Subject: WAR: Opening Post: WE ARE EACH OTHER (1/1)
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 12:01:14 EDT
From: "FK Warmistress" <FKWarmistress @ AOL.COM>
Reply-To: FKWarmistress @ AOL.COM
To: FKFIC-L @ LISTS.PSU.EDU
War: Opening Post: WE ARE EACH OTHER (1/1)
The weather clearly hadn't changed for the better during the seven years she'd been underground. Mary Sue's colleagues had returned to the surface a few weeks earlier; she had decided to remain behind in the research center for a bit longer, savouring these last moments of total solitude.
She had a fair amount of trepidation about rejoining the land of the living. How much had the world changed while she was gone? What had she missed? The prospect of returning left her personality jumbled. She was excited, yet forlorn. Eager, yet suspicious. What lay in wait for her outside those stainless steel doors?
As she exited the dome, she paused for one final look around. The scientific equipment was already gone; a crew would be in next week to pick up the team's remaining personal effects. Funny, she had hated that Thai statuette when Joe had first received it. And she could never understand how Robert could talk to a balloon, even one with a smiley face and sideburns drawn on. But now it was like leaving old friends.
Ignoring the growing thunderstorm, she headed into the outside office. Little remained to show a support crew had been in attendance day and night for the last seven years, monitoring the team, only a television, VCR, and computer. After all these years, they looked like foreign objects. She wondered if she would remember how to work them, or if her mind was as jumbled as her emotions were.
As she sat down at the computer, she noticed a special delivery package on the table, addressed to her. There was no return address, although she could make out a faint Toronto postmark. Someone had remembered! She eagerly ripped open the box, staring gleefully at the pile of videotapes inside.
Smiling, Mary Sue read the familiar episode names of the one season of her favorite show: 'Dark Knight,' 'For I Have Sinned,' and 'Last Act,' all the way through to the final 'Love You To Death.' She'd gone without a 'Forever Knight' fix for seven years. When the show had been cancelled after that one, incomparable season, her heart broken, she had signed on to the research project. Unable to bear a world without Nick, Nat, and LaCroix, she had re-upped year after year, never once returning to the surface.
The rain continued to fall in buckets as Mary Sue picked up one of the tapes, intending to revisit her old friends from the series. Her breath caught. What was this?! Two more layers of tapes waited in the package! Forever Knight Second Season?! A Third Season, even!
Giddily, she settled in front of the television and began to watch the second year of 'Forever Knight' unfold. She'd missed so much! It all seemed perfect, a fitting extension of the older episodes that she remembered. She was especially thrilled to see LC undead and well in the present. There were so many excellent stories to choose from: 'A Fate Worse Than Death,' 'Curiouser and Curiouser,' 'A More Permanent Hell,' 'Be My Valentine,' 'Father's Day,' 'Partners of the Month,' and 'Close Call,' but Mary Sue decided her favorite was 'The Fix.'
For some reason, that particular episode hit a nerve. Once she'd viewed all of Season Two, Mary Sue watched the episode where Nick obtains a brief taste of mortality two more times, lingering over the powerful scene where LaCroix confronts Nick over his 'cure:' LaCroix's voice as he stood frying in the sun kept replaying in her mind, 'We are each other. We are each other. We are each other.'
Overwhelmed with delight - a whole third season to go! - Mary Sue began to play the final layer of tapes. She randomly picked up a tape marked simply Season Three and settled back. Within moments, she was sitting bolt upright in her chair. This made no sense. Where was Schanke? When had Janette turned the Raven into an S&M club? Come to think of it, where was Janette? Why was that long haired dude constantly blinking? And just who was that perky blonde?
She barely recognized the characters she did know. All of the sudden, LaCroix seemed to have different priorities. 'Let's show our true selves by getting naked'? Where had *that* come from?!?! It was as if someone had suddenly decided to alter the master vampire's personality, making him less dangerous and more human. Nick, too, was behaving strangely; it was like angsting and brooding had become his entire purpose in life.
And Natalie - Mary Sue couldn't help but notice how unhappy and bitter she seemed in comparison to the coroner she was used to seeing. What had happened to the romance? Were Nick and Natalie an item or not? It was all so confusing! And that scene in 'Let No Man Tear Asunder' - how could Natalie, a doctor, submit to anaesthesia that she thought unnecessary?! It made no sense!
She was so dazed as she sat through 'The Human Factor' that she didn't even notice the lightning moving closer and closer. Janette as a mortal? No way!! Mary Sue fought covering her eyes as these scenes unfolded.
She suddenly remembered the computer sitting on the table. After her years underground, the Internet seemed like a new-fangled invention, but she was able to connect easily by following the instructions in 'Internet for Dummies Underground For Seven Years', conveniently left by the side of the computer. Connecting, Mary Sue did a frantic search on 'Forever Knight.' Her first hit was a treasure trove to a desperate fan: www.fkfanfic.com. Without even pausing to check when the page had last been updated, she plunged into the wealth of fan fiction, sating years of deprivation, seeking answers for her confusion.
Now, Mary Sue, being of a scientific rather than a sensible bent, never stopped to think about the connection between fanfic and reality, as she scanned story after story. Her confusion deepened and her desperation grew. Suddenly, the power fluctuated, and she lost her connection.
Unable to reconnect, she turned back to the season three tapes, randomly choosing another. Halfway through Ashes to Ashes, she felt as though her head was going to explode. Sure, she'd never heard of this Vachon dude before six hours ago, but he wasn't bad looking, blinks and all. And suddenly he was gone! Passed on. No more. Ceased to be. Expired and gone to meet his maker. Bereft of life. Pushing up the daisies. Run down the curtain and joined the choir invisible.
She sat through the teaser of the next tape with a mounting dread. When the opening credits ended, and the title Last Knight appeared on screen, she suddenly jumped up, shut off the VCR, and grabbed her coat and the keys of the four wheel drive that had been left behind for her.
The engine started easily. Mary Sue didn't look back. Clearly, she would only find the explanations she needed in one place. She would head for the big TO.
* * *
Mary Sue smiled as she passed the Welcome to Toronto sign. She leaned forward, turned on the radio, and, with bated breath, tuned it to CERK. LaCroix's melodic voice filled the airwaves.
"Who are we really? By what artificial measuring stick do we judge a characterization? What makes the Nightcrawler, and all you gentle listeners who we are?"
She breathed a sigh of relief. No matter what was going on, if he was still around, then hope, like the ancient vampire himself, sprung eternal. She began to lose herself in that powerful voice.
"Perhaps the impartial firing of neurons in a tangled mass of brain-stuff. Or something more? A soul, that imaginary moral compass developed by primitive 'uman-beans barraged on all sides by unexplainable phenomena and the malevolent gods. Wot forms our ideas, opinions, our virtues and vice, our thoughts an' verbage? Are we born ta whom we are? Or is h'it fate wot shapes us? Circumcision... Excuse me, circle- n-cisms ... Circuit-fisions...."
Mary Sue's jaw dropped open. The words, in a way, were those of the Nightcrawler. But she couldn't remember his diction so strange and he'd certainly never suffered from word confusion in any episodes she'd seen.
"Ah, I've got it - by what circumstances have you tuned into the Nightcrawler tonight, me droogs? Wot h'is h'it 'bout moi tha' finds perspiration in me nightly mono- nuke-the-words?
"E'ery night ya tune Ol' Nightsquawker h'in h'on the dial, lost, ponderin' who ya are, the unknowin' wooly lambchops by which ya put a bit o' the judgmentation hon' yarselves. Le me 'elp ya let go o' yer tenny-a-cious grip h'on sew-the- city's model o' the roight an' the mices. Let moi be yar guide tew yarself fer Oi'm the Nightsquawker."
* * *
Screed leapt into the garbage bin as soon as he heard the tell- tale squeak and putter about of a rat. "Oooo, now, there's ya a fatsie ratsie. Jest gnawin' roight ta the bone h'on a bone."
He dug down with his hand, immediately pulling it back out. "Coooo. Wot's h'all that wetness? Not ta mention this trash is extremely odorous."
Meanwhile, alerted to his invitation to be dinner, the rat scurried away.
"This won't do, at all, me squealer." Screed jumped back out, following a few steps before pausing. Hunger still gripped him, though he felt a strange urge to visit Vachon and raid him for a bottle of human vintage. Squeal... Rat just seemed tacky and low-brow.
Of course he'd have to bathe first. In fact, as soon as possible. Somewhere back in his abode was at least one bar of soap. Hotel size, secretly pick-pocketed from Johnsie the last time the Leader o' the Pack had visited, but unused and still in the wrapper. He'd seen Libs just a few days before, and perhaps she'd brought a towel or washcloth. Even a clean t-shirt would do in a pinch.
Then he'd visit Vachon, perhaps. No, Screed decided. "Defective... I mean Detective Knight. He no doubt has better vintage. Not to mention a better hairstylist."
- end -