I do not own the PPC, which is the creation of the amazing Jay and Acacia. Rurouni Kenshin belongs to Nobuhiro Watsuki. "Destiny Leads to Drama" is the work of Cilla2008. Any other references belong to their respective owners.
* * *
"What is this?" Cringing away from the lashing tails of the referenced being, Tirsaer accusingly held up something red, furry, and very much annoyed.
"I am certain you are as much aware as I." His partner resumed her arrangement of the new additions to their arsenal, picking up and setting down various objects neatly organized in a small glass case by the bookshelf.
"Well, yes. I do know. I know all too well, in fact. But why is there a mini-Kyuubi in my room?" The mini-Kyuubi in question twisted its head around to shoot him a disgruntled glare, and with a gasp, Tirsaer dropped it and backed away. The mini, Garra, slunk off to lurk beneath the necromancer's bed, much to his dismay.
"Your room?" Ryni paused, but didn't look up from the object in her hand. Tirsaer had put up a fuss about destroying the Paperwing stolen from the last 'Sue, but Ryni had flatly refused to keep something so large in the response center. The resulting compromise involved Tirsaer following around a wizard agent and whining until she agreed to shrink the Paperwing down to the size of a model airplane. "Last I was aware, this response center of gray and silence is held by us together, and moreover by the Flowers That Be."
"Of course, but that thing was on my bed!" He pointed an outraged finger in the direction of a rumbled camping cot, from underneath which nine tails trailed. "My bed! I'm probably going to catch rabies or something!"
"You never know what those things are up to! And they smell! And they destroy everything!"
"Why don't we just, you know, throw it at a fangirl or something? I don't want it shedding all over my bed!"
Ryni set down the Paperwing and moved over to the bookshelf. "Does your own sense of inferiority prevent you from taking responsibility for that which you yourself invited?"
"What?" Tirsaer sputtered. "Now listen, I didn't invite it, it just followed me! It has nothing to do with responsibility!"
"Aye, Tirsaer." She pulled out a book and glanced at the cover.
"Wait—are you implying that I'm irresponsible? I'm a necromancer! I can't afford to be irresponsible! It's not that I can't take care of it, I just don't want to!"
"I'm good at stuff like this. You just watch. Irresponsible...." He stomped over to his bed and stuck a hand under it. "Hey, Garra. Get out here. We need to set up—argh!"
Listening to Tirsaer swear as he fended off an irate Garra, Ryni smiled and waited.
"Huh?" Tirsaer paused, then yelped as Garra clawed at his arm and disappeared back under the bed. "What was that for? And what was that 'bip' about?"
Frowning, Ryni pushed a button. "I know not. For while a call to battle would be expected, the alert of a message is not."
"A message?" Tirsaer bounded over, glanced at the screen, and whimpered.
To: Agents Tirsaer and Ryni
From: The Sunflower Official
See me. Now.
"Brief and concise," Ryni noted.
"The... Sunflower... Official?" Tirsaer gasped, sinking to the floor. "But—but I don't think we're even in his department! We aren't, are we? I thought we were Floaters. We're so dead we're so dead we're so dead—"
"You will cease your brainless babbling." Ryni stepped back from the console. "We must hurry and be off, lest we arrive too late."
"Too late for what?" Tirsaer scrambled to his feet. "He didn't say why we needed to see him. We could erase the message—"
"Just a thought."
They made certain to lock the door as they left, in case any wandering assassins passed by and felt the urge to intrude. Tirsaer would have been satisfied with locking it, anyway. Ryni insisted that it not only be locked, but bolted, chained shut, marked off with caution tape, cursed, booby-trapped, the lock fused, and urple duct taped closed. All this was accomplished in a disturbingly short time.
"Are you sure this isn't a little... excessive?" Tirsaer asked, shielding his eyes as she carefully taped a piece of paper to one of the chains. The urple glare of the tape prevented him from making out exactly what was written on the paper, but he suspected it said something along the lines of "die with thy internal organs spattered over the walls all ye who entereth here." "We do have to get back inside, you know."
"Do not believe me so foolish as to trap us away from our own home," Ryni scoffed, stepping back to admire her handiwork. "For indeed, there is a way, and that way shall we take. But to disappear and withdraw into the gray depths, leaving the entrance unblocked to peril and danger.... That would be sheer idiocy."
"I just hope you know what you're doing," Tirsaer muttered, following her down the hallway.
"Always, dear partner," Ryni assured him, turning down an intersecting passage. "Always."
"Right...." Tirsaer followed hesitantly, hoping they wouldn't be found trapped in an abandoned RC in forty years.
The exact nature of Headquarters was a point of debate among various agents. Some claimed that it was formed by the meeting of various worlds, the spot where Words bled together into one pocket of space. Others put about that it was merely a mass hallucination, and that one day they would wake up to discover giant plants were farming them for food. Still other agents believed that Headquarters was the combined product of various authorial minds, working together to torture the residents for their own morbid entertainment (this last theory was generally dismissed as far too paranoid and ridiculous by most, however).
What was known about Headquarters, however, was that it was enormous, gray, and almost impossible to navigate. Hallways led to dead ends one day and to the cafeteria the next, and by going up one level from the official Ground Floor on the stairway near Medical it was possible to end up in a mysterious room labeled "L54321—Greenish-White Observatory." Oddly enough, this room was somewhat pink in color, and the only thing that could be observed from it was the inside of a rather ordinary broom closet. There was rumored to be one reliable map, but not only was it in the possession of the Flowers That Be, it was apparently even more difficult to read than it was to find the correct route without using it.
The most reliable method of getting anywhere, in fact, was to simply not pay attention. This was the reason why Tirsaer refused to allow Ryni to lead the way on missions after he discovered she was capable of getting to the cafeteria from the SO's office in under thirty seconds.
Now, however, he followed her as she wound through the hallways, going through this door and down that staircase and up this elevator, spinning around only to retrace their way until they found a door that certainly wasn't there the last time they passed. Occasionally they encountered other agents, headed to who-knew-where on some business or another, and once they found themselves delayed by a centaur on stilts shouting "Ni! Ni!" at everyone who passed.
The journey almost certainly took longer than it should have, likely due to Tirsaer's anxious thoughts of the upcoming confrontation. As time went on, he grew more and more nervous, until eventually he had to say something.
"Aye?" She glanced back at him, opening a small door to reveal a winding passage as she did so.
"D'you know what they say about the SO?" Tirsaer followed her down the hallway, closing the door behind him.
"I am sure that if I do not now, I will learn in the very near future." She ducked to avoid a crossbow bolt that flew from an open doorway, followed by a stream of Sindarin profanity.
"They say he can glance at you and pluck your thoughts right out of your head," he informed her, breaking into a run as the crossbow bolt disappeared into another open doorway and an outraged shriek echoed through the halls. "That he always knows exactly what you've done wrong, even if you haven't done it yet."
"Aye?" They escaped from the narrow corridor and found themselves walking along a wider hallway.
"And that he's really the Ultimate Ruler of the Worlds. All of them. If he waves a frond, any universe of his choice will just collapse." He stepped aside to allow an eight-legged elephant to pass.
"Aye?" Ryni shot him a dubious glance.
"Did you know he's really dead? He's like a zombie or something. Maybe a really solid ghost. He got flamed by an insane agent, and he was back the next day, without a mark on him. And he's also not even the original Sunflower Official. There was another one, but he got in a duel with some evil Flower, and then the new Sunflower Official killed the evil Flower. And now he controls the whole PPC because the other Flowers are scared of him."
This time Ryni contented herself with rolling her eyes and sighing.
"One time, he was doing whatever he does in his office when he's not turning agents into fertilizer, and this 'Sue came running in. So do you know what he did? He looked at her. And she just died! Just like that!" He snapped his fingers for emphasis. "Big cloud of glitter was the only thing left."
Running her fingers along the wall as she walked, Ryni ignored him.
"He's also really into bondage."
Ryni stopped. "Tirsaer?"
"You seem to be referring to the Marquis de Sod."
"... Oh. Really?" They began walking again. "Wait—so who's the Marquis—"
"Here." Ryni halted and tapped at a section of the wall that, to Tirsaer, looked no different from the rest. "Beyond this awaits he who summoned us, the one that called us to his side."
"Really?" Tirsaer eyed the indicated area with trepidation. "So, uh, I don't suppose we can leave now?"
Enter, a voice snapped in his mind.
"I guess not," Tirsaer muttered as Ryni pushed at the wall, causing a hidden door to swing open and reveal the Sunflower Official's office.
The Sunflower Official glared at the agents as they entered, tapping impatiently on his desk. Tirsaer quailed under the eyeless stare, whimpering under his breath about 'Sues checking their closet before they go to sleep at night.
I don't suppose, he eventually said, steepling his fronds, that you would care to explain why a number of minis collected on one of your missions were found rampaging through Headquarters unsupervised?
When Tirsaer first joined the PPC, he'd thought it strange that one of the most feared beings in all of HQ was a giant sunflower wearing a suit. These days, he still thought it was strange, but he was right with everyone else when it came to the fear.
"Rampage?" Ryni repeated. "Those demons born from the careless typing of that which should be canon? As I recall, Tirsaer, you were the one to lead them to our response center, the one to take them home."
"What?" Tirsaer sputtered. "I told you, they followed me! I was all for dropping them off at the OFU, but no, someone wandered away before we could figure out what—"
"Your own words condemn you. They followed you, not I, and certainly not the scent of the blood of their creator. Do not deny the responsibility that is your own."
"I'm not denying anything! You—"
I don't care who should have done what, the Sunflower Official interjected. As far as I'm concerned, you are both held responsible. I just want to know how the minis got loose in the first place.
"Aye, Tirsaer. I would appreciate the knowledge of such information myself." Ryni crossed her arms.
"It wasn't my fault!" Tirsaer moaned. "Why are you blaming me?"
"No more reason than the simple and certain truth that you were the last one to be alone within their presence," Ryni pointed out. "If not yourself, upon whom would you lay the blame?"
"Why is such a big deal, anyway?" Tirsaer demanded. "Stuff like this happens all the time."
That is true. All the same, however, I certainly do not appreciate being attacked by minis. The Sunflower Official rustled in irritation. That said, I hope you have a decent explanation for why a mini-Kyuubi by the name of Uchia attempted to forcibly remove my petals.
"It did what? And it's our fault?" Tirsaer buried his face in his hands and whimpered. "I knew we were so dead!"
The SO tapped the desk impatiently. Well?
"I'm thinking, I'm thinking!" He closed his eyes. "Let's see... Ryni left, minis attacked, I got eaten, Nara showed up, minis ran off...." His eyes popped open. "That's it! They ran away when Nara showed up! It's not my fault after all!"
Actually, it is. They were under your care when they escaped. The SO sighed. Still, I will talk with Agent Nara. You are dismissed.
"So we're not being punished?" Tirsaer asked hopefully.
I said dismissed. I expect you have a mission or something waiting. The SO pointedly picked up a sheaf of papers.
"Again? But we just—" Before Tirsaer could finish, Ryni slapped a hand over his mouth and pulled him towards the door.
"We apologize and beg forgiveness for our error," she called to the Sunflower Official as they left.
"Why'd you do that?" Tirsaer demanded once they were outside.
"To antagonize and anger our superiors would be the height of folly. Far better to hold your words still and remain silent than risk the furious wrath of one who could bring down chaos and despair upon our heads." She strode off down the hallway, leaving her partner to hurry after. "Now let us be off, let us return to our response center, where we may perhaps rest for a time—or be called to action and danger once more."
"I'm guessing 'action and danger,'" Tirsaer said gloomily. "Probably something really nasty, too. The SO's mad at us, after all, which means that he probably used his Flowery Mind Tricks to find something guaranteed to make us flamethrower-raving and get it assigned to us."
"Most certainly this will be regretted, yet still I must know what is meant by the aforementioned Flowery Mind Tricks." Ryni cast an inquiring glance at Tirsaer.
"Like Jedi Mind Tricks, but for Flowers. You know." He gestured vaguely. "Same thing he used to figure out that we were the ones to find those minis."
"Likely he made inquiry into recently discovered minis and the agents who recovered them," Ryni suggested.
"And what about the way he knew who Nara was?" Tirsaer continued, ignoring her. "You can't tell me he knows every single agent in HQ! He probably dug around in our brains to find out who we meant."
"Or perhaps he thought to search records and reports to discover Agent Nara's identity for himself," Ryni offered.
"Y'know, I bet the Flowers are secretly in charge of the multiverse. Think about it! It makes so much sense. And 'Sues are probably the creations of their archenemies, the Weedwhackers of Chaos, which is why—how'd we get here so fast?" They halted in front of a familiar door, heavily chained and bolted.
"Your pointless rambling distracted your mind, freeing your footsteps to lead the way." Ryni stepped forward, pulling out a pair of sewing scissors.
"For all the good that does us. I told you not to be so enthusiastic with—what in the name of the Charter are you doing?" Tirsaer jumped back against the opposite wall.
"Creating an entrance otherwise denied." Ryni serenely tucked away her scissors, brushing past the charred debris surrounding the door.
"But—but there's no need to be so dramatic about it! What are those scissors made of, anyway?" He followed her inside, carefully wedging the door shut. "Look at this! You warped the door, and now it doesn't fit right!"
"Surely you recall and remember that the door hardly fit correctly when we first arrived here at this place." Ryni collapsed on her bed, which creaked in protest.
"Well, yeah, but it fits even worse now—that thing's still here?" Indeed, Garra was stretched out on Tirsaer's bed, eyes closed and tails twitching. Tirsaer settled for leaning against the console.
"You expected otherwise?" Ryni asked, cocking her head to the side.
"Not really, but it would have been nice to—gah!" Tirsaer leapt away from the console as it emitted a familiar sound.
"Should have known," Tirsaer muttered, lifting his hand from the console. On the bed, Garra looked up briefly, then went back to sleep. "Better not be Abhorsenverse again, or there will be explosions. And they will be loud." He bent over to examine the screen.
"So tell me, beloved partner of mine, shall I quake with fear and tremble with terror?" Ryni stood up, stretching. "Is my sanity to be worn away, forever lost to the darkness of clumsy prose and pathetic plotting?" She paused, noticing that Tirsaer was still frozen before the console. "Tirsaer?"
A noise not unlike a hysterical giggle came from his mouth. It was not a pleasant sound.
"Not a 'Sue. Don't think so, anyway." Moving with exaggerated slowness, he backed away from the console. "Rurouni Kenshin High School AU. Love triangle to get Kaoru together with Kenshin."
"Come now, Tirsaer. I can hardly be expected to believe that alone is worthy of such horror and outrage." Quickly locating the Rurouni Kenshin manga series on the bookshelf, she pulled out all twenty-eight volumes and managed to stuff them into a backpack, which she tossed at her partner.
He caught the backpack and shrugged it on, almost unconsciously. "No. Of course there's more." Turning to the console, he set the disguise generator and opened a portal. "There's Tomoe-bashing. Tomoe-bashing. As in warping the character of Kenshin's first wife, the one who died for him, in order to make her look bad. And when I say warping, I mean almost completely reversing her personality. And when I say reversing her personality, I mean—"
"Tirsaer." Ryni walked up behind him, laying a hand on his shoulder.
"You are being ridiculous and absurd, rambling without purpose. If you wish to be of use, desire to serve a purpose more than unhelpful moaning, you will still your tongue and prepare to kill." Ryni open up her notebook and pulled out a pen. "Alert me when you are prepared."
"But—but this is Tomoe! As in Yukishiro Tomoe!" He gestured helplessly. "How can they do this to her? It's so—"
Sighing, Ryni gave him a hard shove to the back, knocking him through the portal. Shaking her head, she followed, and the portal closed after her.
They arrived in front of a Generic High School, washed out and gray with lack of description, with a few random characters standing about aimlessly. There was also a steady rain of misplaced punctuation, bouncing off the ground and the agents. Yelping, Tirsaer covered his head with his hands, while Ryni pulled out a small umbrella carried for just these situations. As she opened it, Tirsaer shot over to stand next to her and share the protection against the flying commas.
"Right," he muttered, gnawing absently on a candy bar pulled from his pocket. "No Tomoe yet."
Ryni glanced at him suspiciously. "Tell me, then, might one Yukishiro Tomoe be your Lust Object?"
"Anything's possible," Tirsaer shrugged.
At this moment, Kenshin rode up on a motorcycle, Tomoe riding behind him. Due to the lack of description, they both appeared as their canonical selves. Needless to say, they looked somewhat out of place in their traditional Japanese clothing, riding on a 'Harley&Davidson' motorcycle.
"Tomoe!" Candy bar falling forgotten from his hand, Tirsaer leaned forward in avid fascination. Then his brow creased. "She's going to get her kimono dirty."
"That is likely to be the least of all she should feel concern over." Ryni passed the umbrella to Tirsaer, holding her pen ready to take charges.
" Kenshin, can you believe it?" Tomoe asked Kenshin very questioningly.
" Believe what, Tomoe?" Kenshin asked Tomoe as he helped her off the motorcycle.
" That, were high school seniors." Tomoe said to Kenshin as she grabbed his hand.
" Oh," Kenshin said to Tomoe as he tightened his grip on her hand.
"Ow!" Tirsaer ducked to avoid the flying punctuation. "Not cool!"
"I suspect you will appreciate the upcoming developments even less," Ryni warned.
Meanwhile, Kenshin was looking at a beautiful girl. She has black hair, a lavendar ribbon tied into a bow for her ponytail, and she was wearing a Dior halter top and mini skirt. Along with Dior sandals.
"Painful sentence fragments," Tirsaer complained. "And why does she get description? Not to mention an ugly hair ribbon." Indeed, the "lavendar" hair ribbon glowed a rather hideous eye-blinding pale purple, outlining Kaoru's face in an almost-halo of light.
"Her status as Designated Love Interest of the favored character allows her such otherwise-denied details," Ryni explained.
"Well, Tomoe should get description," Tirsaer sniffed. "Add that to the charge list."
Ryni gave him an odd look, but complied.
' Damn, she's fine as hell. That girl must be Kaoru Kamiya, I wonder what she's doing talking to Megumi Takani.' Kenshin had thought to himself.
" Kenshin, don't tell me your staring at Kaoru Kamiya." Tomoe said to Kenshin as she gave him an icy glare.
" So, what if I am? I don't see what the problem is, Tomoe." Kenshin said to Tomoe very casually.
" I don't see how you can be interested in, Kamiya anyways." Tomoe said very snootily to Kenshin as they made it to the schedule room.
"Wait, stop—that can't be right." Not seeming to notice the shower of misapplied punctuation that struck him as he struggled with both the umbrella and his backpack, Tirsaer fumbled for the Character Analysis Device. "Tomoe's not an over-possessive, jealous girlfriend. She's an emotionally distant, self-sacrificing young woman with grace and dignity and poise and where did I put that device?"
"Do you not realize that she is far from the only one affected by this travesty of a fic?" Ryni demanded, exasperated, as she dodged a comma.
"Oh, yeah, Kenshin's pretty bad, too." Tirsaer continued to root around in his backpack, ignoring Kaoru and Megumi as they discussed in badly formatted dialogue whether or not Kenshin was looking at Kaoru. "He wouldn't just randomly ignore Tomoe because someone else looks pretty."
Meanwhile, Tomoe and Kenshin were now getting into a heavy argument. Kaoru and Megumi, had stopped walking and looked at the bickering couple. The whole high school status of goths, the popular girls, the popular boys, the nerds, and the geeks. Had all their eyes on Tomoe and Kenshin, too.
"I should have expected and anticipated such clichés of categorization," Ryni noted.
"Why are they arguing?" Tirsaer wanted to know. "They like each other." By this time, he'd dumped the contents of his backpack on the ground and was currently digging through the resulting pile, which seemed to consist of assorted novels, candy bars, notebooks, and pens, not to mention the manga volumes brought along for the exorcism. At this point, Ryni rescued the umbrella from her oblivious partner. "I know it's here somewhere...."
"Upon our return, perhaps you should consider emptying and organizing your belongings," Ryni suggested.
"But then I won't be able to find anything," Tirsaer complained.
Tomoe, had looked at the corner of her dark brown eyes. And had caught her eye on Kaoru, with Megumi standing in the middle of the courtyard. Tomoe, had drawed out her sword infront of the crowd.
" Kamiya, draw out your sword." Tomoe shouted out to Kaoru.
"Got it!" Grim-faced, Tirsaer finally managed to pull the CAD from the tangle of equipment and aimed it at Tomoe. A click, a brief whirring sound, and then the device let out a piercing screech, causing Ryni to lean forward and smack the MUTE button.
[Yukishiro Tomoe. Human female. Canon/Non-canon. WARNING! CHARACTER POSSESSION DETECTED! COMMENCE EXORCISM IMMEDIATELY!]
"I knew it!" Tirsaer wailed, dropping the CAD as if burned (in fact, he had been, as CADs heat up very fast; he just didn't notice until later). "She's been possessed! I knew she couldn't act so... so..." He waved a hand about in the air.
"Shallow and petty, belligerent and whining?" Ryni suggested, stooping to recover the CAD from the ground.
"Yeah, that! And she can't use a sword, anyway! Wait, isn't this a high school? Why is she carrying a sword?" He hastily repacked his bag and swung it onto his back, then took the umbrella back from Ryni. "I didn't think high schools let their students carry swords."
"The Suethor clearly lacks even your loose version of logic," Ryni sighed.
Kaoru, had felt everybody in the crowd staring at her. She had no idea what to do, so she asked Tomoe.
" Why should I draw out my sword for you, Tomoe?" Kaoru asked Tomoe very curiously.
" You were trying to steal my Kenshin, away from me." Tomoe shouted to Kaoru very angrily.
Tomoe, was charging up towards Kaoru with her sword. Kaoru, had no choice but to draw out her sword too. Kaoru, was playing defense. So, she stood there waiting for Tomoe to attack her.
"Oh, come on," Tirsaer moaned. "I know better than that. You don't just stand there waiting when someone's attacking you. And Tomoe's still possessed!"
"As should be expected, since she has yet to undergo exorcism," Ryni snapped. Raising the CAD, she aimed it at Kaoru.
[Kamiya Kaoru. Human female. Canon. OOC 43%]
"So she has not been 'Sued," Ryni noted. "Our mission is made that much easier."
"Easy?" Tirsaer pointed at Tomoe in fury. "Fixing that is not going to be easy!"
Kaoru, had lifted her sword vertically. Tomoe, was trying to cut Kaoru's face with her sword. But she was unsuccessful. Kaoru, had kicked Tomoe in the stomach hard.
Tomoe, had fell backwards on the ground. Kenshin, was watching Tomoe and Kaoru sword fight with eachother.
' I have to win this fight my Kenshin, is watching.' Tomoe thought to herself as she got up from the ground.
" Who are you putting on a show for Kenshin or yourself?" Kaoru asked Tomoe very angrily.
"My poor Tomoe. My poor, poor, possessed Tomoe," Tirsaer moaned, shaking his head sadly and clutching the umbrella. "Why do they torment you so?"
"You know well as I that they suspect her of interrupting, of interfering with their desired pairing," Ryni said wearily. "They care not for the fact that both pairings are equally canonical."
"But what's the point?" Tirsaer demanded. "Of course Kenshin/Kaoru's canonical. I mean, they have a kid in the end and everything. So why do they bother bashing Tomoe? Sure she married Kenshin, but she's dead by the time the series starts, so it's not like she can interfere with their True Love or anything!"
"Ah, but remember, dear partner, that the simple minds of fangirls often cannot comprehend that he may have loved both equally," Ryni reminded him. "They do not understand that he loved them for different reasons, and loved them at very different moments in time. They feel the one must be diminished so the other may shine the more, and in the process destroy that which they meant to save."
"I don't like it." Tirsaer shook his head slowly. "I just don't like it."
"And neither do I." She returned to the scene before them.
But before Kaoru and Tomoe, could even finish off their sword fight. The school bell had rang, for the school assembly. Kaoru, was staring at Tomoe with her blue eyes. And Tomoe, was staring down at Kaoru with her dark brown eyes.
" We will finish this fight at lunch." Tomoe said very angrily to Kaoru.
" I'll see you at lunch then, Tomoe-chan." Kaoru said very angrily to Tomoe right back. " I can't wait to beat you down." Tomoe said to Kaoru as she walked away from her.
"You mean the teachers don't do anything to stop sword fights in the hallways?" Tirsaer whistled. "They're lucky blood isn't flying all over the place."
"How do we know for certain it is indeed not?" Ryni asked. "The lack of description clouds our eyesight, prevents us from observing our surroundings."
"You mean I might be standing in a puddle of blood right now and never know it?" Tirsaer glanced down at his boots, which, although somewhat scuffed and dirty, remained free of student bodily fluids. "Ew."
Now Megumi wandered up to Kaoru and began chatting in a rather un-Megumi-like way,
" Kaoru, that was one awesome fight you were in with Tomoe." Megumi said to Kaoru very happily.
" Thanks, Megumi." Kaoru said to Megumi as she put her sword back in her sword sack.
" So, Kaoru... I saw Kenshin in the middle of the courtyard watching you and Tomoe sword fighting." Megumi said to Kaoru very casually.
" What about, Kenshin?" Kaoru asked Megumi very curiously.
" ' bye, Kaoru." Megumi said to Kaoru as she walked away.
"I do not see Megumi using the word 'awesome'," Tirsaer grumbled. "Although the teasing about Kenshin isn't too off. Canon!Megumi is better at it, though."
"Sword sack?" Ryni repeated incredulously. "I believe, shipper, that the word you intended is sheath, not sword sack."
"We already knew that she knows nothing about—argh!"
The ground tilted and dissolved in a change of scene, dropping the agents in an undescribed hallway. Ahead of them, Sanosuke was talking with Misao about the failings of their first teacher.
"My head hurts," Tirsaer complained, huddling beneath the umbrella to avoid falling punctuation. "And so do my feet, and eyes, and hands, and—"
"I understand, Tirsaer. I truly do." She pursed her lips, scanning the Words. "Is this teacher to die a swift death, on charges of aiding the possession of a character?"
"Not sure." They followed Sanosuke and Misao into the classroom, standing against the almost nonexistent wall and examining the bit-character critically.
Miss.Tachi, had her long glossy black hair tied with two red chopsticks into a bun. She had a bun on the top, and then her glossy black hair hung loosse on her back. She wore a white blouse and a blue mini skirt. Along with some dark blue heels. Miss.Tachi, was the ripe age of twenty-two.
Sanosuke, had thought that Miss. Tachi, had looked really hot.
' How can a teacher look this hot and be so bitchy at the same time?"Sanosuke thought to himself.
"Well, I feel sorry for her already, with that description and all," Tirsaer mused. "I'm sure Medical can do something to clean out the punctuation and everything.
As the class went on, the teacher did nothing worthy of the hatred directed towards her by the students. Tirsaer glanced at Ryni.
"I vote recruitment," he said. "I mean, she already has a description, name, and age, and maybe the start of a personality, so why not?"
Ryni grinned slightly. "So certain you are. Are you not, then, simply imitating your Lust Object's distaste for needless slaughter?"
"No! Of course not!" Despite his words, a faint blush crept over his cheeks. "It's just, you now, none of the bit-characters really do anything. We don't have any charges against them beside being badly written, and that's not their fault."
"So be it, then, if you are so set upon this course of action." Ryni shrugged. "We will return as the students move on. But now brace yourself."
Again the world swirled into nothing, then reformed into a different classroom.
Kaoru, couldn't believe that she was sitting next to Tomoe. The young woman who was the ripe age of eighteen. Tomoe, had everything that she could possibly want. And, Kaoru was just secretly envying Tomoe for getting to Kenshin first. Kaoru, couldn't believe that Kenshin was so madly in love with Tomoe.
"He loves her because she's awesome!" Tirsaer declared. "She's quiet, and pretty, and dignified, and forgiving, and—"
"Such have you already said," Ryni cut in, watching Kaoru try to analyze a poem.
" What's the point of this poem anyways, Kaoru?" Tomoe asked Kaoru very sarcastically.
" I have no idea, Tomoe."Kaoru said to Tomoe very sarcastically.
" Your acting so cold. Now why is that?" Tomoe asked Kaoru with a crooked smile on her face.
" Because, Tomoe you stole Kenshin away from me." Kaoru shouted to Tomoe louder then she shouldn't have.
"What?" Tirsaer shouted. The class turned to stare, then promptly turned back to the central characters as the agent froze. More quietly, Tirsaer went on, "I know we're supposed to feel sorry for her and all, but Tomoe never stole Kenshin! They're going out! Stealing has nothing to do with it!"
"The implication is of stolen love, not of literal thievery," Ryni corrected, glaring at him. "Can you not see beyond the injustice done to your object of devotion?"
"I can try," Tirsaer muttered, staring at the ground.
"Do more than try," Ryni advised.
Tomoe, had took out her sword. Kaoru, had did the same. The two young women had stood up from their chairs. Kaoru and Tomoe were now face-to-face with eachother. They were ready to fight, for their love for Kenshin.
" Kaoru, get over yourself. Kenshin, is my boyfriend not your's!" Tomoe said to Kaoru, as she swung her sword at her.
Kaoru, had blocked Tomoe's blow from her sword.
"At least the teacher's doing something this time," Tirsaer grumbled as the teacher sent them to the principal. "Can we recruit?"
"No description, no personality," Ryni listed. "Only a name, and no other qualities whatsoever. It is like a puppet with cut strings. The others may be salvaged, but this one is not worth the time."
"All right, then." Tirsaer sighed. "Just make sure Tomoe's gone first."
Kaoru and Tomoe left the room, and the other, undescribed students faded away. The teacher, however, was gifted with a name, and thus remained. Ryni cleared her throat.
"I believe you to be one Mr. Suzuki?" she said.
The bit-character looked at her blankly, but didn't say anything.
Ryni nodded in satisfaction. "As I thought." Leaving the protection of the umbrella temporarily, she stepped behind the character, and then her garrote was around its throat. It did not struggle, and after a few moments she lowered the body to the floor.
"So, what are we going to do with the body?" Tirsaer asked.
"Nothing more than the sea." She pulled out the remote activator and pushed a button. The body was shoved through the resulting portal, and a splash was heard. "More creative disposal methods should be reserved for 'Sues."
"Okay." Tirsaer headed for the door, and Ryni followed. "Come on, we have to keep up with Tomoe."
"And Kaoru," Ryni added.
"Her too," Tirsaer agreed.
By the time they caught up, the aforementioned characters were in the middle of an argument about whose fault their punishment was. They entered the principal's office, and the agents slipped in after.
"Oh, look. More Original Characters." Tirsaer rolled his eyes in disgust as the canons encountered the secretary, an old lady with gray hair, who was really small looking.
" What can I do for you girls this morning?" Mrs.Saito asked Tomoe and Kaoru very meanily.
" Were here to see the principal for something." Tomoe said very casually to Mrs.Saito.
Mrs.Saito, was one of the meanest secretary's in the office.Kaoru, was surprised that Mrs.Saito was being kind to Tomoe like that. Kaoru, had always known Mrs.Saito to be a total pain in the ass and a bitchy secretary.
"Using a canonical character's name for an original character is bad." Tirsaer shook his head. "Charge. D'you think we need any more secretaries at HQ?"
"Quite possibly, yes." Ryni nodded. "We are given a name, a description, and a vague personality. If you desire recruitment, I will not halt you."
The canons were called to see the principal, leaving the agents alone with the secretary. Without authorial influence, the bit-character stiffened, staring blankly ahead.
"Hey, Mrs. Saito person," Tirsaer called, tapping on the desk.
The bit-character looked up and blinked, but didn't say anything.
Not discouraged, Tirsaer went on. "We are assassins," he announced proudly, "and we are here to exorcise Tomoe."
Ryni cleared her throat.
"And everyone else," he added belatedly. "So, you want a job?"
" I have, a job." the bit-character said.
"A new job." Tirsaer nodded enthusiastically. "It has all sorts of benefits. You get to meet people and stuff."
After a moment of consideration, the bit-character responded. " Okay."
"Right!" Tirsaer whipped out the remote activator and pushed a button, opening a portal to FicPsych. "Just go through here, please."
" Okay." The bit-character stood up and began to shamble around the desk. Before she could step through the portal, Tirsaer handed her a piece of paper on which was written "Recruit from Tirsaer and Ryni."
"All set!" He gave her a brilliant smile. As the bit seemed content to just stand blinking, however, he eventually shook his head and gave her a shove through the portal, which then snapped shut.
"If you are finished and complete, the focus of our concern has just walked past and is now headed elsewhere." Ryni pointed towards Tomoe and Kaoru, who were arguing as they left the room. "Shall we follow?"
"Can we get that other teacher first?" Tirsaer asked hopefully.
"If such is your desire, then so we shall."
They portaled to the classroom, which emptied of students just as they arrived. Only the teacher remained, looking somewhat puzzled as her students faded away.
"Hey!" Tirsaer called waving to catch her attention. "We're from a secret organization of assassins and stuff, and we're recruiting. Because we can."
"More accurate to say that you imitate action of which you believe your Lust Object would approve," Ryni muttered.
"So you want to join?" Tirsaer continued. "It's cool!"
" Why, should I?" the bit-teacher asked. "I am a teacher"
"Well, if you don't Ryni'll probably kill you," Tirsaer admitted sheepishly. "That's a good reason."
" I will join." the bit-teacher said.
"Er, right." Tirsaer fumbled with the remote activator, finally opening a portal, which he gestured the bit-character through. "Finished!"
"Then shall we once again return to our true duty, to watch over the canons once more?" Ryni pointedly gestured towards the remote activator.
"Yup!" Another portal dropped them off in a Generic Hallway, where the main characters of the fic—minus Kaoru and Tomoe—chatted aimlessly. Eventually the two errant love interests appeared, seemingly out of nowhere.
" Did you miss me, Kenshin?" Tomoe asked Kenshin as she walked up to him, and gave Kenshin the longest kiss.
"Yes! Finally some Kenshin/Tomoe!" Tirsaer punched the air in triumph, earning him a disgusted look from Ryni.
"You would do well to keep your foolishness to yourself," she warned, gesturing at the Words.
Kaoru's heart was breaking fast. Wasn't it because Kaoru, was very deeply in love with Kenshin? Or, was it a jealous rage going through Kaoru?
' But what does Kenshin Himura, even see in Tomoe anyways? I mean she's not even pretty.' Kaoru had thought to herself.
"I beg to differ!" Tirsaer crossed his arms indignantly, accidentally lowering the umbrella in the process and getting hit in the face with a comma before he hastily raised it again. "Tomoe's gorgeous. She's absolutely stunning."
At this moment a bit-character the Words identified as the principal strode stiffly down the hallway, yelling at the students to go to class without looking at them. As he passed, Tirsaer opened another portal to FicPsych, which the bit passed through without pausing in his steps.
"What?" Tirsaer asked at Ryni's sigh. "We can't kill it with Tomoe standing there."
"Be that as it may, but the canons are now parting ways and leaving for destinations unknown." She gestured at said canons, who had indeed begun to walk in different directions.
"But we do know where they're going," Tirsaer protested. "It's in the Words. C'mon, we need to keep up with Tomoe." As Tomoe, Misao, and Aoshi passed, he hurried after them with Ryni following behind. Before they reached the class, Tomoe snapped at the other two for staring at each other, making them blush.
"I remain dubious and highly doubt that Aoshi, notoriously stoic as he is, would react to such pathetic words with embarrassment," Ryni commented.
They finally arrived at the class, which turned out to be a course on nutrition taught by a bit named Mrs. Ino. As the canons sat down, Tirsaer and Ryni stood at the back of the room and tried to be inconspicuous. There was really no chance of being spotted, but it never hurt to be safe.
Down a row from where Aoshi, Misao, and Tomoe were sitting at. There was a muscular guy who has white hair, a tan appearance, and little glasses. Was looking very bored. Misao, had noticed the guy.
" Is that your brother, Enishi?" Misao asked Tomoe very shocked.
"So the existence of other canonical characters is permitted." Ryni shook her head. "Could some not be allowed their escape?"
" Didn't you hear about the cat fight?" Enishi asked another guy sitting right next to him.
The guy that Enishi was talking to was Saito. When, Misao and Tomoe had kept on staring at the two guys talking away. Mrs. Ino, had walked up towards Misao and Tomoe.
Ryni snorted with amusement as Saito Hajime popped into existence, wearing his typical disgruntled expression and smoking a cigarette. "Description would serve you well, writer," she advised, "lest an irate Wolf of Mibu should take offense."
" Are you tow looking for a score with those two gentleman?" Mrs. Ino asked Misao and Tomoe, pointing at Enishi and Saito.
'' A score with them? No way!" Misao shouted out at Mrs. Ino.
The classroom full of students had all turned around to see what was going on.
" Enishi, is my brother! I would never screw with, Saito." Tomoe shouted out to Mrs. Ino.
"Unlike the horror and disgust the author seems to find within the suggestion, I find myself much appreciative of the concept of Saito/Tomoe," Ryni noted.
"Really? I'm more a Kenshin/Tomoe fan myself. It's so tragic and beautiful, like Turin/Nienor and Gonou/Kanan." Tirsaer sighed, clutching the umbrella he still carried more tightly.
Ryni looked at him oddly. "I trust you realize and have full awareness of the incestuous nature of the latter two 'ships."
"So? Doesn't make them any less tragic. They deserved a happy ending of some sort." Tirsaer glared. "Look, if you're allowed like Fëanor/Vetinari and Remus Lupin/Angua von Uberwald, I'm allowed to like my doomed incestuous romances that end in suicide."
"I would not dare to allow the very thought otherwise to cross my the landscapes of my mind."
"Good." As the classroom laughed for no obvious reason, Tirsaer groaned in annoyance. "Scene change. Hooray."
No sooner had he spoken than the world whirled into a gray, nauseating blur, slamming back down in a different class. Empty except for Kaoru and Megumi, who where busy cooking Generic food, the room appeared to the agents as gray and almost nonexistent.
"Why won't she just shut up already?" Tirsaer muttered as Kaoru whined about Kenshin and Tomoe. "And stop with the bashing while you're at it!"
Yet another scene change struck, dropping them into a basketball court that was empty except for Kenshin and Sanosuke running back and forth for no apparent reason. The two were discussing the supposed rumors that were spreading about Kaoru and Tomoe. Eventually they decided a teacher was spreading them.
"Rumors? Like they're passionately in love or something?" Tirsaer asked.
"Doubtful, although I suspect the fic would become infinitely more tolerable if it was so," Ryni answered.
Another scene change, bringing a chapter change along with it, and the agents found themselves in the hallway with a sulking Kaoru, who for some reason had left her class. Shortly, Kenshin (who was wearing a robe) walked down the hallway and began to talk to her.
" I'm sorry about,Tomoe. She can be a real bitch sometimes." Kenshin said to Kaoru very casually.
" Sometimes?" Kaoru questioned Kenshin.
" Okay, then all the time." Kenshin confessed to Kaoru.
" Exactly my point, Kenshin." Kaoru said to Kenshin.
Kenshin, had came up towards Kaoru. She had found herself walking backwards towards the halllway lockers. Kenshin, was now face-to-face with Kaoru.
"No no no! It's canon that Kenshin loves Tomoe!" Tirsaer growled, then started as he read the Words. "Who should, incidentally, be coming along any second now, just in time to see Kenshin confess his love for Kaoru."
"Perhaps we should lie waiting and ready, candles burning on the ground and bells in our hands, for your possessed Lust Object to arrive," Ryni suggested. "The charge list has certainly grown to the point where exorcism is not only permitted, but necessary."
"Finally!" Tirsaer pulled of his backpack and dumped it onto the ground, ignoring Ryni's wince as its contents scattered over the floor. "Okay, candles, books, and I have the bells. They won't be able to bind or anything in this continuum, but they still ring."
While Kenshin and Kaoru continued with their conversation, the agents scrambled to set up the exorcism before Tomoe could arrive. As Ryni traced a wide circle on the ground with chalk, careful to leave a gap for the possessed character to enter, Tirsaer lined up six white tapers around the edges and lit them, nearly setting his umbrella on fire in the process. Eventually the circle was complete, however, and Ryni stood ready by the circle's entrance with a piece of chalk in one hand and a stack of manga in the other while Tirsaer ran his fingers over his bandolier of bells, trying to decide which one to use.
" Is there something wrong with our friendship?" Kenshin asked Kaoru very concerned.
" No, why are you asking me this?" Kaoru asked Kenshin very curiously.
" Because I'm going out with the bitchy Tomoe, and then while I'm with her I am thinking about someone else." Kenshin confessed to Kaoru.
" Then, who is this girl? Do I know this her?" Kaoru asked Kenshin.
" The girl is you." Kenshin said to Kaoru.
"Almost...." Tirsaer muttered, pulling Saraneth the Binder from the bandolier, his eyes fixed onto the now-visible Tomoe as she approached the circle. "Just a few steps more... There!"
Tomoe, had heard everything that Kenshin and Kaoru were talking about. The bitchy girlfriend of Kenshin had to hear the bitter truth from Kenshin and Kaoru.
Now Ryni sprang forward, drawing the final line on the ground before tossing the chalk away and grasping the manga with both hands. A distinctly evil look in her eyes, she hefted the books once and then brought them down over Tomoe's head with a loud thwap. The possessed character staggered, and Ryni repeated the action, then drew n a deep breath and let it again in an eardrum-shattering bellow. "OUT! OUT, FOUL DEMON OF THE DEEPEST DEPTHS OF A FANGIRL'S DELUSIONS! THE POWER OF WATSUKI COMMANDS YOU TO VANISH AND BE GONE, TO TROUBLE CANON NO MORE!"
"Hey! Don't hurt her!" Tirsaer protested as he began to ring his bell. "GO AWAY, AUTHOR! I'M ORDERING YOU BY THE POWER OF WATSUKI! GET OUT, OR YOU'LL REGRET IT!"
Tomoe went down to her knees with a choked cry, eyes rolling up in her head. From their position down the hallway, Kenshin and Kaoru turned to stare at the scene with dull, blank gazes. " What, are you doing?" Kenshin asked.
Unconcerned, Ryni continued the exorcism, beating a weakly struggling Tomoe around the head with somewhat disturbing enthusiasm. "You are cast out in the name of WATSUKI! You are banished by the powers of CHARACTERIZATION and GRAMMAR! I deny you, wraith, and all that you may represent! Get out, fanon! Leave and disperse, trouble us no more!"
"Yeah! Go away!" Continuing to ring the bell, Tirsaer cleared his throat with a somewhat worried expression. "Uh, Ryni? I don't think you have to hit so hard. You're going to hurt her if—Glaurung it, get back!"
The powers of the bell, book, and candles had finally worked. With one final, stifled gasp, Tomoe slumped to the ground, and as Ryni hurriedly jumped back with a disgusted expression, a pinkish mist streamed from the fallen canon's nose and mouth. It swirled and twisted into a vaguely female shape, which hovered in the air for a moment with a sullen pout on its hazy lips before rushing at the agents. It never reached them, however, as it struck the invisible barrier formed by the circle and flinched back with a screech.
" Why are you so mean?!" it whined. " Tomoe, is such a bitch! Kenshin hasto be with Kaoru!" It stamped an almost nonexistent foot angrily. " Nothing, can get between them!"
"You do know that Tomoe's dead by the time the story starts, right?" Tirsaer asked, tucking Saraneth away and picking up the notebook Ryni had left on the ground by the backpack. "Dead for about a decade. She's not going to be interfering with Kenshin/Kaoru."
" OMG I hate her!" the author-wraith shrieked. " She's bitchy and ugly and Kenshin can't have loved her because he loves Kaoru and she never loved him and—"
"Shut. Up," Tirsaer forced out between gritted teeth, lowering his umbrella to point accusingly at the wraith. As a dramatic gesture it failed horribly, as the still-falling punctuation rapidly forced him to raise it again. "Now, I am going to read your charges. And you will be silent. And then I will kill you."
"Yet the next 'Sue shall be mine, partner," Ryni called out. She remained at the edge of the circle, staring at the author-wraith with narrowed eyes and seemingly oblivious to the commas bouncing off her head. "It has been long indeed since I have last been permitted to deliver justice."
"—and stupid and evil and bitchy and dumb and not his true love and—" The author-wraith hadn't paused its rant, and seemed unlikely to anytime in the near future, so Tirsaer shrugged and proceeded to read the charges over its words.
"Wraith, you are charged with lack of description, random application of spacing and punctuation, writing in painful sentence fragments, horrible grammar, atrocious spelling, giving Kaoru a 'lavendar' hair ribbon, not giving Tomoe description, using stereotypes, letting high school students bring swords to school, lack of swordly knowledge, making teachers apathetic to the potential death of students, giving bit-characters the names of canonical characters, an amazingly stupid and clichéd plotline, boringness, throwing everyone so far out of character they couldn't poke it with a very long stick, making Aoshi blush, insulting an agent's 'ships, causing agents to get into an argument over said 'ships, making Kenshin call Tomoe a bitch, and really, really, really annoying PPC agents. Plus you insulted my Tomoe. Your punishment is death. You have no trial. I will kill you now. Any questions?" The notebook was dropped, and Tirsaer pulled out his swab, advancing on the babbling wraith.
"—and would have killed him and is so horrible and ugly and cruel and married him and—urk—" As the swab swished through its misty body, the wraith froze. Soon it began to dissolve into glitter, staining the swab and the ground beneath it. Vainly struggling to hold its fading body together, the author-wraith worked its mouth a few times before any words would come out, and when they did, the only thing that could be heard was a pitiful wail of " But I hate her! And, you!" Then the wraith was gone, except for the lingering smell of burned licorice and rotting marshmallows.
With a sigh, Tirsaer lowered the swab. "Well. That's done, then." Around him, the barely described school was fading further with the removal of the wraith, and soon all that remained was a gray, featureless space, in which the various canonical characters (plus the remaining bit-character) stood, puzzled expressions on their faces. Tomoe, still unconscious in the middle of the circle, lay sprawled on her stomach, while Kenshin and Kaoru stood to the side, blinking as the effects of the wraith wore off. The other characters clustered in a group, the glaze slowly fading from their eyes.
"Anyone know what just happened?" Sanosuke asked no one in particular.
The punctuation shower had vanished with the rest of the setting, and Tirsaer closed the umbrella and tossed it towards his backpack. The remote activator and the neuralyzer were quickly located, along with two pairs of sunglasses, and left out when the backpack was repacked. "Hey," he called to Ryni. "Could you use the flashy-thingy on the canons while I send the bit to FicPsych?"
"Surely and certainly I am able to do as such," Ryni replied, pulling on the sunglasses and picking up the neuralyzer.
As she advanced on the canons, pausing to rub out the chalk circle, Tirsaer tugged on the bit-teacher's sleeve and opened a portal. "Just through here, please." In a minute the bit was gone.
Suddenly he heard a sharp whisper: "Tomoe." He turned and saw Kenshin, one hand entwined with Kaoru's, staring at the body of his dead wife.
"Don't worry, she's still alive," Tirsaer informed him cheerfully, pushing on his sunglasses and rushing to check on Tomoe. "Look, she's waking up now! ... Oh, wait...."
When Tomoe's eyelids fluttered open, Kenshin made a strangled noise deep in his throat and took a step closer. Next to him, Kaoru's hand tightened over his fingers and she asked in a low voice, "Is that who I think it is?"
Blearily, Tomoe blinked and sat up, staring around with some confusion. Her gaze lit on Kenshin, and her eyes widened. "Kenshin," she breathed, a small smile touching her lips.
"Up you get, now." His grin somewhat fixed, Tirsaer hoisted her from the ground. "Forgot about the whole 'I killed you' thing for a minute," he muttered under his breath. "Charter save me...."
From the cluster of characters, someone pushed his way through and hurried over. "Nee-chan? You're alive!"
"Oh no." Tirsaer rubbed his forehead. Cue massive fight between Kenshin and Enishi in three, two....
At this point Ryni cleared her throat. "Your attention should now turn to me, to the object within my hand," she declared, loud enough to make everyone's head whip towards her. She held up the neuralyzer. "For this object contains the truth and nothing more." A flash, and everyone froze.
Tirsaer beamed and removed his sunglasses. "Okay. Everyone's had a very weird dream. Kenshin, you're a repentant assassin; Kaoru, you're the head of Kamiya Kasshin Ryu; Aoshi and Misao, you're ninjas; Saito, you're a Shinsengumi Captain turned policeman; Enishi, you're a vengeful guy who misses his sister; Megumi, you're a doctor; Sanosuke, you're a street fighter; Tomoe, you're in love with Kenshin and dead." For a second his face crumbled. Then he brightened up. "Let's get this canon back together!"
The gray dissolved into colors as the return of the characters' identities snapped the canon back into place, and with a sound like flipping pages, the characters themselves disappeared into their correct roles. For a second Tirsaer thought he saw bloodstained snow, and then it was gone.
Finally Tirsaer and Ryni were left standing alone in the middle of a Tokyo street, the place where the manga began. Soon Kaoru ran by, wielding a bokken and shouting at an innocent-faced Kenshin to halt and fight her.
"Back to canon, I see." Tirsaer sighed, wistful. "Did I ever tell you how much I love this series?"
They stood for a moment, watching the story unfold. Absently, Tirsaer scratched his arm and tried to think of white plum. Of course Tomoe had to die, but still....
"The execution is complete. Justice is obtained. Canon is restored. Let us return home."
A portal opened, and they stepped through. When it closed, there was no trace in the dusty street that they had ever existed, and the story continued uninterrupted.
* * *
A/N – I finally finished it! *victory dance* That took waaaay too long. Still, that has to have been one of the worst fics I've ever stumbled across. Up next: a Maglor Sue! Despair!
Oh, and for the record, this mission takes place a while before the Macrovirus Emergency.