A/N: I came up with this idea months ago, and I started writing it before I went to France. I've been putting off posting it purely because I've been waiting for a certain rookie to get close to finishing her fic (and you know I'm talking about you my dear). But since I can't be asked to wait any longer, and since my day at work has sent what little self esteem I have plummeting into the nether regions of hell, I'm hoping some reviews will work wonders (why yes, that was a hint).
The two rookies introduced below are joining the Society, but for the sake of courtesy can no one else use their characters until they've got their fics up? It'll make things easier on them.
Master of the Library edited and rewrote most of the ending scene – so basically any awesome stuff is his. I'm the boring stuff. Have fun everyone!
Insert Really Difficult and Complex Written Test Here
"You're late," Michael sighed. "Both of you."
"Sorry baby," Claire gave him a kiss on the cheek, but it did not hide the look on her face, which mirrored that of Miriku. Both of them looked as though they had just seen a demon, which put everyone in the briefing room immediately on edge. Michael placed his hands on his hips.
"What did you do?" he looked between his girlfriend and his sister accusingly.
"Nothing!" they both answered in unison.
"I was just walking along, minding my own business," Miri began. "When suddenly..."
"Get away from me with those things Clairey!"
Miri ran for her life down the corridor, jumping over discarded piles of books which threatened to thwart her escape attempt. Claire was equally nimble however, keeping close behind the redhead.
"Pleeeeease let me do your hair!" Claire begged, waving her hair straighteners madly. The plug had come free of her grasp, and was trailing on the floor behind her, clunking loudly against the wooden floorboards, and snagging stacks of books as it went past.
"No way!" Miri retorted, skidding on the carpet at the corner of the corridor, and almost flattening herself into the bookshelf. "You get those things away from me, or I'll..."
She never had a chance to finish, as Claire closed the gap between them and lifted the straighteners into attacking position. Miri's hair, which was windswept and messier than usual from her impromptu exercise, suddenly reared up of its own accord and seemed to bite down hard on the straighteners. Claire gave a shriek of surprise as her best pair of straighteners were wrenched from her grasp, and seemed to vanish into the frizzy mane.
For a moment, neither girl spoke. Then Miri's hysteria finally burst free.
"Holy shit! The Darkness was right!"
Michael edged slowly away from his sister, eyeing her hair with the upmost suspicion.
"So...after all this time..." Marcus summarised. "It turns out Miri's hair really is sentient?"
"Seems like it," Miri folded her arms and huffed. "What am I going to do? So far it's just eaten hair straighteners, my hairbrush, and my fork at breakfast this morning. But what if it starts eating furniture? Or people?!"
"Hmm..." Valerie appeared with a tongue depresser and began poking the frizziness that was Miri's hair. "What we should be asking is, why has it only started doing it now?"
As she spoke, the hair seemed to rise up again and chomp its way clean through the tongue depresser. Valerie yanked her hands back out of reach, and several people in the briefing room screamed.
"Its aliiiiive! Its aliiiiiiiiiive!" Michael cried.
"Miri, you haven't had your hair cut since joining the Society, have you?" Valerie asked. Miri rolled her eyes.
"Correction. My mother won't let me have it cut. She wants me to donate it when its long enough."
"Maybe it got more sentient the longer it grew," Michael suggested.
"That's what I'm thinking," Valerie admitted. "And I hate to disappoint your mother Miri, but I think we're going to have to cut it."
To everyone's horror, a low, feral growl seemed to work its way from Miri's hair, and a few locks snapped towards the healer. She backed away hastily, and Miri impatiently grabbed her hair and began wrestling it into a pony tail.
"Okay, after this meeting, Phoenixia is cutting Miri's hair," Michael declared.
"Why Phoenixia?" Miri asked, before turning to the hologram. "I mean, no offence, but why can't we just take a sword to it now?"
Several of the sword wielding agents, including Willie and Cristoph, backed away from her fearfully.
"Truthfully Imoto-chan, none of us want to go near that thing," Michael admitted. "We value certain parts of our anatomy too much."
"Wimps," Phoenixia muttered. "Don't worry Miri, I'll show these boys how its done."
Having thrown her hair into a hasty braid, Miri sat down next to Claire, who patted her on the back comfortingly.
"Okay, so that just leaves Jess and Dave, who are late," Michael stated.
"Where are the leaders?" Claire asked curiously. The Chief Agent pulled a face.
"Well, that's something I need to warn you all about. They're going to be in a very foul mood when they get he-"
He was cut off as a plothole materialised into existence right in the centre of the table. Vaguely through the transdimensional space, the sound of childish music could be heard, along with what sounded suspiciously like a baby laughing.
And from within the plothole, stumbled two tellytubbies.
"Bollocks," the violet one said. "We lost the Sue!"
The pink one raised its arms, and pulled its head off, to reveal a disgruntled looking Harriet.
"Don't, say, a word," she warned the Society. She reached inside her suit for her cricket bat, to further enforce the threat, but it got caught under the neck of her costume. Tugging achieved nothing, except to overbalance her and send her tumbling off the table, straight into the leader's chair. The violet tellytubby removed her own head, and shook it at the leader.
"I told you wearing heels in a tellytubby costume was a bad idea, Hati," Tash sighed. Harriet blushed.
"You're both late," Michael cleared his throat and tried to wipe away the smile that was threatening to break out across his face. "But we're still missing Jess and Dave..."
He was interrupted once more by the door slamming open, and Jess stomping in. Behind her she dragged a ripped and torn piece of material, which several agents were horrified to see was in fact an American flag. The horror was only enforced by the fact that Leonard was being dragged along on his rear behind Jess, his teeth firmly attached to the material.
"You're late Jess," Michael informed her. The girl glared.
"Tough titties," she threw herself into her seat. Leonard shimmied up the table leg and settled in front of her, still nomming on the flag. Wisely, no one dared to take it away from him.
"Okay," Michael picked up a handful of files. "Well I think we can start without Dave. Rotas are here..."
The door slammed and Michael counted silently in his head to five.
"Sorry I'm late," Dave hurried in, and everybody turned to stare. The tall agent was covered from head to foot in dirt, and the archaeology tools on his belt were caked in it. A stack of thick books were clutched tightly under one arm, and had the similar look of being deposited in a ditch.
"The archaeology section buried me again," Dave explained, leaving muddy footprints behind him as he sank into his seat. "I've only just dug my way out..." He trailed off as he caught sight of the two leaders. "Do I want to know?"
"No," Harriet informed him, placing her tellytubby head on the table. "No you do not. Let's begin the meeting."
The door swung open again, and Michael, fed up with being interrupted, threw one of the files at the door. Aramayis dodged with ease, catching the projectile inches from his head.
"I do apologise," the Counter Guardian said, handing the file back. "I checked on Aster on my way down here."
"Any change?" Tash asked, trying to wedge the rear of her costume into her chair. Aramayis shook his head.
"I'm afraid not."
Everyone's faces fell.
"Stiff upper lip guys," Harriet finally said bracingly. "She'll be better soon." There was little conviction in her voice however. On the other side of the table, Chrys's lower lip wobbled, and tears picked up in her eyes. Ossa, who sat on her right hand side, patted her comfortingly on the shoulder, and gave her an encouraging smile.
"Okay, we'll keep this meeting short, since we've got a large group of rookies to invigilate," Michael promised. "Files and reports are here. Pass them round to whoever they belong to. Those on monitor duty, keep an eye out for any Sue on our high alert list. That includes Sovereigns, Runoa and Lisa, and remember, get a leader as soon as one of them crops up."
"We have a huge intake of applicants for the Society right now," Tash warned everyone. "So there will be written tests twice a week now instead of once a week. Anyone who's invigilating, please make sure you stress just how dangerous this is getting. And watch especially for any Original Characters – a lot of our recent applicants qualify as Sues."
"Who's invigilating today's exam?" Valerie asked. She was almost always busy on days when the Society ran written tests for the rookies, since Harriet, Tash and Michael had a habit of dramatising the event and making the rookies faint in terror.
"I am," Michael waved a hand. "Tash is too."
"Oooh can I come?" Dave asked, having peered over Tash's shoulder to read the list of applicant's names. "Tash and I know two of these people."
"Sure, but may I suggest you shower and change your clothes first?" Tash leaned as far away as she could. "You smell like a compost heap..."
"As you wish, Madam Leader," Dave saluted.
"Hey! I'm the Leader, thank you very much!" Harriet reminded him huffily. Dave bowed his head towards her.
"And a wonderful, and talented one at that," he added quickly.
"Any AOBs?" Michael swiftly interjected, sensing that if Dave continued he may dig himself into a hole he couldn't get out of.
"Yes, we've got one," Emily said timidly, before a poke in the side from Charis pushed her to her feet. She blushed heavily but continued none the less.
"Charis and I have finished working out the bugs for the new holographic training program. We're holding tutorials on how to use it after lunch, and before dinner. If anyone wants to come along, you're welcome."
She sat down again quickly, and Harriet patted her head proudly.
"Phoenixia, add that tellytubby Sue to high alert, will you?" the leader asked, getting to her feet as carefully as she could. "I'm going to bed."
"Time for tubby-bye-bye," Tyler quipped.
Everyone ducked under the table as something round and heavy shot through the air and embedded itself into the wall, half an inch from Tyler's ear. When the dust and chips of concrete settled, it was revealed to be a cricket ball.
"Basement duty," Harriet barked. "Three weeks!"
The shorter agent pouted, as Harriet stomped out of the room. As the rest of the Society made to gather up their things, Tyler pried the cricket ball from the crater in the wall, and chomped down on it like an apple.
"The leaders are coming!"
The newbie who had been peering down the corridor curiously, hurried back to huddle of nervous looking authors. Most of them had gone three shades paler at the warning, however there were several people who did not look worried. A young man with black hair that looked dark blue in the right light, who merely looked bored with the waiting, and two girls, one who was grinning excitedly, and the other who was hunched over a notebook, scribbling furiously.
"Alice, put the notebook away," the grinning girl ordered. "Your novel will wait for an hour while we take this test."
One of the huddling rookies, whispered curiously. "What do you think the Society leaders will be like? I've heard they're scary..." Several people shrugged. It was clear none of them had prepared very well for this, and the girl who had ordered Alice to put her notebook away grinned wider.
"Well before they do anything they'll have to get over having their ribs crushed, because I can guarantee the second they enter the room-"
"ITS A TASHY!" the excited scream made everyone cover their ears, including the three Society members that had just stepped over the threshold.
The fact that Tash's instinctive reaction to this greeting was to slide one leg back to brace herself, and tense every muscle in her body, was a testament to the force of the glomp that now crashed into her. There was a long silence as the leader had the air forced from her lungs...and then she finally managed to choke words out.
"Alice...release...release!" she managed to gasp out, and fortunately, the command was followed. Tash staggered away massaging her ribs. Alice, who was a good six inches shorter than Tash, grinned madly, and pushed her glasses on straight again.
"Its a Dave!" she squealed again, making a run for the skinny young man, who paled and tried to hide behind Michael. Before Alice could make it to him however, her friend stepped in her path, and pressed one hand on her forehead. With a command of "sleep", Alice's head fell onto her chest and she became totally peaceful. Dave emerged, looking flustered.
"Thank you Louise." The girl just shrugged.
"Not a problem."
Tash pinched both girl's cheeks. "Well, look what Cthulhu dragged in! I thought you two would never get around to applying."
She unzipped her bag to pull out the exam papers. "And you're just in time for the new and improved litmus test!"
Alice grinned madly. Louise however, was watching Michael, who was studying the rest of the rookies with a critical eye.
"Hey!" he whined. "They frightened the newbies! That's my job!"
"We're sorry," Alice hung her head. Tash reached over and plucked Alice's blue headband off her head.
"No you're not," she declared. "Wargs live to scare the locals, no matter what dimension we're in."
"Gimmie back my fuzz layer!" Alice flapped her hands anxiously, before making a grab for the headband.
"See what I mean?"
"Alright, don't we have a test to run?" Dave reminded her. Tash snapped her fingers and casually tossed the headband to Louise, who added it to her own head.
"Greetings Rookies," the Librarian spread her arms in a wide and welcoming pose. "You have chosen to join our cause to rid the multiverse of Mary-Sues that have gone in off the deep end..." She gave them all a pitying look. "What the hell were you thinking?"
Several rookies laughed nervously, the rest just looked unsure of themselves.
"My name is Tash," the aforementioned began rustling through the exam papers. "I'm Society leader and Librarian, so any misbehaving in this building will be punished by me...and I punish harshly." She fixed them all with a deadly look, and one rookie at the back fainted in terror. The leader sighed.
"There's always one..." she muttered, as Michael rang for Valerie to come and assist. "Anyway, this is Michael. He's Chief Agent and will probably be ordering most of you around when I or Harriet are not present." She pointed to the final member. "And this is Dave. He's here to laugh at you all, and make bad puns since this is the one place in the Library that Shirley the Cliché Stick cannot come and maul him."
A young girl at the front of the group fainted into the arms of the person behind her, and another male author muttered. "Cliché...stick?" before his eyes rolled back and he joined her.
"Hold on!" Dave held up his hands. "Shirley can't get me here?"
Tash paused in ruffling papers. "It's a closed exam hall, Dave. Of course she can't get you in here. You can make all the bad puns you want."
Dave's smile stretched from ear to ear, and he rubbed his hands together. "That's pun-believable!"
Everyone groaned, and Alice seized Dave's arm and began trying to nom on it. "I kill you now," she muttered in explanation.
"Alice, you can't eat him, there's no meat on him," Louise reminded patiently. Disappointed, Alice released Dave, and fell back into the line of rookies.
"Thank you Alice, you have served the appropriate pun-ishment."
"Dave, stop or I will separate your soul from your body in the most painful way I can think of and feed it to Shirley," Tash warned.
"Which one?" Dave asked.
"I've got two soles," Dave pointed to his feet. "Which one would you like to feed to Shirley?"
Another groan came from the entire room, and Tash prodded him in the side with the rolled up exam papers.
"We'll feed one to Shirley, and one to Cthulhu," Michael suggested. "How does that sound?"
"Perfect," the Librarian declared. "Now on with the rookies."
"You're on the rookies?" a female voice enquired saucily. "Sounds kinky. Can I join in?"
"Hi Phoenixia," Tash didn't look up from issuing the exam papers. "Fainted ones are on the floor."
"I thought you were doing Miri's hair?" Michael asked. The ex hologram shrugged, causing the already tight nurses outfit she wore to strain with the movement.
"I am. I left her tied to the chair. I'll be back to finish the job once I'm done moving the bodies."
She winked at the new faces in the room. There were several thuds, as three of the male entrants joined the rookies on the floor, swooning and sporting bloody noses. Tash rolled her eyes.
"Men..." she muttered, as Phoenixia bent over to pick up the first rookie, and the young woman by her side fainted in sheer delight. "Or not," the leader corrected herself. Michael took the papers from her and prepared to hand them out.
"Alright, before we begin this test, we need to talk seriously," he said, his hands on his hips. "This is a dark time for the Society. We're being targeted by an incredibly powerful group of Sues and Stus known as the Sovereigns. The weakest of their group critically injured over half of our agents, when we engaged him in combat. Not four months ago..." he swallowed hard. "We lost our most powerful member when the Library was attacked. And we've got an enemy Society who have already proved that they're not above killing us in order to help Mary-Sues."
Tash busied herself with the giant clock, so that she didn't have to look at anyone. Michael paused for a breath, and his eyes seemed to fix on every rookie in the room.
"So this is your last chance. If you fail the test today, we'll wipe your memories and send you back – to real life, if you're a self insert, or to your home world if you're an original character. You won't remember a thing. But if you pass, there is no turning back. You could very easily be the next victim."
Another rookie fainted, collapsing backwards into the arms of the dark blue haired rookie, who looked nonplussed by the warning. Alice and Louise had both stopped grinning, their faces now one hundred percent grave with the seriousness of the situation.
"Does anyone want to go home?" Michael asked. No one moved, and the leader began handing the papers out.
"You have an hour," Tash said, finally turning around from the clock. "You may begin."
It was easy to tell which rookies were serious writers – they were the ones that had their own pencils and pens on their person. Several rookies however shuffled nervously over to the prepared ones and began to beg for writing implements. Alice and the blue haired young man both had spares, and so it was a good five minutes before they could actually sit down and begin writing themselves. By this time, the fainted rookies had been placed on stretchers and Phoenixia had left with them, locking the door behind her.
Unfortunately Michael and Tash were not making terribly good invigilators. Both had brought their DS's and their newly purchased copies of Pokemon SoulSilver, and were not interested in much else. Thus it was left to Dave to pace around the room, weaving between the rookies and ensuring that no one was cheating.
All was going well, until fifteen minutes into the exam, when a series of light footsteps resounded from the corridor outside the exam hall. Dave coughed, and most of the rookies got back to work. A bunch of them screamed however as a vicious scratching noise came from the other side of the door, like a set of claws behind scraped back and forth across the wood.
"Wow..." Michael muttered, not looking up from his DS. "She must be hungry if she found you this quickly Dave."
"What is that?!" one of the rookies sounded utterly terrified.
"Its just Shirley," Tash assured everyone. "Don't worry abo- Dave! Get out of there!"
She had looked up from her DS to see the air vent cover lying discarded on the floor beside a stack of chairs, and Dave's long skinny legs flailing madly as he tried to pull himself all the way into the vent shaft. Michael, helpful as ever, put his DS down, got to his feet, seized one of Dave's legs and pulled hard. The poor man slid backwards and landed face first on the floor.
"Oww..." he groaned.
"Sorry mate," Michael shrugged. "I guess I should have warned you."
"I fell on my keys..." Dave moaned, rolling over and extracting the aforementioned offenders, along with a pen and his deck box. Several people winced.
"Ouch..." Tash muttered. "Do you want to go see Valerie?"
Dave paled. "I'm not going anywhere near that door!" he pointed at said entrance, which was still taking a beating from the Cliché Stick's formidable claws.
"Suit yourself," Tash shrugged. Michael went back to his seat, before noticing something.
"What are you all staring at?" he asked the rookies, before pointing at the clock. "You've only got another thirty five minutes!"
The frantic sound of scribbling returned to the room, accompanied by the sounds of Tash and Michael tapping their stylus against the DS screen.
Dave meanwhile, rummaged in his bag. He hadn't brought his axe with him, as it was still covered in dirt from his mishap in the archaeology section earlier, and he hadn't had a chance to clean it yet. He was utterly defenceless. As the cracking and snapping sound of large chips of wood being ripped from the door joined the scratching noises from earlier, Dave seized his thick archaeology texts and stacked them against the door like a barricade, before hurrying to fetch some of the unused chairs to enforce it.
Tash looked up, rolled her eyes, and went back to her game. She knew, and Dave must have known too, that it would take more than that to stop a hungry, pissed off Cliché Stick.
The minutes dragged on, with Shirley's assault getting louder and progressively more violent sounding. Tash and Michael were finding it hard to concentrate on their games, and the equally distracted rookies were starting to look pale and terrified beyond measure. After a further ten minutes of this, Michael finally snapped his DS shut, got to his feet once more, and strode to the door.
"Shirley!" he yelled through the wood. "Keep it down! We've got an exam in here!"
"You've also got a Scotsman in there who I want a word with!" Shirley barked back. "I'm keen to be personally introduced to his intestines!"
"Thanks Shirley...you just rendered two rookies comatose..." Michael sighed, seeing two of the pale figures slump to the floor in a dead faint.
"And Dave isn't a Scotsman!" Tash added. "He's from Carlisle!"
"I DON'T CARE IF HE'S FROM THE NORTH POLE!" Shirley screeched. "I HAVE A DATE WITH HIS LIVER!"
Michael backed away from the door, as the heavy brass lock was ripped clean from the wood. He could just see the Cliché Stick hopping around angrily through the hole that now decorated the door. The chief agent whistled.
"Wow Dave, you pissed her off good..."
Everyone turned, expecting to see Dave at one end of the room working himself into a panic. What they saw instead was four miniature helicopters, winching Dave up towards the air vent. On the ground, several members of the LPGB were coordinating the complex looking mission. Strangely enough, now that they were all paying attention, they could hear the music from the Great Escape coming through the helicopters' speakers.
"Nice to meet you all!" he waved to the rookies, before looking up to the front most helicopter. "General, get me out of here!"
"Yes sir!" came a voice from inside the copter, followed by the static of a tiny radio. "Admiral Jared. We are returning with the package!"
As Dave vanished into the air vent, they all heard him asking curiously. "Am I biodegradable?"
Michael and Tash groaned in unison.
"At least he wasn't quoting war movies to make the LPGB happy," Tash muttered, as Dave's best Scottish accent floated back down the vent shaft for them all to hear.
"She may take my liver, but she will never take my freedom!"
The rookies all covered their ears as though the words had caused them pain. The leaders exchanged looks, before Michael got out his communicator.
"Valerie? Could you prepare the Cliché Stick treatment ward please? I think Dave is going to need it..."
"Fail," Michael flipped the paper facedown onto the large pile that had formed on his desk. "Next..."
His eyes began scanning the next exam paper.
"...I don't think this person wrote in English..." Tash muttered, holding the paper up to the light, as though it would magically become legible from a different angle. "Auto fail. I can't be bothered to decipher it." She picked up the next one. "Auto fail. This person got question one wrong."
"Isn't that a bit harsh?" Claire asked, entering with a plate of crumpets. "You don't think you should check the other answers?"
"Not really," Tash stated. "Question one is, "what is your name?"."
Claire blinked. "...how do you get that question wrong?"
Tash held up the paper for her to see, and Claire's eyes widened.
"Huh...some people really are stupid," she said.
"Pass," Michael declared, before checking the name. "Hey, its Louise's paper Tash."
"Yay!" Tash gave a cheer. "More Limey's for the cause!"
She and Claire high fived, and Michael anxiously reached for the microphone on his desk.
"Attention all American Society agents," he announced, the microphone magically projecting his voice throughout the entire Library. "The Limey's are starting to outnumber us! Recruit more American's for the cause!"
He gave a yelp as Claire sat on his lap, wedged a crumpet into his mouth, and wrestled the microphone from his grasp.
"Disregard that previous announcement!" she ordered. "Continue recruiting as normal!"
"God save the queen, what what!" Tash interjected in the most posh accent she could manage. She took the microphone, stacked it between two books, and went back to the exam papers. Claire took a bite out of the end of crumpet that wasn't wedged into her boyfriend's mouth.
"Thanks for holding my crumpet, baby," she giggled, patting him on the cheek. Michael chewed and swallowed.
"Oww...my pride..." he groaned, before getting up from his seat and picking Claire into his arms. "I must restore it!"
"Put me down!" Claire protested, but Michael was already out of the door. Tash blinked at the spot they had been sitting at, before leaning casually over to Michael's desk, pulling the lower drawer open, and reaching for the bar of chocolate that she knew to be under the papers.
"Get your hand out of there, Aneki!"
Tash hastily slammed the drawer shut and went back to her exams. She passed the next paper (Alice), before starting the last one.
"Aww those poor little fainted rookies," Phoenixia giggled as she entered the room, her nurses outfit seeming to have got tighter since that morning. She was also carrying a bag over one shoulder. "So innocent and unaware of the naughty things I had planned for them..."
"Phoenixia what have I told you about screwing the rookies?" Tash asked, without looking up from her current paper.
"Absolutely nothing," Phoenixia said after a moment of thinking.
"Exactly," the leader chewed anxiously on her pen. "Because, I shouldn't have to tell you not to molest them."
The ex-hologram sighed, and shed her nurses' dress, not caring or even enjoying the fact that Tash was in the room and the door was slightly ajar. "I know. I know. Don't worry. Most of them would probably faint upon seeing me naked, and that would be a waste." She fished in her bag for a new set of clothes, but paused as she realised that Tash had stopped moving.
"Tashy?" Phoenixia placed a hand on the leader's shoulder, which seemed to snap her out of her daze.
"Merdre..." Tash hissed, dropping the exam and diving into her bag for her communicator.
"Since when have you sworn in French?" Phoenixia asked curiously.
"Since my holiday which didn't feel like a holiday last week," Tash answered absently, dialling as fast as she could. "Harriet, Michael, we have a code ten, I repeat, a code ten. Report to Michael's office immediately."
Phoenixia seized the exam paper from where it had landed on the floor, and handed it back to Tash immediately – code ten was Society-speak for an applicant who had failed the Litmus test in such a way that indicated that they themselves were Mary-Sues. The Litmus questions had been introduced after Willowe had managed to pass her way in all those months ago.
Harriet burst in through the door, accompanied by a flash of bright light from her automatic lightning generator (now in handy pocket size!). Her eyes passed over Tash, immediately registering the anxious look on her friend's face, and then over Phoenixia, who was still completely naked, and accessing the Library's computer system.
"What have we got?" she asked. Tash slapped the paper down on the table just as Michael and Claire walked in. Both of them screeched to a halt, and Michael threw his hands up in front of his face.
"Phoenixia! Put some clothes on! This is like, the millionth time!"
The hologram rolled her eyes. "Oh honestly! It's always the American's being prudes. None of the British agents in this room even looked twice when they came in!"
"I did," Claire raised a hand. "I just wasn't going to say anything."
"And we just don't care," Harriet poked her friend in the side. "Let me see this paper..." She pulled a face at the name.
"Astron Ganera," she butchered the pronunciation. "Sounds weird."
"It sounds made up," Phoenixia corrected.
"I can't believe we didn't notice this guy before," Tash was muttering. "Michael, this guy is basically a Bleach fanboy's wish fulfilment. He seems to have mastered all the ability's and powers from the fandom."
Michael now registered the guy with the black/almost dark blue hair from earlier; how he had seemed too relaxed and sure of himself, and how he had not seemed to react to the warning about how dangerous the Society was getting.
"Y'know," he muttered. "For all that we're protectors of the multiverse, we do fail at this whole "spotting the intruders" malarkey..."
"Got him!" Phoenixia muttered, her fingers flying over Michael's laptop, which was the single computer in the leader's office. "Dark haired guy, currently sitting by himself looking cool and aloof in the rookies waiting room."
The screen showed the nine rookies that had lasted until the end of the exam without fainting or passing out. Four were huddled nervously off to one side, comparing their answers in quiet, hushed tones. Louise and Alice had a stack of plastic cones in front of them, and appeared to be playing a spirited round of Treehouse. Another rookie was reading one of the books from the shelf, and another girl was twirling her hair between her fingers and eyeing up the dark blue haired guy, who had his feet up on another chair. His head was tilted back towards the ceiling, in a manner that made him look untouchable.
"Bloody hell," Michael muttered. "How did we not notice that?" He blinked. "Wait a second Phoenixia. Did you just hook my laptop up to the Library's computer system in under thirty seconds?"
The woman in question folded her arms proudly. "I may have a physical body now, but I still am the computer system. I can make this thing do whatever I want."
"Yeah, speaking of physical body," Tash said. "Can you put some clothes on please Phoenixia? Much as I'm enjoying the show, the sight of your chest isn't doing much for my own self confidence."
As Phoenixia reluctantly pulled on something more appropriate, Emily skidded into the room, her bag over one shoulder, the contents on the verge of flying out.
"Harriet said you had a code ten?" she asked. "I brought you Prohibitors, and a Memory Bomb for the other rookies." She blinked. "Why is Phoenixia in her underwear?"
"Don't ask," Claire advised her.
"Ready?" Tash kept her voice low. Michael was spinning the key to the door before them in his hand, and Claire kept fiddling with the Memory Bomb in her pocket, as though worried it would vanish.
"I'm in the room, standing by," Harriet confirmed. "Bring them in."
Tash, Michael and Claire exchanged nods, before Michael unlocked the door and pushed it open. All nine of the rookies looked up.
"Could Alice, Louise and Astron come with us please?" Tash asked. "The rest of your will be seen by Claire."
Claire gave her sweetest smile to the rookies, and several of them relaxed. She was certainly less frightening than the leaders. Alice and Louise exchanged worried looks, while Astron just looked relaxed and cool as he had done since entering the building.
Michael led them through to the next room, where, unbeknown to any of them, Harriet waited, concealed behind the door, her cape attempting to blend her in with the wall. She didn't move a muscle as the three rookies kept their attention on Michael and Tash.
"Did we fail?" Louise asked nervously. Tash grinned.
"No, quite the contrary. You all passed."
The two girls cheered and hugged each other tightly, while Astron just smiled as if to say "of course". In the shadows, Harriet took a deep breath and began to inch forwards.
"He's at the back of the group..." she thought, gripping the Prohibitor tightly. "Perfect. Now if I can just get close enough..."
"ITS A HATI!"
And Harriet was smothered in a patented Alice Hug. The new recruit had spotted her out of the corner of her eye, and shot at top speed towards her. Harriet flailed dramatically, the Prohibitor waving in her outstretched hand, before she lost her grip and it was flung across the room, landing at Tash's feet.
"Bollocks!" the Librarian shouted. "Alice! Let go of our leader!"
Even as a confused Alice released Harriet from her crushing embrace, it was too late. A jet black katana appeared from nowhere and sliced cleanly through the Prohibitor. It separated into two neat halves, and lay useless on the floor. Astron stood over it, sword in hand, an accusing look on his face. Michael and Tash drew their own weapons equally fast.
"You made a mistake taking out test, Stu," Michael hissed.
"I'm not a Stu!" Astron protested, levelling his katana at the leaders. "Everyone thinks I am, but I am not! I'm an original character-"
"An original character, who looks like his author, but who's powers, abilities and attitude is based entirely off a canon character," Tash interjected. "You're a fanboy imitation! You're what your author wants to be! Someone with superhuman powers, and no flaws, just like the hero you're based off. That makes you a Gary-Stu."
"That's not true!" the more he protested however, the weaker Astron's voice seemed to become. "I'm an original character! I know I am!"
"We're not going to put you in the basement," Harriet finally regained enough breath to speak. She didn't have her cricket bat on hand, so she was focusing instead on keeping herself between the Stu, and Alice and Louise, who were struggling to keep up with what was happening. "We're going to seal off your powers so you can't ever become a threat, then we'll send you back to your author with a warning."
"No!" the young man sounded more terrified than angry now. "You can't Prohibit me! I'm not a Gary-Stu!"
"You are a Gary-Stu!" Michael shouted impatiently. "Despite whatever your author may have told you, you are! And the sooner you accept that, the happier you will be."
The zanpakuto came swinging down again, but Michael was fast enough to block the blow, which would have otherwise cut his throat open. The force behind the blow was crushing, and Michael mentally swore as the blade of his sword was sliced cleanly in two. On instinct, Michael turned his body against the blow, and the sword cut straight across his shoulder. Blood soaked into his shirt.
"Damn it...that was my last good sword." the injured leader thought, as he fell to his knees.
As Astron backed away from what he had done, he sensed motion behind him, as a figure blurred out of a flash step.
"I warned you," Tash whispered, Nephthys aflame in her hand. "I punish harshly." Her flaming sword impacted on Astron's hasty block, flame licking at the youth's body as the force of Tash's blow slammed him across the room and into the wall, a nearby books shelf toppling and sending books spilling to the floor.
Astron regained himself quickly, jumping out of the hole his body had made, thrusting a hand forward and lighting leapt from his fingertip, searing the air as it lanced straight towards the British leader. She was already moving, however, flash-stepping away it the lighting passed harmlessly through the air. She reappeared right next to Astron, who lashed out with a sword slash, but Tash easily deflected it, driving her own sword into the floor and lashing out with an impressive kick that caught Astron under his chin and snapped his head back.
"This is over." Tash grabbed her sword, yanking it free from the ground as she whirled on her heel, the hilt of her sword slamming into his temple. Astron dropped to the ground like a bag of wet cement, out like a light.
"Valerie, we need you!" Harriet was shouting down her communicator. "Michael has been injured."
"Relax," Michael grunted, pulling himself up. "Its just a flesh wound."
"Don't care, you're getting it seen to," Harriet was firm. "Tash..."
"I'm on him," Tash said, parking herself onto the Stu's back, and clasping a Prohibitor around his wrist. "That should keep him down for a bit. At least till someone heavier gets here."
"Everything okay?" Phoenixia poked her head in, along with Valerie. The healer raced straight to Michael (who was protesting loudly that he was fine, and it was just a scratch), while Tash jabbed a finger at Phoenixia.
"You'll do. Sit on him for me, would you?"
"What exactly happened?" Louise was brave enough to ask.
"We lied," Harriet stated. "He didn't pass the exam. He failed a Litmus test questions." She placed her hands on her hips and faced Alice. "And may I say Alice, you've set a new Society record for botching an arrest? Barely fifteen seconds after becoming a rookie, and you ruin the mission."
Alice's confusion morphed into a horrified expression. "Wait...was that what you were doing behind the door?...oops..."
Rolling her eyes, Harriet responded by stealing Alice's headband.
"So what will you do with him now?" Louise asked. Harriet huffed.
"Send him back to his author, and tell them to look up the definition of Gary-Stu before they try again," she sighed. "Some people can be so stupid about their creations. So short sighted..."
"Two words Harriet," Phoenixia interrupted smartly. "Willowe Foxblade."
The leader blushed, and Phoenixia was forced to duck an incoming cricket ball. "Does this mean we can't sleep together tonight?"
Seconds later, the ex-hologram was dashing out of the room as Harriet chased after her, flinging cricket ball after cricket ball, somehow producing them from nowhere. "And I was going to let you be on top, too!"
Tash just watched them go and facepalmed.
In a random bedroom, somewhere in Real Life, a young author was seething as he read the text on the computer screen before him.
"They rejected him..." he muttered. "They're just like everyone else. Calling him a Stu...they're wrong. They're just jealous. They're all jealous of my characters!"
In a fit of anger, an arm swept across the desk, and sent stacks of paperwork, and a pot of pencils flying. The pot smashed into fragments of china, and the pens clattered along the floor, marking the paperwork with random smudges of ink. The author's anger did not dissipate, despite the satisfaction that the destruction caused.
"They'll understand. I'll make them understand, what fools and hypocrites they all are."