Penny glared across the desk at the gigantic yellow sunflower in his pinstriped suit. “You’re not listening to me, sir,” she grated. “Ispace is a threat to-“
To a small group of fangirls, yes, you’ve stated this several times, the Sunflower Official, Head of the PPC’s Department of Mary-Sues, cut her off. Now, Agent- I beg your pardon, Assassin Smith, allow me to point out some facts you may not be aware of.
The PPC is not, in fact, some sort of multiverse police force. Our remit is badfic – no more, and certainly no less. Are you claiming that an Official Fanfiction University is badfic? Or this Ispace?
“No,” Penny ground out, “but they-“
I mean, can you imagine how Jurisfiction would react? Or the Fairytale Police Department? The canonical Trans-Dimensional Organisations are already half-convinced we’re a bunch of vigilantes out to poach their jobs.“But we take down the Mary-Sue Factories!” Penny exclaimed, almost desperate now. “Even when they’re not attacking us!”
They started it, the SO noted. Other than invading OFUDisc – an organisation apparently perfectly capable of defending itself – what have Ispace done? Nothing.
“Someone must have reported the rumours to you,” Penny disagreed. “Several agent teams have been accosted by strangers who forced them away from their targets-“
Goodness, Mary-Sue sympathisers trying to stop the PPC? You’d think there was some sort of League of Mary-Sue Factories out there or something. The Sunflower Official rustled his petals and turned his bloom towards Penny. No. If and when you find evidence – evidence, mark you, not vague accusations, theories and hyperbole – that Ispace are aiding Mary-Sues or otherwise causing damage to the Plot Continuum on anything like the scale of the League – root and branch, if you can prove they’re causing any harm to the Plot Continuum – then you may be authorised to go after them. Until that time, Assassin, please leave. I have a Board meeting soon – in a day or so.
Penny fumed as she marched down the corridor to her not-a-Response-Centre-you’re-a-consultant-not-an-agent. She threw the door open, stalked inside, reached back to slam it closed – and paused. Her brow furrowed, and she drummed her fingers on the grey-painted wood.
Finally, a smile crept across her face. “Proof, huh?” she murmured. “I think I know just who to talk to…”
“But you still know people, right?”
Estelnar shook her head and took a sip of her drink, then grimaced. “Ugh. Next time, we meet at Rudi’s.” She put the glass down on the cafeteria table. “The fact is, we didn’t really talk to many people when we made the Multiverse Monitor. It… wasn’t that sort of paper.”
Penny scowled. “I should have known it was too easy,” she muttered. “Well, thanks for your time – sorry about the drink-“
“You know,” Estelnar cut in, “it might help if you told me what you actually want to know…”
Penny frowned. “But you just said – you don’t publish your paper anymore, so you can’t put a notice in…”
“But on the other hand,” Estelnar said reasonably, “not telling me would be a crime against curiosity.”
“… fair enough.”
Estelnar stared at Penny for long moments after the latter finished her tale. “Is that all?”
“All?” Penny repeated. “They abducted my friend – attacked an OFU – tried to kill me, it’s only that overpowered Administrator’s reflexes that teleported us away in time-“
“Oh, yes, I’m not arguing that isn’t serious,” Estelnar clarified. “But what you want to know – easy.”
“I think you’re exaggerating.”
“That’s because you don’t spend enough time in the Cafeteria,” Estelnar told her, standing up and looking around. “Let’s see… ah, yes.” She waved her hands over her head and raised her voice. “Kayleigh!”
A brown-haired woman practically leapt from her seat and scampered over. Penny could tell it was a scamper – mostly because the woman was chanting ‘scamper-scamper-scamper’ as she came.
“Hi there!” the woman called, jumping up onto a vacant chair and beaming down at Penny and Estelnar. “Speak my name and I doth come. And you only need to say it once – what a bargain, eh? Stroke.” She suited action to words by running a hand down the back of the white cat in her arms.
“Hi,” Estelnar said. “I, uh… okay, I’ll bite.”
“Oh, please don’t!” Kayleigh exclaimed. “You’ll scare Aunt Sam!”
“… not literally,” Estelnar clarified. “But… okay, who let you have a cat?”
“She isn’t a cat,” Kayleigh protested, clutching the not-cat close. “She is a mini-Mogget who I have adopted from some very nice-slash-horrid-slash-indifferent people! Glower.”
“Is there a point to any of this?” Penny asked. “Only I have to go and start knocking on doors…”
“No, you don’t.” Estelnar turned back to Kayleigh. “So, we hear a sinister organisation known as Ispace is out to destroy the PPC,” she said conversationally. “Any truth in that?”
“Gasp!” Kayleigh gasped. “The whole PPC? Not just a tiny little bit like the Department of Out-of-Character Hobbits?”
“All of it,” Penny confirmed. “Why? Have you heard something?”
“Not yet!” Kayleigh admitted cheerfully. “But I needed to know what to ask. Ooh! I recognise him!” And she stepped off the chair and darted off into the crowd, still cradling Aunt Sam.
“Kayleigh is one of HQ’s biggest conspiracy nuts,” Estelnar explained to Penny’s stare. “If anyone runs into these Ispace types and comes away with proof, she’ll learn about it.”
“And will she tell us?” Penny asked. “Or will she use the information to make HQ’s largest flower arrangement?”
Estelnar considered this image. “Well, you know,” she said at last, “there are some very information-rich flower arrangements out there…”
Disclaimer: All references to canons belong to their respective creators. The PPC is the creation of Jay and Acacia. The various agents in this chapter are mine (now). The story and all errors in it are my own.
Author's Note: I told you the PPC was in it. ;) Since a few people have expressed confusion as to what's going on, a summary of OFUDisc has been appended to the previous chapter.