Sarah, brown eyes tight with barely compressed and controlled fury, stared with hatred at the horror before her. The story, in all its smutty, non-con, badly spelled glory stared back at her, unmoved by her growing disgust. Beside it, open in her email inbox, sat the politely phrased beta request. Sarah could hardly bear to look at it, so repulsed was she by the contents of the ’fic itself.
Her fingers hovered over the keyboard as she tried to decide how to reply. Her first impulse – to refuse without offending the author – was forcibly and rapidly quelled. Sarah had not been born a flamer, but she had worked hard to get to the point where she could speak her true feelings without shame, and she did not want to regress now. So she discarded the polite refusal and began composing instead a truly horrific flame.
Her reply decided, Sarah opened a new email window and began to type, fingers dancing nimbly over the well used keyboard. The carefully crafted words appeared on the screen, conveying with rancor Sarah’s true feelings towards the atrocity she had been forced to read.
A sound behind her made her pause and turn her head. Her eyes widened as she saw a blue, sparkling orb floating directly behind her head. Years of reading fantasy novels had not prepared her for the real thing, and she found herself unable to do anything but stare. The orb grew, widening until it could have fit Sarah’s body. She backed away, running painfully into the desk, and her hand reached out automatically to steady the tilting monitor.
Just when she thought the worst had passed, the orb flashed blindingly and a female figure tumbled out. Sarah by this point had been reduced to a state of fish-like gawking, and she found herself unable to make a sound. The girl – no, she was a woman, albeit a young one – picked herself up, wincing slightly as she rose.
“Do you always think in metaphors?” she asked, looking quizzically at Sarah.
“Who… who are you?” Sarah managed at last, ignoring the question, which was a rather odd one. She tried desperately to regain control of herself, doing her absolute best to yank the habitual mask of impassivity back onto her face.
“Agent Carmen Cream, Department of Implausible Crossovers, at your service.”
Sarah blinked. She tried to translate this into some kind of recognizable English, but no matter how she twisted the words through her mind their meaning continued to elude her.
Agent Carmen Cream smiled brightly, either unaware of Sarah’s current state or unconcerned by it. “I’m here to recruit you.”
She nodded. “Yep.” She leaned forward, examining Sarah’s half-completed flame. “You were actually going to send that?”
Sarah nodded back.
Agent Carmen Cream laughed. “Oh yes, you’ll do well there.”
“Where?” Sarah demanded. She felt herself start to scowl, and she stilled her features, keeping firm hold of her blank mask.
Agent Carmen Cream’s eyes widened and she smacked her forehead with dramatic flair. “I didn’t say?”
Mutely, Sarah shook her head.
“We’re the PPC. Protectors of the Plot Continuum. We go into badfic like that one and set canon to rights.”
“Go into badfic?”
“How.” Sarah worked hard to keep her voice completely flat and not make it into any kind of question at all.
“This thingy.” Agent Carmen Cream produced a gray plastic object. “It creates portals. Well, actually we don’t use these particular thingies to get into ’fics, but it’s the same idea and the same basic technology.”
Agent Carmen Cream grinned yet again. “So are you coming?”
Sarah frowned. “Why me?”
“Don’t you want to? You could kill that ’fic and others like it for real, not just by virtual flame.”
It was tempting. Sarah hesitated, biting her lip as she tried to decide. A glance at the screen and the ’fic in question decided her. She nodded.
Agent Carmen Cream grinned yet again. “Great. Go pack anything you can’t live without, and then I’ll take you to go meet the big talking Daisy.”
Sarah did as she was bid, deciding it best just not to comment on that last.
This page is available in its original form on Archive.is.
The Protectors of the Plot Continuum was created by Jay and Acacia. The works archived here belong to their authors.
PPC: The Lost Tales is the brainchild of Neshomeh and the work of Neshomeh and helpers, including at various times Twiggy, Hushpiper, Tawaki, Irish Samurai, Hieronymus Graubart, Omega, Thoth, and Tomash.