1732: Heroes and Villains – Chapter Nineteen, Part OnePosted: April 12, 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
“Taco stayed up too late playing Breath of the Wild last night. Again.”
Look, I can’t help it. I say ‘five more minutes and I’ll stop’ and then the temporal anomaly in my living room acts up and it’s two hours later.
“And you’re certain that temporal flux is the most reasonable explanation as to why you keep getting to bed late?”
I can think of no other plausible explanation.
“‘Kay! Recap! Last week Salix Tech announced their new robot line in a plot arc that is in no way a complete ripoff of I, Robot! And then we got to read Team Buffy react to this announcement by stating the obvious for about ten minutes. That was pretty much it.”
Somehow it felt like there was even less.
Final Equipment Check
I have my doubts, as this would imply something actually got done.
“Or that something was about to happen!”
Either way, very unlikely in this fic.
Imagine The Temptations’ Get Ready.
Not really hard to do. It’s a friggen’ classic.
I can fault Igor on a lot of things, but his musical taste isn’t all that bad. Sure, it’d be nice if he didn’t stop to rub his playlist in our faces every thirty seconds, but it’s a nice refreshing change to the authors who only utilize teen-pop, angst-rock, and dubsteb covers.
No, not that one.
Nevermind. Dubstep cover incoming. *Sigh*
Okay, Igor, what kind of tone-deaf, electronica-heavy cover are we-
The Chase Holfelder cover.
*Taco Squints* Well played, sir. Well played.
“Okay, I’ll bite, who is-?”
Glad you asked! Chase Holfelder does covers of a lot of music as part of his “Major to Minor” series, wherein he covers upbeat songs in a minor key. His stuff is really good and I honestly have no problem posting it up here as something that’s actually worth listening to.
Chase’s rendition of “All I want for Christmas is You” is still the only version of the song that I actually like.
Though, keep in mind, Chase does these mostly as parodies because he realized that the implied meaning of a lot of songs change when you shift the key into the minor scale. Primarily that a lot of upbeat love songs turn into stalker ballads.
I have a feeling that the humor in that was lost on our author, who instead is going to use it as edgelord angst fuel.
Yeah. Imagine that Get Ready.
“Don’t you just love fics that come with imaginary soundtracks!”
Yes. *Twitch* So good. *Twitch twitch*
“Hopefully we’ll get some lyrics too!”
The lab was progressing nicely.
*The phone rings*
Is your lab progressing?
Then you had better go and catch it!
“It’s okay, I can still see it. It’s not progressing all that fast. It’ll take like twenty minutes for the lab to make it to the end of the hall!”
*Eliza hangs up* “Still, it was nice of Crunchy to be concerned about our lab.”
Everything was set up and in full swing, and 3.0 was once again in construction.
“Lab! Get off that swing! I told you no swings at the park unless there’s an adult!”
I wouldn’t be too hard on him. Labs will be labs, after all.
Soon enough testing could begin, and any flaws would make themselves known.
So what happened?
“Testing indicated that the machine exploded violently.”
Was it supposed to do that?
“I’m not all that sure.”
I’ll mark it down as a potential flaw, but leave it uncertain just in case we were designing a grenade.
But for now, there were still some small things to work out: discharge time, efficiency, et cetera, et cetera.
“You know, some vague things that sound technical, and a bunch of other stuff!”
Doc didn’t mind that so much, but slow progress gets on anybody’s nerves if it doesn’t speed up at some point.
*Taco and Eliza look pointedly at the fic*
One thing that helped was that he had the company of his music.
Igor can’t shut up about the music.
He’d found out that the lab had some pretty awesome speakers set up, so he could play tunes nice and loud and feel like he and his work were immersed in the atmosphere that was set by the songs.
What do you mean, ‘He found out!?’ It’s his freaking lab. Willow made a big point of mentioning that all three of the bads would have their own space to design as they see fit. How the crap did Dr. Horrible surprise himself with a lab-wide speaker system!?
He was just packing up shop for the day when Elsa opened the door and strided in, a thick paperback in her hand.
“As an engineer, what does ‘packing up shop’ look like?”
Locking the computer, and pushing the pile of crap a little further away from the edge of the workbench.
He was just packing up shop for the day when Elsa opened the door and strided in, a thick paperback in her hand. “Ist das echt?!” she said, thumping the book down on his desk and opening it up, slamming her finger down on a thick paragraph and looking at him in disbelief.
Did Igor mention he knows the very basics of language and knows how to use Google!? DID HE!? Cause he totally does, and totally can!
“Shame about not knowing English well enough, though.”
Yeah. If only he strode to greater lengths to learn it.
“What?” he asked, a bit surprised by her entrance, and her language shift. He looked at the paragraph and muttered out loud, “German?… Okay, um… ‘In Auschwitz-Birkenau, das zugleich auch Konzentrationslager war, wurden die Vergasungen mit Hilfe von Blausäuregas (Zyklon B) vorgenommen. Es wurden auch erschießungen durchgeführt. Im Nürnberger Prozess gegen die Hauptkriegsverbercher wurde 1946 erstmals die ungefähre Zahl von sechs Millionen ermordeter Juden genannt’… Ah. Ich verstehe.”
“Es ist eine Lüge!” Elsa said, eyes wide. “Ja?”
Doc cleared his throat. “Uh– no. It isn’t a lie.”
I suppose Igor already capitalized on the drama value of 9/11, he might as well toss in the holocaust for good measure. Honestly, I’m surprised he didn’t roll it out sooner. If you’re going to trivialize one atrocity for cheap drama, you may as well go all the way to Germany.
In any event, the rest of the chapter is just them talking about the holocaust. It’s one of those scenes that might actually have had a place in this fic given that Elsa skipped over the better part of two centuries, but, as with all cheap grabs for emotional impact, the reference and discussion of the holocaust comes right the fuck out of nowhere, stays for only a few paragraphs, is never mentioned again, and has no discernible impact on Elsa’s character. The only saving grace is that they talk about it in a way that doesn’t directly disrespect the lives lost in the holocaust or make it all about the two of them (ala Buster). But it’s one of those things that didn’t need to be brought up, and if it was, it needed a lot more thought, effort, and time put into the presentation.
Since it’s so pointless and a transparent grab for some kind of emotional investment from the audience, I’m skipping the rest of the scene entirely and we’ll just swing directly into the next one.
I’ve never met a girl who makes me feel the way that you do… (y00oou’r3 4aal-r1gh7…)
“What is that!?”
It appears to be lyrics from Get Ready, with some random l337 speak tossed in at the end for some reason. Probably a reason having to do with being young and stupid if I were to guess.
“I feel nauseous for some reason.”
Song lyrics in fiction have that effect, it’ll pass.
“Look, I’ve told you, I can’t do much with you, your old man of a professor, Xander-boy, and a snowman.
A shame Igor didn’t realize that before including them in this fic.
You wanna fight Wicca-bitch and her new cronies, you’re gonna get yourself killed.”
“Just like Willow killed you all the first time when she had the chance!”
Or the second time when she had the chance!
“I really love how believable the stakes are!”
Seriously, I’m a horrible influence on you.
“Which is why I’m calling you, Spike! You can give us an edge over them!”
Uh, how? Spike is a good fighter, but he’s not really what I would call a scale tipper against a witch and a sorcerers. Especially not when your other assets are a contractor, a cheerful snowman, and an eighty-year-old professor of California literature.
“No no. I’m not gonna stick my neck out into that. I know a lost cause when I see one.”
Is he talking about the fight against Willow, or Willow’s organization as a whole?
“It can be both!”
“It’s not a lost cause, Spike! If everything works out, we won’t have to fight them!”
And since Spike’s only real use in the fight against evil is his combat ability, I have no idea why you’re calling him.
“Because he might not have to fight!”
“And everything always works out with your plans.”
“He’s got her there. Buffy’s plans almost never go according to plan.”
“–I’m just asking you to help out at the house, that’s it. Nothing else.”
“I hope he brings his maid outfit!”
I’m not Googling that.
“Look, love, I know when it’s impossible, and this is as impossible as they get. You’re better off watching Sherlock on Netflix and getting on with life.”
How I wish Spike would have given me that advice before I started this fic.
“But she’s weaker this time. She lost a fight with an ordinary vamp and lost an eye. She’s wearing an eyepatch.”
“Buffy probably shouldn’t mention that she was hospitalized after a fight with a random, mundane human.”
“Yeah. Saw myself.”
“…Huh. Still, though, you have NSA-Breaker and a literal Ice Queen to back up Decaf-Witch, so it’s still going to be bloody difficult.”
We get it, Igor. You think crashing an NSA server is impressive. Just let it go, dude. Bringing it up constantly is making it even less impressive.
“But not impossible.”
“…Maybe not. Maybe.”
“And if everything works out, we don’t need to go through the usual routine of the big apocalypse-y final battle. Media will do our job and all we need to do is play along if they want us.”
So, we established Team Willow’s plan already, so let’s take a look at Team Buffy’s plan!
- The Media
- No more Willow
“Maybe the media is supposed to come up with the plan, too?”
Why bother? There’s a perfectly good plan right there!
“…That’s a Reichenbach Fall plot if ever I’ve heard one.”
We get it, you like Sherlock. All the constant references do is remind everyone of things way better than your fic!
“And give the audience clues to where you stole all your ideas from.”
“Does that mean you’ll help?”
“…Alright. A little help. I’m not going out in another blaze of glory.”
“He’ll do the dishes, the vacuuming, and cook dinner, but not the laundry.”
I can relate. I really hate folding clothes. I’d rather clean out the cat box.
“I just need you at the house, that’s all. Help me whip these guys into shape.”
Code word for eggs.
“Okay. I’ll be there tomorrow night.”
“See you tomorrow, Slayer.”
Huh, Spike agrees despite Buffy having no plan or anything tangible for how they’ll get the media on their side.
“Was that Spike?”
“You figured that out! Amazing! Was it the part where she said Spike’s name while talking on the phone? That’s what tipped me off!”
Seriously, you need to stop hanging out with me.
“Yeah. He’s coming to stay a few weeks and help us out.”
“But no laundry!”
No problem, we have a contingency plan.
“Never thought I’d be happy to hear that creep was coming back.”
“Yeah. At this point I just try to follow the flow of traffic.”
“Buffy and at least one of the other people from her team! Probably!”
“Not something we usually do. I always feel like we’re fighting the tide.”
“Nah. We’re fighting the weirdos.”
What a penetrating juxtaposition. They way the tide and weirdos are put in opposition, just like they are in nature.
“Crunchy spends a lot of his time at the beach shouting at the coral.”
The coral knows what it did.
And I’m gonna try to make you love me too, so get ready… G3t r3a4-dy-yYyyy… Cause here I come…
“How old do monkeys get before they realize that replacing letters with numbers isn’t actually all that clever?”
Dunno. Some come into it early, others never seem to grow out of the misconception. I think it’s an intelligence thing.
“Have you read Dante?” Willow asked as she entered the laboratory, flicking on the lights.
Greeeeeeat, more ham-handed literary analysis.
“Heroes and Villain’s working title was Book Club: the Novel.'”
Doctor Horrible looked up from his blueprints, out the window. “I’m more of a Machiavelli reader, myself.”
I would have pegged him more as an IEEE or ASME reader or something. You know, literature that actually fits his characterization as a brilliant inventor who has an overly simplified and twisted view of what lasting social change requires.
“In the Eighth Circle of Hell, in the first of ten ditches, panderers and seducers are forced to march around in the ditch in opposite directions, all the while being whipped by demons.” She began to slink a little as she approached his desk.
I never thought I’d envy the people in the eighth circle. At least they don’t have to read this fic.
‘In its depths the sinners were naked: on our inner side of its central round they came towards us, on the outer side, with us, but with larger steps. So the people of Rome, in that year, at the Jubilee…’ because Italy had recently instituted a new law regarding traffic: Keep right.”
Oooookay? Is that supposed to be a metaphor for this fic or something?
“Maybe Igor is comparing his fic to a fifty-year-old camper van that does thirty-five on the freeway?”
Doctor Horrible slowly tilted his head towards the raven-haired woman, his goggles reflecting the low light. “Machiavelli’s passage about fear versus love is usually condensed. There’s actually more: ‘Upon this a question arises: whether it be better to be loved than feared or feared than loved?
I find that, at times like this, I like to quote Thomas J. Glover: ‘Standard cable, as used in home and general construction, is classified by the wire size, number of wires, insulation type, and dampness condition of the wire environment.’
“I prefer a passage of Summer for this kind of setting: ‘Love to love you, baby.'”
Anyway, at this point Horrible regurgitates the entire passage from Machiavelli’s The Prince. If you want to check it out, Igor basically just tears the quote right out of chapter seventeen.
Willow raised her eyebrows slightly. “Impressive. The whole passage?”
Huh? ‘The whole passage’ what? You’re missing more than a little of that sentence.
“The whole treatise,” he replied, looking down again.
That’s still not a sentence! Hell, it’s not even a thought! What about the treatise? That it was condensed down? That the quote was the whole thing? What!?
“Fairly short, actually. 32,000 words or so.”
“I have no idea what they’re trying to talk about.”
Pretty sure that they don’t know either.
Horrible smoothed out his blueprints. “Of course, princes and princesses such as we have one advantage that Machiavelli didn’t consider
A death ray?
unparalleled technological innovation.
“Why would Machiavelli care about technology? He was writing a commentary on current politics.”
Shhh, Igor needed to mention Machiavelli and Dante so that he could look smart. It doesn’t matter if it’s actually pertinent to anything going on.
Nobody saw the world of today coming, not like this.”
And yet Machiavelli still remains pertinent reading for political study. Probably because technology really hasn’t affected the core of politics all that much.
“No, they didn’t.”
“The future turned out far more vague and undefined than anyone could have anticipated!”
“And of course, we’re not gonna be seen coming either.”
They have an invisibility cloak made out of pure boredom! It doesn’t actually make you invisible, just too boring for anyone’s brain to remember.
“Does this mean they are wearing the cloak right now?”
“Nope. It means no, negative, nay, or nah. Do I add it to the list?”
She was looking at his blueprints, an odd expression on her face. “Nothing. Already seen.”
After a while one misty cloud of scene starts to look like any other. Nothing to be worried about.
He frowned– and then the joke clicked. “Déjà vu. I see.”
I don’t get it.
“That’s the point. It was a joke too good to be funny!”
Ah, well done, then.
Willow laughed once, but she looked almost… afraid. “This is for the nanobots, correct?”
“Is it a piece of paper with ‘magic’ and ‘technology’ written on it with lots of arrows, happy faces, and squiggly lines?”
Uh, yes, actually.
“Yep! Those are the blueprints all right!”
Her voice was steady, even nonchalant. But her face was afraid. Why?
She suddenly realized that if he actually finishes the project, she might have to do something.
“Yes…” he said slowly. “You look– uneasy. What’s up?”
“Do I?” she said, her face clearing. “I didn’t realise. Nothing’s up.”
“Smooth as a glass of extra chunky milk.”
This is why we don’t let you in the kitchen.
“O-kay…” he said.
“These look good,” she said, then pointed to a blank label. “What’s this label for?”
It’s a label for all the blankness. Not writing anything on it felt apropos.
“This is for the stuff we haven’t worked out yet,” he said, indicating the empty center of the image.
“Oh! So that’s why it’s the same size as the blueprint!”
“That’s gonna be where the magic happens, but I don’t know how. We should work on that.”
So I’m just gonna toss magic in this gadget-y sorta thing and hope they fuse together in exactly the way we want them to.
“And then nanobots!”
Naturally. I hate to say it, but this plan is bordering on being as bad as any of Sorin’s.
“Yes, we definitely should,” Willow agreed.
In general, it’s a good idea to have an idea of what you’re doing before you try to do it. Otherwise…
“I’m not busy this evening before dinner– maybe we confab then?”
Great, they’re already planning to talk more. As if there isn’t already enough of that.
“Sounds good,” Horrible confirmed, giving a thumbs-up.
“Wunderbar,” Willow smiled, exiting.
And with that, the scene ends. We’re going to hit one more little thing before we cut you all loose, mostly because I don’t want to start next week with it.
G3t r34dy, ‘caUs3 h3r3 1 C0m3, y0u b3t73r /
G3t r34dy, ‘caUs3 h3r3 1 C0m3, y0u b3t73r /
G3t r34dy, ‘caUs3 h3r3 1 C0m3, y0u b3t73r /
G3t r34dy, ‘caUs3 h3r3 1 C0m3, y0u b3t73r–
*Eliza scans the fic with her sharp-detecting nanobotastic thingamajigger*
“Let’s see here. ‘Edginess level: Cloud Strife.'”
Damn, those number substitutions are really bringing in the edgelord points!
“Any more, and we’ll have to quarantine it to prevent the patrons from breaking out in spontaneous brooding. I’ll get the Darkwraiths on standby just in case. They’re pretty much immune so can handle things when it gets too bad.”
And with that, I’m going to let you all go. In the meantime, I’m going to go pass out.
“Remember, I don’t tell you where I hid your controller until after you get a good night’s sleep.”