tasmin said.
"At least you recognized that."
Murdock and Face went to the back, where Face picked the lock. Hannibal and BA opted to kick the front door in.
"Despite this mentioning of front and back doors and rooms and hall ways I still can't shake the image that we are in a abandoned warehouse."
"You have to work a little harder and picture a mansion with no security in the surrounding grounds."
"That's too bad. There's no problem with Face knocking out a few security guards."
Walking in, they found the inside was completely high tech. Something completely unablibeous from the outside. Walking further down the hall, both Face and Hannibal tripped the alarm.
Allison and Tasmin covered their ears as soon as the alarm started to wail.
"Have these guys never heard of a silent alarm?" Allison yelled at her partner. "One that will only go off in the office of the security. That way not tipping off the intruders so they can be caught in the act rather than escape?"
"These guys are high tech on the inside, but they haven't got as much as a security camera on the outside," Tasmin yelled back. "The Sue escaped from this place. Do you have any reason to assume their inside security is going to make any sense?"
The Sue was woken up by the noise of the alarm and of her Sue-friend banging on the door. The Sue-friend said there were four intruders..
This got Mandy thinking. The A-Team has three fugitives and a mysterious fourth. Could this be them?
"No, you don't," Allison yelled. "You have been held captive since you were three. You have not heard of the A-Team. And you most certainly haven't heard about a mysterious fourth member of the A-Team. The A-Team has three members as far as anyone officially knows. And as soon as I can take my hands of my ears I'm going to write you up for that."
The Sue and her friend were very excited the A-Team had come to rescue them. Then one of the bad guys stood in the door way.
Mandy ran up behind him pushing him out of the door way. Grabbing Sara, they began running down the hall.
"How did she manage that? Did he turn around?"
"Looks more like she had found another exit to the room."
"There's too many charges for me to just remember. I have to start writing them up." Allison scrunched up her face as she lowered her hands and quickly wrote up the charges. Then a thought occurred to her. She tugged Tasmin at her sleeve. "Don't you have ear plugs in your duffelbag?"
"No, but I will have next mission."
"I will be hearing impaired next mission."
According to the Words each of the four Team members went a different direction. Hannibal entered the employee recreation room. On the TV there played a home video of the abuse of the Sue. Hannibal decided to put on a uniform of a foot-soldier. Then he left the room and ran into Face, Murdock and BA.
Just then they heard running, but this wasn't from the solders. This was much more quite. They watched as two girls ran around the corner as if they were looking for something.
"I hope it's the off-switch of the alarm."
The Sue was startled by Hannibal in uniform and ran off. Hannibal managed to catch her. She was happy to see him.
"Where were you two running to?" Face asked.
"The power room," answered Sara.
Tasmin chuckled. "You just made a correct prediction of this fic. You too could be writing Suefic."
Allison glared at her partner. "My comment had nothing to do with writing Suefic, but everything with getting away from loud noises. In a proper Suefic the noise would have stopped because the Sue had just forgotten about it."
The Sue and friend revealed their plan to blow up the place by overloading the circuit boards in the power room.
"And I'm back to thinking this is a warehouse or perhaps an office building."
Reaching the power room, the girls opened the door and walked in. Without waiting, the two of them went to work, turn everything up to maximum power. Then Mandy went to the main power source. Looking at Sara, Mandy turned the last knob and took off running.
"I have no idea what just happened in there."
'The A-Team was made obsolete," Allison replied. She was glad the alarm had finally stopped wailing.
"Turning everything to full power is not going to make the place blow up. If there is too much of a demand on the system a fuse is going to blow."
"Unless they replaced all the fuses with gum wrappers."
Tasmin gave her partner a look.
"I saw it on MacGyver."
The agents ducked when they heard the first explosion.
"How long do we have to stay here?" Allison asked. "I think it's getting kind of dangerous."
Tasmin looked at the Words. "The Sue is going to be thrown into a wall and Hannibal is going to fight a 'baddie' to death before he takes her out of the building."
"That's what it said."
"But baddie is a cutesy nickname. You don't use that unless you want to mock the bad guys and render them powerless."
"Yep. This must be the first time Hannibal won a fist fight on semantics rather than points." Tasmin took the remote activator from her duffelbag. "Let's go to hospital and charge this Sue."
"Isn't she supposed to be conscious when we charge her?"
The two agents stood in the Emergency Ward of the hospital, both of them wearing blue scrubs.
"Oh, she's conscious," Tasmin said. She dropped her duffelbag on the Sue's abdomen and the Sue flew up. "Hi, there." Tasmin grinned. She picked up her bag. "We're Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We're here to charge you. Allison."
"My ears are still ringing."
"Never mind that. Charge her."
"That was the first charge."
Tasmin rolled her eyes. "Charge her properly. We don't want any trouble over technicalities."
Allison sighed. "All right. Mandy, we charge you with errors in spelling, grammar and punctuation. If you have trouble writing English you should get someone to help you. We charge you with not providing a client for whom Hannibal would dress up as Mr Lee."
The Sue looked confused from one to the other. "Client? There was no client. Hannibal came to rescue me."
"You're the client then?"
The Sue nodded.
"All right. In that case we charge you with giving Hannibal telepathic abilities." Allison made a note. "Hannibal dresses up as Mr Lee when he knows he's going to meet a client. So he can check out the client without giving himself up. He does not dress up as Mr Lee hoping some business for the A-Team will run into the shop. And by the way, he is also not going to dress up as a foot-soldier when he already has tripped up the alarm. Dressing up as a foot-soldier is done to stay unnoticed. The alarm already kind of gave him away. Second-"
"Third," Tasmin interrupted.
"Well, look who's back to normal. Third. Thirdly we charge you with having Face punch a police officer rather than use his smooth talking to get registration information of a license plate. Fourth, having the car of the bad guys registered to the address of their head quarters. That's a contrived plot device. So is having no security on the outside of the building."
"Perhaps they were just dumb criminals," the Sue tried.
"Dumb criminals with no purpose. That's another charge."
"What? They had purpose."
"What? Feeding you with government information? Why were they feeding you with government information? Was Congress worried that the Library of Congress would burn down sometime and that the Proceedings of the House of Representatives would get lost? So rather than make a few hard-copy back-ups they fed all that information into a human."
"No, no. Government information."
"The House of Representatives is part of government."
"Well, technically," Tasmin said. "But commonly the executive government of the Trias Politica is referred to as the government and the legislative government is called parliament. Thus the term government would refer to the President and the ministerial departments and not to the House of Representatives, or Congress."
The Sue and Allison both looked at Tasmin who returned a blank look. Allison addressed the Sue while she made a head-jerk in Tasmin's direction: "Sometimes I think she is part of a secret government project where she was fed information."
"I don't know anything that can't be found on the Internet."
"The Internet was a government project. Your government's Department of Defense invested in its development because they saw a means in it to start up society again after a nuclear holocaust."
"The Internet was first developed by the scientists of CERN."
"That doesn't mean DoD didn't have a paw in its further development."
"Are you done charging me?"
Allison and Tasmin broke off their argument to look at the Sue.
"Silly, Sue." Allison grinned. "Reminding us she is still here. Let's see what else is there." Allison flicked between the pages of her notepad. "I guess we can sort of forgive you for the modest description of the building you were in. You were held captive there so you probably never even saw it on the outside. Or at least not at a time you were able to give it a good look. Oh, yes, we charge we with making the A-Team obsolete for this story."
"No, no, they weren't obsolete. I needed them."
"For what? For setting off the alarm? They're the A-Team. Special Forces. They can booby-trap the enemy's bed with him still in it. Theoretically," Allison said to Tasmin. "This A-Team is a bit too much of the barging in type to booby-trap sleeping people. But you." Allison poked at the Sue. "All you had them do was set off the alarm. Anyone could have done that. I used to live upstairs a shop for a while and the first shop-assistant in would always set off the alarm. You could have hired a girl from Boots to come and rescue you."
"But she wouldn't have been able to find me," the Sue said pointedly.
"Well, an Avon lady then, or a pizza-delivery guy, or anyone who comes to the door."
"They wouldn't have come in if the door was locked. And the door was locked." The Sue got a smug look on her face.
Allison glared at her. "A burglar then. The point is and remains: you had the A-Team in this story, but didn't really need them. You booby-trapped the fuse box yourself. And for that we charge you with being a Mary Sue. You have been charged. Do you understand these charges?"
"No. Why are you charging me?"
"Because we are Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We survey fanfiction. We come forward and charge in cases of crimes against fanfiction in general and the Continuum of the A-Team in particular. You have committed the previously mentioned offenses. Your punishment is death."
"You can't do that. You have no right," the Sue shouted, but she was cut off by Tasmin who pulled a pillow from underneath her head and smothered her with it.
Allison raised her eyes brows. "Are your guns broken?"
Tasmin shrugged and after checking the Sue's pulse threw the pillow aside. "I thought about what you said and thirty-one ways to kill a Sue."
"You now have three ways to kill a Sue. Congratulations. Let's go back to the office to celebrate."
"Not yet. We still have that Sue-friend to take care of."
Allison groaned. "All right. Let's go look for the other Sue."
The agents found the Sue-friend, who was part of the same project as the Sue, in the main waiting area of the hospital. She was making a phone call to her parents.
"Hello," answered her mom.
"My it's me, Sara."
"Sara, what is it? You sound upset."
"Is it so odd for me to assume," Allison started, "that if you have one orphaned prodigy on the project that your other prodigy is also an orphan?"
"I don't really see why it would have to be. But it would make sense to some extend that they would not let the Sue-friend keep in close contact with her parents."
"And what kind of parents would let their fifteen year old daughter work for a top secret government project?"
"Well, we already couldn't figure out what these bad guys were up to. This certainly doesn't help."
The Sue-friend asked her parents to come to the hospital and hung up, then she went back to sit with the Team. A doctor came to tell them about the Sue.
"Oh, yes. Very stable." Tasmin chuckled.
The Doctor asked how the Sue got her bruises.
"Some men that held us for many years, didn't like some of the things that she did to stop them. So the beat her up and did some other things to her," Sara answered.
"That was not a phone call we just heard from someone who was being held for years," Allison said. "That was a phone call from someone who speaks to their parents regularly and not under any kind of threat not to say too much."
The Sue-friend got up to stretch her legs. Her parents arrived and the three of them went to the cafeteria. The two agents followed them. In the cafeteria the Sue-friend started to tell her story.
Tasmin interrupted her. "Excuse me, we're Protectors of the Plot Continuum. You're a Sue." She pointed at the Sue-friend.
Allison coughed. "Proper charging."
"Sara. We charge you with being a Mary Sue. We charge you with aiding and abetting another Mary Sue in making the A-Team obsolete in a rescue operation. We charge you with being held captive for many years, but still having the kind of relationship with your parents that normal teens have. When a person has been held captive for many years we expect a little more emotion on reunion with their parents than 'I'm glad you're okay' and 'how's your friend?' You have been charged. Your punishment is death." Tasmin opened up her duffelbag.
The family looked at her stunned.
"Does this hospital have a psychiatric ward?" the father asked the Sue-friend.
"I don't know."
Tasmin dug up her Colt M1911 and her silencer. She screwed the silencer on and shot the Sue-friend. The father got up to stop Tasmin. Tasmin felled him too. The mother was last.
"We're done." Tasmin put her gun away.
"Don't we need to deal with the bad guys?"
"They were faceless and generic. For all we know the parents were the bad guys in disguise. That's probably how the Sue-friend kept in friendly contact with them. The parents are now dead." She opened a portal.
"Fair enough. Let's go work on those other twenty-eight ways to kill a Sue." Allison hopped through the portal.