Response Centre #24601

Home of Maria and Crispin, Department of Mary-Sues, freelance

Mission #6: Sleep is Deaths Younger Sister

 

Disclaimer: The PPC belong to Jay and Acacia.  The Minis and other living typos belong to their respective continua and respective authors.  The MTFFAT interlude in which Crispin and his CAD make an appearance was written by Cassie Cameron-Young. Sandman is the property of Neil Gaiman and Vertigo Comics.  “Sleep is Deaths Younger Sister” is the property of SimplyAlice.

Note: Thank you to Tawaki, Fichunter, Trojanhorse, Cassie Cameron-Young, Sedri, Sara, and Inkling for lending their agents’ baking skills.

Mission:

The RC felt weirdly quiet when Crispin returned from his encounter with the Makes-Things Fund for Abused Technology.  He’d grown accustomed to Moon’s chaos in the time they’d spent in the TARDIS.  Maria was sitting on a chair, reading Crime and Punishment and fiddling absentmindedly with a spray of lilac.  There was no sign of any Minis, which only increased the silence.  Maria looked up at Crispin. 

“Happy Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May!” she exclaimed.  “There’s some extra lilac in a vase on the console, if you forgot.”

“Thanks.”  Crispin had forgotten.  Again.  He blamed it on the disorientation of missing three weeks because of the TARDIS malfunction.

As Crispin slipped some lilac into his buttonhole, he was struck with the feeling that he was forgetting something.  Was there something he was supposed to do?

“Hey, Crispin?  Could you grab me some bleeprin from the cabinet?  I need to forget the sappy preachiness of this character.”

Crispin went over to the cabinet and opened it.  There was a sudden blast of music as their Minis threw themselves out of the cabinet and jumped on him.  Crispin screamed and tried to throw them off.  For some strange reason, Sir Rodric was wearing a brightly-colored paper hat, while Enjorlas and Benjamain had been festooned with curly ribbon.  The decorations didn’t stop the Mini-Razor from trying to slit Crispin’s throat.

Maria jumped on him from behind and hugged him.  (Since when did Maria hug people?)  “Happy anniversary, partner!”

That was what he’d forgotten.  May 25th was the day Crispin had transferred from DOGA to Mary-Sues.  He remembered that Maria had greeted him then with a lilac behind her ear. 

Maria led the Minis in a rendition of “Happy Anniversary to You,” then brought Crispin over to the fridge.  Inside were a wide assortment of cakes (and one pie).

“I asked around to see if anyone we knew could bake,” Maria explained, “And it turns out a lot of people can.  That one’s from Tawaki, and that one’s from Janus.  Trojie’s has the paw prints in it and Circe made the, um, burnt one…I don’t know how we’ll eat it all.”

It turned out that Minis liked cake, and some pieces mysteriously disappeared into a spatio-temporal distortion, so that when all was said and done they’d gotten through about six-sevenths of the cake.  (They saved Nat’s fruitcake for later.)  Benjamain, true to his nature, went after Sara’s chocolate pie and devoured it before anyone else could get close.

When they were all full and high on sugar, Maria announced that it was time for Crispin to open his present.  Crispin flushed.  “Um, that really isn’t necessary…I didn’t get you anything.”

“That’s okay.  My present can be that you don’t freak out when you see your present.”

“Is freaking out likely?”

Maria produced a shoebox with holes poked in it.  Crispin looked at it with a combination of apprehension and dread.  Carefully, ready to run if the contents proved hostile, he opened the box.  His ‘present’ was curled up inside, with a red ribbon tied in a bow around its neck.

“A Mini-Dragon.  Another Mini?

“His name’s Repicheep,” said Maria.  “I thought you might like him, because he doesn’t sing.  Enjorlas was trying to teach him, but he has no musical challenge whatsoever.”

Repicheep crawled out of the box, brandishing a small sword, and lunged at the chocolate-covered Benjamain.  The Mini-Razor parried, and soon the RC was filled with the sound of clanking metal.  Sir Rodric and Enjorlas cheered on the fighters with a discordant version of “I, Don Quixote,” which had become the unofficial (and much despised) PPC battle song.

Crispin and Maria had just managed to get everyone calmed down and were about to go after the fruit cake when the Laws of Narrative Comedy finally kicked in.

[Beeeeeeeeeeeeeeep!]

“Glaurung it!” Crispin shouted, scanning the Words.  “Keep your Sues out of my comic books!”

“Comic books?” Maria echoed.

“It’s a Sandman Sue.  We need a first-person dummy and the neuralysers.  And bring the fruit cake.”

***

I betcha want to know a little more about me.  Want to know what your getting yourself into, Right?  Well I am a seventeen year old teenager thatsabout 5”7. I have hair dyed to a light auburn, originally blonde.  I have blue eyes framed by long eye lashes.  I have milky white skin with a dash of tan.  I’m not full Caucasian, that’s all I know.  To bad, so sad.  As to the question who am I, I have no answer.

“Two questions,” says Maria.  “What exactly does ‘light auburn’ look like, and how do you have skin that is both white and tan at the same time?”

“I have another question.”  Crispin looks around at the Sue’s apartment and the dummy standing in for the first-person narrator.  “Why are we in present tense?”

His CAD beeps.  [Present tense detected.  Revert agents to past tense?]

“Thank you.  A little late, aren’t you?”

[Nobody’s perfect.]

The scene shifted to an undefined ice cream parlor where the Sue-dummy worked as a waitress.

In front of me are a group of people.  The one in front is a girl with raven black hair and eyes.  She is gothed out and has a giant ankh around her neck.  The people behind her include a little girl with multi coloured eyes, a man that could be a twin to the goth girl, a man…wait no women dressed very smartly, a short, pudgy woman with dark hair and a cloak, and a tall man in a long gray cloak.

Crispin stared at the group of Endless.  Desire was switching between being on man and two women due to poor plural use, Delirium’s eyes were rainbow-colored (which was possibly canonical, since this was Delirium, after all), and Morpheus was dressed like Death, complete with ankh and eyeliner.  “I…have nothing to say.”

The Endless ordered ice cream and drinks.  (Desire ordered wine, which, while not exactly out-of-character, was a strange thing for an ice cream parlor to have in stock.)  After a brief switch to third person and back again, and some internal whining on the part of the Sue, they left.

“That was pointless,” said Crispin.  “Did this supposedly ominous visit accomplish anything?  Other than emphasizing how speshul the Sue is?”

“I think that’s the point of the entire fic,” Maria replied, stealing a bite of someone’s abandoned ice cream sundae.  “Hey, what year would you say this is?”

“Well, she hasn’t said anything to the contrary, so I’d say present-day.  Why?”

“Shouldn’t Morpheus be dead by now?”

“Huh.”  Timelines in comic book continua were always a little iffy, but Crispin was pretty sure that the death of Morpheus had taken place a decade before the estimated time of the fic.  “I’ll make a note of that.”

***

“To dream the impossible dream,

To fight the unbeatable foe…”

Maria leaned against the closet wall, singing through a mouthful of fruitcake. She was getting very bored waiting for the Sue to fall asleep, and boredom required singing.  This would have been a whole lot easier if they could have just portalled into the Dreaming, but the geography of the continuum was so unstable that Crispin didn’t want to risk it.  Therefore, Maria was bored, and Maria was singing.

Crispin was not amused.  “No more Man of La Mancha.  Please.”

“Fine.”  Maria thought for a moment.  “I dreamed a dream in time gone by…”

“Gyah!” Crispin covered his ears.  He had nothing against Les Mis in general, but working with Maria meant hearing it a lot.  “Can you go through one mission without singing showtunes?”

“Of course I can.”  For a moment, it was quiet.  Then the quiet stopped.

“Mr Sandman, bring me a dream

Make her complexion like peaches and cream…”

“Maria!”

“That’s not a showtune.”  Maria took another piece of fruitcake.  “Is she asleep yet?”

“I think we’ll know when she—”

The closet lurched, and the two agents were propelled into the surreal landscape of the Dreaming, trailing crumbs of fruitcake behind them.  Even the spatio-temporal shift could not stop Maria from singing fifty-year-old pop songs.

They caught up with the Sue as she encountered a friend fighting off an army of carrots, after she’d wandered through several dreams belonging to other people.  Crispin muttered angrily that she was displaying all the signs of a Vortex, which meant that Morpheus should have been trying to kill her by now.

I frown “that doesn’t make any since, I drifted off while watching television.”

“Really?  What were you watching?  I was watching Superman.”

“Aw.  That was on tonight?  I was watching Nerd and the Barbie.  Wait. So if I’m not dreaming you.  And your definitely not dreaming me than what’s happening?”

“Maybe we are dream sharing.” Suxie suggested.

Maria snickered.  “I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be a clever spelling for ‘Suzie,’ but…Suxie?  That’s just wrong.”

Crispin looked thoughtful.  “I’m not that good with popular TV shows, but if that was supposed to be a false name for ‘Beauty and the Geek,’ that sets this in the early twenty-first century.  Daniel should be Dream, not Morpheus.”

They waited as the Sue continued to get bounced around the Dreaming.  After a switch from present tense into past, she at last encountered Morpheus, who should have been dead.  Crispin, from the agents’ hiding place behind a conveniently located chair, pointed his CAD at Dream.

[Morpheus/Oneiros/Lord Shaper/Kai’ckul/L’Zoril/Etc.  Endless male.  Canon.  OOC: 72.8888888%. WARNING! CHARACTER RUPTURE!  Note: Character should be dead.  Character isn’t dead.  This is Wrong.]

“Thanks,” Crispin whispered. 

“A better question,” he said “would be, what are You doing in everyone else’s dreams. You have been in everyone’s minds tonight, interrupting their subconscious. What are you, Lilac Dusk?” he asked.

I didn’t understand the question. I opened my mouth to ask him what he meant, but the door to the chamber was thrown open and a voice said “She is one of ours Morpheus, and you are not to harm her.”

“One of who?” asked Maria.  “One of the Endless?  One of these ambiguous ‘three people?’  Who are these people and why do they get to boss Dream around?”

“I don’t know.  I don’t think I want to know.”  Crispin looked at the ambiguous three people, the Sue, and the OOC Morpheus.  “I know I don’t want to know.”

***

Now I was in a maze garden.  I breathed in and could smell flowers.  I stretched my arms and closed my eyes. When I opened them again I was in the middle of the maze. A man wearing a cloak with a book in his hands stood in front of me. 

This was the fifth Realm of the Endless the Sue had entered, not counting the Dreaming, and everyone seemed to be okay with it.  Except for Crispin and Maria.  And Crispin’s CAD, who was refusing to turn itself back on after it read Desire’s character.

“So, she’s a Vortex…for all the Realms.  What part of ‘Vortexes must die’ does she not understand?  Has she read any of the comic books?”  Crispin glared at the Sue.  “Can we kill her now?”

The Sue had returned to the Dreaming, where the mysterious ‘three people’ were explaining that she was some kind of princess.  There was still no indication as to who these people were, what their connection was to the Endless, or why Morpheus hadn’t done something nasty to them yet.

“Can we give her to the Corinthian?” Maria asked.  “Please?”

“Why would you want to go anywhere near the Corinthian?”

Maria looked away.  “Because…he’s cool.”

“He eats people’s eyes.  He spent decades on Earth as a serial killer and did all kinds of disgusting and terrible things.  And you think he’s cool.”

“Well, the second version of the Corinthian.  The nicer one.”

“I still wouldn’t call him ‘nice.’  No, we’re not giving the Sue to the Corinthian.  That wouldn’t get rid of the body, anyway.  Maybe we could throw her into Hell?”

“Nah.”  Maria frowned.  “I don’t think Remiel would let us.  And that wouldn’t get rid of all of her, either.  Let’s kill her, then throw her in the Seine.”

“Why the Seine?  Paris is only mentioned…what, once?  They visit London and New York a lot more.  Why not the Thames?  Or the Atlantic Ocean?”

“I like Paris.  Since you won’t let me give her to the Corinthian, I want to throw her body in the Seine.”

Crispin gave up.  Sometimes, there was no arguing with Maria.  “Fine.  We’ll throw her in the Seine.  But I get to kill her.”

I sat up, rubbing sleep from my eyes.  I remembered the words that were spoken to me when I was young; about how the crust in my eyes was actually sand put on me by the Sandman to make me sleep soundly.  It felt good to get the sand out of my eyes.

“Hi, there,” Crispin said, emerging from the closet.  “Good morning.”

The Sue screamed and tried to get out of bed.  Maria thwacked her on the shoulder with her truncheon.  “Stay there, please.  Thank you.”

Crispin cleared his throat.  “Lilac Dusk, you are charged with having hair and skin colors that defy all common sense, gratuitous use of present tense, poor descriptions of the Endless, causing wine to materialize in an ice cream parlor, inconsistent point-of-view, creating pointless ominous visits by beings who have more important things to do, replacing Daniel with Morpheus—who should be dead—displaying all the signs of a Vortex and not being killed, comma abuse, making up stupid names, causing character ruptures in Morpheus, Death, Delirium, Desire,  and probably Despair and Destiny as well, but we don’t know because you traumatized my CAD, apparently being a Vortex for all the Realms of the Endless, being a magical princess, annoying PPC Agents, and being a Mary-Sue.  For these crimes you are sentenced to death and then to be thrown into the Seine.  Any last words?  No?  Good.”

Crispin threw one of his fire spheres at the Sue, who burned too quickly to scream.  Soon she was reduced to a small pile of ash.  “Um…I don’t think there’s really anything to throw in the Seine.”

“I’ll throw the ashes in, then.  I want to go to Paris.”

***

Dream was garbed in white again, and there was no sign of the ambiguous ‘three people.’  They presumably had vanished when the Sue was killed, being too poorly defined to exist without her.  Crispin opened a portal to Paris before someone noticed him.

Maria was looking down into the Seine and eating the last of the fruitcake.  She glanced up at Crispin.  “Not much of her actually went in the Seine.  Ash doesn’t like to fall straight down.”

“Huh.  Can we go back now?”

“Fine.”  Maria took a last longing look at Paris before stepping through the portal, and sighed. 

When they returned to the RC, Repicheep came as close to glomping Crispin as a small dragon can manage.  Crispin tentatively patted the Mini.  Maybe it wasn’t a horrible anniversary present.  There were certainly worse things.

Notes

The TARDIS is from Doctor Who and is the property of the BBC.

Crime and Punishment is by Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky.  The sappy character in question is Sofia Semionovna Marmeladov.

The tradition of lilacs on the Glorious Twenty-Fifth of May is the property of Terry Pratchett.

“I, Don Quixote” is from the musical Man of La Mancha, and it is the fault of certain agents from the Invasion RP that it is the unofficial (and despised) PPC battle song.  “The Impossible Dream” is also from Man of La Mancha.

“I Dreamed a Dream” is from Les Misérables.

“Mr. Sandman” was written by Pat Ballard and originally recorded by the Chordettes.

“Beauty and the Geek” is the property of the CW.