("As The Stomach Churns" subconsciously stolen from _The Carol Burnett 
NA: Some Girls  by Shele; Beta Reading by The High Priestess
Time: Wednesday 4/29 11pm
Place: The Shrine
After:  "N" is for Nunkies?; Laurie and the Evil Cocoa-A-Go-Go; This Will 
Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us
All Addicts used by permission

After debriefing the Ares look alike, Ted, Shele mulled over what had 
happened while she'd been documenting the Poobah-napping. They'd been attacked by the
Nick and NatPackers. Three Addicts had been lured away, questioned and even
threatened! Now where were N&Ners likely to happen upon ultra-militant
feminists? Sure, sure, the NatPack had them, but would they be caught dead 
with Nick?! So the threat had been wildly impossible, but that wasn't the point.
They'd been attacked and it was now time for revenge. But what kind of 

Shele looked to the pictures on her wall for guidance. Ash--What would her
chainsaw-armed hero do? Nothing. Okay, so maybe he wasn't the best one to
emulate! But Ares... Kronos... Methos... Krycek... LaCroix... Their piercing
eyes all hinted at malicious delights! She sighed. The acting out of which 
would surely get her banished from this and all subsequent wars, if not FK fandom
itself. Fingers dancing over her cups of pens, she searched for the perfect
vengeance writing implement.

Rejecting one after another, as their ink radiated death and dismemberment, 
she tried to envision the timbre of this soon-to-be meted justice. Something 
less bloody then, something less permanent. But, in this ever changing world, was
anything *truly* permanent? Convulsing in a fit of giggles, her fingers 
clasped the black Bad Badtz-Maru gel pen--Perfect.

"Hey, I feel kinda funny just sitting around like this. Can I put them back 
on now?"  Ted gestured at his underwear which hung from the edge of her 

"Huh? What do you want?" Shele followed his gaze. "No. You're fine just the 
way you are. Maybe I'll brief you after we've had our way with some N&Ners.....
Maybe. You know, you're really cute when you pout!"


Design in hand, Shele giddily skipped out of her alcove. This would do it. 
This would set the world to rights--or least give NA a good laugh! Trawling the 
halls for Addicts, she gave out a hearty guffaw at the scene her plan would 
produce. Well, it wasn't so much of a 'hearty guffaw' as a 'delirious cackle' but it 
was the best she could do. Coming upon a small gathering of Addicts, she tried 
to catch their attention.

"All right, listen up you guys! I need volunteers to carry out a plot of 
most devious design. There will be pain, torture and tears, but those are nothing 
to what we'll be dishing out! Who's with me? Who seeks to punish those foolish
enough to prey on the weakness of the Nunkies addicted?"

There was no response. Since the Video room was still being used for Poobah
torturing, a TV and VCR had been set up in the hall and credits were just
starting to roll on the screen. They were in a post-Nunkular daze then, a
feeling the non-Addict might get when their roller coaster car came to rest
at the end of the ride. She scanned the names. But no 
coaster in the world could match the ride of Father's Day. She sighed. Even with 
Nunkies sporting those hideously orange 'Judge Doom' eyes, it was still her favorite
episode. Lost in her memories, she started when white noise filled the 
screen, but quickly resumed her plea.

"You'll get a badge for 'Cruel and Unusual Taunting'." Hands shot up--a 
stupor was one thing, but a badge? Every badge an Addict earned showed Nunkies, and 
the world, the depth of their commitment! "KC and Beth, you're willing to risk
everything for the cause? Good! Debbie, what about you? Rested up from our
adventure yet? I see. Next time perhaps." Culling her team from the brave 
and selfless Addicts, she directed them further down the hallway and passed each 
a list of items.

"Pack your gear. We'll rendezvous at Dispatch at 2330!" Having assumed her 
at home persona of Commandant, Shele strode out the hall, crepe soles moving 
her soundlessly across the marbled floor.

"Uh, did that look or *sound* like someone who would write silly limericks 
or come up with Forever LaCroix: The Legendary Journeys?" She didn't know her
Mission Leader that well, but Beth thought she knew her *that* much.

"Yeah, but have you seen The Alcove? Skulls, bats, _and_ glow-in-the-dark
everything *and* _piles_ of sparkly stuff. I'd call her a Rat-packer if I 
didn't know better!" Their acquaintance spanned too many lists--KC knew all too 
well the strange quirks exhibited by Shele.

"'The Three Faces of Shele'!" They both collapsed into a fit of giggles.

"I just wanted to," Shele paused and momentarily looked at the ground in 
front of her, before returning her gaze to the team, "*stress* the importance of 
being prepared and on time. Please, continue your chatting." A flurry and a 
scramble, and the hallway was clear. <'Cruel and Unusual Taunting,' indeed.> She 
allowed herself a small smile before going to gather her own supplies.


23:30 Dispatch (The Shrine)

"Eww! Are you sure that's right? It smells like wet hay!"

"Hold still! I'm almost done and you don't want to ruin it, do you? HOLD
STILL!!!! Ok, got it! Where's a mirror?"

"Aaaaaiiiiieeeee!!!!  What have you done?!?!"

A mixture of giggles and sniffles greeted Shele as she entered the
garag-- Dispatch. Not the most encouraging sound for a Mission Leader 
to hear *before* the mission even started. Coming around to where the chariots 
were kept, she could see the problem.

"Kissing Cousin Susan Nix!! What have you done?!" Well, it was quite obvious
what had been done. Beth had almost stopped crying, but she couldn't stop
staring at her arm in the mirror.

"I got here early and I got an idea and then when Beth showed up, I asked if 
I could practice on her and she said 'yes' and so I did!"

"But what have you drawn? And on a fellow Addict, much less!" Shele tried to
contain her laughter, the scene was too comical. Beth's tear stained face,
mirror clutched by white knuckled hands. KC proudly surveying her handiwork, 
her own face stained by the tools of her artistry.

"Duh! It's LaCroix as Calvin and Schanke as Hobbes!"  Her faced beamed as 
she described her masterpiece. Beth screamed anew, but cried no more--instead 
her face became set as she stared the woman who had defiled her arm.

"Youyouyouyou Joxer-lover!!" Beth got up from the chariot and started to 

"Hold on, Beth. I know you're upset, but you already agreed to help with the
N&Ners. You can plot your revenge on KC *after* we return." Beth looked at 
her Leader. It was true. She *had* agreed to this mission and she'd been looking
forward to getting out and causing some trouble in this War--she certainly
wasn't going to let that darn KC ruin it for her!

"Fine. Fine. Fine. Let's just go then." Beth loaded her stuff into the 
chariot and climbed into the driver's seat of the Beetle.

"Hey! That's my se--"

"KC--Beth is going to drive us this mission--*you* can ride in the chariot."
Shele's voice was low and did not invite argument. KC lower lip began to 
quiver as she stowed her gear then climbed into the chariot herself.  Shele sighed and climbed into the
passenger seat.

Continued in Part Two: Tattoo You

Tattoo You by Shele; Beta Reading by The High Priestess
Time: Thursday, 4/30 from 12:00am - 1:00am
Directly after: Some Girls
Starring: KC Susan, Beth, Shele as Addicts
     and Marci, Cheryl, Deana, Jeanine as N&Ners

KC's Field Report:
12:00am Thursday

Our chariot is parked in an alley betwixt the N&Ners' theatre and the
All-Nite-Grab-N-Run. t last, our prey has ventured outside of its lair. Hearing the unnatural 
call of wild treacle, a few N&Ners are braving the night air for a sugar run. 
Only on this night, they were in for a slight detour. What's this? A bit of trash is
littering the sidewalk! Dutiful citizens that they are, one of our friends 
picks up the paper and makes to throw it away, but a word catches her eyes... It 
can't be!... What is this doing here? She looks around, then focuses back on the
writing she'd seen. Her companions draw to her side, puzzled at her 
behavior. Having come to the of the page, she drops the paper and sets off in search 
of its successor. Has she forgotten her vow to keep the earth green? No! Her
sisters, having caught sight of a prized word here or there, have grabbed 
the paper before it touched the ground! Reading faster and faster, they find a 
trail of delightful described images. Finally, they are led down a nearby alley. 
What fate awaits them there?  Indeed, what Cruel and Unus-

"KC--SHHH! They'll hear you!!"

"Oh, *please*! Trust me, Beth, as long as we feed them a steady supply of 
N&Ner smut, they'll be oblivious to the world around them."

Sure enough--the N&Ners didn't even look up as they climbed into the tent
erected in front of the chariot. Beth divested their 'guests' of their coats 
and rolled up their sleeves, then KC led them to folding chairs and set huge 
stacks of papers in front of each one. Shele opened a thermos and poured its 
contents into small paper cups, one for Beth, one for KC and one for herself.

Reaching into KC's bag for the red pens, Shele was a bit surprised to not 
find any. "KC! What are these? Where are the red pens you were responsible for

"Oh, I couldn't find any red pens, so I brought those instead. They'll work,
won't they?" KC shrugged .

"Where, Miss KC, did you *look* for the red pens? I believe the list I gave 
you specifically told you the red pens where in the top drawer of my desk in the
Library. Were they not there? Was there an empty space in the drawer? 
*Where* are my red pens?!?!?" Shele took a deep breath. She would not lose control 
of the situation. "You were playing with that Joxer look-alike weren't you? I 
bet you never even *went* to the Library, did you?"

"These are permanent markers, too--and look! They're scented! The purple one
smells like grape, and the blue one smells like blueberry! The brown one 
smells like chocolate!" As she named them, KC uncapped each of the pens and held 
them up to her nose to get a good whiff. Beth started giggling. "Oh good, you're 
not mad anymore about the tattoo I gave you! I'll color it in when we get back 
to the Shrine!"

When Shele started laughing, too, KC got a little worried. It didn't look 
like they were laughing with her, but *at* her. She grabbed Beth's mirror.

"ACK!! What's on my face? What happened to me?"

"What's *not* on your face?" Beth smugly asked.  Spotted 
with stray bits of henna from her practice session with Beth, KC's face was set 
off by a striped, multi-color nose. KC grabbed a tissue and madly rubbed it 
against her nose. Now her nose was striped and red. Not much of an improvement.

"You're right, KC. Those pens *do* seem permanent enough for this job. We 
better get moving if we're gonna get them all done before they run out of N&Ner 
smut." Shele was still snickering a bit as she moved around the N&Ners. "Let's see 
who we've got here.... Cheryl -- Beth, why don't you start on her? Trace the 
design on her forearm as best you can. And KC, you can work on Marci here. I'll 
take Jeanine and we'll all take turns on Deana."

The Addicts finally got down to business and the tent became quiet, save the
sound of pages turning and the various sighs and sharp breaths drawn by the
N&Ners as the read through the stories.

"Thank Joxer the Nick & NatPacker are so prolific in their smut writing!" 
Beth and Shele looked up at KC and burst out giggling again. "Stop laughing at my
face! I'm going to wash it as soon we get back!"

Shele's giggles became out and out laughter. "KC, if washing removes it, we
might as well stop drawing on them right now!"


While the henna dried, they started coloring in the designs, doing their 
best not to smudge the still wet bits. With only a story and a half to spare, the
tattoos were finally complete! The three Addicts made a Polaroid One-
Step tour for prosperity and re-coated the Tattooed Love Girls.

"KC, grab the rest of the stories and lead our friends back down the alley!
Beth, where's the cooler? Take that stuff down the alley, too!" Shele made a 
mad rush to pack everything back up.  "These we don't need. These we need. They can *have* these... 
KC! Help me with the tent! Beth, grab the chairs and trays! Let's Go! Let's Go!"

As Deana came to the end of her last story, she sighed and gazed off into 
the night. Hearing a noise behind her, she turned to see the end of something
dragging something else.  "Sigh!"

"Wow! I need sugar *bad*!!" Jeanine turned her last page over.

Deana looked at her, "Didn't we come out to *get* sugar?"

"What's in that bag by Cheryl's feet? What does it say on its side? Cheryl,
earth to Cheryl!"

"Wha...? Ooh, don't you just love a good love story?" Cheryl stooped down to
pick up the bag.

"Oh, yeah! A good and smutty love story!!" Marci giggled.

Cheryl looked in the bag, "It says it's from The Jeweled Peach and it... it
*looks* like it's filled with take-out boxes of tiramisu!"

After parking the Beetle and unpacking the Chariot, KC, Beth and Shele sat 
down to admire their photo tour: a big blue heart, a big green heart, a big brown
heart and a big blue-green-and-brown heart. Each had a banner across it
proclaiming, "Lucien and Natalie - Forever."  As one, their voices filled 
the garage and drifted into the Shrine itself.



NA: Nick & Nat Forever?
Starring: Debbie, Sherry, Kristine & Shele by permission, Jason I made
Time: Early Thursday after "Laurie and the Cocoa a Go Go" & "This will
Hurt Us More than It Hurts You."
Place:  A Toronto sidewalk & a sidewalk cafe

Debbie slipped out of the Shrine early that morning, leaving the others
who were taking turns torturing the Merc Grand High Poohbah.  While
possessed of a devious Cousinly heart, the young Addict did not feel up
to "interrogating" the Poohbah.

Rather, she sensed that something was wrong and that she had overlooed
something in all the excitement.  What was it?    she thought as she pulled a Nunkies Pop from her back pack and
gaze at in longingly before taking a tentative lick.  If only it were
the real thing and not just a candy.  Sighing deeply, she began to walk
down the sidewalk, enjoying the fresh morning.

Her mind wandered back to Sherry as she thought about the excitement of
the last few days. She longed to tell her friend about the journey into
the Ratpacker tunnels.  What fun it had been!

Sherry!  That's what was missing!  She hadn't seen Sherry sice before
the meeting at CERK on Monday night.    Debbie thought as she rounded the corner.

Much to her surprise, Sherry and Kristine almost ran spack into her when
they tried to round the same corner.  They were each carrying an arm
load of shopping bags and were giggling like twittery school girls.
Which was odd, since Sherry *wasn't* a twittery school girl.

"Sherry?  Kristine?"  Debbie exclaimed quizzically.  The two women
stopped twittering and stared at her.



Sherry threw her arms wide to hug her friend and it was then that Debbie
noticed the the T-shirts.   they read, the lettering
surrounded by a big, mushy heart.  Both Sherry and ristine were wearing

"*Nick* and *Nat* *Forever*!?"  Debbie could barely choke out the words.
"What's *that* supposed to mean?"

The other two Addicts stared at her dumbfounded.   "We're Nunkies
Addicts."  They said in unison.

"Yeah, I know.  So am I, remember?  What I'm saying is... since when do
Nunkies Addicts were Nick & Nat T-shirts?"  Her words dripped with

"But,Deb... that's wht being an Addict is all about!  Didn't you know
that?"  Sherry said with unbelieveable conviction.

It was her conviction that made Debbie realize why earlier she had felt
something was wrong.  Something *was* wrong!  Here Sherry and Kristine
had been missing for days and all of a sudden, they thought being and
Addict meant wanting to see Natalie with *Nick*.   Debbie thought
with a shudder.  It was up to her to find out what had happened to her

"You know... I must have skipped over that part in the Nunkies Scout
Handbook.  Why don't you refresh my memory."  So saying, she led the two
Addicts off to discover what they knew.


They walked until they found a quaint little cafe and decied it was time
to take a load off.

A waitor came over to them.  "Good morning, ladies!" he beamed brightly.
"I'm Jason, and I will be your waitor for today."  Jason handed them
each a menu and left them to decide, promising to be back right away.
Kristine and Debbie both paused to check out his back side before
turning to their menus.

"You know, I do believe he's better looking than you husband, Debbie,"
Kristine commented, remembering the pictures Debbie had shared earlier,
before the War had started.

"Naw!  Stephen's got more muscle," Debbie replied, sighing as she
thought about it.  Then the thought of muscle reminded her of LaCroix
and her sigh deepened.  "But nobody has it over Nunkies," she murmered.
The other two women agreed whole heartedly.

"He's *so* handsome," cooed Sherry.

"And *such* a lover," Kristine sighed.  "Just *think* about how he
treated Fleur..."

"It's almost as great a romance as Nick and Nat's."

Debbie blanched noticeablely.  She akk-ed mentally at the thought of Nat
with the Brick, but covered smoothly by burying her head in her menu.

"Don't you think so, Deb?"  Sherry continued, eyeing her almost

"Ummm... yeah, sure," the younger Addict replied quickly.    "How 'bout we order now?"  She signalled
to Jason and promptly ordered a cinnamon-raison bagel with cream cheeze
and a hot cup of tea.

Kristine and Sherry also ordered, and Jason reclaimed their menus with a
bright smile.

"So, uh, Sherry..." Debbie said in a casual-like tone, "whatcha go in
the bags?"

"Kristine and I went shopping and we found this *wonderful* little
T-shirt shop.  We just couldn't help ourselves-- we bought shirts for
all of our sister Addicts!"  Sherry held out one of the shopping bags to
her friend.

Peering inside, Debbie was greeted to the sight of a dozen or more
T-shirts similar to those worn by her friends.  Each different colored
shirt contained the logo "Nick and Nat 4ever" encompassed in a heart. It
was truly revolting.

"You can have yours now, if you'd like," Kristine bubbled and pulled a
pale pink shirt from her shopping bag.

Debbie pushed the shirt away out of instinct, and the other two Addicts
gaped at her in wonder.

"You don't want the shirt we bought for you?"  Sherry asked, again
eyeing her with suspicion.

 Debbie thought as she put on her best
poker face.  "Of course I do!  Just..." 
"... not in that color.  Pink makes me look all washed out. Could I
possibly have this black one?"  She pulled one from the bag Sherry had
handed her.  If she *had* to have one of the horrible shirts, she might
as well have a color she liked.  She smiled at them almost too brightly
and asked, "How'd you *find* this shop.  I might want to go there

Debbie listened as the two women told her a rather long story about two
"kindly Nick&Nat Packers" who had showed them where to go to get the

  Debbie puzzled.  Why did that sound familiar?
Then, she remembered.  Last night, when she had been all-too-tired to do
more than sleep, Shele had called the Addicts together and had been
saying something about a kidnapping.  Debbie'd passed out in the middle
of it from sheer exhaustion.

This all made sense to her, now, however.  The sudden disappearance and
reappearance... not to mention their inexplainable fondness for
N&Npacker memorabilia.

"I wonder..." Debbie murmured to herself as she listened to her firends
rambling on about how Nunkies wanted them to unite Nick and Nat forever
and ever.  Ick!

Continued in "A Bit of Reprogramming"

NA: A bit of Reprogramming 01/01
Written by: Fleurette
Starring: Debbie, Sherry, Kristine, Jules (all used with permission) and
LaCroix (permission granted by Bonnie Rutledge)
Time: Thursday, after "Nick & Nat Forever?" and concurrent to
Place: The Shrine


"Come on!"  Debbie said as she led-- half dragged--Sherry and Kristine
back to the Shrine.  They'd spent the entire day talking and shopping,
while Debbie tried to comprehend what might have happened to her
friends.  She even tried plying them with Nunkies Pops in an attempt to
snap them out of the funk the N&Npackers had obviously placed them in.
Now the Nunkies Pops were gone and all three women wanted more of them.
"I think I still have a stash hidden under the sink in the Kitchen,"
Debbie told them.

"You mean the Lab," Sherry corrected.


All three women froze in their tracks, however, when they entered the
Shrine and found their High Priestess walking ahead of them with

"Nunkies!"  Sherry and Kristine breathed aloud, immediately drawing
attention themselves.

Debbie smacked her hand to her forehead as the Roman General turned to
them.  He had started to smile at the Addicts' pet name for himself, but
the emotion wiped away from his face when he saw the shirts the women

Sherry and Kristine did not seem to notice the frown steadily forming on
his face, but Debbie did.  She glowered, eyes down-cast, and
concentrated upon the rhythm of Jules shoes tapping against the floor.

"Where are you three in such a hurry to go?"  Jules asked

Debbie raised her eyes to Jules and , with a slight whimper, said, "I
was going to get my stash of the Nunkies Pops so Sherry and Kristine
could have some.  They missed the raid."

"Dressed like *that*?"  Jules's voice rose an octave in indignation.

This snapped the other two Addicts from their Nunkies-induced revery and
they glanced between Debbie and the High Priestess warily.  They were
beginning to wonder what was wrong with their fellow Addicts.  Debbie
hadn't seemed to like Nick and Nat as a couple and Jules looked down
right non-plussed.

Debbie saw what was crossing their minds and quickly spoke up.  "You're
so right, Jules.  We don't want to get stickly chocolate on our nice new
T-shirts."  She turned to Sherry and Kristine.  "Why don't you two go
into the Sacred Wardrobe and change into somehting else?  I'll come in
after I talk to Jules."  Her eyes pleaded with them to go, and so they
went-- still eyeing her distrustfully.

"Debbie's acting weird," they were heard to whisper as they left the

"WHAT'S GOING ON?"  Jules bellowed at the young Addict when the other
two had left.

Shrinking back against the doorway, Debbie decided that Jules had been
spending *too much* time with LaCroix.  She was formidable and scary.

Glancing at her black T-shirt (she'd changed into it at a public rest
room to please Kristine), Debbie felt almost as if she had betrayed
someone.  Nunkies.

"Please, Jules... don't be mad at me.  I brought them back here because
they need help.  Something is terribly wrong with them."  Debbie's eyes
begged and pleaded with her High Priestess.

"What do you mean, 'they need help'?"  LaCroix's cool voice asked,
drawing attention to the fact that he was standing before them.  Debbie
turned her eyes to him worshipfully and prayed she didn't melt before
she could tell him what she now believed had happened to her friends.

"Sherry is one of my very best friends," she began with a gulp.  "She
wasn't at the meeting the other night at CERK and I haven't seen her
since then, because I've been..." Debbie trailed off, not know what all
Nunkies knew about the Poohbah-napping caper.  "... busy."

"Debbie was one of the Addicts who took it upon themselves to kidnap the
Grand High Poohbah, General," Jules supplied.

LaCroix's eyebrows raised in new interest.  "My, my.  You *are* a
surprising one, indeed, 'Little Flower,' " he said, giving an English
translation of Fleurette.

"Mer- merci," Debbie stammered, remembring the way he had looked at her
Monday night.

"Tu parle francais?" LaCroix asked in return.  "Bien.  Qu'est-ce qui se
passe avec nos amies?" he asked her, inclining his head towards the door
Sherry and Kristine had disappeared through.

"Elles ont confusees," Debbie replied.  "I think someone has messed with
their minds."  She then explained how Shele had believed someone from NA
had been kidnapped and she (Debbie) had found Sherry and Kristine
earlier that morning-- wearing those aweful T-shirts and babbling about
how great a couple Nick and Nat made.  "It was truly horrible to
endure," she concluded.

"No doubt," LaCroix acquiesed in his smooth-as-silk voice.  He seemed to
be pondering the situation.

"Can you save them, Nunkies?"  Debbie asked, forgetting herself in her
concern for her friends.

"Yes, I believe I *may* be able to do soemthing for the poor, misguided
things."   Her turned to Jules.  "Bring me the women, one at at time, so
that I may see for myself what has happened to them," he ordered.


Jules led both Sherry and Kristine in to see LaCroix in turn.  As an
Ancient, LaCroix was certain that he could undo anything that had been
done to his followers.

Using the persuasive powers of his voice and eyes, he was able to
determine that someone had indeed used some form of hypnotism upon the
women.  Then he set about to use his own brand of hypnotism to erase the
unwanted influences.

"Tell me, Ms. Mullins," he asked Sherry before he brought her out from
under the hypnotism.  "Who did this to you?"

"The Nick and Nat Packers," Sherry said in a slow, drugged voice.

"Were you and Kristine the only ones they kidnapped?"

"No... Jade..." came the dazed reply.

"What did they *tell* you?"

Sherry told him.


LaCroix led a dazed Kristine back into the Shrine where Debbie and Jules
stood waiting.  Sherry sat on a divan with an expression similar to
Kristine's on her face.

In cold tones, LaCroix informed the High Priestess and the younger
Addict of what *exactly* the Nick and Nat Packers had done to *his*

"What is more," he said, "there appears to be another Addict unaccounted
for.  Jade was also submitted to the same torture as *these*."  He
pointed to Sherry and Kristine.  "She must be found and brought to me.

Jules nodded.

"These two will be sleep for a while," LaCroix continued.  "I have
removed the tainted knowledge from their minds and they are weary.  When
they awaken, they *should* be fine."

"Should?"  Debbie piped up, fear in her voice.

"Too much mind control in one life time fry a brain, Ms. Chilson,"
LaCroix said.  "There is a slight possibility that your friends will not
fully recover their senses."

So saying, he turned to go, taking Jules with him.

"Wait! Nunkies!"  Debbie exclaimed.  She began to blush when she
realized that she had called him "Nunkies" to his face twice now.
"LaCroix... General... sir," she squeaked out in embarrassment.


"May I... have your permission to avenge the injusice done to my fellow
Addicts?"  Debbie asked.

"Know you a way to punish the culprits?"  LaCroix inquired, a slight
smile forming on his face.

"Oui," Debbie answered him, returning the now purely evil smile with one
of her own.  "I do..."

Continued in "Bugs in YOur Garden".

By Laurie, Sukh and Bons
Starring: Laurie, Heather, Sukh, Jan, Susan, Jules, Christina, and Beth
Time: Thursday morn, April 30th
After 'This Will Hurt You More Than It Hurts Us'

    Sukh held her breath. The GHP was finally asleep. While the Addict could
admire the Poobah's obvious depth of musical theatre knowledge, she was
afraid that if Laurie had sung one more note, she would have defied all
orders and smothered her on the spot.

    Thankfully, Laurie's frightening stamina had finally given out. But not
before she'd entertained, made that tortured, the shifts of Addicts, who,
drawn to the Shrine, like ... well, like Nunkies Addicts to chocolate
Nunkies pops, had been drafted into guard duty. Laurie had gone through the
entire librettos of Big, the Wiz, and many more appalling shows as the hours
wended their way toward dawn. She'd even belted out a number from that
musical by the guys from ABBA - Chess -  and apparently her rendition of One
Night in Bangkok had taken sheer terror to new heights.

    Luckily, Sukh had not been around for most of the Andrew Lloyd Webber
Hour. Actually, from what she'd heard, it had been more like the Andrew
Lloyd Webber Hours ... and hours ... and hours. There was a lot to choose
from, and the Poobah knew them all - Aspects of Love, Starlight Express,
even Cats. That's where Sukh had come in. Laurie had passed out midway
through screeching Memories.

    She turned to the Addict sitting next to her and nudged her. The moment
quiet had descended, Heather had nodded off, and little snores were
emanating from her, as she smiled dreamily, all the time sucking on her
precious Nunkies pop.

    "Wake up. You're gonna choke on that thing. You should give it to me,"
she ordered her friend.

    Heather yelped, jumped out of her chair, removed the pop, and clutched
it to her chest.. "No way!" she screamed.

    Unfortunately her scream caused the Poobah to wake up. The brief nap
seemed to have rejuvenated the Merc leader. Without missing a beat, she
shouted, "Hey, MacMoron, this is for you," and launched into Tomorrow from
Annie. Well, launched into a rather unreasonable facsimile of Tomorrow.

You know I'll break free tomorrow
Bet your stupid breastplate
That tomorrow
You'll be done!

Just thinkin' about
Cheers me up to no end,
And your sorrow
Will be fun!

When I'm tied to a couch
That's ouch
And itchy.
I just think how I'll maim
Your frame,
And Vow,

You know I'll break free tomorrow
You won't know what's comin'
When tomorrow
I'll repay!

I'll get ya
You know that
I'll make
you PAY!

    Heather screeched, and ran out of the room, pulling on her hair, as her
plaid flapped behind her. Sukh couldn't particularly blame her, the poor
girl had ended up doing not one, not two, but three hours of guard duty;
which was more than enough to drive anyone else insane. Indeed, as the news
had spread among the Addicts of the Poobah's presence, and more importantly,
the Poobah's popsicles, Addicts had been drifting in and out all night,
taking up a guard shift in exchange for a handful of Nunkies pops. Even that
had not been enough to make most of them stay long. An hour of Laurie's
singing was enough to break the  strongest, the bravest, the mightiest. The
Addicts had re-emerged from their brief shifts shell-shocked, although a new
Nunkies pops had quickly restored even the most damaged brains.

    Hmm. She looked over at the Poobah, who had gone back to the original
lyrics, and astonishingly enough, considering how bad the actual song
Tomorrow was, she was making it sound even worse, an occurrence Sukh
wouldn't have thought humanly possible.

    Perhaps she should go after Heather; the poor dear had looked quite near
the breaking point. No telling what she might do to the Poobah. Which would
definitely not bring them any closer to the cure ... to Nunkies pops ... to
the gold ... to Nunkies pops ... to Nunkies pops ... to ...

    Sukh's meltdown was interrupted by the returning Heather, who ran back
into the room carrying a thermos and made a beeline for the GHP.  Right
behind her came Christina, screaming at the top of her lungs, "HEATHER!!!!
NO!!!!! DON'T DO IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" and frantically grabbing at her
friend's arms, trying to wrestle the thermos from her grip. Jayne, hearing
the commotion, paused by the open video room door and peered in.

    Before Sukh realized what was happening, let alone had a chance to
react, Heather had unscrewed the cap to Christina's Whammy Juice and forced
a bit of it down the GHP's throat. Which had actually been quite easy, as
the GHP had been attempting to belt out the last few lines of Tomorrow at
the time, and her mouth had been hanging wide open.

    Even worse, Jayne, not realizing what Heather had just done, turned to
Sukh and commented, "Geez, the Poobah sings worse than Carol Channing."

    Time stopped. Well, okay, this being war nine instead of eight, it
didn't really stop. It just appeared to stop, with, well you know, the
shimmering air and all that other neat time stopping stuff.

    The momentary calm snapped Heather out of her frenzy. She looked with
dismay at the half empty thermos in her hand, and then at the Poobah.

    "Oh, no!!!!!!" she wailed. "What have I done?"

    The other Addicts snapped out of the trance created by the catastrophe
that had just occurred. They turned as one to stare at the GHP. Right before
their eyes, and unfortunately, their ears, a miraculous transformation took
place. The 5' 2" black haired green eyed slightly overweight Laurie turned
into an even shorter platinum blonde really old actress with a limited
talent range, and the absolutely totally one hundred percent scientifically
proven to be so most annoying voice in the entire world.

     "Raahs-berries!" (This was a form of Carol Channing greeting.)

     "A kiss on the lips is quite continental, but diamonds are a girl's
best friend," came from Carol's red smeared lips. Unfortunately, it was a
toss up between who was worse, Carol or Laurie.

     The Addicts stared at each other in dismay for a moment. Then a wide
grin broke across Sukh's face.

     "Come on, guys, we're out of here," she said. "She ain't goin' nowhere,
and Carol sure doesn't know where the cure, the gold and ..." her eyes
glazed over slightly ... "the Nunkies pops factory is. I think we've earned
ourselves a brief reprieve."

     The Addicts departed the video room, as Carol opened up and started to


     Jules tapped her foot worriedly as she leaned against the Shrine altar.
The situation with Laurie was firmly out of hand. Jules grimaced as horrible
sounds resembling a flock of chickens in a mine field emitted from the
direction of the Video Room.

     "I'm just a Jaaahzzz Baby!"

     The High Priestess cringed. So far, the Laurie's interrogation had only
shown disastrous results. The problem with the torture techniques that the
addicts had used earlier was that they hadn't attacked the Poobah on all
sensory levels. Really bad movies only gave her visual and aural input. That
left too many centers of Laurie's brain free to concentrate on hostile
behavior. What they needed was...

     "Jan? Susan?"

     The addicts looked up from their game of Risk. "Yes, Jules?"

     "I need you to go to the 96th precinct and steal the GVP virtual gear
from the evidence locker," Jules commanded.

     "Awww, jeez!" Jan complained and thumped the game board. "I was just
getting ready to take over Canada!"

     "Steal? Steal?" Susan protested, more concerned with her permanent
record. "What if we get caught? What if we go to jail?"

     "Don't worry," Jules assured her. "NA's bail fund is well-stocked.
We've learned from experience."

      "Why don't we do something legal - *gasp!* - and borrow one from the
DKC?" Jan suggested reasonably.

       "Because they would want to know what we were using it for," Jules
said, shooing the addicts toward the exit. "We don't exactly want to share
the news that we've kidnapped the Grand High Poobah, now do we? Now go!
Commit larceny!"



     "Damn! Can someone tell me why we can send people to the moon but we
can't make a watercooler that works?"

     "Shh..." Susan whispered to Jan. "Pretend you're an extra."

     The Captain walked past them without a second glance.


     "Do you have to be so loud?" Jan complained.

     "The evidence locker door needs oil! So sue me!"

     They quickly found the virtual gear, filed under 'V' for convenience.
Jan and Susan allowed themselves a moment to pat each other on the back for
being successfully sneaky, then creaked back out of the evidence room.

     "Can I help you?"

     "Aaah!" Jan and Susan shrieked.

     A police officer stood before them, his badge identifying him as
Sergeant Pulte. "Are you authorized to be here?" he asked, looking very

     "Yes! Yes, we are!" Susan exclaimed.

     "Then who are you?" the officer demanded.

     "I'm Officer Miller," Susan said quickly.

     "And I'm Officer Wilson," Jan announced.

     "Hmm..." Sergeant Pulte said suspiciously, "You don't look like Miller
and Wilson."

     "Haven't you ever heard of recasts?" Jan countered, then grabbed
Susan's hand and high-tailed it out of there.


     "Here's your VR stuff," Jan said begrudgingly as she tossed the headset
and accessories into Jules' lap. "Have fun."

      "Did you have any trouble?" Jules asked.

     "It's possible there's an APB out fitting our descriptions," Susan
informed the High Priestess.

     "Oh, dear." Beth had been waiting beside the High Priestess and now
picked up the virtual gear and examined it. "How long will it take to
prepare?" Jules asked.

      Beth shrugged. "I can have it reprogrammed by tonight if some of the
fanfic fairies help me."

     "I'll get them some tiny tissues," Jules promised, "so they don't
sneeze on your work." Jules sighed heavily. 
Fin for now...

Title: Mr. Toad's Wild Ride
Time: Thursday, April 30, noonish
Place: around Toronto and outside the DP Mansion
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Jesse and Glennis, who are the best.  I mean it.
Jesse, Glennis, and the dark pink 1962 Caddy are used with

The trio of addicts decided that they needed to get out of the
Shrine.  They'd spent most of the previous day cooped up inside;
only Kusine had gotten outside, and she'd been assaulted by a
loony vampire.  As much as they loved the Shrine, none of them
were used to living with that many other people in such close
proximity.  Besides, The Grand High Can't-Sing-Worth-A-Darn was
getting on their nerves.

So here they were, tooling around in Kusine's intrepid Saturn,
taking in the sights of Nunkies' fair city in the bright sunshine.
 The windows were rolled down to let the spring air fill the car,
and Jesse kept poking her head out of the back one like a curious
puppy.  Glennis restrained a motherly "you'll get your head
chopped off" comment and let the teenager have her fun.  Kusine
spun through the radio stations until she found one playing ska,
then happily bounced as she drove.

They had no particular goal in mind, merely to enjoy the day.
They drove aimlessly, moving from the city streets to the
residential ones.  They slowed down to look at the beautiful old
houses, coming to a stop in front of one in particular: 1313
Mockingbird Lane.

It was a Victorian Gothic monstrosity, perched on the top of a
small hill.  It looked relatively creepy, and the houses
surrounding it seemed to be leaning away from it.  Maybe they were
trying to get away.

"Hey," Jesse said, pointing down the street at a pink Caddilac,
"Isn't that Laura's car?  I saw her driving it earlier this week."

"Laura?" Kusine asked, her eyes narrowing.  "The frog-hater?"

"Isn't she with the Dark Perks?" Jesse asked.  "She defected from
Nunkies Anonymous."

"Another traitor!" Glennis exclaimed.  "Should we kidnap her, too?"

There was a moment of silence in the car as the question was
pondered.  They'd all had a lot of fun trying to save Rosemary
from the clutches of the N&Ners.  It could be equally as fun to
attempt to rescue Laura.

"Yes," Kusine said decisively.

"I don't know," Glennis said.  "Though we could use her to try to
find out what the DPs know about the missing research."

"I have a better, more fun idea,"  Jesse said, a smile slowly
spreading across her face.  "Let's go back to the Shrine.  We need
to get some stuff."


Laura's Caddy was still in the same place when they returned.  The
addicts pulled the Saturn up very close next to it, hiding their
car from the house.  Getting out, they opened the back door of the
Saturn and each got out an aerosol can of spray mount (a *very*
sticky adhesive, as any artist or journalist will tell you!) and
stuffed Kusine's plastic frogs between thir silver breastplates
and their togas (because togas - mini-togas especially - don't
have pockets).

Moving quickly to avoid detection, they covered the car with spray
mount and pasted the frogs to the pink Caddy.  Kusine took one
side and half of the trunk, Glennis worked on the other side and
the other half of the trunk.  The two older addicts placed their
frogs randomly, trying to cover as much area as possible.  Jesse,
however, placed her amphibians neatly on the hood, spelling out
"TRAITOR" in big, green, froggy letters.

All three made several trips back to the Saturn to get more
plastic frogs.  Soon, the car looked like it had some kind of
nasty fungal infection on its surface, all green and bumpy.  As a
final touch, Glennis ripped the head off of her brand-new pink
stuffed bunny and spray mounted it to the front as a hood ornament.

They snapped a quick photo, then, jumping in the Saturn, drove
sedately on, giggling all the way.


Disclaimer: I'm posting this for Laurie, who can't send to the list without
formatting disease.

Clean and Presentable Danger(1/1)
by Cousin Jules
Starring: Laurie, Jules, Heather, Jan, Jesse, and Sukh
Time: Late Thursday afternoon, after 'Raspberries!'

     "I have been waiting for the proper moment to share this news with
you," Jules announced to the addicts. "I believe the time has come,
otherwise known as 'The Last Minute.'" Jules paused a moment to make sure
all the addicts were paying more attention to her than their Nunkies Pops.
"LaCroix is coming to the Shrine tonight. He wants to talk to the Poobah and
see what she knows."

     A collective "AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!" went up in the
Shrine, half the Addicts going into Nunklear meltdown, the other half going
into hysterics because they weren't quite sure how Nunkies would respond to
their torture...'technique.'  Perhaps they'd gone too far. Perhaps they
hadn't gone far enough.

     Heather stared at the GHP, who was once again, the GHP.  She'd finally
been removed from the divan, and was lying bound on the floor, Carol
Channing having apparently finally left the building. "She's kind of a
mess," she said. "We wouldn't want Nunkies to be defiled by her presence
when she's like that, would we?"

     "Better get her cleaned up then," said Jan.  "Where's the Sacred Fire

     "YOU WOULDN'T DARE!" shouted the Poobah.

     "You're absolutely right, Laurie.  We wouldn't," the High Priestess
said too politely.

     "Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, heck," mumbled Heather and Jan.

     The Merc leader got a very self-satisfied look on her face.  Finally,
they were recognizing the peril of their predicament. There would be hell to
pay for this, if she could just get rid of these damn fairies.

     Jules turned to Heather and Jan and announced, "Throw her into the
Sacred Cold Pond!!!"

     Jan and Heather picked up the still-bound Poobah and carried her toward
the Green room. Reaching the pond's edge, the other Addicts helped along by
cheering, "One! Two!!!  THREE!!!!!!!!!!!"

     "Hey!" shouted Heather as the GHP went flying.  "Shouldn't we have
taken the ropes off first?"

      "It's *only* 3 feet deep, MacCousin," Jan reminded her, then went back
to watching the spectacle. "As long as she stays on her back like a turtle,
she'll be fine."

     "Jesse, will you run and get something for our 'guest' to wear,
please?" Jules asked.

     "But, Jules, we're all out of mini-togas right now! Laundry went out
this morning and won't be back for a bit," answered Jesse.

     "Anything in the Sacred Wardrobe?"

     "Well," chimed in Sukh, "there *is* that leather thing with the whip
and the, er, matching accessories."

     "Perfect," Jules decided.  "Just don't give her the whip," she
whispered as an aside to Jesse.

Fin for now

Scores Unsettling(1/1)
By Laurie, Jules and Bons
Starring: Laurie, LaCroix,  Jules, Bons, Heather, Shele, Sukh, Debbie, Jan,
and Rosalie
Time: Thursday Night, after 'Clean and Presentable Danger'

    Bons just had a bad feeling about this entire situation. In her opinion,
any war activities involving Mercs always had some kind of unpleasant
consequence as a by-product. Having a kidnapped Grand High Poobah in her
homeplace felt tantamount to having a lightning rod strapped to her head.
The thought of willingly bringing LaCroix to have a confrontation with
Laurie pretty much proved she was ready for the funny farm. Bons just knew
this wasn't going to be a pretty scene, but, like the millions of viewers of
The Jerry Show, she couldn't look away from the spectacle.

     As they entered the Shrine from the warehouse door, Jules, Heather,
Sukh and Debbie rushed into the foyer to fawn over the vampire in greeting.
This adoration put him in a really good mood, ready to set aside any
thoughts of exuberant teenagers learning to drive on his car. When he
stepped into the altar room, LaCroix was almost smiling.

     "What on *earth* happened to your shoes?" Jules whispered under her
breath, eyeing the boring brown uppers with distaste.

     Bonnie immediately put on her abused puppy face, stuck out her lower
lip, and whined, "I got in trouble!"

     "Oh, dear." This redirected Jules' thoughts what LaCroix might think of
their torture methods. 

     By this point, they were in the main room of the Shrine and able to
view Laurie. She was still sitting on a peach divan, but not attached to it.
Heather and Jan stood guard at her sides. The toga, breastplate, and Mountie
hat had all been retired. Now Laurie had been squeezed into a leather
catsuit suitable for a dominatrix. Sukh was taking pictures for her family

     Bons gave a mental sigh as she saw the murderous sparks shooting from
Laurie's eyes. 


      As LaCroix entered the room, the Grand High Poobah's life flashed
before her eyes. When she looked closer, however, she realized that it
wasn't exactly *her* life. In fact, it *definitely* wasn't her life. No,
what seemed to be flashing before her eyes was a musical version of the life
of one burnin' yearnin'  blonde, blue-eyed hunk of crumbly adobe like

     Music filled the Shrine, sounding remarkably like a 40 piece orchestra,
as a proscenium stage rose out of the sacred pond. She thought she saw
Robert Goulet, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the vampire standing before
her, stroll on stage with Nick Knight a few feet behind and break into 'I'll
Never Let You Leave Me' from the musical formerly known as Camelot. (If Ever
I Would Leave You).

I'll never let you leave me,
It will not be this lifetime
You of all my children, I'll never let go.
You won't see the sunlight,
Unless you're aflame
You cannot be trusted
This is not a game.

But if you ever leave me,
I won't be far behind you.
Somehow I will find you, I always will know.
You've seen how I track you
When you disappear
I'll know where you run to,
And I will be near.

     The Addicts all oohed and ahhed, and a few even began to applaud. After
all, Goulet LaCroix looked quite fetching in tights. But their hands stopped
in mid-air as they saw the look on the General's face; once again  he had
read their dirty little minds.

     A raised eyebrow in the direction of the pond sent the proscenium stage
abruptly sinking back into the water on a wave of foam, although music
seemed to still linger in the air.

     "Enough," LaCroix said shortly, turning a cold stare on the GHP. "We
have much more urgent business to discuss than your pathetic attempt to turn
my life into a Broadway musical."

      Laurie would not be cowed. She might have quite a high IQ, but many
hard living years had burned away far too many brain cells. "You? Ha! A
musical about your life would take all of three seconds. We could call it
Veni, Vedi, Vamoose, how's that?"

     The Addicts stared in fascination at the GHP. More precisely, they
stared in fascination at the GHP's mouth, wondering just how long LaCroix
would permit it to keep moving.

      LaCroix ignored her comments. "We are here to discuss the location of
Dr. Lambert's purloined research," he said pointedly.

      The GHP noted he hadn't mentioned the reward. "I have no idea what you
are talking about," she replied coolly, much more coolly than she felt. In
fact, dressed as she was, she didn't feel cool in the least. She felt rather
like Snow White at an S & M bar.

     "Mind you," she continued, "hypothetically speaking, if the Mercs
*were* responsible for this little incident - and I'm only saying *if* -
it's because somebody made us do it."

     An Addict in the back of the room began imitating Flip Wilson under her
breath. "The devil made me do it. The devil made me do it."

     "Yeah, like they held a gun to your head," another chimed in.

     The GHP was on a roll. "And if somebody *made* us do it, it's not our
fault. *Nothing's* ever our fault. It's in the Guild charter. See article
thirty seven, subsection seventy two, paragraph twelve and a quarter, in the
section entitled Passing the Canadian Buck."

     "I think I'm gonna be ill," Sukh said.

     "Just don't throw up in the sacred pond," Heather warned.

     "Yeah, you'll ruin that lovely stage," Jan said. "Aim for Laurie -
she's used to it by now."

     Bonnie's mouth dropped open. "You've been throwing up on her??? Isn't
there something in the Geneva Convention about that?"

     The addict doing a Flip Wilson impersonation began to mutter, "The
fairies made me do it. The fairies made me do it."

     Laurie was on a roll. Something about being cinched up in leather
brought the disciplinarian out in her personality. "And while I have your
attention, sir," the sir stressed in the GHP's silkiest, sarcastic tone,
"Might I point out that kidnapping the Merc GHP is not the smartest idea in
the universe, although I do not believe your be-toga-ed followers have ever
been known for their brains. I hope you guys can afford a redecorator.
You're gonna need one when the Guild gets through with you." This final
comment was directed at the Addicts, rather than at LaCroix. Laurie might be
nervy, but she wasn't stupid.

     The pack of addicts watched in enraptured fascination, secretly looking
forward to the moment when Nunkies had the GHP for dinner.

     The General gave the GHP a scathing look. "You brought this all on
yourself. You've obviously been taking lessons from your horrific
predecessor." The General seemed to shudder at the recollection of Dianne.
"You mercenaries have been trouble from the start ..."

     "Who, us?" Laurie tried and failed miserably to look innocent. "What
have we ever done to you, huh?"

     "Would you care for a list?" The General asked.

     Assorted visions filled the GHP's mind: LaCroix as a giant Easter Bunny
.... LaCroix receiving a very strange delivery at the start of war five ...
the Mercs taking over CERK ... LaCroix foiled in his attempt to take over
third season ... LaCroix in the middle of a totally humiliating series of
sappy flashbacks ... LaCroix brainwashed into using a Brooklyn accent ...

     He was right; the list went on and on.

     "Hey, so you took a licking. That happens sometimes. You seem to have
kept on ticking just fine."

     "She's lunch," Jan said bloodthirstily.

     Laurie could see LaCroix's rage slowly building as he too remembered
*exactly* what the Guild had done to him over the wars. Perhaps she should
try a different tack.

     "Look, this is *not* my fault. Try looking in your own graveyard."

     "She's dinner," Heather said, making plans for a bonfire funeral.

     "I can't believe she's talking to Nunkies that way," Sukh said. "She
should be called the Grand High PeaBrain, not the Grand High Poobah."

     The GHP continued, "If it's anyone's fault, it's those Nunkies of
....excuse me," here Laurie paused and gave the Addicts a facetious look,
"it's those *Addicts* of yours ..."

       Rosalie and Bonnie grabbed the High Priestess' arms to prevent her
from strangling the Poobah right then and there. If any strangling was going
to be done, Nunkies would take care of it. Several spectators feverishly
hoped they'd be allowed to watch.

      "She's toast," Bonnie whispered in the High Priestess' ear.

      "With butter on it?" Jules asked hopefully.

     "... these Nunkies Addicts, as they so *cleverly* call themselves ..."
She was sure she had seen him shudder. She was definitely on to something
here. "They've been hounding me and hounding me ..." Violins started up
faintly again in the background.

     "What are we, dogs?" came from Heather. Sukh quickly nudged her in the
ribs. The primary combatants didn't even bother to turn around.

     "They've been dogging my every move for days, for weeks, for months,
for years, for decades, for ...

     "Yeah, you don't look a day over eighty"  This came from Jan.

     "... all for one thing. It's consumed their nights, consumed their
days, consumed their bank accounts." Yep, the GHP could definitely hear
violin strings singing in the orchestra pit.

     "And all for ..." here Laurie reached down the front of her leather
bustier while the horrified Addicts watched, "... this." She held up a
chocolate Nunkies pop. The Addicts as one began heading for the door. A
gesture from LaCroix stopped them in their tracks.

     The GHP was just getting started on this particular topic. "This was
all their idea, these pops. Yeah, that's the ticket. And what's more ..."
here she leaned in toward LaCroix and lowered her voice, "they're the ones
who gave me the specs to make them anatomically correct."

      The Addicts turned various shades of red and green, and once more
began edging toward the exit.

      "Stay," LaCroix commanded, halting the mass exodus with the efficiency
of a border collie retrieving sheep. The women stopped, turned and meekly
stood before the object of their affection.

    The General moved toward the kidnapped Merc, extending his hand slowly.

     "Let me have it," he instructed the Poobah.

     Laurie, despite her precarious situation, smiled with secret delight.
She'd never in a zillion years admit it again to Jules or Bons, but at
times, particularly when he was behaving imperiously, LaCroix did have a
beguiling way about him. She extended the requested pop.

     LaCroix accepted the confection and lifted it to his eyes for closer
examination. He turned it right, he turned it left, eyes hard as he checked
each detail. Then, he handed the candy back to Laurie.

     "It appears that your *mold* may require altering, Ms. Mercbard," the
ancient vampire said smugly. "The dynamics of your specifications seem to
have been scaled incorrectly.  The ratio should be four to one, not two."

      "Oh, really?" Laurie said, eyebrows knotted. The light of
understanding dawned, and she repeated, her voice louder and blustery, "OH!
Double, huh?"

     But, by this time LaCroix was strolling from the room. He caught Jules
and Bonnie's attention with a crooked finger. As he whispered instructions
into their ears, the eyes of the petite duo opened wide. Bons said, 'Yes,
sir," and Jules stepped back and muttered, "Oh, all right," as the General
made an announcement to the Shrine at large.

    "I will be in the Library. I need to fetch an important item from
there." LaCroix turned, and exited through one of the many porticoes.

     Jules turned to the Poobah, her features forlorn but resolved.  "Sorry
Laurs, but I have my orders.  May the fanfic fairies have mercy on your

     Laurie snorted. "Fat chance."

Fin for now...

"Real Friends Even Like You On Bad Hair Days"
By Patt Elmore
Starring Jayne, Shele and RevSam
When:  Thursday evening, concurrent with  'Clean and Presentable Danger'
and before "Scores Unsettling(1/1)"
Where:  NA Shrine


"Put it there," Jayne instructed, pointing higher.

"I'm not tall enough to put it *there*!" Shele shot back.  The addict was
stretched her full length, holding the "Welcome Our General" sign.

"Well," Jayne said, "just drop it then, because it looks terrible,
crooked like that."

"Yes, *MA'AM*" Shele dropped the large sign to the floor.  It draped
the heavy velvet lounge bench she'd been standing on and flowed into a
crinkled mess.

"That was dumb," Jayne scolded, grabbing the banner and fervently trying
to straighten it out.  "How could you just dump the sign like that?
like dumping Nunkies!"

"You told me to drop it," Shele protested.

"I meant, drop it down so the sides were even, not *drop* it!"  Jayne
smoothed at the paper, mentally pleading for it to become unwrinkled.

"That is *not* what you said," Shele snapped, bouncing on the divan in
her anger.

"Stop bouncing."  The voice came from somewhere within the room, but no
other bodies were present.  Shele and Jayne froze, looking around
quickly, seeing nothing.

"Did you throw you voice?"  Shele looked accusingly at the other addict.

Jayne shook her head.  "I wish I could," she lamented.  "Would be a neat
trick.  Toss my voice behind Nunkies and then when he turned to see who
was there, grab him.  Yummy!"

"Yummy . . ." the voice echoed Jayne's words, but dripped of sarcasm.

"Hmmmmm, I think I recognize that voice . . ." Shele looked around the
room carefully.  "Jayne, have you seen the Third Cousin lately?"

"She was cleaning floor tiles earlier.  She's so devoted to Nunkies that
she was down on her hands and knees, scrubbing all the little black icky
places off the marble."

"Hmmmmmmm," Shele repeated.  Then, she decided to conduct an
experiment.  She hopped up and down on the couch again.

"Stop bouncing!" the voice repeated, stronger and more determined this

Shele jumped down from the sofa and peaked under it.  There, wedged
beneath the wooden base, was Patt.

"It's Patt, under the lounge."  Shele looked exultantly at Jayne.  "See?"

"How'd she get under there?" Jayne said, stooping down for a better look.

Patt gave her a weak smile and a little wave, which Jayne returned

"Question is, does she want to be under there?" Shele remarked
thoughtfully.  Then Shele bent down and inquired, "Do you want to be
under there, Patt, or were you stuffed there?"

"I'm hiding," Patt replied.

"From what?" Shele and Jayne asked in tandem.



The two standing addicts looked at each other, both confused.  Then,
Jayne's expression brightened.  She hunched down again.  "Has Nunkies
offered you 'unlife,' Patt?  Has he offered to bring you across for your
devotion and tireless efforts to promote his good name?"

"Yea, right."  Patt rolled her eyes and lay down on her back, staring
into the foam padding of the sofa.

"You don't seem excited about the prospect, Patt," Shele remarked, noting
the Third Cousin's obvious derision.  "Is something wrong?"

Patt continued to contemplate the upholstery for a moment, then she

"Something *is* wrong!" Shele and Jayne shouted in unison.  "What's the
matter with the Twit!"

"We have to get the sofa off of her!" Jayne announced.  "Grab the other

Shele did as instructed, but several puffs and groans later, the two
women had failed to move the piece of furniture.

"Why'd she pick the heavy piece to crawl under," Shele complained.  "We
need more woman power."

Divine inspiration struck.  At that exact moment, RevSam walked into the
room.  She appraised the two couch-toting addicts and spoke, "What ya
doing with the sofa?"

"Cousin Patt is stuck under it," Shele explained, "and we're trying to
get it off her.  Care to help?"

"Any reward?"  RevSam decided it wouldn't hurt to ask, since this war was
about rewards, right?

"Only the joy of freeing a fellow soul," Jayne said.  "Now, get in back
and lift."

The three addicts managed to hoist the lounge aloft and off of the hiding
Patt.  Exposed, the mature addict kind of just lay there, cringing like a
fish that had just been thrown up on the bank.

"She doesn't look too good, does she?" RevSam didn't know whether to
approach Patt and offer comfort, or go tell Louis to get the fry kettle
warmed up.

"She looks traumatized," Jayne said.  "Patt, is there anything we can do
to help?"

"Not unless you possess a flying carpet, a pair of scissors and some duct
tape, there isn't," Patt responded mopily.

The three addicts looked at each other, shrugged and looked back at the
still sprawled mature addict.

"I have the scissors," Shele said helpfully.

"I know where I can get duct tape." RevSam mentally began ticking off
known RatPacker cubbies.

"You should have requested the carpet last war," Jayne replied.  "It
have been possible then.  Only thing we can do now is offer you a little
help from your friends, if you'd like to explain the problem.

"Well." Patt rolled to a sitting position, and the other addicts dropped
to the floor to join her.  "It's like this . . ."


"So, as you can see, I've got myself in a heck of a pickle," Patt
concluded her tale, leaving out all mention of Spark.

"Okay, recapping." Jayne held up a hand and began extending fingers.  "1)
You have a friend that you owe big time and he wants information about
Tracy, right?"

Patt nodded.

"Okay.  2)  Getting this information required the services of a
mercenary. Right?"

Patt continued to nod.

"Okay.  3)  The mercenary's price for services is a lock of Detective
Nick Knight's hair.   Right?"

Patt nodded.

"Been nice knowing you."  Shele started to rise, preparing to be on her

Patt hung her head down.  A single sob escaped her.

Before the others could make further comment, Patt was standing and
heading out of the room, shoulders slumped, her body a work in dejection.

The addicts watched her leave.

"This is a terrible injustice," Jayne declared.  "Patt may be a pain at
times, but she doesn't deserve to have this fate hanging over her head."

"We could send her some peach bubble bath," RevSam suggested.

"Or," Jayne said, eyes brightening, "we could *really* help her out."

"Uh, oh.  I don't like the sound of this," Shele winced, backing away.

"But, you do like the idea of helping a fellow NAer, don't you?" Jayne
persisted, rising and trapping the backing Shele against a wall.  "You do
know, for a fact, that if the tables were reversed, Patt would be right
here for you, planning a way to obtain that hair."

Shele winced again.  "We're going on one of those war missions, aren't

"Yes," Jayne nodded vigorously, then she turned to RevSam, "and she's
going too."

RS looked up, startled.  "What?"

Jayne just smiled.  "Don't fret, RevSam.  We're just all going *hair*


Date:         Thu, 30 Apr 1998 22:15:18 -0500
Reply-To: br1035@IX.NETCOM.COM
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Bonnie Rutledge 
Subject:      War: NA/Merc: Port-A-Poobah (1/1)
X-UIDL: dcf2b212ae2996ec964424f5c7e6157e

Disclaimer: I'm posting this for Laurie. Apparently the fanfic fairies keep
sneezing on her posts, making them look messy.

Port-A-Poobah (1/1)
Authors: Jules, Laurie, Patt, and Bons
Starring: Laurie, Jules, Patt, Bons, and LaCroix
Time: Thursday night, after 'Scores Unsettling'


     "She must go," LaCroix whispered to Jules and Bons.

     The General appeared adamant.  The High Priestess sighed. "Yes, you're
right.  Just 2 days ago, we had an almost circus-like incident here with all
sorts of people I didn't recognize.  If that were to happen again - and it
shouldn't - the GHP could all too easily be discovered."

      "Precisely.  I do hope you've...chastised those who committed the
aforementioned breach of security," Nunkies said smoothly.

     "Oh, yes," the High Priestess said with an evil smile.  "Aerobics
classes start next week."

    Bons shuddered. Lacroix was pleased. He excused himself to the Shrine
Library, saying he had an urgent item to pick up...

Later, in another part of the Shrine...

     "Oh, Paaaaaatttttt!  Oh, Paaaaaattttttt!" the Priestess called out.

     "She's not here," came a voice from behind one of the Lacroix busts.

      Jules slowly walked across the marbled floor and found Patt sitting on
it, leaning against the bust's supporting column.  A bucket of floor wax and
several limp toothbrushes were visible next to the mature addict.

     Jules remained standing as she said, "Patt, I need your help."

     "You mean, you need a *victim.*"

     The auburn-haired woman knelt down next to the Louisianan.

      "Now, Patt. Since when is a chance to help out Nunkies such a terrible

     Patt's ears perked up at the mention of the "N" word, then returned to
their previously disinterested mode. "I don't know, Jules. Everytime I come
close to anything having to do with Lacroix, I somehow don't come up
smelling like a rose. Can't you pick on someone else???"

     "No can do," Jules replied as she joined Patt on the floor facing a
different direction.  "This is a *highly secretive* undertaking, and, since
you're more adept at subterfuge than many of the other addicts, you're
perfect for the job."

     Patt looked a little cheered by that comment.  "Gee, thanks, Jules,"
she said with a genuine smile.

     "You've also got more upper body strength than me," the High Priestess

     "Gee, *thanks,* Jules."  This was said with more than a touch of

     Jules ignored Patt and continued plotting.

     "Now, how to go about doing it?" she asked the air.  Suddenly, she
snapped her fingers.  "I've got it! Patt, you go have the GHP moved up to my
room, and get her ready for a road trip. I'll be up shortly."

     <*Road* trip?>  Patt s expression was pure shock as she watched Jules
walk away.  

     Resigned, the mature addict hoisted herself from the floor, careful not
to trip on the slick surface.  The tiles had an unusually healthy glow, she
noted proudly. She found a few Addicts and relayed the Priestess' orders to
move the GHP upstairs. To avoid having to help, she marched ahead of the
workers, giving orders like 'Turn right,' 'A little to your left,' and 'Her
head's stuck in the door!'

     The bedroom of the High Priestess, though much like the other addicts
in dimension, befitted her station at the Shrine. For one, Jules had a
Nunkies tapestry all of her own. The room was littered with what appeared to
be Roman artifacts, and there was a hook protruding from the ceiling that
looked like it was waiting for some windchimes.

     The High Priestess showed up about five minutes later,  She stopped and
stared in wonder at the spectacle before her.  Laurie Mercbard, Grand High
Poobah, had been laced quite effectively with a variety of lingerie and
elastic-based undergarments.

     "Got the idea from a couple of Vaqueras,"  Patt informed Jules, noting
the High Priestess' gaze. "I think the red garter belt gag is an especially
nice touch, don't ya think?"

     The two Addicts gazed admiringly at the Third Cousin's handiwork.
Laurie kept struggling against the underwear, but to no avail.

     "We need to keep her quiet," Jules said. She pulled out a vial and a
plastic glove, poured a drop of Whammy Juice on a finger, and carefully
pulled down the GHP's lower lip at the bottom of the gag, smearing it with
the formula. The GHP, who had been desperately but fruitlessly trying to
bite Jules' finger, immediately collapsed,

     "Now what?" Patt queried.  "Please don't tell me I'm going to sling her
over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes, and we'll just waltz out of here
without anyone noticing."

     "Nope," Jules replied as she popped outside her room, then reappeared a
moment later with a large, rolled up Oriental rug.  With a flick of her
wrist, she rolled the rug away from her, then looked at Patt expectantly.
Taking her cue, Patt placed the GHP at one end of the carpet, and the two
women began the process of creating the first GHP burrito.

     "*Now* we're going to waltz out of here without anyone noticing," Jules
announced triumphantly as she helped Patt heave the GHP and carpet over a
shoulder.  "After you."


     Ten minutes later, the women had the GHP safely ensconced in the back
of Patt's maroon truck.  Patt prepared to climb into the front passenger
seat, but Jules stopped her with a touch.

     "Why don't you sit in the back with Laurie, dear?"  It was a demand
voiced as a question.

     "Laurie's comatose," Patt said, looking at the unmoving carpet. "She
wouldn't be any fun to visit with."

     "We don't need visit, hon.  We need safety."   Jules quickly produced a
roll of duct tape from a hidden source.   "Give me your hands."

     "Where was the tape when I needed it to wrap her Poobahness?"  Patt
quizzed while Jules wrapped several layers of the silver plastic around the
Third Cousin's wrists.

     "I had to be certain that I'd have plenty to render you accident free,"
Jules smiled sweetly. "I hid it."

     Once the taping was finished, the two addicts tore away from the front
of the Jeweled Peach and began making their way to CERK.  Four minor traffic
violations (for which they weren't caught) later, they pulled into LaCroix's
private space outside the station.


     They were met, of course, by one of the Phantom's security people. The
chosen, complete with tiny headset microphone and walkie-talkie looked up
expectantly as the women approached. "Hold on,"  he whispered into the
monitoring device. "Let me think for a second if I want pickles on that or

     "Ladies," the guard said, stepping into an intercepting position.
Jules pulled herself up to her full five feet plus nothing without heels
height and looked at the man coolly.

     "I'm Jules, High Priestess to the Shrine of Nunkies. I'm here to
deliver a new Persian rug to the General. The penthouse is being remodeled,
you know."

     The guard opened his mouth to give the usual arguments about not
knowing anything about it, have to check on it, yadayadayada, but Jules
lifted a gentle hand before a word could escape his mouth.

     "Oh, yeah. And I work here, too.  So, if you don't want Lacroix
breathing down your neck - no pun intended - you'll let us pass."

     The guard immediately stepped aside, allowing the women to enter.

     Getting to the basement was no problem, once admittance was obtained.
Jules led the way and held the freight elevator doors open for Patt and her
load. They descended rapidly, and exited into the bleak grayness of the
dungeon area.

     "Yuck," Patt said, making a face. "It's as gloomy as I remember it."

     "Yes," Jules agreed, "but it is necessary to store Laurie here, so her
presence will not be detected. We must protect the innocent."

     "Cousins . . . innocent?" Patt grinned. "Talk about your oxymoron."

     "I'll be right back," Jules said. "There's one more thing we need."

     Patt quickly deposited Laurie into the only open cell. Jules soon
returned with several pieces of electronic equipment. The copper-haired
woman instructed Patt to unwrap the GHP. Patt propped the slowly awakening
GHP on to a straight back chair, actually the only piece of furniture in the

     "What's that?" Patt asked, looking at the strange headgear Jules was

     "Welcome to the world of virtual reality," the High Priestess replied.
"We're just going to give Laurie a little something to entertain her during
her stay.  Dungeons can be so dreadfully dull, don't you think?"

     "Makes her look like a human/crawdad mix," Patt injected.

     "Knowing Louisiana as well as I do, I'm sure many of your 'countrymen'
would probably agree with you."

     The pair looked at the GHP.

     "She might fall off the chair," Patt said. "We wouldn't want her to
hurt herself."

     They quickly found some bindings, and secured the gagged, laced, and
corseted GHP onto the chair, rocking it back and forth a few times to make
sure Laurie was secure. Jules then slipped the device onto Laurie's head.
She flicked a switch on a remote mechanism and the two women waited.

     Within seconds, the GHP started to groan, and the High Priestess
signaled it was time to leave.

     "What's that thing *doing* to her?" Patt asked worriedly.

     Jules shuddered. "It's awful, Patt. I had Beth and the fanfic fairies
reprogram it for The Ultimate Experience In Torture. For the next three
hours, she'll be forced to endure a string of live Michael Bolton's concert,
after which she will star in three hours' worth of Hee Haw, and then
another three hours with the Lost in Space  robot saying *Danger*
Danger* over and over. After that comes a virtual bout of swimsuit shopping.
Then the whole thing will start over."

     "Jules!" Patt cried. "That is *too* cruel. How can you be so mean?"

     The Priestess gave her a wise stare. "Only one who has endured Laurie
singing 'Don't Cry For Me, Argentina' could understand." Jules patted the
Third Cousin on the shoulder. "Be thankful that you were spared
participation in those posts."

     Jules and Patt left the cell, leaving Laurie to the first of many
renditions of 'When A Man Loves A Woman,' alone in the bowels of PERK save
for a few glowing pink rats.

Fin for now...

Date:         Fri, 1 May 1998 20:53:40 EDT
Reply-To: Third Cousin 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: Third Cousin 
Subject:      WAR:  "Betrayal and Retribution"
To: FKFIC-L@lists.psu.edu
X-UIDL: 0c396ee3d2d34af77e59468172633d0b

"Betrayal and Retribution"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Thursday evening, after "Port-A-Poobah" (1/1)
Where:  CERK


Patt wasn't comfortable being within the walls of CERK,
especially the dungeon area.

She had wanted to help Jules.  Really appreciated this little
opportunity to try and distinguish herself with the High
Priestess again, but being in CERK scared the fire out of her.

Or rather, put her in possibly too close a proximity to her own
personal version of brimstone.

 The thought kept racing
through her mind like a crack-addicted hamster on a motorized
wheel.  Patt tried to pay attention to what Jules was saying,
tried to pay attention to the mission they were on, but, as soon
as Patt knew their destination, all she could
think of was 

"Maybe we'll run into the General while we're still within the
building," Jules commented happily as the elevator rose from
the cells to the first floor.   "I'm certain that he'll be proud of
how efficiently and quickly I carried out his orders to move the
Grand High Poobah to his personal domain."

"Yea . . . he'll probably be thrilled," Patt said. 

"He might be so pleased that he'll be in the mood for a little
game of billiards," Jules gushed, her face beaming at the

"Eight ball in the side pocket . . ." Patt said glumly.  

"Hmmmmmmm, that sounds intriguing," Jules grinned.  "In
case of such occurrence, I *can* trust you to find your own way
back to the Shrine, minus any deviations to pick up livestock,
can't I?"  The HP tried for an expression of sternness, but her
own anticipation couldn't erase the flush from her face.

"Sure, yeah."  Patt's feeling of numbness was graduating to
terror the higher the lift rose.   

"In fact, once we get back to the main floor, why don't you just
be on your way.  That will leave me *stranded,* and will give
Nunkies an excuse to either take me home *personally* or have
me stay the night here."

Patt nodded.  "Sounds good to me," she managed to say
through lips now dry as LaCroix's wit.   As the elevator
wooshed to a halt, the Third Cousin prepared to bolt.

Unfortunately, the High Priestess had other plans.  As the door
began to slide open, she placed a staying hand on Patt's arm
and said, "Before you take off, though, I need to go get
something that I want you to take back to the Shrine.  Only take
a second."

So, while Jules trotted down the hall to get a mysterious
something for Patt to courier, the Third Cousin was left alone,
doing her best imitation of invisibility.

And, she almost succeeded.

In a few moments, Jules returned, holding two of her recently
purchased CD's.  "Take these and deposit them in my bedroom,
just in case the General and I decide to 'do the Shrine' tonight."
She winked at Patt.

Patt was about to leave when she sensed movement.  She
quickly flushed herself against the wall, waiting.

"Jules."  LaCroix's voice boomed authoritatively down the hall
as he strode toward the HP.  The auburn-haired woman
whirled to meet him, her face radiant.  Then, the radiance
dimmed just a tad.  Bonnie was at his side.

"Yes, sir?" she said, keeping it formal . . . for the time being.

"I was told that you were on premises," the General reached the
woman and stopped just within her comfort range.  "Might I
have a word with you before you go?"

"Of course."  Jules wanted desperately to flutter her eyelashes,
but that could wait until later.

"I trust, by your preparing to leave, that you have completed
your task successfully?" LaCroix arched an inquiring eyebrow.

"Yes," Jules said softly, noting that her feet were beginning to
feel damp.

"Good.  I commend you for your quick action.  Now, there is
another matter that we need to discuss."

"Yes?"  Jules could barely keep the excitement from her voice.
She didn't take note of the dreary expression on Bonnie's face.

"We appear to have a . . ."  LaCroix stopped, lifting his head
and staring toward the exit, his face hard,  " . . . problem," he
finished.   His features masked.  "Who else is here with you?"

"Oh," Jules waved a dismissive hand.  "Just Patt . . . and she's

"No," LaCroix said quietly.  "She is not."

The next sequence of events, for the most part, were a blur.
Patt, who had been inching along the inset wall toward the exit
door since LaCroix had come down the hall, reached for the
handle just as the General noted her heartbeat, her scent, or
whatever homing device he used that particular evening.   As
her fingers grazed the metal of the knob, his hand covered

"YOU KNOW ABOUT SPARK!!"  Patt cried out in anguish.

Duhhhhh, can you say "deathly quiet?"

"Sparks?"  Jules finally turned to Bonnie, her eyes full of
questions.  "What is she talking about sparks for?  Is someone
on fire, or something?"

"No sparks, Jules.  Spark.  Second season, one trick colt, long
mane, ended up staked on Nat's bed.  Spark."

 "Spark?  He's dead, isn't he?"

"No . . . not quite."  Bonnie's voice was so soft that Jules' dread
level went up a notch.  "He's alive, in Toronto, wreaking havoc
and Patt's been helping him out."

Jules, eyes wide, turned toward the vampire and the mature

LaCroix had said nothing to this point.  Now, with the women
behind him hushed, he looked down at Patt, his eyes hard.

"I know about Spark."  His voice was cold.  "The question is,
why did I not learn of him from your lips?"

A convulsion seemed to pass through the Third Cousin's body.

"Was it really more preferable to you to render him assistance
rather than to come to me with knowledge of his presence?"
LaCroix voice sharpened as he spoke.  "Was being Spark's
flunky more rewarding than the assistance you've pledged to
me?   Was his 'friendship' so much more favorable to mine that
you would betray me thus?"

Then, LaCroix caught sight of the shirt.   He watched in
fascination as the glittered garment heaved up and down on
the woman's chest.

When LaCroix looked into Patt's eyes again, all she saw was
blood.  "I suppose it was," he said thickly.

Then, in a fit of anger as violent as any of them had seen him
render, without actual blood-letting, LaCroix ripped the shirt
from Patt's body.   He caught hold of the reinforced cotton
collar and pulled, almost choking the hapless Third Cousin.
The material gave way, finally, with a sickening, rending
sound, torn from the woman in shredded fragments.

Patt stood there, bruised and shivering, feeling as though he'd
torn out her very heart.

"You're pathetic," LaCroix said, looking at the mass before him.
He turned to Jules and Bonnie and addressed them simply.
"Dispose of her."

"No."  Patt's soft protest surprised LaCroix.  He turned, his
expression hard.  "If you feel it's necessary to kill me, then fine,"
the mature addict continued, her voice barely a whisper.  "But,
don't ask my friends to do your dirty work."

"Indeed," LaCroix looked on the verge of further comment, but
then appeared to change his mind.  He rotated slightly,
addressing Jules and Bonnie over his shoulder.  "Leave us."

The High Priestess and Scribe didn't move.


The two addicts vanished.

Alone now, LaCroix turned toward Patt, his expression
thoughtful.  "Why?"

"I was frightened," Patt said simply.

"Of me?"

"That, too," Patt nodded.  "But, I was referring to Spark.  He had
the proximity advantage at the time."

"I see," LaCroix began pacing, hands laced behind him in
thought. "Go, on."

"He was coercing me," Patt said simply.  "I don't react well to
coercion, but he seemed to have the better of me at the time.  If
you think this has been a pleasure for me, you're dead wrong,
General.  Dealing with Spark has been my own version of a
more permanent Hell."

"Curiouser and curiouser, this betrayal then," LaCroix said,
noting Patt flinch at his words.   "Why then, when you reached
Toronto, didn't you come to me immediately and inform me of
the situation?  Didn't my tolerance of you regarding the bottle
incident indicate that I could be fair?"

"By then, I felt trapped.  I figured you'd be so angry that you
wouldn't listen to my reasons for *helping* Spark," Patt almost
choked on her words, especially when she felt LaCroix's eyes
boring into her.  "And, from the looks of my clothing, my fears
were justified."

LaCroix said nothing, waiting.

"He threatened my family, LaCroix," Patt continued, eyes
pleading.  "He told me that he would kill my pseudo grand-
baby.  Surely you can understand what a person can be pressed
to do when their family is threatened?"

"Yes . . ." LaCroix focused his expression far away, then
redirected his eyes on Patt.  "But, you do realize that he now
poses a threat to *my* family, and that you brought this threat
into *my* community."

"Yes," Patt agreed softly.  "And you realize that I can't help you
get rid of him if I'm dead."

LaCroix's eyebrow arched again.  "What makes you think that I
would trust you to be of use to me in that regard, Ms. Elmore?
You've done nothing to prove your loyalty to me to this point."

"Haven't I?" Patt looked him dead in the face, never wavering.
"Think about it, LaCroix.  Spark has used every method of
intimidation that he could find to use me up.  I *chose* to come
to Toronto to be near you.  I chose loyalty to you.   I,"  Patt said,
her voice calm, "care about *you.*"

The General's lips twitched slightly.  "I find your declaration of
fondness quite touching, Ms. Elmore, but I am less than
amused by how you display this *affection.*"

"Then use those same senses you used to detect my fabrication
at the Cousins reception," Patt challenged.   "Hear my heart,
LaCroix, and if you sense deceit or guile, then kill me."

For a moment, the vampire did not move.  Then, he stepped
forward, placing a cool hand to the back of the Third Cousin's
neck, eyes searching hers.  Patt quavered, almost loosing
control with his proximity.

"Get out of my sight," he said softly.  "And, if I ever sense
betrayal on your part again, I will rend you with my bare

Patt turned and ran for her life.


The Girl from M.E.R.C.
by Mackie the Mole
Time: Getting into the early hours of Friday morning, sometime after
Place: Deep within the bowels of PERK

Laurie Mercbard and PERK abused - er, I mean used with gracious permission

Mackie lifted the flagstone above her head a few inches and peered through
the crack. The room above was dark except for the faint points of
flickering light given off by the electronic equipment that hummed and
clicked. She quietly slid back the flagstone floor tile and climbed into
the room, taking care to replace the stone - leaving no evidence of her
entrance. The Merc spy crouched in the dark, listening.

A faint groan came from the darkness. Mackie strained to see into the
dark, never once thinking of removing the mirrored sunglasses covering
her eyes. Instead she pulled out her mini mag-light and swept the tiny
spotlight around the dank cell. There, dressed like a refugee from an
amateur cast of "Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Meets Catwoman" and
trussed up in a chair like a Christmas goose, was the missing Merc GHP.
She was hooked up to a peculiar apparatus, her head twitching weakly as
though trying to dislodge the gadgetry attached to her face.

It all looked very strange to Mackie, but she had known Laurie for too
many years to wonder at the odd things her friend did for fun. She sidled
up next to the Poobah and hissed into her ear.

"Laurie! It's agent Mole reporting in."

The only response was another faint groan and twitch.

"Oh fer chrissakes!" the spy muttered as she removed the device from
Laurie's head. "This is no time for goofing around--don't you know
there's a war on?!"  She saw the gag - it seemed to be a garter - and
removed that as well.

Once freed from the strange machinery the GHP jerked and let out a
strangled "_but you met another and ppttht! You were gone!" She shook her
head as if to clear it, then craned her neck, looking wildly around,
until she spotted the Merc.

"Mackie! Oh, thank God!" she croaked, "Finally!! I knew you'd come for me!
Where are the troops?"  Laurie peered frantically into the darkness. "You
*did* bring back up - right?"

"What are you talking about?" Mackie replied. "I hate to interrupt your
fun, but I have a report to make. You know, you really should make
yourself just a *little* more accessible."

"Fun? FUN?!" sputtered the GHP "Does being kidnapped, subjected to fanfic
fairy funk, being forced to watch do-gooder movies, dumped in a sacred
pond, and being forced to - watch - to - V - R - Hee-Haw sound LIKE FUN
TO YOU?!"  By now, her voice was hitting pitches not previously on the
human scale.

At Mackie's 'to-each-their-own' shrug, Laurie sagged against her bonds in
weariness. "Well?" she snapped when her operative just stood there
smirking, "Don't just stand there-- untie me!"

"Hey," the spy replied diffidently, "I'm just here to make my report..."

"Fine!" Laurie growled. "Make your report - *then* untie me!"

As the flood of forbidden facts flowed from the agent, the GHP seethed
with frustration. She had to get out of here to make sure this
intelligence was put to profitable use. But first she had a few dozen
Addicts to kill and a Shrine to burn down. When Mackie finally ran out of
juicy tidbits, Laurie said "Good work, Mackie! Now get me outta here,
before I go crazy!"

Mackie the Mole regarded her old friend and sighed. She forbore stating
the obvious - that the GHP had gone crazy long *long* ago.

Instead she said, not ungently, "You *know* I can't do that, Boss, "
hurriedly continuing as another sputtering frenzy began. "That would blow
my cover sky high! You know the success of my mission depends on my
keeping a low profile. Playing hero just doesn't work. Besides, could you
imagine what would happen if anyone should happen to see us together? Now
let's get you hooked back up again."

"No! Not again! I can't take it! Just untie me, I'll find my own way out,"
the GHP gibbered as Mackie began to reattach the sensory hook ups. "I'll
say I wriggled loose- no one will know it was you! I need to put that info
you gave me to use, otherwise what good is it?" Laurie could not believe
that she was in possession of all these secrets - and some of them were
doozies - and unable to make a profit off of them. The thought brought her
frenzy to a peak and she began thrashing and pulling on her bonds.

The spy paid no attention. "Not my problem," she quipped, as she continued
to reconnect the machine, "The client got the info and *I* get paid
regardless, that's the important thing. Besides," she added as she slipped
the goggles back over the GHP's eyes, "the rest of the crew will figure
out where you are...eventually". The Merc Leader's struggles abruptly
ceased as the virtual program flooded back into her mind, and Mackie put
the gag back in place.

Mackie took one last look around to assure herself that she had left no
evidence of her visit. "Remember, Boss, don't call me - I'll call you,"
she snickered softly as she lowered herself back into the opening in the
floor and secured the stone once more. The room above was dark and silent
except for the faint groans of the imprisoned Poobah.

* * *
Sneaking As An Art Form (1/3)
"Must've Been Asleep That Day"
by Maya

Friday, 8:55 p.m.
Everyone used with permission.

"This better not take long," Maya grumbled.

"Don' worry," Michele assured her. "Jes' in an' out. Won' take five minutos."

"Hit better not," the girl repeated grimly. "An' I'm warnin' you, hif we get
caught, Oi'm gonna kill ya."

"If we get caught, we're dead ennyways," Ursula pointed out. The excited gleam
in her eyes belied the grim warning in her words. Ursula was enjoying herself
hugely. Now *this* was War!

"Nuh-uh," Michele said, peering into a window. She turned back to her
partners-in-mayhem, eyes unnaturally bright- though whether from her blue
contact lenses, or from being in such close proximity to *him*... her idol...
her fantasy, no one could tell. "Hit cain't 'appen. No' in a war. No one kin
get killed, 'member?"

Maya scowled. "Din't say nothin' 'bout tor-tyure," she said darkly. "Happens
lots, a' a matter o' fact. An' Oi'd rather not find out from *him*, 'kay?"

"Sure, wotever," Michele said absently, crouching down in front of a handy
air-conditioning duct and settling her gold Elvis sunglasses back on her nose.
"An' iffen we lost th' Pain an' we don' do nothin' 'bout hit, she's gonna try
'er 'and at sum tor-tyure 'erself. Calm down. Won' take long, Oi said."

"'Cuz I wanna go ta the party."

"We all do," Brianna pointed out.

"Wanna catch a glimple o' the Goldy-'aired Fang Boy 'isself, eh?" Maya bared
her teeth in what *could* have been a grin. "'Sides, Oi got us those-
whaddyacall'em- reservasives."

"Reservashuns?" Ursula supplied.

"Yeah. Sumpin' like that. An' I'm *ready* ta go."

Maya certainly *looked* ready. The red streaks were temporarily gone from her
hair, leaving it all black, and suitably wild; with her black jeans, black
boots, and (take a guess) tank top, and with all the dirt and grime washed
off, she was... well, almost presentable, even. The crowning glory was the
small golden ankh around her neck- a staple of any good Egyptian household.

Taken separately, the outfit was just another Goth girl's dress-up. Coupled
with heavy black eyeliner and lipstick, a black top hat, and new black
sunglasses, the conclusion was inescapable. At least for any avid reader of

Tonight, she was Death. And right now, she was slightly pissed.

Tonight, they were all wearing black. Besides being Raven-proper clothes, one
fundamental of sneaking around after dark, at least, hadn't gotten past the
Ratpackers- wearing black makes you blend in. Unfortunately, any positive
effect of camouflage was immediately negated by their loud talking. You can't
teach a Ratpacker everything; and if they gave lessons in sneaking around,
these four had been asleep that day.

"Oi mean," Maya was saying, warming to her theme, "c'mon. Lookit us. We're
breakin' into the HQ thing o' the Cousins, jus' ta- remind me why again?"

"So we kin look aroun' an' see if 'Er Royal Pain-ness is or ain't there,"
Michele said patiently, with the long-suffering air of someone who's repeated
something one too many times. "Do our Mercly doo-ties an' stuff."

"Roight. Mercly duties my arse. Ya jes' wanna poss'bly-maybe see the General
'isself, doncha?"

"Sure," Michele retorted. "Jes' like you only wanna go to th' Raven to see
Hair Boy."

"Damn straight, malchick." Maya stuck her tongue out at the 'Packer. "So let's
'urry it up, huh?"

They continued crawling through the air-conditioning tunnel beneath the first
floor of the radio station.

A few minutes later, Brianna was talking. If her friends didn't know better,
they would've said she was angsting. After all, if Bri was a Knightie- *God
forbid,* was the devout general consensus- then she would be a Dark Knightie,
right? And the DKs have no patience with angst, right?

So she was just concerned. That's her story, and she's sticking to it.

"D'you think Nicky'll be there?" Bri was worrying. "Oi mean, 'e should be,

"Oi dunno," Ursula shrugged. "Wot with the big fight, an' everthing, 'e moight
not go hif LaCrow's goin'. An' LC might not go hin case th' Defective's goin'.
Y'know 'ow mel- mela-"

"Melo-dramatitick," Maya said helpfully, before going back to sulking. She
stopped after a few moments. It's hard to crawl and sulk at the same time.

"Roight, that's it. 'Ow melodramatitick they kin be," Ursula continued,
ignoring Brianna's outraged stare.

Michele snickered. "Yeah- 'Ey!" she said indignantly.

Maya grinned, as the quartet came up across a vent leading into one of the
bedrooms. "Oi wouldna worry," she said complacently. "You know. Be 'appy, or
sumthin'. Sure they'll be there. An' Michele 'ere kin see 'er pompous Gen'ral
an' Bri kin see th' 'Oly Fang Boy an' Oi kin see V-man, an' we'll all be
happily vayo-ing, 'kay?" As she spoke, she was quickly- and noisily- removing
the metal grate. "Jes' th' sooner we git done 'ere, the sooner we kin get
*there*. So," she began pointedly; however, she never got to finish the
thought, as she dropped from the hole in the wall into the room-

-And into the waiting arms of the Cousins.
"memorize their alibis, they're laughing in the snow." -switchblade symphony

Sneaking As An Art Form (2/3)
"Lessons in Bulls***ting"

Of course, they wouldn't have passed unnoticed into CERK... er, PERK... even
if they weren't... well, who they were. And of course, since they *were* who
they were, it made it that much easier for their tresspassees to turn the
tables on them.

But, being who they were, they didn't exactly understand *why* the ambush had
been waiting. In their minds, they were the epitome of sneakiness. So it came
to pass that the Cousins were marching four very bemused and confused
Ratpackers outside the room and into their leader's office.

LaCroix looked up, irritated. "What?"

"We caught some intruders," Bonnie announced importantly, poking Ursula in the
back. The blonde thought longingly of the rat in her pocket, wishing she could
just get an arm free. *Then* they'd have some fun....

LaCroix eyed them cooly. One of them, he noted, perhaps with some mild
approval, had a *very* nice haircut; unfortunately, she also had a rather
strange pair of sunglasses on. Gold ones. Elvis ones. And the general smell
arising from them was a quick tipoff. "You," he said with disdain, "are
*Ratpackers*? Followers of that *carouche*?"

Maya nodded eagerly. Michele stood, gaping. Brianna just looked miserable.
Ursula was still thinking fondly of her rat.

"Leave us," the General said with a dismissive wave of his hand.

The Cousins nodded and left the room. Bonnie lingered for a moment.

"'Ey, nice shoes," Ursula said, nodding at the girl's Docs as her hand snuck
into her jeans pocket.

"*Don't*," Bonnie hissed, before turning on her heel and storming out of the

"Now then." LaCroix's voice took on a dangerous purr. "Suppose you tell me
just what you are doing here?"

"I'm no' exactly sure," Maya began, more than slightly bewildered by this turn
of events. She broke off quickly, hit with the sudden double task of
preventing Ursula from producing her rat for target practice and Michele from
becoming a puddle on the floor.

"I'm waiting," the vampire growled, as Maya and Ursula scrabbled for the rat.
Maya eventually wrestled it away from her friend, stuffing the animal in the
pocket of her ever-present jacket, noting absently the label stuck to it,
declaring its name to be "Din Din". Something told her that ratsie target
practice in LaCroix's office would be a Bad Thing.

Brianna was looking around desperately. Why were they playing with that rat?
More therapy, maybe? She shuddered at the thought. And Michele- no, she
wouldn't be any help. The buzz-cut 'Packer was still incapable of speech.
Meanwhile, there was a 2,000-year-old, impatient vampire in front of them,
growing progressively more impatient.

So Brianna did something about it.

She started talking.

Her eyes grew wide and innocent as she wheedled, "Well, y'see, our Big Pain-
um, 'Igh Poobah droogie. Ya know. She's all gone an' we really jus' wanted
t'find 'er. 'Cause, y'know, she's our leader an' all-"

"Acktually, Johnsie is," Ursula pointed out, sotto voce.

"Yeah. Well. Um, so 'e is. Wotever. But the Pain, she's the Merc leader. Hif
you din't know that. An' we're kinda Mercs. Sorta. An' acktually, we was
s'posed to be watching her, kind of, or maybe not, but she's gone now ennyway.
An' she can give like the death sentence or somethin'. Or maybe not. But bad
stuff. Reely. So, y'see, we fig-yured tha' if we'd find 'er, then maybe she'd
be no' so *mad* at us as- as she might be. Roight?"

LaCroix stared at the redheaded woman in disbelief. 
he thought disgustedly, before speaking.

He chose his words carefully. "Why here?"

Brianna fixed her eyes on him once more. "Well," she said earnestly, "only
someone or people or y'know smart as you an' th' Cousins coulda snatched the
Pain. Oi mean, we didn't even notice!" she said brightly, waving her hand to
indicate her three silent companions. Personally, LaCroix didn't think this
was much of a testimonial.... "So," Brianna finished, "it must've been sum'un
really *smart*. An' some droog tha's clever an'- an'- an' cunning, and- um-
what's the word?" She snapped her fingers.

"Sneaky?" Maya offered.

"Yeah, that's it!" Brianna said triumphantly. "Sneakylike."

Despite himself, LaCroix found himself growing slightly mollified. This bunch,
he reflected, must be smarter than they looked. (Although that wouldn't be
hard.) Never mind that it hadn't been his idea in the first place; the
"Poobah", or, as they called her (rather aptly, from what he had seen), the
"High Pain", was under his control now, wasn't she? It was good to finally get
some respect from members of other factions during these Wars-

Which was when Maya, temporarily forgetting the perils of vampiric hearing,
muttered to Ursula, "She really is pret'y good a' th' bullsh-"

Her sentence ended with a sound that was a mingled shriek and squeak, as
LaCroix grabbed her by the front of her black tank top, yanking her up.
Michele narrowed her eyes jealously.

"What did you-" he began angrily, then suddenly let go, snarling. Maya fell
back to the floor with a thump, her skin unnaturally pale, and not from the
white powder makeup she had on; as LaCroix growled, clenching his burned fist,
more in surprise than in any real pain. Maya stared down at her ankh necklace
in dazed wonder. The ankh- symbol for life and divine existence. "How neeeat,"
she murmured, blinking to rival even her beloved Vachon. "Din't think hit
would do *that*...."

The vampire angrily jabbed a button on his desk, and several Cousins came
running. "Take these four to the cellar," he growled. "Lock them up. I will...
*deal* with them... later."

Maya elbowed the nearly-comatose Michele, jerking her out of her Nunkies-
induced daze. "Oi'm gonna kill yew," she hissed.
"you think i don't know what war means
now i'm the terrorist, see how it feels." -heavens to betsy

Sneaking As An Art Form (3/3)
"It's Been Fun, But...."
by Maya

Everyone used with permission.
"Well, this is great," Brianna complained. "We're missin' the par-ty."

Maya slouched in the corner, cowering under three glares. "Well, Oi'm
*soree*," she said defiantly. "Bu' hif we'da no' come 'ere in th' first place,
we wouldna be 'ere *now*, would we?"

Brianna and Ursula transferred their glares to Michele.

"'Ey," Michele said indignantly. "Don' lookit *me*."

"We gotta figure out how t' get outta here," Maya mused.

"Door's locked from th' outside," Ursula reported.

Brianna stood up and walked farther into the cellar. There were the bloodwine
bottles, and some- cow tracks? She blinked and moved on.

"'Ey!" came her disembodied voice a few moments later. "Ther's sum vent up
here. This is too easy!"

The other three hurried to her side. "Hit *was* too easy," Michele pointed
out. "Too high t' reach."

"No i's not!" Maya jumped as high as she could, trying to touch the vent. Her
hand passed within three feet of the metal grate. "Lessee," she murmured,
taking off her army jacket. Then she turned it upside down.

Her fellow Ratpackers watched in mounting excitement as the pockets of the
jacket emptied their contents onto the growing pile on the floor. Books,
notebooks, pens, pencils, cassette tapes, T-shirts, video tapes, duct tape,
masking tape, three *very* shiny pieces of metal in various interesting
shapes- Maya had to bodily restrain the other three at this point- spoons,
glass bowls, a portable tape player, and even a desk lamp. Ursula's rat
scampered out, and the other two had to take Brianna into the corner and calm
her down until the animal had disappeared from sight. Then came the plastic
bags full of food- Starburst, Reese's Pieces, Doritos, and some Very Special
Cookie Dough, among other things.

"Cooool," Michele said admiringly.

Ursula picked up a Nirvana T-shirt. "Oi have this 'un," she exclaimed.

Maya glanced at her. "Acktually, I think it *is* yours. Now-" She squatted
down next to the pile and started stacking things. (After, of course,
prudently retrieving the Screed tape and the shiny things.) When she was done,
it easily passed the three necessary feet.

"All aboard!" she said triumphantly, standing back. The other three clambered
onto the pile and into the vent. Maya followed.

"Are ya jus' gonna leave it there?" Brianna asked worriedly.

"Th' fanfic fairies are s'posed t' bring 'em up 'ere," Maya said doubtfully,
glancing back down.

Apparently, the fairies were on their coffee break. Either that, or they were
in no mood to do the bidding of a Ratpacker. Fairies can be fickle little

A single tear trickled down her face as Maya stared at her possessions, heaped
on the floor. "There, there," Michele said comfortingly, patting her on the
back. "We'll getcha sum new'uns."

"Now, let's get goin'," Ursula added, clutching her recently rescued T-shirt
to her chest. "We kin still get ta th' party, roight?"

Maya perked up. "'Ey, roight!" she exclaimed. "Hit jes' started. Plenty o'

And with that, they set off down the tunnel in the direction of the Raven.
"i don't know if i could stand another day of rain." -heavens to betsy

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
Bri, MercNinja Ratpacker wot's afraid of rats!

War:  Merc-
"Now here's what you do..."
by Mildred Cady

Time: late evening Sept 25th (Sorry it took so long, but it doesn't really
affect anything.  It's just exposition.)

        This did not look promising.
        Only about 5 people fad wandered into the computer lab for
Mildred's Debriefing.  And all five were Ratpackers.  "Try and get some
outward professionalism and..." she muttered under her breath.
        "Pro-fesh-inal-ism??"  That was Maya, the apparent leader of this
little group.
        "Oh , its how to make people think you know what you're doing.
It's a look, adittude, know-how, and organization.  But don't worry about
it.  Quite a few others don't apparently...
        "Let's get started.  I'm hoping that some others may wander in."
Like some other Mercs, her mind added.  "First of all, is this your first
        That drew some nods.  "OK.  Well, I know you're Ratpackers, and
probably haven't heard much about what the whole war stuff is and how it
all started- eight wars ago.  But, it doesn't matter that much.
        What does matter is that, for now, for a Ratpacker or Merc it's
all the same.  We get paid to play.  Jobs come from different places-
personal requests, webpage submissions, and direct e-mails to Laurie.
        "Repeat after me- Laurie is Goddess.  The GHP is Goddess.  I know
you really like Screed and all, but above the basement, Laurie is Goddess.
If you forget that, or more importantly you make her think you've
forgotten it, things get very ugly from there- for you.  I hear she just
*loves* to show Ratpackers to the hot tub filled with soapy
        Mildred trailed off there.  This was the first war that she
personally had encountered the Ratpack, but from she had head about them
from Wooby, the threat of a bth of any sort was enough to make even the
bravest shudder in terror.
        Wooby was right.  The look of discomfort was incredible.  It gave
Mildred an idea, but since computers and water didn't mix she put it to
the side- for now.
        Mildred went through a 10 minute spiel.  Don't work unless you get
paid.  Laurie always gets a cut.  Make sure you keep certial people
happy.  Don't fool around with the computers, or you cannot play games
anymore.  If you want more computer drive space, Mildred likes Chambourg,
a raspberry drink.
        "Any Questions?"
        Michele poked up a hand.  "Yes?" Mildred said.
        "Wots te meanen o life?"
        "I don't know.  Noone does.  Even those vampires we gather around
who have been alive for hundreds and thousands of years don't know.  And I
don't suggest you try asking one."
        "Well, if there's nothing else...  That's the end of it.  And
since you were so nice, I'll show you a cool game on the system."
        As she was finishing with the Ratpackers at the terminals,
Mildred head the door open.  She saw Wooby at the door.
        "It took you long enough."  Finally, a Merc shows up at the best
time when dealing with Ratpackers- when everything's done.
        "Sorry, it took me longer then I suspected."
        "Wooby- why do you have your bal'e'teth out?"
        Wooby stood aside, and three teenaged girls walked in.  "They had
problems with being told that they had a baby sitter.  This is Sil,
Phillipa, and Bonnie.  Good luck."
        With that, Wooby went out the door.
        "Hi.  Your computers are over there."  Mildred pointed to a little
alcove.  "Netscape's already set up to all the sites that I could find for
Leo, Keanu, Marylin Manson, Prodegy, and all the other stars and bands
your mother said you liked.  The CDROM players have headphone permenatly
attached, so you can blast it as much as possible.  I'll get you anything
you want- that your mother won't decapitate me for- as long as the system
stays running normally and you don't touch my pictures of Michael."
Mildred pointed to the pictures on her wall.  "A friend of mine when
through some trouble to get them to me, and I wouldn't appreciate getting
in trouble with him.
        "Also, how do you like clubs?  I know you're kinda young, but I
got an invite to go to this place called Sanctuary from an old friend and
your mother said you had fake IDs in Sil's backpack."
        Mildred grinned and sat down at her terminal.

  by Bonnie Pardoe (in collaboration with Bonnie Rutledge)

Time:  morning, Wednesday, April 30th
                 (following "It Came From Below")
Place: PERK (formerly known as CERK)

The young woman awoke to cleanliness and warmth.  Two often
under-appreciated things!  She ran her fingers through her wonderfully-clean
hair as she rose from the ever-so-comfy bed.  Stretching, she finally took a
good look at the white, over-sized t-shirt she was wearing.  Concentrating,
she was able to read the printing on the front: "Have you seen the CERK cow?
Moooo!"  She frowned, having no idea what the t-shirt meant.  It was then
that she noticed the neat pile of clothes at the foot of her bed.  Glancing
about and finding the dormitory quite empty, she pulled off the nightshirt
-- noticing a drawing of a skateboarding cow on the back -- and discarded
it, before pulling on the nice, plain black t-shirt and the worn, but comfy,

"I see that you're finally awake," the leader of the Cousins said from the
doorway.  She cleaned up rather well, the red-head thought, though she's no
Eliza Doolittle.  And maybe that's not such a bad thing after all.  "I'm
Bonnie Rutledge, by the way.  I never did properly introduce myself to you
last night.  I'm sort of the general manager around here," she explained,
very much liking the 'general' part of her off-handed description.  "Are you
feeling better today?"

"Yes, much.  Thank you."

"Come on, let's get you some shoes -- I didn't know what size you wore.  And
something to eat -- you still look pretty hungry."  As Bonnie lead the girl
down the hallway to the commissary, they happened to cross paths with the
very imposing Lucien LaCroix.

"And whom do we have here?"  His voice  was low and resonant.

"A guest, Sir," Bonnie explained.  Then added, when LaCroix raised a
questioning eyebrow at her, "I'll be responsible for her."  Then the
Cousinly leader turned to her ward and said, "This is Mr. LaCroix."

LaCroix stared at the girl for a moment, almost as if he recognized her from
somewhere.  She scuffled her bare feet and smiled awkwardly up at him, more
uncomfortable with the attention than with the man himself.  "Have you a
name, my dear?"

She lowered her head and shook her short curls.

"She can't remember anything," Bonnie explained in a hushed tone, feeling a
bit (but not too much) for the lost soul.

"Indeed?  Well, if she is to stay here, she must have a name.  Perhaps ...
'Delilah' would be agreeable to her," LaCroix offered, with an almost
imperceptible edge to his graciousness.  The girl nodded.  LaCroix then
bowed slightly to their guest and said, "I hope you will enjoy your stay
with us."

Bonnie and 'Delilah' stared after him as he continued on his way down the
hall.  "He seemed like a nice man," Delilah commented quietly.

"Oh, yes," Bonnie agreed, trying to hide the sarcasm in her voice -- knowing
full well that the vampire could still easily hear them.  "Very nice.  If
you choose to stay with us for a while you will find that *Mr.* LaCroix can
be the best friend you've ever had."  Or your worse enemy, Bonnie added
silently to herself.  Then, with a smile, she thought it best to change the
subject, to something different though equally as near-and-dear to her
heart.  "So tell me, Delilah: how do you feel about non-sensible shoes?"



Bonnie Pardoe 

Children of the Night (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Bons, Cousin Jules, Trakal, Delilah and LaCroix
Time: Around 9pm Friday May 1st, after 'Blackmail: They Twisted my Arm They
Did!' and 'Sneaking As An Art Form'


     Bons tore her eyes away from the vision of someone who suspiciously
resembled LaCroix peddling oatmeal cereal on TV and looked in the direction
of the sound booth.
She resisted the impulse to yell back an Igor-esque 'Coming, Master!'
choosing to sing a polite "On my way!" instead.

     Of course, she wasn't on her way. A commercial had just come on that
starred someone who appeared to be Nunkies in drag. She didn't know whether
to giggle or be captivated.

     Suddenly, no one congregated around the television was laughing. The
Dark Specter Of Doom had joined them, namely an out-of-temper LaCroix.

     "What is this idiocy?" he demanded, snatching the power cord to the
television from its outlet. The screen went black. "Much better," he said,
then turned to Bonnie.

     She eyed him warily. "Uh...there's been another attack?"

     "That makes two so far this evening," Lacroix said, obviously
displeased. "That is, if we want to consider the incompetency of the
Ratpackers in my dungeon an attack." He gestured toward the blank set.
"Describe what happened."

      Trakal spoke up, because she, for one, was very displeased with the
transmission. "I was in the middle of my record-setting 'Tenchi' marathon
*again,* when, suddenly, the signal had interference, and the commercials
started airing!" She stomped her foot. "I'll never get into Guinness at this

     LaCroix put a hand on her shoulder, then gently pushed Trakal toward
the door. "It sounds as though someone messed with the cable. You'll just
have to check it inside and out before you can continue with your viewing
spree. Take your friend from Guinness with you...while you're outside, you
might as well fix the call sign so that it says 'CERK' once more," he
ordered, giving Bonnie a stern look as he did so.

     Bonnie protested. "But I *like* the PERK sign!"

     "Which only proves your penchant for barbaric silliness," LaCroix

     Bonnie's shoulders slumped. The General's humor had gone downhill since
his interview with Laurie and his confrontation with Patt the night before.
 she thought. 

    "Come with me," LaCroix commanded with an abrupt wave of his hand. "My
booth was attacked as well. Get a towel."

     Bonnie detoured on her way back to the sound booth to fetch a plush
sample of black terrycloth. Arriving at the General's side, she quickly
sniffed out why he was so annoyed: the doorknob was coated with minced
garlic. Bons wiped the handle clean in a jiffy. LaCroix pushed her out of
the way and used his key to unlock the door. It refused to open under normal
pressure. The General was extremely impatient by this point, so he simply
ripped the door off its hinges and threw it aside.

     "He's so efficient," Bons said in an aside to Delilah, who had narrowly
avoided being struck by the door as it flew down the hall.

     Delilah appeared disconcerted. "Is everything okay? Has something bad

     "No, no...the lock was just jammed. There's nothing to worry about."
She waved the guest Cousin away. "Go get ready for the party. You can wear
some of my non-sensible shoes!"

     Delilah nodded uncertainly, then disappeared into the Cousinly dorms.

     Bons turned her attention back to the sound booth. A song about pina
coladas was playing over the airwaves.  Bons thought. 

     LaCroix began growling at his CD player. He was pushing the 'eject' and
'stop' buttons to no avail. Finally, he yanked its power cord free as he
threw the player against the wall. That pretty much silenced the airwaves of
music, but LaCroix settled behind his desk and flicked on the microphone.
"How clever we like to think ourselves...how immune and invulnerable do we
dream to be, only to find that it only takes one crack, one chink in the
armor for the entire edifice to shatter. Let me remind you, dear listeners,
that I know who you are. Think about your weakness...it's only a matter of
time before they are used against you. Every dark corner that you dwell,
every slip of shadow in which you try to conceal your movements...I can see
you...After all, we are *all* children of the night."

     LaCroix snapped off the microphone and gave Bonnie gruff instructions.
"Requisition a new CD player from one of the Cousins."

     "Where are you going?"

     "To the GSS Headquarters. I intend to examine the records of the
surveillance cameras for the culprit in this prank. Contact me when Jules
arrives to drive us to the Raven."


     "Lily! You look great!" Bonnie congratulated.

     Delilah looked down meekly at her clothes, a bit unsure about the truth
in that statement. Bons had insisted she borrow some of her clothes, and,
apparently, the redhead hadn't brought any jeans. Delilah was now wearing a
simple, but short, lavender shift with a pair of matching non-sensible
shoes. The heels were three inches plus some lift, the uppers constructed
out of an impossible maze of straps. Delilah wobbled in the shoes, even when
she stood still. She'd probably break an ankle before the night was out, but
Bonnie had been so nice at letting her stay at the station, then inviting
her to a party, she didn't want to argue about her wardrobe, no matter how
uncomfortable it seemed.

     Bons had changed her drab brown clunkers for a simple pair of flats.
She had on a short gold dress styled like a cheong sam and appeared to be in
a hurry. "Our ride is here!" she said, grasping Delilah's hand. "We need to

     Delilah stumbled after the Cousinly Leader as they made their way
downstairs and outside. There was a sleek black Jaguar waiting by the curb.
Bonnie threw open the back door, then shoved Delilah inside. "Hey, Jules!"
she called to the woman behind the steering wheel. "This is Delilah. She's
coming along."

    Jules extended a warm greeting. There was a *whoosh!* sound just outside
the car, and LaCroix appeared at the passenger's side. He slipped inside,
and the High Priestess turned toward him, inquiring, "Ready?"

    LaCroix looked pleased with himself. "Everything is in order."

    Jules moved the Jaguar into drive. "Then to the Raven we go."

Fin for now

A Siren at the Door (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Delilah (with callalily's permission), Bons, and Jules
Time: 11ishpm, Raven Party
Lyrics by Jim Morrison

     Delilah found that she really was enjoying the music, so much that she
never noticed that she was humming along until Bonnie pointed it out.

     "You have a great voice - do you sing professionally?" Bons asked.

     Delilah subsided into silence. It was a simple question, but she was
stymied. "I don't know. I just can't remember," she answered sadly.

     Bons nodded sympathetically. "Oh, yeah...right. I keep forgetting.
You're our resident tabula rasa...blank slate."

     "What do you mean?" Jules broke in.

     Delilah looked a bit apologetic. "I don't remember anything...I have
dreams about being trapped in a fire...but it doesn't make any sense. I
don't know my name..."

     "LaCroix named her Delilah," Bonnie interjected.

     "I don't know if I have any family or a job...I have no idea what I am
doing here!"

     Jules crossed her arms across her sequined chest, eyeing the younger
woman thoughtfully. "That doesn't mean that we can't search for clues about
who you are."

     Delilah frowned in uncertainty. "What do you mean?"

     "You have amnesia. That means a person, your identity is locked away
inside of you. Why don't we test those boundaries...push at whatever is
keeping you from remembering?"

     "Yes! You were singing along to this song on instinct. You were
comfortable. Maybe you *are* used to singing in public!" Bonnie suggested.
"At least we know you've heard at least one album by The Doors."

     Delilah shrugged. "I suppose that's something."

     "Why don't we give her a real test?" Jules said, raising her hand and
gesturing for the band's attention. "Put her on stage and make her sing a

      Delilah's mouth fell open in horror. "What? I can't!...No, no...it's

     "Now, now..." Bonnie said in a teasing voice as she took Delilah by the
arm and led her toward the Raven's stage, "you don't remember what you can
and cannot do, remember?"

    Delilah allowed Bonnie to pull her up the stage steps and position her
behind the microphone. She fought back her panic as the audience stared at
her from the club floor. The hot lights toasted her face and made her eyes
smart, and she blinked repeatedly like a squirrel caught in headlights until
she had a chance to adjust.

     "Repeat that last song," Bons instructed the band. The redhead walked
up to the mike and announced in a near-scream, "EVERYBODY WELCOME
DELILAH!!!" There was some clapping, mainly from Cousins who knew an order
when they heard it. Bonnie patted Delilah reassuringly on the arm,
whispering, "Good luck," then left her to it.

     Delilah cleared her throat and looked nervously into the crowd. She
waited for the music to begin, but heard nothing. The audience seemed to be
growing restless, so she glanced over her shoulder to look at the band and
see what was wrong. Suddenly, she realized the band was waiting for a cue
from her. Her face broke out into a relieved smile, then she nodded at the
bassist. The opening notes sounded, simple, but mysterious. Delilah opened
her mouth and gave into her voice, come what may.

"People are strange
 when you're a stranger,
 faces look ugly
 when you're alone."

     Delilah sucked in a deep breath after another phrase. One verse down
and no catastrophes had struck yet. Her eyes didn't mind the bright glare of
the lights anymore, and she could see Jules and Bonnie cheering her own from
the sidelines. Slowly, Delilah began to relax and let herself go.

  "When you're strange
   faces come out of the rain
   When you're strange
   No one remembers your name
   When you're strange
   When you're strange."

     As they watched Delilah begin to sway to the music and move confidently
around stage, Jules leaned over to comment in Bonnie's ear. "You know, I'd
say she's done this before."

     Bons grinned. "I'd say you're right."

     Delilah's song came to a close, and the audience roared with applause.
Delilah looked frozen with surprise for a moment, then waved back to the
crowd, basking in their praise.

     Bons continued to nod as she added to the clapping. "She's definitely
done that before."

Fin for now...

Title:  Tinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy 01/02
by:  L.L.and Penny, with some ideas from many others!  Special thanks to
Jessica for the "donation".....
Cast:  Of Thousands!
Place:  The Raven
Time:  12:15am Saturday 5/2 - 1:15 am Saturday 5/2
After:  The Ultimatum by Bonnie Rutledge

All people and characters within were sanctioned by the appropriate
parties.  Raven Prank sanctioned by RedPrints, leader of the Ravenettes.

The Elvis junky, now dressed in Ray Charles junky garb, was once again
parked on the sidewalk, across the street from the Raven.  The Dark
Maestro, once again wailing her blues songs at the top of her lungs.
Nothing like attracting a lot of attention to deflect suspicion.  Penny
kept singing, though she caught sight of a suspicious looking figure in a
long, double breasted black leather coat headed her way.  As the figure
neared her, she recognized Cousin Lesley.

     "It's about time," Penny chided, "I'm running out of songs."

     "There is a God after all then," came the retort.

     "Hmrph, a lot *you* know about singing...." Penny said, glaring.

     "Hey, you stay away from my singin', and I'll attempt to stay away
from your pianistic 'talents'."

It was at this point that Lesley really took a good look at Penny's outfit,
which was raggy and looked rather filthy.  For a moment, the Cousin just
stared at the Dark Knightie Spy.  Lesley's nose wrinkled up in distaste as
she thought she detected an odour, reminiscent of a bad, decaying piece of
cheese found in the back of a refrigerator.

        "What?  Ain't no flys on me!" Penny scoffed at her, "There may be
flys on you other guys, but there ain't no flys on me!"

        "There will be if you keep wearing those rags!" Lesley waved her
hand in front of her nose.  You're not planning on going into the Raven in
that outfit, are you?"

        Penny concentrated on a couple entering the Raven first, then
turned her attention back to Lesley, "Of course not!' she sniffed.

        "Well, then, it's time for the party, what are you going to do?"
Lesley asked.

        Penny stood, folded up her small stool and packed it in a bag.
Keeping in character as a blind musician, she felt around in her guitar
case and gathered up all the coins and bills.  She looked up and grinned at

        "Fringe benefits!" Penny cackled as she pocketed the money.
Putting her guitar away, unfolding a cane, she grabbed  Lesley's elbow and
said, "Where's your car?"

        They walked down the street and around the corner.  Arriving at the
car, Penny carefully placed the special glasses in their case, and put them
in the trunk along with her guitar.  Then she whipped off the ragged coat,
causing Lesley to gasp.  Underneath was a black dress.  Digging in her bag,
Penny pulled out a pair of spike heels, and pulling off the dirty sneakers,
she donned the heels.

        "Party time!" she grinned at the open-mouthed Lesley.  "You have
the 'General's Cheer' with you, I take it?"

     "Uh, yeah.....I've got ours; NuitCoeur and Jessica already have
theirs.  I'm sure by now they've already set the stage for us.  It's going
to be a long time before all the factions forget this little shindig."

     "You mean if they can remember it in the first place...." Penny added.

     "Well, I think the little 'reminders' we've prepared, will guarantee
it.  The General did say to make sure that the Cousinly presence was felt."

     "He did indeed."

With that, the two women entered the club.


Inside the Raven....

Cousin Jessica, clad in a long black dress, sipped at her Ribena, and
waited.  She watched discreetly from across the club, as NuitCoeur
dispensed yet more of the 'General's Cheer' into the glasses of some
unsuspecting Knighties.  Over the past few hours the two Cousins had
managed to disperse a lot of the clear liquid given to them by Cousin
Lesley, for the purpose of making non-Cousins in the Raven a little more
"pliable" and less "coherent".  At least those were the words Lesley had
used.  It was a fairly harmless drug, procured from a Dentist friend of
hers.  Harmless enough, even with alcohol, if dispensed in low enough
doses, which they had been most careful to insure.

Jessica looked at her watch and nervously tugged at the cameo choker around
her neck.  Why weren't they here yet?  They had just missed LaCroix'
speech, and Jessica was quite certain that he was counting Cousinly heads.
She noticed RedPrints, ever the hostess, circulating about the room, seeing
to her guests.  No matter what, the Ravenette wouldn't have to worry about
people having a good time.  At least not tonight.

As Jessica glanced over at a nearby table, she witnessed the early effects
of the Cousinly handiwork:  A table of Die Hards were giggling as if they
were second-graders in the bathroom at recess.  Jessica shook her head.  It
was going to be a long night.  NuitCoeur approached the section of the bar
that Jessica was leaning on.

     Nuit smiled, "So far so good.  Most of these people won't know what
hit 'em until it's too late."

     Jessica eyed Nuit, "I think you're enjoying this too much."

     "What's not to enjoy?  All in the glory of the General."

     Jessica smiled at that; Nuit had a point.  "This stuff's not gonna
knock anybody out, is it?"

     Nuit leaned in close, and whispered conspiratorially, "Nope.  It'll
just make everybody really happy, and less likely to notice any Cousins
heading toward the back rooms of the Raven."

      "And while they're back there, we're supposed to distribute  our
calling cards?"

     "Exactly," Nuit confirmed.  "They'll be no question that it was a
Cousinly prank which made everyone so happy.  I just hope the business in
the back goes as well as our part seems to have gone.  After all, that is
the real reason we're doing this."

     "I'll be glad when they get here...."

As if on cue, Lesley and Penny entered the Raven.  After a quick scan of
the room, the two friends headed over to NuitCoeur and Jessica, where they
were leaning on the bar.

     "Happy juice is out and about, I take it?"  Lesley asked.

     "Yep, it's out there, and it's become increasingly noisy in here....."

Lesley and the Dark Maestro smiled.  All was well in the Raven.  They took
a fast look around the room, and saw exactly what they expected:  Members
of every faction smiling, laughing and being overly merry.  Conversations
were in full swing, and everyone was too busy to notice what anyone else
was doing.  The 'General's Cheer' was working quite well.

     "You guys just missed the General's speech," Jessica commented.

     A look passed between Lesley and Penny, the former of whom just
shrugged, and said, "Oh well, *it* happens...."

     "We're going to head back," Penny said, "you two keep your eyes on
things out here."

Penny and Lesley started off, toward the private rooms of the Raven, but
NuitCoeur's voice caused them to turn back.

     "What about the tags?"

     Lesley smiled, "Fire at will, Nuit.  And do the General proud."

     "Be creative," Penny added.

With that the two women headed toward the back rooms, no one having noticed
them at all.  Or so they thought.


The Raven Soundbooth, continuous

Julia and April were standing just inside the Soundbooth at the Raven.
They were preparing for their jobs as DJ's for "Radio Unnamed", when Julia
happened to catch a glimpse of Lesley, with the Dark Maestro in tow,
slipping into the back hallway.

     "Did you see that?"  Julia asked April.


     "Cousin Lesley and that Dark Knightie Spy just snuck into the back

     April made a face, "Cousins sneaking around.....that can't be good, no
matter how you look at it."


Julia started out of the booth.

     "Hey," April called to her, "Just where do you think *you're* going?"

     "Following them, of course."

     "Oh great.  What about the show?"

     "You can handle it.  I won't be gone long...."

Julia didn't wait for any further arguments from April.  She walked out of
the Soundbooth and headed in the same direction that Lesley and Penny had


Back rooms of the Raven, continuous

Penny quietly tried a few doors, none of which were unlocked.

     "Guess this is gonna call for some of my 'special talents', as you
call them...."

     Lesley grinned, "See why I had to have you along?"

     "Yeah, yeah, spare me the 'I told you so'."

Penny picked the lock, and they were in Janette's bedroom in a flash.
Lesley closed the door behind them.  The room was what one would expect
from Janette; not modest, but not overstated either.  Janette was always
the modicum of good taste.  Penny opened the vanity, and was presented with
an amazing collection of lipsticks.

     "Good God, what does anybody need with *all* of these colours?"

     Lesley peered over the Dark Maestro's shoulder, "Makes ya wanna have a
garage sale, don't it?"

Lesley pulled out a plastic bag from one of the pockets of her leather
coat.  She removed the twist tie, and out of the bag she pulled several
lipstick tubes.

     "I brought these along, just in case we were presented with this
opportunity.  Here....."

She handed Penny the lipstick tubes.  Penny took them, and opened one of
them, twisting the bottom until the lipstick had exited the tube.  It was
the ugliest shade of blue in captivity.

     "Ewwww......where did you get this?  It is disgusting."

     "Yeah, isn't it?  Just imagine when Janette blindly reaches for her
fire-engine red, and she pulls out smurf blue."

     Penny's grin grew into an evil one, "I only wish I could be here to
see it..."

The Cousin and the DK rifled through Janette's things as quickly as they
could, leaving behind the ugly lipsticks.  They found no sign of Natalie's
notes, which of course was the real reason they were in the back rooms of
the Raven.

Penny walked over to Janette's closet and opened it, revealing an enormous
collection of gowns.

     "Hey, tweety bird," Penny called, "I think Janette has more gowns than
you do.  And I didn't think it possible...."

     "Watch it, fumble fingers," Lesley retorted, "at least I have the
excuse of 'I need them to sing in' - Janette just likes to have the proper
gown for every possible occasion."

     "Fumble fingers?  I do not have 'fumble fingers', I'm an excellent
accompanist, I'll have you know...."

Penny handed Lesley one of the General's 'calling cards' and a piece of string.

     "What's the string for?"

     "So you can hang the little bugger from the ceiling of her closet.
Why else?"

Lesley grabbed the black alloy Roman soldier from Penny's hand, tied the
string around it and hung it up in Janette's closet.

     "Well, I dare say, it won't take Janette long to figure out who did

     "You're not *worried* about Janette, are you?"

     "Well, she is a vampire, Penny...."

     "Yeah, well, LaCroix will handle Janette I imagine, if the need arises."

     "I meant to ask you," Penny began, "exactly why did you feel the need
to paint these things black?  I mean, they're *Roman* soldiers.  It's not
as if people wouldn't get it."

     "Have you ever seen LaCroix in anything but black?"

     "*Seen*, no, but I feel safe in saying that his birthday suit is not

     "What are you, a closet Nunkie?  Let's just put a few more of these
things around in the drawers, and get outta here."

The two women moved onto another room.

-Continued in Second Post-

Title:  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy 02/02
by:  L.L.and Penny, with some ideas from many others!  Special thanks to
Jessica for the "donation".....
Cast:  Of Thousands!
Place:  The Raven
Time:  12:15am Saturday 5/2 - 1:15 am Saturday 5/2
After:  The Ultimatum, by Bonnie Rutledge

All people and characters within were sanctioned by the appropriate
parties.  Raven Prank sanctioned by RedPrints, leader of the Ravenettes.


The Raven Bar, continuous

NuitCoeur wandered slowly over to the table of Knighties.  At this point,
they were having a high old time.  Literally.  Bradley sat there in his
black trench coat, sipping a glass of Cabernet; French, of course, from the
C=F4tes du Rh=F4ne region.  Beckers sat to his left, Jenn to his right.  San=
was sitting in between Beckers and Jenn.  The foursome was laughing over
some old joke that one of them heard on the 'net.  Nuit just rolled her
eyes.  Knighties could be so.....well, naive.

     Nuit, a smile plastered upon her face, walked up to the table, "Hi
gang, how's it going?"

=46our pairs of eyes narrowed, in a wasted effort to focus.  Nuit leaned a
hand on Bradley's shoulder, he just looked at her.

     "You're a......Cousin, aren't you?"  Beckers asked.

     "Yeah, but tonight's a party for all the factions, and well, I just
thought I'd be friendly-like, you know.  Peace for an evening.  Happiness,

Inwardly Nuit was thinking about tossing her cookies, but she kept the
smile plastered on her face.

     "Yes," Sandra cooed, "Peace from the war, for a night...."

Yeah, these Knighties were as good as gone.  Still smiling, Nuit deftly
dropped a little black Roman soldier into Bradley's pocket, one into Jenn's
drink, another under Sandra's purse, and yet another under Becker's napkin.

    "Well, you all have a pleasant evening, and uh, don't let anything bite.=

Nuit wandered off, and the Knighties breathed a sigh of relief.  Even at a
party, Cousins could give Knighties a case of the heebie jeebies.

Across the room, Jessica was playing about the same game with the Light
Cousins, Alison and Brandi.

     "Rumour has it," Jessica drawled, a special fruity looking drink in
her hand, "that it's your birthday tonight, Alison."

Alison, already feeling the effects of the 'General's Cheer', nodded giddily=

     Jessica continued as she set the drink down in front of Alison, "Here,
this is a special birthday drink from all of us Cousins.  I hope you like
it, and be sure to drink it all the way down to the bottom.  You never
know, there might be a special surprise down there...."

     "Surprise?"  Alison asked, her voice already a bit slurred.

     "Yeah, a special happy birthday, from the General...."

     Jessica turned toward Brandi, who was wearing a beautiful hunter green
velvet gown, "My, your hair is just gorgeous."

     "I'm glad you like it," Brandi replied smiling, "it was a bear to pull
back like this..."

     "Yes," Jessica cooed, reaching around to plant a little Roman soldier
glued to a hair pin, in the end of Brandi's hair, "it is so long, and
really pretty."

Jessica smiled at her easy prey.  She hoped it was going as smoothly in the
back rooms....


Janette's Office, continuous

Penny and Lesley were going through every drawer, cabinet, cupboard and
possible crevice in Janette's office.  Thus far, they had been blissfully
undisturbed; however, their luck was about to change.....

     "Just what do you two think you're doing?"

Penny and Lesley froze at the voice, and quickly turned toward the door.
The UFer, Julia, stood there, with her hands on her hips, looking as though
she were about to order around an entire Russian Opera Company.

     "Well?  What are you doing?"

     Penny, ever sarcastic, sniped, "What does it look like?  We ain't
whistlin' Dixie...."

     "Lesley," Julia started, "I'd expect this kind of thing from a Dark
Knightie spy, but I'm surprised that you'd stoop to this; especially after
the Ravenettes were kind enough to open the Raven up for an all faction

     "Julia, we've got to find the notebook before the Knighties do......"

     "How could you even have chosen sides?  I know you're a Cousin, but
you're an UFer too!"

     "Think about it, Julia.  If Nick gets the cure, what will that do to
any relationship he currently has with LaCroix?"

Julia took the point, but was unmoved at the methods.

     "Still, you shouldn't be poking around in Janette's office."

     Penny piped up, "Okay, how much?"

     "How much, what?" Julia asked.

     "We're kinda short of time here.  How much for your silence?"

     "My silence?.....hmm....."

Julia was thinking.  Then it hit her.

     "Okay," Julia offered, "I won't breathe a word of this, under one

     "And that would be?"  Lesley asked.

     "You, Lesley, will be a guest on my opera show."

Lesley grinned; the idea of being a guest on an opera radio show was a
rather fun one.  That was hardly a punishment....

     "A guest?  Sounds like --"

     "--Of course, there is a slight, teeny, little catch," Julia
continued.  "Your job will be to handle any and all of the lunatics who
call in, to bring me coffee and to just be the all around gopher for the


Lesley was deflated.  From opera guest to guest flunky in a matter of
seconds.  Ah well, all for a good cause...

     "Fine, fine.  Whatever you want...."

     "We are agreed then?"  Julia wanted to be sure.

    "Yes, yes, we are agreed.  I'll handle the wackos."

Julia just smiled.  Some days the Gods just smiled upon opera management;
heaven knows, the singers almost never did....


The Raven bar area, continuous

Jessica sauntered near the table of Die Hards, and the one Diviant who had
joined them.  Jessica smiled at them.

     "Well, if it isn't the Die Hards.  What's cookin' tonight?"

     Beth piped up, "This iced tea is *great*, I don't know how they make
it here at the Raven, but it's just *great*."

Yep, downright cheery.

     Jessica smiled, "Yes, I've heard it's *quite* good."

Jessica easily slipped a black Roman soldier into Beth's leather jacket
pocket, all the while, smiling.

     "You Cousins have sure been quiet tonight," Jessica M. commented,

     Cousin Jessica slipped a Roman soldier into Die Hard Jessica's
Australian Dover Coat, as she spoke to her, "We're kinda tired tonight.
The war and all...."

Cousin Jessica couldn't tell what Die Hard Jessica was thinking, as she
couldn't see behind the latter's dark sunglasses.  The Cousin looked to the
other Die Hard at the table, Laura.

     "Is that an amaretto sour?"

     "Best danged one I've ever had," Laura replied, smiling.

     "Can I smell it?  I just love the smell of these things..."

Laura nodded, so Jessica picked it up, and as she brought it up to her
face, she let the Roman soldier clutched in her hand slip out, into the

     "Wow," Jessica said as she put the drink down, "that smells so good,
it almost makes me want one."  Then she turned to the Diviant, "I'm afraid
I don't know you, you're a Diviant though, aren't you?"

     Green Eye nodded, "Yeah, you can call me Green Eye."

     Jessica looked into her glass, "Pepsi, huh?"

     "Better than coke....."

Jessica smiled and quietly slid a Roman soldier under Green Eye's purse.....

On the other side of the room, NuitCoeur was as smooth as ever.  She was
actually *sitting* at a table with the Nick&Nat Pack, and a Dark Perk,

     "......the farmer's wife said, 'I don't know what's with the pigs, but
they're all piled into the truck, and one of 'em's honkin' the horn!',"
Nuit delivered the punchline with great aplomb.

The table burst into laughter.  Nuit seized the moment, and slid a Roman
soldier into June's extra strong coffee, and another into Bubbles' Ribena.
The only one at the table that Nuit really had to worry about, was the N&N
Pack's Security Chief, Lisa.

     "I haven't heard that one in a long time, Nuit," Lisa said.  "I have
to admit, I really never think of humour and Cousins in the same sentence."

     Nuit smiled smoothly, "Yes, well, it's our little secret now, isn't it?=

     "Apparently," came the cool reply.

Lisa didn't trust these Cousins.  Dianne, drinking a big Texas Margarita,
and looking very bright in her red silk blouse was positively beaming.

     "I think this is a wonderful party," Dianne offered, "as a matter of
fact, I think I'm gonna have another margarita."

Dianne waved to a waitress, who walked right on by.

     "Sometimes the service is a little goofy here," Bubbles complained.

     "You can say that again," Nuit agreed, as she slid a Roman soldier
into Dianne's purse.

Lisa was eying Nuit.  She wasn't sure, but she thought she had seen Nuit
trying to get into Dianne's purse.  Why was her mind so foggy?  While Lisa
was contemplating the fog, Nuit seized the opportunity to attach a soldier
glued to a clothespin, to the bottom of Lisa's jacket.  A tagging we will


Janette's Office, continuous

Penny was digging through Janette's trash can when she saw it.  A small,
white piece of paper, mostly burned.  She picked it out of the trash ever
so carefully, and placed it gingerly on the desk.

     "Lesley, come here, I've got something."

Noting the excited tone of Penny's voice, Lesley set down the lamp she was
inspecting, and came over to the desk.

     "What've you got?"

In answer, Penny showed her the note.  It was Janette's personal
stationary, but most of it was too burned to make out; however, they could
read the name to whom the note was addressed.  They stared at each other in

     Penny whispered, "What do you think this means?"


Raven Bar, continuous

Nuit and Jessica met in the middle of the bar.

     "Whew, I'm pooped," Jessica commented.

     "You said it.  I'm sick of leaving these things all over creation.
Where have you left them, outside of the faction tags?"

     "Glued down in the bathroom, dance floor, some behind the bar.
They're everywhere.  No one could possibly miss seeing the damn things, and
they're gonna have a helluva time prying them off the surfaces they're
glued to."

     "I left a few in the Soundbooth, we wouldn't want the Unnamed to feel
left out; I also hung a few from the lights."

The two Cousins smiled.  They heard a loud, uproarious round of laughter.
And then they saw them:  Vaqueras!

    "Did you get them?"

    "Not me, I'm not going near the Vaq's; I'm afraid after what they did
to LaCroix tonight, I might become....violent." Jessica complained.

    "Death would be a fitting punishment for turning LaCroix into
a.....a.... Chipmunk."

    "Not to mention the Barney song.....They didn't even try to cover up
the fact that they did it; announcing it the way the did here at the
Raven," Jessica added.

     Nuit put her best Cousinly smile on her face, "Come on, let's both
handle the Vaq's."

Together, they approached a table of rather boisterous, party-hardy Vaqs.
A couple of them still clad in their Mission Impossible gear from the
mayhem they committed earlier in the evening.

     Nafs, one of the M.I. garbed, smiled as Nuit and Jessica approached
the table, "Hey Cousins, wanna party?"

All the Vaqs laughed, the idea of Cousins actually joining them, never
crossing their minds.

     "Don't mind if we do," Nuit said, sliding into a chair.

     "I love to party," Jessica said, sitting down next to Tabitha.

Tabitha glared and inched her chair over, away from the Cousin.

     "It *was* a nice party," Tabitha muttered.

     "What's with the Mission Impossible get-ups?"  Nuit asked coyly, as
she slid a Roman soldier smothered in superglue into Naf's toolbelt.

     "Just a little job we handled earlier, nothing for you two *Cousins*
to concern yourselves with..." Marilyn replied smoothly.

The rest of the Vaqs were stifling their giggles and amused looks.

     "Really," Jessica drawled, "That sounds.....intriguing," Jessica said,
trying not to let them know they were on to them.

     "Well," Javiette said, as she slammed her boots up on the table, "I'm
afraid we're not in the.....sharing mood just now...."

Javiette smiled, as she realized that her boots were clearly annoying the

     Nuit muttered, "I *hate* feet...."

     "Especially feet up on a table...." added Jessica.

Just then, an idea hit Jessica, and while the Vaqs and Nuit were verbally
sparring, she was digging into her purse.  She found it, finally, at the
bottom.  Discreetly, she opened the super glue tube and applied a tiny
amount to the side of a black Roman soldier.

     Eying Javiette's boots, Jessica began petting the leather, "Wow, these
are fabulous.  Where did you get them?"

Javiette never felt it, but her boots now sported a little black alloy
Roman soldier.  Forever LaCroix......


Exactly one-half hour after they disappeared into the bowels of the Raven,
Lesley and Penny emerged.  They spied Nuit and Jessica at a table of Vaqs,
all of them laughing rather heartily.

     "That's odd," Penny commented, "why are Jessica and Nuit wearing
napkins on their heads?"

All Penny heard was a groan from Lesley.  Obviously the two Cousins were
sharing Tequila with the Vaqs.  *Spiked* tequila.

     "I suspicion," Lesley stated, "that Jessica and Nuit are now victims
of the 'General's Cheer'."

     "Think we should just leave them here?"

     "No choice," Lesley said, "we've got to get back to CERK and speak to
LaCroix.  The note, and more importantly, the name we just found on it,
can't wait."

     "You're right.  I just hate leaving those two in the hands of the Vaqs.=

     "They won't hurt 'em, just get 'em a little tipsy is all....That
reminds me, did you hear about the attack at CERK earlier today?"

     "Attack, what attack?" She asked innocently.

     "Somebody hooked up a VCR that had some oatmeal commercial looped on
it.  Apparently the actor in it's a dead ringer for the General."

Penny's amusement was clearly lost on her friend.

     Lesley continued, "The worst part is that when LaCroix tried to get
into his studio, the door had garlic on it, and the lock was glued.  Rumour
has it, he was so p.o.'d that he ripped the door right off the hinges..."

     "Really....imagine that...."

     "The CD player had some nasty seventies song on it too....."

Lesley's voice trailed off as she looked at Penny.  Bad 70's tunes....hmm...=

     "Any idea who the perp is?" Penny asked, creative innocence dripping
off her vocal chords.

     "Not yet, at least not to my knowledge.  I don't envy the poor slob
when LaCroix finds out though.  He might just turn the idjit into a
headless bunny or something and donate the body to the Dark Perks."

     "Yeah, I don't envy 'em either," Penny said covering, "We'd better go.
We've got to get the General up to speed on this note, not to mention the
comings and goings of people I saw at the Raven last night."

     "You mean what the Good Church of Elvis saw, don't you?"

     "Don't mock me.  *You* can be replaced."

     "Yeah, yeah, I know, sopranos are a dime a dozen...."


Title:  A Tisket, A Tasket....
by L.L. and Penny
Place:  CERK
Time:  Saturday 5/2, 2am
After:  Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

All used within were sanctioned, including LaCroix!

It was late, and they were tired.  Penny flopped on a couch in the lobby of
CERK, yanking her pumps off of her feet, and tossing them into the corner.

     "These things'll kill ya, if nothin' else ever does."

The halls of CERK were quiet, which was not really that surprising,
considering the little bomb LaCroix had dropped on everyone's head at the

     "Let's go get this report over with," Lesley suggested, "I'm pooped!"

     "Yeah, you're right.  No time like the present," Penny agreed.

The two friends walked down the hallway, heading toward LaCroix' office.
As they passed the studio, they took stock of the missing door.

     "Whoosh," Lesley exclaimed, "looks like the General was one raging
bull.  Guess the rumours were all true."

Lesley didn't notice how carefully Penny was examining the mess, or she
might have found her friend's interest to be a little more than just

     "If I were the one who did this," Penny said innocently, "I think I'd
be heading out of town about now."

They walked the rest of the hallway in silence.  The door to LaCroix'
office was closed.  A fairly ominous sign, on any night, much less this

     "Maybe we should just do this tomorrow," Lesley offered, wishing she
were almost anywhere but there.

     "It *is* tomorrow, fluff head, besides, he won't bite...."

They looked at each other and laughed.  He damn well *could* bite, if he
wanted to!  Lesley knocked softly on the door.  There was no answer.  She
tentatively knocked again.  No answer.  As Lesley went to knock a third
time, Penny shoved her out of the way, and banged on the door.  Lesley just
stared at Penny, silently considering her friend's sanity.

     "What?" Penny asked, incredulously, "You want the man to answer the
door, you gotta make sure he hears it."

     "As if LaCroix would have trouble hearing this conversation if he
wanted to, much less a knock at the door," Lesley muttered.

The door flew open, catching both women a little off guard.  LaCroix' eyes
were their normal ice blue, but there was a slight fury in them.  Exactly
why, neither Lesley nor Penny could tell.  No one said anything for a
moment.  LaCroix stared at the two women, and they stared back.  He wasn't
going to make this easy, for some reason.

     Finally, Lesley spoke, "We, um, came to catch you up on our

     LaCroix stared icily, "Really?  How nice for you."

He was as immovable as a statue.

     "Do you mind if we come in and sit down," Penny asked, "my feet are
killing me...."

Lesley just glared at Penny, who shrugged.  LaCroix suddenly got his shark
grin on his face, and he stepped aside, sweeping his arm in the doorway.

      "What's mine is yours, of course.  Do come in."

The two ladies walked past the ancient one, and took the two chairs on the
opposite side of his desk.  LaCroix closed the door, and then sat at his
desk, leaning back in his chair, his fingers steepled together.  Another
round of stares ensued.

     "If you've got something to say, my dear, by all means, say it."

     "Yes, well, as you know, Penny staked out the Raven's entrance both
last night and tonight, to track comings and goings......"

     Penny broke in, pulling some pictures out of the bag she was carrying,
as she spoke, "Here are some stills that we had developed.  As you can
see," she handed the pictures to the General, "they're taken from the
vantage point across the street, but it's a clear shot at the Raven's

     LaCroix raised an eyebrow as he looked through the pictures, "These
are....shall we say, rather interesting......"

Penny smiled.  A job well done, and with any luck, if LaCroix ever figured
out that she was the one who made a mess of his studio, maybe he wouldn't
kill her.........but then, he was smiling at her.  Well, it was LaCroix'
version of a smile, at any rate.  He obviously didn't have a clue to her
duplicity in the situation.  A slightly smug smile grew upon Penny's face.

     LaCroix pulled two pictures from the stack that Penny had handed him,
"Now, just what do you suppose dear little Tracy Vetter was doing at the
Raven last night, hmmm?"

     "We haven't been able to ascertain that yet, sir, but we're working on
it," Penny supplied.

     "Indeed," LaCroix drawled as he looked at the DK Spy, "and this
picture of Nicholas?"

     "Same, I'm afraid," Penny continued, "Caught both of them clear as a
bell going into the Raven.  It was a few hours apart, though, so whatever
they both were doing there, I don't think they were doing it together."

     LaCroix looked almost gleeful, "Somehow, my dear Ms. Thomas, I can't
quite picture Tracy and Nicholas doing....anything together.  Which is a

     "Kinda gives ya the perky creeps, doesn't it?"  Lesley added.

     "Yes.....now tell me, what else have you two uncovered, anything?"

     Lesley's turn for the discourse, "The little prank went fine at the
Raven, though several people were long gone by the time we got there...."

     "Yes, you were late," LaCroix interjected, then smiled, "I almost took
it personally....."

The sarcasm was not lost on either of the women.

     "It, ah, won't happen again, General," Lesley vowed, "you have my word
on it."

     "See that it does not, Ms. Leighton."  He paused for the effect, then
he leaned back in his chair, allowing his fingers to steeple once more.
"Please, do continue."

     Lesley took a breath, "Well, as you asked us to do, we searched the
Raven for the notes, and we didn't find them; however, we did find

She handed LaCroix the burnt note that Penny discovered in Janette's
office.  He looked at it and frowned.

     "Where did you find this?"

     "In Janette's office," Penny answered, "it was in the trash can."

     "Indeed," LaCroix answered, "hmmmm......too bad most of it is burnt."

     "Yes, but the addressee of the note is quite visible, as is Janette's

LaCroix read what was still on the note:

     "Aristotle, I am of the opinion______________________________  You_____
      __________this must happen no___________________________Contact me_____
      _____________to keep this a______________.                Janette"

     LaCroix pursed his lips, "The question ladies, is, if Janette sent
this to Aristotle, who is still amongst the missing, how, pray tell, did it
end up in Janette's trash can?"

     "If we knew the answer to that," Penny quipped, "then we'd probably
know the answer to the question 'where are the notes'."

     "Don't get cheeky, Ms. Thomas, it is most unbecoming."

Penny just snorted derisively, as she and Lesley stood up to go.  LaCroix
stood up as well, and came around the front side of the desk.  He stood in
front of Lesley, and put his hand on her shoulder, she almost jumped at his
ice cold touch.

     "A job well done tonight.  I take it that a 'calling card' of some
fashion was left at the Raven?"  Lesley nodded, and LaCroix said, "Good.  I
do so appreciate work that is executed well."  He kissed her on the
forehead.  "Go home, get some rest, I dare say you've earned it."

     Penny stuck her hand out to shake his, "Well, guess we'll see you
again, when we have more to report."

     LaCroix smiled as he took Penny's hand, "I'm afraid, Ms. Thomas, that
I am not quite.....done with you just yet."

Penny and Lesley exchanged a fast look - what was up with this?  Lesley
hesitated a tad too long, and the General wasted no time in letter her

     "Lesley, go home.  I have business with Penny.  *Private* business....."

     "O....okay," Lesley stammered.

As she closed the door to the office, the last thing Lesley saw were
Penny's eyes.  And for the first time since the two women met, Lesley saw
fear register in them.


But It Is...Revenge (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Penny Thomas, Lesley, and LaCroix
Time: After 2am, after 'Blackmail: They Twisted My Arm, They Did!' and 'A
Tisket, A Tasket...'

    Once Lesley shut the door, the General eyed LaCroix coolly for several
moments, then, seeming to come to a decision, annouced, "There's something I
want in my penthouse, if you wouldn't mind accompanying me."

     Penny opened the office door herself, welcoming the expanse of the
hall. "That's fine with me."

     He joined her, then gestured in the direction of the private elevator.
"After you."

     Penny, being the master spy of the circle of Dark Knight Cousins,
played it cool. "What's on your mind, General?"

     The lift doors closed, sequestering them in the small cubicle.
"Oh...station security..." LaCroix murmured. "We've had several more attacks
tonight, two of them in my sound booth."

     "You don't say?" Butter wouldn't melt in her mouth.

     "Indeed...they were rather clever plans of sabotage...quite annoying,

     "Do you have any idea who was behind the attacks?" Penny asked, trying
to appear genuinely helpful.

      "Yes, I do." The elevator doors opened. LaCroix gestured for Penny to
exit first. "The Vaqueros."

     "Oh." Feeling somewhat smug, Penny stepped into the penthouse. "What
are you going to do about them?"

     The penthouse was still in a shambles from the rat attack. Many pieces
of furniture had been sent out for repair or cleaning, but the carpet had
yet to be replaced. A faint, unpleasant smell still lingered in the air.

     "I'd like you to head up a revenge attack, Penny. I believe such a
project will put your skills to *good* use," LaCroix said.

     "I'd be honored to," Penny accepted. "I look forward to the challenge."

     "Excellent. Now...let us talk about...oatmeal."

     Penny became wary. "Excuse me?"

     "Pina coladas and walks in the rain..."

     "Are you talking about another raid?" Penny asked innocently, her
expression subtly implying that LaCroix's behavior was inexplicably strange.

      "Yes," LaCroix hissed, his eyes glowing golden. "Another attack...one
which the station's video cameras captured *you* committing."

      "I can explain that - the Dark Perks blackmailed me!" Penny argued.
"They forced me to do it!"

     "Really?" LaCroix said, his hands behind his back.

     Penny nodded confidently. "I didn't have a choice in the matter."

     "That may be...but if you are going to do the crime, you had better not
get caught unless you want to pay a price. Don't worry. I'll send someone to
retrieve you in a few hours."

     In a flash, LaCroix seized the Dark Maestro's hands. Before she could
blink, Penny found herself sinking into something warm and mushy. Her arms
were stretched upward, and there were clicking sounds. Finally catching
sight of her surroundings, Penny saw that she was in the bathroom,
handcuffed to the fixtures of the bathtub. Looking down, she found herself
submerged up to her chin, but the tub wasn't full of water.

     LaCroix leaned down, scooping up a lump on his finger. "Yes, you've
guessed right, Dark Maestro." The vampire dabbed the tip of Penny's nose
with the goop. "It *is* oatmeal."

Fin for now...

"Late Entrys Can Be Entertaining"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Friday night/Saturday morning.
Where:  tunnels and Raven


"Patsum?  We have a problem."

Caren and Patt had been waiting in silence for the return of
Tser and Jesse.   Secretly, Patt had given up hope of seeing her
friends again, suspecting that LaCroix had slapped them in
dungeon cells for being buddies with the Third Cousin, or
pilfering CERK food, or both, or none of the above.  Perhaps
Jess and Tser were just romping around the station, playing
with the controls and collecting pink ratsie pets.  Who knew?

Patt looked over at the other Louisianan.  From Caren's pinched
expression, Patt surmised that waiting was no longer an option.

"I'll leave them a note," Patt said, pointing her can of spray
toward the wall.  She quickly rendered a Micky Mouse 
caricature holding its nose with a hand pointing upward.
"Come on, Cae.  Let's move out and find a verticle tunnel."

The two addicts began walking back down the section they'd
recently passed through, remembering a juncture some meters
back.  Hopefully, one of the other passages leading off the
juncture would take them into the sewers proper, and one of
the wall ladders which lead to the manholes above.

Without the glowing rat, going was slowed.    Patt and Caren
carefully felt their way along the dirt walls, touching things
which felt odd in the darkness.  They arrived at the juncture
and turned left, their progress slowed further by now complete
unfamiliarity with their surroundings.

The tunnel sloped abruptly, and Caren yelped as her head
impacted with the ceiling.

"Duck." Caren advised, rubbing her bruised forehead.

"Goose."  Patt loved word games, especially when they took her
mind off of other stuff and/or were used to keep her awake on
long road trips.

"Do it and die."

"Live and let live."

"Shut up."

"Closed off."



They stooped and continued walking, noting that the smell was
changing.  Here, the air was foul, stagnant.  It was even worse
when they stepped into nothingness.

"AAAHHHHH!" Caren plummeted downward, and Patt,
unable to stop, toppled after her.

*Thud*   *Thud*  "OOMFFF!"


"Where are we?"

"Probably a sink hole in one of the main sewer lines," Patt said,
feeling around.  The area felt sodden and sticky.  Little scuffling
noises without a friendly glow were present.

The addicts stood up, feeling for the wall of the cavern.  In a
moment, Caren cried in exultation.   "Found it!"

Indeed, Caren had located an iron ladder bolted to the side of
the chamber.  In a moment, both women were scrambling up
the rungs.  Soon, fresh air was replacing the rancid aroma of

*Clunk*  "Ouch!"

Caren stopped and waited for Patt to begin moving again.  The
Third Cousin reached up and pushed at the metal covering, but
it was reluctant to give.  Carefully, Caren climbed further up
the ladder, adding her strength to the effort, but to no avail.

"What now?" Caren panted.  She could see lights through the
manhole cover and hear the noises of a world she desperately
(and I mean *desperately*) wanted to reenter.

"Hello?"  A familiar voice spoke from above.

"Hello?  Jesse?  Is that you?" Patt cried upward.  No human
voice answered, only some scraping of metal and, suddenly,
night was above them rather than the cover.

Patt and Caren scrambled out of the sewer access and the
general hugging began.  Then the scolding, and more hugging
and then Caren announcing that if anyone hugged her again,
they'd be sorry.  Not because she didn't love them, but because
of the situation which had prompted the need for this crawl out
in the first place.

A quick scan of the neighborhood indicated a lack of available
facilities.  All the buildings were dark, save one.

The Raven.

In fact, the infamous Toronto landmark was a hubbub of
activity.  Automobiles of class, vehicles of oddity and several
motorcycles were parked within walking distance of the
nightclub, indicating some sort of party was going on.  As the
addicts watched, several Knighties drove up and entered the

"This doesn't look like a really safe situation to me," Patt said.

"Doesn't matter," Caren replied, heading across the street
toward Raven.  "This is a have-to situation."

"Okay . . . but be careful," Patt called out.

Caren turned, waved and disappeared into the club.


Inside, the music was loud, as usual, and the activity was of
feverish pitch.  Most factions seemed to have representatives
present.  As a newbie, Caren knew few of them and, likewise,
few of them knew her.  The dark-haired Louisianan glided as
unobtrusively as she could around the perimeter of the crowd,
locating the ladies room as quickly as she could.

Inside the pristine powder room, Caren refreshed herself and
then prepared to leave.  As she did, a tall woman entered.  The
woman was elegantly dressed and, upon seeing Caren's tunnel
attire, sniffed slightly.

Caren offered the woman a radiant smile and said, "Retro
grunge.  Don't worry, dear, you'll catch up with the latest
trends soon enough."

"Hmmppff," the woman replied, carefully patting her blonde
hair into place and flexing her lips to check for streaks.  Caren
turned to leave, but stopped when the woman spoke.  "Don't
forget your bag, dear."

Caren turned.  The woman inclined her head toward a beige
purse which had been left on the counter.

"It's not mine," Caren replied, heading toward the door.

"But it has to be," the tall woman said smugly.  "No one else is
doing Retro grunge tonight."

Before Caren could reply, the woman whisked from the room
to rejoin the party.  Caren started to leave too, but the thought
of leaving the bag for someone to find and pilfer with went
against her good will sensibilities.  So Caren picked up the bag,
planning to take it to the Lost and Found desk.

Then, she realized that she could simply find the owner and
return it herself, and know for sure that no one would later
associate her with possible purse theft, should the blonde have
a good memory.

So, Caren looked inside the bag, found the owner's wallet and
discovered that the owner of the purse was Detective Tracy

Caren tried to return the purse, only to be stopped by several
opposing faction members who didn't want Caren anywhere
near Tracy Vetter.    Mortified and hurt that her good-deed had
been misinterpreted as a possible prelude to attack, Caren
headed for Lost and Found again.  Then, a thought occurred.  If
she was to be blamed for misdeed, she might as well

Caren, eyes glowing fiendishly, slipped into Janette's office and
accessed her personal internet account with the vampire's
system.   She quickly located the web site she sought and
pressed the 'print' button.  The pop-up screen inquired 'all?'
and Caren pushed [yes].

Then she sat back to wait as page after page began printing.


"How long has she been gone?" Patt asked for the tenth time.
For the tenth time, Tser and Jesse shrugged.  "Shouldn't she
have been back by now?"  Shrugs and muttered words of
different time spans involved for different people.

"You two stay here," Patt said, heading, against her best
judgement, for the Raven.  "I'll go check on her."


Patt, of course, recognized many of the people within.  Since
she didn't want those people to see her, she kept in the
shadows as much as possible and worked her way toward the
ladies room.

"Ahem."  Patt turned and found herself face to face with former
Cousinly leader, Celeste.  At seeing the woman, Patt broke into
a smile.

Celeste didn't smile so quickly.  "What are you up to?"

Once a Cousinly leader . . .

"Nothing." Patt replied, crestfallen.

"No odd attachments this time around?"  Patt shook her head,
not wishing to discuss Spark.

"No food fights or mustard packs?"  Patt continued shaking her

"No bar fights?"  Patt tried to stifle a grin, but it came through

"Well, that's a relief," Celeste smiled.  "I was beginning to think
you had bored out on us."  The East Coast woman's accent
always tickled Patt, so the Third Cousin continued to smile.
"I'd love to stay and chat, but I have to find a lost McLisa.  You
haven't seen her anywhere, have you?"  Celeste was obviously
concerned and Patt hated to respond negatively.  "Oh, well.
Keep your eyes open and signal to me if you do."  The Step-
Cousine moved away, whispering "kitty, kitty."

That's when Patt sighted Laura.


The printer died as it spit out the last of a full ream of paper.
Caren quickly slipped the stack into Tracy's bag and headed
toward the Raven's entrance.  That's when Patt caught her arm.

"Where have you been and what took you so long?" Patt
scolded in a low voice.

Caren responded with a grin.  "Doing a good deed.  I have to
give this purse to Lost and Found and then I'll be right with

As Caren turned, there was a general activity at the door, a
number of yelps, quite a few gasps and other sounds covering
the emotions from fear to rejoicing.  Patt looked over a few
heads by standing on a chair, and almost broke her neck trying
to get down again.

GHP Laurie had arrived at CERK.

"Ack!  She's escaped," Patt dropped from the chair and grabbed
a started Caren.  "Forget the purse.  We have to get the heck out
of here before War 10 starts."

Caren dropped the purse on the desk of a Ravenette, who
looked at the bag in distaste and waved to a waiter to have it
removed.   The purse finally found its way back into Tracy
Vetter's possession.

In the meantime, Patt and Caren were trying to remove
themselves.  The front exit was blocked by the GHP's arrival, so
the back exit seemed the best bet.  Problem was, too many
noticing eyes along the escape route.

Enter Step-Cousin Celeste, still searching for the wayward
McLisa.  Patt clasped the startled woman's hand, eyes pleading.
"Cover my butt."

"Excuse me," Celeste looked down, afraid.

"Literally--cover my butt."  Pulling Caren along, Patt stooped
and shielded herself in the fold's of the Step-Cousine's skirt
and, walking on a parallel course with Celeste, Patt and Caren
made their escape, virtually unobserved.



Title: It's Nae Toga Party
Time: during the party at the Raven, i.e. sometime between 11PM
Friday and 2AM Saturday (beacuse we're fashionably late )
Place: The Shrine, The Raven
Written by Kusine, with help from many people, especially Glennis
Beta-read by Glennis, Wayne, and Mary
Everyone used with permission: Thanks!

Kusine checked herself one last time in the mirror.  Deep purple
dress with silver glitter along the bottom: check.  Hair
gracefully swept up and held with antique ebony sticks: check.
Knee-high black leather boots with thick two-inch heels: check.  A
light dusting of make-up: check.  Silver-and-garnet earrings and
necklace: check.  No panty-lines: check.  Dress was *not* tucked
up anywhere inappropriately: check.  Money, passport, car keys:
check, check, and check.

She was ready to go.  Grabbing her black leather backpack from the
bed, she left her sleeping chamber and locked the door.  Striding
down the hall with confidence that came of believing that she
looked darned good, Kusine arrived at Glennis' door just as it

Glennis looked equally as stunning: black silk trousers, a silk
shirt the same deep blue as her eyes, gold jewelry, and
non-sensible shoes of which the Scribe would very likely approve.
Her curly blonde hair, however, was still as tousled as ever.

"You look great," Kusine told her friend, "But aren't you going to
comb your hair?"

"It *is* combed," Glennis replied, a nasty tone in her voice.
"Why do you have chopsticks on your head?"

"Point taken," Kusine said, and backed away as Glennis closed and
locked her door.  "I'm the pot, you're the kettle.  We really
shouldn't be discussing colors."

Glennis stared briefly at the other addict, then shrugged and
headed down the hall for the main room.  Kusine, after a confused
moment, followed.  Glennis stopped in the middle of the room and
looked around.

"We're ready to go party at the Raven!" she announced.  "Who wants
a ride?"

Beth jumped up from her spot on a divan where she had been gazing
raptly at a Nunkies tapestry.  Her dark blue velvet dress with
dress with a forest green harmonized nicely with the colors of the
tapestry with which she had been entranced.

"Me!" she declared.

Sherry poked her head around a pillar.

"Me, too!" she said, all suave-looking in a black tailored
pants-suit with a peach satin blouse.

There was the sound of skittering, then Sukh suddenly rounded the
corner from the sleeping chambers.  Her long black dress trailed
behind her as she slid across the tiled floor on her stiletto
heels.  //She would fit right in with the Ravenettes, if it were
only a matter of wardrobe... // Kusine thought.  //Maybe she could
infiltrate and spy...//

"Am I too late?" she asked, finally sliding to a stop.

"For joining the Ravenettes, yes," Glennis said.  "But not for a
ride to the bash."

"All right," Kusine said, dangling her car keys, "Let's saddle up!"

They arrived at their destination with a minimum of fuss.  Glennis
and Sherry argued over who got the front seat, but Beth solved the
argument by jumping in while they weren't paying attention.  The
other three piled in the back after a bit of grumbling, and they
were off.  They even found a parking spot close by, checking very
carefully that they were allowed to park there (if Schanke had
gotten a ticket, and he was a cop, there was no way they

The Raven was crowded when they walked in, but they managed to
find a booth against the back wall.  Sukh declared it the ideal
location: central to the important places: the bar, the dance
floor, and the restrooms.  It was, for that same reason, an ideal
place to people-watch.  Glennis scooted to the back of the round
booth, and Sherry and Beth slid in on either side of her.  Sukh
took one look at the dance floor and was off to dance, only
pausing to give a drink order.  Kusine collected the other orders
and pushed through the crowd to the bar.

"Bloody Mary, peach schnapps on ice, an ameretto sour, a peach
brandy, and a Diet Coke," Kusine told the bartender.

She turned her back to the bar and looked around, sighting for
anyone she recognized.  Down at one end of the bar, she saw
someone in an atrocious suit, like something out of "Saturday
Night Fever."  The man turned around, and Kusine recognized Louis
Cabon, the maitre de of the Jeweled Peach.  Snickering under her
breath, Kusine paid the bartender (she also realized, at the same
time, that she had forgotten to collect money from the other
addicts to pay for the five drinks; she was now bereft of cash).

She headed back to the table, very carefully carrying the drinks.
Suddenly, she was nudged from behind and Glennis' Bloody Mary went
flying.  Watching as if in slow motion, Kusine saw the glass twist
through the air and fall, its contents splashing onto the combat
boots of a tall, blonde young woman.

"Oh, I'm so--!" Kusine began, then stopped as the woman turned
around and she recognized Mary, the godmother of the Dark Perks.
Kusine grinned.  "Oops."

"'Oops'?!" the irate DP leader seethed.  "No apologies for your
idiotic clumsiness?!  Just 'oops'?!"

"Well..." Kusine said, considering, "I'm sorry I got it on your
*shoes*.  Had I done it on purpose, I would have aimed a bit

Mary narrowed her eyes and took a menacing step toward her.
Kusine decided that, since the woman was nearly a foot taller, as
well as surrounded by her Thugs, discretion was the better part of
valor; she slipped between two nearby, conviently bulky people and
disappeared into the crowd.

"Hi," she said, returning to the table and passing out the drinks.
 "I had a bit of an accident with your drink, Glennis, and I
didn't have enough money to get another."

"I'll go get you one," Sherry volunteered, then drained her drink
in one long gulp.

"Oh, dear," Beth said.  "This is going to be a *long* party, Isn't

They all grinned at each other. Kusine reached into her bag and
passed out the chocolate Nunkies pops.  *Now* the party could begin.


cerk@rocketmail.com -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

DP/NA: Reunion
By: Patt Elmore (with Laura Griffin)
Time: Friday night at the Raven

Patt wasn't exactly sure how to approach the woman standing
across the room.  Wasn't sure how the reception would be, if
indeed a greeting would be rendered.

Laura looked up at that moment, taking a quick scan of the
room.  She glanced toward the wall and locked eyes with the
mature addict.

"Just passing through," Patt said, prepared to just keep moving
in her search for Caren.  As she did, Laura coughed.  Patt
turned, now face to face with the reddish blonde Californian.

"How have things been, Patt?" Laura said casually.  "Enjoying
the War so far?"

Patt had to chuckle.  "Just a walk in the woods, Laura.  The
deep, dark woods."

"So," Laura said, lifting her club soda to her lips, her eyes
twinkling.  "Swung any good beer bottles this trip?"

"Only at some wayward Vaqueras," Patt grinned back.

"Have time to share a drink at the bar, for old time's sake?"

 Cautious, Patt nodded and took an adjoining seat at the bar.
When the attendant walked up, Laura spoke before Patt could
order.  "Beer--longneck.  And don't make it lite."  The DP
turned and grinned at her former drinking companion.  "My

Patt leaned back, amused.  "You've got a good memory."

"Yup," Laura said reflectively.  "An excellent one."

This caused the conversation to lapse into a period of silence
while the two former faction mates assessed how the War had
taken it's tole on the other.  To Patt, Laura looked tired.  The
blonde woman who had recently changed her major affiliation
from Nunkies Addict to Dark Perkiness still had a manner of
impish shadow, but it did not seem lethal at the moment.

To Laura, Patt appeared war weary and perhaps a bit frazzled...not
unlike the last time they'd spent time together belly up to a bar!

Neither of them spoke as a second round was served, both
reluctant to broach the subject which weighed heaviest on their
minds.   Instead, light chatter, good memories and the arts
seemed better topics to stay on.

"So, how is John-Travis?"  Patt knew that discussing her son
was one of Laura's favorite pasttimes.

At the mention of his name, Laura *perked* up immediately.
"He's great!  He's been working hard at the acting thing and just won
an award for Best Performance at his high school.  He's learning the
harmonica and playing the blues! He made the trip to Toronto, of
course. When he found out about the war, he wasn't about to miss a
chance to see Tracy again.  He's a bonafied DP these days.  He's
somewhere around here, probably flirting with Tracy or some other
young thing!"

"So how are Barney and Fred?"  Laura smiled, for she knew she
had mentioned the Third Cousin's favorite subject.
Encouraged, Patt would talk about her doggy *children* for

"The boys?"  Patt grinned widely, using facial muscles it
seemed she hadn't used in weeks.  "I suspect they're great.
Barney is twelve years old--can you believe it?  Fat, sassy and
pretty much his Granny's dog now.  Fred will be five in August,
is still active in agility and is so feisty that Mom calls him
'Fireball.'"   Patt's expression faded just a bit.  "I miss them."

"You didn't bring them with you to the War?" Laura asked,
surprised a little.

"Not enough room in the truck," Patt said, her tone gloomy.

Laura wanted to pursue the conversation, but Patt's manner
indicated it would be a fruitless effort.

The talk slowed again, each woman accepting fresh drinks and
taking full measures of them.   As they drank, they surveyed
the room, commenting on the people in attendance and non-
secret War activities so far.

"It's not going to be a secret long, if it still is, but some of our
newbies got us involved with the mercenaries," Patt offered,
noting several mercs sitting at a table across the room.  "I guess
we'll have to shore up the Shrine for an attack in the near

"I know what you mean," Laura said, taking a long drink. "And I would
have to agree with you that you're right about preparing for attack.
You just never know what's going to happen next.  Just yesterday, my
pink Caddy was assaulted with..." Laura practically choked here,
"frogs.  The offenders are fortunate that they used fake ones. But
then...you probably know all about the attack!" She looked at the
mature addict with a raised eyebrow and a bit of a smirk.

Patt laughed.  "There have been some funny times, haven't
there?  I guess my favorite was when Caren was chasing
Vachon around the church barnyard with a stray Canadian
gander.  She was bound and determined she was going to
*goose* the guy.  Which reminds me -- I better make sure those
camels are returned, or the Vaqs will coming looking for them.

"Well, I had to rescue one of our guys from the Nick and Nat Packers.
Had help from some of the FoDs, too.  Emily Weiss, the famous writer,
picketed the theater.  When Tracy came to arrest her, we got inside
and accomplished the rescue.  And then....well... I probably shouldn't
mention this, but I don't suppose you've noticed the improvement to
the sign at the radio station...?"

"That was 'you?*" Patt said with grudging admiration.

"And some of my friends," Laura sipped her bubbly drink and winked.

"That was a good stunt, old buddy," Patt said admiringly.
"Even the Cousins kind of liked it."

"Speaking of Cousins," Laura smoothly segued into the subject
she really wanted to talk about.  "How is Uncle?"

Patt had been expecting the question, though it was a topic she
hadn't been looking forward to.  Especially, considering her last
encounter with the General.

The Third Cousin shrugged.  "LaCroix is LaCroix.  Confident,
secure, powerful, all-knowing, all-seeing, omnipotent, pain-in-
the-ass LaCroix."

"Oh my...Lucius." Laura exhaled longingly.  She turned to Patt, her
eyes sad.  "I do miss him," she said ruefully.  "Like I miss my

"You still consider us friends?"  Patt was curious.

"Of course," Laura said, finishing her drink and clinking the
bottle down on the bar counter.  "I feel very affectionate toward
all my old addict buddies.  After all, dear.  Attack is just
another form of affection."


"Tunnel Vision"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Saturday from wee hours until Sunday pre-dawn
Where:  Tunnels of Toronto and beyond


Patt and Caren hot-footed it down the alley and cut across the
street to where Tser and Jesse stood waiting.

"Well," Tser smiled.  "You were quicker than usual this time.
Mission accomplished?"  The Oregonian looked toward Caren.

The dark-haired woman nodded happily.  "A-okay!"

"Guys, I hate to break up the reunion chatter, but I suggest we
get our bodies back down in the tunnels," Patt said, heading for
the exposed manhole.  "Laurie McMerc has escaped."

"EKKKKK!" was the general sentiments of the group members.
Jesse looked especially pale.

"What's the matter, Jess?" Caren asked with concern, placing an
arm around the teen's shoulders.  Caren's maternal instinct was
kicking in.   "Are you okay?"

Jesse managed a nod.  "Yea, but I was in the Shrine during the
torturing.  I might be in hot water by proximity to the

"Heck," Patt snorted.  "I was in on hauling her bootie to CERK
for a trip through virtual HawHades.  Don't worry about it,
Jess.  She has bigger fish to fry before she starts worrying about
the guppies."

These sentiments appeared to have little comforting affect on
the young addict.  She paused at the manhole entrance, casting
worried eyes back toward the Raven.  That's when she locked
eyes, for just a moment, with the young man standing outside
the club.

John-Travis, heir to the house of Griffin and sworn defender of
Tracy Vetter, could just stare at the pale beauty standing in the
alley directly across the street from him.  Her eyes were what
caught him though.  They were haunted, pained.  John-Travis'
heart immediately caught and held for just a moment, before
returning to its staccato beat.

"Who is that girl?" he whispered to no one.

For even the girl was now gone.  But, far from forgotten.

The four addicts gingerly climbed back down the metal ladder,
into the bowels of the Toronto sewer system.  Again, they were
plunged into darkness.

"What about the glowing rat?" Patt asked.

"Rosie?" Jesse asked, blinking innocently.  "We let her go.  She
missed her ratsie friends."

"Ahhhhhh," the others chorused, understanding.

"Yeah," Jess continued.  "She was afraid her babies might get
eaten by a cat."

Caren, Patt and Tser nodded, even though they couldn't see
their identical gestures in the dark.  "You did the right thing,
Jess.  You are a good person," Caren offered.

The situation in the sewer intersection was much as Patt and
Caren remembered it.  Large, round, dark, damp, stagnant.
The passageway which they knew would lead them back to the
Shrine was some twenty feet above them, and had no ladder
offering access.

"Was anyone here a cheerleader?" Patt said, squinting upward.
Three heads shook negatively.   "Well, then we'll have to
improvise.  I'll be the base and someone climb on my shoulders
and see if they can reach the junction up there."

None of the women moved.  None of them, even standing on
top of Patt, reached twenty feet.

"Why don't we check out another tunnel?" Tser suggested,
looking at one of three other passageways leading off the
circular chamber.  They were man-made tunnels, rendered of
brick and mortar.

"Which one?" Caren asked.

After a few minutes of discussion, Patt decided to choose

"Einnee, meinee, mighty, mouse; I find myself in a Ratpacker
house.  If I want to head on home; which of these should I now

The party headed down the middle tunnel.

"Yuck," Caren exclaimed as her foot sank into yet another
muck-filled crack.  "How long are we going to stay down here
and put up with this?"

"Errrr," Well I'm in my mid-forties."  Patt began some mental
calculations.  "The normal life span in my family is about
eighty.  How does thirty-five years strike you?"

Patt found herself pelted with unidentifiable muck and debris
thrown from three different directions.  It was at this point that
the party decided to go topside.

At the first available vertical passageway, the addicts climbed
upward again.

They were greeted by the mid-afternoon Saturday sunlight of
downtown Toronto.   Caren popped up first, looked around
and exhaled sharply.

"What?" Tser called up with concern.  "Mercs?  Dark Perks?
Nick and Natters?"

"Worse!" Caren cried.  "Actors!"  The other addicts scrambled
upward to look and, sure enough, what appeared to be a movie
crew was milling outside in the street.  The addicts were
preparing to descend back into the tunnel, when Caren caught
sight of a dressing trailer parked nearby.  The door held the
requisite star, with the initials M. G. under the symbol.

Caren quickly swung her face around, scanning the crowd.  As
if Moses had ordered it, the assembly parted and Caren saw
him.  The famous down-under Thespian who haunted her non-
Nunkies dreams.

"They must be shooting Deadly Armaments X," Jesse said
excitedly, for she had recognized the actor, too.  "Looks like he's
directing this feature."

Tser and Patt knew a pending meltdown when they saw one.
Nodding to each other, they each grabbed one of Caren's upper
arms.  "Come on Cae," Patt said softly.  "It's time to go."

"I want him," Caren said, hazel-green eyes glittering.

"I know, hon, but now is not the time and place."  Patt tugged,
but Caren was steadfast.

The actor/director appeared to be arguing with a smaller, bald
man.  There was much paper shaking and pointing at another
trailer which was dominated by frilly curtains.  At one point,
the man's voice rose enough to recognize several words
including "don't care" "primadonna" and  "schedule."

"Come on, Caren.  Time to hit the bricks."

>From across the lot, the man's exasperated face rose, looking in
the direction of the four addicts.  Caren strained slightly

"Catch her, she's gonna faint!" Tser cried.

"Nahhh," Patt corrected.  "She's gonna bolt!"

Caren's eyes met his.  Crystal blue breaking against foam green.
Doves wept.

"Her," he shouted, pointing at Caren.  "I want her.  She's perfect
for the part."

Caren placed a hand to her chest, incredulous.  "Me?" she

"You!" the man shouted again.  "I want you!"

Caren shook free of their grasp, yelling back over her shoulder,
"I'll meet you back at the Shrine!  Maybe!!"

The last the addicts saw of her, she was whisked into the
makeup trailer.

The doves flew away.

The three remaining addict members of the great cementing
expedition headed back down into the tunnels.  The light hurt
their eyes and they had more plotlines to explore.

At one point, the tunnel deepened, making walking in the
actual pipeline impossible.  Swimming was probably possible,
but would have proved nauseating.  The addicts instead chose
to inch along the narrow ledge which ran across the top half of
the main passageway.

"I'm tired.  Can we rest a minute?" Jesse's question reflected the
way they all felt.  They stopped and sat down on the ledge.
Tser found some pebbles and began tossing them into the water

"What's the matter, Jess?" Patt looked at the younger woman.
Except for that moment when she'd recognized the actor, Jesse
had been unusually silent.  Especially for a teen.

"I'm a haunted soul," Jess said quietly.

"Ahhhhh," Patt nodded understandingly.   "Don't worry.
Laurie's bark is usually bigger than her bite."

"Oh, I'm not worried about the Poobah's teeth," Jess assured the
mature addict.  "It is more the love bug that I'm thinking of."

"You're considering buying a Volkswagon ?"  Tser
wrinkled her nose.  "I would have thought you'd want
something big enough to haul a horse trailer."

"Like a truck," Patt said proudly.  Then she sighed, "Though I
don't imagine I'll ever see mine again."

"No, no, no." Jesse shook her head, clearing it of thoughts of
tires, fenders and frogs.  "I saw a young man tonight.  Blonde
hair, strange eyes, weird outfit.  He didn't move, didn't
speak . . . but his heart beckoned to me, and mine answered

The three addicts sighed simultaneously.

"The problem is," Jess continued.  "He was wearing dark pink."

Three addicts shuddered.  Words like hopeless, poor child and
stupid were bandied about abit.

"We have to help Jesse get her mind off of this problem," Tser
whispered to Patt.

"What do you suggest?" Patt whispered back.

"ROARRRRRRR," something responded from deep within the

"That would do it," Tser said, looking suspiciously in the
direction the loud growl had emitted from.

"Doesn't sound like no pink rat to me," Patt observed.  "Tser,
you want to go check that critter out?"  The Oregon addict
wisely shook her head.

"ROARRRRRRRRRR!!" it roared again.

"Well," Patt drawled.  "Do we go back the way we came, or
push onward into the unknown?"  The addicts fell into
contemplation for a moment.

A massive head made the decision for them.  In the fleck of a
dust mote entering an eye, the beast was within the chamber
the women occupied, taking up all available space.  The addicts
jumped to their feet, their bodies pressed to the wall.

The dragon, for it was indeed a mythical beast born of ye olden
superstitions, reared its head and shot fire at the women.

"Where's a marshmallow when you need one?" Patt hollered,
jumping down into the water (well, it wasn't exactly water, but
to really describe it would be, well . . .) and going under just as
the flames licked across her back.

"Just like Patt's 'Lost Knight!'" Jesse cried in glee.  "Tser, you
take the LaCroix part and I'll play Nick."

"That's awfully generous of you, Jesse."  Tser seemed delighted
at first, then turned and gave the addict a suspicious look.
"Why are you giving me the LaCroix part?"

"Because Nick gets to use the sword!" Jesse cried, producing her
fencing foil from one of those mysterious places where swords
are hidden.  (Ask Laurie--she knows all about them.)

"Oh, okay."  Without further comment, Tser leaped onto the
Dragon's back and grasped hold of his neck ridges.  The beast
bucked and snarled and rolled and belched and . . . well you
get the point . . . until he finally exposed his chest to Jesse.
With a cry of triumph, Jesse drove her epee into the creature's
heart.  He dropped like a stone.

"Poor nameless beast," Tser mourned, climbing off the dragon's

"Don't worry, Tser," Jesse said encouragingly.  "He's not dead.
He's already booked as an extra in an upcoming Sword and
Sorcery movie.  This was just a guest appearance.  He'll be up
and running before we're out of this scene."  The teenager
looked down at the air bubble popping to the water's surface.
"I'm more worried about Patt.  She's not going to smell very
good you know."

Tser nodded and the addicts watched as Patt bobbed to the
surface.  They each grasped one of the Louisianan's upheld
hands and dragged the woman back onto the ledge.  Then, they
clamped their noses and headed back down the trail.

At the first junction available, they went to the surface again.
This time, they ignored further adventure for the comforts of a
Toronto Metro cab and a quick drive back to the Shrine.

Stopping long enough to pick up Caren.  They found the dark-
haired woman walking toward her Canadian home, a
mysteriously stupid grin dominating her pretty face.



"A Need for Closure"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Thursday night/Friday morning; follows ""Betrayal and Retribution"
Where:  The Shrine of Nunkies and beyond


Patt was in her quarters at the Shrine, still in shock from her
encounter with the ancient vampire, Lucien LaCroix, when
Jules found her.

The High Priestess knocked softly, and when no one answered,
opened the door and slipped into the room.  Patt sat
cross-legged on the bed, staring vacantly at the far wall.  Caren
was sitting on the end of the bed, near her friend.

"She's been like this since she got back," Caren said, turning
concerned eyes toward the HP.   "She hasn't spoken, hasn't
moved, and her clothing is torn.  I think she was assaulted."

"I know what happened, and your concern is merited, Caren,"
Jules said quietly.  "Leave, and let me talk with her."

Reluctantly, Caren turned to go, but as she walked by, Jules
caught the Louisianan's arm and stopped her.  "Don't stray far,

With Caren out of the room, Jules moved to stand squarely in
front of Patt.  Slowly, the Third Cousin appeared to take notice
of the HP, and lifted her head until their eyes met.

"You've irritated me royally." Jules voice was almost inaudible,
which alterted Patt to the fact that the High Priestess was very
angry.  The continued to speak softly, the crux of her soliloquy
centering around much of the same topics that the mature
addict had recently discussed with LaCroix, but with more
explicit wording including lack of trust, stupidity, deceit, etc.,
etc., etc.

"And," Jules finished, still running on full steam for at least
thirty minutes, "you screwed up the whole evening I had
planned with Nunkies.  After *dealing* with you, the last thing
he wanted to think about doing was, how did he put it?"   Jules
looked to the ceiling and tapped a finger thoughtfully against
her cheek.  "Oh, yes, 'playing pocket billiards with a Priestess
who cannot control her parish.'"

"Sorry," Patt said softly.

"Sorry?" Jules repeated the word incredulously.  "Sorry?"  Her
voice rose an octave.   "SORRY?!"

Then, even more scary, the Priestess' voice dropped to a terrible

"You just think that you're sorry."

Patt shivered.  "Grout for life?"

"Too merciful," Jules replied.  "I'm not Nunkies, remember?"

Patt shuddered, then waited.

"Get up, get dressed and come downstairs."  Jules rose from the
bed and marched regally toward the exit.  "I *will* be waiting."

Ten minutes later, Patt joined Jules in the parlor.  Heather was
there also, as was an unhappy looking Caren and a curious

"Why didn't you tell me that she found out?" Caren said
accusingly.  "She blames me for upsetting a pool game, or

"Sorry, Cae.  Didn't you show her the letter of exoneration?"

"Yes, but the look she gave me set fire to the paper.  It was
ashes before I had time to give it to her."

"Ladies, I hate to interrupt your little conversation, but this is
not a social visit," Jules said, her voice firm.  "I have a mission
for you."

"Uhhhhh," Patt and Caren groaned.

"We are under imminent attack by several factions due to the
kidnaping of the Grand High Poobah and other actions
perpetrated and responded to by the NA's.  In consulting our
security force . . ."

Caren nudged Patt.  "We have a security force?"

"The Not So Vestals," Patt replied.

Jules chose to ignore the women.  " . . . it has been determined
that our most vulnerable point of entry is through the
Ratpacker tunnels which lead into the Shrine.  I want them
closed off."

The assembled addicts considered this.  It didn't sound too bad.

"I was planning to just cement all entrances at the Shrine, but
my security staff has pointed out that we may be able to put the
tunnels to our advantage, as needed, if we choose to close off
only those tunnels which lead to and from other factions'

The assembled addicts groaned.  The task was looking harder.

"So," Jules said, overlooking their interruption, "I want you to
go into the tunnels and block every entrance that you think
might prove a threat to LaCroix and this Shrine.  I have selected
Heather as the leader of this expedition, due to her construction
experience and her previous trip within the tunnels, albeit its
lack of success."

The High Priestess turned to Jesse.  "Jesse, you're young,
nimble and small.  You'll be point checking those tight places
that the others cannot get into."

"And you two."   Jules turned toward Caren and Patt, eyes hard
as stone.  "We can only hope that you get lost and end up in
Istanbul, or something like that."

"She knows about the camels, too?"  Caren shot a harsh look at

"LISTEN TO ME!!"  Jules raged, then quieted when she noticed
the others staring at her.  She smoothed her hair and
straightened, striking her usual regal pose.  "Go and
block the tunnels; work fast, work efficiently.  Do your best to
guard your Shrine and your fellow Nunkies Addicts.  We're
counting on you."

The addicts saluted as Jules spun on her heal and left the

"Okay," Heather turned to address the troops after the HP had
departed.  "Here's the drill.  I've assembled backpacks for
everyone.  We have flashlights, headlamps, extra batteries,
mortar, water containers, trowels, bricks and yellow spray
paint in each one of them.  If one of us gets lost, caught or
disposed of, the others can continue the mission.  Any

"What's the yellow paint for?"  Patt asked, inspecting her

"To paint directional signs on the wall," Heather said proudly.
"Rat's donna liken to paint, I suspect, like they do to crumbs.
Now, if there be no more questions, I suggest we head out.
Time be awastin."

The troops followed Heather into the kitchen and, one by one,
dropped through the main Ratpacker tunnel entrance the
original one which Libby had dug several months prior.  Once
inside, those who had not been on the first expedition were
amazed by the magnitude of the task
ahead of them.

"Darn," Patt breathed in awe.  "This is a lot bigger than I
remembered it being when I chased Biff down here."

"That it is," Heather nodded, heading off.  "And, the Packers
have since accessed the main sewer system of Toronto, enlargin
this little maze to cover the whole of the city."

"Wow!" Jesse was a bit awed.  "You mean we can go
*anywhere* in Toronto?"

"Aye," Heather said.  "And, conceivably, even beyond.  If the
Packers tapped into the pipeline, we could even have a trail to

"Oh."  The addicts didn't know whether to be impressed or

"So, Heather."  The group had arrived at the first juncture.
"Which way do we go?"

MacHeather looked down and noted the pineapple shaped
puddle.  She moved over, made a yellow "X" on the wall and
said authoritatively, "This way."


Three hours later, the group was staring at a big yellow "X" at a
juncture near an evaporating  pineapple shaped crater.

"I have a feeling that Texas is safe," Patt leaned over and
whispered to Caren.  Jesse overheard and began tittering.

Heather looked at the group harshly.  "We need reinforcements.
 Wait here."

In a few moments, the MacCousin returned with Tser.

"Hi, Tser," Patt greeted her friend warmly.  "You get drafted,
too?"  The black clad woman nodded.

"I've asked Tser to come along because of her familiarity with
the dark side of things," Heather explained.  "For most of us, all
dark places look pretty much the same.  Tser is an expert in
subtle shades."

"And, it beats waiting around for a deserted, dark alley
scenario, I suppose."  The buzz-cut addict grinned wryly.

"Okay, enough with the idle chit chat."  Heather said,
straightening her knapsack and heading out.  "Let's go wall up
some exits."


If the success of a mission can be judged by the exuberance of
its participants, then Operation MacBrick was an achievement
beyond comparison.  All through the wee hours of Friday
morning the addicts worked tirelessly, inspecting curious
passageways and cementing exits which led to either
unidentified or identified-as-dangerous sources.  Early in the
mission, the group discovered a small entrance which Jesse had
to stoop and crawl into.  She quicky slithered back, her face
ashen, reporting that she'd heard music from deep within the

"What did it sound like?" Caren asked.

"Well, it went kind of like, 'I Love You, You Love Me . . ."  Jesse
gave an involuntary shudder.

"Brick it!" MacHeather ordered.  The addicts quickly complied.

The addicts ventured further into the depths, noting the change
in the air.

"There isn't any poisonous gas down here, is there?" Patt asked

The MacLeader shrugged.  "Naut that I have knowledge of, but
a canary along would have been a plus factor."

"And risk killing a defenseless bird?"  Tser was horrified.

"If I'd known ahead of time that I'd be on this mission, I know
where we could have purloined a goose," Patt said dryly.
Behind her, Caren snickered and Jesse made a 'honking' noise.

The addicts continued on, despite the strange smells and
shadows which curled all around them.  As they continued to
investigate, more passages appeared in need of bricking than
did not.   Finally, it happened.

"Och!" Heather proclaimed, the disgust evident in her voice.  "I
was afraid of this.  We've run out of cement."

"We get to go home?" Jesse said happily.

"Nae, wee one," Heather shook her head.  "We've simply been
given orders to borrow what we need from Metro Public
Works.  Now, the four of you wait right here while I go aloft
and get a new supply."

And so Heather left the other addicts to wait.  And wait they
did -- for awhile.


"Food for Thought"
By Patt Elmore
When: Friday, following "A Need for Closure"
Where:  The tunnels of Toronto


Like good little, well-behaved addicts, they continued to wait.

For about fifteen minutes.

"What time is it?" Jesse asked.  Patt and Caren, who both never
wore watches, shrugged.

"I'm still on Oregon time," Tser smiled apologetically.

"Well, my stomach is on supper time," Jesse moped.  "Did
anyone think to bring food along with all these mining

General shrugging and shaking of heads.

"I knew I should have volunteered for Rutledge's tunnel
adventure," Jesse addressed the group sullenly.  "At least she
had tirim . . . tiru . . . heck, I can never spell that darn word
right.  Cookies!"

General lamentation and growling of stomachs.

Everyone looked in Patt's direction.

"What?" she demanded when she noticed all eyes on her.

"What are you planning to do now.  About feeding us?" Jesse
quizzed impatiently.

"I'm not gonna do anything," Patt replied, a bit miffed.  "I'm not
the leader in this arc, remember?  Talk to Heather about your

"Heather's not here, dear," Caren interjected, her voice sweet
with sarcasm.  "You sent her topside for cement, remember?"

"Did not," Patt retorted.

"Did so," the others shot back.

"Did not!"

"Then who did?"

Patt thought for a moment, wondering who might just have
story control at this point.  Then, she snapped her fingers.
"Vachon did it!  He's in my hard drive, you know.  Probably
did it to get back at Caren for "goosing" him with a fowl that
vacated the church in War 7.  (continuity fairies strike again,
but at least I read my e-mail)

"So, in essence, you're saying that Caren is the real reason we're
all sitting around down here, cold, wet, hungry and miserable,
right?"  Tser's question was thoughtful, 'cause that's just the
way Tser is.

"Yep," Patt nodded eagerly.  "Blame it on Cae!  She brought the
Wrath of the Slacker down on us."

"You *twit!*" Caren kicked out at Patt from her seated position,
grazing the other Louisianan's shin.   "I'll spam you if you don't

"Hmmmmmm, Spam ," Jesse murmured.  "I'm hungry
enough that mystery meat almost sounds palatable."

"YEWWWWW!!"  The addicts crowed in unison.

"This is getting bad," Patt said, rising from the damp ground,
but not without bringing some of it up with her.  "We need to
feed the kid.  Unfed teenagers tend to get vicious."

"Vicious . . . hehehehe . . . Vicious!" Jesse chortled, eyes glazing.

"So what do you think we should do?" Caren asked.  She'd also
gotten up and was lending a helping hand to Tser.

"Go find food," Patt said.

The addicts and addict stomachs mumbled in agreement.

"What about Heather?"  Tser asked.

"Heather can find her own food.  She's probably munching on
tir  . . . cookies as we speak."  Patt was already heading down a

"But shouldn't we at least leave her a note about where we've
gone?"  Caren insisted.

"If someone is using these tunnels besides us, then that
wouldn't be a very smart idea, would it?" Patt replied.

"What if we left a coded message?" Jesse suggested helpfully.
"One that would tell Heather what was going on, but no one
else would understand."

"Go for it, Li'l bit," Patt said with a grin.

Jesse quickly grabbed her can of yellow enamel and proceeded
to spray a smiley face circle.  Beside the face, she drew what
could arguably pass for an art deco spoon.

"Okay, that should take care of Heather," Patt announced.
"Now, troops, let's move out."

Under Patt misdirection, the four addicts moved deeper into
the deepest of the tunnels.  At times, space was so narrow that
Patt had to turn sideways and hold her breath.  At other times,
the tunnels slanted so low and all of the addicts had to crawl to
achieve the other side.

"My batteries are getting low," Caren complained, slapping the
plastic casing against her palm.

Patt seriously considered inserting an innuendo, but actually
controlled herself.  After all, there was a pool-shark child
present that knew how to use a sword.

"Do you have any idea where we are?" Tser called from the

"Not a clue," Patt said over her shoulder.  "Maybe Jesse has a
suggestion about these tunnels.  She is a minor after all."

"Only with an 'O,' Patt, only with an 'O,' the teen replied.  Then,
she broke into song.  "Hi O, Hi O, it's off to munch we go."

"Starvation does ugly things to a person, doesn't it?" Caren
whispered back to Tser, who was directly behind her.  The
Oregon addict nodded fervently.

"What's that?"  Up ahead a fiendish pink light was glowing.

"New Celtic cantina?" Caren wondered aloud.

"Nahhhh," Jesse, leader of the pack, had spotted the source.
"It's a rat.  A glowing pink rat."

The implication of yon light-ruby rodent was not lost to the
Third Cousin.  "If there be a pink rat in these tunnels, then that
means that some of them have gotten out of CERK through a
ratpacker cubby hole at the station."

"Which means that if a rat can get out, we can get in.  There's
food at CERK!"  Jesse said excitedly.

"Yea, and food takers at CERK, too."  Patt had unconsciously
placed her hand on her neck, which now she quickly jerked
away and dropped to her side.

"Cousin food, here we come!" Tser moved ahead, joining Jesse.
"What direction did our critter friend come from?"

"Grab him, why don't ya?" Caren called, tossing her useless
flashlight to the ground.  "He's putting off enough light that we
can use his little body as a floodlamp."

None too happy with this latest development, Patt followed the
other addicts as they merrily made their way (or thought they
did) toward CERK.


"Och!" Heather exclaimed, crawling out of the main ratpacker
tunnel entrance to the Shrine.  "Who would have thought that
those folk would put cement under lock and key.  You'd think
that they were expecting thieves."

The MacCousin brushed herself off and walked across the tiles
of the Laboratory/Kitchen.  She paused before a counter and
pulled out one of the drawers.  Heather swiped her hand
through the many keys within until she found the one she was
looking for.  The very unused one which would unlock the
door to the Sacred Tool Shed.

Heather headed for the rear kitchen exit, which would take her
into the alley and on to the shed.  As she reached for the door
handle, the door  came inward unexpectedly.  A tall figure with
dark, flowing hair and a cartoon tee-shirt pushed himself into
the Shrine.   The creature, for the golden eyes and bared fangs
were a dead giveaway, grabbed hold of the MacCousin and
pushed her against the stainless steel refrigerator.

"Where is Patt?" the vampire sneered angrily into Heather's
face.  "She was supposed to report to me three days ago and I'm
tired of waiting for her."

"Patt's well known for going AWOL," Heather replied through
her tightly clenched jaws.  Spark was smooshing her face, you

"So her disappearance isn't that odd?" Spark asked.

Heather shook her head as well as she could, considering her
face was being held in the vise-worthy grip of the vampire.
"You might say, though, that the Third Cousin was
unavoidably detained, this time.  The HP sent a group of us
into the tunnels to do some spackling, and she was one of the

"So . . . she's pandering to her *friends* rather than take care of
the business I assigned her.  Tsk, tsk, tsk.  For that, she *will* be
punished," Spark's eyes were almost back to normal, just
flecked gold and attitude now.  He considered the woman
before him.  "Do you know her quarters?" he asked finally.

Heather nodded, as well as she could . . .

Spark pulled Heather from the fridge and pushed her toward
the swinging entrance to the Shrine.  "Take me there," he

Heather and Spark passed quickly, unseen, up the stairs which
let to the Sacred Sleeping Chambers.   Spark looked around,
cautiously.  "Where is everyone--this hive is almost deserted."

"They're all either partyin at the Raven or up to mischief,"
Heather explained as she located Patt's room.  The vampire and
woman slipped inside, and Heather flipped on the overhead

"Ahhhh," Spark said with satisfaction.  "Just what I was looking


"A Clear and Faint-worthy Danger"
By Patt Elmore and Brianna Russell
When: Friday evening, following "Food for Thought" and prior to "Bar
Where: Tunnels of Toronto and Patt's bedroom

Information within graciously obtained from: the Tracy FAQ on Bonnie's
page at: http://users.lanminds.com/~callalily/tracyfaq.html



The closer the tunnel party got to *CERK,* the slower Patt
seemed able to  move.

Her legs were beginning to cramp, something which had never
happened to her in fanfic, and her feet had an odd, tingly
feeling to them.  Patt could feel her heart beat quickening--the
muscle pounding within her chest like a group of convicts
striking fists on table in unison to draw attention to their
desires.   she
thought lamely, without humor.

The most apparent physical symptom of Patt not wanting to go
anywhere near the radio station was her breathing.  What little
air she could force out of her lungs was ragged, hot, almost
suffocating.  Patt began to gasp as she walked, pressing a hand
to her chest in an effort to import and export more breathable

Caren, who was third in line, but still some distance ahead of
the Third Cousin, took note of her friend's labored rasping and
returned to check on her.

"What the matter, Patt?  Are you okay?"  Caren reached out and
touched the other woman's shoulder with concern.  This pause
in walking was more than Patt was able to handle.  The mature
addict staggered upon stopping and began to fall.  Caren
caught Patt's arm, steadying her and shouted to the others.
"Wait up!  I think Patt is sick."

Tser and Jesse returned at a run.  Jesse's face paled as she
looked at her mature buddy.  "Is she okay?" the teenager asked.

"I think she's on the verge of fainting," Caren told the others as
they helped Patt to sit down.  The Third Cousin was looking
very wan and was not talking.  This *was* a very bad sign.

"If she were a gorilla," Tser said, stooping to place a hand on
the mature addict's forehead, "I'd say she was on the verge of
hyperventilating, going into a comatose condition and
throwing up."  Caren and Jesse took a step back.  "Or," Tser
looked up at the others, "She's going into severe Nunklier

Patt moaned

"That must be it!" Jesse slapped her hand against her forehead
and grinned.  "The closer we get to the General's place of
abode, the more her symptoms manifest."

Patt moaned louder.

"Patt."  Caren leaned close.  "Are you having an attack?  Do you
need anything?"

Patt groaned, shaking her head.

Tser took the mature woman's wrist, pressing two fingers
against the surface vein.  "That's odd.  Thready, but steady."

"It's a meltdown!" Jesse nodded in a matter-of-fact manner.
"She just needs a good dose of LaCroix."

Patt moaned, jerked and fell over backwards.  She lay there,
pasty and drawn, eyes open and staring upward.  A slight
trickle of spital was evident at the corner of her mouth."

"See," Jesse pointed to the saliva with glee.  "Major meltdown!"

"Well, what are we going to do now?" Caren asked the others.
"We can't just leave her here like this."

"And," Tser added, "we're still hungry and need to keep this
adventure moving along."

"You two go on, then," Caren said  "I'll wait here with Patt."

After a few more seconds of protest and observation, Jesse and
Tser headed down the tunnel they'd all been heading.  Caren
elevated Patt's feet with her knapsack, then sat down to wait
the return of the others with help, food, medicine, whatever
they might deign to return with--if they returned.
Which Caren began to doubt after about fifteen minutes had
passed.  (Being in a dark tunnel distorts time, and fifteen
minutes seems likes days.  Patience wanes and one wants to get
moving, get out of damp, dark, ugginess.  Unless you're a
Ratpacker and like those sort of things.)

Patt's breathing was more steady now.  Caren put a hand on
the mature addict's forehead and noted that the clamminess
was dissipating, the skin feeling warm again.

"You feeling better?" she asked.  Still prone, Patt nodded.

"Feel like sitting up?"  Nod.

"Promise not to vomit on me?"  Chuckle and nod.

The chuckle clinched the deal.  With Caren's stabilizing aid,
Patt managed an upright position.   The Third Cousin glanced
down the passageway and asked, her voice weak.  "How long
have they been gone?"

"At least two days," Caren said firmly.  "I think we can safely
assume that they're lost."

"Any sign of Heather?"   Patt rubbed her legs, willing the
circulation to begin again.

"Nope.  She's definitely a no-show," Caren replied.  "Do you
think we should try and get moving again?"

Patt looked down the tunnel passage again, her face an etching
in dread.

"We don't have to go in that direction, my friend," Caren said
softly.  "LaCroix did something to you, didn't he?"

Patt whirled her face quickly, leveling her eyes with Caren's,
searching.  Then, the Third Cousin slowly began to nod.

"Did he hurt you?" Caren's voice held a mixture of fright,
concern, anger and a bunch of other emotions which a handy-
dandy word processing Thesaurus will help you find.

Patt shook her head.  "No . . . not physically.  Not enough to
mention, anyway."  Patt's voice lowered.  "He just scared the
bejeebers out of me."

"So what's new about that?" Caren rocked back on her ankles.
"He scares the crap out of people by just standing there

Patt chuckled, then her expression darkened again.  "But, this
time was different.  This time he wanted me dead."


Spark stood over Patt's personal computer, eyeing the screen
with interest.

"I've come to know my faction leader well," he said, maybe to
Heather, who was standing there with him, or just to the air.  "I
can say with almost complete assurance that whatever is
detaining her may be found within the confines of this
machine."  He reached out a hand, fingers approaching the

"You donna have a faction, Mr. Spark, and I'd be careful with
that equipment, if I were you," Heather warned.  "I believe that
Vachon is still in Patt's hard drive, and he may not be like you
messin in his territory."

"Vachon?" Spark said, puzzled, then understanding.  "Ahhh,
yes.  The *greasy* one.  He's of no consequence to me."  Spark
placed his hands on the primary keys, only to draw them back
quickly as , errrr, *sparks* flew.  From within the speakers,
laughter, with a slight Spanish accent, could be heard.

"I'll deal with the interfering Spaniard later," Spark said angrily,
backing away from the PC.  He looked pointedly at the
MacCousin.  "Perhaps it will be more user friendly with your
gentle touch.  Sit down and type."

Heather hesitated.


Heather sat down.  Spark leaned over her shoulder, eyes on the
monitor.  "Bring up her e-mail.  Let's see who she's been
chatting with."

"Newsgroups and bookmarks might be more informative,"
Heather offered.

Spark shook his head.  "Later.  I want her mail first."

"That requires her password," Heather informed the dark-
haired vampire.

"So . . . type it in," Spark instructed as Heather accessed the

"What is it?" Heather looked sideways at Spark.

"How would I possibly know that information," Spark said,
eyes narrowing.  "You're the hacker.  You volunteered for this
segment.  *You* should have the password."

"You've been misinformed, laddie," Heather said, prepared to
rise and be on her way.  "My talents are many, but mind-
reading is not one of them."

"Then," Spark leaned closer, eyes bright.  "Perhaps you should
considered adding that skill to your repertoire."

"Hmmm, I guess we *could* try the universal addict
password."   Heather turned quickly and began typing:
N  U  N  K  I  E  S

Bleep.  *Access Denied.*

"Try again," Spark instructed.

Heather keyed again:  L A C R O I X

Bleep.  *Access Denied.*

"This is *very* odd."  The MacCousin scratched her head in
confusion.  She quickly typed in:  U N C L E

Bleep.  *Access Denied.*

Spark was growing more irritated by the minute and Heather
began sweating just a tad.   Heather tried to think like Patt
might think and cried "Och!" in sudden understanding.  She
keyed in the word:  S T A K E

After all, she reasoned, what self-respecting vampire loving-
woman would use such a word for her password.  Made
perfect sense, if one wanted privacy.

The e-mail program began whirring to life, flashing new
screens of preliminary information before settling on the main
one.  The message "You have mail" was posted on a
predominant pop-up screen.

Spark scanned the incoming message addys, dismissing most of
them as either advertisements or personal junk.  One, though,
caught his eye.  "Open that one," he instructed the MacCousin,
pointing to the one marked:  URGENT--THE INFO YOU

With interest, the dark-haired vampire read the following:

X-Sender: MercNinja@rotfl.com
X-Mailer: QUALCOMM Windows Eudora Light Version 3.0.5
Date: Fri, 01 May 1998 02:26:59 -0400
To: patt79ad@juno.com
From: Brianna Russell 
Subject: Info you requested


Here is the preliminaries of the information you wanted.

Vital Stats:
Subject is in her 20's, approx. 5'10", 135 lbs. Coming from a long
line of police officers, she attended college before graduating
ninth in her class from the police academy, She spent an
additional five years in uniform before being promoted to
detective.  The only child of an alcoholic mother and a very
demanding, public-figure father, subject has reacted by
becoming a highly organized, fastidious overachiever,
apparently in an attempt to live up to her father's expectations
and distance herself from her mother. Subject drives a
light-blue Ford Taurus.

My general impression of the subject's personality:
She seems to have lived a protected lifestyle but generally has
gotten her own way all her life.  She know the right thing to do
in most situations, has good morals, but also is a bit naive and
expects everyone else to be the same. Her own life, though, has
not been a charmed existence.  Her father seems to be a dark
presence in her life. Her parents are divorced and she is angry
over sometimes being put in a position of having to choose
between them.

She continually works to present a confident and cheerful
image, yet she is plagued by doubts that she is being treated
differently because she is a rookie, a woman, or her father's
daughter. Her need to prove herself as an individual may be
responsible for a certain recklessness in her on-the-job

She does not like suck-ups and would get in the face of anyone
who tries to put her down.  She does not want anyone to
protect her because of her father's position, but she will use that
position to get past obstacles or obstructive people.

She seems to be attracted to 'bad boys' type, the kind your
mother warned you about.  Not the kind of guys her Daddy
would approve of, or that would fit in her social circle.  She
seems to have no interest in generally clean-cut and upright

She also has a deep sense of loyalty and very little tolerance for
betrayal. She's sensitive, but strong. If her trust in a person is
misplaced, that person will likely never earn their way into her
good graces again.

Specific Interests and Likes:
She appears to be a fan of 'trash TV', like "The Jerry Show",
indicating an attraction to the darker side of life, that she has
not experienced.

Musical tastes - an eclectic mix of Nine Inch Nails, Mariah
Carey, B-52s, the Stones.

Reading material - almost everything from trade magazines
(Police Gazette) to classic romance novels ('Whuthering

Also prefers designer perfumes (Chanel No. 5, Oscar de la
Renta and First/Van Cleef), silk lingerie (size 6), and white

I hope this information will be of use to the one who needs it.  I
plan on meeting with someone who can provide extra "juicy"
details and expect to have even more interesting, useful news
soon. You may contact me anytime Saturday to arrange a
meeting to receive this information in exchange for the agreed
upon payment.

Brianna, MercNinja

#  #  #

Spark stood up, his eyes glittering.  He knew all he needed to


All in a Night's Work  (2/?)
By Brianna Russell and Patt Elmore
Time: Tuesday evening, with flashbacks to Friday, daytime,
before Raven Party.
Locations: Tang's Wok-Right-In, Merc Central, & unspecified
DP Leader Mary used with permission

The red-headed merc slipped into Tang's Wok-Right-In,
grateful for the muted light gracing the establishment.  Her
eyes quickly adjusted and she located her client,
sitting at a small table, alone, at the far wall of the restaurant.

Brianna, clad in street clothes so as not to draw attention to
herself, walked up and sat down opposite the client.

"Took ya long enuff to reply to me post," the mercenary began.

Patt lifted her head from her chest and gave the packer/merc
an unreadable look.   "I've been . . . busy," the Louisianan

"Well, so 'av aye, doin yer biz-ee-ness, fer ya," the mercenary
exclaimed, drawing a notebook from her pocket.    "Aye think
ya'll be pleased, ya will!'  Brianna gave the Third Cousin a
knowing wink.

"I'm waiting with bated breath for your report," Patt replied,
taking a sip of her hot, green tea.

"Ken we eat first?"Brianna said, sniffing the tempting aromas
emanating from the buffet.

"Go ahead," Patt acquiesced, slumping down lower into her
chair. "I'm not hungry."

"Yer treat?" the RP/Merc said pointedly, eyes bright.

Patt nodded and Brianna jumped up, headed toward the buffet
line at an alarming rate of speed.  In a few moments, she
returned to the table, balancing three full plates of food.  Mr. Hi
Chin, the proprietor of Tang's, was following Brianna,
wringing his hands and watching the ratpacker with
trepidation.  "Make two trips!   Make two trips.  Plenty food,"
he called worriedly.

"Nawt tew fear, Mr. Tang," Brianna replied, successfully
placing the plates on the table, "Ay'm a bal-in-cing expert, Aye
am.  Yew aught to see me with knives!"

Mr. Chin turned and left, muttering in Chinese as Brianna
seated herself and began eating with gusto.  During bites, she
relayed her tale to the mature addict.


Brianna awoke mid-morning on Friday, and, following her
usual habits, logged on to check her e-mail.  There were several
new messages, but not the one she was waiting for. Leaving the
program open, she set about tidying her room as she waited
impatiently.  Several times, the announcing blip of a new
incoming message brought her flying to the screen, but each
time it was not the one she was hoping for. "Come on, come
on," she growled. "What's taking you so long?"

Another blip; another near collision with her monitor. "YES!
Finally!".   Quickly, she opened and read the short note.  "On
my way," she spoke to the air.


Arriving at the restaurant, Brianna scanned the crowd of faces.
Finding one that matched the description she'd been given, the
merc gingerly approached.   "Mary?" she queried.

"Yes, I'm Mary," the leader of the DarkPerks answered her
solemnly.  "Have a seat and join me for brunch, won't you?"

Brianna hesitated, then sat, unsure of where to begin. "Thanks
for writing me back and agreeing to meet with me. Um ... nice
weather we're having," she commented.

"Yeah, all factors seem to be working in harmony to produce a
beautiful day. It's wonderful when everything works in

Unseen by the DarkPerk leader, Brianna rolled her eyes. This
acquaintance sounded like a Philosophy Major, and, if there
was one thing the MercNinja was *not* into, it was philosophy.

"It's like mankind's relationship to himself and others," Mary
continued, warming up to her  subject. "If one is centered on his
true self, then he can exist in harmony with others and with the

Brianna's eyes glazed, her mind retreating from the academic
onslaught, as the DP leader continued to expound on what was
obviously a favorite obsession.  The reverie was broken when a
waiter approached to take their order. As she chose from the
menu, Bri marveled at the fact that a "Dark"Perk could literally
glow with delight. What an oxymoron *that* was!
Along with the food, Brianna was careful to order the finest
vintage of wine available.

Valiantly, Brianna tried to bring the conversation back on topic.
"Well, that's interesting, but I was hoping we could talk about
the War. Up until now, I've been staying out of it. Just watching
on the sidelines, so to speak.   But the DarkPerks seem like a
fascinating group and I can really see their point about Tracy.  I
was wondering if I could join up after the War?"

She immediately regretted her choice of words, as Mary
launched into a glowing tribute on how Tracy was the
personification of the "every man", the juxtaposition of light
and dark in all humans.

Their meals arrived, but had long grown cold by the time Mary
paused for breath. The wine had flowed freely, however, and
both women appeared a little tipsy.  Thanks to Dr. Fred's Super
Inhaler of Anti-Intoxicant that she'd taken earlier, Brianna was
stone-sober, but Mary was *way* over the legal Blood Alcohol
Level used to determine intoxication.

Determined to steer the conversation back to her desired topic,
Brianna said, "I loved FK from the first episode I saw. The
stories were great, the characters are appealing and it gives a
lot for moral thought. But I also love the pure sensuousness of
it. Who could resist Vachon; handsome, mysterious. And Nick!
Oh, boy; the way he flashes that little-boy grin of his just makes
me want to do things I can't describe on a PG list! Wonder
what turns Tracy on like that?"

Mary, her tongue loosened and caution dulled by the wine,
winked slyly as she replied. "Well, you'll never believe some of
the things she's told me.  There's definitely more to that lady
than meets the eye."

Enthralled, Brianna leaned forward as Mary began to speak.

The merc glanced at her watch hours later and yelped, "Oh my!
Look at the time.   I have to go, Mary. The Raven party starts
soon and I don't want to be late. It was *sooooo* nice meeting
you. We'll have to talk again sometime."

Brianna leaned over on the pretense of shaking hands with the
wobbly DP leader.  Instead, she picked the DarkPerk's pocket
and palmed Mary's car keys.   Brianna caught the waiter by the
sleeve and gave him the keys.  "Keep these until she's sobered
up a bit, mate," the red-haired woman said, tipping the man
generously.  "And make sure she has plenty of coffee.  I hear
she's a connoisseur of the stuff."

Hurrying back to MercCentral, Brianna's mind buzzed with
new-found knowledge. She finally had the information she'd
sought and would deliver it to her client at the earliest
opportunity. Right now, though, she had a party to attend.

Brianna had not heard Mary's dark snicker as she'd left the


"So there ya 'ave it." Brianna proudly finished her story,
punctuated by popping half an egg roll into her mouth.

"Have what?" Patt said glumly.  "You haven't given me
anything yet except a glowing report of your exploits."

Brianna looked annoyed.  "Aye figured yew'd loik to know that
yewr money was well spent, Aye did."

"And, you're right, under normal circumstances," Patt
conceded.  "But, I've been helping clean up the Shrine for the
past two days and I'm pooped.  Let's cut to the chase, shall we?"
Patt extended her hand.  "Let's see what you have."

Brianna reached inside her pocket and pulled out a bright pink
Post-it .   "Aye wrote yer info on pinkie paper so Aye
wouldn't get it mixed up with me other assignments," Brianna
confided with a sly grin.    She started to hand the note to the
addict, but stopped in mid-air, suddenly suspicious.  "Where's
me payment?" Brianna asked.

"Errrrrr . . ." Patt began.

Brianna snatched the paper back just as Patt's fingers grazed it.
"Yew don't have me lock, dew yew?" the RP accused.

"Let's see if we can negotiate this," Patt said, rising from her
chair and reaching across the table.  "Surely there's something
else you'd like to have.   A pool full of Jello , perhaps?  It's
very bright and shiny."

Reluctantly, Brianna shook her head.

"How about a genuine Joe Reese tapestry rendered by a famous
South American artist?"

Brianna appeared to seriously consider this offer for a minute,
then shook her head firmly.  "Nope," she said.  "Aye want me

"I have a slightly used camel saddle . . ."

Brianna shot an annoyed look at the addict and clutched the
pink note to her chest, shaking her head furiously.  "It's a lock
'o Nicky's hair or it's no deal," the flame-haired Ninja said

Patt sighed, sat and leaned forward.  "Look, Brianna.  Let's face
facts here.  The war is winding down and there is no way that
I'm going to be able to secure a lock of Nick's hair in the time
remaining.  I need that," Patt looked pointedly at Brianna's
chest . . . errrr, the note, "information now.  Give it to me."

"No way!"  Brianna skittered back, eyes glittering.  "A bargain's
a bargain, matie."

"Give it to me!" Patt repeated fiercely.

"No!" Brianna repeated.  The RP/Merc jumped up rapidly and
scampered away from the table.  "When yew hav the lock, yew
give me a call, addict-shun.   Until den, dis information is
stayin safe wi' me."

In a movement so fast that it hurt the eyes, Brianna popped the
Post-it  into her mouth, chewed twice and swallowed
dramatically.  Then she burped.   "Cherry-o," she grinned.

Then, the mercenary grew serious again.  "Call me when yew
have the lock, lady, and we'll talk again."  Then, the MercNinja
walked away.


"Feeling Locked Out"
By Patt Elmore with beta by Amethyst of Texas
When:  Follows All in a Night's Work 2/?
Where:  Tang's Wok-Right-In

Patt watched Brianna walk away.  A feeling of total defeat
washed over her, threatening to drown her again.  But, Patt had
decided that she would not fall into the depression of
hopelessness again.  She was strong.  She was empowered.

"All I need is a break!" the Third Cousin shouted, picking up a
small jar of sweet and sour sauce.  Unmindful of the people
who had turned to stare, Patt launched the condiment container
and watched as it shattered against the wall.

Mr. Chin hurried toward Patt, waving his arms and jabbering
in his native tongue.   Before he could reach her, though,
another patron reached out and caught his arm.

"Let me take care of this," Amethyst said, looking toward the
Third Cousin.   "She's a friend, and it looks like she needs help."

Patt sensed the woman standing by her table and looked up.
The Third Cousin's eyes were bleary.

"You look like dog poop," Amethyst observed.

Now, under normal circumstances, these words from a
Knightie to a Cousin would have been the prelude to a
shootout at twenty paces, but between Amethyst
and Patt, both canine agility enthusiasts, this was the most
cordial of greetings.

"Thanks," Patt grinned, but her expression was strained.

"You seemed stressed," Amethyst said.  Patt chuckled
cheerlessly.  "And, you're not eating.  Are you ill?"

"Sick as a pup after consuming plastic," Patt extended another
doggy euphemism to her friend.  "To put it mildly, I feel

"Ouch!"  Amethyst, tired of standing, sat down without
invitation.  She was wearing a black silk pantsuit and her hair
was coiffed quite attractively.  Even in her advanced state of
despondency, Patt noticed that Amethyst's appearance
looked special.

"Heavy date?"  Patt asked.

Amethyst grinned shyly.  "There's always that possibility when
I'm in Toronto.   Remember, I *am* a member of Nick's Harem
Wife Number Two, in fact," she reported proudly.

"Moved you up a notch, hmmmm?" Patt grinned genuinely this
time.  "What happened to the former Number Two?"

"Couldn't handle the . . . action," Amethyst said, giving Patt a
long, leering wink.   Both women laughed aloud, earning
several turned heads among the restaurant's cliente.

Patt sat back, wiping a tear from her eye.  "Thanks, Ame, I
needed that."

"You're welcome," Amethyst said, then frowned
mock-seriously.  "And, don't call me Ame."

"Yessum!"  Patt saluted.

Amethyst leaned forward, no longer hiding her concern.
"Now, tell me what's wrong.  Nunkies stuff?"

Patt shrugged and shook her head.  "Not totally.  I kind of got
myself in a bind while back home in Louisiana."

"And?" Amethyst pushed.

"And, the trouble kind of followed me to Toronto," Patt replied.

"Why are you being so hedgie," Amethyst persisted.  "Does this
trouble have anything to do with Nick or the Knighties?"

Patt paused, picking her words carefully.  "It could . . . but so
far no one from your camp has screamed bloody monster, to
my knowledge, so I have a feeling his first objective for coming
to town has gone by the wayside, for the time

"His?"  Amethyst narrowed her eyes, waiting.

Patt took a deep breath.  "You've seen second season, haven't

"Of course I have, you moron," Amethyst snapped.  "I'm the
one who first supplied you the tapes of the second season
Canadian version, remember?"

"Uhhhh, yea.  Hehehehehe," Patt chuckled sheepishly.
Amethyst, you see, had been the one to bring Patt across to
Forever Knight almost three years ago!!  Patt thought back to
the time of her innocense, and whistled softly at how much
time had gone by.

"You've just had LaCroix on the brain for so long," Amethyst
continued, her tone scolding,  "that it's in a perpetual state of
gray matter motion sickness."

"Well, that might be changing, too," Patt said softly.  "Uncle's
kind of ticked at me right now."

"OH?"  Amethyst's green eyes got wide.  "Worse than the beer
bottle affair?"

"Yep . . . much worse.  Remember a vampire named Spark?"

During the course of the next two hours, Amethyst alternately
yelled, softly for it was a public place, and commiserated with
her friend.  The conversation ran the gambit from "How could
you bring that fiend to Toronto" and "If he hurt's Nick
I'll kill you with my bare hands" to "You poor thing you" and
"Why are you still alive?"

The tale of woe concluded, an exhausted Patt took a long drink
from the Thai beer that Amethyst had bought her sometime
during the narration.

"So, let me get this straight in my brain," Amethyst began.

"We don't have another two hours to sit here," Patt replied.

"Hush . . . or I'm not going to help you." Amethyst chastised.

"Help me?"   Patt's eyes flickered as thoughts began processing.

"You say that you promised to help Spark so that he wouldn't
hurt your family and friends the innocents, right?"  Patt
nodded.  "And, you're not helping him because you want to."
Patt hrrumphed in response, averting her angsting eyes.
(Never let the Knighties see you angst.)

"And, LaCroix found out about it before you could tell him,

"I never planned to tell the General," Patt said.  "I was hoping
that Spark would just get bored and go away."

"That's naive, Patt."

"I know . . . but one can dream."

"Anyway, LaCroix found out and was not happy."

Patt's only reply was a bitter chuckle.

"Well," Amethyst said, "I have two things to say.  Number
One--If you'd chosen to walk the path of good and become a
Knightie, you probably wouldn't be in this pickle, because Nick
would have staked the idiot again and hugged you to take
away your pain."

Patt rolled her eyes and said nothing.

Number Two," Amethyst said, ignoring the woman, "is that
you're lucky it's LaCroix who's 'ticked' off at you.  If Spark had
come looking for revenge on Nick and Nat, you'd have been a
lot worse off.  I'd have been leading the lynch party, you
know."  Amethyst's green eyes flashed hotly.

Patt nodded.

"So," the Knightie sat back, thinking.  "Spark's developed a
crush on Tracy and ordered you to find out what her tastes
entail.  And, you hired a merc, right?"

Patt nodded.

"What a waste of money," Amethyst teased.  "I could have told
you all about Tracy," she held up her thumb and forefinger
about an inch apart, "and it would have taken this much time.
Don't get me wrong, I like Tracy, but . . ."

"Our opinions count for squat," Patt retorted.  "I'm not
researching yon blonde for my own "I LUV TRACY" merit
badge, you know.  I'm being coerced.  Spark is the one who
wants to spark the woman."

"Come on, baby, light my fire," Amethyst quipped.  Then she
sobered.  "And, I take it the woman who was here at your table
earlier . . . that was the mercenary you hired?"

Patt nodded.

"Was she successful in unearthing Tracy's turn-on?"

Patt shrugged.  "She said she was, but it doesn't matter.  I can't
pay her price."

"Which is?"

Patt looked at Amethyst full in the face, then burst out
laughing.  "Something which I couldn't obtain in a lifetime and
you could probably walk in and clean out of a lavatory."

Amethyst made a sour expression, thinking of the possibilities.
"I'm afraid to ask," she finally responded.

"A lock of hair," Patt said grimly, her eyes dimming.  "A lock of
Nick Knight's hair."

Amethyst's eyes began to gleam.  "How desperate are you . . .
for one of Nick's curls?"

Patt refocused, startled.  "Desperate?  Pretty desperate.  Why?"

Amethyst leaned forward, a devilish expression on her face.
"Well . . ."

In a few moments, the patrons of Tang's Wok-Right-In were
startled at the spectacle of a rather large woman hopping from
table to table within the restaurant, a near hysterical Mr. Chin
chasing after her.  The woman was balancing a beer bottle on
her nose, reciting a litany which sounded like:  "Knightie Dogs
Rule, Nick is Sexy, LaCroix *is* Bald, Knightie Dogs Rule . . ."



NA: Infection
Written by: Fleurette
Starring: Debbie & N&Ners Susan and Marie by permission
Time: Friday, Noon-ish, after "A BIt of Reprogramming"
Place: University of TO Library and Merc HQ (by permission)

Debbie sat in front of the computer, hoping that no one noticed that she
did not belong anywhere *near* the University of Toronto and therefore
should not have been using their computers.  These computers, after all,
were for the students use.

But she needed someplace to work that would not implicate Nunkies
Anonymous too greatly.  When the N&Ner's found out what she was about to
do... she smiled to herself.  

Grinning, she typed on-- putting the finishing touches on a new Website.
It was loaded with the prettiest pictures of Nick and Nat she could
find.   she thought.  How could *anyone* like the thought of Nat
spending the rest of her life with *him*?  Didn't they know that LaCroix
was her perfect match?  Her soul-mate?

Oh, well... it wasn't as if this web page was for her use anyway.  It
wasn't.  This particular web page was going to help her bring down the
Nick&NatPackers once and for all.  Well, temporarily, at least.

She switched now to the Hotmail HOmepage and carefully created yet
another hotmail account.  Anonymously, of course.  Then she sent her
first and only message using the new account.

All the while, she was grinning like a cheshire cat.    she thought again.

Once the message was sent, she had to go back and tell Jules what
punishment she had devised for the Nick&NatPackers.  They'd tried to
"bug" 3 of her friends, and so they must pay.  All Debbie had done was
returned the favor with some reprogramming of her own.


Susan was just turning on the computer at the N&Npacker HQ when Marie
walked into the room.

"You know, I don't think you should be using that computer, Susan,"
Marie said.  "That's were all our important stuff is being stored."

"I'm only going to check my E-mail.  Who knows if I didn't get anything

Susan logged into her account and crowed triumphantly.  "See!  I told
you I had mail!"

The message read thusly:

Attention all N&N Packers!

Check this out!  I just discovered a brand new Website dedicated to Nick
and Nat.  It has down-loadable stuff like full sized posters, screen
savers, backgrounds, and lots of neat-o pics!  There are even screen
captures of never-before-seen episodes.  That means there must be eps
that never aired!  Isn't that great?  Maybe we can start a letter
writing campaign to get them aired!

The addy is:  http://www.nickandnat.com  Check it out!

Nick&Nat Lover


Susan clicked on the address without a second thought.  All she *could*
think about was getting her hands on the never-before-seen screen
captures before anyone else did.

As the website came up, her face fell.

"Oh no!" Marie cried. "What happened?"

Instead of seeing pictures of Nick and Nat, the two women saw only a
full-screen pictured of Nat and LaCroix in each other's arms.  Scrolling
across the screen were the words "Nat & LaCroix Forever!" in flashing

"Get rid of it before someone sees it!" Marie told Susan in a panicky

"I can't!"  Sure enough, no matter what key Susan hit, the horrible
sight would not go away.

She turned off the computer, re-booting.  Instead of Windows, the
Nat & LaCroix picture came up, its legend floating across the screen!

"Ahhh!!!!!!!!!!"  Both women screamed.


Debbie smiled to herself once again as she got out of Hotmail and
left the University Library.  She'd been there all night and needed to
get sleep.  What had she done?  She'd embedded a computer virus into the
fake website using Java Script.  As soon as the Nick&Nat Packers access
the site looking for new pics, the virus down loads to their computer
and sets up the Nat & LaCroix Screen saver-- which cannot be replaced by
mormal means.

No... the Nick&Nat Packers would has to dismantle the virus in order to
removed the offensive graphic, and if they *did*, they would also wipe
their computer's memory clean.  If they didn't, they still couldn't use
the computer for anything-- except maybe to look at Nat and LaCroix

Grinning, Debbie made her way back to the Shrine to tell her High
Priestess the good news.

The End (for now)

** The WebSite mentioned in this story does not exist.

Fleurette-- fleurettebrabant@hotmail.com
--Playing with the NSVV (NA) in her first War


WAR:  Chariots of Fire (1/2), or We're Not Crazy--Just Don't Startle the
by Jayne Leitch, with invaluable assistance from various addicts.

All addicts used with their permission.  Since Lacroix isn't actually
here, I didn't think I had to ask permission.  'Kay??:)

Time: the Crack O' Dawn, Sunday, May 3rd.
Place:  the Shrine to Nunkies

The Not-So-Vestal-Virgins were becoming bored.  The War was in full
swing; many of them had already been in the midst of at least one
dastardly (but fun!) plot, and they were all responsible for keeping the
Shrine safe and secure, but even so, the Not-So's were entering
mid-battle letdown.

In any War, mid-battle letdown is not a good thing.  It causes lapses in
attention.  Tendencies to nap.  Daydreams that become a little too
real.  And, in extreme cases, it can cause warm and fuzzy feelings
towards The Enemy.  It can happen to anyone, at any time, in any War,
for no apparent reason.

The NSVV's were entering this most feared of all states.  And it wasn't
"I'm bo-ored!"  Jade whined loudly and plaintively at the other addicts,
scuffing her sandals on the polished Shrine floor.

"So check the security tapes again."  Jesse suggested, not turning her
gaze from a particularly well-hung Nunkies tapestry.  "We can never be
too sure that the perimeters haven't been compromised."

Glennis rolled over on her lounger, raising her eyebrows.  "Perimeters?
Compromised?  Where'd you learn stuff like that?"

Jesse shrugged, wiping away a spot of drool.  "Austin Powers."

There was a half-hearted *sproing* from the direction of the trampoline,
then a loud sigh.  "I don't even feel like bouncing," Kusine told the
others from her sprawl on the gently moving mesh.

"I should hope not."  Patt shook her head, smiling a little.  "We'd have
to send you off to the NatPack, then."  She took another swig of beer,
then joined in with a sigh of her own.  "Well, this is amusing."

The NSVV's murmured their agreement.  Many of them were in the main
room, either staring at the tapestries like Jesse or lounging over
various surfaces like the others.  There were, however, a few in other
parts of the Shrine; Kristine, Dragon Sallie, and Shele were in the
Library, writing special Wartime fantasies (many of which included
Nunkies with a very large sword), Jan, Joni, and Beth were sitting idly
by the Sacred Cold Pond, wishing that their official NSVV togas and
breastplates were waterproof, Susan, Rosalie, and Christina were doing
something in the Lab/Kitchen involving Chris' thermos of Whammy Juice,
and KC Susan and Jayne were sitting beside the chariots, reading books
with names like, "Chariots of Fire: Master the Horse and Whip in Five
Easy Steps" and "Be an Extra in Ben-Hur in Only Three Days!"  It was
absorbing reading.

Finally, Sukh, the latest addict to go through an intervention, was
holed up in the video room.  She wasn't watching anything, because she
was too bored to get up and put a video in the VCR.  Instead, she lay
staring up at the ceiling, thinking up new Anti-Nunklear Devices.

"Let's see...I already have the whole kitty present list..." she raised
a sleepy eyebrow and amended, "No, there's also 'kitty presents on
today's paper before you've read it'.  Now, what else...?"

Her fearful musings were interrupted by a voice.  "Please, my dear,
cease these morbid thoughts."

Sukh froze, sure that her ears were playing tricks on her.  Slowly, she
turned around, her eyes wide with disbelief.  "It can't be..."

It was.  Hovering a few inches off the floor right in front of the
closed door was Lacroix, his arms folded, his mouth set in a frown of
extreme distaste.  A soft, warm light diffused from his being, shining
on the addict, making her feel lightheaded.  "Come, Sukh, you seem to be
 to not think of me."  He arched an eyebrow and added silkily,
"Wouldn't you rather bask in thoughts of me, and delight in my imagined

The NSVV (the addict furthest into mid-battle letdown) nodded dumbly.

"Well then."  Lacroix held out his hand, beckoning her.  "Come to me."

Obediently, Sukh stood up and walked towards him.  But when she reached
his side--"Lacroix?"

"Over here."  Sukh spun around and saw that the master vampire was now
behind her and across the room.  "Come to me..."  He began to look
blurry, as if he was made out of cotton balls, then suddenly, he
disappeared altogether.

Sukh's eyes widened.  She couldn't see him anymore, but his voice still
called to her, "Come to me..."  She shook herself.  "Nunkies wants me to
go to him!" she told herself.  "I have to find him!  I have to!"
Spinning on her heel, she turned and raced out of the video room.

"So, if I've read this diagram right..."  Jayne looked from the picture
in her book to the harnessed horses in front of her critically, "This
 be the way to do it.  KC?"

KC Susan stood back from her own two horses and chariot, a smile
spreading across her face.  Even though she'd had a chariot experience
already, she felt that her technique needed improvement.  "I've got it
too!"  she exclaimed happily.  "There's no  I won't get that badge
now!"  The smile turned wicked, and she raised an eyebrow at Jayne.
"Wanna take 'em for a ride?"

Jayne's eyes sparkled evilly at the thought, then dimmed as she became
rational.  "Maybe we shouldn't.  My friend at the stables told me that
if anything happened to these guys," she gestured at the six horses--two
to each chariot--that she'd 'borrowed', "She'd force-feed me
str*wberries until I explode.  I'd rather not do that."  (Somehow, she'd
managed to pronounce the * in the dreaded berry word.  KC was
impressed.)  Jayne turned and stroked the nearest horse's flanks.  "It's
a shame.  A full-blown chariot race would be ..."

Jayne didn't get to finish the thought, for at that moment a
crazed-looking Sukh burst into the room, looking around frantically.
"Nunkies!" she gasped, her breastplate heaving as she tried to catch her
breath.  "I must go to him!"

KC arched her eyebrows.  "Suuuure you do.  Wouldn't you rather stay here
and guard the Shrine like a good little Vestal?"

Sukh shook her head wildly.  "No!  He came to me!  He wants me to go to

Caren, having heard the delusional addict's cries, entered the room.
"Is it just me, or did that statement make no sense whatsoever?"

Jayne walked up to Sukh and placed a hand on her arm.  "You're in
mid-battle letdown, Sukh," she told her gently.  "It was just a
fantasy.  Lacroix is probably all the way over at CERK."

"Besides which," Caren added, "The sun's coming up.  No  would he
be caught across town at daybreak during a War."

Still shaking her head, the crazed addict shook off her friends.  "No!
He needs me!  I have to go!"  And with that, she pushed aside the others
and leapt aboard the nearest chariot.  "Take me to him!"  she cried.

The horses, who weren't really used to being harnessed to gilded
chariots, and who were actually kind of jumpy to begin with, jolted
ahead when Sukh's enthusiastic jump shook the reins on their backs.  As
the surprised addicts watched, the chariot began a plodding acceleration
towards the open door, and then the end of the alley.  Sukh, after
gaining her balance, held onto the reins tightly, crying out, "NUNKIES

Jayne stood watching for a moment, then shook herself.  "We have to go
after her!  There's no telling what she'll do when she's like this!"
She ran to another chariot and hopped aboard, being careful not to flick
the reins.  "Caren!  Go back and tell the others what happened!  Maybe
we can get them to drive ahead in someone's car and block Sukh off!"
Caren nodded and hurried off.

KC grinned and got into the last chariot.  "Heigh ho, Silver!"  she
cried, taking up the reins and tossing a gleeful look at Jayne.  "Let's
see what these babies can really do!"

The two NSVV's-turned-Charioteers flicked the reins and braced
themselves as the lumbering vehicles jolted off after their depraved

Caren burst into the Shrine.  "We've got a problem!  Sukh's gone crazy
and she's stolen a chariot and Jayne and KC have gone after her!!!"

The other addicts looked up from their bored preoccupations, startled.

"We have to go after them!"  Caren told them.  "They were headed east on

"Well."  Patt stood up quickly, patting her pockets for the keys to her
truck.  "I guess we aren't bored anymore, are we?..."  She immediately
took charge.  "Okay, I can take two, maybe three more in my truck.
Anyone else with vehicles, take 'em and try to get ahead of Sukh.
Everyone else...RUN!"

The addicts scattered...leaving the Shrine empty.
To be continued in Chariots of Fire (2/2):  "Vestal Virgins Get the
Right Of Way".
Jayne Leitch

WAR:  Chariots of Fire (2/2), or Vestal Virgins Get the Right Of Way
by Jayne Leitch, with stuff from other addicts

All addicts still used with their permission.  Screed appears courtesy
of the RatPack Leaders.  (Thanks John and Libby!!)

Time: still the Crack O' Dawn, Sunday the 3rd, right after Part One
Place: the Streets of Toronto (do I smell a filk?) and Queen's Park

Jayne and KC were slowly gaining on Sukh.  Or, they would have been, if
it wasn't for all the traffic in between them.  Despite the rather
ungodly hour, the streets were packed with cars, busses, and the
occasional streetcar, all of which seemed to be conspiring to block the
chariots' path.

KC seemed to have a method of dealing with the Sunday morning drivers.
Said method involved hasty but explicit arm gestures and language more
naturally found in a University pub at Last Call.  Having just
frightened a cab driver onto the sidewalk, Susan grinned maniacally.
*Who says I'm a road rage risk?*

Jayne's methods were simpler, and somewhat kinder.  Hers involved excess
lung capacity, seven years' worth of vocal training, and projection.
Also, quick work with the reins.  She and KC had managed to stay level
with each other since turning onto the street, and every so often they'd
yell comments at each other:



"I ([arm gesture] LOOK OUT, YA MORON!!)  KNOW!  WE HAVE TO CATCH HER!!!"

And so on.  Luckily, the sight of three chariots racing madly down the
street was enough to alert the early-morning drivers that they might
have to detour suddenly, so there weren't too many near-misses.  Jayne
hoped that their luck would hold out, screamed a warning to a pedestrian
carrying a big box, and held on for dear life as she rounded the corner
on one wheel and kept up pursuit...

Patt, Sallie, and Caren didn't have the advantage of sticking out to
help them deal with traffic, but they made do.  Patt's truck sped
through the streets, the mature addict's hand pressed firmly over the
horn.  "What's this street?"

Caren squinted at the sign as they approached.  "Bay street!"

"Good.  Hold on..."  Bracing herself, Patt spun the wheel, cutting
across the lanes and ignoring the angry honks of the other vehicles on
the road.  The wheels made an uncomfortable squealing noise, and then
they were headed north.

"Um, Patt?"  Dragon Sallie looked up from where her talons had gouged
holes in the truck's seat.  "What's the plan?"

"They turned left onto University just as we left the parking lot,"
Patt explained above the noise of the horn.  "Our best bet is to pass
'em here, then block Sukh off when she gets to Bloor.  The circle gives
us some time, so if we hurry..."  she snaked around a stalled car
without letting up on the gas, then finished, "...We can turn her
around, and maybe get her back to the Shrine."

Sukh didn't know where she was going, or where she was.  She knew
Toronto well enough normally, but normally she wasn't under the spell of
a mid-battle letdown vision.

She could handle the chariot well enough, and managed to only scrape its
gilded side once against a stubborn streetcar.  She yelled at the people

Louis Cabon's car was filled to capacity and then some.  The maitre d',
however, was nowhere to be seen.

"Do you think Louis'll mind that we took his car?" Susan asked
concernedly.  "He might need it."

Shele shook her head.  "Naw.  He hardly ever uses it, anyway.  And
considering how easy it was to hotwire..."

Rosalie giggled.  "He won't even know it's gone!"

"There they are!  Up ahead!"  Joni pointed at the shapes of Jayne and
KC's chariots up ahead, parting the cars before them like Moses and the
Red Sea.  "They look like they could use some help."

Kristine strained to see how close the chariots got to each vehicle.
"They'd better not wreck them!" she said anxiously.  "I want that

"We should act as honour guard."  Jade glanced at the other addicts
smooshed in around her.  "We can drive alongside them and make sure
other cars don't get too close."

"Excellent idea."  Glennis' hands tightened around the steering wheel as
her foot pushed down harder on the gas.  "I say we go for it."

Cabon's car sped towards the chariots.

The remaining addicts had decided that, even though they were vehicle-ly
deprived, they had to watch the pursuit.  So, they'd flagged a taxi on
the Peach's front steps.

The driver, an aging man wearing glasses and a very obvious combover
(*Obviously in the first stages of Hairclub for Men membership,*  Kusine
thought) didn't even get to ask where to take them.

"Follow those chariots!"  Jesse hollered as she plopped herself into the
back seat.

The driver blinked.  "Ya mean the ones turning onto University?"

"No, you brick, the ones flying through the air like vampires.  Of
 the ones turning!"  Christina hurled back.  She smiled.

The driver blinked again.  ("Great.  A Vachon wannabe," Kusine whispered
to Jan.  Jan grinned.)  "Okay."  He signalled, looked left, then right,
then left again, then started nosing out onto the street...

"Could you possibly go a *teensy* bit faster?"  Beth asked, irritated.
"I am not missing this.  Not for all the Nunkies pops in the world."

"Yeah, Speedy."  Jan pulled a Nunkies pop out, staring at it
worshipfully.  "Exquisite though they may be..."

"Okay, okay."  The cabbie pressed his foot down a millimetre.  "Better?"

Kusine glared.  "Gosh, you mean we're actually moving?  I  would
have known."  She turned to look balefully out the window at the slowly
moving scenery.  *If only my car had started...*

The cabbie glared back.  "The things I put up with for a padded fare,"
he muttered.

Jesse arched an eyebrow.  "What was that?"

"Nothing, nothing..."

The cab putted along, put...put...put......put.......put.........

Sukh handled the chariot around the Queen's Park Circle easily.  She
could see the Royal Ontario Museum just ahead, and shifted into turning
position.  "Here I come, Nunkies!"

Suddenly, a maroon truck with a white camper shell was right in front of
her, angled across the intersection, blocking her path.  Sukh could see
three addicts climbing out of the vehicle, waving their arms at her.
She cursed quickly and threw her weight against the side of the chariot,
pulling desperately at the reins.  The horses pulled up, slowing down
frantically and turning to the left.  The chariot slid on the pavement,
tilting crazily as it turned, and Sukh held on even tighter.  Finally,
the right wheel thudded to the ground again, and she was facing back the
way she'd come.  Sukh shook her head, regaining her equilibrium, then
flicked the reins again.  "Onward!!!"  she screamed, leaving the stunned
Patt, Sallie, and Caren behind to watch her hurtle back towards Jayne
and KC.

Screed was stuck.  In the park.  At daybreak.  With his bicycle.

"Aye am fer cer-stain in a bi' o' a jammy-jam, Aye am."  He cowered in
the shadow of a tree, clutching the handlebars of his push-bike firmly.
He'd thought of ducking into a sewer, but his bike wouldn't fit, and
there was no way he'd leave it behind.  "Me goose iz cooked!  Me
gozlin's deep-fried!  An' oll Aye wanted wuz a lil' parksie-mouse!"

Suddenly, the carouche was alerted to a commotion coming towards him
from the street.  He turned around to see a wild scene: a chariot,
occupied by a screaming woman in a mini-toga, with two other seemingly
identical chariots coming up behind it.  He watched as the first chariot
confronted a truck, somehow got itself turned around, then barrelled off
the way it had come.  The woman driving it yelled something
incomprehensible when she came up against the two other chariots, then
she made another swift turn onto a street not far from his tree.

The truck, the other two chariots, and a green car all followed it to
the place it had turned, then they all slowed to a halt.  Screed,
realizing that all the women were wearing togas, hurried out from behind
his tree.

"--After her," he heard one of the women in a chariot say as he came up
to the group.  "She'll get in trouble."

"I agree."  Screed recognized this one as the owner of the truck.  "We
can use all the vehicles we have."

"We need to go now!"  the other chariot driver said, a wicked gleam in
her eye.  "She'll get too far away too quickly.  We have to go!"

"Um, beggin' me yer pardonnez-vouz," Screed spoke up.  The women looked
at him, surprise on their faces.  "But Aye's in need o' sum aid.  Fer me

The women blinked at him.  "Screed."  The first charioteer spoke in a
monotone.  "Get into a sewer.  It's almost day, for crying out loud!"

"No-no, Aye gots me shiney-pretty bike wi' me!"  The carouche used his
best Baby Jane look.  "Yer oll Monkies, sew yew kin mebbe git it back
tew me Ratsie-tunnels!"  He glanced at the lightening sky meaningfully,
then pushed the bicycle towards them.  "Fer me?"

The women exchanged looks, the impatient charioteer pointedly looking at
her watch.  "Weellll..."

"Thankee!"  Knowing when he'd won, Screed shoved the bike at them, and
hightailed it to a manhole cover.

Jayne watched the vampire disappear, then looked down at his bicycle.
"We don't have time for this."

"We can keep the bike safe while you go after Sukh,"  Glennis offered,
gesturing back at Cabon's car.  "We'll follow you after we secure it to
the...trunk, or something."

Jayne raised her eyebrows.  "Sure?"  The others nodded, and she smiled.
"Okay, then!"  She pushed the vehicle at the car, then climbed back
aboard her chariot.  "This could take a while if we lose her," she
warned the others.  They all nodded.  "Right then.  Ready?"

KC took up the reins.  "When am I not?"

"Good."  Picking up her own reins, Jayne squared her shoulders.

Once again, the chariots lumbered off down the street, their drivers
shrieking at the vehicles that got in their way, their hair streaming in
the slipstream, their curses floating on the wind...
Jayne Leitch
P.S.-- I would like to dedicate this war post to Once A Thief.  It was
well on the way to becoming one of the best TV shows I've ever seen,
until TPTB got in the way. Kudos to MR, VM, LT, TD, JJ, NM, D, MM, and

Who's Gonna Burn When the Tables Get Turned?  Part 1/2
by Laurie Mercbard, Screedspeak by Mayan Rain
Starring: Laurie and Anna, the Littlest Ratpacker
Time: Friday evening, eventually heading toward midnight
Following: Vaqs: Debbie and Maria's Excellent Adventure and
The Chipmunk That Roared

The fairies were gone.  And chocolate was at hand.

Laurie MercBard, comfortably settled in the bathtub of the church's evil
pink bathroom, came  suddenly awake, her nose sniffing the air at the
familiar scent.  Her hand slowly snaked out, seeking what she
instinctively knew she had to have, could not live without, would go
through fire for, would sell the little bit left of her soul for. Addicts,
dead addicts, hundreds of them, thousands of them, millions of them, dead
dead dead.

For the present, chocolate would have to suffice.  Her hand connected with
a cookie, and she jerked it back in shock. She could move!  Was it
possible? Was the nightmare finally over?

She cracked open one eyelid.  And closed it immediately.  Nope, she was
wrong. Had to be.  She couldn't be free.  Freedom implied choice,
specifically that she had chosen of her own free will to ensconce herself
in a bathtub in an evil pink bathroom. *That* would never happen.  She
hated pink.  Almost as much as she hated ...

Still, something was different.  For starters, she had been correct; she
*could* move her hands.  And her feet.  As she experimented with her
tongue, a few drops of water from the shower head hit her squarely in the
face, and her hand instinctively flew upwards, swatting at fan fic fairies
that were no longer there.

That convinced her.  That and the chocolate cookie in her hand. In one
fluid movement, the GHP opened both eyes wide, sat up, and began
frantically shoving chocolate cookies into her mouth.

* * * Anna, the littlest Ratpacker, perched forlornly on the curb.

"We'ze lost," she informed her ratsie companions, who nickered at her
before returning their attention to the spoils in the gutter.

She looked around mournfully.  "Sum Merc Oi am. Oi can''t even foynd me
way t' a party, le' alone foynd a missin' Poobah." At the mention of the
Poobah, the ratsies began clinging to Anna's leg in terror.

Hit''s okay,"" Anna comforted them. ""Oi''m sure she don'' mean it when
she talks 'bout bakin' ratsie pies. 'Ow could ennyone be so crew-el to
sumwuns a' wonderful as yew?""

Picking herself up, she started down the road, the ratsies following
behind in single file.  "We moight a' well keep walkin'. We''ll get
sumwhere even-choo- ally, Oi''m sure. Oi mean, yew *can* get there from
here,cain''t yew?""

* * *

Two dozen cookies later, Laurie was her old self.  She sat on the tile
floor, momentarily content, munching away as images of headless Addicts
denied their Nunkies filled her mind. That led to thoughts of Nunkies
pops, and her and her newly restored cool almost disappeared.

The Poobah got a grip on herself.  She knew where she was now.  During
the last war she had heard the terrible tales of the Vaqueros' evil pink
bathroom . "I'm sure this is it," she thought.  "There can be only one."

The how and why of her arrival there seemed trivial.  Yes, technically,
she was still a prisoner, as the bathroom door was locked from the
outside. Whoever had brought her here could not mean her too much harm;
they had left her both untied and with sustenance.  Much as the Vaqs, like
their leader, could be slightly spacy, they, unlike some *other* soon to
be headless faction - would not be so stupid as to hold the Grand High
Poobah of the Mercenary Guild captive for long.

She still had a few dozen chocolate cookies to go.  One thing at a time.
Revenge would soon be hers and heads would roll.

*** Anna, being a Ratpacker, noticed the smell blocks before a normal
human would have, and sniffed the air appreciatively.

"Hm,, wot's that?"  She couldn't resist the wonderful aroma, and followed
the trail to a church. She could immediately tell this was no ordinary
church. *This* particular church had huge pink camels, shedding huge
clumps of pink camel hair all over the place, roaming its grounds.  Not a
shred of green grass could be seen; the lawn was covered in pink.

 Anna thought, reminding herself to tell
Johnsie about this, if she *ever* saw him again.  A pile of rubble in the
middle of the lawn caught her eye, and she spent a few happy minutes
exploring the inside. It was, she quickly discovered, a car - that is, it
had been once upon a time. Now it was just a burnt-out wreck. A burnt-out
wreck with yellow marshmallow Peeps inside. Anna dove on them and scarfed
the squishy yellow candies down, then continued with her fun. Eventually,
she emerged, clutching a handful of prize shiny bits that she was pretty
sure must have been part of the engine once.

 She glanced around, and spotted a few
sliding up and down a camel hump.  Two had pulled out lawn chairs and were
settling in for the long haul.  They ignored Anna's pleas to come down,
until she had to climb up after them. She didn't mind the pink camel
hairs that clung to her clothing; she thought they were rather pretty.

Maintaining a hold on a pink camel with ratsies using its hump as a roller
coaster was not an easy task.  Anna slid to the ground in front of a
small, barricaded window.  She started as she heard a sound from inside,
and peered through the opening. Her eyes opened wide.

"Yikes," she squealed.  She looked again.

Could it be?  Had she, a newbie Ratpacker, who had barely appeared in any
war stories so far, who hadn't even completed a job, have found the
missing GHP?  Would the glory, and, most importantly, the chocolate
Nunkies pops, be hers?

* * *

Date:         Fri, 1 May 1998 23:08:46 +0600
Reply-To: Laurie Schlagel 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
Comments:     Authenticated sender is 
From: Don Fasig 
Subject:      WAR: MERC: Who's Gonna Burn When the Tables Get Turned? Part 
To: FKFIC-L@lists.psu.edu
X-UIDL: 1db8b819add2edfbd74fb1b5ed0d34a6

Who's Gonna Burn When the Tables Get Turned?  Part 2/2
by Laurie Mercbard, Screedspeak by Mayan Rain
Starring: Laurie and Anna, the Littlest Ratpacker
Time: Friday evening, eventually heading toward midnight

The GHP had finished all available cookies, and failed miserably in
picking the bathroom lock.  she muttered, although she wasn't sure how to pick a lock
with your front teeth had been one of the lectures.  For the evil pink
bathroom was totally empty of all objects, save for one Grand High Poobah
and a small pile of cookie crumbs. Nope, none of the standard objects
usually used in the movies by Grand High Poobahs when escaping from evil
pink bathrooms were available.

She'd occupied the passing time by trying to reconstruct the chain of
events that had led her here. Her last memory had been of Patt tormenting
her with elastic underwear at the Shrine. She *did* have a vague memory,
almost like a bad dream, of Michael Bolton, in a bikini, singing in a
cornfield, while Mackie the Mole waved her arms and yelled "Danger!
Danger!  Warning! Warning!".

 she thought.  But at present there was one thing even
more important than profit, and that was ... NA heads perched on poles in
the backyard of Merc Cental.  She would prefer them over the front gates,
but sadly, decomposing heads on ones front steps was bound to attract
attention. After all, the HQ's location *was* supposed to be a secret

She wondered if the Vaqs had released her from the Shrine.  She couldn't
imagine Jules had just let her go - they'd all been out for blood after
her little mouthing off session with LaCroix. For now, pending  further
factual investigation, she would not kill any Vaqs.  Just ... .

And to cover all bases, in case the Vaqs *had* rescued her, she would have
to pay them for it, too, and do it now. No GHP was going to owe a debt to
anyone, least of all anyone who lived in a church with an evil pink

As she happily hummed to herself, composing a special song for payment,
she heard a scratching on the bathroom's tiny window.  Laurie covered her
head as glass showered into the tub, and a single Ratpacker, one unknown
to her, accompanied by six ratsies, tumbled through the tiny opening that
had been created, into the tub.  The tiny Packer picked herself up, and
stood staring open mouthed at the catsuited woman.  The ratsies hid behind
her legs.

"Don't just stand there. Pick the lock." the GHP ordered.  For the first,
and she was sure, *only* time, she was actually glad to see a member of
Johnsie's crew.

Anna didn't say a word.  The GHP had always terrified her. She reached
into her jacket and pulled out a pile of tangled objects, finally locating
a piece of wire. Within moments, Anna, the GHP, and the ratsies were
standing in the center of the church.

* * *

The GHP's first order of business was to make herself at home.  She needed
a shower, she needed heads on a platter, she needed new clothes, she
needed to indulge in a little mindless torture, she needed food, she
needed to burn down a holy temple. Leaving Anna and the ratsies to play
with the assorted piles dotting the room, she went to take care of her
personal needs.  After all, putting heads on poles would be much more
entertaining if she was clean, fed, and well- clad.

Twelve showers later, the GHP had removed the last remnants of fairy poop
and drool that her quick dip into the sacred cold pond - she could feel
herself foaming again - had missed.  The pool reminded her of her
confrontation with LC, which in turn led to a slight facial twitch - had
she really spoken to him like that and lived?  Perhaps the fan fic
fairies *had* had mercy on her soul, after all.

She rustled up a change of clothing, grimacing as she pulled pink camel
hair - didn't these guys ever clean up after themselves - off the
teeshirt and jeans she had selected from one of the piles of personal
belongings. She especially liked the heavy steel toed biker boots,
imminently suitable for kicking heads across a room.

She would need more than a handful of chocolate cookies to sustain her
through the long hunt ahead.  Her rage threatened to blow -- not only had
they taken her chocolate pops, they hadn't fed her through her entire
captivity. , she told herself. 

* * The little Ratpacker had retreated to the kitchen, and when Laurie
entered, was borrowed under a mound of cereal boxes. Anna looked up at the
GHP, but still didn't utter a sound.  Laurie, newly washed and clad, was
most definitely a clear and presentable danger.  Wherever she had been,
whatever she had been through, was in the past. The GHP was back and she
was looking for blood.  In particular the blood of ... well, you know the

A quick raid on the refrigerator, and within a few minutes, the GHP, Anna,
and the ratsies belched contentedly, gazing around the decimated kitchen.
The fridge and cabinets were empty of all edible food, down to the last
butter pat. The ratsies had even tried to eat the cardboard boxes and tin
cans. The GHP, restored to full health, idly wondered whether ratsies
would eat member of a seven letter faction beginning wit N.

Standing up, Laurie beckoned Anna to follow.  She had places to go, people
to behead, songs to sing, women to hang.  One final debt to pay and they
would be on their way.


The task was complete.  The Poobah, Anna, and the ratsies sat on the floor
across from the evil pink bathroom's door, admiring their handiwork.  A
message in red nail polish, (a bottle had been found among a pile of
personal belongings), read:

Invoice: One Vaq Rescue of GHP Payment: One Javier Filk (sung by Tracy)

Painted underneath that were the words:

Javier (Sung to Maria from West Side Story)

And then a filk:

Javier . . The most frustrating guy I've ever known: Javier. Javier.
Javier. Javier... How my father would freak if I wanted to bring him home.
Javier. Javier. Javier. Javier...

Javier! I've just met a guy named Javier When he came back to find The bit
he'd left behind Of him!

Javier! I've fallen in love with Javier And suddenly I've found a new world
underground so grim!

Javier! He's all bare and the shower's running, Saw his chest and I thought
it was stunning

Javier! I'll never stop wanting Javier! The most baffling guy I've ever
known Javier...

Anna finally found her tongue.  "Wow," she said admiringly.

"Wow is right," replied the GHP.  She picked her rejuvenated self up from
the floor, and gestured to the young Ratpacker and her companions.  "Let
's go.  I wanna kill me some Addicts."

* * *

Date:         Sat, 2 May 1998 03:28:11 -0400
Reply-To: John Ewan 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: John Ewan 
Subject:      WAR: MERC/RP "You Did WHAT?" Part 1/2
To: FKFIC-L@lists.psu.edu
X-UIDL: 2d0dcc6471a401a1aaf985bcccd5e29f

You Did WHAT? Part 1/2
by Mildred Cady and various other Mercs/RPs
All mentioned with permission
Time: Friday early into late evening
Concurrent With: MERC: Who s Gonna Burn When the Tables Get Turned?
Location: Merc Central

 Nothing. Absolutly nothing.  That's what they had on Laurie's whereabouts.
 Very few rumors
were going around. And all of them had turned up empty.  The Poobah would
have been very annoyed to realize that, except for the Mercs, no one much
seemed to notice she had been gone for going on several days now.

 Earlier today, the location of the GHP s last sighting had been
determined, when Mildred and Liz had overheard four Ratpackers, Maya,
Ursula, Brianna, and Michelediscussing being at Old Merc Central with
Laurie, and wondering if it might have anything to do with her
disappearance.  The ensuing confrontation had yielded a very important
fact: the quartet had been the last Mercs to see the Poobah.  They had no
clue where she currently was, but were now looking for her with a single
mindedness- the level of concentration that comes only when you are
desperatly trying to save your butt.

 Mildred looked up, as Liz entered the Computer Lab.

 "Something is strange..."

 "Tell me something I don't know." Mildred cut in. She had managed to grab
maybe three hours of
sleep in the past two days, which was *not good*.

 Liz sighed and continued. "No, I'm serious. I've been at the Happy
Soulvaki, and I've been noticing those chocolate Nunkie pops of Laurie s
around.  I know she keeps a tight control over them, yet they re turning up
everywhere. Especially with those toga-wearing Addicts."

 "Addicts? Where could they be getting them from?"

 Then the proverbial lightning struck. "Laurie."

 At that moment, a sleepy Phillipa, Merclette #2, walked in. "I thought
that Ratpackers were
supposed to be messy."

 "They are," groaned Liz.

 "Well, then why is Libby straightening out and correctly labeling all the
tapes in the Entertainment room?"

* * *

 Libby hadn t been herself for several days. As each hour had passed with
no GHP in sight, she
became more and more nervous.  The refrain in the back of her mind kept
playing over and over,  They's gonna find me out, Ize in trooble agin, .
She was so worried that she even took a shower, hoping that the very
shaking idea of a bath would get her out of her mood. It didn't.

 Then she had started coming up with things to do to keep her busy.  First,
she tried giving the
ratsies a bath. When that didn't work, she found some scraps of metal from
a box of computer parts and started making name tags for the ratsies and
tying them on with spare wire. A pair of twins got named Niblets and
Nibbles, and others were named along the lines of Choc-a-let, Breaktime,
Salty, Crunchie, Treat, Oreo, Breakfast, Lunch, DinDin, Snackie, Brunch,
Munchie, Chewy, Kibble, and Adelaide.

 Then she ran out of metal bits.  But she had somehow managed to make it up
till now without
giving herself away.

 She was currently in the Entertainment room, sorting out all the Screed
episode tapes, which
someone had left scattered around.  First, she put them in their proper
cases. Then she got those little pieces of tape and wrote the names on
them. Then she decided to label the entire Guild tape library.

 She was stacking them on the shelves in order, staving off what she knew
to be inevitable, when
she heard her name called.

 She turned around. Mildred and Lucky Liz stood in the doorway.  Libby
froze in her tracks.

 Mildred spoke. "Something wrong?"

 <<'Gor,>> Libby thought, <>

 "Uh, nope. Nutin's wrong. Everthin's OK. I wuz just... uh... 'elping Liz.
Tat's roit, I wuz 'elping Lizzy."

 "Libby.... what have you done?"

 "Nuthin!  As I said, nuthin. I din' say anythin' to them."

 "To whom?"  Mildred was in her rarest mode- Inquisition.

 "No un."

 "Libby. If you do not tell me what is going on, I'm going to dig up every
piece of medieval
equipment I have and I'll demonstrate to you what was done to my ancestors
during the Spanish
Inquistion." Mildred was *not* in the mood for someone hedging.

 "Oi din't say nuthin, Oi swear. Din' 'now why thez asked me so many
questunz. Oi din even 'ave
'alf o' the anzers 'ey wanted."

 "WHO?" Liz was getting almost as stressed over this than Mildred.

 "The Nunkies."


 "Nuthin, as Oi said. They must a followed me or sumthin, 'cuz the next
thin Oi new wuz tha they
'ad 'oz pawps. An they gav me a shiny metal pan for it. Then thez put a 'ol
lot o cheeze in font ta me... an Oi don ramembur much els, but..."

 After 30 seconds of silence, Mildred's voice boomed. "WHAT HAVE YOU 

 "Oi tol 'em tha' she wuz at the Old Merc gettin stuff. Then the Poohba
turned up missin, an Oi think its my fault." Libby was crying now. The gig
was up, so to speak- and all cause of those mean and nasty Addicts.

 "You - are - coming - with - me." Mildred hit a button on a small radio at
her waist. "Wooby, meet me at the lab. Do we have a brig? Cause we have one
little Ratpacker who is going to be in it for the rest of her life. Liz,
get everyone together. We have work to do."

John Ewan, Sysop                  | Look for me online at MPG-Net
Multi-Player Games Network   | as Gimli jwe@mpgn.com
http://www.mpgn.com              |

Date:         Sat, 2 May 1998 03:44:24 -0400
Reply-To: John Ewan 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: John Ewan 
Subject:      WAR: MERC/RP "You Did WHAT?" Part 2/2
X-UIDL: a97c76b54cfbda889e9163293d253953
Status: RO

You Did WHAT? Part 2/2
by Mildred Cady and various other Mercs/RPs
All mentioned with permission
Time: Friday early into late evening
Concurrent With: MERC: Who s Gonna Burn When the Tables Get Turned?
Location: Merc Central

 Mildred was standing next to Libby on one side. Wooby was at the other.
Both had one hand on an arm, and Wooby's other hand had her bal'e'theh.
Noone in the room looked particularly happy with the Ratpacker.

 Mildred addressed the room. "We ve got a traitor.  I m pretty sure the
Addicts have Laurie.  She was last seen at Old Merc Central -  - here she
looked around for the errant foursome, but they were not in sight -  Libby
told them she was going to be there.  And we ve had reports of NA members
showing up all over town with chocolate Nunkies pops.  Laurie wouln t be
giving those
away of her own free will, that s for sure.

 Libby couldn t stop sobbing. No one moved to give her a tissue, and since
Mildred and Wooby had
her arms, tears and nose dribble were running down her face.

 "Before we deal with *her,* - here Mildred pointed an accusatory finger at
the soon to be
defendent,  we ve got to confirm this intelligence, and if true, rescue
Laurie from those lunatics.  She looked again at Libby.   Who knows what
those people will do to her?  They re well known to be obsessively
compulsively deranged.

  Like we are about profit ... and chocolate,  someone muttered.  Wooby
glared at the culprit.

 Johnsie looked shocked by these developments."Hoh, Libster, yew losted da
Grand 'igh Pain-inna-Butt? That haint loik tha time Oi losted the pen outta
the set ya boosted frum 'er hoffice!"

 Libbster's eyes went wide, "yew losted me pen! I luved that pen! Loike it
wuz me own, I did!!"

 Johnsie started shaking his head."Haint da same, an' all spilt milk hunder
the bridge. Wuzzn't a good pen no'ow, dint write upside down."

 "Can we get back to finding out where the GHP is?!?" Liz yelled.

 Libby and Johnsie spun in Ratpackerly unison, "NO!" before returning to
their previous stances.

 Libby s head dropped. "I's sorry, I's payin' 'tenshun," she replied and
then softly to side, "But *I* dint get ta try hit; mighta writ
upsidedownsie fer *me*! After all, the pen alwayz liked *me* best. Might've
even writ udderwater, in a car, in a bar, in a coat, in a goat.... It
might've writ anywhere!"

 Johnsie muttered, "nah, hit wuddint."

 Libby muttered right back, "It wudda, hif I cuddda." The other Mercs tried
to follow this, but in a few minutes, much to everyone else's relief, they
finished by sticking their tongues out at each other, and retreating into
sulky silence.

 Ratpacker Anne took the moment of silence to call out, "Kidnapped!  Did
they hask fer a ransom?"

 Three or four Mercs chimed in in almost perfect unison "Nah, they knew
we'd never pay it."

 "Oh, right."

 Spymistress Jennifer looked thoughful for a second, "They'll be expecting
a rescue attempt, so that will make it all the more difficult."

 Some ratpacker spoke out from the corner of the room, "'ey, 'owz 'bout we
*dunt* dew a res-Q
hattempt and confooz'em?"

 Everyone turned and glared at him, and he just nodded and shut up.

 "Actually, he has an idea."

 Everyone turned around to look at Mildred.

 "I'm serious. Look, that big party at the Raven starts soon. Addicts are
bound to be there. I say, let s watch them at the party, and if they behave
suspiciously, we can confront them. We'll have Laurie home safe and sound
soon, I promise."

She turned to Libby and Johnsie.  "This is going to be the most difficult
job you ratPackers have every attempted.  We cannot let them know we are on
to them, so everyone must act normal." She sighed, "You two, and your
bunch, need to be there making a nuisance of yourselves but without any
property damage!"

All the RatPacker, in one voice, exclaimed, "'uh-UNH!"  followed by the
cacophony of voices,
"Can't b' dun!" "'ow we gonna 'ave hany *fun*?" "Oi can't b'lieve yew did
that!" "Never gonna 'appen."  "Dew yew want that?"  "Yeah, hit's mine!"
"Oi saw hit first!" "Maybe wifout *signifeecant* property damage?"  "Um,
deefine *signifeecant*."

Title: Th' Drinks R On Yew
Time: After "It's Nae Toga Party" and "You did WHAT?" and several
drinks; Saturday, May 2, very, very early
Place: the Raven
Written by Kusine, with input from John the Ratpacker and Laurie
Beta-ed by Jesse, who's truly nifty.
All that appear have graciously given their permission, even
though they didn't know what was going to happen to them.

Glennis was emptying her pockets of change and encouraging Beth,
Sherry, Sukh, and Kusine to do the same.

"If we pool all our money," she expostulated loudly, "We can each
get another drink ... Except for Kusine, who's driving."

"She could have another Diet Coke(tm)," Beth pointed out as she
dumped a handful of coins on the table.

"Were she amenable to non-alcoholic libation, Kusine could most
definitely partake," Sherry intoned seriously.

The tipsy addicts stared at Sherry, who broke into a goofy,
self-satisfied grin.  They looked at each other, confused.
Kusine, the self-declared designated driver, remembered the last
time she'd gotten drunk with the addicts.  That had resulted in
shopping duties as well as a screaming hangover; she wasn't about
to make that mistake again.  Never again.  Nope.  Never. ... At
least not tonight.

"That was very polysol- ... palysyb- ... wordy," Sukh observed.

With much poking and encouragement, all pockets and wallets were
emptied onto the table.  Kusine, as the only one still able to
reach the same sum twice in a row, counted out the coins.  She
separated them into tidy piles: double loonies, loonies, quarters,
dimes, nickels, and pennies (except for the three shiny ones,
which Kusine surrupticiously slipped into her backpack when the
addicts all turned to watch a particularly nice behind walk by).
Kusine was about to announce the grand total when a voice was
heard next to her.


Looking up from their change scrounging, the addicts saw a grubby
face topped by an aviator's cap: Libby.  Immediately, ten hands
reached out to cover the all-too-Ratpacker-tempting coinage.

"What do *you* want?" Glennis asked suspiciously.

"Oi jest came ta say 'allo ta me Nunkies-wunkies friends, oi did,"
the Ratpacker relplied, sounding hurt.  "Oi wuz jest bein'
so-shul-like.  It *iz* a par-tee," she pointed out.

As she spoke, she leaned on the lable, her ratsie paw sliding very
casually across the table towards the money.  Beth, who had been
watching, let her get within a centimetre of her prize before she
slapped it.

"Ow!" She yanked her paw back and cradled it to her chest like an
injured animal.  "Tha' 'urt!  Oi wuz jest lookin'"

"One peruses with one's ocular protrubences, not one's digits,"
Sherry commented dryly.

Libby looked blank.

"You look with your eyes, not your hands," Sukh translated.

"Why's she talkin' like a pr'fesser?" the Ratpacker asked, sliding
into the seat next to Sukh.

"She gets like that after a few drinks," Kusine explained.

Another body shoved into the booth next to Kusine.  All the
addicts turned to look: it was another Ratpacker.  He was glowing.

"You're pink," said Glennis, calmly stating the obvious.

"Oi am," he said proudly.  "an' frum wot ya wuz sayin' shez
sequipedalian when hinebriated!"  He continued, gesturing towards
Sherry.  "Oi've bin nown ta be sesquipedal meself hat toimes."

There was a moment of silence as the addicts pondered this
comment.  Having no response for it, the conversation lagged.

"Johnsie," Libby said suddenly, "Theys don' trust a low-lee

"Aw, think yer dis-honist, dew they?" the other RPer sympathized.
He leaned back in the comfort of the booth, his hand resting
lightly on the edge of the table.  "Oi no what yew meen, jest gnu
they wud.  No rest fer the wik-ed, ther izn't.  'Sides which, ya
haint low-lee, yez the sekund in Hun-CO-mand o' the RatPack.  Not
much greater 'onor, nor more bizzy job. Why, honly t'other day, oi
sed ta meself, 'Self--'"

Libby reached out her paw again to snag some shiny pretties,
almost against her will, but Glennis slapped her hand away this
time.  While all attention was focused on her, there was a flurry
of movement from Johnsie.  Everyone turned to him.

He was smiling innocently.  "Wot?"

"What did you do?" Beth accused.

"What manner of object has the felon perloined?"  Sherry inquired.

"Gimme," Kusine said, holding out her hand and slipping into
Screedspeak.  "It's ours.  Git'chyer own."

"Oi didn' take nuthin'" Johnsie said sullenly, holding his grubby
hands close to his chest as he shrugged.

"We're not wunted heer," Libby said and stood.

Johnsie got up and they two Ratpackers scurried into the crowd.
The addicts exchanged looks ranging from relief to confusion.
With a shrug, Kusine re-counted their change, only to find it
several significant shiny, pretty coins short.


Kusine sat at the booth by herself, the pounding in her head
beginning to keep time with the loud music.  She had given up her
Diet Coke(tm) to feed the other addicts' alcohol beasts and was
now feeling the effects of that deprivation.  //If the Ratpackers
hadn't snagged the shiny coins, I'd be caffiennated by now,//
Kusine thought wretchedly.  Her fellow addicts were dancing, but
Kusine had no taste for it this night; she preferred to watch the
other patrons.

Looking out across the club, Kusine could see Jules, the High
"I'm-Gonna-Give-You-Grout-Duty" Priestess, all sparkly in one of
her sequined dresses.  Kusine had tried one of them on recently --
the purple and gold one -- but since the HP hadn't complained,
Kusine figured she didn't know and was safe.  That meant Jesse
hadn't ratted on her; she'd given the little fink some chocolate
to hold her tongue.  Kusine sighed.  The dress hadn't even looked
good on her.

Over in another corner, Kusine could see Laura, the traitorous
frog-a-phobic.  The Dark Perk was watching the crowd with
attentive eyes, undoubtedly searching for the ones who had defiled
her Pinkmobile.  Kusine smiled inwardly at the amphibaphobe's
discomfort: it was good to be devious.

Then she saw the most horrible sight of her life: the Grand High
Kidnappee.  She no longer wore the lovely leather catsuit she had
been shoe-horned into in the Shrine: she was clean and in new
clothes.  She'd been ... *rescued*!!

Gesticulating wildly, Kusine managed to attract the attention of
her friends on the dance floor.  Not realizing the importance of
what she wanted, they finished the song, then sauntered leisurely
back to the booth.  Kusine had no time to explain to her
companions the seriousness of their situation before she saw the
determined forms heading across the club towards them.  Laughing
still, the other addicts crowded around the table and picked up
their abandoned Nunkies pops.

//This is not good, // Kusine thought.  //I'm going to be ill.//

Just then, like demons in a low budget film, the mercs appeared.

cerk@rocketmail.com -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Date:         Sun, 3 May 1998 00:18:30 -0400
Reply-To: John Ewan 
Sender: Forever Knight TV show stories 
From: John Ewan 
Subject:      WAR: MERC/RP Guess Who's Coming to Have You For Dinner Part 
To: FKFIC-L@lists.psu.edu
X-UIDL: faaaacd4e979b40b1462270d3eea1672

posted by Johnsie for the MercBard

Guess Who s Coming to Have You for Dinner?  Part 1/1
by Laurie Mercbard, John Ewan
Everyone featured with permission
Time: After midnight May 2nd
The Raven Party
coinciding with Merc: Who s Gonna Get Burned When the Tables are Turned?
and NA: It s Nae Toga Party

"Wot nuthin' tew see 'ere. Nawt a pawp tew tha' eye tew peep. We shuld go
'afer we see sumthin'."  Libby said as she tried to head for the nearest 

 Mildred grabbed her arm.   Come with me if you want to live,  the Merc
Computer Genius and
defacto Second in Command ordered the weeping Ratpacker.  She dragged her
over to the Merc table, and sat her down, ordering her not to move, on 

 The Mercs had stayed to themselves most of the evening, carefully scanning
the crowd for evidenceof Nunkies pops, and more importantly, Addicts with
their greedy little paws wrapped around Nunkies pops.  That would be the
final proof that NA was responsible for the heinous disappearance of their
Pain in the Butt leader.

 Mildred had kept the crew steadily circulating through the crowd. She had
the Merclettes in tow, and had stationed each one at a club entrance, with
instructions not to move on pain of loss of lifetime computer privileges.
She was just making the rounds, checking on them, when Jennifer, Guild
Spymistress, appeared by her side.

  They re here,  she whispered.   There s a load of them following
LaCroix s every move.

  An tha' lil' ratsies all cried fer Libratsie." Libby muttered, shrinking
further into the chair in which she had been firmly placed by the Guild

 Tracking them had been easy from that point, and the Mercs  anger had
grown as the Addicts
merrily partied, pulled Nunkies pops out of their bags.  Mildred had
carefully watched and waited for the right opportunity.  In other words,
she wasn t going near any of them until LaCroix was long gone.  Not all of
those with her listened to those words.

 Libby looked around worredly as she left the table.  She d spent most of
the evening hiding from people, and she didn t think she was doing a very
good job of it.  She certainly couldn t shake the Mercs, that was for sure.
 One of them followed her around at all times, keeping a distance, but
making sure she didn t escape from the doom that was bound to come her way
for betraying the Grand High Pain. Even though it hadn t been her fault,
she was sure to be in a heap of trouble, whenever they found miss high and
mighty, that was a given.

"Woe iz me," Libby muttered, as she wandered amongst the crowd at the
Raven.  "Oh, woe...whoa!" she uttered under her breath.  A fellow turned
away from the bar as the bartender set his drink down, took the money, then
moved towards the cash register.  Janette was strolling by, and had
captured the patron's attention.  Libster quickly got the glass and and
stepped away, grabbing a napkin further down the bar.  "Hey, where's my
drink?"  "You got it, there's the napkin."  "I didn't *get* it!"  "I put
it..." "*I* don't care!  I'll tell ya where..."  The conversation faded
behind her as she moved arount the place.

"tsk," she thought as she sipped the drink, "<>

The Mercs had kept to themselves for most of the evening, carefully
scanning the crowd for evidence of Nunkies pops, and more importantly,
Addicts with their greedy little paws wrapped around Nunkies pops.  Which,
as far as the Mercs were concerned, would be absolute proof that NA had
been responsible for the heinous disappearance of their Pain in the Butt

Libby wandered past a table with some tourists,

"Hon," the woman said, "I bet it *is* the President here tonight!  Look at
all those Secret Service guys, just looking around, never smiling.  See!
That woman just talked into her watch!"

"Quiet, dear,"  the man in the loud print shirt replied, "I'm watching that
woman with the ridges on her head."

His wife quickly glanced in the direction he was gazing with such a smile,
"Hon," she said, in a snipped tone, "I am surprised that *you* even noticed
her forehead, what with her wearing *that* outfit!"

Johnsie stood up from behind the couple, holding his little umbrella and
his drink up very obviously, then moved on... Libster went to intercept him.

 Mildred had kept her crew, the Mercs steadily circulating through the
crowd.  She had the Merclettes in tow, and had stationed each one at a club
entrance, had solved two birds with one stone, kept them out of trouble and
at work, containing Libby.

"Psst!", Libster hissed at Johnsie. "Wotchyahuptew?"

"Nuthin'," he replied automatically, then smiled as Libby gave him an "oh,
yeah." look.

"ya share the profit," she said, with a glare.

"Nah-unh," Johnsie replied, with a sneer.

Their further scintallating raconteuring was stopped by the sound of coins
jingling onto a table.  They almost hurt their necks snapping around at the

"Nunkies..." they whispered together, and strolled towards their table.

They moved towards the table, Johnsie slowing to a shuffle, checking where
the purses where and how folks were sitting.  he decided the woman counting
the change was the one most likely to be distracted as she was the most
sober and would understand the danger the pair of them were.

Libby stood by the table nonchanlantly, even though her emotions were in
turmoil, "allo." she said brightly.  The group snarled at her and all their
hands covered the coins in the middle of the table.  Libby wheedled, tried
to get some coins and her hand was slapped away.  Then she pouted, sat down
and Johnsie strolled over and joined them, resting his right hand on the
edge of the table.  The other was under the edge, just out of sight.  His
free hand quietly and gently fiddled with the purse closure.  Libby made
another move for the coins which got all their attention away from him so
he opened the purse, grabbed a very convient nunkiespop and palmed it.  The
flurry of activity made them look back at him and ask him what he had, he
raised his hands so that the evidence fell unnoticed into the sleeve of his
heavy longrider coat and he could show them empty hands.  Libby took the
opportunity of them staring at Johnsie to cadge a few coins as profit to
finish their scam.

They played it out, being offended at their treatment, and wandered away
from the table, meeting Mildred along the way.

Mildred scowled, "What was that game all about?

Johnsie dropped his arm, caught something and held it up for her to see,
shielded by his hand from the view of others.  "Eveedence.  Wot ya needed,
wot Oi cud get ya."

Mildred smiled grimly, "Not bad, I thought you guys were just around for

Johnsie smiled, "Wun duz wot wun duz best; calmin' the mark iz the first
thing ya dew.  Folks dunt fear wot they laugh hat, they proteks wot they
thinks ya hafter."

 Mildred had spared a momentary thought to Laurie, wondering if the Addicts
had turned her over
to LaCroix.  And if so, just what had the GHP endured?  The General had
left the club soon after midnight, and she was preparing to marshal her
forces, when Jennifer returned to her side.

 The Spymistress was positively aglee with excitement, and as she reported
her news, Mildred
began to smirk. The Addicts  days were numbered.  The Mercs had no reason
to hold back now.

John Ewan, Sysop                  | Look for me online at MPG-Net
Multi-Player Games Network   | as Gimli jwe@mpgn.com
http://www.mpgn.com              |

I Plead The Garlic Defense- a Prelude to Something
by Maya

The Raven
Sometime around midnight
Awhile after "Sneaking As An Art Form"
After passing through the doors of the Raven, the four Ratpackers had split
up. To find their respective adored vampires. To annoy various faction
members, perhaps. Or to cause chaos, which was, after all, the idea of a 
War, right? Plot? *What* plot?

Maya had, for reasons inexplicable to even her, several little packets of 
salt in her pocket that had somehow managed to avoid being depossessed in CERK's
basement, and she was wandering around with the half-formed idea of finding 
an unguarded glass of blood to dump them in. Just to see the expression on the
vampire's face. Providing, of course, that she could be far, far away by 
that time. She suspected that Ursula was doing something at the moment with a
certain rat- the girl never traveled without at least two at a time on her
person, and she had an annoying habit of dropping them on unsuspecting
people's shoulders- but Maya was past worrying about it by now. Might be 
fun, actually. She made a mental note to find Ursula later.

She snagged a passing FoD, grabbing a handful of crackers and scooping up a
generous amount of Garlic Goo. Maya chewed thoughtfully for a minute; then 
she stuck her fingers in the dip, liberating a handful of garlicky pinkness, and
stuffed it in her mouth with the rest of the crackers, ignoring the plaid-
clad caterer's bewildered expression.

Sucking the last crumbs off her fingers, the Ratpacker made her way through
the dance floor, straightening her black top hat. Oblivious to the recoils 
of the other guests as the distinctive stench of garlic, and blissfully 
ignorant of the fact that all vampires in the room were unconsciously steering *very*
clear of her, Maya bounded happily up to the DJ's booth.

"Oi gots a ree-kwest," she shouted over the din of the music. The DJ 
promptly passed out.

"Sum myuzik-player *yew* are," she snorted, ducking into the booth and
shuffling through the CDs. "Huh. Lessee. La, la, one fish, two fish, red 
fish, blu- 'ere we are!" As the current song drew to an end, she popped open the 
CD player and started to toss the piece of hapless metal over her shoulder,
before realizing that it was reflecting the light *very* nicely. After a
moment's thought- or possibly trance- she stuffed the disc into her pocket,
before inserting Switchblade Symphony's *Serpentine Gallery* into the 

"Now less 'ave sum real fun," she declared, as "Dollhouse" began to play 
over the speakers, and she danced back out onto the floor, once again somehow
managing to procure a wide personal space for herself.

*pushing pulling me down again*
*it's getting bad i can't breathe*
*i won't let them leave*
*i need to get away*

If Maya believed in omens, hearing these lyrics, she would have been more 
than slightly worried. Of course, if she was psychic, she would have been
hightailing it out of the club for the nearest sewer. And if her grandmother
had a long pink tail, she'd be a rat.

Just then a hand landed on her shoulder. "Look, I need- Good God, *what* 
have you been eating?" Mildred demanded, as the full force of the Ratpacker's
breath hit her.

Maya blinked innocently. "Jes' this pink dippy stuff. 'Twas pret'y good,
'twas. Want sum?" she added generously.

Mildred covered her nose, feeling more than slightly sick. "*No*. I do not.
Look, I need to find all the Mercs and 'Packers here. Go wait over there,

She nodded, subdued, and turned to go.

"Oh, and Maya?"

The Ratpacker turned back around.

"Try not to breathe on anyone, would you?"
"say no way, we won't let them grow up that way." -sleater-kinney

These Boots Were Made For Stomping 1/1
by Laurie Mercbard
Everyone featured with permission
Time: Near 2 a.m., May 2nd
The Raven Party
following: Merc: Who s Gonna Get Burned When the Tables are Turned?
concurrent with the end of  NA: Th' Drinks R On Yew

 The Mercs timed their arrival at the table perfectly, as the dancing
Addicts, adjusting their finery, returned from a spin on the floor.
Kristine, who had remained at the table rose as her friends approached,
gesturing wildly, but when she noticed the approaching Mercs, she
immediately fell silent.  Turned rather green, in fact.  Jennifer thought
she rather resembled a frog.

  We need to talk to you. Outside. Now.  Mildred addressed this to the
group at large, most of
whom, spotting their vistors, also took on a froglike hue, as they
desperately scrambled to hide the Nunkies pops held within their hot sweaty
thieving hands.  The Mercs looked like they could commit murder and mayhem
on the spot.  The Ratpackers looked like they d rather be any place else.
Libby looked like she d

 The Addicts all moved closer together.  Except for Bons, who started
edging away from the coming confrontation.  Kristine grabbed the Cousinly
Leader s arm, her mouth moving but no words coming out.  Finally, the
distressed woman grabbed Bons by the shoulders and spun her around to face
the Raven door.

 Bons let out a high-pitched yelp and pointed at the approaching Poobah.
The Addicts, Mercs, and Ratpackers turned around to see the source of her
alarm and froze.

 Coming directly toward them, her eyes fixated on the two confronting
factions, was the Grand
High Poobah herself.  Bons groaned.  Death was definitely in the air 


 The atmosphere in the Raven seemed rather subdued as Laurie and Anna
entered the party.  The
Poobah had managed to squeeze a few sentences out of Anna on the way over,
enough to know that the Guild hadn t been very successful in locating her -
not that it took a brain surgeon to figure that out.  All it took was a few
days being tortured at the Shrine.

 The Poobah took a deep breath.  She had plenty of gleeful time ahead to
kill Addicts.  First she had to get her own house in order, most likely by
sticking all of the current inhabitants of it in the dungeon for
deriliction of duty.

 She quickly scanned the club floor, until she spotted the Mercs moving en
masse toward ... toward .... toward ...

  she sternly told herself. <*This* is not the time or
the place for it.> Much as she would have enjoyed a full scale Addict
massacre, matters of this
nature needed to be taken care of behind the scenes.  The Guild could not
be brawling in public, not even to defend their Grand Poobah s honor.  As
she made a beeline for the converging groups, Bons suddenly spun around,
spotted her, and let out a pretty pathetic yelp.

 Addicts and Mercs turned.  The Mercs looked relieved - 
Laurie thought.  She was even more satisfied as she watched comprehension
dawn on the faces of her tormenters/soon to be tormentees.

 She quickened her pace, moving steadily but surely, noting the gleam
reflecting off her steel toed boots.  All eyes in the area were upon her,
as she came to a halt in front of the Mercs, and faced the Addicts
squarely.  She remained silent, coldly, chillingly, sizing each of them up.
She lingered on Jules, noting every detail of the High Priestess  garb,
from the floor length purple sequined gold trimmed evening gown with itsy
bisty shoulder straps to the purple and crystally dangly earrings.

 She gave the Addicts one final  you will rue the day you were ever put on
this earth  evil Poobah eye, then turned smartly on her shiny steel toes,
and headed for the Raven s door without a backward glance, with the Mercs
and Ratpackers following silently behind her.

 If the Addicts thought war was hell, they hadn't seen anything yet. The
Mercs had not yet begun to fight.

WAR: NA: The Morning After (1/1)
by Cousin Jules
Time:  12 noon, Saturday, May 2
Where:  The Shrine

     Jules cracked an eye and noticed the slit of light that filtered 
through the heavy velvet draperies.  She'd fought wakefulness long enough, it 
seemed. Crawling out from under the red satin sheets, she donned her kimono-type 
robe and toddled over to her dressing table.
     she thought, noticing the blue circles beneath her eyes.    Normally, she would have been - no
pun intended - dead to the world at this time of day, but a week's worth of
War posts, combined with the lingering effects of the G&T's she'd imbibed at
the party - she'd forgotten how many - proved an annoying disruption.
    Moving from her dressing table to the very new mini-bar she'd had
installed in one corner of her room, she filled her electric kettle with 
water and plugged it in, then pulled a mug out of one cabinet and deposited a
Twinings tea bag inside of it.  The water coming to a quick boil, Jules
cut the electricity and filled the mug, then left the leaves to do their
     The shower beckoned her to wash off the stale odour of alcohol that 
still clung to her hair and which, in spite of the Shrine's excellent central air
system, managed to scent the room somewhat as well.  Jules moved the 
draperies aside and opened her window for some fresh spring air to help clear things 
and immediately regretted it, her night-accustomed eyes being hit full force 
with the noonday sun.
     Disrobing in her bathroom, she turned the shower to a warmer than 
normal temperature for her, and let the water wash away the sleep, the alcohol and
the temporary shock of sunlight.  Her thoughts began to drift back to a
particularly good dream she'd been having involving Lacroix and a fondue 

      Turning off the shower before she turned into a prune, she towled
herself dry, wrapped a second towel about her hair, and a third, very fluffy
one around her person.  She carefully removed the tea bag from the mug - 
 - and reached into the small 
fridge for the milk, pushing aside a few green bottles taking up residence to get 
to it.
     She savoured her first sip and was about to take another, when she
noticed something pushed under her door.  Walking over to it and bending 
down, she picked up an ivory envelope.  In a familiar, elegant hand was the word
"Jules" written on the front, and a bit of wax had been used to ensure it 
was securely sealed.  Opening the envelope, she pulled out a sheet of matching
writing paper and, in the same elegant script saw the words:

     "If you love something, let it go.  If it doesn't return, hunt it down,
and give it coffee."

     Jules took another serious sip of her tea and re-read the note or,
rather, her orders.  Clearly, there was work to be done.  The Priestess 
jumped into a pair of jeans, a white blouse and heels, then snatched up the Jag's
keys and set off on her own particular version of the 'hunt.'


War: Merc: We're Off To See The PoohPain (1/1)
by Shelia Turner, assistance from the MercBard: Laurie and Liz the Lucky.
Place: The MercShrine
Time: Immediately before the Merc post that will drop later about the

We're Off To See The PoohPain (1/1)

The MercPriestess stood up and stretched wearily before placing the object
she held in her hand on the altar, standing the transformed candle on its
'feet'.  Shelia smiled at the sight of the effigies, one pure and white,
the other black as..well...night.

'Not exactly what the Poohbah wanted for the war, but...' The
MercPriestess'  self-satisfied smile faded at the thought of the GHP.
Shelia grabbed the candles off the altar and looked around her suite,
musing,  "I wonder what time the meeting is?  I guess I should check in..."

The MercHouseMommie had graciously provided her with a spacious suite,
all for a price of course and Shelia had unplugged the intercom and the
phone before setting her wards.  Effectively cutting herself off from the
world around her for most of the war, as she busied herself to the task of
creating the anatomically correct character candles.

She had worked hard  day and night, only pausing to eat
 sleep  or take long baths,   and now that she had actually finished something she could show the
GHP, the realization hit her that the MercLeader might have other things on
her mind besides

"Oh, sh**!," the MercPriestess murmured under her breath, "Why do I have
the feeling the the next time I see the Poohbah, she's gonna be in a
GrandPoohbah Snit?"

Shelia ran out her rooms and smack into Liz.

"What's the rush?" Shelia asked trying to hold on to the candles in her grip
and completely ignoring the fact that she was running too.

"The meeting starts in 15 minutes, the GHP's going to be on the warpath.
After what the Addicts did to her..." Liz shuddered.

The MercPriestess shuddered in sympathy.  She knew Addicts.  She knew
the GHP.  Whatever had happened between them, she knew already that the
next chapter was not going to be pretty.

"So, tell me," Shelia started as they walked to the meeting hall, "Just
what did the Nunkies do the the Pain?"

Liz shuddered again. "She was pretty tight lipped about it. The little she
did say, you probably don't want to know."

"Aw, come on."

Well, she'd asked for it. Liz whispered into Shelia's ear. By the time she
was done, the MercPriestess looked as bad as Liz had the one time she'd
been forced to stay an extra night in the hospital after one of her chemo
because she wouldn't stop throwing up.


Title: Visions and Resolutions
Time: Saturday, May 02, afternoon
Place: the Shrine
Written by Kusine

Very slowly, the door to Kusine's wardrobe pushed open.  In they
snuck, come from the Ratpacker tunnels to her sleeping chamber.
Whispering in high, squeaky tones, the two dark figures carefully
climbed onto the bed with the terrified addict.  They perched on
the end of the bed, their large, round ears making huge shadows on
the wall behind them.

"They're coming to get you!" one said cheerfully, and giggled.

"They're going to stomp you to bits!" the other one agreed, just
as pleasantly.

"It's all your fault," the first one snickered.

"The mercs are coming for you," the second one crowed, laughing in
its peircing voice.

"No," Kusine whispered.  "No, I didn't do anything!"

"You helped; you took the Nunkies pops!" the voices squeakily
hissed in unison.  "And they'll take their vengeance."

"Ok, I helped a little, but only because I'm addicted!" Kusine

"You'll pay," they choursed, "And that little Ratpacker, too!!"

"NOOOOOOOOO!" Kusine screamed and opened her eyes.

Looking at the end of her bed, she saw nothing.  She quickly
turned to the wardrobe: the padlock she had installed was still
locked.  Grabbing her hockey stick, she poked under the bed, but
found nothing but her dustbunny cousins.

It had been a dream.

It had been a threat.

It had been a prophecy.

The mercs *would* be coming to wreak their revenge for the
kidnapping of their leader.  The scene last night at the Raven had
proven that.  But just beacuse she had a dream about two evil
cartoon mice didn't mean that they'd be coming to get her in
particular.  Did it?

"But I wasn't even directly involved!" Kusine wailed to the room.
"The Poobah Formerly Known As Carol Channing doesn't even know my
name!  How could she go after me in particular?  I'll be fine ...

The room said nothing.  Its silence, however, *implied*: "Sure,
you'll be fine, but what about the Ratpacker, Libby?  Who knows
what the Mercs would do to someone who helped, even
unintentionally, with the kidnapping of their leader.  But that
doesn't matter to *you*.  *You'll* be fine."

Kusine groaned.  "Great.  Guilt.  Just what I need."  The addict
got up and, pulling off her night shirt, yanked on a clean toga.
"Any more guilt and I'll be hallucinating about Nunkies drinking
tea in a checkered room, reciting 'Alice in Wonderland' to me ...
Not that that's bad ..."

The room's silence became impatient.

"Oh, yeah," Kusine said guiltily.  "Libby.  But what can I do?!
It's not like I can protect her!  She'll be lucky to get a trial
before they hang her!"  Kusine paused in lacing up her sandals.
"Hmmm ... a trial ... If she gets one, I can testify on her
The addict smiled happily and finished with her sandals.  The room
was satisfied.

cerk@rocketmail.com -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Support your local pub/cantina (1/3)
By MacCousin Heather with A LOT of help from Addicts Sherry and Debbie,
and Lora Conk and Brenda Bell
Takes place before and during 'Chariots of Fire parts 1 and 2

Fiendish Glow and NPC's used with permission


Debbie stared at the large pan of Tiramisu that she, Sherry and
MacCousin Heather were sharing.  The three were sitting in Heather's
quarters listening to 'Lore', Clannad's  latest CD.  Heather was
staring, mid-bite at her MacNunkies tapestry.

"You know," Debbie began, "I think I'm in the mood for something

"I know what you mean," said Sherry, in between bites.  "I asked Cabon
for Shepherd's pie last night and he looked at me like I had lobsters
crawling out of my ears."

"Mmmmm, Shepherd's Pie," murmured the MacCousin, who had usual been
watching way too many episodes of 'The Simpsons'.   "You know," she
began.  "There is a place in Toronto that serves great Celtic cuisine.
I bet they even serve it at breakfast."

"The Fiendish Glow?  I thought they were just a cantina," said Sherry,
lowering the pan.  Heather continued munching.

"I've seen their ads," said Debbie.  "They are more than just a
cantina.  Just think of all the pub food."

Sherry looked convinced, however Heather who spent most of her free time
at home hanging around Irish pubs, was still scooping Tiramisu into her
mouth.   Besides that she felt a bit apprehensive about the pub.  She
had not set foot in the place since she, Nyx and Pen had bought the
place.  It had not been a pretty sight.  Heather scooped up another
spoonful of tiramisu, guiltily thinking of the cleaning that Brenda and
Lora must have endured.  She had not even sent the fanfic fairies to
help in the cleaning activities.

"Think of the possibility of seeing men in kilts, MacIntyre," Sherry
added, knowing her fellow addict's true motives.

The MacCousin threw down the pan decisively.  She was always ready to
look at bonny knees (even boney ones).  She straightened her sash and
grinned.  "I'm ready, let's go!"


 The happy threesome stood outside waiting for a cab as the other
addicts ran off to their other planned activities.  Most of the addicts
were going to participate in the Chariot races.

"We'll probably end up missing the chariots," mused Debbie, out loud as
she tried to wave down a cab.    She looked at Sherry who had wandered
out wearing one of Heather's many sashes.   "I don't really mind missing
them," she added.  "Do you?"

"Nah, I sure don't want to stand around in the heat today," said Sherry,
wiping her brow.  It was unseasonably hot for Toronto in May.  She
looked for Heather over her shoulder and then started laughing.

"What's so funny?" asked Heather.

Sherry couldn't stop chortling and soon Debbie joined in.  "Your sword,
it's almost as tall as you are," Sherry finally was able to get out.

Heather made a face.  She had **borrowed** the sword from her
boyfriend.  The claymore made her a bit unsteady on her feet, but the
scabbard kept her from becoming too unbalanced.   Besides that, how
could she show up at a pub without a claymore?

Debbie and Sherry continued laughing at Heather.  Cabs continued past
them.  Heather stared at her fellow addicts stonily.  First she had to
deal with the GHP and now this.  "I don't get any respect," she mumbled,
piteously.  Sherry and Debbie finally realized they missed all the

"Thanks a lot, MacHeather," grumbled Debbie.  "You made us miss all the

"It's not too far from here," stated Sherry, pushing the two other
addicts forward.  "Only a few blocks on Luminescent Lane and Cactus


(A few blocks away)

Ronnie couldn't help chortling at the sight.  He covered his mouth with
his hand when saw them coming down the walk.   He had never seen such
odd outfits.   Two ladies were dressed in what appeared to be togas,
silver breastplates and sandals, as well as various sashes, pins and
other Celtic jewelry.  Debbie was in black jeans today after finding
that her togas were still not back from the cleaners.  However, she was
decorated with a sash and jewelry as well.  The taller dark-haired woman
and the two reddish-haired shorter women jingled all the way up the
street.  Ronnie nudged Danny, who began chortling as well.  The three
addicts were absolutely unaware of any strange looks they received from
the employees of the pub.

"What are you two chortling about?" asked Lora.  Lora was dressed in
white jeans and a white tank top.  A short pearl necklace and a stunning
pair of pearl earrings completed the outfit.  She picked up her claymore
and she peeked her head out of the doorway and in the direction of
Debbie, Sherry and Heather.  "You two better stop laughing.  For one
thing, the one with the claymore on her back is MacCousin Heather.
She's one of the owners of the Fiendish Glow."

Ronnie and Danny straightened up.

"Besides, that," added Brenda.  "We are in need of entertainment.  The
karoake machine has been silent for, well hours.  Even if all they will
probably sing about is Nunkies.

"So they're that Nunkies faction?" asked Danny.

Brenda stopped, mid-breath.  "Don't ever call them Nunkies," she said.

"Oye," Ronnie said with a wicked grin.  "The lassies tha' err so 'ot 'n'
bothered o'er that vampire Lora so wan's to searrch."

Lora gave Ronnie a stern look.  Then she got a strange blissful smile
and blushed slightly.  She back into her little fantasy about searching
LaCroix for weapons.  Lora couldn't help wondering what it would be like
to run her hands over him.  Brenda poked Lora and she finally got back
to reality.

Heather smiled as she reached the doorstep.  She had only briefly spoken
to Brenda and Lora before the war.  She hoped they would be able to
recognize her.  She doubted that the co-managers would remember her too
fondly since she had left the Glowworms behind to clean and start up the
business.  Her smile became bigger at the doorstep.

Debbie and Sherry gave each other strange looks.

"I think she's more nervous than they are," pointed out Sherry in a
hushed voice.

"Is she an addict?" Debbie asked Sherry.  "Look at all the tell-tale

"I have no idea," said Sherry.  "Maybe she's thinking of someone else
and we just always assume it's Nunkies that every woman fantasizes


The threesome stepped up to Lora and Ronnie.  Lora was able to finally
concentrate on the matter at hand.

Brenda sighed and shook her head, deciding to give Lora a few more
minutes to clear her thoughts.  "Come on in," she said, welcoming the
addicts with a warm smile.  "And you," she said to the MacCousin.   "You
should have been to visit sooner."  Lora, Brenda and Heather all
exchanged hugs.


MacCousin Heather (heatherp@freewwweb.com) a.k.a. Deirdre
CIP also at (maccousin@hotmail.com)
Keeper of the MacNunkies Tapestry
*NA*DT cofounder*UF*Celtic GlowWorm*

Support Your Local Pub/Cantina (2/3) - An Nunkies is my Darling

'Danny Boy' was written by some Irishmen in the 16th century, lamenting
the loss of his clan.  Unfortunately I've forgotten his name.  'The
Doddered Auld Carroll' was written a long time ago as well, in Aberdeen,
Scotland, poking fun at the tradition of older Scottish men to wed young
lasses.  I've forgotten who originally wrote it too.  'An Charlie is my
Darlin' is by Robert Burns, the Bard of Scotland.  May he not roll in
his grave when he sees what I've done to it.

Everyone mentioned is used with permission


Debbie sighed contentedly, watching the light sparkle through her shot
glass.  Sherry was humming peacefully over a glass of Harp while Heather
poured herself another glass of heather cream, enjoying the soothing
taste of the scotch and cream mixed together.  Brenda and Lora joined
them and the quintet sat in companionable silence.

The employees of the pub tiptoed around the group once they heard they
one of the owners was present.

"Can aye get ye ladies anything else?" asked Deirdre.  "Consuela says it
may take 15 minutes or so to get your orders.  We usually don' get 'any
orders for shepherd's pie at breakfast time."

"No problemo," said Debbie, with a smile, as her two fellow addicts
grinned and shrugged at Deirdre, peacefully.   She turned to Lora and
Brenda.  "Now what was that about our being the entertainment?"

(five minutes later)

Debbie, Heather and Sherry jumped onto the karoake stage.  Sherry
brought up a tambourine.

"Ooooo, what to sing?  What to sing?" grinned Sherry.

"Anything but Broadway hits," said MacHeather, shivering at the thought
of the GHP's singing once again.

"What about 'Danny Boy'?" suggested Debbie.  "it's one we all know".
She entered in her selection and the karoake machine began.

'Oh Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are calling
>From glen to glen, and down the mountain side
The summer's gone, and all the flowers are dying
'tis you, 'tis you must go and I must bide.'

It wasn't a grand performance, but the threesome managed to garner some
applause at the songs end.

Sherry started looking through the songs once again.  When Heather
leaned over her shoulder and squealed.

"Oooo,  I love the 'Doddered Auld Carroll'," she said with a wicked
gleam in her eye.

"I haven't heard that one before," said Sherry,  "What does that mean
anyway and how does it go."

"It's very easy," promised the MacCousin.  "It's Aberdeenshire dialect
for the doddery old man."  She started the song this time and the pub
employees ducked and shuddered when Heather began.

"The Doddered Auld Carroll, he come over the lee,
Ah ha, but I downa hae him.
He come up the lee to court wi' me,
Wi' his gray beard newly shaven."

Within a few seconds Debbie and Sherry joined in.

"...So my mother she tell me to gie him some meat.
Ah ha, but I downa hae him
I gie him some meat, but he nae teeth to eat
With his gray beard newly shaven."

The audience giggled with every verse and even Lora and Debbie joined
along on the chorus until Liam O'Neal walked through the pub door
again.  Ronnie motioned to Lora and they met the inspector at the front


Liam O'Neal had been wandering around town for a proper breakfast.  It
was still quite early in the morning.  He could only think of one place
to go to.

Liam came by way of the Metro and sighed as he passed by the sign for
the Fiendish Glow.  It was too early to be on the lookout for
vampires.   However, what if they were vampires there right now.  He
opened the front door as he heard the start of a very strange version
of  Robert Burns' poem, 'An' Charlie he's my Darling'.

'Twas on a Monday evening,
Right early in the year,
That Nunkies came to our town.
Without his young chevalier.

An' Nunkies he's my darling,
My darling, my darling.
Nunkies he's my darling.
Not the young chevalier

He set his addict on his knee,
All in his Highland dress;
For brawie well he ken'd the way,
To please a bonny lass.

An' Nunkies he's my darling,
My darling, my darling.
Nunkies he's my darling,
Not the young chevalier.

Liam shivered and noticed Ms. Conk and Ronnie coming toward him.
Something about the song was utterly unnerving, and the women singing it
were even stranger.  He took off towards the exit sign, his MacIntosh,
folded over his arm, flapped behind him.

"Yes, I've definitely forgotten something," he murmured, as he walked


MacCousin Heather (heatherp@freewwweb.com) a.k.a. Deirdre
CIP also at (maccousin@hotmail.com)
Keeper of the MacNunkies Tapestry
*NA*DT cofounder*UF*Celtic GlowWorm*


Support Your Local Pub/Cantina (3/3)
by MacCousin Heather

all the addicts, glowworms and NPC's are used with permission


Sherry, Heather and Debbie stumbled off the stage as the food came forth
from the steamy kitchen.  

Ronnie and Lora stood to one side discussing why the inspector had left
so quickly.  

"Maybe he had sum sort of attack on hearin' the ladies sing," he

Lora shrugged.  He had a point.  However, Heather, Sherry and Debbie
seemed to enjoy themselves greatly.  She wandered back over to their
table where the addicts where ready to dig in.

Debbie sighed contentedly over her portion of Irish Stew, while the
staff waited for the verdict.  Heather leaned and smiled as Deirdre
placed her portion of corned beef and colcannon in front of her.  Sherry
received the shepherd=92s pie that she been waiting for.  =

Heather coughed and raised her glass as did Debbie and Sherry. 

"A Toast," began the MacCousin.

"May your glass be ever full.
May the roof over your head be always strong.
And may you be in heaven
half an hour before the devil knows you're dead."

Miguel raised his own glass and nodded to the staff to join him in a
toast in return.  "May your enemies never meet a friend."

"Hear, hear," said Debbie.  

There were many yumming noises from the addicts through the entire meal,
until they had finished off the Bailey=92s Irish Cream Ice Cream.

(an hour later)

Ronnie whistled for a cab to take the addicts back to the shrine.  The
MacCousin appeared to have more trouble than usual carrying her

After about ten more minutes of goodbyes,  the Glowworms and addicts
hugged each other.  The addicts climbed into the cab, holding onto very
full tummies.  

"Gude food," said Debbie.  

"Ditto," replied Sherry.

Both addicts waited for Heather to say something, but the next thing out
of the MacCousin=92s mouth was a snore. =

MacCousin Heather (heatherp@freewwweb.com) a.k.a. Deirdre
CIP also at (maccousin@hotmail.com)
Keeper of the MacNunkies Tapestry
*NA*DT cofounder*UF*Celtic GlowWorm*

Operation: Cactus (1/1)
By Bonnie Rutledge
Starring: Cousin Cherri, Cousin Bean, Miranda, Lesley, Nish, 'Chele, Senara
and Delilah
Time: Saturday, May 2nd, Nick's Loft around midnight, after 'Adiamo a Circo'.

   The Cousins hovered outside the loft door. They were clothed simply in
black and had no special paraphernalia. Cousin Cherri frowned at the alarm
box. Everyone who'd ever watched 'Dark Knight' knew the first digits to
Nick's alarm code. It was the last one that was the trouble. The Cousins 
had a 1 in 10 chance of picking the right number, and they were willing to take
the chance.

     Delilah, of course, wasn't really aware of what was going on. All she
knew was that her new friends were extremely excited over this adventure,
and they seemed eager to have her join in. Delilah succumbed to the feeling
of belonging.

     Senara pulled off her black cap, and Cousin Bean dropped a handful of
paper inside. "Okay," Senara instructed, "one of us will draw a number. Who
wants the honors?"

     "Me! Me!" Miranda declared. Nish and Cousin Bean stepped back, allowing 
her better access. Miranda dug in and drew out a number, which Senara took
and presented to Cousin Cherri.

     Cherri's finger hovered over the keypad for a moment. "Okay,
everyone...prepare to run if this is wrong!"

     Cherri pushed the last digit.

     No alarms sounded.

     Cherri grasped the door handle, and it opened effortlessly. "All right,
Cousins! We have access!"

     They piled into the loft elevator, chatting happily among themselves.

     "So..." 'Chele suggested, "should we look out for cameras or anything?"

     "Nope." Cherri shook her head and whispered, "It doesn't matter if the
Knighties know it was us, just that we don't get caught on the premises and
glued into a cow suit."

     The Cousins shivered at the concept of being glued into cow suits.

     "Are these people friends of yours?" Delilah asked innocently over the
Cousins' maniacal chuckles. "Is that why you're dropping in when they aren't

     Lesley gave Delilah a wicked grin. "Why...I guess you could say we're
taking care of their plants while they're out."

    "Oh. That's friendly," Delilah said as the elevator doors opened to the
loft. She wandered inside, gazing curiously at the collection of paintings
and the intricate fireplace mantelpiece. "This is quite a room."

     Cherri pointed toward the window. "Okay, let's grab it and get out of

     "Hey," Nish protested, "I can't believe we came all this way just
because Bonnie likes the cactus. The Knighties will be gone at least another
half hour - can't we putt some golf?"

     "Okay," Cherri relented, "but put everything back where you found it."

     "A cactus..." 'Chele sighed. "We risk our necks for a silly cactus."
She wandered across the room toward Nick's motorcycle, then ran a finger
down the seat. "We should take something with more style."

     "So take the motorcycle," Cousin Bean suggested.

     "And not follow the Cousinly Leaders' orders?" 'Chele's eyes widened.
"No, I'm too afraid I'll end up in a tub of oatmeal. Blech."

     "So..." Bean nodded secretively toward Delilah, who was playing 'Heart
and Soul' on the piano. "...get someone not under orders to do your dirty
work for you."

     "That's an idea," 'Chele said thoughtfully, "but the kid is pretty
naive. She thinks that we're here to housesit, for heaven's sake!"

     "Tell her it's for Bonnie," Bean countered. "Bons took her in - I bet
Delilah will do it if she thinks she can repay her Samaritan." Both Cousins
fell into the giggles at the thought of the Cousinly Leader being remotely
sweet and upstanding.

      "Okay, I'll do it!" 'Chele whispered. "Hey! Delilah! Can you help us?"
she called.

     "Sure! What can I do?" Delilah's expression was open and polite.

     "We just remembered that we were supposed to pick up this motorcycle
for Bons, and we thought that you might like the honors of riding the bike
back to the station, since you're the Cousins' special guest and all."

       "I don't know." Delilah shook her head uncertainly. "I don't think I
can ride a motorcycle."

     "But it's for Bons," Bean reminded her. "Why don't you just sit on it
and try the bike on for size? You might be a motor cross racer for all you

     "If you think it's okay." Delilah swung a leg over the seat and let her
hands rest on the bars. She adjusted her arms and legs tentatively, then
broke out into a smile. "You know, I think I have been on one of these

     "Then you can ride it back to the station," 'Chele said. "We'll help
you roll it out."

     "Okay!" Cherri clapped her hands together. "That's enough putt-putt!
Put the club back, Nish! Lesley! Grab the cactus! We're out of here!"

     The Cousins piled into the elevator, Delilah, Bean and 'Chele pushing
Nick's motorcycle. It was a tight squeeze, but they made the ground floor in
one trip, then they were out of there.


WAR:  NA: Reality Cheque, Please, Waitress (1/1)
by Laurie MercBard and Cousins Jules and Bons
Time:  About 5 p.m., Sunday, May 3
Where:  The streets of TO and the Happy Souvlaki Deli

     Jules was exhausted. It was now 5 p.m., and there was still no sign of
the NA Scribe.  She'd combed the town, stopping at every coffee house she
could think of (Bons didn't *do* instant).  Finally, she pulled the Jag up
to the curb near the last Buckstar's on her list, turned the engine off, and
re-read the second note she'd found beneath the car's windscreen when she'd
left the Shrine.

     "What a wonderful thing humanity is..."

     A light suddenly went on in Jules' tiny brain!   she
thought, and tore away from the curb.  Speeding down Yonge, she picked up
the cell phone and rang the Shrine.  Miraculously, Patt picked up.  There
seemed to be some kind of hubbub in the background - what could, perhaps,
best be described as 'shrieking.'

     "Finally!" Patt yelled at her.  "Where are you, your Royal High

     "I'm looking for Bons.  Why?  Something more important I need to know

     "Only if you care about the *Shrine,*" Patt replied.


     "We've been attacked, a la the Dark Perks.  You don't wanna know what
they've done."

     "You're right," Jules replied tersely.  "I don't!  Tell the fanfic
fairies to fix it!  We have better fish to fry!  We need to find Bonnie.
She's run from Lacroix and CERK, and Lacroix isn't going to stand for it.
He said, and I quote: 'I don't want a new Bons, I like *that* one!'  
how annoyed he was in 'Father's Day'?"

     "Yeah," Patt replied.

     "Well, multiply it by 10 and you kind of get the drift," Jules
explained. "He doesn't say as much in his notes, but I can tell there's
going to be hell to pay if we don't find her and give some kind of adequate

     "Jules, look:  I'm sure I'm the last person Lacroix wants on this
particular mission..."

     "No, you look, Patt.  Maybe it's the 'mission' that's going to put you
back into his good graces.  Ever thought of that?  Hmmmmm?"

     There was a noticeable silence on the other end of the phone line.

     "Besides which, we owe it to Bons.  She's out there somewhere in the
less-than-perfect world of fanfic, and she's not feeling exactly peachy
right now.  She could even be wearing sensible shoes!  Can't you do stick 
neck out and help for her sake?"

     Another moment of silence passed before Patt asked, "Where do you want
me to meet you?"

     Jules pulled the car up outside the restaurant and caught a whiff of
something wonderful.

     "Just tell the cabby to bring you to the Happy Souvlaki."


     Meanwhile, in another part of Toronto...

     Laurie woke up in Merc Central's guest quarters to an urgent message on
her laptop.  Jules and Patt had been trying to reach her for hours and were
asking for a temporary truce.  There was trouble on the horizon, and it had
nothing to do with fanfic fairies or burnt down Shrines.

     She'd finally had a good night's sleep, but was still feeling tired.
Three days of being kidnapped, drooled, snotted, barfed, and pooped, not to
mention Michael Bolton-ed, tended to take a lot out of a Grand High Poobah,
let alone a masochistic Grand High Poobah who had helped to write her own

     "What now?" she mumbled, as she watched the messages pour into her
inbox.  She became increasingly upset as she read them.  She quickly dressed
and headed out the door of Merc Central.

     The faction leader caught up with Jules and Patt at the Happy Souvlaki.
They were sitting at a table in a corner, engrossed in deep conversation
with Bons.

      Laurie's eyes widened at the view. Bons (and the angels wept to see
it) was wearing Birkenstocks and her scrubs.  What's worse, the Scribe was
drinking grapefruit juice.  At either side of Bonnie, there was a man and a
woman of non-descript features, each eating a souvlaki and having a Diet
Coke.  Their T-Shirts read:  Nameless Victim #1 and Nameless Victim #2.

     Laurie took a seat beside Nameless Victim #2, taking time to steal one
of their french fries.  Laur grew increasingly agitated as she listened to
her friends' talk.  She finally broke into the conversation, "But ... but 
but, Bons, you can't leave!" she cried. "Who's going to help me think up
wicked things to do in my revenge on the Shrine?"

     Jules and Patt stared at their friend.

     "Bons? What have you been doing?" Jules cried.

     "You mean, you've been *helping* the Mercs?" This from Patt.

     Bons looked at her friends as though they were blooming idiots.

     "Of course, I have.  So have you two.  It's called 'collaboration.'"

     "Oh, right," said the sleep-deprived Jules. "Sometimes we forget."

     Bons looked at her three friends, just a few of the wonderful (read
'insane') people she'd met in FK fandom.

     "Look, this is what I want. I'll still be around, helping you behind
the scenes.  It's my decision, after all.  It's been brought to my attention
that I am too evil for the likes of war.  I think the best thing for me to 
do is to return to the clinic and care for the dogs and cats.  You know I've
been nursing that litter of parvo puppies, all the while writing for this
war.  I slept fifteen hours last night, catching up for lost time.  I guess 
my RL means more to me than a War after all."

     "That's right - those puppies made you run late on writing some of the
torture," Laurie said. "How are they doing?"

     Bons smiled, taking a sip of her grapefruit juice.  "All four responded
well to treatment.  It looks like they'll live."  She twisted her lips
knowingly.  "Of course they're Chows.  Chances are, six months from now
they'll be in the clinic wanting to bite my face off when I do a heartworm
check."  Bonnie shrugged.  "Oh, well...such is the nature of life."

     Jules, Patt, and Laurie looked at each other. What could they say? Much
as they disliked her decision, it was Bonnie's choice.  Laurie frowned.  She
still didn't like it at all, and swiped another fry from Nameless Victim #2,
because she could.

     "Can we still use you in our stories?" Jules finally asked.

     "Of course," answered Bons. "I trust you."

     "And you'll still help me write the attack on the Shrine?" Laurie
chimed in.

     "Of course, Laur," Bons answered her friend. "Writing together, the
teamwork, is most of the fun of it anyway."

     "Gee, thanks, Bons," Jules said facetiously, mentally picturing her
Shrine reduced to rubble.

     The group gave Bons big hugs, kisses, and pieces of chocolate, and then
sent her off to get some more rest.  She'd had a very hard few days.  They
then made their goodbyes, and headed back to their assorted offices,
Shrines, and potted plants.

     They had places to go.  People to see.  Stories to write.  And Laurie 
had some Addicts to kill.

     The Nameless Victims ordered another round of souvlaki, wondering when
the management was going to figure out that they were just words on paper 
and would have to stiff on the check.


We don't know about anyone else, but we're sure having fun.  :)))

Written by Mildred Cady, Laurie MercBard, Wooby, John Ewan, Brianna
Location: Merc Central, ol' Merc Central
Time: Sunday late afternoon May 3rd

 Computer Genius. Guild Second in Command by Default. Now, she was expected
to be Meeting Mistress too?

 Mildred was not a happy camper. Not that it mattered. Events seemed to
have spun out of control in the past few days, leaving her to pick up the
pieces. Now, she was stuck rounding up a bunch of irritable Mercs and
terrified Ratpackers for the Guild mandatory meeting scheduled later
today. It was like pulling teeth without novacaine, (and no payment to
boot) especially since each and everyone of them knew what awaited.

 A wicked tongue lashing from Laurie, for starters. The GHP had been
supernaturally calm (what *did* those guys do to her, Mildred wondered.)
during the entire journey back last night from the Raven. She had listened
to Mildred's report with barely a reaction, although she had seemed
startled when she'd been told that the Vaqs had found her at CERK, rather
than the Shrine. She hadn't even blinked upon hearing that Berg had had to
leave on an emergency right before her disappearance. Somehow, Mildred
doubted that the GHP would accept the lack of a Merc Daddy General as a
valid excuse for why the Guild hadn't been able to find her for three whole

 As she entered the meeting room, she could tell by the long faces that she
was not alone in her concern. Clusters of Mercs and Ratpackers stood
around, each engaged in the same debate - "How pissed off is Laurie?" and
"How long will she let us live?"

 Mildred didn't have that particular worry, not just yet. The Guild and RP
were safe, at least until the Mercs had had their revenge. Perhaps if the
revenge went smoothly, the GHP would be slightly more forgiving toward her
followers.  She may kill us immediately instead of tormenting us for as
long as our poor abused bodies can hang on.
* * *
 There was a tension in the air that spelt trouble. (If you used a
spellchecker, that is.) This being Merc Central, there was always trouble
in the air. The gathered Mercs and Ratpackers barely noticed.  Well, the
gathered Mercs barely noticed. The Ratpackers did; they were well attuned
to those aromas that could potentially lead to Ratpacker pie.

 Shelia, Liz and Wooby stood in a tight group glaring at the Ratpack across
the room. Their usual irritating chattering was very subdued.

 "Are you sure you don't need your shrine consecrated?" Wooby asked,
gripping her Bat'telh and twisting her hands in a suggestive manner.

 Shelia unclenched her jaw long enough to murmer loudly, "It wouldn't take
much to convince me to go ahead."

 The Ratpack caught the intent, if not the words. Their nervous shuffling

 ""Why mess up a perfectly good shrine?", Liz asked. Her hands were itching
at the though of one, just one, scruffy little neck to wring. "" I know a
perfectly good floor that is easier to clean."

 "How mad do you think the GHP is? She sure didn't say much when she got
back here last night."

 "Well, if we kill a few Ratpackers, she might forgive us," Liz replied.
"Wanna new rug?"

 Luck has always favoured the foolish and never more than at the moment.
Just as the three Mercs moved away from it, the door crashed open, and
Mildred walked in. By her expression, it was fortunate the door had
survived. The three Mercs weren't quite sure just who else would.

 Go get Libby," she said shortly to the trio. "And get Allexxis and Sammy
up here too."

 "Nothing would suit me more," Liz replied and moved off.

 "Except perhaps a new floor covering," Wooby added, giving Johnsie a
pointed glare; Johnsie swallowed nervously and tried to inch backwards. As
he was plastered against the wall as if glued there, this didn't really 

 "Or a wall decoration," added Shelia, thinking of the blank space above
the stereo.

 With their departure, The Ratpack relaxed slightly, and Johnsie was just
about to sigh in relief at this reprieve, when he caught Mildred's eye. He
decided to hold the sigh.

* * *
 Libby, Allexxis and Sammy had apparently not appreciated the gleaming new
dungeon that went along with the brand new HQ.  Allexxis and Sammy in
particular had not appreciated being stuck with a sobbing Ratpacker for
more than 24 hours.

 During their time together, they had managed to stop Libby's crying long
enough to flush out the details on what had been happening at HQ while the
duo had been off working for Dr. Fred. The two Mercs were slightly worried;
their minor infraction of moving into the GHP's office
during her disappearance and redecorating it had somehow likely become
linked in said Poobah's mind with Libby's heinous deeds.

 As Shelia opened the heavy, solid stainless steel door to a cell, the
threesome inside tried to make themselves invisible. Not having much
training in magic, they failed miserably.

 Libby whimpered. She knew the High Priestess was not a vampire, but
judging by the red in her eyes at the moment, you could have fooled her.

 Sheila raised an arm, and flicked her hand towards the door. "You lot!
Out and line up, now!"

 Libby tried to huddle closer to Sammy and Allexxis, who  were having none
of it. They gave her a "We don't know you, you're going to die and we want
to live," glare and stood up.

 "I said NOW!!!"

 Libby still didn't move. Liz marched in, grabbed her by the scruff of the
neck and dragged her out.

 They were almost out the door, when Allexxis and Sammy stopped in their
tracks, and Libby let out a shriek.  Blocking their path was a stainless
steel batelh, held by a Klingon who desperately looked like she wanted to
use it.

 Wooby and Shelia each grabbed an arm of the two errant Mercs, and followed
Liz, Libby still in her grip, up the stairs, to face the GHP.

* *
 Liz dragged Libby to the bottom of the dais and plopped her down next to
Mildred's computer console. As soon as Libby appeared, the whispers
started, "What's going to happen to her?" At Mildred's instructions,
Allexxis and Sammy were directed to have a seat in the front row.

 "Thanks, we'd rather not," said Sammy.

 "Yeah, we'll just be going now," Allexiss added, and tried to head for the

 "Sit - down - now," Mildred directed them through clenched teeth. These
two were not high on her list at the moment. She knew Laurie would blame
her for them taking over her office. The fact she'd been rather busy trying
to find the GHP wouldn't matter. Lots of things happened when you weren't
paying attention, mostly things that sent you up the creek without a paddle.

 She was doing a final computer check when she noticed a hush come over the
crowd. "Uh, oh, time to pay the piper," she muttered, glancing up as she
heard the click clack of steel toed boots, and the GHP entered the room,
heading for the dais.
* *
There was utter silence as Laurie entered and stood in front of her troops.
She still had the strange supernatural calm she'd been exhibiting ever
since her return, which worried the Mercs and terrified the Ratpackers. A
ballistic Laurie they could deal with; that was standard operating
procedure. An entire chapter of the Merc Manual was devoted to dealing with
ballistic GHPs. This was something else. *This* was unnerving.

Laurie's announcement didn't take long.

"Nunkies Anonymous has made a fool of me ..." she paused and gave the crowd
a cold glance, "to say nothing of the rest of you." Mercs shifted nervously
in their seats, waiting for the other steel toed boot to drop.

"We are going to decimate them. We attack the Shrine tomorrow night.  Berg
is gone. I'm putting Mildred in charge. Get on it. I want a full planning
report on my desk by tomorrow morning." She turned to go.

Several Mercs emitted sighs of relief, which were quickly silenced.  The
GHP gave her Guild a "no, this does not mean you're off the hook, first
things first" glare.

"What about the Cousins? The Vaqs found you at CERK. Are we going after
them, too?" Erin asked.

Laurie, almost out the door, turned back. CERK burned to the ground was a
delightful prospect.

"No," she said shortly. "Leave the Couins alone. Whatever happened at CERK
is between me and LaCroix, and me and LaCroix alone. No retaliation against
the Cousins. Is that understood?"  She whispered one final order to Mildred.

There was some muttering among the Mercs, but they nodded at their leader.
No one was about to disobey Laurie about anything right now. And if she
wanted to go after LC, well, that was her funeral.

A relieved squeak among the general murmuring caused Laurie to whirl on the
assembled RatPackers. Suddenly her eyes glowed an even brighter shade.
Aahhh; there they were! The four useless varmits who had allowed all this
to happen. "You four! Front and Center!" she snapped.

The summoned quartet tried to vanish into the woodwork, but were shoved
forward by their unsympathetic fellow Ratsies. Face to face with the Grand
High Pain ... er, Poohah, they cowered under her glare of righteous
indignation. "Give me one reason I should let you live," the Poobah
demanded, casting a significant glace at Wooby, who hoisted her bat'talh.

The hapless former bodyguards looked at each other with helpless pleading
in their eyes. How the H*LL were they going to get out of this?  They all
had they ominous feeling that they would be the test subjects for a new
version of Ratsie stew tonight.

"Well?" Laurie asked when no one replied. After a few more seconds of
silence, one of the spoke. It was the redhead ... who was that again? Oh,
Brianna. Laurie sighed as she remembered the errant RatPackers's name.  For
someone who never had much to say, this newbie screw-up sure talked a lot.

"Not our fault, it weren't.  We kinda got dishtracked-like, then we tho'
yew'd trucked on wit'out us."

Laurie stood silent, her hands on hips, glaring down at the RatPacker.

"We're gonna try an' make it all-better. I'm finishin' a mission now tha'
will prove me loyal-royal ties tew the Guild.  I got me sum info an' I'm
gonna give it to me client - soon az she jammy-jamys wit' me.  Should be
tomorrow, it should.  Gettin' the job right oughta show yew I ain't never
meant no boo-boos.  There's a right tidy profit tew be made too!"

"And just who *is* this client of yours?" Laurie queried.

Brianna's reply was unintelligible.  "What?!?", Laurie demanded again.

"It's Patt, she's one of them Munkies droogs," Brianna barely whispered.

Laurie's face seized up in a horrid rictus reminiscent of a comic book
villian, and she made several rather extraordinary noises, mostly deep down
in her throat.  As her hands raised towards Brianna's throat, the
MercNinja's reflexes combined with the her RatPacker luck and the titanium
alloy pointer was in easy reach.  She deftly placed it into the GHP's grasp
and Laurie promptly bent it past 'in-twos' and towards 'in-fours'.

Johnsie, having no sense of self-preservation whatsoever, said, "Oi fink we
still gots a receipt on that thing, and kin get hit replaced."

Laurie's gaze snapped up at Johnsie, and she was able to take a deep breath
before she continued talking to the RatPacker who was afraid of rats.

"Very well," Laurie said, finally simmering down. "You complete this
mission to my satisfaction and I *might* not bar you from the Guild. "As
for the rest of you", Laurie turned to the other panic-stricken faces,
"you are all on probation and your every move will be watched *very*
carefully. I'll decide what, if any, punishment there will be ... _later_."

"Oh, one last thing," the GHP paused at the door. "Sammy, Allexxis, if my
suite is not returned to its proper state by the morning ... I'll leave you
tied to the altar at the Shrine as a present for the Addicts."  With this
dramatic proclamation, she exited the room, her steel toes
echoing down the corridor.
* * *

To be concluded in WAR: MERC/RP:  "OF RATS AND MERCS" 2/2

Written by Mildred Cady, Laurie MercBard, Wooby, John Ewan, Brianna
Location: Merc Central, ol' Merc Central
Time: Sunday late afternoon May 3rd

The room was silent for all of five seconds, before Mercs and Ratpackers
alike were jumping out of their chairs with a string of incredibly evil
ideas for getting the Addicts and appeasing their angry Poobah. Laurie was
a pain as it was when she was in a good mood; in a bad mood, she was XXXX.
Especially because she tended to relieve her anger by singing at the top of
her lungs for long period of times. *And* she had also banned earplugs in
Merc Central.

A few fast and furious hours later, the group actually had a plan.  Mildred
passed out assignments.

"Okay, here are the teams. I want you all to break up and start working on
the details. We'll meet back here in six hours.  Any objections?  I didn't
think so."

The crowd began to disperse. Littlest Ratpacker Anna whispered, "But, whaz
gonna 'appen ta Libby?"

The crowd undispersed.  Everyone looked at Libby.  Libby tried to run away.
 Then she tried to shrink into the wall.  Then she started to cry again.
In sympathy, so did all the other Ratpackers.

The newly appointed second in command stared at the sniffling Ratpackers.

"Libby's going on trial for treason on Wednesday. None of this would have
happened if not for her addiction to cheese whiz. Until then," she pointed
sternly at Johnsie. "... she's your responsibility. She screws up again,
*all* your heads will roll."

That sent the Ratpackers into total hysterics.  Johnsie was horrified and
cried out, "Oi'm *responpibble*?!?  Wer DOOMED!"  The RatPack deserted the
sinking morale and scurried from the room.

Sighing, Mildred tuned them out. She had work to do.  A few phone calls
later, and matters were arranged. She'd tracked down an old professor who
owed her a favor, and arranged for him to fly in with his exhibit by
morning. She looked over the flyer she'd just designed.  It read:

"The Artifacts and Villas of Pompey. A Lecture given by world-renowned
Professor Gregory Lee. Monday Night, 10 pm. Toronto University Lecture

This was one package she wouldn't mind delivering personally, in disguise.


The RatPack was in a disheartened mood when they arrived at ol' Merc
Central, they moved quickly through the hall o' noiz and settled down in
the living room.

Johnsie stood before them, the universal remote control in his hand, so
that everyone would have to listen to what he had to say.

"Sum iz born great, sum 'as greatness thrust hupon them and sum, loik
meself, havoids greatness has much has possible.  Well, Oi'm feelin'
thrusted 'bout now.  Oi bin given horders to be re... 
respo-on-on...  responsssible!" Johnsie took a deep breath, "Well,
Oi kin dew that.  Oi can't say the word, but I kin dew hit.  Wot Oi can't
dew, and won't dew iz _horganize_!"  He stuck his tongue out at that, as if
his mouth tasted foul, now.

Libby said, "But, Johnsie, sumboddy's gotta organize..."

Suddenly he pointed at Libby!  Everyone jumped a bit, then settled back
down as Johnsie went on, "Exactomundo!  And the fact that yew can dew
organizin' iz why yew thought that thought!  Hits wot yer good hat!"  Libby
smiled and nodded.  "an thats why Oi'm givin' ya yer Second hin uncommand
back," Libby looked happy and scared and everyone else look more scared
than happy. "But, ya gots ta NOT TELL ANYWUN!  Hokay?  No salutes, no
titles, nuthin'."  everyone nodded, which meant someone would mess up, but
that was the RatPack Way.

"Now, wot Oi'm good hat is bein' yer leader,..."  Several of the RPers
looked at each other and shrugged, frowned, looked around some more;
Johnsie finally leaned over to Libby who immediately smiled, "Oh!  Oh,
yeah, Leader, leader's stuff; yep that's hit!"  and the rest all smiled and

"Now, wot's hit mean ta be a RatPacker?"  Johnsie slumped his shoulders,
leaned his head forward and placed the back of his hand agains his
forehead, looking the very image of agony, "Dew we *angst* loik the
Knighties?" he asked, there was a resounding No!  Johnsie then stood
straight with arms akimbo, the very model of a model, "Dew we 'ave the
fashion sense o' the Ravens and the Ravenettes?"  Muffled yeses, noes, is
they chocolot covered? no silly thems raisens oh, we gots hany?  Johnsie
whistled, loudly and all got quiet again.  "Are we loik hany other faction
we know hof?"  this was met by resounding Noes.  "We iz da mongrels o' the
Wars!  We are the most mismatched bunch, even more so than the Die-'ards!"
Everyone smiled at being a unique group, "an dew yew know why we R sew
successful?"  Everyone frowned in confusion, "Because we know sumthin' that
*they* dunt know!"  Everyone leaned forward expectantly.... Libby finally
asked, "Wot's that, Johnsie?"

"Iffen hit kin be himagined, hit can be dun!"  Johnsie said, proudly.

Libby nodded, with a smile, "Oh, yeah.  Oi 'eard that sumplace."

"Now, we are gonna put that ta work fer hus, roight 'ere, roight now."  a
bunch of RatPack eyes grew wide.  Johnsie reached under his longrider coat
and drew out a really cool looking sword.  There were many Oooh and Aahs
and can I 'ave that?s .

"'ow'd yew dew that?" Poe asked.  Johnsie said, "They 'ad a Scottish dood
'ere honcet in a pre- vee-us War, I snuck a looksee on 'ow they did hit.
Pretty heasy once ya know 'ow."  Johnsie stood in far end of the room, and
held the sword up in front of his face.  "Has the greatest swordsman hever
seen did Oi call hupon the spirits ta guide this blade to that which we
most need now, sumthin' cooler than cool, sumthin' better than tha bestest
they hever wuz..."  and he swept the sword out away from himself, "Lead
hon, MacDuff!"  and there were many Eeps and ducking RatPackers, but no one
got injured.  Johnsie swept the blade, and then slowed his movement.  He
started in a certain direction, then it seemed to shiver in another.
Slowly he turned, step by step, inch by inch he moved towards the back
wall... he moved to a busted up part of the back wall and the sword pointed
behind it!  Some of the Pack came forward and pulled the pice of wall back
and they saw an opening behind the wall!  the sword moved forward yet
again, into the opening, through a door way and into the darkness beyond...
The ratPack all crammed into the tiny space behind Johnsie, not wanting to
miss out on this momentous occassion.

"Theys a glowin' thingee in there, Johnsie!  roight in front o' ya!"  Maya

"Hit iz da culminashun o' R faith!" Johnsie declared.

"Oi found a lightswitch, " Brianna called out.


"Hit's a _bathroom_."

"Oi fink that button flushes the toilet."

"Oh, Johnsie!"

Johnsie stood, before the commode, the point of his blade aimed at the
glowing flush button.  "Sew hit goes, hall R 'opes, hall R dreams... is
flushed haway by houtragus forchoon." and he places the point of the blade
against the button and leans on it wearily.

The ground began to shake, the walls rumbled and began to rip apart!
"Hit's an HEARTHQUAKE!  WE'RE HALL GONNA DIE!"  and many other things were
yelled.  The roof suddenly rose above them and slid away.  The tiny
bathroom moved off to the side, Johnsie jumped off it, trying to reach the
portion still occupied by the RatPack, but MISSED!  Down into the dark
abyss he fell!

and stopped about a foot deep.  As did the sounds, and movement.

Johnsie saw the eyes of the Pack open wide, looking past him; he turned
around and saw that behind that wall, that room, was a chamber with a
tunnel with amber lights along the bottom edge.  There, before them, in
this tunnel, ramping slowly upwards was one of the best, if not the
bestest, multiton amalgamation of steel and alloys that ever moved on four
puncture proof wheels.  It glittered in pearl-charcoal grey with tinted
windows and the license plate read

                               [MERC 1]

In unison, the RatPack dropped to their knees and in one voice they said,

                         "Oooo, shiney pretty!"


                *Another Curbside Spectacle*
             Brought to you by the Bunny Brigade
                Jesse, Kusine, and Glennis
               One Night only, this Sunday!
                      right after
          "'M' is for Mayhem, Missing, & Madness"
                     Outside of CERK!

(Written by Kusine with major help and beta-ing by Jesse and
Glennis who are, of course, silly enough to let me do with them
what I will.  Mwahahahaha!)

Jesse looked at her companions: dark pink togas and bunny heads
strapped to their noggins.  They looked back.  Then they all burst
into laughter.

Several minutes later, after five people had stopped to ask them
if they needed help, they calmed down enough to flop down on the

"You know," Glennis said, pulling off her new "hat", "I think this
is where we were right after the Cousins meeting and reception.
Right here on this curb."

"What?" Kusine asked.

"I said: I think this is where we were right after the Cousins
meeting and reception," she repeated.  "Take out the earplugs,

Kusine grinned sheepishly (baaaaa!) and pulled out her earplugs.
The three of them had been in the middle of buffing the front room
of the Shrine when they had been kidnapped, and they had all had
in earplugs.  That was lucky, since part of Laura's revenge had
been an attempt to make frog peeping into an Anti-Nunklear Device.

"Yep," Jesse agreed, also removing her headgear, "This seems to be
our very own Let's-Make-A-Spectacle-Of-Ourselves spot."

"Stay still," Kusine instructed, trying to look at her reflection
in Glennis' breatplate.  "You know, I think I like this look.
Well, not the pink, but the bunny head is kinda' nifty."

"You can't leave it on," Jesse said, shaking her head
emphatically.  "We're right outside of CERK!"

"What if Nunkies sees you?" Glennis added.

Moving incredibly fast, Kusine snatched the new chapeau from her
head.  "I can keep it, though, right?" she asked.

Jesse and Glennis exchanged a look that said: "Why us? What
exactly did we do to end up with her?  Were we just in the chat
room when she volunteered to write?  Or was it more abstract than
that?  Did we lose some cosmic lottery?  Did we not advance far
enough in a previous life?  Did we kick puppies?  Did we sell our
souls?  Did we  spurn Nunkies?"  It was a very eloquent
look.  They nodded.

"Kewl," Kusine said.  "So ... How're we going to get back to the

"We could hitchhike," Jesse said hopefully.

"That's not very safe," Glennis admonished.  "It *is* nighttime in
a big city.  I know it's Canada and all, but it's still not wise."

"We could take a taxi," Kusine suggested.  "Does anybody have any

With a grin, Glennis stuck her hand down the front of her toga and
began to rummage around.  After a moment of shocked silence, Jesse
managed to speak.

"What in the name of Nunkies are you *doing*, Glennis?!"

"Getting money out of my bra!" she retorted.  "What the heck did
you think?!"

Jesse had the decency to look embarrassed.  Kusine, however, had
no decency and was merely inquisitive.

"Do you always carry money in there?"  she asked seriously.  "Out
of habit or something?"

"Yeah," Glennis replied, pulling out a rumpled twenty dollar note
(Canadian, of course).  "Once, a long time ago I was stuck
somewhere because I didn't have any money..."

The Californian addict trailed off and stared into space.  Her
mouth moved, but no sound came out.  After a moment, Jesse sighed
and poked her in the ribs.

"OW! What'd you do that for?" Glennis demanded indignantly.

"You were having a flashback," the teenager explained, "And it
wasn't plot-related."

Glennis apologized and the three stood to hail a cab.  It took a
while to find a taxi-driver who was willing to ferry around three
women wearing pink togas and carrying body-less bunny heads, but,
eventually, they did.

They even stopped for take-away on the way back, since they hadn't
eaten during their enforced labor.  Kusine had wanted to drink the
V-8 the Dark Perks had thoughtfully provided, but she didn't
mention that to her friends.  They wouldn't have understood, so
she had played along with the screaming and "eww"-ing.  As a
result, she was just as hungry as they were.


cerk@rocketmail.com -  NA Forever!
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

"Heart and Flowers--Not"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Late Sunday night with Flashback to early Saturday evening
Where:  Patt's sleep chamber at the NA Shrine
Flashback in Tracy's apartment with permission of the Dark Perks


Patt was very tired.  It had been a long day and all she wanted
was to slip out of her shoes, take a warm shower and lapse into
that sweet unconsciousness known as sleep.

So much for wishes.

The Third Cousin slipped into her Shrine sleeping chamber, not
even bothering with the light switch.  She knew the room well
enough, and the muted darkness was more soothing on her
jagged senses than the raw 100-watt would have been.

So, not surprisingly, she plowed right into him.

The figure was tall, cool to the touch, definitely male and
appeared to have style.

"Why are you walking around in the darkness?" Spark
inquired, grasping Patt's upper arms and lifting her to her toe
tips.  Even in the darkness she could discern his wicked smile.
"Thinking of coming to our side?"

"Yea, sure," Patt replied sarcastically.  "Like I'm anything more
than meatloaf to you.  I know that vampirism is not in my
future.  Snack item, yes, being brought across, no."

Patt flexed, and Spark loosed his hold on her, sensing
something different in her attitude this evening.  He decided
that he would tolerate her *bad manners* for the moment.  He
had other need of her.

"I tired of waiting for you," Spark informed the mature addict
as she walked over to her bed and collapsed on its edge.  "I
paid a visit to your e-mail system.  Interesting information, but
less than sufficient."

"So sorry."  Patt's vocal tone indicated that she couldn't have
cared less.  "Welcome to reality.  We all have our own
problems, you know."

"Be quiet and listen," Spark said harshly.  Patt did not respond,
so he continued.  "With the data I obtained from your merc
source, I took my leave to visit Ms. Vetter last night."

"I'll just bet she was thrilled," Patt commented, but clamped her
lips when she noticed Spark's eyes glow golden in the darkness.

"She was . . . intrigued."  Spark began pacing, his movements
fluid.  "The setting was right.  White roses.  Hot coffee.  Muted
lighting.  The music was perhaps not perfect, but more mood
worthy than her biography indicated appropriate.  I chose
Bonnie Raitt rather than those Nine Inch Nails."  Spark

"What happened?" Patt noted his pause, his eyes darken and


Flashback--Tracy's apartment, early Saturday evening.

He stood in the shadows, watching her entrance.  She did not
turn on the light, but walked to the curtains and drew them
open, allowing the night's own glimmer to stream into her
abode.  Tall, perfectly proportioned, she stood there--his
goddess, his love.

Then she turned, eyes narrowing as he stepped from the
shadows.  She did not recognize him, mistaking him for

"Vachon?" Tracy said, her voice irritated.  "I wish you'd get a
place with your own shower."

"I am not Vachon," Spark said, coming fully into her sight.  "I
am your destiny."

"Well, Lukey me," Tracy replied, taking a step back.  She
reached for her purse, intending to retrieve her weapon, but,
with vampiric speed, he was on her, pinning her into

"None of that, my love," Spark whispered into his chosen's ear.
"It wouldn't kill me and would just leave ugly blood stains on
your carpet."

"Dear Aunt Matilda," Tracy swore.  "How many of you *are*
there?  Every time I turn around a new vampire pops up in my

"I will be the last to share your mortal bleakness, my dear,"
Spark whispered into Tracy's ear, his breath icy on her neck.  "I
have come to offer you eternity."

"Holster it, Romeo," Tracy moved to shove Spark away.  "I've
had better offers.  If I want to enter Vampy wonderland, I'll
chose someone I know a lot better than you."

"Tsk, tsk, sweet one.  All I ask is that you allow us to become
better acquainted then."  Spark released Tracy and held a box of
chocolates up to her.  "For you.  A gesture of my intentions."

Tracy accepted the Godiva  box and examined the
contents.  The guy did have style.

"And," Spark produced another parcel, wrapped in dark pink
paper and tied with ribbon a slightly deeper color, "I believe
you'll find this to your liking."   He pulled the ribbon and the
paper fell open, revealing a silky white peignoir in a size six.

"You've don't your research, Spark, that I'll have to admit,"
Tracy said.  "Under other circumstances, I might allow this
wooing to continue for awhile, see where it went.  But, I'm a
good cop, working a case right now which could affect the lives
of all the citizens of Toronto.  I don't have time to play footsie
with a love-struck fledgling."

Spark's eyes began to glow hotly as Tracy indicated toward the
door.  "Please leave."

He grabbed her, pushing her toward the couch, lowering her to
the cushions.  His eyes flashed golden again as he murmured,
"I love these macho makeout scenes."

"How about I mash your macho," Tracy offered, lifting her knee
and planting it firmly into a vulnerable part of Spark's
anatomy.  She gave a shove and the vampire toppled
backwards, snarling.

Tracy got up swiftly and ran toward the door of her apartment.
"Feel free to crash here tonight, lover, I have other plans."  The
detective grabbed her purse and headed out the door.

Outside, he was in front of her immediately.  "I make the rules
in this relationship, young woman."

"Ha!" she retorted wittily, for Tracy is smooth and funny as
well as bright and beautiful.  The blonde female detective
placed her hand on Spark's chest and pushed him aside.

He blocked her way again.  She went to step around him.
Blocked again.

"Last chance for a stylish escape," Tracy warned.  Spark smiled,
fangs evident.  Tracy snarled back and swung.

She hit him, of course, with that beige purse known
affectionately as the bag-o-doom.  Tracy had used it as a
weapon previously, and she knew how to handle it.

*THWACK*  It impacted the side of Spark's head.  He smiled
wickedly in response.  Tracy leaned back, drawing more power
for her swing.  *THWACK* again.

The purse flew open and pieces of paper began flying
everywhere.  The altercation between detective and vampire
had not gone unnoticed by passersbys, and quite a crowd had
gathered to watch.  As the sheets began descending to the
ground, good Samaritans began retrieving them.

Then, someone snickered.

Tracy paused in mid-swing, looking around to find the humor
in her situation.  One of the good citizens of Toronto was
reading one of the sheets of the paper that had flown out of her
bag.  That person's snickers were soon joined by the grins,
guffaws, snorts and leers of most of the other folk who had
helped in the paper recovery process.

Tracy reached out and grabbed one of the documents, reading
it closely.  Then she read closer.  Then she turned dark pink.

Held in her hot little hands was a printout from the Nunkies
Fantasy Manual on-line version.

"Quite a collector, aren't you?" a burley man jibed from the
crowd.  "Can't get enough of Nunkies, ehhh?"

"Indeed?" Spark said, his eyes feverish with irk.  "That fact was
not in your dossier.  I will be back."  He swooshed upward and
was gone.

Leaving Tracy scrambling to recover her dignity and protect
herself from a reputation as a litterbug.


"So, you can see my dilemma," Spark was saying.  "My first
attempt was foiled.  I need additional information--I believe
your source mentioned 'something juicy.'  My tactics will be
more subtle next time, more cerebral, but I must have that key
that will make her receptive to my advances."  He leaned over
the sitting Patt.  "Get me the information, immediately."

"I'll work on it tomorrow," the Third Cousin replied.

"Immediately," Spark ordered hotly.


Spark stepped back.  Patt looked up, eyes bleary.  "LaCroix
knows you're in town, by the way."

Golden eyes, deadly and hot.  "You told him?"

Patt shook her head.  "LaCroix is too old and powerful to need
me to tattle on you.  No, he found out on his own.  That's why
I'm not really frightened of you anymore.  My expected lifespan
is currently about as long as a toilet flush anyway.  LaCroix kill
me; you kill me.  What's the difference?"

"I know where your family lives," Spark began.

"So does he," Patt spat back.  "Look . . . I'm tired of you.  I've
spent the last sixty hours being threatened and almost killed by
an ancient vampire, chewed out by a High Priestess, assigned
tunnel cementing duty, chasing down errant chariot drivers
and then trying to help a friend who got cut off at the knees just
because she tried to make life more interesting for folks.  Do
you think a fictional vampire scares me at the moment?  No."

Patt stood up, human eyes glaring, nostrils flaring in wrath.  "If
you think Tracy was a challenge, you ain't seen nothing yet, big
boy.  You haven't seen a transplanted Tennessean with a burr
up her . . . bottom.  I need sleep.  I need rest.  I need peace of
mind.  Now I promised I'd deal with you, get your darned
information for you, but it will be tomorrow.  Understand?  Got
that?  Good.  Now get out."

"I'm leaving, but not because you ordered it," Spark raged.  "It's
almost dawn and I wouldn't be caught undead in this Shrine
during the day.  I *will* expect your cooperation when you
have your senses back."  Then he was gone.

"Senses back?" Patt laughed joylessly, falling into the softness of
her bed.  "Then he's in for a very, very long wait."



"A New Week"
By Patt Elmore
When:  Monday
Where: NA Shrine and beyond


Patt had been right about one thing.  She had needed sleep.

She had expected several moments of fitful slumber before
waking to face yet another crisis.  Somehow, though, she fell
asleep and slept soundly.

Birds were chirping outside when Patt awoke.  There were
cleaning sounds all around.  Patt got up, got dressed and left
her cubicle.  She began wandering the Shrine, marveling at how
well along the NA's were in cleaning up after the Dark Perk
attack.  The Third Cousin paused in front of the "Reese Cup"
Tapestry and had a sudden urge for a peanut butter and
banana sandwich.

Patt wandered into the kitchen and gathered the ingredients for
her breakfast of choice.  Still half-asleep, she reached for a
coffee cup and jumped back when she saw what was inside the
china bowl.

"Who stuck the rabbit head in my cup?!!"  Patt shouted at no
one in particular.

"We couldn't leave them in the drool cups," no one in particular
answered back.  "We'd be in trouble if Nunkies stopped by.
Use styrofoam."

Patt made a face, but reached for the throw away cup without
further argument.  She poured herself a half cup of the day old
darkness and stared down at it.  "The least the DP's could do
was leave us some Perfect Bean to help with our recovery," she

The caffeine jolt did it's job and Patt was ready for the massive
list of errands she had on tap.  During her weekend in the
tunnels, chores had piled up.  First of all, she had three errant
camels to return to Vachon's church before the Vaqueras came
looking for them.  Patt decided that this was one chore she
could dole out.  She scribbled a quick note and nabbed a newer
NA member as she went by.  The NA protested the assignment,
but Patt used her advanced age and sad physical condition, and
the NA finally conceded to do the deed, if nothing else than to
escape the mature addict's pitiful moanings.

The next thing was taking care of Spark's demands, and that
meant dealing with the merc she'd hired.  Patt went back to her
room and quickly checked her e-mail, locating the post which
Spark had hacked into.  Patt then shot a message back to
Brianna, making plans to meet later and *discuss* the current
status of things.

That left the afternoon to help with the Shrine cleanup.  Which
she did.  And, for the first time in a long time, she felt like


*Ding* *Dong*

Laplor went to the door, peeping through the security hole
with caution.  Nothing was discernable.  Laplor opened the
door and noticed a message clothes-penned to the mailbox.  It

> "HI, my Vaquera friends.  Thanks so much for the borrowed
>  transportation.    I have returned "LaCroix" Camel and the
>  unnamed Camel.  They're tied on  the fence outside.  I've
>  enclosed a bill for their feed the last few  days.
> The thing is, though, the little blonde female camel and  ?
>  Lavalianna, the  burro, have become good friends.  I'd hate to
>  break them up.  Can I  please *rent* her for the rest of the
>  war?  If so, please disregard bill  and apply to rental

>  expense.
> Thanks in advance for your generosity and understanding.

Laplor scratched her head and looked toward the fence.  Sure
enough, two of the camels had been returned.

"Looks like the mature one is true to her word," Lap mumbled,
balling the enclosed invoice in her fist.  "Let's go see just how
much camel renting is running these days."


Late in the afternoon, Patt got a phone call.  She was surprised
when she heard the caller's voice.

"Hi.  You doing okay?"  Patt smiled at the friendly tone her
caller used.

"Yea, pretty good.  Considering."

"I heard.  Want to meet and talk about things?"

"Sure, but things are pretty hectic right now.  We were attacked
.. . ."

The other person laughed.  "Well, who hasn't been attacked.
We're an attacking bunch of fools this war."

Patt grinned too.  "Listen, friend Knightie, how does supper
tomorrow night sound?  I still owe you a Chinese dinner, if I
remember right."

The other person chuckled.  "Yes, I believe you do.  Tomorrow
night, then, unless something comes up."

"Later," the friends said, and continued on with their chores.



Back to the Fiendish Glow (1/1) - 10:00 AM Monday morning
Time: during  Winkin, Blinkin, and . Tinkerbell? (3/4)

Heather sighed as she left her quarters in the shrine.  Thank goodness
her tapestry was still okay.  The MacCousin couldn't help drooling a bit
at the site of those knees.  She shook herself out of what may have been
a great nunklear meltdown.  She yawned at the idea of having to be up so
early, but since Lora had conveniently disappeared, she would have to
help Brenda open up the place.

The MacCousin straightened her ancient colors MacIntyre sash and pulled
on her sandals.  She got up off her bed and then lay back down again.

"Just five mo' minutes," she promised herself.  She had plenty of time
to get there at 10:30.

(20 minutes later)

The MacCousin sat wringing her hands over a computer as a dark figure
with yellow glowing eyes, leaned over her shoulder.

"Haven't you figured out her password yet?" he growled.

Heather broke out in a sweat.  She had tried fifty passwords and still
had not been able to break into Patt's email.  "I don't know!  I don't

Heather sat bolt upright in bed and shivered.  Ever since last Saturday
night, she had been having bad dreams.

"Och," she mumbled, looking at the clock.  She gathered up her bag and
took off toward the shrine entrance, hoping there would be a cab waiting

There were hardly any vehicles on the street.  MacHeather started to


Heather opened the street-level door to the upstairs living quarters by
running her arm under the Shamrock sensor.  The sensor picked up her
glow and the door unlocked .  Where was everyone?

"Hello?" she called out.

She turned and looked around the place.  All she could hear was a bunch
of racket upstairs.  "How did the staff manage to get up there?" the
MacCousin wondered to herself.  "They must have been given an emergency
key."   She nearly ran into several members of the staff when she turned
the last corner.

"What's going on?" she asked everyone.

"Ms. Bell is locked in her room, an' she willna let any o' us in,"
answered Danny.

"Well, how is she going to know you're out here if you don't knock?"
asked Heather.  She began to walk toward the door.

"Be careful," said Deirdre.  "Look at tha faery lights under the door."

Heather observed the glow emanating from underneath the door, but she
decided to start banging on the door anyway.

"Brenda!  Brenda!" she called.  Soon the staff began pounding on the
door along with her.


Heather -- the MacCousin--CIP
from yet another wacky account

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