1699: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Fifteen, Part TwoPosted: March 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
Welcome back to Heroes and Villains the fic that managed to be bereft of both. Last time, I don’t even know what happened.
“Lots of stuff happened! None of it made any sense, but there was quite a bit of it!”
I’ve often joked about fics happening in random chunks, but this is the first fic that I’ve riffed that has actually intended to happen in random chunks. It’s so much worse than I imagined.
Anyway, since we can’t have much of a summary due to how incomprehensible this chapter is, let’s just jump right on in and get riffing!
“Haven’t heard this one before,” Doc noted as he entered the room. “Did you turn that into a harpsichord?”
“You know, the one in the room.”
“I did,” Elsa nodded, not looking up from the keys. “This is a new song I’m trying to compose.”
“I call it ‘mashing keys randomly.'”
Sounds like a musical interpretation of the author’s writing style.
She paused a moment, taking her pad of blank sheet music off the harpsichord and writing down the next bar of notes. “What about you? I assume you’re here to tell me you’ve made another breakthrough.”
He discovered a way to rewind time, that way Willow can get twice as much nothing done each day!
“Sort of,” Doc said, showing her the battery. “You remember how I was bitching about rechargability? A little birdie told me about this beauty.”
So he discovered rechargeable batteries?
“At least he didn’t oversell the breakthrough.”
Elsa looked at it, arching an eyebrow haughtily.
Well, somebody thinks she’s too good for rechargeable.
“Maybe she thinks alkaline are better for electronics.”
She’s allowed to be wrong.
“It appears to be yet another in the long line of batteries you’ve used.”
Honestly, this is finally something I’m okay with Igor skipping. Spending a chapter watching Horrible try a long line of batteries sounds about as thrilling as reading The Eighth Spirit again.
“Oh, Taco, it wouldn’t have been about him trying a long line of batteries. It would have been him talking about trying a long line of batteries.”
I shudder to think of what that would have been like.
“Ah, but you see, this is what we in the business call the future.
I’m in the business, and I call it a battery.
“Maybe it’s a Future® brand battery.”
I’m not allowed to say what it is precisely, not yet, ’cause it’s very new tech, but it’s gonna solve my rechargability problems,” Doc said excitedly.
It’s a new type of rechargeable battery that either recharges very quickly, and/or holds much more power than previous iterations (depending on what the ‘rechargability problems’ actually are). What, exactly, is the mystery here?
“I think that if I can modify it a little I can use it for the bots!”
What do you think you’re going to do to a battery to make it work better? I mean, yeah, there are certain things you can do to batteries, but it makes it sound like he’s going to try to re-engineer the thing, which you generally aren’t going to be able to do with an off-the-shelf battery.
Elsa’s only response was, “Hmm.” She returned to playing the harpsichord.
“That looks a lot like what people do when you start talking about engineering stuff!”
Not just that. I also sometimes get a ‘oh, how nice…’ out of people!
“Could you at least tell me who supplied us with this battery?”
And that matters because?
“Maybe Igor is going to shove Elon Musk into the fic again.”
“I’ll have to ask,” Doc said. “They’re a start-up, so– y’know, they’re kinda trying to figure their way out through the waters right now.”
And having a top secret product that nobody can talk about is a great way to get their business rolling. Gods forbid that anyone hear about their secret rechargeable battery technology.
Elsa laughed once. “What?” he said indignantly.
“I’m with Elsa. If Taco went all cloak and dagger every time he found a new tech toy, I’d be permanently locked in the giggle-fits.”
“You’re trusting a start-up, and you won’t tell me what’s in the battery? How do I know it works? How do I know it’s safe?”
On the one hand, start-up companies can produce some really good stuff. They can produce utter garbage too, but just being a startup doesn’t by itself disqualify it. On the other hand, Elsa is right to call Horrible on his ‘man-of-mystery’ bullshit over a battery.
“Willow invested in them!” Doc told her. “Back in 2015!”
“Such a villainous thing to do! Invest in a new company that’s breaking ground in battery technologies!”
“I don’t know,” Doc admitted, “but quite a bit.”
“I thought he didn’t know.”
He mostly doesn’t know.
She considered it. “I don’t like it. If you’re so certain, go ahead, but I bear no responsibility if this doesn’t work.”
Hasn’t he tried a lot of things that didn’t work?
“Seems like it. Elsa doesn’t want any of the blame for his repeated failures, so that’s probably why she’s composing music instead of doing… um…”
“Okay, so she’s still helping more than Willow is.”
Doc glared at her. “Believe me, I would know more about this than you do.”
This is true. In fact, my four-year-old probably knows more about batteries than a nineteenth-century Scandinavian Queen.
Her only response was BWV 934 in F minor, fff.
THE AUTHOR KNOWS ABOUT CLASSICAL MUSIC! DID HE MENTION HE’S A MUSICIAN AND KNOWS ABOUT MUSIC!? YOU PROBABLY DIDN’T KNOW SO HERE’S THE CATALOGUE NUMBER OF A BACH PIECE!
*Eliza pokes Taco with the tip of her glitter projection rifle* “You need to calm down.”
“Wait, wasn’t she composing?”
She was. She’s also playing that piece in the wrong key, though Little Prelude would still probably work out okay in f minor.
“Twenty-nine! Thirty! Thirty-one! Thirty-two! Thirty-three!”
“And get this, Thirty-Four!”
Dude, I never saw it coming!
She collected each number as the people handed them to her and entered the food bank. “Start at the produce tables, they’re over that way.”
And suddenly, community service.
“Did we finally switch over to Buffy?”
I doubt it. Igor seems to have forgotten that Buffy’s plot arc even existed. Which is fair because as inconsequential as Buffy has been, she might well not even be in the fic.
She entered the room again and did a sweep of the tables, calculating if there would be a deficit or surplus of food at the end of the day. Every time they opened up there was some problem that she had to figure out a solution to. There might not be enough food, and she would have to watch the poor souls at the end of the line go home with less than what they needed; alternatively, there might be too much, and she would have to find a way to make it all last so no money was wasted.
You know, it’s odd that no other author has thought to relate the dramatic daily struggle that is inventory management.
So far… moving along alright. There wasn’t terribly much in the ways of fresh produce today, but the recipients seemed to be cooperative enough with the restrictions.
“You thought it couldn’t get any more tense? Well how about if the character has an okay day without much in the way of trouble!?”
I am on the edge of my seat! Mostly because somebody left a sleeping cat on the rest of the chair.
She went back out to the door, and when the people started to leave, she resumed calling out numbers. “Thirty-four! Thirty-five! Thirty-six! Thirty-seven! Thirty-eight!” Another check inside. Still moving okay, but they might have to cut down even more on produce.
A good way to do that is to not point them immediately to the produce table when they get in. Just saying.
“This person isn’t very good at inventory management. Still, there are people who would do a worse job.”
Like Willow, for instance.
“Is doing nothing worse than doing something ineffectively?”
I suppose that depends on how ineffective they are.
Back outside, and the people soon started flowing out.
So they’re flowing from outside to more outside?
“That’s thinking outside of the outside of the box!”
Just before she started calling, though, someone caught her eye.
Was that… Doc?
Well crap, this is Elsa, isn’t it?
“Why is she running a food bank?”
“Hey, Doc!” she called after him. He turned to face her, arching an eyebrow in surprise. “Could you stick around ’til I’m done?” Willow asked him. “Wanna talk with you.”
Oh, it’s Willow. She’s being quite a bit less useless than normal.
“Maybe her darkness wore off.”
If that were the case, she’d probably be doing something more directly in opposition of evil than feeding the hungry. Not to knock the importance of feeding the hungry, but there aren’t any people to be hungry if the world is swallowed by the forces of darkness. She also probably wouldn’t be all buddy buddy with Doctor Horrible if she had gone back to being regular Willow.
He said nothing, but dutifully sat down against the wall.
After the food bank closed up shop, she came out and sat down next to him. “My goodness, Doc, it’s been a while. What are you doing in line at a food bank?”
He probably had a boss that taught him that doing nothing was the best way to be evil. And then it turned out that doing nothing wasn’t the best way to get things like money, power, or social change.
“Well, long story short, I got kicked out,” Doc replied bluntly. “What are you doing working at said food bank?”
Probably should have invested some of that money you were stealing during your early years in the Evil League.
“Couldn’t he rob some now?”
Naw, the damage has been done. He now just sits around plotting all day without actually getting anything done.
“Long story short, I had to close up shop,” Willow said equally bluntly.
“Now this is a logical conclusion.”
Though, to be honest, the fact that she had a “shop” to close up in the first place doesn’t make any sense. She was abysmally terrible with money, leadership, motivation, goal setting, and project planning, yet still somehow ended up with an organization to drive into the ground. Readers can insert their own political subtext there if desired.
“Wanna swap long stories?
Before answering, please think of our poor patrons who will have to read that nonsense!
“Sure,” Doc agreed, giving her a pointed look.
“Fine,” she groused.
“Such great chemistry between these two. It’s super easy to believe that they would sit and catch up after an average day at work!”
“After the whole generator-shutdown thing, and with both of you gone, I couldn’t run the whole operation on my own.
You know, that stuff with the generator shutting down.
“Oh! I completely forgot about that!”
And being incapable of running the organization never seemed to prevent her from doing it in the past.
“The plot must have turned on her.”
The whole thing just sort of slowly went down until I finally gave up completely on the company.
Turns out that getting paid in prototype luxury cars wasn’t the best business model.
“Think I should tell Crunchy?”
Naw, better he learns on his own.
That said, I’m still doing what I do best.”
If that’s the case, she’s not doing very well at it. She actually was doing something today, much to everyone’s surprise.
“They’re out for you, you know,” Doc warned her.
“I know,” she replied with a sigh.
They? As in The Heroes of Eternal Mistiness!?
“Mr. GuyMan and GirlWoman still patrol the streets of The Place, protecting it from the former leaders of Organization!”
“They’re going to catch you eventually,” he continued matter-of-factly, taking a bite of an apple. “And what do you think they’ll do?”
You know, come to think of it, what do T.H.E.M. do when they square off against the forces of Organization?
“They subject the villains to Justice.”
“I would say they’d kill me, but I have a feeling that’s not what you’re about to say,” she said.
Killing isn’t part of being subjected to Justice.
“Nope,” he nodded. “They’re going to lock you up in the basement of HQ. They’ve created an impregnable prison using some really rare artefact and spell that is supposedly inescapable unless the prisoner is freed by having an incantation recited.”
Inpenetrible, unless you know the magic word.
“It’s probably Password.”
*The lights flick out as the bunker locks itself down. Moments later, red lighting flicks on in the riffing chamber*
“We should really change the lockdown password.”
*The lights flick off again as the bunker locks itself down further*
For crap’s sake. This is what we get for hiring Crunchy as our contractor.
“Is that all?” she asked.
The doorknob is also perpetually sticky.
“No, actually,” he admitted. “It’ll rob you of your magic permanently.”
“Willow has magic?”
Ostensibly, yes. Not that it’s really been a thing.
Willow’s eyebrows shot up. “They might be on to something there.”
They’ve developed something that nullify’s your only (alleged) super power. I would call that more than being ‘on to something.’
“More of a ‘by jove, I think they have it!'”
“Mmm.” Another bite of the apple.
Keep an eye on that apple situation, Eliza. I’m sure it’ll become critical to the plot very soon.
“Elsa was all for the idea. Your good friend the Slayer was more inclined to kill you, but the group overall voted for the fate worse than death.”
So Elsa has switched sides again? I guess that was too interesting to actually show.
“Is sitting in a basement not being able to do anything really a fate worse than death?”
Yeah, come to think of it, that would be just like what she used to do. Though maybe it’s different being forced to do nothing rather than doing nothing as a choice.
“That’s going a bit far,” Willow replied.
Which part? The ‘fate worse than death’ bit? If so, we already made that point for you.
“Eh, it sounds pretty on point, considering it’s you,” Doc disagreed lightly.
“Even Doctor Horrible recognizes this as a situation that puts you right back to not doing what you were born to avoid doing!”
“I mean, magic made you who– no, what you are now. It would be pretty cruel to render you powerless for the rest of your life.”
Not to mention she wouldn’t be able to [error: magic abilities never used] anymore! That’s the one thing that completely defines her as a character!
“…You’re not wrong,” Willow muttered.
And yet he isn’t right either. He’s mostly just inconsequential.
“Anyway, my long story is that Elsa and I have not been getting along.
This must be after the future future event where he assaulted her.
“Or maybe after the not-as-future future event where they were being snide at each other.”
I kinda think that event was after the future future event, but before this event.
“Is this the future future of the future?”
Future future of the future future.
She’s been getting ticked about my secretiveness when it comes to my projects, and I have to say the Ice Queen act was getting pretty old.
So, basically, she’s angry at you for being a petty dick because she’s being standoffish. Finally, we get some villain traits up in here.
The last thing we argued about was about whether or not we should purchase the HQ for ourselves now that you’ve left it empty.”
“Which, if you’re eating at the food bank, is definitely something you can do.”
So what team are these two supposed to be on? It seems like they’re communicating with Buffy, but also pursuing some kind of illicit research.
Works for me.
“What did you decide?” Willow asked.
“We didn’t. The argument evolved into our last major blowout, and– we lost our tempers.
“Are you okay over there.”
While technically not used incorrectly here, after being a parent ‘blowout’ takes on a much different meaning.
Both of us.” He looked at the half-eaten apple in his hand. “It got physical.”
*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*
“The apple is still in the scene.”
Excellent, but don’t get cocky. It could become absolutely important at any second!
Willow felt a knot form in her stomach. “Oh god, what happened?”
“…She– I shoved her against the wall and she hit her head.
I guess the only reason this scene exists is to reinforce that the other scene actually happened.
There wasn’t any blood– but I apparently pushed hard enough to damage her occipital lobe– and now she has right homonymous superior quadrantanopia in both her eyes.”
“Guys! Guys! Igor knows how to Google things!”
This adds so much to the fic! See, using the actual medical name instead of “partial vision loss” lets the audience know how smart the author-
Wait a damn minute, ‘Homonymous’ means ‘in both ey-”
*DRD agents burst into the room, hand Eliza a bouquet of flowers, and burst out of the room through a different door*
The hell was that all about?
“It seems that I agreed to go to their Mardi Gras party the last time I was out drinking with the girls.” *Eliza looks at the card* “I also have a date, I guess.”
I don’t think I want to know.
“What does that mean?” Willow asked, not really wanting to know but needing to all the same.
Incoming Wikipedia regurgitation!
“According to the doctors, she can’t see out of the top-right quadrants of her eyes,” Doc explained sombrely.
Think of how much this exchange added instead of just saying that in the first place!
“About twenty words.”
Willow winced. “That’s pretty terrible.”
Doc nodded. “I suppose you could relate a little– y’know, losing an entire eye and all.”
Somebody finally does something worthy of being a villain, and the fic can’t even own it. Igor, you had no idea what you were doing.
“It appears eye trauma runs in the business,” she huffed.
“Though, in Elsa’s case, it was brain trauma that caused vision loss.”
Might as well add ‘eye’ to the list.
“So it appears,” he agreed.
“Glad that Wally McHeadsmash is so glib about injuring his partner. First evil thing he’s actually done!”
Had the story not been so bleak, they would’ve laughed.
Assault and battery is fucking HILARIOUS!
Anyway, before the fic can make any more uncomfortable parallels to abusive relationships, the scene cuts over to the future future.
She didn’t instantly pass out– just slowly sank to the ground, eyes wide with shock. He looked at her mutely before getting out, “I’ll call the hospital.”
Welp, I spoke too soon.
He exited the room. Though the white noise of the pain in the back of her head, she heard him call them. “Hello, yes, I’m at the top of Mount Lassen in the national park…
Yes, the ‘secret’ volcano lair. Yes, it is very nice in the summer here, can you just send- No, we aren’t part of the National Parks Service. No, there aren’t any tours! Can you just come and help my- Look, it’s complicated, we have an agreement with the Rangers involving electric cars.
My friend hit her head, I think she might have a concussion… Hold on.” He came back. “How are you feeling? Is there anything wrong?”
“You mean aside from you slamming her head into the wall, or just that?”
*Taco silently fumes*
“You okay over there?”
Peachy. I’m sure this is somehow Elsa’s fault and everything. He only did it because she made him crazy or something. Why do so many fucking fics have this subtext in them!?
For a moment she couldn’t find her voice, but she finally managed to whisper, “My head hurts… and I can’t see out of the upper-right corners of my eyes.”
Definitely something that she’d notice right away. That’s exactly how head trauma and eyes work.
“She says she can’t see out of the upper-right corners of her eyes,” he relayed anxiously. “…Anything else, Elsa?”
“It’s really hard to concentrate,” she said.
“Concentration issues,” he told them.
“Which somehow still allowed her to figure out she’s missing some field of vision.”
“…Okay. We’ll be down as quick as we can.” He hung up, then knelt and took her hand. “We have to drive you down, Elsa. They’ll get a doctor to look at you and see what happened, okay?… Elsa?”
For fuck’s sake! Who the hell did you call, a plumber!? You don’t move a person with head trauma! Especially you don’t have a disoriented person WALK DOWN A FUCKING MOUNTAIN following a head injury! And they wouldn’t send a doctor, either! That’s what ENTs are for! With all your apparent Googling, Igor, why can’t you do basic core research when you need to!? This isn’t rocket science!
She sat motionless for another second, then wordlessly shifted so he could help her stand.
“Come to think of it, shouldn’t horrible be smarter than this? Sure his PhD is in horribleness, but it’s still a doctorate.”
Don’t make me play the Dr. Doppler clip again.
She felt the pain in her head increase viciously, and her remaining vision swam and dimmed. Doc wrapped a supportive arm over her shoulders, and she grabbed it tightly.
Seriously, you’re both stupid.
“I might fall,” she told him weakly.
WHICH IS WHY YOU SHOULDN’T FUCKING MOV-
“You’re so sparkly!”
I hate everything.
“I’ll catch you,” he promised.
Which still won’t prevent further brain injury, but I guess it’s the thought that counts. Which would only mean something if either of them were thinking.
“I’m so sorry, Elsa. I’m so sorry.”
A single tear escaped her eye.. She couldn’t tell if it was from pain or sadness. “I’m sorry too.”
That’s it, fuck this fic, I’m out.
*Taco stands up, flips the fic a finger, and leaves*
“Taco? There’s still a little more after the scene break. Taco?”
If you get a drop of silver nitrate on your finger, it will react with the chloride in your skin, turning it white for a time until the silver reacts again and turns the affected area jet black.
“No, it’s okay. I’ve got it. It’s just some regurgitation from high school chemistry.”
“Taco? Are we going to have to search the sub basements for you? Again?”
It will remain for about a week until it flakes off. Until then, try convincing your friends and relatives you are actually a perishable item.
“Oh, honey. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we are perishable items. Most of us, including you, will eventually die and the remains will spoil. Unless a raptor eats them first. So remember, children, do the responsible thing and die in a place easily accessible by predators and scavengers.”
“Anyway, that’s where the chapter ends. If you’ll all excuse me, I need to go gather a search party. And probably Crunchy.”