Deception: Alex's Past
Allison bumped into Tasmin who had stopped dead just after going through the portal.
"Die?" she repeated. "You think I'm gonna kill a kid? Don't you know anything about me?"
"As a matter of fact, I don't. I know you read SF novelizations, but I don't even know whether you like them."
"Now is not the time to discuss that. We have to get the boy."
"I'm not going to help you kill that boy. Even if under the circumstances it could be considered a form of putting him out of his misery."
"I'm not gonna kill him. Actually, I liked your idea of recruiting him for the PPC."
"Really?" Allison looked surprised. "I'll help with that."
"I think we can best hijack the bus he is going to take." Tasmin nodded at the words.
"How do we do that?" Allison asked. "We could use the same trick Murdock and Amy used in ..." She did not finish her sentence. The agents looked at each other and shivered.
"I don't think so. Let's take the option that's behind door number two." Tasmin pulled a gun from her duffel bag.
"You got a new gun?"
"How sweet of you to notice." Tasmin smiled lovingly at the gun. "This is a Colt M1911. .45 Caliber, single action." Tasmin demonstrated the gun. "Put a hole in a Sue with this, she's going down, and she ain't getting up. It was a gift from a friend."
Allison blinked. "Right. It can stop a Sue. But can it stop a bus?"
"We'll just see." Tasmin walked into the middle of the road. She stopped, turned in the direction the bus was coming from, put her feet 15 inches apart and pointed the Colt.
The bus stopped a few yards in front of her. The driver opened the door.
"Hi," Allison said. "We'd like a ride."
"Where ever you're going."
"Hop on board."
Allison got on board dragging the sack of mini-deckers behind her. Tasmin climbed in after her and apologized to the driver. He gave a friendly nod in return and pulled up. The two agents were thrown into two nearby seats. There were no other passengers.
The bus turned into the street where the Team lived and stopped in front of their house. A boy and his luggage got on board and the bus pulled up. The boy was thrown into the seat in front of Allison.
"You're Trent, right?" Tasmin asked. The boy looked at her suspiciously. "I'm Tasmin and this is Allison."
"I ain't supposed to talk to no strangers."
"Dad and BA."
"Hmm, are these the same people that let you travel on your own? A responsible adult would have gone with you."
"They ain't very responsible people."
The mini-deckers stirred in their sack.
"Oi, quiet in there," Allison told them.
"What's in the sack?"
"What are they?"
"Can I see?"
"They're kind of dangerous."
Trent's eyes grew big. "Really? Can I see?" Being a typical kid the word 'dangerous' had the appeal a red flag has on a bull.
"Okay, but no sudden movements." Allison opened the sack and revealed the mini-deckers, blinking their eyes against the sudden bright light.
"Oh, they're cute." Trent put out his hand to pet them.
"Careful with that one. He's got snappy teeth," Allison warned. Trent quickly pulled his hand back.
The bus made a right turn without slowing down much; all its passengers were knocked over. The mini-deckers took the opportunity to escape. Allison scrambled up and lunged herself at Hanibal who was standing in the middle of the isle taunting her. Cannibal ran to the end of the bus and crawled underneath a seat.
"I'll get him." Trent made a running jump over Allison and ran to the end of the bus. A moment later he pulled the mini-decker from underneath the seat holding him by his ankle. Trent returned to the front of the bus and sat down with the mini on his lap. Cannibal grabbed Trent's hand, and put it in its mouth to suck his thumb.
"He seems to like you," Tasmin said. She gave a chocolate cigar to Hanibal.
"I like him too," Trent said, stroking the mini's head. "Ouch. Hey, no biting."
The mini mumbled something in reply that could be interpreted as 'sorry'.
"Would you like to take care of him?"
"Can I keep him? Alex would so get a kick out of this."
"We'd prefer it if Alex kept her kicks inside," Allison said.
"You know Alex?" Allison nodded. "I hate her. It's like, they're always on her side, and always against me."
Tasmin and Allison smiled encouragingly at him.
"Ain't you supposed to say: 'Aaw, I'm sure it ain't that bad'?"
"No," Tasmin said. "We know it's that bad." She offered him a chocolate chip cookie.
The mini got tired of Trent's thumb and spat it out. He grabbed for Tasmin's hand, but she quickly put a cookie in its mouth.
"Would you like to come and live with us, take care off the minis?"
Trent looked at her, hope gleaming in his eyes. "Can I? No, I can't. I'm supposed to go to boarding school."
"Who's to know if you're not going?" Allison asked.
Trent thought about it, leaning his chin on the mini's head. "Just me, I guess. The others wouldn't care about what happened to me."
"That's settled," Tasmin said. "Driver, stop the bus."
The bus stopped abruptly. Hanibal almost got away again, but Trent stopped him by grabbing him in his collar. With a mini on each arm Trent followed Tasmin off the bus. Allison closed the ranks with Trent's luggage; she had slung the sack over her shoulder.
"You have recruited a boy," the Marquis de Sod repeated for the fourth time.
Tasmin, Allison, Trent and the two minis were standing in the director of personnel's office.
"Yes, he is a boy, but if we nourish him properly he may grow into a wooden puppet."
The Marquis did not seem to appreciate Tasmin's sarcasm. "And you have recruited this boy as a Sue hunter? Isn't he a little young?"
"We also caught a few minis and we've recruited Trent to take care of them," Allison explained.
"Minis are usually kept by agents as their pets."
"Not these kinds of minis."
The director of personnel, a daisy in a pinstriped suit, seemed to eye the mini-deckers. The two minis huddled together and discussed something.
"Right. I see. Here, sign this." The Marquis flicked a sheet of paper off his desk.
Tasmin caught it. "This is a blank sheet of paper."
"Yes. You bring me an unusual recruit. I will have to make up all the legal mumbo-jumbo later."
Trent wrote his name at the bottom of the paper, and everyone who wasn't a director of personnel was asked to leave. Tasmin and Allison didn't need to be asked twice.
Trent was left at Personnel where he would be assigned some quarters for himself and the minis. Tasmin and Allison tried to find their way back to their office. Which took quite a long time as Tasmin actually wanted to get back there, and PPC headquarters is structured so that it rarely takes you where you want to go. She finally gave up, closed her eyes and asked Allison to lead the way. Then their office was two doors down on the right.
"Right," Tasmin rubbed her hands together. "Trent's taken care of. Let's get back into that fic and fix that Sue."
"Going back into that fic, I refuse. I'm sure it's a violation of my human rights having to go into that fic. Cruel and unjust treatment."
"And how do you think this is for other readers, or for the Team even?"
"Can't we just put up a warning in the summary: 'read at your own risk'?"
"What about the Team?"
"They don't seem to be suffering too much."
Tasmin blinked in disbelieve. "This toxic mist must have impaired my hearing too. What did you say?"
"It's not like Hannibal is suffering tension headaches from OOCness."
"He's not complaining about them; doesn't mean he's not having them. But you must be aware that Face is suffering incredible lack of back bone. I'm surprised he can still stand up straight. Don't you think Face has a right to a spine?"
Grumpily Allison agreed.
"Watch out!" a young voice yelled. "Please, catch him."
A mini-decker came running down the corridor, followed by Trent. The mini saw Allison when she stepped out of the office to check what the raucous was about. It stopped and smirked, challenging her to make a move. Allison threw herself at the mini. It simply stepped out of the way. Before Allison could get up from her dive the mini got on her back and started jumping and cheering.
Trent picked him up. "Sorry about that. I thought I had locked him in the play pen properly, but he escaped when I wasn't looking."
"Mini-deckers tend to do that," Tasmin said forgivingly. "Don't worry about it."
"Easy for you to say. He wasn't jumping on you." Allison scrambled up.
Tasmin ignored her and led Trent into their office. "How are you settling in here? I see you've gotten your uniform."
Trent was wearing a black shirt, black pants and black sneakers. "It's great. And everybody is so nice. Even that woman that was bitten by Cannibal."
"Probably someone from Slash. They're into kinky."
"Allison!" Tasmin said reproachfully. "Shouldn't you be getting ready?"
"Ready? Are you leaving?"
"We have got to get back into that fic," Tasmin explained. "We still have to take care of Alex."
Trent was horror struck. "You're not bringing her here are you? She'll ruin everything. She always does."
Tasmin put a reassuring arm on his shoulder. The mini snapped its teeth at her. "Could you give the mini to Allison for a moment."
The mini transfered arms. Allison pushed his head back to keep him from biting her.
"Hey, how do you keep this thing from biting?"
Trent pulled a cigar shaped pacifier from his pocket.
Tasmin pulled Trent to sit next to her on the sofa. "We know how bad Alex is. We won't bring her back here. Not alive, anyway."
"You're going to kill her?"
"Alex is a very bad person. She is messing with the lives of people we love. She's doing horrible things to them. We have to stop her. And the only way to do that is by killing her."
"Can I watch?"
Allison chuckled. They had brought in an excellent recruit: young, enthusiastic, eager to kill.
"Better not. Perhaps when you're a couple of years older."
"I was old enough to get the crap kicked out of me by Alex."
"I know." Tasmin stroked his hair. "But you're living with responsible adults now. And we think it's better that you're at least thirteen before you see your first Sue get killed."
"Okay. What's a Sue?"
"Alex is a Sue. There are many more like her. We put a stop to them."
"You do a good job."
"Yes, we do." Tasmin kissed him on top of his head. "Now, grab your mini so we can go to work."
"Okay." Trent jumped up, grabbed the mini and left.
"Did you notice how his English has improved after only a couple of hours with us?"
"Aaw, Tasmin, that was real sweet." Tasmin hit Allison on the nose with the back of her hand. "Ow, and that wasn't."
"If you ever tell anyone about what just happened here, I will hurt you in ways you didn't even imagine it possible to hurt a person."
Allison gave her a defiant look. She doubted that statement: she had not be asleep during the lectures on torture.
"Grab your stuff. We're leaving."
Next order of business was to find and kill all the other OCs that had been created. The Sue mother had already died so she was no trouble. That only left the men that kidnapped Murdock. Tasmin opened a portal in their drive way. She got her gun from her duffel bag and screwed on a silencer. The two agents walked into the living room where the four men were watching television. Tasmin coughed to make their presence known, but none of the men so much as looked up.
"What's going on here?" Allison asked.
"I don't know. Grab your Character Analysis Device and point it at them."
Allison took her CAD from her pocket and pointed it at the youngest of the men.
Royco, male, canon, out of character, 88.6
The CAD started to rattle and squeak. Allison quickly stopped pointing it. Then she carefully pointed it again to make sure she had read it right.
"These guys are canon?" She pointed the CAD at each one in turn. The CAD protested heavily. "That's the father, out of character 40.3. That's the oldest son, also forty percent out of character. And that last one gives an error message."
"That must be the Indian."
Allison gave her a questioning look.
"They're the four bounty hunters that kidnapped Murdock to get the Team. We've wasted our time here."
"The Sue rewrote Bounty?"
"Apparently. And we could have known that a lot sooner if you hadn't fallen down that plot hole." Tasmin put away the gun and walked out of house.
Allison followed her. "Well, if you hadn't jumped down after me, you would have known this."
"Yeah, maybe I should have just left you there in Borneo." Tasmin opened a portal.
Allison stuffed the CAD back in her pocket and looked up to step through the portal. It closed right in front of her.
Allison blinked. "I probably shouldn't have said that." Now what? Was she left here? Inside this fic? She looked around. She shivered when she thought of all the horrible things that could mean. Then she remembered how she got Hannibal to make some pancakes earlier. Maybe there was a way out. She ran around the garage and smiled to the sight of a small helicopter with a familiar pilot, just about to take off. She ran toward it and knocked on the frame. No response. She touched the pilot on his arm. She saw his lips move.
"A ride," she yelled, trying to get over the engine noise. "Can I get a ride?" She pointed up.
"What?" the pilot yelled at her.
He took off his head set and she yelled in his ear. "Can I get a ride?"
"Where to?" he yelled back.
"Langley. You're going there, right? I need to hook up with a friend of mine who's there. Can you give me a ride?"
The pilot looked her up and down. "How'd you know I'm going to Langley?"
"Never mind. Can you give me a ride?"
"Sure, kiddo. Hop on."
"Thanks." Allison put up her thumb, ran to the other side of the helicopter and climbed on board. She strapped herself in. The pilot gave her a headset so they could talk. "Isn't there a door?" Allison tried to imagine a door, but it didn't work. Maybe she should have paid more attention to what helicopters actually looked like, than she wouldn't be imagining a helicopter she caught a glimpse of once in a MASH episode, Allison decided.
"No," the pilot replied. He took the helicopter off the ground. "You're not afraid of flying, are you?"
"No. Just of falling out and dropping on my head."
"C'mon, I'll sing you a song that will help you relax."
"Okay," Allison gave the pilot an anxious look. Maybe flying Miracle Airlines wasn't such a good idea after all.
«One day I'll fly away, leave your love to yesterday.»
"Could you not sing that song."
"Why? You just broken up with your lover?"
"I don't like to be reminded of flying right now."
"You are afraid of flying." It was a statement, not a question.
"I'm not afraid of flying."
«There was no more fear of flying, once the final words ...»
"Don't you know any songs about hiking?" Allison interrupted. "Or anything else ground based?"
«The wheels on the bus go round and round, round and round» The pilot moved his head to the tune of the song.
"Stop singing songs that make me think of imminent death."
"The wheels of the bus makes you think of death?" the pilot asked. He sounded a little horror struck.
"Have you ever been in front of the wheels of an on storming bus?"
"Good point." He considered the comment.
"How about we sing that song that starts with: I've been driving all night, my hand's wet on the wheel" Allison suggested.
"That man dies at the end of the song."
"Car crash. One more radar lover's gone."
"I guess between the two of us we don't know any songs that aren't death related."
"We could sing 'frère Jacques' there's no death in that."
«Are you sleeping, are you sleeping»
«Brother John, Brother John»
"That could work." Allison joined in, and for the remainder of the flight they sang rounds of frère Jacques.
"And we're in Langley." The helicopter touched down and Murdock turned off the engine.
"Thanks for the ride." Allison got out off the helicopter as quick as she could, before Murdock could ask her any further questions. She hoped Tasmin hadn't seen her. Tasmin would object against agents talking to canon. Then, Allison objected against being left behind in a fic.
She hid behind the stables and saw Murdock going into the house. Now to find Tasmin. Or to find the Sue, that would probably attract Tasmin. Allison looked up at the words none of them were lid up. She frowned at that. This didn't seem like the kind of story where nothing happened. It was getting darker and between the twilight and the purple mist -- purple apparently wasn't geographically limited to South East Asia -- she had a hard time making out where she was in relation to the text. But it getting darker was probably a good thing. The Sue would go to bed, and with the canons out of character their watchdog capabilities might be shut off and she would be able to sneak into the house, get the Sue and charge her. And then? This world would fold in on itself after the Sue was gone. Where would that leave her? She had no portal. She didn't know where Tasmin was.
Should she have stayed at the house of the bounty hunters till Tasmin came back to get her? What if Tasmin would have never come back for her? Then she would have been better off looking for Tasmin here. Allison nodded to herself. That was what she was going to do first: look for Tasmin. Allison got up and moved toward the house. She probably had a better chance of finding Tasmin nearer to the Sue. Tasmin would be trying to find a way to get close to her too.
"What's the matter, Murdock?" Hannibal asked.
"I think I saw something moving outside, Colonel. I'm gonna check it out." Before anyone could argue he had left the room.
The house stood far from the road and was obscured from it by trees and shrubs. There was a large open space from the shrubs with just a few trees, and that's where he saw someone creeping around from tree to tree. With his stealth he followed the person. Murdock checked himself. He had been in such a hurry to find out what the disturbance was about he had forgotten to take a gun. Well, he would just have to do it the old fashioned way. He ran for the person, knocked him over and turned him on his stomach and twisted one arm behind his back.
"Who are you? What are you doing here?"
"Murdock?" a female voice asked.
"That's my name. Who are you?"
"Allison," she replied. In the pale light of the half moon he recognized her; the girl he had given a lift earlier, with some added dirt on her face.
"What are you doing here?"
"Ow. I can't say. And you twisting my arm will only make me cry."
Murdock didn't relax his grip. He quickly padded her down for weapons and identification. He found a curious device that could be a detonator for a bomb; a little notepad and pen; and a small leather folder. He opened the folder. It contained a shiny badge with a cactus emblem and an ID-card.
"Protectors of the Plot Continuum. Agent Allison. Is that you?"
"Cute photo. Do you work for the government?"
"Why are you following us?"
"I'm not following you."
He twisted her arm a little harder. Sure, she wasn't following them? Then why did he keep seeing her everywhere he went? "What kind of organization is Protectors of the Plot Continuum?"
"I'm not at liberty to say."
"What does a Protector Agent do? Besides pretending not to follow people she is following around."
"I'm not at liberty to say."
He could tell form the choke in her voice that she was trying not to wince with pain. He relaxed her arm a little. He considered letting go of her. She hadn't struggled to get away; nor had she demanded or even asked him to let go of her. Either she was a professional soldier that waited her time, or she trusted him, or she wanted him to think that so he would let go of her. She didn't use any force when she asked for the helicopter ride. He quickly got up and put a hand in his jacket pocket.
"Careful, I'm armed."
"Okay." She sat up, but didn't look up to see whether he was actually pointing a gun at her. Instead she nursed her arm. "I really can't tell you what PPC is about. You already know too much."
"I'm the man who knows too much? BA would not agree."
"He thinks you're the man who knows too little."
"Exactly." They shared a chuckle. "You can tell me, though, I have intermittent memory loss."
She cocked her head and looked at him. He pointed his fingers in his pocket at her.
"On the other hand, I also suffer from intermittent memory gain."
"Sometimes I remember things I don't remember remembering before."
"Such as the memories you lost earlier?" she asked.
"No, no. These are new memories. Strange memories. Memories of things I know couldn't have happened. Does that make any sense to you?"
She shook her head.
"You have a strange effect on me," he said. Murdock relaxed his guard. He took his hand out of his pocket and flopped down opposite of her.
"One day," he continues. "One day I suddenly remember spending time with my niece. We even went out on a mission to save her fiancé. And another time there was this mission with a girl kidnapped from her school. She ended up living with us. I know these things didn't happen: I don't have a niece; there isn't a girl living with us. But I remember them as if they did."
Allison was staring at him with her mouth hanging open.
"Y'know what I'm talking about?"
It was a rhetorical question, but she answered it.
"Yeah," she nodded.
"You do? Can you explain it to me?" He jumped up. "Cause all these impossible memories are making me crazy in the head. And I've got enough to worry about without getting crazy in the head." He tapped on his head and gave her an expectant look. She returned with an apologetic smile. "Don't tell me you can't say."
"I'm not at liberty to say."
He lunged at her, knocked her over and landed on top of her. She didn't even try to defend herself. When he padded her down he had noticed how muscular she was. If she put some effort into it she could have him pinned to the ground in a second. Maybe two, she was nearly a foot shorter.
"It has to do with my work for the PPC. They never told me you could remember. I don't think you should remember."
"What are you people doing to me?" He tightened his grip on her arms, pushed her down harder.
"Nothing. We're protecting you."
"Protecting? I didn't notice any protecting!"
"You're not supposed to notice."
"I notice you now. You must not be very good at your job."
"So Tasmin never gives up reminding me."
"My partner PPC agent."
"What's that crazy fool doin'?" BA said looking out the window. "He looks like he's attackin' someone, but there ain't nobody there."
"Relax, BA," Face replied. "Murdock is probably out there disarming our invisible stalker. Be glad. You wouldn't have been able to see him."
"Damn right, sucka." BA walked away from the window. "Ain't nobody there but that crazy fool."
Murdock sat up straight. He was still straddling Allison so that she couldn't get away. She pushed herself up on her elbows.
"Do any of the others have memories like that? Do Hannibal, Face and BA remember that girl that was your niece?"
"How do you know Hannibal and Face?"
"I've been following you around, remember."
Yeah, he remembered, her and that other girl. "Where's your partner."
"Er." The question surprised her. "I haven't seen her since before I met you."
Murdock couldn't make much of the situation. He was nuts, but this was nuttier. He folded his arms and looked down at her.
"Why don't you tell me the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth."
"You want me to swear on the bible too?"
"Nah, wouldn't want you to burn your hand." He snorted lightly. "Start talking."
"Okay." Allison lay back on her back. "That thing with your niece and the girl that moved in with you that has happened."
"You mean to say I really have a niece?"
"No, you don't have a niece."
"She died? And I hardly got to know her."
"You never had a niece."
"But you just said ... You're confusing me."
"I'm a PPC agent, a Protector of the Plot Continuum. We protect canon characters against unsavory elements such as original characters that upstage the regulars and bad slash."
"Like when me and Face ..."
"I'm sorry you have those memories."
"Me too." He shivered. "I always figured myself more as BA's bitch."
"I'm sure he doesn't share your sentiments."
"So what are you doing here?"
"I've been assigned to protect the plot of the A-Team."
"And what do you do when you protect?"
"We go into the story, find the Sue, charge her and dispose of her."
"Technical term for a female character that is out of control. Like with your niece. She was a Sue. First because she was your niece and second because she totally took over your part."
"But I also remember her as the girl with the kidnapped fiancé."
"If anything, you should remember her like that. We took out the Sue and toned her down."
"And what are you doing here now?"
"That girl." Allison tried to turn on her side, but Murdock was in the way. She waved her hand in the general direction of the house. "That girl is a Sue. She has you all under her spell and needs to be taken out of the story before she does any irreparable damage."
"That girl? You mean Alex? My daughter?"
"Don't you think it's strange that you have a daughter all of a sudden?"
"That's because her mother never told me about her. Face only told me a few weeks ago."
"Ah, had much of a sex life then in the VA?"
"That's between me and dr. Richter."
Allison gave her dirty mind a slap for thinking that could be anything other than a therapeutic talking session.
"Just answer me this: did you have sexual intercourse at all in 1977?"
"No," Murdock replied a little wary.
"How about in 1979?"
"Why are you asking me this? Do you want a full listing of when I had sex in the past fifteen years?"
"Not really something I want to know. It's just... If she's supposed to be your daughter, wouldn't that mean that you have slept with her mother?"
Murdock nodded. "Then why ask me whether I had sex in 1977 and in '79?"
"We don't know in which year the Sue, Alex, was born."
"She's six. How hard can it be to count back six years and nine months?"
"What year is it now?"
"What year was it last week?"
"See my point?"
"How is that possible?"
"Strange things always happen when there is a Sue around."
"But how could we not notice this? I mean, I'm not surprised I didn't notice, being crazy and all. But BA, he would not have stood for this kind of madness, and Hannibal ..."
"That's the spell she put you under. It has effected all of you. You, BA, Hannibal, Face."
"She sure has BA and Hannibal wrapped around her finger; like they was one of her pretty little curls." Murdock looked at the house.
"And you," Allison added.
"No, not me. I'm totally unwrapped. Like a sweety before you pop it in to your mouth." She looked at him. He looked at her. "Honest. Cherry flavored."
"Could you give me my Character Analysis Device?"
"Character Analysis Device. It's that little box you took from me."
The little box. He had thrown it aside. He scanned the area. It was just within reach. He grabbed it without getting up.
"What does it do?"
"You point and read out."
He studied the box suspiciously. "I can point this thing at you?"
"Sure." Allison sort of shrugged.
Murdock pointed the box at her. Some letters lit up on the display. "Allison, female, PPC-agent, non-canon," he read out.
"That sounds about right."
Murdock pointed the box at himself. "Captain H.M. Murdock, male, canon, Howlin' Mad, Out of Character 30.82. What does that mean?"
"What?" Allison flew up, for as much as that was possible with Murdock still sitting on top of her. "What did you say?"
"What does that mean?"
"Out of Character 30.82"
"That. Can I see?" He gave her the device. She pointed it at him, looked at it, shook it and pointed it again. "That's unusual."
"I'm an unusual guy."
"That's true. But this ..." She shook her head. "Your character is improving."
"Look, out of character 30.82 means that you are almost your usual self, but not quite. In Borneo you were so out of character you had smoke coming out of your ears."
"That's unusual, even for me." Murdock thought about this.
"Is it okay if I get up now?"
"Oh, yeah, sure."
Murdock scrambled up. He extended a hand to help Allison up. She put the CAD in her pocket and padded the dirt off her. She looked around for her badge and notepad, picked them up and pocketed them too.
"What are you gonna do now?" Murdock stuck his hands in the pockets of his slacks.
"Catch the Sue, charge her and take her out of this fic."
"Can I help?"
"You?" Allison looked at him in surprise.
"I don't want those memories anymore. If there's anything I can do to make them stop ... I want to help. Can't you deputize me or something?"
Murdock nodded. Allison frowned her brow.
"I could be useful. If it got wings I can fly it."
"I don't really need a pilot right now."
"I have multiple personalities. Alex, the Sue, would never suspect it was me."
"You really want to do this?" She smiled at him. He nodded his head vigorously. I am going to get is so much trouble for this, she thought. "Okay." She put a hand on his shoulder. "Murdock, I hereby declare you a deputy PPC agent."
"Oh, goody." Murdock jumped around and rubbed his hands.
Murdock quickly stood to attention and saluted Allison. "Agent Allison, deputy agent Murdock reporting for duty."
"At ease. We don't do that saluting stuff in PPC."
"What will be my first assignment?"
"Find my pen. You threw it away. Without it we can't write up the Sue and charge her."
"Right away." Murdock saluted and dropped down on all fours to give the grass a blade by blade inspection.
Allison also looked for the pen, but with her eyes at a greater distance. Thus preoccupied she was knocked down, again.
"Why do I keep getting knocked down?"
"Probably because you deserve it," Tasmin replied. She pressed Allison down and held the Colt to her head. "Hello, Allison, or should I say, Mary Sue?"
"What? What are you talking about?"
"Cork it, Blondie. I've always suspected you of being a Sue-lover." Tasmin caressed Allison's cheek with her .45. "But now it turns out you're an actual Sue and I get to put a nice big hole in you."
"What are the charges?" Allison tried to stay calm. Though this wasn't the first time she was staring down the barrel of Tasmin's gun, it was the first time Tasmin had so much satisfaction in her eyes. Allison had seen that look before. Right before Tasmin killed a Sue.
"The charge is that you are a Sue."
"The charge is that you talked to canon without being provoked."
"When you asked Murdock about that helicopter ride."
"You know about that? Besides I was provoked: you closed the portal right in front of me. You left me."
"The portal ran out of batteries."
"Out of batteries? You mean to say we're stuck here?"
"No, no, I've already recharged them. I came back for you and then I saw you talk to Murdock. I couldn't call you back without exposing myself as well."
"You're charging me with looking out for myself? How was I to know you would come back?"
"We never leave one of our own behind."
"So all those times you said 'I ought to leave you in this fic' that was just a hollow threat?"
"Yeah, and if you had paid attention in Training you would have known that."
"Aargh." Allison rolled her eyes. She tried to struggle away from Tasmin, but she was prepared for that, outweighed Allison and had her knee in a rather uncomfortable position. "Could you at least move your knee while you continue charging."
"That was it." Tasmin moved her knee.
"That was it? That was one charge: talking to Murdock when you had left me in the lurch. One charge does not make a Sue."
"Talking to Murdock and explaining about PPC to him. Making Murdock beg you to make him a deputy. That's Sue behavior. You've got him wrapped around your finger like a pretty little curl."
"I have short straight hair."
"He said your photo was cute."
"You have an answer for everything, don't you?"
"Have you ever met a Sue that didn't?"
"Ha, you admit to being a Sue." Tasmin straightened up and loaded a bullet in the chamber. "You are sentenced to death. Any last words."
"I am not a Sue. I have a personallity."
"At least they're original last words."
Tasmin pointed her Colt. Allison closed her eyes. She didn't want her last image to be of Tasmin splattered with her brain.
"No!" Murdock lunged himself at Tasmin and pulled her away from Allison. They rolled over the ground fighting for the gun.
"What's that crazy fool up to now?"
"Hmm. He's probably just playing with his dog, Billy," Face replied. "Just a little rascalling and rolling on the lawn."
"That looks more serious than a little rascalling," Hannibal said. "I'm going to check it out."
"Nothin' there but that fool," BA told him when he left the room.
"Murdock? Are you all right?" Hannibal asked as soon as he came outside.
"Hannibal? A little help here. I'm under attack."
"He can't see Tasmin."
"I'm under attack by a woman."
"What woman?" Hannibal asked, but when he blinked again, there she was: a young woman struggling with Murdock for a gun. Hannibal ran over and put his gun to her head. "Let go of the gun, sister."
Tasmin halted her struggle with Murdock. She knew the A-Team didn't shoot to kill, but she considered now was not the time to find out if they never would. Particularly not with any of them under the influence of the Sue formerly known as Allison. Murdock attacking her was just one more bit of proof. She let go of the gun.
"Get up." Hannibal grabbed her by her arm and dragged her up.
"Thanks, Hannibal." Murdock got up.
"I've found your pen."
To Hannibal's surprise another woman appeared who took the pen and put it in her pocket. Hannibal quickly pointed his gun at her.
"No, no, Hannibal. This is agent Allison. She's one of the good guys."
"Sue," hissed Tasmin. "You're about to find out if strangling is possible." She tried to pull away from Hannibal.
Allison took a step back in precaution. Hannibal held back Tasmin.
"Good guys? This one doesn't seem to agree."
"She's my partner."
"I take it the break up wasn't amicable," Hannibal said. Allison gave a wry smile. "Agent Allison, ha? What's your organization?"
"She's a Protector of the Plot Continuum," Murdock replied.
"Sue!" Tasmin yelled, pulled herself away from Hannibal and lunged at Allison.
Allison tried to defend herself against Tasmin pounding away at her. Murdock and Hannibal separated the two agents. Allison used Murdock as leverage to kick Tasmin with both legs. Hannibal pulled Tasmin out of the way.
"I love a good cat-fight, but I think now is not the time for one."
Tasmin and Allison stood, both waiting for a weak moment in their captor's guard to attack the other.
"Let's take them inside and see if we can make any sense of them there. C'mon, sister."
"I can walk for myself." Tasmin tried to shrug off Hannibal.
"I'm sure you can, but now you are gonna walk for me."