RC #1427: The Realm of Manx and Shadow

The Assassins' Holiday

A/N: Disclaimer: I do not own the Discworld; that is Terry Pratchett’s. I do not own the PPC or the SO; those are the property of Jay and Acacia. I do not own Sweeney Todd; the urban legend is public domain although the musical is Sondheim’s and the movie is Tim Burton’s. I do, however, own Manx, Shadow, and Jill.


And here is Manx and Shadow’s vacation! That turns out to be a Working Vacation, and therefore Not A Vacation. But hey – at least they’re getting paid.


The Assassins’ Holiday:


     The worst part about waking up is no more scumble in your cup.


     There’s always the hyperactive partner screaming in your ear, too.


     “Ugh. What the hell?” Manx groaned, burying her head under her pillow.


     “Wake up, Johanna! Another bright red day!” Shadow sang, leaping off the bed and dancing to the window. “We learn, Johanna, to saaaaaaayyy…”


     “Shut up…” Manx muttered. “Where’s the fuckin’ scumble?” She waved an arm over the rickety table next to the bed, groaning as she knocked over an empty tankard. “And go away,” she mumbled.


     “Ne-vaaaaar!” Shadow shouted. “And you gotta get up, ‘cause today’s the day we see Vimes!”


     “Vimes? WHERE?!” Manx yelped, sitting bolt upright and staring around the tiny room they had rented in the Mended Drum. Rough and dingy, it was nevertheless fine for two agents who normally went into the Discworld only on missions. Already, large stacks of boxes and weapons and heaps of bags sat against the wall, results of an insane shopping spree conducted yesterday by two teenage girls obsessed with killing. “We get to see Vimes?”


     “Yep! Pseudopolis Yard today.” Shadow said, pulling on her dark blue jacket. The Floater flash patch was sewn onto it, even though she was on vacation, alerting any agents possibly in the Discworld to her presence. She had also brought along much of her equipment, including the neuralyzer, to erase the memories of any canonical character should he or she (or it – this was the Disc, after all) come into close contact with her. She sighed happily. I love vacations, she thought.


     Behind her, Manx was yanking on her boots. “Hooray!” she said happily. “Vimes is the coolest cool thing ever!”


     “Besides Death, of course. And Granny Weatherwax. And Tiffany Aching. And Lord Vetinari. And Nanny Ogg –”


     Manx waved her hands. “Stop. Stop it! We'll get to see them later. Okay? But I want Vimes first.”


     “Then we go see Vetinari.”


     “Fine, fine. But I want to find Vimes’s boots.”


     “And steal them?”


     “No, hug them, or make a SimGen of them and then steal them. The SimGen, I mean. I wouldn’t dare deprive Vimes of his real lovely paper-thin-soled boots.”


     “Sure, but stealing is fun!”


     “Only if you’re an insane klepto. Which I am not.”


     “Yes, you are.”


     “Okay, fine. I’m insane. But I’m not a klepto!”


     “Yes, you are. You stole all those knives yesterday –”


     “That does not count!”


     Arguing, the two agents left the Mended Drum, stepping out into the city of Ankh-Morpork.






     Shadow sighed. She’d gone through this before.

     “Yes, Manx, it’s a crossbow. No, you can’t steal it,” mentally adding, you insane klepto. “We already have something like, like…” Shadow glanced at the two small crossbows stuck in Manx’s belt, a large one strapped across her back, and the one she herself was carrying in a holster on her backpack. “Four crossbows. Why do you need this one so much?”


     Manx pouted, or at least attempted to pout. She failed miserably, managing to look like some sort of horrified duck. “I wannit. It’s shiny.”


     Shadow carefully steered her to the door of Burleigh and Stronginthearm’s shop, muttering under her breath, “I’m sure you do, crazy little klepto girl, but we need to go see Vimes now…and then Vetinari…remember?”


     “Oh. Yeah.” Manx blinked.


     They reached a main street (or rather, an alley that managed to expand until there was no other choice but to call it a street and hope no one noticed the street sign was made of cardboard) and consulted the Ankh-Morpork map they had purchased when they had arrived four days ago in the Discworld. “Okay,” Shadow muttered. She had been map-disabled since childhood, and wasn’t about to change now. “You go up this lane, then down that alley, and through that demolished building, and then…um…” She flailed her arms helplessly. “I don’t know! Something!”


     “Look, Pseudopolis Yard is here.” Manx stabbed her finger at a spot on the map. “And we are here.” Another jab. “So we just go there.”


     “But on that street –” Shadow pointed at one of the lanes. “The traffic there is absolutely horrible at this time of day, and here – here we have to go through the Shades…” She trailed off. “It’s suicidal and dangerous and really, really stupid.”


     Manx considered. “Bugger danger.”


     Shadow grinned. “Wonderful. Now, let’s go –”


     Something changed in the world. The world flickered for a moment, glinted slightly, the buildings and people twisting, then settled back into place.


     But something was wrong. Very, very wrong. Shadow winced. Something moved at the corner of her eye, and she looked –


     A stream of Words was flowing past.

It was the same as any other day thought Angua as she headed up the street towards ms. Cakes house

why would be any different to last month’ she kept saying to herself then she heard a large explosion

     Shadow blinked.


     The world exploded.




     Manx groaned. Her head hurt and her back hurt and her legs hurt and everything fucking hurt and there was something licking her face –


     She sat up quickly, dislodging the small gray dog sitting on her chest.


     “what the hell?” she muttered, then realized what she had just said. “why the fuck is my voice” She shut up. Damnit, Manx thought. She glared at the dog. “what the hell is up?” she asked.


     The dog glared back. “’S not my fault,” he muttered. “Tryin’ to wake you up. Gaspode the Bloody Wonder Dog, but no-one cares ‘bout me…” He turned away.


     “wait” Manx grabbed Gaspode. “can you help?” She stopped. “gods, how do I”


     Gaspode glanced at her curiously. “I know some’un that can help you with yer, ahem, speech problem. One o’ the same weirdos as you. Y’know, little badge thingy on their shoulder an’ a magical doohickey fer goin’ places.” He trotted off. “Come on.”


     Manx kept her mouth clamped shut as she followed Gaspode past the smoking ruins of the Alchemist’s Guild. A thought struck her. Where the hell’s Shadow? she thought frantically. She looked around, but couldn’t find her partner. She kept walking. Damnit.


     The dog led her to a broken-down building a little down the road and brought her up the stairs. “Mind th’ gap,” he said, jerking his nose at two missing steps. Manx leaped over, climbing up the steps onto the roof.


     Sitting on the roof was a tall girl with whitish-blond hair and the largest crossbow Manx had ever seen lying next to her. And leaning against the chimney –


     “shadow?” Manx shouted happily.


     “Yeah, good to see you too,” her partner said calmly. “You all right?” She glanced at Manx. “Your nose is bleeding.”


     Manx wiped it away, shrugged in a what-the-hell attitude, then grimaced and pointed to her mouth. “can you help?” she asked.


     The blond girl stood up. “Yeah,” she said with a shrug. She handed Manx her CAD. It [bip]ed and displayed a message on its screen: Revert agent back to proper grammar/spelling/font? Y/N. Manx pressed Y and sighed, this time non-italicized, as her normal voice came back. “Thanks,” she told the blond agent, who nodded. “You’re welcome.”


     Manx took a close look at the girl for the first time. “So, uh, who are you?”


     The agent stuck out a hand, looking rather awkward. “Um, I’m Jillian. Jillian Morsamuda Greenleaf’s my given name, but…” She gave a wry smile. “I kinda prefer Jill. Department of Mary-Sues, numerous divisions. In Discworld and Rare Fandoms for now.” She stared curiously at the short agent. “Who’re you?”


     “Manx, Department of Floaters. And that’s Shadow, but you probably already know that –”


     Jill cut her off. “Wait, weren’t you the ones who killed one of That Series? The one with Cluny, um…” She winced.


     Manx twitched almost imperceptibly. “Yeah. It was really, really horrible…”


     “Ugh,” Jill muttered. “I hope the SO gave you a vacation after that –”


     Shadow and Manx exchanged glances. “Um, this is our vacation,” Shadow explained. “Or it’s supposed to be. Go figure. The story infects the Disc right when we’re running around buying crossbows and drooling over Vimes and Vetinari.”


     Jill shrugged. “Eh, life’s like that. Especially for PPCers.” She leaned down and hefted the crossbow. “Well, I guess you’d better go…I mean, I need to take care of this Sue…”


     “What Sue is this, anyway?” Manx asked, suddenly curious. “She mentioned Angua…not that I really remember anything before the Alchemists’ Guild blew up…”


     “Well…” Jill shoved a bolt into the crossbow with more than necessary force. “The Sue is Angua.”


     Manx went absolutely still. The whites of her eyes turned red.


     “Oh, crap,” Shadow muttered. “Um…here…” She pulled out a small photograph of Boromir from her pocket and waved it in front of her partner’s face. “Manx! Snap out of it!”


     The assassin gave a shudder and relaxed. The red faded a bit from her eyes. “Sorry.” Manx rubbed her face. “That…that was just not good.” She shook her head. “Okay…so Angua, the second-in-line to leadership of the City Watch, kickass werewolf, and one of my absolute favorite characters of all time is a Sue.” She took a deep breath. “Okay. No biggie.” Then, in the manner of one finding a rather nasty boil and contemplating whether to poke it, “How…bad…is she?”


     Jill raised her eyebrows. “Um…pretty bad…” She bit her lip. “Um, she turns Carrot into a werewolf. I think that’s all that need be said.”


     “I’m helping you kill her.” Manx snapped. She slid a knife out of her belt and gave a wicked grin. “Just say the word.”


     “What?” Shadow sputtered, shaking her head. “We’re on vacation, Manx!”


     “So?” Manx tested the blade’s sharpness, then winced and sucked her finger. “Ow. Well, we still have a good bit of vacation time left, and I need to kill something. And this Sue is a prime target. Why not?” She poked Jill. “What’s the URL of the story? I wanna see this for myself.”


      Jill picked up her laptop and handed it to Manx, who scrolled down the webpage. Her eyes widened. Then she grimaced. “How many charges does this thing have already?” Manx clicked on a Word document on the toolbar. She blinked.


     …Angua von Uberwald, I charge you with being a Mary Sue, impersonating Angua von Uberwald, impersonating Angua von Uberwald very badly, with absolutely destroying the English language, with making everybody speak in italics, with plagiarizing another writer’s much, MUCH better story, with making Angua do random things, to whit, going to Mrs. Cake’s house, for no reason at all, with creating the mini-Luggage ms. Cakes, with briefly turning Angua into a male due to a pronoun typo, with putting random gibberish at the end of your chapters due to your lack of editing, with mucking with Pseudopolis Yard’s floor plan, with forgetting that Igor is an Igor and therefore has a lisp…


     “Oh, sweet Mandos,” Manx groaned, and shoved the laptop back at Jill. “Gods have mercy. This is…just…total and utter…”


     “Um, people? Canons approaching,” Shadow said nervously. She pointed down to the street.


     At the wreckage of the Alchemists’ Guild, three people – or two people and what could possibly be a chimpanzee – were approaching the ruined building. Jill glanced over at the trio. “It’s Nobby, Sally, and Colon. They’re here for the poison that’s supposedly killing Carrot.”


     “Even when Igor could resurrect just about anything on the Disc?” Manx came to the edge of the roof, watching the Watchmen converse with “the leader of the guild house”.


     “Hang on, why’s there a Bunsen burner in the Discworld?”


     “Beats me,” Shadow answered. She typed up the charge.


     Manx glanced over at Jill and wondered if this was a good time to exercise those social skills Doc Fitz kept telling her about. “So, uh…” She trailed off. “Nice crossbow,” she said lamely.


     “It’s a Burleigh and Stronginthearm double-action triple-cantilever crossbow with a polished walnut stock and engraved silver facings,” Jill answered absentmindedly, then squinted at the remnants of the Guild of Alchemists with her head tilted. “Wait, how did the ‘leader of the guild house’ come back when he didn’t even leave? And why do they have a sample of that ‘metallic looking liquid’ when supposedly all of it blew up? Why did it blow up? And why isn’t it eating through the glass if it can eat through rock and steel? Is the glass treated? And –”


     Manx threw her copy of Men at Arms at Jill’s head. It bounced off. “Jill? Fanfiction minus logic equals Suefic. Capiche?”


     “Isn’t that, like, Spanish sashimi?” Jill answered, rubbing her head.


     Manx blinked. “Uh, no. That’s ceviche, I think.”


     Shadow suddenly leaped up from her seat on the roof. “To Pseudopolis Yard!” she proclaimed, finger in the air, and poked a button on the portal. A portal appeared behind her, and she bounded through it to the “guard house” (as the Suethor put it).


     Manx and Jill exchanged glances, then followed Shadow through. As they stepped into Pseudopolis Yard, Manx noticed something. “Do you have a partner yet?” she asked Jill.


     Jill shrugged. “Nah. I got recruited a little earlier this year – well, hard to tell with HQ. I was the daughter of…I forgot her name, but it was something like Dayina Morsamuda Songsmith. And my dad was Legolas, but so twisted he was barely himself.” Jill’s offhand tone sounded forced. “And I’m…uh…sort of a werewolf, too, thanks to that.”


     “Seriously?” Manx asked.


     “Yep,” Jill answered briefly. “I was going to overthrow my mom and become something on the lines of ‘Queen of the Werewolves’ when Agent X stepped in and…shot dear old Mom through the head.” She shrugged and grinned. “Then I was assigned to Agent Jansen. Nice girl, but she got hazed with ‘Cho Chang’s Desires’ and just…well, her brain died. Then it was Tycho – read ‘Celebrian’ without Bleeprin on a dare, poor guy. I think after that it was the Quintessential Phan – everyone called her the QP. Lusted after Erik, silly girl. She should’ve known to hide her nude photomanips of Gerard Butler. Well, she got hit pretty hard with the No-Drool Videos the Flowers put her through – she was in FicPsych ranting on about the ‘horrible, horrible wrinkles’ for weeks. Haven’t heard from her since. I’ve been a lone agent for a month or so now. Oh, hey! Look, it’s Igor-Without-A-Lisp. Jeez, Suethor, it’s not that hard to write a lisp! Just put ‘Th’s in the place of all the ‘S’s and you’ll be okay! If all else fails, you can just do find-and-replace and –”


     “Wait a minute, Igor can’t fix this? Bollocks!” Shadow shouted. “He brings people back from the bloody dead, for the gods’ sakes! For the love of Io, why –”


Damn Angua is going to either be very upset for awhile or she’s going to have my throat” muttered Vimes


     “That’s a very nice name for a Sue. ‘Damn Angua’,” Manx mused. “Truly, the Sue damns Angua, her personality, her character, and all the other canonical characters around her. And us, too.”


     “Don’t forget, she damns werewolf physiology too.”


     “Eh?” Manx asked.


     “Look.” Jill pointed.


a werewolves bite that draws blood has the potential to turn a human into a werewolf” she sat thinking hard to remember “the process will cause severe convulsions that will slowly get worse over two days at the end of the two days violent vomiting will follow for another day if the victim survives all this they will be a werewolf”


     “…DO NOT WANT.” Manx shuddered.


     “I mean, I might not be a Disc werewolf, but I sure as hell know that Discworld werewolves don’t work like that.” Jill smiled. “For that, she shall pay. Maybe double her weight with silver bullets?”


     Manx shrugged. “Not bad, but I’ve got a better idea. Throw her off the Disc and take shots at her with silver-tipped crossbow bolts as she drifts off into space?”


     “Yes.” Jill grinned.


     “Well, maybe we should treat her to a bit of a stint with the Small Gods in the desert from Small Gods,” Manx added. “And then chuck her into the Ankh for a little while. And – oh, look! Shadow! We can go see Vimes!” She jabbed a finger at the Words. “The Sue goes up to Vimes’s office – come on –” Manx opened a portal to the Commander’s office. Jill and Shadow followed her through.


     Inside, Sir Samuel Vimes sat writing a letter – to whom, it was unspecified. The three agents just managed to duck behind some of the enormous mounds of paper littering the room before Angua burst in, asking if Igor had found a cure yet. Vimes sprung the news – Carrot was dying – and Angua-Sue proclaimed she could cure him.


     “I can heal him, Mama! I can, I can!” Shadow squeaked in a nauseatingly cute voice, wearing an equally nauseating Disney-esque smile.


     “Oh, please don’t tell me this is going the way I think it’s going,” Manx groaned, her eyes beginning to turn a bit red.


     “Yep,” Shadow answered. She sighed. “I mean, this could be a really good idea. Angua gave herself a sort of promise that she would never turn anyone into a werewolf, and now this is the only way to save the man – well, dwarf – she loves. With better SPAG, characters with actual personalities, and a plot that didn’t move so fast it gave you whiplash, this would really be a very good fic worth reading.”


     “Someone’s done it already,” Jill said. “That’s why there’s a plagarization charge on top of everything else. I mean, this Suethor practically proclaims that she stole the idea on her profile page.”




     “Look.” Jill handed her the laptop.


     Shadow took it, eyes scanning the screen. She groaned. “Jeez! At least Marimtudada was original and only stole the basic plotline of a Mary-Sue! Is it too much to ask for a Sue that at least thinks of something new oh damnit NO, NARRATIVE LAWS OF COMEDY, NO!!!”


     Jill clamped a hand over Shadow’s mouth, just in time: Vimes and Angua-Sue were starting to wonder what the noise was. “Too late,” Jill sighed. “Prepare for something very new and very, very traumatizing coming your way soon.” She released Shadow.


     “WHAT. THE. HELL.”


     Shadow and Jill turned around to see Manx staring at the scene playing out before her with bright red eyes. “NO,” she snarled. “ABSOLUTELY. NOT. NO.”


     “What now?” Shadow sighed. “Who’s the Sue warped horribly this time?”


     “Vimes,” Manx hissed. “Vimes, Vimes, Vimes, she’s warped him, twisted him, turned him into a bloody speciesist jerk –” She pointed to the fic, absolutely furious.


He just stood there with his plain face on and stated “no absolutely not I’ll not have you turn him into a beast…..” oops too late he already said it


     “Too late for you too, Sue.” Manx growled. “Dead. You’re dead. Deader than a very, very dead thing. DEAD.” She stood up, clenching her fists. “Dead, dead, dead, DEAD, DEAD –”


     Carrrot, the mini-Luggage, popped out of thin air and landed on the raging agent’s head, effectively stunning her. Shadow patted it on the lid. “Good job,” she said. “She was just gonna run at the Sue and shred her to bits, no charging about it.” Shadow checked the Words. “We’d better get to the infirmary, I guess. Knocking her off before she actually does anything to Carrot is now out of the question –” she glanced at the Words – “since she’s bitten him now. Oh, well.” Shadow smiled and drew her crossbow from her backpack. “Counts as a charge, I guess.” She opened the portal, and the three agents stepped through.

Vimes set out after her ran down the stairs & into the infirmary where she found her back in human form sitting next to Carrot’s bed with blood over her face and a nasty looking wound on Carrot’s arm

He sighed walked in said “you did this you are going to do it alone no one will help you

She growled under her tears then replied “thank you




     Jill lowered her crossbow and smiled as Angua-Sue fell over, clutching at the silver-tipped bolt sticking out of her arm. “De nada,” she said calmly.


     Vimes was already woozy from the Sue’s influence. Still, his fist had clipped Manx’s jaw, who had ducked just in time, before Shadow slammed him on the back of the head with a thick copy of Men at Arms. “Sorry ‘bout that,” she muttered as he slumped to the floor.


     Manx rubbed her chin. “Ow,” she said under her breath. She walked to the bed where Carrot lay and helped Jill drag him through a portal into Medical. “Hey, Doc Fitz?”


     The doctor turned around from where he was standing, cleaning glittery blood off some extremely nasty-looking sharp instruments. What looked like a rounded lump of grayish-purple noodle sat in the middle of a small tray, surrounded by more pink glitter. “Oh, you again,” he remarked, sounding rather apprehensive – to Manx’s ears, at least. Can’t imagine why, she thought dryly – last time they had been here, he had been forced to fix a horrifically mangled anthro rat who had had rather unfortunate things done to him with a spear and an arrow. “What do you have this time?”


     “Captain Carrot,” Jill told him. The two agents laid him down on a table. “Some sort of…gray ooze that can ‘eat through walls, floors, rocks, even steel’, according to the fic, is in his body. And a werewolf’s bitten him – Angua’s been Sued. And she twists everybody around her. Horrifically. Apparently, even Igor can’t cure Carrot.”




     A…well, an Igor had arrived, looking rather affronted. “Obviouthly, the Thue hath no idea what Igorth can or can’t do. Mitherable thodth, mucking around with canon…” he muttered. He glanced at Carrot’s prone body, and gave a snort. “I can fix thith in no time, don’t worry. Eathy enough. If you want, we can return him when we’re done…”


     “That’d be great! Thanks!” Manx said, and she and Jill went back to meet with Shadow.  


     Back at Pseudopolis Yard, the black-haired agent was binding Angua-Sue’s limp limbs around a large keg with silver chain. She glanced up as they came through the portal. “Oh, hey. Do you mind wrapping that bit around there?…Thanks,” she said, as another layer of chain was bound around the Sue’s body. “Can’t be too careful.”


     “What’s in the keg?” Manx asked.


     Shadow gave a dreamy smile. “When you were gone, I portalled to the Agatean Empire. Remember The Last Hero? Well, there’s a lot more Agatean Thunder Clay just lying around in their warehouses, waiting to be used…”


     Manx grinned. “Klepto.”


     “True, that.” She fiddled with the portal generator. “Now, step this way, folks, for one of the Greatest Shows on the Disc…”




     Angua awoke to the roar of a waterfall pounding in her ears.


     Then she opened her eyes.


     “Wakey, wakey, eggs and motherfuckin’ bakey,” Manx said cheerily, staring into Angua-Sue’s face.


     The Sue gave a whimper, muffled by the gag in her mouth, which quickly turned to a scream as Manx moved away and the view before her became clear. She was staring into space, black space dotted by faint stars and, and, and oh gods was that an elephant


     Angua attempted to flail her arms, then realized they were bound quite securely to a barrel with silver chains. She froze, then whimpered. Please don’t hurt me! she wailed, or tried to wail. It came out as more of a “prrmns drrnt hrnt mrr!” than anything else. She managed to twist her head, just enough to see that she was lying on a small spit of rock, jutting out of the Rimfall and slippery with spray. Oh, gods, she thought. No…


     There was a humming noise, and a portal opened behind the Sue. Shadow stepped out of it, shouting, “And none of this happened, okay? You never saw us, canon will progress as normal, you’re fine – oh, hey, Manx. Just neuralyzed Carrot and Angua.”


     “Where’d she hide Angua?” Manx asked.


     “The ruins of the Alchemists’ Guild, actually. There was a huge glaring plothole sitting right in the middle of it. We got her out and mind-wiped Carrot while we were at it. They’re both at Pseudopolis Yard now.”


     “Good.” Manx gazed at the bound Sue, smiling wickedly. “Now, to business…”


     Jill stumbled out of a portal, holding a small cup in tongs at arms’ length. Manx and Shadow quickly stepped back. “Here!” she gasped. “Nearly the best stuff!”


     “Okay, then, put it down there,” Manx said. “Careful, we don’t want it slipping off. We have to charge her, anyhow.”


     “All righty. You wanna go?” Jill asked.


     “Nah, you. This is technically your mission, after all.”


     “Okay…” Jill opened her laptop, checked the chargelist, and began to speak.


     “Angua von Uberwald, I charge you with being a Mary Sue, impersonating Angua von Uberwald, impersonating Angua von Uberwald very badly, with absolutely destroying the English language, with making everybody speak in italics, with consistently using ampersands when just ‘and’ would have sufficed, with neglecting the Common Comma, thereby creating ‘Damn Angua’ and ‘Angua Carrot’, with consistently putting proper nouns in lowercase, with having the ‘Pronoun Problem’, with plagiarizing another writer’s much, MUCH better story, with making Angua do random things, to whit, going to Mrs. Cake’s house, for no reason at all, with creating the mini-Luggages ms. Cakes and Carrrot, with briefly turning Angua into a male due to a pronoun typo, with putting random gibberish at the end of your chapters due to your lack of editing, with mucking with Pseudopolis Yard’s floor plan, with forgetting that Igor is an Igor and therefore has a lisp, with forcing Bunsen burners into the Discworld, with creating a ‘metallic substance’ that is supposedly able to burn through metal and stone although managing to be kept in a normal glass vial without any ill effects –”


     Shadow poked her sharply. Jill coughed. “Sorry. Um, and making Igor bad at his job, which is impossible, with screwing with werewolf physiology, with making Vimes speciesist –” Manx whacked the Sue sharply over the head at this point – “with almost turning Carrot into a werewolf, and with just generally ticking off PPC agents, screwing with their vacations, and consistently annoying us with your bizarre syntax. Last words?”


     Manx pulled back Angua-Sue’s gag. “no!” she cried. “please no”


     Shadow grabbed the tongs, tipping the brown liquid within down the Sue’s throat. She gurgled for a moment, then gave a whimper as the liquid hit her stomach. Shadow smiled. “Klatchian coffee. Wonderful stuff.” The Sue gave another loud groan. Shadow peered at the Sue. “Hey…is it disintegrating?”


     “Looks like it,” Manx said. “Quick, chuck it over!”


     Jill slammed the plunger on the keg of Thunder Clay down, and there was a faint tinkle as the jar of acid inside broke. Shadow kicked the Sue over the edge. Angua-Sue had only enough time to give a final, italicized wail before she fell down the Rim. The three agents peered over the edge.


     “Will it disintegrate or blow up first, do you think?” Shadow asked with an air of vague curiosity as the Sue’s shape disappeared into the distance.


     “It’s disintegrating rather fast, I think. Although Agatean Thunder Clay can blow up quickly enough,” Manx answered. “But why was it starting to dissolve?”


     Jill grinned and quoted: “Klatchian coffee strips away the fluffy pink clouds that protect the human mind. And Sues are practically made of those little delusions and plotholes and excuses. Why not?”


     “Awesome,” Manx breathed. “So…five dollars that she disintegrates first?”


     “Sure,” Shadow said, and grinned. And then the Sue exploded.


     The blast, quite literally, shook the Disc. A blossom of flame appeared a little way down, still retreating into the distance. Shadow picked herself off the ground and poked Manx with her foot, the smaller girl still lying on the ground covering her ears. “Pay up,” she said, hand out. Manx just groaned.


     Jill grinned. “Thanks, guys. I’m in Response Center #8264, so…drop by sometime, ‘kay?”


     “Sure,” Shadow answered. “We’re in #1427. If you ever want free Bleepka, just come on over.” She dragged her partner onto her feet and poked the portal generator. “And if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to cure our mental trauma by looking at hot pseudo-Machiavellian city leaders.”


     “And extremely awesome Watch commanders!” Manx shouted.


     “That, too,” she added. “G’bye!” And the portal hummed shut.


     Jill blinked. Odd. Well, they’re PPC agents – of course they’re odd. Poor buggers, tackling the Cluny Fic…I feel sorry for them.


     And setting up her own portal, Jill returned to PPC HQ.




     Somewhere in the black depths of space, Angua sat up.


     Something bad had happened. She just didn’t know what it was.


     “what just happened…” she muttered, staring at herself. Then she looked up.


     The Sue stared straight into a hood, from which protruded a long, white snout of pale bone.




     And that was all.


A/N: I’m pretty sure that was the quickest PPC mission I’ve ever written. Which isn’t saying much, seeing as I took about a month. Was it a month? Not sure. Anyway…


COMING UP: Harlequin Romances, Juska Style! Withoute One Thousande Elephantse! Withe Lots of Pointy Objectse!