Disclaimer: On the one hand, I like writing terrible cringeworthy fics. On the other, I tend to dislike writing in the first person. In short, this fic is not recommended for human consumption.

Cringeworthy

I came to my senses in a dark alley that smelled strongly of stale urine. There were two envelopes in my hand. The first contained a note that informed me that I had been selected to be some random Omnipotent's entertainment and that I had been given a selection of powers and abilities to help with my assigned task. The second contained a depressingly small amount of money, possibly enough for a night in a cheap motel and a couple meals if I was lucky.

I'm sure that non-writers would be surprised that the situation I found myself in a common predicament for a fanfic author to find themself in. I sometimes wondered if the risk of finding one's self cast into another world for the amusement of a god like being was worth the writing? I set the thought aside, hopefully I could get this all done with a minimum amount of fuss so I could get back to doing something productive like getting out my next chapter. Some might call me an addict. I would reply that I don't have time to debate while I'm writing them into my next chapter as disposable redshirts.

I spent a moment considering the best first use of my main power. Five charges a day to learn anything I might wish to learn might seem like a lot to someone not trapped on a death world with minimal, almost non-existent, resources but it seemed like nothing at all to me. A bit of triage needed to be done, what would be the best use of said charges? Short term survival over long term utility, I reminded myself. All five charges went towards teaching me everything I needed to know to operate and survive in enemy held territory. Hopefully it would be enough to keep me alive until my power recharged.

Finding a place to wait out the night proved to be relatively straight forward. I found an affluent neighborhood, broke into one of the many empty houses, and disabled the alarm to ensure I wouldn't be disturbed by anyone.

I breathed a sigh of relief at midnight that night when my power refilled itself. I likely should have retained at least one charge in reserve in case of emergencies but I hadn't realized that till I'd found shelter and had used the exercises my power had taught me to control stress. It was odd, I didn't realize how terrified I was until after I'd had a chance to calm down and think about it.

After some careful thought, I put a charge towards learning more about the golden goose's species and how to defeat them. Seemed relatively straight forward. Nothing that couldn't easily be done by a group of immoral conspirators with massive resources after a couple long weekends of work. Now then, what would be the best way to pass the information that wouldn't result in me getting enslaved and likely tortured? A smile formed on my face. When all else fails, go with what you know. Plan formed, I set about plotting the best use of my power to ensure long term survival and escape. The prospect of staying local, even without the threat of the golden goose was less than appealing.

I put three charges into committing crime without getting caught the next morning and used my newly granted knowledge to harvest a few resources from some of the other houses in the affluent neighborhood that had hosted me that night. I hadn't taken much from each house, a few bills from each safe and nothing at all that might be immediately missed, but what I now had was more than enough for several nights in the best room in the city's best hotel. I got lunch, a new suitcase and some clothing from a thrift shop, and checked into a moderately priced tourist hotel. Wealth drew attention and attention was the one thing I didn't want.

IIIIIIIIII

The Watch Captain strolled up the the podium and smacked it a couple times to get everyone's attention.

"Had a couple robberies in the rich part of town earlier today. Almost didn't notice them, wouldn't have if not for the fact that a couple of the houses had Tinker tech alarms. You all know the drill, houses belonged to some of the mayor's big donors and they ain't happy. Mayor's donors ain't happy so the mayor ain't happy. Mayor ain't happy so the commissioner ain't happy and all that. Shit rolls down hill and you lot are the lowest of the low so congratulations, extra patrols in the rich neighborhoods. I want everyone to be nice and visible so the rich bastards can see what their donations are paying for.

"Any suspects?" one of the patrol sergeants asked. "Or anything specifically to keep an eye out for?"

"We got nothing, not even a partial print. Guy who did this had half an idea of what he was doin."

"We think it's a cape?"

"Nah, we're pretty sure it's just some schmo. Detectives don't think a cape would have missed the Tinker tech alarms. Sides, if it's a cape then it's the PRT's problem and if the PRT takes over the chances of this ever getting solved go from slim to none and the chances of the Protectorate getting a new 'hero' -The watch captain made finger quotes around the word - with a power-set that would make them good at B&E goes up. You lot know what I always say about the PRT."

"FUCK THE PRT!" the cops roared.

"Damn straight," the watch captain agreed. "Fuck the PRT." He grinned. "Other thing we got is another missing person." A photo was clipped to the whiteboard. "Usual drill on that one, keep an eye on the airport, the bus station, and the other usual places. Medium priority on that one, they're connected to someone with a bit of juice but not enough juice for us to hassle the gangs on their behalf."

"Five bucks says they turn up face down in the bay in two days."

"Ten says a week," the watch captain replied.

IIIIIIIIII

Most people in my shoes would want to meet their favorite characters, to help them solve all their problems, to seduce them and all their friends, to be the hero of their own story. I wanted nothing to do with any of the main characters due to the fact that they were all irrational, immoral, and idiotic. As to being a hero of my own story? Meh, if I wanted to be adored by the crowd, I'd get a bunch of dogs. Much easier, more honest, and less risky that way.

I put a charge into dimensional travel and another charge in creating pocket dimensions. Doable after dozens of charges to make the tools to make the tools and all that. All I had to do was to survive this damned city for- I cut myself off, what kind of idiot would stay in this death trap? Now what would be the safest place to waste time while I spent charges and built the tools to build my lifeboat? Small towns were out, no way I was going near any of them while a group of rampaging murder hoboes was on the loose. Logic stated that I was likely safe enough, plenty of small towns vs one group of murder hoboes. Fanfic logic stated that any town I chose would be their next target. Which was a shame since small towns were unlikely to have gangs of villains infesting them.

Mind made up, the next thing to contemplate was what means would be the best way of getting the hell out of town. The bus, I decided. No requirement to provide identification and little to know security at the station.

The bus station was not in the best part of town, they almost never were. People tended to only use intercity busses as a last resort which was a shame in some ways. The very things that made them attractive also attracted the very sort best avoided. Then again it could have just been because Brockton Bay was a gang infested shit hole. Maybe the bus terminals in other cities were nicer? I looked forward to finding out.

Upon entering the station, my attention was immediately drawn to the two police officers loitering next to the ticket counter. There was something off about them, what were they doing here, this wasn't right, I had to get out before they saw me. My heart was pounding as I retreated from the bus station. I put two charges into escape and evasion to complement what I'd already gotten through the charges I'd spent on operating in enemy territory. I didn't detect anyone following me, but I couldn't be sure. How could I be sure of anything? I wondered to myself.

I spent that night in the rafters of an abandoned warehouse by the docks. It didn't provide much shelter but there were dozens of possible escape routes and it would be hard for anyone to move in a sizable number of people. I needed to find some place more permanent in the morning. My last charge of the day went towards my lifeboat project. I hoped I could find someplace safe so I could stop spending charges on short term problems.

I put two charges into undercover spy training, it was a nice compliment to the other charges I'd spent on survival. What to do, I wondered, where to go where to hide? I forced myself to calm down. A charge went towards working in stressful environments which seemed to help a bit. Food then shelter, no food then I needed to acquire my first set of tools or find a workshop I could use without drawing attention.

IIIIIIIIII

Armsmaster entered the conference room at precisely the time the daily briefing was supposed to be conducted.

"I have emailed the briefing documents to everyone's accounts. PRT intelligence believes that there may be a new Tinker in Brockton Bay due to an increase in the theft of tools and electronics and now raw materials. As you all know, this is a fairly standard pattern of behavior for a newly triggered Tinker. No one indicated that they have anything they wish to add to this meeting in the web interface so this meeting is over."

Armsmaster turned and walked out of the conference room. Forty five seconds, still not efficient enough to be satisfactory. He considered the problem on the way back to his laboratory, if only he hadn't been ordered to conduct all meetings in person or been forbidden from creating a robot duplicate to conduct the meetings for him.

IIIIIIIIII

I spent the day lifting wallets from suspected Nazis and scouting for more resources before I checked into another moderately priced motel. I managed a couple hours of sleep and I made sure to wake up a bit before midnight to place my remaining two charges into my lifeboat project. I'd planned to go out to gather resources that night, my level of exhaustion changed my mind. I put two more charges into my lifeboat project and dropped off to sleep.

I spent the next three days resting in the motel and managed to put almost every charge I earned into my escape plan before I decided that it was time to move on. Staying for too long would draw suspicion and that was the one thing I couldn't do.

I needed some place more permanent. I needed some place private enough to do a bit of work. I needed some place safe enough that I could relax. I was fortunate that Brockton Bay had several rentals that accepted cash and didn't ask questions. I was ready to start work.

Over the next couple weeks, I fell into a routine. I'd go out and harvest resources about once or twice a week and I would work on my project the rest of the time. It took almost three months to get the first prototype done, a pocket dimension the size of a garage, but I did it. It wouldn't be long before I was safe enough to start the final stage of my genius plan of brilliance. My fingers twitched at the thought, soon, my pretties, soon.

IIIIIIIIII

Lisa snorted in amusement as she read over the BBPD's shift briefing notes. They thought that maybe they might possibly have a parahuman running around because someone was good enough to rob a couple houses in the rich part of town. She briefly considered and then discarded the idea of passing it on to Coil. He probably wouldn't find it as amusing as she had and he had ways of expressing his displeasure that she wanted to avoid. A pity, but it was best not to annoy the bastard too much. She clicked off the document and pulled up its counterpart from the PRT.

A possible Tinker? That was something worth looking into. She hated to sell them out to her boss, but it was them or her so it wasn't a hard choice to make.

IIIIIIIIII

I breathed a sigh of relief after I finished my pocket dimension. It was massive, easily rivaling any of the old stately homes in the bay, plenty of room to live and expand. A horrible thought occurred to me which caused me to immediately allocate charges to ensure my new home would be safe and stable. The results were anything but good, still, I was getting there. All I needed to do was make a few basic changes and I . . . would likely die horribly due to the air becoming stale before I starved to death. Damn it.

Midnight came around and I allocated a charge to starship design. Two seconds later I cursed myself for an idiot and allocated two charges to life support. Despite my knowledge, I was still the same old primitive I've always been. I had the knowledge but I lacked the instincts that came from experience and internalizing the knowledge. It was shameful that I hadn't realized all this ahead of time, perils of being soaked in fear all day every day I supposed. The undercover agent knowledge helped, but it wasn't perfect. I'd have to take a bit of time to practice and internalize everything once I'd found some place safe to rest.

It took me another week to make the necessary changes to my new home, something that also required a massive expansion of my new living space and several charges in hydroponics, aquaponics, and robotics, but I was almost there. All I needed to do now was to stock it with supplies and I'd be ready to save the world.

IIIIIIIIII

Armsmaster entered the conference room at precisely the time the daily briefing was supposed to be conducted.

"I have emailed the briefing documents to everyone's accounts. PRT intelligence believes that there may be a new bio-Tinker in Brockton Bay due to several large thefts from food warehouses, of gardening supplies, and of plants and trees from nurseries. Intelligence is unsure if the recent break ins and thefts of animals from the Boston Zoo and Aquarium are related. Miss Militia has filed a request to have the location of the daily briefings moved from the secure meeting room connected to my laboratory to one of the conference rooms accessible to non-Tinkers. Per Protectorate Regulation 670-1, I am officially notifying you that the request was automatically frozen by the system due to an improperly placed comma. Miss Militia will have to correct and resubmit the request form before it can be considered."

Armsmaster turned and walked out of the conference room. One minute and ten seconds, still not efficient enough to be satisfactory, but still better than when he'd conducted meetings in a space accessible to his subordinates. His attendance system automatically noted that he was the only participant for the fifteenth day in a row and automatically sent counseling statements to the other members of the Protectorate.

IIIIIIIIII

I breathed a sigh of relief when I left the hotel for the last time to move into my dimensional home. The entrance way would not have been out of place in a Victorian London's men's club. I stepped into my writing room and took a minute to take in the view through large windows. Jungle as far as the eye could see out one side and evergreen forest out the other. It was beautiful. I drew the curtains and sat down at my desk, it was time to get started.

A frown appeared on my face, what in the hell had I been thinking when I'd stolen this chair? I put five charges into ergonomics and realized that I hadn't been thinking at all when I'd stolen the chair shaped monstrosity. I'd put five charges into furniture construction that night and I'd create a proper workspace after I woke up, I decided. The world could wait a day or two.

I decided not to start with my crowning achievement. It'd been months since I'd gotten any writing in and I'd be damned if my debut work in another world was a troll fic. No, I decided to start things off right. It wasn't my best work, something to be expected since I didn't have the best feel of the setting, but my cape fic was fairly well received. It was a fairly standard new hero fic, a thinker named Snitch, real name Sarah Willy, is forcibly recruited by Coil, real name Cal Thomas, and shows the super villain why it's a bad idea to get on the wrong side of a Thinker. I sent a rough draft to Tattletale two days before I published it to PHO. She didn't reply but I did happen to see a BOLO for Thomas Calvert issued by the PRT a day or so later.

My second fic detailed the perils faced by a young boy named Tyler who was bullied by one of the wards. People hated it, most common review stated that there was no way that heroes would act like that. I did get some support from one of the rumor forums after people started talking about the absolutely massive settlement some kid got for enduring something similar to what I'd written about, but just about everyone dismissed it as a coincidence. A shame.

IIIIIIIIII

Armsmaster entered the conference room at precisely the time the daily briefing was supposed to be conducted. One of his subordinates were waiting for him.

"Turns out the local PRT director has the authority to grant access to Protectorate facilities," Assault explained cheerfully.

Armsmaster did not protest, that would not have been an efficient use of his time. "I have emailed the briefing documents to everyone's accounts. PRT Intelligence believes that there may be a new Thinker in Brockton Bay due to two works published in the Fanfiction section of PHO which revealed several secrets-"

"I have a question!" Assault raised his hand. "What secrets?"

"Nearly everything about the villain Coil, misconduct by one of the Wards, PRT codes and passwords, Protectorate-"

"I have another question!" Assault interrupted. "How sure are we that it isn't just a rogue PRT agent?"

"That question was answered by your briefing documents," Armsmaster stated. "As was your previous question."

"I set my email to automatically delete anything that comes from you," Assault explained. "It's more efficient than going through them and deleting them manually."

Armsmaster's teeth ground together. This was not an efficient use of his time. "Did you only come to this meeting in order to waste my time?"

"I only came to this meeting because you were writing me up for not attending your meetings," Assault said honestly. "I'm wasting your time because you wrote me up for not attending your meetings."

IIIIIIIIII

It was time, I decided. It'd been two weeks since I'd started posting fanfiction on PHO and in that time I'd destroyed every major criminal gang on the east coast and been responsible for the deaths of every member of the Slaughterhouse Nine that hadn't been driven into hiding. I also had such a breathtakingly large number of people hunting for me that it likely wouldn't be safe to ever set foot on Earth Bet or any of the connecting earths ever again. Not a big deal, it was what I'd planned for.

A missive from XxVoid_CowboyxX prompted a change in plans. While I had originally intended to write a troll fic as my final and greatest work before fleeing the dimension, I had also intended to post it under my own username. Void's eloquent description of my mother's sexual congress with a golden retriever prompted a small change in plans. I wasn't just going to write a troll fic, I was going to write THE troll fic by which all others were measured. I was also going to give him all the credit.

It wasn't easy thinking up gems like: 'Her breasts were like two koosh balls, squishy but firm' and 'I wanna tongue punch your moist steamy lady box' and even 'Fear not, sweet Panacea! I know of your forbidden longings and my Manly Rod of Puissance will love the perversion out of you!' so I didn't bother. Greg Veder had more than enough lines even worse than those in his massive file of half finished fanfiction on his computer. It was still slow going since I had to take numerous breaks to recover from the sewer I was wading through until I got smart about it. A couple charges went into programming and I soon had a bot to wade though the fic archive of badness and another to write reams of badness. I choose the character names and wrote the story parts, my bots took care of the bulk of the writing and most of the bad sex scenes.

After a moment of thought, I decided to rewrite the fic to include a wish fulfillment character named Void Cowboy that had all the powers of every member of the Triumvirate and was also the most popular kid in school with a harem of, and I quote, hawt chicks.

It was a work of art. It made Artemis' Lover look like a work of Shakespeare. Titus, admittedly, rather than one of his good plays. In short, it was grotesque, it was horrible, it had ever changing spelling and terrible grammar. It was a monstrosity that would force any in the know to wade through rivers of shit to find the occasional gem sprinkled in. It was perfect.

IIIIIIIIII

Legend was the last one to arrive for the emergency meeting. Around the table, the saviors of humanity shared nervous looks. Something had gone seriously wrong, hopefully not wrong enough to derail their plan to save not just one world but countless others.

"Thank you for coming on such short notice," Alexandria stated, bringing the meeting to order.

"You said there was an existential threat to our mission?" Doctor Mother prompted.

"Yes. I've recently been made aware of a rather disturbing document that leaked online," Alexandria announced. "If you'll open the supplied folders, we'll begin."

"There must be some mistake," Legend said, looking more than a bit confused. "This appears to be a printout of a cape fanfiction story."

"No mistake. It is a printout of cape fanfiction."

"This is why you called a meeting?" Eidolon sneered. "This? Exactly how can this be considered an existential threat to Cauldron?"

"Because it has us in it," Alexandria stated. "All of us. The real us. It has all our secrets, it exposes everything we've done to defeat the entity, it reveals everything."

The room went silent. Eidolon stared at the harmless looking stack of papers in the same way a non-powered individual would stare at a venomous snake.

Legend flipped through the stack, his frown deepening when he came across his first scene. "Why does it say that I'm a willfully blind idiot that's kept in the dark by everyone else?"

"That's not important right now," Doctor Mother brushed off his question. "What is important is figuring out how to deal with this situation. Is it possible to cover this up?"

"It's too widespread," Number Man said. "Three copies are reposted for every one we're able to take down."

"Alright," Doctor Mother agreed. "Best thing to do is likely to ignore it. No one's going to believe that anything in it is true."

"Too late for that," Number Man sighed. "The supposed author of the work was arrested by the PRT and brought in for interrogation."

"And?"

"And someone managed to get footage of the arrest and of some of the interrogation," Number Man explained. "That coupled with our attempts to remove every copy of the work has convinced most of the internet that the allegations in the document are true."

"Shit."

"Indeed."

"Uh." Legend tried once again to enter the conversation.

"The president had already demanded that I explain why the story's leader of the PRT, Bobbi MarrĂ³n-Coast, is secretly Alexandria and bears such a strong resemblance to me."

And was once again ignored.

"What do you think, Contessa?" Alexandria asked. "Contessa?" She turned to look at the other woman and was shocked to silence by what she saw.

"My breasts do not feel like koosh balls," Contessa said triumphantly. The woman's left hand was in her shirt, apparently feeling herself up, while the right was squeezing a koosh ball. "What?"

Alexandria cleared her throat. "Do you have anything else you would like to add to the conversation?"

"The author's note states that part two will have the secret to defeating the golden goose," Contessa replied. "Do you think there's a chance that they are telling the truth?"

AN: While this is an author insert, I really hope it isn't a self insert. I like to think I'm not a feckless cowardly paranoid asshole of this caliber. I also like to think I'd put the OC's powers to better use. In case it was missed, bad writing if it was, no one was seriously looking for the OC. The OC thought that he was important and being hunted because he was the protagonist, arrogance combined with paranoia.

My main regret is that I didn't get to use the stealth micro assassination drones. Maybe some other fic.

Improvements to this monstrosity by FKN (improved a sentence), Luan Mao (Provided a line of cringe and improved a sentence), and Ibskib (Typos)

An Unused Scene: OC sees a main character

I pushed down the urge to start ranting and swearing at the omnipotent for their attempts to get me to join the plot. Taunting was right out, I knew better than to dare them to do their worst. I froze as a thought occurred, hopefully they couldn't read my mind. Damn it.

"Alright," I said aloud. "You win, I'll do something interesting. Just give me a couple days to get everything ready. Maybe a couple weeks depending on what I can build with the current tech level." There was no reply. "Deal?"

AN: OC thinks the omnipotent is trying to force them into the plot.

Omake by Jarreas Underwood

"Armsmaster, you must attend all meetings in person."

"Armsmaster, robot duplicates do not count as 'in person'."

"Armsmaster, you have to wait until most of the people scheduled to arrive are present."

"Armsmaster, you may not dispatch PRT squads to retrieve people because they are not present at a meeting."

"Armsmaster, you may not hack into people's personal phones to determine their location then call them to remind them to attend a meeting."

"Armsmaster, remove the trackers that are in your teammates' costumes."

"Armsmaster, using your nanothorn technology to implant tracking devices into your teammates counts. Stop."

"Armsmaster, here is a copy of parliamentary procedure. Use it."

"Armsmaster, I meant 'follow the procedures' not use the manual as ablative armor."

"Armsmaster, stop assigning an on-duty squad to your meetings just so you can have a quorum without any of your teammates present."

"Armsmaster, you may attend meetings remotely."

Unrelated Omake: Rubber Masks

Note: Part two of 'Unrelated Loud House Omake: Memories,' Meh #19

Albert grinned widely when his grandson hopped out of the family van and ran to the entrance of his retirement home.

"Hey, Pop-Pop," Lincoln greeted the old man.

"Lincoln," Albert replied. "What are you in the mood to do today?"

"I'm up for anything, but I've got another history assignment to do first."

"More on the Navy?"

"No. My teacher assigned me to work on the rubber mask crime wave," Lincoln replied. The boy looked and sounded like he wasn't sure if the subject was real. "Did people really dress up like ghosts and monsters to scare people away from places?"

"Oh my yes," Albert laughed. "Super realistic masks had just been developed and for a while it seemed like everyone with a grudge or a poorly thought business plan was pretending to be a horrible monster. Heh, those were the days."

"What was it like? Wouldn't it be obvious that it was someone in a costume?"

"You'd think so, but most of the criminals only came out a night when the light wasn't so good. Don't have any first hand experience myself so I guess I can't be too sure."

"Oh."

"Let's say we check the computer and then we'll have a talk with the others. If we're lucky, we'll find someone that saw things with their own eyes."

The computer wasn't much help. Most of the crimes pre-dated the internet so they weren't able to find much aside from a lot of archives behind a paywall and some kookie forums that claimed that everything had been real and the rubber masks were a government coverup.

Asking the other residents proved to be more fruitful. They struck gold when a lady in the bingo room replied that she'd had the misfortune to have been caught up in a rubber mask incident while on vacation in Hawaii.

"What kind of monster was it?" Lincoln asked eagerly.

"Only one I saw was a witch doctor," the old lady replied. "Heard there was another one though. Some sort of giant ghost statue or something I think."

"Were you scared?"

"I remember being more annoyed than scared. I'd worked hard for two years to save up enough money to take a Hawaii vacation and I wasn't about to let some nut ruin it for me."

"Did people really think it was a witch doctor or a ghost?"

"The locals thought it was some nut. Don't know if any of them thought he had magic powers. I think most people figured if he was crazy enough to run around in a stupid costume then he might be crazy enough to be dangerous. Can't say I thought much about it, too busy trying to learn how to surf to worry too much about a ghost."

"Oh." Lincoln considered the answer. He'd expected to be told that she'd had no doubt that it was a ghost and that it was only the intervention of some brave detective that saved the day. The idea that people were more worried about some crazy guy in a stupid costume running around was depressingly disappointingly realistic. "Do you know how he was caught?"

"Group of detectives that specialized in that sort of thing were in the area." She levered herself up. "Come on, I think I know where my photo album is. I'll show you."

She led them back to her room and spent a few minutes poking around her bookshelf. "Ah ha! Here it is."

Lincoln took the book and gingerly set it on the table.

"Pictures from Hawaii should be right around . . . . here," she finished triumphantly. "That's one of the detectives that solved the mystery." She put her index finger on the photo. "And here's another one."

"Hold up a bit, Ethel," Albert requested, squinting down at the picture. "I think I recognize that one." He indicated a young man in a green shirt.

"Where do you recognize him from, Pop-Pop?" Lincoln asked.

"Gimme a minute, it'll come to me," Albert replied.

Lincoln turned back to the old lady. "Do you remember who the culprit was or what he wanted?"

"Some reporter," Ethel replied. "I think he was stealing pearls or something. I'm pretty sure I've got a news clipping about it somewhere in this book." She flipped back a couple pages. "Here it is."

"Local Reporter John Simms was trying to scare people away from his pearl poaching operation," Lincoln read aloud. "Caught by lieutenant Tomuru of the Hawaii Police Department with the assistance of Mystery Inc."

"I got it!" Albert said suddenly. "I know where I know him from."

"Where, Pop-Pop?"

"Remember the prison camp raid I told you about?" Albert asked. "Well, he was part of it." The old man flipped back to the picture of a slouching hippie in a green shirt. "Don't know what he did for the operation, but I remember him. Some Army lieutenant saw him and he didn't salute." Albert laughed. "I later found out that meant he'd spent time in the jungle, they didn't salute in the jungle. Well, the lieutenant starts yelling at him and the noise attracts an army captain who starts yelling at the lieutenant." Albert had to fight down another bout of laughter. "The noise from that attracted an army colonel who joined in and that attracted a general. The general looked the lieutenant dead in the eye and told him that he was there to keep his mouth shut and his eyes open. Then he pointed at this guy." Albert waved at the photo. "And said that he was there because he had something to contribute. Then he asked the lieutenant who was more valuable? Some worthless shavetail that couldn't pour pi-uh do anything right, or a grunt that had been brought in for his special knowledge."

"What happened then?" Lincoln asked, enraptured.

"The lieutenant, to his credit, apologized. Told the soldier that he'd thought he was just there to pick up garbage and make coffee. Promised it wouldn't happen again. The soldier just shrugged it off. Wish I knew what that guy knew to make him so valuable but we didn't ask questions about that sort of thing unless it was to help plan the mission. Suppose I'll never know."

AN: Takes place in the Shaggy the Handler universe. Based on the episode: A Tiki Scare Is No Fair