1710: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Sixteen, Part TwoPosted: March 15, 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
*Eliza flicks the lights on as she trots into the riffing chamber*
*Taco glares at her from his chair, where he is still bound in several layers of chain*
You could have at least left the light on.
“And waste all that electricity?”
It’s not a waste if I’m in here!
“That’s not what Crunchy said.”
Since when does he get to make those decisions?
“Well, he is our morale officer.”
I’m still trying to figure out how he got that position.
“Popular vote, I think. At least, that’s what he says, anyway. Recap?”
No. Living through that atrocious author tract the first time was plenty. I don’t want to subject myself or others to even a summary of it. Let’s just dive right in and knock the rest of this chapter out. Possibly with a sledge hammer.
Buffy woke up slowly, first coming to with her eyes shut, then taking a moment to be awake without opening her eyes, then gradually allowing light into her pupils and reentering the functioning realm.
*The bunker locks down and the red emergency lighting flicks on*
“A level three purple prose event! It’s been days since we had one of those!”
Marlowe was still resting in his chair; Olaf was… outside, apparently, presumably colouring in pictures from the colouring books; and to her surprise, there was someone else sitting next to her, also sound asleep.
Can this prose get any more wishy washy!?
“Of course! ‘Olaf was probably outside, and if or when he was possibly outside, he would very likely be coloring in his alleged-‘”
It wasn’t a challenge!
It took her a second to connect the dots, but she recognised his slouched posture, the red-and-gray checkered flannel jacket over a gray t-shirt and dirty blue jeans, the five o’clock shadow on his face, and his scruffy black hair.
Kind of an awkward way to introduce and describe Xander, and it borders on clothing porn, but hell, it’s actually a description so I’ll take it.
“Strange she didn’t mention the eye patch over his clothing.”
Clothing porn always takes priority over distinguishing features.
“Xander?” she whispered. He didn’t stir. “Xander.” She nudged him. “Xander, wake up.” She thwacked his arm. “Xander!”
Xander jolted awake, yawning widely before saying, “Hey there, Buff! How are ya?”
“That’s pretty much Xander!”
I wonder how long his characterization will hold.
“Sore,” Buffy admitted. “It’s been a while since I’ve had a fight like that. How are you?”
One where she’s beaten down right away?
“This is true. Usually she’s competent in a fight.”
“Well, I’ve been worse,” he replied, shrugging.
Arguably true depending on how you set your scale. Xander has both lost an eye and at one point was simultaneously infected with smallpox, malaria, and syphilis. He also doesn’t have Buffy’s super-healing to deal with maladies.
Anyway, at this point Xander “catches up” with Buffy. In that he basically says that nothing consequential to the plot or his character development has happened to him since they last met and that things have been quiet. We’ll skip over all that.
“Well, that might be about to change,” Buffy said darkly. “Willow’s back from the dead, and not in a good way.
“Buffy, this is a universe that has zombies, vampires, and poltergeists. You may want to narrow that down, dear.”
And you’ll never believe who she’s got on the bandwagon.”
This is true. Cartoon characters are pretty low on my list of guesses when answering a question like this.
Xander smirked. “Alright, I’ll bite,” he said. “Who’s she got on the bandwagon?”
Eeesh, it’s really dangerous smirking in a fic when everyone else has super-powers to defend themselves.
“Elsa, from Frozen,” Buffy said, a self-aware grin growing on her face.
“Ahhh! Sentient grin!”
*Eliza slams the large blue button on the console*
*The Bunker locks further down and the lights change from red to more red*
So glad we have that button.
“Elsa?” Xander repeated in disbelief. “You’re kidding.”
Don’t we wish.
“Nope. Elsa,” Buffy confirmed.
“Oh my god,” he laughed. “That’s beyond crazy! Even after all the stuff we’ve been through, it seems outrageous! How the heck could that’ve happened?”
“I do not know,” Buffy agreed.
I say this a lot, but it always bears saying: Pointing out that something in your fic is stupid and contrived doesn’t forgive the fact that it’s stupid and contrived. You’re better off hand-waving the situation until you can feed the audience something minimally plausible.
Marlowe opened his eyes. “Oh, gracious, where’s Olaf gone?” he groaned, sanding up and walking over to the door. “Ah. Olaf! Come here!” He went back to his chair. “Good morning, Buffy, Xander. What are we discussing today?”
That whole section reads a ton better if you imagine Marlowe is a crazy old man.
“Maybe this whole fic is just one of Marlowe’s delusions!”
Naw, this fic isn’t good enough for that.
“The absurdity of Elsa’s arrival,” Buffy told him.
“At this point, I think the characters are ragging on Igor, too.”
I wouldn’t put it past them. I certainly wouldn’t give him any slack if he put me in this mess.
“Oh, I see,” Marlowe nodded. “It is rather bizarre when you think about it. It requires quite a suspension of disbelief.”
Seriously, Igor, what do you need us for? This thing is riffing itself, now.
Olaf came running in, crayons in his hand. “Oh, hey, a new person!” he exclaimed happily. “Hi! I’m Olaf, and I like warm hugs!”
I’d harp on you for ripping that off, but let’s be honest here, ripping off Olaf’s lines is the least of this fic’s problems.
Xander was astonished, but managed to keep his composure. “I’m Xander… Warm hugs are cool for me too, I guess.”
Olaf frowned. “Wait– you’re saying warm hugs are cool for you, how does that work?”
“Yay! We get to see the fic screech to a halt and analyze colloquialisms!”
“Oh, no, they’re warm for me,” Xander corrected him hastily. “I just meant that I like them.”
“Ohhhh, okay,” Olaf nodded. “What’s your name?”
I feel like we dodged a bullet there.
“I’m Xander,” he smiled. “I’m an old pal of Buffy’s from back in the day. We used to fight the forces of evil together, and–” he looked at Marlowe, “I have past experience dealing with baddie-Willow. I used the power of friendship to stop her the first time.”
This is all true, but again, there are better ways to dialogue than this.
“Interesting,” Marlowe mused, nodding. “And this was when she was about to destroy the Earth?”
No, this would be the other time that Willow went evil.
“You go evil just once and people start to think it’s a pattern!”
“Yeah. Apocalypse number seven or eight for us,” Xander smirked.
No, you do not get to be called ‘Bringer of the Gongpocalypse.’
“But this time it’s different, I would presume,” Marlowe continued,
I’d say! The first time she showed up she was actually a credible threat. And, you know, competent.
“because she seems more docile than Buffy has told me about 2002
“Marlowe is the master of understatement.”
but that seems to be due to forward thinking.
“Hey, that’s not nice. She spends quite a lot of time thinking about how she can avoid responsibility.”
I think that she might be moving for a more grand scheme than a simple destruction scenario.”
Yes, very much grander! Something, something, reparations.
“Don’t forget the wronged of the right!”
“She’s got a base now too, Xander,” Buffy said. “After I called you we checked up on Elsa, and then we got kidnapped and taken to a prison cell in her building. It’s up on Lassen Peak, it’s big, it’s black, it’s the whole shebang. She’s in it for the long haul.”
I suppose this is held in the universe where the answer to a blatant evil lair isn’t a full-scale military assault.
“She would have to do something demonstrably evil to attract that sort of attention rather than just talk about doing evil.”
Fair point. She’s barely done enough to be watch-listed at this point.
“Yikes,” Xander said, raising an eyebrow slightly. “And she’s got Elsa from Frozen with her?”
“Elsa and Doctor Horrible now, too,” Buffy said. “She just got him yesterday, and presumably they’re beginning to draw up their plans to kill us now.”
Yeah, you know, that thing she had every opportunity to do already. The thing she said she wasn’t going to do.
“Yup! That one!”
“Doctor Horrible as in, the guy who shut down the NSA a few days ago?” Xander said.
Look, we get it, Igor, you think knocking out some servers for twenty-four hours is actually impressive. Can you shut the fuck up about it!?
“Wait, if the NSA knows who did it, why hasn’t Dr. Horrible vanished under mysterious circumstances yet?”
They’re safely off-page and probably know better than to come anywhere near this fic.
“Jeez, I’m beginning to get back that feeling of being inferior again.”
Wuff. The dialogue here is really bad even by Joss Wheadon standards.
“Well, I wouldn’t worry too much about him, Xander,” Marlowe said with a slight smirk.
“It’s like a smarmy buffet, right, Cerb!?”
“He has brains, but once he’s separated from his inventions he isn’t terribly much to sneeze at.”
Which, if he spent a lot of time away from his inventions, would be more meaningful a contingency.
“But has this version of Dr. Horrible spent a lot of time around his gadgets?”
“Yeah,” Buffy agreed. “Willow and Elsa are the biggest threats in terms of raw power, whereas he’s a threat to us with long-game planning. Bigger than the Trio.”
A reminder that the Trio were, at best, laughable even at their most villainous. The only reason the Trio ever became a credible threat was because Warren decided to get a gun.
“So you’re saying the comparison is very astute, then?”
Yeah, I guess I am.
Xander grinned. “Oh yes, the geeks. I’d almost forgotten how threatening they were to us. Quaking in my boots.”
“Now who’s being sassy?”
Xander, don’t work our side of the street.
“Well, Doctor Horrible’s a lot more serious than they are,” Buffy reminded him. “Remember, NSA servers.”
Igor, STAHP! Nobody gives a shit about the 24-hour downtime!
“Yeah, no kidding,” Xander shuddered. “Seems like more of an Adam-type deal with him: dangerously smart in the ways of science. But he’s no good in a fist-fight.”
WE GET IT! His think-meat is his only asset! Can we fucking move on, please!?
“Although we should take into account that Willow is not going to be content with just brains or just brawn,” Marlowe pointed out.
“Which is handy, since she already has recruited both.”
Marlowe is a shoe in for the promotion to Major Obvious.
“I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that she’s going to have Elsa and him work on their strength so they can be a match for us physically as well as mentally.
“And they might play to their strengths!? Madness!”
Screw Major, this guy is going to vault straight up to Colonel Obvious.
Perhaps we should think about finding another person to help us in that arena, because anything less than 3 against 3 makes me uneasy.”
“You have a mopey and emaciated ice queen, a layabout sorceress, and a disgruntled inventor paired off against an elderly English professor, a sentient snowman, an injured slayer, and a construction contractor.”
I’m struggling to see how this isn’t already an even fight.
“Even? That’s giving Willow an awful lot of credit.”
“Oh, yes,” Marlowe nodded. “I can hold my own against vampires; I think that I could help provide some muscle as well as some mental prowess.”
Well, he is the Stuish author-insert. That’s gotta count for something.
“What about me?” Olaf asked.
“That’s a good point,” Buffy said to Marlowe. “How do we fit Olaf into the equation?”
“Is Dr. Horrible allergic to snow cones?”
Not that I know of.
Marlowe thought about it for a few moments. “Well… I don’t think he would be able to help very much in a confrontation, but he could be useful for other tasks– perhaps if we find ourselves needing to get something in a hard-to-reach place, we could use him.”
So the only thing Jim can come up with is using Olaf as a Nifty Nabber. Wasn’t he supposed to be the ‘mental prowess’ of this operation?
“Well he is, comparatively.”
“So he’s going to be like Andrew, but better,” Xander summarised.
I’m not sure if that’s setting the bar really low, or really high for this Dr. Horrible.
“Sounds like,” Buffy agreed.
“Who’s Andrew?” asked Olaf.
“Tell you later,” Buffy said. “It’s not very important.”
Much like this scene.
“So in essence,” Marlowe concluded, “we should certainly prepare to go on the offensive before they can.”
Except that they already attacked you.
Granted, in both cases they attacked you while you were trying to interfere with their stuf-
“Thus, I have compiled a folder of potential projects we can get started on so that we are prepared to strike first,” Willow said, passing out a folder to Elsa and Doc.
Except that you’ve already attacked them.
Elsa immediately opened it, thumbing through the different documents assembled, while Doc did not react to it at all. Willow returned to her seat. “So, anything jumping out at you?”
Blank, blank, blank, blank, vague note about the stuff, a picture of a thing…
“Polar bears in winter, fog in a cloud, the essential non-essentials…”
After a brief pause, Elsa raised a questioning finger. “Government Takeover?”
For fuck’s sake, that’s it? That’s a project!? I thought that goal would be a given with the whole ‘Take over the world! Ahahahahaahaha!’ angle you had going.
“Oh, yes,” Willow nodded, flipping to it. “Well, the end goal of this whole process is world domination in some capacity, and I figured that the easiest route would be to take control of the various governments.”
Well yeah, what the fuck do you think taking over the world entails!?
“Somebody is angling to steal that promotion from the good Captain.”
“…And what happens when we achieve that goal?” Elsa asked warily.
You’ll be in control of the world! Sweet crap, people, you have one fucking goal! It may not be a goal that you’ve spent any amount of time thinking about, but it’s the whole reason you’re here!
“World peace,” Willow answered honestly. “An end to all the pain.”
“Because that’s how happiness and peace work!”
You’re getting a sarcastic streak.
“Taco has been such a bad influence on me.”
Yeah, he really has.
Elsa mulled it over in her head. “Well, we’ll need to work out the details a tiny bit more before we get too far into that,” she sighed, making a note on the page before continuing to look through the rest of the documents.
You think you need more details than ‘Government Takeover!?’ Jeez, needy much?
“…What’s this one? Techno-Magical Harmonisation?”
More like Techno-Babble Harmonisation!
“Oh, this one is one I’d really like to do,” Willow smiled. “You might too, Doc. So, they always portray magic and tech on TV and in the movies as being catastrophic failures when they’re mixed together– and so far our efforts to try that out have produced similar duds; so I was thinking that we could put our heads together and figure out a way to make them work.”
Technomancers would like to have a word with you.
“As would the Sith.”
She turned to Doc. “What do you think? Should we go for it?”
Doc’s frown deepened a little. “It looks like it would take a little while, given all this other stuff–” he thwacked the folder in front of him softly– “but we could probably do it.”
“He’s completely forgetting about the things.”
Look, I’ve always said that when undertaking project you have to stuff before you can thing.
“How long do you think it would take to get something viable?” Willow asked.
“Slow down, Willow! They aren’t even out of the stuff phase!”
“…Probably a year or two,” he estimated.
Quite a lot of stuff it seems. Still, it’s nice that he can just toss off an estimate like that. Much like marketing or sales people do.
“I sense some resentment.”
It’s nothing. I absolutely love being given impossible deadlines because sales thought it ‘sounded about right.’
“And then there’s this one about The Slayer…” Elsa said.
Hopefully it’s an outline of their stupidity at letting her live.
“Ah, yes… the Slayer,” Willow grimaced. “She and the Professor gave us a little trouble this morning, but thankfully I went down and fixed the problem before it was too late. Now the only question is how to keep them out of the way.”
“Buffy was bleeding noisily in Willow’s direction.”
That conniving genius!
“Lucky us,” Doc muttered.
Elsa cast a glare his way. “Yes, we are. If two is better than one, then certainly three must be better than two.”
“And if three is better th-”
“Absolutely,” Doc nodded. “I’m surprised they never asked two and three how it was for them.”
The fuck? Is this like Sesame Street where numbers and letters are sentient?
“As long as they steer clear of that grin, they’ll be just fine.”
What do you have against sentient grins, anyway?
“They freak me out, okay!”
“You’re being rather frosty right now,” Elsa remarked.
Giving her a bit of a cold shoulder.
“He’s giving their project an icy reception.”
“Happens when you’re in a room with someone who builds palaces of ice,” Horrible shot back.
The cold puns, or the sudden bitchiness?
“I think we’re more than handling the pun side of things. You might say that snow one is as good as us.”
“Is there a problem?” Elsa asked.
“Oh, no, I’m just observing,” Horrible said innocently.
“Don’t bother Dr. Horrible when he’s manufacturing conflict out of nothing!”
Dude is the Rumpelstiltskin of melodrama.
“And rather hostilely so,” Elsa said angrily.
“Well, since you two seem to be so easily forgetting my stake in yesterday’s events, I don’t find it very disrespectful karmically,” he growled.
The hell does that even mean?
“I have no idea if I should add some of those words to the list.”
Meh, add them all, I say.
“Guys…” Willow tried.
“I can understand your frustration, but this isn’t that big of a change,” Elsa rebutted.
“No, just a whole new place, entirely new people, no big deal,” he snapped.
Same sudden illogical mood swing into anger out of nowhere.
“Maybe Dr. Horrible has hypoglycemia. Somebody get him a cookie!”
“Same goal, different position,” Elsa retorted.
*Porno music blasts over the intercom system*
One week. Can we go one friggen’ week without unintended innuendo!?
“I was quite happy where I was, thanks.”
“There’s rather little point in sulking over it. Nothing can change a deal that’s already been made and fulfilled.”
Especially when you did jack shit to try to prevent it. Nor did you do something crazy like quit and go do your own thing.
“Is it void if the cargo doesn’t consent?”
“If that were so, there would be many worse off right now.”
So if nonconsensual shipping was voided, it would make life worse? The fuck does that even mean?
“I think she’s saying that ship fics make people happy.”
I suppose they do. Even if they’re usually terrible, people do seem to enjoy them, I suppose. It takes all kinds, really. Some people enjoy having their genitals stomped on.
Still, not sure what all that has to do with Doc not doing anything to prevent his transfer.
“I didn’t ask for this.”
“Well, nobody asked you!”
Both of them turned their heads towards Willow. “Perhaps we should return to this later?” The two of them glared at each other one more time, then Elsa nodded reluctantly.
“I guess that means they’re shutting down the tension factory for now.”
I’m sure it’ll get turned right back on as soon as Igor needs more melodrama.
“Good. Okay… Doc, anything standing out to you?”
So much for returning to this later. Did you already forget that the thing that set Doc off was reading through the projects?
Horrible flicked open the folder lazily. “Uh… Possible Lab Experiments.”
“Any thoughts on that count?” Willow asked.
So that’s it. ‘Lab Experiments.’ Sounds like a PCC produ-
“Science got you down? Want your science characters to sound smart but aren’t smart enough yourself to come up with things for them to do? Try Lab Experiments™! This will give your scientist archetypes literally years of things to do while in their secret or non-secret labs! Test Results™ and Amazing Invention™ sold separately.”
He thought for a second. “…How Long It Takes To Set Up A Laboratory For Dummies.”
The hell? Why would he want an entry-level lab? Is Doc planning to chemistry-by-numbers or something? Big plans for a baking soda volcano, maybe?
Willow was still for a moment, then looked out the window. She stood up quietly, still looking at the landscape, and slowly walked over to behind Horrible’s chair. Elsa watched with a small frown, uncertain of what she was doing.
“Oh, I know this one! It’s called ‘padding out the scene.'”
After sixteen chapters of nothing but padding, you would think Elsa would be able to recognize it pretty well by now.
There was a pau–
Wait, he’s right. That wasn’t a gonging sound, but more of a thunk.
“Oh. Then what was that?”
Elsa jumped in her chair. She looked at Horrible, whose face was now contorted in agony– and whose right hand was now pinned to the table by Willow’s knife, pierced through the back and out the palm. Willow did not look terribly angry, but when she spoke Elsa’s blood ran cold.
Hey look, Willow is FINALLY doing something evil! Unfortunately it’s too little too late at this point. This moment of psychopathy is not really enough to offset her general characterization as a piece of furniture.
“I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a long week,” she hissed, keeping Horrible’s hand down as he tried to free it.
“Well, sitting in your office staring at the wall would tend to make the day pass by kinda slow. Not sure why you would take that out on Horrible.”
“I spent all of Tuesday and yesterday morning scrambling to finish a deal I was supposed to have until tomorrow to complete. I had to go down and get the money I needed myself, a really big risk for me to take, and to top it all off, I’ve had the worst off-and-on migraine of my life all. Week.
And, as Eliza said, none of which has anything to do with Horrible, or at least nothing that was caused by him. Those were all your plans to get him to do something he didn’t want to do. I know you’re villaining out and everything, but jeez, at least try to make sense while you do it.
“Isn’t blaming her problems on others kind of Willow’s thing?”
Maybe? She’s spent so much time doing jack shit that I can’t remember any of the informed characteristics Igor gave her.
I can understand you’re a little unhappy that you’re no longer a member of the precious E.L.E., but I will not tolerate your self-pitying jibes. You’re not a wannabe anymore, Doctor, but you are by no means a supervillain. You only got into the Evil League of Evil because of a technicality.
Ooooh, I see. This is the classic “you ain’t all that” speech that’s supposed to make Willow look like a badass while taking the antagonist down a peg. You see this a lot when people question the Sue.
“Does it go on like this?”
For quite a while. It has all the hallmarks of your standard badfic Sue speech. Lots of talking about things Willow really wouldn’t have any way of knowing about, and then mostly just circling around the premise that Willow is tragic and awesome and how dare Dr. Horrible hate that she forced him into corporate slavery and by converting to the dark side (darker side?) he’ll become great. Yadda yadda. It’s your standard forgettable Sue diatribe so we’re just going to skip over it, because it just circles itself for about 500 words.
And, in proper badfic fashion, Doc is easily cowed by Epic Sue Speech™.
“Hello again, viewers. This is Doctor Horrible, villain extraordinaire… Day Two-thousand-forty-se–… you know what? Let’s stop the counting.
IGOR! Look at the advice! Look at it! You even wrote it in your fic!
City Hall was certainly a landmark for us all– but we have better ones to celebrate. The past is in the past now– and every good supervillain keeps their eyes focused forward… 3.0 is resuming construction. Testing begins next week at noon. … You might have noticed: I’m in a new lab, aren’t I? Correct. The deal has been made– I have been transferred to Miss Rosenberg’s company. While I was skeptical at first, she has shown me I have nothing to be skeptical of.
Sue absorption complete. We have completely lost Dr. Horrible. Sadly, it was inevitable.
“He will be mourned.”
The Evil League of Evil was– well, evil– but I can say, truly and honestly, she is so much more than Bad Horse could be…
“Wow, he’s in deep.”
Well, he was hit full force by Epic Sue Speech™. Characters can’t bounce back from that; it’s the veritable nuclear warhead of Suefluence.
Fear not, blogs will continue to be updated, although we will dial back from daily to weekly blogs, just so you know now. Today is the 11th, so the next blog will be on the 18th.
That is indeed how a week works. Good job, Horrible, you can count to seven.
“I wonder if he ever got that Laboratory for Dummies up and running.”
Hey, yeah, whatever happened to that?
So– this has been Doctor Horrible, with a PhD in Horribleness. Good night.”
And with that, the chapter ends.
End Episode 2
And, apparently, the episode. Unfortunately, Igor still feels the need to take a few parting shots at the audience. And the fact that he’s stopped caring becomes brutally apparent at this point.
“Amazing that he kept going for six more chapters.”
Two things for you now:
A. I have a poll up on my profile regarding Elsa’s sexuality/gender.
Badfic 101 right here: Ask your audience to write the story for you. When you’re short on ideas, or have a plethora of apathy, just make your readers do all the work!
I don’t know if it’ll be a plot point, but I would like to have your input so I don’t end up spinning in circles in my chair, flopping my arms around like a fish out of water while making unintelligible throat noises trying to figure it out on my own.
“Definitely much better to bring this up than to never make it a part of the story. Which is strange given how hard he’s shipping Horrible and Elsa. He’s shipping them harder than I ship Timon and Pumba!”
Yea- Wait, what!?
Not that I don’t do that most days.
No, no, no, no, back it up there a sec. What was that about Timon an-
“Too late, keep going!”
2. In the time when I’m not feverishly writing this, I’m feverishly writing music for this! I’m posting the tracks I like on my YouTube channel (still Horrible’s Igor), and you can listen to them there! (I also give full permission to YouTube-to-mp3 them if you want). There’s some up now and more to follow!
Ah yes, his Youtube channel. He did indeed write several tracks to act as the background and intro music for when this thing became a TV show. He pulled them down a while ago when he went all scorched earth on his channel. To tell the truth, they weren’t bad, just young, simple, and somewhat uninspired. I think his lack of passion for the writing bled through into the music he wrote for the project. Again, the focus was on the attempt to write something OMG FUCKING EPIC, BRO! and not actually writing for the pleasure and sake of writing.
Once again, thanks for reading, and leave a review if you enjoyed– or even if you didn’t. Hate-reviews are cool too.
Honestly, I appreciate this sentiment more than anything else about the fic. Whether or not he really was open to bad criticism has yet to be seen, but, given what I’ve seen of him outside this fic, I’m inclined to believe this was genuine. And that sentiment, especially after the mess this chapter started with, is the highpoint that we’ll get to see this chapter end on.
Until next week, patrons!
So, can I get out of the-