Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 07:55:22 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR: -- NA -- Love Strikes with a Bite
X-UIDL: 8bc2dfc6bb08af686effc91c0efbb7e6

Love Strikes with a Bite
By Patt Elmore
Time:  After 3 a.m. until dawn, Monday, April 27 ; follows Coffee, Tea
and True Confessions (2/2)
Place: A Coffee Shop, somewhere in TO


Patt felt much better as she watched Jules walk out of the coffee

At least for a minute.

"You seem to have gotten back into the good graces of your
High Priestess," Spark's masculine voice murmured into her

Patt jumped, upsetting her chair and nearly turning over the
small round table still littered with styrofoam containers and
empty creamer shells.

"My, my, but we *are* a nervous type." Spark caught and
leveled the table, all the time watching the shaking addict.  He
quickly seated himself and indicated that Patt should join him
at the table.  "You really must learn to control your fears,
channel them productively, if you ever hope to retain your
position of leadership within my organization."

"You *have* no organization," Patt replied, sitting down more
because her knees were wobbly than because she looked
forward to the vampire's company.  "I thought you had split."

"Only temporarily," Spark replied, sitting back and surveying
the restaurant.  "I had to secure suitable quarters and enjoy a
few additional dining experiences."

Patt noted that Spark did, indeed, look much better than he had
previously.  He had filled out now to his normal weight and
appeared quite robust and rested.  Patt shivered involuntarily.

"Also, I had the pleasure of observing, unseen, some of the
activities of my *friends,*" Spark almost spat the last word.

Patt noticed that her hands were trembling, so she placed them
primly in her lap and smiled.  "Oh?" she inquired politely.

Spark nodded.   "It appears that my *friends* have lost an
article which they are desperately seeking."  Then he leaned
closer to Patt, his eyes and teeth glinting in the candlelight.
"And, as such, it appears that procuring those documents
before my *friends* do is a necessary part of my
plans for revenge, wouldn't you think?"

"Whatever," Patt replied nervously.

"I've also been noting the activities of a faction which portends
to have allegiance  to the couple," Spark continued, lacing his
fingers together in thought.  "I feel they and their movements warrant
further investigation."

"Sounds like a good way to occupy your time," Patt nodded in
absent agreement.

Spark smiled brilliantly.  "I'm glad you agree, my dear."

Patt alerted immediately, wondering what she'd agreed to.

"Which reminds me . . . I have a gift for you."  As if by magic,
Spark reached behind his chair and produced a discreetly
wrapped package.  He placed it on the table and pushed it
across the top to within Patt's reach.

Patt eyed the parcel with trepidation.  She glanced at Spark,
then back at the package.

"Aren't you going to open it?" the vampire inquired with just a
hint of amusement in his voice.

The Third Cousin continued to stare at the bundle as if it were

"Open it," Spark commanded.

Patt reached out and gingerly, but carefully, grasped the
package.  Under the vampire's watchful eye, she tore open the
parcel, cautiously pushing the wrapping aside.  Nestled within
the folds of tissue paper was what appeared to be an article of

"Well?" Spark smiled, as Patt continued to eye the material
without touching it.  "Aren't you pleased?"

"Errr, sure," Patt replied, giving the dark-haired creature a
quick grin.  "It's lovely."

"Then, by all means, go put it on."

Patt lifted the article of clothing and unfolded it for better
viewing.  It was a black cotton tee-shirt.   The Third Cousin
turned the shirt around.   Emblazoned across the front, in silver
glittered lettering, was the word:  "Sparkler."

"Oh . . . my . . ." Patt whispered softly.

"I knew you'd be pleased.."  Spark sat back, obviously delighted
with himself.  "I chose a saleswomen close to your size and she
assured me that it would conform exactly to the statuesque
folds of your figure.  She was quite accommodating."

Patt's eyes were glued to the twinkling wording.

"Well," Spark drawled.  "Aren't you going to try it on?"

"Huhh?" Patt looked at Spark, eyes dazed.

The Third Cousin's hesitation prompted the vampire to lean

It was at that moment that the entrance of the bistro opened
and a group of women entered noisily.  They appeared
somewhat haggard, but in relatively good spirits.  Patt
immediately recognized several of them and quickly slid back
against the wall as close as she could.

"Dark Perks," the Nunkies addict muttered.

Noticing Patt's reaction, Spark turned to observe the women.
His eyes darted from one to the next, until he stopped abruptly
on one of the ladies.

"Who is *that* woman?" the dark-haired vampire said slowly.

Patt leaned forward just enough for a better view.  "Which
one?" she said, squinting.

"Isn't it obvious?" Spark gave Patt a scathing look before
returning his attention to where the DP's had sat down.  "The
exquisite blonde creature who is obviously the superior of the

Patt looked again.  As she did, heads parted sufficiently for her
to catch sight of the one who Spark had to be speaking of.

"Tracy Vetter?" Patt's mouth popped open in surprise.  "You
talking about the forever cheerful one with the short hair and
pinched nose?"

"Exceptional, isn't she?" Spark's face fairly glowed in his
rapture at viewing the young police officer.

Patt glanced back at the table occupied by the DP's.  A loud
spurt of giggling filled the air.  Tracy appeared to be choking,
cinnamon droplets clinging to her nostrils where she'd snorted
her expresso.

"From this day forward," Spark announced softly, "the destinies
of Ms. Vetter and I are unbreakably entwined.   I know, as
surely as I know my heart beats only once every ten minutes,
that the lovely Tracy Vetter will be my consort through

The vampire glanced through the window toward the street,
seeing the first sign of rose glowing above the buildings.

"Alas, the day has no mercy for one in love." Spark's voice
seeped of melancholy.  Then his mood abruptly changed and
he turned slitted eyes on the Third Cousin.  "As my faction
leader, I order you to gather everything you can find on Ms.
Vetter.   I  want to know every nuance of her being . . . her
loves, her distastes, her caprices . . ."

"I am *not* your faction leader, because you don't *have* a
faction!" Patt insisted.

Spark gave the Third Cousin a threatening look.

"Well . . .  she's perky," Patt offered helpfully.  She shook her
head, having a hard time assimilating that Spark had a lust
thing going for the commissioner's daughter.

"That's a start," Spark said brightly, rising to leave.  He reached
out and grasped Patt's jaw, gently stroking her chin with his
thumb.  "Wear the shirt in good health, my dear."  Then, his
hold sharpened and he pinched the woman's face until she
winced in pain, "Or, don't wear it and suffer *non*-health.  The
choice is yours.  I will find you this evening to receive what
facts you have gathered concerning the fair Vetter."  Then,
Spark was gone.

"But," Patt called mournfully after the vanished vampire, "that
might entail hiring a mercenary!   Do you have any idea how
much mercs cost during a War?"

It was about that time that Patt saw several heads at the DP
table turn to look in her direction.    Patt smiled weakly at the
women, wiggled her fingers in a wave and stood up quickly.
The Third Cousin tossed some cash on the table and hit the exit
before the Dark Perks could move toward her.  Glad she participated
in dog agility, Patt sprinted the seven blocks back to the
Jeweled Peach and practically fell into the safety of the Shrine
to Nunkies.

The Third Cousin wandered into the gilded parlor and sank
down into one of the cushioned seats, replaying in her mind the
events of the morning.  She didn't notice the woman's
approach.   Abruptly, Patt found herself staring up into the pale
face of an outraged Caren.

"I know," the Louisiana woman said, staring down at Patt.  "I
just finished watching second season.  I know about Spark."

Patt was up in a instant, palm pressed against Caren's mouth.
The older woman looked around furtively, hoping no one had
been witness to Caren's declaration.  Satisfied they were alone,
Patt grasped Caren's arm and pushed her toward the hall
which led to the ante rooms.

"Let me go," Caren insisted as Patt pushed her into one of the
tiny cubicles where private Nunkies worship was practiced.  "I
am *furious* with you."

"And you have a right to be," Patt agreed as she shut the door
and turned to face her friend.   "But, it's not like I *wanted* to
bring him here.  I was coerced.  He threatened to kill Sylvia
and Mark.  And, there's no telling what he had in mind for
my mother.  She was *SMILING* when I left, for heck's sake!"

This statement quieted Caren.  "Still," she said, only slightly less
piqued, "you should have told me the truth so that I could be
aware of what I was a party to.  And, you should have told
Bonnie, Jules and Annie."

"Why?" Patt insisted.  "This doesn't have anything to do with
NA.  This is a Nick and Nat thing . . . and maybe a Dark Perk thing,
now," Patt finished, pursing her lips defiantly.

"And, it's definitely a *vampire* thing," Caren contended
adamantly.   "You must tell LaCroix immediately."

"No way," Patt said, shaking her head negatively.  "LaCroix
would eat me alive and then perform acupuncture on me with
toothpicks just for the enjoyment.  Romans have a long history
of killing the messenger of bad news, you know.  If Spark
becomes a problem, Uncle will deal with him.  In the
meanwhile, ignorance is bliss."

"And, if he finds out that you're responsible for bringing him
here . . . and that I was along for the ride?" Caren was

"It's our secret, Cae," Patt smiled, putting a friendly arm around
the other woman's shoulders.   "There's no way he can find out
we're culpable, unless one of us tips the drool cup."

"Uhhhh." Caren made a face at such a vivid visual image.

"Now, come on.  I have a little project that I can use your help
with . . ."


Title: Adventures in Shopping
Time: Monday, April 27th, late afternoon, 5ish
Place: NA Shrine, Bubba's Big Bargains
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Glennis, Wayne (Glennis' hubby), and Jesse
All persons herein are used by their permission and are heartily


Kusine rolled out of bed and landed on the floor with a thump.

//Oooh,// she thought, leaning against the wardrobe and holding
her head.  //That's the last time I play drinking games with the
addicts!//  All Kusine could remember was Jules putting her in
charge of the addicts, then Glennis suggesting a Forever Knight
drinking game.  The rest of the night was pretty much a blur.
Judging by the throbbing in her temples, that was probably a

Slowly lifting herself from the floor, the ill addict pushed away
a cracked marble bust of Nunkies (//How did that get here?// she
wondered.  //And did *I* break it?!//) and rummaged in her black
leather backpack for her painkillers and a bottle of water.  The
label said to take one, and if that didn't work, to take another.
She briefly considered the power of her headache, the
instructions, and her knowledge of drug interactions, then
swallowed three pills.  Draining a half-litre of water, Kusine
tossed the empty bottle on the bed and grabbed another from her

Pulling on her black silk robe over her oversized "Nightwatch With
the Nightcrawler" sleepshirt, she opened the door of her sleeping
chamber.  She was greeted by a sharp knock on the forehead.

"Oooh!" she whimpered and clutched at her pounding temples.

"Oh, Kusine, I'm sorry!"

The hungover addict glared through slitted eyes at Jesse, her
teenaged friend and fellow addict.  The younger addict did *truly*
look contrite, but Kusine wasn't going to let her get off the hook
that easily.  Kusine decided to give her a few minutes to feel
really bad, then forgive her.

"Geez, Jesse!  What are you trying to do?  Kill me?" Kusine
demanded (quietly, in deference to her headache).

"No, of course not!  I was just coming to see if you were awake."
Jesse looked carefully at the older addict.  "You are, aren't you?"

"No," Kusine snapped.  "I'm unconscious from being smacked in the

Kusine stalked off down the hall, Jesse skittering after her,
apologizing.  The Ohio addict smiled grimly to hear it, but still
thought she needed more time to get rid of her hangover temper.
She stopped suddenly, and Jesse slammed into her back.

"Oof! Oh, Kusine!  I'm sorry!" Jesse exclaimed.  "I wasn't looking
where I was going."

Kusine sighed dramatically and turned to knock on the door she had
stopped in front of.  Her temper *was* getting better.  There was
nothing like emotionally torturing someone to put her in a good

A muffled noise came from behind the door.  After a few moments, a
very tousled Glennis opened the door, wearing a sleepshirt
identical to Kusine's.  Seeing her roadtrip companions, she opened
the door wider, then padded back to bed.  The other two addicts
entered and joined her on the bed, Kusine handing Glennis the
bottle of water as she did so.  Glennis smiled weakly and cuddled
up to Nunkette, her pink stuffed rabbit.

"How're you feeling, Kusine?" she asked.  "Last time I saw you,
you were hugging one of the busts of the General, telling it that
you'd melt it's cold, still heart."

Taking a good, long look at Kusine's bedraggled state, Jesse burst
into laughter.  Smiling sheepishly, Kusine said nothing.  After a
few minutes of hysterics, Jesse calmed herself.

"Well," Jesse said cheerfully, "that may explain why I was asked
to inform you two that you have shopping duties this morning."
She handed Kusine and Glennis each a list.  "Jules wants those
things picked up before the Cousins meeting tonight.  I was
wondering about her saying 'these things are usually their own
punishment'.  Now I see what she meant."

The two hungover addicts glared at the teenager.  There are few
things more aggravating to morning-after headaches than the
self-righteousness of the sober.  Jesse just continued to smile at
them, though she did carefully lean her back against the wall,
keeping them both in view.  They may have all been friends, but
Jesse was a Cousin and knew better than to trust those with nasty

"What time is it now?" Glennis asked, peering somewhat-bleary-eyed
at her bedside clock.

"Five in the afternoon," Jesse replied with a grin.  "I was
beginning to wonder if you two were going to wake up!"


Glennis and Kusine had decided to take Kusine's Saturn on their
supply run, rather than attempt one of the NSVV's chariots.  After
a dip in the Sacred Cold Pond and fresh togas, they were both
feeling much better, but not well enough to deal with the somewhat
recalcitrant horses in the Shrine's stables.  Jesse had elected to
come along to get out of the Shrine for a while, maybe do some
spying on the other factions, and utlimately, hitch a ride to the
meeting at CERK.

They headed over to Bubba's Big Bargains (Open Late!), the nearest
werehouse store.  Jules had explained to Jesse that it was much
cheaper to buy in bulk for the addicts, since they went through
things so quickly.  Nothing lasted long in the Shrine, due to the
addicts' tendencies towards over-indulgence and destruction.

The trio of addicts was currently wandering around the huge store,
trying to find all of the items on the list.  Jesse stood on the
cart and held on while Glennis pushed.  Kusine ranged ahead or
lagged behind, depending on her interest in the stuff on the

"A case of LaCroix brand bottled water, various flavors," Jesse
read off the list and smiled.  "Mmmm...LaCroix..."

"Over there," Glennis pointed and steered the cart to one side of
the aisle.

Jesse jumped down and with Glennis, managed to get the heavy box
into the cart.  They shuffled around the other items, moving the
box of straws and family-packs of toilet tissue to the top.

"Coffee," Jesse continued from the list, "English Breakfast tea,
diet soda, regular soda, then there's a long list of ingredients
for making *huge* quantities of tiramasu!"

"Sounds like the HP expects us to be living on sugar and
caffeinne," Glennis obvserved, smiling.  "Not that there's
anything wrong with that!"

"Glennis!" Kusine called from the other end of the aisle.  "I
found the art supplies!"

Jesse hopped back on the cart as Glennis hurried down to the other
addict.  She was an artist and had had to leave all of her
supplies at home.  Much to her dismay, she had discovered that
most of the art supplies in the Shrine had been used up on a
three-dimentional mural of Nunkies and never replenished.  She
hadn't painted in three days now and was beginning to go through
withdrawal.  Jules had told her to go ahead and pick up as much as
she needed and to charge it to Nunkies Anonymous.

Glennis began pulling boxes and bottles off the shelf, smiling and
mumbling happily to herself.


They drove through the city on the way to CERK for the meeting of
the Cousins.  They had found everything that they had needed,
except for the twenty-five gallon drum of Ribena(tm).  Instead,
they had bought two cases of 1 litre bottles, which were currently
taking up three-fourths of the back seat of Kusine's car, along
with the hundreds of plastic frogs from their stop at the Rusted
Moose.  Jesse complained as the older addicts had shoved her into
the backseat, but there was little she could do about it: Kusine
was driving, and Glennis had won the right to the front seat while
in Toronto in a game of Go Fish the day before.

"Hey!" Jesse exclaimed suddenly, pointing out the front
windshield.  "Look!  It's the Nick-and-NatPackers' Theatre!  Slow
down, maybe we can gather some intelligence."

Glennis bit back a sarcastic comment on the subject of
intelligence and the likelihood of it being anywhere near N&Ners
and dutifully peered out the window.  The theatre looked rather
forbidding in the dusk.  The doors were closed and the brick was

"I bet they're in there right now, plotting out a way to hurt our
Nunkies' feelings," Kusine said bitterly, slowing down as she

"Yeah," Jesse said.  "Propagating their Nick-and-Nat lies."

"That traitor Rose is probably in there," Glennis sneered.  "How
could she be in ... *there* with devotees of ... That Other Guy?!"

"Natalie's ok, but you're right, Glennis.  Rosemary claims to to
lust after Nunkies, but she's *in there*," the young Cousinly
addict said, glaring at the theatre.  "If she were an alcoholic,
we'd be planning an intervention right about now, like Sukh got."

"An ... intervention?" Kusine asked slowly.

The other two addicts turned to Kusine, only to find her grinning
evilly.  Glennis and Jesse looked at each other nervously, then
back to their driver.  She was still smiling in her disturbing way.

"Uh-oh," Jesse said.  "I think she has an idea."


=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 17:28:07 -0400
Reply-To: Susan Bennett 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Susan Bennett 
Subject:      WAR: N&NP: "N" Is For Nunkies? (1/2)
X-UIDL: 536d29ce5d4cfa14c4c6d352fc1b58c1

War:  N&NP: "N" is for Nunkies? (1/2)
Date:  Monday, April 27th, 1998
Time:  Around 6:00 to 8:00 PM
Location:  N&N HQ and Outside the Jeweled Peach
By:  Susan B.  & N&NPackers
     (Nunkies Addicts Sherry, Kristine and Jade used with
     permission - Thank You!)

"WHAT?! Soulseeker wants us to do WHAT?!" Angie screamed.

Pansycat continued calmly stroking the black and white pile of fur
that she held lovingly in her arms. "She wants us to go to the
Jeweled Peach and bring back a Nunkies Addict for interrogation."

"But they're disgusting!" Angie wailed. "They drool everywhere.
Thinking about it is bad enough - what if we see it!" A look of
terror crept into her face. "Oh God - what if I slip in it?!"

"They have drool cups for that ...slobber," Shannon reassured the
distraught woman.

"Spit mugs, as I see 'em!" Angie bellowed.

"That's a good one!" Susan chortled. "I should get one of those.
Every time someone mentions Lacroix I want to spit..."

"Hey!" Lisa interrupted. "Isn't the Jeweled Peach the place that's
famous for its tiramisu? It's so hard to find at home in New
Albany, Indiana; and the wrestling crowd I hang out with while I'm
on the road working doesn't tend to gravitate towards the finer
dining establishments."

"I got a slice of that once from the bakery in the St. Lawrence
market," Susan commented. It tasted pretty good, but the bottom
layer was soggy. Do you think the bottom layer of tiramisu at the
Jeweled Peach is soggy?"

"I suspect everything at the Jeweled Peach is soggy," Dianne
remarked. "I know I'd never eat there."

"What I really want to know," Shannon blurted out, "is why isn't
Soul sending more Nunkies sympathizers out for this job ...uh ....I
mean *any* Nunkies sympathizers?"

"Too much temptation, I guess," Dianne replied sombrely, slightly
curious about that guilty expression on Shannon's face, but not
paying it much heed knowing that Shannon was a teacher, and
therefore of uncompromising moral character.....

Angie shuddered. "There are Nunkies sympathizers in the N&NPack?
Why didn't you tell me this *before* I came all the way over here
from Wenatchee!"

Pansycat lowered Simon to the floor. "Well, what can I say?" she
muttered aloud as the somewhat psychotic cat scrambled away.
"Besides, the Nunkies sympathizers are proving very useful. They're
busy right now working very closely with Kevin on a special

"How closely?" Angie asked warily.

Pansycat glanced at her watch and chuckled. "*Very* closely by now
I suspect," she replied. She glanced towards Michelle. "Michelle,
you better go get the burlap sack and the tape."

Michelle obediently spun around and left the room. She returned two
minutes later, one arm laden with a brown burlap sack and the other
waving a cassette tape in the air. "Got it!" she exclaimed.

Shannon shook her head in exasperation. "Uh... Michelle... that
would be duct tape we need, not classic rock."

"No," Pansycat corrected, "she's got exactly what we need. Tiramisu
cake my eye. You're all about to discover what 'pull me up' really
                                 * * * * *

Fifteen minutes later the black van slowed to a stop in front of
the Jeweled Peach. Michelle sat in the front seat next to Dianne,
who was behind the wheel.

"Now what?" Shannon asked. "We just sit here and wait for some
unsuspecting Addict on her way to the library or something?"

Pansycat spoke up from the back seat. "Get real, Shannon. How could
they possibly read with those drool cups hanging off their chins?"

"Not to worry!" Michelle announced as she popped the tape into the
slot. Lacroix's voice emanated from the speakers, softly at first,
but increasing in volume as Michelle fiddled with the knob.

"What is he saying?" Dianne asked, "he just keeps repeating the
same words over and over again. What is it, Latin or something?"

Angie and Susan covered their ears at the unbearable sound of his
voice. Unfortunately it didn't do much good. Shannon quickly
stuffed something into her ears, just in case.

Michelle grinned. "I think it's French or something, 'Sois
tranquille'. I have no idea what it means." She peered out the
window as the door of the Jeweled Peach opened. Three Addicts
emerged and strolled cautiously towards the van. As Lacroix's words
became clear to them, they simultaneously scrambled for their drool
cups. "But I know they like it," Michelle giggled.

"Geez, there's three of them," Dianne whined. One's bad enough but
three - three people who drool over... over ...HIM!"

"How did you know this would work?" Lisa asked.

"I checked their web site," Michelle replied. All of their
vulnerabilities are there for the entire world to see."

"We can't take three," Lisa declared. "We've only got one sack. I
can wrestle one to the ground, but not three."

Angie sighed in relief. "Thank God," she whispered.

The N&NPackers gawked at the Addicts on the sidewalk. A chorus of
'Gross', 'Disgusting', and 'Yechh', filled the van. As they
continued to stare in nauseated awe, the knees of the closest
Addict started to shake violently.

"She's going down!" Pansycat yelped.

The Addict was down, splayed out on the hard cold concrete, body
quivering uncontrollably. Slowly the drool cup slipped from her
hand and rolled along the sidewalk.

"They're sick!" Shannon shouted. "They need help!"

"They're sick all right," Angie mumbled from the far back seat.
"And believe me, I know. I work with the psychiatrically

"There goes another one!" Shannon quipped as she swung open the
door of the van. "Let's go!"

"I would remind you we only have one burlap sack," Dianne

Angie suddenly grabbed her purse up from the floor and started
rifling through it. "Forget the sack!" she exclaimed. "We don't
need it!" She pulled out a shiny metal contraption and waved it in
the air. "I have a better idea."

"What is that thing?" Shannon queried. "It looks like a deformed
pair of scissors."

"It's a stapler," Angie replied. "I sometimes use it in my crafts.
You hold it like a pair of scissors, so you can staple anything to
anything, right in mid-air."

"Well what good is it here?" Dianne demanded to know.

"We can staple them inside their togas!" Angie proudly declared.

"Uh.... have you ever seen their togas?" Pansycat asked.

Angie looked at her curiously. "No. Why?"

"There's nothing there to staple."

Michelle started to rummage through her own purse and pulled out
two pair of black scantihose. "Be prepared is my motto," she said.
She tossed one pair over to Shannon who eyed her mischievously.
"Black scantihose, Michelle? Prepared for what, exactly?"

As the last of the three Addicts finally succumbed and dropped to
the ground, the N&NPackers all scrambled out of the van and marched
over to them.

Michelle stood over the tallest Addict, the one with the short
brown hair. As she bent down to remove the poor woman's glasses,
she grimaced at the river of drool running down the Addict's chin.
"Yuck," she muttered as she gently rolled the prone one over onto
her stomach. She carefully pulled the limp arms up behind the
woman's back and used the scantihose to tie the hands together thus
immobilizing the arms. That done, she rolled the Addict back over.
She slipped off the sandals and handed them to Dianne.

After Dianne removed the sandals from the other two, Angie and
Shannon worked on the Addict with the long brown hair, and Susan
and Lisa squished the last Addict into the burlap sack.

Pansycat kept her eye on the Jeweled Peach the whole time, praying
that no other Addicts would have the strength to tear themselves
away from their bizarre shrine. She finally averted her gaze to
look down at her team's handiwork. "This is good," she said, "but
those two can still run away, or even kick us."

"Yeah, like they're in any shape to run or kick," Dianne mumbled

"All we have to do is keep the tape playing," Michelle offered.

"Lord, spare us. I can't listen to that racket all the way back!"
Lisa barked.

You guys get the other two ready to roll." Pansycat motioned
Michelle to grab the bottom of the burlap sack while she gripped
the area of the Addict's shoulders. They headed for the van with
their catch.

"We should have brought another van," Michelle surmised as she and
Pansycat stuffed the last Addict into the far back seat. "We're
going to be sitting on each other's laps."

It was a tight squeeze, but eventually all seven N&NPackers and
their three captives were tucked safely into the eight passenger
van. "Can we PLEASE turn that wretched tape off now?" Angie begged.
Dianne quickly obliged.

Pansycat took one last look out the window. "Oh, damn!" she said.
"We left a drool cup on the curb." She glanced at Dianne. "It's
easiest for you to go get it. We can't leave any evidence of a
kidnapping or someone will start searching too soon. And we have to
return them exactly how we found them. Well, almost exactly."

                          * * * * *

When they arrived back at their Headquarters, the doors of the van
flung open and the sad sacks were carted off to the front doors of
theatre. Cheryl and Emma, from the security detail, were there to
greet them. Dianne ran towards Cheryl and wrapped an arm around
her, "I know you all know Cheryl from Richmond, Kentucky, not too
far away from my home state of Georgia," she said, "but I bet you
don't know that she wrote the best explanation ever for the ep that
doesn't exist!"

"What would that be?" Shannon asked curiously.

Cheryl smiled, "Clotted blood, an underdone potato, a rotten peach,
a tarnished jewel, something!"

Pansycat glanced up at the red haired Emma who, at 5'9, hovered
over her. "Anything interesting happen while we were out?" she

"Updates can wait," Emma answered. "You better get those girls into
the room. They're starting to squiggle around a bit."

"I guess the Lacroix fix is wearing off," Shannon hypothesized.

Susan B.                                      (Cont'd. in 2/2)

Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 17:30:52 -0400
Reply-To: Susan Bennett 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Susan Bennett 
Subject:      WAR: N&NP: "N" Is For Nunkies? (2/2)
X-UIDL: f39c2e075c8b013ad6bbd966eca55e9a

War:   N&NP: "N" is for Nunkies? (2/2)
Date:  Monday, April 27th, 1998
Time:  Around 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Location:  N&N HQ and Outside the Jeweled Peach
By:  Susan B.  & N&NPackers
     (Nunkies Addicts Sherry, Kristine and Jade used with
     permission - Thank You!)

Several minutes later the Addicts were safely deposited on plain
wooden chairs in the special room. Pansycat, Angie, Dianne, and
Susan were with them.

Pansycat began the interrogation. "What are your names?" she asked

The Addicts didn't answer.

"This is the only time I will repeat a question. What are your

But they still didn't answer.

"Uncooperative, eh!" Dianne exclaimed. She reached into her totebag
and whipped out an 8 x 10 photo. "We have ways of making you talk!"
She waved the photo in front of the woman's face, but the Addict
was non-plussed.

"Oops... better put these back first," Angie said sheepishly as she
set the Addict's glasses back in place.

When the Addict focused on the picture, she almost laughed. Dianne
knew something was strange and examined the still of 'Lacroix in
toga' herself. Someone had inked in a beard, moustache, eyebrows,
and little devil horns with a black magic marker. "Who the hell did
this!" Dianne shouted, flabbergasted. Amid a course of well
rehearsed "I don't know's", Dianne fished another photo out of her
bag. She checked it and then stuck it in front of the Addict's
face. Once the Addict was mesmerized, Dianne started to slowly and
agonizingly tear the picture in two.

"Stop! Stop! My name is Sherry Mullins!" the woman blurted out.

Angie turned to the next captive and stared threateningly into her
deep brown eyes.

"Kristine. I'm Kristine."

Pansycat was the one to look at the last Addict who quickly said,
"I'm Jade."

It was Angie's turn to question. "Do you know where Nat's research
information is? The disks? The notes?"

"No," the three captives shouted in unison.

Pansycat casually sauntered over to the partition wall. She tapped
the wall lightly and smiled at the Addicts. "If you don't tell us
what we need to know," she said, "you will force us to put you in
the next room."

Sherry, Jade and Kristine mumbled amongst themselves. It sounded
something like, "Yeah, right, what are N&NPackers going to do to

"I heard that!" Angie exclaimed. "Don't you know what the N-U-N in
Nunkies stands for - Never Underestimate N&NPackers!"

Sherry eyed the wall curiously, "What's in there anyway?" she

Pansycat grinned wickedly. "It's a room full of ultra-militant-
hardline-hardcore-feminists," she replied. "And do you know who
they loathe more than anything else in the world? I'll tell you.
They loathe arrogant, domineering, controlling *males*." Pansycat
let those words sink in for a minute before continuing. "And do you
know who they despise even *more* than arrogant, domineering,
controlling males?"

The Addicts all shook their heads in trepidation.

"THE WOMEN WHO DROOL OVER THEM!!!" Angie yelled across the room.

"That's right," Pansycat said. "These ultra-militant-hardline-
hardcore-feminists wouldn't take kindly at all to your hormonally
induced weakness." She shook her head sadly. "Nope. Not kindly at

Jade's face visibly paled. Kristine winced. Sherry seemed to be
staring off into space somewhere. They suddenly shot frightened
glances towards each other and then they all screamed, "NOOOOO!!"

"We don't know anything!" Jade screeched, breathless.

Kristine shook her head so furiously that her long hair started
whipping her in the face, "Nothing!" she yelled.

"Have mercy!" Sherry cried out.

The N&NPackers passed knowing glances towards each other. They
casually stepped backwards towards the door. Susan and Dianne were
the last two at the door when Susan stopped and said, "Wait a
minute. I want to ask them one more question." She abruptly spun
around to face the Addicts and summoned up a commanding tone, "Does
the tiramisu at the Jeweled Peach have a soggy..." Dianne grabbed
Susan's arm and violently yanked her out of the room.

Once they were all safely in the hall and out of earshot of the
Addicts, Pansycat spoke. "They're telling the truth. They don't
know anything." Angie and Dianne nodded in agreement.

"What should we do now?" Susan asked.

Pansycat thought about it for a minute. "We'll have to apologize of
course, but how?"

"Clips," Angie quickly suggested. "Big screen - big sound - the
digital experience. They'll all go gaga over Lacroix on the big

"Hmmmm...," Pansycat muttered. "Yes. A few minutes of that and
their minds will certainly turn into mush. It's perfect! What eps
do you suggest?"

"Be My Valentine!" Dianne piped up.

"No, that's one of OUR favourite eps!" Angie scolded.

"But that's the one where Lacroix whines and complains about being
all alone since leaving Fleur behind!" Susan declared.

Pansycat studied the floor. "Hmmm... you're right. He also yammers
on about freight trains or some such thing. Maybe we better stick
with the flashbacks there. What else?"

"A More Permanent Hell," Dianne advised.

"But that's the one where Lacroix whines and complains about how he
would be all alone after Nick and Janette die!" Susan yelped.

"Hmmm... you're right," Pansycat agreed. "Talks about God, too.
Maybe we better stick with the flashbacks. Anything else? Isn't he
togatized in Ashes to Ashes?"

"But that's the one where Lacroix sits on his butt doing nothing
but whining and complaining about being left alone while his
daughter's out killing everyone!" Susan warned.

Pansycat cracked her knuckles. "Hmmm... you're right. Maybe we
better stick with the flashbacks there too." She motioned towards
Dianne. "Go find Marci and tell her what we need. Flashbacks from
those three eps - ASAP. She brought all of her digital editing
equipment with her from Houston. Ask her to collect the tape from
Kevin too." Remembering Marci was a horse person, Pansycat made a
mental note to quiz her later about whether or not that skill was
transferable to camels.

"But she's a Nunkies sympathizer!" Dianne squealed.

"God are they *everywhere*," Angie moaned.

"They're all in the basement by now I expect," Pansycat commented.
She faced Dianne, "Just ask her to get the clips together and then
go to Kevin yourself for the tape. I trust Marci implicitly, but I
don't want to force her to compromise her NA ideals."

"Such as they are," Angie muttered.

"Nunkies Addicts have ideals?" Susan asked.

Dianne ran down the corridor while the others returned to the
special room, and the Addicts.

                          * * * * *

As they waited on Dianne's return, the N&NPackers extended to the
Addicts their most sincerely worded apologies. Angie even offered
to wash their drool cups, and was extremely relieved when Sherry
said it wouldn't be necessary. Jade suggested that a more opportune
time for that would be *after* watching the promised video clips on
the big screen. Angie wondered if anyone noticed her face pale. She
then handed the three Addicts back their sandals. As they slipped
their sandals back on their feet, the door opened.

"They're ready for you," Dianne announced.

The entire group left the special room and all but Pansycat headed
towards the auditorium proper. "I'll catch up with you!" she
shouted as she dashed down the stairwell to the basement. "Kevin!"
she called out when she reached the bottom step.

"Right here!" Kevin approached the stairway, a handful of very
attractive (apart from the drooling) Nunkies sympathizers in tow.

"How does it sound?" Pansycat asked.

Kevin winked. "Sounds just like Lacroix." He handed over the tape
and smiled at his harem. "Practice makes perfect."

"Great!" Pansycat slipped the tape into her pocket and headed
upstairs. Once in the upper control room at the rear of the
balcony, she peered through one of the slots. She tried to avoid
the image of Lacroix's toga clad body filling the screen as she
waited until the Addicts were in a susceptible state of mind. It
took all of about forty seconds. She slid the cassette into the
secondary sound system and pushed play. The words were barely
audible under the sound of the video clip, but it would be enough.
Lacroix's voice would seep into the vulnerable minds of the
Addicts, and they wouldn't even realize it.

       "Your subconscious will remember what NUNKIES stands for:
       'Nunkies Unites Nicholas&Natalie - Knitted, Inseparable,
       Eternal Soulmates!' A NUNKIES Addict is who you are. It
       is what you are. And you cannot deny what you are.

       It is your mission. Indeed it is the very reason for your
       existence. And to accomplish this momentous task that I have
       set before you, my beloved Addicts; to complete this most
       resplendent mission, as it were - Nicholas must recover Dr.
       Lambert's research. You, my faithful ones, will go to the
       Nicholas&Nataliepackers whenever you have any information that
       may prove useful to their, and ultimately our, most eminent

The message repeated itself for nearly half an hour. The Addicts
were almost comatose by the time Pansycat crept back down to the
auditorium. They were all glued to the giant screen Lacroix, their
eyes glazed over, their hands barely able to hold onto their drool
cups. It was definitely time for them to go home. Pansycat rounded
up the team and passed out the paper towels so they could gather up
the Addicts. Michelle wouldn't budge to help though. She liked
impersonating all three MST3K critics whenever Lacroix was on the

It was a quarter to eight before captors and captives got back
outside and into the van. Fifteen minutes later, Jade, Kristine,
and Sherry were standing back on the sidewalk in front of the
Jeweled Peach. They were, almost, their normal selves.

Susan B.

Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 18:29:39 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: An Addict/Cousin Interlude
X-UIDL: 7757fba6517ec5e0ae427617f4d40abb

Title: An Addict/Cousin Interlude
Time: Monday, April 27, After "A Meeting of Minds", concurrent
with "A Melding of Minds"
Place: CERK, Cousin Reception
Written by Kusine, with idea by Jesse
Everyone used with permission.

Jesse had finally found LaCroix alone.  Giving no one else any
time to catch his attention, the teenager spoke:

"I really stand awed at your work.  As a speaker myself, I
understand the thought and time that goes into preparing such
intelligent and evocotive monologues," she said, smiling slightly,
but looking serious.  "Should you ever wish to discuss rhetoric,
then I'm your gal.  I mean, I'm an addict, too, so, by *definition*,
I'm your gal, but what I mean is, if you ever want to just talk,
or, well, more than talk would be ok, too..."

Jesse trailed off when she realized that she was beginning to
babble.  The smile slid off her face and her brow crinkled as
LaCroix simply stared at her.  She had begun to edge away when he
raised an eyebrow.

"Studying the classic arts at your age?" he asked.  "Are you
precocious in other areas of ... development ... as well?"

Jesse smiled.

=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 18:42:03 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: The Amazing Addicts Side Show
X-UIDL: 3c47f8006aa761dce1d73c3cf0a3c641

Title: The Amazing Addicts Side Show
Time: Monday night/early Tuesday Morning, after "A Melding Of
Place: the curb outside of PERK, err, CERK
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Jesse and Glennis, who are also used with their

Glennis hung her head dejectedly and plopped down on the curb.
Jesse and Kusine sat down, too, one on each side of her.

"I can't believe it," Glennis mumbled.  "I had a Nunklear Meltdown
right in front of him."

Her fellow addicts each put and arm around her and rested their
heads against hers.  Through contact, they tried to project
comfort and strength.  It didn't seem to be working.

"I made a fool of myself!" Glennis whimpered.  "I'm so embarassed!"

"Well..." Jesse said, "Maybe he took it as a compliment?"

"Yeah," Kusine agreed.  "You were simply overwelmed by his
presence.  He's *got* to be flattered by that!"

"I'm just glad someone had that picture of Screed," Glennis
admitted, then paused as she thought about what she had just said.
 "Geez!  I never thought I'd say *that*!"

Glennis laughed softly, and her friends knew that she would be ok.
 They smiled and sat up.  Kusine reached into her backpack and
passed out Cadbury(tm) chocolate bars, apologizing as she did so.

I'm sorry they're not Nunkies-shaped," Kusine said, "But I left
them all back at the Shrine.  It makes me nervous even to carry
around *this* much chocolate during war time!"

"Yeah," Jesse said, laughing, "I'm surprised you don't have Mercs
following you everywhere!"

They opened their chocolate and munched in companionable silence
for several minutes, simply enjoying the sweet, creamy treat and
the Toronto night (not *K*night; he was completely different and
enjoyed by none of them).  When they were done scarfing, Jesse
collected the wrappers and tossed them into a nearby trash
receptacle ('cause littering makes Nunkies' city a messy, ugly

"Glennis, you should be glad," Kusine said, finally breaking the
silence.  "You had a Nunklear Meltdown in front of His
Lusciousness.  I babbled incoherently."  Her eyes brightened
considerably.  "But I kissed his finger!"

"And he called *me* precocious!" Jesse crowed.

Jumping up, Jesse began to dance a jig in the street.  Well, to
dance in the street.  Well, ok, to hop around pretty aimlessly in
the street.  Grabbing her friends by the hands, she pulled them up
after her.  They cavorted and made merry until they felt they
would vomit up their newly-swollowed chocolate.

Gasping for breath, they collapsed again on the curb.  Strangers
on the sidewalk gave them a wide berth, though a few had tossed
down some coins.  Kusine snatched at the change and stuffed it
into her bag.  Jesse and Glennis glared.

"Mine," Kusine said defiantly, clutching her backpack to her chest.

"Share it, rabbit," Glennis said and held out her hand.

"Or it's into the stew with you!" Jesse threatened.

With a much-put-upon sigh, Kusine dug the coins out of her bag and
evenly divided the five dollars up between them.  Glennis and
Jesse couldn't help but notice that the most *shiny* coins ended
up in Kusine's pile.  Turning away from the froggy addict, who was
squirrelling away her change, the other two addicts had a
whispered conversation.

"You don't think she's a Ratpack spy, do you?" Jesse asked.

"No, she couldn't be," Glennis replied.  "I've seen her drool over
Nunkies before.  So have you."

"True," Jesse whispered.  They turned to Kusine, who was trying
(and failing) to juggle some bottlecaps she had found in the
gutter.  "But we'll keep an eye on her."

"So!" Glennis said, no longer whispering.  "What do you want to do

"Same thing we do every night, Glennis," Kusine and Jesse
chorused.  "Try to take over Toronto!"

=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 21:24:29 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR: NA--To Dream, Perchance to Die
X-UIDL: a6720875699e298e9ad7c91605e1b249

To Dream, Perchance to Die
By Patt Elmore
Time:  Before and parallel  to "A Meeting of the Minds"
Place:  Shrine to Nunkies, aka Nunkies Anonymous Headquarters


Patt almost slept through the Cousins meeting at CERK on
Monday night.

After semi-successfully calming Caren regarding Spark, the
Third Cousin and her friend had went back into the Shrine
proper.  Despite the early hour, other addicts were
beginning to stir because, as Jules had pointed out, there was
much to be done today.   A group of women had taken up
positions around the Shrine alter, drinking coffee and
chatting excitedly about War developments so far.

"Caren!" a sleepy addict called from across the room, waving at
the Louisiana woman.   Caren turned to Patt, who nodded to
her friend.

"Go ahead and join them, if you want," Patt said.  "I still haven't
had any sleep, and I believe it's catching up with me.  I was
tired last night, but restless, so I went out."

"I can't imagine why you might be restless," Caren said, her
tone still miffed.  "Guilty conscience, I suspect."

Patt managed a small grin.  "Don't you ever get tired of being

Caren appeared to think for a moment, then quipped, "No."
The dark-haired Louisianan turned and walked over to join the

As Patt turned for the spiral stairs which led to the sleeping
chambers, she overheard one addict asking Caren is she had
heard about the rats.

Even though she *was* curious, Patt continued walking slowly
toward the stairs, determined to sleep this time.  Previously,
she'd tossed her luggage on the bed, looked around the room
and become paranoid about the Spark incident.  What if
someone had been watching when they drove up?  Sure, Jules
hadn't given any indication that she'd seen the vampire leaving
Patt's truck, but what if one of the other addicts had?  Patt
knew she had to formulate a plan.

So, she'd gone out, not even sure where she was going, but
knowing that planning actions which might displease LaCroix
were best not perpetrated in the Shrine.  Even Patt had her

She'd ended up in an out of the way coffee shop.  Jules had
found her there, then later, Spark.  No escape for the wicked.
The only thing she knew for sure was that she needed to rid
herself of the noisome vampire and do what she could to get
into LaCroix's good graces, so that if the master vampire ever
learned of her *indiscretion,* she'd have something, albeit
small, to fall back on.

Arriving at the second floor landing, Patt began fishing around
in her canvas shoulder bag, searching for her room keys.  Her
fingers brushed a rolled piece of cloth and she sighed heavily.
Patt located the key (she still preferred the old-fashioned metal
ones to the plastic swipe kind which some addicts had
installed) and let herself into her room.
The room looked undisturbed.  Her traveling bag was still
laying, half open, on the bed.   Patt caught hold of the duffle's
handle and tossed it to the floor.  Then, she stretched
out, extending her five foot three inch frame to its limits,
touching her toes to the wood framing of the baseboard.

"Ahhhhhhhhh," Patt groaned, allowing her eyes to close.

"This . . . never . . . happened -- Patt."   The nasally whine of her
computer speakers broke into Patt's desire for rest.  The .wav
file was announcing that she had incoming mail.  The addict
took a deep breath, rolled off the bed and went over to examine
the screen.  The *new mail* address noted was

Patt sat down at the PC, taking the mouse and clicking the file,
accepting the message.  It popped up immediately, as LaCroix
had replaced all Shrine equipment with 333MHz Pentium II's
 just prior to New Years, in time to take the tax deduction.
He may be a vampire, Patt grinned to herself, but he is
ultimately a practical pragmatist.

The message was short:

"Don't forget your duties.  I'll be watching."

Resigned, Patt clicked open the biographical files available to
her, which weren't many.   She wasn't a member of GSS, nor an
expert in hacking, as so many Cousins seemed to be.  Patt was
just your basic, run-of-the-mill LaCroix worshipper.

So, her main source of information on Tracy Vetter turned out
to be the Dark Perk websites.

"This chick is *strange,*" Patt mused as she followed links
regarding the police officer.   "And the people she runs with are
even stranger.  Heck, Spark just might fit right into her

In her surfing, Patt ran across several familiar names, former
Nunkies Anonymous members who had put aside their
addiction for a frolic with the Vetter.

"Oh, well," Patt remarked, scrolling downward at yet another
site.  "Their loss.  Uncle will make mincemeat of them and the
fair Tracy, if they cross him.

The Third Cousin continued to click and read the information
with waning interest.  At each of the less boring sights, she
would use her mouse to block the URL address, go back a "\"
and peruse the index, if available.  Patt would click the text
files, only to have a window pop up each time announcing
"access denied."

"Damn," Patt muttered, prepared to give up.  Bleary eyed, she
almost missed what appeared to be an insignificant blurb in the
bottom right hand page of one of the former addicts.

Patt clicked on the .gif and a series of large megabyte files
began downloading. The Third Cousin watched as more than a
dozen beef cake pictures of LaCroix materialized.   Patt couldn't
help grinning.  "Once an addict . . ."  Then, a final picture
finished loading and Patt's mouth popped open in
astonishment.  There, standing resplendent in nothing but his
red silk boxers, was Louis Cabon.

Patt quickly shut off the computer, allowing it just barely time
to clear the windows program before she hit the power switch.

"Ain't that a kick in the -- Patt," the computer whined as the
program exited.

Patt looked thoughtfully at the now dark screen.

"Merc it looks like it will have to be," Patt said softly.  She lifted
her body heavily from the chair and walked over to her phone.
Another perk  from the New Year
financial boon--private phones in each room.  Sure helped now
that Jade was in residence.

Patt picked up the receiver and dialed, waiting for the
connection.   A voice soon announced "Merc Central."

The Third Cousin swallowed hard.  "I need to hire a merc."


Several hours later, fitful sleep still held Patt in its grasp.  She
didn't hear the gong which announced a general gathering in
the lobby for transporting to CERK.  She didn't hear the soft
knock at her door and inquiring voice of the person sent to
check on her.
Patt rolled over and continued snoring.

She was left behind.

Approximately thirty minutes before the meeting was to begin,
the Third Cousin opened a sleepy eye and glanced toward her
alarm clock.  The eye opener further and the adrenalin of panic
caused her to yelp and spring from the bed.

Frantically, Patt began rummaging through her bag, trying to
find appropriate attire to change into.  Formal clothing would
not be required, she figured, since this was a War meeting, not
a cotillion.  Most of her clothing had been packed soiled,
plucked from the laundry that she'd been meaning to wash.
She shook out a pair of jeans and pulled them on gingerly.  The
shirt she chose, though, didn't smell too fresh.

That's when her eyes fell in the canvas bag containing the
package that Spark had thrust on her.  The vampire's
threat regarding its wearing rang in her ears.

"Well, at least it's clean," Patt rationalized as she slipped the
glittered tee over her head.   At a run, she headed out the door
of her room, then paused and quickly grabbed her jacket off the
standing coat rack. , Patt
thought, zipping up the windbreaker as she ran through the
very empty Shrine.


A Meeting of Minds (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: A Dazzling Array of Cousins, The Circle of Dark Knightie Cousins, 
Nunkies Anonymous and Light Cousins
Time: Monday April 27th, 7ish pm
Before 'A Melding of Minds'

     The War Room appeared packed to capacity. The crowd buzzed with 
conversation, old friends exclaiming long-lost hellos and newbies swamped 
with introductions. There was an astounding predominance of sword pin and 
poison ring replicas.

     Tok broke away from a circle of Dark Knightie Cousins and approached 
the podium at the front of the room. Fred the War Eagle was perched there, 
surveying the audience critically. Tok tapped the microphone, and all 
talking immediately died to an expectant hush. The Cousinly head cleared her 
throat, and began:

     "Greetings! I would like to thank everyone for their attendance. As I'm 
sure you've discerned by now, the facets of Cousinhood have become even more 
brilliant for this war. First, we have CERK's own Cousinly population…" The 
audience broke into enthusiastic clapping as Tok gestured toward the first 
few rows of seats, where Bob, Bons, Trakal, Lesley, NightHawk, Jessica, 
Senara and a host of other Cousins waved to their compatriots. 

     "We are also proud to welcome a contingent of Light Cousins to the 
festivities," Tok continued. Arletta raised her hand, acknowledging the new 
wave of clapping that started as people called to her, Shelley, Annette and 

     "Furthermore, what would a meeting to support LaCroix be without 
Nunkies Anonymous? Let's give them a hand as well!" At this, whoops and 
cheers commenced. Cousin Jules beamed from her chair politely, a hunted-
looking Third Cousin Patt at her side. Other addicts, like Jesse, Kusine, 
Heather, Debbie, Joni and Glennis, were proving that they were probably the 
noisiest among the attendees. Cousinly Leader Bons released an impulsive 
'Woohoo!' for her alma mater.

    "Last, but certainly not least…I am honored to present to you the Dark 
Knight Cousins!" Tok announced, gesturing to the two rows which housed a 
good percentage of the stylish black clothing in the room. Marcia, Penny, 
Jan, Carla, Cat, Mette, Marla, Anne Tabithil, Maria, Rose, Nicole, Julie, 
Dianna, Becky, Siona and Erica nodded as Tok introduced each of them. More 
cheering ensued from the other Cousins, for their presence, while a bit 
unexpected at first, made perfect sense upon reflection.

     As the cheers died to a low roar, Tok began her speech. "The Cousinly 
Cerberus decided that this gathering didn't need to be a lecture, presenting 
you with a manifest destiny for this war. We believe that our numbers are 
strong and our goal is common - why should we remind you of what you already 
know. Instead, we thought that this congregation of ideologies should be a 
meeting of minds. We will be adjourning to the Rec Room for a reception 
where you can discuss theories about the theft as well as strategies for 
sabotaging the other faction's success. After the Cousinly heads give 
LaCroix a brief outline in private of the attendees, he will join you. The 
General is looking forward to being introduced to many of you and is open to 
debating your theories about the missing research. Cousin Bons has a few, 
simple ground rules to give you on speaking with the General, then we'll cut 
you loose to the wine and conversation."

     Bonnie approached the podium, taking Tok's place amidst a smattering of 
applause. The redhead cleared her throat. "I'd like side mention before I 
get to the rules: Trakal has just informed me that the Cousins have been 
entered into the Guinness Book of World Records for 'Most Pink Rats Under 
One Roof.'"

     "You mean we broke a record?" Nighthawk called out.

     Bons nodded. "Yes, it seems there was a mad geneticist from New Jersey 
who held the previous title." She cleared her throat again. "Now for the 

"No asking LaCroix to bring you across."

"No using the 'd' word or the 'f' word, namely 'Divia' or 'Fleur.'

"No asking about his plantations - his ranting will take up too much 
conversation time."

"No showing LaCroix your true self by getting naked." There were several 
disappointed groans from the Nunkies Addicts. "I mean it," Bonnie warned. 
"Save it for Conversion Day."

"No hitting the General with beer bottles." Bonnie stared directly at Third 
Cousin Patt, who slunk lower in her chair.

     Bonnie straightened her notes, then smiled at the audience. "That about 
covers it. The GSS will escort you to the Rec Room. The Cerberus will rejoin 
you with LaCroix in about fifteen minutes. Thank you."

Fin for now…

Cousins: A Melding of Minds (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge, Marcia Tucker, Debbie Chilson, Kusine Kaninchen, and
Cousin Senara
Time: Monday April 27th, roughly 8ish pm
After 'A Meeting of Minds' and 'Crying Over Spilt Milk'

     Tok, Bob and Bons found a very unhappy LaCroix waiting in the sound
booth. He had company, namely a cow wearing Ray-Bans.

     "I found it in my blood cellar," LaCroix informed them.

     "Oh, NO!" Bons exclaimed! "I *knew* there was a reason Cherri wasn't at
the meeting! Those Vaqueras! They've gotten to her again!" Bons kneeled
before the cow, staring plaintatively into the bovine's eyes. "Speak to me,
Cherri! Speak to me!"

     "Moo," the cow said.

    Bons gasped. "The horror! The horror!"

    "Get up, Bonnie," LaCroix commanded impatiently. "It's a real cow."


    "Bob," LaCroix instructed, "take our bovine guest to Cousin Tser - she
will be able to take care of it."

     "Try to keep it away from Cherri if you can," Tok added. "We don't want
her having any bad flashbacks."

     LaCroix rose from his chair as Bob led the cow from the room. "Do we
have many *human* visitors?"

     Bonnie and Tok nodded, then proceeded to describe their Cousinly


     CERK's (or PERK's, as Bonnie had begun to call it...she was rather
partial to the new sign outside, feeling it reflected her presence on the
premises. She hoped to keep the 'P' as long as possible, until Tok, Bob, or
someone else fixed it behind her back.) guests poured into the Rec Room,
some racing for the squooshy chairs, others wanting first glass of some of
the special vintages that had been decanted for the occasion. Various
persons mingled while others set up think tanks in the corners.

     As LaCroix entered the room, conversation lulled, and a good fifty
pairs of eyes stared expectantly at the General. Bonnie brought him a glass
with which he toasted the congregation. "To the Cousins...long may you
satisfy your thirst."

     There were several shouts of 'Here, here!," clinking glasses, then the
laughter and talking recommenced as LaCroix began his rounds amongst the


     Senara was busily choosing the next bit of cheese to add to her plate
of tidbits when the low voice behind her startled her into dropping the
plate. "General!" she exclaimed.

     "Welcome back to Toronto, Senara.  Are you going to be causing more
mischief this time?"  His eyes were slightly amused, although the expression
didn't reach his lips.

     Senara ignored the crackers and the cheese at her feet and met the
vampire's amused look with one of her own.  "I might."  {Thank goodness my
voice didn't waver!}, she thought.  His expression didn't change so Senara
added that she was going to stick around to see if her mischief-making
skills were needed by any of the Cousins.

     "I'm glad to hear that."  He reached over and tossed her long red braid
over her shoulder.  It had nearly choked her when she whirled to face him.
"Just make sure you have recovered from your "fun" before you head back to
Boston and your new job."

     Senara nearly bounced in front of the General, but quickly decided
against it.  The General might not want to have a memory of a Cousin
bouncing.  She smiled broadly, saying "Thank you for your help with the
job."  Impulsively, she moved to hug him briefly before rushing to share the
good news about her job with her fellow Cousins.  LaCroix permitted the
brief embrace and turned to talk to another of his followers.


     Through the eddies and flows of the crowd, Glennis suddenly found
herself face-to-face (or, because of the height difference, face-to-chest)
with the man of her deepest desires: Nunkies.  His beautiful blue eyes bored
into her, liquefying her brain and making speech impossible.  He raised an
eyebrow at her, and her shoes melted.  He smiled, and she splashed into a
puddle at his feet.


     Kusine darted through a bunch of Cousins and stood directly in front of
LaCroix.  She'd been standing in the corner for the past thirty minutes,
practicing her speech.

     "Hi!" she said, locking her eyes on the face that filled her fantasies.
I just want you to know that I will do everything in my power to help you
find the missing research and bring the perpetrators to you and I know you
wouldn't do such a thing and even if you did you wouldn't hide it and I know
that everyone is just abusing your good name and defaming the grandness that
is you and that *all* the addicts and Cousins are working very hard--"

     LaCroix pressed a finger to her lips.  Kusine automatically pursed
them, kissing his cool finger.  His mouth quirked into a small smile, then
he nodded approvingly.

      "I would expect no less of you, my dear."


     Sipping gratefully on her wine, Marcia Tucker looked up and went pale.
LaCroix was on an intercept course heading for her.  Hastily she took a
good, deep swig.

     "A word with you, Ms. Tucker," the General said as he arrived in front
of her rooting spot.

     Marcia looked up and up to his lofty stature, internally willing
herself to calm.  "At your service, General," she murmured, straightening.
Amazingly, she could meet his gaze.

     LaCroix looked down at the leader of the newest addition to his
legions, his pale expression inscrutable.  "You and your little band were
supporters of my son, correct?"

     "Ah, yes, sir, our origins are with the Knighties," she admitted,
starting to get a hollow feeling.  He would have to pick on their past,
wouldn't he?

     "But now you are siding with my camp," LaCroix continued gravely.  "Of
course, your allegiance is naturally suspect."

     Something in her gave her enough spine to stand up to him, she knew not
how or where. "Naturally.  I would expect you to be suspicious of us."

     An eyebrow arched.  It wasn't a response he was expecting.  "And?"

     "And," Marcia continued smoothly, "to that end of assuring you that we
are certainly your followers by philosophy, I have a gift for you."  Finally
she had a chance to give him something she'd wanted to give LaCroix for a
long time, since War 7, in fact.  She handed him a small 5x7 frame which
held an elaborately written piece of text.

     It was the Dark Knightie (now Dark Knight Cousin) Code, version 4.2.
Dated December, 1996, the time of the last revision of their Code.

     LaCroix took it and regarded the text for several minutes.

     Breathe, Marcia told herself.

     Then he looked back up to her.  "So, the Dark Knight Cousins are about
Nicholas's integration of his nature, his acceptance of what is, and his
coming to terms with his reality."

     "That's, ah, about it, yes," Marcia replied, starting to feel that the
situation was redeemable.

     "Indeed.  And I fit into all this because..."  The eyebrow thing again.
He peered at her expectantly.

     "You want the same thing."

     "Ah.  Yes, it would seem that I do," LaCroix replied.  "You see me as
your spiritual leader, then."

      she thought, stifling a sudden grin.  "Oh, yes, you could

     "I see.  Very well, it seems that your allegiance, while focused rather
more on my son than on myself, is nevertheless in line by philosophy with
the rest of my legions."

     Marcia found herself starting to relax.  "I'd glad you see it as we do,

     He was examining the text again.  "Sipping as an Art Form?"

     "Something Nicholas hasn't exactly learned."  Marcia couldn't keep back
a grin.

     To her amazement, his mouth momentarily curved in a bit of a smirk.  "I
would say not.  Not that I haven't tried to... interest him."

     "Of course not."  She smirked also.

     Then he fixed his gaze a bit harder at her.  She felt her throat going
dry.  "Then I may call on your and your 'circle' to go on missions for me as

     Marcia would have dearly liked to melt into a puddle.  "Yes, you may
certainly!  We answer to all the Cousin leaders, of course, and you in
particular.  Call away!"

     The ancient vampire nodded.  "Very well.  Enjoy the festivities,
Marcia.  And expect to be hearing from me."

     "Yes, sir, I will and I do.  Thanks."  She received a final nod from
LaCroix before he moved on, still carrying the framed text.

     Draining her wine, she set off in search of more.  Shaking just ever so


      MacCousin Heather was conversing with Bons about the pros and cons of
Barbarian culture when LaCroix touched her on the arm. "Heather, me lass,"
he said in a smooth, teasing voice, "I wanted to thank you for the kilt you
sent me for Conversion Day. I'm afraid it was a bit short at the knees when
I tried it on."

    Heather gurgled, her eyes becoming dreamy. "That was my see
those bonny knees." Her eyes widened with horror at what she'd let slip, and
the MacCousin slapped a hand over her mouth.

     LaCroix chuckled and gave her a devilish smile. "I need to borrow
Cousin Bonnie for a moment - you don't mind, do you?"

    "Not at all."

    LaCroix escorted Bonnie away from the clusters of people. "Are you
enjoying the reception so far?" she questioned.

    "It's been enlightening. Quite a remarkable number of Cousins blame
Janette for the missing research - what do you think?"

     "You know me...I blame the fanfic fairies whenever possible," Bons
quipped. "I can see an argument for any number of culprits, but I tend to
believe the Enforcers are involved."

     LaCroix took a thoughtful sip, then replied, "I would have some notion
of their movements, I would think."

     Bonnie risked a bout of stubbornness. "Couldn't they elude you. These
*are* Enforcers I'm discussing."

     The vampire was obviously disturbed by the idea. "Perhaps..." he
murmured, then moved own to another concern. "I've just had an unfulfilling
exchange with Third Cousin Patt."

     "She finally arrived?" Bons asked in surprise.

     LaCroix nodded. "She's hiding something from me. It is extremely
displeasing. I want you to arrange a private meeting with Ms. Elmore for me.
There are too many guest present for me to cajole the answers I want out of
her right now."

     Bons' forehead puckered in worry for her Favored Twit. "I'll see to
it," she said reluctantly.

     "Excellent." As he indulged in another sip of blood, someone caught
LaCroix's interest. He pointed to a woman standing alone by the far wall.
"She's been staring at me for a while now. Do you know who she is?"

     Bons let her gaze follow his hand, spotted Debbie, and grinned. "Of
course, she a Nunkies Addict," the Cousinly head informed him, and even
risked a version of the 'F' word. "Her name is 'Fleurette.'"

     "Interesting. Perhaps I should introduce myself. If you'll excuse me?"
LaCroix gave a small bow.

   Bonnie gestured grandly in Debbie's direction and announced, "Go right


     Debbie, who had been hoping she could just sit there in the corner and
watch her beloved Nunkies from a distance until she got up the nerve to
approach him, suddenly found him walking in her direction.  Thinking he
would pass her by, she tried shrinking into the corner to make herself
invisible to him.  It didn't work.

     "Hiding from me, my child?"  The Roman General asked when he stood
before her.

     Debbie shook her head dumbly as a meltdown threatened her mental
facilities.  Then she chided herself for letting her emotions get in the way
of the seriousness of the War.  "No... sir," she replied.  She'd almost
called him Nunkies to his face.  "I'm... just nervous, sir.  It's my first

   LaCroix's lips turned up at the corners in a slight smile. "Good.  I am
pleased that you were not trying to escape my notice.  It would disappoint
me if I were unable to speak to the one known as 'Fleurette'. That is your
name, is it not?"

   Debbie gulped, feeling nervous under his gaze.  "Sometimes, sir.  It's
the name I write under."  She finally gained the courage to meet his eyes
and smiled a little smile.  "It... it reminds me of you, sir."

   Again, LaCroix gave her one of his little half-smiles. And then he was


     The night when on in a similar fashion. LaCroix managed to speak with
everyone present for a moment or two, some offering support, some offering
dreamy gazes, and some offering theories and plans.

     They came as factions, but they left as Cousins.


Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 1998 22:46:56 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR:  NA:  Reception Repercussions
X-UIDL: eeeaa27f5acee1114c7efa0b1c309ba2

Reception Repercussions, or Did I really want some Cheese that Badly?
By Patt Elmore
Time:  Concurrent with " A Melding of Minds (1/1)"
Place:  CERK


A dark maroon pickup truck with an ugly white camper shell
skidded to a stop in the alley behind CERK radio station.

Patt jumped out and sprinted for the delivery entrance.  She
reached out to grasp the door, then paused.  Carefully, she
squeezed her eyes shut and extended a finger, expecting
electrical shock at best, chocolate syrup on her head at worst.

Nothing happened.  Relieved, Patt grasped the door bar and
pulled.  It held fast.

 Patt muttered the thought, giving the door
another tug.  She would, of course, have been disappointed if
the door *hadn't* been locked--this was the site, after all, of the
Cousins official war meeting and reception.

Patt looked up, considering alternate methods of entry.  She
tilted her head as she peered at the CERK call letters above.
They appeared . . . askew.  The Third Cousin shrugged and
moved her sights lower, checking out the windows of the
second story.  Doggone it, she'd repelled before, and she could
do it again.

"Who's out there?"  A muffled voice spoke from within the
building.  Patt looked at the door, then stepped closer, her lips
inches from the metal surface.

"It is I, Patt, itinerant Cousin and officious NAer.   I've come to
pay homage to my Uncle."

"You're late," the voice said.

"Well, duhhhhhh," Patt replied wittily.  "And, I will be even
more tardy if you don't allow me entrance."

"How come you didn't arrive with the rest of your group?" the
voice persisted.

"Because I gotta be me," Patt huffed impatiently.  "Now, are you
going to open this door or not?"

The voice did not reply.

"OPEN THE *@^%%# DOOR!"  Patt stepped back, embarrassed
at the words which had just poured out of her mouth.  Fatigue
and stress, she surmised, had finally gotten the better of her.
She stared, dumbfounded, at the locked entry way.

There was a sudden electronic hum of a mechanism being
disengaged.  Surprised, Patt stepped back as the door opened a
slit.  A blue slit of an eye and half a forehead emerged, giving
Patt a thorough looking over.

"How do I know you're who you are?" the now partially visible
voice asked.   This must be a newbie, Patt thought, for the Third
Cousin didn't recognize the guard either.

Patt mentally scratched her head, wondering what might be
viable proof as of her identify.  She smiled, then in a quick
motion she rolled up her sleeve and held her wrist eye level
with the sentinel's vision.  "I have a white rose tattoo," Patt

"So do half the women who visit tattoo parlors," the guard
scoffed.  "You'll have to do better than that.

Patt closed her eyes, wandering if brute force was in order.  She
could probably get inside, but the retribution for causing
meeting mayhem might be of the nasty sort.  She reopened her
eyes, trying to refocus her verbal persuasive skills.

Then she saw it.  A slow smile spread across the Third Cousin's

Stooping, Patt grabbed the item which she'd spotted in the
alley, and held it aloft.

Catching sight of the emerald beer bottle, the guard gasped.
The door swung open wide and Patt, grinning wickedly,
handed the dead soldier to the live one and hurried down the

Finding the reception area was not a problem.  She'd been in
CERK . . . many, many, many, many times--usually against her
will and/or good judgement.   She figured the festivities would
be in the Rec Room and, as the noise increased in volume at her
approach, her speculation were confirmed.

The Third Cousin stopped just outside the maintenance
doorway which would give her access to the Rec Room.
Standing on tiptoe, she peered through the oval glass,
inspecting the milling crowd inside the room.  She saw a
variety of Cousinly types and, to her surprise, a number of

"Wonder what the DK's are doing here?" Patt wondered aloud,
watching their leader in conversation with LaCroix.

"Moooo," came a soft reply just behind her right ear.

"AHHHHHHH!" Patt yelped and swallowed a scream at the
same time.  Several people just inside the Rec Room turned
their heads to look at the vibrating door.  When nothing else
ensued, they returned to their conversations.

Just beyond their sight,  Patt lay in a heap on the tile floor,
staring up into the soft eyes of a Holstein.  The cow chewed her
cud methodically, easing its tongue from one nostril to the next.

"Hello, Bossy," Patt said shakily.  "How's the butter business?"

The cow swiped her tail, appearing bored with the Third
Cousin.  The animal abruptly turned and moved off down the
hall, turning left at the first juncture.  In a moment, Patt noticed
a familiar Cousin emerge from the right and give chase to the

"Her Bovinity," Patt mumbled to herself.  "Now I understand."

"I thought I saw something," Cousin Bob, Cousinly leader and
LaCroix's security chief, opened the swinging door and stepped
into the hall, standing over the still prone Third Cousin.
"LaCroix give you penance by having you scrub the floors?"

"Hardly," Patt replied, getting up and brushing herself off.  "I
just didn't want to disrupt the meeting by arriving late."

"Meeting's over," Bob replied.  "Where were you?"

"Detained," Patt replied, getting miffed at his questioning.  "But
I'm here now.  Why don't I just slip inside, make an appearance
for unity sake, and then be on my way, okay?"

Bob tilted his head, assessing the mature addict.  "Suits me,
because I don't think you're much of a security risk."  Patt
straightened, giving him a withering look.  "But, before you go
inside, I have my orders."


"To make sure you're not armed," Bob replied meaningfully.
"Spread um."

Bob's body search of the Third Cousin was beyond reproach,
but Patt was still wearing a syrupy grin when she finally
entered the reception area.  She quickly noted LaCroix's
position in the room, and moved to the far end of the meeting
area.  This put her in close proximity to the snack table, where
she began helping herself to tiny cheese cubes and black olives.

"So, where have you been hiding?" Jesse walked up to her
mature buddy, slapping a hand across Patt's back.

"Jess!" Patt bodily picked up the Illinois teenager and gave her a
bear hug.  "I was hoping to find a friendly face to fill me in on
what I missed.  How did the meeting go?"

"Usual stuff.  Who did what to whom and why.  I'll fill ya in
later . . . right now, I want some more of this."  Grabbing a thin
cracker, Jess reached over and plucked a glob of pecan studded
cheddar from a giant cheese ball.  "This thing is sinfully

"Enjoy," Patt encouraged the girl while she looked around the
room, mindful of the General's location.  "I see Heather and
Kusine over there.  I want to say *Hi*."

Patt crossed the room and began conversing with her two
fellow addicts.  She was so engrossed in Heather's new theories
about Clan family dynamics that she never saw him coming.

"Ahem," the deep voice was directly behind her.

  Patt turned slowly, adjusting her vision for his

"I'm pleased that you could join us, Ms. Elmore," LaCroix's
silky voice indicated anything but pleasure.  "I trust you're
enjoying the festivities."

A half eaten piece of pepperoni enlarged to the size of a gourd
in Patt's throat.

"Would you care to explain why you were unable to attend the
meeting this evening?" LaCroix's eyebrow did its thing and Patt
reddened noticeably.

The ancient waited which Patt choked the meat down.  He
sneered slightly and pronounced, "And, they wonder why I
don't miss eating . . . food."

Patt paled.

"So," LaCroix segued smoothly back into semi-friendly chat.
"What did detain you?"

"Errr . . ." Patt searched frantically for an appropriate answer
and came up with--the truth.

"Research," she blurted out.  Then she lied.  "I was trying to set
up a database to expound on theories of who might have the
most to gain from the Nat paper theft.  I got so absorbed in the
project that I just let time get away from me.  And," she
concluded, "I'm still set on CST and that gave me an extra hour
of permissible lateness, didn't it?"

"Hmmmm." LaCroix  looked either amused or pained.  "And,
did you reach any conclusions?"

Patt shook her head.

"Yet, I sense that there is something that you're not telling me,"
LaCroix said, leaning in to tower over the Third Cousin.  "What
else would you like to tell me?"

Patt's heart thudded in her chest.  She knew he was listening to
its rapid beat, his vampiric senses reading it more accurately
than any polygraph could ever hope to.

"Nothing," Patt lied.  "There's nothing else to report, Sir."

"I see," LaCroix pulled back, straightening.  He gave the addict
one more quick glance, then moved away.

Patt looked around the room, wondering if she should stay or
flee.  Across the room, Cousinly Leader Tok appeared to be
watching her.  Paranoid, Patt decided that leaving would be
best.  She turned toward the maintenance door.

Bonnie blocked her path.

"I've been instructed to schedule a *private meeting* for you
with LaCroix," The Scribe-turned-Leader addressed Patt in an
official tone of voice.

"Why didn't you send your secretary to set up my
appointment?" Patt replied.

"What?"  Bonnie was confused, but quickly hid it.  It was not
appropriate for Leaders to appear confused in front of the

"Have her send me a memo." Patt moved to go past Bons, set
on reaching the door and the relative safety of her pickup truck,
so that she could go somewhere quiet and think.

"Don't walk away from me, Patt," Bonnie ordered.  Bons was
tired, cranky and still itching from flea bites.  Dealing with Patt
was not her idea of a fun activity.

"I'm not walking away, Bonnie," Patt replied over her shoulder
as she disappeared through the door.  "I'm running.  Running
off to do what I've been ordered to do.  Find that darned
research data."


WAR: RP: Who the ...? (01/01)
by Libby Singleton

PLACE after any other uses of Screed that night....
Featuring:  Libby Singleton, Screed and anonymous.  The GHP
mentioned with the GHP's permission.

     "I've 'eard enuff o' that jammy-jam nonsense!" Screed

     "Jammy-jam nonsense?" Libby barked back.  She sat on
Screed's bed, reading a book by the glow of hundreds of white
Christmas lights he'd strung throughout his place.  "'Pursemonger'
iz a classic, it iz! A real piece o' liter-ary-a-ture."

     Screed replied by pursing his lips together, emitting a very
rude sound.

     Jumping to her feet, Libby raised the book to smack the
carouche across the head with it, then stopped.  This was her prized
bought-at-Bridging-the-Knight, now personally autographed copy
and she didn't want the book damaged.  Instead, she whacked him
with the palm of her hand.

     "OOOWWWIIIEEEE!" she cried, trying to shake the pain
from her hand.  This Toronto visit wasn't getting off to a good start
at all.  The Powers That Be were probably lurking around the
corner, just waiting to nab her for turning in a "Nat Luvs Screed"
TV movie proposal.  The NAers had accused her of stealing the
cure.  Now Screed wasn't appreciating her favorite novel.
Frustrated, she tucked the book under her arm, grabbed her
backpack, and headed out the door.

     "Wait, me Libratsie!" Screed cried, following her.  "Them
Powers That Be could be waitin' tew ambush."

     "I don't care," Libby growled, spinning to stick her tongue
out at him.

     "Suit yewrself then," Screed snorted.  "Got better thingees
wot tew dew than 'ang around wit' grumpies."  Suddenly, he
stopped, seeming to stare over Libby's head.  "'Ey! Iz tha'

     Libby turned.  At the end of the alley was a familiar looking
backside.  She could see where the confusion of identity originated,
as the woman's hair matched Vachon's exactly.  "Tha's not the
V-man, but I know 'er, I dew!"

     Running, she caught up with her friend, grabbing her by the
arm.  "I wuz wonderin' if yew'd made it!"

     "Made it?" the woman asked, puzzled.

     "Tew the War!"  Sizing her friend up, Libby wrinkled her
nose in disgust.  "Wot 'appened tew you?  All covered in soot.  Or
are yew turnin' into a Ratpacker?"

     "Not that I know of."

     Screed scratched the back of his head.  "Iz a bit smudged,
ain't she.  Let's get 'er back to my place an' let 'er clean up."

     Libby tugged her in the direction of Screed's abode.
"Oughta tickle ya proper-like tha' 'e thought you were Vachon!"

     "Who's Vachon?"

     Libby and Screed stopped in their tracks, looking at each
other.  "You don't know the V-Man?" Screed asked.

     "No, I don't, and where the hell are you taking me?"

     "Tew shower," Libby explained, a twinge of hurt in her
voice.  "Yewr actin' like you don't know me."

     "I don't!" the woman said, her eyes narrow and suspicious.

     Libby and Screed turned on their most pathetic "but we're
totally harmless and you're one of our best friends" looks.

     "We're 'armless," Screed said softly, staring directly into her

     The woman's face softened, she even smiled.  "But... you
look harmless enough, and a shower would be nice...."

     Libby guided her friend into the Place, pointing to a corner
where several plastic table cloths had been rigged into a square.
"Tha's the shower."

     "*That's* a shower?" the woman asked.  "But there's no

     "Ol' Screed will fetch yew some water in me bucket,"
Screed offered.  He reached into the afore mentioned container and
pulled out his stained, worn, Forever Knight logo stitched boxers.

     "Yew washed yewr boxers?" Libby asked in disbelief.

     "'Ad tew," he explained.  "There wuz this in-co-dent over
tew the Merc's an' an me knickers ended up against the Grand High
Pain-in-the Butt's face.  Don't know where 'er face 'as been so's I
dinna want me bum agin them 'til they were properly ster-o-lized."

     Libby looked over her shoulder to see the woman peering
into the shower.  Intent on chasing the rats out from behind the
'curtains, she apparently hadn't heard their exchange.  "Pssst,
Screed, don't bother fetchin' more water.  Tha' looks clean enuff,

     "Clean 'nuff fer me," Screed agreed.  He took out a pocket
knife and punched a few holes in the bottom of the bucket.  "'Ere yew
go Ms. Snooty-Sooty-Patootee."

     After he propped it up so that the water was showering
down, the woman thanked him with a hesitant smile and stepped
behind the curtains.  "Hey!" she cried, tossing her clothing across
the curtains.  "There's no drain!"

     "The floors need some spit n' polish anyways," Screed

     Libby looked on the floor where a computer diskette had
fallen from her friend's pocket.  "We should charge 'er a bit wot fer
the bother.  An' lookie 'ere, a disk!  Might 'ave somethin' shiny,
pretty, an' profit-a-ble on it!"

     "Yewr friend, she's not o' the type wot 'ave *THE* info, iz
she?" Screed pondered, smacking his lips with eager anticipation.

     Grinning a greedy Ratpacker grin, Libby shrugged.
"Wouldna put it past 'er!"

     Libby pulled her laptop computer from her backpack as
Screed dropped a few particularly energetic ratsies in a rodent
exercise wheels.  The ratsies started running in their wheels as Libby
plugged the computer into the generator that the rodents were
powering.  When the computer was booted, she slid the disk into
the proper slot and called up the program.

     "Cooooooo!" Screed and Libby muttered together.

Continued in "One Good Cut Deserves Another" (I hope....)
Would you still respect me in the morning?
by Bertha Hildegard  War 9 Vaqmommy

Author's note: I know nothing of Canadian law.  Any discrepancies are all=


Time: Sunrise.  Tuesday morning.

Tracy Sue mopped her forehead.  This was her sixth rendition of 'I will
survive,' and it didn't look like the RatPack members were getting tired of
the performance.  It was sick.

"I think I'm done now." She said.

"Yippee! Now ya' cn' give me' droogy Screed 'is footsy rubby-rubby." One of
the Ratpackers said.

Sighing, Tracy Sue launched into another rendition of the song.


About an hour later, Tracy Sue decided that enough was too much.  She
seized on a desperate plan, and clung to it like a drowning sailor.  But when you're
dressed in a french maid's outfit, and about to sand down a carouche's
corns, anything looks good.

Carefully, Tracy Sue pulled her multitool out of her outfit (hey!  it's my
fiction.  I can hide a multitool from a bunch of addicts if I want.  Darn the
plot holes! Full steam ahead).  She attached a loose thread from the dress
to the lanyard of the tool, and tossed it over a rafter.  there it dangled,
catching the light from the window.

"Oh!  Pretty shiny thingy!" The Ratpackers stared off into space, admiring
the bright shiny.  While they remained mesmerized, Tracy Sue skated for the
door. Knocking cans of marbles over as she did.


Out in the streets, Tracy Sue skated in the general direction of the
church. Passing motorists honked, but otherwise she was left alone.  After
all, who wants to mess with a 5'4" woman wearing roller skates and mouse

The next block over, a patrol car stopped.  The officer leaned out, and
gawked openly at her.  "Don't you think it's a little early to be soliciting?"

"Do I look like a hooker to you?" Tracy Sue looked at him incredulously.


 Tracy Sue sat in the jail cell, staring malevolently at the hookers who
cowered from her in the other corner.  "I guess I did."  She glanced up as
a man in a business suit approached the cell"

"Ms. Hildegard? I'm the Crown Prosecutor."


"You, Ms. Bertha Hildegard."

"Sorry, you must have the wrong person.  My name is Tracy Morris."

"Ah, according to our records, you had your name legally changed to Bertha

"There's been a mistake."

"For your sake Ms. Hildegard, I hope so." The prosecutor frowned.  "Unless
you can prove that your name really is Tracy Morris, we're going to have to
book you for using illegal documents to enter the country."

Laplor Vaquero 2nd in Command, War 8 vet

Owner of:
Would you still respect me in the morning? (2/3)
By: Bertha Hildegard War 9 Vaqmommy
Time:  Right after Would you still respect me in the morning 1/3

Laplor picked up the phone after the first ring.  She hoped it was good
news. She needed good news.  The Vaqmommy and Nastassia, one of the faction
members were still missing.

To make matters worse, Vachon's blood supply was gone and they hadn't been
able to reach Bonnie P.

"Church of Universal Life.  Home to the Vaqueros.  This is Laplor, how may
I help you?"

"Lap!" She was relieved to hear Tracy Sue's voice on the line.

"Where are you?"

"I'm in jail." Tracy Sue said.


"*Someone* changed my name to Bertha Hildegard." Laplor could almost see
the steam coming out of Tracy Sue's ears.  "Now
they're holding me on suspicion of entering the country on forged

"I'll send help." Laplor said.

"Hurry." she heard Tracy Sue say as she hung up the phone.  She pinched the
bridge of her nose with her thumb and forefinger.  Being in charge was no

"Um . . . Lap?" She looked up. Vachon was standing in the doorway, holding
an empty wine bottle.  "I just drank the last of the good stuff."

"Hang on." she moved to where Nafs was sitting at a bank of computers.  "I
found Tracy Sue.  Any luck locating Nastassia."  Nafs was an internet
virtuoso.  Research was her speciality.  If there was any sign of the
missing Vaquera, she could find her.

"Nothing yet." Nafs said.

"Keep trying.  I've got another assignment for you."  Laplor said.  "We've
been attacked.  Someone changed the Vaqmommy's name.  I need you to find the
records, switch them back, and follow the paper trail.  Someone had to have
screwed up somewhere.  I want to know where. And if they have any more
nasty surprises for us."

"Gotcha." Nafs took a long sip of her tea.

Laplor then turned in time to see Stephanie come in from feeding the camels
and dogs.

"Steph.  you're of age.  I need you to go to the Raven and get some special
stock."  She handed her fellow Vaquera some of the money from the manure
sales. "Take Bamf-Cat with you to carry it all back."

Stephanie looked doubtfully at the money in her hand.  "It won't last

"Yeah, I know," Laplor said.  "But it's better than nothing.  I may need
the rest to bail the Vaqmommy out of jail."

"I'm a law school grad," Sarah Houghton said. Maybe if I go down and argue
with the crown prosecutor, I can get her sprung on a technicality."

"I'll go with you." Laplor said.

"Lap!" Nafs called out from the computer banks.

"What now." Laplor released a weary sigh.

"I just found that the church has been declared a historical landmark."

"Bunny spit and dead yaks through a straw!" Laplor cursed.  "How did that

"Someone must've had it done." Nafs said.  "They signed their signature as
Bertha Hildegard."

"That sort of thing takes years." Stephanie said.  "And the buildings have
to meet a stricter code than this one does."

"Who do we know that has this kind of pull in the city?" Laplor asked

"My father's on the police commission." A falsetto voice echoed from the
crowd of Vaqueras.

"Tracy Vetter." The entire group chorused.

"I don't know."  Laplor said.  "That's not her style.  She's not likely to 
commit a major felony like this."

"Maybe one of the Dark Perks acted in her place." Javier Kyle suggested.

"Possible," Laplor said.  "I think I'll go have a talk with the city
planning secretary.  We'll get this straitened out."


Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 07:13:17 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: All That Glitters Is Not Gold (01/03)
X-UIDL: 44a28e49762e6c98d22b8529329f55f3

Title: All that Glitters Is Not Gold (01/03) Part I: A-Hunting We
Will Go
Time: Tuesday, April 28, 11:00am
Place: The N&N HQ
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Glennis, Wayne, and Jesse
All persons herein are used with their permission.  Rosemary is an
*especially* brave soul!

"It's too early!" Jesse complained in a tone that only required a
slight change of pitch to make it into a whine.

"Shhh!" Kusine and Glennis hissed.

"It's not even noon yet," Jesse continued, but slightly quieter.
"And you didn't even let me bring any coffee.  You're mean.  I
want you to know," she said huffily, "I wouldn't be doing this if
it weren't to save Rosemary."

The other two addicts turned to the teenager.  Kusine moved toward
her only slightly, but with enough menace that Jesse snapped her
mouth shut over whatever complaint she was going to make next.
Glennis patted Jesse's hand absently, and reached for the

Peering through them around the corner of the alley, Glennis could
see the front door of the N&N headquarters: the Theatre.  There
were multi-colored pictures on the wall, undoubtedly the result of
an attack.  Only one person was on guard duty, a male.  Looking
closely at the doors, Glennis could see the sensor pads that
indicated a security system.

Glennis turned back to her companions, who were now having a
Cousinly staring contest.  Jesse won by slowly levitating an
eyebrow in the fashion of LaCroix and making Kusine giggle.
Glennis sighed, regaining their attention.  She reported her

"Are we ready then?" Kusine asked.

The addicts nodded.  Jesse quickly flicked her lighter, then they
picked up their toolkits and headed for the front door of the

"Hi!" Glennis said cheerfully to the guard on duty, who wore a
small "Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin" sticker.  "We're here about your
plumbing problem."

Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin looked over the group before him.  Three short
females of varying ages stood there, clad in baggy gray jumpsuits
and matching baseball caps pulled low over their eyes, making it
impossible to see anything of their faces but their mouths.  They
all smiled in a way that made him nervous.

"I wasn't told about any plumbing problems," he said warily.
"I'll have to check.  What company are you with?"

"P.P. & P. Plumbing," Glennis said quickly.

"What do the P's stand for?" Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin asked.

"Our names.  I'm Pat," Glennis announced.

"I'm Penny," Jesse said.

"I'm Violet," Kusine said.  They all looked at her.  "Well, "P.P.
& V. Plumbing" just doesn't have the same ring to it, does it?"
she asked, somewhat desperately.

"I'm going to check you out," Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin said.

The guard looked suspiciously at them and punched the security
code for the front door.  There was a faint click and
Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin pulled open the door.

"Look!"  Jesse suddenly yelled, pointing towards the alley from
which they had just come.  "He's on fire!"

The addicts watched as the scene registered in the the guard's
head: a body was lying on the floor of the alley in a patch of
sunlight.  It was in flames.  Tousled blonde hair was visible, as
well as a long black coat and dark sunglasses.  They saw the
instant when it all added up: Nick!

"Stay right here!" Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin commanded, and made a dash
toward the flaming vampire.

"OK!" Glennis yelled at the retreating figure, and stuck her foot
out, stopping the door from closing completely.

The addicts slipped inside.  Pulling their caps down further and
keeping their eyes on the floor, they moved through the lobby and
toward the back of the Theatre.  Now that they were inside, no one
paid any attention to then, believing they had been allowed in.

"The main fuse box should be in the basement," Kusine whispered.
"Once we cut the power, we should be able to nab our target in the

"Let's try in the back, then," Glennis, who had painted scenery
for plays many times, whispered back.  "That's usually where the
way down is."

Still, no one was paying any attention to them, but they quickened
their pace.  By now, the guard outside would have discovered that
it was not Whiny Boy toasting in the sun, but rather Kusine's
inflatable date (well, not Kusine's *date*, but she owned the
latex doll.  If Kusine wanted a date, it wouldn't be inflatable,
thank-you-very-much!).  The alarm would soon be sounded.

They finally reached the basement and were searching (fruitlessly
- because it was in the lobby and they had walked right past it,
the idiots ... but they didn't know that) for the fusebox when
Jesse heard singing.  Listening closely, she recognized the tune:
"All I Ask of You" from Phanton of the Opera.  They had found
their woman.  Signalling to her friends, they closed in on the
sound.  Rosemary, the traitor, could be seen in the brightly lit
kitchen, eyes closed, hands clutched before her, singing and
emoting like she was on stage.

"We're in luck!" Glennis whispered with glee.

Rose's eyes snapped open when she felt the cold metal of the
handcuffs snapping shut around her wrists.  Before a burlap sack
was dropped over her head, she got a quick glimpse of three
grinning faces.

"Hey!"  Rosemary yelled.  "What are you doing?  Help!"

Her yells were soon muffled by the bag.  Kusine pushed gently, and
Rosemary fell to the floor with a thump.  Quickly grabbing and
tying the open end of the bag, the three addicts began to drag her

They could hear footsteps moving in the other basement rooms.
Very fast.

"Poop!" Kusine exclaimed.  "What now?"

"The stairs.  Now!" Glennis said.

Quickly making their way back to the stairs, the trio dragged the
unhappy N&Ner to the back door.  It was covered with sensors for
the alarm.  After only a brief, flustered pause, they pushed it
open.  A piercing alarm rent the air.

The addicts ran the few feet to the Saturn parked in the alley
behind the Theatre, Rosemary bumping along behind them.  Kusine
unlocked the trunk and the three addicts shoved their captive
inside on top of miscellaneous sports equipment and a large coil
of rope.

They got in the car and, squealing the tires, pulled out into the
street.  Swerving to avoid the angry Hi-My-Name-Is-Kevin shaking
his fists over the melted puddle of their diversion, the addicts
headed for the Shrine.


=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 07:08:24 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: All That Glitters Is Not Gold (02/03)
X-UIDL: 3a5c7e506e985e8be7eca5dbe79acd7d

Title: All that Glitters Is Not Gold (02/03), Part II: Silken Sounds
Time: After Part 1, Tuesday, April 28, Noon
Place: The NA Shrine
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Glennis, Wayne, and Jesse
All persons herein are used with their permission.

Rosemary was already complaining when the trio of addicts dragged
her in the front door of the Shrine.  Her voice was muffled inside
the burlap sack, but they could hear the words "kill", "regret",
"vengance", "itchy", and several other words that aren't fit for a
PG-13 post.  Looking around, the addicts noticed that the Shrine
was unusually empty.  At this time of day, there were usually a
few addicts running around, causing trouble, but none were in
sight.  //Well, that's lucky for us!// Jesse thought, as she moved
the large coil of rope over her shoulder into a more comfortable

"Where should we take her?" asked Glennis, looking quizzically
down the many passageways leading off the main room of the Shrine.
 "We don't want to be disturbed."

"You're already disturbed!" Rosemary yelled from inside the sack.

"She doesn't understand that we're trying to help her," Kusine
said sadly.  "Rose, this is for your own good!"

The only reply was an increase in the kicking from the trapped
N&Ner.  The addicts all shook their heads and looked around the
room.  Suddenly, Jesse snapped her fingers.

"The Sound Room!"  she exclaimed and cackled wildly.  "No one will
be able to hear her scream."

With cries of assent, the addicts pulled the bag o' traitor across
the marble floor, down a hallway, and yanked open the thick door
to the most heavily soundproofed room in the Shrine.  Instantly,
The Voice flooded out:

"Love...How it toys with us...makes utter fools of us...flogs,
whips, and spanks us..."

Jesse, Kusine, and Glennis stopped dead in their tracks.  Even
Rosemary quieted at Nunkies' smooth tones.  Eyes began to glaze
over and knees began to weaken.  With an incredible act of will,
Jesse managed to pull her attention back to the task at hand.
Reaching into Kusine's backpack, she pulled out a crumpled tax
form.  Waving it in front of Kusine and Glennis, she watched as
their eyes came back into focus and their faces take on
expressions of distaste.  Kusine snatched the Anti-Nunklear Device
out of the teenager's hand and quickly stuffed it back into her

"Ick," Kusine said, wiping her fingers on her toga.

"Thanks, Jesse," Glennis said.  "I don't know if I could have
pulled myself out of it!"

Jesse scurried into the room and hit the off button on the stereo
before they had Nunklear relapses.  As wonderful as Nunkies' voice
was, they had work to do!  As a Cousin, Jesse knew that LaCroix
would understand that there were times when pleasure was
outweighed by duty.

"Hey!" a voice yelled when the stereo went silent.  "We were
listening to that!"

Peering over the back of the red velvet couch, the addicts spied
Christina and Beth sprawled across the cushions.  They looked
seriously annoyed.

"Ooops!  Sorry, Christina, Beth,"  Glennis said.  "We didn't know
anyone was in here."

"Can we borrow the room for a bit?" Kusine asked, smiling sweetly.

"It's important," Jesse added.

Christina narrowed her eyes and tried to look behind Glennis and
Kusine, who were attempting to hide the thrashing, bagged
Rosemary.  Beth stood up and tried to get closer to the muttering
sack, but Kusine and Glennis smiled even more sweetly, and she
backed away with understandable fear (as would anyone who sees an
addict fake Tracy-worthy sweetness).

"What are you doing?" Christina asked suspiciously, sitting up to
get a better look.

"Nothing," Jesse replied innocently.

"You have a mumbling, moving bag of nothing?" Beth inquired

"Yep!" Kusine said happily. "That's it!"

"That's a person in there, isn't it?" Christina asked.  "Is it
Nunkies?!  You want to keep him all for yourself!" she accused.

"Of course it's not Nunkies," Glennis said.  "It's daytime!"

"Besides," Jesse said, "Do you really think we'd be able to stuff
LaCroix in a bag?"

"Good point.  But who is it?"  Beth asked.

Kusine suddenly reached into her backpack and pulled out two
anatomicaly-correct Nunkies treats: one chocolate, one vanilla.
The other four addicts looked hungrily at them.  Glennis reached
out her hand to snatch them, but Kusine smacked it sharply.

"No way, Glennis the Menace!  These things get *you* into too much
trouble,"  Kusine said, then held a vanilla and a chocolate man of
their fantasies out to Christina and Beth.  "I'll let you have
these if we can have the room for a few hours."

"Are you bribing us?" Beth asked.

"Yep!" Jesse chirped.

"Ok, I just wanted to make sure!"  Beth said.

Gathering their drool cups and NA black silk handkercheifs,
Christina and Beth hopped over the back of the couch.  Snagging
their Nunkies, they ran out the door, not even sparing a look at
the burlap sack.

As soon as the other addicts were gone, Glennis and Kusine dragged
Rosemary into the room, shut the door, and left her there while
they rearranged the room.  Kusine pushed the couch against one
wall while Glennis moved the coffee table to the other.  Jesse
pushed three chairs into a semi-circle, dropping the rope in front
of them.  They stripped off their coveralls, revealing their NSVV
mini-togas underneath.

"Be right back!" Kusine called and left, carfully closing the door
behind her.

When she returned with two black cases and a wooden
straight-backed chair, Glennis was rooting around in a cabinet and
Jesse was crouched down near Rosemary.  Jesse took the chair as
Kusine taped a sign on the door (DO NOT DISTURB UNDER PAIN OF
PLAYING COUSIN JESSE AT POOL), then closed and locked it.

"I don't know some of the words Rose is saying," the teenaged
addict said, shaking her head.  "And I thought I was pretty

"She's sick right now," Glennis said sympathetically, joining the
other two in standing over the burlap bag.  "Think of her as ...
possessed.  It's not Rosemary in there, but the spirit of a N&Ner
invading her body."

"So what we're doing is an excorcism, like when That Other Guy was
possesed," Kusine said.  "But without the lamb's blood."

"Right," Glennis agreed.  "You ready?"

The other two addicts nodded.  Jesse grabbed the coil of rope from
the floor, and Kusine untied the bag.  A foot lashed out, but they
all managed to avoid it.  Quickly grabbing Rose by the legs,
Glennis pulled her toward the straight-backed chair while Kusine
yanked away the sack.  It took all three of them, but they managed
to get the possessed and struggling addict into the chair and tied

Once she realized that she was firmly tied and was going to get
nothing but brush burns from trying to escape, Rosemary contented
herself with glaring at the addicts in stubborn silence.  Kusine
and Glennis sat down in the chairs facing the angry traitor and
gazed upon her compassionately.  Jesse turned out all the lights
in the room except for one bright, focused spotlight shining
directly over the abductee's head.

Jesse admired the effect: Kusine and Glennis were in the shadows
while Rose was squinting in the harsh light.  She'd seen enough
movies to know that this was how the very best class of
interrogations looked.  Of course, those doing the questioning
weren't usually wearing togas, but some allowences had to be made.
 Jesse joined the others in the dark.

"Now, Rosemary," Glennis said gently, "We know that you must be
very confused right now."

"Those N&Ners have been filling your head with lies," Jesse said,
getting right to the point.

"Why have you turned from Nunkies?" Kusine asked.

"My primary affiliation has always been the N&N," Rosemary spit
out, straining to see the faces of her tormenters in the darkness.
 "LaCroix may be good to lust after, but he can't be trusted!"

"Oh, but he can!" Kusine said, leaning forward slightly.  Rose
could see her face slightly, but the play of light and shadow made
it into a skeletal mask.  "He can be trusted to always do what's
right for himself and those he cares about.  That includes his

"And his addicts," Jesse said darkly.  "What do you think LaCroix
would do if he found out that you'd defected from NA?"

"We know that you need him, Rosemary," Glennis said softly,
insinuatingly.  "Return to Nunkies Anonymous."

"Come back into the fold," Kusine whispered.  "Join us."

"Before LaCroix finds out," Jesse hissed.

Rosemary's eyes widened in alarm, but she clamped her lips tightly
together.  She wasn't going to give them the satisfaction of
speaking.  The addicts let her sit, allowing the abolute silence
to grow in the room, filling it with menace and dread.

After a few minutes, there was a deep sigh from the darkness.

"She's too far gone, I'm afraid," said Glennis sadly.

"There's only one thing left to do then," Jesse said with a voice
that was terrifyingly cheerful.


=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 07:09:10 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: All That Glitters Is Not Gold (03/03)
X-UIDL: 30331317606c96bdec4279f4935971bb

Title: All that Glitters Is Not Gold (03/03), Part III: Where
Fools Fear to Tread
Time: After Part 2, Tuesday, April 28, 12:30pm and many hours
Place: NA Shrine, the Tunnels under Toronto
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Glennis, Wayne, and Jesse
All persons herein are used with their permission.

Immediately, The Voice of Nunkies filled the room.  As this was a
wonderful thing for addicts, it was very difficult for Jesse,
Glennis, and Kusine to leave the room, but they knew they had to.
If they stayed, they would become entranced and turn into small
puddles of jello and drool.  As fun as that would normally be,
they were on a very important mission, and couldn't risk the

They camped outside the door to the Sound Room for the next four
hours to prevent entry.  Glennis made them dinner out of a preview
copy of the NA Cookbook, "Recipes from the Jeweled Peach", while
Kusine proceeded to lose all her sweets to Jesse in several games
of poker ("No, Kusine, really.  If they all hadn't been hearts,
you would have won ... Would I lie to you?").

At one point, the saw Joni, Debbie, and Rosalie, fellow addicts
all, run by on their way to the Kitchen/Lab.  Soon after that,
there was some screaming, then a thump, but that was all pretty
normal for the Shrine.  Glennis, Jesse, and Kusine decided that
there must have been a Ratpacker in the pantry and the addicts had
dispatched it.  Nothing to worry about.

Finally, when they thought that Rose would have cracked for sure,
they open the door and aimed the remote control into the room,
stopping the divine sound of LaCroix's voice.  They retuned to
their chairs after locking the door behind them.  Rosemary's face
was stiff and her eyes glassy.  The addicts nudged each other at
this good sign.

"Have you repented, Rose?" Glennis asked gently.

The captive's eyes suddenly focused, and she began to laugh.  It
was a more of a cackle, actually, with an edge of hysteria.

"NEVER!" she yelled, after she regained her breath.

"You will not deny the evil *niceness* of the Angsting One?" Jesse
asked, in disbelief.

"Even after listening to Nunkies for *four whole hours*?!" Kusine

Rose refused to speak, but held her head up defiantly.  The
addicts turned to each other in consternation.

"She's strong!" Glennis whispered.  "I would never be able to

"That's why you're a true addict," Kusine said softly, patting
Glennis' hand reassuringly.

"I don't know that there's any hope for her," Jesse said.  "She
may truly be turned to the N&Ner side."

"We'll have to treat her as an enemy, then," Glennis said.

"You don't mean...?" Kusine asked with trepadation.

Jesse and Glennis nodded.  There was a shuffling in the dark as
the addicts pushed aside their chairs and moved about the room.
Rosemary couldn't see them, but they were moving all around her,
making disturbing metallic sounds.

Suddenly, the light over her head turned off, and Rose squeaked
through her still tightly-closed lips.  One by one, candles were
lit in front of her, marking off a ten foot semi-circle on the
floor.  Glennis was lighting the candles, now with a long black
cape thrown over her short chiffon toga.  Jesse stood to the side,
a deeply polished violin in her hands, and Kusine stood on the
other side, holding a brightly-shining, but somewhat dented,
trombone.  Glennis blew out her match, then handed
industrial-strength earplugs to her compatriots.  They all firmly
inserted them in their ears, then turned their eyes to their
captive.  Glennis stood near the footlights (being extra-careful
not to set her flowing cape on fire).

"For your listening pleasure," she announced, speaking too loudly
because of the earplugs, "May we present a full-length performance
of your favorite musical: The Phantom of the Opera!"

Rosemary stared at the addicts with horror as the trumpet began to
make a sound that would have caused bagpipes to fall in love.  If
she listened closely, she could kind of recognize the tune of
"Phantom of the Opera", but she couldn't be sure.  The violin soon
added its squeaky noise to the din, adding insult to her already
injured ears and sensibilities.  It wouldn't have been any worse
than a grade school performance if they had been able to keep
proper time.  However, with the combination of the earplugs and
simple lack of talent, it was atrocious.

The sounds filled the room with their dissonace, making Rosemary
want to cry out in pain.  She tried to lean her head to the side
and plug one ear using her shoulder, but they had tied her too
tightly; she was immobile.  After a few minutes, the music
stopped.  Rosemary allowed the muscles she hadn't even known she'd
tensed to relax.  The silence was a salve for her abused ears.
The only sound to disturb her peace was the rustling of paper.

Jesse joined Glennis on the little stage.  She pulled a light blue
cloak around herself and smiled brightly at Rosemary.  With a deep
breath, she launced into "Think of Me."  At least, that what
Rosemary thought it was supposed to be.  She could recognize the
words, but the melody was off-key and -tempo, and when Glennis
joined in, it only got worse.

The concert continued for three hours, only getting more terrible
as the performers grew tired.  They were unable to keep a beat,
even when Glennis played the bongoes.  The musicians themselves
seemed to be immune from their wretched booming, banging, and
caterwauling, but Rose had begun to whimper halfway through the
first act.  By the end of the performance, her head was hanging
and she was mewling like a newborn kitten.

After they had taken their bows, Kusine, Glennis, and Jesse turned
on the lights.  They yanked out their heavy-duty earplugs and
tossed them in the trash, then crowded around their captive.

"I think we broke her," Kusine said.

Jesse prodded Rosemary's leg with her sandaled foot, and Glennis
crouched down to look in their victim's face.

"Rose, you resisted our true attempt to help you,"  Glennis said

"Yeah and look what it got you," Jesse said, giggling.  "A private

The N&Ner raised her head and stared blearily at the trio around
her.  Glennis stood up and looked at her contemplatively.

"Kusine, remember the art supplies that we got at the warehouse
store yesterday?" Glennis asked.

"Yeah," the Ohioan agreed, then scrunched her face into a frown.
"There were some kewl frog stickers you wouldn't let me buy."

"You *know* that Jules wouldn't have approved of them on NA
credit," Jesse said placatingly, then turned to Glennis.  "What
did you have in mind?"


When Glennis was done with Rose, she actually looked quite pretty.
 The gold glitter was very shiny, now that the glue had dried.  It
was going to be difficult for her to get it out of her hair, but
Glennis had put written instructions in her pocket about how to
easily get it out.  She was bad, but she wasn't mean.

Jesse had found a cheese-scented air-freshener ("Wow!  Who knew
they made these?!") in one of the art cupboards and had put it
around the traitor's neck.  Kusine replaced the handcuffs with
several strong windings of shiny silver duct tape.

Rosemary stayed very still throughout her be-glittering.  She just
glared, but the addicts could read her mind.  Or, rather, Glennis
and Kusine could read her mind; Jesse wasn't yet old enough to
read thoughts that were in that strong of language.

They draped the burlap sack over Rose's head, but allowed her to
walk to Kusine's sleeping chamber.  Kusine opened the wardrobe
door and pushed aside the clothes.  While she had been unpacking,
the addict had found the new entrance to the Ratpack's tunnels;
she now kept her shiny valuables locked up in a small safe in
Jesse's room.

Pulling a small flashlight out of her backpack, she preceded the
rest into the tunnels.  Once in, Glennis removed the sack so Rose
could easily see where she was going.  They walked for about
twenty minutes, quickly leaving the warren of paths within the
walls of the Shrine and Jeweled Peach.  The tunnels beneath the
city grew older as they moved steadily on.

"How are we going to get back?" Glennis worried.

"Don't worry," Kusine assured her followers.  "I rarely get lost.
And if nothing else, I know Screedspeak; I should be able to ask
one of the Ratcatcher's friends for directions."

"We could always just find a Ratpacker and trade them Rosemary for
guidance back to the Shrine," Jesse pointed out.

This earned the teenager a sharp glare and an almost-hiss from
Rose.  Their captive stopped suddenly.

"I'm not going any further with you," she declared.  "Let me go!"

"Sure," Jesse said.  "We'd be glad to get rid of a traitor."

"Think you can find your way out before the Ratpackers find shiny,
pretty you?"  Glennis asked devilishly.  "Ooh, and you also smell
all nice and cheesy, too!"

"I recommend going that way," Kusine said, pointing toward a more
brightly lit section of the tunnels.  "Go straight, then take a
right; that should take you to the parking structure for the

Rosemary glared at them one last time for good measure and stomped
off in the direction indicated.  Before she was out out earshot,
Glennis smiled evily.

"Let's get back," she said, loud enough to be heard by the
retreating N&Ner.  "We've go to check on the notebooks and disks."

"What--" Kusine began, and was promptly kicked in the shin by
Jesse.  "Ow!"

"Yeah," Jesse said loudly and grinned, "We need to make sure no
one's discovered them!  But I think they're hidden really well!"

"I don't--" Kusine began again, but Glennis clapped a hand over
the confused addict's mouth.

"Just think how pleased Nunkies will be with us when he hears
we've found the research!" Glennis exclaimed, and watched as
Rosemary turned a corner and was out of sight.

The Californian addict motioned back toward the Shrine with her
head and removed her hand from Kusine's mouth.  They started back
toward the Shrine, Jesse shushing Kusine every time she tried to
ask a question.  By the time they returned to the Sound Room to
clean up from their failed intervention, Kusine was in full pout
mode.  She wasn't speaking to or looking at either of her friends,
and not even the offer of a "Lucius in Repose" sticker would
appease her.

Once they were sure that they couldn't be overheard, Glennis and
Jesse exchanged a look of exasperation at their companion.

"Look, Kusine," Jesse explained patiently, "Now Rose is going to
go back to the N&Ners and tell them that she thinks we have
Natalie's research."

"It was just a stroke of genuis on my part," Glennis said
dreamily.  "If I do say so myself," she added when she saw Jesse's
dubious look.  "Well, it *was* clever!

"Yes, it was," Jesse agreed, and rubbed her hands together
gleefully.  "Now maybe we can get the money that Nick is offering
in reward.  We can give him some phoney notebook and disks, take
the money, and run!  And maybe even get a reward from Nunkies in
the process!"

"Great idea, guys!" Kusine said sarcastically.  "If it gets out
that we've got it, no one's just going to *give* us the reward!
They're going to try to *steal* the research back!"

"Oh," Glennis said, her look of joy dissolving.  "I hadn't thought
of that."

"Well, it's still a good idea," Jesse said defensively.  "We just
have to be really careful."

"We'll need to make up some fake notebooks and disks," Glennis
mused.  "Perhaps I can extend my artistic talents to forgery..."
Her voice faded out to a mumble as she pondered the challenge
before her.

"We should probably tell someone in charge what we're up to,
though," Jesse commented absently, obviously thinking more on the
forgery and the theoretical money to be gained.  "We could leave a
note for Jules."

"We can put it in the Wardrobe Room, since she's more likely to be
there than in her sleeping chamber," Glennis said, returning from
her visions of the falsification of documents.

Kusine just rolled her eyes.  "Come on, let's clean this place up
before Jules comes back and gives us grout duty."


=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

A Quick Pop Stop Part 1/2
by Laurie Mercbard and Mayan Rain

TIME: Late Tuesday afternoon into evening
Approximately the same time as "A Poobah, Perhaps?" and "Laurie and the
Cocoa A Go Go" Everyone used with permission

"Yo? Grand High Poo-pain? You there?"

Laurie looked up as her computer spoke. She grimaced, as she punched in
the current hour's security code, which accessed her private security
channel. Her operatives sure had a way with words, the greetings they
chose for their messages were clearly intended to irritate her as much as
possible. 'Why is everybody always pickin' on me?" she mumbled irritably.
 Some of these guys certainly had an inflated sense of humor; if they
didn't provide such valuable information, she'd have long ago left them to
the mercies of the denizens of the Guild's dungeons.

Her eyes lit up as she saw the sender. Only a very few of the GHP's most
trusted associates had access to this channel - trust not being big with
her, that meant about one and a half people - and most importantly, knew
when and why to use it. She was already sure the information within would
be important, possibly even the actual location of Natalie's research.

A small sigh unconsciously slipped through her lips. A one million dollar
reward, there for the taking. Well, okay, technically, the rewards were
two, half a million from LaCroix and the same from Nick. But she was sure
that once the Guild got their hot little hands on the research, with a
little creative thinking, they'd be able to collect from both sides. And
the Mercs were nothing if not creative.

Well, she wasn't going to get rich(ER)(make that EST) by sitting here
daydreaming.  She opened the message, and as she quickly scanned it, her
eyes widened. She needed to move on this and she needed to move on it
*now*, before the parade passed by, so to speak.  Luckily, her errand
also provided the perfect opportunity to replenish her Nunkies pops
supply. She'd been far too generous with these to all the newbie Mercs.
Once her stash was refilled, the pops would remain "MINE MINE MINE MINE
MINE", she cackled gleefully.

Softly crooning, the MercBard headed out of her office. "Before the reward
passes by ... We're gonna get our share while it's still out there ..."

* * * The common room was occupied. Four Ratpackers bent over the table
were barely identifiable as human, covered in duct tape and bits of
material and the like. The quartet were muttering among themselves in
hacked-up Cockney accents and pushing several shiny objects back and
forth, while "Fever" played in the background on one of Merc Central's
many VCRs. A mass, that on further viewing, appeared to be Libby, was fast
asleep in the corner, the tail of the ratsie she constantly carried with
her stuck in her mouth along with her thumb.

As she stood there debating her options (immediate permanent eviction of
all Ratpackers being near the top of her list), Screed appeared on
screen. The Ratpackers, as if alerted by some inner alarm clock, snapped
their heads up in perfect synchroneity and stared at the television,
openmouthed, seemingly expecting some sort of divine revelation in the
unintelligible ramblings.

As soon as the scene was over, the four heads bobbed back down away from
the screen and the chattering started up again.

Laurie glanced around the common room. No one else was in sight. In fact,
not a creature was stirring, not even a ... well, okay, maybe no mice
were stirring, but some close relatives were definitely up and about.
Looked like these four were her only option. Just *how* badly did she want
to find that reward money, let alone replenish her Nunkies pops?"

Greed won out, as usual. "Okay, listen up, you guys ..." The GHP started
forward, straining to recall which one was which ... there were *so many*
of them these days... plus they all looked ... well, they definitely all
smelled ... alike.

As she approached, the redheaded Packer - was it Brianna? - squeaked and
snatched her belongings to her chest. The Poobah saw, among other things,
several rolls of duct tape. The one with the multicolored hair - she
remembered her, that was Maya - shot her a nervous glance before turning
back to the TV. The other two simply ignored her.

Laurie wondered briefly just how hard a Ratpacker would hit the ground
when tossed thirty feet in the air.  And whether the resulting stain on
the new carpeting would be permanent.

Maya suddenly let out a squeak, as Vachon appeared on screen. The
remaining three exchanged amused glances, and Michele snickered.

"Shut'yer hole," Maya sniffed, haughtily straightening her wrinkled black
teeshirt that proclaimed, rather cryptically, *EBOLA ZAIRE*. "Like ye won'
be gogglin' just as hard when yer precious LaCrow comes on. Or Li'l Miss
Lucy o'er there wit' her Nicky-poo," she added, nodding at. - yes, it was
Brianna of the duct tape.

The four continued to ignore the Poobah's presence, although Ursula, in
jeans and a black t-shirt that declared "I'm not evil, just
misunderstood", shot her a dismissive glance.

Laurie grit her teeth, took a deep breath, and raised the decibel level.
"I said LISTEN UP."

Maya jumped at the sound of her voice. Which was a good sign. (Actually,
Maya simply has a tendency to jump at any unexpected loud noise, but
Laurie didn't know this. So it was good.) However, Ursula's gaze remained
stuck on the roll of duct tape she had managed to entangle the back of her
chair in.

"Think she wants somethin', she does," Brianna said brightly, reluctantly
relinquishing her rolls of duct tape. Michele picked up one of the rolls
and turned it over in her hands, admiring it. A cigarette smoldered
between her fingers, it and everything else forgotten for the Joys of
Shininess and Duct Tape.

Laurie scowled at them impartially. Michele, she knew quite well, but
these other newbie Ratpackers were like aliens from another planet. And
they couldn't even speak English, at least not any *she* could
understand. If she had her way, she'd put them on the next spaceship back
to Planet Screed, with a big Return to Sender label pasted on their

No matter. She was the Grand High Poobah, and no newbie Ratpackers, at
least ones who valued their lives, would ignore her for long.

She held her temper, marveling for a moment that those anger management
courses seemed to have actually worked. "I have an errand to run."

She said evenly. "I need you guys to come along."

"But we're roight comfy here, we is," Maya protested, reluctantly turning
away from the TV.

"The High Pain said t' go," Brianna murmured.

"What was that?" Laurie said sharply.

"Um, nothin'."

"Don' wanna," Maya insisted, looking mutinous. "Oi'm not goin',
Poobahdawada. Soree."

Ursula snickered. "Whichun's next?" she asked, nodding at the VCR.

"Black Buddha, two."

"Oh!" Michele perked up. "Gotta watch that'un. Oi don' wanna go either."

Laurie walked over to the VCR and pressed pause. Unfortunately, she paused
the tape at the death scene, which did not help in gaining the Ratpackers'
attention- on cue, four Ratpacker noses started sniffling and turning
pink. "Great, just what I need, a Ratpacker meltdown," she muttered.
"They're bad enough unmelted. "You... will... go," Laurie said more
loudly, enunciating slowly. "Your Grand High Poobah orders you."

Brianna looked worried. "Izzat more official-like than jus' telling us?"

"Official?" Michele wrinkled her nose. "That's like... like
*organizashun,* roight?"

The four exchanged glances. "Ewwww," they said simultaneously.

"*Listen,*" Laurie growled. A dangerous glint appeared in her eye, as she
resisted the urge to see if a Ratpacker could fit into the tape opening
on a VCR. "I need you to come to Old Merc Central, you're coming. End of

"But what d'we get out of it?" Brianna asked shrewdly. "Nothin' for free,
ya know, y'told us that yerself, Miss High and Mighty Poobah. It 's in
that charter thingee, too, an' all." "Like you guy know how to read," Miss
High and Mighty muttered under her breath. "Yeah!" Ursula chimed in.
"'Cause then we'd be, we'd be like *volunteers.* An' tha's no good, ya

"Whyze you'd goin' ther anywaya, huh? Whatz for?" Michele piped in.

Everyone started talking at once, and the Poobah nearly screamed.
Unnoticed, the mass that was Libby stirred, as the noise woke her.

Then Laurie's eyes lit on the pile on the coffee table, and she perked up
as an idea hit her. "Well, you know," she said loudly, conspiratorially,
through the incomprehensible chatter, "Old Merc Central has a big
basement. There's lots of neat stuff in the basement. Nice... pretty...
*shiny* stuff."

They fell silent, eyes bright.

"*Shiny* stuff?" Urs- non-vampire Urs- squeaked eventually.

"Pretty, shiny stuff," Laurie agreed. She'd forgotten how easy it could
be to motivate a Packer.

The four jumped to their feet, squealing excitedly. They shoved their
trinkets into various bags, pockets, and hiding places before scurrying to
the door, dragging the suddenly overwhelmed Poobah behind them. Maya
hesitated by the VCR, then popped the tape out and stuffed it into one of
the seemingly bottomless pockets of her green army jacket before running
after Ursula, Michele, Brianna, and Laurie, crying, "Wait for meeee!" ***
Libby yawned as she heard the Ratpackers and the Grand High Pain depart.
"Whyze the PooPain agoin' too  Ole' Merc Central?" she wondered.  It was
too deep a thought, and soon fled from her tired brain. She supposed it
was time to get out there and find Johnsie. She picked herself up, dusted
herself off, and headed for the nearest tunnel. * * *

A Quick Pop Stop Part 2/2
by Laurie Mercbard and Maya

TIME: Late Tuesday afternoon into evening
Approximately the same time as "A Poobah, Perhaps?" and "Laurie and the 
Cocoa A Go-Go"
Everyone used with permission

Getting into Old Merc Central proved to be more difficult than Laurie had
 anticipated. For starters, there was a toll gate at the entrance.  Hanging off the end 
of the gate was a pair of pink boxers. The GHP paused, peering at the obstruction.

"That's weird.  I don't remember the old HQ having a toll gate," she said
 suspiciously, as her eyes alit on the other mounds of debris now littering the seemingly
 abandoned building.

Seemingly being the operative word here.  Once past the toll booth and 
debris, a myriad of obstacles stood in the way of entry.  Even given the natural 
course of abandoned buildings, clearly, all was not quite as it seemed at Old Merc
 Central. Which did not seem to bother the Ratpackers one eensy weensy bit, as they
 familiarly climbed over the debris and headed into the building.

Laurie scrambled over behind them and stopped short, staring into the 
entrance hallway. All over the floor, and stretching far beyond, were tin cans, with strings
 sticking out at all sorts of strange angles, all connected to each other.

"What the ..." the GHP muttered, as she bent down to examine one of the
 contraptions. "Just *who* has been squatting in Old Merc Central?"

At these words, Brianna quietly skulked away, heading for the nearest hole 
into the basement.  The other three, sensing trouble, quickly followed.  Laurie stood 
up, clutching a handful of marbles, as comprehension dawned.  Must be the 
Packers, who else would have come up with such a bizarre security system?

"You guy are in a heap of ..." she stopped short as she realized the quartet 
had wisely disappeared. "YOU STILL GOT TO PAY RENT ON THIS PLACE, YOU KNOW!" she
 shouted after them, and then checking her watch - she still had time before her
 appointment - she slowly picked her way across the room, steeling herself to ignore the
 clattering marbles rolling in all directions as she tripped the strings.

Within moments, she had removed all the Nunkies pops she had stashed 
throughout the common living area.  The Ratpackers were lucky - this time - if they had  
gotten into her secret hordes, it would have been Ratpack a la King for dinner.

Checking that her companions were still out of sight, the GHP  began 
stuffing chocolate Nunkies pops into all the secret compartments within her jacket. For some
 reason, most likely artistic license, even with all the pockets full, the GHP did 
not resemble the Goodyear, make that Fuji blimp.  That was because she had a talented 
tailor, who had vast experience in making secret bottomless pockets for Immortals'
 swords, and had been able to easily adapt the concept for her garb. She did have a 
bit of trouble with the other secret hiding place, but eventually all the Nunkies 
pops within the building had been secured on her person.

Smiling happily, if such a thing were possible for a GHP, she popped a pop 
in her mouth and set off to attend to her other business.

* * *

Ensconced in the basement, the Ratpackers were literally in their own little
 world. After collecting several armfuls of requisite shiny stuff, including pens, 
small change, fish hooks (of all things), and some *very* interesting rings of 
keys, they had decided to move onto bigger things. Better things. They decided to do a 
good deed.

Which is, of course, any normal person's cue to run and hide.  If the GHP 
had been there, she certainly would have done so, but that tended to be her normal
 reaction to any gathering of Ratpackers that amounted to more than ... well, to more 
than zero.

Ursula had decided, in a spurt of Freudian (or possibly Jungian, or someone 
else altogether) inspiration, that the best way to cure Brianna of her (highly
 irrational) fear of ratsies was to make her confront it  head- on. She was catching the
 rats, Maya was digging up some rolls of Sacred Duct Tape, and Michele was in the
 process of affixing the squealing rodents to a squealing Brianna.

"'Old still," Michele ordered, cuffing Bri lightly on the side of the head. 
"Th' ratsies awr gettin' all away!"

"Got more tape!" Maya announced, scurrying towards them.

"More ratsies!" Ursula said at the same time, running on a direct collision
 course with Maya, Michele, Brianna, and the rats.

"Watch out!" Michele shrieked.

In the next moment, disaster struck.

Maya plowed directly into the struggling pair, strips of special super-
sticky  duct tape whipping around her. A moment later, Ursula followed, sending the 
terrified rats flying into the air. They fell back down into the sudden cloud of dust 
and flailing limbs.

When the air cleared, there stood the Ratpackers, the rats, and several 
yards of tape wrapped tightly around both. Ursula reached out her free hand, grabbed 
a stray rat, and dropped it on Brianna's head. The redhead looked like she was about 
to faint. However, at the last second, her Dark Knightie tendencies, never fully
 suppressed by her Ratpacker nature, took over and she turned on her partner in crime 
with bared teeth. Ursula's eyes went wide, and she dropped a couple more rats, as 
Brianna gave a frighteningly realistic vampiric hiss.

"Oi toldya ta watch out," Michele grumbled, oblivious to Brianna's bared- 
and slightly pointy- teeth. "This ain't the first time hit 'appened, neither. Got hit all
 tangled in me hair once. Whydja think Oi gots this 'aircut?" she added, shaking her
 buzz-cut head.

Maya had kicked off one of her boots and was in the process of unraveling 
one of the strips of tape with her toes. "Coz ya wanna be 'closer' ta LaCrow, Oi
 thought," she retorted.

Michele shrugged, or tried to. "Er. Well, that tew. Could be. Oi don' egg-
zackly 'emember...."

* * *

With a satisfied smile, Laurie began making her way back towards the 
building's entrance. She checked her watch one last time; she had a few minutes left.  With any
 luck, the information she received would be fruitful, a million dollars worth of
 fruitful, to be exact, more than enough to not only capitalize her pop factory 
expansion scheme, but also to keep her and - if they were veddy veddy good - the Guild - 
living in style for a long long time to come.  Perhaps even as long as eternity.


Back in the basement, the four Ratpackers so engrossed in their activites 
they didn't even notice the time passing. *Some* might say that since telling time 
requiring mastering numbers, they wouldn't have noticed anyways; but that's not true.
 Counting is easy. One must always be able to count their rats. It's the
 writing-their-own-name part most 'Packers have trouble with.

By the time they had untangled themselves from the duct tape, Ursula had 
pretty much given up on forcing Brianna to commune with the ratsies some more; she had
 started to wonder if maybe the rataphobic Ratpacker would try to bite her next time, 
or something, and decided it wasn't worth it. Even so, when they finally climbed through 
the tunnels towards Merc Central, the sun had set deep and darkness had descended, and
 thoughts of shiny bits vied with thoughts of their nice cozy corners in front of a TV
 playing All Screed... All the Time.

They hadn't gotten far in the tunnels when Ursula stopped. "'Ey, 
waitaminnit. Wan't th' Hoigh an' Moighty Pain wit' us when we got 'ere?"

"Who?" Maya asked, confused.

"Th' pain?" Michele repeated. "Um. Yeah, Oi t'ink so. She ain't 'ere, is 
she?" She started looking all around and under her fellow Ratpackers, in half-hearted
 search for the missing Poobah. "No, she ain't 'ere," she pronounced finally.

"Oh well," Brianna shrugged. "Musta lef' wit'out us, then. Let's go 'ome? 
Oi'm pret'y sure she kin find 'er own way back."

Maya grinned triumphantly. "Oi still got th' videotapeythingy!"

Giggling excitedly, the Ratpackers scurried back to Merc Central.

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 18:49:46 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: NA: A Poobah, Perhaps?
X-UIDL: ce925b1850057212b66893824e9abf08

NA: A Poobah, Perhaps?
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Joni, Debbie, Rosalie, Shele, Sallie, Sukh, Heather
Time: Tuesday April 28th, afternoonish
Kinda concurrent with 'A Quick Pop Stop'

     "It's not about the money."

     "It's not?"

     Debbie and Joni were lounging by the Sacred Cold Pond. Each had a
bouquet of white roses cradled in their arms, and they were leisurely
plucking petals and tossing them into the water as they talked.

     "No, it's not," Joni insisted.

     Debbie released a long sigh. "No, I suppose it's not. I wouldn't sneeze
on half a million dollars, mind you, but that doesn't amount to what I
really want."

     Joni nodded. "Nunkies' gratitude." She plucked another petal, held up
her palm, then blew the blossom from her hand. It floated gently down to
rest on the ponds surface amid a circle of twins.

     Pluck. Pluck. "LaCroix's respect," Debbie followed. Drop. Drop.

     Both women paused in the flower massacre and gave each other frank
stares. "We want Nunkies," they chanted in unison.

     "Him, the jacuzzi, and something involving whipped cream," Debbie said

     "Now *that's* a reward," Joni agreed as she dumped half-a-dozen more
petals into the pond.

     Rosalie wandered into the Green room. "What are you two doing? Playing
'Nunkies loves me, loves me not'?"

     Joni shook her head. "Nope. We're imagining what it would be like if
*LaCroix* was the reward rather than money."

     "Ooo...I'll join you, then." Rosalie gathered a few of the white roses
and sat down next to the pond. "What's five hundred thousand compared to
Him. He's priceless."

      "Without a doubt," Debbie nodded.

     "He's perfectly innocent, you know," Rosalie announced.

     "Within reason," Joni amended. "I mean, I'm sure he didn't steal the
research, but our Nunkies *can* be wicked."

     "That's part of his charm," Debbie agreed. "No, he didn't steal the
research. He wouldn't go through the charade of offering a reward if he'd
taken it."

     "But who did?" Rosalie asked.

    "That's the half a million dollar question."

     The next hour was devoted to discussion of that mystery. Names were
named, reputations slandered, names were named again, until finally the
three women threw their rose-petal-filled hands up into the air in

     "Just sitting here, talking about it, is getting us nowhere!" Debbie

     "We need some action!" agreed Rosalie.

     "We need some tiramisu!" Joni declared.


     "Oh, Goddess..."

     Temporarily distracted by the promise of a supernaturally delicious
dessert, the addicts tossed their roses aside and ran for the
Laboratory/Kitchen. Debbie pulled the tiramisu pan out of the fridge while
Rosalie grabbed some forks. Joni turned to fetch some plates, but several
more addicts blocked her path.

     Sallie was standing on the kitchen counter. Heather and Sukh were
supporting her legs so she wouldn't fall as she leaned backward. The reason
the Dragon leaned backward was to avoid flying sparks as she used her pocket
blowtorch on the stainless steel cabinet.

     "Why are you doing that?" Joni called.

     "Treasure," the Dragon said simply.

     "War," Heather corrected.

     "Vengeance," Sukh insisted.

     Joni turned to Shele, who was sitting at the Lab/Kitchen table,
scribbling something with her Sacred Quill Pen. "You're wordy. Why are they
doing that?"

     "They're breaking into the Ratpacker Tunnels," Shele explained, "They
use this place as a vacation spot, you know, and their tunnels run all over
the city and beyond.  Well, these three have decided that someone hired a
Merc to steal Natalie's research, so they've hatched a plot. They're going
to use the Ratpacker Tunnels to find the locale of the New Merc Central,
then kidnap the Grand High Poobah so they can torture information out of
her. Sallie wants that reward money to add to her horde. Sukh and Heather
have dreams of justice, and I..." Shele flicked her Sacred Quill Pen
artfully through the air. "...I intend to compose an epic poem describing
their heroic endeavors."

      Joni tapped her chin thoughtfully with a fingertip for several
moments. "Hmmm...That's very interesting. In fact, I think I'll join in on
this noble quest to poobahnap. However...when I asked what they were doing,
I meant...why was Sallie using her *blowtorch* to open the cabinet? It's not
locked. She could just use the handle."

     Heather and Sukh turned around in surprise at that information.

     "What?!?!?" Sukh shrieked.

     "What do you mean it's nae locked?" Heather demanded.

     "I mean it's not locked," Joni repeated.

     Legs no longer supported, Sallie lost her balance and went tumbling to
the floor. "Ooof!"

     "MacSallie!" Heather huffed, thwapping the Dragon on the chest. "You've
wasted an hour that we could've spent adventurin'!"

     "We could've had somebody bound and gagged by now!" Sukh agreed,
grabbing the cabinet's handle and effortlessly swinging the scorched door

     The Dragon giggled. "Hee. But fire is so nice, don't you think?"

     "And poetically, it's much more dramatic," Shele added. " 'Through the
fiery ring burning bright' sounds so much more impressive than 'And, Lo!
They turned the handle!'"

     Debbie and Rosalie finally joined them. They had given up on the plates
and begun to eat directly from the tiramisu pan. " four are going
to need our help," Debbie commented over a mouthful.

     "You can't even open a door! How're you going to nap the GHP?" Rosalie

     Heather scuffed the Laboratory/Kitchen floor with one shoe as she
looked down. "We were plannin' to improvise."

     "Epic heroes don't outline plans of attack," Sukh said.

     "Just ask Beowulf," Sallie said from the floor.

     "Oh, yes," Joni sighed. "You're going to need our help.
Okay...everybody into the tunnels."

     Debbie held up her fork. "One question first...Why are Heather and Sukh

     "It's our war paint," Heather explained, half of her face proudly
colored cobalt while the remainder was left natural.

      "The MacCousin's been watching 'Braveheart' a lot," Sukh added, her
visage painted in large blue polka-dots and stripes. "Don't we look

      "Yes," Rosalie stated. "I am very afraid."

     The Ratpacker Tunnels were very dark, the walls formed out of hard-
packed dirt. Sallie sparked her pocket blowtorch again so that they could
look around.

     Rosalie wrinkled her nose. "It's like the bowels of the earth."

     "It's a tunnel. What did you expect?" Debbie asked over another
mouthful of tiramisu. Still hungry, she'd brought the pan along.

     "Hmm..." Joni mused as she observed the tunnel split off into four
directions. "Does anyone have any ideas what way we should go?" Six heads
shook 'no.' "The paths look long and winding...We should mark a
trail...Here," she ordered Debbie, grabbing the tiramisu pan, "give me

     "Hey! I was eating that!" Debbie protested.

     "We need it so we can find our way back," Joni said patiently. "We'll
leave a trail of tiramisu crumbs behind us like Hansel and Gretel."

     "But that didn't work out," Sukh pointed out. "In fact, the result was
pretty grim."

     "Yes, but tunnels don't have birds," Joni countered and proceeded to
drop small pieces of the confection as the group hiked along.

     As the Addicts drifted out of sight, there came a faint scurrying from
the dark.

      Tunnels don't have birds, but they do have ratsies...

      And tiramisu is made out of cheese.

About an hour later...

     "You know," Debbie commented, "the more I think about it...isn't
attacking the Grand High Poobah of the Mercs supposed to be a really stupid
thing to do?"

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground.

     "Mmm...yeah, so what's your point?" Sukh asked.

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground.

     "So... shouldn't we have asked somebody in charge, like Jules, if it
was a good idea to romp off,  bringing the wrath of the Mercenary Guild upon
us all?" Debbie asked.

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground.

     "Och!" Heather insisted. "The MacPriestess will be proud of our
courage! There's no need to bother her with the likes o' this! Besides, we
all know what the MacNunkies thinks o' the Mercs!"

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground.

     "What's that?" Rosalie wondered, this being her first war.

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground. She stepped in a
pineapple-shaped puddle and cursed.

     "They're breakfast, waiting to happen," Sukh announced.

     Shele made a note of that on her parchment.

     Joni dropped a piece of tiramisu to the ground.

     Sallie tittered in a dragonesque fashion.

     Joni paused suddenly, frowning into the dark. "Hey! Did any of you hear
that? Kinda sounded like hungry rats scuffling."

     "Naaaaah..." everyone answered.

     The war party trekked on.

Another hour later...

     "That's it!" Joni announced. "We're walking in circles! I've stepped
into that same puddle shaped like a pineapple five times!"

     Heather crossed her arms across her plaid-covered chest and challenged,
"If that's the same puddle, how come there's no trail of tiramisu running
through it?"

     "I don't know!" Joni said, dropping another piece.

     A rat scurried out of the shadows and clutched the chunk of tiramisu in
its tiny paws, then began to chew merrily away.

     "Aaaaah!" Debbie shouted.

     "Aaaaah! Aaaaah!" Sukh and Heather joined in the battle cry.

     Rosalie and Joni fell to their knees, furiously chasing after the
rodent. "Ooh! Ooh! You dirty rat!"

     Sallie let out a fiendish giggle as Shele mused aloud, "Boom! Boom!
Down low they faced the scurrilous beast!
That dared to carnage their trail as a feast!"

     "Shaddap!" Joni snapped. "That rat ate the way back to the Shrine!
We're lost!"

     The other addicts let their mouths drop open and clapped their hands to
their cheeks. "OH NO!!! WE'RE DOOMED!!!"

Another hour later...

     "Don't these tunnels come with bathrooms?" Sukh complained.

     "That's the last time I drink a quart o' Granny MacIntyre's mulled
cider before getting lost hunting the New Merc HQ. Let 'em move."

    "Ooo!" Shele said happily. "A feat of strength for the epic! 'Ode to the
Mighty Bladder...'"

     Sallie thought that was pretty darn funny and cackled. Sukh blew out
her blowtorch.

     "Now that was unnecessary," the Dragon chided. "You made this place all
dark and spooky."

     "I hate to say it, but Sallie's right." Debbie shuddered, not that
anyone could tell for the dark. "Our surroundings are very foreboding all of
the sudden."

      "And it's so quiet," Rosalie added, "you can hear your own heartbeat."

     "What's worse, I can't see my parchment!" Shele pouted. "How am I
supposed to write my epic under these conditions???"

     "As long as it's dark, we're not going to do anything," Joni promised.

     "But I can't even write, 'They sat around for a really long time.'
Sallie! Relight your blowtorch!" Shele commanded.

      "I'm trying! I'm trying! It's not working! Sukh broke it!" the Dragon
said accusingly.

     "Did not! I only blew on the thing!"

     "It's not *what* you did; it's *how* you did it!"

     Joni hushed them. "Shhh! Quiet! Do you hear a noise?" she whispered.

     The addicts listened. Sure enough, there was a jingly-jangly sound in
the distance, followed by a fiendish sucking noise.

     "What is that?" Debbie wondered. "Clinking chains?"

     "Clattering bones?" Rosalie added softly.

     "A ghost?" Heather asked with dread.

    "A vampire?" Sukh questioned, a hopeful note in her voice.

    "No," Joni answered, "the sound is different...somehow
though it was something shiny...something pretty..."

     Shele gasped. "It's not a monster at all! It's worse...IT'S A

Fin for now...

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 19:23:40 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR:  NA - Don't You Just Hate Road Stories
X-UIDL: 909fae3fdf2589691d51748649810d71

Don't You Just Hate Road Stories
By Patt Elmore and Jules Stafford
Time:  Tuesday mid-morning, after the Cousin's meeting and reception
Location:  Toronto!


Patt finally made an appearance in the Shrine proper Tuesday mid-morning.
 After her non-appearance at the Cousin's meeting at CERK and her tardy
entrance at the reception following, Jules felt the need to lecture the
Third Cousin, yet once more, on the responsibilities of being an NA

But, Patt had been almost comatose in her non-reaction to Jules words. A
non-verbal Patt was no fun, so Jules had retreated, planning to address
the problem in the morning.

Then, she'd received the call from CERK.  Her program manager had mourned
over the pilfering of the station's music supply, so Jules made a
decision to kill two birds with one trip.

"Halt!" Jules' commanding voice stopped Patt in her tracks.

The Third Cousin stopped abruptly and turned slowly.
"What?" she wailed plaintively.  "I didn't *do* it!"

"That is still to be determined," the High Priestess replied,
tapping an impatient toe.  "I need to run some errands, and I
want you with me."

Patt looked pained.  "I have my own errands, Jules."

"Which can be taken care of *after* your business with me is
concluded," Jules replied, retrieving her Chanel  bag from
the small table specifically designed to hold it.  She jangled the
Jag keys in front of the mature addict's nose.  "Let's get a move
on and no more backtalk."

"Why do I have to go?" Patt couldn't help whining once more.

Jules turned and gave the woman an exhortive look.   "Despite
the fact that I care for you deeply, my friend, I don't trust you.
Your recent actions have indicated that you are prone to rash
decisions and disappearances without notice."

"Yea . . . what's your point?"

Jules sniffed slightly.  "You appear to be in dire need of
wardrobe modifications, Patt.  You've been wearing that
particular shirt," Jules gave a pointed look toward Patt's chest,
"for over twenty-four hours.  That would be perfectly
permissible in combat situations, but we've had a cease fire for
several hours and you still haven't changed.  I can only assume
that there is nothing you feel is appropriate in the Sacred
Wardrobe, so," she smiled, "I've declared a shopping spree."

"Errrr, why don't I check the Sacred Closet again," Patt

"We *are* going shopping," Jules announced, turning her ankle
so that her spiked heals were more fully visible.  Then she
turned quickly and began clacking across the floor.

Resigned, Patt followed Jules toward the Shrine exit.  As she
walked along, she noticed Caren emerge from the hallway
which led to such Sacred areas as the Library, Video Room and
Sound Room.  The dark-haired addict was
thumbing through a book, chuckling, unaware of the presence
of the others.

"Caren needs a haircut!" Patt announced, pointing toward her
friend.  Caren's head flew up, eyes wide.   "Why don't you pick
on her?"

Jules regarded the younger woman, then nodded.  "Yes . . .
Patt's right.  Caren, I think you should join us."

Caren's eyes were toxic green as she pressed past Patt.  The
High Priestess gave one more glance around the Shrine and
noticed Susan, watching them.  She crooked a finger at the
taller, blonde addict.  "Room for one more, Ms. Paige.  Why
don't you join us?"

Susan glowed brilliantly as she ran up breathlessly to the
group.  "I can't believe you want me to come along in LaCroix's
Jaguar!  This is absolutely the most wonderful treat you could
have offered me.  How can I possibly thank you?!!" The woman
positively gushed as she followed Jules out the door.  Bringing
up the rear,  Patt rolled her eyes.

Jules pointed the remote alarm box toward the Jag, smiling
slightly at the bleep bleep of the security system unlocking.  As
the High Priestess slipped sveltely behind the wheel, the other
three addicts began clambering into various positions within
the vehicle.  Jules turned and stifled their tumultuous activity
with a stern expression.  "I want Patt up front with me."

"AWWWWWW," Caren and Susan protested, but quickly
mollified under Jules' flaccid- inducing stare.    The two addicts
climbed into the back seat, while Patt joined Jules in the front.

Satisfied that everyone was in position and properly buckled in,
Jules turned the key and felt the thrill of power and passion run
through her body as the engine roared to life.  For Jules, the
Jaguar was to the automotive world what LaCroix was to the
Community--strong, classy, virile, predatory.  The High
Priestess snuggled down into the fine leather of the bucket seat,
touching the gear shift with tender affection.

"Snuggum Wuggums, indeed," Patt muttered from beside her.

"Will you cut that out already?" the Priestess said, sounding irritated,
deciding to make nice, turned slightly, caught the Third Cousin's eye and

"All right, ladies . . ." Jules began.  "It's showtime!"

The three passengers silenced and waited expectantly.

"This is our itinerary," Jules began, mentally ticking off her
shopping list to the others.  "First stop is Sam the Record Man.   I
have a list of CD's in my bag which are desperately
needed to replenish CERK's dwindling supply of acceptive
alternative music," she shuddered slightly.  "KC offered to loan
her Nine Inch Nails  collection for the duration of the war, but I
was forced to pass."

"How about Collin Ray?" Patt offered helpfully.  "I just LUV
that man's ballads."

"How sweet," Jules replied thickly.  "But, I don't feel Collin is
Nunkies' type, do you?"

"Oh, negative on that," Patt agreed with a smirk.

"Stop that immediately," Jules ordered.

Patt stopped.

"Now, as I was saying, first stop, Sam's.   Then, we'll head for
Sunny's Stouties to take care of Patt's clothing problems.  After
that, we'll be in proximity of Snags.  I need new stockings, so
we'll pop in there.  That should bring us to about lunch time."
Jules checked the rear view and made eyes contact with Caren
and Susan.  "Buckstars sound good?"  Both women nodded
enthusiastically.   "After lunch, we'll jaunt over to Felicio's.  We
can take care of Caren's coifing needs, and I can get a facial."
Jules closed her eyes for a moment, savoring the expected feel
of Ferdinand's hands on her, kneading her cheeks.

"Red light," Patt noted.

Jules applied the brake and smiled quickly.  "I knew that."

The High Priestess eased the Jaguar into a right turn, proceeding north
on Yonge, their first stop being just north of Eaton Centre.  Sam the Record
Man and Jules the High Priestess shared a common joy of association.
She, for the wide association of music that the shop made available to her and
it for the corporate profits enabled by her activity.

" Just charge them to the account,"  Jules said merrily, after the group
had been inside the store for almost an hour.  She picked up three CDs from
the massive pile in front of her.   "I' ll take these with me; deliver the
remainder to CERK."   She looked around the room at the milling addicts and
announced, "Ladies!  Time to be on the road again."

" Willie Nelson!"  Susan piped up, lifting her head from a bargain rack
of Barry Manilow tunes.   Caren, who was standing close by, flipping through
Golden Oldie albums, giggled.  Susan glared at the other woman.   "What?"
she demanded.

Patt emerged from a glass plated room to one side of the store, badly
humming a lively Celtic tune.   "I just LUV New Age."

"I thought you loved Collin."   Caren fell into step with the mature

" Luv him, too,"  Patt nodded.  Then a wide grin spread across her face
as her eyes misted in thought.  " Collin in a kilt."   *thud* *thud*.

" With bagpipes?"  Caren teased.

" And a Mountie hat?"  Susan followed behind, her smile widening.

" Don t encourage her,"  Jules admonished Susan and Caren as the four
women exited the record shop.   "She's incorrigible enough without your

" So true,"  Patt agreed, slipping into the front passenger seat .   "So

Jules settled behind the wheel and mentally consulted her schedule again.

"Sunny's Stouties," Caren offered.

"I knew that," Jules replied, checking her reflection in the vanity
mirror. "Just because I'm approaching forty doesn't mean my memory is getting

"No . . ."  Patt tried hard to suppress a grin as a pun threatened to
form on her lips.

Jules turned slightly, extending the open cylindrical container she'd
just used to apply a refresher coat to her lips.  "*Mark* my words, Third
Cousin, you *don't* want to go there."

"Then let's get a going to the there we want to go to," Susan chimed in,
hoping to defray a fray.  Jules and Patt turned simultaneously and stared
at the pale blonde.   Spotlighted, Susan sniffed.

"Right," Jules said, recapping the lipstick and dropping it in her bag.
She keyed the ignition and pulled away from the curb, unmindful of the eyes
that followed the vehicle's departure.


Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 22:20:18 -0500
Reply-To: Christina Wadsworth 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Christina Wadsworth 
Subject:      WAR: NA: Godiva Cocoa and Computer Chips
X-UIDL: 068be13b8f5c48c59a780f77d647bcc7

Date April 28, after All that glitters part two and before Lauries
and the evil Cocoa-a-go-go

        Christina began nibbling on her Nunkies as she parted
company with Beth.  Now what was she going to do?  First off,
get a drink.  She went to the pantry to scrounge up something
good.  She spotted Godiva cocoa.  Normally chocolate was not
on her list, but drinking cocoa was another matter.  Chris drew
out her gilded mug from the folds of her stola and went to
make her liquid heaven.
        She tried dipping her vanilla Nunkies in her cocoa, and
decided she had developed a whole new level of heaven.
What to do now?  She went into the Tapestry room to find her
backpack.  It held everything she would ever need and then
some.  She looked around to make sure nobody was watching,
moved aside the Lucius in Repose tapestry and withdrew her
backpack from a niche.  She slid out her laptop and her white
rose hair thingee and then slid the black item back into the
        She slipped the thingee in her short, red hair,
remembering the garlands she saw on ancient Roman statues.
She opened her laptop and began to work on her Hyperstudio
project.  It was all about Forever Knight, with a spotlight on
LaCroix.  What a surprise.  She let the sound bytes roll over
her, and then put a few more finishing touches on it.  Bored
then, she began the next bit in her Tasha and Co. series.
        An idea trickled around her brain, gaining strength.
Where would the research most likely be?  In the place one
thought least to look for it.  She went to find Louis.
        "Louis!  Can I have the key to the safe?" she called,
slinging her laptop on her shoulder.
        "Non!  Madame Annie said to give zee key to no one!  I
listen to her und her alone!"
        "But Louis!"
        "Non.  No buts.  What are vous wearing?  Is it one of zee
new togas?"
        "No, it's a stola.  It's primarily used for matrons.  You
know, married women."
        Louis' moustache wriggled like a minnow waiting to go
on the hook.  "Vous pretend to be married to zee ancient
        "No.  It's just easier to handle.  I don't want to have to
wear that heavy breastplate.  Louis, what will it take to get the
        "Zere is nothing vous can do to get zee key.  Now, I have
work to do, run along!"
        Tasha stood, silently fuming.  How dare he be rude to
her?  "Well, I know who Tash has to kill now!" she thought.  She
chugged back some of her cocoa, which was getting cold, and
stormed into the kitchen.


Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:40:55 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: NA: Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go (1/2)
X-UIDL: 50a74f313242fe71dc10b311a96c4a87

Laurie and the Evil Cocoa A Go-Go (1/2)
Starring: Heather, Shele, Rosalie, Joni, Sukh, Debbie, Sallie, Libby, and
one Grand High Poobah
Time: Tuesday, April 28th, afternoon to evening, after 'A Poobah, Perhaps?'
and 'A Quick Pop Stop'

     Shele gasped. "It's not a monster at all! It's worse...IT'S A

     There was a SLURP-*POP!* sound, then the Ratpacker broke out in song.

           "Meeeee...Screedie sails over tha' O-shun!
            Me Screedie sails over tha' see-ee-ee!
            Me Screedie loikes Bright, Shiney Thingees!
            An' slurps juicee ratsies fer fun!
            O Rat-PACK! Rat-PACK! RATPACK my Screedie fer me...fer ME!
            O Rat-PACK! Rat-PACK! RATPACK my Screedie fer me!"

     There was a tittering sound, then the slurpy-jingly-jangly noises began
once more.

     "LIBBY!!!!!" the addicts shouted desperately.

      Apparently the Ratpacker turned a corner in the tunnels, because a
faint glow suddenly appeared in the distance. As Libby drew closer, the
addicts saw that the light came from several strings of xmas lights, strung
in a bright, shiney halo over her aviator cap and around her neck. As she
drew even closer, close enough for the addicts to see the lights were
attached to Libby's head by duct tape, they also noticed she had a lollipop
stick poking from her mouth.

     Libby adjusted the satchel slung over her shoulder, causing the jingly-
jangly noise to repeat. There was a *slurp!* sound as the Ratpacker plucked
her sucker from her lips.

     Debbie gasped.

     Heather said, "Och!"

     Sukh ooh-ed.

     Rosalie aah-ed.

     Sallie gave a dragonly titter.

     Shele made a notation on her parchment.

     Joni screamed. "NUNKIES!!!"

     "Nawp!" Libby chirped happily. "Issa Munkey-Pawp! Thissun's sugar-
sweetsie free! Tha' Gran' 'Igh Pain-Inna-Butt's makin' 'em all hush-n-

     "Ya don't say?" Heather said, a blue eyebrow raising with interest.

     "Aye dew!"

     Sukh's eyes carried a greedy glint as she approached Libby. "Got any
more of them on you?"

     "Aye pawed thissun frum tha' Pooby 'erself!" the Ratpacker confided.
"Shh! Don't tell ennywun! Iffen yew want enny, yew gotta git 'em frum tha'
Monkey Pawp Fact-o-tree! Only tha' Boobahper kin tells tew where tha' is."
Libby chortled and took another slurp from her chocolatey lollipop
anatomically shaped to resemble Nunkies. "She'd smacken yew withun newspaper
iffen yew asked! Hee! Hee! Tha' Pain-Inna-Butt's gawt tew make sum Screedie
Slurps fer tha' lil' ratsies, she dunn't lissen tew me! Oppresshun!"

     Sallie, hearing Libby had no goodies to pilfer and add to her horde,
lost interest in the conversation. The tunnels were quite dark and lovely,
quite appealing to her dragon aesthetics, but she wanted her pile of gold
back. Her quest to win LaCroix's money was getting her nowhere, fast.
"Libby," she asked, "do you know where we are?"

     The Ratpacker blinked, suspicious of a trick question. "Here?"

     "Do you know where the Shrine is?" Sallie questioned.


     Sallie scratched her chin with one of her talons (Okay, they're still
really long press-on nails). "Can you take us 'there'?"

     Libby answered in typical Rat-Merc-Packernary fashion:

     "What'll yew give me iffen Aye dew?"

     The addicts were flummoxed for several moments, thinking they had
nothing of worth save a Sacred Quill Pen and a broken blowtorch, and neither
Shele nor Sallie were giving up those. Suddenly, Debbie struck upon an idea.
She grabbed the near-empty tiramisu tray from Joni's hands. "How about this
bright, shiney, pretty aluminum pan?!? Pretty shiney, hmm?"

     "Ooooooooo!!!!" Libby squealed. "It sparkles jus' loike duck tape!"

     Debbie waved it in front of the Ratpacker's face, mesmerizing her.
"Well, you get it when we're back at the Laboratory/Kitchen."



     Much to the addicts' disgust, it seemed they made two turns, walked
maybe a hundred feet (ratsie feet), and they were sticking their heads out
one stainless steel cabinet into the Nunkies Anonymous Laboratory/Kitchen.
They dropped to the floor, brushing the dust from their togas once they
landed. Libby stayed in the cabinet, only her shiney, blinking head showing.

     "Where's me shiney pan!?!" the Ratpacker demanded.

     Debbie had a calculating grin on her face. "Let me rise it off over at
the sink. It'll be shinier!"


     Debbie approached the sink. "Would you addicts care to help me over
here?" she asked in exaggerated tones.

     "Why would we do that?" Sukh protested. "It's one stinking pan. There
are six of us."

     "But it's a really dirty, stinking pan!" Debbie said through clenched
teeth. "Come over here *wink wink* and help me *wink wink.*"

     "Ohhhhh!" the other addicts said, realizing that Debbie wasn't
interested in clean dishes, but secret stuff.

     "You want help?" Rosalie asked. "Why didn't you say so?" The addicts
rushed en masse to the sink, dunking their hands in the sudsy water.

     "So...what's going through that devious head of yours?" Joni demanded,
squishing a green sponge between her fingers like she was actually helping

     "I was thinking...maybe Libby knows something," Debbie said.

     Heather and Sukh groaned, then walked away as though Deb's suggestion
was hopeless optimism.

     "Get back here!" Joni hissed, beaning the MacCousin with the wet

     "Och! You're mussing me war paint!" Heather complained.

     Joni doused another sponge and wound up a throw. "So get back here!"

     Sukh and Heather trudged reluctantly to the sink once more.

     "Now just suppose Libby *does* know something," Debbie whispered

     "Surely she knows where the New Merc Central is!" Rosalie agreed.

     Debbie had taken the clean pan out of the dishwater and commenced
drying with a fluffy peach towel. Sallie, eyeing the cold sinkful of water,
had sudden visions of expanding the dimensions and making it her own private
underground-aboveground pool. So enraptured was the Dragon, she climbed onto
the Lab/Kitchen counter and sat in the sudsy water. "Ah..." Sallie breathed.
"If only we could pry the information from her Ratpackery cerebrum with a
straw. But cheer up - we still have icepicks and drills."

     "That might not be necessary," Joni said with a sneaky grin. "We do
have straws - cheese straws. Dip, too."

     "Oh, Lib-by!"

     Debbie, Joni and Sukh waltzed up to the stainless steel cabinet with
angelic dispositions. Debbie held the aluminum pan within Libby's greedy
paws, letting her snatch it away. When the Ratpacker moved to go, Sukh asked
sweetly, "Libby, before you go, we were wondering if you'd answer one
teensy, tiny question...Do you know where the Grand High Poobah is?"

    Libby nodded happily as she hugged her new shiney pan, then frowned one
she had ten or fifteen minutes to savor the nuances of the inquiry. "Wot yew
want tew know tha' fer?"

   "Well..." Debbie delivered with cherubic sincerity, "Laurie has a new
position and headquarters...we would love to visit her and offer our

    "Tha' wood be nice!" Libby said with an open smile, then shook her head.
"Woodn't be poss-see-bull tho'. Tha' Newsie Merc Shack's nawt open tew
visiters. Secret tops n' zippered lips." The addicts' faces fell at this
information, wondering how easy this prying might be. But then Libby
slipped: "'Soides, tha' Pooby's nawt at tha' Newsie Palace." The Ratpacker
clapped a paw over her mouth. "Whups! Aye didn' mean tew say nuttin'!"

     The addicts brightened. "Why don't you come in for a quick snack,
Libby?" Joni asked pleasantly.

     Libby shook her head again. "Aye oighta go 'afer Aye git yelled at."

     "No, no! Come in!" Heather, Rosalie and Shele danced past, their togas
wafting lyrically and conveniently cued harp music playing overhead as they
presented a cornucopia of platters for the Ratpacker's temptation. "We have
cheddar cheese straws! We have Oxymoron Sharp Dip! Jalepeno Jack Dip! Bleu
Cheese Dip! Bright and Shiney Brie Dip! Party Havarti Dip!" Rosalie plucked
one straw from her platter and scooped up a generous helping of tangy orange
goop, then dangled it below Libby's pulsating nostrils. "Yuuummmm-yum!"

     Libby slithered out of the cabinet, melting into a slathering heap of
Libratsie on the Lab/Kitchen tile. "Must...'ave...cheesie...goop."

     "Uh-uh." Joni waggled an evil finger in Libby's face. "First..."

     "Furst???" Libby said eagerly.

     "First you have to tell us where the Poobah is."

     Libby drooled. Libby twitched. Libby spasmed. Libby succumbed. "She's
at Old Merc gettin' stuff!"

     The addicts placed the cheese buffet at the Ratpacker's feet, then got
out of the way. It was quite a spectacle of gobbling, stuffing, snorting and
flying fermented dairy.

     When it was over, Libby wiped the stray flecks of orange and white from
her mouth with a sleeve, then gave a ratsie-like burp. She then took the
addicts to task. "Yew were nawty tew tease me sew! It was gud tho'!"

     Debbie clapped her hands together in a business-like manner. "Sure was!
Up! Up! Didn't you say someone was going to yell at you if you didn't leave
*right away*?" she asked. Heather and Sukh boosted the Ratpacker back in the
cupboard for an easy exit.

     "Roight! Thankee fer tha' remoinder!" Libby gave a sailor's salute,
then popped out of sight.

End O' Part One
Continued in Part Two

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 21:46:40 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: NA: Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go (2/2)
X-UIDL: b3332e5beceae34d47fe4aca44510a1f

Laurie and the Evil Cocoa A Go-Go (2/2)
Starring: Heather, Shele, Rosalie, Joni, Sukh, Debbie, Sallie, Christina,
Beth, Libby, Ursula, Brianna, Maya, Michele and one Grand High Poobah
Time: Tuesday, April 28th, afternoon to evening, after 'A Poobah, Perhaps?'
and 'A Quick Pop Stop'

     Shele was busily scratching verse onto her parchment about the heroes'
conquest of the 'Ravenous RatBeast,' while the others complimented each
other on their wickedness.

     "Now what shall we do?" Rosalie asked.

     "We didn't make sufficient plans for grabbing the GHP without fuss,"
Sallie said as she soaked in the sink. "We need a lure - something that
works like the cheese did for Libby."

      "Well, that's obvious," Sukh announced. "Money and chocolate."

      "Is there such thing as gold chocolate?" Joni mused. "We need it."

       "I wish," Sallie said, thinking of her own personal horde of golden

     At that moment, Christina stormed into the Lab/Kitchen, a furious glare
on her face as she slammed her mug down on the center island. "That's it!
Louis has had it! He won't give me the spare key to the Shrine Altar safe so
I can search it for the cure! Jules isn't here! Annie isn't here! Bonnie
isn't here! What else am I supposed to do? Cabon's getting the Juice!"

     "LaCroix didn't take the research," Joni insisted. "Why would it be in
our safe?"

     "Because we don't think it's in our safe," Christina stated as she
walked over to the Chemistry Closet. "Whoever perpetrated this is obviously
extremely cunning." She swung the closet open, revealing rows of salts,
compounds, extracts, solutions and glassware that, usually, no one but
Bonnie messed with. Christina trailed a finger down the array of bottles
labeled such things as an old vial of 'Garlic Oil,'  a small bottle of
'Coffee Bean Extract,' a sealed beaker of 'Roman Candle Crystals and a flask
sitting on what appeared to be Bons' lab notes marked 'Really Secret
Scientific Thing Nobody Touches But Me' before she reached her thermos of
Whammy Juice. "This'll fix 'em."

     Meanwhile, Shele stared at the brown splatters Christina had made on
her parchment when she slammed her mug down on the island. The Laureate
swiped at one stain then sniffed her finger. "Chris, what are you drinking?"

     "Godiva Cocoa. It's in the pantry," Christina answered innocently.

     Heather realized what Shele was thinking, and her mouth dropped open.
"And she's drinking it from a gold-finished mug!" The MacCousin gave a
doubtful frown. "Is that real?"

     Christina shook her head. "'s cosmetic."

     "Damn! She'll be able to smell the difference!" Heather growled.

     "Still, it will attract the eye!" Sukh grabbed the mug and dumped it in
the sink water. Christina, who was drinking it, and Sallie, who was sitting
in it, both cried, "Aaah!!!" Sukh crossed to the pantry and found the
canister of cocoa mix. "Do we have another thermos?"

     Debbie nodded. "Under the sink."

     Sukh grimaced. "We keep the thermos under the sink?"

     Debbie grinned. "Hey! When do we use it?"

     "What are you doing?!" Christina protested.

     "We need to borrow your mug for a while," Joni explained. "Heather -
can you heat the milk?"

     "Aye," the MacCousin said, then paused. "You know, we could use that
Whammy Juice."

     "But we don't need a whammy," Rosalie argued. "We need what's in
Laurie's brain now."

     "How's it diluted, Christina?" Joni asked.

     "A teaspoon to two liters," the addict replied. "What's going on here?"

     "If we don't tell you," Shele promised, "You can't be punished for it

      "Yeah, right!" Chris said sarcastically.

     "Say we have half a liter of cocoa," Sukh asked, "how much juice would
we need to just knock someone out for several hours? Just make them sleep
like a baby."

     Chris wavered, knowing the other addicts were up to catastrophe. "Oh,
all right! Two drops!"


     "Sallie, while we're heating milk, could you round up another blowtorch
and break into the safe for Christina?" Debbie asked.

     "Certainly," the Dragon said as she slithered to the floor, leaving
puddles in her wake.

     Christina frowned again. "Won't Annie and Jules scream?"

     The addicts exchanged glances, then stared frankly at the newbie.

     "Oh." Chris raised a fist in the air. "Solidarity!"

     The other addicts joined in the cheer. "Liberty! Fraternity!


     Just as they were pouring the cocoa-a-go-go and Sallie returned to the
Lab/Kitchen, Beth rushed into the room, opened the freezer, and withdrew an
armful of unspeakable beauty.

     "Mine! They must be mine!" Sallie declared.

     What Sallie was exclaiming over was a bouquet of roses that seemed to
be fashioned out of pure gold.

     "Didn't they turn out well?" Beth asked. "Everyone else seems to be
busy doing something, and I got bored. I remember seeing something like this
on the web, so I melted down some of that gold that was littering the
Library floor..."

     "Uhgh! Thief!" Sallie shrieked. "That was my horde! Those roses are

     "Be quiet, Sallie!" Rosalie hushed.

     "...and I took it to the Green room and dipped a few dozen of our
roses. Aren't they great?" Beth said, beaming.

     "They're phenomenal," Joni agreed. "Unparalleled. I bet they even smell
like gold to a trained nose. That's why we have to commandeer these items
for the war cause!"

     "Cause - why?" Beth asked.

     "Cause we said so!" Joni grabbed the luxurious flowers, then she and
the rest of the addicts ran from the room with their mug and thermos of evil
cocoa, leaving Beth alone with a single rosebud and a damp floor.


     Laurie froze in her tracks. There was a trail of roses leading to the
old GHP's office. Gold roses. The Grand High Poobah picked one up and
sniffed it, savoring the heavenly scent.


     Laurie followed the trail, quickly picking up a dozen of the precious
flowers before any of the Ratpack showed up and tried to put their greedy
paws on them, forcing her to kill them. The gold roses were putting her in a
romantic mood, making homicide seem a trifle harsh. Mutilation would be

     Laurie stepped into the old GHP's office, and found a beautiful bouquet
of the same flowers propped at the old GHP's desk. A steaming mug of cocoa
was placed at an angle to the roses, on what appeared to be a solid milk
chocolate medallion. She frowned suspiciously for a moment, looking around
for any sign of the idiot who left these treasures sitting around.

     Laurie took a seat at the desk and indulged in another whiff of the
rich scent of the flowers. Lifting her bouquet, she noticed there was a
message, tied to the roses with gold ribbon. The Grand High Poobah adjusted
her glasses and opened the note.

                          Tew Tha' New Gran' High Poobah:
                          Cheers Tew Yewr New Job N' Shackings


                                            All Tha' Lil' Ratsies


     For just a split-second too long, Laurie believed it, perhaps because,
at the heart of every dictator, there lies a deep-rooted desire to be
appreciated. That had to be it, because if she'd been thinking like her
normal Poobah self, she would have found it highly unlikely that the lil'
ratsies would have given her gold anything, much less write her a note about
it - how could they hold a pen in their little paws? In fact, she would have
smelled a set up a mile away, and hightailed it out of there pronto. Perhaps
she was boozled by smell of the gold roses. Otherwise, she would have never
have reached for the chocolate medallion, thus sealing her fate, as her
mouth brushed the frothy chocolate foam topping off the


     Laurie spilled evil cocoa all over herself as she passed out in her

     "Quick!" Joni hissed. "Grab her legs! I'll get her arms!"

     "I'll get the gold stuff," Sallie volunteered.

     "Hey, did you hear something?" Shele asked as she began to tiptoe
through the maze of string and cans that made up house security.

     "It's probably just the rats," Heather said.

     "Rats!" Debbie shrieked. "If they're rats, the Ratpack can't be far

     Rosalie made sure to slip the note into her pocket. "Come on! Everyone
wiggle through the string! We have to catch the train!"


     Back in the basement, the four Ratpackers so engrossed in their
activities they didn't even notice the time passing. *Some* might say that since telling
time requiring mastering numbers, they wouldn't have noticed anyways; but
that's not true. Counting is easy. One must always be able to count their
rats. It's the writing-their-own-name part most 'Packers have trouble with.

      A sudden noise from upstairs made the Ratpackers pause momentarily.
Ursula glanced around her. "'Ey," the blonde ventured.  "Didja 'ear

     Maya contemplatively rolled her eyes ceiling-ward. "Aw, hit's proberly
jes' th' Pain draggin' 'er sorry arse up there." Three of the four giggled;
Brianna was still shooting them murderous glances in between squeaks of
terror. "Maybe she got 'erself caught in some o' Johnsie an' all's pro-tec-
tative dee-vices. Wish Oi could see that...."

     By the time they had untangled themselves from the duct tape, Ursula
had pretty much given up on forcing Brianna to commune with the ratsies some
more; she had started to wonder if maybe the rataphobic Ratpacker would try
to bite her next time, or something, and decided it wasn't worth it. Even
so, when they finally headed out of Old Merc Central, the sun had set deep
and darkness had descended.  None of the quartet noticed the comatose
stranger lying near the GHP's old office, who had obviously tripped on a few
strings and knocked himself out.  Rather, thoughts of shiny bits vied with
thoughts of their nice cozy corners in front of a TV playing All Screed...
All the Time.

     They hadn't gotten far in the tunnels when Ursula stopped. "'Ey,
waitaminnit. Wan't th' Hoigh an' Moighty Pain wit' us when we got 'ere?"

     "Who?" Maya asked, confused.

     "Th' pain?" Michele repeated. "Um. Yeah, Oi t'ink so. She ain't 'ere,
is she?" She started looking all around and under her fellow Ratpackers, in
half-hearted search for the missing Poobah. "No, she ain't 'ere," she
pronounced finally.

     "Oh well," Brianna shrugged. "Musta lef' wit'out us, then. Let's go
'ome? Oi'm pret'y sure she kin find 'er own way back."

     Maya grinned triumphantly. "Oi still got th' videotapeythingy!"

     Giggling excitedly, the Ratpackers scurried back to Merc Central.


    "I'm telling you," Sukh said as she massaged her aching shoulders, "two
blocks is too far to bench press a Poobah."

     "You don't think she'll wake up, do you?" Heather asked. "Maybe we
should go ahead and tie her."

     "On the Metro?" Debbie said doubtfully. "This is Toronto, not New York.
I don't think we'd get away with it."

    "That's a pity. It would have made a lovely verse for the epic," Shele

         "Beware the Grand Poobah, Addicts!
   The snarl that cuts, the wit that bites!
   Be wary - bind her good,
   Forget her darn Geneva rights!"

     The unconscious Laurie tumbled from her seat, bonking her head against
a steel handrail. A grandmotherly-looking woman eyed her curiously as she
passed, causing Sallie to say, "Don't worry, Madame. We're only kidnapping

    The grandmother nodded sagely and offered a bit of advice. "In my
experience, it's best to tie them up now. They're easier to carry without
all those limbs flopping about."

Fin for now...

Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 1998 22:23:28 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR: NA--A Tale of Wheels and Woe
X-UIDL: 4c63241dda28522ae0d26361151daa41

A Tale of Wheels and Woe
By Patt Elmore and Jules Stafford
Time:  Tuesday mid-morning to afternoon, after "Don't You Just Hate Road
Location:  Toronto!


Jules slipped a Stones CD into the player and leaned back
further into the seat, sighing with contentment as the music
floated from the speakers.  Even in moments of War, life could
be sweet.

"Errrr, isn't Sunny's Stouties over on Hoskin Avenue?" Caren
noted as the Jaguar drove through the University
Avenue/Dundas Street intersection.

"Yes," Jules replied, as she eased the Jag into the right lane.

"Then, wouldn't it be easier to just go north on University?"
Caren inquired as Jules turned right on McCauf.

"Hmmmm," Jules murmured noncommittally.

"This way, don't we have to zig and zag down College and up
St. George Street," Caren persisted, pulling her handy dandy
mini street map of Toronto out of her jeans pocket.

"This route is shorter," Jules said quietly.

"How can it be shorter . . . ?" Caren stopped when Susan
tentatively touched her arm.

"University goes right by Ontario Parliament," Jules explained

"So?" The Louisiana woman puckered her face in confusion.
Susan squeezed Caren's arm tighter.   Caren winced and gave
Susan a sour look.

Susan mouthed a single word.  

"OH!" Caren sat back into her seat, full understanding hitting
her like a fist.

"I have various addictions," Patt turned and grinned at the
women.  "Thank goodness I have friends to help me out in a

"Ooooooooo."  Caren and Susan squelched their faces at the
very bad pun, while Jules only shook her head in gentle

"Hey, isn't that the Art Gallery?" Caren looked excitedly out the
window.   "I'd love to have an opportunity to see the Grange on
just one of my Toronto jaunts."

"If we find that research and conclude this war quickly, perhaps
we'll have time," Jules replied.

"Do we have time for a side trip to Kensington Market, Jules?"
Susan leaned forward, her voice hopeful.

"Not today, I'm afraid," Jules said firmly.  "We really can't even
afford the time for this shopping trip, since we *are* supposed
to be concentrating on locating the research.  But, Cousinly
missions are no excuse for not being stylish."

Caren visibly paled at Jules use of the *S* word, while Patt's
knuckles went white where she clutched the armrest.  Jules
looked down at Patt's clenched hand and reprimanded her
lightly.   "Watch the leather, dear.  LaCroix has an aversion for

A few hyperventilating moments later, both women were
convinced that Jules' choice of vocabulary was not due to any
knowledge of their association with Spark.   The High Priestess
was just *good.*

Jules parked the Jaguar in front of Sunny's and turned to face
the women in the back seat.  "Not much inside in your sizes,
fellow addicts.  If you'd like, there are a number of shops near
University of Toronto.   What say we meet back here in say,"
Jules consulted her diamond watch (with mini-sword pins),
"ninety minutes?"

"It won't take me that long to buy a few camp shirts," Patt
grumbled as she got out of the Jaguar.

"Oh, no, my dear," Jules laughed as she followed Patt into the
shop.  "I've been dying to dress you for the two years I've
known you.  This is an opportunity I wouldn't miss for the

"Lucky me," Patt snarked.

"Tsk, tsk, tsk." Jules watched with amusement as the Third
Cousin headed toward the back of the store, in search of the
bargain rack.   Then she smiled brilliantly.  "But, gosh, I love a

Ninety-seven minutes later, Jules emerged from Sunny's
Stouties with an immense, satisfied smile on her face.  Patt,
expression downcast, followed her with at least seven boxes
tucked under her arms.

"She made me buy a girdle," Patt muttered to Caren as Jules
remotely popped the Jag's trunk.

"It is *not* a girdle," Jules admonished the mature addict for the
umteenth time.  "It is a corset.  And, it's quite flattering on you."

"Makes me look like a wrapped standing rib roast."   Patt
continued to grumble as she closed the trunk and took her
place inside the vehicle with the others.   "The money would be
better spent feeding the homeless."

"We've already agreed to make a matching grant to the shelter
for all we spend today shopping," Jules reminded Patt and
advised the other addicts.  "Now, enjoy your new clothes and
new found femininity."

As Jules turned to adjust her seatbelt, Patt risked a raspberry in
the Priestess' direction.

"I saw that," Jules announced.  From the rear, Susan snickered.

"Now . . ."  The HP began.

"Snags," Caren interjected helpfully.

"Umm, yes."  Jules shot a quick peripheral glance toward Caren
and was rewarded by a cheeky smile from the slender
Louisiana woman.  "Snags."

Lunch at BuckStars proved a wonderful treat.  The coffee was
excellent, and Susan seemed especially fond of the Irish blend
which kept filling her cup.  The light sandwiches hit the spot
and the ladies soon found themselves heading for the spa.

The quickest route to Felicio's did not pass Ontario H of P, but,
instead, required passing through a rather seedy looking
neighborhood.   As Jules maneuvered the Jag along the narrow
streets of the older section of downtown, Caren gasped in

"Dromedaries!" Susan exclaimed in delight.  "Just look at

There indeed, milling around an abandoned looking church,
was a herd of camels.

"Oppps," Jules and Patt said in unison.

"Oppps?" Caren and Susan looked forward, suspiciously.

"Vaquero Headquarters," Patt explained as Jules applied her
foot to the gas pedal.  "Unless you guys want to participate in a
devious activity of ill intent, then we have no business here."

Caren and Susan looked at each other for a moment, then back
toward Patt.  "Spa!" they chorused.

Jules turned the steering sharply, heading the Jaguar left at the
first intersection they came to.

"Oh, stuffings!"

Just ahead of the black vehicle, coming directly toward them,
were three black Triumph motorcycles.

"Well, look on the bright side, Jules," Patt said helpfully.  "It's
daylight, so at least we don't have to deal with Vachon."

"No . . . just with a group of his Slackettes."  Jules kept her eyes
forward.  "Maybe they won't notice us."

"Not notice LaCroix's Jaguar?" Susan said with pride.  "Not

Jules risked a glance in the rearview, giving Susan a deadly

"Appears like an altercation brewing," Patt commented, sinking
lower in her seat.

"A fight!  We're having a fight?!!"  Caren strained her neck to
look out the window.  "This will be my very first fiction fight!!"

"Whoopee," Jules muttered through clenched teeth.

The motorcycles rolled closer, the hard purr of their engines
creeping through the sound-proofing of the Jag.  Jules held her
breath as the Vaqueras went by, seemingly making no notice of
them.   Then, the High Priestess heard the unmistakable buzz of
the right rear window being lowered.

"Hey Vaquie Poos!  Why don't you get those pieces of junk off
the road?!" Caren shouted at the passing women.

One of the cyclists turned, assessing the NA's with sharp blue

Jules moaned.

Patt turned and grinned .  "Well, Julsey, let's look at this
philosophically.  This *is* why we're here, isn't it?  We could be
looking around for non-existent clues until the WM drops some
hints, or we can engage in a good old fashioned 'hiss and

"Or," Susan interjected hopefully, noting the High Priestess'
distress.  "We could invite them to the spa with us."

"Your camels run faster than those tricycles you're riding!!"
Caren shouted, shaking her fist out the window.

"Spa's out," Susan noted.

The three cyclists, who had sped by the Jaguar during the first
barrage of words, turned.   They quickly came up and fell
parallel to the automobile, flanking it on each side.

"You want to come again?" one of the Vaquera's shouted
toward Caren.

The dark-haired Louisiana woman crooked a finger and
mouthed, "Come get me."

One of the motorcycles broke from the pack, speeding ahead of
the others, and falling in front of the Jag.  Jules bit her lip as she
ran the vehicle's bumper within inches of the Triumph, only to
have the two-wheeler rev and pull forward at the last second.

Patt pressed the button, allowing her own window to descend.
"You'd better buzz off, Vaqs.  This is the General's personal
vehicle, and he won't be happy if you touch it.   He's already
been ousted from his accommodations."

"Ooh, poor little Nunkies-Wunkies!" the hazel-eyed of the
Vaqueras shouted back, while Jules reached over and pinched
Patt's closest arm.

"Don't be telling LaCroix's business!" Jules instructed as the
Third Cousin yelped.  "It's irrelevant to this situation."

By now, Susan had lowered her window.  "Hey, Blondie!  You
old enough to have a license?"

The slender, green-eyed Vaq turned toward the addict.  "At
least I can drive, NunkSkunk.  They've got you stuck in the
kiddie seat."

Susan fell back, looking abashed.

"Fight back, SuePaige!" Caren turned to her seating companion,
face beaming.  "This is the *fun* stuff!"

Jules side glanced at Patt.  "You couldn't just write a simple
exorcism this time, could you?"   Patt shrugged and smiled

The Jaguar charged down the narrow street, Jules keeping it as
near the middle of the road as possible.  The motorcycles kept
shifting positions, usually two maintaining abreast positions
with the car, while one moved to lead, or follow, depending on
the drivers' whims.   Several graceful and deadly figure eights
were also executed by the Vaqueras, complete with squeeling
wheels and massive engine noise.

Caren, meanwhile, was sifting through her purse, obviously
trying to locate something.   When she did, she yelped in
exultation and extracted her prize.  "Here, Spaniardex girl,
take this!" Caren shouted, leveling the water pistol at the biker.

"No!"  The words didn't get a chance to leave Jules' mouth
before Caren fired.

A stream of purplish liquid raced across the space between
Caren and the Vaq, who Patt now recognized as Sarah.  The
ribena splashed against Sarah's visor, creating a bluish-
red maze of water marks on the plastic coating.   "What the . . ."
the woman cried, nearly swerving into the Jaguar.

"Look out!"  The blue-eyed Vaq, Tabitha, shouted, swerving
away.  "Those NastyAssets are packing *heat!*"

"Why, pray tell, does Caren has a ribena-filled water pistol in
her purse?" Jules asked quietly.

Patt, knowing the question was addressed to her, shrugged.

"I love power!!" Caren cried.  She pointed the muzzle end of the
pistol toward the sky, and blew dramatically on the tip.

"We're not going to get to go to the spa, are we?" Susan's voice
was low from the back seat.

The vehicles sped on.  The High Priestess would never admit it,
but secretly she enjoyed these chase scenes.  Ahead, just
coming into sight, a large moving van type truck was beginning
to cross the intersection.  Jules checked the rear view and noted
the Triumphs hot on her tail. Satisfied that she could avoid both
a front and rear end collision, Jules looked forward again.

And blanched.

>From the small, side alleyway a rather large, pink rodent darted
into the street, pursued by a haggard looking grey feline.

Everyone in the Jag drew in shocked, hard breaths.  Jules
slammed on the brakes as one of the Vaquera motorcycles
rushed past.  The Vaq, now seeing the creatures ahead, slid the
Triumph to the right, trying to avoid running over the animals,
her boot scraping the pavement hard.

It was either the critters or the motorcycle.  Jules was going to
hit something.

"DON'T HIT THE KITTY!" Susan screamed.

Jules made a choice.  She turned the steering wheel hard to the

The addicts braced themselves for impact.

The cat raised its head, almond eyes wide.  Rat forgotten, it
arched its back and scooted back to the right.

Patt reached over instinctively, grasped the steering wheel and
pushed it to the left.  The addicts felt a convulsive thud as the
front wheels ran over something soft and squishy.  The Jaguar
bolted, flinging its chaises over the left curb.  Jules fought with
the wheel, pulling it back to the right, but not before the driver
side fender scraped against a street lamp.  Air bags deflated,
gongs went off, electrical lights danced in excited rhythm.   The
rear trunk lid flipped open.

LaCroix's prized vehicle shuddered to a halt.


Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 00:18:12 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR:  NA--Remember, Compadre, Little Dog's can Bite
X-UIDL: 44f9dd976bc597308d10c29bce18e719

Remember, Compadre, Little Dog's can Bite
By Patt Elmore
Time:  Tuesday afternoon to early evening, after "A Tale of Wheels and
Location:  Toronto!

The interior of the Jaguar was as quiet as ice.

Then Susan spoke.  "Oh, look!!  Kitty *made* it!"

"MUMPPHHFFF," Jules replied from somewhere within her air
bag confines.

Next to the High Priestess, Patt began slapping at the plastic
balloon as if it were an octopus.  "Get this  $@(**&%  thing OFF
of me!"  The Third Cousin exclaimed.

"If is wasn't the cat, I wonder what we ran over?" Caren looked
out the rear window, searching for their victim.  All she saw
were three Vaqueras sitting atop idling Triumph motorcycles.
"Uhh, oh."

"MMMMPPHHFFFTTTT," Jules scraped plastic from face and
gasped for air.  She sat silent for a minute, then, a reality set in.

Jules began to wail.

Three different vehicle doors simultaneously popped open and
three addicts made a hasty exit from the Jaguar.  Only Jules
remained inside, unmoving, her vocal cry reaching an
unnatural pitch.

"Sounds like that one is about to explode," the Vaquera known
as Javiette commented.  She looked at her companions.  "Maybe
we better get on down the road."

Sarah finished wiping her visor, saluted the addicts without
affection and climbed back on her cycle.   "I'll be sending you a
bill, toga-tarts!"

"Maybe this will help, Sar.  Looks like the *ladies* have been
shopping." Javiette reached down and picked up a battered
Sunny's box.  As she did, a black, lacy undergarment about the
size of a small country proceeded to slip out.  "What the heck is
this?" the Vaquera squinted at the raiment.  "A trampoline?"

"That's my corset!" Patt ran forward, grabbing at the garment.
"Get your greasy hands off of it!"

In response, Javiette gunned her engine and took off down the
road, waving the black corset like a flag.  Laughing, Sarah
joined her.

NytDancer drove easily up to where Patt stood and handed the
Third Cousin a dark gray business card embossed with a
silhouette of Vachon.  "If you need us as witnesses for your
insurance claim, give us a call.  We might answer."

"Thanks for your help!" Patt called sarcastically after the
retreating motorcyclists.  Caren and Susan walked up and
joined the mature addict, who was looking at the Jaguar with a
mournful expression.  "This sucks," the Third Cousin said

Exhibiting no sign of moving, Jules continued to wail.

"Do you think we should, like, help her?" Caren said, looking at
the High Priestess with concern.

"Can you turn back time?" Patt said sardonically.  "The
alternate universe was in War 8.  This . . . really . . . happened."

"Why did you grab the wheel?" Susan asked innocently.

The wailing from within the Jaguar stopped.

A small pillar of fire slowly withdrew from the driver side.  It
burned brightly, its heat radiating with the intensity of
complete anger.

"Oh, fudge," Patt said softly.

The fire advanced, sending hot embers shooting toward the
Third Cousin.  Just before it engulfed the older woman, it
paused and turned, surveying the damage to the stricken car.

It spun back to face Patt.   All semblance of Jules was gone.

"Go," the pillar informed the Third Cousin.  "Get out of my
sight before I do something rash."

Patt fled.

The fiery column turned to Caren and Susan.  "I've changed my
mind.  Hunt her down . . .  and kill her."

Susan and Caren turned and took off after Patt.


On foot, it takes a long time to reach the Shrine of Nunkies.

About three miles from the scene of the accident, Patt decided
that she'd traveled enough for one stretch.  She hadn't seen
Caren or Susan for about fifteen minutes, so she felt a
comparative sense of safety.

Ahead, soft light and muted music reached her senses.  The
Third Cousin approached the intersection and looked to her
left.  About half way down the block was a brightly painted
establishment with a curled tile roof.  The sign out front
proclaimed it to be "Chihuahuas's."

"If it's named after a dog, then it can't be that bad," Patt
decided, allowing her tired feet to lead her to the door of the

The atmosphere immediately struck Patt as warm and friendly.
A young waitress, dressed in a tan apron and beige jeans,
smiled in greeting and asked Patt if she'd prefer a table or a seat
at the bar.   Patt accepted a small table near a window and was
soon happily munching salsa and "yips."

 Patt thought.  With a large
grin, she accepted a house draft, known as a "Woof," from the
handsome young barman who brought it over.  

There was movement at the front entry.  Caren and Susan,
looking worn, stepped inside.  Patt scooted back and ducked
down behind a cactus.

"I don't know how we lost her!" Susan said, slightly breathless.

"Must be those vitamins I've been encouraging her to take,"
Caren noted.  "She's really devoted to Ginsing, you know."

The two women looked around the room, noting an
unoccupied table in front of a large dessert floral display.

"How about that table over by the Saguaro," Caren said, when
the waitress asked their preference.

Hidden, but close enough to hear, Patt listened closely as the
other two women talked.

"I've never seen her that angry," Susan said, accepting a menu.
"I believe she really would have killed Patt if she'd been able to
catch her."

Caren nodded.  "I don't know how she keeps getting into these
scrapes.  I know she can be a real pain sometimes, but I hate to
think of not having her around."

Patt leaned closer, intrigued by the turn of the conversation.

The barman served Caren and Susan Margueritas, Caren's
strawberry and Susan's golden rocks.  Both women took a drink
and sighed happily in unison.

"Gosh, I needed that," Caren helped herself to some con Queso.
"Running after the Third Cousin gave me a workout, and those
little turkey and avocado sandwiches don't last long.  I feel like
I've been on the treadmill for days."

Susan couldn't suppress a laugh.  "I know what you mean.  If
they'd warned me about this segment, I'd have worn some
Reeboks  rather than sandles."

"They haven't been very forthcoming in their plotlines, have
they?" Caren agreed.  "Which brings me back to 'What about

"What about Patt?" Susan looked confused.

"Are we really going to keep chasing her and take her back to
Jules for execution?" Caren said, taking a long sip from her
gartered drink.  "Or are we going to cut her loose."


Caren and Susan turned quickly.  To their astonishment, Patt
sat at the next table, rubbing her bleeding ear.  The Third
Cousin noticed the women looking at her and grinned
sheepishly.  "Cactus bit me."

"Lucky cactus," Caren said dryly.  "Getting the *first* bite and

Patt cringed.  "I thought you were talking about letting me go?"

"That was the subject," Susan nodded.  "But no decision has
been made.  We have to *exist* in this city, remember?  I *like*
staying at the Shrine."

"Are material things, like saunas, unlimited wardrobe
privileges and other gilded comforts, more important than
friendship and the life of a buddy?"  Patt challenged.

Susan and Caren appeared thoughtful.

"Great.  Just great.  If you can't count on your friends, who can
you count on?"

"Another *Woof*?"  the barman asked, smiling down on the
mature addict.  Patt returned the grin and nodded.

"I wonder why they call them Woofs," SuePaige wondered

"Probably 'cause you *woof* them down," Caren was delighted
with her pun.  Patt and Susan cringed.

"You ladies want a couple more drinks?" the barman asked.
The slender women nodded.  "Sounds good."  The barman
smiled.  "The waitress will have your two MegaBark Taco
salads out in a minute."

Alone again, the occupants of the two tables faced each other in

"This is ridiculous," Caren said finally.  "Come sit at the table,
Patt, and let's see if we can work this out."

Thankfully, Patt accepted her friend's offer.

And, thus they were sitting when, five hours later, a group of
leather clad women strolled into the bar.

Susan noticed them first, though her eyes were the most bleary;
Susan tended to have bleary eyes even when un-tired and
sober.  "Look.  Vaquies."

Caren and Patt, hunched over, both with arms crossed on the
table, looked up and followed Susan's line of vision.

"Yep," Caren agreed with a nod.  "Those are Vaquies."

"Yup."  Patt took another draw from her longneck.  "It looks
like them same Three Caballeros we ran into earlier.

"Wonder what they're doing here?" Susan noted groggily.

"Isn't it obvious?" Patt hiccupped.  "We never would have sat
here drinking for five hours, if we weren't gettin ready for the
obligatory bar fight."

"Hasn't a biker chick fight scene already been done this war?"
Caren queried.  "I seem to remember a mentioning of blondes
and blood."

Patt nodded.  "Yea . . . but that was a premature post.  This one
is ripe."

"Kind of like you, horsebreath," Javiette walked up, goading the
beer-sodden Cousin.

"Why you calling me *horsebreath?" Patt arched a cousinly
eyebrow, but without the desired effect of intimidation she was
hoping for.

Javiette leaned close.  "Because . . . you and your kind are
always *neighing . . . get it?  NAying."

Patt blinked.  Her hand closed around the base of the longneck
she'd been nursing.

"Oh, look!'  Susan leaned outward, straining to see.  "Siamese

Patt looked.  Patt reddened.  NytDancer and Sarah, laced
together in a width of black lace and rope, waved at the addict.

"That's my corset."  Patt's hand slid upward on the beer bottle.

Caren noted the slight movement with alarm.  "Why are you
getting upset?  I didn't think you even *liked* that corset?"

"Yea, NunkaLunk, why you getting so bent out of shape?
Javiette leaned forward.  "Drawers dropping 'cause your garter
belt is missing?"

Patt growled.

The beer bottle impacted the side of Javiette's head with the
speed of a snake.  The Vaquera fell back, staggering just a bit.
She recovered quickly, her blue eyes flashing.  "Dead meat," she

Highlights of the ensuing bar fight will be described in
tomorrow's paper.  Patt is currently passed out at the PC.


Cousins/NA: Crimes and Punishment (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Bons, Patt, Jules, Trakal, Spark and LaCroix
Time: Wee hours of Wednesday, April 29th, After 'Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow,'
'Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go,' and after 'Remember, Compadre, Little
Dogs Can Bite'

      Bons looked at the pile of shoes that had been delivered to her with
distaste. "Ugh." They were very practical and very brown. They *had* to go.

     "Trakal!" She intercepted the Cousin on the way to the Rec Room with
her Guinness representative, apparently planning to make another 'Tenchi'
marathon attempt. "It's time for you to get a taste of Cousinly Cleanup!"

     Trakal's shoulders slumped. "Do I have to? Operative A is calling my

     "You have two choices: do what I say, or earn the world's record for
wars spent in PERK's dungeon...your little Guinness friend, too."

     "O-kay," Trakal said. "What do I clean up?"

     "Do you see all of these horrible shoe boxes?"

     Trakal nodded. "I didn't think you liked sensible shoes."

      Bright flashes of light shot out from Bonnie's eyes while the theme to
'Psycho' played in the background. "I don't. That is why we are going to
donate them all to charity." Bons scribbled something on a slip of paper.
"This is the address to the Claymont Mission. Ask for Sarah Boydell."

     "Okay." Trakal turned to leave.

     "Not so fast," Bonnie growled, grabbing the Cousin by her shoulder and
spinning her around. "I have a second job for you. Ask one of the veteran
Cousins for directions to the Cousinly Prank Vault. This vault holds
materials that have been delivered in past wars that the Cousinly Cerberus
believe may prove useful in the future. In there, you will find multiple
cases of spray-on hair. I want you to take those cases and ship them to this
address." Bons presented Trakal with a card from the 'Hair Club For Men'
material that had been sent to LaCroix  (She'd snuck into the sound booth
some hours later when the coast was clear and cleared all of the info out of
the way). "Send them to Mr. Tippy, with a return address of 1313 Mockingbird

     "Aye, aye, Bons!" Trakal and the Guinness representative saluted,
hefted the box of nasty wing tips between them, then marched from the room.

      Bons sighed, then headed for the Lobby. "Anyone asks, I've been
abducted by aliens," she instructed the Cousinly Receptionist.

     Once outside, she leaned against the building and dug in her pockets
for her clove cigarettes. It was time for a stress smoke.

     Every year, Bonnie would buy one package of cigarette, then smoke them
only in the most extreme cases of stress or irritation. Puffing on a death
stick when the world seemed to have gone insane was her method of thumbing
her nose at the universe, in general.  Puff.  Puff. Puff. 
Puff.  Puff.  Puff. Puff. 

     Normally Bonnie didn't clean out half the pack in a year. She'd sent
Trakal to the tobacco shop for a carton's worth this morning. You see, she
found the secret out that no ex-Cousin head was about to share until it was
too late, and you were already caught. Tok wasn't about to breathe a word of

     Being a Cousinly Leader was hell. Pure, unadulterated, walking-on-a-
tightrope-vampires-on-the-verge-of-killing-you Hell. Bonnie had decided lung
cancer and emphysema were pleasant alternatives.

     Trakal and her Guinness representative came out the front door,
carrying the cases of aerosol spray between them. "Last thing to load up,
Bons!" Trakal called.

       Bons waved, clasped her lips around the cigarette butt, and sucked in
some more death.

     A warm voice broke into her thoughts. "You wouldn't be Bonnie Rutabaga,
by any chance?" There was a snap of fingers, "No, wait - make that Bonnie

     Puff. Puff. "That'd be me. Rutledge, not Rutabaga."

     "My, my," the voice drawled. "A Cousinly the flesh."

     Bonnie stiffened, her danger sensors ringing full tilt. She was walking
outside, alone, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the war. Was
she crazy? She turned and looked at her company.

      Apparently so.

     "Spark," she said flatly.

      He smiled, the curve of his full lips having a very wicked cast. "It's
nice to be remembered."

     Bonnie took a deep drag from her cigarette. It went with the moment.
"It's better to be remembered fondly," she countered.

     "Well, well." Spark crossed his arms across his chest and looked the
redhead up and down. "Don't you have attitude? No wonder you're one of *his*

      "Hmm. You don't sound overly fond of LaCroix," Bons observed. "What?
You don't like guys who are bigger than you?"

     Spark glared at her. "If it wasn't for LaCroix, that goody-goody
detective and his doctor friend, I would have never ended up cursed to the

     "Hey! I have friends cursed to the bayou, thankyouverymuch! Other than
a strange palatability for crawfish heads, they're perfectly normal."

     "I know," Spark said smoothly. "My faction leader is Louisianan."

     Bonnie laughed. She couldn't help herself. She probably should have
been wary, but then she'd incurred LaCroix's wrath several times over the
past two days. She was becoming immune to fear. "You don't *have* a

     "Why not?" Spark growled.

     Bons managed to suppress her laughter into muffled chuckles. "Face it:
you were a one trick pony. A two-dimensional bad guy vamp who, for all
intents and purposes, should be dead. Yeah, you may have worn leather pants,
but still nobody liked you. A faction? A faction leader??? I don't believe
it! *snicker* *snicker* What would they call themselves? The Sparklers? That
would be choice! Bwahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!"

     Suddenly, Spark grabbed her by the shoulders and slammed her against
the brick building. "I happened to *like* the name 'Sparklers.' What do you
have to say about that?"

     Bonnie made note of the vampires glowing eyes and protruding fangs and
decided she'd had enough quality time outside. "This conversation's at a
standstill, and we should shake hands and say goodnight?"

     Spark smiled again. Bons thought he really looked the closest to scary
when he did that. "Not yet. I need something from a Cousinly Leader."

     "And I'm a Cousinly Leader." Bons had started another puff on her
cigarette, when, all at once, she let out a string of coughs. "Wait a
second! You know my name, you know that I'm a faction leader...Who have you
been talking to?" she demanded.

     "Why, *my* faction leader, of course," Spark replied. "I believe you
know her...Patt Elmore?"

     "Ack!" Bonnie said, feeling the spastic syllable about covered the
essence of the moment. "Not Patt!" She began to seriously puff on her
cigarette anew. "She wouldn't! Not my Favored Twit! Well...she wouldn't
unless you threatened her with mortal harm!"
Bons had a flashback to the Cousinly reception the night before of LaCroix
announcing that Patt was hiding something from him. She frowned up at Spark,
and he gave her a mischievous grin, flashing his canines for a split-second.
"Oh. So...what you're saying is Patt brought you to Toronto and bought you
that stellar Scooby-Doo T-shirt?"


      "Well, then...any way you slice it, she's dead meat. Either she's your
faction leader - and may I add the significant detail that you don't *have*
a faction? - in which such case, LaCroix will kill her, or she returns to
the Shrine like a good addict and *you* kill her. Have I gotten the right
picture here?"

     Spark nodded. "That's about the gist of it. Even more importantly,
though, Sparkler Patt is working on my quest of the heart."

     Bonnie gave a confused frown. "Come again?"

     Spark finally decided to let go of Bons' blouse and set her free. "Do
you know what drew me here? The call sign." He pointed to the neon letters
that flashed atop the building. "'PERK.' It made me think of her. No, not
because she looks perky. Her face is too shuttered for that, as if she's
hiding some inner turmoil, some private struggle. No, her followers are
'Perks' - that was the connection."

     Bonnie's mouth fell open. "Are you talking about *Tracy*?"

     Spark nodded. "Of course. What other woman in Toronto is worth my
attention? I will have her - in my arms and by my side, and you," He pointed
directly at the stunned Bons, "are going to help me. I want you to set up a
meeting. You will make her think it's LaCroix, and she will feel honor-bound
to investigate because of the research theft. When she arrives at the
rendezvous, however, she will only find me." Spark extended his arms at his
sides and gave a slow bow, grinning all the while. "Lucky girl."

     "I'm not going to do that," Bonnie informed him. "When I took this job,
I swore to myself that I would only use my powers to suit my own evil
purposes, and there's nothing in this for me but trouble!"

     Spark placed his hands firmly on her shoulders, and pressed her into
the brick wall once more. His eyes carried a soft glow. "What if I make

     Bonnie shook her head. "You can't."

     Spark seized her chin in on hand to stop the movement of her head. Bons
was forced to look straight into his eyes. "Oh, but I can."


     Bons felt dizzy, rather like she did after two hours without a caffeine
hit. Her thoughts turned to mush, a confused concoction of ideas that didn't
make sense or seem important when compared to the sound of Spark's voice.

     "You're going to call Tracy," he instructed.

     "Call...Trace..." Bonnie repeated absently.

     "Tell her LaCroix has some information regarding the missing notes.
Tell her he wishes to only turn it over to her, because she is a good cop."

      "Good cop....good cop...I'm a good cop..." Something new began to
press into Bonnie's mind. There was a stinging sensation on the fingers of
her right hand - something hot, something on fire. Her cigarette...

     "Make the meeting place somewhere with atmosphere...some place that
shows I have style."

     Bonnie took the stub of her clove cigarette and pressed the lit end
into the palm of her left hand. It hurt like hell. She could swear that she
could smell her own skin sizzling, but it snapped her out of her hypnotic
daze and thrust her into a pretty fine temper.

     "I will *not* help you!" she screeched. Spark hissed and bared his
fangs. "Oh, no you don't," Bonnie snapped. "You can kill me, but remember: I
am a Cousinly Leader. Whether or not the General gives a damn about me, he's
going to see it as a personal insult. *No one* takes his property. Have you
ever heard his rant about the plantations?" Spark stared at her stubbornly
for several moments, then nodded. "Then you know what I'm talking about.
Kill me, and the bayou's going to seem like luxury accommodations. There'll
be pieces of barbecued Spark from here to Winnepeg, so...if I were you, I
would take my hands away and get the hell out of here, before any ancient
vampires with attitude caught me slamming his legions around."

      Spark grimaced and thrust her away. "This isn't over. I'm not giving
up. I will have Tracy."

     Bonnie brushed at her clothes, as if she'd managed to acquire Spark
lint and wanted it gone. "You're a big boy, Sparky. You claim that you have
style? Woo her on your own merits, if you have any. Quick dragging other
people into it." Bons dropped her dead cigarette butt to the sidewalk and
crushed it beneath one non-sensible heel. She started for the station door
before the young vampire decided to play the heavy again, but felt compelled
to pause as her fingers clutched the door handle. "Oh, and Spark..." she
said as she turned around. "Nothing had better happen to Patt. That will
irritate me. Doves cry and popes retire when I get pissed off. Consider this
a friendly warning."

     Once inside the station, Bons collapsed into a jellied heap against the
reception desk. "Cousin Jules for you on line two," the Cousinly
Receptionist informed her. "She says it's urgent. A catastrophe."

     "I'll take it in my office."

     Bons' office was actually Jules' office, requisitioned for war
purposes. Bonnie plopped into Jules' ergonomic chair and kicked off her non-
sensibles, propping her naked feet on top of the desk. "Hello, Lady
Julia...what's up?" she piped into the phone.

     "The apocalypse," was Jules' reply.

     "Sounds eventful."

     "I'm telling you, Bonniebarian. This night could not possibly get
worse. Do you know what I found in the Shrine when I finally got

      Bonnie didn't know, so she said, "I have a feeling it wasn't the cure

     "NO! I found Laurie, *the* Grand High Poobah, trussed up like a vestal
turkey on one of our divans. A group of the addicts drugged and kidnapped
her today!"

YOU!!! GIVE THEM GROUT DUTY!!!!" Bonnie shrieked into the receiver, only
slightly freaking. Then she heard a familiar voice clear his throat from the
office doorway. She glanced up in growing dread and saw LaCroix. her bare
feet dropped from the desk to the floor with a clunk. "Ack."

     "The addicts have kidnapped the leader of the Mercenary Guild?" he said
thoughtfully. "I must say, no one deserves binding and gagging more.
Excellent initiative on the addicts' part."

     Bons had covered the mouthpiece of the phone as Nunkies talked. Jules
continued to yell on the other end, her curses involving something to do
with Lacroix's Jag and a pink rat. "JULES?" Bonnie said in a loud, clear
voice. "JULES, LACROIX IS HERE." That info immediately silenced the High
Priestess. Now that she had Jules' attention, Bonnie spoke in normal tones.
"He thinks the addicts showed initiative."

     "Really?!?" There came a sigh of relief. "Does he want to see her? The
addicts tell me that they plan to torture Laurie for secrets."

     Bons covered the mouthpiece once more and informed LaCroix. "They're
going to torture her for secret information. Do you want to go watch?"

     "That sounds delightful."

     "When? Tomorrow?"

     LaCroix shook his head after a moment's consideration. "Make it
Thursday. There's no reason why the  exalted High Poobah can't suffer
unspeakable humiliations before I drop in."

     "I'll inform Jules."

     "Before you get back on the phone, I have one quick question," LaCroix

     "Yes, sir?"

     "What size shoes do you wear?"

     Bonnie sat still for a stunned moment, her mind floating over images of
the General rewarding her for good behavior with some new non-sensibles. Oh,
Boy! "Six and a half." Lacroix gave her a brief nod and left without another

     Bons turned back to the phone sighing dreamily over the line. "Bons? Is
that you?" Jules said urgently. "What did Nunkies say?"

     "He's visiting the Shrine Thursday," Bonnie gurgled. "See ya." She
sighed again, then hung up.

      Bonnie thought.  Bonnie's face fell.  She picked up the phone
again and dialed the fanfic fairy operator. "Yes, could you connect me with
Patt Elmore in whatever story she's plotting right now?"

     There were several rings, then finally someone picked up. "Chihuahua's
- our bark is worse than our bite," a man's voice said. There were crashes
and shouts in the background.

     "I'd like to speak to Patt Elmore," bonnie said politely.

     "Hold on a sec." Bons heard him set the phone down and yell, "Hey! Patt
Elmore! Phone!" There was more screaming, the sounds of a scuffle, then the
man came back on line. "She's kind of got her hands full right now," he
said. There was a sound of breaking wood and glass, and the man's voice
lightened. "Hey! She's free now! One second!"

     More scuffling ensued, but within a minute, Patt picked up. "Yep?"

     "Patt, this is Bons."

     "Oh. Gee, Red...I'd love to talk but I'm kinda busy..." A beer bottle
broke in the background.

     "I can hear that, *Patricia,* but this is important." Bons used Patt
full name to prove she meant business. She could hear the Third Cousin's
shudder over the airwaves. "I know about you and Spark."

     Patt gulped. "I can explain..."

     "I know, Patt. I understand that you've been acting under duress, but
that's not half the stress you're going to endure when LaCroix finds out you
drove Spark to Toronto so he could raise trouble, Patt, and that Spark's
calling you the faction leader of his non-faction!"

      "Well, are *you* going to tell him, Bons?" the Third Cousin, a note of
betrayal in her voice.

     Bonnie cringed as she heard the familiar voice say, "Excuse me for
interrupting your call." Lacroix was in the doorway again, a furious gleam
in his eyes.

     "Bons?..." Patt repeated worriedly over the phone.

     "I don't have to tell him," Bonnie answered, her voice cracking once.
"He just overheard the news. I'm sorry, Patt," she said, then softly hung up
the receiver.

     "That was what Ms. Elmore was seems the Third Cousin has
extreme problems with loyalty," LaCroix said coldly.

     "Anything Patt did was a matter of survival," Bonnie argued.

     "Maybe I would be pleased if she didn't survive. She might be less
trouble," he countered. Bons didn't have a response to that. LaCroix walked
further into the room, displeasure evident in his expression. "That's enough
for now," he said dismissively. "She can't hide from me forever. We *will*
have a conversation about her Spark connection. Meanwhile, the GSS has shown
me an interesting selection of video tape. Are you aware that my penthouse
has hidden cameras?"

     Bonnie stiffened. "Yes. Well, I suspected as much..."

     "It seems that these cameras caught the identities of those responsible
for the pink rat invasion. Come with me to the War Room."

     Bonnie left her chair and slipped into her non-sensible shoes. She
clicked down the hall after the vampire until LaCroix stopped in front of a
television screen. "As you can see," LaCroix announced as he pressed a
button, "the prank was not perpetrated by the Dark Perks as you had
suggested." The video began to play, the display showing the figures of
Johnsie and McLisa crawling around the penthouse floor, checking beneath
LaCroix's statue, then escaping in a wild hurry. "The culprits were a
Ratpacker and a very, very naughty Cousin playing at independence."

     "We'll have to punish them, I suppose," Bonnie said, not sounding very

     "A team has already assembled to deal with the Ratpacker. I thought I
would leave Lisa up to you."


      LaCroix stopped the video and began to rewind the tape. "There was
something else of interest the hidden cameras picked up..." He pressed
'Play' once more, and the screen was filled with images of Bonnie bouncing
on LaCroix's bed, catching a heel, then tumbling to the floor.


     "Indeed. You almost got away with it."

     Bonnie shook a fist. "And I would have, too, if it weren't for those
pesky cameras!"

     LaCroix tsked. "Now, now. Take your punishment like a good Cousin."

     "Punishment?" Bonnie said, truly dreading the answer.

     The vampire pointed to her feet. "Those shoes. Take them off and give
them to me." When Bonnie didn't move, LaCroix's voice grew impatient. "Give
them to me now."

     Bons slipped off her heels as a pout formed on her face and handed the
shoes over. LaCroix dumped them in the trash. Bonnie whimpered. Giving her a
smug look, LaCroix withdrew a box that had been concealed in a nearby chair.
Bonnie grew horrified. "No!"

     "Yes," LaCroix countered, taking the lid off the box of brown Doc
Marten wing tips. "You will wear sensible shoes for the remainder of the
war, or suffer the consequences. Now...give me your foot."

     Bonnie cringed. 

Fin for now

Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 18:48:15 -0400
Reply-To: angelofhope@EARTHLINK.NET
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Lesley Leighton 
Subject:      War: Cousins: Cur nonne quidem!
X-UIDL: f69856cb5a47c8e0a82c05dc63c2d257

Title:  Cur nonne quidem!*
by L.L.
Place:  CERK
Time:  Wed. Night 4/29 6:00 pm
Note:  Makes reference to Crimes and Punishment, by Bonnie Rutledge

All use of people/characters have been sanctioned by the appropriate parties.

     The languid strains of Verdi floated through the hallways of CERK.  It
was emanating from His office.  Lesley moved quickly down the hallway, and
as she walked past the office door, she recognized the opera as Don Carlos:
How apropos.  Why does the man torture himself?  Shaking her head, she
walked through the open door at the end of the hall, and into the lobby
area, where Penny, Dark Maestro from hell, was waiting for her.

     "What's so important that you needed to drag me down here, 'right
now'?" Penny asked.

     "I've been thinking--"

     "--I'll alert the media."

     "Et tu?" Lesley retorted, her acerbic tongue firmly in cheek.  The two
women looked at each other momentarily, silent understanding passing
between them.

     "Okay," Penny finally said, "it's serious.  I get that....but you said
you needed my 'special talents', what are you up to?"


     "What about her?"

     Lesley pursed her lips for a moment, then let out a sigh of air that
she had not realized she'd been holding.  "Motive, opportunity."

     "The notes..."  Penny muttered, Lesley nodded.  It was Penny's turn to
let out a breath of air.  "You've got a point.  Janette might very well
want to take revenge on Nick....."

     "Who wants to take revenge on Nick, and for what?"  The new voice
emanating from the front door, caused Lesley to start, though Penny, ever
the Dark Spy, cooly looked in the direction of the voice.

     Bonnie, Bob and NuitCoeur were standing there, awaiting an
explanation.  When none came quickly, the three Cousins walked into the
lobby.  Penny and Lesley just looked at each other.

     Bob asked again, "Well?  What are you two cooking up?"

     "Come on, share," NuitCoeur prodded.

     Penny was frowning, her eyes focused somewhere near the floor.  Lesley
followed her friend's gaze, and landed on Bonnie's feet, which were clad in
the ugliest pair of sensible brown shoes ever seen on this side of the
border.  When it was obvious that something of interest was near Bonnie's
feet, Bob and NuitCoeur also looked down, their jaws dropping at the
frightening sight.

     Bons was not amused, "Do you all have a problem with something?"

      "Uh, no, no.....," Penny began, still staring at the brown
abominations before her, "it's just, well, aren't those Doc--"

      "--NOT ANOTHER WORD," Bonnie roared, her face a bright shade of red,
"not *one* *more* *word*."

      After a moment, NuitCoeur guided them back to the business at hand,
"What about the revenge on Nick?"

     Lesley, now recovered from the assault of the brown shoes, smiled,
"Oh, I was just thinking that we oughta give Janette some consideration in
this rapidly thickening soup."

     Bonnie frowned, "So you think that she didn't want Nick to bring her
back across, and this is her way of denying him mortality?"

     "Why not?"

     Lesley turned toward the hallway door to close out the Verdi, which
was rapidly increasing in volume.  Unfortunately, the volume increase was
due to the fact that the door to LaCroix' office was now open, but how
could she have known?  As she turned, she plowed right into a rather large,
black wall, which she all too quickly recognized was not a wall, but the
chest of a man.  Or an Immortal, as the case may be...

     Lesley swallowed hard, as she realized the identity of her
unintentional plowing victim.  Ever so slowly, her gaze moved up the
expansive chest, and past the elegant neck.  Finally, she found herself
staring into the stoic face of Lucien LaCroix.  The ancient one was glaring
back down at her, with one eyebrow characteristically raised in question,
and a slightly amused smirk curling his full lips upward.

     "Why not, indeed?" LaCroix intoned smoothly.

     Silence held the room in a tight grasp, as none of the other Cousins
wished to so much as breathe and attract the General's attention.  Penny,
on the other hand, stood there calmly, taking it all in.  Lesley backed a
few steps away.

     The General's impatience building, he said, "I am waiting for an
explanation, Miss......"

      "Leighton.  Lesley Leighton."  She thrust her hand out in an effort
to shake his in greeting, but LaCroix just glared at the offering.  She
fell silent, her hand slowly falling to her side.

      "I am still awaiting some form of revelation, my dear."

     Looks flashed between Bonnie, NuitCoeur, Bob, Penny and Lesley.
Answers were not forthcoming.  LaCroix heaved an audible sigh, not a good
sign.  Finally, Lesley found her wits, and she tentatively offered a

     "Perhaps we should consider Janette's opportunity of duplicity in all
of this, and how we might uncover it...."

     She could barely look at the man who affixed her with the iciest blue
stare she had ever known.  As LaCroix considered her words, his look
softened slightly.

     "Indeed.  And may I assume that you have some sort of ...plan in the
works to this end?"

     Bonnie piped up, coming to Lesley's rescue, "Well, not quite yet, but
I'm sure we can come up with something..."

     "I'll bet if some Cousins go to the party on Friday night at the
Raven," Bob suggested, "we'll find something out by talking to some

     "Make it so," the General commanded.  LaCroix frowned at himself,
where did that come from?

     Odd looks passed between the conspirators in the room.  For a moment
the General had sounded just like......nah.  LaCroix glared at them with
one eyebrow raised, daring them to comment upon it.  Penny started to open
her mouth, but was squelched when Lesley grabbed her arm, glaring at her.
Penny rolled her eyes, but no comment was made.

     LaCroix smiled his best shark grin, "It might also be in our best
interests, to make our presence felt.  Be sure that Janette knows the
troops are watching.  That *I* am watching.  Comprenez-vous?" All the heads
in the room nodded quickly.  "Tres bien."  He paused for effect, his gaze
now somewhere near the floor.  His face lit up with a most wicked smile,
"Lovely shoes, Ms. Rutledge, wherever did you find them?"  Another pause
for effect, as his barb sunk in.  "Now, if you will all excuse me, there
are other pressing matters which require my attention."

     Having dismissed his troops, the General turned on his heel and
stalked out of the room.  The group collectively let out a huge sigh of

     "That went....well," Penny commented sarcastically, finally breaking
the silence.

     "At least he didn't humiliate the rest of *you*," Bons muttered, still
stinging from the shoe fiasco.

     "It could have been worse.  I mean, he could have concluded that we're
all mad," NuitCoeur offered.

     Bob smirked, "I think he already *knows* that...."

     An odd smile crept upon Lesley's face, as an idea popped into her
warped mind.  "And we all know that the General is quite correct in that
assumption, don't we?"

     Penny smiled smugly, "Quite."

     NuitCoeur sighed heavily, "Why is it, I have this bad feeling that I'm
gonna be really sorry I signed on for this business?"

     The evil smile on Lesley's face permeated the room.  Why?  Why not indeed?


*Why not indeed?

Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 16:36:18 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: Merc/NA: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us (1/3)
X-UIDL: 8f41c494791bfd3abf19f62662ef4650

Merc/NA: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us (1/2)
By Bons and Laurie
Starring: Grand High Poobah...the victim
          Sallie, Heather, Sukh and Beth....the torturers
          The fanfic fairies
Time: Wednesday, midnight, April 29th
After 'Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go' and before 'Crimes and Punishment'

     Laurie snorted herself awake. She twisted her head from side to side,
feeling highly disoriented. She tried to sit up in alarm, but her body
wouldn't move. She could twitch her shoulders a bit and wriggle her fingers,
but that was the limit.

     Her vision was blurry. The bridge of her nose felt decidedly naked. Her
glasses must be missing. "Who took them?!" she shrieked, only it came out,
"Oooo-tuk-um?" There was a great deal of slobber involved. Her tongue was a
bit numb, as though she'd had a pop of novocaine. "Wan my wasses!" Laurie
ordered. "Wan my wasses wite way!" She thought she sounded frightening and
imperious, but she really sounded more like a babbling brook.
Laurie heard giggles. Someone was laughing at her! She tried to move again,
but her body seemed to be held down by force. There were more giggles.
Laurie howled. "Ooo dat?! Ooo dat waffing? I kill woo!" The ensuing snickers
were outrageous.

     Laurie was decided. Someone would die. The question was...who? She
sneered. It didn't really matter. Someone just needed to die in order to
appease her. Now if only she could move her arms and smack them silly...

     She felt something cool slide over her cheeks (facial) then around her
earlobes. Her glasses! Laurie blinked once, then glared as her technicolor
surroundings came into focus.
The scenery was composed of frescoes and mosaic tile. There was fountain
trickling in the background that subliminally put a need for the little
Poobah's room in her head.

     The fact that she appeared to be in a shrine of decadence wasn't the
most disturbing aspect of the situation. The most disturbing aspect wasn't
even the half-dozen women standing before her, sucking Nunkies Pops with
ravenous abandon. It wasn't the knowledge that her secret stash of chocolate
pops had been pilfered from her person. The most disturbing factor wasn't
even her clothing, which had miraculously transformed into a heavy chiffon
mini-toga, a very uncomfortable silver breastplate, and what seemed to be a
Mountie hat squashed on her head.

     No, what was most disturbing were the fanfic fairies, buzzing around
the length of her body, securing tiny cables that lashed her to a peach-
colored divan as though she was a refugee from 'Gulliver's Travels.'  The
fairies kept sneezing on her, like they had allergy trouble or something.
It was utterly disgusting - she was being coated in fairy snot - who knows
what such a substance could do to her? These were fairies - it could be
magical snot.

     Even worse, the fairies kept drooling on her, as though they had a
really bad cold or a virus. Drooling fairies reminded her of ... drooling
Addicts. Laurie shuddered mentally at the thought of NA having their very
own drooling fanfic fairies. Her thought was interrupted when a gob dropped
on her shoulder. At this, she shook even more. Laurie shuddered mentally at
the prospect of what fairy drool could do to a Poobah besides being
extremely gross. These were fairies - it could be magical drool. Worse, it
could be magical Nunkies-influenced drool!

     Two of her captors leaned over her, dangling their lollies over
Laurie's nose.

     "Thank you for bringing us candy," Heather said, her face still a two-
toned mask.

      "Mmm! Chocolate Nunkies!" Sukh echoed, her features still covered with
stripes and polka dots.. "And anatomically correct!"

       "Why are woo bwoo?!" Laurie asked. "Woo wook stoopid. Are woo Bwoo

       "No!" Heather put on her huffy face, crossing her arms over her
chest. "You are in no position to insult our war paint! Sallie! Beth! Carry
her into the Video Room!"

     Sallie and Beth tried to pick up the divan Laurie was laced into on
their own, but it was a bit too heavy. They would lift the furniture off the
ground, shuffle a few steps, then drop it to the tiles. Up and down. Up and
down. Over and over. And every time they dropped the divan, Laurie would
bounce up and down under her bonds, making her Mountie hat slip further and
further over her face. Up and down. Up and down. Over and over. The fanfic
fairies would follow along to a chorus of tiny sneezes, using Laurie as
their own drool cup. Up and down. Up and down. Over and over. Unfortunately
for Laurie, fanfic fairies suffer from motion sickness. Halfway across the
Shrine, they began to throw up on the Grand High Poobah.

      Laurie thought, feeling a bit nauseous herself. Even
though the fairies excused themselves for the vomitus maximus upon Laurie's
person, she was determined that someone must die for the fairy barf. Then
again...maybe fairy barf was magical. Maybe fairy barf could be bottled.
Maybe fairy barf could be marketed. Maybe fairy barf could be marketed to
thousands of unsuspecting fools. Maybe she should put her marketing plans on
hold, unless there was some way to collect the supply of fairy barf
currently hardening all over her.

     Laurie was mildly indignant, to say the least, by the time the addicts
had her propped in front of a wide screen TV. "Wha' do ya wan' fwum me?" she

     Sallie rubbed her talons together greedily. "Oh, just all your gold,
the location of the stolen research and a map to the Nunkies Pops Factory. A
token, really."

    Laurie valiantly stuck out her chin, or at least she tried to.
Unfortunately, she did little more than wiggle her eyebrows. "Neber!"

    Sukh shook a finger at the GHP. "You'll learn to never say 'neber,'

     All of the addicts threw back their heads and indulged in fiendish
laughter as Beth hit the remote control. "Muahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!"

     With horror, Laurie realized that one last pair of dedicated fanfic
fairies were flying her way, planning to tie her forehead to the divan's
headrest. Laurie blew at them, the sudden gust of air throwing the fairies
off. They cussed her out in high pitched voices, then tried again. Laurie
puffed at them again, and they tumbled through the air. One of the fairies
gave Laurie the finger. She tried to return the favor, but, of course, she
couldn't even raise a pinky, especially with fairy bark congealing on her

     Then the fairies got sneaky. They detoured their flight underneath the
divan, where Laurie couldn't blow on them, then the fairies attacked her
from behind. Head secure, Laurie was forced to stare ahead at the program
beginning to broadcast over the large screen.

     There was a fanfare of polka rock, then an announcer's booming baritone
proclaimed, "Live...from an arena near you...NA productions is proud to
bring you this five-hour event sponsored by the Fanfic Wrestling
Association!!!!!!! For one, and one time only, we bring you a no holds
barred contest of wills and tonight's squared circle, we bring
you , in all their the conservative corner, wearing their navy
suits and NRA's THE YOUNG REPUBLICANS!!!!!" Cheers came from the
telivision audience. Laurie groaned in pain. "...And in the herbs &
seasonings corner, girls so mass marketed they have their own world....THE

     "NNNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!" Laurie screamed.

      And so, the unspeakable torture began.


    Laurie couldn't believe this was happening to her. To her. The Grand
High Poobah. Just who did these people think they were anyway?

    That was just the problem. She knew *exactly* who they were. And the
thought made her start foaming at the mouth, which was not a good idea, as
the foam got mixed in with the congealing fairy barf, making even more of a
mess of her face than already existed.

    Right. She was just going to have to get over this ridiculous fear of
fairy droppings. There was *no* such thing as fairies anyway, Wendy Darling
had told the Grand High Poobah that herself.  For some reason, the theme
song of Dying For Fame entered her head, only it sounded suspiciously like

    An offended fairy buzzed her left ear lobe as the divan was plopped down
before a huge video screen, and the fairy's cohorts tied her head down,
forcing her to view the screen in front of her. As the titles began playing,
Laurie started screaming. Like that was gonna help. All it seemed to do was
piss of the fanfic fairies, who headed for her various parts of her lower
limbs, totally exposed in the mini-toga she was wearing.

    The tape droned on and on. Laurie looked within herself for strength to
resist the torture and instead found a lot of long, windy, messy tubes. She
next tried to close her eyes to shut out the offensive images.
Unfortunately, a small amount of fairy drool had congealed on both eyelids,
sticking her eyelids to her face, and making it impossible
to close her eyes.

    The Spice Girls started singing as the Young Republicans, chanting
"garlic is unAmerican, sage is unAmerican, parsley is unAmerican, jumped
them. The throbbing in Laurie's head continued unmercilessly.

    I must resist. I must resist. I must resist. I must resist. She kept
trying to repeat the phrase in her head, but all the fairy buzzing around
her ears was making it very difficult to hear herself. She felt her will
power slipping away as her eyes glazed over.

One hour later ...

    "Look at her. She looks like a zombie," said Sallie, as she removed her
protective earplugs.

    "WHAT?" said Sukh.

    "CAN'T HEAR YOU" said Heather.


    Sallie reached over and removed the earplugs from Beth.

    The four Addicts had been happily sucking their lollies, blocking out
the tape noise, and contemplating the continually heaving GHP, hoping that
she'd spill the beans. Instead, a glazed look had come over the Poobah and
her head had slowly lolled to one side. And she had remained totally mute.

    Heather got up to check that fairy drool had not accidentally sealed the
GHP's mouth shut. She poked and prodded the lolling GHP, to no avail.

    "Hey, guys, look at this. She's DROOLING."

    "Can't be. Poobahs don't drool."

    "I'm telling you, she's drooling."

    Beth jumped up. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE'S DROOLING? She's not allowed to
drool. Only Nunkies Addicts - and Nunkies fanfic fairies - are allowed to
drool. She's mince meat."

    "Maybe she's a secret addict," Sukh suggested.

    The other three took a step back at the incredible thought. Then they
moved closer to the GHP and examined her with growing interest.

    "You think so?" Beth wondered.

    "Well, you know, she was at the initiation session at the end of last
war," Heather informed them.

    "SHE WHAT?" Beth peered at the Poobah incredulously. "And she went back
to the Guild? You mean, she loved chocolate more than she loved Nunkies?"
The Addict went pale at the blasphamy.

    "Actually," Sallie whispered tapping her talons on the Poobah's soggy
Mountie hat. "I don't think she *ever* loved Nunkies at all."

    Shrieks rent the air.

    "*I* think," Sallie went on in hushed tones. "I think it was all a set
up. She wormed her way into the good graces of our NunkMommy," - here the
addicts paused to think affectionately of their NunkMommy, at this very
moment off in the Cayman Islands picking up the cash to double Nunkies'
reward money - "*and* our Scribe *and* our High Priestess, so they let her
come in and play. I bet she just wanted to get a look at our horde of
goodies," she added darkly.

    "You mean, she ... she ... she ... tricked us?" Heather cried. Murder
came into her eyes, and she moved toward the couch. "I'll kill her. That's
an insult to Nunkies." She tried to climb on the GHP to choke her, but the
moment a tiny speck of fairy goop touched her, she screamed and jumped off.
At least the stuff didn't smell, at least she didn't *think* it smelled, but
then again, none of the Addicts had ever been around congealing fanfic fairy
poop and drool before.

    "Speaking of High Priestesses," said Beth.  "What are we gonna tell

     Sukh popped a hand into the air.  "I know!  I know!  We'll tell her
it's all the Dark Perks' fault.  That they left her like this on our
doorstep!  She'll believe *that*!"

     "And what happens when the Poobah comes out of it?" asked Beth. "You
think *she's* gonna go along with it?  I don't think so."

     The Addicts sighed and became quiet once more.  It was a terrible thing
to fall into the hands of an unhappy High Priestess.

    "I know!" Sallie suggested, very pleased with herself.  "Maybe we can
convince her that Laurie got hold of some bad chocolate, became delirious,
that we just 'happened' to find her writhing outside of the Godiva shop
at the Eaton Centre, and that we thought we
should bring her back here before it caused any more of a scene!"

     "You've obviously never heard of 'libel and slander,' have you?" asked

     More sighing was heard.

     "Maybe we should just tell her the truth?" suggested Heather before she
was assaulted with a dozen soft cushions.


    Their ponderings were interrupted by an increased twitching coming from
the divan. Laurie was twitching so hard, the divan was rocking back and
forth. The fanfic fairies thought it was a new amusement park ride and
perched themselves on Laurie's breastplate to enjoy the fun.

    The Addicts stared at the divan, or more precisely at the fairies, who
were whooping and hollering and diving and flying around and just having a
grand old time on the NSVV roller coaster/breast plate.

     "Look, she's moving," Heather said.

     "I think she may be coming out of it," Sukh agreed.

     Beth reapplied her earplugs. "I think I hate the Spice Girls."

End Of Part One
Continued in Part Two

Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 21:02:15 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: Don't Talk to Strangers (01/01)
X-UIDL: 158dbd6e433439c027fae9c34529c327

Title: Don't Talk to Strangers
Time: Wednesday night/Thursday morning, concurrent with "This Will
Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us"
Place: Toronto streets and outside the 96th precinct
Written by Kusine
Beta-ed by Glennis and Wayne

Kusine let the door of the Shrine slam shut behind her.  It felt
good to be out alone in the crisp night air.  Ok, so it probably
wasn't the wisest thing in the world to be wandering around
Toronto alone, during war time, in the middle of the night.  It
showed a certain lack of common sense.  But, since addicts in
general and Kusine in particular had never been known for having
that particular quality, it wasn't much of a concern.

She pulled her garnet-colored velvet jacket over her black,
sleeveless dress.  Her one concession to the fact that there was a
war going on was that she wasn't wearing her NSVV toga.  That way,
she figured she wouldn't be as easily marked as a member of NA.
She wasn't trying to *hide* her addiction, but she wasn't going to
advertise it right now, either.  Kusine was blonde, not stupid.

Now, what she really needed was a V-8(tm).  An odd thing to crave,
but Kusine had been without that one of her three food groups (the
other two being Diet Coke(tm) and Wild Cherry LifeSavers(tm))
since she had been at the Shrine.  For most addicts, V-8(tm) was
an Anti-Nunklear Device and caused complaints and bumming whenever
it was detected.  Kusine most definitely couldn't keep it in the
Shrine fridge, and she wasn't even comfortable bringing through
the Shrine to her sleeping chamber.

So, here she was, walking down the street in clunky high heels, on
a quest for the vegetable drink.  Reaching into her jacket pocket,
Kusine pulled out one of the chocolate Nunkies pops that had been
found on the Grand High Torture Victim.  She unwrapped it and
popped it into her mouth, savoring the sweet, creamy taste.  //One
thing I've got to admit about the Mercs,// she thought, //They
sure know good chocolate!//

Ahead of her, Kusine saw a little boy in the middle of the
sidewalk, crying.  Coming up to him, she crouched down (somewhat
precariously, because of the heels) to be at his level.  She
pulled her chocolate treat out of her mouth, re-wrapped it
carefully, and put it back in her pocket.

"What's wrong," Kusine asked the little boy.  "Are you lost?"

He nodded and wiped his nose of the back of his hand.  Kusine
cringed and pulled her NA handkerchief out of her pocket.

"Where did you wander away from?  Blow," Kusine instructed,
holding the silk square up to the child's nose.  The child did.
"Come on, don't cry.  Where are your parents?"

"Mummy went into the store," the boy, who looked to be about five
years old, said.  "I'm a big boy, so I stayed in the car."  He
puffed his chest out and forgot about his tears.  "But then I saw
a mouse.  A big, pink mouse."

"And you got out to chase it, didn't you?" Kusine asked, carefully
folding her damp handkerchief and putting it away.  "What store
did your mummy go into?"

"The groc'ry store."

Kusine looked up and down the street.  She hadn't passed any on
her walk, and there were none in sight.  The best thing to do
would be to take this little boy to the police station.
Conveniently, they were only a few blocks from the 96th Precinct.

"I'm Kusine," the addict told the child.  "What's your name?"

He looked suspiciously at her.  "Mummy said not to talk to

"I'm not a stranger," Kusine said.  "I just told you my name.
Besides, we're going to the police station so we can find your
Mummy.  Is that ok with you?"

"Yeah," the little boy said.  "I'm Patrick."

"Well, hello, Patrick."  Kusine took his hand and shook it.  "It's
nice to make your aquaintence.  Shall we be off?"

Kusine held onto the boy's hand and stood up.  While they made
their way to the station, Patrick told her about chasing the "big
pink mouse."  To Kusine, it sounded like one of the rats that had
invaded CERK.  //Oh, well!  I guess they couldn't get them all!//
she thought.

Kusine took the boy into the station and filled out the relevant
paperwork.  After nearly two hours, Kusine left Patrick with a
Nunkies pop (after breaking off the anatomically-correct parts -
she'd save those as a present for Glennis) to ease his wait, and
went back outside.

When she crossed the street, Kusine turned to wave to the little
boy, who was standing at the top of the precinct steps with an
officer.  They went back inside, and Kusine turned to resumed her
search for V-8(tm).  She took one step and walked smack into
someone's chest.

"Ow!  What are you doing standing that close behind me?!"  she
demanded of the Tweety Bird t-shirt in front of her.  "What are
you, some kind of anti-personal-space nut?!"

Strong hands grabbed her upper arms and forcefully moved her about
half a foot back.  She craned her neck up and found herself
staring up a man's nostrils.  They were very clean, she noticed.

"Lemme go," she said, trying to jerk out of the man's grip.  "Hey!
 We're right outside the police station - I'll scream!"

The man finally looked at her.  His long dark hair framed a pale
face.  His lips were twisted in a smirk, but he looked vaguely
familiar.  Kusine stopped struggling.

"Do I know you?" the young woman asked her captor.

"Maybe," he replied in a voice that held an edge of cruelty.  "I
should like to get to know you better."

Kusine looked at him disbelievingly.  "Does that line *usually*

He stared at her.  Apparently, it did; this was not the response
he seemed to be expecting.  In any case, whether she knew him or
not, this cretin was keeping her from her V-8, and she was getting
cranky because of it.  She pushed against his chest, but was
unable to break his hold.  He only smirked.  //Perhaps I should
scream?// Kusine wondered.  //We're only about twenty metres from
the police station.//  She took a deep breath and opened her mouth.

"You don't want to scream," he told her.

He was right.  She let out the air in a rush and stood there,
confused.  She could have *sworn* she wanted to scream.  Why had
that been?  //Oh yeah,// she remembered.  //This jerk won't let me
go.//  Kusine pushed against his chest.

"You want to be in my arms."

Kusine stopped struggling.  Though he clutched her a bit too hard,
it wasn't all *that* unpleasant.  So what if she didn't know him.

When she quieted, the man loosened his grip and slid his arms
around her back.  He leaned down toward her, his face coming
within millimetres of hers.

There was an annoying *beepbeepbeepbeepbeep* from within Kusine's
jacket.  //What the he--// she thought as she realized that she
was about to kiss someone and it *wasn't* Nunkies.  Shaking her
head, she suddenly pushed away the strange man who was holding her.

"Hey, Birdy-boy," she said angrily.  "I don't know what kind of
chickies you usually go after, but you obviously have never met
with an addict.  Hands off, pal!"

Kusine turned her back and stomped off in annoyance to find a
telephone.  Yanking the beeper from her pocket, she was reading
the number when a hand grabbed her arm and whirled her around.
Without even thinking about it, Kusine lashed out and kicked him
in the knee.  There was a sickening *POP!* and the hand let go.
The man was sprawled on the ground.

He looked up with golden eyes.

"Meep!" Kusine said.

Her brain screamed to run, but her body didn't seem to get the
message.  Of their own accord, her feet kicked off her shoes and
set her bare feet down of the sidewalk in a wide, solid stance.

"Come on, Tweety," her mouth dared.

//Oh, poop,// her brain thought.  //I'm going to die.  I'm going
to be lunch for a vampire and it's not even Nunkies doing the

The vampire sat up and then began to laugh.  Kusine's body was
uncertain about what to do.  Fight or flight it could deal with,
but this confusing reaction required the intervention of the
brain.  It relinquished control.

Kusine's brain, when it finished yelling at her body, looked at
the laughing vampire in confusion.  Still snickering, he popped
his knee back in place and stood up.  Kusine backed away a few

"Do you need a phone?" he suddenly asked.

"Uh ... er ..." Kusine responded cleverly.  "Yeah."

The vampire pulled a cellular phone out of his back pocket,
checking to make sure it wasn't broken in his fall.  Faster than
she could see, he was standing inches from her, holding out the
phone.  She reached out for it, but her didn't give it to her

"I admire your spirit," he whispered to her, gently putting the
phone in her hand.  "LaCroix followers all seem to have a certain
... "  He looked her up and down, then stopped at her eyes.  " ...

"Hey!" a voice yelled from the direction of the police station.
"Are you ok over there, ma'am?!"

Kusine turned toward the voice.  A cop was standing next to a
cruiser, hand on his gun.  Kusine waved in what she hoped was a
no-I'm-fine-no-need-to-shoot-me manner and turned back to this
mysterious vampire.

He was gone.  Kusine looked down at the phone in her hand.

"What the Hades is going on?" she asked it.


=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 21:02:48 -0700
Reply-To: Kusine Kaninchen 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Kusine Kaninchen 
Subject:      WAR: NA: Vampire *Don't* Phone Home (01/01)
X-UIDL: a05d2bbedb73667fed2a463049c811cf

Title: Vampire *Don't* Phone Home
Time: Thursday, very early AM, just after "Don't Talk To
Strangers" and concurrent with "This Hurts You More Than It Hurts
Place: Toronto streets, the Shrine
Written by Kusine
Beta-ed by Glennis and Wayne, who are both very wonderful for it.

"What the Hades is going on?" Kusine asked the cellular phone in
her hand.

It didn't answer.

Kusine sighed and began to walk back to the Shrine, her search for
V-8(tm) abandoned.  It was war.  It was weird.  It was best to be
inside.  She put her shoes back on and headed for the Shrine.

Kusine looked at the cellular phone the vaguely familiar vampire
had left with her.  She pushed a button and the phone number
appeared: (416) 555-7775.  No name, nothing.  //I guess I'll just
have to wait till he calls it,// she thought.

However, the addict saw no reason not to use the phone as he had
offered.  Reading the number off her beeper, Kusine dialed.

"Hello?" Glennis' voice said.

"What's up, doc?" Kusine asked.

"I've finished with the notebooks and disks," Glennis said and
giggled.  "It was fun."

"Oh no," Kusine said.  "What have you done?"

"You'll just have to wait and see!"  Glennis chortled.  "Hey,
where are you anyway?  I couldn't find you in the Shrine; that's
why I paged you."

"I'm currently walking down the street, about a half mile from the
Shrine," Kusine answered.  "The oddest thing just happened to me."

"Were you attacked?" Glennis asked with concern.

"Yes ... well, not in a war-type-sense ..." Kusine petered out.
"But I'm ok."

"Are you sure?  Do you want me to come get you?"

"No, no, I'm fine, really.  I was accosted by a vampire though,"
Kusine said, wrinkling her forehead in thought.  "Who are some
male vampires other than Nunkies, Nick, and the slacker?"

"Screed?" Glennis asked.

"*Human*-sucking vampires," Kusine specified.

"The Vietnamese one?"

"Nope, not him."



"Felix Twist?"




"The Inca?"


"That guy from Egypt who tricked Nicky-poo with Nunkies?"



"YES!" Kusine yelled.  "Leather-pants himself!"

"He's alive?" Glennis asked, the surprise evident in her voice.
"And he attacked you?"

"He was wearing a Tweety-bird shirt," Kusine said.  "It was kind
of hard to feel threatened at first."

"You're *sure* you've not been bitten or whammied?" Glennis asked,
just as Kusine reached the door to the Shrine.

"I'm ok." Kusine said, heading for Glennis' sleeping chamber.

She knocked on the door.  Glennis opened it with the phone to her
ear and waved her to sit down.  Finding a clear spot on the bed,
Kusine did.

"See," Kusine said, still speaking into the phone. "Look, Ma, no

Kusine tilted her head back to show Glennis her unblemished neck.
Glennis peered carefully at her, then nodded.

"You--" she began, turning her back and talking into the receiver.
 She then turned back around, frowned, and hung up.  "Stop that,"
she said.  Kusine grinned and pushed the off button on her
borrowed cellular.  "Where did you get a cell phone?  Why did I
have to page you?"

"Oh, it's Sparky's," Kusine explained.  "After he tried to bite
me, he let me borrow it, then took off."

"Did you hit your head?"  Glennis asked.

Kusine scowled at the other addict and refused to answer.  After a
few moments, Glennis sighed.

"Ok, but we should tell Jules," Glennis said.

"Put it in the note about the forgeries!" Kusine said.  "Speaking
of..."  Glennis showed her, and after Kusine was finished
snickering, she said.  "Oh, my.  That's good."  Glennis beamed.
"Well, I should get back to the torturing.  Let me see the note."

Kusine took the note for the High Priestess (giving Glennis the
anatomically-correct parts of the Nunkies pop in exchange) and
scribbled on the bottom.  Waving to her friend, she shoved it in
her pocket with her new phone and headed for the Wardrobe room.
With a Dr. Scholl's Corn Pad, Kusine affixed the note to the
Sacred Shoe Rack, knowing that it would be the most likely place
for Jules to look.

Then she headed back to join the torture already in progress.

=== -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 22:18:41 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR:  NA--There's Nothing Better Than a Good Fight on a Dog 
              Night (1/2)
X-UIDL: f4c1a003b0f5ef74916c534979f16ab4

There's Nothing Better Than a Good Fight on a Dog Day Night (1/2)
By Patt Elmore
Time:  Tuesday night/Wednesday morning wee hours
Follows:  Remember, Compadre, Little Dog's can Bite
Place:  A cantina named Chihuahua's

Patt's first conscious thought after her bottled attack on
Vaquera Javiette was 

Within a moment of the assault, Javiette had recovered
sufficiently [Vaqueras have hard heads, you know, or they
wouldn't be so devoted to a slacker] to announce the immediate
demise of the Third Cousin.  With a springing action worthy of
a kangaroo, Javiette jumped atop the addicts' table and emitted
her battle cry:


With a well-placed boot kick, Javiette caught the Third Cousin
under the chin.   Still seated on her chair, Patt fell back, legs
hovering above her.  She had one moment of pure bliss,
watching a sudden swirling mass of stars which had
mysteriously appeared, before she passed out cold.

Javiette hopped and executed a mid-air spin, coming down on
the table top, directly facing the two other addicts.  Susan and
Caren tore surprised eyes from their prone comrade, and
looked into the face of the triumphant Vaquera.

"VIVA . . ." Javiette began her cry again.

Susan and Caren glanced quickly at each other and nodded.
They each grabbed the rim of the table and gave a mighty hoist.
The blonde Vaq went flying, a splay of arms and legs and,
ultimately, rump as the later impacted the floor first.

"Hey!" A voice shouted from the cantina doorway.  A tall
woman with hair to her mid-back began charging toward the
addicts.  "What the *infierno* do you think you're doing?"

Caren and Susan shifted their gaze, quickly determining an
impending collision with the two other Vaqueras, NytDancer
and Sarah.   The two Vaqs had shed their mutual corset-skin
and were coming in fast.   Caren had already developed a
dislike for the ladies due to their misuse of her friend's
undergarment.  The Vaqueras' flaunting of Patt's girdle kept
reminding her of something that she'd read recently in the
American Heritage  dictionary:  To remove a band of bark
completely from the circumference of a tree usually would kill

"What an appropriate place for the Vaqs to be," Caren shouted
sarcastically, "as the bar has a *doggy* theme and all."  The
Louisiana addict threw back her head and howled.

Susan, who had been watching the approaching Vaqs with
some trepidation, began laughing at Caren's arrogance.  That's
when Paloma, the tall blonde, reached her.

Actually, Paloma reached Patt, but found the mature addict no
challenge in her current unconscious state.  When she saw
Susan eyeing her, Paloma stood up and addressed the smaller
blonde woman.

"You looking at me?"  Paloma's hazel-green eyes flashed with
bad temper.  "You looking at *me*?"

"Of course she's looking at you, you big, bad, biker wanna-be,"
Caren chortled.  She was seconds away from a full assault by
NytDancer and Sarah.

Paloma's gaze never wavered from Susan.  "You looking at
me?" she repeated, her voice rising.  The tall blonde Vaquera
reached out, grabbing a handful of Susan's hair.  Susan began
yelping at Paloma's lips spread in bizarre pleasure.  "Watch
who you're watching, or you might be wearing a wig."
"I'm sure your dear *Nunkies* would love a bald addict,"
Javiette spat as she picked herself up off the floor.  She began
moving in on Susan also.

A strumming guitar player chose that exact moment to exit the
kitchen area, intent on entertaining the cantina patrons.  Caren
noted an accessory on his belt which intrigued her immensely--
a coiled, leather whip.  The Louisiana addict quickly
maneuvered herself close to the serenading senor, fluttering her
eyelashes and moving her body reminiscent of her dancing
stint during Conversion Day ceremonies.  The strolling player
was so surprised and flattered by the addict's attention, that he
froze, giving Caren time to reach out and pluck the whip from
his person.  For good measure, she also liberated his sombrero
and placed it atop her head.  Then, she stood on tiptoe, kissed
the astonished musician on his forehead and danced away.

With a yell of "AYEEE," Caren jumped atop the table
previously occupied by Javiette.

"I AM MRS. MONTERRO!" Caren called across the room,
startling two brightly colored parrots which occupied a large
wire cage near the bar.  The addict uncoiled the whip and
snapped the tip at the oncoming Vaqueras.  "I WILL HAVE

Caren turned, cracking the cord over the heads of Javiette and
Paloma.  The two Vaqueras released Susan and moved back,
eyeing the addict with loathing.

NytDancer and Sarah, meanwhile, were intrigued.

"Do you think she might have some Vaquera in her?" Sarah
inquired urgently, poking NytDancer in the ribs.  "She looks
awfully convincing in Spanish attire."

NytDancer shrugged.  "Doesn't really matter, 'cause she's on
the wrong side tonight."  Looking around, NytDancer grabbed
a bowl of frioles from a nearby table and tossed the container
toward Caren.  "Here, addict, show us how to do the jumping
bean dance."  The other Vaqs picked up on the cue and began
throwing projectiles at Caren.

Caren went to the edge of her table, tipping it expertly and
sliding to the floor, the table acting as a shield.  She darted
toward the bar, upturning tables as she ran.

Released and nursing an aching scalp, Susan blinked at the
multitude of airborne objects flying around the room.  As she
scrambled to avoid and intercept weaponry, Susan noticed that
NytDancer was helping herself to the marguerita that the
addict had been drinking.

"Hey!" Susan shouted at the blonde Vaq.  "That's my drink!"

NytDancer paused in mid-sip.  "So," the green-eyed
Spaniardess retorted.  "I'm thirsty.  I haven't seen *you* doing
anything to work up a thirst so far."

"But it's still *MY* marguerita," Susan fussed, stomping a foot.
During a mid-clomp, something hard rolled against the addict's
leg.  Susan looked down, spotting a Vaq helmet laying against
her shin.  The addict stooped and hefted the helmet, taking the
stance of a bowler.

NytDancer faked a shudder. "I'm sooooooooo scared,
NunkWit," she taunted.

Susan leveled and fired, but not a floor shot.  The helmet shot
straight out of her hand, flying toward the Vaquera's head.

"Opppps!"  Susan clasped a hand across her mouth as the
headgear hurtled toward NytDancer.  "Gutter ball!"

The Vaquera, an expert at dodge-ball in her long ago youth,
easily side-stepped the missile.

"Ya ya, can't hit me.  You're as blind as a flea!" NytDancer stuck
her tongue out and made Micky Mouse  ears with her
hands.  "Ya, ya, can't hit . . . . OMFFFF!"   The helmet, coming
from the opposite direction, grazed off the Vaq's left shoulder.

"Tag," a triumphant Caren shouted from across the room.  "I
*am* Mrs. Monterro and you are *it!*"

NytDancer, eyes deadly, ran toward the offending addict.  "S...t
on your *it!*" she yelled.

Susan regained possession of the Vaq helmet.  As she held the
black plastic protective device, a strange glow came into her

"I am NA.  I am not timid.  I am LaCroix's."  Susan began to

"Go for it, Susan!!!" Caren cheered.

Susan launched the helmet.  The projectile caught NytDancer at
the base of her skull.  The Vaq dropped like a stone.

Susan began dancing a victory jiggle, arms outstretched, her
face beaming with excitement.  "Go Susan!" she shouted,
applauding herself.

"Go, Susan," a soft voice came from behind her.  SuPaige
whirled and found herself face to face with the fist of Sarah


Date:         Wed, 29 Apr 1998 22:48:12 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR: NA - There's Nothing Better Than a Good Fight on a Dog 
              Night (2/2)
X-UIDL: c5658d88269332d4dcccacc95772dfc5

There's Nothing Better Than a Good Fight on a Dog Day Night (2/2)
By Patt Elmore
Time:  Wednesday morning wee hours
Follows:  Remember, Compadre, Little Dog's can Bite and part one
Place:  A cantina named Chihuahua's


Patt was coming to slowly.  She could hear all sorts of things
before she could actually see:  screaming, cracking sounds,
glass breaking, wood snapping, shouts of anger and confusion.
As her eyes began working, she found herself focusing, with
some difficulty, on something she was definitely not expecting

A vision of loveliness stood in front of her.   The figure
gradually took shape and Patt found herself smiling up at the
good looking barman who had supplied her drinks earlier.

"Hi," Patt grinned goofily.

"Hi, yourself," the man replied, gray eyes twinkling.  He
extended a hand.  "Need some help up?"

The Third Cousin accepted the hand gratefully.  In a sitting
position she surveyed the fever of activity within the

"Sorry about the brawl," Patt apologized sheepishly.

The barman shrugged and grinned.  "I used to do cleanup at a
little bar down by the water front," he said with a grin.  "I kind
of knew what to expect when I saw you walk in earlier."  He
looked around and nodded.   "Where's your two red-haired

"Probably signing my death warrant as we speak," Patt sighed.
"Guess I better get up and help my buddies."

"The blonde and brunette are doing pretty well at holding their
own," the barman informed her as he helped Patt to her feet.
Air displacement occurred, causing them to both duck
simultaneously at a Vaquera boot went whizzing by.  "Name's
Bob, by the way."

"Nice to meet ya, Bob," Patt smiled as she straightened.  "Now,
if you'll excuse me, I have a row to hoe."

"Who ya calling a hoe?"   A face framed in tangled dark-blonde
hair turned to access the Third Cousin.

"Who's answering?!"  Patt shouted back, wading back into the

Caren found herself facing the onslaught of two Vaqs, each
arriving from the opposite direction.  She quickly uncoiled her
rope and shot the tip skyward, curling it around a hanging
wagon wheel light fixture.

Sarah and Javiette stopped and stared at the addict.

"You're not really going to do the old 'swinging from the
chandelier like Tarzan thingee, are you?"  They both made faces
as if in pain.  "That is *so* cliche!"

"Wouldn't think of it," Caren looked offended.  "How's this for
originality?"  Caren gave a tug on her whip and jumped back as
the wheel crashed to the floor, ensnaring the two Vaqueras.

As Sarah and Javiette attempted to free themselves, Caren
cracked the whip again and sent it out, encircling the two
struggling Vaqueras.  Having them trussed up like turkeys was
immensely pleasing to Caren, and the Louisiana woman
cackled manically.  "That will teach you to mess with my
friend's underwear!' she cried.  Caren reached out and grabbed
a bowl of salsa from a nearby table.  "It is *embarrassing.*
Know how I can tell?   Cause it makes your face *red.*"

*Smack* *Thump*

Sarah and Javiette blinked through the chunky sauce and
watched as the nimble addict scampered away.

Patt couldn't help laughing as she watched Sarah and Javiette
struggling to loosen themselves from their *roundup* situation.
She never saw NytDancer rise from the floor, clutching the
goose egg which was now part of her scalp.

"Hahahaha," Patt was holding her sides, enjoying the obvious
victory of the addicts.

"Not quite yet," NytDancer intoned with menace.  "You didn't
count on us having reinforcements."  NytDancer placed two
fingers to her lips and let loose with a sharp whistle.
The bar doors flew open and another Vaquera ran into the
room.  Not just any Vaquera, mind you, but the suprema
Vaquera herself.

"Tracy Sue!  Is that *you?*" Patt called out to the VaqMommy.
"What are you doing here?"

"I heard this was the big bar fight scene," Tracy rubbed her
hands in anticipation.  "Wouldn't miss it for the world.  College
students live for bar fights, ya know."

"What about education?" Patt wailed.  "What about developing
social conscience?  What about feeding the needy?  What about
ridding the world of menace?"

"Glennis isn't here right now," Tracy replied, breaking off a
table leg and waving it in a threatening manner.  "So I guess
you'll have to do."

"You'd really beat up on a fellow NA?" Patt was backing up,
watching the wild-eyed VaqMommy carefully.

"I only use NA for my evil purposes!" Tracy bwhahahahaed.
"In my heart of hearts, I am devoted only to Vachon."

"VIVA VACHON!!" the Vaqs capable of crying, cried.

During the VaqMommy's dramatic entrance, Paloma had ran to
the aid of her best friend, Javiette, and begun extricating her
from her *whipped* posture.  In doing so, she freed Sarah
also.  The three Vaqs began running at the Third Cousin.

Susan, sporting a slightly compressed nose, stepped in front of
Patt, spreading her arms wide as if to protect her mature friend.

"NO!"  Susan shouted.  "Don't hurt her.  She's tired!  She's been
typing for nine days straight.   She's had no rest.  She won't
survive the scene that you have planned for her!"

The Vaqs stopped.

"What do you suggest, then?" Tracy Sue asked, eyes narrow.

Susan looked around and spotted Caren.  "Do it to *her!*"
Susan cried, pointing at the dark-haired woman.  "Nothing
humiliating has happened to her in this sequence so far, and
she *started* it!!"

The Vaqueras turned as one to appraise the *other* Louisiana
woman.  Caren's hazel-green eyes shot open in surprise.

"I'm a mother!" Caren protested as the Vaqs fell upon her.  "I
have a husband and teenage son to maintain.  You all are
sitting a really bad example for our younger readers with this
behavior.  Put me down!"

"Okay," Tracy Sue said agreeably.

The Vaqs proceeded to put Caren down, but in doing so, put
her up.  They stepped back, admiring the picture Caren made,
dangling from the horns of a Caribou.

"This is a Mexican place," Patt nudged Bob and gave him a
quizzical look.  "Why not a buffalo?"

"Excise and import fees were too much," Bob explained.  "We
got the Caribou head local--real cheap."

Watching Caren's wild struggles above, Tracy Sue stepped back
and chuckled madly.  As she did, she came within Susan's
scenting range.

"What *is* that smell?" Susan wrinkled her nose and squished
her eyes together.  "It smells like really bad tequila!"  Susan got
a thoughtful expression.  "Reminds me . . . I need another

As Susan wandered off, Patt caught a whiff the same smell.  She
leaned closer and sniffed at Tracy.

"What?" the VaqMommy turned, giving Patt a glaring look.

"Ass . . ." Patt began, inhaling more deeply.

Tracy's fists clenched.  Paloma moved forward, ready to run
interference for her leader.

"Ass . . . acetone!" Patt said happily as she identified the smell.
She sniffed again.  "And cheese!"  Patt's eyes widened and she
smirked into the VaqMommy's face.  "Tracy Sue you
were *Screeded,* weren't you?"  From above, Caren began
chuckling loudly.

"Oh, look.  Pretty birdies!"  Holding her marguerita, Susan
wandered over to where the parrots where flapping and
squawking.  She placed a tentative finger inside the cage and
said, "Pretty bird."

The parrot snapped out quickly, catching the finger in its beak
and giving it a twist.  Susan yelped and stepped back, upsetting
the birdcage.  The wire enclosure's door burst open and the
two large birds took to the air .

With so many blonde heads bobbing about, the birds must have
gotten them confused with nesting structures.  The parrots
began diving at the Vaqueras, who threw up their hands to
ward them off.

With the Vaqs occupied, Patt helped Caren down from the
Caribou coat rack and, grabbing Susan, the three addicts ran for
the door.

Caren stopped suddenly.  "What about your corset?" she cried.

"Forget the darn girdle!" Patt said, never slowing her stride.  "I
never wanted it in the first place.  Let Bob keep it!"

"What about Bob?" Caren said, just because she liked the way it

That stopped the mature addict.  She looked back, searching the
crowd for the gray-eyed stranger who had touched her heart.
They spotted each other simultaneously.  The guitar player
began strumming a soft ballad as the addict and barman
walked across the room to each other.

Patt and Bob clasped hands and smiled at each other.  "Next
War," Patt promised.  "I'll write you a bigger part."

"So long to wait," Bob said longingly.

"Let's make it Conversion Day, then," Patt winked.  Then, she
turned, ran for the door, stopped and turned back to the

"Hasta la vista, baby!" she waved.  A hand reached from the
other side of the swinging doors, clasped the mature cousin's
arm and pulled her out of the cantina.

"Aye, Chihuahua," Tracy lamented as she realized the addicts
were escaping.  She turned to the other Vaqs and barked an
order.  "Get the bi . . . dogs."


"Do You Know the Way to Shrine-de-fay?" (1/2)
By Patt Elmore
When:  Early, Early Wednesday morning; after "There's Nothing Better Than
a Good Fight on a Dog Day Night" (2/2)
Where:  Streets of Toronto


"Where are we going?" Susan"s plaintive voice cut through the quiet night
as the addicts raced down the block.

"I don't know," Patt puffed as she ran.  "I just know that we better get
away from Chihuahua's, 'cause the 'Dogs of War' are on our tails."

"They did look pretty ticked off, didn't they?" Caren's note of the
was ignored by the other two.

"But, shouldn't we at least have a specific direction to run in?"  Susan
protested through sharp breaths.  "For all we know, we're running toward
*Dark Perk* territory."

The Caren and Patt skidded to a halt, and Susan rammed into them full
force.  All three women tumbled to the sidewalk, in various positions
which made the wearing of trousers a desirable asset.

"Dark Perks . . ." Patt repeated slowly from her now sitting position.
eyes glazed in flashback mode.  "Damn."

Caren gave her a concerned look.  "What?"

"I forgot something," Patt admitted.  "An errand I was supposed to run

Caren started to say *the* name, but Patt stopped her with a non-verbal
expression of fright, then a head incline toward Susan.  Caren understood
immediately and hushed.

"Ouch!" Susan was muttering, rubbing her elbows in pain.  "I've been

"You don't know the meaning of the word."  Patt picked herself up off the
ground and reached a hand down to Susan.  "Try being a Third Cousin.
Removal of skin layers and tanning such hide is a common liability of
having that handle."

Susan blinked.  "What did you say?"

"She didn't say anything, Susan," Caren said, patting herself to make
sure nothing was broken.  "She's just being Patt."

"Ahhhhhh," Susan grinned.  She understood with perfect clarity.  Then,
the blonde woman frowned.  "But, we still don't know where we are."

The women began looking around.  Nothing looked familiar.

"Then again, I haven't seen that much of Toronto during my stays here,"
Caren was looking upward.  "Most of my activities have been confined to
the Shrine.  Other people get to walk around on the streets," she looked
accusingly at the mature addict, "while the rest of us just have filler
roles lounging around the pond or, on those rare occasions that we do get
to go out, breaking into police stations."   Caren returned her gaze

"Why are you looking up?" Susan asked.

"Because, I'm trying to plot where we are from the stars," Caren said.
"Toronto south is the lake.  We don't  want to go in that direction."

"Oh," Susan brightened.  "That leaves just three directions to chose
from, rather than four."

"Bingo," Caren responded with a quick grin, then she squinted at the sky
again.  "Now, I figure, from  where we were originally to where we were
just a while ago, we traveled from that direction."  Caren pointed in the
direction they'd come.   "Which means, we should maybe keep
going in this direction," Caren pointed to the left, "or in that
direction," she
pointed to the right, "or maybe just go back the way we came."

Susan looked confused.  "You remind me of the Scarecrow from Oz
," Susan sniffed.   "And he needed a brain."

Caren's mouth dropped at the insult.  She was preparing to respond to
Susan's remark when Patt's words stopped her.

"We could ask for directions, I suppose."

The two slender women turned toward the mature addict.  Patt was
looking thoughtfully down the street.  They looked past her and saw what
the Third Cousin had seen.   Both women groaned.

"Not another bar!" they whined in unison.

"Point taken," Patt nodded in agreement.  "I suggest we send one of our
party to ask for directions, while the other two wait here.  That way, we
will draw less attention to ourselves, and be on our way faster.
Besides, I'm still having to post things late, because of my darn
wordiness, and I'm determined to catch up to the proper timeline tonight.
 Susan, you're elected go find out where the heck we are."

Susan, looking none too happy with her mission, headed down the block.
Left alone, Caren confronted Patt.  "The errand has to do with Spark,
doesn't it?"

"Keep your voice down," Patt shushed harshley.  "He might be listening.
Vampires are notorious for listening in on private conversations, you
know."  Patt's eyes glazed over again with the last of her words, and her
body began to sway slightly.  Caren grabbed Patt's arm and led the woman
to the curb, where they both sat down.

"Tell me," Caren placed an arm around her friend's shoulders.  "You can't
keep this bottled in, or you'll explode."

"Might be a better fate than I'm facing at the moment," Patt said
staring off into space.   She turned to Caren, her expression grave.
"LaCroix knows."

*GASP*  Caren paled considerably.  "How?"

"You probably didn't notice, but I had a phone call while we were in the
bar," Patt answered.   "Bonnie used her Cousinly powers to track me down.
 She'd had a little 'visit' with Spark.  Found out that I was his
transport to Toronto.  LaCroix overheard the conversation."

"Oh, Patt," Caren whispered.

The Third Cousin nodded.  "Yup, my friend, you are now sitting in the
company of a corpse.  It was bad enough when Sparky had me by the throat,
but now I have LaCroix to worry about.   Knowing the big guy like I do, I
suspect he's thinking about all the neat ways he can bring about
my demise, and make it an example for the other Cousins.  You know-- one
of those lessons in loyalty and betrayal he's always Nightcrawling

Caren nodded.  "You're probably right," she murmured.

Patt grinned wryly.  "Thanks for the support and encouragement, Cuz.
Just don't start planning on which of my possessions you plan to lay
claim to.  Remember . . . everyone knows that you made the trip to
Toronto with me."

Realization smacked Caren.  "ACK!"

"Universal description of displeasure a la Nunkies," Patt nodded in
understanding.  "How does it feel to have your butt smell like frying

"ACK!"  Caren repeated.

"Calm down, Cae," Patt now put her arm around the other Louisianan.  "If
I get the chance, I'll tell him that you were without  blame in this
whole affair.  But, just in case he's not in the listening mood, I think
I'd better give you this."

Caren accepted the note which Patt handed her.  It was a Chihuahua bar
napkin (with the head of a cute little doggie wearing a sombrero and, no,
he wasn't saying 'Yo Quieros he was saying "Ya, Ya, Ya, Ya)  covered with
the Third Cousin's writing.

"A note of exoneration," Patt explained as Caren read the scribbling.  "I
hope it helps."

Tears sprang to Caren's eyes.  "Thanks.  Thanks for thinking of me in
your final hours.  You are so unselfish, such a good person, so . . ."

(Yeech even *I* don't want to hear this!)

"Hey guys!  I know where we are!" Susan ran breathlessly up to the
others.  In addition to information, she was carrying three take-out
drink containers.   "We're about twelve blocks from the Shrine!  Come

Susan was already heading off excitedly when Patt and Caren caught up
with her.

"That was nice of you to bring us some drinks, Susan," Caren grinned at
the blonde woman.  "What do we have?"

"Margueritas!" Susan grinned.  Then her expression grew cautious.  "What
do you mean, 'we'?"


Fifteen blocks, and three drinks later, Susan stopped.  She looked around
thoughtfully.  "Duz anyone see a big building with a big pink 'PERK' sign
on it?  Iz supposed to be around here somewhere."

Caren and Patt groaned.

"Whatsa matter?" Susan looked confused.

Patt opened her mouth to comment, but shut it quickly.  "Do you hear
that?" she whispered to the others.

"Sounds like engines," Caren said.

"Big, bad, biker engines," Susan chirped.

Caren and Patt groaned again.  "Vaqueras."

"Did they find us?" Susan blinked in fright.

Patt shook her head.  "Don't think so.  They sound like they're moving
away, not coming toward us."

Sure enough, the rumble of the motors was receding.  The addicts began
moving again.

"This is starting to look familiar," Caren said, glancing around at the
buildings and landmarks.   "I think I've been here recently."

"Waz that smell?" Susan said, wrinkling her nose.

"Oh . . . manure."  Patt stopped dead in her tracks (figuratively, at
least for the time being).

"Yup," Susan nodded happily.  "That just might be it."

Caren had caught sight of what Patt had seen, and knew now what had
stopped the Third Cousin.   "Vachon's church."

Patt could only nod.  She looked at the dark building, deserted looking
except for the menagerie which milled behind the wire fence.   Patt knew
that, if she wanted to reach the Shrine and deliver her friends to
safety, she would have to pass the Vaquera stronghold.

"Do You Know the Way to Shrine-de-fay?" (2/2)
By Patt Elmore
When:  Still pre-dawn, early Wednesday morning; after part 1/2
Where:  Streets of Toronto
Vachon's Church used with the permission of the VaqMommy, Tracy S.
Morris; Vachon was kind of thrust on me.  


The church de Vachon y la Vaqueras stood looming ahead of the three
addicts, blocking their path to the Shrine.

"We'll have to do this," Patt turned to the others.  "It's the only way."

"Ya know," Susan said thoughtfully.  "Since it looks like we're fixing to
risk our lives and all, trying to get past the Vaqs, wouldn't it be cool
if we could borrow some wheels, or something.  My feet are getting
tired."  Caren nodded in agreement.

"Okay, then, let's go check it out."   Patt took a deep breath and
as far into the shadows as she could.  Watchful, she ran across the
street, Caren and Susan close behind.

The three women hit the fence, startling a drowsy baby camel.  The little
mammal wobbled to its feet and snorted at the addicts.

"Quiet!" Patt whispered hoarsely.  "Move out and see if there are any of
the Triumphs laying around."

"Won't it be noisy, starting up the engines?"  Caren asked.

"Well, duhhhhh," Patt tilted her head, eyes annoyed.  "Do you have any
better ideas?"

"Why don't we borrow a couple of the camels?" Caren suggested, while
Susan nodded vigorously.

Patt regretted the idea as soon as she agreed to it, but Caren and Susan
were adamant.  Patt figured that the fence was security wired, so they
decided that the best way in was from above.  Trouble is, they didn't
know how to accomplish it.

Then Patt spotted the hay bales.

Now, being a good old country girl, Patt was very familiar with the
attributes of hay.  Not only were bales good for feeding, they were also
good for climbing.  Patt quickly organized the other two women and soon
they had a wall of hay bales stacked against, and slightly above, the

"Okay, Susan, climb up and over," Patt instructed.

"Why me?" the blonde protested as Caren pushed her up.

"Because, you are inebriated and won't feel the impact of the ground as
bad," Patt responded.


Susan climbed to the top of the bales and stood there, looking down and
teetering just a little.

"Aim for that haystack they've been eating from," Caren called up

"What?" Susan turned to look down at the addicts and, when she did, she
teetered more than just a little.

 "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH."     *Smooshh*

"Did she hit the hay?" Patt was afraid to look.

"I think so," Caren replied, "or the sound effects would have been more
like '*Kaplunk.*

Both addicts approached the fence and looked inside.  A large camel was
examining the flattened haystack with interest.  Caren and Patt exhaled
loudly in relief.

A straw -covered Susan was soon unbolting the gate which allowed the
other addicts entrance to the Vaquera animal pen.

"Find a camel and get mounted," Patt ordered, moving off in search of a
ride.  "And, stay away from the geese.  They bite."

The women began mingling with the beasts, checking out suitable
specimens.  Susan was already astride a pretty, small blonde camel when
Caren walked up, leading a tall, tan male.

"Have you seen Patt?"  Caren inquired, gently tapping the camel's shins
so that it would drop to loading position.

"She's over there.  On the steps of the church."   Susan pointed and
Caren followed the point.  The Louisianan gasped because her fellow
stateswoman was indeed standing on the steps of Vachon's home, holding
the halter of the biggest camel of the lot.

"What are you doing?!!" Caren whispered loudly, running up to her friend.

"Trying to get on this darn thing!" Patt whispered back harshly.  "It
hold still so I can get mounted."  Patt tugged the bridle, trying to pull
the camel closer, but the beast just snorted and strained backward.

"That's not how you get on a camel," Caren said.  "You get them to drop
to their knees, then you get on them from the ground."

"You get on your camel your way, and I'll get on mine mine," Patt
retorted, swinging a leg at the big beast and, once again, missing

"Well, then at least let me help you."  Caren walked up and placed both
hands against the reluctant animal, trying to press him closer to Patt.
The camel balked and shied, turning and escaping Caren's hands.

"What are you two doing?"  A very definite male voice asked from the

Caren and Patt both turned in horror.  Vachon, looking paler and gaunter
than usual, but still incredibly handsome in his swarthy manner, stood
watching them.

"Errrr, hey Vachon.  How's unlife?" Patt quipped.

"Pretty good," the Spaniard said, without grinning.  "But you didn't
answer my question . . . what are you doing?"

Patt's eyes narrowed.  "Do you still have access to my hard drive?"  At
this question, Vachon 'did' grin.  "Well, then, you *know* what we're
doing.  We're camel-napping."

"Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh," Vachon's lips collapsed into a thin, wicked smile.
"And, what makes you think your venture will be successful?"

"Actually," Caren chimed in, much to Patt's fright, "We're taking back
our property."

This statement drew Vachon's interest.  "How so, Cae?"

"Well in the last war, which I didn't participate in but have intimate
knowledge of, didn't the Cousins leave the camels around the church?"
Caren pointed out with a question.

Reluctantly, Vachon nodded.

"Then," Caren continued, blinking innocently, "the camels really belong
to the Cousins, don't they?  And the Vaqs have just been borrowing them,

Vachon blinked.  "You a lawyer?" he asked suspiciously.

Caren shook her head.   "Eligibility determination officer," she replied.

Vachon visibly relaxed.  "Well, you may have a point, but I'm not about
to let you leave this pen with those camels."  He moved into a more
predatory stance.   "In fact, I may not let you leave this pen at all.
It's been a rough couple of days, you know, what with all these
hot-tempered, hot-blooded young women running around in my quarters.
Corpuscles, corpuscles, everywhere, and not a drop to drink . . . if you
get my flow."

"Uh, oh," Caren and Patt said simultaneously.

"Tell ya what," Vachon said amiably.  "I'll settle for leeching just one
of you, and let the others go for plot sake.  Who do you suggest for my

Caren and Patt turned slowly toward Susan, who was sitting astride her
camel, snoring softly.

Then Patt sighed.  "Might as well take me, Vachon.  I'm as good as dead
anyway.  What's another vampire out for my blood.  Just don't to the
heart thing, okay?"   Patt shuddered slightly and let loose of her
camel's reins.

"I'm agreeable to that, since it's the wrong season anyway," Vachon
smiled.   The smile vanished and he moved quickly toward Patt.  The Third
Cousin closed her eyes, feeling his hands grasp her arms, awaiting the

"I can't let you kill my friend!" Caren shouted.   The dark-haired woman
looked around, spied a wandering goose and plucked the now squawking
gander from the ground.  Holding it by the wings, beak
facing Vachon, Caren advanced on the vampire.

"Let my friend go!" Caren said, shaking the goose threateningly.  The
bird honked and arched its neck, ready to peck.

Vachon blinked.

"Think about it, Vachon!" Caren demanded.  "It you kill Patt, you'll be
killing yourself.  Without Patt, and others like her, being around to
write about you, you'll disappear like a vampire in sunshine!"

Vachon continued to blink.

"Let her go."  Caren advanced closer with her goose-weapon.  "Let us all
go.  It would be better for you."

"You're nuts, aren't you?"  Vachon was watching Caren very closely.

Caren nodded, opening her eyes as wide as she could.  "Boo!"

"That cuts it," Vachon released his hold on Patt and moved away.  "Just
get the heck away from me."

"Kewl!" Caren dropped the goose and grabbed the bridle of Patt's camel.
She led the beast back toward the Third Cousin.  "Get on the pony and
let's ride, girl."

Patt grabbed the reins and tried pulling the massive beast toward her
again, with the same results as previously mentioned.

"Why don't you just ground mount him?" Vachon asked.

"Because," Patt turned, huffing in exasperation.  "My legs are too short,
my muscles are too stiff and my body is too fat to even ground mount a
camel without a box or some other assistance.  There!  You satisfied?!!"

"Yep, I am."  Without another word, Vachon plucked the First Cousin from
his stoop and lifted the squalling woman into the air.  He deposited the
addict atop the camel and hovered there, grinning at her.

"You don't happen to know the name of this camel you've chosen, do
you?"  Vachon asked with a gleam in his eye.

Patt, still recovering from shock, shook her head.

"I call him 'LaCroix,'" Vachon said smoothly.

Patt's face began beaming with delight.

"You mean I'm finally getting to *ride* LaCroix?!"

"Enjoy," Vachon said, then with a swoosh, was gone.

"Hot damn," Patt said as she maneuvered her ride to join Susan and
Caren, who was now astride her own mount.  "Did you hear Vachon?  My
camel's name is LaCroix.  Do you know what this means?"

"That you're going to repeat that very bad, innuendoish pun?" Caren
cocked an eyebrow, while Susan continued to snore.

Patt looked crestfallen.  "Well, yea, I was . . ."

LaCroix camel lifted his regal head, snorted and spat.  A large glob of
spittle smacked against Susan's chest, awakening the addict with a start.
 Susan stared down at the mound of wet goo, then looked up, blinking.

" . . . but now I have a better one!"  Patt said triumphantly.  "Check it


"Oh What a Julesical Morning"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Sometime Wednesday morning
Where:  The NA Shrine


Jules, High Priestess of the Shrine of Nunkies, was not in the best

She didn't knock at the bedroom door before entering, but chose instead
to walk in unannounced.  She found what she hoped to find, more or less.

The object of her search, Third Cousin twice removed on her Mother's
Side, was sprawled across her bed, snoring heavily.  One of her arms
was dangling over the side of the mattress, her fingers entangled in a
head of dark brown hair which Jules recognized as belonging to addict
Caren, who was curled up in a fetal position on the floor.  While Jules
watched, Patt stirred and murmured 'good dog, Fred' in her sleep, and
began making scratching motions with her fingers.  In response, Caren's
left leg began to quiver.

Jules went over to the bed and leaned close to the mature addict's ear.
"Patt, dear," the copper-haired woman said sweetly.  "Are you awake?"

"Not yet, Mom," Patt sighed, her face contorting in consternation.  "Let
me sleep just a little more."

Jules leaned closer.


Patt was up and off the bed and dressed by the time her feet hit the
floor. Caren was likewise, but made the mistake of thinking the High
Priestess wouldn't notice her as she was concentrating on Patt.  Wrong.

"Caren . . ."   Cringing the slender Louisianan turned and faced the HP.
"Do you know where SuePaige is?"


"Well, I do," Jules sighed.  "Right now, she is in the main lavatory,
scaring everyone.  Please go assist her, as she appears to be ill from a
self-inflicted condition.  Once you have her . . . cleaned up," Jules
wrinkled her pert nose slightly, "go to the kitchen and get the buckets
I've laid out for you.  Fill them with flooring wax, take the small
brushes I've also provided and begin polishing the tiles."

"Errr, which ones?"  The Shrine was a structure of many tiles.

"All of them."

"All of them?"

"All of them."

Caren left.

Jules turned to Patt.  "Don't you have another shirt?  I thought that's
why we went shopping yesterday."

Patt looked down at her Sparkler tee and shrugged.  "I like *this* one."

"A noble sentiment, I'm sure, but I cannot tolerate lack of good

"I washed it," Patt protested, but Jules held up a hand for quiet.

"It's not open for discussion," the HP woman said stoutly.  "Because what
we really need to discuss is much more serious."

Patt had not noticed until now that Jules was carrying a briefcase.  As
the mature addict watched, the HP laid the satchel on a desk top and
began thumbing at the locks.

"What's that, besides the obvious briefcase?" Patt came closer, more
curious now than frightened.

"Do you remember our *incident* yesterday?" Jules side-glanced at the
other woman.  Patt paled slightly, but stood firm, nodding.  "Well, do
you remember our running over something, I believe the description was,
'soft and squishy'?"

Patt nodded again.

"This was it," Jules said, popping the locks.  "The police found it while
investigating the accident, asked if it belonged to one of us."

"And you just said 'yes'?"   Patt was incredulous that the HP would lie
to the authorities.

"It's not like I haven't lied to them before," Jules chided, "and,
considering our current state of war, I couldn't risk these falling into
the wrong hands."

Jules lifted the cover of the case and looked at the Third Cousin.
Patt's eyes were round.  Inside the case was an overflowing amount of
multiple source data including computer disks, folders, files, video
tapes, audio cassettes and some high tech stuff that Patt couldn't even

"Is it what I think it is?" Patt asked incredulously.

"Of that, I'm uncertain," Jules said, snapping the case shut.  "It's all
encrypted and/or in code.  I'm having it analyzed before telling Nunkies
of its existence.   The last thing I need now is to present him with
another disappointment."

"Ahhhhhhhhh," Patt understood immediately to what the HP was referring.
"The Jaguar."

Jules nodded.  "The insurance estimator told me that my claim would
receive immediate attention.  I have a body work specialist standing by,
ready to prime and paint as soon as the paperwork is done.  By any luck,
we'll have the Jag repaired and back by this evening and LaCroix will
never know about the accident," Jules smiled smugly.

Patt grinned.  This was great.  Jules didn't seem angry and she had the
whole day to track down the mercenary she'd hired.  And, if the data
Jules had in her possession proved to be the genuine article, then maybe
even LaCroix would be appeased and forget the Third Cousin's Sparkish
connection.  After all, if Patt hadn't jerked the wheel,
Jules wouldn't have run over the briefcase, right?  Things were
definitely looking better.  Whistling, Patt followed Jules toward the
door, ready for some good Cajun coffee with chicory and some cranberry

Jules stopped.  "By the way, Patt?"

Patt stopped.  "Yes?"

"There's a bucket waiting for you in the laboratory, too," Jules said
sweetly.  "But, before you go, would you mind telling me about the camels
tied to the dumpster in the alley?"


War: Merc- "Something's Missing In This Picture"
by Mildred Cady and Lucky Liz
Time: Wed Morning, several hours after Laurie's Dissapearance
        in "NA: Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go"
Location: Merc Central

        Mildred yawned and turned over to examine her alarm clock with
deadly intensity.  Life as a babysitter was NOT agreeing with her.  She
had to switch access levels three times during the day before-  Bonnie,
the tall 13 year old Merclette was getting on her nerves with the
"supprises" that kept creeping up on the system.  Hell, Mildred wasn't
even sure how Bonnie _got_ into the system.  "Retinal scanners, that's
what it's going to take... I need to see if I can convince Birkoff to
give me some surplus from Section..." She groggily hit the OFF button, and
got up to brew her morning coccoa while setting the daily passwords for
her GHPness.

        With her morning requirement of chocolate and sugar taken, Mildred
wrote down the pass codes on a little piece of paper and stuck it into the
plastic vial around her neck, sealing it with wax.  Laurie was getting
more and more nervous each day the war passed on.  All these people
running around, trying to figure out where we where and, more importantly,
where the pops factory was, was getting to her GHPness.
        Things getting to her GHPness is a _bad_ thing.
        {Fortunatly, Mildred was making sure that Laurie was getting
enough stress relief.  Mildred dues to the Mercs consisted of a re-coded
game of "Postal."  For those who don't know what the game is, think Doom
et all, with the premise being that you are a government employee who's
gone, well, postal.  This version, not available in stores, replaced the
victims of murderous rampage with various- personages know and particulary
fustrating to the GHP.
        The almost constant supply of Godiva didn't hurt either.}
        After the codes were inplace and sealed around her neck, Mildred
checked the computer to see if Laurie was awake and logged in.  It was
early- Normally the GHP wasn't up at 7:30 am, but one cannot be sure of
the hours one will keep during a war. She wasn't.  So Mildred put a
watchfor program up and waited, working on her other administration type
projects- like trying to keep Bonnie from installing X-Roach on the main
network again, like she had at her school library back in Austrailia.
        Some people started wandering in to use the terminals around noon,
to surf the 'Net and play Duke Nukem or other games.  Still no Lauire.
        Sil, the first Merclette daughter, came in and put in a Marylin
Manson CD into the Merclette computers, and cranked the volume up.
Fortunaly for the rest of the labs inhabitance, Mildred had cornered off
the Merclette computers and permenantly affixed headphones into the
computers.  While Mildred had no problems with thier choice of music, some
of the other Mercs complained of the volume.
        Mildred started thinking something was up at 2. She went to the
GHP office and knocked on the door.  No reply.  She then pounded, with no
        Something was wrong.  Even if Laurie was out, she was so paranoid
over the codes and other secutirites, that she would have at least called
Mildred to say she was going to be in later, and to start the daily switch
without her present.
        Sliding her electronic notepad out of it's port in Mildred's
computer desk, and checking the little headset she wore, she put Bonnie on
watch and started roaming around the HQ to find out if anyone had seen
Lauire lately.

        Mildred wasn't the only one looking for Laurie. Liz the Lucky had
returned to Merc Central with a souvlaki for her. And so far she hadn't
found her.  Worse, Liz loved souvlaki and if she didn't get it out of her
hands soon, she was going to say forget the Dues and eat the thing
        Liz was walking down the hall and almost ran into Mildred when
both were turning a corner.  Fortunatly, both the souvlaki and the notepad
were safe.
        "Have you seen Laurie?"  Both asked the question at the same time.
        "Jinx, you owe me a drink," said Mildred.
        "Darn," Liz laughed.  "Seriously, you haven't seen Laurie around
        Mildred's reply was negative.  "She hasn't logged in all day.
Something's up.  I suggest we get all the Mercs and the Ratpackers
together.  Computer Lab?"
        Liz looked thoughful.  "Yeah, give me a couple of minutes."

"MercKy Meeting"
By Patt Elmore, with contributions by Brianna Russell
When:  late Wednesday evening
Where:  The docks of Lake Ontariol


Sometime, within the turmoil that had become her life, Patt slipped away
from the Shrine late Wednesday evening.  She located a telephone booth
and made a furtive call.

Then she made another phone call.

Then she kicked at the public phone booth and muttered
expletives which are not permissible on this list.

Then she waited.

Standing outside a phone booth on Queen's Quay wasn't
exactly how the Third Cousin liked spending her time.
Nevertheless, circumstance and fear for her mortal being had
brought her to this point.

The phone jingled and Patt snatched the receiver, almost
disrupting the connection in her haste.  Before she could say
hello, a voice addressed her.

"It's been arranged," the low female voice informed Patt.
"Proceed to Spadina Quay.  Your contact will meet you there."

"How will I know them?" Patt demanded quickly, sensing
impending disconnection.

"You don't *need* to know them," the voice said.  "They'll know
you."  Then, the line went dead.

"I really hate this covert crap," Patt muttered, hanging up the
receiver.  "And I hate Spark for making me have to do this."
Begrudgingly, the mature addict began plodding toward the

In the pre-dawn hours of the morning, the warehouses along
the wharf seemed to house haunted secrets.  The windows
reflected back like glittering eyes, scraping Patt's body with
their thoughts of ill intent.  At times, the Third Cousin could
swear she saw movement behind the panes, but she dared not
stop to investigate.

Even in May, Patt found herself shivering.  She pulled the collar
of her light jacket closer about her neck, wishing she was home
in bed, rather than walking alone in a questionable area of

She turned left, moving closer to the water.  Ahead, she could
hear the creaking sounds of small water craft, tied in their
berths, rocking against each other and the piers which held
them.  The aching cry of strained, wet rope reached Patt, and
she shivered involuntarily as if someone had finger-nailed a
chalk board.

"Psssstttttt," a low voice psssttttted from the shadows.

Patt stopped abruptly, turned and squinted into the darkness.
"Who goes thar?" she called.

A figure detached itself from the shadows and stepped
forward, but not far enough to fully reveal itself.

"You called for a merc?" it said.

"Not of my own free will," Patt lamented, but then
strengthened her resolve.  "But, yes . . . I did request the
services of the Guild."

"Well then" the figure moved into the dim streetlight.  "Here
aye am."

"Excuse me?" Patt began, then balked into silence at the sight of
the woman in front of her.

Brianna, the mercenary, was an average-built woman who appeared to be in
her thirty's.  Distinctive flame-red hair contrasted sharply with her
hazel-green eyes.  But, what caught Patt's attention the most was the
attire.  She'd never been this close to anyone in full traditional Ninja
garb before.  Nor had she ever wanted to be.

A long curved blade slung across the merc's back made Patt begin to
wonder if death-by-Spark might be so bad after all.

"Errr . . . nice sword," Patt noted, never taking her eyes off the

"Thank yew kindly, but it hain't no sword thingee; it's Wikizashi."   The
merc completed the sentence with obvious pride in her voice.

"Wickiupee what?" Patt eyed the weapon with speculation.  "Is it a Ronco

The merc ignored the addict.  "It hain't a proper-like Ninny-ja weep-on
eider, but it's wot ol' ScreedyBri chooses tew toss-a-bout," the
red-haired woman continued.

Brianna noted that Patt was staring at her again.

"You got a job fer me or not?" the red-haired woman said impatiently.

"Errrrr . . ." Patt couldn't find words.

The mercenary eyed the mature addict with suspicion.  "Wot's
the matter with yew?   You look as green as bad cheese?"

"Ahhhh," Patt garbled.

Brianna sighed, then suddenly leaned in and looked more
closely at the mature addict.  The merc's eyes glinted
appreciatively.  "Nice shirt."

Patt looked down at her chest, seeing that her jacket had
draped open, revealing the glitter covered "Sparkler" tee-shirt.
The silver metallic substance glimmered in the street lamp glow
like tiny jewels.

"ACK!!" Patt announced, coming to her senses and obviously
justified in her miffness.  "You *are* a Ratpacker!"

The merc stepped back quickly, eyes gleaming.  "And . . . so
wot if Aye am?

Patt threw back her head, laughing aloud in angst and irony.
"Why me?  I have a rabid vampire nipping at my neck and
when I ask for a little help, I'm sent *ratster!*

The packer/merc was indignant.  "'Scuse me, lady, but *I* am a
bonified member of the Guild.  I can take care of any
assignment you have, if you have the price of my services.
And," the figure stepped forward and thumped the mature
addict on her chest, "I do a darn fine job of it."  Then, the merc
noticed the glitter adhering to her finger tips and a daze came
into her eyes.  "Ooooooo--shiny . . . pretty!"

Patt rolled her eyes and threw up her hands.  "I give up!" she
screamed into the night.  "Just come on down and let's get this
over with!"

"I like sparkles," the Brianna nodded vigorously.  "Especially
when they are wrapped around chocolate," she finished

"Forget it, ratsie," Patt snorted, beginning to move away.  "I
won't be needing your services after all."

"Yewr firin me?" Brianna growled as she moved a few paces
after the retreating addict.

"Got it the first time, ratspeak," Patt muttered, not turning.

"Well, pay up before yew go!" the merc called out hotly.

Patt stopped and slowly turned toward Brianna.  "For what?"
The Third Cousin demanded.  "You haven't *done* anything!"

"Aye met yew here on the wharf, did'n aye?" The packer/merc
huffed angrily.

"Well, that ought to be worth a pence of poptarts," Patt
retorted, turning again.  "Send me the bill."

"I don't do credit," Brianna retorted.  "My services are cash and
carry.  Yew promised the Guild a payment of . . ." the merc
looked down at a piece of paper she produced from an unseen
pocket.  She looked at the note and her eyes widened.  "You
*are* a cheapskate, ain't ya?"

"Thrifty," Patt replied, reaching out and snatching the memo
from the merc's hand.  "And, it's all I could afford."

"You'd best be findin the Nattie Notes, then, so yewse can
afford to stay in Toronto," the Brianna said, nodding matter-of-
factly.  "Yewr addict affection  will only support you so far, yew

Patt exhaled slowly.  "It's not my financial situation which is at
state here, murky merc," the addict replied.  "It is my physical,
emotional and spiritual well being."

"Ahhhhhhh," Brianna's eyes brightened again.  "Then maybe
yew *can* afford me.  Tell me what yew need, since you've
already paid for the privilege anyway," the merc stepped
forward and expertly picked Patt's pocket, extracting the
formerly agreed upon reward.

"Well," Patt began slowly as Brianna counted bootie.  "I need
some information on Tracy Vetter."

"Such as?" Brianna licked her thumb and continued her tally.

"Likes, dislike, turn-ons . . ."

The merc looked up.  "You thinkin of moving in on the Vetter

"No, no, no . . ." Patt said with exasperation.  "I'm getting this
information for someone else."

"Like who?"

"Like . . . a vampire who thinks he owns me," Patt blurted out.

The merc perked up.  "Yew don't say?  Really?!"

"Yes," Patt moaned.  She was cold, afraid and anxious to be
home.  "Now, can you get me the info I need or not?"

"Course I can," Brianna assured quickly.  "When do you need it?"


"Ohhhhhhhh," Brianna the merc frowned.  "That might cost yew
a bit more than the previously agreed on price."

Patt looked suspiciously at the other woman.  "Are you

"No," Brianna insisted,  "That yew paid the Guild was just a
down-payment.  Wot we're negotiating now is me fee, based on
what yer seekin.

Patt was not smiling.  "I'm listening."

"To get the really juicy stuff on the Vetter chick might require
some personal, bodily contaction," Brianna explained, quickly
stuffing the Guild's money (minus her cut) into a secret pocket.
"Such activity could be dangerous to a lil ratpacker's body.

Patt sighed.  "I don't have much money, and our chocolate
supply is . . . stagnant."

"Ahhhh," Brianna looked thoughtful, then she smiled.  "Aye
could do with a little souvenir from this war.  Might come in
handy, too, for someone wanting to conduct a cloning

Patt waited.

"A lock of Defective Nicky's hair," Brianna's eyes gleamed in

The Third Cousin was speechless, but only for a moment.

"%$)*#&!!!" Patt began yelling.

"Hey, hey, hey!" Brianna covered her ears.  "Thers no need for
all that!  Shuldn't be a problem for yew.  Yewr one of the
Monkey's chicks, and Nicky is his sonny-boy, right?  Yew
should be able to get right next to the defective and pluck me
lock, no problem."

"%$)*#&!!!" Patt continued yelling.

"Aye consider that yew're confirmation to our agreement."  The
merc grinned, spit on her palm and grasped Patt's hand.
"You'll have me e-mail by nightfall.  What's your addy?"

"Patt79 . . ." the Third Cousin began, but stopped when the
merc's hand tightened like a vise around her fingers.

"EEK!!!" the packer/merc screamed, jumping into Patt's arms
and grabbing her around the neck.  Patt looked down to see a
glowing pink rodent scamper across the pier's planking.

"It's just a rat," Patt snorted, trying to loose the clinging merc.
Brianna, however, hung on for dear life, scrabbling around the
larger woman and clutching onto her back.

"Make it go away!"  Brianna cried.  "Ay *hate* ratsies!"

"Sheesh!" Patt shook her head and kicked at the rodent.  The rat
raised itself, sniffed, then dropped and scurried away.  "There.

"How'd yew do that," the merc slowly clambered down from
the Third Cousin's shoulders.

"I'm owned by a Miniature Pinscher," Patt said.  "The original
varmint dog of Germany.  He trained me well."

"Ahhhhh," Brianna nodded.  "He'd make a good merc, he

"Yea, right," Patt agreed absently, determined now to be on her
way.  "Just make sure I get a comprehensive report, okay?  My
life could depend on it."

"You can count on me," Brianna called after the disappearing
addict.  Alone, the merc digested what she'd learned.  "My
goodness.  Last year, she hits his high Monkeyness over the
head with a beer bottle and this year she's procuring him dating
information.  Ay'll just bet someone would pay a pretty penny
to know that Uncle has the hots for Nicky's partner, they

Whistling, Brianna happily headed for MercCentral.


WAR: MERC  "Under the Circumstances..." 1/2
By Mildred Cady et all...
Time: Wed Morning, several hours after Laurie's Dissapearance
        in "NA: Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go"
Location: Merc Central

        Once she entered the wall of Merc Central, Libby paused to compose
herself.  Through a vent into the living room, she could hear the voices
of various Mercs and Ratpackers  discussing their latest missions or
planning their next.  Although the sound could hardly be called gentle due
to a few heated arguments and debates, the familiarity of it did much to
calm her nerves.
        Those Nunkies Anonymous droogs were evil!  Sure, she certainly
appreciated LaCroix's certain ... charms, particarly the view from the
rear.  But her loyalty and heart belong to Screed.  After all, he also had
a British accent, was hair challenged, and a fantastic sense of style -
everything that Nunkies had and more.
        Finally feeling more composed and ready to exaggerate her
experiences with the Addicts, Libby started to squeeze through the
tunnel's opening.
        "Has anyone seen the GHP lately?" Lucky Liz, the Merc House Mommy,
said just as Libby replaced the vent cover.
        "No," a chorus sounded.
        "Ooooers!" a Ratpacker said, "Tha' means 'er shiny, pretties is
unguarded!  I'd better keep them safe...."
        "Maybe she had a mission."
        Libby nodded.  Very well could be as a Merc as powerful as the GHP
would be in big demand.
        "Nope.  She has to much on her hands- like keeping all of us in
line."  That was Spymistress Jennifer, who had been rambling about her
latest experiments in the Science lab.
        "Maybe she stepped out for a breath of fresh air."
        This, Libby doubted.  Even the inside of the walls smelled ratsie
        "Maybe she went out to find a reputable rat exterminator."
        Uh, oh, Libby thought as all the lil' Ratsies shuddered.
        "Maybe she's defected to the N&Ners."
        Libby covered her mouth to keep from laughing out loud.
        "Maybe she's become a Nunkies Addict."
        Libby's eyes grew wide as she flashbacked to her torture at their
diabolical hands.  Nunkies Anonymous had asked an awful lot of questions
about the GHP and Nunkies Pops.  Strange questions.  Why did a bunch of
Nunkies-Wanna-Nookies want to know about the GHP?  Surely she hadn't
accidentally let on any important information.  When the realization hit
that she might've said just a little too much and what would happen to her
if she had, Libby let out an eardrum-busting, horrified scream.  Everyone
turned to look at her.  "They're mean tew Ratpackers, they are," she
explained quickly.  "An... An... they didn't do nothin' tew no GHP.  I wuz
jest there."
        Liz shrugged and went on her merry way, to Libby's relief. Just in
case, she crawled back into the wall.

Then cut to Johnsie

WAR: MERC  "Under the Circumstances..." 2/2
by Mildred Cady, John Ewan, Libby, and other Mercs and Ratpackers...
Everyone mentioned used with permission.
Time: Just after after Merc: "Somethings Missing in this Picture"

        Johnsie was sitting in front of the Entertainment center, remotes
in each hand an the VCR was on PROGRAM....
        Brianna walked in, bored and asked Jonsie, "What *are* you doing?"
        "'eh?"  Johnsie replied brightly, "Oi'm jest settin' hup fer
tapin' sum shows, dunt wanna miss the May Sumo basho on NHK news an' theys
sumurromotocross onna hother sateelite feed.  Gotta catch'em whens ya
        "Sumo?" Brianna asked.
        "Yup, Sumo," Johnsie replied, "Oi loiks hit.  Hintense action,
over fast, hinstant grateeficashun.  Wot more cud ya hask of a sport.
Theys this one rikishi, thats wot they calls the wrestlers, iz 'bout moi
size.  Wunna the smallest inna hupper ranks, Laurie's comment 'bout me
diet, notwithstnadin'.  'e 'ad sillycone injected inniz 'ead ta be tall
'nuff.  Gotta reespekt that kinda deeterminashun."
        "Uh,yeah.  And you like motorcycle races, too; okay, well..."  she
said before being interrupted.
        "Cycle races?  Nah, Theys cool, but not my speed," Johnsie
replied, glancin' around, he then whispered, "Them races gonna save me
onna these daze.  But that's a secret."  Johnsie placed his index finger
up alongside his nose in a gesture that meant nothing to the Merc.
        Brianna repeated the gesture, which seemed to satisfy the
        At this point, Mildred walked through, with a gadget on her head.
"Do either of you know where Laurie is?  Have you seen her recently?"
        Johnsie halfway took his attention from the VCR and murmured,
"Great Honkin' Pain-inna-Butt?  nah, hain't seen'er fer weeks....not heven
        Mildred replied, "I'm serious.  Laurie hasn't been seen or heard
from all day.  Meet in the Computer Lab.  Something serious is going on."
        Mildred then ran out of the Entertainment room.

        Mildred was going insane.  That was it.  Insanity.  It was so
simple.  Well, no it wasn't.
        It had taken her longer then she thought to get as many Mercs and
Ratpackers as she could.  The computer lab was crowded for once, and not
with people playing Duke Nukem.
        "Settle down everyone."  That didn't work.
        "AAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEEEEE"  That did.  At the sound of the
screech, most of room shut up and covered thier ears.  Mildred hadn't had
to yell like that in Merc Central before, but at home she was known for
almost being deadly with her voice.
        Mildred stood up from her chair.  "Thank you.  Now we are in a
situation here.  Has anyone seen Laurie since last night?"  No one raised
thier hands, nodded or anything.  "Then we have a situation on our hands.
She's either kidnapped or ran away.  I'm ruling out ran away- because all
of the accounts are in order and her chocolate is still in the office."
        "Lauire would *not* leave chocolate behind."  That was from
Jennifer, the Spymistress and Labrat.
        "Agreed.  Noone that I know of has recieved a ransom note.  Or a
bragging note.  So... anyone have a clue who might have taken her?"
        No one spoke up.  Libby started to look around, the back of her
mind tickling her conscience.
        Little Anna, a Ratpacker who was standing near the door spoke up,
"So, wot do we do now?"
        "Ok.  For now, let's all act as if it's busniess as usual.  But I
want everyone outside looking for anything unusual.  In fact, I have
several jobs open.  Whoever takes them, do a  little extra to see if
you can find clues about Laurie's whereabouts.  Since Lauire's not here
to dish them out, anyone's who's looking for work see me when we're done.
So, keep your ears and eyes open.
        "I'm staying here in the Computer lab, monitering
communications.  The moment anyone has any information,  contact me.  I
have extra comm units if you want to carry one.  I also want hourly
reports from people- on a job or not.  Even if you stay in here, I want
        "Oh, I found this earlier- it's a note from Berg.  He's got some
personal trouble that has taken him out of the war.  It's dated a couple
of days ago, and I've contacted him.  He has no idea where Laurie is
        Mildred ended her little speach, and sat down.  No one moved.
        "Well... go and find her!"
        Mercs and Ratpackers started leaving.  Brianna came up to
Mildred's desk.  "You said something about a job?"
        "Yeah....  I have one for you.  Here's the address for you to make
the first conact with the client."  Mildred handed her a small printout.
The paper listed Spadina Quay as the location, and a short description of
Patt, the Third Cousin.  "With Laurie's dissapearance, take one of the
comm units.  I want progress reports."
        Brianna picked up the unit.  It looked like a hearing aid.  "It
both recieves and transmits, don't worry."  Mildred smiled a little.  It's
amazing what some contacts can do.
        Brianna left.  The Merclettes still stood around.  "You want
something to do???"
        "What?" asked Sil, the oldest.
        "Go spy on everyone who stays around.  I'll give you new pictures
of Leo that your mother would kill me for if you get any good intel."
        "Ok Auntie Mildred," said Bonnie, the youngest, as the MMMs ran

All In a Night's Work
by Brianna Russell, with contributions by Cousin Mary (Jenkins)
Time: pre-dawn, Thursday, April 30,  AM
immediately following  "MerKy Meeting"
Locations: Merc Central and Tracy's apartment (used by permission)

Brianna arrived at Merc Central, her head spinning with ideas. Thanking the
Goddess that no one was up and about, she slipped into her tiny cubicle,
quickly changing out of her Ninja gi.  This was one secret she wasn t ready
to share with her cohorts just yet. They knew she was adept in martial
arts, but if they knew the extent of her skill, she wasn t sure she could
live up to their expectations.

::Tracy, huh?:: she thought sarcastically. ::I don t even much like the
little twit, now I m expected to find out what turns her on? Oh well, I m
glad it s that battle-axe of a General that s interested in her, and not
me. She s definitely not my type.::  Shuddering at *that* thought, she
sighed in resignation and fired up her computer.  If you want info on
somebody, what better place to start than the Web?


Many hours later, Brianna rubbed her eyes in an attempt to see the blurry
lines of text dancing in front of her.  She was now forced to admit to a
grudging respect for Nick s partner. The trail of public and not-so-public
records she d hacked into had revealed an interesting story. Bri was
surprised Tracy had made it this far in life, considering the obstacles
she d had to overcome. An alcoholic mother, a domineering father, betrayal
by a childhood friend gone bad, witnessing the death of another friend in
her youth, loss of her best college friend ... no wonder the woman had
spent time in counseling. Chuckling to herself, Bri admitted that she d be
in a rubber room by now if all that had happened to her. On the other hand,
the list of awards and commendations on the detective's service record,
including one for actions 'above and beyond the call of duty' relating to a
sniper incident, indicated a strong person, able to rise above adversity.

She glanced at her watch and sighed. Early afternoon. The meeting with her
client was tonight and she d barely scratched the surface. But she d been
up over 24 hours and was exhausted. Unless she wanted to start typing with
her nose, she had to get some rest.  Saving the latest find to disk, she
shut down the computer then gratefully stretched out on her cot, the hard
military-issue mattress feeling like the softest of beds.  Within seconds,
she was asleep.

Thursday evening, after dark

Brianna woke with a start and jumped to check the time. D**n, she d
overslept!  Her client expected information tonight and she was nowhere
near finished gathering it. Grabbing her knapsack, she stuffed the disks,
her gi, and other needed equipment in it before running out the door.
Leaving Merc Central, she headed quickly to Tracy s apartment.

Once close, she found a secluded spot and donned the gi, covering her head
and lower face as well. If this mission went bad , she did not want her
distinctive red hair to identify her before she could escape.  Moving
silently from shadow to shadow, she approached Tracy s apartment. With
relief, she noted that the officer s residence was dark. ::Thank you for
not being here:: she thought gratefully.

Swinging the grappling hook with an ease born of practice, she launched it
to the window ledge of the upper story apartment.  It caught firmly, but
with a loud clang that caused Brianna to cringe and fade back into the
shadows.  She waited there until she was sure no challenge was forthcoming,
then swung the backpack over her shoulder and began to climb.  Expecting a
locked window, she was surprised to find it unsecured.  ::Come on, Tracy.
You ve got to know better::, she thought with amusement as she pushed the
window open and climbed in. ::Do you leave it open for Vachon? LaCroix
probably won't like that.:: Once inside, she took only a moment to look
around, familiarizing herself with the surroundings, before beginning her
search.  She did a double-take when she saw the stuffed animal. A headless
bunny sat on Tracy's bed.  ::A gift from the DarkPerks?::

Moving first to the nightstand, she picked carefully among the items,
mindful to put everything back in its proper place. She was not worried
about leaving fingerprints; the black gloves she wore would prevent that.
Hmmm ... nothing noteworthy here, just some loose coupons, a police
magazine, and a few CD s. Nine Inch Nails sat prominately on top. Brianna
fished a small notebook out of her backpack and jotted down the other
artists  names before pulling open the nightstand drawer. Her lips quirked
in amusement as she spotted a diary.  ::Do grown women still keep these
things?:: She picked it up and began leafing through the pages. Long
minutes later she replaced the book, a look of sadness in her eyes. It was
one thing to know events that had happened to Tracy; it was something
totally different to know *how* those circumstances had affected the
officer. Her dual feelings of love/resentment toward her father was
something the younger Vetter had yet to come to terms with and, according
to her diary, sometimes these feelings nearly tore her apart. It also
seemed that Tracy felt responsible for the bad things that happened to
nearly everyone around her, illogical as she knew those feelings to be.
::Oh, Tracy, you can t feel guilty for everything that goes wrong. That s
too much like Nick::  But there was anger and frustration in the entries as
well. Tracy had reflected on the time she'd slapped her mother and once
when she'd been "just looking for a reason" to shoot an abusive father. The
lady got more complicated by the minute.

Shoving those thoughts aside, Brianna picked up the other book in the
drawer. She nearly laughed out loud when she saw the title; 'Whuthering
::A romance novel, who would have thought a tough-girl cop would go for
something like this?  Oh well, I guess we all have our fantasies.::
Feeling something inside, she opened the book, then quickly grabbed the
item before it slid to the floor.  ::A pressed white rose; the lady s an
incurable romantic:: Then it hit her.  ::White rose?!? That was LaCroix s
symbol of love to Fleur. I wonder how he ll take knowing Tracy likes them

Finding nothing more of interest in the drawer, Brianna moved  to the
closet. At first it appeared to be just the average woman s wardrobe,
mostly sensible and casual outfits, with a few that were more dressy for
formal occasions. Then Bri realized that there were a few outfits missing
that should have been there; most noticeably the dress from  "Trophy Girl".
 ::Hmmm ... out having fun tonight, are you? Good; you deserve it.::  Then
Brianna was shocked to see an Uzi propped up against one of the closet
walls.  ::Yipes! Atta girl, Trace. Underneath all the fluff and pain, you
do have a tough side, don t you?  You re not the kind to take c**p from

Just as Brianna started to close the closet door, she heard voices in the
hallway. Quickly dousing the flashlight, she froze, ready to hide or flee
if necessary. Long seconds passed before the couple s voices continued up
the corridor and faded from earshot. Breathing a wordless prayer of thanks
to her late sensei for her training in Shinobi iri - Ninja stealth and
infiltration techniques - she continued on.

Brianna moved to the dresser to continue her search. ::Ah, jackpot!:: she
thought delightedly. Nothing tells more about a woman than her cosmetics,
and Tracy s hoard was a virtual gold mine of information. The dresser
surface was dominated by large bottles of designer perfume. Brianna gave a
low whistle of envy as she saw the names, quickly adding them to her notes;
Chanel No. 5, Oscar de la Renta and First/Van Cleef, among others. At over
$150.00 an ounce each, it was obvious *someone* made sure Tracy was taken
care of.  Brianna suspected it was Tracy herself. There were no obvious

suitors in Tracy s life and while the Commissioner might dote on his
offspring, Bri doubted that he was the type to spend so lavishly on
non-practical gifts. Opening the jewelry box, she noted small, simple
earrings and  unobtrusive chain necklaces. Simple, yet elegant. The Merc s
new-found admiration for Tracy went up another notch. ::That s right,
Tracy. Take care of yourself; cause no one else will::

Feeling extremely voyeuristic, Brianna opened the dresser drawer and
searched the inside.  There was nothing except the expected lingerie, but
Bri thought it was interesting that all the undies were silk rather than
cotton.  Another delightful self-indulgence.  Considering who this
information was for, Brianna even made note of the size.  ::Can never tell
*what* he might want to give as a gift::

Suddenly aware that she had stayed too long, Brianna quickly looked around
the bedroom for anything else interesting.  Finding nothing, she went into
the living room. Starting with the entertainment center, she made note of
Tracy s book and movie genre preferences, then moved to the telephone
stand. A glance through Tracy s nearly empty personal address book
confirmed Brianna s hunch that the detective didn t have much of a social
life.  There were some names listed under the heading "DarkPerks", but that
didn't really constitute a 'man in her life' ::Might be easy pickings for
the right man. Then again, maybe not:: she mused.

Brianna turned, ready to leave, when she caught sight of  a photo album on
the bottom bookshelf. Knowing the stories that pictures could tell, she
made time to glance through it. Some of the faces were familiar from her
Net search. She checked the back of those she did not recognize, making
note of the names if available. One picture especially caught her eye; a
photo of  a rough, yet impish-looking young man. The picture had been
mutilated, heavily scribbled with magic marker.  Turning it over, Bri saw
"Bruce" written on the back. She looked again at the barely discernible
face, concluding that it was a picture of Bruce Spencer, long-time Vetter
family friend, and former undercover cop whose history she was familiar
with from her earlier research. Brianna felt an unexpected stab of sympathy
for the younger woman.  ::Betrayal always hurts, doesn t it Tracy?  Even
more when it s someone your care about. Yet you still care. You may
desecrate the picture, but you keep it instead of destroying it.::  Shaking
her head in amazement at the increasingly complex personality of her
subject, Bri rose from her crouched position.

Not daring to stay a moment longer, Brianna hastily surveyed the areas
she d been.  Satisfied that there would be no evidence of her presence, she
reloaded her backpack and eased out the window, pausing only long enough to
shut it behind her. She rappelled down the wall, then loosened the
grappling hook and repacked it before melting silently into the night.

Friday morning, between midnight and dawn

Brianna crept back into Merc Central, thanking fate that her luck was
holding and there was no one around to question her.  Heading straight for
her room, she turned on the computer and began a lengthy e-mail report to
her client.  Once that was done, she typed and sent a second, shorter
message. There was one more contact to make and it looked like the fun was
just beginning.

End Part 1
to be continued in Part 2

Date:         Thu, 30 Apr 1998 00:48:15 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: NA/Merc: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us (2/3)
X-UIDL: db93a27c9e96991da1a933a75e07a74a

Merc/NA: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us (2/3)
By Cousin Jules, Bons and Laurie
Starring: Grand High Poobah...the victim
              Shele, Rosalie, Jan, and Joni...the second shift of torturers
              The fanfic fairies
Time: Wednesday morning to afternoon, April 29th
After 'Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go' and concurrent with 'Crimes and

   Jules paid the cabbie and walked to the doors of the Peach.  She felt
depressed.  No, that wasn't quite right.  She felt ill *and* depressed.  The
damage to the Jag had been, according to the dealership, very minor.  Of
course, very minor repairs on a Jag always resulted in very major
expenditures.  Lacroix might not kill her (he had money out the wazoo), but
he would no doubt think twice about giving her the keys again.  Of course,
it wasn't as if it was all *her* fault.  There was *Patt* to consider.    Nope, Jules wasn't going to feel depressed *or* sick anymore.
Nope, Nunkies was going to find out exactly *who* was responsible for the
damage to his favorite car.  In seconds, Jules felt much, much better, and
went to call the manicurist to repair the nail she'd broken in the fracas
with the Vaqueras.

     Passing through one of the Shrine's anterooms, the High Priestess'
eagle eye suddenly caught sight of the Nunkies pop - NUNKIES POP - which an
Addict in front of her was so desperately trying to hide behind her toga.
Jules steeled herself against the Addict's coming protestations, when an
horrific thought struck her. Kind of like lightening or a ton of bricks, but
without the resulting damage to life, liberty, and pursuit of Nunkies.

     "Nunkies pops? Where'd you guys get Nunkies pops?" she pondered. "The
only person who has Nunkies pops is the Mercenary Guild's Grand High Poobah,
and I know from personal experience she doesn't give them up easily,
especially not to the likes of you... OH MY GOD!!! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?

     The Addict lost all her resolve not to tell and pointed a shaking
finger in the direction of the Video Room.  Jules marched to the door and
heard horrible sounds emanating from the other side. She took a deep breath
and opened it.

     Strapped to a peach velvet divan and surrounded by two Not-So-Vestal-
Virgins was the one person she had hoped *not* to find.  Jules
thought.    She was about to apologize to Laurie
when the Poobah began hurling abuse at her.

     "AAAAAAAAARRRRGGHHHH!!  THERE YOU ARE!!" screamed Laurie.  "I can't
believe that you'd do this to me, Jules!  I thought we were *friends*!"

     Jules' good intentions rapidly vaporized.    Jules took a casual stroll over to the confined Poobah,
came to a stop and crossed her arms in front of her.  "Well, Laurie, you
*are* the GHP, and this *is* War.  You know we had to go our separate ways.
You knew this was possible.  After all, what does Nunkies have in common
with a power hungry, chocolate sucking person such as yourself?  Besides,
when it comes to War, and Nunkies pops, anyone is fair game."

     "OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" screamed the Laurie.  "I'll get you for that, you
and that, that *elderly* vampire of yours."

     "Excuse moi?"

     "I hate Nunkies!"


     "He's ugly!"

     "Beauty's in the eye of the beholder."

     "His hairline is receding!"

     "Yes, isn't it awful?  All that nasty testosterone has such dreadful
side effects," Jules responded, nearly going into meltdown at the thought of

     "He's getting a blood gut!  He's..."

     "Tsk, tsk.  You *know* the camera always adds an extra 10 pounds to

     "OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!  How dare you have a comeback for
everything I say!!"

     Jules' unnerving, overly friendly face suddenly became cold.  "You
know, Laur, I was ready to come in here and make nice, but I think I just
lost the mood."

     Laurie lost total control at that. "You're all a bunch of NUNKIES!" she
started screaming. "NUNKIES, NUNKIES, NUNKIES!  You're not ADDICTS! You're
cackling hysterically. "I AM A NUNKIE! I AM A NUNKIE! I AM A NUNKIE!"

     The sleeping fanfic fairies woke up at that, and began diving at
Laurie. That didn't deter her. In fact, it just made her scream louder.
Until, one of them flew into her mouth, that is. Then she really started

     The other Addicts looked on, appalled. The GHP was breaking the
absolute ultimate Shrine taboo. One of them heaved a sigh of relief that
NunkMommy was far from this blasphemy.

     That was the final straw for Jules. She glared at her former friend,
and then turned to Heather. "Shut her up. Now," she ordered.

     The Addict picked up the gag, and placed it in Laurie's mouth. Laurie
struggled to no avail. The High Priestess stood impassively for a moment,
watching the GHP. Then she issued an ominous warning. "We're through," she
announced. "I think I'm gonna give you to LaCroix." She turned on her heels
and left the Video Room.

     Secretly, however, Jules was wondering how much trouble was going to
result from this little...problem the Addicts had brought on all of them.
They'd certainly incur the wrath of the Guild.  And then there was,
Lacroix to think about.   Jules thought to herself.  She'd have to put
off her manicure a few hours longer.  It was time to call Bons...

A while later...

    A bit of fairy drool dropped on Laurie's nose, tickling it, and causing
her to come fully awake. Shouting at Jules had help to clean out her system
of any lingering effects of the chocolate knock out drug, and she was back
to normal. Except, of course, for the minor inconvenience of being tied to a
peach divan, dressed in a breastplate, mini toga and Mountie hat, and forced
to watch the Young Republicans and Spice Girls fight it out.

     She gingerly tested her mouth, rolling around her tongue. This gave her
a taste of the fairy drool, and let me tell you, fairy drool tastes nothing
like tiramisu, not by a long shot.

     A new shift of Addicts had arrived, relieving the previous quartet of
the tiresome task of Poobah watching. Especially when the Poobah wasn't
saying anything. Nada. Not a whisper. Not a peep. For the past hour, the
Poobah had not even appeared to be alive.

     "YUCKO," the Poobah shouted. She'd clearly regained her powers of
speech, if not her wit and overall charm.

     "She's not dead. Good thing, I suppose. Let's torture her," Jan said,
removing a Nunkies pop from her mouth. Unfortunately, one could not suck on
a Nunkies and talk at the first time, or rest assured, the Addicts would
have done so.

     "That's what we *are* doing," Shele reminded her.

     "Well, it's not working very well, is it? I think we need to in-terr-
or-gate her," Jan said archly. "I'm sure, now that she's had to listen to
Young Republican Spice Girls for two hours, she'll be ready to talk." She
leant over and prodded the Poobah, a Nunkies pop dangling from her hand.

     Laurie desperately tried to get a piece of Jan's finger in her mouth.
If she couldn't immediately kill these people, maybe she could get in a limb
or two. Or even better, a bit of that chocolate Nunkies pops. *Her*
chocolate Nunkies pops. The thought made her start foaming. The Addict
yelped and quickly moved back.

     Jan glared at the Poobah. "Animal!"

     "Vegetable!" followed Shele.

     "Mineral!" announced Joni.

     "Seven letter word beginning with N!" said Rosalie.

     "NUNKIES!" the Addicts shouted, as a blissful look came over their

     "Oh, gag me. Nunkies is a newt," came a voice from the divan.

     Rosalie gasped.

     "Now, that's the first good idea you've had all day," Jan said. "You
can't be saying things like that about our Nunkies and expect to live." She
reached under the divan, and took out a gag, which she placed in the
Poobah's mouth. Unfortunately, a tiny bit of fairy drool slipped in as well.
Laurie turned purple.

"Um, Jan," Joni said, "I'm not sure gagging her is the smartest idea in the

     "She *insulted* Nunkies. She must die."

     "There's a bit of a problem with that, Jan. We're supposed to be
finding out information from her. If she's gagged, let alone dead, we're
gonna have a hard time making her talk," Joni pointed out reasonably.

     "Well, she's got a really big mouth. Maybe we'll still be able to hear
her through the gag," Jan argued.

     The Poobah had started twitching again, straining against her bonds.
All this talk of death was making her antsy; she wanted to kill, and she
wanted to kill now.

     "I think she needs more visual bombardment...then we can make her
talk," Rosalie suggested as she went to the tape cabinet and pulled out a
videocassette. "This looks good," she said, holding up a copy of 'Robin
Hood' (Errol Flynn version). She changed the tape and pressed play. The
Addicts replaced their earplugs, took new Nunkies pops out of their pockets,
unwrapped them, rose and waved the pops in the GHP's face just to annoy her,
and then sat down, contentedly enjoying their lollies as they learned the
value of taking from the rich and giving to the poor. This would be followed
by a viewing of 'Brewster's Millions,' highlighting the parts where money
was given away. Lastly, Laurie would be forced to endure 'A Christmas Carol'
- every version ever made.

     And the tapes played on. And on. And on. And on.

End Of Part Two
Continued in Part Three

Merc/NA: This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us (3/3)
By Laurie and Bons
Starring:  Grand High Poobah...the victim
           Jan, Rosalie, Joni, KC, Glennis, Jayne, Shele, Kusine...evil
           The fanfic fairies
Time: Wednesday evening, April 29th
After 'Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go' and 'Crimes and Punishment'

A few hours later...

    Joni was sure she was having a bad dream. She had to be. Why else would
she have been forced to sit here and watch the offensively twitching GHP for

    Well, if she thought she was having a bad dream, the GHP must think she
was in hell. The thought cheered Joni considerably.

    "Let's ask her some questions," Shele suggested.

    "Okay." Jan leapt up, bounded over to the divan, and removed the gag
from Laurie's mouth.

    "Yo, Poobah, where's all your gold?"

    Laurie stared impassively at her tormentor. If she could have spit at
her, she would have. Unfortunately, one of the unknown effects of fairy
drool in the mouth was the drying up of all ducts. The Poobah couldn't even
raise a sweat.

    "No," Rosalie protested. "Ask her where the Nunkies pops factory is.
That's *much* more important."

    Her factory! They wanted to know where her factory was! They had taken
all her Nunkies pops! Laurie strained against her bonds, rage in her eyes.
The fanfic fairies, who had been napping comfortably on her breastplate,
came awake at that and angrily began buzzing around her head.

    "Yo, Poobah, where's your Nunkies pops factory?" Jan demanded.

    There was no response.

    Jan shook a fist at her. "Tell us or we'll sic the fanfic fairies on

    "Um, Jan, we've already done that," Shele pointed out, gesturing at the
flitting hordes surrounding the GHP.

    "Tell us or we'll ... we'll ... we'll sic Devo the Wonder Whippet on
you!" This came out triumphantly.

    The other Addicts giggled. A snicker escaped from the GHP, which enraged
Jan to no end.

    "Let me at her! Let me at her!" she said, attempting to throw herself on
the GHP, and instead knocking into some fanfic fairies. The other two
Addicts grabbed her arms.

    "I *told* you," Joni said soothingly. "We can't kill her. We need her to

    "Then can we kill her?" asked Jan hopefully.

    "We'll see."

    "Um, guys," piped in Shele. "Don't you think we should ask her about
Natalie's research? That *is* why we grabbed her, is it not? It's the whole
theme of my epic poem!"

    Jan turned back to playing the heavy. "Yo, Poobah, where's Natalie's

    The Poobah laughed. Which was a bad move for a Poobah tied to a peach
divan in a breastplate, Mountie hat and mini toga, surrounded by flitting
fanfic fairies.

     "Right. That's it. She's asking for it now." Jan replaced the tape in
the VCR with Hulk Hogan starring in 'Mr. Nanny.' The Addicts settled
themselves, and prepared to watch the GHP freak out again.

     Only something went wrong this time. Something went dreadfully,
horribly wrong.


    As the abuse and insults flew all around her, the Grand High Poobah
returned to her senses. Nothing charged her up more than a few well placed
abusive insults. And nothing amused her more than a few totally lame abusive
insults. And boy were these Addicts lame. Which was why they were drooling
drones, she supposed, instead of Mercs.

     Strength flowed through her body, washing over her and renewing her
mind and spirit. No feeble Addicts were going to keep her, the Grand High
Poobah, tied to a peach divan, dressed in a ridiculous costume, surrounded
by flitters. No sirree, she was the Grand High Poobah, she was the sun, she
was the moon, she was the flowers, she was Superwoman, able to leap tall
buildings at a single bound, able to break fanfic fairy magical bonds and
fly away to freedom.

     Well, maybe not.

     As 'Mr. Nanny' droned on and on, Laurie fought to resist the wave of
ennui that threatened to overwhelm her once more. This time, when she
reached deep within herself, she extracted the libretto of Carrie.

        she thought, and launched into a
rousing rendition of the spectacularly bad show's opening number.

     The television-watching Addicts almost hit the roof.

     "Ouch!" Joni exclaimed.

     "You're not kidding," Shele agreed. "For a Mercbard, she's sure a lousy

     At that, Laurie raised the pitch louder and took it down a note. Or, at
least, she tried to. Actually, she wouldn't have recognized a note if it was
pinned to her face and said this is a note for you, Grand High Poobah.
Whatever she did, it produced the intended result.

     The three Addicts frantically replaced their earplugs. It did no good.
Laurie could really belt it out when she wanted to. The piercing anti-
melodic tones pierced the Addicts' defenses instantly. Clutching their ears,
they raced from the room, shrieking.


     "What's the matter?"  Kusine looked up from where she was busily
filling out the paperwork for her Nunkies Scout badge in Intervention.

     "It's that damned Poobah," Joni complained as she slammed the Video
Room door. "She won't shut up."

     "Poobah? What Poobah?" Glennis asked.

     "The one we've got tied down in the video room," Shele explained.

     "We've got a Poobah tied down in the video room?" The implication of
that statement finally reached through Kusine's pre-occupied brain. She
jumped up, startled. "I mean, *YOU'VE* got a Poobah tied down in the video
room?" Kusine was not stupid.  Kidnapping a confused Nick & Natpacker was
one thing, kidnapping Mercs was another. Tied down Poobahs inevitably meant
trouble, and she was taking the first opportunity to distance herself from
the action.

     Joni smirked at her friend. "Fine, blame it all on us. I guess we'll
just have to keep all the chocolate Nunkies pops we found on her."

     At that, every head in the room snapped up and there was a stampede
toward the video room door.

     "HOLD IT," Jan shouted. Every body in the room stopped short, but they
all kept leaning toward the video room door. In fact, it was as if some
centrifugal force was pushing them toward the door, they could not seem to
help themselves. Yes, they stayed in their places, but a few started leaning
sideways a bit straining to reach the door and the Nunkies pops inside.

     Except, of course, the pops were currently nowhere near the GHP.  Jan
wondered briefly if she should just send the rabid gang in there anyway;
that would show that stupid Poobah once and for all. And at the least, she'd
be able to sneak out without finishing the rest of her guard-the-Poobah

     Sneaking out was frowned on during war time; she'd just have to be
sneakier. Jan reached into her pocket and pulled out a few pops, dangling
them in front of her fellow Addicts. The frozen Addicts started heading
toward Jan as one. She held the pops out of the reaches of the frenzied
addicts that now surrounded her, clutching with zombie-like hands.

     "You want a pop, you got to take over the next guard shift," she
announced slyly, confident of the reply. As expected, the clamoring addicts
could not resist. In fact, they all screamed at once, the prospect of
Nunkies pops *and* torturing the GHP being just too irresistible.

     "Silly fools," thought Jan as she headed out of the Shrine toward an
relaxing jaunt in the sauna, even more Nunkies pops safely ensconced in her
jacket. "I bet that woman knows every musical ever written. They're in for a
long, long night."


     Rosalie opened the door of the video room, and immediately slammed it
shut. Laurie had gotten roughly halfway through Carrie, and was currently
screeching out at the top of her lungs one of the worst numbers in the show.
The piercing sound momentarily filled the altar room causing several Addicts
to collapse on the spot.

     "We can't go in there, we'll die. Or at least have shattered eardrums."
Glennis winced.

     "Death by bad singing. What a way to go." Jayne sighed.

      "Let's gag her," KC suggested.

     "We can't do that" Rosalie replied. We tried that already. If we gag
her, what if she talks?"

     "KC, you can't talk if you're gagged," Jayne pointed out.

     "Very clever. You go to college or something?" KC countered.

     "Toronto University BS in Nunkies! Yippee!"  Jayne did a jig.

     Recovering, they returned to the Poobah at hand.

      "Well, someone needs to go back in there. Put these on." Rosalie held
out earplugs.

     "But then we won't hear her when she starts spilling all the secrets."
KC thought dreamily of an endless supply of chocolate Nunkies pops.

"We are strong. We are invincible. Shoulder to shoulder we stand ..." A
chorus began.

      "SHUT UP," Rosalie finally shouted. "Look, we can't leave her alone in
there, she might talk. Besides, what if she tries to bribe the fanfic
fairies to let her go? She's like that, you know. Trying to ruin our torture
with a little escape plot."

     "Nah, Nunkies fanfic fairies would never betray us," Glennis said.

     "I've got it!" said Jayne triumphantly. "We'll do shifts. Two at a
time, an hour each. We should be able to stand that. We can't leave an
Addict in there alone with her, you know. She may be tied down to a peach
divan dressed in nothing but a breastplate, a Mountie hat, mini-toga ... "
here several addicts sighed appreciatively ... "surrounded by flitting
fanfic fairies, but even so, I don't trust her. Obsessed I may be, but
*stupid* I most definitely am not" she added darkly.

     The other Addicts applauded and turned to go.

    "Hold it! Who wants to do the first shift?" Jayne demanded.

      The other Addicts began to edge away from the video room door.  Until
suddenly KC piped up.

      "I'll go. I *liked* Carrie. Besides, this is just what I need to get
my Cruel and Unusual Punishment badge!"

Fin for now...