ALL RIGHT, ALL RIGHT.
THAT'S ENOUGH FREEBIES ...
PASSWORD ... CORRECT..? HUH?
Game on, Computer. (*evil grin*)
(*Sanitation Yard, EG City's Heart*)
Nakama: Everybody present?
Crew Member: OH MY MOVINLOVIN FUDGECAKE GOD!! MY
Nakama: (*sigh*) Roll call, queue up.
(*Oddly enough, a neat and clean line of ... err ...
breathing entities forms within a few seconds. And it is -- excuse
the pun -- quite the motley crew ...*)
Nakama: (*reading*) Constable Larf Rauln?
Vaguely Female Mass of (Very Clean) Curly Hair and Dark
Sunglasses: Present. (*brushes hair*)
Nakama: Officer Leona McMichaels?
Aforementioned Crew Member: Muff you, that cheesecake
cost me 10 rims ... 10 rims! I oughta --
Nakama: Private Chicken Little?
Leona: -- and not even, considering the nabb inflation --
Nakama: Title-not-given-yet Weinman Fuggedabouddit?
Very very very clean man resembling a taxi driver:
Leona: -- they're very sharp, one-way little goodadgets --
Nakama: Acting-Private Ramza Beoulve?
Weinman: Hiz off tuday.
Nakama: Oh, yeah ...
Leona: -- and that's another thing! What's with that kurgle
Nakama: ... say, what order is this list in, anyways?
Leona: -- it ain't right, y'know, wallabin' tarfin' no-goods
Nakama: Oh well ... Captain Nakama K.? (*falsetto*)
Here! (*normal voice*) Well, that's just about everybody ...
excepting one person, and we all know where he is anyhow ...
Booming Voice: You forgot about me!
Nakama: (*deadpan*) RLs don't go on the
Sanitation Crew Roll Call, ma'am.
Leona: -- it ain't parvin' DECENT, man!!
(*sulking*) Well, I do try to clean up my own mess
Nakama: Yes, and for that we must commend you.
Were it not for your efforts, we would be doing our job far more often.
... oh ... oh, it's a joke, is it?
Nakama: Indeed it was. I notice that you've
directly bypassed your self-insert this visit. Is that intentional
or are you up to your usual negotiations?
It's not intentional. I am here to hire the CREW,
Nakama: The usual then. A rat, is it?
(*nod*) Nice polite fellow, name of Knox.
Works behind the scenes where nobody notices things ...
Nakama: ... thus your need for the crew, eh?
Oh, naturally. Who better to chase a loose screw in
the machinery than a couple of people with a few screws loose?
Larf: Damn, that was BAD!
All right, FINE. "Who better to catch a rat that
works behind the scenes than the Crew that makes the scenes work?"
Larf: Much better, thankee. (*comb comb*)
Anyway, I need you to catch the rat and, um ... do
something ... I dunno, hand him over to vigilante cameos or something ...
Nakama: We'll have him cleaned up, hm?
Sounds goo.. waaaaaaaaait a minute ... cleaned up?
Larf: Kinda difficult, considering I ate the keys to
the Laundry Cel-- err, Rooms ...
Laundry Cellar Rooms?
Nakama: For storing laundry and such like.
But you don't DO laundry ...
Nakama: (*poker face*)
Err ... is this meaning something I'm not quite
catching? You doing anything illegal?
Nakama: No, ma'am, the Sanitation Crew is perfectly
Whew ... y'had me worried there a second. I mean,
really, who's going to enforce vigilante justice on the city's only
clean-up crew, there's no police force to do it anyway --
Nakama: That's because they're outlawed.
Nakama: The police. EGC Law explicitly forbids
the existence of a police force or Watch at any time during the city's
Wait ... it's against the LAW to have POLICE in the EGC?
Nakama: No, it's against the Law for EG City to have a
Then why do we have a court system which poor Jen-chan
has grown to know all too well..?
Nakama: Where the Law is, there too are Lawyers.
Ah. Any other weird laws I ought to know about?
Nakama: Any you had in mind?
Well, it occurred to me that since you don't have a
Commander and all --
Nakama: Oh, but we do.
Nonsense. I'd know if you did.
Nakama: Would you?
Of course I would! Not just anyone has what it
takes to be Commander of the Sanitation Crew! I mean, for God's
sake, it has to be someone who knows the whole city like the back of
his/her hand, and I don't notice any of you that fit that requirement,
do I? Noooo, the only person I can think of that's patrolled the
city all manner of the day and night most of the days of the week from
nearly the beginning of EGC is Sephiroth the Hotdog Ven--
(*sudden dawning comprehension -- a.k.a., Lightbulb*)
(*beet red*) Y'know, I was feeling all smart and
know-it-all earlier, but now ... not so much.
Nakama: You didn't hear it from us.
Most damnedly decent fellow in the EGC, right from the
Nakama: Of course.
That little truth just hit me like a brick truck with
Nakama: Mm hm.
I did not see that coming.
Nakama: Weren't supposed to, ma'am.
Didn't plan it, but it makes more sense than anything I
ever did ... say, isn't it Friday?
Nakama: All day, ma'am.
And it's 8:00, right?
Nakama: Until it's 8:01, yes.
8:00, hm? Why do I get the feeling I'm supposed to
(*meanwhile, in a packed church in the Religious District
Minister: Now, now, Master Beouvle ...
Ramza: I'll kill her! I swear, I'll kill her!
Nakama: Not likely.
Ramza: (*draws sword*) If she isn't here in five
Singsong voice: Oh yoohooooo~~~~!
(*Everybody in the church turns, and up the aisle runs
the bride, in a white dress lovely beyond lovely, with perfectly coiffed
spiky blonde hair, pigtails, and ... ah ... the Ultima Butter Knife
strapped to his back.*)
(*They hug ... everybody say "Awww" now..!*)
Ramza: Cloud-chan! We've hit a snag ...... the
Best Man isn't here yet ...
Minister: Um ... 'scuse the intrusion, but can't you
have, oh, somebody else be the Best Man? Last minute and all --
Ramza: No, you don't understand! If she isn't
Best Man, then it probably isn't legal!!
Minister: ... "she"..?
Voice: WE'RE HEEEEEEEEEEEREEEEEEEE!!!
(*poof, spin, ta-da!*)
Minister: An RL Poltergeist?
Um, no, an RL-Chatty.
Minister: Ah. Gotcha ...
Oh, right ... say, I see you finally decided who was
going to wear the pants in the family, huh?
Cloud: He looks cuter this way. (*giggle*)
Uh ... right. Weeeell, lesse ... I claim this
land in the name of Spain! (*stabs flag into ground*)
Ramza: Close, but no cigar.
Fine, fine ... I hereby declare this general vicinity to
be temporarily Hawaii, and thusly applying the laws of the State of
Hawaii for this brief time in lieu of wossname usual law system, yadda
Ramza: Thank you very much. (*beam*)
Cloud: RLs don't make the laws,
but they can shift the law System from time to time.
Ramza: Better safe than sorry.
Alrighty then, chop chop, hurry! Everybody move it,
we have to get this done as soon as possible!
Minister: (*talking as fast as a buzzsaw --*)
Ramza: I do!
Minister: (*brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr --*)
Cloud: I do!
Minister: (*brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr ding!*)
Ramza: Um ... rings? We need the rings ...
(*sings*) Up the long ladder and down the short rope --
Ramza: (*LOUD whisper*) 'Scuse me, Best Man -- WHERE
ARE THE RINGS?
Whoops ... eh heh. Left behind the ring boy.
RING BOY! (*snaps fingers*)
Ramza: Err ...
Oops, silly me, forgot he was on the clapper. RING
BOY! (*claps hands*)
Cloud: Hey, that's my schtick!
(*mumble*) ..my own head next. (*cheerily*) Oh, you're
here! (*yanks the "ring boy" out of the new debris on the church floor*)
Algus: Vile commoner ... ow ...
(*bright and chipper*) Why thank you! Much obliged,
you dislikable snot! (*beam*)
Okay, now before you go hacking away with that sword and
such, Wiegraf WAS available, but unfortunately, that makes it no fun for
me, does it? So I filched Algus from his cage. First person
to tattle to Jetmode gets an open brandy bottle of maple syrup crammed
up where the light don't shine. (*grin*)
Furthermore, once it kicks in where he is and what
exactly he's witnessing, you'll be quite glad I brought his
Algus: And what is that supposed to mean?
Five, four, three, two, one, to be exact.
Algus: Wha-- (*blink blink*) Is this..?
Algus: (*with growing terror*) This is a..?
Algus: (*horrified*) This is a.. this...?
Right again, oh closed-minded one!
Algus: (*terrified squeak*)
Ramza: Huh ... y'know, that works, sorta ...
Get married and torture an enemy at the same time.
Saves time better than a stitch in nine. (*grin*)
Algus: But that's -- it's -- he's -- they're --
Oh, and Algus ... if you don't behave, I'm afraid there's
only one word that describes what tortures lie ahead of you.
Algus: ... Hell?
Algus: (*makes that squeaking noise people make when
they're beyond screaming -- y'know, THAT noise*)
Now, if you don't mind ... the rings, plea--
OW! No need to throw them, you son of a dog of the
'Pology accepted. Ring, ring. (*toss, toss, catch,
catch, and the rings are in their proper places*)
Everybody: Awwwww ...
Algus: (*squeaking*) I think I'm going to be
violently ill ...
Well, projectile vomit THAT way, I don't want any bile on
my new wossname, all right?
And don't complain so much, at least you're out of the
cage and the muzzle and the thingywhatsit --
Algus: The thingywhatsit?
Yes, the thingywhatsit. Now come along, I have to
get you back before Jets notices you're --
Well, gee, nice to see YOU enjoy a little freedom now and
then! Get back here! (*yank*)
That's right, and now I deliver you back. Big poofy
Huh ... Jets, if you're out there,
DON'T KILL ME. I'm rather fond of living, if not necessarily life.
Piddlywink Roach Commander: This is what's left of my
A Roach: We had to spread our forces thin.
There's a lot of wounded ...
P.R.C.: Huh ... well ... I suppose wounded are better
than dead ...
A Roach: You tell them that, sir.
P.R.C.: ... right. I didn't mean it that way. (*to
the group*) All right, guys, line up or whatever.
(*A sad little group of roaches lines up. There's
still quite a few of them, but still ... the MRA -- what does that stand
for, anyways? -- anyway, the MRA isn't in that good shape ...*)
P.R.C.: This ... this is going to be the last
onslaught of the war. And I'll bet by now you don't even remember
what you're fighting for, if you ever knew to start with.
(*A few roaches in the group shake their heads.*)
P.R.C.: We're fighting for the right to live with
dignity. It sounds like propaganda bullshit, but it's the
truth. Humans, they don't understand it. They never will
understand it, that's why we have to fight them ...... do they even know
what the Hell they're saying when they yell "Go back where you came
from" as a battlecry? The Homeland is a Wasteland! There's
(*A few eyebrows raise.*)
P.R.C.: Oh, sure, there's rocks ... and there's the
dirt, but that's nothing better than pulverized rocks. You can't
call it soil, soil has nutrients for growing crops and such ... this is
just dust. Sand. The farming specieses that were there had
nothing to work with, and if they had nothing to work with, they
definitely hadn't any garbage ......
P.R.C.: ...... the only thing that ever came close to
being edible waste was ... corpses. (*stops to shudder*) No
matter how much some of you may hate humans, you never, ever
want to have to eat one ...
A Young Roach: Sir, that's outrageous! We'd
P.R.C.: (*eying him coldly*) You weren't there.
And even if you were, you're too young to remember. (*back to the
group*) Back in the beginning of the famine we all said
we wouldn't ever do it, that we'd die first ... but how can you keep a
promise like that when your mate's also going to die and your children
are getting so skinny their exoskeletons look like they're going to
implode? What are you going to tell them? That the only
other option is disgusting and immoral? When you're starving to
death you don't care whether or not it's disgusting or immoral
... you just close your eyes when you're eating and try not to pay
attention to it ...
P.R.C.: If we're forced back into the Homeland, it's
going to happen all over again. The Homeland hasn't changed, and
it won't ever change. A dimension that far gone is beyond help.
Older Roach: But ... we can't win this war ...
P.R.C.: Better to die quickly in a battle than slowly
in a famine. Besides, things aren't entirely far gone ... strategy
is everything at this point. The plan is ... we're going to
change the Leader's plan and take Uptown EGC.
Older Roach: Uptown EGC? What good is that?
P.R.C.: Apparently plenty. It's the location of
the homes of most of the affluent humans ...
Younger Roach: ... so if we take it over, we can make
up for our lack of resources?
P.R.C.: Exactly. That's our primary
reason. The secondary reason is that Uptown EG City is where the
arachnid survivors of the Spider Initiative retreated to in the middle
of that battle. Thus, if we can manage to convince them that we
are highly kute roaches, we then have our troop size problem solved.
Different Older Roach: Traded in for the problem of
having to fight beside the most annoying things in the multiverse
without going crazy ...
P.R.C.: We're fighting for our rights. We can't
afford to be picky. (*to the group*) Gather your weapons
and wait at ease. We'll begin the march at 0700 hours. Troop
Arthropod will back us up.
Other Younger Roach: Yessir.
(*They begin to file out.*)
Older Roach: Are we really going to do this?
P.R.C.: Do we have any other honorable choice?
Older Roach: ... but without a Leader ...
P.R.C.: (*solidly*) The Honorable Leader
is out there, somewhere. The fact that he isn't here right now
doesn't mean we should give up. To give up at this point is to
Older Roach: I guess it's because I'm old ... I really
don't care if I die.
P.R.C.: That's not normal, even for an old soldier
Older Roach: ....... well ...
P.R.C.: Sit out the fighting tomorrow. You're an
extremely valuable veteran ... we need you.
Older Roach: I'll believe it when I hear somebody
important say it.
Older Roach: Oh, am I depressing you now? I'd
better go ... (*begins to run out*)
P.R.C.: No! I --
(*And with that slam of the door, the last roach besides
the Piddlywink Roach Commander is out.*)
P.R.C.: ... damn .... (*eyes water*)
Gravelly Voice: Sweet, Lieutanent Commander, very
sweet ... you never told me you wanted to be a geriatric psychologist
P.R.C.: (*suddenly pissed*) Shut up.
(*He bashes a brick in the wall and part of the wall
rises up to reveal a screen ... projecting the image of Dr. Gerbil,
seated at a desk with nothing but shadows behind him.*)
Dr. Gerbil: That corpse-eating speech was rather
convincing, I must say.
P.R.C.: That's because it's the truth.
Dr. Gerbil: Then the truth really is stranger than
P.R.C.: Look, you had better be working on that --
Dr. Gerbil: Oh, don't worry, I have quite a few
different ideas of how to rescue the Honorable Leader from the clutches
of that brainwashing witch ... she's probably won his trust over by now,
though. You know how clever she is.
P.R.C.: (*skeptical look*)
Dr. Gerbil: That whole event with the gun and the
speech! She set me up! And I must thank you for saving me
there, my dear Lieu--
P.R.C.: It's only because of how close you were to the
late Roach Leader, mind you. I was his Second-in-Command. I
still am Second-in-Command, and I will remain true to the
original goal of this war.
Dr. Gerbil: Kill as many humans as possible?
P.R.C.: I have nothing against humans; millions of
them died in the famine, and it was caused by only one of them.
But we are roaches, not maggots. No one has the right to force us
into that kind of indignity, and if the humans will not recognize that,
then I will fight them ... be they innocent or not.
Dr. Gerbil: Hum. So noble.
P.R.C.: Not as noble as I wish I was.
Dr. Gerbil: I meant in the sense of "tolerant", but
that's an interesting spin ... you know, you are quite the sane
fellow. As opposed to your former superior, may he rest in
whatever circle he landed in.
P.R.C.: The Leader ... had seen many things I had not
seen in those days. He was present at the Massacre; I was not.
Dr. Gerbil: And you ate dead humans ... it all rounds
to the same. Why didn't you pull a Coup d'État?
P.R.C.: I'm not worthy to lead the people as anything
more than a subordinate of the Honorable Leader.
Dr. Gerbil: You mean they won't listen to you.
P.R.C.: It's the Leader's Godgiven right --
Dr. Gerbil: (*mock innocent*)
"God"? What is this "God"? Is it "doG" backwards? Or
some new nonsense word?
P.R.C.: ....... (*glares*)
Dr. Gerbil: Hello, I'd like a God-and-cheese sandwitch
with extra pickles, and make that wheat bread while you're at it ...
P.R.C.: (*sourly*) ..... I suppose, in
hindsight, that was not a good term to use ...
Dr. Gerbil: Of course not. It's my Godgiven
right to be an atheist. (*grin*)
P.R.C.: .... look, I'm not stupid. I know perfectly
well what you have in mind for the Roach Nation, and I promise you that
I won't let it happen.
Dr. Gerbil: You'd better watch your back, then.
I'm a very clever fellow at that sort of thing.
P.R.C.: (*eyes narrowing*) If you so much as try anything,
be it an attempt on my life, or Vermin's, or even Roach's,
you'll have more roach platoons on your heiny than a million of your
death machines could ever possibly handle. Our army may be weak,
but we're still strong enough to stop you ... if we ever need to.
Dr. Gerbil: Well then, I'll get to work on plans for
rescuing Vermin ... no guarantees, though.
P.R.C.: Do your best. And be serious
about it. I will be watching you.
Dr. Gerbil: (*nods*) Good night, Lieutanent
(*And the projection screen slides up ...*)
(*At wherever Dr. Gerbil is ...*)
Dr. Gerbil: I hate suspicious insects. They're
so ... so ... damn, I've forgotten the word.
Dr. Gerbil: No, that's not it ... ah well. You
can come out now.
????: Thank you, sir.
(*Out from the shadows behind the anthropomorphic evil
mad scientist rodent steps what appears to be a scrawny five-foot-five
figure wearing a black suit and white shirt with the jacket unbuttoned
and the tie hanging somewhat loose, rather Reno-like. In that vein
of description, may it be mentioned that this figure also has rather
long dark-brown hair pulled back into a very tight ponytail ... so
tight that, from the front, it would almost appear that the fellow had
short hair slicked back instead. However, this figure has his
dark sunglasses worn properly, i.e., so that his eyes are completely
hidden and unreadable. One pocket of the jacket has something
velvet stuffed into it, and he wears black cloth gloves with the fingers
cut out. (He has very slim fingers. Definitely piano
player's fingers ... or lockpicker's fingers ...) The overall
effect is unmistakably male -- otherwise I wouldn't refer to him as a
he, would I? -- but he has an extremely bishounen aura to him. A
fellow with the sort of looks, in other words, that would make a boy
like Joseph extremely upset, and that would make a
bishounen-crazy girl go absolutely nuts.*)
(*For now, let's call him the Guy in Black ... G.I.B. for
G.I.B.: Rather long description that ... was it
(*Yes, it was. I'm certain.*)
Dr. Gerbil: So, did you find out where Vermin is?
G.I.B.: (*nods*) He's in the Downtown
Bar. The RL-Chatty is trying to get the two sons of the Roach
Leader to plan a peace treaty.
Dr. Gerbil: She, a peace treaty ... never would have
G.I.B.: "The noblest revenge is to forgive."
Dr. Gerbil: I don't get that ...
G.I.B.: It means that he who forgives gets his revenge
in the form of moral superiority over his enemy, and perhaps even by
causing painful guilt in the mind of his enemy as well.
Dr. Gerbil: Oh! Yes, yes, the premise behind
social masochism! Really, you could have mentioned that.
G.I.B.: Was it necessary?
Dr. Gerbil: Well ... I 'spose not ... um ... do you
know death very well?
G.I.B.: We do play the occasional game of Cripple Mr.
Onion, yes, but other than that ... no.
Dr. Gerbil: ....... I can't believe you can say
that with a straight face.
G.I.B.: Is that so? You'd think an
anthropomorphic mad scientist rodent could believe anything.
Dr. Gerbil: Right, right. Anyway, I suppose
giving you anything more than a vague idea of what I have in mind would
be pointless ...
G.I.B.: Being that I don't follow orders, no.
Dr. Gerbil: Free-for-all mercenary at heart.
G.I.B.: That, and I rather enjoy the freedom I have
here. (*opens hand, which fills with a fireball*) Where I
come from, this sort of thing isn't possible. (*tosses the fireball
up and clenches fist. The fireball snuffs out.*)
Dr. Gerbil: True. Here, if you know how, you can
do anything ... even if that's changing the nature of the city
itself. And you do know how ...
G.I.B.: Of course.
Dr. Gerbil: So we are understood?
Dr. Gerbil: I can't call you by your real name,
anyway, even if I knew it. And your old aliases probably won't
do. What will you go by?
(*The G.I.B. says nothing to this, but whips the velvet
thing out of his pocket -- and it turns out to be a black velvet cap,
rather beret-like in its floppiness. He turns it around in his
hands a bit, smoothing out the wrinkles.*)
G.I.B.: I think .... I'll go by ........ (*wistfully*)
... Black Velvet.
Dr. Gerbil: Pining for what you can't have, eh?
Black Velvet: (*clapping the hat onto his head*) Oh,
you don't know the least of it.
Dr. Gerbil: Well, at least I won't have to call you
"Jack Daniels" or "Vermouth". Or "Scotch" or "Dry Sherry" ...
Black Velvet: (*sad puppy face*) They're
Dr. Gerbil: Poor you. (*smirk*)
Footnote: uh ... nothing to say,