1658: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Thirteen

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

Hey, people!  Welcome back to Heroes and Villains.  Eliza, wanna hit them with the recap?

“Sure!  Last time Elsa and Dr. Horrible participated in a heist!”

They sat in the hall while the heist happened off page.

“Close enough!  After that, they drove around while talking about DisneyLand.  Meanwhile, Willow sat around and did nothing for a while before her henchman showed up with the money.  After closer-than-necessary inspection, it turned out that the money was all fake.  And that’s about it!”

This week promises to serve up much more ado about nothing.  And strap in, people, we’re doing the whole thing this time!

11:59:23

“A time tag?”

Better.  That’s the chapter title.

“Oh.  Oh dear.”

To start out we get several lines from the first Portal song (“Still Alive”).  We’re skipping it because, honestly, its inclusion even more pointless than the rest of the chapter.

“If you could be anywhere in the world right now,” he asked her, “where would you go?”

“Anywhere that isn’t part of the fic would be an improvement.”

“I wouldn’t go anywhere,” she replied. “It wouldn’t be the same without you.”

I think I just threw-up in my mouth a little.

“But you don’t have any chicks to feed!”

“Alright, say I came along too,” he amended.

“…I would go to France,” she decided.

How very, vague.  Want to narrow that down a bit?

“The French part of France.”

Thank you.

“Parce que…?” he asked.

See!  The author can look up a French phrase to mush into the chapter!  See how smart he is!  Way better than just using the same language the rest of the conversation is in!

“Because it’s nice this time of year,” she replied. “You’ve got the nice weather, good people to talk to in the area… it’s a good place to be.”

“Especially in the France region of France.”

It’s very French there.  Many of the people are, too.

“Maybe,” she allowed. “But depending on how long your project takes, you know you’ll have to allow for some give-or-take.”

“Don’t worry. I intend to have it done before June,” he grinned. “Then: France.”

“Which sorta defeats the purpose of going ‘at this time of year’ when it’s so nice.”

What time of year is it, again?

“Almost noon.”

Right.

“Are you ever gonna tell me what it is?” she asked with a smile.

He’s working on the thing!

“No. It’s a surprise,” he replied.

“Any hints?” she tried.

“…You can ask one question, and that’s it,” he decided.

“What is your project?”

CURSES!  FOILED!

“Is it bigger or smaller than a stick of butter?” she asked instantly.

Oh, yeah, that’ll narrow it down.

“Well, if he answers, ‘the same size,’ then she’ll know he’s working on a new kind of butter.”

Touché.

“Smaller,” he replied equally quickly.

The narrative is trying to sell this conversation as snappier than it is.  It’s kinda sad, really.

“Well… I wonder what’s smaller than a stick of butter that could be so special,” she smirked.

BAAAAAAAAAAA!

*gong*

“Oh that tiny gong is just adorable!”

“It’s my magnum opus,” he replied. “Nothing will ever compare.”

So a very tiny sculpture of some kind?

“Postage stamp painting?”

Let’s go with that.

“It’s better than all the rest?” she asked.

“Nothing can do the things it’ll do,” he promised.

He’s talking about his penis, isn’t he?

“It’ll pass every test?” she grinned.

“It’s a winner to me,” he chuckled.

See, this is the issue with stealing so much content as ‘references.’  When you write something that feels clunky and out of place, your audience won’t be able to decide if you’re forcing more references into the fic, or if you’re just bad at writing.

“It can be both.”

It IS both.

“Of course it’s a winner,” she said. “Because you’re a winner too.”

The vomit’s back.

“You think so?” he replied.

“Of course,” she affirmed, taking his hand. “I couldn’t ask for a better friend.”

“Aaaand scene!”

Well, that was certainly something.  Now that it’s over, I feel compelled to ask:  WHO THE FUCK WERE THOSE PEOPLE!?

“I’m sure whatever comes after the scene break will explain it.”

As she regained consciousness, Buffy became aware of a great amount of pain burning up her body. It took her a second to figure out where she was- oh, the hospital.

“I’m sure that whatever comes after this will explain it!”

It seemed that the worst was concentrated at her face and her ribcage, but to be honest, it was sort of all-around.

“I’M SURE THAT-”

Sorry, kiddo, it’s not happening.

“Dangit.”

This must be one of those hospitals where they treat you with fire.

It was an all-too-familiar position for her to be in: the recipient of a brutal beating, lying in a hospital bed while things outside were getting interesting again.

Uh, no.  Buffy is the Slayer.  Slayers have both incredible durability and fast healing.  During the show and comic books, Buffy only needed actual hospitalization a handful of times.

The only two differences between then and now were only who she’d fought and who was waiting for her as she came to.

Buffy: The Vampire Slayer was a freak-of-the-week style show.  She did have a few recurring opponents, but most of the time she was fighting something new each week.  So, weirdly enough, fighting something different would be the same as before.

“Oh, thank God, you’re alright!” Marlowe exclaimed, wrapping his arms around her gently. She smiled, returning the hug. “How do you feel?” he asked.

“On fire.  And hey, now you are too!”

“Like somebody decided to set off a bunch of fireworks inside my head,” she huffed. “I’m not hideous, am I?”

“No, just rather beaten-up,” Marlowe chuckled weakly, sitting back down. “That man gave you quite the workout.”

Which, unless he’s superhuman or some kind of supernatural creature, is still stupid.

“Been a while since I’ve been beaten at my own game,” Buffy sighed. “I must be getting old.”

“That and you came down with a nasty case of plot.”

“Given that few before you made it to 25, I’d say that’s a good thing,” Marlowe replied.

True enough, though not sure why he’d bring that particular age up given that Buffy is 33 at this point.

“True, true… He took the case?” she checked.

Yup, though we’re still trying to figure out why you attacked him.

“Street cred!”

That doesn’t make any sense.

“Neither does attacking him.”

Touché.

“Yes,” Marlowe nodded. “He was smart enough to check that they were all there, but he didn’t test it against the light.”

Which, as noted before, wouldn’t do anything anyway if the money wasn’t of a modern vintage.

“He didn’t?” Buffy repeated incredulously.

“Why would he?” Marlowe asked, jokingly offended. “I’m a posh old man with a charming accent! Who wouldn’t trust me?” They both laughed. “They must be in a rush.”

It’s nice that the plot acknowledges that it’s a second order idiot plot.

“Nice?”

By ‘nice’ I meant ‘sad.’

“I’ll bet,” Buffy chuckled. “You withdrew the cash for real, though?”

“I have the check right here,” he confirmed, patting his jacket pocket.

That’s not the same as withdrawing the money.  Checks can be canceled, bro.

“I was thinking I might donate it to a charity, or maybe split it between some local bookstores and share the wealth through literature.”

“Or you could get a pony!”

That’s what you would do with three mil?

“Two ponies?”

“How sweet of you,” a woman responded. Marlowe turned, and Willow was right behind him, smiling at him speciously.

Add specious to the list.  In this case not because the meaning is incorrect, but because the word itself was used in a grammatically incorrect way.

“Done!”

Just so we’re all on the same page, the only reason Willow was able to track this back to them was the fact that Buffy attacked the dude after their plan had already worked.  Plot raised to the idiot, raised to the idiot.

“Hi…” Buffy eventually replied.

“Good morning to you too,” Willow responded. “Although, it doesn’t seem like yours is going too well, huh? Somebody do a number on you?”

“You know full well who did that,” Marlowe said bluntly.

Author, you do remember that Buffy started that fight, right?  Marlowe getting all grouchy because it ended poorly doesn’t change that fact.

“What, beat our poor girl up, or stole my money?” Willow asked, giving him a baleful glare.

“I haven’t the faintest idea what you mean,” Marlowe shook his head, unflinching.

“I have no gate key.”

“$10,000 bills were discontinued in 1946,” Willow said. “No way I’d be able to get any with another robbery.”

Funny that you didn’t know that little fact when you decided to light-check one of them.

“I’m thinking the author did his research between chapters.”

Okay, authors, when I say do your research, I mean do it BEFORE you write about something!  Still, I would rather an author do research eventually than not at all.

“The bank must be corrupted,” Marlowe answered swiftly. “Giving you fake bills- what an atrocity!”

“There is only one evil bank in this town, and that’s the Bank of Willow!”

Please, it’s an evil credit union, not a bank.

“But it wasn’t the bank, was it?” Willow asked rhetorically. “I’ll bet it was you.” You went in and masqueraded as a teller to give my guy fake money, nd used Buffy as a distraction.” She raised an eyebrow. “Did I get it right?”

The fuck is going on with those quotation marks!?

“Buffy would have been a terrible distraction.  Nothing would have prevented the thug from checking the money after smushing her to the floor.”

And then pressing charges for assault and fraud.

“I’m starting to lose track of who is supposed to be the good guys.”

Marlowe was silent.

“Well, anyhow, it was a good thing you did, ’cause I would’ve had much less opportunity to put Buffy out of commission otherwise.” No response. “So- gonna give me what I want?”

Point of order, if Buffy was able to be taken out by the random, nameless mook you sent to do your banking, why do you consider her a credible threat in the first place!?

“I don’t have any of your stolen money,” Marlowe retorted sharply.

Is ‘retort’ on the list?

“I’ll add it again!”

Works for me.

“Who said it was stolen, hmm?” Willow asked.

“It’s not a hard leap to make: you’re a criminal, you needed funds you didn’t have, so you most likely went out and took it without someone’s consent,” Marlowe replied sharply.

*Tilts head*  How does Marlowe know any of this?  I mean, yeah, we’ve worked out that Willow has squandered all her company’s money on Tesla cars, but there’s no way Marlowe should know this.  The ONLY information he and Buffy were given about Willow was that she was pulling a heist.

“My goodness, you seem to have this all figured out,” Willow raised her eyebrows. “I’m guessing you didn’t figure this whole thing out yourself- so who told you all these nasty things about me?”

“The author.”

“A man by the name of William,” Marlowe revealed.

Nope.  William was your source’s source.

“Unless they tracked him down and met off page.”

I hate this fic for the simple fact that you’re probably right about that.

“Oh! You’ve met my friend Billy!” Willow exclaimed with false happiness. “When was this?”

“6 A.M.,” Buffy said. “And what do you mean, ‘friend’?”

“Called it!”

How does it feel?

“Depressing.”

“Oh yeah- didn’t I tell you before you so rudely left the building?” Willow asked them. “I thought it would be appropriate to fulfill the Rule of Three and have a third partner. Billy-buddy is very good at his job.”

Being a snitch?

“Don’t tell Crunchy that the fic is stealing from the Sith.”

Meh, he wouldn’t care, Crunchy thinks the Rule of Two was a stupid idea.  Honestly, he’d feel somewhat vindicated that a fic this stupid would steal that concept.

“So he’s a villain like you?” Buffy guessed.

“Very good, Buffy!” Willow smiled widely. “Yes, Billy-buddy is a bad man. He was the one that shut down the N.S.A. servers two days ago, remember?”

Stop bringing up the unimpressive accomplishment that has had no effect on anything and which happened entirely off page!

It hit Buffy.

“It?”

The thing!

“Doctor Horrible…”

“He’s got a PhD. in horribleness!” Willow confirmed.

“So that’s what’s happening,” Marlowe sighed.

“Nothing.  And lots of it!”

“I must say, this is rather out-of-character for you to be telling us exactly what you’re doing.”

The propensity to explain your plans comes with the mustache.

“Nice use of propensity.”

“Well, what will you do with it?” Willow pointed out. “It isn’t exactly gonna be top-secret stuff come noon.”

“Fair enough,” Marlowe agreed.

Giving your opponent information just because you don’t think they can profit from it is still acting like a crazy person.

“And wasting your own time.”

Not just her own time, ours as well.

“We can exploit weaknesses,” Buffy retorted.

Because that’s been going so well for you thus far.

“Mmm, not likely,” Willow shook her head. “See, on one hand, there’s Doctor Horrible: mad scientist, certified genius, capable of building Death Rays- and really polished up the laugh- plus, he knows his way around firewalls.

And stupid enough to help out on a heist that he wants to fail.

“I’m not sure you can say he actually helped on that heist.  He sat in the hall with Elsa.”

Then on the other hand, there’s Elsa: the Snow Queen. cryokineses is pretty hard to scoff at.”

Add that to the list.

“Does that count as a real word?”

Well, it’s the Greek prefix for ‘cold’ smooshed onto the Greek suffix for ‘movement.’ So our author basically created a portmanteau that means ‘to move the cold’ or ‘movement of cold,’ which is not even close to what Elsa’s powers are.

“Added!”

“Doc doesn’t like you and Elsa doesn’t like evil,” Buffy countered.

Stop pointing out the plot holes!   That’s our job.

“Doc will see the light soon enough,” Willow promised, “and Elsa’s just settling in. I promise you, soon enough you’ll be very sorry you decided to get mixed up in this.”

“We’re sorry already.”

And have been for quite some time.

“Like hell,” Buffy spat. “You don’t even have your money!”

“Let’s not taunt the crazy dark sorceress while we’re convalescing in a hospital.”

“Don’t I?” Willow asked, swiftly reaching into Marlowe’s jacket and grabbing the check. Marlowe tried to stop her, but she held up a warning finger. “You really should be more careful with this much money- maybe deposit it somewhere.” She walked away, humming Still Alive.

“You called it.”

And now I’m depressed too.

“Do you think that the author really likes Portal?”

It’s a distinct possibility.

“That went well,” Buffy remarked sarcastically.

“Is she gone?” a voice asked.

She’s still in earshot, if that’s what you mean.  She’s still in the process of walking away.

They both turned, and Olaf was poking out from under the bed.

How the hell did he get there!?

*Eliza flips through Olaf’s owner’s manual*  “Aha!  It’s right here on page 39.  ‘Owners of the x3-24B Olaf can purchase the teleportation module that will allow him to utilize the SDQF for plot related purposes.”

Fine, you win this round, PCC.  Anyway, we get a scene break and head back over to Elsa and Horrible, on location in rush-hour traffic.

A phone rang. Everyone in the car looked around for the source for half a second before Elsa said, “It’s mine.” She picked up. “Yes?… Okay… Really?… I’m assuming it wasn’t exactly friendly. … Alright. Good. … We’re on our way back. The traffic is slow, so it might be a little while longer. … Okay. Alright. Goodbye.”

Honestly, I think I’d rather have that awkward and pointless phone exchange than have the plot regurgitated after every scene transition.

She hung up. “Who was that?” Doc asked.

“Just Willow,” Elsa replied. “She says she has the money and will be meeting us there.”

“Hmm,” he responded. “It looks like she’s gonna be able to deliver. 11:45, no more than 10 minutes out- the odds are in her favour.”

If only you could have prevented this somehow!

“Don’t get crazy there, Taco.  That would have required he do something.”

Internally he was fuming. It ticked him off beyond belief that he was doing this for someone who he had no desire to work with.

THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING IT, MORON!?  You’re supposed to be a villain!  If you don’t want to play nice, then don’t!

At this point we’re subjected to a long diatribe about how much Dr. Horrible doesn’t want to work with Willow Co. It’s huge chunk of what amounts to be petulant whining.  This is followed up immediately, and nonsensically, with another jab at the pointless amnesia subplot.  Because having characters actually remember the bad things they have done would risk having to write them in a way that shows character depth.  And that shit is hard to do.  Amnesia is much better, and more importantly, far easier.

Anyway, we’re skipping past all that because the passage is annoying, long winded, and loaded with redundancies.

“If  we skip them, they don’t count?”

That’s what I’m going with.

He stole a quick glance at Elsa, who, thankfully, didn’t notice.

You were sitting there thinking, what the hell was she supposed to notice?

“Him thinking?”

I suppose that is pretty suspicious and out-of-character.

 She looked a bit better than yesterday, even if only by a barely-perceptible fuller face, but still gaunt.

Bullshit.  True you can make your way back from emaciation in only a few weeks, but one day’s worth of weight gain is not going to be perceptible.

It was very Uncanny Valley to him, rivalling Christian Bale’s role in The Machinist.

“If we had made that references counter, it would have exploded by now.”

The author just can’t help himself.  He knows all these references and if he doesn’t put them in his fic, how is he going to impress people with this otherwise worthless knowledge?

She seemed serene enough, but she looked a bit unhappy. Thumb rubbing her wrist. Hair messy. He almost wanted to ask what she was thinking about.

“Again with the assumption that she’s capable of thinking.”

“So- what’s your story?” she asked him suddenly. “I told you mine.”

“W- what would you like to know?”

“…How did you get here? Where you are now?”

“He opened the door, climbed in, sat down, and buckled his seatbelt.”

Well… I guess it started in high school.

Oh shit, wangsty teen backstory incoming!  EVERYONE BRACE!

 I was always a science guy

Stop reminding the audience of better things they’d rather be watching!

, and once I made a potion that was meant to make everybody love each other- y’know, get rid of all the animosity and stuff- but then, Captain Hammer came along and drank the entire bottle- and my dad got rid of all my research so he could park his precious Miata.

Love potions are not science.

“Hold up, before we finish this backstory, I need to get something.

“Okay, let’s keep going!”

So then I decided I’d use my smarts for evil. The E.L.E. was coming into the spotlight and I decided I wanted in. In 2008 I got accepted, and I’ve been there since.”

Oh, I guess that’s it.  I’d ding this backstory for being short and pointless, but it could very well have been long and pointless, so I’ll take it.

“And you achieved that with the wonderflonium heist, correct?” Elsa asked.

“Yeah, not so much.”

“No. I sent in my application, and the caveat was that I had to commit ‘a heinous crime, a show of force- a murder would be nice of course’.

Igor!  Stop using direct quotes!  It only serves as a stark contrast of how much worse your writing is than the source material’s.

I tried to use the Freeze Ray prototype at the dedication of the Superhero Memorial Bridge, but… that didn’t work out.”

Great, we’ve spiraled right back into the idiotic amnesia subplot.  I told you this thing was chock full of-

*ALARM BLARES*

*Eliza presses a button on the console*  “Darkwraiths?  Would you be dears and let the sentient glitter out of its cage?”

The WHAT!?

“It’s a new pet that Bookie whipped up for me.  He’s a prototype of a new security system that will work on Syl.  I call him Sparkle Butt!”

*Muffled screams come from outside the riffing chamber*

“It spews a mixture of molten glue and pink glitter.  The glamor is basically permanent!  Though Books is still working on how to make it persist through a respawn cycle.”

“What happened.”

“…The, uh, the Freeze Ray took a few seconds to warm up… Captain Hammer threw a car at my head.”

Elsa’s eyes widened. “A car at your head? And you were okay?”

“I managed to get away with minimal injury,” he replied. “Or as minimal as it could be with the art of car-fu headed towards my face. After a day of icing my forehead, I went out and confronted him- and I won.”

It’s funny how Igor can’t help but spew direct quotes from the show, but when it comes to actually paraphrasing the events that happened in the show, it’s aways vague and as absolutely bare bones as possible.

“So… you killed Captain Hammer?” Elsa asked, apprehensive.

“I… I don’t quite remember,” he admitted. “It’s all a bit of a blur.”

“Oh.”

Blah, blah, blah, amnesia for no good reason, blah, blah.  Next scene!

“Hi there, Olaf,” Buffy greeted the snowman as he clambered onto the bed. “What’re you doing back here?”

And, more importantly, HOW!?

“I- I thought I’d some back,” he answered after a second. “I started walking back a little ways, but then I realised that I couldn’t just leave without bringing Elsa back. I told Anna that I would. So I decided I’d come back and try to bring her back with me. She’s my mom and my best friend. Problem is, it doesn’t seem like she’s keen on leaving.”

“That doesn’t explain anything.  At all.”

“I’d have to agree with you on that count,” Marlowe responded.

“So who the heck was that?” Olaf asked. “I saw her before, but I don’t know her. She was scary.”

“That was my former friend Willow Rosenberg,” Buffy told him. “She’s an evil witch.”

“Wait, witch?” Olaf asked. “Do you mean literally, or like she’s not nice?”

“Literally.”

Stop explaining the same points over and over again!  The audience isn’t stupid, Igor!  We don’t need every single part of the premise constantly shoved down our throats!  Instead of investing all this time repeating the obvious several dozen times, maybe use some of that energy to establish something!  Anything!  Setting, plot, actions, motivations, whatever!  Establish something new!

That’s the real problem with this fic.  It’s running in circles and has been since the very first word.  And that whole problem stems from the whole setup for the fic.  The fic was written with the purpose of being long, and nothing else.  And the best way to make something long is to pad the living fuck out of it with pointless, meandering, boring dreck.  And that’s what 99% of this ‘story’ is.

“Oooo, witches are bad news,” Olaf shuddered. “Sorceresses aren’t too bad, but witches are… yeek. I’ve heard some scary stories. Like, there was this one witch who tried to kill one of her maids or something with a poison apple, and there was another witch who stole a mermaid’s voice and tried to kill her after some deal went bad!”

Uh, the original versions of those tales have somewhat different plot arcs.  Those descriptions, especially the Little Mermaid one, sound more like the Disney versions which Olaf wouldn’t be familiar with.  Still, it’s vague enough that it kinda sorta fits if you tilt your head and squint at the words.

“Hold on, Olaf- who told you these stories?” Buffy asked.

“Anna!” he replied. “She told me all about them before we left!”

“Um, Olaf, I think that she might’ve just been telling you fairy tales.”

No Shit

“Then again, in their universe ice magic exists, so the line between fairy tale and reality is not really so distinct.”

Eh, fair point, actually.

“Well, you thought I wasn’t real at first,” he pointed out.

“See?”

Yes, yes, you’re very smart.

Who’s to say they aren’t too? You never know, one day a group of witches might turn us into mice and kill us all!”

That seems a convoluted way to kill somebody, especially when you can just lob a fireball at them or something.

“Maybe the witch wants to defeat her enemies and have a snack at the same time.”

“When that happens, I will certainly be surprised,” Marlowe chuckled.

“Briefly, before the crunching begins.”

“That’s not Willow’s thing, though,” Buffy said. “She’s more into the mind games.”

“Mind games?” Olaf repeated.

“Messing with our heads, pointing out flaws, saying we’re the immoral ones, stuff like that,” Buffy explained.

Her attempt to wipe out all life on the planet by using Proserpexa’s effigy was certainly an intricate mind game.

“Oh. Could she kill me?”

“Depends, did you see much in the way of rock salt when you were sneaking around her lair?”

Buffy thought about it a moment. “Probably, if she took away your flurry. She wouldn’t be likely to, though. You’re not much of a threat to her.”

“But she is evil.”

Well, the narrator certainly thinks she is.  Can’t shut up about it, really.

Anyway, they ramble on about Willow being evil and wonder why she isn’t trying to destroy the world and other things that have already been covered ad nauseam elsewhere in the fic, so we’re skipping past all that and into the next scene!

11:59:23.

“Is the chapter starting over?”

Nope, this time it’s a time tag.

“I feel almost annoyed.”

The Tesla pulled up to the steps of the E.L.E. headquarters, and the group stepped out into the bright sun. Horrible grabbed the wonderflonium out from the trunk and marched up the steps to Willow, Elsa just behind him.

“So, we meet at last, Doctor,” Willow greeted him, holding out her hand.

“The pleasure is all yours,” he growled, reluctantly shaking it and handing off his case.

“Here you are!  This is the thing I don’t want you to have.  Enjoy!”

You know, next time, he could totally prevent this kind of thing by sabotaging the mission!

“Hey!  You’re right!”

“It’s all here?” she checked.

“We made sure on the way back,” Elsa said. “It’s there. All 20 kilograms.”

“Excellent,” Willow grinned as Bad Horse and Dead Bowie appeared. “Ah! There you are!” She handed over the cases of cash and wonderflonium to Dead Bowie. “Try not to mix those up.”

“Actually, a cash acceleration cannon doesn’t sound too ba-”

*Bifocals walks into the room, hands Eliza a CAC, and walks out*

“EEeeeeeee!”

ad Horse stomped the ground.

“Sorry, old friend,” Willow chuckled, “I didn’t forget.” She pulled out a laminated card form her lapel pocket, handing it to Dead Bowie.

That’s it!?  That’s the all-access card for the Pentagon!?  A laminated card!?  For fuck’s sake, Igor, this is the Pentagon, not the restroom of an elementary school!  A pass for the pentagon would be a CAC card!

“Cash acceleration cannon card?”

Uh, in this case CAC stands for Command Access Card, it’s the standard issue card for federal employees and soldiers working for the DoD.  It looks like this:

CAC

Do some freaking research, man!  You’ve done it in the past so I know you can!

“That’s my end upheld, and with… 10 seconds to spare!” She turned to Horrible and Elsa. “Got held up?”

“It’s bumper-to-bumper on the 5,” Horrible nodded curtly.

“Hm. Good thing it wasn’t too bad” she replied, turning back to Bad Horse. “So, are we good here?”

You know, deadlines are much more tense when you address them before they happen, not after.

“Like everything else, even the deadline is handled in a reactionary way.”

Bad Horse dipped his head.

“Good.” She turned back to Horrible and Elsa. “Shall we head back to base, then?”

“We shall,” Elsa agreed, and the trio descended the steps to the Tesla, Elsa and Horrible in the back, Willow up front.

One more scene to go!  We can do this!

Elsa could not figure out this man. He seemed to shift between oddly amicable and very hostile; never quite relaxed, never quite completely off.

It’s almost like he’s poorly written and inconsistent.

“Almost like!”

He was never still, she’d noticed. Some part of him was always moving- if not his face, his hands; if not his arms, his legs. He was wound tight.

“Being forced into a situation you’re opposed to tends to make one antsy.”

As does chugging a six-pack of Monster.

She understood why he was uncomfortable talking about his encounter with Captain Hammer, but whatever had happened had destabilised him- a lot like that wonderflonium he talked about.

Wait, the wonderflonium destabilized him!?

“What do you expect when you drink twenty kilograms of it!?”

What was it he’d said? It could be more arresting than helium or more reactive than fluorine?

Which is just as incorrectly worded and nonsensically oxymoronic now as it was then.

That seemed to be him. That first encounter: fluorine. She wouldn’t been surprised if he’d started shouting. She might’ve actually preferred he’d shouted. The whole heist: helium. He’d been talkative, but it was benign. It was almost like she’d run into someone at a party and they’d started talking to her. She wasn’t sure what to make of it. He was an enigma.

“It’s called Bipolar disorder, dear.”

Stealing a glance at him now, he looked more like fluorine.

Flourite

Pictured: Doctor Horrible

He was scowling, holding a water bottle tightly in his right hand. She almost wanted to ask if there was anything she could do.

You force a guy into serving your cause and suddenly he’s all pouty.  No idea where that’s coming from!

“This was not how I was planning to spend my Wednesday afternoon,” he muttered angrily.

How was she supposed to respond to that? “I’m sorry this is bothering you so much,” she tried.

“Well, I just hope that she at least had the courtesy to bring my stuff up too,” he sighed. “Where exactly is the base?”

“Mount Lassen,” she answered. “About 8 hours drive. We should be back in time for dinner.”

“Hm. Long drive. Makes me wish the Hyperloop was a thing.”

Oh fuck, here we go.  Igor researched a theoretical technology and wants to parade around his knowledge.  For those who don’t know what the Hyperloop is, it’s basically a monorail with a jet engine strapped to it.  It’s an idea that’s been around for years but experienced a resurgance of interest in 2013.  Hyperloop itself is a version proposed by Elon Musk.  Thus far it remains a theoretical technology due to several design barriers that have not sufficiently been solved.

Now that I’ve explained it, we can skip Igor’s explanation as it reads like a regurgitated Wikipedia article.

*Checks Wikipedia*

Unsurprisingly, it IS regurgitated from Wikipedia.

“And I hope to be one of the first to try it. He says it would only take about $6 billion to build.”

And since the tech hasn’t even been prototyped, most in the science community think he’s full of shit throwing out that number with no basis.  And rightly so, because he’s full of shit for throwing out that number with no basis.

“That’s expensive.”

“Ha! It’s a drop in the bucket for him. He’s filthy rich.

No, it’s really not.  Elon Musk is worth around 11 billion.  Even if he made his estimate, which is extremely unlikely, he’d be dumping half his fortune into the project, which is not ‘a drop in the bucket.’  It would’t even be a drop in the bucket for somebody like Bill Gates since it would likely drain more than 10% of his total net worth.

Maybe that should be a prerequisite for me doing this: I get to try out the Hyperloop first. Say I’m a representative of- of, um… What’s the name of this company?”

Whoa, dude, it’s way late in the game to start laying out terms.

“Horrible is very bad at bargaining.”

“Salix Tech.”

Thirteen chapters into this thing, and Igor finally thought up a name for Willow’s organization.  And even taking all that time to come up with the name, it makes absolutely no sense!  Her company doesn’t develop technology!  It’s a shadow organization that funds large-scale criminal organizations and pulls strings from the background.

“Plus, you would think a technology firm, even an evil one, would know how to wire money electronically.”

“A representative from Salix Tech. ‘I want to ride your Hyperloop, Mr. Musk. Take me to the nearest pod’.”

*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*

Oh for crap’s sake.

They laughed a little. Helium.

“High pitched and hypoxic.”

Best way to laugh.  Finally, we get the last scene break that leads into the author’s note.  As per usual, it starts with an inane quote from “Still Alive” which we’ll skip.

UPDATE: Writer’s block.

Which would explain why there’s so little happening in the chapter if all the preceding chapters weren’t equally devoid of substance.

Current word count of next chapter: 2,949 words.

Status of next chapter: 66% complete.

Will update until next chapter goes up.

And with that Igor ends the chapter on the most honest note possible: being completely devoted to his word count.

“Until next week, patrons!”

Hey, we managed a whole chapter this week.

“I think we need some drinks.”

Only if we don’t invite Syl and Swenia.  I kinda want to remember the rest of my week.

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19 Comments on “1658: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Thirteen”

  1. BatJamags says:

    “The French part of France.”

    So… not Alsace-Lorraine?

  2. BatJamags says:

    “Parce que…?” he asked.

    I would’ve gone with “Pourquoi?” Makes more sense in context.

    • TacoMagic says:

      Fun fact: FPM is fluent in French. I was going to ask her about the phrasing and if it was correct, but she had already gone to bed. Waking her to ask about some French in a badfic seemed like a bad idea.

  3. BatJamags says:

    “Because it’s nice this time of year,” she replied. “You’ve got the nice weather, good people to talk to in the area… it’s a good place to be.”

    France is a very large and diverse place. The weather’s nice down south, but a bit more temperate or rainy further north. There are a lot of different people, and quite a few of them are assholes (but that’s no different from any other place).

  4. BatJamags says:

    “Well… I wonder what’s smaller than a stick of butter that could be so special,” she smirked.

    “It’s my magnum opus,” he replied.

    GuyMan: If you know what I mean.

  5. BatJamags says:

    He’s talking about his penis, isn’t he?

    I don’t think that’s a question at this point. At the very least, she’s talking about his penis and he’s being oblivious, which may be what Igor’s going for.

  6. BatJamags says:

    “Or you could get a pony!”

    That’s what you would do with three mil?

    “Two ponies?”

    *Weighs options and decides to start trouble*

    With that kind of cash, you could buy an entire pony farm.

  7. BatJamags says:

    “But it wasn’t the bank, was it?” Willow asked rhetorically. “I’ll bet it was you.” You went in and masqueraded as a teller to give my guy fake money, nd used Buffy as a distraction.” She raised an eyebrow. “Did I get it right?”

    First of all, those quotation marks are giving my headache a migraine.

    Second of all, the Buffy ruse was a……….. DISTACTION

  8. BatJamags says:

    “A man by the name of William,” Marlowe revealed.

    And why would you tell her your source? This is not how spying works at all. Or journalism. Or vigilante-ism. Or not being a snitch-tacular douchebag.

  9. BatJamags says:

    “…How did you get here? Where you are now?”

    Do you ever wonder why we’re here?

  10. BatJamags says:

    Hyperloop itself is a version proposed by Elon Musk.

    Goddamn, Igor. You like Elon Musk. We get it.

    • BatJamags says:

      I want to ride your Hyperloop, Mr. Musk.

      No, really, Igor. If you want to write Elon Musk pornography, just go do that. I… probably would judge you, actually, but then again I suppose I wouldn’t read it in the first place.

  11. BatJamags says:

    As per usual, it starts with an inane quote from “Still Alive” which we’ll skip.

    I prefer Stayin’ Alive myself.

  12. GhostCat says:

    “Or you could get a pony!”

    That’s what you would do with three mil?

    “Two ponies?”

    And a cotton candy machine!


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