1716: Heroes and Villains – Chapter SeventeenPosted: March 22, 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
WARNING: This chapter is not safe for children, work, or other living things.
So it’s come to this. The chapter that actually caught my attention to the fic in the first place. A chapter so forcibly grimdark and disengenous that I figured the entire work would be far more inflamitorily bad than the rest.
As it turns out, this chapter was just the author being an overdramatic and angsty teen who misinterprets utilizing serious adult topics with being edgy and creating worthwhile content. You’ll do well to imagine Igor typing this with Crawling or some other angst-fest music playing on loop in the background.
“I’ve got just the thing to set the mood for teen drama!”
We’re going to skip the recap again because, frankly, there’s only so many ways to say ‘everyone sat around talking’ every week.
“This week’s chapter title is:”
Little Prelude 1
DID THE AUTHOR MENTION HE KNOWS STUFF ABOUT MUSIC!? WELL HE TOTES DOES!
You know, aside from knowing which key Little Prelude 1 is supposed to be in. Naturally not that.
Trigger Warning: Detailed discussion/depiction of suicide, discussion of depression and hypothetical self-harm. Not necessary reading to understand future plotlines.
“Oh. Oh my.”
Care to furnish us with a translation?
“Sure! ‘Warning: Shallow and pointless teen angst ahead! No considerations for the gravity of the topics covered has been made, and the following has no real point nor any impact on the story beyond trying to inject melodrama.’ How’s that?”
Got it in one.
“Elsa, you’ll need to talk about this eventually.”
“Ah right, a Thing.”
“You’re only here so that we can heal you, Elsa. We can help.”
Well, if nothing else, Igor has managed to find a way to make his dialogue even more empty and boring. Congrats, I guess.
“I understand that you’re currently living with right homonymous superior quadrantanopia, is that correct?”
“So this is after that other chapter with the Lost inspired time squiggle. Does this mean we’re in the future of the future future’s future future?”
“…Why do you care about that?”
Not in the slightest. It was only put in so that Igor could regurgitate some Wikipedia.
“I’m looking for potential reasons behind your actions.”
“You mean motivation for why she did the thing?”
You’re thinking of Swenia again. She’d love to be doing the Thing.
“What do you mean? She’s always doing things, right?”
Nothing, never mind.
“It wasn’t that.”
“But was it this?”
No, the other thing.
“There’s more than one Thing!?”
Yeah, Marvel is all about the multiple realities.
“Then what was it, Elsa?”
“…Why did they take my shoes?”
Well, your shoes are pretty fabulous, and this is probably some kind of evil aligned asylum, so… yeah.
“They took them in case you wanted to strangle yourself with the laces. They also won’t let you have access to sharp objects.”
“Laces? Obviously somebody hasn’t watched Frozen a few hundred times.”
They are pretty pointy.
Let it go, Eliza. I think we should concentrate more on Elsa being able to make anything she wants out of ice, so taking things away from her would be pretty pointless.
“…What did I do?”
“That’s not very nice. Thing is a who, not a what.”
“Do you mean you don’t remember what you did?”
Who. Thing is a who.
“I remember deciding to go through with it, but I don’t remember how I did it. I had a lot of different ideas.”
It’s okay. Thing will respect your decision not to go through with it with him. He’ll just need some time to come to terms with the rejection.
“…Well… We were told that you ultimately tried to suffocate yourself, using a bag filled with nitrogen to prevent yourself from panicking.”
That’s not how nitrogen works. You can’t just bag it like a load of groceries.
“…You said that you were considering other methods as well?”
“I had a list. It wasn’t very long, but there were a lot of ideas.”
“Drowning herself in gaseous oxygen. Using makeup removal pen to erase her own head. Bleeding herself out with hot water and detergent.”
Her whites were never the same after that last attempt.
“Would you feel comfortable sharing some of what you wrote?”
Hey, whatever pads out the chapter, you know?
“…I didn’t want a quick one. I wanted it to be at least somewhat slow. That meant poison was off the list, and so was a gun.
Done correctly, poison can take years to kill you. In fact, I can only think of one suicide method that would take longer.
Yup. That’s how I’m trying to kill myself. Get so old that my heart gives out. Nobody will suspect a thing when I go!
“You’re a mad man, Taco. Not that bright, bless you, but definitely mad.”
I put down hanging… I made an exception so I could put down jumping, which wasn’t really all that quick when I thought about it… because of the fall…
Because Elsa is very bad at gravity.
*Taco looks expectantly at Eliza*
*Eliza sighs* “So how long would it ta-.”
I’M GLAD YOU ASKED! Let’s pretend she jumped off the highest cliff on Earth, which happens to be the Nanga Parbat’s Rupal Face at around 4,600m tall. Ignoring the small lob if she actually jumped, and any “tilt” time of just falling off, she would immediately start to accelerate at 9.8 m/s^2 (approximate since you accelerate a bit slower at high altitude, but we’re just going for reasonable ballpark here), and build up speed up to a maximum of around 53 m/s. Ignoring the drag factor of wind which would “belly” out the curve up to terminal velocity, it would take only about six seconds to reach top speed, during which she’d clear about 176 meters. After that, she’d eat up that remaining 4,424 meters in 83 seconds, for a grand total of around a minute and a half. Fairly long compared to a gun, but actually pretty quick compared to things like poisoning which can take hours or even days depending on the poison.
Now, mind you, that is the tallest single cliff on Earth and likely not where she would do the deed. Since this is in Northern California, the much more likely place to commit suicide by jumping is the Golden Gate bridge, which stands a mighty 220 feet (67 meters) above the water. So you couldn’t quite get up to terminal velocity jumping off the bridge, but you can certainly get fast enough to kill yourself. Once again, neglecting air resistance slowing things down, we can just chunk our numbers into the old acceleration equation and come out with a number at around four seconds. That’s not a heck of a lot of time, most ways of killing yourself outside of using a gun will take longer than that.
“You done now?”
“Good, let’s move on.”
The bag was near the end of the list, mainly because I wasn’t sure if I still had nitrogen. I guess I must’ve.”
Because that’s just something an ice sorceress just has laying around.
“You had nitrogen in your home?”
“Yes. My– my old friend had it.”
Okay, she was bunking with Dr. Horrible, that’s fair enough.
“Why would she bother? I don’t know a lot about nitrogen, but I know you can’t die just by inhaling it.”
Sorta, if you inhale nothing but nitrogen, you’d eventually suffocate, but putting it in a bag and stuffing your head in it seems an over-elaborate and failure-prone way to suffocate yourself.
“I have a feeling Igor learned in his chemistry class that you can suffocate on nitrogen and decided to include it.”
I find that very likely, yes.
“Hmm. I see.”
“…I don’t think I should talk about this anymore. Not for a little while.”
“That’s alright, Elsa. You’ve made some good progress today.”
*Taco shrugs* She said ten lines. If she’s been unresponsive for several weeks, that could be pretty good. Without any context, we’ll just have to trust that the void denizen knows what the hell is going on.
“Hey there, Elsa. How are you?”
“No better, no worse. How are you?”
“Worried about you. I’ve never seen you this bad before.”
Elsa’s chunk of the void is angry today!
“…I’ve never gotten this far before. Not even after my parents died. One would think that 18 would be about the worst year to deal with that sort of trauma.”
You know, this far. A good distance, but not the whole way.
“Well… I mean, you’d never been in a fight like that before. You never experienced deaths like that up-close. You can’t compare them.”
“And yet somehow I manage to compare them.”
Shh, the author is trying to be profound, artistic, and thought provoking. If we play Yakety Sax some more, maybe he’ll come to his senses and stop.
“Worth a shot!”
*Yakety Sax resumes*
“Elsa, don’t do this to yourself. You’ve been through enough crap as it is.”
Yeah! Like the stuff when she had the thing!
“Didn’t she tell the Thing to go packing?”
She never finished the story. I hold out hope that they mended the relationship.
“If I could see a bright side, I would look at it. That’s not how they say it works with depression, though. I’m literally incapable of maintaining happiness.”
Typically depression has cycles, it can definitely be overwhelming at the low point and feel utterly inescapable, but unless “they” happen to be teenaged boys, those knowledgeable about depression would not say that exact thing. Specifically because that just feeds into the hopelessness of depression.
“Maybe her therapist is evil?”
“But the doctors are going to help you change that. You’ll be able to be happy again soon.”
And the best way to do that is tell the patient there is no hope.
Right, I keep forgetting.
“They’ll have to give me some very strong antidepressants to do that.”
“Well– I mean, they probably will give you some to combat the chemical imbalance part of it, but they’ll also help you through this with therapy too. It’s not an impossible thing.”
Which they should already be doing if you tried to kill yourself because of it! You start the drugs right away as emergency treatment while you work on the therapy! Why are they dwadeling on the pharmaceuticals!?
Right, right, evil doctors.
“It’s not impossible, but it’s much easier to discuss than to execute.”
This is true. Still, doing something is still better than doing jack shi-
Yes, I know.
“You’ll be okay, Elsa. Seriously. Things’ll get better. You’ll get better too.”
“It’ll take a miracle.”
“You know this fic really is good enough without having to steal from Princess Bride.”
You mean without sullying Princess Bride.
“Same thing. SCENE BREAK!”
“Hello, Elsa. How are you feeling today?”
“I wouldn’t say better, but one would probably say I’m more responsive today.”
Sweet crap, are we going to see the same basic scene over and over again!?
“I’m not sure this counts as seeing it.”
Are we going to hear the same conversation echoing through the void over and over again!?
“Is that so? What would make one say that?”
“I watched the news today.”
Which is a great thing to expose a person with severe depression and a history of attempted suicide to.
“Oh, really? That’s good to hear. What channel?”
“Comedy Central. The Nightly Show. I’m still not able to laugh along, though.”
That doesn’t count as the news. No matter how many stupid people attempt to use it as the news, it still doesn’t count.
“Well, even so, that is very good to hear. I’m glad you’re making an effort to add some more good things into your recovery.”
“I don’t know if it’s necessarily an effort. It could easily be attributed to boredom as well.”
Which is probably what I would go with. Generally you want to try to enrich a person’s life if they’re having depression (easy said, not so easy done); boring them out of their mind by sequestering them in an asylum is a great way to have repeated suicide attempts.
“But when you’re bored, as you’ve said, you go to the piano and compose.”
Which is what she SHOULD be doing! There is a strong link between depression and creativity, and allowing a depressed person creative outlets can act as a coping mechanism! It’s not a miracle pill, for sure, but it fucking helps! Cut out the comedy news and buy another baby grand!
“I don’t think you’re fooling me this time, Elsa. You’re taking another step. Despite how it may feel to you, this is a sign that you’re beginning to feel better. You’re allowing more lightheartedness in. You’re beginning to really respond to the happier things life has to offer.”
Which isn’t really how depression recovery works at all. You don’t open up to happiness, you trudge your way there through coping mechanisms, lifestyle changes, and forming a support network of people. It takes a lot of effort, a lot of time, and definitely more support than she’s getting here.
“You’re not going to quote the thousand-miles proverb, are you?”
“Well. I’m not going to now.”
You can still quote it if you want, you know.
“No, no, the moment is ruined now.”
Maybe some Xunzi?
“It wouldn’t be the same.”
“No, I wasn’t going to. I was going to say that I think your condition is improving, that’s all.”
“Against all odds, and even against our unique form of isolation anti-treatment.”
“Oh. I had a good rebuttal planned.”
“Might I ask what your rebuttal would have been?”
“Just because the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step doesn’t make the others any easier.”
Which is fair enough. Pretty much the point I made about recovery being a long, arduous process.
“To which I say that it does not make them any harder either. You keep forging ahead, and soon enough you’ll find yourself in a much better place than before.”
“How hard was the step getting this far?”
For us? Pretty hard. This is the third ‘scene’ filled to the brim with repetitive dialogue and platitudes. For Elsa, well, it’s been only about thirty lines of dialogue along her road to recovery. That’s like five minutes in real time.
Sweet crap, not again.
“Do you remember that time when we went out to S.F. for the Pride parade?”
Does anyone from San Francisco actually call it S.F.? I’m honestly curious as I’ve never heard it talking with people, but I’m not discounting the possibility.
“Oh yeah, I remember that. That was fun.”
“No kidding. I’ll never forget that one guy who tried to tell you that the planes were leaving chemtrails all over the place–”
“–and tried to convince us that his squirt-bottle of vinegar would disperse them. That was so absurd.”
Haha, aging references to paranoid pop-theories. So funny. We should break out some of the old faithfuls! Like the moon landing actually being a hoagie!
“The sandwich roll?”
Yeah, I think it has something to do with the moon being made out of bread or something. I tend to start tuning people out as soon as I realize that they’re stupid.
“I thought you were going to laugh in his face!”
“I thought about it, I definitely thought about it. My favourite part was when we crossed the Golden Gate Bridge.”
I have no idea who’s talking. I’m presuming Elsa and Willow, but I have no idea which is which at this point.
“Oh yeah, that was a really good day to go out there. Nice clouds.”
“And we all watched the sunset together. That was a nice sunset.”
Still holding on to the ElsaxWillow hope?
“I’ll never let it go!”
“I remember that you were a bit tipsy from the parade by that point.”
“Mmm. We all were.”
You gotta watch out with taking too many hits of parade.
“Shades calls it ‘huffing float.'”
Kids and their wacky street lingo.
“I think that was the first time I really felt like I’d integrated.”
“Yeah. The first time I’d participated in an event recognised nationwide for a cause. It felt like a community that I belonged in.”
Presuming this is Elsa, I guess all those duties of state didn’t really count as a nationwide cause.
“She did say that she was a terrible queen.”
A statement she’s building a lot of evidence for.
“Elsa’s gay!? Eeeeee!”
Either that, or it was really Willow talking.
“Awww. But I already know that Willow’s gay.”
“That’s good to hear. It’s always nice to know that there are people outside your circles who you can empathise with.”
Whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean in this context.
Urf. This is getting ridiculous. Better start handing out the melodramamine and literary sickness bags.
“Well, Elsa, you’ve made tremendous progress these past few months. I know it’s been hard for you to combat this, but I think you have done a very good job. Now, I wouldn’t say you are completely healed from this, but I would say that you’re healed enough that I feel comfortable letting you go home to complete your treatment.”
Rendering the whole chapter pointless.
“So Igor wasn’t kidding when he said this chapter wouldn’t have any impact on the story.”
Igor saying that his chapter is going to be a waste of time to read is hardly a revelation.
“At least he was honest.”
True, but it would have been nice if the entire fic had been prefaced the same way.
“Yes. Of course,
“Bad, Taco! We don’t interrupt the evil therapists when they’re talking.”
“Yes. Of course, you’ll still need to take your antidepressants as prescribed, and I highly encourage you to continue talking with your friends about this so they can help you along in our stead, but I think that we can safely say that you are mentally well enough to go home.”
Whoa now, ‘In our stead’? Dude, if she hasn’t recovered completely yet, she still needs professional help. Just sending her home with some pills and telling her to sit and gab with her friends is just asking for a relapse.
Evil, yes, I remember.
“Oh, thank you, Doctor, thank you so much!”
“It was all you, Elsa. Nobody can heal you except yourself.”
That’s the second biggest bullshit line I’ve seen a therapist feed a patient.
“The biggest being?”
‘I’ll see you at three o’clock next week.’
That particular therapist is chronically late. In seven years she’s never made a single appointment on time. She’s doing good when the appointment is only thirty minutes behind schedule.
“Thank you for helping me, at least. It means the world to me.”
But nameless speaker didn’t help you. They just told you that it was all you.
“Except the parts that weren’t all her.”
Oh yeah, naturally not those bits.
“Just make sure that you keep fighting. There will be dark days and bright days in the future.”
“None of which we’ll be there to see with you since we’re evil and can’t have you making a full recovery.”
They must make a fortune on repeat visits.
“I know. I’ll keep my friends close by.”
“Because she’s done so well with that in the past!”
Seriously, I’m going to need to limit your time around me. That sarcasm is getting a bit sharp.
“Good. And remember, if you feel at all unsafe with yourself, don’t be afraid to come back, because that is infinitely preferable to you relapsing fully.”
“I’ll keep that in mind.”
People with chronic depression are well known for their ability to seek help during their lowest times. This warning will definitely be enough to ensure her safety.
“This is why you’re a bad influence on me.”
“Hey! That’s my line!”
I’m worthless. I’m horrible. I’m a monster. I deserve to die.
I’m worthless. I’m horrible. I’m a monster. I deserve to die.
I’m worthless. I’m horrible. I’m a monster. I deserve to die.
That seems to be going as well as we expected.
“They must be rolling in that repeat business.”
Don’t use the bag again. That wasn’t quick enough. You even managed to botch your own suicide. Your desire for poetic justice overrode your need to be dead.
Wait, what? How is suffocating in a bag full of Nitrogen poetic justice? Did she kill somebody with Nitrogen during her flirt with evil?
“She never flirted with the therapist!”
No, no, her stint with Willow.
“Oh, right. The lack of Willow doing evil threw me off.”
Yeah, basing your knowledge on observations of the plot will do that.
Use something quicker.
A noose won’t work either. You don’t have a high enough drop to snap your neck.
Not to be insensitive, but where the fuck are you living? Hobbiton? There are trees in California!
“There are trees in Hobbiton, too.”
You don’t have any poison on you. You got rid of all of them.
Once again, not to be insensitive, but poison is not that hard to come by. If you know how to find a Home Depot, you can find poison.
No knives, no sharp or metal objects. That rules out slit wrists or electrocution with an outlet.
And spikes made out of ice would just be silly.
“Stop trying to make the fic end sooner.”
You were smart enough not to go back to the mountains. You don’t have a drop within range.
*Taco and Eliza survey the misty void.*
True enough, I guess.
“Nothing to throw oneself off of as far as the eye can see.”
You don’t own a gun, and if you did you’d’ve confiscated it.
And hidden it from herself. Effective.
“You ever find that spare DVD drive?”
That’s different! I put things in logical places that I know that I’ll look in when searching for them. It just so happens that those places are impossible to remember more than a few days later.
“So the real trick is to confiscate something from yourself and then have Taco place it in a place he’s sure to remember.”
What can you use that’s quiet and fast?
Oh, you idiot. You goddamned moron.
Use an icicle.
“Hey, you called it!”
I’ve made myself sad.
“Awww. Don’t be down. Someday you’ll be wrong about the fics.”
You’re just trying to make me feel better.
Go to your room. Lock the door.
Right, no lock. It’s 1:00 A.M., though, nobody’s awake. Good enough to go ahead now.
Alright. Make an icicle.
“Is it all going to be formatted like this.”
“Oh. Um. Very artistic. It is totally not at all irritating to read!”
That was very believable.
“Thanks! I’ve been practicing my lying with Crunchy.”
A headshot would be too difficult to do.
Probably. I could do the math, but odds are you’d have to be going ridiculous speeds to penetrate the skull with ice. Possibly faster than you could accelerate ice without it shattering or melting on air friction.
It’s hard to line up and it would be hard to pierce the skull without passing out.
Really? It’d be hard to line up an icicle with your head?
“Well, this is Igor’s Elsa.”
Even then, I thought she had a bit more competence than Willow.
The heart’s the best option. A solid shot between your ribs, five minutes until brain death.
Once again, Elsa has strangely modern knowledge at times. I’d complain about all the anachronistic knowledge more, but it’s really the least of this fic’s problems.
Let’s do it.
You deserve this. You deserve this. You deserve this.
You need to die. You need to die. You need to die.
You’re a monster. You’re a monster. You’re a monst–
See how edgy and dark Igor is! This is totally not a cheap play for depth at the expense of people who actually attempt to take their own lives! Not at all. This is entirely well handled and not insulting and disrespectful!
“Honestly, is it any wonder I’m becoming sarcastic after exposure to stuff like that?”
Anyway, let’s blitz through the rest of this because it’s honestly so stupid that it’s really painful to read. I’m really embarassed for Igor that he wrote this. Not so embarrassed that I won’t post it, but still embarrassed for the kid. It’s such a good thing he deleted it.
No! Don’t scream! DO. NOT. SCREAM.
Control the pain! Control the pain!
Control it. Control it.
You need to twist it to be sure.
How fitting. You tried all your life to control.
Now you finally managed to.
And finally this cringe-inducing chapter comes to a close. I’d pretend to not understand why Igor wrote this chapter, but I was once young and stupid. A lot of really terrible ideas seem great at fifteen. I’m embarrassed just thinking of some of the things I did or said at that age, and I’m sure Igor will be equally as embarrassed about this in twenty years. Anyway, let’s tackle the authors note.
We will occasionally drift into the darkness here– hence the M rating.
“Forced darkness for the sake of seeming more deep and mature than Igor in fact is.”
Shh, you’ll spoil Igor’s facade!
These heroes are not pure.
“Because they’re not supposed to be Heroes?”
Igor keeps forgetting that bit.
These villains are murderers.
Except for Elsa, who hasn’t actually killed anyone. Or come close to killing anyone. Except herself, which doesn’t count as murder.
All of them are damaged.
Most of them because Igor says so without any supporting plot or logical support for the claim.
This story is not going to be comprised totally of exciting stories and funny lines and intrigue.
“In fact, none of it will have those things.”
A bold choice for a story to be purposefully uninteresting, but Igor is devoted to this concept!
There will be some chapters that are like this.
Luckily, this turns out to be a lie.
“In that there aren’t any more chapters like this one, not that the rest of the chapters are interesting.”
Oh no, the rest of the fic is boring as shit, but at least none of them stoop to this level disrespectful grimdark pandering.
That said, I think this is as far as we’ll go. This is what an aftermath looks like, not a story.
“Is he talking about this chapter, or the fic?”
He thinks he’s talking about the chapter, but we know he’s talking about the whole ordeal.
The story itself isn’t this dark. It’ll be more on par with BtVS in terms of darkness.
If not anywhere near the same level of quality, interest factor, plot planning, believable dialogue, humor… I could go on. I won’t, but I could.
All chapters that toe the line will be marked accordingly.
May as well add “toe the line” to the things Igor doesn’t actually understand the meaning of. He hasn’t set out his standard in any clear way, let alone been marking the chapters that conform to it.
“Maybe he plans to line a bunch of the chapters up and let us know which ones were in that line?”
Perhaps. Whatever the plan was, he never got around to it.
Until next time,
And thank crap that’s over. I’ll say that the only saving grace for this chapter is that I know for a fact that Igor is a youngling and, as such, is going to automatically be prone to this level of self-indulgent stupidity. He certainly should be taken down a notch for it, but it’s not a damning thing since with youth comes the kind of crass, boisterous, willfully ignorant hubris we saw in today’s ‘chapter,’ and I use the term loosely. Let us all take a moment and hope that Igor is one of those kids who eventually gets over his age-based idiocy and doesn’t end up as another man-child forever toeing the line of self-imposed mediocrity.
“Hey, you used the saying correctly!”
So I did. Until next week, patrons!
“Let’s go huff some float!”
You know what, sure. Anything to get my mind off this chapter.
“You’ll like the ones with the confetti! They make you sneeze rainbows!”