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PPC Mission II
edward_wilder

“Okay okay okay, whadda we got?” my new partner asked, bouncing up and down in a supremely annoying fashion as she stared at the console, displaying our latest assignment.

I cuffed her lightly upside the head. “Never get excited about the Duty. It is a job, nothing more. In fact, it’s not even a job. It’s more like volunteer work. Hard work, no pay, ridiculous hours, but since we’re doing it for a decent cause we all tend not to complain. Yeah, that sounds about right. Fascinating. I never really thought about it that way before…” I mused. I snapped back to some semblance of reality. “Ax?”

Leila blinked, utterly bewildered by my train of thought. “What?”

I stared at her like she was an idiot, and it wasn’t my fault for being overly confusing. “My ax. Pass it to me. Now.”

“Oh! Right, Julius.” She tried to hand it to me blade-first. I dodged the spike on the end, glared at her, and grabbed at the nearest section of handle I could reach. I flipped it around and tried leaning on it, as Leila perused the fic. Unfortunately, the Generic Surface that HQ is made of is completely lacking in traction, and the resultant fumbling was…rather embarrassing. Luckily for me, Leila’s back was turned. “Ooh, this is a nasty one,” she announced with relish. She read me the summary. “Brittany Zabini had it all, money, power, Draco Malfoy lusting after her. She didn't want any of it.”

I snorted. “My god, I hate her already. Spoiled brat, and ungrateful too.”

“It gets worse, matey. ‘A possible arranged ‘marragige’ is thrown in and Brittany has to fight it, by falling in love with her 'fiancee's' rival?”

I groaned. “Classic ‘Sue. We could probably charge her from here.”

My partner perked up more than usual. “Egad, can we really?”

No.” I threw her backpack to her and grabbed my own. “We should be Death Eaters again, I think. The story starts in the ‘Sue’s house. Pop us a portal and let’s rock.”

“Actually, they’re supposed to be from a family of Death Eaters and it wouldn’t really make much sense…What do you think?”

I rolled my eyes. “Fine. Something else, then.”

“What?”

“Leila, do I make it sound like I care? Just pick something.”

She ripped off a smart salute. “Good as done!”

I glared at her. “No it isn’t. You haven’t done it yet, so it can’t be.”

Leila gave me a deer-in-the-headlights stare. “What are you talking about?”

“Just open the portal!”


We entered something vaguely resembling a teenage girl’s room. Its only description had been ‘large’, and the canon interpreted that by making it larger than the Oval Office. The walls, made of Generic Surface, were painted urple, an unimaginably ghastly pink/purple combination. Fortunately, most of it had been covered by generic boy band posters.

I didn’t care. I was looking at the form Leila had chosen for us. “House elves? House elves?! Why the nine hells did you disguise us as house elves? How are we going to carry any of our stuff? I can barely lift my ax! For the love of Pete, what am I wearing?" I noticed that I still had my glasses hadn't changed size with me, which annoyed me to no end.

“Look, we blend in, that’s the important thing!” I was about to yell at her again when the fic began, throwing me off.

"Brittany Zabini, get down here!" A loud booming male voice called out.

A girl was sitting in her room reading a book silently and rolled her grey blue eyes in annoyance…

“Nine hells!” I howled as soon as I read the Words.

My partner started, nearly dropping the notepad she was writing the chargelist on. “What is it? What’s wrong?”

I scowled at her. “What is it? It’s one of the most cliché beginnings ever, that’s what!”

“Really?”

“Protagonist in their room, parent yells at them, they go downstairs, plot happens. Have you any idea how many pieces of fiction on the Internet, even original ones, start with that? A lot of the time, there isn’t any good reason for them to be yelling.”

“So…is it a charge? Because I’m not sure we can assassinate her just for being cliché…”

“Yes, we can. And put down annoying the PPC, too,” I snarled at her. She scribbled it down on her pad. I unfocused my eyes to read the Words. “And right off the bat, we’re screwing with canon time, she explains it in the author’s notes! She has Harry and everybody going to school in the seventh book. Wait a sec. What are those?” Lurking among the Words was a line of symbols like ₪, with a note mentioning that it was to distinguish the Author’s Notes from the fic.

“What are what?” Leila asked, concentrating on her chargelist.

”Those little swirly things, between the Author’s Notes and the text. Aren’t those the Greek infinity symbols?”

Her brow wrinkled as she peered at them. “How should I know? Does it matter?”

“Leila, they’re totally shiny! Of course it matters.”

“They’re not shiny at all.”

“It’s a figure of speech; it means that they look cool. Stall the ‘Sue, will you?”

“What are you going to do?”

“Does it matter? Just stall the damn 'Sue,” I told her, dropping my ax.

As my partner shuffled off, I pulled an odd tool out of my backpack. It looked like a paintbrush, with a paint scraper attached to one end and a blue button on the handle. I pressed the button, and white lights began playing around the surface of the metal. I reached up towards where I had seen the symbols. Instead of going through the Words as if they didn’t exist, the tool acted as if they were stuck onto a solid surface. I stuck the scraper end under the symbol I wanted and pushed upwards. It came off like a large ethereal sticker, and I put it in my backpack.

My partner had returned. She was staring wide-eyed at the tool. “French the llama, what is that thing?”

I flicked it off, returned it to my backpack, and decided not to contemplate what ‘french the llama’ meant. “Prototype. I’m testing it for one of my friends in DoSAT.” I picked up my ax, more easily than I expected. House elves are a great deal stronger than they look.

“Egad. Since you know it works now, will they start making more of them?”

“Leila, I’ve known that it works for months now.”

“So…why doesn’t everybody get them?”

“Because I haven’t told DoSAT it works, of course.”

“Why not?” We had began to hurry down the hallway where the ‘Sue had gone.

“Because I like being the only Agent with a gadget this shiny.”

“That’s kind of mean…Ooh, got any other cool stuff?”

“Nah, they won’t give me anything else until I test out this and give it back.”

“So give it back to them, and maybe get something even cooler!”

“Or maybe get a pair of atomic cufflinks. No, thank you.”

We kept walking down the hallway. Eventually, I had to ask, “When does this goddamn hallway end?”

“The fic just says ‘long’, and the canon seems to be going to extremes to compensate for the vague descriptions, so this is what we got…”

“Oh, and I suppose the fact that SOMEbody made our legs ridiculously small has nothing to do with it, hmm?”

We trooped down the ridiculous hall some more, and eventually came across the ‘Sue. She was leaning against the wall with an unfocused look in her eyes, counting under her breath.

“What did you do to her?”

“I neuralyzed her.” This surprised me. I hadn’t heard of a neuralyzer being used on a ‘Sue before, only on canon characters. “I told her to count down from six hundred, start over if she made a mistake, then forget about us and move on with the story when she was done.”

“What about her parents? Won’t they be looking for her?”

“They’re bit characters in a Suefic. She does nothing, they do nothing.” She reached up and patted the ‘Sue on the back, since she couldn't reach her shoulder.

I nodded, rather surprised at her ingenuity. It was a much cleverer solution than I had expected from my partner. I still wasn’t going to tell her I thought so, though.

I turned back to her, and saw my partner’s eyes nearly popping out of her head. Some of the Sue’s hair was draped down her back, and Leila was staring at it in wonder. “Leila…?” I asked hesitantly, reaching towards her.

The second my hand hit my partners shoulder, she bounced into the air like she had hit a trampoline. As I was recoiling, I heard her squeal, “IZZA P’HUZZEEE!!!”

I grabbed her by the straps of her backpack (her pillowcase didn't offer many handholds), mainly to get her to stop bouncing. “Get a hold of yourself, woman! What is it?!” I shouted, allowing myself use of an interrobang.

She pointed towards the ‘Sue’s hair. “Feel it feel it feel it!”

I tentatively did. Although I normally hesitate to use the word ‘luxurious’, due to the unfortunate reputation of Agent Luxury, the ‘Sue’s hair felt like high-quality silk threads. I nodded. “I can see what you mean…sort of. Want me to scalp her?”

This got Leila’s attention faster than I’ve seen anything else I said up to that point. “What?”

“Well, if you like her hair that much, I could scalp her once we’ve killed her and you could keep it if you wanted.”

“What would I do with that?”

“I dunno. A long time ago, it was a tradition to collect the scalps of dead ‘Sues and attach them to your belt, but that’s looked down upon. It’s enough like thread that you might be able to weave them together to make a bandanna or something.”

“Are you serious?”

“Absolutely.”

She blinked a couple of times. “Well, I’ve never really been one for bandannas…maybe a scarf or something?”

I shrugged. “You’ll have to make it yourself, but I’m happy to get you the hair.”

“Huh. So this is what they mean when they talk about DMS agents taking souvenirs…”

“That or swiping stuff from the continuum. Not that I’m suggesting you do, of course,” I said hurriedly. “So, do you want it or not?”

“Uh, okay. Yeah, sure, why not.”

“Awesome.” I looked back and forth. “Where was I?”

“Um, we were trying to get downstairs before the ‘Sue…”

“Ah, right.”

“Um, Julius?”

“What?”

“Can you put me down now?”

“Oh. Oh! Yes, sorry about that.” I lowered her to the ground, gave her an absentminded pat on the shoulder, and tried to stride away as if I hadn’t actually held my partner up with one hand for more than a minute without noticing it. Leila scurried after me.

We finally came to the end of the hallway and found a ‘grand stair case’. I slid down the marble railing like I was surfing. At the bottom of the staircase, I leapt into the air. Unfortunately, my landing was rather less dignified. I hit the ground on my feet, but the shock drove me to my knees. I jumped up, and glanced towards my partner. She bit her tongue, and pretended to be engrossed in the chargelist she was writing.

Scowling, I climbed onto one of the volutes and perched there like a gargoyle. Leila did the same, legs swinging back and forth like a child on a chair too big for them. The Zabinis may have noticed, but they didn’t seem to care what their house-elves did.

“By the way,” I began, trying to sound nonchalant, “What language were you speaking?”

“When?”

“What you shouted about the ‘Sue’s hair.”

“Oh…it’s called lawlspek…it’s an artificial language, invented by feline anthros, so that they could speak to other felines from elsewhere in the multiverse. All sentient feline races in the multiverse speak some variation of it…”

“You speak it?”

“Um, sort of…not fluently…I mean, like I said, there are slight variations…”

I nodded. “So…you’re in shock from touching the ‘Sue’s hair, I startle you out of it, and the first words out of your mouth are from a language invented by trans-dimensional cats…and you say you don’t speak it fluently?”

“Um…yeah?” she said, fidgeting.

I narrowed my eyes. She became even more uncomfortable, but didn’t seem about to elaborate. “Fine,” I said, pretending to relent, but filed away the information for later.

Soon, the ‘Sue walked down the stairs, having finally finished her counting. She immediately started arguing with her poorly-written parents about what she was wearing. I began dictating charges to my partner. “Cliché and poorly-written parental arguing, calling no makeup and a tank top tomboyish…”

“Conflicting descriptions, too. I know I’d like to meet ‘the definition of tall dark and handsome’ in an alleyway on a dark night.” 

“Pax, Leila. Nobody needs to hear about your fetishes.”

Suddenly, the scene changed as the ‘Sue had a flashback to ‘last summer’. Draco and another boy struggling to get a sticky substance out of their hair, with the ‘Sue giggling nearby holding a bottle marked Weasleys' Patented Bubblegum Shampoo. Before I could say anything, Leila darted forward and snatched the bottle from the ‘Sue.

As the flashback ended, the ‘Sue looked a little puzzled by the invader of her memories, but continued her inane blather nonetheless. My partner casually walked over to me, leaned on the column I was sitting on, and stowed the bottle in her pack. Noticing the look I was giving her, she explained, “It’s noncanonical technology introduced by a ‘Sue, and therefore needs to be retrieved if the fabric of reality is to be upheld, and rather cliché at that.”

“And not because you want to use it on somebody?”

“Of course not. I do not want to use this on anyone. Especially not Agent Luxury,” she told me, looking at me with those puppy-dog eyes new agents do so well.

I pointedly ignored her. “Ah, I see. Don’t worry too much about the groping. It’s really just Lux’s way of saying ‘hello’.”

“Yeah, well, this is mine.”

“D’aww. Look at you. Only one mission under your belt and you’re already as vindictive as any veteran of the DMS. I’m so proud,” I cooed.

My partner looked at me oddly. “Julius…are you okay?”

I blinked at her a couple of times. “No. I’m not. I’m absolutely not.” I grabbed a bottle of pills from a pouch in my backpack, and popped one of them into my mouth. “Much better.” I paused. “Wait, did I just say something nice about you?”

“Umm…sort of…in a rather back-handed way…”

“Remind me never to do it again. Wouldn’t want you getting a swelled head.”

She muttered something I didn’t catch, probably along the lines of ‘there’s little chance of that’. I cuffed her again.

“Ow! What was that for?”

“The charges, Leila!”

“The charges? What charges? Oh, the charges. The charges! I haven’t been writing down the charges!” She scrambled for her notepad, and I rolled my eyes. “Uh, uh, uh…Inventing noncanonical technology just to make the ‘Sue look cool, making her parents look stupid to make her look clever, excessive use of the word ‘stated’, using periods to end quotes instead of commas, and not using commas when she should,” she rattled off hurriedly.

“And spelling Scarlet with two Ts, I really hate that.”

“We can’t charge her for that, and I already put down annoying us. Twice! Would you please help me write the charges instead of making snide comments?”

“I’ll help with the charges when you learn how to kill a ‘Sue got it?”

She sighed. “Fine.”

There was an odd pause. “What’s happening? Everybody’s just standing around.”

“Draco and her brother are going to apparate inside as soon as she gets to her room, and I guess she’s still in the hallway.”

“Leila?”

“What?” she asked, concentrating on the chargelist.

“This fic is annoying.”

“You’re telling me. I’m putting down ‘bad descriptions’ as a charge.”

“You do that. Wait, no, you already did.” Another pause. “Can I kill the bit characters yet?”

“No, they stay for the rest of the chapter and the next one. If we kill them, we’ll have to kill her too. Anyway, they’re such minor characters that they’ll disappear when she’s dead. Why even bother?”

“It would make me feel better.” I paused. “Do we have enough charges to kill them all?”

“No.”

Damn it!” Far off, a door slammed. Two boys popped into existence in the doorway, which had spontaneously appeared. “Wait, I thought it was bad etiquette to apparate directly into someplace?”

“Well, I don’t think it’s ever explicitly stated, but I would guess so…on the other hand, I don’t think Malfoy would have a problem with being rude…but I guess the bit characters might…I guess I’ll put it…but it isn’t exactly canon, is it? I mean, it’s still bad writing, but…”

“Alright, alright, don’t have a fit about it. There are plenty of other charges.”

Blaise looked around, expecting to see his little sister, but was disappointed to only have found his parents, looking quite angry. Draco was also scouting for his best friends little sister. Despite her basically hating his guts, Draco was attracted to the tomboy spitfire.

“That sentence, the one right after they apparate inside, is going to haunt me for years. Nobody knows a damn thing about tenses nowadays…”

“Right, right…warping Draco’s character so he’ll fall in love with the ‘Sue, using ‘with’ instead of ‘about’, ponderous sentence construction, ‘aloud’ instead of ‘allowed’, and commas in incorrect places,” she said, writing it all down.

“And she missed the apostrophe in friend’s,” I noted. “A fairly juvenile mistake, if may say so.”

“Next part of the fic is in the ‘Sue’s room.”

“Right.” I strode up the ‘grand stair case’, Normally I like big staircases, because I can stride up them with my coat trailing behind me and with my ax over my shoulder, which looks extremely cool. Hopping up them as a house-elf is distinctly less enjoyable. Once we had reached the top, I said “You know what? Pop us a portal into the ‘Sue’s room, we’re missing charges and I’m not going to deal with that friggin’ hallway again.” She gave me a relieved nod
 


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