1643: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Twelve, Part OnePosted: January 4, 2017
Title: Heroes and Villains
Author: Horrible’s Igor
Media: Television / Movies
Topic: Buffy: The Vampire Slayer / Kitchen Sink
URL: Heroes and Villains (Now Defunct)
Critiqued by TacoMagic and Eliza
Hey, patrons! Now that we’re on the other side of the holiday season it’s time to get back into the second half of Heroes and Villains, the fic so empty you can’t even find the void in it.
Last time we thrilled as Dr. Horrible and Elsa had a spat, got in a car bound for Willow’s heist, and then discussed Willow’s organization.
“Voidlord would be in here constantly if you hadn’t cut him in on the Library’s credit line at Lina’s shack.”
No kidding. The amount of concentrated nothing in this fic is astounding. Speaking of which, let’s get into chapter twelve!
Rarely does everything go right. Just remember that you’re not a horrible person if you freeze when something goes wrong.
Oooookay? What, is this fic devolving into random platitudes now?
“Maybe each chapter is now sponsored by a shallow truism? There’s a line break right after this one.”
Alright, so what do we have after our line break?
Everybody freezes sometimes.
Especially given the presence of an ice queen.
Elsa froze when she saw her sister leave her in the tallest tower of her new home.
Either that or dream sequence. She does have that recurring dream that’s completely different each time she has the same one.
Willow froze when she saw Tara fall dead onto her bedroom floor.
Buffy froze when she saw her mother lying still on the couch in the living room.
Olaf froze when he saw Elsa sobbing over a frozen Anna in the middle of a frozen fjord.
Doc froze when he saw Penny slumped against a wall in City Hall with a piece of debris lodged in her stomach.
“Oooh, narrative exposition!”
I’d be more happy about being wrong if it didn’t involve something stupider than our prediction.
And Marlowe froze when he saw his best friend’s body on the news 13 years ago.
Hey look, exposition of a generic event that happened to the OC off page in the deep past!
“It definitely wasn’t made up on the spot just for this sequence!”
All of them still reel inside. Some choose to forget, some choose to forgive, and the rest are still struggling to figure out their strategy.
“I chose to attack my tragic backstory using two flanking phalanx of Darkwraiths armed with glitter rifles.”
I tricked my tragic backstory into ascending the throne and now I control it from the shadows while enjoying all the benefits of power.
Unfortunately for them, all of them will re-experience that feeling of stopping dead still and a short-circuiting in the brain sending them all into a terrified, inescapable loop before the clock can strike high noon.
Woof! *Rubs throat* Now it’s happening for pretentiousness, too!?
“To be fair, it was both pretentious AND awkward.”
Well, okay then.
And they will feel it again and again until they are trillions upon trillions of separated molecules of ash and water mixed into the earth and carried off in a cold breeze centuries into the future.
“So they’ll keep experiencing freezing terror until they turn to ash? Even as a corpse?”
Even as a pile of disarticulated bone. Freezing terror is one of those things that effects everything. People, corpses, trees, rocks, nihilism, the color purple, the concept of self. Everything!
“See, this is why you need Darkwraiths to flank your fear and make it fabulous with hyper-velocity glitter. If it’s going to be around forever, it might as well be pretty.”
But that’s later.
And as pretentious and unimportant then as it is now.
This is now. Right now, the three teams are all in play, scrambling to each achieve their separate objectives: two trying for a failed heist, one hoping for a successful heist.
“Except that the one hoping it’s successful is allowing one of the other two to help.”
And the one that’s helping isn’t smart enough to actually sabotage the effort despite hoping for the failure.
Either way, the outcome of the events that will take place in three and a half hours that remain will change the world, in ways they all expected and in ways none of them could ever fathom.
“So the thing that’s going to happen will have ramifications both expected and not expected.”
You know Sergio!?
And despite how it may seem, sometimes the most beneficial moments are the ones where we freeze.
Success is terrifying.
“That probably explains why Willow refuses to do anything.”
And with that, another scene break heralds the end of the pretentious exposition portion of this chapter.
The heist was underway.
Of course it was. With all the buildup and planning we got to see, I’m so glad we’re finally going to get to see the heist!
Horrible and Elsa brought up the rear of the infiltration team as they descended into the bowels of the wonderflonium facility, searching for their 20-kilogram payload in a silver case that would read ‘DO NOT BOUNCE’ in big block letters along the side.
“Don’t you usually plan your heist around knowing where the thing you plan to heist is?”
That’s your typical approach, yes. Keep in mind, though, that in those cases the people running the heist are trying to succeed.
None of them had ever seen the building before, and all of them were at least partially looking around in awe.
Definitely something they have time to do. Nothing time sensitive about a heist. Nope. No, sir.
“Interesting building,” Elsa said to Horrible, looking back warily at the receding corridors.
“Such a neat building! What with the way it’s a building. With receding corridors and everything!”
At least it isn’t stooping to using any of that corridors-in-a-can stuff. You have a lot of architectural life-choices to reevaluate when you’re spraying corridors onto you mezzanine just to avoid a historical site designation.
“You’re tellin’ me,” he agreed, looking at the sleek white walls on all sides.
So this super interesting building is… blank.
“They really beefed up security since the last time I stole some.”
“Wait, they increased the security last time Dr. Horrible stole their security?”
Personally, I’d have purchased a security system to protect the security.
“Willow said that time was from an armoured car,” Elsa replied with a frown.
Stealing from an armored car would definitely give you insights into the level of security found deep inside the production facility.
“Courier van,” he corrected. “Candy from a baby.”
“He copied that line directly from the show.”
Which is why it’s witty! Replication is the soul of wit, after all.
“I thought it was brevity.”
Polonius isn’t the best source for determining what can be considered witty.
“Then I’m guessing it wasn’t as valuable then?”
“It wasn’t as valuable, but still was. More so now,” he agreed, “probably in part because of that little stint.”
“Back to work!” *Eliza pulls out a glitter cannon and skips out the door*
“What was it for?” she asked, wincing as she heard the sound of a guard toppling to the floor a few feet ahead.
“Freeze Ray,” Horrible replied curtly. “Then the Death Ray… I still have the Freeze Ray, but the Death Ray blew up.”
Um, is the middle of a heist really the best time to be expositing the events of the show?
“How’d that happen?” Elsa asked, raising an eyebrow curiously.
“…Don’t remember,” Horrible lied.
“…Is it a dangerous element?” Elsa eventually asked, dissatisfied with his dodge.
“Oh yeah,” he grinned. “It says on every case: ‘DO NOT BOUNCE’.”
So things that shouldn’t be bounced are automatically equated with being dangerous.
“The destructive power of china tea cups is not to be underestimated.”
How were the DRD?
“Kinda slow. I think they enjoyed the holidays a little too liberally. I’ll have to make sure to chase them around more before blasting them to help shape them up.”
“Nobody knows for certain,” he answered, “but something must’ve happened to the first guy to try it.”
“Don’t bounce this!”
“We don’t know! Just don’t bounce it!”
No, really, will something bad happen?
“No idea, don’t bounce it though!”
Maybe we should do a test bounce in controlled-
“Isn’t that a lovely thought,” Elsa replied sarcastically, stealing another backwards glance. Nobody yet.
They’re standing around a restricted area talking, and nobody’s noticed?
“Well, Horrible did steal their security. Maybe the replacement hasn’t arrived yet?”
You know, I’ve seen a fair number of heist movies, and I don’t think any of them had the team consider just stealing the security before doing their heist. Missed opportunity.
“I know, right?” Horrible chuckled. “Probably something along the lines of ka-boom.”
“I mean, we don’t know anything about it. But it’s expensive and rare, so it probably explodes when you bounce it!”
Just like platinum does?
“Just like platinum does!”
“Most likely,” Elsa agreed. “So why use it?”
“It’s good for messing with the stability of atoms,” he explained. “Send the right charge through it and you could either have something more arresting than helium or something more reactive than fluorine waiting to be discharged.
Add ‘arresting’ to the list. And ‘discharged’ while you’re at it.
Author, do yourself a favor and stop trying to science, you are very not good at it.
Then, say, you put that in a gun, and someone could have a very bad day.”
Yeah, you take vague thing with unknown properties that depend on electric current, put it in a gun, and stuff could happen. Bad stuff!
“Interesting,” Elsa said out of politeness.
“At least Elsa seems to be aware of how much they’re boring the audience.”
If only that awareness prevented them from doing it.
“So that’s why,” Horrible finished. “Tactical advantage.”
That’s your argument? Making something into a weapon gives a tactical advantage?
“Then are you mounting an attack?” Elsa asked. “You must need it for something if it was on the table.”
Didn’t we already establish, several times, that Dr. Horrible has no idea why Bad Horse wants the Wonderflonium?
“And it’s likely that he picked the Wonderflonium just because he expected that Willow wouldn’t be able to procure it.”
That assumes that this Bad Horse is capable of that level of thought. And the evidence is not really in favor of that.
“…I don’t know much,” he responded tightly. “Something to do with the Capitol. I presume it’ll make quite the headline.”
Oh, so he does know something and was just playing stupid earlier.
“Are you sure he’s playing?”
“Well, I’m sorry we’re pulling you out,” Elsa apologised brusquely, “but a deal is a deal.”
Oh gods, not this again. We get it! You’re apologetic that your poorly constructed plans are dependent on Dr. Horrible working for you. Can you let that point die, already!?
They heard a pneumatic hissing ahead, and turned to see the steel vault door slowly open.
So they hear something in front of them, and turn to see it?
“I’ll just go ahead and add ‘ahead’ to the list.”
Anyway, at this point we get a scene break because apparently Igor expected people to actually be invested enough to make an opening door a cliff hanger.
Approximately one hour earlier
“Hey, there’s the flashback I was talking about.”
I’ll take it over a dream sequence any day.
Right now his thoughts were simple and clear: Left turn. Right. There’s the ATM. Cash the check. Yeah, yeah, input the freaking PIN.
Oh good, now we get to spend some time with the drunk narrator as he daybooks a bank visit.
What? Too much for the thing to withdraw? What was up with that?
Well, he’d better go see a teller. He went up to the doors and entered the building. There were a few lines, but one person was just finishing up. He got behind them, and when they finished he stepped up to the teller. “Hello.”
“Hello!” the teller replied cheerily. “What can I do for you?”
Hello! Can you see if there’s an interesting scene in my safe deposit box?
“Well, um, I was just at the ATM trying to withdraw some cash, but it said I needed to see a teller for sums larger than $500,” he replied.
“Alright, then,” the teller nodded, pressing a few keys on his keyboard. “May I have the account number, please?”
“Twenty-two thirty-three zero-four zero-nine twelve,” he recited.
“Thank you.” Some typing. “May I see your I.D., please?”
“I guess that would be a no.”
This sucks, I’m going to one of those PCC banks and see if they have an interesting scene!
He pulled out his wallet and handed it to the teller, who silently checked to see if they matched. They did. “How much would you like to withdraw, sir?”
“Um, three million dollars, please. Cash,” he answered, a tiny bit nervous.
Because this is totally how withdrawing that much cash works.
The teller was silent for a moment. “Cash? W-well certainly. One moment, please.” He tapped out a quick little rhythm on the wood, and the man couldn’t help but think to himself, eighth-eighth, fourth.
Thrill as he thinks in generic musical terms!
“Is this really how musicians think of a beat?”
Personally, no. When I was playing the violin I internalized the rhythm without counting in my head like that. But I’m not discounting that maybe some people do this. Still, it seems unlikely that anyone really does and more likely that this is just the author trying to impress the audience with his music terminology.
A few moments passed, and just as he was starting to play a catchy song in his head, something slammed into him from behind. He whirled around to see a petite blond girl with a deep scowl facing him, fists ready. “What the hell?!” he shouted.
“Buffy is here to take the money you were rightfully going to steal.”
The girl socked him in the jaw, and they began brawling.
I guess there’s no room in this scene for diplomacy.
His mind went on autopilot: right hook, right hook, right hook, dodge, duck, left hook, watch the feet, grab, stomach punch, don’t forget to block, you moron! Block, twist, right jab, duck, grab, and then SLAM ‘ER INTO THE FLOOR.
“I think Igor just figured out how to do a dialogue version of a fight scene.”
I thought I’d hit rock bottom with Eighth Spirit, but no, this fic has to show it up with the worst fight scene I’ve ever read! Why is there always a worse fight scene!? WHY!?
He slammed her face-first into the marble floor, and he heard something crack- probably not the marble, judging by the blood pooling on the floor.
Wait, some random mook takes down Buffy? She’s superhumanly strong and resilient, how even the fuck would this work!?
“It’s probably just a setup so Marlowe can save her. Which is odd given that this is usually a tactic used to ship two characters together.”
The implications are strange, for sure. Still, if a man fifty years her senior are her cup of tea, far be it for me to stand in the way of contrived romance.
He turned around to see the teller standing dead still with a briefcase in his left hand.
“Large withdrawals of money now come with a complimentary briefcase for that extra cliché money exchange you’ve been dying to do.”
He walked over, and the teller held out the case. “Thanks.” He walked away. Whistling. Star-Spangled Banner.
I’d call the police, but it’s almost lunch. I’d have to stay at the scene of the crime and give a report and all that, and I’ve got a meatball sub with my name on it.
Marlowe waited until the door shut before he clambered over the desk and crouched down next to the girl.
“Marlowe works at a bank now?”
His years of being a literature professor really helped pad out his resumé so that he could quickly get a job as a teller as part of this sting operation.
“Oh my god, Buffy! Are you alright?!” He turned her over, and he saw red plastering her shirt to her chest, covering the bottom half of her face, and he knew immediately that he needed to call for help. He quickly pulled out his phone, going to Emergency Dial and called 911.
Doth my eyes deceive me? Is he actually doing the reasonable thing!?
“Going to be interesting explaining to the police what he was doing there posing as a teller.”
Silly, Eliza, I’d be surprised if it were ever brought up after this scene.
“911, where’s your emergency?”
“Um, hello, yes, uh, I’m at the HSBC bank on South Figueroa Street and 7th Avenue.”
“What is the nature of your emergency?”
“I need an ambulance. My friend got into a fistfight and she’s unconscious. Broken nose, maybe a rib too. She’s losing a lot of blood.”
Well look at that, suddenly it’s not horrible. Not good, and Igor keeps using numerals in the dialogue, but this is actually all reasonable! Only took half the fic to find a little hunk of scene that borders on being not entirely awful!
“Shame that the setup for the scene is so unlikely.”
Yeah, the huge contrivance to get here really robs the scene of any credibility.
“I’ll send an ambulance right away.”
“Thank you. Be quick, please.”
“We will, sir.”
He hung up and grabbed Buffy’s limp hand.
And there goes that sliver of decent the fic had. If you call into 911 with a friend who is bleeding heavily and is unresponsive, they stay on the line with you to go through the basics of making sure the victim is going to last long enough for the ambulance to get there. Checking for breathing, stat treatment for shock, and stopping the bleeding. All things that can be done by person who called in to make sure that the patient is still alive when the paramedics can take over. It’s not just ‘well, good luck!’ and then hang up. This is the most shit emergency response dispatcher that’s ever held a phone.
“Hang in there, Buffy. I’ve called the paramedics, don’t worry. They’re on their way. You’ll be okay… You’ll be okay.
No need to check for a pulse, pupilary response, or any of that.
“He’s not that kind of a doctor.”
Everything else went smoothly, everything is going to be okay… Everything will be okay… Everything…”
“I guess Jimmy’s broken now.”
Seems that way. Speaking of breaking, I think we’re going to break it here for the week. I know, kind of a short one, but we’re directly in the middle and I don’t really feel like doubling the size of the riff at this point.
“Until next week, patrons!”