rec.arts.anime.misc New Years Challenge 2010

Team Sugar
*Kirby, Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Melee
*Kinomoto Sakura, Card Captor Sakura, end of series
*L, Death Note, right after his debut

Team Unfair Advantage
*Seta Soujirou, Rurouni Kenshin, post Kyoto Arc
*Doraemon, Doraemon, post 1st OVA (including 4th dimensional pocket)
*Zhuge Liang, styled Kongming, Dynasty Warriors series, circa Battle
of Chi Bi (starting stats and weapon, no extra equipment)

Team Pyrrhic Victory
*Flonne, Makai Senki Disgaea, beginning of episode 12 (can heal via
Power of Love, and shoot feathers of light as an offensive projectile)
*Legato Bluesummers, Trigun, right before he snuffs it in the anime
*Xelloss, Slayers Try, post series
——
—Introduction and Easy Mission—

EASY
———–
When scientists fired up the Large Hadron Collider, no one took notice of a small dimensional anomaly that popped up near your town, due to not having the equipment to detect it.

When reports of women being stripped by a bunch of pointy-eared elves and some wild animal started being reported by non-alcoholics, women refused to go out by themselves.

By now, you and your team have realized, you must now deal with these spell fragment gatherers.

[Note: For female summoners, YOU have the final spell fragment.  For guys who have summoned females, the summoning device has magically switched the fragment from whoever had it to the most shy female on your team.  For the rest, the female who has the final fragment stumbled/found you and your team and is seeking shelter.]

Your task is to deal with “Those Who Hunt Humans.”

“Cap the point, cap the point!” I was very glad that my roommate wasn’t around to hear me making a total fool of myself in Team Fortress 2 yet again—I wasn’t exactly a veteran to the game myself, but the utter incompetence of the others around me was making me want to ragequit. (According to my convoluted logic, I was and no-one else was allowed to suck on any given team.)

I was so focused on the game that I didn’t notice the New Years Challenge teams materialize around me.

That is, until a certain pair of hands snaked their way around my waist.

I grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on—a hairbrush—and smashed it into Xelloss’ smirking face.

“What the fuck?” I screeched, so upset I didn’t notice that I’d dropped an F-bomb.

Of course, Xelloss wasn’t letting go. “Sorry, Authoress, but given this year’s Challenge I have to check!”

“Check what—”

Xelloss moved faster than I could react and pantsed me, underwear and all, revealing an elaborate tattoo perched just above my crotch. “Unless you got drunk recently and did things you regretted, I think we have our final piece of the puzzle.”

If I could summon a mallet out of thin air in order to beat him with, I would have done so. Instead, I just sputtered with incoherent embarrassment and rage while I dressed myself again. “You. Explain. Now.”

One expository infodump later, I was curled up in my chair still mad at Xelloss, but my mind was also calculating a plan. “So what does ‘deal with’ entail, anyway? I don’t see why we shouldn’t just help them get their job done.”

Flonne gasped. “That’s horrible! We can’t ask anybody to strip, even if it’s for a good cause!”

“Until those people are stopped or get to go home, they’re going to be forcibly undressing a whole lot of women,” I pointed out. “I still think we should try to convince any women with a tattoo to come forward.”

“And if they do not?” Kongming wanted to know.

I sigh. “The usual – kick ass, chew bubblegum, and try not to blow more stuff up than necessary.”

(Official Entry) Team Sugar
First order of business for the official team (and the bonus teams) was to make an impassioned plea for anyone with the tattoo to step forward on a voluntary. And, against my own better judgment, I decided to reveal that I had a tattoo as well (in other words, I flashed the whole world via Youtube), and offered to step forward as well as long as the Hunters agreed to a truce.

While we waited for an answer from, well, anybody (the wank on the Youtube video post was reaching epic levels but there were no sincere responses), L put his mind to work. “I have no doubt our opponents will not turn to a peaceful solution unless all other avenues have been blocked off.” He pointed out the areas he’d marked on the map. “These are the current locations where the news of the assaults have yet to become public knowledge. Given the last known attack, their next strike will most likely be here, here, or here, though I wouldn’t rule out these other areas entirely.”

“Do you think they’ll split up and try to hit them all at once?”

L considered this. “I think they may only part ways down the middle—they don’t know what our capabilities are, after all, and they don’t want their own resources stretched too thin.”

“All right. Kirby, you’re going to be the lookout. Sakura, can you use your magic to make enough duplicates of him so he can cover all of the locations, and maybe set up some kind of surveillance in general as well?” Both of them answered in the affirmative, so I thought about what to do next. “Even if they figured out where I lived, I’m sure it’d be pointless to come after me until they got all of the other spell fragments. When we move out, I’d like L to accompany Sakura.”

“I can take care of myself!” Sakura insisted.

“Just in case, Sakura.” Even if nothing more than extreme embarrassment were to occur, I was determined to do as much as I could to prevent anyone from destroying any bit of Sakura’s innocence.

It didn’t take long for Kirby to spot the Hunters, which he communicated to us via Sakura’s magic.

“All right! Let’s move ’em out!” I declared, mimicking the Engineer’s accent without realizing that I had done so.

Sakura giggled. “You’ve been playing too many video games again, Miss Dot!” She chided, getting ready.

Directed by L’s tactics, Team Sugar takes both groups by surprise. The first few times, we let them run away, with Sakura wise enough to keep out of reach each time; by now some of the women had grown annoyed with being virtual prisoners in their own homes and decided to go public—so when the Hunters show up to claim the spell fragment, we also made our appearance to make sure that the proceedings were as peaceful and stress-free as possible. Once it became clear to the hunters that we would not impede their progress as long as they behaved themselves, and to the public that we were there for their protection, the process became much quicker and peaceful. By and by the Hunters even had the decency to start apologizing whenever they got to stripping someone, and though reactions remained mixed this part of the mission went much faster than the first.

Eventually it got down to the last spell fragment. “Let’s get this over with,” I sighed, stepping into a nearby alleyway for more privacy.

The Hunters thanked me with great enthusiasm as they went home. Meanwhile, I was with varying degrees of seriousness wondering if I should start drinking.

(If this doesn’t count as dealing with, a quick read-through of the Wiki entry on Those Who Hunt Elves shows that this team is more than capable of defeating them the old fashioned way. And unless Haruhi or whomever can magic them back to their own world at the end of the mission, I figure the above method kills two birds with one stone.)

(Bonus) Team Unfair Advantage
It’d be a little unethical, but I could use Doraemon’s gadgets to determine who has the tattoos (among which is a camera that takes pictures of what you look like under your clothes) and then take the direct approach. In all probability, Kongming could also convince most, if not all, of the women into stepping forward and transferring the spell fragments in a peaceful manner.

If not, similar tactics as above to thwart the Hunters need to take place first, with the usual division of labor (Kongming, tactics; Doraemon, weapons; Soujirou, speedy firepower). After we beat some sense into them, I’m sure they’ll listen to reason. *cracks knuckles*

(Bonus) Team Pyhrric Victory
Just about the only thing stopping Legato from causing all of the women of the world to commit public wardrobe malfunction en masse would be to convince Xelloss that doing so would be too boring (and besides, the spell fragment bearers would all need to be stripped a second time for the Hunters to collect said fragments). Nevertheless, if Xelloss can’t (or won’t) pinpoint the locations of the spellbearers, the results will still be quite disastrous. But at least the Medium Challenge makes that much more sense now.

—Medium Challenge—

MEDIUM
———–
After his historic rise to power, President Obama has been out to stop all negative press against him.  Someone decided to show him how he’s been appearing in manga, and he’s decided to cease all otaku activity everywhere he can.  Several nations have joined him in his hunt for all things anime & manga. [Note: this means wherever you are, you are not immune from the manhunt.]

While under a former President, the power-surge with the unobtainium & a summoning device was registered in an international database.  President Obama authorized several spy agencies to seek out a similar spike should appear.  Anyone caught in possession of a summoning device, based upon a recent U.N. decision, is to be considered a threat to humanity more dangerous than any terrorist.

Upon the summoning of your team, you have been labeled Public Enemy #1.

Your task is to survive a week on the run from authorities.  After one week, enough world leaders will have come to their senses and rescind the U.N. decision and put enough pressure on Obama to stop the manhunt.

I was making a food run and trying to catch up on a week’s worth of missed news on the radio (I was, y’know, a bit busy trying to keep my teams well-fed and well-behaved) when the usual broadcast was interrupted by a special bulletin from Homeland Security.

Xelloss appeared in the passenger seat next to me, pretending to look shocked. “Well, that answers the question of whether or not the rest of the world remembers our shenanigans.”

I sigh. “Save the gallows humor for later, please. Is everyone else safe, at least?”

“Of course they are. Of all of us, you are the least capable of making yourself scarce for a week. Why, I doubt you would even last an hour without an internet connection.”

I flushed with embarrassment. “I’ll think of someway to keep myself occupied.”

(Official Entry) Team Unfair Advantage
Doraemon’s gadgets make hiding out a breeze, as we can in theory hole up anywhere and not be detected. Feeling cheeky, we sneak back into my apartment complex under the cover of darkness and some invisibility paint and hollow out a trans-dimensional pocket. Kongming entertains himself by sending the investigators on various wild goose chases for supposed sightings by using Doraemon’s gadgets to pretend to be their superior officers, and Soujirou has the agents holed up there convinced that the room is haunted by darting in and out of our sanctuary and moving things around when they’re not paying attention.

The only downside to all of this is that my parents end up beside themselves with worry since I couldn’t very well call them, not even through one of Doraemon’s gadgets, since they’d be watched by every organization on Earth for any contact with me.

Nevertheless, the week goes by without incident, and this time, I’m sure to use one of Doraemon’s gadgets so that everyone except our team forgets everything that’s happened.

(Bonus) Team Sugar
Like any army in the world could stop Kirby if he felt like munching on some nuclear arsenals. Then again, I wasn’t about to ask Kirby to gulp down any ICBMs unless a bigger emergency than “being considered Public Enemy #1” surfaced.

Not that being on the run was by any means a walk in the park. L had to go without his significant resources and manpower, but he was still able to fast-talk his way to finding a run down little place in a neighborhood where the locals were wary of going to the authorities. In terms of age and general appearance, L, I, and Sakura looked enough like a family to pass as one, so we did just that while L worked odd jobs to gain the trust of our new neighbors.

Kirby proved to be a bit more problematic, until we found a closed down junkyard where we could sneak into at night. (For a moment I toyed with the idea of improving our team’s PR by “marketing” Kirby as the ultimate environmental clean-up device, but while Kirby didn’t mind eating random junk in a pinch he still preferred actual food or Dream World creatures.)

(Bonus) Team Pyhrric Victory
Flonne stares as I burst out in cackling laughter. “Um, Miss Authoress?”

“Oh, that’s rich,” I got out between chortles. “Us, Public Enemy Number One? Are they serious? Okay, so this team ends up causing more damage than the others, but I’ve saved the world, what, a good five or six times now, but we’re suddenly the bad guys because we give the President bad press? Man, if any of this wasn’t an exercise in mental masturbation Rush Limbaugh would have such a field day with this!”

“I don’t think this is a good time to talk about American politics—”

Then I stop laughing, and Flonne shrinks at the look I have on my face. “I only have to survive the week, right?” I nod to Xelloss and Legato. “In that case, go crazy. I owe you guys that much. And at the end of the week, I’m sure Legato could ‘convince’ the U.N. to recind the manhunt whether they want to or not.”

“Y-you can’t!” Flonne protests, her eyes going to the size of saucers. “I’m sure if we could just talk to them, they’d understand—”

“Why bother? They’re convinced we’re dangerous.” I thread my fingers in front of my face. “Let’s show them just how dangerous Team Pyhrric Victory can be if we didn’t feel like pulling their sorry behinds out of the fire.”

(If I were to be technical, going all out against the forces out to get me would in all likelihood count as a loss. But it’s Bonus and I’m in a bad mood. Flonne might be able to speechify Xelloss into behaving himself somewhat, but the most probable end result is that the majority of the world reduced to a large smoking crator by the end of the week.

Serves those ingrates right.)

— Hard Challenge —

HARD
———–
Upon her failed takeover of a parallel dimension’s New York, Zuul has sent the Gatekeeper and the Keymaster to your dimension.  They have met  and have turned your city’s most historic building into Zuul’s new tower.  Zuul has now entered, and you and your team must defeat Zuul and send her off in search of a new dimension to try and take over.

They’re not kidding when they say that Miami is more or less New York South. The skies over Horatio’s supposed stomping grounds darkened, the Sun and Moon turned to blood, and we were looking at a Capital A Apocalypse on our hands.

And boy did I ever pick the worst team to face the official challenge.

Xelloss clapped a hand on my shoulder. “Don’t be so down, Authoress! You know my policy when it comes to world-destroying entities that aren’t at the beck and call of my Master!”

“No, this is not going to work. I don’t trust any of us—myself included—to face Zuul and choose the form of Gozer the Destroyer.” My head was starting to hurt. “Where are the Ghostbusters when you need them?”

“I’m afraid we’re all the world has, Authoress.”

(Official) Team Pyrrhic Victory
Oh, man. Where to begin?

Flonne – Would make Godzilla. I’m not kidding. She’s a major Toku fan and “Flonzilla” is one of her special attacks as a guest character in the other games that she cameos in.
Xelloss – Very No. Who knows what he’d come up with, even as a joke?
Legato – Also Very No. He’d most likely conjure a 50-foot tall Knives, and if that manifestation also had canonical Knives’ powers? World ends, scenario lost, etc.
Me – Well…given that I’ve had Team Fortress 2 on the brain as of late.

…Attack of the Giant Spy Crab it is, I guess. I have Xelloss teleport me to the top of the building before Zuul arrives and make my choice.

Leaving Xelloss to deal with Zuul herself (he might be able to annoy him/her/it into leaving), Flonne and Legato herd the Spy-Crab away from the buildings while attempting to minimize the peripheral damage (though, of course, not succeeding too much). Then it’s up to them to chip it to death until Xelloss can lend a hand.

…yeah, gonna need a memory erasing spell after this one, too. The world is saved, and I leveled just one major population center this time. At least it’s an improvement?

…oh, who am I kidding. /drinks.

(Bonus) Team Sugar
Though Sakura’s the most innocent on our team, the first thought that would come to mind among Team Sugar would most likely be food-related since I decide to have Sakura Fly all of us to the top of the building at once. Cue Miami getting attacked by a 50-foot tall demonic cake or something. But at least Kirby and L will be very, very happy eating.

(2016 Hindsight: I forgot to deal with Gozer! Oops!)

(Bonus) Team Unfair Advantage
We brainstorm the most harmless thing we can think of. Then Doraemon uses his magic door to get up to the top of the building. We focus our thoughts on the form of the Destroyer.

Rule of Comedy says that Doraemon takes a few tries to get his Shrink ray out of his pockets, but between Kongming and Soujirou, at least the casualties will be kept to a minimum.

Team Unfair Advantage cruises to an easy bonus win.


Bonus year-end challenge:

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is deal with all the demons of the Ars Goetia that Mr. Crowley’s unleashed upon the Earth.

For all three teams, we’re taking aim at the leader first. Depending on where the other demons fall under in the scale of character alignment, at least some portion of them will turn against each other if not surrender to the side of good.  And since we’re dealing in the realm of the supernatural, I’m more or less useless unless the demons happen to be receptive to being exorcised in the name of Jesus Christ (in which case I’m also making calls to every pastor and priest I know).  Whenever applicable, we’re cooperating with whatever response team sent out by the government/the Pope/etcetera.  I’m assuming everyone in charge knows me and the teams via our track record in the previous challenges, so they’ll know at least to get out of our way once we get rolling.

Team Sugar
*Kirby, Nintendo, Super Smash Bros. Melee
*Kinomoto Sakura, Card Captor Sakura, end of series
*L, Death Note, right after his debut

As tempting as “just let Kirby eat all the demons” is as a solution, I don’t want to run the risk of the  world’s largest bottomless stomach going evil.  However, he’s still definitely my mainline fighter while Sakura provides aerial support.  L utilizes his speed-reading, deduction, and minion-making skills to be the brains.

As an alternate solution, Kirby just SINGS all the demons into submission.  The downside to this is that the rest of us will be needing a year’s worth of therapy from the resulting mental trauma.

Team Unfair Advantage
*Seta Soujirou, Rurouni Kenshin, post Kyoto Arc
*Doraemon, Doraemon, post 1st OVA (including 4th dimensional pocket)
*Zhuge Liang, styled Kongming, Dynasty Warriors series, circa Battle of Chi Bi (starting stats and weapon, no extra equipment)

Doraemon might not have a Proton Pack, but it’s certain that he has gadgets that can deal with the supernatural.  Soujirou’s responsible for distraction/interference/ slapping wards on demons and drawing warding circles.  Kongming is the tactician and backup magic guy.

Team Pyrrhic Victory
*Flonne, Makai Senki Disgaea, beginning of episode 12 (can heal via Power of Love, and shoot feathers of light as an offensive projectile)
*Legato Bluesummers, Trigun, right before he snuffs it in the anime
*Xelloss, Slayers Try, post series

Let’s see.  We have a bona fide Angel (of Celestia, but close enough), a sociopath with immense psychic powers, and a Mazoku who enjoys thwarting the plans of his fellow demons.

The collateral damage will be, as usual, tremendous, but Team Pyrrhic Victory takes the win in a walk, even if Legato should get possessed halfway through and has to be befriended via superior firepower.

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