1673: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Fourteen, Part TwoPosted: February 1, 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
Heyo, peeps! My schedule is full up this week with those pesky real life things, so we’re going to skip all the usual pomp and jump right into the second half of chapter fourteen!
And so far as a note to start one, well…
Whenever Willow watched T.V., a small part of her always laughed at how there was never a real conclusion of the story of a series.
*Taco and Eliza look pointedly at the fic*
“It’s so adorable that the author thought he wasn’t going to end up doing the same thing.”
Something was always left open for the next season or for eternal speculation at the end of the series finale.
“Or for when the series just sorta stops.”
For example, How I Met Your Mother.
Oh crap, if we’re going to spend MORE time talking about television, I think we’re just going to skip it.
Yup, we can skip most of the following paragraph and then get into Willow ruminating about books. Yay and stuff.
This was why she preferred books slightly more. Books had endings that were clear enough, with no real need for a sequel hook because it was a stand-alone story.
You can’t honestly be serious, right author!? You wouldn’t write something that stupid unless it was a joke, right?
If they wanted a sequel, what usually happened was they would take place after the first storyline was completely over so as to differentiate them sufficiently.
“I guess that means the author isn’t all that familiar with just how many incomplete book series are out there.”
Not to mention how many stand-alone books have open-ended endings, loose ends, and tacked-on sequels. I’d be tempted to think the author hasn’t read all that many books with a comment like that. Certainly Willow would know more about books than to say something so mind-bindingly stupid.
Then again, T.V. shows were basically one long story divided into volumes, like Harry Potter, with more connections between the volumes than normal.
Whatever the fuck THAT is supposed to mean.
Each arc blended into the next.
“In a way that large books series totally can’t do!”
She found that a bit tiresome.
Complexity is so tiring.
“The Darkwraiths have the full collection of Clifford the Big Red Dog books if Willow is looking for something to read.”
She never liked the idea of a life so hectic and convoluted that there was no lull in between stories.
That might explain why this fic is composed of nothing EXCEPT the lull between stories.
Of course, life was like that, but given that it was lived day by day, she didn’t really think of it like that.
“It’s like the words are supposed to mean something, but can’t quite bring themselves to have substance.”
If it was played out for her like a show, it might like disconcertingly similar.
Similar to… an endless expanse of nothing?
Ah well. Perhaps she should leave those ideas for later and have a quick nap.
Speaking of which.
“That was close, she almost didn’t get in her obligatory scene of not doing anything!”
First, though, a check-up on how the cards of the future were looking…
Cards of the future?
“Bifocals created a set of greeting cards that could be sent to unsuspecting targets from different sources that, when in somewhat close proximity to each other, combine themselves to form an assassin droid.”
Remind me not to let her have my home address.
After looking around his new lab space, Doc went looking around for Elsa. After dinner they’d both gone their separate was, but he couldn’t think of what to do.
“Can’t think of anything to do with himself? Seems like he’ll fit in just fine here!”
As he wandered around the halls, he realised he wasn’t sure how to get to the palace. He searched for a minute, looking for someone who might know where to find it. He eventually came up to a door that said “CLEARANCE LEVEL 5 NECESSARY”.
The west wing is forbidden!
He tested the door. It opened silently, revealing a dimly lit room.
“And the security is about as good here as in the west wing.”
Does nobody in any era actually lock doors!?
He looked around, spotting someone at a chair staring at a wall of camera feeds intently, a sour expression on his face.
It’s pretty bad when your security station isn’t properly secure. Not that I’m surprised.
“Excuse me,” Doc asked, “do you know where I might find-”
“The generator’s gonna be down on the very bottom floor,” the man interrupted in a gravelly low voice. “Level 4 clearance will be necessary.”
“So the door will be half-open already?”
I’m thinking a bead curtain is more likely.
“Uh… I’m not looking for the generator,” Doc replied in confusion.
“That blonde bitch is in her little castle,” the man said.
Ah, so now we have our token jerk/bully. I’m sure he hasn’t been added just so that the Doctor can stand up to him.
“…Wait, do you mean Elsa?” Doc asked.
“Elsa, Snow Queen, Ruler of Winter, whatever the hell they call her. She’s still Ninth Circle through and through,” the man growled.
He’s technically not wrong. The ninth circle of hell was cold as fuck.
“She’s the whole reason this happened. Or happens. Whatever the tense is, I don’t care.”
“Pretty sure all the nothing is Willow’s fault.”
Maybe that’s what he’s upset about. Ever since Elsa arrived, things have been so close to actually occurring. At this rate, the security guard might actually have to do something!
“What are you talking about?!” Doc asked.
Stuff! Stuff that likely will never be explained or important in the slightest.
“Nothing that concerns you,” the man replied, swivelling around to face him.
And now I’m sad for calling that one.
“The translation here is that Igor hadn’t actually come up with a motivation for this guy to be a jerk, so instead went with the old reliable: ‘secret reason!'”
“If everybody had a clue they wouldn’t bother me. Obviously they don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t have to deal with all these questions.
“Or you could lock your door.”
‘What do you mean?’ ‘Are you talking about the future?’ Heck no! I’m talking about the stuff that’s right in front of us! Doesn’t take much to figure these things out!”
It’s like Igor is trying to taunt the audience about how little they’ve been provided about the plot.
“The readers should obviously know what’s going on because it’s right there!” *Eliza points into the swirling mist*
“O-kay…” Doc said uneasily.
If nothing else, this should serve as a pretty good lesson on why you don’t just barge through doors into secure locations.
The man turned away. “Take a right once you close the door, take the first right, go as far as you can.”
“…Thanks,” Doc said. “What do you mean by Ninth Circle?”
C’mon, Doc, you’re smarter than this. Anyone who’s been through middle school should know this reference.
“Maybe Igor is just assuming the audience needs this explained to them?”
Igor explaining something that’s painfully obvious? Yeah, okay, that sounds pretty plausible.
“Treachery,” the man answered. “The frozen lake, Cocytus. Simple enough if you consider it for a half a second. Somebody who can control that stuff is a born traitor.”
Yup, there it is! Igor must have thought his reference was far more obscure than in fact it is.
“Now I’m almost sad again.”
Doc frowned. “Elsa’s a traitor?”
“Sure enough. The bitch left her kingdom, and she’ll leave you too. Don’t get too friendly with her unless you want that little heart in your chest to be ripped in two.”
As much as Igor is being heavy handed with painting this guy as the designated jerk, he isn’t wrong. Elsa did indeed betray her kingdom by leaving it. And then did the same to her sister. And neither of those events were for good reasons. There’s a little bit of a pattern there.
“Hey, what the hell, man?” Doc said angrily. “I’m just asking!”
“Look, buddy, I have one job: to be a jerk. I don’t come down to your lab and rock the Slurpy machine, do I?”
“Well, Billy-buddy, you ought to remember that there are some things that you shouldn’t ask!” the man snapped.
Especially to somebody who is obviously trying to be antagonistic.
Doc scowled. “Well, alright then,” he said. “Guess I’ll go.” He turned to open the door.
“Name’s Marion, if you’re ever curious,” the man said as Doc opened the door.
We weren’t but thanks anyway.
“Not even a little!”
“Short for Marionette around here, ’cause according to the others who come in here, I like to think I’m pulling the strings, but in reality she is.
“He sure does a lot to make sure the nothing happens exactly as planned.”
Not quite. He appears to be doing a lot to make sure nothing happens. But, in reality, GirlWoman is the real mastermind behind the lack of activity.
“Say it isn’t so!”
Hey, it’s still fighting crime if you’re manipulating the criminals into inaction.
Heh! That’s a laugh. She’ll be dead on May 19th 2022, I guarantee it.”
That’s definitely a new spin on pointlessly specific time intervals.
“What happens then?” Doc asked.
“Hell if I know,” Marion grumbled. “It’ll be a real laugh if that actually happens, though.”
“If the thing we don’t know about happens, it’ll be awesome!”
Unless it’s not. Though, to be fair, if anything happens on that day at Willow Co. it’ll be an notable event.
Doc exited as quietly as he could and shut the door as quickly as he could.
To his surprise, Willow was approaching. When she saw him, she started a little. “Hey there,” she said, a tiny bit wary.
Such a great dynamic between these two. He’s adding so much to the team and to the fic.
“Hiya,” he said reluctantly. “Your friend Marion in there certainly’s taken a liking to Elsa.”
Hey there, buddy, sarcasm is OUR job!
“What do you mean?” Willow asked, frowning.
“He said she’ll betray me if I’m not careful,” he said. “Something about her ice powers pointing to being ‘Ninth Circle’, whatever that means.”
Well, less her ice powers and more that she does have a bit of a history with betrayal and abandonment. Granted, it’s not quite the same as treachery, but it’s a lot closer than Igor’s other attempts at using big words.
Willow’s frown deepened. “What was Marion doing in there?”
“He was watching the cameras,” Doc said. “Why?”
Inexplicably, Willow’s response was a single bark of laughter. “I’m gonna have a talk with him,” she said, opening the door and swiftly shutting it.
“Oh, so Marion isn’t actually the security guard, he’s just a creeper who likes to watch others work.”
I wonder what happened to the actual security guard.
“Probably on his company mandated four hour nap.”
Doc looked at the shut door for a long moment before turning and walking away. “There’s one flaw,” he muttered.
If that’s the only flaw you’re seeing, then you really do belong here.
So, at this point we hit a scene break and get more song lyrics! In this case it’s another excerpt from Chorus Line. Skipping past that we see another scene break followed by… MORE SONG LYRICS!
This time it’s the first few lines from The Beatles’ Yesterday.
Once that’s over, we dump straight into the next scene, which is actually just the same scene we just broke from.
“GET DOWN!” *Eliza tackles Taco out of his chair*
He rounded a bend and nearly walked into the door that greeted him, but managed to catch himself. He went through it, following the corridor to the next door. When he swung it open, he felt a sudden gust of chilly air, and realised that he had found the way to Elsa’s wing. The palace. He looked around, impressed. The walls seemed less rounded than the Ice Palace, almost tessellated. The stairs were a single grand staircase instead of two sets hugging the walls, the banisters much more angular, and instead of the fountain he remembered, there was a large blue snowflake etched into the floor, with the center pulsing black. The walls had shifting amber accents mixing with the deep blue, making an interesting contrast, all of it pulsating gently and irregularly, . He heard a guitar strumming a little ways off, the chords echoing in the empty room. Was that Elsa? He began searching the palace for her. It took him a little time to fin the source of the sound, especially since he stumbled upon so many rooms filled with things he didn’t expect. One room was filled with stainless steel kitchen appliances, sans refrigerator- upon close inspection, there were very thin wires running just under the floor. Another had a lone grand piano standing in the middle, all shining black and white ice. Curious, he played a chord just to see how it sounded: what were the notes in that, C-E-G? Yes, those were the ones. Very happy chord, very major-key-y; the ice-strings or whatever they were gave it a pleasant plinking quality. He tried it again, this time playing C–Esomething/Dsomething–G. He couldn’t help but be intrigued that by simply shifting one note to the black key, the entire chord changed. (If he had had more musical knowledge he would have known that he had just played the C-major and C-minor chords, respectively, and that “black key” was E-flat/D-sharp.) As the sound faded, he heard the guitar falter mid-note before continuing. Obviously his music hadn’t gone unnoticed. He resumed his search, eventually reaching a door that looked like it might lead into a bedroom. He knocked. Knock knock knock knock.
Sweet crap that’s a big one!
“Darkwraiths! Get your hammers!”
We’re just going to skip past the first few sentences because they’re just boring exposition of him going through doors.
He looked around, impressed. The walls seemed less rounded than the Ice Palace, almost tessellated.
So, imagine that, but less roundy and more tessellationy.
Like X, except Y: 9
“Been a while since we’ve got to use that one.”
It’s been a while since Igor tried to describe anything.
The stairs were a single grand staircase instead of two sets hugging the walls, the banisters much more angular, and instead of the fountain he remembered, there was a large blue snowflake etched into the floor, with the center pulsing black.
Like X, except Y: 10
The walls had shifting amber accents mixing with the deep blue, making an interesting contrast, all of it pulsating gently and irregularly, .
“Igor pulled off the comma-space-period! The rare double-pause-stop!”
That isn’t a thing.
He heard a guitar strumming a little ways off, the chords echoing in the empty room. Was that Elsa? He began searching the palace for her. It took him a little time to fin the source of the sound, especially since he stumbled upon so many rooms filled with things he didn’t expect.
“Wait until he finds the stuff! So good!”
One room was filled with stainless steel kitchen appliances, sans refrigerator- upon close inspection, there were very thin wires running just under the floor.
Nobody expects the kitchen!
Another had a lone grand piano standing in the middle, all shining black and white ice.
Esh, that thing must be a nightmare to tune.
Anyway, at this point Horrible presses a few keys, Igor exposits his introductory musical knowledge in a narrative aside, and then Horrible wanders off to find where the guitar was coming from. It’s all thoroughly forgettable, so we’ll just move on. If you really want to read it, check out the giant text block.
The music stopped. “Come in,” Elsa said.
He opened the door. Elsa was putting down the guitar on her bed, sitting cross-legged on the mattress. “Hello,” she greeted him.
“Hi,” he waved, approaching the bed. “Mind if I join you?”
“Go ahead,” she smiled, indicating a spot for him on the bed. He sat down, taking off his shoes before matching her pose. “I’m sorry about this afternoon.”
“Time for girl talk!”
“It’s fine,” he assured her. “I’m not mad at you, I’m just- I don’t like the fact that I had to go.”
“I know what you mean,” she sighed. “Leaving for this world was the last thing I wanted to do, but I had no other choice. Now I’m alone because of it. I suppose that’s what happens.”
Wait, she had no choice? When was she trapped into abandoning her kingdom?
“Maybe the PCC ordered her to leave. You don’t say no the PCC.”
Doc nodded sympathetically. “The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and all that stuff. I hate that.”
“Were Elsa’s intentions good?”
Well, they were selfish, so they were good for her. That’s pretty close to them being good.
“Well, there is also the saying that by enduring hardship, we discover who we truly are,” Elsa said. “Maybe this is who we are.”
Can we please stop talking in platitudes please? The pretension meter is in the corner crying.
“Awww. Here you go little guy, have a cookie.”
Is that a redemption cookie?
“Yeah, we always make more than we need.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised,” Doc smiled sardonically. “Given all the crap I’ve had to deal with, I’d like to think I know who I am.”
Aside from, you know, the amnesia.
“I thought so too,” Elsa said, “and then my coronation happened, and the ensuing escapade convinced me otherwise. Now I’m finding myself uncertain again. I don’t know if I belong in the light or the darkness. The only thing I do know for a fact is that I’ve been marooned.”
SEE!!? TRAJEDY! SHE SO LONLY!
Doc was silent for a minute. “I suppose it’s all a matter of what you want. We’re shaped by our desires. Hence the whole ‘good intentions’ thing.”
See, this is what happens when you get too pretentious. You stop being able to make sense. What the hell does her desires have to do with actual good intentions?
“True enough,” Elsa smiled. “All I want is to be friends with my sister again… but that can’t happen, and that’s really the only thing that could make me happy. Meanwhile people who’ve dealt with less end up with a better outcome. I don’t like that. It’s infuriating.”
Oooh, I see. It’s the old merit through suffering fallacy. Though I suppose the idea that their suffering, even self-inflicted suffering, gives them moral high-ground is consistent with their supposed villain status. Villains aren’t really known for being reasonable.
“Not exactly something that makes for sunny skies,” Doc agreed.
“Indeed. Blaming others because they haven’t suffered enough is pretty dark and petty.”
Good thing they’re villains, otherwise they’d be whiny and unlikable protagonists.
“But that seems like a pretty good raison d’être.Y’know, finding a way to balance it all out.”
So he’s proposing that Elsa’s reason for living should be to spread suffering in an effort to make sure everyone is in the same amount of pain?
“Now we’re getting into some real super-villain territory!”
With a better backstory, characterization, build up, setting, and plot you could actually do something with that premise.
Elsa considered it. “I don’t know if it’s quite that strong of a feeling. It bothers me, but it’s not something that I think warrants retribution.”
Uhh, wha? Who does she want to take retribution on for the suffering inequality?
“Maybe she plans to make suffering suffer.”
“But you came here,” Doc pointed out.
Ew! And you’re sitting on the bed, too!
“You don’t seem like the type to be uncommitted.”
“…I’m not,” Elsa nodded. “…I think it’s mainly… I’ve been pushed around too much at this point.
“By her own choices.”
Fuck you, agency! How dare you let me make my own bad choices and then live with them!
“I think we should get reparations from agency.”
My whole life has been dictated by things and people beyond my control, to my detriment.
Ooooh! Okay, I’ll give her that one, her life was pretty shit on account of her powers. Still, not sure who she plans to make suffer for it.
I’m tired of being some sort of cosmic plaything. This… sort of gives me something to push back against.”
“Aha! She’s going to make the cosmos suffer!”
I’m with her on that one, fuck that guy.
Doc’s brow furrowed. “You’re saying that this is your way of retribution against the universe? She provides the target, and you go nuts?”
Don’t use the word ‘nuts’ right after we post a picture of the King of all Cosmos, please.
“Not quite like that,” Elsa said. “It’s like- the world’s upset my plans for my life so much, I wouldn’t mind upsetting its own.”
Doc grinned. “Ooo. Fighting the system. I can understand that.”
Apparently not because there’s a vast difference between fighting the system and trying to screw up the whole world out of spite.
“What about you?” Elsa asked. “Why do you do what you do?”
Pretty much that.
“Um… I- I sort of saw the flaws in the system,” he replied. “They try to establish this idea that, like, the setup is infallible, we figured out the best way for everybody, but they’ve totally screwed it up. The world is a mess, and I just- need to show it.
How did you screw the line up, Igor!?
Hold up the mirror, you know? They caused this mess, and I need to find the way to burn it down so I can build it back up again, but better. None of this crap about fixing a broken system; the best thing to do is to toss it completely and start all over. This is my way of burning it down.
“Sitting on a bed chatting?”
Maybe he’s talking about his wandering around lost in a random evil lair.
“Or maybe his mild inconveniencing of the CIA’s IT staff?”
Wasn’t it the NSA?
*Eliza shrugs* “Some agency with an acronym.”
I wouldn’t mind doing it literally at some point.”
If you burn down this building, where are you going to work?
“Plus, Elsa is going to be miffed that he melted her castle. Not the best way to capture a girl’s attention.”
They both laughed a little awkwardly.
“…Well, it’s probably beginning to get late,” Doc said eventually. “I’m gonna go to sleep.”
Yeah, you two have been sitting here talking for six, maybe seven minutes. Talk about burning that candle at both ends.
“I should probably do that myself,” Elsa agreed. “So, good night, I suppose.”
“Good night,” Doc smiled, and left the room.
And scene! So, quiz for the patrons: What, exactly, did that scene establish or explore?
“The King’s cosmic package?”
I retract the question and we head hastily into the next scene.
“‘Marion’? Seriously?” Willow raised an eyebrow incredulously as the door shut. “What the hell were you doing?”
Being a jerk, jeez. It’s my only job!
“Watching the cameras,” the figure in the chair grinned. “Establishing a repertoire with your new recruit.”
“As the guy to avoid.” *Slow clap*
“You didn’t tell me they could get in here,” Willow said angrily.
You might want to invest in locks or something. The signs aren’t really security by themselves.
“But it wasn’t a problem, now, was it?” it retorted, baring its teeth in a tight grin. “And besides, I’m not your marionette. I can talk with whomever I please, if they want to.”
But can you do it without being fired?
Willow groaned. “I don’t want them to talk with you. For all I know you’re telling them secrets they’re not supposed to know.”
“Definitely sounds like somebody you want to have around your secret lair.”
This is probably Aluwyn in disguise or something stupid like that.
“What secrets would these be, dearie?” the figure raised its eyebrows mockingly.
“What did you tell him?” Willow demanded.
“Nothing he understood,” the figure said. “Nothing you’d understand either.”
Or the audience, or anyone, really. Because it was utter nonsense disguised as something profound.
“What did you tell him?” Willow repeated.
“‘The generator’s gonna be down on the very bottom floor’,” the figure said,
Nope, we’re snipping this off right here because Marion or whoever it’s supposed to be regurgitates exactly what he told Horrible.
Willow laughed once. “Geez, you seem to be a bit hostile towards her.”
“Either that or
Aluwyn Marion is trying to make sure he has Elsa all to himself.”
Welcome to Evil High!
The figure hissed. “I’ve had bad experiences with others of her kind.
Either she means magic users, which Aluwyn has known many, many magic users so while it’s true she would have had bad experiences with them, it wouldn’t really follow that she hates them.
“Maybe she means Scandinavians.”
Esh, I hope not. It’s a little late in the game for this fic to suddenly turn racist.
But that doesn’t matter.
If that stopped people from doing things in this fic, it wouldn’t exist.
If someone enters, I provide them with what they’ll hear best. You hear this best, he heard that best.”
Yeah, because Dr. Horrible definitely wanted to be told that you thought Elsa would betray him.
Willow frowned. “So you were telling him things, but…”
“Not just things, but lots of stuff too!”
“Only the things he needed to hear right now,” it finished her sentence.
Primarily the vague and unhelpful things.
“The things that slow the plot down.”
“Remember what that means,” she reminded him, and exited the room, the door clicking shut.
Uh… wha? I mean, yes, the audience and the author clearly have no idea what’s going on, but surely totally-not-Aluwyn knows what she meant by that. You don’t make that kind of vague and portentous proclamation without knowing what you’re insinuating.
“Unless you’re a badfic author.”
Anyway, the scene ends and we get one final quote. This time it’s from Five Nights at Freddy’s, because the author has completely given up on having any kind of theme whatsoever.
And, luckily for everyone, so too ends the chapter! See everyone in two weeks!