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(Disclaimer: The concept of the PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia. “War” (http://www.fanfiction.net/s/6246185/1/War) belongs to Vexen_Devine. Kingdom Hearts and its associated characters belongs to Square Enix and Disney Interactive. Ember Island is part of the Avatar: The Last Airbender universe and belongs to Nickelodeon. Beta provided by doctorlit. Danny, Laura, and Cornelius belong to me. The following contains bad language and sexual situations.)

“That’s the last time I ever let you do the talking,” Laura grumbled as she and her partner maneuvered through the labyrinthine nightmare that was PPC headquarters. “You’d think all that reading would actually be good for something. Nope! Not a goddamn thing!”

“You’re overreacting,” Danny said. “Getting temporarily assigned to the Department of Improbable AUs was the best deal we could’ve gotten, considering what we did on that last mission.”

“Hey, what you did!”

“To help you!”

Laura waved one hand dismissively. “The scriptfic just flustered me for a moment. It wasn’t like I was actually going to snap or something. A little breather and some Bleeprin and I would’ve been good as new.”

“Not from where I was standing.”

“Hey, are you my doctor? No! So mind your own beeswax!”

They stopped in front of an elevator. “I still don’t get what the big deal is,” Danny said as he pressed the ‘down’ button. “What’s so bad about AUs?”

“Let me spell it out for you, thickhead. We specialize in video game continuums, right?”

“Right.” A quiet ringing sound precluded the arrival of the elevator, into which the two Assassins stepped. Danny punched a complex code into the number pad on the wall.

“What would you guess is one of the more popular video games for AU fiction?”

The blond agent’s eyes turned ceiling-wards in thought as the elevator began to move diagonally. “Kingdom Hearts?”

“Got it in one! Any idea what one of the more popular Kingdom Hearts AUs happens to be? Any goddamn idea?!”

“Um…”

Laura shot her partner a rather nasty glare. “High school AUs!” she shouted. “Stupid shallow wangsty teenage versions of the Kingdom Hearts cast! Do you know what sitting through one of those is like?! All the whining and the clique bashing and the stupidity? GAH!”

“You were exiled to the nerd table as a teenager, weren’t you?” Danny hopped back against the wall just in time to avoid his partner’s wild haymaker.

“I swear to the Flowers, sometimes I just want to make you eat that stupid tie! And no philosophy!” she said as Danny opened his mouth again. “I’m really not in the mood!”

“I was just going to say that we’re here.”

The elevator doors were wide open, revealing a less busy corridor. A sign on the wall proclaimed this area to be the ‘Department of Improbable Alternate Universes.’ Underneath that was a smaller handwritten note that read, ‘Watch out for stray plot holes.’

“Yippee skip,” Laura deadpanned.

They walked a short distance down the hall before stopping in front of an RC door. “We’re meeting with Agent Cornelius,” Danny said. “Be polite. I know that’s very difficult for you, but please try.” Laura gave a short fake laugh as she flipped off her partner.

pssst

Both agents looked around. The door had opened by itself, revealing a dim room packed with electronics. A draft of surprisingly cold air brushed past the assassins’ faces.

“Yeah… this ain’t creepy at all,” Laura whispered as she and Danny walked inside. “If this ends with someone writing on the wall with my blood, I’m gonna be so pissed at you.”

“I assure you, Agent Dukes, I have no interest of inflicting bodily harm against either you or Agent Richardson,” an unfamiliar voice replied. It was light and friendly, hardly the voice one would expect from the occupant of such an RC. “Please, both of you relax.”

“We’d probably feel a bit more comfortable if we could see you,” Danny said.

“Of course. My apologies.” Computer LEDs began to flicker and flash. There was a sudden blossoming of intense radiance from the center of the room. After a few seconds of confusion, the light coalesced into a bald young man with a pleasant smile. On his shoulders was the DIAU flash patch with the Rubin vase design. “Greetings,” the figure said. “You may refer to me as Cornelius. I will be acting as your coordinating agent during your reassignment.”

Laura was the first to catch her breath. “An AI… an actual AI!” She squinted at the faint green glow that outlined the hologram’s physical form. “Haloverse?”

“That is correct, Agent Dukes. My continuum of origin was indeed the Halo video game. I was rescued from a Mary Sue badfic two years ago and assigned to this department.”

“Okay, so rampancy ain’t an issue, then?”

“Not for another five years. Thank you for asking, though.”

Danny blinked. “Um, rampancy?”

“When Halo AIs start going all ‘Daisy Bell’ and turn on humanity,” Laura replied.

“Ah.” There was what is referred to in scripts as a ‘beat.’ “Good to know we don’t have to worry about that, I guess.”

Several computer monitors behind the holographic agent flickered to life. Displayed on them were mission reports and personnel files. “I have been doing extensive research on both of you since I was informed of the temporary transfer,” Cornelius said. “Your results in the Department of Mary Sues are quite impressive, if somewhat unorthodox at times.”

“Hey, that thing with the Stu and the propane tank slingshot was genius,” Laura said. “I don’t care what the SO says.”

“I am curious to see how you will cope with alternative universes. As a matter of fact…” One of the monitors brought up an intelligence report. “I received this mission alert 10.37 minutes ago. It will serve as an excellent introduction for both of you.”

“Here we go,” Laura whispered to Danny.

“It takes place in the Kingdom Hearts continuum,” Cornelius continued.

“What’d I tell you? Emo Zexion, stoner Axel, and bitchy cheerleader Kairi. I am so going to make you suffer for this.”

“The setting is that of the European front during World War II. I have taken the liberty of preprogramming appropriate disguises into the DORKS.”

Silence settled over the RC for a brief moment. “I’m sorry,” Danny said in a tone of voice only a few steps away from an out and out gloat, “I didn’t quite catch that. Where did you say this fic was set?”

“The second World War.”

The blond turned towards his silent partner. “You hear that, Laura? The second World War!”

“Shut up, Danny.”

* * *


Vexen looked up as he could hear bombs and gunfire in the distance.

The Organization’s Number IV was so preoccupied with listening to the sounds of combat he failed to notice he was being observed by two US paratroopers and a nurse. “We’re not in any danger from the battle, are we?” the blond paratrooper asked.

“Negative, Agent Richardson,” the other male soldier responded. “We are perfectly safe.”

“Figures that a World War II fic wouldn’t have any actual war in it,” the nurse said a tad bitterly. “I really wanted to shoot some replacement Stu Nazis.”

The small band of soldiers-slash-agents stepped away from the door through which they’d been peeking. “I doubt this fic will present us with any Stus,” Cornelius said. “We’re in all likelihood looking at a basic wraith exorcism.”

Laura looked like she had just tasted something bitter. “Bad slash? With Vexen?”

“Different strokes for different folks, Laura,” Danny said.

“Please don’t say ‘strokes’ while in a slashfic.” She glanced over at Cornelius, who was adjusting the mobile emitter clasped to his chest. “Is that really gonna work for you?” She poked him in the shoulder and nodded at the resistance she enountered. “Sure, it’s making you solid now, but I can’t see how mixing canonical technologies like this could end in anything but problems.”

“It’ll be sufficient for the length of this story. Were this something much longer, then yes, it would begin to operate erratically due to the differences in canon.”

“Good to know.” Laura returned her attention back to the scene.

What he'd give to go back to England, and be surrounded by the people who spoke the same tongue and understood you. Everyday he'd be taking care of American's, French, Australian's, Russian's and European's.

Danny winced. “Yeesh! Charge for gratuitous apostrophe abuse,” he said. “And is the text suggesting that the English don’t speak the same language as Americans or Australians?”

“I don’t know,” Laura said. “I can sorta see that, what with lorries and crisps and toad in the hole. Vexen is definitely not English, though. You want an English Organization member, you go to Luxord.”

The blonde didn't like the American soldiers, they were rude and arrogant.

“And behold the setup!” Laura remarked. “A nice cheap way to introduce conflict between Vexen and the soldier he’s paired up with. Hate makes the sex sweeter, apparently.”

“Really?” said the AI. His eyes quickly shifted between the two Assassins. “How very interesting.”

The redhead glanced over at Cornelius. “What are you talking about?”

“Nothing. Merely making a personal reflection.”

There was a sudden blurring as time moved forward. Demyx appeared out of nowhere and began shaking Vexen awake.

"I-I'm sorry Doctor Vexen, b-but there is a soldier t-that needs your a-attention." The young dirty blonde doctor stuttered.
"Numb his body, I'll be out in a second." Vexen growled, sitting up.


“Numb his body?” Danny repeated incredulously. “You don’t even want to know what kind of injuries he has first? Okay, this guy is not a real doctor.”

“Error detected! The likelihood of severe physical harm coming to a canonical character has just increased by twenty-three percent,” Cornelius intoned.

“What was it before?”

“One hundred percent. Thus the error.”

Laura rolled her eyes. “A war fic where someone gets hurt? Go figure.”

They arranged themselves in an unused corner of the Generic Military Field Hospital and watched as Vexen emerged from his room, now wearing a white lab coat. He followed Demyx over to a surgery table, where another Organization member was laying.

Emerald green eyes were focused on the patient; shoulder length fluffy pink hair, hazy midnight blue eyes and lovely sun-kissed skin.

“Whoa! Possible Stu alert!” Laura exclaimed as she reached into her satchel for a CAD.

Danny snorted. “Shoulder-length pink hair on a soldier in the 1940s? Yeah, I’ll buy a lot of things in a piece of fiction, but there are limits.” He shook his head as his partner finally fished the CAD out of her bag and pointed it at the recumbent Nobody.

[Marluxia. Male Nobody. Canonical. 86.1869% OOC. WARNING DANGER CHARACTER RUPTURE IMMINENT WITH NOT GOOD THINGS HAPPENING]

“Perhaps you will get to shoot someone after all, Agent Dukes,” the AI said as Laura switched off the CAD before it could explode.

"He's been shot in both legs twice and once in his right hip." Demyx yelped.

“Looks like someone beat you to it,” Danny said.

“Someone who was a lousy shot,” Laura scoffed. “Five bullets and no hits in the center of mass? There’s a German soldier getting chewed out by his sergeant right now.”

"Your name and rank?" The older blonde asked firmly.
Marluxia growled, frowning at the blonde.


The redhead raised an incredulous eyebrow. “Uh, I think that’s supposed to read ‘Marluxia said nothing, because he had passed out from the pain and blood loss.’ ”

“The illogic rating of this fic has been raised from ‘Slightly Silly’ to ‘Incredulous,’ ” Cornelius reported. “Agents are advised to take necessary protective measures.”

“What would those be?” Danny asked.

“Take Bleep products until the situation improves or a trip to FicPsych can be arranged.”

"Commanding Officer Marluxia LeFlur."

Danny had pulled out his notepad and was scribbling something on it. “Charge… using generic military ranks.”

“Don’t forget the misspelling of the last name LaFleur,” Cornelius added. “Lefler or la Fleur would have been an acceptable permutation, but I can’t find any records of LeFlur.”

"We need to get these bullets out of you." Vexen stated matter-of-factly.
"Well of course! Now hurry the fuck up!" He yelled angrily.
The blonde frowned and slapped him.


Both human agents blinked in surprise before attempting to suppress their laughter. The lack of specific descriptors had resulted in Vexen yelling at and slapping himself. “This guy should definitely not be a doctor!” Laura chuckled. “He probably shouldn’t even be allowed within one hundred feet of an actual hospital unless he’s a patient!”

"I could let you die of Gangrene!" Vexen snapped, his eyes turning to slits.

“So he’s a schizophrenic quack who is willing to let his patients die of horrible infections,” Danny said as soon as he had gotten his laughter under control. “Clearly the British army only recruits the best medics.”

“Still, apart from the hitting himself he’s acting pretty in character,” Laura remarked. “Vexen’s the type of person who’d let a patient die of gangrene just so he could study the effects.”

“Sounds like a heck of a guy. I see why people ship him.”

"Vexen please calm down, just ignore him, he's American." Demyx pleaded.

“Is this story bashing us?” Laura asked as the two medics sedated Marluxia and began extracting the bullets. “I don’t know about you, Danny, but I’m feeling kinda bashed right now.”

Cornelius stared off into the middle distance. His form flickered briefly. “According to the notes at the end of the first chapter,” he said, “the author does not discriminate against any particular nation. He or she is apparently trying to replicate the attitudes he or she believed people would have had in the 1940s. The end result is this inaccurate generalization that all of the British disliked the Americans and vice versa.”

“I still feel bashed. Book ‘em, Danny!”

Danny nodded as he wrote down the new charge. “How long is this surgery scene going to last?” he said. “If we have to sit through a chapter of Vexen and Demyx complaining about Americans and not moving the plot along, I’d like to know now so I can go outside and have a smoke.”

“I’m afraid the story will not allow enough time for you to finish an entire Bleepette, Agent Richardson,” the AI replied. “There are charges contained within this scene that must be noted. Here are two such items now.”

The younger blonde moved to grab the bandages and liquids to put on the open wounds.

“Note the incorrect use of ‘blonde’ as referring to a male, plus the application of Generic Liquids to open wounds,” Cornelius went on to say. “I have already taken the liberty of alerting Medical to the situation so they will be prepared for our arrival with Marluxia.”

Laura watched her partner sigh as he flipped over a new page in his notepad. “If you want to smoke so bad,” the redhead said, “why don’t you just do it?”

“In a medical tent?” Danny replied. “That’d be unsanitary!”

"He doesn't look the type for women either." Demyx added.
"He must think I'm one of those vile women creatures, with how snappy he was towards me." Vexen snipped, emerald green eyes glowing.


Laura’s own eyes narrowed. “Okay, NOW I feel bashed.” She reached into her uniform jacket and pulled out one of her knives. “I think the doctor needs a little bit of surgery!” she said with a nasty grin.

She stepped forward to make good on her claims but was quickly bound up in Danny’s arms. “No!” he exclaimed. “He’s not a Stu, this isn’t an Assassination, and I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to negotiate away your killing a canonical character! Calm down!”

The redhead struggled against his grasp for a moment before going limp. “Fine. He lives. For now.”

“Promise not to kill him?”

“…Promise.”

Danny released his partner, who reluctantly returned her knife to its original position. “Really, Laura? ‘I think the doctor needs a little bit of surgery?’ ” he asked. “That’s the line you would have gone with?”

“Hey, I was operating on reflex! Pardon me if creative spur-of-the-moment insults aren’t really my thing!”

“Agents, if I might interrupt?” Cornelius said. They both looked over at him. He hadn’t moved an inch during the entire event. “The story is not waiting for you to finish your argument. Demyx has just suggested to Vexen that Marluxia might be attracted to him. Marluxia himself has awakened and is secrety listening to their conversation.”

Laura snorted despite her rapidly souring mood. “Thanks, Agent Exposition.”

"You trying to suggest he has a fetish for older blonde doctors?" Vexen chuckled a little, Demyx knew how to cheer him up.
"The look in his eyes suggested it."


“His hazy midnight blue eyes, you mean,” Danny said. “Can’t forget all those lovely purple words we got thrown at us before.”

"Besides, you need a 'man' who can look after you, as much as he's American he's better looking than most England men, and he's feisty, totally perfect for your demeanor." Demyx added.

Cornelius raised one digital eyebrow. “Interesting. If you swap out the gender-specific words in that section for their opposites – he for she, men for women, and so forth – then it describes what some might consider to be the traditional partner for a patriarchal relationship. It seems to me—”

“Shut. Up. Now.” There was a rattling noise as Laura pulled a bottle of Bleeprin out of her satchel. Her glare never turned away from the three canonical characters.

“Yes ma’am.”

"Well... I suppose I do, he's much better looking than Xigbar..." Vexen made a disgusted face. "Under all that American I suppose he'd be decent."

“Excuse me if this question sounds stupid, Cornelius,” Danny said, “but this is supposed to be taking place during World War II, right?”

“That is correct.”

The blond agent nodded. “Good, good. So…” He waved his hands around in a vague manner. “Why are these guys openly gay? My grasp of history’s a little vague, but I’m pretty sure this sort of behavior would have been rewarded with a dishonorable discharge back during the ‘40s.”

“That would indeed be the case if we were in were the Real World. This is in actually a subreality – a pocket World War II continuum, if you will – where the rules are suspended to allow for the author’s vision. Most stories that change the historical facts of the Second World War utilize this ‘blank slate’ reality to some extent.”

“Ah.” Danny stood in silence for a moment. “In that case, I’m going to smoke. If this reality doesn’t care about military relations, I don’t care if ash gets in someone’s wound.”

Laura rolled her eyes as she returned the slightly lighter bottle of Bleeprin to her bag. “Please don’t say ‘ash’ while in a slashfic, especially not if your next words are ‘gets in.’ ” She looked back up just in time to catch Demyx leaving the room. “Hey, Cornelius, does he show up again?”

“Demyx is mentioned briefly as part of a ‘time passing’ montage, but other than that, no,” the AI replied.

“Great! That means I can go exorcise and re-continuum the little water weasel. You two can stay here and keep track of any new offenses the other two dredge up.”

Cornelius looked back over at the two remaining Nobodies, who were exchanging what would have to pass as flirtatious banter. “I’m not sure—”

“I knew I could count on you guys!” Laura interrupted happily. “Well, you guy and you male-shaped light construct, anyway. See you in a bit!” She gave her partners a casual salute before turning towards the exit the Nocturne had left by. Any attempt to follow him, however, was stopped by Danny’s hand in her face.

“Your knives,” he said. He held up one index finger to forestall her protests. “It’s just a safety precaution, Laura.”

“What?! I don’t call going unarmed after a Nobody very safe!”

“I meant a safety precaution for him. You’ve got that ‘people will pay’ look on your face again.”

After a bit of grumbling, Laura pulled two daggers out of her uniform jacket. She set them down on the ground and took a step back. “Happy?”

“And the pistol.”

This time Danny’s request was met with a sigh. Laura reached around to her back and retrieved a M1911 pistol, which she placed next to the daggers.

“AND the backup.”

“What backup?” Laura asked, the very picture of innocence.

Danny cleared his throat and pointed at her feet. She nodded in comprehension before kneeling down and removing a derringer from the ankle holster tucked underneath her left pants leg. “Can I go now?” she asked as she put the little gun on the pile.

“Have fun.” Danny smiled as he picked up his partner’s arsenal.

“You have quite the understanding of Agent Dukes’ persona,” Cornelius commented as Laura followed the wayward Nobody.

The assassin leaned against the wall and took another puff. “After you live and work with someone for a few months, you get to know them pretty well. I think it’s been a few months, anyway. I never really got how time works in the PPC.”

“Interesting. I’m curious; have either of you suffered any ill effects from sharing a physical relationship in addition to your normal work duties?”

Danny coughed violently, sending his Bleepette flying across the room. He fell to his knees, hacking and choking, as Marluxia and Vexen looked up at this disturbance. Cornelius quickly pulled Danny to his feet. “Excuse him,” he said quickly. “He has sustained an injury to his lungs. I shall take him for treatment immediately.” The AI led him outside as the two canonical characters returned to ‘flirting’ with each other.

After taking a few deep breaths, Danny looked at Cornelius with incredulous shock on his face. “You think that Laura and I are together? Together together?”

“I take it from your reaction in the other room plus your dramatic decline in grammatical ability that I am mistaken in this regard?”

“YES! We’re just friends! Nothing more!”

“I see.” Cornelius rubbed his chin in thought. “The information I have been able to obtain on human relationships must be incorrect. Are you saying you are not attracted to Agent Dukes?”

Danny was silent for a moment. “Well, I didn’t… I never… um.”

“Has she expressed any feelings for you beyond the norm of a professional relationship?”

“I can’t really say…”

There was a momentary pause as Cornelius’s body flickered again. “There were no efforts to further your and Agent Dukes’ relationship during your vacation on Ember Island?”

“I’m not – wait, how do you know where we went on vacation?” The blond agent shook his head as he fumbled around in his uniform for a new Bleepette. “Look, I know you’re curious and all, but I’m really not comfortable talking about this.”

“Talking about what?” a female voice rang out. Danny dropped his lighter in surprise as Laura stepped out from behind him.

“Agent Dukes.” Cornelius’s tone of voice never wavered. “Has Demyx been exorcised and returned to The Castle That Never Was already?”

She grinned as she waved a battered copy of the Kingdom Hearts II strategy guide. “Done and done. Gave him the old ‘bad dream’ routine and it was like he’d never left. What were you two talking about before I came in?”

“THE MISSION!” Danny exclaimed as he scooped his lighter up from the ground. “We were just talking about the mission! Right Cornelius?”

The AI took one look at the somewhat manic expression on Danny’s face and decided that the truth would be hazardous towards his continuing operation. “That is correct, Agent Richardson.”

“Huh.” Laura paused for a moment before putting the strategy guide back into her satchel. “So what next?”

“Next we shall be jumping slightly forward in time so as to avoid that montage I previously mentioned,” Cornelius said. His eyes began to glow a bright LED green. “Temporal movement in three, two, one.”

The setting seemed to melt away for an instant before springing back into shape. Marluxia was gone and Vexen was getting ready to go to bed. “Nighttime,” Laura remarked as she squinted into the gloom. “This can only mean one thing in a fic like this.”

“Surprise German assault?”

“I wish, Danny.”

Vexen stopped in front of his door, turning the door handle to open the door, he had returned to his room to find Marluxia's perfect and well toned body laying on his bed in the moonlight.
"I'm here to give your body a good time, manly style." Marluxia grinned with a purr.


Danny’s eyes narrowed. “Wait. How did—” He nudged his partner, who was doubled over with laughter. She covered her mouth in an attempt to stifle herself. “How did Marluxia get from his bed to Vexen’s with five bullet holes in his legs? You gotta figure he’s just torn out all his stitches. And how do you grin something?!” He crossed his arms and grimaced. “You just can’t!”

“Warning: the illogic level of this fic has risen from ‘Incredulous’ to ‘Implausible.’ ” Cornelius reported. “Agents may experience some mild mental discomfort.”

Laura snorted between her fingers. “Manly style... hoo boy, I gotta find some way to use that in the future.”

The scene shuddered briefly as the chapter shifted. Suddenly Vexen and Marluxia were lying together in what was presumably the post-coital glow. Vexen closed his eyes as he placed his head on the pink-haired man’s chest.

“Not that I’m complaining or anything,” Laura remarked, “but is that it? We just get the cuddling?”

“Four,” Cornelius said, his eyes staring off into the Words. “Three. Two. One.”

It was pure passion and nothing other, the tangling of the two bodies, sliding against each other; inside each other. Oh gods how it was bliss, hands sliding down over a well defined chest, long lanky legs wrapping tightly, yes tightly.

“Gah!” The redhead quickly covered her ears. “Vague urple prose flashback!”

“You just had to say something, didn’t you?” Danny muttered. “Couldn’t leave well enough alone.”

A few paragraphs later, the flashbacks finally ceased. Cornelius glanced at his two moaning compatriots. “My apologies. I should have pointed out that section before we came to it.”

Danny pressed his hands against his temples in an effort to quell the dull aching that was rising in his head. “You sure he isn’t evil?” he asked Laura.

“I’m beginning to have my doubts.” She reached back into her satchel and pulled out the bottle of Bleeprin again. “Can we wrap this up now?”

“Yes, I believe so,” the AI replied. “I shall handle the incantations if you two will deal with the physical banishment.”

“You mean hitting them with stuff, right?” Laura asked.

“Correct.”

“Yeah, I think we can handle that.” The redhead pulled a Kingdom Hearts game case out of her bag and handed it to Danny. “You got a preference?” she asked as she retrieved the KH II strategy guide from where she had stowed it before.

“For targets?” Danny scratched his chin with his free hand. “I guess I’ll take the ‘commanding officer.’ You can have the phony-baloney doctor.”

Laura rolled the guide into a tube and gave it a practice swing. “Okay then, gents… HIT ‘EM HARD!”

The two Nobodies looked up just in time to see an infuriated Marine and a WAC with a nasty grin swoop down on them. Their cries of protest were quickly drowned out with thwacking noises. “I cast you out, spirits of illogic!” Cornelius chanted from his position well out of striking distance. “I cast you out, spirits of unrealistic battle damage! You have no place here, misogyny! In the name of Square Enix and Disney, I order you to leave these characters and return to the fandom from whence you came!”

Marluxia and Vexen began to convulse as a thick smoke poured from their mouths. It condensed into a roughly humanoid form. “I don't hate American's or the British... or any nation for that matter,” it protested as it faded away into nothingness.

“Excuses, excuses,” Laura said with a sneer. “Everyone’s got one and they all stink.”

* * *


“An excellent mission,” Cornelius said. He and the two human agents were back in his RC. He had returned to his normal ‘young man made out of light’ form. “Two canonical characters exorcised and returned to their continuum of origin with a third briefly rerouted through Medical. I am forwarding the mission report to both the SO and the Antigravity Apple now.”

“How many more of these things do we have to do until we can head back to Mary Sues full time?” Laura asked as she looked around in vain for somewhere to slouch.

“The best answer would most likely be ‘when the SO says you can.’ ”

“Great.”

Cornelius did a brief head nod, which caused a door to a side room to open. “There are some bunks in there if you wish to relax. There is also a recreation room three doors down and to the left. It features a television and vending machines for both snacks and soft drinks.”

“Soft drinks, eh?” The redhead yawned and stretched. “I could go for one of those right now. You want anything, Danny?”

Danny shook his head. “I’m good for right now.”

“Suit yourself. I’ll be back in a bit.” She padded casually out of the room.

Cornelius looked over at the remaining assassin. “You are certain there is no—”

“I am VERY certain!” Danny interrupted. “Stop asking me about this. We’re not having this conversation!”

“As you say, Agent Richardson.”

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