05. Bullets of Bad Characterization

(completed 02/17/2009; takes place 01-31 to 02-01-09; Final Fantasy X-2)

Final Fantasy X and X-2 are property of Square Enix. The PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia, may they make the best of their retirement. "Bullets of Betrayal" belongs to BaybePain. Samuel and Kat are, however, mine.

Thanks to Kali for the beta.

“All they that see him, laugh him to scorn...”

Agent Samuel woke to the sound of a soprano enthusiastically half-singing a recitative meant for a tenor at a very loud volume. He groaned, rolled over and squinted at the digital clock nearby.

“They shoot out their lips, and shake their heads, say—ing:”

“Katrina!” Samuel called, understandably somewhat annoyed.

The Agent in the next room was apparently going to try singing a four-part chorus on her own, which might work for Agnes Nitt but certainly wasn’t going to work for her. Currently, Kat was taking a stab at bass.

“He trusted in God that he would deliver him...”

And either she was ignoring him or the door to the RC proper had one-way soundproofing. Growling, Samuel rolled out of bed and stalked to the door, jerking it open.

Kat was perched on top of the console, swinging her feet as she turned the pages in a very battered book. She had large red headphones on, completely covering her ears, and was quite happily singing at the top of her lungs.

“Katrina, it is two in the morning!” Samuel finally bellowed, nearly at wit’s end.

Of course. Only he could wind up partnered to a hyperactive teenager with a penchant for inappropriate chemistry experiments and butchering oratorios at ungodly hours of the morning.

Kat looked up, blinking at him. “—let him deliver him... Sorry, half a moment.” She marked her place in the book with one finger and hooked her headphones off her ears with the other hand. “What was that?”

Samuel took a deep breath, reminding himself that she could be worse. “Katrina. It is two o’clock in the morning.”

The girl frowned, glancing at her much-abused watch. “Uh... oops?”

“Oops,” Samuel repeated, almost calmly.

“Well, ‘s not my fault this thing’s all analog and doesn’t have AM/PM indicators,” Kat protested, brandishing her hand, book, watch, and all, in his general direction. “And to be fair it’s not like you can actually tell in HQ.”

“The fact remains—“

Kat never would find out what that remaining fact was, as the console beneath her chose that moment to let out an ear-splitting [BEEEEGETOFFAMEEEEEEP!]

Samuel, who was learning day by day to anticipate his partner’s eccentricities, caught the shorter Agent as she shrieked, leaping off the console in surprise. “We’re finding you a digital watch,” he informed her as he set her down and went to see what the console wanted.

“...am I suffering auditory hallucinations, or did the console order me off?” Kat asked after a moment, watching as Samuel scanned quickly through the fic’s details.

“Would not surprise me,” Samuel muttered, thinking. “It’s X-2. Hmm...”

Kat had to take a moment to place the number. “Oh, Final Fantasy?” At his nod, she continued. “No big, just... I dunno, Square-ify us. Add some color and gratuitous zippers. Ooh, and gravity-defying hair.”

“Random Al Bhed it is.” Samuel turned to set their disguises.

“Is it the hallucinations again, or did you just completely ignore me?”

“Al Bhed fit better,” he explained after a moment.

“So talkative this morning,” Kat commented, fetching her jo. The shoe would have to wait, though if they got handed any Princess Tutu badfic Kat knew exactly what she was using. “I don’t suppose we get Garment Grids?” she asked hopefully, dragging Samuel’s heavy bag across the room.

Her partner gave her a skeptical look before returning to the console. A few more buttons, and the portal opened.

“And it’s third person all the way through?”

No response.

“Hmm. D’you think our console’s in a different time zone? Or maybe it only has an analog clock?”

Samuel pulled his sword from his bag, buckling the belt around his waist with the ease of long practice, and gently but firmly shoved Kat toward the portal.

“Going, going...”

They stepped through into an undefined space.

“Whee, undefined people embracing,” Kat said cheerfully as the ‘fic began. “I can has names? Or descriptions?”

“No,” Samuel murmured after a few moments, as the world began to have surreal coloration issues. First it was anything but black and white, then it was very plainly not chromatic. Eventually, the surroundings settled on overlapping scribbles of white, grey, and black, with star-shaped patches of rainbow randomly placed across the walls.

“Ow.” Kat squinted at the Words. “Jeez. Present tense in the middle of past. Not fun.”

“Consistency? In Suefic?” Samuel sounded amused by the very notion.

“Right, right. I should be used to that by now.” Kat scooted over to him, sticking a hand in his bag and fishing around until she came up with a notepad and pencil. All the while, Samuel watched her, bemused.

“You could have asked.”

“No fun that way.”

‘She’ was finally identified by an unknown speaker as Yuna. The shadowy figure embracing her seemed to have vanished for the time being.

Suddenly, music started in the background, something with a heavy beat that could almost be seen pulsing through the air in Yuna’s general direction. “Oh dear,” Kat said after a moment. “It’s ‘pulsing to her bones.’”

“And... there’s a mini nearby,” Samuel noted, looking carefully at the Words. “Riku.”

Kat tilted her head slightly, biting her lip in concentration. “I heard the difference there... Oh, right! Spelled as in key-Riku when it’s meant to be thief-Rikku. Hmph. Some people.”

She penciled that down on the charge list, then looked up and blinked at Yuna in surprise. “Um. That’s... some outfit.” The outfit in question was ‘tiny shorts and purplish red brassiere.’ Kat thought about this, then added, “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that.”

“How familiar are you with bartending regulations?” Samuel asked suddenly.

“Way to be random. Samuel, I’m underage.” Kat swore as the surroundings became somewhat more defined – the Celsius’ cabin – and developed strobe lights.

“Drinking and tending at the same time?” he elaborated patiently.

Kat started chewing on her lip again, this time in an effort to not throw up. “I will hunt down the person who invented strobe lights and inflict great harm upon them,” she hissed, paying no attention to Samuel’s question.

Two o’clock in the morning, ‘Sues, and strobe lights.

Just wonderful.

Samuel didn’t seem as bothered as she by the lights. After a moment, he sighed, taking the charge list from her. “Close your eyes.”

She did so. It helped, significantly, though she could still hear dialogue that was getting more and more out of character by the second. “There’s shaded goggles around your neck,” Samuel murmured after a few moments, writing out another charge.

Kat fumbled for them, finally managing to settle the goggles on her face. Tentatively, she opened her eyes, and made a face. “Does not really help. Still, it could be worse.”

“It can always be worse.”

They waited through the scene, Kat wincing and looking down every chance she got. Samuel continued to keep up with the charge list for the time being.

“How is life as the girlfriend of Tidus?” Gippal asked Yuna, thereby attracting Kat’s ire.

“That should by no means be her defining attribute. If anything he should be asking about the whole High Summoner thing – she’s a hell of a lot more prominent in this world than Tidus,” Kat muttered angrily. “Samuel, seriously, where’s the offending character? I need someone at whom to direct rage.”

Samuel took a moment to think about this, absently scanning through the Words. “Someone named Jacquel, I believe. But he could be a bit... this might call for exorcisms.”

“Oops.” Kat closed her eyes again, taking deep breaths. Strobe lights did not agree with her. “I don’t suppose we were smart enough to bring canon-bits, bells, fire, and restraints, were we?”

Samuel patted his bag, realized she probably couldn’t see the gesture, and amended it to “I have supplies.”

“Good,” Kat said tightly. The lack of visual input was making the audio that much worse, and she wished very much for her headphones back. Unfortunately, she’d left them in the RC.

"oh! Tidus? What are you um.. doing here.. you know? At this uhh.. party..."

“It’s a party?”

“Apparently so,” Samuel commented, glancing around. “Would you like me to describe the happenings?”

“Please, sweet fictional deities, no.”

“’and Gippal was sup and by her’,” Samuel read.

“Dammit, Samuel!”

“Two in the morning,” he reminded her.

“Yes, all right, I’ll get a digital watch, I didn’t know you could be so vindictive.” Kat scowled in his general direction.

“Only when sleep-deprived,” Samuel answered calmly. “My apologies. I’ll attempt to get a hold of myself. Hmm, misuse of adjectives...”

Kat risked opening her eyes to take a look at the Words. “Yeesh, brazen haired’? Prob’ly s'posed to be bronze, but right now that’s some bold hair. Can’t tell the color with these god-forsaken lights, but if it’s not blond canon is being violated.”

Samuel wrote down more charges. Kat grumbled and listened to the goings-on. Time passed.

Eventually, Samuel nudged his partner. “Strobe’s done.”

Kat opened her eyes cautiously – she wasn’t quite sure how low vindictive!Samuel would stoop – and was relieved to see that Samuel had spoken true. She was less relieved to see Tidus and Rikku kissing as they ‘went down the elevator shaft’. Luckily for all involved, the elevator shaft had an elevator in it, and no squashed canons.

Samuel handed her a Canon Analysis Device, indicating the charge list in his hands when she looked at him curiously. “May as well.”

“Do you have a daily limit of words or something?” Kat wanted to know, fiddling with the CAD. “You were doing fine earlier, I mean, you had a subject, a verb, a complete thought and all, even some clauses and phrases, but now you’re turning back into Mr. Taciturn.”

The taller Agent chuckled quietly to himself, but said nothing.

Kat glanced around for a canon at whom to aim the CAD and yelped in surprise. “Um, they went away,” she explained, a little sheepishly, at Samuel’s look. “’Yuna’s bedroom’, wherever that is. RA?”

Samuel produced the requested gadget, but tossed it to Kat instead. She nearly dropped it, but eventually rearranged everything and got a grip on it, tucking the CAD under her arm and poking carefully at the RA.

Some trial and error later – really, she hadn’t been aiming for the Baaj Temple, and at least there hadn’t been a Geosgaeno waiting for them and they’d been above water – she managed to land them in the specified location, in time to watch Yuna lay down to sleep practically in Gippal’s lap.

“I can’t help but feel I’m missing something,” Kat said after a moment, pushing her goggles up and looking curiously at the bed. “That really doesn’t look comfortable.”

“Logic has no home,” Samuel commented lightly.

Kat ignored her frustrating partner, instead double-checking the CAD’s volume and pointing it at Gippal and Yuna.

[Gippal. Al Bhed male. Canon. Out of Character 42.1%]

[High Summoner Yuna. Half-Al Bhed female. Canon. Out of Character 47.4%]

“I need readings on the others, too...” Kat reflected. “I’ve a feeling Tidus and Rikku are worse off than this lot.”

“There’s a chance.” Samuel was scanning the Words.

Kat waited, and, when no data was forthcoming, carefully poked her partner in the ribs. “Care to give me an estimate? Faster than me looking for it too.”

“’They woke up the next morning’,” Samuel read, “and, after, ‘Only half an hour later’.”

“So we’ve got a while.” Kat glanced around, sighed, and leaned back against a vaguely metallic wall. “Here. You give me a pack of cards or something entertaining you’ve got in that useful bag of yours, and I’ll let you catch up on your sleep. Sound like a deal?”

Some fishing later, Samuel produced a deck of what looked like nothing so much as drink coasters patterned with different fruits.

“And what the hell am I supposed to do with these?” Kat demanded, glancing at them.

“If you don’t want it...” Samuel made to put them away.

“I’ll take ‘em,” the girl grumbled, snatching them out of his hands. “Sleep, Sam— er, Samuel.”

He nodded, sliding down the wall to rest with his knees to his chest. He tilted his head back and, to all appearances, fell asleep right then and there.

Kat spent the next eight hours amusing herself with the ‘drink coasters’, which after the first three hours was not so much any variation on a card game as it was throwing them like shuriken at various targets and hoping the thunk of cork on metal wouldn’t wake the canons. Or Samuel.

When the canons finally began to stir, she collected the coasters and shook Samuel gently. “Up and at ‘em,” she said, only half whispering.

The man yawned, carefully standing and taking the coasters from her. “Thanks.”

Kat shrugged, digging at the metallic floor with one toe. “No big. My fault anyway.”

Samuel rested his hand on her shoulder briefly, as Yuna and Gippal pulled away from each other in apparent embarrassment.

“By the way,” Kat began as Yuna made her way toward the spontaneous bathroom, “where exactly were those ‘cards’ from?”

“Firefly continuum,” Samuel answered after a moment.

Kat connected the dots. “Oh yeah! Wow, now I feel stupid. I need to learn how to play that game.”

Time passed in silence and boredom.

Gippal made himself busy laying on her bed and sighing continuously.

“Charge: improper usage of the verb ‘to lay’. Charge: half-hour shower.”

Samuel raised an eyebrow at Kat even as he noted the first charge. She sighed. “No, huh?”

“No,” echoed Samuel, vaguely amused.

Finally, all people who could be vaguely considered Gullwings burst into Yuna’s room. There were quite a few of them. Kat watched carefully over Samuel’s elbow as he charged for the unison caps lock exclamation and waited for individuals to separate themselves from the crowd. Yuna wandered out of the shower wearing nothing save a towel.

“Nosebleed... this isn’t an anime continuum.” Samuel frowned.

“Debatable.” Kat found the appropriate reference in the Words and scowled. “Hey, look, there’s Riku!” She cooed at the annoyed mini, whose OOC rating really couldn’t be measured. She’d have to wait for the real one to turn up.

Tidus asked Yuna to get dressed. Kat leveled the CAD at him.

[Tidus. Human male. Canon. OOC 12.2%.]

Kat frowned at the CAD, shaking it a bit as Yuna threw a towel – the one from her hair, thankfully – at Gippal, went through some lovely mood swings, and shooed people out of the room. She pointed it at Tidus again to catch his OOC rating swinging up to 76.89% as he caressed Rikku’s lower back—

“Dammit!” Kat exclaimed as the door closed behind them. “Missed her again!”

High Summoner Yuna cleared her throat conspicuously, looking curiously at the Agents.

Kat waved. “Samuel?” she asked plaintively.

Seconds later, an arm hooked around her middle and pulled her backwards through a portal.

The next thing Kat registered was the wind. She grinned, freeing herself from Samuel’s grasp and running a few steps away, arms spread wide, reveling in the description around her. It was amazing what one could evoke simply by referencing the Celsius’ deck.

She was careful not to get too close to the edge – who knew how far down it was? – but was otherwise bouncing all over the deck, positively brimming with glee. Samuel watched her, incredulous; if she’d really been awake all the time he was sleeping, she’d probably been awake nearly twenty-four hours straight by now.

...which might turn out to be a problem.

Well, he’d cross that bridge when they came to it. Right now, Yuna was busy appearing on the end of the deck. Kat trotted back over to him, a fierce scowl on her face. “You will not believe what comes next,” she informed him.

Tidus made his way onto the deck, and spoke a few words to Yuna, after which the indignant High Summoner (whose OOC rating was rapidly nearing the eighties) stalked back into the ship and to the bridge. The Agents followed Tidus after her, and caught up in time to hear Yuna inform Tidus that she’d been avoiding him because he’d had sex with Riku.

Kat grimaced. “I can’t decide which mental image is worse, him with the mini or him with idiot-key-boy.”

“Never go into Bad Slash,” Samuel advised absently, noting extra counts of no capitalization.

Tidus yelled about how Riku was a mistake. “I’ll say,” Kat muttered, and fumbled for the CAD, barely reaching the mute switch in time. It scorched her fingertips.

“I’m curious as to how you ‘solute’ a person,” Samuel said after a few moments, tipping his head to one side.

“I’m not.” Kat was smiling still, but not from any real mirth. “I’ll be the first to say there have been worse. Still, there is no excuse for this travesty. Therefore, I shall be strangling someone with their own entrails in short order.”

Yuna punched Riku in the chin. The mini-neo-Bahamut reeled backwards, looking very confused. Samuel added ‘cruelty to a mini’ to the charge list. “Not Jacquel,” he said absently.

“You’ve got to be kidding me, Samuel. He’s the most obvious target.”

“He’s fairly minor. Exorcism will solve most problems.”

Kat scowled at her partner. “Samuel, I want to kill something, and right now you are depriving me of my most likely target.”

“There’s other bits,” Samuel said blandly. “Jacquel is the most defined. Recruitment. Ordinarily I'd call death, but there's a possibility...”

“Of raises or vacation?" Kat looked skeptical. "I think those are mythical. But fine." She didn't look too happy about it. "I hope he gets a horrible partner and the worst of ‘fics,” she growled, and promptly doubled over as time wrenched around them. “Blood and ashes! Violence is sounding better and better.”

Samuel had hunched over as well, wincing in pain; something in the neighborhood of a year had just passed in about a second.

Kat looked up at the sound of caps lock and frowned. “Hair does not grow that long in only a year. Samuel, Character AD?”

Her partner tucked the charge list into a pocket and obliged, muting the CAD in question first. The readout did not seem to please him. Kat raised herself on the tips of her toes and peeked around his elbow.

[Yuna. Human female. Non-canon/canon/noncanon/canon/...non-canon. Imposter!Sue.]

The blonde cursed quietly. Samuel nodded his agreement, and returned the CAD to his bag.

“And since when have mismatched eyes been Yuna’s sole identifying feature?” Kat wanted to know a moment later, lip curling in disgust. “Hell, no one so much as mentions it that I can recall! Most that’s said is that her mother was Al Bhed. Honestly, ‘who else has mismatched eyes’. Jeez.” She paused there, and glanced at Samuel. “You look strange blond.”

“Your perception is most acute.”

“Yes, I know it took me forever to notice. Hush. Oh, sweet deities, apostrophes!”

“Also, there was never any mention made of the Al Bhed having royalty.” Samuel charged for that as well, one eye twitching dangerously.

Kat took a few deep breaths, observing the quarrel between Yuna and Gippal. She aimed the Canon AD at him, and the reading came back in the high eighties. The CAD whined ominously, growing warm to the touch, and Kat hastily turned it all the way off; she had no desire to get herself on DoSAT’s bad side.

Yuna left, finally. Gippal stared after her with the oddest expression on his face, putting a hand to his head.

“Y’know what? That’s it. That is just it,” Kat said conversationally. “Samuel, you said you had exorcism materials?”

Samuel set the bag on the ground, fishing around in it for the supplies. Eventually he came up with a sizeable coil of rope, a guide book for Final Fantasy X-2, an FFX-2 disk in a large (and solid) protective case, a large bell with a lime green handle, a box set of votives, and a pair of Zippo lighters. Kat snatched one, tucking it into her pocket. “You do realize you’re never getting that back.”

He just nodded.

“So now how do we do this?” Kat asked, watching the now-frozen Gippal. “Do we exorcise one at a time or do we try to round ‘em all up first?”

Samuel considered. “Best to get them all at once, I should think.”

“Bleh. This would be so much easier if we knew what we were doing.” Kat fished around in his bag for the RA, returning the CAD when it got in her way. “I don’t suppose you know anyone in Bad Slash?”

“Everyone knows Lux.”


“Then no.”

Kat sighed. “Look, you’re tall, you can have canon restraint duty. I’ll trick the affected parties here one by one, eh? And perhaps kill a few bits on the side. Not Jacquel,” she added, rolling her eyes as Samuel gave her a stern look. “Sheesh. Some people.”

As Samuel went to work stunning Gippal (from behind, he was not quite that stupid) and tying him up, Kat activated the RA, heading to where Yuna was at the moment. She’d leave the replacement for now; what she wanted were the bit characters, Ritsuka and Ryu. After some thought, Kat opened portals beneath both, leaving replacement!Yuna where she was, and opening a portal for herself to the same location.

The location in question was a certain place in Bevelle. The bits turned to face Kat as she came through the portal and set the RA down. “Ritsuka and Ryu?”

They nodded, almost as one.

“Great. The two of you are charged with being unoriginal bit characters and frankly far too little characterization to even bother. Plus I need to kill something.” Kat hefted her almost-forgotten jo, reflected on the need to find a way to carry it without hands, and knocked the wind out of both characters in quick succession. While they were stunned, she shoved them both, one after the other, toward the precipice from which Yuna had once flung herself.

The bit characters did not have Valefor waiting to catch them.

Kat peeked over the edge, watching as the bits splatted on the ground far below. “Good times,” she said happily, and trotted off to find Riku, Rikku, Tidus, Paine, and anyone else who had been mentioned in the fic. And possibly to send Jacquel on his way to the Marquis.

Some clever storytelling and hard blows to the head later, the canons were secured in a large heap, the mini had been directed to the OFU, the bit was adrift in HQ, and Samuel was lighting the candles and setting them in a circle around the canons. “The replacement?”

“Right.” Kat opened a portal, squinted through it, and grinned. “Excellent.” A quick blow with her staff, and the Yuna ‘Sue was out cold, and somewhat more susceptible to being hauled through the portal and leaned against a wall. “And I need to find the real one... hmm. What do you think, ‘her room’ on the Celsius?”

“Uncanonical location,” Samuel agreed absently, shifting a candle.

With a sigh, Kat trotted off.

High Summoner Yuna was indeed in the vaguely uncanonical location. Kat stopped short as soon as she came through the portal, trying not to spook the canon character. “Lady Yuna?”

Yuna looked Kat over. “Who are you?” was, unsurprisingly, her first question.

“’m Kat. Um, Lady Yuna, would you mind coming with me?”

She met Kat’s eyes squarely. “It’s no trouble.”

“Great!” Kat motioned to the portal. “Um... do be warned that if you attempt violence we’ll have to reciprocate,” she added, almost as an afterthought, one leg already through. “Your friends are kinda possessed. We’re fixing it, but... eh, don’t overreact.”

“I can see why you warned me,” Yuna said a moment later, remarkably blasé, as she caught sight of first her apparent doppelganger, then the pile of groggy people. “I’ll watch carefully... Kat, right? Whatever this is has something to do with her, correct?” Yuna’s hands were resting on her guns, an implicit promise of violence should inappropriate things happen.

Kat nodded, already trotting toward Samuel. “Just wait a bit, Lady Yuna, promise everything’ll be back to normal.”

Yuna nodded, inching closer to the replacement with wide eyes.

Leaving the Yunas to it, Kat took the FFX-2 guide from Samuel. “All right,” she said, a little nervously. “Shall we do this?”

“Indeed.” Samuel picked up the bell carefully, holding it by the clapper, and gingerly flipped it without letting it sound. Kat watched this curious behavior for a moment before turning to the canons.

The bell began to ring; a glance over her shoulder revealed he was swinging it in a figure-eight pattern.

Kat took another deep breath. “Um, what now?” she asked after a moment, biting her lip.

“Charge, avaunt, et cetera.”

“So helpful. Um.” Kat advanced on the canons, brandishing the game guide with some trepidation. “Avast?” she tried hopefully.

Avaunt,” Samuel corrected. “And I know you have the lungs for a nice loud one.”

“Yes, all right, digital watch.” Kat took a deep breath, imagined Handel was blasting in her ears, and called out, “Avaunt!”

“Creator,” Samuel prompted helpfully.

Kat glanced at the game guide and shrugged. “The power of Square Enix compels you!” she shouted. “Er... I cast you out, uncanon!”

“Get thee behind me.” That was Samuel, quiet as ever now that it was a decent hour.

“In the name of characterization, Final Fantasy and—and—oh, screw it.” Kat resorted to a much more familiar incantation, albeit severely altered. “I call upon thee from the land of Spira, to unleash thy fury in canon! AVAUNT!” She waved the guide menacingly, remembering the atrocities the author of the ‘fic had committed.

“Oh, Katrina,” Samuel murmured, in a long-suffering tone, but joined his voice with hers for a final “Avaunt!”

With a shudder and a shrill cry, an Author-Wraith coalesced over the pile. Kat lunged for it, swiping the game guide through the misty form. “And get you gone!”

Samuel blinked bemusedly at her outburst, finally ceasing the bell’s ringing as the wraith dissipated and the canon characters began to stir.

Seething, Kat stalked over to the ‘Sue and the summoner, picking up the RA on the way. “Excuse me, Lady Yuna,” she said almost automatically, manipulating the controls with careful hands. “Samuel! Neuralyze ‘em and send ‘em on their way, if you will.” A portal opened; Kat grabbed the replacement and dragged her through. The long-haired Yuna was already stirring.

“where am I?” she asked.

Kat realized she did not, in fact, have the charge list with her. As she didn’t particularly feel like going back to get it, she decided to improvise. “Mushroom Rock,” she answered, a hint of satisfaction in her voice. “Conveniently, around the time of Operation Mi’ihen.”

The replacement shrank back in horror.

Kat smiled tightly, dragging the scantily-clad woman to her feet and toward the beach. “Replacement of High Summoner Yuna,” she began formally, directing her words over her shoulder toward the lagging ‘Sue. “You are charged with a whole hell of a lot of things that I can’t completely remember, but chief among them were crap grammar, crap punctuation, bad capitalization, horrid characterization, and annoying Agents. Also with being a Mary Sue. Any last words you have to say will be heard by Sin and the dying. Have a nice day.”

Kat hurriedly portaled to higher ground; Sin’s bulk was growing near. She took cover as the massive creature took offense at the attempt to kill it.

When it was passed, Kat took another portal down and found the ‘Sue’s corpse, which she quite cheerfully dropped through yet another portal into the depths of the sea.

That done with, the blonde Agent took a moment to calm herself before adjusting the RA to take her back to Samuel.

She found him waiting where she’d left, the canons already safely on their way and presumably neuralyzed. She didn’t ask how; either he had an extra RA, or there had been plotholes about, or canon had snapped back rather forcefully. Honestly, she didn’t particularly care.

He waved the charge list at her in silent admonishment. She ignored him, instead setting the RA for their RC. “I am so ready to be done with this day,” she yawned, stumbling through the portal.

Samuel stepped through behind her, deftly liberating the RA from her hand. “You need sleep,” he acknowledged, or tried to; he stopped around ‘need,’ mostly owing to the fact that his voice sounded somewhat more feminine than normal.

Kat blinked, turned around, and frowned at her partner. “Samuel, you’re a woman.”

“I’d noticed.” Samuel ran her hands down her body, eyebrows knit in concentration. “Ah, hell.”

“What, PMSing?”

“I sincerely hope not.” Samuel noticed something then. “Kat, look down.”

Kat looked down, observed a distinct lack of something, and realized that she was, in fact, a man. “Huh,” he said thoughtfully. “Never had one of those before.”

“Kat, would you please not grope yourself like that?” Samuel asked a moment later.

“Is this better?”

“Not really.”

Kat pouted.

Samuel detoured into the other room for a moment and came out scowling.

“You are PMSing, aren’t you,” Kat said with thinly disguised horror.

“It’s distinctly possible.”

Kat departed with some alacrity, all thoughts of sleep forgotten. DoSAT would know something, hopefully. Or that one Agent who’d gone TF-gun crazy the one time. Either way, he wouldn’t be in a room with a PMSing Samuel.

A note: This is set around the 2009 Gender-Bender (pseudo) Crisis; hence the end. This may or may not result in an Interlude.