1587: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Nine, Part One

Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
Genre: Supernatural/Drama
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza

Welcome back to Heroes and Villains, patrons!  I apologize in advance for this week’s riff being shortish.  I overdid it with the knitting last night and my wrists are bothering me, so I’m limiting my typing.  Luckily, something almost happens in the fic this week!

“We’ve got as close to something as we’re likely to ever see.”

There we go!  I’d do a recap, but literally nothing new was explored last chapter.  It was just a slight filling in of plot points we already knew.

“It’s amazing that something the author rushed desperately to complete was so empty of substance.”

I honestly don’t know when you’re being sarcastic.

Anyway, this week we start off with … well….

“The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice.”

*Taco rubs his temples*  Give me strength, gods of literature.

Igor, you managed to find a way to make this mess even more pointless and insipid.  That is a rare talent, like finding a way to make sewage stink more or a traffic jam slower.  Because you know what makes riveting literature?  A random, wholly unrelated video game quote at the beginning of a chapter!  Yes!  That’s definitely how you write compelling fiction.

When Elsa had first come to the facility, it had seemed populated with people, moving and working almost in synchronization throughout the structure.

*Eliza stares intently into the swirling mist of the void*  “I don’t see any people, but I think I see a pair of eyes staring back.”

No-one seemed out of place or idle, all doing something in the interest of… whatever it was they were tasked with doing.

And you just made this organization seem even more pointless.  Seriously, Igor, a raw talent for making things worse.

Now, though, the halls were dead silent, not a soul stirring the cool air. It was unnerving, seeing rooms meant to be filled empty, and near-silence in place of human activity.

“That red alert level seventeen really bumped up productivity!”

Never before has the company been so devoted to doing absolutely nothing.  More nothing is getting done now than in recorded history!  Willow must be so happy.

Adding onto that, she could still hear that hum of technology, a hum that she heard everywhere she went, that eclectic song of fans cooling computers and parts moving machinery beneath the cold stone floors and recessed lighting buzzing in the smooth black walls- it only intensified her unease.

You know, honestly, forgiving the faint purple tinge and terrible grammar, this is the most competent description of anything we’ve received to date.  And it’s actually decent.  None of the ‘looks like X except Y’ schlop, there’s both visual and auditory descriptions that make sense, and we get some sense of the setting without being over-elaborate or daybook.  Coupled with an actual establishment of setting earlier in the fic, this passage could actually be fixed up to be good.

If it weren’t for all the mechanical issues, I’d be tempted to hand over a redemption cookie.

Silence was something that made you tense- the sounds of foreign instruments was something that made you scared.

Plus, that would make me take back the redemption cookie anyway.  Don’t tell the audience how they’re supposed to feel.  Especially since there are those who love silence and/or mechanical white noise.

So she sought refuge with Willow,

*Porno music blares over-*

“Don’t jump the gun, girls.”

who she found lying down in her bedroom, near the top of the tallest tower, with a bag of ice on her forehead.

*Porno music cuts out abruptly*

Nothing kills the mood like a headache.

“Can I come in?” Elsa asked tentatively, head poking out from behind the door.

“Sure,” Willow allowed, without sparing her a glance.

“Thanks,” Elsa smiled, gently shutting the door. “I don’t mean to bother you.. it’s just a little- strange to see the place empty but still so…”

“Teeming?”

“Something to that effect,” she nodded.

Not really the word I’d use.  Mostly because I know what the word ‘teeming’ means.

“I’ll add it to the list.”

“Lemme guess- the noise is putting you on edge,” Willow postulated.

“Yes,” Elsa admitted quietly. “Not used to it.”

Pretty fair, honestly, there wouldn’t be nearly as much background noise back in Arendelle.

“Other than the ocean.”

Yeah.  Um.  Other than that.

“It’ll sorta fade with time,” Willow assured her. “Once you’re around it long enough it just becomes a part of the cacophony.”

“Which is helpful, since the cacophony is the problem right now.  I’ll just go ahead and add ‘cacophony’ to the list.”

Please do.  Aspiring authors, use this fic as a cautionary tale of what too much raw vocabulary, and not enough understanding does to your fic.  Bigger, more complicated words do not always succeed in making your work look smarter.

“Mmm,” Elsa responded noncommittally. “How are you feeling?”

“To be honest, not so great,” Willow admitted. “Thankfully, the ice is helping.”

“That’s good,” Elsa replied.

A short pause followed.

So.

“Yeah.”

You’re on a bed.

“Yup.”

Oh.  …  That’s a nice ice pack.

“Thanks?”

So.

“Yeah.”

“…So what happens now?” Elsa asked.

“You leave the poor woman with the migraine alone or ask her if she needs anything before letting yourself quietly out.”

“We wait,” Willow answered simply.

“How long?”

“Until we hear something- such is DEFCON 1.”

“What exactly does that mean- DEFCON 1?” Elsa asked, very confused.

Nuclear war with Russia is imminent.

“So you may want to hang out in the basement instead of the tower.”

“It means we’re as off the map as possible and we’re focusing on vital tasks only- in this case, the deal,” Willow explained.

The hell does that even mean?

“I think she’s saying they’re lost, so are concentrating on gathering the necessities of survival: food, water, glitter, and shelter.”

“It also usually institutes our incognito protocol, but that was already in place because of the fragility of the plan with you two joining.

Why the hell are they institutionalizing the incognito protocol!?  What did it do?

“Have you met the ninja?”

Right.  Institutionalize away.

I can’t risk anything happening, so I’m playing it incredibly safe right now.”

“I can think of nothing safer than loading all your conversations with confusing jargon.”

We are incentivising jargon in order to facilitate expedient productivity maximization while controlling corporate output and minimizing task assessment failover.  We do expect a significant transition lag while waiting for the efficiency normalization, so to this end we have prioritized the adoption of both optional and mandatory incognito protocol procedures.

“I will shoot you with the glitter cannon.”

“Why would you go incognito if you need these supplies so badly?” Elsa asked.

Generally it’s a bad idea to tell people that you’re about to steal volatile substances from them.

“Because I also have to be careful,” Willow sighed. “I could get caught, and then everything would come crashing down around our ears.”

“Which is so much different than playing it safe.”

*ALARM BLARES*

Dammit!

*Ike bursts into the room and holds out his hand to Taco*

I think you set a precedent.”

*Taco hands Ike a twenty*

I should ask Lina if she does bulk discounts.

“If being incognito means you’re doing everything legally, then how are you going to get the wonderflonium?” Elsa pointed out. “I doubt they’re going to just sell it.”

You know, Willow never actually said that she was doing everything legally.  Just that she was being careful.  Those two things are not necessarily inclusive.  A great thief is one you never catch.

“I have some guys…” Willow mused.

“You probably don’t want to bring that up unless you’re willing to share with the Alliance of Debauchery.

“They’re quite persuasive, but they’re not always able to sway favor.

“That definitely sounds legal.  And low-key.”

May as well just ask Crunchy to get it for them.

If all else fails I’ll get it myself, but then I’m likely going to be ambushed.”

O… kay?  How would you even know to expect that if you’re just going somewhere to legally acquire Wonderflonium?  And why would anyone want to ambush you for doing that.  Yes, yes, I know it’s implied that the Evil League is, for some reason, trying to prevent Willow from succeeding, which is insane since they were the ones who gave her this chance in the first place, but you need to actually establish the League’s motives here!

“I’d bet it’s something along the lines of: ‘because plot.'”

Sadly, I know you’re right.

“Maybe I could go with you,” Elsa offered.

“We’ll see,” Willow responded.

Yeah, you definitely want to think twice about bringing your most powerful ally with you on a critical mission.  That’s like taking a rookie team into the temple ship.

“If I can’t get the wonderflonium by midnight tomorrow, then we’ll do it, but I want you to wait outside the building for me while I grab it- I don’t want to worry about you getting hurt as well as me, and plus, there’ll likely be some fighting involved that you’ll also have to deal with.”

“They’re going to the place!  To get the thing!”

But Elsa can’t help in a meaningful way because reasons.

“I think I’m starting to understand why Bad Horse likes messing with Willow.”

“I can handle it,” Elsa replied firmly.

“I know,” Willow nodded

Which is why you don’t get to help.  You might upstage the primary Sue.

“I just want to make sure that everyone gets out in one piece. You’re not much help when you’re dead.”

“Compared to Willow, who isn’t any help at all.”

Ouch, truth hurts.

“No. I guess not,” Elsa agreed sadly.

Yes, that’s right, secondary Sue, know your place!

The clock struck midnight, chiming quietly from a far corner.

“And Willow turned back into a pumpkin.  The end.”

Why does she get away with it!?

Elsa sighed, standing up. “My turn to keep watch,” she huffed.

Why are the presidents pulling guard duty?

“If the place is completely empty, who’s watching the prisoners right now?”

“Send me a postcard,” Willow smirked.

BAAAAA!

*Taco digs around in his pocket, pulls out a twenty, and hands it to Cerbersheep*

I wonder if Lina accepts monopoly money.

“Very funny,” Elsa chuckled as she left the room.

It really wasn’t.  It was unfunny on many, many levels.

“Scene break!”

“So let me get this straight-” Doc began, “Bad Horse signed an agreement with another organization to get stuff for the next attack, and he has to pay for it with me? Why wasn’t I notified first?… No, Professor Normal, I’m not questioning his authority, I’m just a little angry that I wasn’t told until just now!… Well, who are the people he’s working with, anyway? Do you know?… No?… How about Dead Bowie?… Okay then, maybe I’ll ask him… Yeah, thanks.”

Has Crunchy been slipping the character raptor nip again!?

“Maybe he’s on the phone.”

Until I actually get any setting, I’m going to assume he’s just pacing and talking to himself.

With that he hung up, immediately starting to fume angrily to himself, pacing the length of the laboratory.

“You were half right!”

I still maintain that the phone doesn’t actually work and Prof. Normal is just a figment of Dr. Horrible’s psychoses.

 “What the hell? I’m being auctioned off to some place I’ve never heard of, given no warning, and all just for some supplies?

“Bah.  Crunchy would have gotten Willow to throw in a cola factory, a xenomorph, and a pony.”

I thought Crunchy was trying to cut pony out of the diet.

“He says that, but I catch him snacking all the time.”

Man! Bad Horse better really need those things- but at least he’s still trying to stall them- still worth something to him, then… Shoot- and I thought that this was it… Oh well- finish the Freeze Ray, that’s what matters right now. Worry about staying tomorrow.”

See!  Sounds exactly the same as when he was talking to Prof. ‘Normal.’  In fact, I bet the name ‘Normal’ is just a projection of Dr. Horrible’s secret realization that he’s mentally disturbed.

“I think it’s just bad writing.”

HA!  I think somebody is in denial.

So he did.

“The end?”

*Taco shrugs*

He worked for a solid four hours on the Freeze Ray 3.0, letting his hands work while his mind was running a mile a minute.

That’s a good way to lose a finger or blow yourself up.

“Or accidentally become Bifocals.”

Who were these people? Obviously they were no pushovers, because it seemed that they were doing serious business with the League, and few had the courage to approach Bad Horse.

Serious business being three chores that Bad Horse could easily do with his own assets.

But then why hadn’t he heard of them before?

“Must be that ‘incognito mode’ Willow was talking about.”

I’m sure lots of irrelevant, unknown people like to tell themselves things like that.

Normally everybody was kept up-to-date on any transactions or bargains members made to forward the cause, so why the silence on Bad Horse’s part?

Probably because he’s the boss and part of being the boss is not explaining your actions when your underlings don’t need to know.

“I’m adding ‘forward’ to the list.”

Oh- probably the minor detail of the fact that he was the bargain.

Thanks.  We’re obviously too stupid to have made that leap ourselves.  Thanks for that Doctor Obvious.

“He has a PhD in things plainly evident.  That catch phrase doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.”

That would mean if things did go through, he would have to move.

Yes, that is indeed what a transfer is.  Any other words you want to read the dictionary entries for?

Among other things, this could upset the daily blogging schedule. It wouldn’t be too great for PR to vanish with no explanation for… however long this would take.

“I wish I had these kinds of problems.  Around here it’s all about Darkwraith feeding times, making sure Gumdrop gets a nap, and keeping a small lion cub out of the armory.”

So he went over to the computer, quickly turning on the webcam and began to record.

I wonder how much of this vlog will be stolen from the show.

“This is an emergency broadcast, everyone,” he declared in a serious tone.

“I’m getting tempted to add ’emergency’ to the list.”

Yeah.  Hard to know if Igor doesn’t understand the concept, or is just young and likes to have everyone freak the fuck out over nothing as a way to create fake tension.

“Due to events beyond my control, I will most likely be offline for the next couple days or so. New circumstances have arisen regarding my position in the Evil League of Evil, and we are all working as hard as we can to deal with them. So until such time as this little… thing… works out, the blog is hereby on hold. I will return as soon as I can. But for now… au revoir, mes amis.”

*Facepalm*

Doctor, you don’t even know that you’re getting transferred yet!  You’re out of the loop on this one!  This is like people who move for a job that they haven’t even been offered yet!

“That strikes me as a terribly vague blog entry, as well.  He used a lot of words to say that he needs to take a hiatus because of a thing.”

Well, the fic has been super vague this long, can’t expect it to stop now.  Speaking of which, I think we’re going to call the riff here.  This is the halfway point, we’re right before a line break, and my wrists aren’t doing so hot.  Until next time, Patrons!

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22 Comments on “1587: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Nine, Part One”

  1. GhostCat says:

    No-one seemed out of place or idle, all doing something in the interest of… whatever it was they were tasked with doing.

    It’s like the author is deliberately making things as vague as possible.

  2. GhostCat says:

    Adding onto that, she could still hear that hum of technology, a hum that she heard everywhere she went, that eclectic song of fans cooling computers and parts moving machinery beneath the cold stone floors and recessed lighting buzzing in the smooth black walls- it only intensified her unease.

    If the facility is empty and all the employees are gone, why were all the lights and workstations left on?

  3. GhostCat says:

    BAAAAA!

    *Taco digs around in his pocket, pulls out a twenty, and hands it to Cerbersheep*

    I wonder if Lina accepts monopoly money.

    This is why it’s a great idea to get on Gumdrop’s good side; baked goods make excellent bribes.

  4. Andiliteman says:

    “The Enrichment Center promises to always provide a safe testing environment. In dangerous testing environments, the Enrichment Center promises to always provide useful advice.”

  5. BatJamags says:

    “I don’t see any people, but I think I see a pair of eyes staring back.”

    Nietzsche? Izzat you?

    GoodJamags: That’s the Abyss, not the Void, stupid.

  6. BatJamags says:

    “It also usually institutes our incognito protocol, but that was already in place because of the fragility of the plan with you two joining.

    Oh, goddammit, does this mean that we have a Class D Grierson Scenario in Beta Quarant Sector 3?

  7. BatJamags says:

    “I wish I had these kinds of problems. Around here it’s all about Darkwraith feeding times, making sure Gumdrop gets a nap, and keeping a small lion cub out of the armory.”

    Oh, he’s not supposed to be in there? Because I…

    Saw,,,

    Contacts let him in. Yes. That’s it. Contacts let him in.

  8. That’s a good way to lose a finger or blow yourself up.

    “Or accidentally become Bifocals.”

    Cain: You’re acting like the two are mutually exclusive.


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