Interlude 4: PPC-HQ, Nouvelle Calédonie
“Will Tadkeeta like this ring?” Tawaki held up a gold ring with a large emerald, from a Lord of the Rings Sue by way of the Tour Prend Pion pawnshop, 104 Rue Fait-des-Choses du Nord.
“Dunno.” Agent Stoneship Tayrime didn't even look at the ring.
“What's wrong?” Tawaki could guess; hundreds of Agents still in HQ had died in the past few days as dehydration took its toll.
“Chan died.” Agent Chan Tayrime, Department of Internal Affairs, was Stoneship's brother. He had been in HQ when the quarantine was placed in effect.
“Sorry to hear that.”
“The glaurunging League of Mary Sue Factories will PAY!”
“They already were, for everyone else who's died.”
“They'll pay EVEN MORE!” Stoneship's assimilation tubules twitched dangerously.
Tawaki's KI-cellphone rang. He opened it. “Allo?”
“Hi, Tadkeeta here. Are you on a mission?”
“Non, mais nous donnâmes la fille d'Elros et Éowyn aux araignées ce matin.”
“Drop the French. This may be New Caledonia, but most of us speak English. Besides, you're still having trouble with the nasal vowels.”
“Sorry. 'No, but we gave the daughter of Elros and Éowyn to the spiders this morning.'”
“Meet us at the corner of the Rue Dafydd Illian and the Rue Imbolc Telyan, by the hospital. Our TARDIS is the mailbox right on the northeast corner.”
“I'll be there in fifteen minutes.”
“See you then.” Tadkeeta rang off.
Tawaki walked down the Rue des Fleurs, trying hard to resist the urge to ignore his destination. That works in PPC HQ, but not on Earth. Besides, the city is so regularly laid-out that getting lost is well nigh impossible, unless you happen to be looking for a strange TARDIS. Tawaki was looking for a familiar one. He reached the corner of the Rue des Fleurs and the Rue Imbolc Telyan and turned left. It was another two blocks to the Rue Jay Thorntree. “How are you, Tawaki?”
Tawaki turned to see two unfamiliar Agents (a man and a woman) returning to a TARDIS looking like a cardboard box. Then again, he was notoriously bad with names and faces. “Who are you, again?”
“Sorry,” said the woman. “He's The Agent and I'm The Disentangler. We figured you might not recognize us, as we both recently regenerated.” The Agent and The Disentangler were Time Lords.
“Things get messy when Visser Three acquires a Balrog morph,” added The Agent. Tawaki winced.
“We have a mission to a Narnia/His Dark Materials crossover,” said The Disentangler.
“You're joking,” groaned Tawaki.
“Yes,” said The Agent, “she is. We're really going to keep Captain Picard from marrying Princess Leia. See you.” They closed their TARDIS, which vanished a few seconds later. Tawaki continued on his way.
The mailbox opened and Tawaki entered PPC TARDIS #1728. He and Tadkeeta embraced.
Eclectica read the message. “'Tadkeeta, and Tawaki if you are with her, report to the field just south of the cemetery hill at once. Signed, the Yertis, Deputy Head of the Department of Internal Affairs.'” So saying, she moved the TARDIS to the hill. Tawaki and Tadkeeta left the TARDIS, which had become a large headstone with the inscription:
“SACRÉE À LA MÉMOIRE DE
“NÉ 30 JUIN 1954
“MORT 13 MARS 2008
“LOIN EN AVANT
“LA ROUTE EST PARVENUE”
In fact, it was a perfect replica of Makes-Things' memorial stone. However, it was at the base of the cliff, while Makes-Things' stone was on top of the hill. A TARDIS in the form of a palm tree appeared nearby and Agents Kedri'Neref Hemelin and Gilbert Hawk emerged.
“The Yertis call you as well?” asked Kedri'Neref.
“Yes,” said Tadkeeta.
They entered the farmhouse and met Agents Honesah and Ontic from the mirror multiverse, with the
Yertis, the Corkscrew Cattail, and Captain Dandy. “Honesah?” Bad with names and faces Tawaki may have been, but a young woman with pegasus wings, a unicorn horn, hooves, and a blue-and-yellow-striped mane and wearing a gold-trimmed bikini would stand out in anyone's memory.
“Yes, it's me. I was just explaining my plan to the DIA and the DES.”
And we just called someone from FicPsych who can ascertain your motives, said the Yertis. Just a precaution, you understand. No hard feelings, right?
“I understand perfectly.”
“How did you get here?” asked Tawaki.
“Experimentation with dimensional portals and machines.”
“How is Tangara?” asked Gilbert, a semi-fic blip from the same doc file as Tangara and one of her friends in that fic.
Honesah's face fell. “No progress, I'm afraid. When Dassie planted a subconscious command, he really planted it. Anyway, my plan is to station my forces through HQ, and have them exterminate the airborne macroviruses (quite the task, as every single corridor and room not completely barricaded by force fields is swarming with them). That way, someone will be free to load environmental controls with the cure while Igor and the Bashir Hologram cure the infected people. Before you ask, my forces will be in no danger of infection. They are Daleks.”
Tawaki, Tadkeeta, Kedri'Neref, and Gilbert groaned.
Then they heard the sound of another TARDIS arriving, and a minute later Jennifer Robinson, evidently the person from FicPsych, came in. “Sorry I'm late,” she said, “but [U. N. Owen] has [his/her] sense of justice back and some moron put [him/her] in the same ward as Doctor Phlox, Gehn, Kyp Durron, and that fellow Montresor from 'The Cask of Amontillado.'”
“Let me guess,” said Tawaki. “Phlox, Gehn, Durron, and Montresor were hanged.”
“Shot with a droideka blaster, actually.”
You know what you are here for, said the Corkscrew Cattail.
“And I want to know who talked,” said Jenni. “Most people aren't supposed to know.” A minute later, she said, “Honesah's perfectly on the level. I'd give a ninety-five percent probability that she can control the Daleks, too.”
If the situation were not so dire, said Captain Dandy, I would say no. But the macroviruses
already have taken over Headquarters. Deploy your Daleks, Honesah. But understand this: the moment the plague is cured, out they go.
“I expected that.” She got up to leave. “Nice to see you again, Tawaki, Tadkeeta, and Kedri'Neref.”
“Before you go,” said Jenni, “you'll have to be neuralyzed.”
For two weeks the stockade had been filled with macrovirus buzzing, punctuated by the occasional zing as a macrovirus bounced off the force field. The Bashir Hologram could no longer venture out and cure anyone; he had been dependent on a mobile emitter since the accumulated overspins on authors' graves had overloaded the capacitors.
He heard a cry of “EX-TER-MIN-ATE!” Suddenly the scene just outside the force field inverted in coloration momentarily and the macroviruses in the corridor exploded.
“Daleks!” he yelled, dashing back into what was normally DIA Central. “Daleks are killing the macroviruses!”
“And what of the unfortunate hothtth, thur?” asked Igor. “It would fit with what I know about the Dalekth. I think the remedy ith ath bad ath the ditheathe.”
“I do not know.”
Tawaki and Tadkeeta returned to her TARDIS. If you've never seen a gravestone opening, it is a bizarre sight.
No sooner had they entered then the cloister bell rang.
Tawaki, suddenly nervous, held up the ring and knelt before Tadkeeta. “T-Tadkeeta,” he stammered, “will you... w-will you m... will you-”
“I understand,” said Tadkeeta. “I will. But your timing stinks.” Tawaki stood up and they kissed.
“Indeed,” said Eclectica. “It is not twenty-four zarking kilometers from Paris to Bordeaux and Jean Valjean would not sleep with a woman he'd just met!”
“By the Lion's mane!” exclaimed Tadkeeta as she and Tawaki pulled apart from their kiss and Eclectica set the disguises. Then they bid each other farewell and Tawaki left. The TARDIS vanished as soon as the doors had closed..
Half an hour later, Tawaki returned to PPC TARDIS #2274. “You look cheerful today,” said Melpomene.
“First, the macrovirus plague will be cured soon, and second, Tadkeeta and I are engaged.”
“Congratulations!” Before Melpomene had finished speaking, the cloister bell rang, indicating the arrival of their next target.
“Milord! Milord!” The Defective burst into the office of the Yarrow, head of the League of Mary Sue factories.
What is it now?
“A PPC sympathizer has set Daleks on the macroviruses, milord! The Daleks are not harming the hosts!”
It's too soon! We're not all in position! The Yarrow called the Forget-Me-Not. We need to accelerate the schedule. The bugs are being cleared out, and so someone will be able to cure the plague!
Oh my Gardener! exclaimed the Forget-Me-Not. I'll have to deploy more Agent!Sues!
Thirteen times as many. Furthermore, there must never be more than THREE regular Sues for every Agent!Sue.
I don't have that many!
Then muster every one you've got and make more. PPC Headquarters must be ours.