Author’s note: This is not a mission, exactly. Rather, this is a lab journal, as kept more or less faithfully by one or the other of the Powder sisters. Attached is the official lab report.
Disclaimer(s): The concept of the PPC belongs, not to me, but to Jay and Acacia, and there are enough others writing for it that it would be suicide to pass it off as my own. The Department of Mary Sue Experiments and Research, being a part of the PPC, also belongs to Jay and Acacia, but credit is also given to those who created the department, whose names do not seem to be readily available on the Wiki. Please step forward for proper credit. All musical songs belong to their creators. The Powder sisters belong to me and I’m rather fond of them. The Spectrum of Suvian Species was created by Lily Winterwood and has been referenced multiple times for this experiment.
Cocoa ran through the hallways of Headquarters, arms spread out behind her for increased aerodynamics, not looking behind to see if Powder followed. She knew that her twin did. She always knew where Powder was. It made it a pain to play hide and seek with her, but it was useful when racing: knowing exactly where the other was saved time which would otherwise be spent looking back.
She dashed around a corner, narrowly avoiding running directly into a passing agent. She did not pause to see who it was, though she thought it was male, preferring to continue her mad dash through Headquarters. The agent she had almost bowled over shouted something, but Cocoa paid him no attention, preferring instead to turn another corner, seemingly at random. Truth to be told, she did not know exactly where she was going, though she did have a destination fixed in her mind. The problem with Headquarters was that having a destination in mind did not always make it easy to actually get there.
Her twin sense told her that Powder was catching up, and she poked her head forward, running as quickly as she possibly could and trusting any other agents to get out of the way. Agents did not always have the strongest senses of self preservation, but they usually had the sense to avoid crazies running around. Not that Cocoa and Powder were crazies, of course, but the other agents didn’t always know that.
Triumphantly, Cocoa turned one more corner, leapt gracelessly over a random crate which seemed to be filled with chemicals, presumably for Helen, and reached the door, stopping just before she rammed head first into the Generic Surface. She touched it with one hand, punching the other into the air in the universal sign of victory.
Coming up behind her, Powder grinned manically, then gasped out, “Not yet you don’t!” She pushed open the door and slapped her hand on the console. “Victory is mine!”
Brown eyes met brown as the two twins glared at each other. Still trying to catch her breath, Cocoa scowled. “It was first one to the RC,” she reminded Powder. “Not first one to the console. I touched the door first, so I win. Admit your defeat!”
“Never!” countered Powder. “The console is the heart of any RC. That door is just the entrance. I win, not you!”
“Takes one to know one.”
Cocoa left her post by the door, throwing herself towards her sister in an attempt to tackle the other. Her bubblegum pink hair, just long enough to be a nuisance, got caught in her mouth and she gagged, giving Powder time to escape, darting away and perching on the lab table which sat in the back of the RC. “Can’t get me here!” Powder proclaimed. “Helen won’t like you if you break the table.”
“You’re the one who’s sitting on it,” Cocoa reminded her, yanking her hair out of her mouth and shoving it firmly behind her ears. It promptly fell in front of them again, and Cocoa sighed. She really did need to start carrying hair bungees with her. Though, then Powder would be able to use them to her advantage, and anything that gave Powder an advantage was a bad thing.
[BEEEP! MESSAGE INCOMING! BEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP!]
Cocoa’s eyes lit up, and she momentarily forgot her quest to prove her victory. Instead, she darted towards the console, slapping the button before it could beep again. Her eyes scanned the screen as she accepted the message. It flashed angrily on the screen, cycling in color from urple to wilver to bello and back. Cocoa winced; there were things even she could not take, and ’Sue colors were definitely one of them. She glared at the console.
“Since Helen probably wants us to read her message, override the colors.”
“Shall we test your resistance to reprogramming by sledgehammer?”
“I have one handy.”
Powder giggled, leaving her position on the lab table to fetch the sledgehammer in question. Cocoa accepted it with a grin, desire to pound her sister into a pulp momentarily put aside. “Override the colors,” she told the console. “Please?” This last was accompanied by a gleeful look, as though Cocoa did not, in fact, want the console to do as she asked. Indeed, it would be much more fun to kill it with the sledgehammer, though that would, of course, mean that they were out one console, and Helen would not like that.
Without saying anything more, the console canceled the flashing colors. Cocoa giggled, handing the sledgehammer back to Powder. “Aw, it’s sulking. Poor thing.”
Powder grinned, not saying anything. Instead, she leaned closer and the two read Helen’s message.
News of races in the hallways is not taken well. I’m assuming that you were dashing back to get to work. Do not let me find out that I am mistaken in this assumption.
Cocoa grinned manically at the message. Powder glanced at her, eyebrow raised in question. “Oh aye, we’ll work,” Cocoa said, stepping closer and slipping an arm around Powder’s waist. She grinned lewdly at the other who, used to her twin’s antics and habit of misinterpreting everything she read, saw, or heard, only slipped out of Cocoa’s embrace.
Cocoa pouted. “Not even once?” she asked.
Powder only raised an eyebrow again, and Cocoa sighed. “You’re not fun,” she complained. Then she turned back to the console, brightening once more as she forgot about the event. Sometimes, having a short attention span was a good thing.
“I want my lab journal,” she told the console. “I want a hard copy,” here she paused to giggle at her own use of the word ‘hard’ – true to the laws of consistency, Cocoa misinterpreted even her own words at times – “and I want it now.”
Still in silence, the console whirred alarmingly for a while, then expelled several sheets of paper, all loosely bound together. Cocoa gathered them up, beaming. “That wasn’t so hard, now was it? You can stop sulking now, its okay. See? The hammer’s all gone?”
Still the console remained quiet. Cocoa shrugged, putting the matter aside, and headed for the lab table, journal held in her hands.
Powder, falling into step with her sister out of habit despite the fact that there were only ten steps from the console to the table, looked down at the journal. She said nothing, as per usual, but Cocoa could see her mind working. Well, not literally, of course, as that would be disgusting, but metaphorically. Besides, it was a twin thing. Anyway, the point was that Powder was thinking and Cocoa knew it.
“Do we have any experiments we could be working on?” Cocoa asked, rhetorically, as she could find out the information just as well as Powder and, as it turned out, knew the answer to her own question. “Yep. Wanna set up for genetic examination?”
Powder nodded, a grin spreading across her face. She turned and opened one of the many cupboards that lined the walls of RC number 87. Cocoa turned the other way and did the same, examining the equipment lined neatly up before her. She herself had organized it, and she reached in with confidence, grasping the set of Suvian Glitter Measuring Spoons. They were not there. Cocoa frowned, then tried again. They were still not there. She scowled. “Have you seen my spoons?” she asked, rather crossly.
“No,” Powder said. Then she paused, adding, “Oh, wait. I think Frazier borrowed them yesterday.”
Cocoa’s scowl deepened. “Why did you let him?”
“Then why does he have them?”
“You gave them to him. Said we wouldn’t need them for a while.”
“I did not!”
“You did so!”
“How do you know?”
“I was there.”
“So was I.”
“Yes, but you don’t seem to remember.”
“Of course I don’t remember! It never happened!”
“It did so!”
“How do you know?”
“I wouldn’t do something like that.”
“You’d been drinking.”
“You’d been drinking Bleepka. And you drank some right after you lent the spoons, even though you knew that you shouldn’t.” Powder managed to sound both stern and amused at the same time, a skill that Powder had mastered ages ago.
Cocoa glowered. “I don’t believe you.”
“Well, they’re not there.”
Instead of admitting that Powder was correct, Cocoa changed the subject. “How many ’Sues do we test?”
“Two of each species,” Powder said with a shrug. “We can limit it to Puella ones, if we want less work.” Cocoa did not see the shrug, as she was turned away from Powder, still looking in her cupboard to see what else had mysteriously gone missing. Thankfully, nothing else was gone, and Cocoa pulled out a small set of scales, several beakers of varying sizes, a set of goggles for herself, and a pair of rubber gloves for later. She set all of these on the table – except for the goggles, which she put on. Powder, for her part, had produced their microscope, the box of slides and covers, a Bunsen burner – they liked Bunsen burners, for all that there were much, much more advanced things they could be using – and scalpels and tweezers of varying sizes and sharpness.
Cocoa took out her pink felt tip pen and turned to the first page of the lab journal. Problem statement, she wrote, more or less neatly. The purpose of this experiment is to determine the genetic coding of a Mary Sue of genus Puella and discover how this may be altered for use in future genetic warfare. The independent variable is the species of ’Sue. The dependent variable is the composition of the genetic code. There is no control, as this is an observational lab. The conditions held constant are the tools used to extract material, the equipment used to test the material, and the age of the ’Sues tested.
Hypothesis: The higher the glitter content of a ’Sue’s bloodstream, the more repetitive the gene structure. This is expected because a main characteristic of ’Sues is their predictability, both in their appearances and in their personalities. As these are primarily determined by genetics, the more ’Sue-like a ’Sue, the more similar and repetitive the genetic structure.
Cocoa looked up, pausing in her writing. “We can do the rest after the lab, right?”
“Take notes on the procedure,” Powder advised. “Otherwise you skip steps.”
“You keep the log then,” Cocoa snapped, pushing it towards her.
“Fine.” Powder took the journal and closed it. She took Cocoa’s pen too, which caused her partner to glare. Powder only shrugged, and Cocoa sighed. She would get it back later.
“Right. So we need nine categories.” She paused. “Do we have some of them all in Containment?”
Powder, who spent a lot more time than Cocoa in Containment, nodded almost immediately.
“Shall we go then?” Cocoa asked, grinning happily.
Powder put down the journal and picked up her biggest, bluntest scalpel. Cocoa equipped herself with a large syringe, and they left the RC, heading for the Mary Sue Containment Ward.
Once there, the two got to work, each collecting samples of ’Sue blood in the test tubes the Containment Ward had in stock. Neither bothered to numb their subjects, and so they were serenaded by the screams and curses of the ’Sues, who never did seem to get used to the pain. Odd, as they were caused pain nearly every day. Still, they were ’Sues. Maybe it was the shock of not being in charge any longer more than the pain itself.
At last, all the samples had been collected. Cocoa looked proudly at their stash. Eighteen test tubes, all neatly corked and lined up, each filled with ’Sue blood. She and Powder each gathered up as many as they could carry, taking them back to the RC. There, Cocoa stayed and began organizing the test tubes while Powder returned for the ones they had not been able to take on the first trip.
Carefully, Cocoa began making notes in her data table, recording such details as color, visible glitter content, and approximate viscosity. Especially viscosity. One of the reasons she enjoyed her job so much was that it gave her the excuse to use words like viscosity. Viscosity, viscosity, visco…
“Work,” Powder ordered. She had returned with the last of the samples, interrupting Cocoa’s happy contemplation of her new favorite word.
Pulled back to the task at hand, Cocoa continued to fill in the chart, writing neatly so as to get all the information in. She did not want to miss instances of viscosity, after all.
“Cocoa,” Powder warned, stopping her sister before she could slip back into her reverie. Cocoa sighed, annoyed at being thwarted, but kept recording.
When she had finished her initial observations, Cocoa reached for the first test tube and uncorked it. Reaching for a microscope slide, she poured a small amount of blood onto it and spread it out with a slide cover. She paused in her work to admire how very glittery the separated blood was, idly wondering if they would be allowed to paint the RC that color. It was pretty, all red and sparkly.
Powder opened her mouth. Before she could say anything, Cocoa made a face at her and slid the slide under the microscope, adjusting it until she could see.
Cocoa’s eyes widened, and she began to giggle manically. Powder, alerted by this unusual breach in her partner’s reluctant professionalism, joined her, also looking into the microscope. Moments later, she too began to giggle. Soon, both agents were laughing so hard that they stepped away from the table – so as not to destroy their samples – and collapsed against each other, both in tears of laugher.
This continued for a long time, as, once Cocoa and Powder got started, they were apt to keep themselves going by remembering particularly hysterical moments from their past. Indeed, they only stopped when laughing physically hurt, and even then they kept going for a while. It was, in the end, the annoyed beeping of the console – whose short term memory seemed as short as Cocoa’s attention span and who thus did not seem to recall the sledgehammer – which brought them out of their mania. Still snickering to themselves, Cocoa and Powder walked back to the table, gasping for breath and wincing as they did so, their diaphragms having decided to rebel against the prorogued laughing fits. Before she went back to testing DNA, Powder flipped open the journal and jotted, Observation one: ’Sue blood cells look like Cute Animal Friends.
While Cocoa continued to examine blood cells, Powder carefully took samples of the samples and fed them, slowly, into the DNA scanner. She had to go slowly, not because the work was difficult, but rather because the scanner, like much of the technology at PPC, tended to become temperamental if it thought it was being abused. She did not want to have to explain to Helen – or worse, the Thistle – why they needed yet more equipment. So, instead of killing her scanner, Powder began to sing, partly to herself, but definitely loudly enough to attract Cocoa’s attention.
Cocoa started scowling, just as she always did. Powder ignored her, continuing to sing about Mr. Mistoffelees the magical cat. She’d have preferred Macavity, but she did not want to channel the evil cat while she worked. Much better to stick with Misto, who at least used his powers for good.
Still singing happily, Powder hooked the scanner up to the console, allowing her to see the results with more clarity than that afforded by the three inch screen of the scanner.
[DNA sequence calibrating… calibrating… still calibrating… how long is this going to take anyway…? DNA sequence calibrating… calibrating… this is getting ridiculous… DNA sequence calibrating… calibrated! At last!]
Shaking her head at the annoying habit of at least semi-sentience all the gadgets in this response center seemed to have developed, Powder scowled at the scanner. “So show me the results already,” she said, interrupting herself in the middle of the second verse of Mr. Mistoffolees.
[No need to be so impatient. Here you go. DNA sequence for test subject of species Puella perfecta. LONGFLOWINGGOLDENLOCKS EYESBLUEASTHESKYATDAWN …]
Powder raised her eyebrows as the sequence unfolded before her. She switched her song to ‘It’s a Thankless Job,’ doing her best to imitate the Repo Man’s voice. She was not very good at it, but oh well. That was why she needed the practice. Still singing, she leaned closer, examining the results as they scrolled out of the scanner and onto the console screen. Soon, the random sequence of sue traits changed, and Powder frowned. This was not good. This was not good at all.
“Cocoa,” she called, frowning, “I think you should see this.”
Cocoa paused in her work and crossed over to look at Powder’s results. She too frowned, her usually manically delighted expression fading into one of concern. “They need to know,” she said, not elaborating as to the identity of this ‘they.’ After all, it did happen to be just about everyone.
“Are they all like this?”
Powder shrugged. She had not looked at any other samples yet, but she guessed that they would be. ’Sues were frighteningly similar on the inside, and this was definitely inside.
“We need to tell them,” Cocoa said firmly.
“We will,” Powder assured her. “When I’ve looked at them all.” She went back to scanning the ’Sue DNA, not at all pleased to note that the same pattern appeared several more times. This was not good. Not good at all.
Slowly, she worked her way through the rest of the samples, each time finding similar results. Her frown grew as she went, and she stopped singing about the Repo Man and started ‘At the End of the Day,’ figuring that it would do her good to hear about people who really were miserable, not just depressed because they had found something they did not like.
At last, she had worked her way through all of the samples. The pattern held true in all of them, and even Les Mis was starting to fail Powder. In a slightly vain effort to distract herself, she reached for the lab journal and recorded what she had found.
Observation two: ’Sues are genetically coded to kill canon characters using their fandom’s preferred method.
Wearily, Powder and Cocoa scrubbed off the last of the ’Sue blood from the walls and lab table. Glittery as the stuff might be, it was incredibly hard to get off of things, and both of their hands were stained red to the elbows and beyond. Thankfully, ’Sue blood was not known to be toxic except to canon characters – and that was only a theory, based on Powder’s observations of their genetic coding. It did not seem likely that they would die of ’Sue poisoning as a result of the experiment. Still, to be safe, both scrubbed themselves all over with the strongest disinfectant they had – notably rubbing alcohol, which hurt like anything but had to be used – and did the same to their work surfaces and materials. Never let it be said that the two agents of the DMSE&R were not thorough.
At last, they collapsed, exhausted, onto their beds in the next room. “Who’s going to do the report?” Cocoa asked after a while.
Powder scowled. She was not going to do it. She had done too many lab reports for them before. It was Cocoa’s turn to do it. Cocoa knew that it was her turn to do it too. Powder had told her so last time. Yet the other still seemed determined to get out of it. Powder shook her head firmly.
Cocoa sighed. “Play you for it,” she offered, grinning.
Powder’s eyes narrowed as she examined her sister. She raised an eyebrow, a gesture which Cocoa correctly translated as ‘you cheat.’
“Scout’s honor I won’t,” Cocoa insisted.
Powder sighed. She did not trust Scout’s honor, and she did not trust Cocoa’s, but she may as well go ahead with this. After all, she could cream Cocoa at the games they played. She nodded.
Cocoa brightened considerably, pulling herself up until she sat tailor style on the bed. Powder did the same, and each put her fist out, resting in on her free hand. They glared at each other, brown eyes filled with so much tension that you could very possibly have cut it with a sharp knife. Or possibly even a dull one, if you happened to have one handy. Oddly enough, there were not many dull knives hanging around Headquarters.
“Ready?” Cocoa demanded. Powder nodded.
Together, they raised their fists, then brought them down three times on their open palms, chanting, “Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!”
Cocoa produced scissors, which Powder crushed with her rock fist. Cocoa glowered, and they returned their fists to their starting positions. Powder’s eyes narrowed as she tried to calculate what Cocoa would try next. Her instinct told her that it would be another scissors, but she was not certain she trusted that. After all, Cocoa was no fool and it was likely that she would come out with paper, knowing that Powder thought she would do scissors and thus do rock once more.
Before she could fully make up her mind, the chanting began again and she had no time to think. “Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!”
Cocoa, sure enough, produced paper. Unfortunately for Powder, she had changed her mind at the last moment, and so stuck with rock. Cocoa crowed her victory as she smothered the rock with her paper. They returned to their starting positions as the tension in the room got, if possible, even thicker. This was it. This was the tiebreaker. Whoever lost this one would lose for good. Both were determined that it not be them.
Powder glared at her sister, who glared right back.
“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!”
For a third time, Powder produced rock, trusting that Cocoa would not think such things of her. It was a gamble, yes, but Powder was confident.
Her confidence paid off when Cocoa displayed scissors a second time. Letting loose a shriek of triumph, Powder smashed her hand down on Cocoa’s hand. “Victory is mine!”
Cocoa’s face crumpled into her Mask of Despair™ as she contemplated her defeat. Powder laughed wickedly and thrust the lab journal into her partner’s hands. “Here you go,” she said. “Come back when you’ve finished.”
Cocoa glared, but it had no effect. Powder was too elated to be affected by her twin’s Glare of Death (trademark pending). Sullenly, Cocoa rose and stalked back into the main lab, the journal held between her hands as though it was still covered with ’Sue blood. Powder watched her go, then leaned back eyes closing as she drifted off into a satisfied slumber, marred only by the knowledge that Upstairs would almost certainly not like their results. Well, that was hardly the scientists’ fault. They only recorded what they found. So Powder slept and Cocoa reluctantly wrote the lab report and, for the moment, at least, relative peace reigned in the lab.
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.