July 05, 2001


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 -

Subject: WAR: Opening Post: WE ARE EACH OTHER
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 12:01:14 EDT
From: "FK Warmistress" FKWarmistress [at] AOL.COM
Reply-To: FKWarmistress [at] AOL.COM

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Getting to Toronto, Chapters 1, 2 & 3
by Kimmer, Jason, Alex, Mindi, Teresa, Leeann, Claudia, Molly & Kaiya

July 4, 2001

Kimmer opened her front door to see a blinking light on her answering machine. Setting the groceries down on the couch, she quickly tapped the button to retrieve the message.

"So, you are out. I wanted to speak with you, but i guess this silly machine will have to do. You need to come back to Toronto, Kimmer, you and the rest of my Ravenettes. We will have a lovely party and catch up. Bring some amusing, unique item with you".

Kimmer was grinning from ear-to-ear as she put the groceries she wouldn't be needing away. It was so good to hear Janette's voice again. It had been way too long. Kimmer finished her chore, opened a bottle of wine to celebrate, and pouring herself a large glass, picked up the phone to start making a few calls.

The doorbell rang before she could make the first call. Setting her wine glass and phone down, Kimmer hurried to the door. She opened it to find a courier with a package for her to sign. It was from Toronto.

Inside were tickets to fly from Seattle to Toronto. Janette wanted Kimmer to go to Washington state, join Lorna there, and then they were to fly to Toronto with Ravenettes Chanda and Time. Janette was taking care of getting Chanda and Time to Seattle--all Kimmer had to do was make sure they all arrived together.

Kimmer settled back in to call Lorna. "Great, I'm herding cats before I even get to Toronto," she muttered to herself, as she heard her friend's voice answering the telephone.

Lorna was happy to hear they were headed to Toronto again, although she had some bad news for Kimmer. She had broken her hip, and would be needing equipment and physical therapy during the war. Kimmer did not know if Janette knew this or not, but suddenly she was very grateful that Chanda and Time were joining her in Seattle. Their friend needed help and support.

July 5, 2001

Kimmer, Lorna, Chanda and Time were settled into the limo quite comfortably, with Miklos driving straight for the Raven. Kimmer stole a quick glance at Lorna, seeing that the trip was indeed taking a toll. She smiled appreciatively at Chanda and Time, grateful for their assistance in getting Lorna to Toronto safely.

Miklos pulled the limo around the back, and got out quickly to help with Lorna. Soon, the Ravenettes were at the bar, having a drink and visiting with Miklos and Alma. Lorna had a couple of pain pills and a glass of wine and was feeling much better. With the long trip behind them, the Ravenettes relaxed and partied.

Miklos and Alma got very quiet, and Kimmer followed their gaze. Janette was entering the room, dressed exquisitely in a black sleeveless gown. Ruby drop earrings and matching necklace gleamed in the pale light of the Raven. Her smile was dazzling.

All the Ravenettes waited in respectful silence as their Hostess greeted each one of them. Miklos quickly got Janette a glass of the House Special, which she took from him as she joined him behind the bar. Drinking deeply, she smiled coyly at Alma, who raised her own glass. The partying began.......

"Immigration Police. How may I help you?"

"Well, you can start by packing your bags and getting on a plane to Toronto. Pronto."

Claudia had received the call two days ago and now she was impatiently waiting for her luggage by the carousel at the Toronto International Airport.

She watched as one by one her fellow passengers picked up their luggage and wondered what was keeping her bags. If the airline had misplaced her stuff, she'd make a royal scene. She needed everything she'd brought with her; no self-respecting Ravenette could allow herself to be seen wearing the same jeans and t-shirt for the whole duration of the upcoming war. It was simply out of the question. Unthinkable. A major no-no. A catastrophe the size of a --

Just as Claudia had rallied herself close to a hurricane state, her luggage arrived. Breathing a quiet sigh of relief, she quickly picked up her suitcases and headed for the doors.

Now, if she could just find a cab, she would *finally* be on her way to the Raven.

"Dang! This feels empty," the skycap exclaimed, staggering from over-compensating for weight that wasn't in the large bag he lifted, the third suitcase out of the trunk.

"Oh, it is," Teresa responded. "Got shopping plans in Toronto. What's a vacation without new clothes? Besides, I might want to bring home a Mountie. Ya never know!".

Getting no response from the skycap, Teresa paid off the taxi and checked in through Premier Class. Settling in her comfy first class seat for the flight to Toronto, she thought to herself, "Gotta thank Janette for the tickets, for promising to send Miklos to pick me up and for just generally injecting some style into my life. It's good to be a Ravenette".

Stepping out of the taxi with a look of relief on his face at the sight of the Raven entrance, Alex stretched and allowed himself to finally relax. He paid the driver and took the bags handed to him. Alex was so very glad that the long trip was over.

Walking into the dark night club, he smiled when he saw some of the Ravenettes had already arrived. Miklos greeted Alex warmly and placed a glass of single malt Scotch on the bar in front of where Alex was sitting. Alma blew him a kiss in passing as she slinked off into the back room. After that long trip from Australia, it was the warm welcome that Alex needed. He finished his drink and Miklos poured another one immediately. Alex raised his glass in a salute, Miklos raised his back, and the other Ravenettes took turns to come over and greet Alex properly. He was home and ready for anything.

Stepping into the dark coolness of the air-conditioned Raven, LeeAnn closed her eyes in bliss. Toronto definitely had its' share of killer smog and hot days, quite unlike the foggy coastal town of Santa Cruz that she had left just this morning. Letting her bags drop from both shoulders with a shrug, she opened her eyes and caught sight of the rest of the Ravenettes at the bar. Grinning, LeeAnn headed over to join the group she hadn't seen for much too long.

finis chapter 1

Chapter 2
July 5, 2001

Kaiya sighed and glanced irritably at her slim silver wristwatch. Although she loved flying, and flying first class - courtesy of Janette, (which was definitely the best way to fly), nothing could keep the long flight from England to Toronto from being anything but boring. She was relieved to hear the pilot begin his landing spiel and she was one of the first off of the plane.

Stretching lightly, she soon found her assigned chauffeur, directing him to collect her luggage as she slipped away to freshen up. Kaiya regarded her reflection in the mirror, thinking that Janette would be pleased with what she saw.

A short black skirt hugged the tops of her legs, knee-high boots hugging her calves. She straightened her black halter top and twitched her black leather jacket into place. Her blonde hair was half-twisted up into a complicated-looking -- but simple to do -- concoction, wild ringlets cascading down around her face, the rest falling down her back. Kaiya rejoined her chauffeur, who quickly opened the back door to the limo. Settling back in her seat for the short journey to the Raven, she couldn't help but wonder why Janette was summoning her faction now. "Something important must be up," she thought to herself.

The door was opened for her and she flashed the driver a quick smile, grabbing her bags and hurrying into the Raven. Her smile broadened as she joined the group of people she'd been looking forward to meeting, and of course, her Mistress. Janette came around the bar, surveying the newest arrival, up-and-down quickly. Her approval shone in her eyes. "Very nice, ma chere," she purred.

Kaiya smiled gratefully at Janette. Oh yes, this would be fun!

Jason shifted uncomfortably in his seat, just waking up from a short and fitful sleep. "I hate sleeping in planes", he mumbled to himself.

He'd been terribly excited, only a few days before, at the opportunity to come to Toronto. Then the reality of the long flight from Melbourne, almost 24 hours, had dawned on him. To make matters worse, the plane had not served any Australian beer. "And I don't suppose there'll be any to be found, anywhere at all in Canada", he thought gloomily.

After what seemed an eternity, the plane finally landed in Toronto. Jason stood to get off the plane, his neck was sore from the uncomfortable position he'd been sleeping in. He was so tired and jet-lagged.

After picking up his baggage, he hailed a cab and headed to the Raven. When he got there, he found Janette in the process of welcoming her guests. She smiled and said, "Welcome, Jason. I've had a selection of Australian beers specially imported for your stay with us".

Jason smiled appreciatively and thought to himself, "This might not be so bad". He sat down at the bar, and Miklos came over with a coaster in hand. "I don't suppose you have any Toohey's Blue, do you?" he asked, daring to hope for his favorite. Miklos nodded and said, "Yes, we certainly do!". Jason watched with a satisfied look as the long stream of amber liquid flowed into the glass. Taking the offered glass, he took a sip, refreshing and cold, just right. "This is going to be good," he thought to himself, as he turned to meet the Ravenettes gathered around the newest arrival.

finis chapter 2

Chapter 3
July 4, 2001

Mindi paused as she stood by the small marble-topped table, her fingers reaching for the phone. As she turned, she caught a glimpse of herself in the beveled-edge, etched-glass antique mirror which hung on the wall....

Knee-high boots of the finest Italian calfskin covered her legs, the small silver glint of her spurs sparkling in the dim light of the entry-room. Breeches of the deepest shade of cranberry were fastened around her slender waist with a narrow belt of black leather, which matched her boots. A blazingly white shirt covered her upper body, concealing a small but well-muscled, compact physique. The top buttons were undone, the stiff collar she had to wear when she was showing her horses had hurriedly been ripped off and flung into one of the many voluminous closets. Her coat of fitted black linen had been abandoned as she entered her house, lying carelessly flung over a chair. Long raven-black hair, with a slightly purplish cast, was tightly plaited but still hung down well past her waist in a braid as soon as it had been released from the black velvet helmet that sat on the chair with her jacket.

"Hmmmm" she murmured to herself, "considering the high exchange rate in our favor, the quality of horses, and the fact that Spruce Meadows is coming up....." she paused again. Amber eyes narrowed slightly as she thought. Suddenly, she slapped her palm firmly against the table, causing an echoing sound in the otherwise silent room as she picked up the phone. "That's it! I'm going to Canada!". Hurriedly she dialed...

July 5, 2001

"Ahhh" Mindi purred as she quickly disembarked. "I'm so glad Janette has such wonderful taste!". She stretched quickly, thankful to be off the plane after such a long trip. Her limo driver, Henri, was at the gate to greet her. He was loading her luggage, already customs-cleared, onto a wheeled carrier for the trip to the car. Henri opened the back door for Mindi, put her luggage in the trunk, and climbed in behind the driver's wheel.

The sun was already down when they pulled into Toronto evening traffic. Mindi wanted to go to the stables and check on her horses, but it would have to wait until the morning. She knew they were being taken very good care of, and she was anxious to meet Janette and her Ravenette companions. Using the phone in the car, she called the stables just to ease her mind about the horses, and then settled back comfortably in her seat for the duration of the ride.

Mindi opened the door to the Raven, to be greeted by sounds of great mirth. Kimmer looked up from where she sat at the bar, and seeing the new Ravenette, hurried to greet her.

"Hi, Mindi, isn't it?" Kimmer asked, as Mindi nodded. "Well, come on in, glad to have you here! This is great, how it all worked out, the faction getting together at a time of year when you had a horse show. You're going to be the busy one, no doubt!". Kimmer took Mindi by the arm, and steered her to the bar.

Molly opened the priority package that had just arrived, then replayed the voice mail message again. " 'Bring something strange'? Hmmmm..." she looked around the room. Other than her wardrobe and make-up, she didn't really possess anything strange...except...

With a soft screeching noise, Molly called to her newest pet, which happily rolled over and uncoiled with an answering screech. "Guess what, Bill? We're going to Toronto!".

Over two hours had passed since Janette had sent Miklos out again. Kimmer took yet another head count and bit her lip, glancing anxiously at Janette. The femme fatale of Toronto's vampire community was looking more and more irritated as time passed. The rest of the Raven-ettes had long since arrived and were happily swapping stories over drinks. Just then the front door swung open and the last of the Raven-ettes to arrive sauntered in, followed at a careful distance by Miklos, who was keeping a wary eye on Molly's carry-on bag, which appeared to be wriggling. Wriggling?!

For the moment, Janette ignored the bag and looked Molly up and down. Knee-high, flat-soled black boots, black fish nets, sleeveless turtleneck black mini-dress, and an underbust corset in black PVC printed with computer circuitry and buckled in front with three straps. "Very nice," she purred in approval, "but you're late".

"Thank you, Mademoiselle. I'm sorry, but --" Molly held up a pack of cigarettes and shrugged. "I had to trade in the non-stop ticket you sent for something more accommodating".

"What's in the bag?" "Did you bring your lizard?" the other Ravenettes wanted to know.

"Yup!" Molly unzipped the bag and hauled out three feet of armor plating. "Say 'hi' to the gang, Bill". The four-petaled snout opened in a screech, revealing rows of tiny sharp teeth.

finis chapter 3 end arc

the gang's all here!!!:-)

Subject: WAR: Ravenettes: "Getting to Toronto" Chapters 1, 2 & 3
Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 10:26:04 -0600
From: "kimmer" kimmertom [at] QWEST.NET
Reply-To: kimmer kimmertom [at] QWEST.NET
Ravenettes Faction, First Post, FK War 11

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