Te Amamus Nunkies starring Jules_ Debbie_ Sherry_ Kusine

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Te Amamus Nunkies starring Jules_ Debbie_ Sherry_ Kusine Powered By Docstoc
					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
presentable.

     "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
grin.

     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.

     <Oh, my…It can't be!… Can it?> Jules rushed toward the glass
cabinet,
her pulse racing. <I can't believe it! Fortuitous discovery!>

     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.
     <Oooo!> Jules' eyes gleamed greedily. <Wait until I tell Patt! It
took
her months to fail to locate a proper windchime, and I've found one
completely by happenstance!>

     "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
coolly.

     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<tm> 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
nails!"

     The spirit nodded in satisfaction as Jules etched a circle in the
glass, covered her fist with her Official Nunkies Black Silk Hanky<tm>
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
place.

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
HEY, HEY, WE'RE THE NUNKIES
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. <How lame can you get?> 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 <and boy, do they hate that name>, 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 <tm> 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. <Would they
ever
have their High Pain in the Butt back?>

* * *
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<tm> 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. <Better them than us,> 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'
Ratsies'."

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
it.

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.

<Figures,> 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.

<Finally, some reaction,> 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.

'POOF'

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
boots.

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
fairies.

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
WITH SNOT. COVER THEM WITH DROOL. COVER THEM WITH ..."

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
floor.

"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 - <High Priestess
indeed> 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. <So
much
for *her* comfortable ride home,> 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
van.

* *
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. <The things I do to get my daily dose of
torture,> 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
Shele.

"Why?" asked Heather.

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

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
answered.

"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<tm> 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
cuisine.


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
it!


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
bored.
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.

<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
questioning.

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
snickered.

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<tm> 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. <What could she have in mind?!> she thought.
<She couldn't...She wouldn't... And where's my S??!!>

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
chest.

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. <He's hurting Nunkie!!!> she wanted to yell, <He's mean,
Mean, MEAN!!! DAMMIT!! Where's that BLASTED S??????>

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
Queen.

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

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

     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
music."

     "But Aye's nawt -"

     Helene thrust the bell of the horn under Michele's nose.
"Don't…say…it."

     "M'kay."

     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
escape."

     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-
span.

     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
air and chanted, "THREE-CHAMBERED HEARTS AND DETACHABLE TAILS!!!
Muahahahahaha!"

     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.

      "What?"

     "'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,
"CHANGE! CHANGE! BREAK NATURE'S RULES!!! Muahahahahaha!!!"

     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
perfectly."

     "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
SUN! TRANSFORM THIS WENCH INTO A CHAMELEON! Muahahahahaha - Huh???"

     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!"

**********************************************************************
End


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
Charter."

"Um, Laur?"

"WHAT?!?!"

"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
leader.

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.
"WHAT?!?"

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

"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
Kramer!"

"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
trial.

* * *

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
hissing.

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

"WHO CARES WHAT HER NAME IS?" Laurie shouted. "SHE'S GUILTY, GUILTY,
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
that.

"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
defenseless."

"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. <Think calm thoughts,> 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.

"Next!"

"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, <better her than *me*> 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
cross-examination.

"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
Sukh.

"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
freedom.
* *

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
defendant?"

"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?"

"THIS TESTIMONY IS STRICKEN FROM THE RECORD! GET HER OUT OF HERE BEFORE 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
courtroom.

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

Suddenly the courtroom door swung open. In walked none other than Natalie
Lambert.
"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." <Too bad, I'd hang 'em by their
little allergic noses,>" 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"
glow.

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*
witnesses."

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
whined.

"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.

"Dew SUMTHIN'!"

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
'bout."

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
on....

ALL LAWYERS ARE RATS (04/04)
aka THE SURPRISE WITNESS

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
mug."

     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
traitor!"

     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
puzzlement.

     "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
moaned.

     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,
threesies...."

     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
head.

     "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.

     "HOW DARE YOU TELL THE TRUTH IN A
MERC COURT!" the GHP screeched, as she managed to
raise herself upright. "DO YOU KNOW WHAT THIS
MEANS?"

     "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
Ratpacker!"

        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
PILEUP!"

     "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:
Libratsie@aol.com


A RATPACK LULLABY
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
after
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
solo:

          "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
it's
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...
something.

     "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 <tm> 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
for
the door, before turning to wave.

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

     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<tm> 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
nose),
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,
Bonnie?"

     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 <tm> 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."

--end--

For the pictures mentioned in this story, visit:
http://users.lanminds.com/~callalily/screed.html
and sign the Ratpack guestbook while you're there!
Comments and lil' ratsies can be sent to:
LibRatsie@aol.com

"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
Ninja?"

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 .....

FINIS
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
warehouse.

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

"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
marvelous."

"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!" <sigh> She turned the map upside down and
rechecked her surroundings. "Morgue <turn>, Raven <turn>,
Loft <turn>. Alright! I am here!" She punched at the map with
her finger, for emphases. "Now, how do I get to the Computer
Room?"

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. <Ah,
we're here!>

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.' <Of course! What else
would Laura be reading?> Getting a tad closer, she drew a deep
breath.

"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
arm.

"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'.

***************************************
patt79ad@juno.com



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=
t
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=
y
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
nice."

"Yeah, I totally agree."   said Brandi.

The other Light Cousins indicated their approval with vigorous head
bobbing.

"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
Shelley.

"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
that."

"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
scene."

"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
happens."

"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=
th
empty plates and glasses. The meal had been excellent, and the desert
ev=
en
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
stowed
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=
ir
belongings, including Alison who was just noticing the status of her
rath=
er
Conspicuous looking backpack. Grimacing slightly, she slung it over her
right
shoulder as if there was nothing strange at all about carrying a
backpack=

that
was dripping out of a restaurant.   Nancy snickered quietly at the
spectacle.

Looking around the restaurant, they saw no one was paying any attention
t=
o
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=
ng
to the shrine.

-------------------


Nancy was in charge of the book, so she headed off to find what she
neede=
d
in the shrine. Coming into an empty room, she saw what she had been
searching
for...the "Nunkies Fantasy Manual" was laying out on a table with some
ki=
nd
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. =

She
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
much
luck. Passing a couple of addicts in the hall, she decided to take a
chance
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=
ct
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
like
"Ahhhhhhhhhhhh.....the BARNEY FANTASY MANUAL???????
EEEEEEEEEEKKKKKKKKK!"

*************************************************************************

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
that......"

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....."

     "Oh."

     "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
mansion.

************************

     "What was that?" Eric asked Kim.

      "What was what?"

KA-CHINK.

     "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.

KA-CHINK.

     "There!"

     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
chided.

     "Besides," Dark Rose said, "if some of them are in there, they'll be
sorry......"

      "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
flashlights.

     "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
tasks.....

*************************

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
doorway.

     "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
gagged.

     "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
heart."

     "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
spout."

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
blackmail.

*************************

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
him.

     "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
bookcases?"

     "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
appeared.

      "Nice of you to join us," Lesley commented sarcastically.
     "Don't get your knickers in a twist," Kim said, "we ran into some
trouble."

       "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.

       "Nothing....."

     "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
so.....so....."

       "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
today....."

The sounds of giggling could be heard across the large lawn, as the
troops
disappeared once more into darkness.

Fin

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
vgilson@tiac.net

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
raid.

        "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
vgilson@tiac.net
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
design.

        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
candles.

        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
vgilson@tiac.net

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
him.

        "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
church.

        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
guitars.

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
vgilson@tiac.net

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
hopefully.

        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.

Fin.
Cousin Senara
vgilson@tiac.net

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!
v

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
here!"

"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...

******
Flashback...
******

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!"

*fwoof*

"Hey!   Stop it!"

*fwoof* *fwoof*

*thwap*

"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
togas.

"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,
snickering.

"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
redecorate."

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
visage.
"Kusine broke it when she dropped it on the cell phone," Jesse
announced.

"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...

**********************************

Kusine.
===
NA - cerk@rocketmail.com - RP
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~kusine/

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
there."

"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
fireworks."

"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...
*****

"Ow!"
"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.
**************************

Kusine.
===
NA - cerk@rocketmail.com - RP
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~kusine/


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

<knock, knock> 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
heart."

"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
money."

====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. <It's the manacles for
you
tonight, old boy!> 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.

=========
Finis

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
About"
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. <sigh> Making up
her
mind to just get it over with, Sukh opened one of the cabinets and let
out a
scream.

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. <Ah ha!> 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. <Like it really makes that much difference!> 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. <I guess my motives *were* a
little
transparent. Sigh> Looking down the hall, she reached for the doorknob
and
was surprised to find nothing except the door. <Odd, my depth perception
is
usually only bad at night.> 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. <I'll surprise it,
that's the ticket!> "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
body.

"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. <Just wait, my pretty, you haven't even had
your
turn yet!>

====If I wasn't the writer, you'd think I was being prophetic

Beth opened the closet and started taking out clothes. <This has got to
be
the *dumbest* gag. All they have to do is make a call and they'll be
re-outfitted before you can say 'Personal Shopping by the Ravens'>

"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. <Very nice!!> 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. <Good thing no body saw that, I'd never live it down!>
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. <Oh, if only I'd learned
to
juggle with the other Addicts!> 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. <Priceless>
"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
backward.

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!"

<Or wear pants!> 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
Shele!"

Thoughts of revenge not taken overwhelmed Beth and she cried out, "You
bastards!"

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
practice!!"

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. <Was it? Nah. It couldn't.... > "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<tm>," 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...."

=========
finis

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

-shele
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."

"Jules."

Lacroix - thanks to vampire hearing - perceived a noticeable *gulp* from
the
Addict.

"Uhhhhhhhhhh...."

"Jules."

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
receiver.

"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..."

"Quite."

"...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<tm> 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
days.

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...
PANTS...PLEASE!...WHERE IS MY 'S'?!?!?"

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'
story."

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
conversation?"

"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?"

Silence.

"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
mist.

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.
<Grout duty. Someone needs grout duty,> 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
*again.*"

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
authoritis.'"

"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
fairies?"

Instead of a straight answer, Jules posed a question. "What does NA stand
for?"

The vampire sniffed dismissively.   "Jules, I don't have the patience for
foolishness."

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*...<thump thump>...do that
again...<thump thump>."

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...<thump
thump>...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
ratsies.

DISCLAIMERS: Everyone used with permission. No Ratpackers were harmed
during
the writing of this story although some Mercs and NA members were very
tempted.

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.
<Except for that blasted trial> Mildred thought. <Gods, I couldn't
have pulled a better supprise witness than that!*> She headed to the
office,
printouts in hand.

At the bottom of the stairs, she almost collided wth Lacroix, Jules,
Patt, and Bons. <Oh Goddess!>, 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
them
(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
the
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
stop
the vampire and his followers from sticking their noses into Merc
business.
But
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
knickers...."

"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
Patt.

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' <tm> 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
dies!"

"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
wrap!"

"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
Maya.
"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.

"MMMMpppphhhhh!!!!"

-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. <Fine, they want another round, I'll give it to them,> 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
reverie.

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." <Heads on pikes...heads on pikes...>
She
could feel her temper swelling.

"And did my High Priestess deserve to be kidnapped?" LC asked

Jules choked. <Good one, Nunkies. We're the ones who kidnapped her
first,>
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
<And some mortals thought the 70's were bad.>...Jules in macrame....Jules
in...Hmmmm...
"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. <Nuts! I don't believe in wizards, anyhoo!> 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.
<Sitting in a chair...I could be doing this at home, thankyouverymuch,
and
I could watch TV while I was doing it!> 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<My wind chimes!> she exclaimed silently. <I want them
back!>

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.

<They're so engrossed in their sniping that they surely wouldn't notice
little 'ol me being furtive,> 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!"

"FAIRY BARF!"

"THAT ANNOYING FILK! WHERE IS MY 'S'?"

"MICHAEL BOLTON!"

"YOUR SINGING!"

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=
m?"

"Er," began Jules, "I was just 'borrowing' them.   You know, to use as a
model for my own?"

"WHERE?"

"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?" <Ooo.
Bad
question.> "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
motion.

"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. <I'm SOOOO
impressed,> 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. <Nunkies with the perfect windchime?
In
the Caymans? In the GHPs office?> 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
one."

"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
booger!"

"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. <Or had a bath? Shew!!> she
thought.

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
here!"

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.
<I like it right here,> Laurie's new friend informed the vampire. <Hey, I
get to run the joint behind the Poopain's back. Can *you* offer me that
kind of power?>

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.

"WHAT DO YOU MEAN, HE TOOK ALL THE FANFIC FAIRIES? THEY'RE MINE MINE MINE
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
got.

All thoughts of truces and peace went out the window. Laurie pounded her
desk in annoyance. <If he wants to play that way,> she thought coldly,
<so
be it.>

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.

<So, they're not *quite* anatomically correct any more,> Laurie thought.
<At least, I'd assume they're not. I mean, if Nick really was ... >
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
middle.

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. <Time to get
back to work. Yeah, like two weeks of kidnappings, humiliations, and -
worst of worsts - fashion torture are my idea of a fine time or
something.>
With the War winding down, she found herself feeling a bit relieved.
Toronto would soon be getting back to normal, and she could once more
have
some kind of routine to her life. Sleeping. Eating. Sleeping. Making
numerous pots of tea. Sleeping. Routine could sometimes be a Good
Thing<tm>. There were no bubble pants or macrame allowed in that
routine,
and absolutely no fatigues. How could that be bad?

'Normal' also meant no further attacks on the Shrine.   NA'd had what?
Three this War?   And, with the abduction of their fanfic fairies, life
had
been hell. The Addicts just weren't in the habit anymore of doing
housework. In fact, they tended to do more damage to the premises than
any
of their attackers. They were simply an unruly bunch of devotees. The
damage
inflicted on the Shrine meant much more elbow grease than usual - even
for
highly active fanfic fairies. Luckily the fairies didn't have a union,
so
they didn't charge overtime.

And then there was...No. She wouldn't think about it lest she once again
plumb the depths of madness. Or, at least, get a really upset stomach.

There was no sign of Lacroix yet, so Jules plodded on to her office.
She flicked on the overhead light and walked over to her desk. <Yikes.
Two
weeks worth of fan mail.> There were also about 4 dozen CD's littering
her
work space. <Men. Always leaving up things they shouldn't and never
putting up things they should.>

Bons had also left signs of occupying her office: there was a liter-
sized
coffee mug in one of her drawers labeled 'Sumatra or Bust' on top of a
pile
of wet naps and recycled pencils. A publicity still of Bette Davis sat
on
the corner of her desk with a small pin engraved with the message 'Dare
To
Be Diva' stuck in the fabric lip of the frame. The jewelry had been a
gift
to Bonnie from an old college friend. Jules decided that she would hang
on
to the picture, at least, for safekeeping

It was then that Jules also noticed a large box tied up with white
ribbon.
It was addressed to Lacroix. <Oooo. Present?> She snipped off the
ribbons
and carefully lifted the lid. You never quite knew when it came to
presents
for the NightCrawler. They could be...different. Hopefully, Bonnie
hadn't
decided to send LaCroix a supply of holy bottled water as a testament to
her
affection. Fortunately, the box was small enough that Jules didn't
suspect
one of the addicts of mailing themselves. She rifled though the box,
finding
that it was filled with candy.
<I think I'm going to be sick,> Jules thought as she surveyed the
Nicksickles. She continued to study them. <Oh, right. This is
impossible.
Even for vampires.> Digging further through the box, she came upon the
small number of drastically changed Nunkies pops. <The horror! The
horror!!! They're undersized!!!> Then she came upon the card:

   Any size that you are, Nick will be bigger
   I'll make sure that Nick is bigger than you.

<Laurie!!!!> Jules frowned at the thought of her Nemesis, that Goddess of
all that was Mercly who had the audacity to be alive and breathing,
cackling
over the monstrous contents of her care package. <Hmmmmm....I bet
Nunkie....- grrrrrrrrr - I mean, *Nunkies* would like to see this.
Perhaps
we could get a restraining order...corner the chocolate futures
market...hire an assassin!> After taking a few very deep breaths, Jules
put
the lid back on the box and strode into the currently empty soundbooth.
She
placed the Poobah's present on the console, then reached across it for a
Post-It<tm> note and a recycled pencil. Scribbling a few words across
the
slip of paper, she firmly pressed it onto the box lid. It was sure to
catch
the General's interest. After all, it said, 'Present from the Poobah.'
Lacroix was old enough to realize that meant trouble.

*************************************************************************
*****

WAR: Merc/NA: A Poobah PostScript
by Laurie, Jules and T. Gob
filk by Laurie
TIME: Ten minutes to midnight, Tuesday, May 12
LOCATION: CERK

Jules checked her watch again, impatiently tapping her foot. Ten minutes
to
go and this war would be over and done with, and she could get back to
her
job ... her life ... her Snook'ums. She downloaded a final batch of e-
mail,
and was surprised to see a note from Laurie.

TO: JULES
FROM: LAURIE

Is it soup yet?
I wrote a filk for you

Love Laur
P.S. I'm sending you and Bons tickets for the Caymans. I'm getting really
bored with all these nameless, faceless people. Get down here soon.

The High Priestess grinned, as she scrolled through the song, entitled
Endless FK Fic War, and set to Hotel California:

On an evening in mid May
I sat here in despair
Turned on my computer
Would it answer my prayer?
Right in front on my view screen
I saw a frightening sight
My brain grew weary, and my hope grew dim
For we would get no respite.

I am stuck in a story
But what day I can't tell
And I was thinking to myself
That my computer has sent me to Hell.
As I spotted the message
That announced we must stay
There were voices screaming in my head
Delete them all away.

Welcome to the endless FK fic war
I need a wrist brace (I need a wrist brace)
To keep up the pace (To keep up the pace)
Churnin' out posts in the endless FK fic war
It may last all year (It may last all year)
You've a right to fear. (You've a right to fear)

My mind is storyline twisted
And I am losing my friends
I even think these power outage storms
Must be godsends
How the posts just keep dropping
No let up yet
Too much to remember
The plot I forget

So I called on my faction
Please cut my byline
They said
We're sorry but you are stuck here til 1999.

And still the e-mails keep dropping, won't fade away
How come I didn't realize a fortnight
Meant it's here to stay?

Welcome to the endless FK fic war
I need a wrist brace (I need a wrist brace)
To keep up the pace (To keep up the pace)
I'll never escape from the endless FK fic war
I might fossilize (I might fossilize)
But still no demise. (But still no demise)

Memos from co-writers
Posts to cut and splice
And I said
We are near our three limit here
Can't you be concise?

And on the leader's mail loop,
We longed to reach deceased
We've started to ignore the rules
But we still can't kill the beast.

Last thing I remember
It was due to end at four
I had to write my closing post
Get back where I was before.
Relax said my keyboard
Cause it is not make believe
You can log off any time you like
But you can never leave.

Welcome to the endless FK fic war
They=92ll just write you in (They'll just write you in)
This war you can't win (This war you can't win)
Churnin=92 out posts in the endless FK fic war
It may last all year (It may last all year)
We=92ll all still be here. (We'll all still be here)

Giggling, Jules shut off her computer and headed out of her office. She
caught Bonnie storming down the hall and caught her by the back of her
minidress. "Bons! Where are you going?"

"The war is ending, and I want my non-sensible shoes back!!!"

Jules shook her head. "I'm afraid there's not enough time. You'll just
have
to wait until the next war."

Bonnie frowned and appeared ready to make a snippy retort, but one of the
station's gophers (no, not the animal. CERK has enough animals,
thankyouverymuch!) interrupted. "This just arrived for you at the front
desk, Ms. Stafford."

Bonnie's face beamed with excitement. "Oooh! Plane tickets!!! Where to?"

"The Cayman Islands," Jules said absently, turning back toward her
office.
"Laurie just sent them to us for a post-war holiday."

"Woohoo!" Bonnie bounced into Jules' office, then performed an impromptu
ballet representative of her joy at the war's closure. "Goody! Goody!
Goody! I'm goin' to the Cay-mans! I'm goin' to the Cay-mans!" she sang as
she danced.
"No, you're not."

Bonnie froze. "What do you mean I'm not?!?!?!"

"You can't," Jules reminded her, reaching a hand behind Bonnie's neck.
"You
don't have a passport." She found a small valve hidden beneath the
redhead's long hair and pooped it open. There was a loud whooshing sound
as
Bons began to deflate.

It took a few minutes, but Jules managed to squeeze all of the air out of
Bonnie. She rolled her up carefully, then carried her down the hall
toward
the supply closet. Once there, Jules used a stepladder to reach a box on
the top shelf. On the label, 'Perky Redhead' had been crossed out with
magic marker, and replaced by The Ghost of Bons. (T. Gob, folks!) She
gently packed Bonnie away until the next war.

Jules wiped her hands with satisfaction as her last war task was
completed.
Tapping the envelope of plane tickets aganst her chin, she mused over her
fortune. <The Grand Caymans...and I seem to find myself with an extra
ticket...> A wicked grin spread across Jules' face as she turned off the
supply closet light and started walking toward LaCroix's office. <I
wonder
if Snook'ums would like a lil' trip to see his best buddy Laur again?...>

"Muahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!"    <wave>

*************************************************************************

Title: The Bunny Brigade's Last Caper (01/01)
Time: Monday, May 11, noon-ish, after "It's Just a Sign..."
Place: The Shrine, the scenes of some past crimes
Written by Kusine
With ideas and beta-ing by Jesse and Glennis, who have been so kind
(silly) to allow me to use and abuse them over the course of the
war. If we weren't on the same side, I'd attack them to show them
just how much I care. <eg>
********************

A pyjama-ed Kusine found Jesse in the Sound Room, dubbing audio tapes.

"Is this yours?" the Ohio addict asked, holding up a "Will Fence For
Coffee" t-shirt. "I found it in my clean clothes pile."

"Yes!" Jesse exclaimed. The teenager yanked the shirt out of
Kusine's hands and pulled it on over her jeans and tank top.
Smiling happily, she waved a tape in the air. "I made a special
tape for Rosemary. Can we drop it off before we go home?"

"Sure," Kusine agreed.   "What is it?"
Throwing a suspicious look toward the readers, Jesse leaned forward
to whisper in the other addict's ear. After a moment, Kusine giggled.

"What are you two doing?!" Glennis demanded from behind them.

"Nothing!" Kusine cried, turning towards the other addict. "Geez,
you're paranoid! You'd think we had a plan and weren't going to
invite you!"

"*Do* you have a plan?" Glennis asked. "Because I have an errand I
need to run before we go: I need to swing by the Dark Perk Mansion
to deliver something to Laura."

"Well, lemme get dressed first, ok?" Kusine said, eyeing Glennis'
new CERK t-shirt. "And I guess I won't be wearing a toga! ...
Actually, I wanted to give something to those two as well."

"We should make up care packages!" Jesse exclaimed, a
slightly-devious grin lighting up her face. "Just to remind them of
how much they're loved. ... And I wouldn't mind stopping my the DP
Mansion myself."

"Gee, how come, Jesse?" Glennis asked, psuedo-innocently.

"Could it be to see..." Kusine teased.

"JOHN-TRAVIS?!" the two older addicts chorused.

The young addict blushed pink to the ears. "I don't know what
you're talking about!" she insisted. "I just meant I wanted to ...
to ... I just wanted to stop by the Mansion, all right?!"

"Jesse and John-Travis sittin' in a tree," Glennis and Kusine sang,
skipping out the door and down the hall, "K-I-S-S-I-N-G!"

"Oooooh!" Jesse squealed, chasing the addicts.    "I'll get you two
... and your little songs, too!"

******************************

After Jesse had been teased unmercifully for a while and she had
sufficiently retaliated, the addicts prepared their care packages
for Rosemary and Laura.

Kusine made up the t-shirts, using permanent magic markers and other
sundries. Glennis picked the two best white roses from the Green
Room. Jesse packaged up the gifts. They all wrapped the presents.
Or rather, Glennis and Kusine wrapped while Jesse handed out tape
and ribbons.

*****************************

It was while they were on their way to the Dark Perk Mansion that
they saw the billboard. Kusine slammed on the brakes and her Saturn
screeched to a halt in the middle of the road outside of CERK. The
three addicts piled out of the car, heedless of the cursing
motorists trying to get around them.

"LaCroix's going to kill us, isn't he?" Jesse asked quietly.

"LaCroix?!   Annie, Jules, and Bons are going to kill us!"    Glennis
exclaimed.

"I think they're going to have to take a number," Kusine said
slowly. "Let's look at it this way: we can only die once."

"Not if the HP has anything to do with it!" Jesse asserted.    "We
really didn't do anything. All we did was get caught."

"I think that's probably crime enough, don't you?" Kusine asked,
taking in the bunny-head hats and dark pink togas.

Glennis looked speculatively at the picture of themselves standing
on the alabaster thigh of their lust-object. "Too bad we didn't
even get to *really* pose for it."

The addicts paused in their mental catalogings of their deaths to
ponder Nunkies' thigh. Though it was a beautiful sight, it would
not sustain them when the NA Powers That Be saw the sign.

"Are you guys all packed?" Kusine asked her companions.   "I have all
my stuff in the trunk of the car already."

"What are you thinking?" Jesse asked.

"I know," Glennis said. "We're going to get the heck out of Dodge
before anyone sees us or ... this!"

"But what about revenge?!" Jesse complained.   "We have to get Laura
back for this!"

"If we don't leave, we may never live to see another war," Kusine
pointed out. "I know the rules say that no one dies, but I think
that Nunkies might make an exception in this case."

"Revenge will be ours. Don't worry, Jesse," Glennis assured the
teenager. "Come on, let's deliver these presents before anyone sees
us!"

****************************

Sneaking up the front walk of the Mansion, Jesse hurried to a window
and peeked inside. Glennis and Kusine snickered at her vain attempt
to catch a glimpse of her Romeo. Jesse only glared.

They left the dark pink wrapped package on the doorstep. Through
the bow was a white rose tipped with dark pink. They were pleased
with the final composition of the package. Inside, there was a
t-shirt that spelled out, in bright green letters: "I Survived War 9
And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt!" A small green plastic frog
was glued in the middle of the "9". Also in the parcel was a model
Caddy, painted pink, covered with tiny frog stickers. On the hood,
the stickers spelled out "DP'S RULE!" The final touch was a one
pound package of Tiramisu-flavored coffee.

****************************

Waiting for the security guard to go inside the Nick-and-Natpack HQ,
the addicts contemplated Rose's package. It was covered in shiny
gold paper and an intricate gold bow. A perfect white rose was
lightly dusted with gold glitter and tucked under the ribbon.
Inside, there was another "I Survived War 9 And All I Got Was This
Lousy T-Shirt!", but this time with the letters in black, filled in
with gold glitter. Also inside was an audio tape, one side of which
was Nightcrawler monologues and the other side which was the
highlights from the addicts' special performance of "Phantom of the
Opera." Again, the final touch was a one pound package of
Tiramisu-flavored coffee.

The security guard finally moved, and the addicts dropped off their
present and high-tailed it back to the Shrine.

Once there, they piled their bags and souvenirs in the car, and took
off. They had a get-away to make.

*****************************

Jesse assures me that this Tiramisu-flavored coffee really exists!
Contact her at LucienLaCroix@rocketmail.com if you want more info.

Kusine.
===
NA - cerk@rocketmail.com - RP
FK Fan Fic writing resources at:
http://home.earthlink.net/~kusine/

From: Valerie Gilson <vgilson@TIAC.NET>
Subject:      WAR:Cousins: Until we meet again...
To: FKFIC-L@lists.psu.edu
X-UIDL: c2cdd042772e9c32ebc15ce94d310224

Time: Tuesday afternoon
Location: CERK

Senara wandered back into her room. She had spent the day looking around
CERK, and also wandering around Toronto. It was a fun city, but she
really
didn't see much of it in daylight. She took advantage of having a late
flight to get some ssightseeing done, and to also buy some souveniers.
It
would be an easier way to explain being in Toronto to her friends and
family than trying to explain a war.   Especially a Forever Knight fiction
war.

She plunked the packages down on her bed and started combining bags.
Traveling light meant creative packing to take everything back with her
to
Boston. She hadn't brought much, but she did buy a lot of sourvenirs.
Her
duffel bag unzipped, she quickly packed her clothes and the T-shirts that
bore various descriptions of Toronto. All of her clothes, and her
stuffed
bunny named Sam fit into the bag. Senara only had to find her journal
and
her travel reading and she was ready to go to the airport.

Senara checked the desk drawers, and couldn't find her journal. Nothing
much was in the journal... just the events of the war, so she would
remember this war. Senara had done the same at the end of War 8, however
reading her notes from that adventure still gave her a headache. Too
many
LaCroixs and Nicks and Vachons and Tracys and Natalies.

"Blooody heck!! where did I put that bloody thing?" Senara had been
watching too much Monty Python of late, and her speech had absorbed some
of
their witticisms and turns of the language. She yanked open the
nightstand
drawer in her frustration.

There it was, along with a black bear. A black bear that had a rose
embroidered on it. A note was sitting between the bear and her journal.
*Yipes, HE found my journal* was the first coherent thought to drift
across
her mind. *I wonder what's in the note?* "Why doncha read it and find
out?" she answered herself.

"My dear Cousin Senara,
I will entrust you with the care of this particular bear. I trust that
you
will remember the adventures you have had here this War, and that you
will
spend the next year envisioning mischeif. We will speak often, if only
to
continue your private tutoring in the disciplines of history.
Until then,
LaCroix

Senara's smile threatened to split her face. Packing the bear, journal,
and note carefully in her backpack, she bid a silent farewell to her room
and CERK in general, and descended to the lobby to await her cab.

Until next war!

Cousin Senara
vgilson@tiac.net

*************************************************************************
*

WAR: RP - Onna Road Tew... (01/01)
by John Ewan, with Libby Singleton
Purrmishun gotten fer use o' all menshuned


"Wotchya dewing, Johnsie?" Libster asks. the RatPacker Leader had a
couple of open cans of bright pink paint and he took the small vial from
his coat. There was but a little bit of the glowie-pink stuff in the
vial
and he poured a smidgen into each one. Then, he tossed the vial under
the
couch and put the lids back onto the paint cans. "Iffen the G-'aich-P
wants a tank naymed Bettie, shez gunna get ha tank naymed Bettie!"

"Cor!   thaz a wunnerfil hideer!" Libby exclaimed, "Oi'll 'elp!"

"Oi gnu Oi cud depend on yew!" Johnsie replied, with a smile, "'ere,
grab
that wun and wiggle and shake yer can as we walk."

"'ey!" Libs said with a frown.

""eh?" Johnsie's brows shot up as he comprehended, "Not YEW, yer can *o'
paint*!"

They trudged through the tunnels and then clambered up the water tower;
they set up quickly since they didn't bother with all that time-consuming
safety gear....

"Hokay, Oi'll 'old yer legs and dangle ya hover the side an' yew
paint....an' be quik habout hit!" Johnsie held Libby's ankles and slowly
moved her across as she got the painting done.

After they were finished, they scuttled down, and away, satisfied with a
job well-done. Libby chewed her lip, as she glanced back "3!_I__I_38"
she
said, squinting up at the softly glowing letters. "Looks roight
wunnerful
ta me, Libs, roight wunnerful, hindeed!" Johnsie said, smiling.

Libby nodded, then said, "Well, Johnsie, wot am Oi gonna dew now?   Oi
can't
go 'ome yet, wot with them PTB network droogs still hafter me."

"Burry tha' wurry, Libster. Oi gots a plan."     Johnsie said confidently,
"weze jest gettin' on that boat there."

"Oh, a luvly tramps steamer, it tis, Johnsie!"    Libby replied, she tried
to
see the name as Johnsie dragged her up the gangplank.    "T-I-T-A-..."
Well
the rest probably wasn't important, anyhoo.

As the ship sailed into the cold North Atlantic, Johnsie and Libby stood
at
the bow, gazing into new dusk. Johnsie pulled a piece of parchment from
his pocket, "this 'ere his a map; done hup by a droog name o' Harne
Saknussum." Johnsie held it open, showing Libby their destination on
Iceland, an almost-extinct volcano, "Weez goin' ta the Center o' the
Hearth!"

Libby squealed with glee as she clasped her hands, "Therez bound tew be
shiny pretties at the center o' the Earth!

"Aye, Libs," Johnsie agreed, "...hand tunnels, Libs. Tunnels tha' the
li'l
ratsies kin make more of. Wull be hable ta go hanywherez, maybe heven
Hauztraylya!"

=========================================================================
===
======

In the darkness of the Toronto night the hackles on the Klingon's neck
rose
for no apparent reason; but, she took up her bat'talh and slowly began to
sharpen it.

WAR: NA: Eat, Drink and Be Wary (1/1)
by Cousin Jules
Time: Monday, May 11, noonish (apologies if I get the time wrong here -
my
brain is fried!<g>)
Where: Somewhere on Queen St.

The minivan pulled into the specially marked parking place in front of
the
Indian restaurant Arletta and Shelley had decided on for lunch.

"I'm sorry the War is ending, in a way," said Shelley.    "I mean, we
didn't get
much time to see the sights."

"There's always next year," Arletta told her. "Now that we're a little
more
familiar with the city, we'll have a better idea of what we want to do
during
War 10."

The two Light Cousins looked at one another and shuddered. They didn't
want
to go there - yet - and, so, climbing out of the van, made their way into
the
restaurant, looking forward to pappadums and curry.   Little did they know
that
they were being shadowed.

The Jag held back a hundred feet or so until the van's occupants had
entered
the restaurant, then crept slowly ahead.

"I don't know, Jules," said Debbie, who, although she was thrilled to get
a
ride in Lacroix's car, felt a slight upset stomach at the thought that
they
could easily be espied in the broad daylight which hovered around them
like,
well...daylight. "What happens if they get a window seat?"

"Don't worry," Jules told her, a quick glance towards the restaurant
confirming that the hungry pair had not been seated at the front. "This
won't
take long, anyway."

Jules pulled up alongside the van, hiding the Jag as best she could, just
in
case she had miscalculated. Popping the trunk open, she looked at Debbie
and
said, "Now!"

The pair jumped out and ran towards the back of the car, and Jules
signalled
to Deb that now was a good time to use the nifty little electronic device
which simultaneously unlocked the van and disabled its security system.
Debbie opened the side door, while Jules reached into the trunk and began
pulling out the specially stored items, handing them to Debbie, one by
one.
The two continued their task until the trunk was empty. Debbie closed
the
van's door and looked at Jules.

"Time for Part Deux?" Debbie asked with a mischievous grin.

"Oui!" Jules replied, relishing this next bit. "They want a 'lighter'
vampire, so let's give them one. Here," she continued as she handed
Debbie a
small box. "They'll unroll and come off for easy application. It should
make
for a memorable trip back to Shelley's house, no?" Debbie just laughed -
evilly.

Ten minutes later, the pair surveyed their handiwork.

"Yes," Jules pronounced. "I think it will do." And, with that, the two
Addicts climbed back into the Jag and sped away to the Shrine, just
narrowly
missing Arletta and Shelley as they exited the restaurant.
They were feeling quite relaxed after a lovely meal, when, suddenly, they
saw
the damage.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!" said Shelley.   "My van!!   Look what someone did
to
my van!!"

Arletta surveyed the smiley face stickers - hundreds of them...with fangs
yet
- and said, "Don't worry, Shel. It will probably only take us, oh, I
don't
know, four hours to peel them off? Do you have any Goo Gone<tm>?"

Shelley sighed. "No. And we don't have time to work on this now.
Yeesh.
Arletta, we're going to have to drive all over Toronto with
these...things on
the van!"

"I know, Shelley, but look at the bright side: we may cheer someone up,"
Arletta grinned back at her friend. "Besides, it could have been worse."

It was then that Shelley opened up her door - and found a year's supply
of
Ribena<tm> and soft, plush toys squeezed into every available space.

"OK, OK," said Arletta as she looked across from the passenger's side.    A
stuffed, pink rat fell out the door. "It *is* worse."

********************

				
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