Te Amamus Nunkies
starring: Jules, Debbie, Sherry, Kusine, MacCousin Heather, Shele

     "Jules! Jules!" Debbie ran into the Shrine, waving a sheet of paper.

     Jules groaned. "Oh, no! Not another flyer!"

     "Yes, but this one you'll want to see!" Jules insisted, handing over 
the notice for the High Priestess' perusal.

     "Hmm…'The Toronto University Department of Classics is proud to present 
'Ashes of Vesuvius,' a collection of artifacts native to Herculaneum and 
Pompeii. The exhibit opens at 10pm, Monday, May 4th, including a lecture at 
the Toronto University Lecture Centre on the significance of the pieces by 
world-renowned  archeologist, Professor Gregory Lee.' …Oooo!" Jules' face 
lit with excitement. "Gather the ruffians, Deb! Scrub their faces and buckle 
their sandals! We're going on a field trip!"

     All the addicts lined up inside the front door, freshly scrubbed, togas 
pressed. Most looked very, very sleepy and ready for a meal. Even if they 
had eaten the Jello formally in the Sacred Cold Pond before the fanfic 
fairies got to it, every one knows there's always room for Jello. Nope, 
there hadn't been time for such silly things such as food or rest, well, at 
least writing about it, and Nunkies Pops did not a nutritious breakfast 
make. This made the addicts act petulant, though they looked nicely 

     "Why do we have to go to the stupid lecture???" Heather asked grumpily. 

     "I am pooped," Sherry stated. "Exhausted. Out of energy. One yawn short 
of a coma. Why is this outing so urgent?"

    "Yeah!" Shele stomped a sandal and jabbed her Sacred Quill Pen angrily 
in the air to punctuate her irritation. "I had just started giving Ted, you 
know the guy who looks suspiciously like Ares, a tattoo!"

     That news pricked Kusine's interest. "Was it permanent?"

     Shele sniffed. "Of course not…we aren't allowed to do permanent!" She 
fluttered her eyelashes lasciviously. "I'm afraid I'll just have to do Ted's 
'too over and over."

     "Oh…dare I ask *where* you're giving Ted a 'too?" Sherry asked with a 

     Shele raised her chin, affecting nobility. "My lips are sealed."

     "Ahem!" Jules called everyone to attention. "Back to the field trip at 
hand! The reason this lecture will be so interesting to all of you is that 
the topic is Pompeii, complete with artifacts. Now, raise your hand if you 
want to earn your Latin Lifestyles badge!" All the addicts raised their 
hands. "Well, there you have it," Jules concluded. "How about the sleepiest 
of addicts ride with me? Everyone else can drive a chariot."

     The addicts sped to the university, causing several traffic mishaps 
involving oranges and a cement mixer along the way. Addicts were just wont 
to do such things. As they herded into the Lecture Centre, Jules gave all 
the addicts last-minute, High Priestess-y instructions.

     "Remember to keep with your buddy! No leapfrogging the antiquities! 
Lastly, don't brag about how many 2000 year-old Romans you know!"

     "But I want to see his eyes bug out!" Kusine protested.

     Jules shook her finger. "No, absolutely no bugging! We have a standard 
of decorum and civility to uphold."

     The addicts tried to control their dubious laughter. Jules sent them 
into the lecture hall ahead of her. Just as she reached the threshold, an 
artifact on display across the room caught her eye. The High Priestess 
caught her breath.
      Jules rushed toward the glass cabinet, 
her pulse racing. 

     The placard inside the display case proclaimed the object to be exactly 
what she wanted:  

                 WINDCHIME TOTEM 
              Pompeii, ca. 75 C.E., bronze  
              The shape of the chimes is a 
              frequent motif in Roman art
                  of this period, used as a
                     symbol of fertility.

      Jules' eyes gleamed greedily. 

     "Jules?" Debbie called from the doorway. "The professor is walking on 
stage! Come on - you're going to miss the lecture!"

     Jules  sighed, giving the glass cabinet one last longing look before 
joining Debbie in the lecture hall.


     Time passed, and Professor Lee had waxed eloquently over dozens of 
slides of excavated artwork, but Jules couldn't get the windchime out of her 
thoughts. She leaned over and whispered into Debbie's ear. "I'll be back in 
a few minutes. I need to stretch my legs."

     "Want me to come along?" Debbie asked. "I am your buddy."

     Jules grinned. "You are, but I won't get lost. Besides, I don't want 
you to miss any of the lecture." She gave a small wave, then slipped out of 
the hall, padding softly over to the windchime display. Jules splayed her 
hands over the glass surface of the cabinet, admiring the artistry of the 
artifact. It didn't belong in a musty museum - not at all! It was destined 
to be hers, Hers, HERS!

     Suddenly Jules' face fell. The windchime wasn't hers. It belonged to 
the University of Toronto!

     "Drat!" Jules huffed. A sneaky expression dawned over the High 
Priestess' features. She tiptoed over to the lecture hall doors, silently 
closing and locking them from the outside. Tiptoeing back to the windchime 
display, Jules looked left, then right, up down, backward, center and 
diagonally, then slipped a bobby pin from her hair.

     The Ghost of Fanfic Cliches Past materialized before her. "Just what do 
you think you're doing?"

     "I'm picking this lock so I can steal the windchime," Jules replied 

     The ghost sneered. "With a bobby pin? That old chestnut? Who with a 
modicum of common sense is going to believe you know how to do that? What? 
You have a Nunkies Scout Badge in Grand Larceny?" The Ghost of Fanfic 
Cliches Past made a rude snorting sound. "Pure piffle! Look at your 
hairstyle! You don't need bobby pins!"

     Jules matched the spirit sneer for sneer. "Well, Mr. Smarty-
Ectoplasm…tell me how *you* would steal this windchime."

     "I would pull out that multi-purpose Roman Legion Knife out of your 
purse and use the tungsten blade as a glass cutter!"

     "O-oh!" Jules produced the red instrument with an eagle emblem. It was 
the same width of her palm. "And all I thought it was good for was filing my 

     The spirit nodded in satisfaction as Jules etched a circle in the 
glass, covered her fist with her Official Nunkies Black Silk Hanky and 
punched it through. His sense of creativity appeased, the Ghost of Fanfic 
Cliches Past blinked out of sight.

     Jules snatched up her new windchime, glanced furtively around the 
lobby, then hightailed it out of there. Slipping behind the wheel of the 
Jag, she figured she could make it to the Shrine and back in under ten 
minutes, hopefully before anyone noticed a thing. She gunned the engine to 
100 mph and proceeded to trash every traffic law possible except wearing her 
seatbelt and braking for camels on her way to the Peach.

     As Jules would find out when she returned to the Shrine, however, crime 
pays about as much as a job selling stone wheels to Chevrolet.


War and Pieces Part 01/04

By Mildred Cady, Laurie Schlagel, John Ewan, Wooby, Shelia Turner, Jennifer
Garcia, Maya, Libby
Time: Monday, May 4, 7pm onward through the evening
Location: Merc Cental, NA Shrine, Merc Central
Concurrent with NA: Te Amamus Nunkies
Everything with permission folks! Hopefully, the fan fic fairies stopped
drooling on Laurie's posts

The game was afoot. Mildred checked everyone's communications hookups.  All
were in order; Mercs and Ratpackers alike knew the penalty for not having
their communicators on was total loss of computer privileges, and no one
was about to mess around with that. She reviewed the mission profile with
the group one last time.

Half an hour later, backpacks full of supplies, the crew met in front of
HQ and assembled into teams.

Mildred directed them into the waiting van. "OK, everyone in. I want you
seated by teams." Once everyone was uncomfortably squished inside, she
announced, "Laurie and I will take the MercMobile."

Johnsie whined, "But *we* found hit!"  The Computer Genius' glare shut him up.

The trip to the Nunkie Anonymous Shrine was long and very uncomfortable for
those in the van. The GHP might have enjoyed seeing her troops like that,
as she rode in comfort. But these were not normal circumstances. And no one
knew if they ever would be again.

* * *
Advance teams had scoped out the logistics, and the van knew exactly where
to go. The black-clad teams silently exited the transport, and took their
places, as Mildred and the GHP pulled up in the Mercmobile. Mildred was
handling this mission like she was a general with the wits and intelligence
of James Bond, if she did say so herself. Which she did. Nothing was out of

Mildred threw her boss a quick sideways glance - Laurie still seemed stuck
in that strange prenatural calm she'd evinced since she'd been back. She'd
made a few additions and alterations to the attack plans, but for the most
part had remained detached, spending most of her time in the guest suite on
the computer system Mildred had moved up there for her. Earlier this
evening, Allexxis and Sammy had finally finished repairing the mess they'd
made to the GHP suite; even that news had not seemed to rouse Laurie much.

The new second in command sighed, remembering the conversation she'd had
this morning with House Mommie Liz.

"Mildred, I"m telling you, something really *bad* happened to her. I went
in to check on her last night, and she was tossing and turning, muttering
about cows in swimsuits singing Michael Bolton songs ..."

The more Mildred thought about it, the more she wished she could find out
further details. It never hurt to have the inside scoop on one's Grand High
Poobah, particularly when such scoop could potentially be used to her own
personal advantage at some future date.

Not that the details mattered. Mildred had her orders, and mercy was not
high on the list. None of the Mercs minded in the least; NA had kept their
leader hidden for almost three days, and payback was at hand.  Tempers were
definitely running high. She hoped she would be able to keep a rein on the
troops. Attack was one thing. A huge hole in the ground where the Shrine
had once stood might attract a bit more attention than they needed.

And orders were to be followed down to the letter zed. Mildred had made
that perfectly clear to her troops. And if they weren't ... well, like a
great deal of  other things that had been happening lately, Mildred did not
want to even imagine the resultant scene.
* * *

The radio rattled in the Shrine's main room.  "Acquisitions- come in ...."

"*&^%$#~@!   Wolfman!" Wooby hissed the words out as quietly as she could
and still hang onto her teeth.  "Can't you keep your blasted tail still?
That's the second time you've smacked me in the head ridges."

"Sorry!" The werewolf's smile said otherwise.

"Aquisitions - come in."  Mildred voice was very distinct.  "You two cut
that banter now. You've got a lot of ground to cover."

The wolf's teeth gleamed silently in the dark, none to pleased with the
dressing down. The long silver tail moved, though it still flicked back and
forth in anticipation.

"Yes, ma'am," Wooby answered, glaring at her wolf companion.

"Great, it's not enough to be stuck between a rock and a hard place. I get
the Shrine and a pair of hard cases,"  she muttered under her breath, as
the bickering continued over the radio.

The GHP suddenly made a move, leaning over and grabbing Mildred's comm
unit. "I believe you have work to do," she said in biting tones. "Now."

"I believe you have work to do. Now ... now ... now ... now," Poe
snickered, imitating the Merc leader. Wooby turned around and thwacked her.

Laurie didn't even react to the barb, turning her gaze back out the window
to the building in front of her.  Which was starting to terrify Mildred.

"You heard her. Get moving. NOW!" Mildred could hear the wolf steps echo on
the Shrine's tile floor as the Merc team moved out.

* * *
The Acquisition team had three tasks to complete. Two of them were routine,
but the last was a bit peculiar. Still, they had their orders, and with the
Grand High Pain acting so oddly, no one was about to step far out of line.

First stop was the video room. Wooby and Poe quickly exchanged all the
tapes in the Addict library for the ones they had carried in. Per the GHP's
instructions, the Addict library was to be removed from the Shrine
premises, back to Merc Central, most likely for future bonfire fodder.

Wooby grinned, then she shuddered. Next time an Addict went to watch their
beloved Nunkies, they'd be greeted by Joan Rivers and her daughter Melissa,
hawking fashions on QVC.

"Maybe they'll order new clothes," she said. "Anything's better than those
poor excuses for a toga they wear."

Their next order of business took a bit more time; searching every room in
the Shrine and removing all cameras and films. The GHP had been very
specific about this. Without further explanation,she had labeled this task
high priority. The Klingon Merc's thoughts turned to blackmail. The Klingon
Merc's thoughs turned to Poobah blackmail. The Klingon Merc's thoughts
turned to mush and she headed off to her next assignment.

This, too, had been a last minute addition of the GHP. "Leave everything
else in there untouched," she had ordered. "Just bring me the tapestry."

"Whatcha she want wid Nunkie in Reposition," Poe wondered.

"Dart board," Wooby suggested, smirking, as she hoisted the tapestry over
her shoulder and, with her two companions in tow, made her way back to the
Shrine's main altar.

* * *
* **
Helene glanced at the equipment in her hand, as she programmed the last bit
into the memory chips of the hundreds of speakers now hidden throughout the
Shrine's main area. She was particularly proud of the weaving job she'd
done on the altar tapestry. The high tech speakers that Mildred had
provided her with were so thin and tiny, that she'd been able to weave them
in so effectively that one couldn't even tell they were there. And, since
the speakers were specifically designed to throw sound, the Addicts would
think the noise was coming from many other places; from the busts, from the
Sacred Pond, from the tiles, rather than from the tapestry. And they would
be right. More speakers went into plants, behind statues, and on every
other hidden surface Helene could find.

She checked her remote switch once more. The speakers were controlled by an
infra red device that could be activated at any distance. This switch would
be under the GHP's personal control.

The Costume Queen/Ratpacker shivered. She knew what the Poobah had in mind.
One flick of a switch, and the Shrine would be flooded by the melodious
tones of the Merc leader's rendition of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," over
and over and over.

"I love my job," she grinned, as she put the final speakers into place.

Erin went from room to room leaving flyers on every available surface.
She'd been surprised when the GHP had called her in early Sunday, and given
her an urgent assignment. The Merc had spent most of the past two days
making the required arrangements. The billboards would be up by morning,
all over Toronto.

She glanced at the flyers in her hand, the same design as that of the
billboards. Colorful, attention-getting, with the announcement centered in
large type:

Nunkie Anonymous Studios
latest sensation
the Nunkettes
and their new hit
coming soon ....

Beneath that was a photograph of the scene from 'Marat/Sade" where all the
asylum inmates were huddled around the tub with the body in it. The body
looked a great deal like LaCroix's dead body in Curiouser and Curiouser.
The asylum inmates looked a great deal like a number of known Addicts.

Erin giggled. She'd had to spend most of last night and today in the
recording studio, but it had been worth it. In the morning, the first
pressing of the single would reach the GHP's desk. In a few days, the song
would be all over Toronto's airwaves. As everyone knew by now, the GHP
couldn't sing at all, but she sure had a wicked way with words.
* *

WAR: MERC/RP: War and Pieces 02/04

By Mildred Cady, Laurie Schlagel, John Ewan, Wooby, Shelia Turner, Jennifer
Garcia, Maya, Libby
Time: Monday, May 4, sometime after 8 pm
Concurrent with NA: Te Amamus Nunkies
Location: NA Shrine
Everything with permission folks!

House Mommie Liz had a very special surprise for the Addicts, one that she
was sure would raise their ire. A few wars earlier, she had been in
possession of LaCroix's bust for a few hours. Being bored, and looking for
any opportunity to offend, she had got out her paint set and done some
'decorating.' The results were hideous. Orange lips, blue eyebrows and a
purple bald spot, to name a few of the changes.

Being a good little merc, she had taken pictures of it. If nothing else,
she could always use it for blackmail purposes. Or, as she had so
conveniently discovered, to placate a Grand High Poobah who was not at all
pleased with her senior officers.

With the Merclettes to assist her, she went about her assignment, peppering
thousands of copies of the photo about the Shrine. Not in obvious places,
of course. That would be too easy.  Instead, she stuck them in every third
towel in the linen closet, under the guest suite mattresses, inside the
fuse box, and in the underside of the lid of the toilet seat. She had
briefly thought about sticking one *inside* the toilet, but she somehow
doubted the Addicts would get the joke.

She got into the wardrobe room, and stashed a bunch behind the piles of
material, pausing momentarily to gaze in bemusement at the piles of mini
togaes and breast plates.  she snickered, as she
taped photos inside the line of Mountie hats on a shelf.

The Merclettes ran merrily behind her, happily attaching photos to anything
that wasn't nailed down. Liz started reforming her opinion of them into
more positive terms when they started putting pictures in between pages of
computer paper, under the sheets on beds, and inside coffee mugs.

She took out all the trash bags, and taped photos to the bottom of the
bins. She stuck them in every coat pocket she could find. She crawled
underneath all the furniture, and taped them there, too. She went into the
audio room, and folded one into every audio tape there. She got into the
luggage storage area, and taped a few into every suitcase. She went through
every book in the Library, and pasted a few into each. She opened desk
drawers and pasted them in the bottom, pausing to snag a pair of really
cool handcuffs sitting inside the top drawer.

She met up with the Merclettes , who had
been stuffing photos into the Jeweled Peach menus, in the kitchen. The
Merclettes opened all the cabinets, and pasted photos on the sides. They
attached them to the bottom of the plates. They put pictures into plastic
bags and put them among the fruits in the refigerator. They stuck a few in
the bottom of the dishwasher. And they made sure that every box of Oatmeal
Crisp  now had a special treat inside.

Liz headed back to the Shrine's main area. The Merclettes skipped along
behind her, happily chanting over and over, "But it's nae oatmeal. But it's
nae oatmeal. But it's nae ..."

* * *
Hidden behind tinted windows in the MercMobile, Mildred cycled through the
communications channels, keeping a particularly close watch on Libby and
the rest of the Ratpack. She glanced over at the silent GHP. Perhaps Laurie
would appreciate the last minute addition Mildred had made.

"Hey, Boss," she murmered. Laurie glanced at her second in command.

"I arranged a little morning present for the Addicts. As of tomorrow, the
Jeweled Peach has become the latest branch of Revenue Canada. A number of
chartered accountants will be showing up to move into their new digs."

Laurie nodded, but didn't speak. Mildred sighed once more. 

* * *
The MercPriestess cast a greedy eye over the Shrine to LaCroix.  Though a
bit too 'Roman' in style, Shelia had to admit the Shrine to the one the
Addicts called Nunkies was quite impressive.  She walked over the Sacred
Cold Pond, smiling to herself as she imagined the NA's suprise at the
little gifts the Guild was leaving.

She turned as Jennifer waltzed into the shrine area in full ritual garb,
dragging a large water bottle with her.

"What's all the water for?"

"It's blessed. We may need it to call the fan fic fairies forth." Jennifer
grinned in a way that made her look distinctly evil.

"Do I want to know what you've done to it?" Shelia asked, matching her
friend's grin. "Didn't think so. Right, let's get going."

Walking around the pool once for orientation, Shelia started placing the
black candles prepared earlier in the four directions.  Standing in the
north the MercPriestess lit a white candle with the Sacred Bic and
walked around the pool again, chanting something that suspiciously sounded
like "Oh, Fanged One, give me strength," and "The Poohbah is a Pain".

Finishing her circuit of the pool once more, the MercPriestess stopped in
the northern position and passed the lit candle to Jennifer who had taken a
position to the East.

Jennifer looked at Shelia forlornly before taking the taper.  "Do I have to
say it?" she whined.

Shelia just gave the Jennifer a stern look and nodded, but felt sympathy
for her fellow Merc.  She hated doing rituals out loud, too, but sometimes
they needed to be done; besides the MercPriestess wasn't even sure this
would work. But the GHP had insisted it be done, not even bothering to
inquire if it 'could' be done.  "Just do it," the Grand High Pain had ordered.

So Shelia had gathered up a small circle of two hoping to cajole the fanfic
fairies into doing what the Poohbah wanted.  She had to admit the plan was
pure GHP genius. She made a mental note to check on whether they were
leaving a spy-cam behind to film the spell working on the NA's for later
Guild viewing pleasure.  But first they had to get the spell started and
before the white candle burned completely down.

Jennifer mumbled in a distinct effort to forget all her theater training.

"You gotta say it.  Out loud." Shelia said trying to do a GHP impression.

"Fanfic Fairies," Jennifer mumbled, lighting the black candle before her
then passing it to Shelia whom had crossed over to the southern position on
her left.

Shelia lit her candle and said loudly,"Heed our call," then passed it to
Jennifer at the west.

"Make your presence," she chanted lighting her candle before handing the
white candle to the MercPriestess who finished the little spell by lighting
her black candle and saying, "known to all."

Shelia looked anxiously at the pool. Nothing.

"Well that was lame," Jennifer commented. She'd seen better rituals done in
the middle of slumber parties.

"Least it rhymed." was Sheila's comeback.

The space above the pool should be dancing with fanfic fairies by now, but
the only thing that danced was the reflection of the lit candles in the pool.

The Poobah's wish was their command, and the Poobah wanted fan fic fairies,
so fan fic fairies they would give her.  Shelia
thought, as the pair sighed and started all over again.

* * *

WAR: MERC/RP: War and Pieces Part 03/04

By Mildred Cady, Laurie Schlagel, John Ewan, Wooby, Shelia Turner,
Jennifer, Garcia, Maya, Libby
Time: Monday, May 4, Getting past ten pm
Concurrent with NA: Te Amamus Nunkies
Location: Merc Cental, NA Shrine, Merc Central
Everything with permission folks!

John, Libby, and Anna exchanged glances, grinning mischieviously. With a
synchronicity worthy of a synchronized swim team, they pulled out their
cans of glowing lime green paint and looked around for likely targets.

"I get the Nunkies-wanna-Noogie bust!" Libby cried.

"I want it!" Anna replied. "IwantitIwantitIwantit an' I'm the lill'est so's
I should get tew pain the bust!"

Anna ran forward before either Libby or John could stop her. Once she
started painting a very precise skull cap, they decided they couldn't stop
her. After all, she was turning a mere bust into a true work of art.

"Atta girlie!" Johnsie cheered.

"But wot kin we dew?" Libby pondered. "She got the best part, she did."

"Dunna be so sure.... I got an ider fer meself," John whispered to Libby.
He rushed to the wall and began painting lovely lil' ratsie portraits
everywhere. "Heheheheh," he chuckled. "Ain't nuthin' but a ratsie on the
wall tew cheer up a room, eh? Oughta be a feature in 'Better 'Omes Wit'

Libby looked around. Of all the Ratpackers, she knew the Shrine the best
yet was at a loss for what to do. Then her eyes feel on the Sacred Cold
Pond in which Addicts dove to stop Nunklear Meltdowns. A large pack of
Rats, watched over by a handful of Packers, was busily at work. Now this
looked interesting. She wanted in on *this* action.
* *
To any casual observer, the sight would be truly strange to behold. To
Libby, it was business as usual.

Just them and the rats.

Ursula had captured one of the faintly glowing pink ones and was, it
appeared, teaching it how to waltz. Brianna was standing stock-still by the
side of the Pond, staring at the rats with an expression of mingled fear,
disgust, and resignation. Michele was adjusting her sunglasses, looking
bored, thinking thoughts of Nunkies, and then glancing around guiltly in
case anyone noticed. Meanwhile, Maya was standing by the edge of the pool,
gesturing with a half-eaten candy bar and occasionally taking a big bite of

And down in the pond, the rats - some pink, some normal, and some appearing
rather naked, all of them labeled - swarmed back and forth, gnawing at the
cement floor at the bottom. Maya, having been voted Artistic Director by
virtue of no one else wanting the job, was
calling out instructions through a mouthful of chocolate and peanuts.

The rats were actually pretty good artists. And the image taking shape in
the pool beneath them, carved into the pond as neatly as if done by an
actual chiseler, as neatly as is contemplatible by the Ratpack, was enough
to draw Libby's attention.

"Hit's Screedo!" she giggled, coming closer and peering down.

Brianna leaned out over the pond, fascinated despite herself. "Wouldya
lookit that-" Just then, one of the ratsies surfaced, gasping for air, and
the redhead jumped back with a shriek.

"Ain't it neat?" Maya asked, as proud as if she'd done it herself.

Michele bobbed her head. "Oh, yep. Thur gonna 'ate that."

"'Ow could they not loik it?" Ursula asked, confused.

How indeed? Who *wouldn't* appreciate having the likeness of Screed in
Speedos carved into the bottom of their pool? The Screed-image was lying
supine, like Adam on the Sistine Chapel, larger than life. And almost
impossible to paint over or cover up.

"That's th' *point*," Brianna reminded the blonde. "Tha' they no' loik hit.
Y'know, a counter-attackajam."

"Ooooh." Ursula perked up. Attack. Attack was good.

"An', more 'portantly," Maya added, as the rats started to work on Screed's
left toe, "maypossibly hit'll get th' Hoigh Pain in th' Butt offa our backs."

"Oi 'ope," Michele muttered, watching the quite talented rodents. "Oi've
kinda gotten usedta loif."

The carving was soon completed, and the foursome, accompanied by the master
carvers, wandered off. Libby couldn't help herself. She removed her boots
and slid a toe in to find the water much too cold. Sitting down in a lotus
position, she began focusing on Screed in tight leather pants. Gradually as
she felt herself grow warm and steam come out of her ears, she visualized
the carouche stripping down until he was nothing more than Screed in Speedos.

Then when she neared the point of spontaneous combustion, she grabbed her
paint can and fell foward into the pond. Swimming down to the bottom, she
pressed on the paint nozzle to make sure the can would work underwater.

It did.

One paint squirt at a time she created her masterpiece, tracing over the
carving. When she was finished, not only did Screed in Repose shine through
the water, he wore a pair of glowing lime green Speedos.

"Screed in Speedos In Repose," Libby murmured happily. "Now tha's a
master-type-piece an' yew kin't say much more than tha'."
* * *

The laptop beeped. Loudly. Laurie didn't remove her gaze from the Shrine.
Mildred glanced down, surprised to see the monitor window red. She was
startled to find one of the Addicts was leaving the lecture on Pompeii that
she had set up as a distraction earlier than planned.

Then she took a closer look. Jules, the NA High Priestess, had left the
lecture, and was likely heading back to the Shrine.

 she griped. The evening's action was almost complete; so far
things had gone off without a hitch. With any luck, they'd be out of there
before Jules arrived.

She pressed a button on the com panel.  "Attention all teams. Single Addict
approaching.  ETA 20 minutes.  Positive Identification - Jules, Priestess."

The GHP swung her head round at the words. Her eyes narrowed dangerously,
although she still didn't speak.

 Mildred thought. Just to make sure, she said the
name again. "That's the High Priestess on her way." Yep, the GHP was
definitely interested. Their leader clearly had more than a passing
interest in NA's leader.

She continued into the intercom, "Move on it, folks. I want us out of here
before she gets back."

Laurie subsided back into the seat, and returned her gaze to the Shrine.


Ten minutes later, the job was still not done. Mildred was getting nervous.

"Ten minutes!" she snarled into the com unit." Mildred announced. "High
Priestess due on scene in ten minutes. We've got to finish up and we've got
to finish up now, before she gets back."

Jennifer's voice broke in, panicked. "Ten minutes? Um, we've got a problem
in here." Mildred could hear the MercPriestess in the background, but
couldn't make out much more.

"What kind of problem?" she asked tersely.  Whispered mutterings, followed
by, "Just - tell - her."

"Um, the Nunkies fan fic fairies seem to have an aversion to our Priestess.
They're refusing to come out for her," Jennifer reported. "I think it has
something to do with her devotion to His Angstyness."

THe GHP finally noticed something. Mention of fan fic fairies, to be
precise. She tensed.

"Um ... Shelia thinks they need someone familiar. She thinks they won't
come out until ... well, until ... " her voice trailed off miserably.

"Great," Mildred muttered, a little too loudly. "We either lose the fan fic
fairies or we're stuck with Jules."

That was all it took. Laurie threw open the MercMobile door in a shot, and
headed into the Shrine, with Mildred trailing behind. As Bob Dylan would
say, "the plans they are achanging."

* * *

WAR: MERC/RP: War and Pieces 4/4
By Mildred Cady, Laurie Schlagel, John Ewan, Wooby, Shelia Turner, Jennifer
Garcia, Maya, Libby
Time: Monday, May 4, sometime after 8 pm
Concurrent with NA: Te Amamus Nunkies
Location: NA Shrine
Everything with permission folks!

The Poobah strode into the Shrine, and stood glaring at the duo before her.
Shelia turned, desperately trying to come up with an explanation as to
their failure to rouse the fan fic fairies, when she caught a glimmer of
something out of the corner of her eye.


It was a fanfic fairy.  It poofed into existence and headed straight for
the Poohbah, who started ducking.

"AAAHH!" The vengeful GHP screamed, trying unsuccessfully to catch the
fairy so she could throw it to the ground and grind it under her steel toed

Shelia caught the GHP from behind, and shoved her into the pond. There
might be hell to pay later, but for now, it was obvious the fanfic fairies
were attracted to the Poobah, and if she wanted them, then apparently, she
was going to have to get them herself.

"Don't move," the MercPriestess motioned to the sputtering Poobah, who for
the first time since her kidnapping, was actually showing out and out signs
of rage. "Don't move, or they won't come out."

The GHP wanted those fan fic faires more than she wanted to kill her
Priestess and Spymistress, and even more than she wanted a terrycloth
towel. She stayed put, fuming, as the Mercs began their chant again.

"Fanfic Fairies," said Jennifer with more gusto this time around.

"Heed our call," said Shelia giggled, enjoying the site of a wet Poohbah
too much. The GHP shot her a look of death.

"Make your presence," said Jennifer.

"Known to all!" finished Shelia.

This time the reaction was instantaneous.  Dozens of little fan fic fairies
poofed into existence.  Circling and swooping around Laurie.  The Poohbah
gave a stifled little scream as one landed on her nose.

Laurie suddenly found her lungs. "Get OFF me," she screamed, hurling a
stream of abuse at the fairies and trying desperately to get her hands
around one of their necks.

Shelia and Jennifer exchanged satisfied glances and continued their
chanting. In a few seconds, a noticable change in behavior came over the

The fairy perched on the GHP's nose suddenly moved off her, and the other
fairies also backed away. Astonishingly, they hovered in a neat little row
in front of the GHP, giving her little fan fic fairy salutes. (No, not that
one.) Not a speck of fairy drool or snot was in sight.

For the first time in a week, the GHP smiled. Evilly. Diabolically. Revenge
was at hand. She lifted her hands and let the fairies perch.  "Listen, my
little ones. I have a job for you..."

As the GHP whispered her evil orders to the fairies, Jennifer reached out
and grabbed a straggler in each hand. Shelia did the same. You never knew
when a fan fic fairy could come in handy. They tucked the quartet into
Jennifer's pouch, which also contained some Chocolate chip cookies and a
small bottle of  imported Rum.  The two knew what fairies liked, and could
soon hear a wild party going on down there.

The two Mercs watched the GHP, smirking. The fan fic fairies were now under
the personal command of the Grand High Poobah. And command them she did.
They listened, as she finished relaying orders to the waiting fairies.

"Now, don't forget," the GHP's voice oozed evil, "You stay out of sight. No
more evil Addicts telling you what to do. You hear the words Nunkies,
LaCroix, toga, or Shrine, out you come. Right over their heads. Drool away.
Sneeze away," her voice started rising. "The MORE the BETTER. COVER THEM

She was practically screeching now. Yup, the GHP was definitely back to
form, and strangely enough, the Guild had the fan fic fairies to thank for it.

* *
Mildred's beeper pierced the self satisfaction that was filling the room,
laced with terror at the GHP's apparent return to normalcy. The delay had
cost them. The High Priestess was about to enter the Shrine. The Mercs had
approximately two minutes to make a clean getaway. The second in command's
nervousness was growing. The entire plan would be ruined if anyone was
caught in the building.

Laurie's head snapped up, almost as if she could smell Jules'presence in
the building.  She uttered four short words - "Bring her with us" - and
then exited the room. The fan fic fairies immediately popped out of sight.

The second in command began whispering terse orders to the gathered Mercs.
Wooby and Shelia grabbed the tapestry taken earlier from the High
Priestess' room, and headed for the Shrine door. Very shortly, the door
opened. Before Jules could even turn on the interior lights, the two Mercs
had grabbed her, wrapped her in the tapestry.

"Rope, quick," Shelia shouted, grabbing a coil from Ursula. The Ratpacker
tried to hang on to her treasure. Wooby thwacked her and she let go. Within
minutes, the NA High Priestess was nicely trussed in a bundle on the Shrine

"Well, she's been wanting to get intimate with LaCroix for some time, she
just got her wish," Mildred prodded the tapestry and the heaving mass
inside. Jules' faint cries - "My dress! My dress! Don't crease my dress!"
could be heard, which pleased her immensely. She quickly ran an anti
tracking device over the tapestry, to make sure Jules had no bugs on her.
"Good thing too, I have a feeling she's not going to be getting much of her
heart's desires for a long time to come, not if the GHP has anything to say
about it."

She turned toward the door. "Let's get out of here," she ordered over her
shoulder. Wooby bent down, and picked up the struggling tapestry and threw
it over her shoulder.

"Well, this might get the GHP off our backs for a while," she whispered.

Shelia grinned wickedly. She could think of nothing more entertaining than
having the High Priestess - here she paused to sneer -   of the Addicts to toy with for a few days. With any luck, the GHP
would be more than mollified. When Shelia got through with Jules,
unimaginable as it sounded, the GHP was likely to do a dance of joy.

Wooby carried the carpet-clad captive to the van, and opened the door. The
Ratpackers clamored in over her.

The Klingon Merc snarled. She hated missing an opportunity to thwack
Ratpackers; unfortunately her hands were currently otherwise engaged by a
carpet. "OUT!" she ordered.

The Ratpackers piled out of the van. Wooby placed the carpet-clad prisoner
on the floor of the van. A few Mercs climbed in.

The Ratpackers piled back into the van. Or tried to, anyway. What with the
carpet on the floor, and all the bits and pieces they'd collected from the
Shrine, the van was no longer big enough.

"OUT!" Wooby screamed. The Ratpackers and Mercs piled out of the van.

"Put her in the Mercmobile," Mildred gestured to the car. Wooby stared
doubtfully. The GHP and the High Priestess in the same car? There'd be
nothing left to torture by the time they got back to Merc Central.

"Do it." Wooby opened the back door, where the GHP was seated. Laurie
smirked, and lifted her feet out of the way. The Merc placed the rug
wrapped woman onto the floor in the back. The Poobah, slowly, deliberately,
and with great care, set her feet upon the lump near the middle. There was
a muffled "Eep!" as she did so, so the GHP did it again....and again. Wooby
shut the door.

Mildred did a final once over, to check all teams were there. Not
surprisingly, they were not. Two people were missing. She glanced around,
her temper rising. The Ratpack leader and his partner in crime were
unaccounted for.

* *
Johnsie and Libby suddenly came tearing around a corner from the front of
the building. Johnsie was gesturing frantically at the top of the Shrine,
as Libby babbled incoherently.

The Mercs and Ratpackers looked upward. Teetering on the edge of the
building, possibly well secured, but swinging in the wind, was the huge
sign that had been prepared. The sign read NUNKE ANONYMOUS HEADQUARTERS.

"Quick, quick, we'ze got to go," the Ratpack leader shouted. "Geranimo
...." He pushed Mildred out of the way, jumped into the front seat of the
MercMobile, and put his foot on the gas. The MercMobile lurched forward,
leaving the rest of the crew standing gaping in the driveway.

"I am going to personally wring his little neck," Mildred announced loudly.
She grabbed Libby by the scruff of her neck. "I guess Johnsie is leaving
you in *my* care." Mildred smiled as the Ratpacker squirmed in her grip,
and practically threw her into the van before climbing in herself.  she fumed.

"Me first, me first, me first," Wooby replied. The other Mercs lined up to
take a number, trying to step over the Ratpack pile up in the corner of the

* *
Johnsie hung on to the steering wheel, simultaneously putting the golden
oldies CD into the player, and cranking it up as far as it would go. Then
he hit the gas. It would have been a smooth departure, if he had been
facing down the driveway. As it was he missed all the trees and the car
could handle the other underbrush and trashcans, mailboxes and such along
the way.

The GHP had most definitely found her powers of speech. "YOU'LL HANG FOR
THIS, YOU TWIT," she screamed. Then she noticed that the carpet clad bundle
beneath her feet was getting the brunt of the wild ride. As the car tore
down the road back to Merc Central, bouncing up and down, the High
Priestess bounced as well.  she thought, gripping the side of the car as it raced onwards.

The MercMobile and van arrived back at HQ almost simultaneously. The riders
in the van clamored out, and stood silently watching, as the MercMobile
tore up, pulled to a screeching halt.

The back door opened and the GHP exited. The gathered Mercs let out a sigh
of relief at what they saw. The GHP once again resembled an overripe
tomato. Their leader had returned. The Ratpack started to back away, as
Johnsie proudly pulled open the front door, and climbed out.

Laurie stopped in front of the Ratpacker and yelled, "Where
did_you_get_your_*driver's license*?!?"

"Driver's license? Oi never 'ad a driver's license, can't judge distance
well, with my eyes, sew never seemed himportant.... Poohbah? 'ey! Um ...
guys .... RUN FER COVER! Oi think the Poohbah's gonna implode!"


Missing: One HP (1/1)
Time: Monday Evening after Te Amamus, Nunkies (1/1)
Everyone mentioned with permission

The chariot pulled into the back street next to the shrine and Shele and
Heather clambered outside. .

"You know, MacCousin," Shele grumbled to her companion who was
struggling with extracting herself and her claymore from the chariot.
"Why don't you get a sword your size?"

The MacCousin giggled.  She was now fully wired, having napped through
most of Professor Lee's presentation, 'Ashes of Vesuvius'  Heather had a
bruise on her left arm from Jules punching having her.  Apparently
Heather's snoring had disrupted the lecture several times.

 "It's nae sword," she began.

"I know, I know," began Shele.  She ran up the steps of the shrine and
stopped in awe.

"Now I know how you feel when you say, 'adjectives fail me,'" said

"Why?" asked Heather.

Shele merely pointed.  The shrine was a victim of another hapless

Heather ran through the doors of the shrine, hoping that her personal
tapestry would still be in place.

Shele meanwhile took a longer route.  She sighed at the sight of the
sacred cold pond and then found it.

"Heather!"  She began to yell.  "HEATHER!!!"

Heather ran back into the main hallway.

"I think I know who's responsible," Shele held up a note.

"Who is it?" asked Heather, squinting.

"The Mercs and Ratpackers," answered Shele, "and they kidnapped Jules."

"They want you, Kusine, Sukh and Rosalie to show up at Moose Lodge
Wednesday at sunset," said Shele.  "There's going to be a trial."


The end for now.

Heather -- the MacCousin--CIP
from yet another wacky account
maccousin@hotmail.com and heatherp@freewwweb.com

WAR:  NA: If You Go Out in the Woods Today...
by Cousin Jules
Tuesday, May 5, 6:15 p.m.
The Shrine, the streets and environs of TO, and Moose Lodge
All Addicts used and abused with permission

Shele, Jade, Heather, Sukh and Sherry were assembled at the front door of
the Peach.

"Have you got the presents?" Heather asked Sherry.

"I've got one of them.  I can't find the big one," Sherry answered.

"Say, where's Sallie?" asked Sukh.

The 5 Addicts looked about, then decided to make a quick search of
the Shrine.  They'd nearly given up in frustration at the
misplacement of Sallie *and* the present intended for the Schankes
when they caught sight of a blowtorch peeking from behind one of the
Lab/Kitchen's cabinets.

"Don't you dare!" said Shele as she grabbed the prettily decorated box
from Sallie's hands.

"Dragon only wants part of the present," Sallie retorted, looking hurt
and pointing to the small herd of silver moose attached to the
package's ribbons.

"Come on, Sallie," Sherry interrupted as she and Jade helped her to her
feet, Shele clutching the box more tightly to her person.  "We've
got to be at the Lodge by 6:30, and it's nearly that now."

Sallie allowed herself to be moved, and the now-collected Addicts
exited onto Queen.  They stood and started at the Jeep.

"Wow, Heather.  I can't believe Jules let you have the Jeep tonight
instead of making us take the Beetle," exclaimed Sukh.

"Yeah, better not have an accident," warned Shele.

"I haven't had an accident in years," Heather said defensively.
"Well, except for that one incident involving a ceilidh and a
particularly good-looking bagpipes player..." she added, nearly
drifting into a Scottish meltdown.  "But, that's neither here nor
there, lassies.  Onward!  We're late!" she cried.

Fifteen minutes later, when all the arguing had finished about who
would sit where, and Sallie landed up in the very back of the Jeep,
the vehicle sped away into the night In Search of:  Moose Lodge.

"Does Jules have a map in the glove box?" Heather asked worriedly.

"Let me search," Shele offered from the passenger's seat.

"Need a light?" Sallie leaned forward, brandishing her pocket blowtorch.

"Och!" Startled at the sudden presence of an open flame by her ear, Heather
spasmed, veering the Jeep off the side of the road. They were now speeding
along through the forest, bouncing over fallen logs and playing dodge-em
with tree trunks. "Everybody got their seat belts fastened? We're takin' the
scenic route!"

"Sallie..." Sherry lectured with a surprising amount of calm since the Jeep
was playing chicken with the woods, and the maple trees weren't moving. "Was
it absolutely necessary to bring your blowtorch? This is a neutral party.
You'll have to give up terrorizing the countryside for the night."

Sallie brought the torch back to illuminate her face and gave a toothy
smile. "I thought it would come in handy...hee...it's a luau, and Dragon
likes roasting things."

"That may be so," Jade pointed out, "but let me remind you that open flames
in a gas-run vehicle on the verge of smashing into a rock outcropping are
usually a bad idea."

Heather looked around. "Rock outcropping? What rock outcropping? Aaaaahhh!"

The Jeep narrowly veered around the rocks, allowing Heather to go back to
practicing slalom with the trees. Jade and Sherry began singing 'Kumbayah.'
Shele and Sukh followed this with a chorus of 'She Drives Me Crazy.' They
drove over the river (well, it was more like a creek), through the woods,
and bypassed grandmother's house, since none of them had a grandmother who
lived in a hollowed-out tree trunk. Not even Sallie.

Heather had a warrior-glint in her eyes. She could be heard muttering under
her breath as she adjusted the steering wheel: "Tree...another tree...pile
o' leaves...tree...bear...BEAR!" Heather slammed on the brakes.

"Gee," Sukh said drily as the enormous brown beast began sniffing hungrily
at the Jeep's hood, "you'd think that if the MacCousin was going to stop,
she'd have done it somewhere other that at the foot of a giant carnivore."

"Well, I brake for animals," Heather retorted.

"I heard somewhere that if you made terrible noises, a bear would leave you
alone," Shele suggested.

"Too bad we don't have the recording of Laurie singing with us," Jade

"Hmmm..." Heather said thoughtfully. "We may have something equally
powerful." She whispered to the other Addicts, and there were nods and gasps
of dismay. Heather cleared her throat and counted to three, then the Addicts
began to sing:

"If you change your mind
on the first in line
Honey, I'm still free
take a chance on me.

If you need me, let me know
'Cause I'll be around
If you've got no place to go
when you're feeling down.
Take a chance on me
~That's all I ask of you honey.~
Take a chance on me."

The bear let out a mighty roar, then turned tail and ran.

"It's better nobody mentions this to Bons," Shele said. Heather slammed her
sandaled foot on the accelerator, and they were off again.

Another 15 minutes later (it was nearly 7 p.m. now), the car pulled
up before the lodge and the toga-clad Addicts tumbled out.  All
except Heather, that is, who somehow retained her dignity in spite of
more than a week's worth of War and a bad can of blue paint she'd
gotten into a few days prior.

The valet took the Jeep's keys and the Addicts repaired to the centre
point of the festivities, taking their place in the queue.  Things
seem to move slowly, however, when one waits in line, and the Addicts
were no exception.  Sukh made intermittent raids on the hors
d'oeuvres table while Sherry was in charge of tracking down adult
beverages.  Sallie produced a mini blowtorch to heat the vol au vents
which had gone cold and nearly set one of the room's fake trees on
fire.  They decided to take it away from her at that point.

When it came their turn to present gifts to Don and Myra, the Schankes were
overwhelmed at the number of packages. There were matching moose-print
togas, including a small-sized one for Jen, a copy of 'The World's Best
Jokes in Latin' and 'The Classical Art Bathroom Encyclopedia.' Shele offered
up one of the 24-carat roses left over from the Poobahnap, smacking Sallie
on the arm when she tried to protest. Schanke was also given a jar of
Marmite and assured that it added a special savory flavor to souvlaki.
The last gift was a 1228-piece puzzle of 'Lucius In Repose,' which Myra
gazed at just a tad too long for Schanke's comfort.

Gifts presented, the addicts shuffled along, deciding to join the purple-poi
eating contest - undoubtably the start of a fine evening of memorable

WAR:  Mercs Rule, Fairies Drool  (1/1)
by Laurie Mercbard and Cousin Jules
filk by Laurie Mercbard and Mackie the Mole
Location: Merc Central
Time: Wednesday daytime, following War and Pieces, prior to Your Worst
Fashion Nightmare

The one and only victim tortured with permission, and boy does she deserve 

They hadn't even bothered to give her an iron. Instead, they'd thrown her,
creases and all, right into Merc Central's dungeon.

Jules, High Priestess of Nunkies Anonymous, was not happy. No, sirree.  No
way.  No how.  She sat on a very uncomfortable *plastic* chair, legs
crossed, arms folded across her chest, and tapped one foot rather loudly on
the dungeon floor.  She looked at the puse-coloured walls which were devoid
of anything attractive - unless you consider velvet paintings of matadors
to be attractive - and entertained herself by feeling her blood pressure
rise.  She'd been here all night and was starting to get really really 

The HP was about to go into a real meltdown when she heard footsteps
approach.  The sound of a rusty bolt being drawn back followed, and Jules
jumped up.  She didn't go anywhere, however, as her feet were tied to each
other and the chair. Her hands were also bound behind her back.

Wooby and Erin entered the dungeon, looking very pleased with themselves.

"Let me out of here right now or you'll have Nunkies to deal with!  How
dare you leave me in this, this pit!  And in a *creased* dress, no less!!!"

The two Mercs smiled evilly at one another, and Wooby smirked, "You think
that's bad?  Just wait awhile."

"Oooooooooo!!!!" Jules squealed in indignation, not knowing what else to
do, and the Mercs dragged her out of the chair and helped her hop upstairs
in a rather undignified manner.

As they passed through the common area, several Ratpackers looked up from
their game of darts. Jules screamed as she realized that the Packers were
using a Nunkies in Repose tapestry - *her* Nunkies in Repose tapestry - as
the dart board. All except for Michele, who was sitting cross legged in
front of the tapestry, ignoring the flying darts, and staring at the
tapesty with a glazed look in her eye.

The two Mercs forced the High Priestess into the Poobah's office, then tied
her to an - ick - brown divan. Her Merc guards stood behind her as Laurie
gazed stonily at her nemesis over her desk.

Jules was stupid enough to talk. "You better let me out of here, Laurie
MercBard!  I don't appreciate having one of my best outfits ruined in this
den of hydrogenated soldiers of fortune!!"

Laurie smiled. She snapped her finger, and POOF, a fan fic fairy appeared,
hovering over Jules.

Jules' eyes opened wide, and she took on a hurt air. "Our fan fic fairies!
Help! Save me!" she shouted at the grinning fairy.

Grinning widely, the GHP leaned forward  "No one can save you now.
Especially your EX-fan fic fairies. They're all mine now."

"NO WAY!" Jules shouted. The fan fic fairy drooled on her head.

"HEY, CUT THAT OUT!" she screamed. The fan fic fairy sneezed on her head.

"Jules, my dear," the GHP said silkily. "I suggest you shut up."

"WHY SHOULD I?" The fan fic fairy drooled on her shoulder and it dripped
down her - creased! - dress.

"Because your new friend there," Laurie gestured at the fairy, "has been
specially trained to punish you every time you open your mouth." The GHP
smiled - beautifically. Jules was starting to get worried.

The High Priestess opened her mouth. The fan fic fairy sneezed on her other
shoulder. The High Priestess shut her mouth.

"Now," Laurie glanced at her computer screen. "Because of the
unexpectedness of your visit, we unfortunately were not able to plan a full
day of torture for you. However, a number of volunteers have come forth and
indicated their willingness to serve."

Wooby broke in at that, "We've been lining up outside the GHP's office all
night." She stroked her bat'thel longingly.

"First, we've arranged a little visit to our sound studio. I'm sure you're
just *dying* to hear my latest creation. I wrote it especially for you.
Second, your presence will be required in the MercShrine for some --" she
paused and stared coldly at the prisoner "-- well, perhaps we'll let that
be a surprise. Lastly, you'll be pleased to know we've arranged for you to
give the Guild a very special solo performance."

"YOU CAN"T MA ..." This time the drool went straight into Jules' mouth. She
choked and shut up.

"Yeah, Jules, we can. And we will. Get her out of here." The GHP turned her
back as the two Mercs grabbed Jules and hauled her out of the office.

* * *
The tape played over and over and over and over. If you listened closely,
you could discern the melody of the Monkees' theme song, but the lyrics had
been changed to torment the guilty.

Here we come
Down Toronto's streets
We get the funniest looks 'cause
We're all wearing sheets.

Hey, Hey, We're the Nunkies
Our Nunkie is the guy we adore
And we're so busy drooling
It sure makes our Nunkie sore.

We drool whenever we meltdown
As we knock around town
We don't know how to control it
Though it makes Nunkie frown.

Hey, Hey, We're the Nunkies
Our Nunkie is the guy we adore
And we're so busy drooling
It sure makes our Nunkie sore.

Jules gritted her teeth and tried to think of  Nunkies but she kept leaving
off the s. She couldn't even scream in frustration; her fan fic fairy guard
was perched on one of the tape decks, watching and waiting for the first
sign of an open mouth.

She had to resist. She had to be strong. For Nunkie ... Nunkie ... s ...
For Nunkies Anonymous. For all those under her care. For the NunkMommy.

 Jules sat up straighter, as she suddenly realized she hadn't
heard a word from her since Annie had set off through the Ratpacker tunnels
to the Cayman Islands, intent on raiding the NA bank account to double
LaCroix's cure reward money. She hadn't been seen since. Had something
happened to her?  Perhaps she was lying unconscious in the tunnels, or even
lost. Or perhaps the Mercs had had her all this time. Perhaps even now,
Annie was in an adjoining cell, being subjected to the same torment she
was. Nunkie ... Nunkie ... Nunkie ...

But no. That would never happen. Annie would have resisted. Annie would
have been strong. Annie would never have let Laurie and Bons embark on this
silly storyline to begin with.

With new resolve, Jules leaned back. Nunkies ... Nunkies .... Nunkies ....
Nunkies ... She supposed she should be grateful that the Grand High Poobah
herself wasn't singing. For *that*, as she well knew, was true torture.
* * *

Laurie shut off the studio monitor, very pleased. Kidnapping the High
Priestess had not been in the plan of events, but she'd had two days with
nothing to write about, and creating a little mindless torture had already
proven to be quite entertaining.

She pressed a button on her computer, sending the schematics on screen on
their way, picked up the phone and made a quick call.

"That's right, those are the proper specs," she informed the person on the
other end. "No, I *do not* want the ratio scaled down. I *don't* care what
they look like. JUST DO IT. I need them on my desk by Friday." As she
slammed down the phone, her own personal fan fic fairy awoke from the nap
it had been having on top of her monitor, and hovered near her face, eyes

The Poobah held out her arm, and the fairy settled comfortably. "Don't you
worry, my pretty," Laurie crooned. "Jennifer's down in the lab right now,
cloning more and more of you. You won't be lonely much longer, I promise."

Yup, the GHP was quite content. And  soon she'd have her own private army
of fan fic fairies, answerable only to her. What more could a Poobah
desire? Besides Addict heads on pikes, that is.

* * *

Later on that day ...

"Nunkie ... S ... Nunkie .... S ... Nunkie ... Nunk ... Nunkie ... " Jules
was muttering incoherently to herself when Wooby and Erin returned to check
on her. She was full of fan fic fairy drool and snot, since she had had to
open her mouth to mutter.

"Ready for the next stop on your fun-filled tour of Merc Central?," Erin

Jule couldn't answer. She couldn't even keep track of the S at the end of
her own name by that point, let alone Nunkie ... S.

The Klingon picked Jule without an S up with ease, and carried her up the
stairs to the Shrine.  The so-called High Priestess of  Nunkie Anonymous
would soon learn what being a practitioner was truly about.

* *

Shelia had been waiting all night and a good part of the morning for this
moment. She'd set up a special area of the MercShrine, calling it the
Unbeliever area, and had already begun work on the wards when High
Priestess Jule was dragged in.

She rubbed her hands together gleefully at the sight of the creased HP, and
indicated to the two Mercs where to dump their struggling load.

Erin stared doubtfully at the location, noting the flickering lights
surrounding the chair placed in the middle of a circle of light. "Do we
have to go in there?" she asked, a bit fearfully.

"Don't worry, "the Priestess declared. "I've set up special wards that only
affect non-believers. She began cackling wildly, as the two Mercs crossed
the line, deposited Jule and secured her to the chair.

"Where's my S?" Jule demanded. Her fan fic fairy guard dove into the circle
and dripped a bit.

"Muahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!" laughed Shelia.

Jule was about to beg her to cut the melodrama when a fanfic fairy gave her
the Evil Eye.  Having had enough *drool* for one day, she complied with the
fairy's unspoken wishes, and instead, closed her eyes, hoping against hope
that when she awoke the little twits would have flown away.

No such luck. When Jule finally opened her eyes again, she was staring at a
large screen TV and a row of video tapes.

"Now it's time for *real* torture," Shelia told her, then
'muahahahahaha'ed' again, wiggled her eyebrows in a fashion worthy of
Torquemada and rubbed her hands together.

"You, you, you...NA person, you!" the Priestess continued. "You profane the
name of The Best Vampire of All Time with your devotion to La..,
La...See! I can't even say his name, he's so terrible to...Nick."  A dreamy
expression came over Shelia's features then, and Jule just knew she wasn't
going to feel at all well if this continued.

"Yeah, yeah.  Whatever," Jule responded, trying unsuccessfully to duck the
immediate fan fic fairy attack.

"Soooooooooo," Shelia added.  "I thought it was time for the videos."

Sudden panic arose in Jule.   she thought.

Shelia popped a tape in and set the VCR to "play."  It didn't start off
badly, as Jule noticed it was the beginning of the Nunkie... (ARGH!!!)  in
Repose scene from AMPH, but, just when she got a shot of a calf, the scene
changed to ... Nick.  In sky blue.  In white.  In a police uniform from the
60's.  In that preposterous Elizabethan wear she'd been forced to model.

Jule nearly screamed in outrage, then, the tape reverted back to the divan
scene again.  Once more, the film got no further than LaCroix's lower leg
when suddenly the body on the screen turned into ... Nunkie ...  in
Curioser and Curioser ... dead ... white as a sheet ... with a knife in his

Then came the "Nick killing LaCroix" scene in Dark Knight, , followed by
Nick telling LaCroix, "I'm not coming back to you," in Father's Day, then,
from the same ep, Nick telling LaCroix, "What you made was a monster!"
Jule frowned.   she wanted to yell, 

These snippets were followed by, yes, you guessed it - another shot of a
very small section of Lacroix's right front leg, then the garden scene in
BMV where Nick hypnotised Fleur, leaving Nunk ...- here she strained for a
second, and almost, but not quite made it -- Nunkieee .. --brokenhearted.

And so it went. Tantilizing, teasing shots of LaCroix, interspersed with
Nick in his nightie in Near Death, Nick in daylight on horseback in Queen
of Hearts, Nick standing gloating over LaCroix's pain during the flashbacks
in Night in Question.

"WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!!" cried Jule, finally unable to
stand any more of Shelia's cruel ways.  She was instantly pelted by fanfic
fairy drool and snot, then forced to watch
"Outside the Lines" seven times.  Would no one save her from this living
hell??? And more importantly, would anyone ever give her back her name?

 * * *

Your Worst Fashion Nightmare(1/2)
Starring: Jules, Costume Queen Ratpacker Cousine Helene, Merc House Mommy 
Liz, Libby, Johnsie, Maya, Michele, Laurie, MercPriestess Shelia, Erin, 
Wooby, the Mercelettes (they really hate that name), Sammy and Allexxis.

     "*Don't* pull on the sequins," Jules said harshly, smacking at one of 
the small Ratpacker's hands. "They may be shiny and pretty, but they are 
staying on my person."

     "She's gunna be 'ard tew stuffing me satchel, Johnsie," Libby 
announced. "Tha' dress 'ud be a mite simplified tew borrow."

     "Aye think yew take tha' old stuffings offa 'er 'afer yew put on tha' 
new, Libs." Johnsie scratched his head. "Aye'm noodling tha's why issa 
called 'changin.'"

     The Ratpackers were somewhat confused. They knew they were supposed to 
make the prisoner give a fashion show, but they weren't very familiar with 
the whole 'changing' clothes' concept. Oftentimes when a Ratpacker needed a 
clean shirt, they just put the new one on whatever they were already 
wearing, lest someone borrow their wardrobes. They certainly didn't do 
laundry during a war.

     Luckily, there was one Ratpacker who understood the whole zip-n-tuck 
she-bang. Cousin Helene was the resident Ratpacker Costume Queen and had the 
keys to the Merc Wardrobe Archives to prove it. What's more, unlike the GHP 
and Merc House Mommy, Helene actually *used* the keys.

     "All right!" Helene called them to order. "I am in charge of outfit 
selection. You will be responsible for keeping an eye on the prisoner."

     "High Priestess Prisoner, to you, thankyouverymuch," Jules sniffed. A 
fanfic fairy appeared and drooled on her head. Jules pursed her lips and 
gave the sprite the evil eye.

     Libby and Johnsie were busy poking each other in the face.

    "Ow!" Libby complained.

    "Yew haffta 'old still, Libs," Johnsie instructed. "All this tawlk uv 
keepin' an' givin' eeballs, n' nodroog ever drops 'ow yewr supposed tew 
git'm out!"

     "Aye don' wan yew tew pluck me peepers. Yewr in uncommand! I's yewr 
dew-tea tew donate yewr vayos tew tha' cause!" Libby argued, squeezing her 
eyes shut so that nobody could borrow them.

     "Yewr jus' bein' mal-coop-per-ta-tive. Yewr second-in-uncommand. Tha' 
means yew git tew dew allun' tha' thingees Aye dun wanna. Issa privy-ledge!" 
Johnsie insisted.

     "Aye dun wanna! Ow!"

     "No, no, no!" Helene broke between the two of them. "Stop touching each 
other's eyeballs! I was just using a coin of phrase."

     Libby brightened. "Issit shiney?

     Johnsie's interest perked too. "Issit pretty?"

     "Aye wan' it!"

     "Naw, Aye wan' it!"

     "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

     "Mine! Mine! Mine!"

     Jules smirked at Helene's exasperated expression and confided, "You 
know, it's not too late. You could run off and join the circus. I hear it's 
quite peaceful compared to a nest of Ratpackers."

    "That's it!" The Costume Queen reached into a box of props and pulled 
out a bicycle horn, then proceeded to honk it in each of the Ratpacker's 
ears. They bounced up and down at the sound like Mexican jumping beans, but 
grew quiet.

    A secret panel in the floor creaked open, and Michele and Maya's heads 
popped into view. They saluted to the Ratpacker in charge, Helene, then blew 
raspberries at the Ratpackers not in charge. Johnsie and Libs lovingly 
zerberted the back of their grubby paws in response. Had Jane Goodall been 
present, she would have dropped the gorillas in a hot minute.

    "Reportin' fer dew-tea!" Maya called.

    "We'll dew as lil' as we kin tew serve yew," Michele assured the Costume 

     "Good. Maya - you man the curtains," Helene instructed.

     Maya's face scrunched up like a fist full of playdough. "But Aye's a 

     Helene squeezed her bicycle horn. *HONK!* Maya let loose of the secret 
door and bonked herself and Michele in the noggins. "Just do it!" Helene 
ordered. She pointed to Michele, who cringed, "You…man the lights and 

     "But Aye's nawt -"

     Helene thrust the bell of the horn under Michele's nose. 


     Maya decided that she should lodge a protest. "'Ey! Issa nawt fair! She 
gits tew play wiffa shiney, pretty loights!"

     "Is tew fair!" Michele squeaked.

     "Is nawt!"

     "Is tew!"

     "Is nawt!"

      "My….the Ratpackers and the Nunkies Addicts sure have a lot in 
common," Jules observed.

     *HONK!* *HONK!* *bounce!* *bounce!* *bounce!* *bounce!*

     "Mind your manners," Helene warned. "This fashion event is a special 
presentation for the Poobah. If you mess up, it's your tails."

     Maya and Michele gulped. "Is jes' drapes, tewnes, an' shinies," Maya 
said confidently.

     "Yeah!" agreed Michele. "Wot culd go wrong?"

     The two Ratpackers dropped out of sight before anyone could answer. 
Helene turned her attention back to the uncommandos. "Now, Libby and 
Johnsie: watch the High Priestess Prisoner and make sure she doesn't 

     Johnsie held open his coat and showed Jules a fabulous array of 
timepieces. "Wood yew loike a Timex, Swatch ur Fossil?"

     Libby tugged on his sleeve. "Fossils urn't playin' this War, Johnsie."

     *HONK!* *HONK!* *bounce!* *bounce!*

     "Shaddup!" Helene shrieked. "Don't say a word. Just make sure Jules 
does not leave the room until I say it is okay."

     The Ratpackers nodded quietly.

     Helene sighed and rubbed her hands together in satisfaction as she eyed 
Jules wickedly. "Let's see…for our first ensemble…Muahahahahaha!"


     Shelia, Official MercPriestess of the Angsty Blond One, took the best 
seat near the catwalk. She planned to turn Jules, a.k.a. Anunkiata, into a 
chameleon. A nice, perky chameleon to accessorize her magical chambers. To 
do this, she needed a good vantage point.

     Yes, yes, one wasn't supposed to do things such as turning people into 
chameleons for a war, permanency rules and all that, but Shelia's spell 
wasn't permanent. It only lasted two years, allowing for a chameleon life-

     Laurie swept into the room, Liz and Mildred following close behind. The 
Merc House Mommy had heard noises that sounded suspiciously like a 
guillotine coming from Laur's newly refurbished office, so both Mercs were 
careful not to step on the Grand High Poobah's heels. She was too fixated on 
heads and pikes at the moment to risk anything.

     Laurie stopped beside Shelia's chair. "You…move."

     "I am preparing an evil spell, Your Grand High Poobahty! This seat is 
perfectly aligned with the stars, the moon, and the sun, not to mention the 
nearest Godiva chocolatiers!"

     Laurie's eyes held the fire of California in a dry summer. "Move."

     Shelia scooped up her candles, incense and totems, then hustled to 
another chair. "I can always realign."

     Sammy and Allexxis shuffled into the room, two cows meandering behind 
them. They all took chairs behind the GHP, cows included. Next came the lil' 
ratsies, who were being chased by Wooby with her bat'leth(you know, that 
curved Klingon sword thingee that we've spelled differently in every post). 
Erin and the Mercelettes (who really hated that name) came at a more 
leisurely pace, since they were carrying camera equipment.

     Wooby and the Mercelettes were to be in charge of the picture-taking 
for future war blackmail, so they took their places on either side of the 
runway. This left two free chairs, both at the Grand High Poobah's side. 
Liz, Erin and Mildred looked at each other and grimaced.

     An outraged scream came from backstage. 

     Mildred perked up. "Since I have actual stage experience and a cattle 
prod, I'll go see if Helene needs help."

     Liz and Erin both let out groans, both wishing they had thought of the 
excuse first. Mildred thankfully escaped backstage, while the GHP looked up, 
then patted the chairs beside her. "Don't dawdle. Take a seat. The show had 
better start in a minute."

    The House Mommy and Erin decided to not argue. It wasn't worth the neck 
trauma. Just after they were seated, Maya and Michele could be seen crawling 
out of a trap door in the stage. They scurried to the wings, and within 
seconds, shiney pretty lights were flashing all over the curtain. The stage 
curtains seemed to have the hiccups, for they would open slightly, then jerk 
closed, open, then close, in bursts.

     Ratpacker Merc Costume Queen Cousin Helene stepped on stage during one 
of the opening periods. Everyone clapped politely, including the lil' 
ratsies. The spotlight managed to wriggle over every corner of the stage 
that didn't contain Helene, then the curtains closed. There was a moment of 
silence, the sound of angry footsteps, two loud *HONK!* noises, shouts of 
"Ow! Ow!", the sound of calmer footsteps, then a moment of silence.

     The curtains opened smoothly this time, and the spotlight followed 
Helene's movements perfectly. She smiled at the audience, then walked over 
to a podium, stage right. The curtains closed. Helene adjusted the 
microphone slightly, then announced, "Welcome all Mercenaries, cows, rats 
and Klingons to the Mercenary Guild's First-Ever… Limelight On Fashion 
Torture!!!!" There were assorted claps and whistles. "I am your host, Cousin 
Helene…and this…" The Costume Queen gestured to the closed curtains, "…is 
your Fashion Victim!"

     Then, with anticipation-pricking slowness, the curtains began to open.

End Of Part One
Continued In Part Two

Your Worst Fashion Nightmare(2/2)
Starring: Jules, Costume Queen Ratpacker Cousine Helene, Merc House Mommy 
Liz, Libby, Johnsie, Maya, Michele, Laurie, MercPriestess Shelia, Erin, 
Wooby, the Mercelettes (they really hate that name), Sammy and Allexxis.

     When the piano music kicked in, the Mercs knew the Limelight On Fashion 
Torture (LOFT, for short) was going to be fiendishly horrible. They all 
grinned from ear to ear.

     Jules was center stage, Mildred standing behind her with a cattle prod. 
The NA High Priestess could be heard cursing, which turned all the lil' 
ratsies' pink ears red. At the first syllable of profanity, the four Merc 
fairies (easily identifiable by their black gossamer robes with skull 
emblems) dive-bombed Jules' head. She didn't seem to particularly care as 
they ruined her hairstyle with their drool, probably because Helene had 
curled the High Priestesses' tresses into a poofy cloud for her first piece 
of Fashion Torture.

     From the podium, Helene merrily described Jules' horrible outfit as 
Mildred zapped her down the runway:

     "For our first experiment in Fashion Torture, let me offer up a humble 
tribute to everyone's favorite vampire detective. Our victim is wearing 
Nick's costume from the wedding scene in 'Dead of Night.' Notice the 
balloon-bottom pants and the starched ruff that reaches past her chin, 
making her head resemble a flying saucer. To compliment this ensemble, 
Jules' hair has been teased into the ultimate state of fluffiness. Mercs, I 
give you Fashion Torture Experience #1:  I call it 'Forever Chipmunk.'"

     There was enthusiastic applause from the audience. Wooby and the 
Mercelettes frantically took photographs, capturing Jules' humiliation in 
color and monochrome.

     As Jules reached the end of the runway, Shelia ran forward. The 
MercPriestess cackled as she threw a handful of magical-looking dust in the 

     Laurie was the only one who didn't appear pleased as punch thus far. 
She looked pleased to punch out. "It's not nearly horrible enough," she 
muttered, then bellowed, "NEXT!"

    Jules was dragged off stage and Helene disappeared behind the curtain, 
only to reappear several minutes later. The music changed to the rousing 
strains of a Sousa march.

     "Allow me to present Fashion Torture Experience #2: 'G.I.Jules.' Notice 
the black combat boots with less give than Queen Elizabeth's upper lip. See 
how the matching camouflage shirt and trousers completely obscure her 
figure. Amaze at her drab olive green backpack which I lovingly filled with 
rocks, so that it would be heavy. Most of all, notice how I have covered 
Jules' normal hair with a lovely brown buzz of fuzz!"

     More clapping and cheers ensued. Wooby kind of liked this particular 
outfit, thinking the boots appeared suitable for kicking in a brick wall. 
The Klingon took all the pictures that she could until the roll began to 
rewind. As she began to load new film, however, Wooby noticed that she had 
forgotten to take off the lens cap. Disgusted, Wooby threw the camera to the 
ground and began hacking at it with her bat'leth. Eager to get away from the 
Poobah, Liz leapt out of her chair and offered to take Wooby's place. The 
Klingon agreed, taking all of the camera fragments with her to her seat, 
where she proceeded to crack each piece like a walnut between her teeth.

     Shelia again ran toward the runway when Jules reached the end. Throwing 
more magical-looking dust in the air she chanted, "RAINBOWS CHANGE AND SKIN 
OF SCALES!!! Muahahahahaha!!!"

     Jules sneered. "Get stuffed."

     The fairies flew toward Jules again, salivary glands primed. Jules blew 
one to waist-level then - oops! - dropped her backpack. There was a nasty 
squishing sound.

     Laurie jumped out of her chair, howling like a banshee. "You killed one 
of my beeyootiful, evil fairies!!!! Aaaaaaarrrrrgggghhhhhhh!!!!!!!"

     Jules crossed her arms and sniffed regally. "I didn't kill your fairy. 
Gravity killed your fairy. That, and all the rocks your Ratpacker friends 
loaded it up with!"

     "NEXT!!!" Laurie roared.


     "We 'as a problum," Johnsie informed Helene.


     "'Er 'Igh Prissiness dun' fit threw tha' door," Libby explained. "She's 
tew wide n' tha' bottom an' tew up n' tha' rafters."

     Mildred watched as Jules tried to yank the three-foot-high wig from her 
head. "Uh-uh. Hands off." *Zap!*

     "This is one of my grandest creations!" Helene exclaimed. "We *must* 
get her through that door!"

     "But she dun' fit," Libby repeated. "'Er 'air'at's tew tall."

     Helene looked at the wig, a powdered confection representing the most 
grandiose of atrocities from the eighteenth century, complete with a dozen 
ostrich plumes and a bird cage. In the seventeen-hundreds, a live bird would 
have been seen swinging in such a cage, but since none were handy, Helene 
had used one of the pink ratsies instead.

     The gown that Jules had been forced into was also extreme. The panels 
of the skirt were so wide, they almost reached from wall to wall, whereas 
her waist and chest had been corseted to resemble a telephone pole. The High 
Priestess' face had turned slightly blue from lack of oxygen.

     "Hmm…You'll have to carry her horizontally through the doorway so her 
hips face the floor and ceiling. The skirt might clear the door then."

     They did, but it was a tight squeeze. They'd also made the mistake of 
giving Jules a painted fan as an accessory, which she used to thwap every 
Ratpacker in sight before Mildred zapped her. 

     This time when Jules reached the end of the catwalk, Shelia shouted, 

     The inability to breathe finally got to Jules. She passed out, falling 
on Shelia's head. The wig tumbled to the floor, but luckily the lil' ratsie 
riding passenger had on his seatbelt. Mildred and the Ratpackers picked 
Jules off of the struggling MercPriestess and carried her backstage to 
revive for Fashion Torture Experience #4.

     "For your viewing pleasure," Helene announced over the strains of a 
Herb Albert number, "may I present our victim in 'The Playboy Bunny!'"

     Jules walked with surprising skill down the runway in what had to be 
five-inch heels and never developed a nosebleed. She had cleavage pushed up 
to her chin, the goofy tuxedo collar and cuffs, and even the annoying little 
ears and cotton tail on her tush. As Jules neared the end of the runway, she 
grew a bit smart-alecky. "Hey! This isn't so bad, Laur! My knees are cold, 
and it's really uncomfortable to sit down with a pompom attached to your 
rear, but I can take this!"

     "NEXT!!!!!!" Laurie called.

     Shelia, of course, had to run forward and continue her spell. "NO MORE 
MANKIND, NO MORE A JULES!!! Muahahahahaha!!!!!" Magical-looking dust flew 
everywhere, aggravating the Merc fairies' allergies. The three little bodies 
succumbed to a fit of sneezing. Jules ducked. While she was squatting, the 
High Priestess slipped off one of her non-sensible heels, and, as she and 
Bons had practiced many times at the pitching range, Jules beaned it at 
Wooby's head. It was a direct hit, but the Klingon's head ridges cushioned 
the blow so that Wooby thought the shoe bouncing off her head was nothing 
more than one of those pesky fairies whizzing by. She gave a disgruntled 
snort, then returned to chewing the remains of her camera into oblivion.

     "All right, you," Mildred muttered, grabbing Jules by the arm. *Zap!* 
went the cattle prod, which Laurie thought with some satisfaction, made the 
most interesting photos yet.


     Backstage, all was not harmony between Maya and Michele. Maya was 
growing increasingly envious of all the shiney pretty lights that Michele 
was getting to play with on stage. Even worse, the sound system that Michele 
got to play music on had a multitude of red and green blinking buttons. Maya 
wanted to push blinky buttons so bad her paws itched.

     "Tell yew wot, Michele…Iffen yew give me a looney, Aye'll let yew pull 
this neater-spanky bit o' rope up n' down. Yew better n' voca 'yes' 'afore 
Aye change me brainpan."

     Michele gave a Ratsie snort. "Yew ain't got uh brainpan, Maya. Nuthin' 
but uh em-pa-tea pie plate. Why wood Aye wan' tew yankify sum dopey rope? It 
innit even fit fer knottin'. Aye'll jes' keep on pokin' me shiney pretties, 
mal gracias tew yew."

     "Oooo! Aye'll show yew!" Maya shook a furious ratsie paw.

     Jules was herded up to the curtain, ready to be put on display once 
more. Maya pulled the curtains open, then while Michele was busy starting 
the disco music and flashing the pretty lights, Maya dug in her satchel for 
a secret weapon.


     "For Fashion Torture Experience #5, turn your gaze to 'Groovy Chick.' 
Allow your eyes to fall on the quality burnt orange polyester of Jules' 
culottes. Experience the joy of loathing her matching fringed macrame vest 
and handbag. See how I've given the whole ensemble that modern, casual feel 
by the Birkenstocks on her feet. Most importantly, admire the corn rows in 
her hair, harkening back to the days of Bo Derek's greatest popularity."

     Jules appeared ready to retch. This outfit was truly hideous in every 
conceivable way. For the first time, Jules truly felt her force of will 
threaten to cave. Laurie, of course, was inordinately pleased at Jules' 
nauseous expression. The Fashion Torture was obviously a grand success. This 
was the outfit Jules loathed; this was the one she would wear at the trial. 
"Leave her in those clothes," Laurie said with an evil smile. "They suit her 

     "Why, you!" Jules began cursing up a storm, and the remaining three 
fairies doused her corn weave with drool.

     Shelia approached Jules one last time, flinging the remaining magical 
dust in the High Priestess' face. "I CALL YOU SPIRITS OF THE EARTH, MOON AND 

     The spell did not work as the MercPriestess had expected. Apparently 
fairy drool *did* have magical powers, for it completely shielded Jules from 
transforming into a chameleon. Jules' disgusting wardrobe was not so 
fortunate. The double knit polyester and macrame began to transform, 
swirling, glowing, sparkling. All the lil' ratsies ooh-ed and aah-ed. 

     What had once been a fashion nightmare transformed into lizard skin 
pants and a matching buttoned jacket along with sensible heels. It wasn't 
just any lizard skin, however. The material had seemed to acquire chameleon-
like properties. In the blue filtered spotlight, the suit became blue, in 
red light, the suit grew blood red. In a pure white light, the ensemble 
developed an ivory hue. 

     Jules liked the suit. She really liked it.

     Laurie and Shelia both screeched in outrage. "Take her away! …And dress 
her as Screed!"

     "Ack!" Jules yelped. "Not that! Anything but that!"

     Helene and Mildred did as they were instructed, carrying the High 
Priestess away, kicking and screaming. Jules was stuffed into a baggy 
sweater, a pair of pants several inches too short for her and an aviator cap 
was crammed onto her head. Luckily, however, she was given a satchel, just 
like Screed's. Jules used this to conceal the chameleon suit and shoes. She 
planned to keep them, come what may.

     As Jules was carted off that final time, the stage curtains drew to a 
close. As the edges neared the middle, the audience noticed there was 
something attached to the material. It was Michele, plastered to the velvet 
draperies with so much duct tape, she looked like a silver mummy. New music 
started…a lovely waltz, and all the lil' ratsies began to dance. The 
spotlights kicked in, flashing all over the duct-taped Ratpacker. The tape 
began to sparkle and glow, as if it was made from real shiney, pretty metal. 
All the lil' ratsies began to cheer.

     Johnsie and Libby popped out of the trap door in the stage to see what 
the cheering was about, and they were immediately transfixed by the sight of 
a Ratpacker who seemed to be coated in silver.

     "Dibsies!" Libby shouted.

     "Naw!" Johnsie bonked her on the head. "Double dibsies!"

      "Ppbbbttt! Triple dibsies!" Libby scrambled to her feet and leapt at 
the curtain.

      "Uh…uh…" Johnsie counted his fingers slowly. "Fouriple dibsies!" He 
saw that Libby was getting a head start, shimmying up the velvet hanging 
toward Michele who hung there helplessly due to the power of quality 
adhesive. Johnsie started to climb up the curtain too, which produced a 
worrisome noise of protest from the rafters. Apparently, your average drapes 
were not built for climbing, swinging, and general tomfoolery by adult 
Ratpackers. There was a rumble and a creak, then a RRRRRIIIIIPPP!-CRASH! 
CRACK! Tumble-Tumble-Tumble…KA-BOOM!!!!!

     The weight of the Ratpackers had ripped the curtains, then cracked the 
support beam in half. That support beam had been attached to the scaffolding 
above stage, and the stress of it falling brought down first one rafter, 
then another, then another, complete with spotlights and sandbags. 

     When the dust cleared, all that was visible was Maya standing in the 
eaves stage-right, happily pushing blinky buttons, and half a curtain 
blanketing the stage. Three wiggling bumps beneath the red velvet were 
interpreted as Ratpackers who had, unfortunately, survived. 

     The Grand High Poobah's head seemed to swell, as though she was a 
kernel ready to explode into a piece of popcorn. Visions of Armageddon and 
Ratpackers swinging from trees by their scrawny necks filled her eyes.

      "It is time," she hissed, "for…THE TRIAL!!!"

     One of the bumps beneath the fallen curtain stiffened, then squeaked a 
tiny, pitiful, "Eeek!"


All Lawyers Are Rats Part 1/4
By Libby Singleton, Laurie Schlagel, and... and... just about everybody
else mentioned.
LOCATION:  The Moose Lodge
TIME: Wednesday May 6 after sunset

DISCLAIMER: Everyone used with permission. No Real Life lil' Ratsies have
been harmed in the writing of this story. We are well aware that Lawyers
are not really all rats - Libby's, in RL, happens to be an Armadillo.

Jules' head on a pike was nowhere to be seen when the four Addicts arrived
at the Moose Lodge for Libby's trial.

"What are you, NUTS?! Put that away!" Rosalie glared at Kusine and the
Nunkies pop in her hand.

"But I want my Nunk ..." Kusine pouted, catching herself just in time. She
glanced upward.

"And you want the fully recovered Poobah to see you with it, huh?"

"Good point." Kusine carefully wrapped the pop and pocketed it. The Addicts
were near the end of their supply, and she doubted they'd see more for a
long while.

As the foursome entered the Lodge, Erin, guarding the door spotted them.
Her fingers itched for Addict necks, but she did as her Poobah had ordered.
She didn't kill them. Instead, she directed them into a side room to wait
until they were called to testify.
* *

The defendent barely glanced up as persecuting attorney Mildred entered the
courtroom, followed closely by Libby's volunteer attorney. Ratpacker she
might be, but stupid she wasn't; Screed had not been her first choice of
representation. Especially when the only witnesses willing to take her side
were all the lil' Ratsies who had witnessed the NA tormenting her, and they
couldn't talk.

"All rise!" shouted Wooby, gripping her bath'hela, as the not-to-happy GHP
entered and stalked toward the judge's stand. A fan fic fairy rode on her
shoulder, glaring at the room at large.

Screed rushed forward, offering her a hand up. The GHP and her fairy
snarled in unison, forcing the carouche back a few steps. "The droogette
fergot tew take 'er Midol, eh?" he whispered to Libby. Laurie whirled
around, glaring at the duo. The pair smiled weakly, and sank into their seats.

Next the jury was brought in. House Mommie Liz had spent hours on the
seating chart, trying to avoid potential factional conflicts. She'd finally
solved the dilemma by the simple expedient of sticking a kangaroo in every
other seat, thus separating all members of the jury.

One juror, however, stood out. Every eye in the courtroom widened at the
site of former GHP and star of several Merc war trial stories, Maureen
Wynn. The Mercs, as one, stood menacingly and headed toward the jury box.
The Poohbah glared at the former holder of her office.

The Ex-Poobah and ex-Mercenary smirked. "What, you have a problem with
Natpackers?" she asked, smiling innocently.  Natpackers can do that, you know.

"Let's put *her* on trial too," Laurie demanded.

The red-headed Natpacker muttered, "Been there, done that, burned the map!"

Mildred whispered in Laurie's ear.

"WHO CARES ABOUT NEUTRAL TERRITORY?" Laurie's face was taking on that
familiar tomato hue. "No one's allowed to quit being GHP. It's in the Guild

"Um, Laur?"


"If no one was allowed to quit being GHP, then *you* wouldn't be GHP right
now, and you wouldn't have
gotten to write all those cool stories starring yourself and the fan fic
fairies and you wouldn't be in on the Leaders' Loop, and you wouldn't be
able to order us around and feel self important and powerful."

The Poohbah pondered that for about one second. "Fine. But she's not
staying on my jury   Get her out of here." She began a whispered
conversation with her fairy.

Wooby advanced with a degree of glee on the jury box, but the offending
Natpacker simply stood,
stuck her tongue out at the current Poobah, and walked out of the court
before the baliff could reach her, softly singing  "Nobody's Side" from
Chess. The GHP's fan fic fairy, grinning wickedly, flew out after Maureen.

"Bring on the condemned," the GHP declared.

Mildred whispered to her leader. The GHP clenched her teeth.

"Bring in the ... High Priestess." She could barely get the words out.

MercPriestess Shelia and Spymistress Jennifer appeared with Jules in tow. A
fan fic fairy hovered over Jule's shoulder, giving the High Priestess
malovent glares. The jury stared in shock.  The HP looked quite the worse
for wear after two days in the hands of the Mercs. In particular, her
renowned fashion sense had gone right out the window. She was now dressed
in Libby's cast off well-worn jeans which were inches too short, and one of
Screed's oldest t-shirts.

"Good grief," jury member Marci C whispered to her two fellow Nick and
Natpackers, Wendy and Cheryl. "She looks like a refugee from a Ratpacker
brawl!" The spectators started snickering, whispering, and pointing at the
beraggled woman.

The GHP let the laughter go on ... and on ... and on. She could have easily
sat there forever, letting everyone in the room, the Lodge, the city of
Toronto, heck, the entire world, snicker, whisper, and point at the NA

Finally, Mildred leaned over. "Um, Laur, we don't have all night, you know.
This can't be more than a four
part story."

The GHP waved the Nunkies leader to a lone chair on the side of the
courtroom. She'd wanted to put Jules in a cage, but Mildred had talked her
out of it. "That would be evil," she'd told the Poobah. Laurie had
responded with shouts, demanding a definition of evil, but had eventually
given way. Shelia pushed Jules down into the chair, and kept a firm grip on
her shoulder.

The GHP eyed the assembled crowd, then banged her gavel. "Let's get this
lynching on the road."

After a few formalities, Libby was led forward to be sworn in. "Do you
swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?" she
was asked.

"#@($%*&#)$*&!!!!!" Libby replied.

The GHP glared.

"Well, yew said tew swear!"

"There'll be no swearing of that type in this court," Laurie announced.
"Now sit the hell down." Libby slumped in her chair.

The Poobah addressed the court. "As everyone knows, this... this... this
RATPACKER has been accused of giving Nunkies Anonymous the information to
kidnap moi, your glorious leader."

"Oooooooooooo," the audience sang.

"Being the generous sort," Laurie continued, "I'd normally be willing to
let her off with a couple of years of hard labor and hang a few Addicts in
her place by their breastplates." The tomato hue was setting in again. The
Poohbah's fan fic fairy, returned from its Maureen messing mission,  stuck
its tongue out in the general direction of Jules.

"But don't worry," Laurie's mood changed. "After we're done with Libby,
I've we're going to do that too. There's a lovely tree right out front with
Jules' name on it - although I think Johnsie misspelled it."

"Er, Laurie?" Mildred spoke softly.


"You can't do that. We're on neutral territory, remember? Plus, we made a

"And whose fault is *that*?" The GHP considered her second in command.
"Maybe I'll hang you instead. By the big toe."

While Mildred was quite willing to hang a few Addicts by the breastplates,
she drew the line at putting the noose around her own big toe. She launched
into her opening statement.

"Ratpackers are truly a lower form of fan! We all suffer from this...
this... LIBBY'S pranks, sticky fingers, and general Ratpackery," Mildred
proclaimed dramatically. "Why, until _she_ came along, the Ratpack was
quite manageable at one individual. Now they are multiplying like the Rats
they are! And for every one you see, there's at least a dozen in the wall,
basement, and attic!  We're no longer talking about crimes toward the Grand
High Poobah, but crimes toward Forever Knight fandom as a whole! The
survival of our sanity is at stake!"

"Who cares about FK fandom as a whole? This is supposed to be about ME. Get
on with it," the GHP declared. "I don't have all night, you know." She
stared pointedly at Jules.

Mildred announced, "We call the Nick and Natpack to the stand,"  Cheryl
stood up, exited the jury box and walked to the stand.

"'Ey, she can't testify. She's on the jury!" Libby wailed.

"Well, there's also kangeroos on the jury," Johnsie noted.

"It's my jury. It's my court. It's my trial. And it's your neck," the GHP
said. "Let's go."

Cheryl  slammed down a thick stack of computer printouts in front of the
GHP. "This should speak for itself."

Laurie studied the stack. "Obviously fan fiction," she muttered, "obviously
adult, and quite obviously
involving a certain Dr. Natalie Lambert and Screed."

Screed blushed as pink as a sunburned hairless ratsie. He glanced at his
feet, the lil' ratsies, the ceiling; everywhere but at Laurie and Libby.

"I'ze jest calls 'em likes 'e tells me tew!" Libby explained. "Wot's wrong
wit' a li' lovies and cuddlies
betwinxt an ed-u-cat-ed la-dy an' a ... a... well... a Screed?"

A noise of someone hurling came from the back of the room. Another person
rushed past the judge's stand towards the bathroom with her hand covering
her mouth.

There were sounds of "eeeeooooowwwww" from everyone but the Ratpack who
added aaaahhhhhhhhh" to the chorus.

"That's absolutly disgusting! And somewhat unnatural too, I  believe!"
Debra, the remaining Natpacker on the jury started  forward but a kangeroo
was in the way.

"I think that's enough," Laurie said, dismissing Cheryl. "I'm beginning to
feel a bit nauseous myself. In fact, I think I might have to throw up on
someone." She glared at Jules, as the NNPer returned to the jury box.
"Summon the next witness!"

Johnsie the RatPacker stepped forward.  The Ratpackers and l'il ratsies
gasped and the jury groaned. Libby and Screed stared in shock at the
Ratpack leader.

"I object-a-ment-o!," Screed shouted.

"Johnsie!  Why ya doin' this?"  Libby asked plaintively

"Libster," Johnsie replies, "They comes a time when han 'onorable man gots
ta stand hup fer wots roight."

"Yeah, so whys YEW doin' this?"

"Oi gets me rent'n'dews writ hof fer next War.  Pretty good deal,'uh?"
Johnsie smiled

Libby nodded, "Well, yeah...But...!"

Johnsie got on the stand and in all 'is bald, glowie-pink glory began to
horate, "Friends, Fanficers an' RatPackers!  Oi come not to praise Libby,
but ta bury 'er!"

The GHP slammed down her gavel. "Waitaminute!  That's Shakespeare!  A
RatPacker will NOT parody Shakespeare in THIS courtroom!  Besides, I know
that soliliquoy, it gets the crowd on Antony's side and I'm not letting
anyone get _this_ Rat off the hook!  *Especially* not the _likes_ of you!
In fact, I think I'll  hang you, too, by your hair! Get this Witless off
the stand!"

Baliff Wooby let out a deep contented sigh, as she grabbed Johnsie. Any job
that involved thwacking Ratpackers was fine by her.

Mildred looked down at her schedule. "Next, I'd like to call Megan from the
Unnamed Faction."

Megan took the stand. "The Unnamed Faction, in principle..." she paused at
the chorus of coughs and cleared throats "...in *principle,* we have no
issue with Libby's stories. Libby sharing her stories with us is a virtue,
a family value to be encouraged and fostered." She began to snicker.
"Besides, they're so dang funny! How about the time ... Ow!"

She glared at Don, the juror foreman. "What is your problem?!? I *know* the
War is PG-rated. I was just going to say.... PG-rated.... Oh! The problem
with the stories is that they could ... upset Nick and LaCroix. Upset them
more than they already are. Nick in particular, he'd get all upset. Which
would, of course, upset LaCroix, who really doesn't want Nick upset unless
he's the one doing the upsetting. Then they're both upset, which upsets the
UF, except, of course, those of us who like it when the Guys are upset...."
Megan trailed off when she noticed the unhappy appearance on the GHP's
face. "To sum it up, we don't want anyone to get upset. Especially the
GHP." She sat down.

Vaquera juror JoAnne next took the stand, shaking her finger at Libby.
"She... she replaced a Vachon devoted webpage with one devoted to Cosmo

"That doesn't sound so bad," Mildred mused. "With Seinfield going off the
air...." She saw Laurie's fan fic fairy heading in her direction and shut up.

"You don't understand!" JoAnne objected. "We're talking Cosmo, Greg
Kramer's cat!"

"An' I dinna dew it!" Libby shouted. "Johnsie did!"

"'Ey!" John protested. "Yew gave me the disk!"

"An' I got it from... from... from someone else!" Libby countered.

"You've posted tew the guestbook there enuff," John replied. "Tha' oughta
be enuff tew pen this 'un on yew, no me."

"Object-tion-on-the-court!" Screed said. "Kin't pen this 'un on the
Libratsie. She used a keyboard!"

Laurie groaned. "Tough. She's still to blame."

Screed, Libby, John and all the lil' ratsies pursed their lips and made a
rude noise in the direction of  JoAnne as she sat down. Laurie wiped the
Ratpacker and Ratsie spit from the top of the judge's desk. "Next witness."

Mildred stood up dramatically. "I call the Nunkie Anonymous Addicts into
this court."

The GHP's fan fic fairy perked up. Jules shrunk into her chair. Her
followers were going to see her looking like this! The GHP looked
absolutely gleeful.

The spectators sat up straight. *This* was what they had come to see.
Blood, mayhem, chaos, and kangeroos - the four basic elements of any Merc

* * *

All Lawyers Are Rats Part 2/4
By Libby Singleton, Laurie Schlagel, and... and... just about everybody
else mentioned.
LOCATION:  The Moose Lodge
TIME: Wednesday May 6 after sunset

DISCLAIMER: Everyone used with permission. No Real Life lil' Ratsies have
been harmed in the writing of this story. We are well aware that Lawyers
are not really all rats - Libby's, in RL, happens to be an Armadillo.

The moment the Addicts entered the courtroom, the GHP's fan fic fairy went
into an attack crouch position. The quartet immediately began scanning the
room. Kuisine let out a shocked gasp, and nudged her fellow Addicts,
nodding her head in the direction of Jules.

The four addicts stared at Jules. They had *never* seen her in that
condition before. 

"She looks so," began Rosalie in an undertone.  "So looks so, normal."

"I know," agreed Kusine.  "It's frightening."

The MacCousin was too much in shock to add her asent.

Sukh turned away from the sight.  "Avert your eyes," she advised the three
other other addicts.  "It's less painful that way."

The GHP stared at the four addicts with an evil gleam in her eye.  The
defense counsel picked up his pad.  Heather got a quick view of the ratsies
wot were drawn on the yellow legal pad and grinned in spite of
herself. Her grin set Laurie off.

"Where's that rope?" the GHP shouted. Several Mercs leaped forward, itching
to get their hands on the enemy.

"Um, Laur ..."

Laurie sighed. Everyone was always trying to ruin her fun. 

"Make it snappy," she told her second in command. "Those Xena-wannabe,
Monkees-lovers are stinking up the courtroom with their drool."

The High Priestess squirmed with indignation, and tried to get out of her
seat. Her fan fic fairy guard buzzed her back. The four witnesses, wanting
to hold on to their tongues, wisely held their tongues. They'd heard it
could hurt quite a bit when you were hung by the tongue.

Mildred called Rosalie's name. The Addict stood and quavered for a minute.
She then locked eyes with  Jules, stood straight, and walked over to the
stand, trying to ignore Laurie's deadly stare.  Laurie's fairy started

The persecuting attorney began shuffling papers. "And your full legal name
is ...?" she quiered Rosalie.

GUILTY."  She gripped her gavel, then added more calmly, *I* will question
these witlessnesses."

She turned to Rosalie. "Did you pathetic excuses for a faction do it?"

Rosalie stared mutely at the GHP.

Laurie sneered. "Can't answer, can you?  I figured as much. Guilty as
charged." She banged her gavel.

Screed jumped up, waving his pad. "I wuld like a chance to questun this
witness before ye 'ang her," he declared. He turned to the  jury with all
the aplomb of Perry Mason, that is if Perry had been a
carouche.  (Hey we've heard worse jokes about lawyers, right?) 

"All roight," began Screed.  "Ken ye tell tha jury jus=92 wha happen'd 
on tha day in question?"

"Well," began Rosalie.  She gulped as the felt the Grand High Pain in the
patookus's eyes settle on her.

"That's enough!" Laurie banged her gravel again. "You did it. You're gonna fry."

Rosalie launched into an explanation of events. "Well, a few of us - err,
 I mean, them -- decided that Nunk...I mean LaCro ... I mean, wanted to kidnap
the GHP, considering what a Great High Pain in the ..." her voice trailed
off as Laurie's fairy began circling her head. She'd had *quite* enough of

"An'?," Screed asked encouragingly.

"We found Libby in the tunnels and got her to tell us where the Poobah was."

"And just how did you do that?" demanded Laurie.  "From what I saw, all you
do is drool. It's really digusting." She addressed the courtroom. "They
miss the cup a lot."

"We bribed her," finished Rosalie in a small voice.  "She was absolutely

"I see," said Laurie, coldly.  Rosalie's head would look quite attractive
on a pike.

"I dun't have any uder questions, yo honor," finished Screed. 

Rosalie breathed a sigh of relief as she climbed off the stand.  She sent
over a pitying glance to Jules and then looked at Libby.  Libby smiled and
waved. Which was pretty stupid, since Rosalie had just added another nail
to the Ratpacker's waiting coffin.

* * *
Kusine was next.  she instructed herself, but it was
worthless. The Poobah wanted the Nunkies Addicts spitted and roasted over
an open flame. Kusine was a Nunkies Addict. Therefore, the GHP wanted
Kusine spitted and roasted over an open flame. This was not a calming thought.

The Merc leader was going to be even less pleased, if that was possible,
when she realized that Kusine actually had some *nice* things to say about
Libby, if she could even get a word in edgewise. The dream of the cartoon
mice had returned last night (along with Nunkies visiting her as a garishly
painted clown; she'd woken up screaming), making her even more determined
to do what she could to get the mostly innocent Ratpacker out of trouble.

Kusine didn't realize that the Merc Guild used a different dictionary than
the rest of humanity, and that innocent was filed under the section called
no such thing.

The GHP had no questions. "She's guilty," she declared, banging her gavel.
"Next." This did not help to calm Kusine at all.

Screed jumped up, and approached the witness.

"Did yew vay-o th' lass on th' day in kwest-shun?" he asked.

"No ... But I heard the others. They used cheese goop to lure her into
telling them where the Poobah was. She was tricked." The addict looked
defiantly at the GHP. "It wasn't her fault!"

"That's good enough for me," replied the Poobah.  "If it wasn't *her*
fault, then it was obviously YOUR fault!"

"That's not what I said!," Kusine cried, looking around frantically for her
fellow Addicts, who were looking anywhere but at her.


"Oi wasn't dun yit!" Screed said indignantly.

"You look pretty ripe to me," Laurie countered, pointing in the direction
of his chair.

The carouche took his seat, muttering about "judy-i-shul in-compeetents".

Kusine stepped down, keeping her eyes on the floor. She knew she'd done
more harm than good. Knowing Libby *was* guilty of many other things didn't
make her feel any better. Still,  she thought, as she
returned to her seat.

Sukh took the stand, staring carefully at the ground. She'd been right in
the midst of the entire eipisode, and everyone knew it. Screed began his

"Please stat yo' full name for the pro-ceedin's," began Screed.

"I'm Sukh," she began. "and I'm an addict."

The gravel banged next to her.  "Oh whatever!" grumbled the GHP.  "This
isn't one of your droolfest, 12-step meetings, you Nunkie!" 

The courtroom gasped in unison. Well, not really. A lot of people cheered.
Jules had to be physically restrained from lunging at the Poobah of
Mercdom. Her fariy guard drooled a bit on her to keep her quiet. Several of
the kangaroos began bouncing around in the jury box. 

Screed was finally able to continue. He smiled  down at Libby, his green
eyes glimmering.  "An' whut were ya doing on the day in questun?" he asked

"Well," began Sukh.  "It began when the MacCousin and I watched
'Braveheart' four times in a row.  We stayed up all night and then we
decided that we had to do something in the name of Nunk...I mean
LaCroi -- I mean, you know who." She instinctively glanced over at the
GHP's fan fic fairy.

"An' in the name of ol' LaCrow, you forced Lil' Squeak here to tell ya
where the Poopai ... er, Poopah waz?"

"Actually," replied Sukh.  "We made some war paint first and in the proud
tradition of the Picts we painted our faces to look frightening."

The GHP guffawed.  "Yeah, you all were *so* frightening.  Kind of like left
over oatmeal that's been festing for weeks. " She turned to Screed. "Are
you done yet?"

"All-most your 'orrific," said Screed. 

"That's not good enough." The GHP banged her gavel.  "Next." The kangeroos
started bouncing again.

Sukh tried to catch Libby's eye as she exited the stand, but Libby had bit
her lip and was examining the table as if it contained the secrets to her
* *

The MacCousin stared straight ahead at the defenseless attorney and Libby,
willing herself not to look in the direction of the GHP.  All would be lost
then. She didn't quite know why, but the Poobah seemed to have it in for
her in particular. Well, she did know why, but geez, what was a few days of
friendly torture between enemies?

Screed opened his mouth to begin questioning the last of the Addicts when
the GHP interrupted him.

"Well, you sad excuse for a cousin," began Laurie.  "What did you do to the

"Uh, uh," muttered Heather.  She had been thinking pleasant MacNunkies
thoughts and had momentarily forgotten where she was.

Laurie banged her gravel on the bench.  "What have I told you blue painted
twits about fantasizing in my court!" 

The MacCousin glanced wearily in Jules' direction.

"It's all a blank," she began. 

"Yeah, right, MacImbecile," said Laurie.  "Tell me the truth!"

"You want the truth?" began the MacCousin, who had seen a certain movie
over a dozen times..  "You can't handle ...."

"We can too handle the truth," the jury responded.  The kangeroos were
almost hitting the ceiling, they were bouncing so high.

Heather snapped out of it. "Okay, what the heck.  We did it.  We tempted
Libby with cheese sticks and almost every variety of cheese that Cabon had
in the back of his refrigerator!  We even did a cheese dance for her!  By
the time Libby had every variety, she was so out of it, she might have told
us anything.  But we knew her weaknesses and we turned it against her."

Libby nodded and smiled.

Heather returned the smile.  "That's all I have to say on the matter,"  she
said turning to the jury.  "Libby had absolutely no control over her
actions." She smirked at the GHP. Which was a stupid thing to do.

The GHP's fan fic fairy kept whispering in the Poobah's ear, "Let me at
'em, oh come on, let me at 'em, can I, can I, can I?"

BEFORE I - BEFORE I -" Laurie couldn't even finish the sentence, especially
not in a PG nobody dies story.

The MacCousin stepped off the stand and rejoined her fellow addicts, but
they made no move to leave the courtroom.  "What about Jules?" she
demanded. "You said you'd let her go if we testified. You didn't say we had
to testify on *your* side."

Those close to the bench backed away. The Mercs glanced worriedly at their
leader.  Signs of a serious implosion were evident. The GHP's fairy headed
toward Jules with an evil grin.

Mildred whispered in the Merc leader's ear.

Laurie took a deep breath. Fair was fair, after all. Well, actually,
fairness had nothing to do with it. Jules had a story to be in in the
morning, and she couldn't be there if she was still stuck in the Merc
Dungeon. This war had taken its toll; they were all starting to run out of
creative torture techniques. Besides, they had a picnic to go to in a few
days. She reluctantly nodded her head. Jules' fan fic fairy guard
immediately left her post, and joined her fellow fairy by the GHP's side.
The two fairies grinned at each other, flew over to Jules, and gave her a
final goodbye. The pair pulled down their tiny fan fic fairy bloomers,
turned around, and saluted the Nunkies Anonymous High Priestess with a full
fanfic fairy moon. And the GHP was pleased.

The MacCousin grinned in Jules' direction.  The Grand High One still looked
with loathing upon the Addicts but their ordeal was over, at least for now.
 The HP would soon be back where she belonged.  Although Heather had to
hope she would not get grout duty when Jules saw the mess that formerly was
the shrine.
* * *

All Lawyers Are Rats Part 3/4
By Libby Singleton, Laurie Schlagel, and... and... just about everybody
else mentioned.
LOCATION:  The Moose Lodge
TIME: Wednesday, May 6, after sunset

DISCLAIMER: Everyone used with permission. No Real Life lil' Ratsies have
been harmed in the writing of this story. We are well aware that Lawyers
are not really all rats - Libby's, in RL, happens to be an Armadillo.

"Are we done yet?" the GHP asked, as she wistfully watched the Addicts
depart, High Priestess in tow. Rosalie had removed her jacket and flung it
over Jules' shoulders as they led their dazed and creased leader out of the

Mildred stood. "I call Alex Wynn, Diehard leader to the stand."

Suddenly the courtroom door swung open. In walked none other than Natalie

"Where's the Natpacker on trial?" she asked frantically.

"Excuse me, Dr. Lambert, but I'm in charge here," Laurie said, standing.
She held out her hand and shook Natalie's. "I wish I could help you, but
there's no Natpacker on trial here."  " she muttered under her breath, too quietly for the
coroner to hear.

"Are you sure?" Nat asked, obviously confused. "I heard there was a
Natpacker on trial here. I wanted to
make sure any problems or misunderstandings were worked out."

"Ain't no problemos 'ere, Natsie Ratsie!" Screed said, approaching Natalie
from behind.

"No, Screed!" Mildred shouted at the same time as Libby yelled, "Go,
Screed, go! Atta boy!"

>From her spot on the jury, Natpacker Debra tried to scream a warning to
Natalie, but Screed was too quick.

The carouche grabbed the doctor, spinning her around. Like a moment out of
any cheesy romance movie ever filmed, he put a liplock on her that could
not be broken as all the lil' Ratsies hummed, "Some Enchanted Evening."

As fast as her shock allowed, Laurie grabbed the ever-ready Ratpack
discipline special (a rolled up
newspaper). If she couldn't beat up Addicts, a carouche would just have to
do. She began thromping Screed's back soundly. When he finally let Natalie
come up for air, she had a grin on her face that equaled a "morning after"

Then, Natalie shook her head as her eyes grew wide.

"Oh, my, GOD! Did he just... just...." With speed and power worthy of a
vampire, the medical examiner slapped Screed across the face with such
force he let go of her and went stumbling back into the judge's stand. The
pile of computer papers went flying, one landing conveniently in Nat's hand.

Natalie studied the paper for a moment, growing several interesting shades
of red, then purple. "Make sure she HANGS!" the doctor screeched, gesturing
wildly at Libby, before storming out of the courtroom.

"Hang Screed too while you're at it!" Debra came out of her temporary shock
at seeing Nat accosted by Screed, and began inciting the jury.

As Natalie slammed the door behind her, Screed picked himself up. "Now
_tha's_ a feisty wench!" he proclaimed. "She kin nibble me lippies
innytime, 'specially iffen she'll let me nibble back...."

The jury was going ballistic by now, trying to climb out of the jury box
and get to Screed. The bouncing kangeroos kept getting in the way.

"The jury votes with Dr. Lambert to hang her!" Don Fasig announced.

A big cheer went up in the courtroom, except for a few yelps from the
Ratpackers and ratsies.

"Screed, do somethin'!" Libby yelped, leaping from her chair to cling to
the carouche. "Me witnesses 'aven't even testy-fied yet."

All the lil' Ratsies nodded their lil' ratsie heads.

"You have *no* witnesses," the GHP shouted. "The guilty aren't *allowed*

Screed tousled Libby's hair. "Don't worry, me sweet. Don may be the jury
foreward-man, but 'e ain't con-furred wit' the rest o' the droogs."

Don glared at the carouche. "Yes, I have. I'm the list gardener. I can read
minds. And we are all of one mind - she's history!"

"Well...." Screed said airily, "yew can't 'ang 'er cuz yew ain't got no
rope wot tew dew the dirty deedy."

Scowling, Don removed his belt. Marci removed her socks. One by one, the
jury members began
undressing and tying the items together.

"Don't worry, Libster," Johnsie whispered. "I'll save yew...."

"But yew wouldna even be me witness. Yew waz gonna testify fer them!" Libby

"Tha' wuz afore."

"Afore wot?"

"Afore I realized tha' if sumthin' 'appened tew yew, I'd 'ave tew get all
organized wot tew keep the Ratpack
jammy-jam loop up n' runnin'!" Johnsie explained as he scurried into action
(ah, but what sort of action will have to wait!).

"Screed, yew the vampy type," Libby said. "Yew gotta 'elp im!"

"'Ow?" Screed asked, obviously beginning to panic a bit himself.


Screed didn't know what to do. He began looking wildly around the
courtroom, when suddenly his eyes landed on the lil' Ratsies.

The scene cannot be described here as it really grossed everyone, except
perhaps the GHP, who was imagining Addict heads on ratsie bodies. Suffice
to say, it was a lil' virtual ratsie massacre and Screed finished with a
loud Screedy "belch."

"Yew ate the lil' Ratsies!" Libby wailed. "_ALL_ the lil' Ratsies!"

Screed looked around in confusion. He saw nothing wrong with a little bit
of chaos. It added spice to life, made things more exciting.  However, the
scene surrounding him went beyond chaos and into the possible end of
Western Civilization as far as Forever Knight fans knew it.

"Order in the court!" the GHP screamed at the top of her lungs, pounding
her gavel. By this point, things were too far gone for anyone to care.

Members of the jury continued to remove clothing items, and tying them into
a lynching rope. Fortunately, Johnsie, thinking on his feet, which he was
standing on at the time, stood at the end, frantically untying the articles
as fast as they were being added.  Members of the Ratpack were taking
advantage of the situation by helpfully picking up coins and other
valuables falling from pockets during the frenzy.

However, the one person who Screed focused on seemed oblivious to the
situation.  Libby stood in the midst of the brawling and bawling staring
straight at him.  Her chin quivered.  Her hands were tightened into fists.
But most of all her eyes were full of hatred.

"YOU KILLED *ALL* THE LIL' RATSIES!" she cried, flinging herself at him.

Screed tried to grab her in an arm lock, tried to soothe her by running his
fingers through her longish light
brown hair.  "Sssshhhh.  There's plenty o' udder squealers.  Yew never
minded me 'avin' a bit o' a munchie on 'em a'fore."

"'Cuz they wuz never me witnesses a'fore, yew stupid oaf!"  Libby tore
herself loose, then kicked him in the shin.  "Now I'm gonna 'ang, I am!
These war thingees are suppose tew be fun.  No body ever dies - NO BODY!
Now they'se gonna lynch me proper, 'ave me swingin' from the rafters!  Or
worse, they won't let me 'ave no more cheese dip!"

"I'm sorry, m'darlin'...."

"I don't think I like you anymore," Libby said, all traces of the Ratpacker
accent gone.

Screed swallowed.  If Libby was this mad, he was in trouble.   After all,
who else among the Ratpack was
organized enough to run the Ratpacker Jammy-Jam Loop?

"Don't worry, m'pipsqueak.  Ol' Screed'll go fetch tha' Plan B we talked

Turning and relying on his vampiric speed, he dove for the nearest hidden
entrance to the Ratpack's tunnels.

There was only one person who could possibly help Libby out of this mess.
* * *

 Johnsie stepped up beside the Libster, drawing a two-handed sword from
beneath his 'borrowed' Highlander-type of longcoat, then placed it point
first on the floor....

"OWCH!  Wotch where ya' jabbin' tha' thingee!"

"Oh, sorry Libs.  Jest apply some direct pressure - it'll stop the bleedin'
right proper."

Slowly, dramatically, John raised his head to gaze up at the roof.  "Crom,
I 'ave never prayed to ya before.  I 'ave no tongue for hit.  No one, not
even you, will remember if we wuz good rats or bad.  Why we fought, an' why
we died.  All tha' matters is tha' today, two stood against many.  Valor
pleases ya, so grant me this one request.  Grant me revenge!  An' if ya do
not listen... THE 'ELL WIT' YA!"

The sound of drums rose in the background.  The GHP looked up from the
engrossing conversation she was having with the two fan fic fairies,
plotting which part of her anatomy Libby would look best hung from.

Everyone looked around in confusion as the Ratpack tried to look as
innocent as possible considering, for once, they were.

"Where's tha' comin' from?"  Libster peered beneath the defense table
behind Johnsie.  Annoyed, she
reached down and shut off the boombox he'd hidden there.

"I tol' ya we dun't need that!  I got me a PLAN, I dew!  A knight in a
shiny jacket!"

"Nick's gonna save yew?" Johnsie asked.

"No, a knight wot eats Jell-O!"  Libby snapped her fingers.  Suddenly the
panel covering one of the Ratpack's tunnels slid aside.

John stared in disbelief as Screed strode in, accompanied by ... Screed?
But it couldn't be!  One Screed
was definitely Screed.  The other, however, was dressed really spiffy and
even had close cropped hair!  He wondered if it were an alternative
universe Screed left over from the last war.  Then it hit him like ten
pounds of chocolate ... the other Screed wasn't Screed.  Well, actually he
was Screed also, but not an alternate Screed at all.  It didn't seem
possible, but standing in front of him was ....

Johnsie was just reaching up to rub his suddenly pounding head when he saw
the jury coming at him, murder in their eyes.  In a flash, the chase was


by John Ewan, Libby Singleton, and Laurie Schlagel

DISCLAIMERS:   Everyone used with everyone's permission.
Surprise Witness used with permission of Surprise Witness
- see more thorough information at end of story.  And, no, I have
 no idea how I'm going to top THIS one - yet....

LOCATION: The Moose Lodge
TIME: Wednesday, May 6, after sundown

     The courtroom bore no resemblance to any court of
law Greg had ever seen before in film or in real life.  The
apparent judge, red faced and steaming from her ears, had
leapt upon her podium and was stomping, waving her gavel
in the air shouting, "Order!  We will have order in this court
and I'm not talking about sending out for pizza!  I _am_ the
Grand High Poohbah and you _will_ obey me!"

     Naturally, everyone was ignoring her, caught up in
their own brawls, own water gun fights, spray paint battles,
and even pieces of chocolate bars could be seen flying
through the air.  In fact, even though he was standing
directly next to Screed, everyone was ignoring him as well -
even the Ratpack.  This did little for Greg's ego, but did do
much to emphasize the sheer chaos of the situation.  Still, he
was rather relieved that no one immediately confused
him with the less-than-dapperly dressed carouche.

     A bunch of Ratpacker-looking young women spray
painting the wall with shiny gold paint caught his attention.
Several were putting the finishing touches on what looked
all the world like a portrait of Greg's cat, Cosmo.  Quite a
good representation of the inner most workings of such a
cosmic kitty, as far as Greg was concerned.  Meanwhile,
another obvious Ratpacker stood back, apparently admiring
her just completed "Shiny, Pretty Paint!" slogan.

     As Greg turned to study a pair of bouncing kangaroos,
Screed suddenly grabbed him and pulled him to the side
just as a man scurried past with a group of half clad people
in hot pursuit.

     "'Cuse me, gents," the man said as he brushed by.
"This 'ere's a 'angin' jury."

     "Wasn't that John Ewan, the leader of the
Ratpack?" Greg asked Screed.

     "Yep, an' me thinks 'e's over 'is 'ead in this.
Udder-wise 'e woulda taken more o' a notice o' yewr ugly

     Greg looked at Screed.  The carouche seemed
serious - at least as serious as Screed ever seemed.  "_My_
ugly mug?  MY ugly mug?  You're the one with the big
nose.  Standing next to you makes me look good!"

     "Nose?  I 'appen tew like me nose.  Quite attached
tew it and it tew me, ay?" Screed argued defensively.  "If
we're gonna jamm-a-d-jam about personal-type attributes,
wot about yewr 'air, ay?"

     "What about my hair... ay?"

     Screed pursed his lips together, making a rude noise
and spraying Greg with carouche spit.  "No sense o' style,
there matie.  Take me dome, the wenches luv tew oil it
down proper...."

     "Greg Kramer?" a voice sounded over the hoobla.
"Greg?!?" Libby yelled even louder.  She rushed toward
him, visibly shaking and quite wide-eyed.  She gestured
wildly around her. "They're... they're _labelin'_ me 'as a

     The room fell into silence as everyone turned.  They
looked from Screed to Greg, Greg to Screed, then all,
simultaneously turned to stare at Libby.

     "A traitor?" Greg repeated with genuine

     "Ay!"  Libby grabbed John, pushing him down on all
fours before climbing up on his back.  She still didn't stand
out above the crowd, but any additional height on her was
an improvement.  "A traitor!  An' who is the one tew say I
am?  The Grand High Pain in the Butt?  To one man - or
woman - I might be considered a traitor, this is true!"  In
her excitement, she'd totally slipped from Screed speech,
apparently not noticing her transgression.  "But is it not also
true that others might consider me a hero? _Yes_, a _hero_!
A hero for standing up to my Ratpacker lack-of-values!  For
seeing all the fun the world offers!  We're in this life for all
to sort a time, my friends.  Why take things so serious?"

     "How'd she learn to speak English so fast?" the GHP
grumbled.  "I think I like her Screed Speak better."

     Libby ignored her.  "Shouldn't we all mellow a little,
embrace the diversity that not only society but Mother
Nature offers?  Never mind the fact that I was _tortured_ by
Nunkies Anonymous Addicts into unknowingly giving up
the whereabouts of our not-so-loved GHP!  If I truly am a
traitor, then I'm first and foremost a traitor to myself, my
beliefs, and to my friend - well, my former friend, Screed!"
Libby paused, turning to glare at the carouche.  She sniffled.
"'E _ate_ all the lil' Ratsies, 'e did."

     Johnsie shrugged, eloquently but precariously.
"Well, *drank* aksull...."

     Unable to contain himself any longer, Greg lept up
beside Libby.  John groaned, than collapsed to the floor.
Greg steadied both himself and Libby.  "M'Darlin's right!
Labeling her a traitor is cruel, something society is forcing
you to do.  Look at her, that pathetic, sorrowful face."

     "Oooooo, aye.... shurtinly pathetic..." Johnsie

     Greg continued unabated.  "How can you do this to
someone so delightfully creative.  Have you ever read the
Nat and Screed stor...."  From the dead, hostile silence and
stares, Greg decided quickly that perhaps it'd be best to
avoid that subject.  "Have you ever read the comic books
she's written?"

     "Crime waits for no potty," came weakly from
beneath them.

     The Grand High Poohbah stared at the interloper, "Listen,
Mr. 'I'm not a carouche, I just played one on tv,' I'm not
going to sit here...."

     "Yewr not sittin'," John choked out from beneath
the combined weight of Greg and Libby.  "Yewr standin'."

     "....I'm not going to stand here and let some _mere_
actor make a mockery of this court!"

     Before Greg could formulate a reply, Libby had
jumped off John and had her finger in the GHP's face.
"MERE actor????  Greg may be a lot o' thingees, but he's
_no'_ a _mere_ actor!  He's got two novels out, one o'
which got Short Listed fer a Toronto award.  An' 'e did it
_without_ a co-writer! 'E's an artist, did the scribbles fer 'is
first novel, 'e did.  'E's directed plays.  'E's a magician,
musician, an' all tha' good sort o' jammy-jam."

     Johnsie twisted his neck to peer up at Greg, still
astride his back.  "Fer not bein' a labeler, she's callin' yew
all sortsa thingees."

     "Those aren't really labels," Greg replied.  "Just
small parts of the total sum that equals Greg Kramer.  But
exactly *what* is the sum, eh?"

     "Uhr...." John murmured, carefully maneuvering so
that he could count on his fingers.  "Onsies, twosies,

     The Grand High Poobah suddenly realized she was
about to lose control of her courtroom.  Which, considering
the state of the courtroom for the past few hours, didn't say
much for either her powers of perception or her
management skills.

     She cleared her throat loudly and rudely.  The years
of practice paid off and the noise ceased long enough for
her voice to carry.

     "Yeah, yeah," the GHP announced, stepping back.
"Too bad you can't prove all this ... this talent."

     There was a rustle in the courtroom.  Soft and swift
as all the Ratpackers rushed forward.  They ducked under
chairs, tables, and other courtroom occupants.  They
climbed over chairs, tables, and other courtroom occupants.
>From pockets and satchels and coat pockets they pulled out
copies of "pursemonger of fugu: a bathroom mystery" and
"couchwarmer: a laundromat adventure," playbills and
pictures, dime store magic tricks and crossword puzzles,
fake rats and the corpses of the late, lamented lil' ratsies
wot got eaten by Screed.  The GHP found herself buried
beneath a deluge of evidence.  Her muffled screams could
barely be heard through the racket.

     Greg, quite flattered by the attention, borrowed a
sharpie from the "ever ready to autograph" Libby and began
signing Michele's copy of "couchwarmer."  "I like to personalize
everything with what I'm thinking at the time.  Sometimes
it's harder that way, but the Ratpack deserves it."

     Libby, meanwhile, began digging through her own
backpack and pulled out a plastic ziplock police bag.
"Greg, would you sign the Ratsie wot Kilt Screed?"

     "'OY!" Screed screamed, leaping out of the way
and straight into Greg's arm.  Greg fell backwards, a copy
of "pursemonger" flying into the air, smacking him on the

     "Sorry, matie," Screed muttered.  "Tha' wee beastie
makes me nervous wit' the in-dignity-gestion."  He
scrabbled to his feet just as the GHP managed to extract
herself and come up for air.  Screed offered a hand to Greg

     "You weren't lying about all your talent, were you?"
the GHP asked grudgingly, staring at the copy of
'couchwarmer' in her hand.  Screed helped Greg to his feet,
totally ignoring the sprawled Merc leader.

     Greg, now standing, brushed the floor grit from his
clothes and the Screed grit from his hands then shrugged.

MERC COURT!" the GHP screeched, as she managed to
raise herself upright.  "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS

     "That I've finally reached a certain level of
respectability," Greg commented.

     "Hell, no!  A damn mistrial!  That's what it means."

     Libby tilted her head.  "You mean, I'm off o' the 'ook?"

     Clinching her teeth, the GHP nodded.  "For this war
anyway.  How in hell am I going to beat _that_ witness?"
She glowered at Greg, who smiled innocently.  The GHP
stalked off muttering, "Actor, schmacter - he's still a

        As she pushed open the courtroom door, she turned
to Wooby and Mildred, and gestured at the pile of books,
playbills, and other memorabilia piled on the ground.
"Someone's got to pay for this trial," she declared. "Bring
this stuff back to HQ. We should be able to make a nice tidy
profit flogging it." Thoughts of profits, to say nothing of
flogging, cheered her up immensely, and she stalked out
of the room smiling.

     John grabbed Libby, lifting her off the floor as he
embraced her, spinning her around.  "Yew pondering wot
I'm ponderin'?"

     Libby, feet once more on the floor if looking a bit
dizzy, muttered, "A party?"

     "Oh," John said, looking extremely puzzled.  "Dinna
think o' tha'.... But a'fore we kin party - RATPACK

     "What?" Greg asked, although he understood all too
quickly.  More than a dozen people, all Ratpackers, stormed
toward him.  He ran, Screed close behind him, for the safety
of the nearest tunnel.

     He didn't make it.

     Fortunately, the Ratpack Pileup was a surprisingly
gentle, pleasant squeeze.  Caught up in the moment, Greg
squeezed back - only to hear a strange hissing sound.

     "Wot's tha' noize?" Screed said.

     Greg worked his way backwards, careful not to
knock any of the 'Pack over, then looked downward to see
a group of Ratpackers he recognized as Helene, Poe, Stefi,
and Anna (the youngest of them all) holding cans of gold
spray paint.  In the girls'  shock, they didn't let go of the
nozzles when they raised the cans.  Greg found himself
covered from head to toe in gold spray paint.

     "Gewd thing we wuz out o' lime green," Stefi muttered.

     "Blimey!" Screed said, laughing heartily.  "Get a
proper 'aircut like mine and you'd lewk like a bloody Acad-
o-me A-warded Oscar, yew would!"

--All the lil' Ratsies say "The End!"--

To be epilogued in "Ratpack Lullaby"

DISCLAIMER: Greg Kramer used with Greg Kramer's
permission in an exclusive agreement with Libby - his
permission slip is on file with Lisa McDavid.  Johnsie, Libby
and Laurie would like to thank him for his generosity.  All
the lil' ratsies (wot dinna get slurped) SALUTE!

Comments an' carouches an' pink ratsies tew:

by Libby Singleton (with input from Bonnie Pardoe)
Lullaby by Laurie Schlagel

DISCLAIMER: Greg Kramer used with Greg Kramer's permission through
an exclusive agreement with Libby.  His permission slip is on file with Lisa
McDavid.  Bonnie Pardoe used with Bonnie's permission.  John Ewan used
with John Ewan's permission.  Everyone else used with ... you know.

TIME:  Not long before dawn, Thursday, May 7, 1998.
           Hours after "All Lawyers Are Rats"
PLACE:  Screed's place

     Greg shook his head, trying to clear it.  The Ratpack had given an
entirely new meaning to the term "trashcan punch."  Even the non-alcoholic
mixture for the youngest in the 'Pack had produced a sugar wallop he'd
never forget.  Between the wide selection of dance music blaring from
Johnsie's boombox, the chocolate and other munchies pilfered from who-
knew-where, and the general atmosphere of pure insanity, he'd quickly
deduced that this faction knew how to party.  They'd probably still be going
at it only Screed had proclaimed it _his_ home and if he wanted to do the
Salsa fifty times in a row, he would.

     The Ratpack does NOT enjoy the Salsa.

     So despite the flashing white-Christmas-light decorations, the party
died after five rounds - at least for the Ratpack.  The lil' ratsies which had
gradually come out of the tunnels and walls to replace the late, lamented
Screed-snacked ratsies, had managed to turn the dial to disco and now
proceeded to dance in their own ratsie way.

     Now that dawn was approaching, the remaining Ratpackers who'd
stuck out the entire party lazily retreated to a corner where they huddled
together in a true "pile up."  Greg found it amusing, if not surprising,
they'd managed to regain possession of most of their autographed goodies
confiscated by the GHP's henchmen following the trial and now clung
to the items protectively as they dozed.  Some Ratpackers,
like Anna, Stefi, Poe, and Helene, fell asleep immediately.  Others, such
as Michele, simply stared into space, dazed from the post-trial celebrations.
Johnsie groomed the lint from his belly-button then yawned as he rolled
over and stuck his finger up Libby's nose.

     "'Ey, there," Screed said, rushing over to pull John's finger out.
"Yew can pick yewr friends, yew can pick yewr noze, but yew can't pick
yewr friend's noze...."

     "Yes, you can," Greg immediately objected.  The boom box suddenly
went quiet.  He noticed dozens of very tiny eyes were staring at him.

     "Eeeeeoooowwwwww" all the lil' ratsies said in unison.

     Screed looked at him, his face twisted in disgust.  "I've seen them
pictures.  'Ere yew gave m'darlin' Libster a case o' the Fever, yew did...."

     "'Ey, keep it down, why don'tcha?  'Ad a tryin' night, we 'ave,"
Johnsie said, sleepily raising up.

     "Kin't sleep az it iz," Libby added.  She rolled over, smacking John
across the face with her arm.  "Oh, sorry, matie.  Jest kin't settle down
all the excitie-mints."

     All the Ratpackers started whimpering and simpering.  The lil'
ratsies scurried over and settled amongst the 'Pack, joining in the chorus of
soft cries.

     "Time fer a lullaby, ay?" Screed said.  He cleared his throat before
singing, to the tune of "Goodnight My Someone" from The Music Man:

          "G'dnight, me luvvies, g'dnight, me mates
          Sleep tight, me luvvies, sleep tight, me mates
          Fer yew are trewly me 'eart's de-light
          So g'dnight, me Ratpack, g'dnight."

     Touched to the very depths of his soul, Greg fought back a tear then
joined in, matching Screed's speech:

          "Sweet dreams be yewrs, mates, they're yewrs fer free
          Sweet dreams o' shiny bits an' debris
          So much yew'll find tha' sure will de-light
          An' it's all a Ratpack birthright."

     Greg stopped to compose himself, leaving Screed to do the next bit

          "I know tha' yew were feared we'd be apart
          tha' ratsie done near 'ad 'is way...."

     Screed, now positively sobbing, let Greg take the stage:

          "But now 'e iz back an' 'e will not go far
          For yewr in 'is 'eart, 'e won't say au revoir."

     Greg looked at Screed who gestured for him to continue:

          "Sweet dreams be yewrs, mates, yes, dreams o' glee
          Cause somehow Libby got off scot free
          I'd like tew stay an' hang out all night
          But I've got a new book tew write..."

     Finally, Screed nodded his ability to join and together they finished:

          "G'dnight - G'dnight."

     "Tha' wuz _bo-u-ti-ful_, matie!" Screed cried, falling into Greg's
arms.  "Dew yew really got tew say yewr adioses?"

     Greg pried the carouches' arms from around his still gold-colored
neck.  "Afraid so.  I've got a deadline writing, then play rehearsal.  But
been quite a romp, ay?"

     "A'fore yew leave, I got a bit o' a prezzie fer yew," Screed
announced, sniffing.  He rushed over to a trunk, then pulled out a large...

     "What?" Greg asked, approaching for a closer look.

     "The Libratsie said yew'd really wonted tew get yewr pawsies on
tha' pile o' me empties from Fever but didn't," Screed explained.  "So I
made yew one real quick-like when yewze wuz dancin' wit' the lil' ratsies."

     Greg hesitated, then took it.  It was a pile of dead rats okay, covered
with duct tape.  "Uhr, Screed, these rats are _real_ aren't they?"

     "O' course!  They're the lil' ratsies wot I slurped in the courtroom.
Thought it might make ever'un feel more kindly toward ol' Screed if I put
them tew gewd use, ay?"

     "You didn't have time to embalm them...." Greg said, wide-eyed.

     "Jest keep 'em in the freezer.  They'll stay fresh enough tha' way,"
Screed advised, clapping Greg on the back hard enough to force the mortal
forward a step.  Screed looked him in the eyes, squinting suspiciously.
"Say, I dinna freak ya out, did I?  Thought yew couldn't be freaked out."

     "No...." Greg assured him, adding silently that Screed had come
damn close.  He was turning to leave when he spied an object on Screed's
excuse for a bed.

     Setting Screed's art on the floor, Greg retrieved the skull cap from
the pile of musty blankets and knelt by the sleeping Ratpackers.  Carefully,
so he wouldn't wake her, he slipped it over Libby's head.

     "'Ey!" Screed started to object.

     Greg hushed him with a glare.  "Let her at least wear it a bit, 'kay?"

     Standing, Greg and Screed looked at each other, then embraced.
"Don't be a stranger to ol' Screed," the carouche said.  "Tuck in innytime
fer a bit o' the bubble n' squeak.  Yew won't ferget me, will ya?"

     Greg picked up his Pile O' Dead Rats  and smiled at Screed.
"Don't think it'll ever be possible."  Nodding toward the Ratpack he added,
"Tell them... tell them thanks for me, will ya?  I had a blast."  He headed
the door, before turning to wave.

     All the lil' ratsies curled up with the Ratpack sighed and waved

     Greg slipped quietly out the door, intent on finding a taxi home,
though he knew it would be difficult at this early hour, even under normal
circumstances.  Of course, the Pile O' Dead Rats he carried made
these _abnormal_ circumstances and he knew darn well that no taxi driver in
his right mind would stop for him.

     Greg didn't want to hurt Screed's feelings, but a pile of real-live
dead-rats was not something he actually wanted in his home, though the
thought of Cosmo's reaction brought a smile to his tired lips.  So, with a
pang to his heartstrings but a great relief to his mind (and soon to his
Greg walked up the street looking for a convenient and secure (from
accidental discovery by Screed) place to leave the duct-taped rat-carcasses.

     As he rounded the corner, he ran smack into a young brunette, who
fell, along with the rats, to the ground.  "Oh, I beg your pardon...." Greg
began to apologize.  But when the girl looked up at him, her dark curls
framing her face, recognition set in.  "Hey!  What are you doing
here?!" he asked excitedly as he handed her back to her feet.  "Did you fly
up with Libby?  You weren't at the trial, were you?  They tried to lynch the
Libster, you know.  And you missed the post-trial Ratpack party!  Oh, but I
forgot, you said you are _not_ a Ratpacker," he grinned.  Then he bent
down slightly, bringing his face level with hers, to confide.  "Libby'll sway
you eventually, you know, if you're not careful."

     The girl continued to stare at the red-headed gentleman, with wide
eyes and a pleasantly-bemused smile on her lips.

     "You're all right, aren't you?" Greg asked, placing a concerned
hand on her shoulder.  "I'm sorry for knocking you down.  I didn't hurt
you, did I?"

     She shook her head and smiled sweetly, as she unobtrusively rubbed
her now-sore hip.  "Naw. I'm okay."

     "That's m'girl," he said, gently squeezing her shoulder.  Then, over
her head, Greg spotted a taxi approaching, the first one he'd seen since
leaving Screed's Place.  As he flagged down the cab, Greg made his excuses
to his old friend.  "Look, I've gotta run, but let's have dinner before you
head home, okay?  I've got some updates to give you for the website and
some new ideas we can kick around."

     The thespian then turned away and headed for the now-waiting cab,
but as he opened the door and stepped inside, his friend came running up
behind him.  "Wait, you forgot your ... pile," she said helpfully, holding the
rat-mound out to him.

     With a sigh, Greg took Screed's gift from her, setting it on the seat
next to him.  "Thanks.  Remind me to get you back for this, would you,

     With an evilly-raised eyebrow and a good-humoured smile, Greg
closed the door, but as the taxi pulled away he was suddenly struck by how
strange his friend had been acting - almost as if she hadn't quite known him.
Odd, very odd, but, then, what hadn't been since he'd gotten mixed-up in all
of this? _What_ had he been thinking?!?

     Wondering if he should think about being concerned for Bonnie, he
turned to look back at her, but was distracted by the cab driver asking,
"Those dead rats?"

     "This?" Greg questioned innocently, pointing to the Pile O' Dead
Rats  which was now resting next to him.  "Hardly.  This is ART.  A
representation of ... of the repression of individuals whom society insists
upon considering 'lower' than the so-called norm."  He nodded as he spoke,
almost convincing himself that he should keep the smelly thing.

     "Whatever, mister."


For the pictures mentioned in this story, visit:
and sign the Ratpack guestbook while you're there!
Comments and lil' ratsies can be sent to:

"All In A Night's Work" - Epilogue
by Brianna Russell, with input by Laurie Schlagel
When:  Friday afternoon, May 8, prior to "A Picnic in the Park"
Where:  Merc Central

Laurie was sitting in her office, trying to hurry and finish some Guild
paperwork before the upcoming NA picnic, when she heard a noise at the
door. Irritated, she glanced up to see the RatPacker Brianna creeping in.
"Yes? What do you want?" she snapped impatiently.

Brianna edged the rest of the way in, favoring a leg that was bandaged at
the knee. "Well, Oi jest wan tew report dat Oi dun wit me mishon," she
stammered. "De infamashun waz de-liv'rd proper-like an paymint receevd."
She held out her hand. In her palm was an open gold locket with a bit of
hair inside.

"What kind of payment is this? What's so valuable about a clump of hair?"
the Poobah questioned.

"Is from Nick-y Knight hizself, dat's wot!" Bri replied almost indignantly,
then fell silent under Laurie's sharp glare.

Suddenly interested, the Grand High Poobah plucked the locket from
Brianna's hand and began to examine it closely.  "Are you sure? It could be
a fake."

"Patt worked 'ard fer hit and hit came from one o' de Knightie droogs. Oi
don't tink day lie 'bout sumting loik dat," the RatPacker answered.

Laurie separated a few strands before returning the locket to Brianna.
Though Laurie was still skeptical, the RatPacker had made a commendable
effort and the Merc leader would take her at her word.  "This is the
Guild's cut.  The rest is yours," she informed the RP.

Laurie's gaze dropped to Bri's heavily bandaged knee. "What happened
there?" she asked.

"O, hit wuz nuting. Sum o' Patt's frends tried ta paz off a fakie lok on me
an Oi 'ad tew fite fer de reel ting. Oi gots kareluss an got kut wit a
sword," Bri replied, edging toward the door.

"Wait right there!" The Merc leader's words stopped Brianna in her tracks.
"A sword?!? This is a *vampire* universe, not that show about the other
Immortals! What were you doing fighting with *swords*?"

Still reluctant to reveal her secret, Brianna remained silent. A moment
passed, then Laurie demanded, "Well? I want an answer *now* or you may
still be barred from the Guild."

With no choice left to her, Brianna dropped all pretense and explained.
"Well, you knew that I've had martial arts training, but it was a little
more than what I told you. I trained under a Japanese High Master of
Ninjitsu and I hold a tenth-don black belt in the art."

Laurie looked a little shocked at the RatPacker's suddenly perfect English,
but held her ground. "Ninjitsu? Like in 'Ninja'? You're saying you're a

Brianna nodded. "Ninjas aren't something Hollywood made up. They're real,
they exist today, and I am one," she affirmed.

The Merc leader's mind reeled in shock, but she recovered nicely and
continued. "Well, considering that you *did* complete your mission and
received a unique payoff in return, I guess I'll allow you to remain with
the Guild."

"Thank you, ma'am", Bri answered. "I appreciate that very much. But what
about the other three? Maya, Michele, Ursula and I have become good
friends. What's going to happen to them?"

"They've been nothing but pests since they arrived. I've decided they will
be barred," Laurie answered.

"Excuse me, but I must disagree. If you consider the facts, you'll see they
have been very useful. We all tried very hard to find you when you turned
up missing. Not to mention the excellent job they did on the Sacred Pond in
our revenge raid on the NA Shrine. And Maya and Michele did a great job
during the fashion show. Besides, we came as a group and we'll stay a
group. If they go - I go. They are my price for staying. Remember, the
Charter says 'nothing for free'."

The Grand High Poobah looked as if she was about to burst a major artery at
this newbie's upstart demands, but she managed to control herself. "Very
well," she huffed. "If they mean so much to you, I guess they can stay. Now
get out of here before I change my mind! Don't you have a picnic to go to
or something?"

The MercNinja wasted no time making a quick escape.  Alone, Laurie sat
stunned as her mind whirled with the new revelation. Oh, the
possibilities!! A Klingon *and* a Ninja as members of the Guild? The
possibilities for fun, profit and mayhem were too enormous to believe. Who
knew what glorious exploits would await them in the next War?  But ...
she'd *get* that little RatPacking trickster! _Nobody_ withheld information
like that, then used it to force a condensation from the Grand High Poobah,
and got away with it!  Oh yes, without a doubt, Brianna would pay .....


Bri, MercNinja RatPacker wot's afraid of ratsies!

"Raiders of the Lost Props (1/2)"
By Shele, KC, Jesse and Patt
When:  Wednesday afternoon, after "Tales of a Hair-a Gone By"
DH Headquarters
Item pilfered with permission

A short time earlier, Jade had herded Jayne, KC, Shele and
Sherry out of the Shrine and into a very large, black Metro
taxicab.  Finding they had an inch or so more space, Jade had
nabbed Jesse, who was walking by eating a peach flavored
snow cone, and thrown the younger addict into the cab.

"Where are we going?" Shele complained as her hips jostled
between Sherry aka RevSam and Jesse.  "I like these folks, don't
get me wrong, but this closeness is cramping my . . . style."

"It's not far, promise," Jade winked.  "And, I have a feeling that
our mission will be successful."

"Mission?" KC perked up.  She began rubbing her greedy little
hands together.  "Mission Not Impossible."

"Stick to commenting on bad B-movies, Snix," Jayne quipped.
"Modern stuff is above you."

KC opened her mouth to retort, but Jade announced "We're
here!" just as the Metro cab pulled up in from of a huge

Six noses pressed against the vehicle's window pane.  (I'd
explain the logistics, but it would be embarrassing for the

"Where is here?" Shele inquired, scanning the building.

"Isn't that Die Hard Headquarters?" Jesse noted.

"Yup!" Jade announced proudly, getting out of the cab.
"Welcome to the Museum of Forever Knight Props."

It was just past four p.m. when the addicts entered and paid
their modest entrance fee.  Once inside, they were barraged by
a spectacle of sights and smells which enchanted, enraptured
and intrigued them.

"Nirvana!" Sherry said softly, touching a rough hewn cloak
which she remembered from 'Queen of Harps.'  "This is

"Peachy keen!" Jayne agreed.  She was admiring a set of armor,
her head tilted inquiringly.  "Hmmmm, wonder if they ever got
the tassetts right?"

"That's an excellent question you asked," a well-bodied young
man strolled up to the addicts.  "I'll be happy to answer it,
among any others you might have."

"Who's that?" Shele poked Jesse in the ribs.

"It must be one of the Atholl Highlanders," the teenager replied,
'cause she spent her life on IRC and knew *everyone.*  "They'd
be the only ones here who would qualify as Men in Plaid."

The young man was indeed wearing a tartan, part of the dress
uniform of his clan.  The addicts exhaled wistful sighs as they
inspected his knees, before returning their gaze to his very nice
brown eyes.

"So, you're here to serve us, right?" KC grinned way, way up at
the man.

"I'm here to escort you through the museum, answer your
questions and make certain that you don't take any
unauthorized souvenirs," the man answered politely.

"Spoil sport," KC muttered, stalking away.

"Thanks for your help," Shele walked up, giving the man a
large smile.

The man in uniform nodded and smiled.  "I know the best way
to enjoy the museum is to browse at your leisure.  If you need
help, or have any questions, don't hesitate to inquire.  I'll be
close by, watching."

The addicts began wandering around, separating as items
caught their attention and ignited their imaginations.  Not only
did the warehouse contain the props from their favorite series,
but there were also several video rooms and a room dedicated
to raw footage/outtakes.

Shele studied the museum's foldout map, which had been part
of the modest entry fee.  "Ok, I'm here by the 'The Morgue'  so
the 'The Loft' should be there, on the right." She pivoted. "The
Raven!"  She turned the map upside down and
rechecked her surroundings.  "Morgue , Raven ,
Loft . Alright! I am here!" She punched at the map with
her finger, for emphases. "Now, how do I get to the Computer

She knew she was supposed to be looking for some of Nick's
hair, but that could wait a few minutes. First, she needed to get
a fix. Quitting cold turkey hadn't been easy and it hadn't been
nice. And, it certainly wasn't going to last. She'd tried to get
satisfaction at the Shrine, but it seemed like everytime she
looked up, someone had redecorated. It was getting so she
didn't even want to blink for fear of someone sneaking in the
place.   Reading non-FK fanfic? Forget about it! So she'd
jumped at the chance to get out, get away, get Sharpe. 

Stepping into the computer room, she saw a figure hunched
over one of the keyboards. A familiar figure. After setting the
closer browser to the new Sharpe fic she'd heard about and
pressing the print button, Shele quietly walked behind the
person until she could read the title of the page on that
browser. 'The Methos Smut Emporium.'  Getting a tad closer, she drew a deep

"So, does this place give tours or not?" Shele asked in a voice
that was a bit too loud for the nearly empty room.

"ACK!" The chair fell over backwards as Laura jumped out of
her seat.

"What? Only to Martians? That's not very fair! I paid good
legumes to get in here and I want my peanut's worth!"

Laura tossed her empty, earth friendly, non-ceramic cup at
Shele. "Keep this behavior up and you'll have to pay to get out!"

"Oh, Laura! Don't be so mean to yourself! You wouldn't want to
have to see me here everyday, would you?" Shele pick up her
newly printed Sharpe stories.

"No. You're right, you should have a tour. Let's go!"

"Now this is the trunk that Nick hid in during 'Father's Day'"

"Oh, can I get in it?"

"No, Shele, you're not supposed to touch anything. Get out of
there!  Shele!!!"

"Cool! I fit!"

"Shele...." Laura's voice sounded dangerous.

"Stop yer bellyaching! See, I'm getting.... uh, oh, um, Laura?
Can you help me for a sec?"
"Here, on the left, is LaCroix's library from 'Father Figure,'
complete with chess set."

"NUNKIES!!!!" Shele ran over to sit in his chair, then started
bouncing up and down in it.

"*Shele*, I told you to be careful--these things are irreplaceable!"

"BOOKS!!!!" She bounded out of the chair and quickly scanned
the books lining the walls. "Ugh. They always pick the most
*boring* books to use as set dressing! Like this one, 'Maritime
Sea Merchant's Handbook'." As Shele pulled the book off the
shelf, its neighbor was jarred loose and it fell to the floor. In
two pieces.

"ACK! Look what you've done! I'm going to be in so much
trouble! You're gonna pay for this, *big* time!" Laura marched
over to see what damage had been done. Shele just looked
stunned.  (Shele's adventure in the library was longer, but limit
constraints called for cutting.  If you'd like to read the library
tale in total, e-mail me.)

A distant voice interrupted their book play, "Hey, Shele, did
you find any you-know-what?"

"Shoot! I'm in sooo much trouble!" Shele looked around at the
empty shelves and piles of books. "And so, my friend, are
you!!" She discreetly checked the back of Nick's armchair, "You
guys dust this stuff, right?"

"Sure thing, one of the NPC's does it every night! And, Miss
Shele, what exactly are you supposed to be looking for?"

"No, no luck on my end!" She shouted down the hall, then
turned back to their books, "Oh nothing. Besides, you don't
have to worry; there isn't any here, anyway! !" The look on
Laura's face said she wasn't buying any of it. "Hey! What do
you say I help you clean this place up?"

Laura serenely smiled, "What do you mean 'help'?"

Back in the main room, the Highland guard approached the
addicts again.  "If you chose to leave the museum proper and
explore the rest of the old studio grounds, please respect the
privacy of the residents.  I believe the old Lurker Head
Quarters is in one of the buildings.  And, please, do not
approach the Die Hard Headquarters," the guard warned.  "It is
quite heavily guarded, and such folly as an attempted break-in
would be dealt with by swift, merciless justice."

"That's where Ron the Enforcer hangs out, right?" Sherry asked.

The Atholl Highlander nodded.  "Him and many of my
kinsmen.  Just do yourself right and stay away from it."

"Yessir," four addicts saluted.  Shele and KC had wandered off.

Alone again, Jesse, Jayne and Sherry listened as Jade finally
explained the plan.  Several ooohhh and ahhhhhs of
understanding were issued, then the four addicts spread out
and began searching.

KC, as was said previously, was already knee deep in prop
investigation.  Jade caught up to her, explained the plan and
the blonde-gone-brunette addict's eyes began to gleam.
"Gotcha!" she said, heading out again.

KC rifled through the various knickknacks of the FK cast,
picking up a set of fangs every now and then and  popping
them in her mouth, and leaping out from behind a piece of
furniture to scare the tobacco juice out of a fellow addict.
About the third time she did this, Jesse, who had wandered
over to the Arkansas agitator,  gave KC a sharp smack on the

"Dang it, KC!  You're cruisin' for a bruisin'...Susan," she
snickered at
her own joke.  KC grimaced.

"Oh, like I haven't heard THAT one a billion times."  Jesse
wagged her tongue at the behairdyed addict and resumed
digging, as did KC.   Searching through an armoire marked
"This Never Happened," KC made an amazing discovery, and it
didn't belong in an infomercial.  She pulled out an enormous,
hideous Bo Peep costume, and found the crook accessory
nearby, complete with a bow tied around it  She found a tag on
a sleeve of the dress that read, 'Vachon'.


Date: Wednesday, May 6th
Time: Around 8pm
Place: The Jeweled Peach
Author: Annette Williams with much help from Sherri Burnett
Title: WAR: LCL: A Peach of a Gift - Dinner with a Surprise (2/3)

Permission granted by NA to use Monsieur Cabon and a phone call from
LC.  All Light Cousins used with permission.

"I just love coming here," Annette said,  "it's so romantic!"

"Is Uncle here?" Brandi asked.  "Will we get to see him?"

"No, I don't think he'll be at the Shrine tonight," Annette answered.

"Bonsoir Mesdames.  I am Louis Cabon, zee maitre d=92.  Welcome to zee
Jeweled Peach."

"Good Evening and Thank you!" chimed all the Light Cousins.

"We have reservations for a party of 6," said Arletta.

"Light Cousins," added Annette.

"Follow me, sil vous plait," said Monsieur Cabon.  "We =91ave an excellen=
table right zees way."

"Oh, excuse me sir, do you think we could sit near the door?"  Shelley
asked.  "It looks like a great view of the entire shrine from there."

"Certainly Madame," Louis answered.  "Right zees way."

"I will =91ave zee waiter bring zee menus momentarily," Louis said as the=
were being seated.

"Thank you," said Arletta.

"This place is really elegant," said Nancy.  "French cut crystal
glasses, fresh cut flowers, and dinner by candlelight.  This really is

"Yeah, I totally agree."  said Brandi.

The other Light Cousins indicated their approval with vigorous head

"Pardon moi mademoiselles," Louis said, "zee finest bottle in our stock
compliments of zee General."

"Uncle sent us a bottle of wine?"  Arletta asked.  "That's wonderful!=20
Maybe it means he's accepting us after all!  Please send him our humble
thanks.  Is he here?"

"No Madame," answered Louis.  "e left instructions after viewing zee
evenings guest list."

"Don't you think it looks awfully thick and red for wine?" asked

"You're right, it does,"answered Alison.  "You don't think it's Uncle's
private stock, do you?"

"Monsieur Cabon, what kind of wine is this?" asked Arletta.
"Monsieur=85where did he go?"

"I wonder if Uncle is in a corner booth somewhere watching us?" asked
Annette as she looked around.  "I think I'm going to be sick."

"Don't be silly," said Arletta,  "You're over-reacting.  He wouldn't
send us his private stock.  Even Uncle wouldn't expect mortals to drink

"And what should we do if it is?" asked Shelley.  "We can't send it
back. That would be rude.  What do we do?"

"We have to do something," said Annette.  "I=92ll bet he is somewhere
watching us!"

"No, he's not watching us," Arletta said.  "Calm down, let's not make a

"He doesn't expect us to drink it," announced Nancy, "it's just a test."

"But he wouldn't waste it like that," mused Annette out loud.

"I'm telling you it's a test!"  Nancy insisted.  "If we don't try it
he'll say we're not really Cousins=92.  Let's just pour it and see what

"But what if=85" Brandi started to ask

"Would zee Mesdames care for an appetizer to go with your wine?" asked
Louis, appearing suddenly.

Placing a basket on the table, he continued  "Shall I pour zee wine for
you now?"

After a moment of hesitation, Annette answered "Um=85sure=85thanks."

"I'm underage, I can't drink!" exclaimed a suddenly relieved Alison.

"Drinking is against my religion!"  Brandi announced.

"Oh no, you don't weasel out so easily!" thought Annette.  Out loud she
said "It's just a little wine. We're all in this together.  We must show
solidarity=85right Arletta?"

"Um=85sure=85" Arletta answered uncertainly.

"Right=85yeah=85sure=85" seconded Nancy, even more uncertainly.

"I don't know=85" said Brandi.  "It looks even thicker in the glass."

"OK, let's just take a tiny sip," said Arletta. "OK?"

Silence greeted her from everyone at the table.

"OK" Arletta pleaded.  "Guys, be polite=85just a tiny sip=85cheers?"

Everyone mumbled cheers and warily brought their glasses to their lips.=20
Silence as everyone sips frowning, expecting the worst=85

Suddenly the peach was filled with hysterical laughter.  Arletta poured
water into her glass and took a big gulp.

"Awrgggg=85it=92s like straight sugar!" yelled Annette.

"Yeah, but it's a great rush!" gasped Nancy as she drained her glass and
poured another.

There were High five's everywhere as each Light Cousins realizes it's a
bottle of the finest Ribena.

"Would you like to hear tonight's specials now?" asked an amused
Monsieur Cabon

"I think we should have desert first," chuckled Alison.

"I=92ll drink to that!" exclaimed Nancy.

"CHEERS!"  And again hysterical laughter filled the Peach as everyone
stared at the table of laughing, but relieved Light Cousins.

Date: Wednesday, May 6th
Time: 9:00pm
Author: Shelley Nutaitis
Title: WAR: LCL: A Peach of a Gift - Dinner with a Surprise (3/3)
Place:  The Jeweled Peach

The large table where the six Light Cousin's were sitting was littered wi=
empty plates and glasses.  The meal had been excellent, and the desert ev=
better.  They were now drinking coffee and tea, with Nancy adding Ribena
and =

sugar to her coffee cup at an alarming rate.

Shelley, busy talking to Arletta, accidentally knocked her spoon off the
table.  =

As she bent to pick it up, she glanced at Alison's backpack, which was
against the wall.  It was wet.  Very wet.

Sitting up again, she whispered to Arletta "I think it's time".

Smiling, Arletta motioned to the others.  They all began to gather up the=
belongings, including Alison who was just noticing the status of her rath=
Conspicuous looking backpack.  Grimacing slightly, she slung it over her
shoulder as if there was nothing strange at all about carrying a backpack=

was dripping out of a restaurant.  Nancy snickered quietly at the

Looking around the restaurant, they saw no one was paying any attention t=
them.  Throwing some money down on the table to cover the check and a nic=
e =

tip, each of the six Light Cousins quietly slipped through the door leadi=
to the shrine.


Nancy was in charge of the book, so she headed off to find what she neede=
in the shrine.  Coming into an empty room, she saw what she had been
for...the "Nunkies Fantasy Manual" was laying out on a table with some ki=
of strange puddle on the floor beneath it.

As she picked the book up, she leafed through it quickly.  "Oh my!" she =

exclaimed on seeing a particularly suggestive page.  "I'd better complete=

my task and get out of here" she thought.

She took the book in her purse out and looked at the cover.  "Perfect" sh=
e =

whispered as she replaced the manual with this new one.  She took the
actual =

manual and stuffed it into the back of a closet she found in another room=
=2E =

Going back to admire her handiwork, she nearly started laughing imagining=

the =

faces of those poor addicts when they saw THIS book.

Quietly, she found the exit to the shrine and headed for Shelley's van. =

hoped the rest of them would have as much success as she had.


Arletta was searching for the cold showers in the shrine and not having
luck.  Passing a couple of addicts in the hall, she decided to take a
and ask.

"Can you tell me where the cold showers are?" she asked politely.

"Sure, you just take the next left, can't miss them!" Joni replied.

As they continued to walk away, Sherry whispered "poor thing, =

imagine not being able to find a cold shower when you were in =

danger of a meltdown..."

Rounding the corner, Arletta spied the sacred cold shower room.  Grabbing=

the bottles of food coloring, she went to work.


Brandi, Shelley, Annette, and Alison all headed off together.  Slipping =

further into the shrine, they were looking for the kitchen.  Before long,=

they spotted an addict coming out of it and dove for cover.

"Wow, that was a close one!" Annette whispered.  The others just nodded
in agreement.  =

Looking around carefully for other addicts, they made their way into the
kitchen area.  Once there, they got to work.  =

Shelley and Brandi pulled off their backpacks and began opening boxes and=

boxes of grape Jell-O.  Shelley found a large bowl and they emptied the
powder into that.

Annette found a huge cooking pot and put water on to boil in it.  Picking=

up her purse, she pulled a Jell-O mold out of it and set it on the =

countertop with a grin.  =

When the water boiled, all 4 of them helped to pour the powder in it and
stir.  By this time, Alison had the somewhat melted chunk of ice out of =

her backpack and onto the counter.  Pouring the liquid Jell-O into the
mold, they set it down on the ice to set it quickly.

Working as fast as they could go, they soon had a pile of grape Jell-O
figures.  When all the Jell-O was used up, they cleaned up and headed
for the van, hoping no one spotted them.


Joni was about to enjoy a nice, relaxing cold shower in the sacred cold
shower room.  She closed her eyes as the water started and relaxed.  It =

was a wonderful feeling and she was wishing she could stay there longer =

when she heard the scream.

Pulling a robe around her, she rushed out to see what was wrong.  Sherry
was standing in the door to the kitchen, shaking violently.

"What's wrong?" Joni asked.

Sherry screamed again, pointing at Joni.

"What is it?" Joni asked, slightly afraid to find out.

"Y-y-y-you're p-p-p-p-purrrrple" she stuttered out.

"I'm WHAT?" Joni hurried to a mirror in time to see that she was, indeed,=

purple.  Her hair was purple, her skin, even her robe was purple where
she had touched it.  And not just any purple....Barney purple!

Turning back to Sherry, she saw a small purple glob in her hand.  "What's=

that?" she asked, not really wanting to know.

"It's a-a-a-a B-B-B-B-Barney p-p-p-p-pop....an a-a-a-a-anatomically corre=
Jell-O Barney pop," she wailed.

"Okay, okay, let's calm down, we've just been attacked, that's all" Joni
said, her voice sounding as shaky as Sherry's.  "Let's just go sit down
with the Nunkies Fantasy Manual to calm us..." she said as she lead the
other addict down the hall.

Soon, the whole shrine could hear a shrill shriek that sounded something


Title:  Perky is as Perky does.....
by L.L.
Where:  The Dark Perc Mansion
When:  Tuesday night/Wed. morning, the wee hours......

All within used with permission. Attack sanctioned by Mary Jenkins, DP leader.
Thanks to all....

The moon was hidden by cloud cover, and it was dark, as Penny and Carla crept
quietly up the path of the Dark Perc Mansion.  Penny looked at her watch; it
was nearing 3am.  Carla clutched a large, rather official looking envelope to
her chest as they moved silently along.

     "Are you sure they're gonna fall for this, Penny?" Carla whispered.

     "Why not?"

Carla just shook her head.  Penny, the Dark Maestro was used to all of this
cloak and dagger business, but she wasn't.  They finally got to the front
door.  Penny rang the bell.  It opened slowly, and DP Kim was standing there.

     "Yes," Kim intoned, suspiciously, "may I help you?"

     "We have a package for you," Penny stated, in a very matter of fact tone
of voice.

     "For me?"

     "Yes," Carla continued, "It says it is to be delivered to the Dark Perc
mansion.  You are a Dark Perc, aren't you?"

     "Of course," Kim replied.

Kim reached out for the envelope, and Carla started to hand it over, but was
stopped when Penny grabbed her arm.  This wasn't part of the plan; at least
not as far as Carla knew.

     "We need a signature first," Penny said, "Official business, and all

Kim nodded and took the the pen that was offered by the Dark Maestro.  She
quickly signed, took the package and closed the door.  Penny and Carla started
away.  As soon as they got far enough away, Carla turned to Penny abruptly.

     "What was all of that signature business?"

     "She was acting as though she didn't believe us. It sounded better to ask
for a signature....."


     "Come on," Penny urged, "let's get back to the others and the vantage
point.  As soon as the mansion clears out, we need to make our move."

They disappeared into the black of night.


Kim ripped open the envelope.  Eric was just walking into the room.

     "What's that?"

     "A special delivery....It's from Tracy!"

Kim quickly read the enclosed letter, and her face took on a worried look.

     "What?" prompted Eric.

     "Tracy's in trouble. She wants everybody to meet her downtown,
immediately.  She says she's uncovered some secret plot that the Cousins have
been planning, and we need to act fast, or it'll be too late...."

     "What if this is a trap?"

     "Then you and I will stay here, and send everyone else."

Eric and Kim quickly went to rouse the jello-drenched troops.


The hill was the perfect spot to sit and watch the front door of the Dark
Percs.  Kim, member of the GSS, was lying flat, peering through a pair of high
powered, infra-red binoculars.

     "Here they come...." Kim announced.

Several Cousins peered down into the darkness that surrounded the mansion, and
sure enough, a slew of Dark Percs came pouring out of the front door, got into
several cars, and sped away.

     "It worked!" exclaimed Cousin Ann.

     "Now comes the fun part," Dark Knightie Marcia said, as she rubbed her
hands together gleefully.

     "We owe these clowns," NuitCoeur stated.

      "Okay, if everyone's ready," Lesley said, "then let's get this show on
the road."

Ten heads bobbed in the affirmative, and with that, the Cousins and Dark
Knighties, headed down the hill, and made quickly for the back door of the


     "What was that?" Eric asked Kim.

      "What was what?"


     "There it is again!"

     Kim just looked dubiously at Eric, "I think you've seen one too many
episodes of the X-Files.  You're hearing things that don't exist."

     "No, I'm not.  The truth is out there...."

The two Dark Percs, who had elected to remain behind to guard the mansion, sat
in thunderous quiet, waiting.



     Kim had to conceede, "All right, already, I heard it.....maybe it's just
the wind....."

     "Doubt it."


Penny was having trouble picking the lock, and the darn thing was making a
weird little slipping noise.

     "Penny......now would be a good time," Lesley prodded.

     "No kidding," came the acerbic reply, "tell the lock about it, Jack....."

      "What if some of them are still in there?" Cousin Ann asked.

     "And miss a chance to help their ever too perky heroine? No way!"  Beth

     "Besides," Dark Rose said, "if some of them are in there, they'll be

      "That's for sure," Jennifer agreed, "really sorry."

Several of the soon-to-be-perps smiled at each other.  Sorry indeed.  The lock
finally behaved and all ten of them quietly piled through the door, and found
themselves in the kitchen of the mansion.  It was darker than a jar of Marmite
in the back of a dank cupboard.  Penny, Kim, Lesley and Jennifer whipped out

     "Okay," Lesley said, "let's get this done as quickly as possible, so we
can get out of here, before the coffee-induced figure out it was a ruse,
forged by Penny....."

     "I owe them, big," Penny said with an evil smile.

     "Well," Marcia said, "now's your chance."

The troops split up into three teams, and headed off to their appointed


Carla, Penny and Rose headed up the stairs, as quickly as they could.  They
went into one bathroom after another, putting the lovely pink dye they were
carrying into the shower heads.

     "That'll teach 'em ta flaunt that disgusting shade of neon pink," Rose
said, grinning from ear to ear.

     "Listen," Penny instructed, "you two get the rest of this dye into the
shower heads, I'm gonna check around and see if I can find those pictures they
blackmailed me with..."

Penny slipped out of the door and down the hall. She ransacked one room after
another, but didn't find any sign of the photos.  After about fifteen minutes,
Rose and Carla caught up with her.

      "We're done," Carla said, "any luck?"

     Penny shook her head, "Nope.  Let's set up our Virtual Reality Tracy.  I
wanna make sure we get that installed."

The three women grinned, as they headed for all of the computers.


Cousin Ann, and GSS agents Kim and Jennifer were in the downstairs bathroom,
quickly installing pink dye into the shower heads.  Unfortunately, they were
not alone.

     "Just what do you people think you're doing?"  Eric asked from the

     "Oh, just helping you guys out with cleanliness....." Kim said, smiling.

Kim, Ann and Jennifer were inching closer to Eric.

     "Get out, now," Eric demanded.

     "And just who's gonna make us?"  Ann asked.

     "Eric and I will," DP Kim answered.

     "Like to see you try, you perky little--" Jennifer started.

     "--Okay, Jennifer," Kim said, "maybe we should just...."

Jennifer and Kim stuck their feet behind Kim and Eric's ankles, and upended
them where they stood. Quickly, the two GSS agents had the DP's hog tied, and

     "What do we do with 'em now?"  Ann asked.

     "Hey, Ann," Kim said, an idea dawning on her, "do you still carry around
that tape that we made for evil purposes?"

     Smiling, Ann reached into her backpack, "Always near and dear to my

     "Good.  Whaddya say we take them up to the attic, and set up a little
private listening for their audio displeasure....."

There was much laughter as they grabbed the two DP's and dragged them
unceremoniously up the stairs.


Beth, NuitCoeur, Marcia and Lesley were in the kitchen.

     "I can't get the lid off this damn coffee machine," Marcia was beginning
to sound frustrated.

     "Let me see," Nuit came over to take a look, "Ewww, it looks like they've
sealed it, just in case anyone ever tried to mess with it."

     Beth whipped out a rather large bottle of nail polish remover, "Oh, I
think we can handle this...."

Beth began liberally spreading it around the seal.

     "May I ask what you are doing?" Lesley asked.

     Beth smiled, "It's an old trick I got from a movie.  Nail Polish remover,
is rather pungent stuff, and can remove a lot more than just old polish.  It
can be used as a solvent on lots of stuff."

The three just watched her.  After a few minutes, Beth twisted the top to the
huge, industrial strength coffee maker right off.  "There."

     Marcia just shook her head, "Thanks."

Quickly, Marcia and Lesley dipped a couple of paint brushes into the waiting
can of Polymer.  They spread the Polymer all along the bottom of the coffee
maker, especially by the spigot.

     "You're sure that stuff isn't gonna make them sick?" Nuit asked.

     "Nah," Lesley replied, "they'll never be able to get to the coffee,
because while it's brewing, the Polymer will thicken and completely clog the

Marcia replaced the lid, after  spreading super glue all over the seal, making
sure the Percs wouldn't be getting into the pot anytime soon.  Unless of
course they had watched whatever movie Beth had seen.....


Penny, Carla and Rose were grinning sardonically.  Before them were several
computers all displaying the same thing:  A virtual reality Tracy, smiling the
most sugar dusted of grins.  Over and over, she kept saying the same thing,
"I'm a good cop..........I'm a good cop......."

     "How often is this going to show up?" Rose asked.

      "Oh, about everytime one of them makes a typo....." Penny responded.

     "This is so good," Carla said, "I almost wish I could be here to witness
it the first time they see it......"

     "How about if you guys help me look for those photos?"

The three of them headed out into other rooms, searching for proof of Penny's


The attic was stuffy and somewhat dusty.

     "Don't you people ever clean up here?"  Ann asked Eric, "It smells like
old Uncle Otto's dirty socks...."

Naturally, Eric could not respond, since he was gagged.  Ann just smiled at

     "Find a tape player?"  Kim asked Jennifer.

     "Yep.  It was in some hidden cupboard, behind some bookcases......"

     Kim looked strangely at Jennifer, "What ever made you look behind the

     "Haven't you ever seen *any* Sherlock Holmes pictures?"

Jennifer just shook her head at Kim.  Imagine, never having seen a Sherlock
Holmes film.  Kim set quickly to work, setting up the tape.  She put it on a
loop, and then hit the play button.

     The squeaky tones of what sounded like Tracy's voice singing, came out of
the speakers.  "On the good ship, lollipop, it's a sweet trip to the candy
shop, where bon-bon's play...... on the sunny beach of peppermint bay....."

Jennifer, Kim and Ann smiled as Eric and Kim cringed as they heard the voice
of their beloved Tracy singing a Shirley Temple classic.  It was pure torture
to a Dark Perc.  The idea that they would have to listen to this indefinitely
was bad enough; that they should have to endure it bound and gagged, well,
that was almost too much to beare.


The hands of Lesley's watch were straight on four.  Her team was there, ready
to perpetrate the final gag.  However, none of the other teams were out on the
front lawn, where they were supposed to be.  Finally, Kim, Jennifer and Ann

      "Nice of you to join us," Lesley commented sarcastically.

     "Don't get your knickers in a twist," Kim said, "we ran into some

     "Trouble?"  Marcia echoed.

      "Yeah, with a captial T that rhymes with P, and that stands for...."

      They all yelled, "Percs!"

     "I take it," NuitCoeur said, "that we were not alone?"

     "Not even," Ann confirmed.

     "A couple of 'em found us," Jennifer added, "but they're just hangin'
around now, listening to a nice little song....."

     "I'm not even going to ask," Beth said.

Just about then, Penny, Carla and Rose came out of the house.

     Lesley just looked at her watch, which elicited a look from Penny.

    "What?" Penny said.


     "We were trying to find the pictures," Carla stated, "you know, the ones
that were used to blackmail Penny, but no go."

     "We looked everywhere," Rose added, "maybe they destroyed them."

     "No they didn't," Jennifer said, looking every bit like the Cheshire cat.

She handed an envelope to Penny, who quickly looked in it and smiled.

    "Where did you find them?"

     "In a cupboard behind the bookcases....."

Penny was about to open her mouth, but Kim's voice stopped her.

     "Don't ask."

     "All right, let's get this done," Lesley suggested.

Ann and Beth went behind some bushes, and dragged out a rather large, life
size doll of Tracy.  Marcia started laughing upon the sight of it, like she
had every time she'd seen it.  Lesley just looked at her.

     "I can't help it," Marcia stammered in between giggles, "She just looks

      "Perky?"  Lesley offered.

Marcia went into another fit of laughter.  Quickly the ladies propped the life
size doll on the front lawn, so that she was standing.  On her blouse, the
words, "Tickle me" appeared in bold, pink letters.  While several of them got
the doll into position, Penny and Carla rigged up a battery operated light,
and aimed it right at the perkier than thou face.

     "There," Penny said, "that oughta do it."

     "Is revenge as sweet as they say?" Lesley asked.

    Penny smiled, "Sweeter."

Marcia couldn't help herself, she reached out and tickled the life size doll.
As soon as she let go, the doll's arms extended out, as though they were
offering a hug, the mouth curved into a wide smile, and a reasonable
impression of Tracy's voice said, "Hi, I'm Tracy.....Boy, am I feelin' perky

The sounds of giggling could be heard across the large lawn, as the troops
disappeared once more into darkness.


Title: WAR: Cousins: "What Am I Bid For This Bat?"  (1/1)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Late Sunday Afternoon
All real people used with their permission.  Vachon used with permisson.

Late Sunday Afternoon...
At Vachon's Church

        Vachon was finishing his breakfast while mulling over the raid his
followers had executed on Friday night.  He was pleased with the results.
Only one thing was wrong.  The plush bat, a beanie baby bat, had captured
his attention.  He thought that Tracy Vetter might like it.  Heck, she
might even see the humor in it - a vampire giving a mortal a stuffed bat.
And the name!  Ok, so he had peeked at the tag when Tracy Sue wasn't
looking.  It was named "Batty!"  He chuckled to himself.  He didn't
understand why Laplor didn't cut off the tags, or the equal horrified look
she gave him at his suggestion.

        His mind was still on the cute bat as he perused the paper.  He
turned the page, and saw a half page ad for a auction to raise money for
local charities, even the White Ribbon Charities and Covenant House.  A
variety of items would be bid on, including several valuable beanie babies.
Vachon grabbed a pen, circled the address, and finished his breakfast.  He
had an auction to attend.

Same time, At CERK:

        A notice appeared on every bulletin board in CERK calling a meeting
of all Cousins not otherwise occupied on Monday afternoon.

        Senara was in the lounge checking the papers for her ad.  Cherri
sat with her, reading the funnies and laughing at the really funny ones.
"Great work, Cherri.  Our ad is in every paper in Toronto!  No way Vachon
is going to miss it.  Who knew he would think that the bat was cute?"

        Cherri giggled.  What the Vaqs didn't know what that their voices
had been recorded when they had tripped one of the silent alarms in the
control room.  One of them had been remarking on how Vachon carried on over
the bat and how they had to distract him in order to take it to CERK.  The
General had turned it over to the two Cousins when he discovered them
cleaning out the control room.  That had given them the idea for the ad.
Not only had that idea sounded good at 3 am, it sounded even better at 9 am
when they placed the auction ad.

        "Hey, are you done with the funnies yet?" Senara asked her partner
in crime.  "I want to see what you're laughing about over there..."

Cousin Senara

Title: WAR: Cousins: "What Am I Bid For This Bat?"  (2/2)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Monday afternoon
All real people used with their permission

Monday Afternoon around 3 PM.
Vachon's Church....

        Laplor eventually located Tracy Sue in the kitchen of the church.
"Have you seen Vachon recently?"  Tracy Sue looked up from her snack with a
blank stare, and a frown.  "I've asked everyone, and no one has seen him
since yesterday afternoon."

        "No one?  That's unusual.  He's normally checking in on us to make
sure we're all surviving the war well."  Tracy Sue started to frown as she
started to travel down the road that worries travel well and quickly.  "OH
NO!  Some faction KIDnapped him!"

        Laplor shook her head.  "Actually vampire-napped is more correct,
but I arrived at that conclusion just before I found him."

        Tracy and Laplor raced to the vampire's bedroom, hoping for some
clues.  A newspaper were spread over the bed, empty green bottles were next
to the bed.   A closer look revealed this paper was from Sunday.  One ad
had some writing on it, and a address circled.

        Laplor read the ad aloud.  "Special Charity Auction to benefit
local Toronto charities, including White Ribbon Charities and Covenant
House.  Beanie Babies, Rare Toys and other valuable items to be auctions at
Quilligan Auction House.  Auction to begin Sunday at 5 pm until everything
is sold!!"

        The snap of Tracy's fingers caught Laplor's attention.  "I remember
him going on about the bat I was going to leave in the control room in our
raid at CERK.  He kept saying that the toy was cute.  I practically had to
pry his fingers from it.  He was going to give it to Tracy!"  Tracy started
talking slowly but then speeded up as she remembered the preparation of the

        "He musta gone to buy a bat for Tracy!"  Laplor was halfway out the
door when she shouted that last remark.  "I'm going to get the rest of us!"

        "Don't forget the supplies!  He didn't have anything to drink since
yesterday afternoon!"  Tracy shouted after her second-in-command.

Cousin Senara

Title: WAR: Cousins: "What Am I Bid For This Bat?"  (3/5)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Monday afternoon, just after "What Am I Bid For This Bat?" (2/5)
All real people used with their permission

Outside Vachon's church
Monday afternoon...

        It was Monday afternoon, just about 3:30 in the afternoon. Across
the street from Vachon's church sitting on a stool in the shadow of a
building, a blind woman wrapped in rags pleaded for a handout.  A few coins
were in the hat, given by generous pedestrians.

        The earpiece nestled in her ear crackled to life.  "Anyone emerge
yet from the church?"

        "Hey, Senara," the woman admonished, "I'm supposed to be blind, I
can't see anyone!!"

        "Have you seen anything of the Vaqueros yet?" Senara repeated her
question to her lookout, Mette.

        "Nope, not yet." Mette turned slightly away from the church door
when it opened.  "Wait, here the come..." Mette whispered into the mike
clipped to her shirt.

        As she watched, the Vaqs rushed out of the church. Some were
carrying backpacks that suspiciously clinked, and others were clutching
thick blankets in their arms. Mette sat still in the shadows.  She hoped
that the Vaqs would be  too wrapped up in their hurry to get to Vachon to
notice her but she wasn't taking any chances.  Soon, Tracy Sue was the last
one out and asked if everyone was waiting in the vans.  A shouted answer in
the affirmative was all Mette need to hear.  The vans sped off in the
direction of the Quilligan Auction House.  Mette radioed Bob and told them
the church was clear.

        Bob and Amanda, two members of the GSS who volunteered for this
assignment snuck towards the doors of the church.  Their job was to defeat
the electronic locks on the church and then radio to Senara and the other
members of the team waiting in a nondescript black van some streets over.
Amanda looked askance at the pink grass and the pink camel.  She shook her
head and concentrated on the job at hand.

        Not too long later, the GSS radioed Senara that the doors were
open.  Mette leapt up from her vantage point and ran across the street.  A
black van screeched to a halt outside the church.   The doors opened and
several black-clothed people jumped out, each with their own purpose and
job to do.  Mette led the way, choosing her spot to act as lookout with
care.  She stood at the entrance, where she would be able to call out the
time elapsed and everyone could hear her.

        Tok and Rose headed straight for the camel.  Sure the camel was
pretty enough in pink, but it would look much better in polka dots!  Purple
ones!  Together they painted big ones, little ones, some as big as your
head, all over the camel using special Non-Harmful to Camels Dye, TM.
Mette called out suggestions from her lookout spot.  The cousins got very
creative, and were soon turning the camel into a art lesson in abstract

        Julie, Nicole, and Maria were inside the church, replacing all
pictures of Vachon with pictures of Nick, Nat, LaCroix, Tracy, Urs, Screed,
and lots of other people.  There were even ones of Alma!!  None of the
Vachon pictures were harmed.  They were neatly stacked in several large
folders and hidden between the mattresses of Vachon's bed.  Several large
promotional pictures of LaCroix as the Nightcrawler were prominently
displayed wherever space would permit.

        Cherri, Senara, and NuitCoeur found every candle in the candelabra
and removed them.  Each vacant spot then was filled by a candle from one of
their backpacks.  They were tall ones, small ones, some were striped, some
were banded.  All were lilac-scented, and when lit, they gave a pleasing
and soothing aroma.  The three cousins each had one special trick candle in
their bags that they saved for last.  Cherri had found them in a local gag
store in California, and brought them along, thinking they might be useful
this war.  When lit, the candles played a continuous medley of Gregorian
chant.  Senara wanted them placed equidistant from each other and lit at
once so the returning Vaqs would have problems locating the chanting

        As the Cousins raced from room to room, everywhere they looked they
saw a guitar that looked like the real thing.  There was no way that Vachon
could have so many guitars, they reasoned.  Gibsons were on his bed, on
stands, on chairs, and in every corner of the church!  Mette's voice echoed
through the church as the halfway point came.  The Cousins worked faster to
gently removed the pictures unharmed from the walls.

        NuitCoeur heard the warning and placed the last candle in its
place.  Senara gave the signal to light the candles and a pleasant sound of
Gregorian chant filled the church.  Cherri decided to check out Vachon's
bedroom, also noting the proliferation of Gibson guitars.  "I didn't know
that Vachon was teaching the entire faction how to play the guitar," she
commented to Senara.  Senara shrugged; she didn't know the answer at all.
She was just curious to see a vampire's bedroom.  Cherri just wanted to
refresh her memory.

        The Cousins exchanged looks.  "Do you think we should take a
guitar?" Cherri suggested.

        "Could we take all of them?" NuitCoeur asked hopefully.  Mette
shouted that there were twenty minutes left.

        "I don't know that we would get all them.  I counted 15 on my way
in here" Senara commented.

        Cherri remarked that there were 15 in the room as it was.  "Let's
leave a note," she suggested, "and make them think we took one.  It will
take them hours to recount all of them!!"  The three cousins scrounged for
paper and pen.  Senara quickly wrote the note which said "Are you sure all
the guitars are here?  Love, the Cousins.  PS, Thanks for the stuffed
animals!  The Children's Hospital thanks you too!"  She left the note on
the pillow. She also left a small package addressed to one Sarah Houghten.
Inside were five rolls of Mentos, and also various photos of one Lucas
Wolenczak.  Senara hoped that Sarah would appreciate the gift, as one
seaQuest fan to another.

        Cherri disappeared, calling back something about needing to find
the bathroom

        "We've got ten minutes left!!  Everyone finish up and get out!!"
Mette yelled the warning to ensure that all the Cousins heard her.

        Everyone ran down the steps of the building.  Senara yelled,
"Cherri!!  We've got to go!"

        Cherri ran up beside her, holding her prize in a baggie.  "I got
it!" She exclaimed and ran for the vans, leaving Senara to wonder what
Cherri was going to do with a hairbrush.  Senara made sure she was the last
one out and closed the doors.

        Once she cleared the top step, Mette and Cousin Bob spread a tacky
substance on it.  This would capture every shoe that touched it, prompting
the Vaqs to remove their shoes to get into their lilac-scented church.

        The doors to the black van swung closed after Mette and Bob vaulted
in.  Senara drove off quickly, heading to CERK by side streets.  They had
cut the raid close, but it was worth it!

Cousin Senara

Title: WAR: Cousins: "What Am I Bid For This Bat?"  (4/5)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Monday afternoon, concurrent with "What Am I Bid For This Bat?" (3/5)
All real people used with their permission; Vachon used with permission

Monday afternoon
Qulligan's Auction House

        Fifteen minutes driving around Toronto brought the Vachon Rescue
Party to Quilligan Auction House.  The Vaqs piled out of the vans and
brought their supplies with them  They had no idea what state they would
find Vachon in (well, they figured they would find him in Ontario, but
that's a province, not a state, and wow I'm getting distracted.  Back to
the rescue.) and so they were prepared.  Blankets to shield him from the
sun, blood to feed him so that he wouldn't be tempted by the smell of lots
of fresh blood around.  Well, they knew he wouldn't do that to them, but
they were being safe.

        Tracy Sue opened the door to the auction and the Vaqueros fanned
out through the crowd trying to find their favorite slacker.  Laplor
located him in the back corner and quickly held a hushed conversation with

        "Why did you sneak off like that?!!"  Her furious whisper matched
the glare in her eyes.  "We've been so worried abut you!  We thought that
maybe the Inka found you, or worse you were kidnapped!!"

        Vachon looked at the second in command of his faction.  "Well, I'm
fine.  The auction went on for such a long time last night, that I just
spend the day in the basement."

        "Well, we're getting you out of here now."  Tracy Sue had located
Vachon as well, and as determined as Laplor to get Vachon back to the

        Vachon's attention turned back to the auction.  "No," he replied.

        "NO?" the erstwhile leaders of the faction echoed his answer.
Vachon only blinked.  "WHY?"  Tracy was nearly losing it now.  Her entire
faction was out of the church, who knew which faction was going to attack
now, and Vachon was refusing to go back.

        "Because I can."  Vachon looked quickly at the odd sound emanating
from Tracy Sue.  He would have classified it as a growl, but decided to
only blink.

        It was Laplor's turn to try getting something out of the chief
slacker.  "That's not good enough.  Why?"

        "Because I want the bat.  And we are staying here until I get it."
Tracy and Laplor shared a glance.  They were stuck.  In an auction house.
While their leader waited for a bat to be auctioned off.  They only hoped
that whatever faction attacked them would be merciful, and not destroy the

Same time, Quilligan's Auction House
A few rows forward, on the other side of the room:

        Bloodlass and Cat snickered as they observed the heated
confrontation between the slacker vampire and his faction leaders.  Cousin
Stan was nearby, and able to pick up certain parts of the conversation.  He
was there to jack up the price of whatever animal Vachon bid on.  This was
for charity after all.  His microphone sent the louder parts of the
conversation to his Cousinly counterparts on the other side.

        All-in-all, the auction was a success.  Quite a lot of money was
raised, mainly due to the bidding war that broke out over two of the
stuffed toys.  One was a stuffed bat, eventually selling for close to $5000
after a heated bidding between two women and a long-haired man.  Bidding
stalled when the auctioneer, a curly-headed young man named Richie stopped
to chat for a while with the two women.  It took an entire side of the room
waving and yelling to get his attention back to the bidding.  He thought
they were waving to him and rather pleasantly said hello to the crowd, when
three voices from the back belonging to two woman and a long-haired man
yelled their bid.

        The other hotly contested item was another Beanie Baby, a black
teddy bear with a white rose stitched upon it.  It was won by a person who
was bidding via a proxy who couldn't be detached from his cell phone.  The
only name given as the winner was a Mr. Cross.

        Vachon happily tucked the bat, the cute bat whose wings would stick
together and hide its face, into a pocket of his jacket.  He accompanied
his faction back to his home, and tried to ignore the feelings of doom
projected by his faction leaders.  He didn't mind.  He had a birthday gift
for Tracy.

Cousin Senara

Title: WAR: Cousins: "What Am I Bid For This Bat?"  (5/5)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Monday evening, after returning from the church
All real people used with their permission

CERK (Cousin HQ)
Monday evening...

        Senara rode the elevator to the floor where the Cousinly leaders
had their offices.  Bonnie had wanted to hear first-hand how the raid had
progressed.  Mentally reviewing the events, she prepared the run-down.
Stan, Bloodlass and Cat had filled her in on the events at the auction when
they returned to CERK, including the bidding war.  She was still chuckling
as she thought of an entire section of the crowd waving their arms trying
to get the auctioneers attention.

        She reached the door to Bonnie's office, knocked once and then
walked right on in.  "Bonnie, it went well.  Nothing went wrong, and we are
letting them think that we took one of their many guitars," she announced.

        She never got that far.  Only the words "Bonnie it went well" got
past her lips before she realized the person behind the desk was certainly
not Bonnie.  "General!"  Senara stopped moving so suddenly that she nearly
tripped over her two feet.

        "Good evening, Senara."  HE sipped from his goblet.  "And I trust
that it is a good one."
His free hand gestured to the chair vacant on the other side of the desk.
"Please, sit.  Let me know what mischief you have been causing."

        Senara sat carefully across from LaCroix, pulling her long red
braid over her shoulder as she lowered herself to the chair.  It was a
nervous gesture.  "Well you already know that Cherri and I were planning
our revenge for the attack on CERK and your  control room."

        "Ahhh" he sighed.  Blue eyes fixed green ones. "And?"  The single
sentence was punctuated by another sip from the goblet.

        Senara dropped her eyes.  "I'm not sure what you want to know,
General.  Several charitable organizations benefited from the auction.  All
other portions of the plan worked perfectly.  And the talking Barneys are
now making little children happy."

        The General was no longer relaxing in Bonnie's chair.  "Look at
me," he commanded.   Senara's head snapped up at the change in his tone.
"Where is the guitar?"

        "They had decoys all over, General.  I thought it best to have them
think that we had taken one and let them count for hours to make sure that
all the decoys were there."  Senara's hands were clasped tightly in her
lap.  She really didn't want LaCroix angry.  He had made Bonnie wear
sensible shoes.  There's no telling what he might do to her.

        "I'm not surprised."  The blue eyes did not diminish in intensity.
"I did not think the guitar was a reasonable goal.  Not this war, anyway.
Once the Vaqueros are comfortable having it around again, then it will be
time to deprive them of it again."  An eyebrow raised slightly to punctuate
his statement.

        Senara was greatly relieved.  "May I ask a question General?"
LaCroix nodded his assent.  "Any plans to give a lecture series on
political thought through the centuries?"  LaCroix raised both eyebrows now.

        "Maybe I can be convinced that some private lessons are in order."
LaCroix smiled slightly.  Senara returned the smile with one of her own.
"Go back to making mischief.  I have preparations to make."

        Senara ventured an guess.  "For those private lessons?" she asked

        LaCroix smiled again.  "Perhaps," he said as Senara left the room.

        Senara closed the door to the office and leaned against the wall.
Several deep breaths later, she decided to head to the lounge to get
another White Russian and to mused about her private history lessons.

        LaCroix savored the rest of the glass and opened the bottom drawer
of the desk.  All the Cousinly Leaders kept a bottle of his special private
stock in a refrigerated drawer in their desks.  The General refilled his
glass and removed a small object from the inside pocket of his black suit
jacket.  He placed the black bear with the white rose on the desk and
stared at it thoughtfully.


Cousin Senara

Title: WAR: Cousins: "Barneys & Camels & Cows, Oh My!"  (1/1)
Author: Cousin Senara
Time: Late Friday night
Cousin Cherri used with her permission

The cactus raid at the loft had gone well, Senara thought.  She was back in
her room at CERK, mixing a White Russian for celebration.  Well, it was a
celebration of many things.  First, she was healthy again.  Second, she was
now off all painkillers and could drink alcohol again.  Boy was she happy
about that.  She had missed her glass of red wine at the end of the day,
and her vodka mixers.

She kicked off her shoes as she reclined on her bed.  Wiggling her
black-covered toes, Senara sighed as she sipped her very-well made White
Russian.  "I am good....  haven't lost the touch!"

And the final reason for the celebration was that the raid had gone well.
Bonnie had her cactus, and Senara had another mischief making raid under
her belt.  Another sip. "MMMMmmm."  LaCroix had asked her if she planned on
some mischief this war.  She hadn't planned anything, but had managed to
find it anyway.

Letting her thoughts wander, she was soon lost in a fantasy about LaCroix
as a history professor lecturing on the Medieval Thought of Western Europe.
Sure her degree was in Modern European History, but her bookshelves at home
told a different story.  Had it been practical, she would have been a
medievalist.  Senara was also a member of NA, and it was no small effort to
picture the General giving a rather detailed lecture on the discourse
common at the courts of Eleanor of Aquitaine and other rulers of that time.

The bedside phone rang, startling her from her daydream.  "Yes," she
answered.  In minutes she was on her way to the control room.  Cows and
camels greeted her.  Lots of camels and cows.  She whistled low, in
appreciation of the number of cows and camels.  And there were some other
animals in there too.  Senara could see a few bears, and a bat.  "This is
going to make the General see red."

"Not a good idea to do...  Maybe we should start clearing them?"  Cherri
was the first Cousin to notice the overcrowded plush objects in Lacroix's
control room.

"We could start.  Know of anyone who could use some donated plush toys?"

"I'm sure some of the hospitals could use some of them."

A smile crept into Senara's face, as an evil glint lit her green eyes.
"And I have other plans....  Want in?"  Cherri smiled as well, and the two
planned as they emptied the control room.

Very early Saturday morning...

Cherri had just finished phoning Children's Hospital and arranged for them
to pick up several garbage bags full of stuffed Barneys, cows and camels.
It took all night, but the control room was cleared of the plush invaders.
Cherri picked up the phone and called all the local newspapers in Toronto.
It didn't take long to place the ad she wanted.  And then it was off to bed
for a quick nap.

Senara spoke softly to the Cousin who was staffing the reception desk.
They both nodded, and Senara walked away, also to grab some sleep.  The
next few days would be rather busy.  The receptionist picked up the phone
and began leaving messages for the other members of the faction.

Have fun!

Title: Fireworking (01/02)
Time: Friday, May 8th, after "A Picnic in the Park" with flashbacks
to before it
Place: The Shrine
Written by Kusine Kaninchen
Beta-read by Jesse and Glennis, who are used by permission, as is
Patt's sleeping chamber.

"Shh!" Glennis hissed.

Her two companions quit squabbling over the doorknob to Patt's
sleeping chamber and turned to the older addict.

"I wanna' pick the lock!"  Kusine begged.  "Pleeeez!"

"No!  I want to!"  Jesse countered.

"*I'll* do it," Glennis said with an exasperated sigh.  "Give me a
credit card, Kusine."

The addict rooted around in her bag until she came up with two
pieces of plastic.  "Visa(tm) or Mastercard(tm)?" she asked.

"Doesn't matter," the Californian said and snatched the nearest one.

"I would have used whichever had the lower limit," Jesse whispered
to Kusine.

With a few deft twisting movements and slips of the card, Patt's
door unlocked.  Pushing it all the way open, Glennis shooed the
younger two inside and closed the door behind her.  Jesse and Kusine
immediately made for the Third Cousin's bed and began to bounce on it.

"Hey!"  Glennis exclaimed.  "Stop that!  She's going to know we were

"As soon" *bounce* "as she sees" *bounce* "her prezzie"  *bounce*
"she'll know" *bounce* "we were here," Kusine observed.

"Yeah" *bounce* "so what" *bounce* "does it" *bounce* "matter?"
Jesse added.

With a sharp tug, Glennis yanked the blanket off the bed.  The two
hyperactive addicts slid to the floor.  After a few ameoba-like
moments, the tangled cover disgorged a muttering Kusine and a
glaring Jesse.

"Come on, let's just leave them and get out before she comes back,"
Glennis said, pulling a long, thin box from Kusine's backpack.
Looking at it, she felt the beginnings of a...


Kusine poked her head into the library, where Glennis sat with a
pile of Nunkies-centric fan fiction.

"Do we have a sledgehammer?" the bunny asked.

"Try in the Sacred Tool Shed," Glennis responded absently, not even
looking up.

Glennis continued to read.  Several moments later, the Ohioan popped
her head in again.

"If you were a pair of scissors, where would you be?" Kusine asked.

"The Wardrobe Room," Glennis said, not taking her eyes off of the
story, which had gotten to a really steamy part.

Several minutes later, there was a loud thump, then Kusine stuck her
head into the library yet again.

"Do we have any glue?"  she inquired.

"Lab," Glennis instructed.

There was scurrying and the addict left.  Glennis kept her eyes on
the book, but she was no longer reading.

"Hmmm... A sledgehammer, scissors, glue..." she murmured.  "That
sounds like trouble.  Why didn't she invite me?"

Carefully marking her place in the book, Glennis reshelved it (in
the incorrect spot so no one would abscond with it) and made her way
to Kusine's sleeping chamber.  She stoped outside the door for a
minute, listening.  she could hear Jesse's voice as well as Kusine's.

"Lemme do it!"

*THUD* *crush*

"Oh, now look at it!"


"Hey!  Stop it!"

*fwoof* *fwoof*


"Ow!  My shoulder!"

"You started it!"

*fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof*
*fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof*
*fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof*
*fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof* *fwoof*

Glennis shoved open the door.  Jesse and Kusine whirled to face her,
white feathers floating down all around them.  Quickly moving
shoulder to shoulder, they smiled innocently.  Glennis, as the
mother of a teenager, didn't buy it.

"What's going on?" she asked.

"Pillow fight," Jesse said quickly, holding up the half-empty pillow
in evidence.

Kusine smiled even wider and displayed her pillow, too.  Glennis
looked at the room as the feathers settled.

The wardrobe door was propped open with a large sledgehammer and
Jesse's saber was halfway in the cupboard.  There were what appeared
to be shards of concrete on the carpet, as well as the remains of a
cellular phone.  Three industrial-sized rolls of aluminium foil were
stacked on the bed.  Glennis couldn't see what was behind their legs.

"What on Nunkies' own earth are you two *doing*?  And why aren't I
involved?" she demanded.

"Kusine is--"

"I am not!" the Ohioan said hotly.  "I just have to make sure they
stay out!!"

"She's batty," Jesse said, in a meant-to-be-overheard aside.

"We already know that," Glennis said kindly.  "But she has the car
keys, so we have to be nice to her.  She's writing this, too, so we
*really* have to be nice.  But what has she done this time to make
it evident?"

As she spoke, both she and Jesse began to shrink and lengthen.
Glennis' voice became squeakier.  They grew fur and fluffy tails.
By the time Glennis was finished, they were both large squirrels in

"Hey!" Jesse chittered.  "Put me back!"

"Not till you say you're sorry for thinking I'm crazy!" Kusine cried.

"But you think that two big cartoon mice are coming in in the middle
of the night and menacing you!  You *are*!" the Squirrel Formerly
Known As Jesse insisted.

"Oh, Kusine," Glennis squeaked, "You know she means it only in the
nicest way."

"I suppose so," the writer said, and let them be human again.  "But
I'm not nuts!  I'll prove it!  We'll go find them!"

"Before or after we put up the aluminium foil?" Jesse asked,

"What?" Glennis asked, totally confused.

"I asked Jesse to help me put up the foil on the walls," Kusine
explained patiently.  "I figured that it was supposed to work for
aliens, so it would keep out the dream mice, too."

"Oooookay." Glennis began to casually move the sharp objects out of
reach of the obviously insane addict.  "Let's go look for them
first.  Maybe we can capture them and then you won't have to

Kusine smiled happily and began to pick up items to take with them
on their trek through the tunnels.  As she moved, Glennis could see
the remains of a Nunkies bust.

"What happened to it?" she whimpered, pointing at the shattered

"Kusine broke it when she dropped it on the cell phone," Jesse

"You're quite the tattle-tale today, aren't you?" Kusine sniped.

Jesse beamed and pointedly ignored the bunny.  Glennis sighed picked
up a convienient flashlight.  Jesse retreived her saber and they
advanced into the tunnels...


NA - cerk@rocketmail.com - RP
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

Title: Fireworking (02/02)
Time: Friday, May 8th, after "A Picnic in the Park" flashing back to
before it
Place: Toronto's Tunnels and The Shrine
Written by Kusine
Beta-read by Jesse and Glennis, who foolishly entrusted themselves
to me, even after the squirrel incident.  Patt said we could burgle
her sleeping chamber.
The flashback continues...

"Sooooo, Kusine," Jesse asked, almost managing to keep the sarcasm
out of her voice, "Where are the big mice hiding out?"

"I dunno, just through here somewhere."  Kusine indicated the
shattered cement wall that had been blocking the tunnel.

They wandered for several hours, finding no large cartoon mice
anywhere in evidence.  They found plenty of regular-sized mice,
rats, snails, spiders, insects, and other miscellaneous underground
creatures, but no cartoon nightmares.  They were somewhere under the
Studio District (well, probably.  One never can be too sure in the
tunnels.  But Kusine knew that all they had to go west to get back
to the Shrine.  Not that she was going to tell her sarcastic friends
that.) when Glennis suddenly stopped.  Jesse slammed into her,
pushing her into Kusine, who fell face first into a puddle of, well,
we'll call it water.

Once they had helped Kusine up and wrung out her toga as best they
could, Glennis sniffed the air and asked, "Do you smell that?"

"Oh, that's just me," Kusine said.  "It really wasn't--"

"No thank you!" Jesse interrupted.  "I really don't need to know
that."  The teenager turned to Glennis, who was still sniffing the
air.  "What do you smell?"

"Gunpowder!" she said excitedly.  "Fireworks!"

"Nah.  I really doubt there'd be fireworks stored right in Toronto,"
Jesse said, shaking her head.  "I mean, any idiot could find them."

"They're right up there," Glennis said, pointing to a ladder and
round cover in the roof of the tunnel.

"See?" Jesse said.  The other two addicts looked at her
uncomprehendingly.  She sighed.  "Oh, never mind."

"I love fireworks!" Glennis exclaimed, climbing the ladder.
"They're illegal in California, so I never get to play with them."

Glennis pushed on the cover above her head, but couldn't move it.
Motioning the other addicts to help, they were all soon hanging
precariously from the ladder.  Each held on tightly with one hand
while pushing with the other.  After a few tries, the cover moved
with a shriek of rusted metal.

Pulling her flashlight from a hook on the side of her breastplate,
Glennis stuck her head through the hole and looked around.  The
other two poked their heads up as well, looking like humaniod
gophers.  They tracked the beam of light around the large werehouse.

"Wow!" Jesse said reverently.  "Look at all those boxes!"

Glennis began to quiver and the light shook violently in her hand.
"Pretty, pretty fireworks!"  she muttered.  "I must have them."  She
climbed out of the hole and began pulling things out of the nearest
box.  "Oh, they won't mind if I take just a few," she assured
herself.  "They have plenty.  I just need to have a few."

Within minutes, Glennis had ammassed a pile larger then she was.
Jesse and Kusine had peered into a few boxes, but were afraid to
leave Glennis unobserved for too long.  They last thing they needed
was for her to decide that she needed to set off one of the
fireworks *right* *now*.

"Roman candles!" Jesse exclaimed.  "We have to take these back to
the Shrine.  We can keep them for Conversion Day celebrations."

"Ooooh!  Sparklers!" Kusine said, pulling down some small boxes.
She snickered.  "We should give these to Patt."

Suddenly, a light turned on over the addicts heads and voices could
be heard in the distance.

"Eeep!" the addicts said.

Scrambling madly, they began to push their finds through the hole.
The voices kept coming closer, but they managed to get everything
down, as well as themselves.  They pulled the cover over and waited
silently in the dark.

The voices moved around for several minutes before they went away
again and the light turned out.  They turned on their flashlight.
Glennis wanted to return immediately.

"No!"  Jesse and Kusine declared.

"I'll go get the car, you guys wait here," Kusine said.

"No way am I waiting alone in the tunnel with the fireworks nut!"
Jesse complained.  "She's bigger than me; she'll try to get back up

"Then Glennis can get the car," Kusine said patiently.

"I'm not leaving without my stuff!" the Californian avowed.

Kusine looked in despair at the triumphant grin on Jesse's face.
Digging into her backpack, she unearthed her keys and handed them to
the fifteen-year-old.

"I'm only doing this because it's fan fic," Kusine said.  "I would
never, *ever* let you drive my car otherwise."

The teenager only grinned as she snatched the keys and took off.


An hour later Jesse returned.  Kusine had only had to physically
restrain Glennis from setting off the fireworks once, so she counted
herself lucky.

"Hey, sorry it took me so long," Jesse said as she helped them haul
their goodies to the car waiting near the entrance to the tunnels,
"But I stopped by the fire station to get a safety booklet on

"Good idea," Glennis said.  "Now we need to go to a Radio Shack(tm)"

"Whyyyyy?" Kusine asked cautiously.

"I want to put on a fireworks show," the older addict said, smiling.
 "I want to share the wealth with all the addicts!"

"Great," Kusine agreed.  "As long as we get back to the Shrine so I
can get out of this icky toga and put up my aluminium foil."

End o' the flashback...


"Stop hittin' me!"

Glennis was brought back to the present by the scuffle that had
broken out between the two younger addicts over an errant piece of
chocolate.  Jesse suddenly pulled out her saber (*where* had she
managed to hide that thing in a mini-toga?!) and brandished it
menacingly at Kusine.  With a sniff, Kusine dropped the chocolate
and turned away to sulk.

Glennis snatched up the chocolate and popped it in her mouth.
"That'll teach you to share," she declared through her mouthful.

Tossing the sparklers on the bed, Glennis dragged them out of the
door and down the hall, giggling all the way.

NA - cerk@rocketmail.com - RP
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:

This is woefully late and so I apologize for not having it beta read. I'm
giving you fair warning about run-on sentences and the fact that I don't
have a spell-checker. Also, I have a tendency to not recognize typing
errors, while reading my own work. (Boy, doesn't *that* make to eager to
start reading?)
That's What A Hamburger's All About
Hackfully written by Shele
Time: Saturday afternoon (sorry I can't be more specific)
Place: La Palace du Perk Noir

 Ted, the Not-So-God-of-War, rapped his knuckles on the front
door of the Dark Perk's mansion and waited. It was the first time Shele had
allowed him out of her Alcove, much less the NA Shrine, in a week. He knew
that if he were ever going to taste freedom again, he couldn't fail today.
He reached out his hand to knock again and the door opened. A wizened
housekeeper stood in the doorway, barring his entrance.

"May I help you?"

Ted smiled and showed off his dimples, "I think it is I who can help you!
May I came in?"

The housekeeper gave him the once over. Then the twice over. Then the thri-

"Today?" He raised his eyebrow in a hopeful, yet suggestive manner.

"What? Oh, yes, please *do* come in." Her arm snaked out and grabbed his
forearm. "I'm sure we can come to *some* kind of arrangement."

====Across the street, watchful eyes peer out of a chariot

Shele, Sukh and Beth watched with fascination. If this didn't work, it was
back to square one. They were relieved and a bit surprised to see Ted being
dragged into the mansion.

"Now all we have to do is wait." Shele grinned at her compatriots. She had
every faith in the NSGoW and his abilities to charm even then most ornery of
women. Besides, he was looking especially handsome today in his new toga and
bronze breastplate.

"Okay, once we get his signal, we need to go to our places and finish the
job as quickly as possible! In and out, that's the key phrase for this
mission!" Sukh started humming the theme from Mission: Impossible, while
Shele continued reviewing the plan.

===Back in the DP Mansion, standing just inside the front door, Ted plies
his trade on Mrs. Hitchcock, the housekeeper

"Why, the way this War is progressing, soon there'll be factions without
food or clothing!" Ted clasped Mrs. Hitchcock's hand in his and looked
straight into her eyes. "All I'm asking for is a donation. It doesn't have
to be big, it just has to be," he squeezed her hand for emphasis, "from the

"Oh my! I'm sure the owners of this house would do anything you asked! I
know I would!!"

Releasing her hand to encircle her waist, Ted moved behind her. "How very
kind of you. I always say that those who give the most, should be the most
generously rewarded."

Mrs Hitchcock stiffened, "I don't want your money!" She tried to turn and
face Ted, but his hands at her waist stayed her.

He leaned over and spoke softly into her ear. "I wasn't talking about

====Back out on the street, Shele rambles on about their plan

"We're pretty sure that all the Dark Perks have left the premises, but we
don't know when they'll return so look lively!"

Beth examined her nails and wondered if she should have worn green polish
instead of blue.

"That includes you, Beth! Pay attention!"

She looked at the auburn haired woman pacing back and forth in the chariot
and sighed. "If you start saying something *new*, I will pay attention." She
picked some imaginary lint off her outfit then met Shele's gaze. "As it is,
I've been hearing you same the same thing for a week."

"Ooh, heard it all before, have you? Well, Missy, you'll hear it aga- Oh,
the door's opening... There's the signal! Let's go!!"

Ted's voice called from the mansion, "This lovely woman would like to
support the cuase! Come on in and bring those boxes!"

The Addicts looked at each other--they were in! Now the success of the plan
rested squarely on their shoulders and their shoulders alone. They gathered
the empty boxes resting at their feet and went to meet their fate.

"Mrs. Hitchcock, these are just a few of the young women who will be helped
by your contribution to the NA Good Works Society. Many have had a hard time
finding their place in the real world due to their addiction." A shadow
passed over Shele's face. This was *not* the story they'd rehearsed. She
caught Ted's attention and smiled sweetly at him.  He eyes widened slightly as recognized the look. "If you
want to take Beth and Shele upstairs, I'll show Sukh to the kitchen!"  Ted
took Sukh's box and started to quickly walk away.

"No, no!" Mrs. Hitchcock grabbed him by the arm causing the box to fall on
the ground. "I'm sure that's not necessary, they're all look like bright
young ladies--I'm sure they can find their own way. The kitchen is right
through that door there, dear," she gave Sukh a little push with her free
hand before turning to the other two, "and upstairs is, well, upstairs.
There are the stairs, go up 'em! See? They'll be fine! Now, why don't you
sit down here on the couch and tell me all about one of *your* Wars? There's
nothing I love more than a glorious battle... and second to that is hearing
about one!" Ted laughed, Mrs. Hitchcock cackled and the Addicts looked at
each other in fear. They'd been worried about the DPs reaction to this
attack, but now they were beginning to wonder if the real danger wasn't in
front of them, leading Ted over to a divan.


To be continued in Button Up!

kartaan@wenet.net  ---  http://www.wenet.net/~kartaan
Greetings from Camp Nunkugotaluvum  -  Cousin by nature, Addict by choice
NunkAnon - When your obsession is far too old and powerful for mere lust
Boys are good when bad, better when evil, but best when broken.

Hackfully written by Shele -- again, there's a No Beta warning on this one!

Time: Saturday afternoon, directly after "That's What A Hamburger's All
Place: DP Mansion, then much later at the NA Shrine

Sukh set her box down in the middle of the floor and wondered how she got
stuck with the boring job. Her Co-Addicts were upstairs going through the
closets and drawers and finding who knows *what* kinds of blackmail worthy
things. While she was here, cleaning our their kitchen.  Making up her
mind to just get it over with, Sukh opened one of the cabinets and let out a

Out in the living room, Ted jumped to his feet and made to rescue her--that
is, he *tried* to jump to his feet, but Mrs. Hitchcock's claw-like hand had
pinned him to the couch.

"Sukh?" Was all he could manage, as the grip on his thigh became tighter.

"Don't worry, dearie. They're not too much to look at, but they won't hurt
her--there are rules against it!" Mrs. Hitchcock began to recite, "'Neither
kill nor maim nor cause permanent injury shall the NPCs act against Real
People.' The same thing applies for real people to real people interaction,
as a matter of fact. Take quite a bit of fun out of the whole thing, if you
ask me."

"What about Non-Playing Characters interacting?"

The grimace that appeared on her face was surely meant as a reassuring
smile. "Oh, sweetie, we make our *own* rules!" Mrs. Hitchcock squeezed
the flesh caught between her fingers and waggled her eyebrows in a rude and
lecherous manner.

"Sukh? Are you okay in there?"

A voice came through the kitchen door, "Yeah, I'm fine. I was just a little
startled, that's all."

====The Kitchen, could it ever really be considered 'empty'?

Sukh eyed the pink demons eyeing her from the cabinet. "Okay, let's try this
one instead!" She opened another cabinet and beheld more demons. No, the
same demons, they had just moved. As she turned back to the first cabinet,
it became occupied again. This time with less demons.  Sukh quickly
opened all the cabinets dispersing the creatures throughout the room and,
more precisely, causing one cabinet to be unguarded. [ed. Sukh's one smart
cookie--that's why she's in the kitchen!] Heading for that cabinet, she was
unprepared for what hit her next: pasta. Turning to face the giggling
demons, she tried to determine which one had thrown the bag at her back.

"Alright. Who threw that? Huh? Who's Mr. Baseball? What? Don't have the guts
to own up to it., eh? Maybe you should be yellow instead of pink!" She heard
a snicker behind her and whirled around in time to catch a can of asparagus
soup. "So, someone over here wants to play too, eh?" This time she felt more
than heard anything and ducked to be on the safe side. The cans and cartons
that had been aimed for her head, came together in the middle of the room
and fell with a resounding thunk into her waiting box.[ed. See? I told you
she was smart!] "Groovy! This box is full!"

As Sukh headed out the side door, she didn't pay any attention to her
adversaries. The demons looked at each other in confusion. This one was
different. It hadn't been angry, nor had it tried to put the items back in
the cabinets. They needed to rethink their strategy and so made a huddle in
the kitchen counter.

====But what of the Addicts meandering upstairs?

Shele pointed to the right side of the hallway, "You take that side, I'll
take this one."

"You know, I've had just about enough of you bossing me around! Why don't
*I* take that side and you take this one?" With that, Beth crossed over in
front of Shele and went into the first bedroom .

Shele watched her go.  All the
doors on 'her' side were closed. All the ones on Beth's were open. She
rolled her eyes and they came up sevens.  Looking down the hall, she reached for the doorknob and
was surprised to find nothing except the door.  Staring at the knob, she tried again. She was a
tad relieved that her depth perception was still okay, the doorknob had
moved, that's all. Over and over she tried to catch the elusive handle. Each
time missing at the last second. She tried sneaking one hand up, while the
other made a direct assualt. She tried to distract the door by kicking it.

"Well, I guess I'd better move on to the next room." She made an obvious
shrug of her shoulders and turned away from the door.  "Oof!" Picking herself off the floor, she regarded the
still open door which seemed to mock her. "Why I aughta..." With her threat
half-spoken, Shele lunged at the knob and managed to catch it. Struggling to
pull the door open wider, she let out a cry of despair [ed. That's cursing,
to you and me] when it closed all the way. Having braced her feet against
the surrounding wall, Shele pulled on the knob with all her might. Finally,
it gave way and several gallons of pink jello cascaded down on to her prone

"You still haven't started on your first room?" Beth asked as moved down the
hallway. "By the way, you've been slimed!" Beth scooted into the next room
as Shele threw a handful of the gelatinous mass at her. They both watched as
the gelball splatted against the wall and was rapidly absorbed. "Nice try!
Now, Shele, don't forget our key phrase on this mission: 'In and Out!'" Beth
ducked back in the room as another gelball approaced.

As Shele tried to deslime herself as much as possible, she could hear Beth
snickering down the hall. 

====If I wasn't the writer, you'd think I was being prophetic

Beth opened the closet and started taking out clothes. 

"Ooh, this is nice!" She pulled out a black velvet blouse, then looked
around for Shele. Smiling to herself, Beth held the hanger under her chin
and tried to look at herself in the mirror. It wasn't working. The full
length mirror was too close to the door and, therefore, Shele. The dresser
was too close to the bed to get a good look in that mirror. Beth looked back
at the blouse. It was too nice. Standing on the bed put her too far up, so
she knelt down instead.  Watching the way the fabric moved in
the light, she moved back a bit, then started forward. "Ow!" Catching her
knee on the bedspread had caused her to fall face forward. Now she couldn't
see anything.  Pushing
herself up, she was perturbed to find she wasn't going anywhere. Looking out
of the corner of her eyes, she could see that the bed had ahold of her.
Banging it with the hanger still clutched in her hand, the bed released her
right hand. She tossed the hanger to her right hand and watched with dismay
as it flew out of her reach and onto the floor.  In her despair, her right hand touched the
bed again was firmly encased in blanket.

"Hey! No fair! You let me go, you overgrown pile of rags! Do you hear me?
Let me-Ow! Oh! Hey!" The bed started poking her, as if looking for something
in particular. "HEY! *No* tickling!! Stop it!!!! Argh!!!!" It had found it.

The last bit of yelling was enough to bring Shele running. Coming to a stop
in the doorway, she burst out laughing. Beth was rolling around on the bed
becoming more and more tangled in the coverings. 

"Beth? Oh, Beth?"

"Make it stop!!  Help me!!!"

"Beth! It already stopped, you can stop thrashing about now."

"What? It did? Well, why didn't you tell me?" She climbed off the bed and
did her best to straighten her clothing and hair.

"I did tell you. Just now." Shele watched as Beth tried to undo her new hair
style. "Leave it -- you look good in a beehive!" Shele deadpanned. Beth just
gave her the evil eye she'd been carrying around in her pocket.

"Truce, truce! We only seem to get attacked when we're alone, so let's go
through the rooms together--we're running out of time!"

Beth thought about it for a minute [ed. All time is relative.]  "Okay. Just
for today, though. Tomorrow, it's highjinks as usual."

"Agreed." Shele stifled a titter when she realized Beth pants were on

Beth gave the bed a width berth as she went to retreive her box. "I don't
know, I still feel like something's not right." She gave a shudder. "I don't
know if I'll ever be able to sleep again!"

 Shele thought as she hid her smile. "Let's just get out of
this room and go on to the next."

Working in tandem they managed to devest [ed. it's a pun--roll with it] the
remaining rooms and where headed down the stairs when Sukh came out the
kitchen. The collective gasp from Beth and Shele caused Ted to sit up and
look at the Addict dripping her way through the living room.

"Sukh? I thought you were taking the food out the side door!" He asked in
that annoyingly obtuse manner some men [ed. And some women] have.

Covered in chocolate sauce or not, the glare emanating from her eyes was
enough to make everyone stop laughing. "I *don't* want to talk about it. I'm
done in there, so I'm out of here!" Sukh stomped her way out of the mansion
the best she could, what with her shoes making chocolate flavored squishing
noises and all.

"We're done up stairs, too! I guess it's time to go!" Shele smiled brightly,
while discretely motioning to Ted.

"That's fine, why don't you girls show yourselves the way out and leave the
receipt on the table there. Now, Ted, what did you say you wanted for
dinner?" Mrs. Hitchcock didn't even look up as she tried to recradle his
head in her lap and coo in his ear.

"Ted?" Shele tried to keep her voice light. If this was his idea of a joke,
he was going to be very sorry. "You have to come with us! Ted? Let's go!"

The tone that had stealthily crept into her voice brought Mrs Hitchcock out
of her love-making. "He's staying *here*. He belongs with me! He's mine,
mine, *mine*! You go away now! You leave this house! House? House? Are you
there? We have an intruder, House!!"

Shele closed her eyes. Sure enough, a ton of jello [ed. All weight is
relative, too] came out of the ceiling and walls. Knocked down by the
onslaught, Shele struggled to keep her head above the nearly transparent
glutinous substance, obtained by boiling animal tissue. However the thought
of how the house could produce such a thing, and in such quantities as it
had, made her retch. The act of retching, in turn, caused her to lose both
her tenuous grasp of reality and footing.

Ted shook off Mrs. Hitchcock and stood up. "Oh my God, they've drowned

Thoughts of revenge not taken overwhelmed Beth and she cried out, "You

They all ran outside to find the body or what remained of it. As they
contemplated the best method of wading through the you-know-what, it started
quivering. Ted pulled out a long bow [ed. It's better not to ask], "Target

But wait, could it be? There seemed to be a figure emerging from the blob
that had oozed its way onto the lawn. Mrs. Hitchcock couldn't believe her
eyes.  "Carol Anne?"

====Back at the Shrine at last

"So then, they started taking everything *out* of the box! Finally, I just
had to get out the buttons and start throwing them around! By the time
they'd agreed on how to alphabetize them, all the food was out! I'm pretty
sure we left enough buttons to keep that kitchen busy for *quite* a while."
Having taken a shower and de-sauced herself, Sukh was having fun relating
the adventure to her fellow Addicts. "They've got no clothes, no food, a
kitchen full of buttons and a 'fridge full of Buzz Beer," she counted
off the pranks, '*and* the best part of all.... I taught the demons to sing
Shele's new song!"

They all started laughing as they began sing,

"I am Nunkies, hear me roar
I'm much too powerful to ignore
And I'm far too old to die from being staked.
Though he tried it once before
That's my shadow on the door
It was just another death that I had faked...."


A number of films, television shows, songs and worn-out jokes were abused
during the making of this story. Whatcha gonna do about it? Huh? Yeah,
that's what I thought! ;p

kartaan@wenet.net  ---  http://www.wenet.net/~kartaan
Greetings from Camp Nunkugotaluvum  -  Cousin by nature, Addict by choice
NunkAnon - When your obsession is far too old and powerful for mere lust
Boys are good when bad, better when evil, but best when broken.

WAR:  NA/Mercs/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well (1/5)
by Cousin Jules and Laurie Schagel
  with invaluable assistance from T. Gob
Time:  Saturday, May 9, about 8 pm.
Place:  CERK, The Shrine

The stainless steel cell door went flying down the corridor. The lack of a
door on the cell only made the lack of an occupant even more conspicuous.
Where once a Poobah had once presumably been, stood only empty air.  And
LaCroix was not pleased.


In his penthouse office at CERK, Lacroix sat, unmoving, in a comfortable
leather chair, hands steepled before him.  He looked sedate, but the calm
exterior belied his inner...unhappiness.  Unhappiness at finding that the
Grand High Poobah, his tormentor from Wars immemorial, had somehow escaped the
confines of the CERK
dungeon where he had ordered her confined and punished as she so richly
deserved for all the torments in Wars immemorial which she and her
predecessors had put him through.

Clearly, something had happened which shouldn't have.  Worse, there had been
no word on any front - nothing alerting him to the Poobah's escape.  Lacroix
found that omission extremely annoying; it put a cramp in his all-knowing
style.  Of course, the Cousins hadn't been privy to the abduction, with the
exception of Bons (who, he was glad to note, had at least returned to the
Shrine if not to her office - well, Jules' office - at CERK), but surely
*someone* must have noticed something.  And just what had happened to the
Addicts?  Patt and Jules had come and gone, and he'd heard little of them,
apart from the brief note he'd received from Jules on Monday noting that his
orders had been carried out, and the NA Scribe tracked down with Patricia's
help.  All else had been silence.

One hand lowered and reached down to pick up the telephone which sat to the
right on his desk.  He hit one of the pre-programmed numbers.  The phone at
the other end rang once, twice and three times before being answered.

"The Shrine," Debbie said.  "Abandon Angst All Ye Who Enter Here."


Lacroix - thanks to vampire hearing - perceived a noticeable *gulp* from the



A hand quickly covered the receiver, but Lacroix heard every word.

"Oh, Bonnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnieeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!  I think you better
taaaaaaaaaake this!!!"

Bons, who had now exchanged her scrubs for a sleek aubergine-coloured jumpsuit
and fashionable - although still much too low - heels, took charge of the

"Hello?" she asked.  "Can I help you?"

"Hello, Bonnie."

"Eeep," Bons managed to squeak out, then also covered the mouthpiece - this
was getting most annoying - and made very colourful promises to the Addict
who had dropped the ball in her court (something about an extra 50 'doggie
leg lifts'?).  "Hello, General," she managed when able to speak again. "Um,
how are you?  Did you catch Celebrity Jeopardy Week?"

"*Some* of us haven't abandoned their duties in favor of killing time in
front of the idiot box," Lacroix said sternly. "I am very put out, my dear.
It seems that the Mercenaries' leader managed to escape CERK's dungeon.  You
wouldn't happen to know *how,* would you?"

"No, sir," Bonnie said believably.  After all, Nunkies had just called her
an idiot. His expectations were low at the moment.  "You see, I was somewhat
preoccupied when she must have been sprung..."


"...and, well...Say, would you like to talk to Jules?  I bet she would know!!"

"Actually, that's who I started off calling.  Yes, please.  Put her on.  Oh,
and, Bonnie?"

"Yes?" Bons asked tentatively.

"Welcome back."

Even though Bonnie couldn't see it, she knew Lacroix was grinning evilly
from ear to ear.  She was sure he had all sorts of horrible things in store
for her for running off as she had, and they probably all involved
*sensible* shoeware and pigeons.  If there's one thing Lacroix always
knew, it was a mortal's greatest fears.

"Um, thank you," she replied, then dashed off in search of the High
Priestess.  She ran back briefly to write a small Post-It note to leave
by the phone, promising that anyone picking up the phone before she returned
would be sentenced to watching 'Regis and Kathie Lee' for the next seven

Upon reaching the HP's door, Bons found Patt sitting outside at a small
desk, typing away.

"Still hasn't come out?" Bonnie queried the Third Cousin.

"Nope," Patt answered as she stopped typing momentarily and removed the
pencil she'd put behind her ear to make a note to herself.  "I hear her
moving around in there every once in awhile, but that's about it.  She may
not have returned to normal human colouring yet."

"She was pretty red the last time I saw her."  And Bonnie wasn't talking
about Jules' hair colour.  "Well, pooh! I need her badly at the moment!
What are the odds that the fact Nunkies wants to speak with her on the phone
will break through her flashback fog?"

"About the same as the Grand High Poobah's chances of landing a spot with
the Harlem Boys' Choir," Patt replied, deadpan.

Bonnie pouted, then started to pace the hallway. "Well, that's not good. Do
you realize what hot water I'm in with this vampire?"

Patt gave the Scribe a exasperated look, complete with a 'You're asking *me*
about vamp trouble?' wriggle of her eyebrows. "Poor baby.  So you're a
lobster waitin' for the pot, Red...join the club."

"I don't want to get clubbed - that's the point, Patt."  Bons stopped her
pacing, coming to a decision. "That's it.  I'm going in there."

The Third Cousin held up a warning hand.  "You don't want to do that.  Jules
isn't herself right now.  You could be putting yourself in more peril by
stepping into her 'Twilight Zone'!"

"Nope!" Bons stubbornly shook her head.  "Desperate times call for desperate
measures."  She gripped the handle to Jules' door, a determined expression on
her face.

As she slowly pushed the door open, an unearthly, glaring light burst from
the room.  Bons blocked her eyes with a forearm to keep from being blinded.
"Uh, Jules?  Lacroix wants you on the phone..."

A disturbing voice, part Jules', part paranormal echo, burst forth in
passionate tones.  "GET OUT OF MY MIND!!!  NO...MACRAME...NO...BUBBLE...

Bons closed the door.  "Okay. That's scarier than Lacroix with a splinter."

"I told you."

"Yes," Bons agreed, dragging the Third Cousin from her chair and downstairs,
"and since you are obviously the resident Shrine expert on Julesy's
condition, you should be the one to explain it to Lacroix."

Patt did a 180-degree turn, intending to get the hell out of Dodge, but
Bonnie was quick enough to catch the back of the Louisianan's waistband.
"Hold there, Third Cousin. Where do you think you're going?"

"Fanfic Character Relocation Program," Patt stated.  "Maybe it's not too
late.  Maybe I can be saved, written into a 'Little House On The Prairie'

Bons picked up the phone and took the line off hold.  "Aw, Patt...you've had
Nunkies ripping off your clothes this war...what's a widdle-itty phone

"The straw that broke the camel's back?  Remember: this War's got a lot of
camels," Patt reminded.

Bons mercilessly shoved the phone into the Third Cousin's hand, then forced
the receiver up to her ear.  "Talk."

Patt had hot sweats, cold sweats, and sweats somewhere in the temperate
region.  Parts of her became dry, others grew moist, some stiffened while
other bits turned to jelly.  It was a miracle that she didn't pass out after
the first syllable. "Um, she can't come to the phone," she managed to say.

"'Can't' is not a word I like - especially when it is in connection with
something I want done, my dear."  Lacroix's voice had taken on its familiar
menacing tone.

"Look, I've been sitting outside her royal High P's door since last night,"
Patt tried to explain, "and I haven't managed to get her to budge.
Something must have happened at the picnic yesterday to send her into Post-
Fashion Victim Traumatic Stress Disorder or something.  She says she's not
coming out and that's final.  We're talking *disturbed.*  Oh, and there was
something about 'macrame.'"

"What did you say?" Lacroix's voice had gotten quieter.  That was usually a
*bad* sign.

"Macrame," Patt answered. "You know, the little weavy thing popular in the
70's?  Sometimes, they used beads to...."

"*Not* macrame, Miss Elmore," Lacroix said through what sounded like
clenched teeth.

"Oh.  Didn't you know?"


"You didn't know.  Fine.  Um, well, um, where do I begin?  First there
was the desecration of the Shrine, followed by the humiliation - public,
that is - of Jules at the RatPacker trial, and then..."

A dial tone followed.

Five minutes later, there was a 'whoosh'-y type of sound, and Lacroix stood
in the midst of the Shrine.

End Part 1

WAR:  NA/Mercs/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well (2/5)
by Laurie Schagel and Cousin Jules
  with invaluable assistance from T. Gob
Time:  Saturday, May 9, about 8:30 pm.
Place:  The Shrine

He turned to survey the premises, and the sight was truly terrifying.

All of the Lacroix busts had been replaced by Nick, Tracy and Schanke models,
and there were strangers in suits running about the place.  A sign outside of
the video room proclaimed a new branch of Revenue Canada.  Lacroix stepped
into the library.  At least it looked to be in fair shape.  He noticed a
favourite tome sitting upon a bookstand, and as he leafed through the pages, a
photo of a rainbow painted bust in his image fell out. Grasping it in his
hands, , he stormed from the room, the Addicts
who had congregated outside the library parting like a rapidly disappearing

He passed the Green room, examining the Sacred Cold Pond closely
enough that he noticed the features of a...carouche plainly chiseled on the
bottom.  If there was ever a time a vampire needed something for nausea,
this was clearly it.  Lacroix inspected the sauna, then the Sacred Cold
Showers, noticing the formerly white tile now had a distinctly purple tint.
 he thought.  He'd nearly cleared
the public areas and felt safe from more assaults upon his good taste when a
nearby tapestry suddenly started singing, 'Hey, hey! We're the Nunkies!'

No.  This would not do.  Not at all.

What in the Wide, Wide World of Sports (sorry - I always wanted to say
that) was going on here?  There appeared to be plenty of healthy Addicts
everywhere, but the place was a disaster.  Just then, Debbie was unfortunate
enough to cross his path.

"You!" he nearly shouted.

*Gulp*  Debbie halted on the spot.  "Y-- y-- yes?"

"What is the meaning of this?" he asked as he pointed to the devastation
behind him.

"It's not our fault," Debbie replied.  "It was those Mercs. They..."

"Yes, I know about the Mercs," Lacroix said.  "But that happened more than
two days ago.  Why have these conditions been allowed to continue?"

"Uh, well...We had the picnic yesterday?"

No comment.

"Um, today we're being audited?"

Definitely no comment.

"The fanfic fairies defected??"

Even though he didn't need to, Lacroix took a deep breath and said, "That's
quite impossible.  Cousin Bonnie invented the fanfic fairies.  She wouldn't
let them just leave."

Debbie didn't quite know what to say then.  How do you tell a 2,000 year old
vampire that he's wrong?

Seeing that he was getting nowhere, Lacroix left in search of Jules.  Surely
*she* could give some kind of rational explanation for the situation.
Approaching her room, he found Patt and Bons playing poker.

"I'll meet your two sestertii and raise you five," Patt said looking hard
across the table at Bons.

"Ha!  I don't need no stinkin' sestertii!" Bonniebarian told her.  "Just
give me the bear skins!"

Patt was about to ask her what she was on about, when a large shadow fell
across them.

"Are you protecting Jules or imprisoning her?" Lacroix asked.

"Neither, General," Bonnie answered.  "We're actually hoping to annoy her so
much that she *has* to come out."

"You *are* a Barbarian, Cousin Bonnie," Lacroix told her.

Bons looked inordinately pleased with herself.  "Why, thank you, General."

"But," Lacroix continued, "Barbarians were always hopeless at conquering
their goals.  They would make a nuisance of themselves outside a city's
gates, until the natives paid them to go away."

"Kind of like Ratpackers," Patt said with a naughty grin.

Bonnie stopped looking pleased with herself, and grew increasingly haughty.
"You know, just because the Romans invented indoor plumbing and Latin
lovers, that doesn't mean you know *everything.*"

"Indeed."  Lacroix turned Jules' door handle.  "We shall see."

The bright light flashed from the High Priestess' bedroom again, coupled
with the sound of someone tormented by a terrible nightmare.  The vampire
slipped out of sight, and the door closed.

Several minutes passed, and Patt and Bons grew increasingly curious.

"What do you think is going on in there?" Patt wondered.

Bons had her head pressed to the door, trying to eavesdrop. "I can't hear
anything good.  Damn this quality construction!"

Fifteen minutes turned into thirty, then an hour.  Finally, Jules' door
slowly opened.  There were no otherworldly lights and no spooky voices, just
Lacroix, ushering their smiling, somewhat tousled and breathless friend
leisurely down the hall.

"That's it," Bonnie told Patt before she moved to follow. "Next War, I'm
getting tortured."


"Is what Patt informed me true?" Lacroix asked Bonnie when they were back at
the Shrine. "Has NA lost control of the fanfic fairies?"

Bonnie and Jules spoke simultaneously. "Oh, yeah."

"I see..." Lacroix eyed his former Cousinly Leader speculatively. "And what
brought about this change, this transformation? I do hope that you haven't
allowed any pesky Spaniards to obtain story control in your fiction

Patt made an uncomfortable gagging sound.  Bonnie gave her a confused look,
then said, "No...I don't think the fairy problem is a case of 'Slackeria

"It is the Mercenary Guild's fault," Jules announced, a venom in her tone
that few had ever witnessed before. "This desecration is all their doing!"

Lacroix's brows knit together. "And what *exactly* did they do to the

Instead of a straight answer, Jules posed a question. "What does NA stand

The vampire sniffed dismissively.  "Jules, I don't have the patience for

She was equally firm. "Just say it."

Lacroix sighed, then spoke sarcastically, as though he was performing some
magnanimous sacrifice.  "Nunkies...Anonymous."

*Poof!* A fanfic fairy immediately appeared over his head and began to
drool.  Unlike the Addicts, Lacroix wasn't about to stand for this salivary
precipitation, and he had the means to do something about it.  Using his
vampire speed, Nunkies easily seized the offending fairy by the wings and
gave it a full-bodied glare.  "You will *never*......do that

The fairy released a high-pitched sigh and became slightly limp in Lacroix's
grasp as its eyes glazed over.  The vampire's gaze seemed to become even more
determined.  "You will take me to the New Merc Central headquarters......where I can deal with that Grand High Problem accordingly."  The
fairy nodded. Lacroix released his hold, and the tiny creature fluttered in
a daze toward the exit.

The moment LaCroix, Jules, Bons, Patt, and the hypnotized fanfic fairy
left the room, the remaining fanfic fairies POOFED in all over the
place.  Chattering, diving, swooping, they were clearly agitated.  Yes,
they were now evil fanfic fairies, but the ancient vampire unsettled
them.  Once, when they had been Nunkies fanfic fairies, they had
worshipped the tiles he walked on.  Now, they were ambivalent.

A brief discussion on options ensued.  They could swarm after the vampire,
armed with toothpicks, and rescue their bamboozled brethren.  They could worm
their way into every piece of fanfic and hold the War hostage, then maybe
take over the world!  In the end, the fanfic fairy troops decided to adjoin
to Merc Central and warn the Poobah.  That way, they might get a chocolate
lollipop out of it.

End Part 2

WAR: NA/Mercs/NA:  A Fond Fairy Thee Well 03/06
by Libby Singleton, Mildred Cady, and John Ewan

NOTE:  Although the first two parts of this dropped indicating it was 5 parts,
it is really 6.  So much for communication during a War while using carrier

DISCLAIMERS: Everyone used with permission.  No Ratpackers were harmed during
the writing of this story although some Mercs and NA members were very

Time:  Getting nigh on to midnight.
Location: Merc Central

Mildred was finally calming down from the past week.  In fact, she
even got the computer lab back into the same condition it was in at the
begining of the war- clean and all systems funtioning normally.  The one
thing she regretted the most was not being able to grab something neat
during the raid on the NA Shrine.  However, co-ordinating the run was an
incredible high in itself.  "Maybe the next time the General position
opens up I'll go for it- officially."  No offense to Berg, but his absence
could not have come at a worse time.

With the lab running smoothly, she got up to walk around a bit.
Besides, she did have to give Laurie a full report of the computer system's
progress during the GHP's abduction, and the new passwords for
the day.

In the black combat uniform she had adopted since the NA raid.
 Mildred thought.    She headed to the office,
printouts in hand.

At the bottom of the stairs, she almost collided wth Lacroix, Jules,
Patt, and Bons.  , she thought.  Mildred took only two
seconds to compose herself.  However, it wasn't Lacroix that Mildred
was worried about.  It was the Addicts' representatives.

Mildred didn't think that the Addict High Priestess had forgotten about
the cattle prod during the fashion show.   And how tight Mildred had
laced Jules into that Late Georgian dress.  Then the fact that the vampire was
with her hit Mildred.  She had never met a vampire directly to date.
"Uh, Hello.  Welcome to Merc Central.  I guess I'm *not* giving my
report to Laurie just now...."

"How very astute of you."  Lacroix had a hand on Jules,
his touch restraining her from launching a claw attack against the Merc.
The other two Addicts glared with revenge clearly in their eyes.

Mildred winced before having a mischevious thought - if I'm in trouble with
(and perhaps him) I better milk it for all its worth.  "Hey, no hard feeling
about the
cattle prod, huh, Jules?  And I truly hope the Shrine recovered from our visit
other night.  You should really get a decent security system in there.
It was *so* easy for me to co-ordinate the visit and see that it happened.
Well, I must be going.  Sorry to have kept you both so long.  See you around."
Mildred turned and walked as normally back up the stairs as she could manage."
She was giggling inside, proud of talking her way out of what could have been
a disaster.

"Get down from there!" Mildred heard Liz shout.  She dared to look behind her
and saw LaCroix and the Addicts turn towards the closed Common Room door,
apparently intent on investigating the hoopla.  Part of her knew she should
the vampire and his followers from sticking their noses into Merc business.
common sense, and her instinct for survival, won out and she allowed them to
continue on their way.


"You heard me!" Liz shouted.

The Ratpackers, as Ratpackers are prone to do, totally ignored her.  They were
much too intent on climbing the Lucius in Repose tapestry now hanging in the
Merc Central Common Room.  Liz wasn't worried too much about the tapestry
itself since it'd already been used as a dart board, it was more the very idea
of the Ratpack doing *anything* in the Common Room.

"I said get DOWN!" Liz shouted.

Although the Ratpack did get down, it was not as Liz intended.  There was a
snap of nails, the panicked faces of the Ratpack, and down they fell into a
heap on the floor - tapestry and all.

"Now see what you did!" Liz growled.  "I'm going to tell the GHP about *this*
and when I get back, that... thing better be hanging back on the wall."

"Wait onsie secondsie," Libby shouted, bounding behind.  Just short of the
door, she grabbed Liz by the shoulder and spun her around.

Liz glared a glare she'd learned from the Grand High Poohbah herself.  Libby
grinned sheepishly, pretending to dust Mildred's shoulder.  "'Cuse me," the
Libster said.  "It's jest the way yewr actin' yew'd think yew were one o'
them... Nunkie-types."

"And you AREN'T!" Liz sneered, moving around Libby to point at the Ratpack
pileup on top of the tapestry.  "I saw you staring ... longingly at that just
a few hours ago!"

"I ain't!" Libby emphasized.  "Screed's the one fer me!  'E's everythin' wot
La-Crow iz an' more!"

"How so?" Liz asked sarcastically.

"Screed's accent iz much more cul-tured-like an' 'e uses more crea-tive
verbage, 'e duz!" Libby proclaimed.  She jumped up on the coffee table, facing
the still piled Ratpack.  "'E ain't got no 'blood gut!'  'Is dome... well...
it makes a droogette wanna oil 'im down...."

At that point, Liz caught sight of movement by the door.  "Uhr.... Libby...."

"I'm lect-ur-in' 'ere, 'kay?  We's talkin' 'bout 'ow Screed THRICE the vampy-
sort tha' LaCroix would ever be!"  By this time, the huddle Ratpackers were
shakin' like Chihuahuas while still frozen in place like a opossum staring at
the headlights of an on-coming car.  Yet Libby didn't notice.  "'Ain't nuthin'
sends them shivers-wivers up me spine like a peek at ol' Screed in 'is

"Indeed," the figure at the door finally said.

Libby slowly turned, her eyes wide.  "NUNKIES!" she screached.  "LEWK IT IS
THA' NUNKIES!"  The figure was, indeed, LaCroix, flanked by Jules, Bons and

Mercs and Ratpackers alike were taken aback by the presence of the ancient
vampire in their headquarters.  A few stole a quick gland toward the GHP's
office.  Many more stole a quick glance at Jules, no doubt remembering her
fashion show.

Johnsie, meanwhile, knowing he had only moments to spare, leapt into action -
pulling a poster of 'Screedos in Speedos'  from the same place Highlanders
keep their swords.  He hoisted in front o'  the Libster.  "Breath, Lib, ya
gots ta 'member ta *breathe!*"

LaCroix raised an eyebrow as his forehead wrinkled in what very well could be
interpreted as disgust.  "These are the creatures which desecrated the Sacred
Cold Pond?  They hardly seem capable."  The ancient vampire then turned his
gaze onto John, studying the bald, pinkly-glowing Ratpack leader closely.

"Johnsie, perhaps of RatPack Henterprises, Ltd?"  LC asked. "Manufacturers
of the line of sex toys called  'Luscious Lucian', 'J'taime, Janette', and
the ever-popular 'Naughty Nicolai' with the selection of nightshirts and
robes, sold seperately, of course."

Johnsie seemed nonplussed.  'Oh, yew'v 'eard o' hus, then?  The Merc 'ad an
hundersused factory, sos I put'em ta work!  We've brought in a pretty
pen....er, well, we broke heven, anyhoo."  Without thinking, he lowered the
poster.  A very thin line of drool began to form around Libby's mouth.

"Isn't that cute," Jules said.  "Does anyone have an extra drool cup?"

"No!" Maya and Stefi shouted in unison, leaping from the pileup.  "Johnsie,
yew gotta dew somethin'!"

"Think o' Nat an' Screed...." Johnsie urged.

"Think of that chariot fantasy you wrote, Libs," Patt said.

"Think o' Screed in tight leather pants...." Johnsie countered.

"Think of the kiss and makeup fantasy," Bons urged.

"ARGH!" Libby screamed, wrapping her arms protectively around her head as she
collapsed to the flow.  "I luv me Screedy but keep picturin' La-Crow's
backside when 'e's bendin' over.  Me Screedy's 'ot stuff! 'Ot stuff!  'Ot
stuff!...." Libby repeated over and over before switching to, "I'm NOT an
Addict!  I'm NOT an Addict!"

"Hit's hokay, Libsterama," Johnsie cooed soothingly.  "Screed's me bud, but Oi
got's ha deep hemotional feeling' fer Janette, tew."

"It would be wise if you did not mention Janette again, RatPack Henterprises
Ltd. or not," LaCroix said threateningly.  "As for *her*," he added, glaring
at Libby, "such a pathetic site, sickening sight."  He grabbed Libby up by the
arm, dangling her off the floor.

"Wait!" Patt cried.  "Don't hurt her!"

"You *can't*," Jules protested.  "This is War!  Nobody dies, nobody EVER

"Besides, is she even worth your notice!" Bons exclaimed.  "You might get ...
get Ratpacker cooties!"

"Which is hardly fatal to *my* kind," LaCroix muttered, his nose and forehead
contorted in anger.  He stared straight into her eyes before lowering her to a
standing position.

"Hee, hee.  He wrinkled 'is nose at me!  I luvs it when 'e wrinkles 'is nose
at Nick-the-thick 'eaded," Libby said, fighting to keep her feet.  "I feel a
might per-cul-a-lary."  She finally went down, in a dead faint, against John
who naturally stepped back, letting her hit the floor.

"Must 'ave been a self-de-fensive type o' thingee wot tew keep 'er from
meltin' down!" Johnsie said, fanning Libby with the Screed in Speedos in
Repose poster.

"A 'melting' Ratpacker would have been a sight even I could not tolerate,"
LaCroix said.  "Patt, you are to remain here and keep an eye on these
creatures while Jules, Bons and I continue on to our ... meeting."

After LaCroix left the room, Patt sighed, looking at Liz.  "I can't believe he
didn't have Ratpacker for dinner.... Wait a sec!  Isn't that the Lucius in
Repose tapestry the Ratpack is wallowing on!  GENERAL!" Patt shouted, starting
to run for the door.  "The Ratpack has the ... oopf!"

Johnsie had Patt in an armlock, his hand covering her mouth.  "Ain't no need
wot tew over-react."

"Yes there is!" Liz said.  "We've got to make sure she doesn't tell LaCroix."

"Sim-ple minded thingee tew solve," Johnsie said.  "Time fer a Ratpacker

"A what?"

John let go of Patt, who naturally started to scream and run. But it was to no
avail.  Before a sound could be uttered or a step taken, the Ratpacker was in
action.  Maya took a thread from the corner of the tapestry and started to
trot round and round the Addict.  Stef and John hoisted the still unconscious
Libby up, tying another thread to her hand and running with her, following

"I'm not a Maypole!" Patt protested.

"Yewr a Nunkie pole!" John explained.

"That's NunkieS - with an 's'," Patt snarled.  Not the brightest thing she'd
ever said.  With great glee, every Ratpacker, even the now awakening Libby,
started chanting, "Nunkie! Nunkie!" as they wrapped Patt.

"Told yew I ain't no Addict o' NUNKIE!" Libby taunted Patt.

When they were done, the tapestry was no more, and Patt was pratically
cocooned.  "Now," John said.  "Time wot tew be paid."

"Paid?" Liz asked.  "Paid for keeping LaCroix from Ratpack massacre?"

Liz felt a rush of air as the Ratpack disappeared past her, diving into vents
and other entrances to their tunnels.  She developed the sense that something
was missing and looked at her wrist.  "My watch!!! You guys come back here!"
She chose the nearest entrance and followed them into their tunnels.

"Mmmmphhhhh!"  Patt moaned, wobbling like a weeble.

A hand popped out of a panel on the wall, giving Patt a good push before
disappearing again.  "Lewk!  Addict tippin'!" a nameless voice said.

Patt weebled, wobbled, fought to keep her balance.  But in the end, she did
tip over.


-continued in Part the 4th-

Comments to LibRatsie@aol.com

WAR: NA/Mercs/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well (4/6)
by Laurie Mercbard and Jules
with invaluable assistance from T. Gob
Time:  After midnight, Saturday May 9 into Sunday May 10
Place:  Merc Central

Everyone used with permission!

Laurie was happily listening to her new CDs of "Into the Woods," "Fiddler
on the Roof" and "Godspell", trying to think up evil filks. She looked up
at the swoosh which filled the air.  "Hey, don't mess up the couch! It just
got redecorated," she scolded, as her office filled with dozens of smartly
dressed (in little black suits and capes) hovering fairies, but she
softened as they all smartly saluted before one came closer and whispered
in her ear.

She stiffened when she heard the news - LaCroix , with Jules, Bons, and
Patt in tow, was on his way to Merc Central, with a captive fanfic fairy in
tow.  she
thought grimly, although her anticipation was tinged with a large streak of
apprehension. Much as it appeared otherwise, she didn't exactly enjoy going
head to head with the ancient vampire, because sooner or later she was
bound to lose, and lose big. Grand High Poobah she might be, but she was
still a mortal.  She scribbled, "Find a way to become a vampire without
breaking the war rules" at the top of her 'To Do' list.

Still, she might not want to take on LaCroix again, but humiliating Jules
was another story. Knowing LaCroix, he might actually enjoy watching that.
She sent the fanfic fairies off to round up their fellows, and settled back
to await her guests, idly leafing through a file of fashion victim photos
that the Merclettes had just dropped off, as her fan fic fairy peered over
her shoulder with interest.

* * *
LaCroix strode into the GHP's office without knocking, and came to a halt
before her desk, staring coldly at his adversary. Jules followed, hovering
behind him, and sticking her tongue out at Laurie.  Laurie's fan fic fairy
immediately POOFED out of sight.

Laurie strove to remember that she was on her own turf, and thus well
protected. She was perfectly safe. Yeah. Right.  Whatever. She gestured
without speaking to the - ick - brown divan, but LaCroix  shook his head.
Jules stuck her tongue out at Laurie again. The GHP made a  mental that,
the next time Jules had a fashion torture session, one of the  ensembles
should be flannel footsie pajamas, so the High Priestess would  look five
years old as well as she was acting it.

Bons took a seat in a stuffed chair in the corner of the room. She still
couldn't figure out what she was doing here. She'd withdrawn, she'd quit
the war. Plus, she hadn't had anything to do with the Poobah's kidnapping
(except of course, for coming up with the idea and writing half of it).
Details, details, details. What was she doing in this story anyway?

"Excuse me," she said. The trio turned and looked at her. "Why am I in this
story? I'm supposed to be at my dad's wedding in North Carolina right now."

LaCroix turned away, ignoring her. Jules and Laurie exchanged glances.

"Well," Jules began, "This is kind of like our closing post, and we
couldn't end the war without you, no matter what's happened."

"Yeah," Laurie added. "Plus, this has turned into the Hotel California war.
You know, you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave.
Someone will just keep writing you in."

Bons nodded. "They just *don't* get it," she thought, sinking back into her

Lacroix pulled a crumpled photo from his jacket pocket, tossing one of the
thousand colorful bust images that the Mercs had left in the Shrine.  "I
see that you've been busy where my addicts are concerned."

"They had it coming to them," Laurie said hotly. "Every one of them
deserved  what they got and more."  She
could feel her temper swelling.

"And did my High Priestess deserve to be kidnapped?" LC asked

Jules choked. 
but she wisely kept the thought to herself. She knew he was not pleased at
the fact that she'd let this entire incident get out of hand to begin with.
Kidnapping Poobahs was one thing. Screed in Repose at the bottom of the
Sacred Pond was a different matter entirely.

"As a matter of fact, she did," answered the GHP. "Fair's fair, you know.
She got her just desserts."

"And what exactly was it that she *got*?" the ancient vampire inquired in a
deceptively mild tone.

The Poobah opened her desk drawer, picked up the file inside and tossed it
across the desk towards her visitor.  Lacroix picked it up, looked at Jules
warily, then opened it.  He  was treated to the excruciatingly painful
sight of Jules in combat fatigues...Jules in that horrid 18th century dress
...Jules in macrame....Jules

"Now I know the perfect Easter gift."

The High Priestess, who had been turning a deeper and deeper shade of red
as Lacroix flipped through the photos, suddenly forgot her humiliation and
felt a sudden desire to kick a certain vampire in the shins. Noticing her
change in mood, he leaned over and whispered something.  Jules looked
inordinately pleased, then turned bright red again.

Lacroix turned his attention back to the pictures.

"Was a cattle prod really necessary?" he asked, none too pleased.

"Hey!" Laurie responded.  "We were being gentle. You should have seen the
cage I wanted to put her
in. Want to see more?"  She pulled out another envelope.

Jules blanched. It seemed the tete-a-tete was going to continue for some
time, and she didn't want to be part of it. She'd had enough abuse to last
a lifetime. So Jules whistled silently to herself and began to pretend
there was something else in the room that she could focus on.  Something
that would help her to forget her stint as Fashion Victim.  Something that
would help her forget that Lacroix was seeing her humiliation, and being
just a bit too amused by some of the evidence. Any second now, she
envisioned the exasperating man asking Laurie for copies.

In another corner of the room, Bonnie continued to wonder why she was in
this story. She twiddled her thumbs, yawned, then clicked the heels of her
shoes toogether three times while the others engaged in meaningful
dialogue.  Bonnie sat in her
chair, making
faces at the other characters. If they had to keep putting her in their
stories, the least they could do was give her some action and dialogue.
 Alas, Bonnie was not destined for a
plot development at this juncture. That honor belonged to Jules.

Suddenly, the High Priestess caught sight of an object hanging in another
corner of the room she exclaimed silently.  

She looked back quickly to Lacroix and the Poobah.  The General was ticking
off the devastation at the Shrine and being matched word for word by a
description of Laurie's humiliation at the hands of the
Addicts. Back and forth. Back and forth. Like a ping pong ball.  Nyah nyah
nyah. Stick the two of them in a sandbox with one shovel, and it would have
been a picture. Except, of course, that Nunkies would have instantly bit
Laurie's head off, then gloated in his victory. Now, that was an image to
make an abused High Priestess giddy with delight.

"Lime Green Rat Skulls!"

"Do gooder movies!"

"That appalling mosaic in the Sacred Pond!"

"Young Republicans and Spice Girls wrestling tapes!"

"My statues replaced!"

"Hey, that wasn't us! We wouldn't inflict Tracy statues on anybody. Even
Mercs have limits! Besides, statues can be replaced. Ratsie-drilled mosaics
 involving Speedos have to be resanded." The GHP leant back in her chair,
grinning in wicked satisfaction.

 Jules speculated, and began to tiptoe over to
the chimes. Unfortunately for her, when she reached the blessed object of
her desires, she noticed that they were well out of her reach, even in non-
sensible 3-inch heels.  It was then that she observed how abundantly the
room was furnished with decorative pillows.  Quietly, she crept about,
literally behind Lacroix's back, out of sight of the Poobah, and collected
the largest of the pillows in order to stack them up under the windchimes.
She began her ascent as the GHP and LaCroix continued facing off.

"A missing tapestry!"





A crash interrupted them. Just as her prize came within reach, the mountain
of pillows collapsed beneath Jules, effectively destroying any hope of
hiding her 'quest.'

As one, Laurie and Lacroix turned to see Jules half-buried in soft cushions.

Jules sat up and blew a stray hair out of her face.  "Just call me
'Grace,'" she said, feeling like....She never got to finish that thought,
for Lacroix had suddenly realised what it was the HP had been pursuing.

"I could've told you," Bons said sleepily from her chair. "They always
catch you, *despite* the decorative pillows."

*  * *
WAR: NA/Mercs/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well (5/6)
by Laurie Mercbard, Jules, Annie
with invaluable assistance from T. Gob
Time:  After midnight, Saturday May 9 into Sunday May 10
Place:  Merc Central

Everyone used with permission!

"WHERE DID YOU GET THOSE WIND CHIMES?" LaCroix roared at the GHP, his eyes
turning golden.

For once, LC in a rage didn't bother the GHP. She smirked, and pointed at
the High Priestess sprawled on the floor. "Ask her. We found them on her
the other night."

"Explain," Lacroix commanded his High Priestess.  "Where did you find the=

"Er," began Jules, "I was just 'borrowing' them.  You know, to use as a
model for my own?"


"Oh, OK.  I admit it.  I took them from the University.  Heck, if a gal
can't steal from her own alma mater, who *can* she steal from?"    "You aren't going to tell on me, are you?"

In answer, Lacroix walked over to where she was sprawled and helped her up,
then reached above his head and easily captured the artifact in one elegant

"I will take these with me," he told Laurie.

"Whoa!!  NO WAY!!  Just give me one good reason why I should let you take
them." the Poobah queried.

"Because otherwise I'll tear you to bits?," he threatened pleasantly.

"Why do you care so much?" the Poobah responded. "They're pretty ugly."

"Precisely because it *is* a relic from my past, my dear Poobah," Lacroix
told her.  "And, as a...benefactor of the University, I expect my gifts to
remain where I intend them to be."

"Oooooooooooo," the Poobah and High Priestess said in unison.  Laurie added under her breath. LaCroix glared at her.

"Wait a tick," said Jules.  "You had those all the time?  And you never
told me??  Harrumph."  Jules smoothed out her silver ensemble and tucked
her loose hair back into place.  Lacroix just looked amused, which further
infuriated his High Priestess.  "Fine for you," she said.  "You probably
have hundreds that I don't know about, and here I am, sending poor Patt on
a mission across North America for the perfect windchime. That's a fine
kettle of tea!"

"As a matter of fact..." he began.  Jules became compliant once more.

"Ooo!!  Can I see them?  Huh, huh?  Can I? Huh???" she asked.

"Perhaps," he teased.  "After the War. But for now ...."

His sentence was interrupted by a loud noise coming from beneath Bonnie's
chair in the corner. She was suddenly flung through the air with a loud
"EEP!", her chair landing not far from her.

"What *are* you doing, Bonnie?" Lacroix quipped, looking at her with
 that 'you will tell me all' look.

"Uhm...wondering why I'm in this story?" Everyone glared at her. Bonnie
sighed, shrugged, then merely pointed at her corner, and all eyes, mortal
and vampire, witnessed Annie pulling herself up into the GHP's office from
a trap door in the floor.

"This had better be the bank lobby," the bedraggled Nunkmommy mumbled.
"I've been wandering around down there for I don't know how long, and all I
can say is someone has some 'splainin' to do."  She stood up, dusted her
grimy fuschia dress off, and mumbled some more. "I should have known better
than to trust tunnels dug by a RatPacker! Do you realize there's no
plumbing down there? Primitives! Absolute primitives!"

"ANNIE!!!!! ANNIEEEE!! You're back!" exclaimed Jules and Bons in unison.
There was bouncing, joy and happiness. They squealed like long lost
sorority sisters, and, yes, Laurie felt like shooting the lot of them.

"What the he...??" the GHP said. "What are *you* doing here in  *my*
office?! And how did that tunnel get here?!  Will I always be cursed by you
Nunkiemaniacs???  This room was once my haven, my bastion
of sanity, but now...it's crawling with, urgh, ADDICTS!"

Annie stared at her surroundings.   She closed her eyes, shook her head, and
opened them again.  Everything was the same. "Um, I'm right in assuming
this isn't Grand Cayman, and no one's going to rub me down with cocoa
butter and bring me a pina colada?"

Jules, Bonnie and Annie all compulsively looked at Lacroix. It sounded like
Nunkies Fantasy material to them, whoo-yeah! Unfortunately, Lacroix's
return expression implied the NunkMommy was more likely to get Janette to
go blonde at the moment.

"Ooo. Too bad," Bonnie said in consolation. "Where ya been, 'bug? We've
been worried. Not that we've written long posts of discourse about your
disappearance, or anything, but - Hey! - we thought you were partying in
the Caymans. now that we are aware how you have suffered, our sorrow is
genuine, one step short of angst. Imagine the FoDs without garlic...the
Dark Perks without coffee...Nick without a klew...uhm, scratch that last 

"Yes, Ann," Lacroix added.  "Where *have* you been? And why, might I add,
do you look such a fright?"

Annie ran her hand over the linen dress to dust more of the grime away,
only to make the blotches larger, then tried her best to smooth her
straggled 'do back into a twist.  She ran her fingers under her eyes, but
only made the smudges worse.  She *was* truly a fright to behold. And
people thought *vamps* were monsters.

"Tell her about the Shrine, that would really - OUCH!" the GHP was
interrupted with the pointy end of Jules' non-sensible three-inch heel
shoes and an accompanying glance that said, "Shut your mouth, you fairy

"What about the Shrine? What happened?" Annie begged, but was cut off by a
discreet cough from Lacroix. 

"I believe I asked you a question, my dear.  And your answer is ....?"

"Oh," Annie said, backed into the ick-brown divan.  "I was going to add
$500,000 from the NA bank account in the Caymans to your reward money. I
was going to use the tunnels in the Peach to get there, and with the help
of the fanfic fairies, I was supposed to get there and back like that."
Annie snapped her smudged fingers.  "Instead, I wandered around and
around....it was horrible, and the tunnels got grungier and
grungier...They're made out of dirt, you know." She looked up at Jules.
"Snappy outfit, Jules. Did something happen to the fic fairies? Aren't they
supposed to take care of things like the tunnels? Aren't they supposed to
see to the addicts' every need, so we don't have to lift a finger to do
menial fictional tasks? Isn't this divan a horrible color? Why is Nunkies
holding windchimes? Bonnie, have you grown some?"

Upon hearing her name, Bonnie remembered she was in the story and moved to
the ick-brown divan and slapped Annie hard across the face.

"Bonnie!"  Jules exclaimed.

"Heh-heh," said the GHP.

"Hey! Why'd you do that?" Annie asked, hand over her cheek.

"Sorry, Raper," the Scribe said. "You were beginning to babble. Plus, I
missed the bar fight. I had some rowdiness to express, I guess."  She sat
down next to the grimy and not too pleasantly smelling NunkMommy. "When was
the last time you ate, Annie?" she asked.   she

Annie stared at Bonnie, and then at Laurie, and then at Jules, and finally
at Lacroix, as if one of them would have the answer.  A little bit of drool
began spill from the corner of her mouth.

"Sheesh!" exclaimed the GHP. "There she goes into a meltdown.  Here!" She
thrust a few pages of her personal copy of Libby's Nat & Screed script in
Annie's face. "Don't let her ruin the divan!"

Bons took the papers and dried Annie's chin.  "Like that's possible,"
Bonnie replied.  "She's not having a meltdown, she hasn't eaten in almost
two weeks!"  Bons looked at LaCroix. "We need to get her out of here," she
pleaded. "She needs food! Clothes! A bath!"

"Iodine!" Annie wailed.

"Very well." Lacroix gestured toward the office door. "You may be excused."

The GHP rapped her desk. "Hey! Hold your togas one dang-blasted minute!
Nobody departs until I stop screaming, and I don't think we're quite done

That certainly gives me pause, " Lacroix said drily, then rolled his eyes.
"Very well, what is on your maniacal little mind now?"

* * *

WAR: NA/Mercs/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well (6/6)
by Laurie Mercbard and Jules
with invaluable assistance from T. Gob
Time:  After midnight, Saturday May 9 into Sunday May 10
Place:  Merc Central

Everyone used with permission!

"How do I know that you won't tell someone about Merc Central's new
location?" Laurie demanded with the fervor of the true paranoid tyrant.
"How do I know *they* won't tell about our location??? Hmmm???" Laurie
asked, suddenly realising that Bons was actually in this story. Bons
realised it, too, amazed to find that she truly had a purpose, namely
keeping Annie from passing out and dirtying the rug.

Lacroix's reply was simple. "I will make them forget."

"No way!" the two coherent Addicts shouted. Jules appeared furious. Bonnie
bounced up and down in a tantrum. Without Bons' support, Annie tipped over,
and made a smudge on the carpet where she landed, face first. Oh,
well...such is the soils of war. "We need something to hold over Laurie's
head for the next
War!"  Bonnie and Jules fussed. Lacroix and Laur ignored the whining.

"And why should you blank their databanks?" the GHP asked suspiciously.

LaCroix considered the Poobah for a moment. "Some secrets must be kept. I
understand secrets, you see," LaCroix said.  "As I have many of my own. A
little mystery, a little intrigue, is good for those who
have souls.  It adds ... flavour to life. And as for those of us who no
longer possess such inconveniences, well ..." he shrugged, clearly
including the GHP in the latter grouping.

Stroking the photos which she held, the Poobah regarded the ancient
vampire. She didn't have many other options. Sure, she could try to kill
Jules and Bons before the pair spilled the beans about where HQ was, but
the war was almost over and plus her wrist hurt. And she had no way of
making LaCroix forget where the Mercs were located short of killing him
too, which would likely be a rather dangerous undertaking and piss off a
lot of people on FKFIC-L, to say nothing of FORKNI-L.

She'd just have to take him at his word, she supposed. The elder vampire
did live by his own code of honor, one which she suspected was rather
closer to her own glorious set of values than most others. He knew this as
well. The two understood each other. He would keep matters between the two
of them. She doubted he'd want to see a Merc-Cousin feud develop, and would
likely keep his followers busy on such gratifying tasks as tormenting
puppies. No, he wouldn't want them constantly looking over their shoulders
for a bunch of obviously capable - and when needed, vengeful - Mercs.

So he was likely to keep his promise, and not reveal the location of Guild
HQ to anyone. And if he took to dropping in unannounced, well, she'd just
treat it like a raccoon  infestation. It'd be easier to build a new HQ than
to get the vampire to stop coming around, and the Guild certainly could
afford it.

She nodded her head in agreement. "Here, why don't you keep these?" she
offered, passing the stack of photos over the desk. She had many more
copies anyway. The vampire nodded, took the envelope and swiftly pocketed
it, then turned to his followers.

"But, Nunkies..." Bons and Jules began, as Annie let out a snore from her
prone position on the floor.

"Silence," LaCroix ordered. He headed for the door, turning for a final
comment to the Grand High Poobah.

"I would not push your luck too far, Ms. Mercbard," he said dryly. "My
patience, unlike my years,  is not endless."

With that, he scooped Annie over one shoulder, and exited the office,
leading the pouting Jules and Bons behind him.


The common room was deserted when LaCroix re-entered it, but he noticed a
flurry of movement at the far end of the hall. His footsteps echoed as he
strode toward the source.

Dozens of fanfic fairies surrounded the cocooned Patt, pulling and tugging
at the threads surrounding her, unwrapping her. The yelps within the
Pattpole grew louder as, bit by bit, the Third Cousin began to emerge.

The vampire stared angrily, and the fairies backed away, slinking  behind
him. He whirled to face them, and his eyes grew golden as he stared at the
army of tiny flyers. They stared back, a little unsure, huddling close
together for reinforcement. The powerful vampire raised his arm and, with a
broad gesture, swept it toward the fairies.

*POOF!*  Every fanfic fairy in Merc Central disappeared. Well, every single
fanfic fairy except one disappeared.  The GHP's personal fairy suddenly
re-appeared and hovered in front of the vampire, head cocked questioningly.

LaCroix stared at the fairy. The fairy stared back.  A battle of wills ensued.

 Laurie's new friend informed the vampire. 

You had to hand it to the little bugger, he sure knew what buttons to push.
LaCroix had to admire the fairy's sense of priorities. He arched his
eyebrows and gave a small nod in acquiesence.

As Jules helped Patt to her feet, the vampire turned to his beraggled
followers, holding their gaze. They presented a very sorry picture.

"You will forget you were ever here," he ordered them, his eyes and voice
drilling into their  consciousness. "You will return to the Shrine and
clean yourselves - and the Shrine - up immediately."

He whirled on his heels, and exited Merc HQ, with the quartet of Addicts
dragging in his wake - Annie, quite literally.

*POOF!,* the lone remaining fanfic fairy in Merc Central popped back to her
new mistress.


Laurie, having grudgingly decided to let bygones be bygones, for this war
at least, was busily engrossed in plotting out war ten when her fan fic
fairy suddenly flew off  his comfortable perch on her computer, and began
making agitated circles in the air.

*POOF!* It disappeared. *POOF!* It reappeared and whispered in Laurie's
ear. The Poobah jumped up screaming.

MINE!" The fact that she had stolen them to begin with was irrelevent. Her
personal fairy forebore to point out that possession being nine tenths of
the law, what the Poobah saw in front of her face was now what the Poobah

All thoughts of truces and peace went out the window.  Laurie pounded her
desk in annoyance.  she thought coldly, 

She opened the door to her office. "MILDRED! LIZ! Get in here. NOW!" and
slammed it shut. They had work to do.

* *

Mildred, Liz, and Erin were sitting around the computer room imagining
torture methods for making certain Addicts forget where Merc Central was
when Mildred cocked her ear at a familar sound.

"Hear something?" she asked.

Liz grimaced. She heard all right, and she'd had quite enough for the night.

"Yup, I sure did." She turned to Mildred. "I hear there's a party at Dark
Dimensions. Wanna go?"

The Mercs grinned at each other, grabbed their jackets, and headed out the
door. Silence reigned at Merc Central, but to the Grand High Poobah, it
would not be golden.

* * * end

WAR: Merc: A Sizeable Difference
Time: Sunday, May 3, late afternoon
Place: Merc Central
Following:  NA/Merc/RP: A Fond Fairy Thee Well

By Laurie Mercbard

"Steal my fan fic fairies, will he?" muttered the GHP, conveniently
forgetting that they'd technically belonged to LaCroix first. (Well, if you
wanted to get *really* technical, they had belonged to Bons' imagination
first, but that was a minor detail.) For despite her hours of screeching,
ordering, screaming, and hurling of abuse, not a single fan fic fairy had
re-appeared at HQ since LaCroix had whammied them away. Only her personal
fairy had remained, listening to the GHP's rantings for a bit before
putting in tiny fan fic fairy earplugs and dozing on the computer.

"Wait until *these* start showing up all over town," she added, gazing with
satisfaction at the boxes on her desk. Three parcels, each with a
substantial supply of Nicksickles and a much smaller supply of Nunkies pops
sat open. The GHP picked up one of each pop and held them up to the light.

Grudgingly, as she hated to give credit to anyone but herself, she had to
admit that her ordered specifications had been met to perfection. The
Nunkies mold had been altered to half its previous size. That alone would
annoy LaCroix, she was sure. But when he got a load of the new line of
Nicksickles, with its substantial endowments, almost four times that of the
Nunkies pops, he'd likely be infuriated. Which, of course, was the entire
point of the exercise.

 Laurie thought.

She absently stroked the little box on the corner of her desk that held the
small snippet of Nick's hair she'd received from Brianna. When she'd first
seen Forever Knight, she hadn't been able to take her eyes off the blonde
blue-eyed detective. She'd quickly retired her Nick drool cup, however,
when she'd recognized the obvious defects in his personality and value
system. But the initial appeal had lingered deep inside, occasionally
surfacing to irritate her at extremely inopportune moments.

With an effort, she stopped her dirty little mind from wandering too far
down a path she'd left far behind when she'd joined the Mercs, and focused
on the far more important business at hand.

Her fairy merrily placed lids on two of the boxes, and tied them up with
white ribbons. Laurie carefully taped cards on the top. One read, "For the
Knighties,"; the other "For the Nick and Natpack."  While she wasn't prone
to giving the Knighties or the NNP *anything* except grief, in this case
she'd made an exception, figuring that these factions would be most likely
to make a public display of their Nicksickles.

She had one final package to finish, the most important one of all. Same
contents but with a rather different message. Unlike the other two
packages, this one contained a card. She picked it up and gazed at the
words, the first lines of a filk set to "Anything You Can Do" from Annie
Get Your Gun.

    Any size that you are, Nick will be bigger
    I'll make sure that Nick is bigger than you.

Below that was a chocolate lipstick kiss, with the GHP's personal seal, a
chocolate-covered skull perched on top of a dollar sign, imprinted in the

She closed the box, addressed the card - Lucien LaCroix - and neatly tied
the ribbon. Satisfied, the Poobah leaned back in her chair. All three
packages would be delivered by messenger later this evening  By the time
the pops started popping up all over Toronto, she'd be on her way out of town.

And most importantly, War Nine would be drawing to an end. She'd have a
minimum of nine months to hunker down, just in case Nunkie (without the S!)
came looking for her. She was untouchable until then, and by then ... well,
by then she'd just have to find a way to bottle Bons' imagination for her
own nefarious purposes.

* * *
WAR: Merc: A Poobah's Parting (1/1)
TIME: Sunday evening, following Merc: A Sizeable Difference
LOCATION: Merc Central and A Street Corner

by Laurie Mercbard, filk by Laurie Mercbard and T. Gob
All used with permission

Liz knocked again at the GHP's suite. When there was still no response, she
gingerly opened the door, and peered inside. The office was deserted.

The Poobah's desk stood totally empty, except for a solitary envelope,
addressed to the House Mommie. Opening it, Liz read:

Keep the home fires from burning down the house, or I'll have your head.
I'm leaving my fan fic fairy in charge. It sees and hears all, so don't try
anything sneaky.

The GHP's personal seal was at the bottom.

Sighing, Liz picked up the note and headed out to the common room to spread
the news. She wondered briefly where Laurie had gone off to now. Clearly,
the Poobah needed a rest. After the trauma of this war, she doubted the GHP
could take much more at present. Lord knows, the Mercs couldn't, or they'd
all end up with perforated eardrums.

* * *
The Poobah stood twiddling her thumbs on the deserted street corner,
leaning against the mailbox. She didn't like to be kept waiting. She
checked her watch. She was right on time. Where *was* her contact?

Her twiddling was interrupted by a muffled "Psst." She looked around. No one.

"Psst. Laurie." came the voice again. This was followed by a rapping sound
coming from ...

The mailbox slot squeaked open, and Laurie jumped when Mackie the Mole
poked her head out.

"I wish you'd quit *doing* that to me!" the GHP squeaked, sounding a bit
like the mailbox. The merc spy's only response was to pass Laurie a small
slip of paper through the slot. The Poobah opened it, grinned widely,
refolded it carefully and tucked it away in her pocket.

"You're sure it's the right account number?"

"Of *course* it is, O-Ye-Of-Little-Faith!" Mackie's hand snaked up out of
the slot again. "And here's your ticket to the Caymans -- first class--
though now I'm not so sure you deserve it."

"Where's yours?" Laurie snatched the ticket before it could disappear. "I
thought we were going together."

"I'd rather make my own way there. You know, secret agent lifestyle and all
that." Mackie grinned and sunlight glinted off her mirrored shades. "Don't
worry though, I'll meet up with you at the hotel."  Just then a Royal
Canadian Post truck pulled up to the curb.

"Oops! Here's my ride -- gotta go!" The mole waved and disappeared into the
depths of the mailbox once more.

The Poobah shrugged. And Mackie thought *she* was strange.

No matter. She had what she wanted, and she was on a mission. As the postal
worker stepped from his truck, Laurie hoisted her pack full of Nicksickles
over her shoulder and headed down the street, looking for a cab to the
airport, softly singing, to the tune of "One Singular Sensation" from A
Chorus Line:

One singular withdrawal
>From the Nunkie Addicts bank.
One mercenary windfall
All your credit they'll yank.

I'll smile when suddenly you see your debts accrue
You know you never should mess with the Grand High Pooh ...

* * *
WAR:  NA/Mercs: The Lengths A Poobah Will Go To (1/1)
By Cousin Jules, Laurie, and T. Gob
Time: After dusk, Monday, May 11
Where:  CERK

Jules trudged up the stairs to CERK early Monday evening.  

    Source: geocities.com/televisioncity/5077

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