Subreality Cafe: The 1998 CBFFA Round Robin

By Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb (
plus a scene bribed in by Laersyn (

           "Oh god. You didn't tell me it was going to be like this."
           The Manager of the Subreality Cafe ran a shaking hand over his/her mouth and sank into the nearest chair, slightly pale. His/her other hand clutched a sheet of paper covered with neatly printed notes and and lists, many of which were highlighted in yellow and cross-referenced in red. The margins were filled with random doodles of eyeballs and unfinished torsos, indicating that whoever had created the form had spent some time hemming and hawing over its contents. "No disrespect meant, boss lady,'re completely insane."
           "I think I'll take that as a compliment." Kielle was leaning on the bar picking thoughtfully at the sushi section of the freshly laid-out buffet, waiting for the first guests to arrive. She was dressed to the nines (meaning that the black pants were fresh-washed and the comic-book character on her black tee-shirt was completely G-rated), and she was fidgeting nervously at the idea of writing herself into the Subreality Cafe. It wasn't something she relished doing, something she hadn't done since Jesse Willey had required a good firm scolding. However, she really had no choice. She'd started this particular mess, and she was honorbound to see it through. "It was either that or do it all myself..."
           Indignant, the Manager brandished the list at her. "You didn't warn me! You didn't tell me who was coming--"
           "Everyone is coming. Even the Writers. I told you that two weeks ago."
           "I know that. I mean...well, you didn't tell me who the presenters were going to be. I'm going to have a bloody riot on my hands."
           "Relax. They'll behave. I've also invited the Brute Squad, remember."
           The Manager suddenly went very still. "Bones AND Laersyn?"
           "Uh huh. And Haesslich. In draconic form," Kielle replied, ticking off fingers as she recounted the names. "Not to mention Luci Morningstar, Trough, Misfire, Hannah Connover, the 'Field-Trip' version of Chamber, Alexa's Sabretooth, Hawk, maybe even RudeJohn--" The Manager stood up abruptly and headed behind the bar with a grim expression. "--hey, where are you going?"
           "I," he/she replied with great dignity, "am hiding the knives."

           One hour later the place was half full and more were arriving every minute. For the first time in the Manager's memory (unless you counted the near-hallucinatory midnight meetings of that lot from the GenX Archive), Unfinished characters chatted amicably with Uncreated characters and fictives rubbed elbows peacefully with Writers, except for some kind of scuffle out back where a particular grudge-bearing version of the X-Men had cornered Jason Cornwell. The Manager wasn't concerned; Cornwell could look after himself. That, and the fact that the above-mentioned GenX Archive lot had just taken it upon themselves to rescue him and had charged out thata way.
           The Manager groaned and rubbed his/her temples to massage away the impending headache. Writers. THAT he could do without. The fictives were bad enough--
           Something tapped impatiently at his/her elbow. The Manager looked down to find him/herself staring at an honest-to-goodness green-eyed skunk. It was sitting primly on the bar, clicking the nails of one forefoot against the polished wood as it eyed him/her with a distinctly exasperated expression. The fur on its fluffy chest was dripping wet.
           The Manager restrained the urge to roll his/her eyes. "Not again."
           The skunk heaved a heavy sigh and nodded.
           "Tomato juice or hot water, ma'am? Ah, never mind, the latter of course. And who'll be bleeding copiously for pulling the old 'glass-of-cold-water-spilled-accidentally-into-the-cleavage' joke this time?"
           The skunk, formerly Rogue of the X-Men and now the rather irritable (who could blame her?) victim of a Ranma 1/2 crossover, glared meaningfully towards the front door. The Manager tracked her gaze across just in time to catch a glimpse of Perkolator beating a swift retreat. An exceedingly swift retreat.
           "Ohhhh. I see." Repressing a grin, the Manager went to fetch a kettle.

           "No, really, I AM Laersyn," the tall, thin, blond, and entirely un-Laersyn-like young man insisted.
           Mary Sue (who was serving on-duty that night as an extremely effective Deputy Bouncer) eyed the astoundingly unimpressive young man and shook her head. As nice as he may have looked in a black tuxedo and with his long hair slicked back, he was not in any way to be confused with the master of darkness. "Right, buddy. This is an invite-only gig."
           The young man sighed heavily. "I knew this wasn't going to work," he muttered unhappily. He reached into his coat pocket and pulled out...well, Mary Sue had never seen DARKNESS come out like taffy, but there it was. Green eyes glared frostily at her as the young man put first one leg and then another into the darkness, stretching it over his legs. It molded and formed around him like a cocoon of nothinginess. Up over his shoulders, covering the rail-thin body in fluttering shadows. The cowl came up and the green eyes burned red.
           "There, now, happy?"
           Mary Sue, quite unaffected by much of anything any more with all she had seen, merely shook her head. "Sorry, now you're just a skinny guy in a Laersyn-suit."
           The red eyes burned like coal from Satan's pot-bellied stove. A chainsaw appeared from nowhere and buzzed dramatically.
           "Oh, sorry, Laersyn, didn't recognize you," Mary Sue told him nervously. "Head on in. I think the Scribe's looking for you..."

           "I am not sulking."
           "You are too."
           "I'm NOT sulking! I," Falstaff informed his tormentor with the utmost aplomb, "am writing."
           Tapestry leaned over his shoulder, trying to get a glimpse of his laptop's display. He snapped it shut, but not before she'd gotten an eyeful of the blissfully blank screen. "You are not. Look, we all know what the Arleccino Timeline means to you, and it's not your fault that no one ever seems to remember it when a vote come up..."
           "Oh thanks, just rub it in why don't you," Falstaff grumbled into his beard.
           He sighed, shutting off his laptop and standing up. "Nothing, nothing. Look, shouldn't you be out front with everyone else?"
           "Nuh-uh. I'm helping Kielle."
           "Suuuure, right. Last I heard, Kielle was out back prying apart Hellions Pizza and some hacked-up version of Iceman. Why don't you be REALLY helpful by going out front and telling the Manager to send the business end of a firehose back here?"
           Tapestry batted her eyelashes cutely at him. "Sorry, but you're not getting rid of me that easily. I'm staying back here with you guys. You need all the help you can get." She gestured expansively around the dim, crowded backstage area which had not existed until it was needed for this particular story. The place was barely constrained chaos incarnate as a mixed bag of fictives and the occasional Writer jostled shoulder to shoulder, rehearsing lines, gossiping about the results, or (in at least one case) glaring hostily at another character. Celendra dashed past with a pair of fluffy socks clutched in one hand, jumping over a contented pile of cats and almost colliding with a very out-of-place-looking Tooth Fairy-- Tooth Fairy? Falstaff shook his head and elected to NOT ask.
           "You're hiding from Glenn and Ahlric, aren't you," he said instead to Tapestry.
           At the mention of her willful characters the younger Writer stiffened and spluttered in outrage. "What? I'm not---I never--"
           Falstaff chuckled. "Thought so." Something crashed in the background. "Excuse me, I think I'd better go deal with that." Adroitly, he ended the conversation by jamming his laptop under his arm and slipping off into the small throng.
           "Hiding from my own fictives, indeed. I still say he was sulking," Tapestry muttered under her breath.
           His voice drifted back through the crowd: "I WAS NOT! AND YOU STILL OWE ME AN A.T. STORY!"

           Half an hour after that, the lights dimmed and the crowded Cafe quieted down faster than anyone could have thought possible before actually seeing the miracle take place. There was some pushing and whispering behind the hastily-hung curtains across the back of the small stage (usually reserved for kareoke competitions and the occasional rousing game of Pin The Tail On The Catseye). Then Kielle emerged, looking rather as if she'd been pushed. She paused to straighten both her shirt and her ruffled dignity; then, having no other choice, she stepped up behind the battered podium, cleared her throat, and spoke.
           "Ladies and gentlemen and creatures of all species and genres, welcome to the 1998 CBFFAs -- the First Annual Comic-Book Fan-Fiction Awards. Or, as you seem to like calling this little guy--" Kielle brandished an amorphous golden statuette "--the Creative License." The crowd roared appreciatively at that. Kielle smiled, paused to adjust her glasses, and went on. "As you may or may not know, for the last month or so I've been running a vote on CFAN, though I do have to give credit for the idea and the impetus to Claymore--" she shaded her eyes and looked out over the crowd, squinting "--has anyone seen Claymore?"
           "The X-Mentals have him treed about a mile up the road," someone shouted from the back of the room.
           "Ah. Well, I'll thank him next time I see him. As I was saying, then: what you're about to--"
           "Suffer t'rough!" another wag, this one distinctly Cajun, called from the shadows off to her left.
           Kielle suppressed a laugh as she narrowed her eyes sternly in that direction. "Uh HUH. I know where you live, Branson. Behave yourself. Ahem. What you're about to SEE, as I was going to say before Gumbo #352 interrupted me, is the result of a Readers' Choice poll consisting of about 75 volunteer voters. I had nothing to do with the results, except for my own vote of course--"
           "Where she only voted for me & Laersyn's stories over and over and over again!" a distinctly Tapestry-ish voice piped up from behind the curtain.
a           "Shush! I did NOT!" Kielle hissed indignantly over her shoulder as the crowd rippled with giggles and knowing nudges. "AHEM! Look, do you lot want an awards ceremony or not...? Yes? Okay then! I get the hint, I'll clear the stage. We've got a great line-up of guests tonight, as handled by some top-notch Writers, so enjoy the show and please don't break ALL of the furniture!"

           The Manager watched from under skeptical raised eyebrows as the audience enthusiastically cheered and whistled and stomped their enthusiasm. Kielle had already ducked backstage to help her fellow MC Falstaff play damage-control for the rest of the show. They were a formidable team, but up against this crowd...
           The Manager exchanged a meaningful glance with Deputy Bouncer Mary Sue. In unison, they both heaved a weighty sigh. It was going to be a long night.



Ye Olde Subreality Cafe was kinda my idea (really!), and this round robin was definitely my brainchild. Yes, I'm a masochist. Please shoot me. ;) All vote results in the following installments were also collected and tabulated by your truly, though how the other writers wish to present them is completely up to them...

The Manager was created by Falstaff
Kielle belongs to me too -- well, she IS me!
The term "Brute Squad" was cheerfully lifted from The Princess Bride, ie.:
           "I've joined the Brute Squad."
           "You ARE the Brute Squad."
Bones, Laersyn, Haesslich, Hawk, the GenX lot (you know who you are), Jason Cornwell (the only person in this line-up with a real name! Wow!), Hellions Pizza (I just looove that name), Falstaff, Tapestry, Celendra, and Claymore all belong to themselves too. No, wait, I take that back: Laersyn and Celendra belong to me.
Luci Morningstar belongs to Lynx
Trough belongs to Suzene Campos
Misfire is mine, mine, MINE!
Hannah Connover belongs to (or at least was well used by) Lori McDonald
"The 'Field-Trip' version of Chamber" is Lisa "bum" McKee's baby
Alexa & her version of Sabretooth belong to Dawn L.Bobby
The skunk-Rogue belongs to Jaelle & Orla -- Ranma 1/2 belongs to Rumiko Takahashi
Perkolater belongs to David J. Warner
The Arleccino Timeline is Falstaff's, and yes, he IS sulking (grin and duck)
The "pile of cats" is a combination of kitty-types belonging to Dyce, Denise Keppel, Martha McMahon, and Jacque Koh
Glenn & Ahlric do belong to Tapestry, and man are they ticked off right now...
The X-Mentals belong to Claymore, who's currently working on a sequel! Woo!
Remy Le-- er, Remy Gordon Branson is technically Marvel's, but he got a makeover from Courtney
Mary Sue belongs to us all, but was recently refined and redeemed by Susan Crites
Sabretooth, Rogue, Iceman, and Catseye are Marvel's -- not like they know what to DO with them, mind you...

On with the show! Next!

The Opening Act
By Dex (

           "Ye's chaos out there." Min dropped the edge of the curtain and eased back into the crowded backstage area. Tap gave a weary wave from her chair, fending off an irate Manchild with the other hand. Min dropped into the seat next to her.
           "Pretty crazy."
           "What was the Scribe expecting? I mean, this many writers and fics in one area? We're likely to have a creative explosion that could take out the bar."
           "She has her own reasons, which I'm sure make perfect sense to her," Tap responded just as Kielle stumbled in from the stage, mussed and confused from her close proximity to so many characters.
           "If I see one more Remy, I'm going to scream."
           "Relax Kielle, have some water." Min passed the glass over to Kielle, who accepted it with a nod.
           "At least we can rest during the opening number," Kielle muttered.
           "Opening number?" Tap and Min said in unison.
           "Yes, the big musical thing."
           "Um, when did this come up?" Min asked Kielle.
           Falstaff appeared over her shoulder, looking worried. "What's this about a music number?"
           "Look, didn't anyone tell you?" Kielle looked from one blank face to another, an icy feeling growing in the pit of her stomach.
           "Who's in charge of this?"
           "Dex said he'd...What?" Kielle said to the trio of suddenly smirking faces.
           "You put Dex on this?" Min giggled.
           "Yes. He's a good writer. What's the problem?"
           "Three things, in actuality." Phil called out from behind Kielle, leading Emma Frost over.
           "And those would be?" Ice was forming on the edge of Kielle's words.
           "Self Insertion. Erotic Fics. Open Bar." A bemused White Queen ticked off on her fingers. Kielle sat stunned for a minute, the impact of the connection settling in her mind. A low, primal sound began to build in her throat, emanating outward in waves of anger and wrath. Several fics went for the windows at the sound. The more animal-like fics crouched, their fur on end and every instinct screaming flight. Even the writers backed away from the fuming Kielle, stunned by the reddish aura which now surrounded her. Even Laersyn looked askance.
           "Laersyn, you're with me. Falstaff, fill time. I'll get Dex," Kielle said, with a tone that suggested thumbscrews and hot oil for the recipient.

           "Doesn't matter. Gots a...wossomes."
           "A...bastard thing. You know." Logan tried to point at his partner, finally settling for pointing in the vague direction.
           "Cheese wheel? Thumb tacks? Silly string?" a voice which slurred nearly beyond recognition answered puzzled.
           "Healing factor! Can't get drunk." Logan proudly announced, straightening up and falling backwards off his chair with a crash.
           "Sorry, ol' son. I was born and raised in Canada. Don't get drunk." Dex's state made his words highly suspect, but occupants of the table were beyond the ability to recognize the error in his argument. Cable lay face down and Deadpool had started stacking glasses with the exaggerated care of the very drunk. Dex leaned back unsteadily and grinned at the table of women behind him. A young Scots girl he had been chatting with earlier smiled back and gave him a little wave. This was going to be a good night...
           ...If he lived through it.
Kielle stood fuming behind him, Laersyn hovering over one shoulder. "What are you doing?"
           "Getting another drink?" Dex said without much hope. Kielle's thunderous expression negated any possibility of easy escape.
           "Dex, you promised me an opening number. No problem, Kielle, you said. Anytime you need it, Kielle, you promised. Where is it?" Kielle hissed at him.
           "Uh, number?" Dex blinked, confused.
           "Look, Dex. I don't think of myself as an unreasonable person," Kielle said in a tight voice. " But if I don't have an opening number from you, I will personally give you to Laersyn for whatever he wants. Remember what happened to Cyclops?"
           "Misfire?" Kielle waved over her creation. "Would you?"
           "Certainly," the fictive said with a giant smile. With a flick over her wrist, Misfire activated her mutant power, purging Dex' system violently of alcohol.
           "YEERGGHH!!!" Dex shook violently as he hit sobriety like a bus slamming into a brick wall. "Don't ever do that again! Man, I can feel my eyelids pulsing!"
           "Dex, the opening number?"
           "The opening... Have we started already?" Dex looked up in shock. Hundreds of voices answered him in unison.
           "Geez, remind me never to mix beer and sake."
           "Dex, five minutes to get it started, or I will find a eunuch position for you."
           "Uh, I think you mean 'unique.'"
           "Believe what you want," Kielle snarled as she stalked away.

           "So, the nun says..oh, we're ready?" Falstaff turned from the mike as Kielle whispered into his ear. "Right. Ladies and gentlemen, and fics of all species. May I present...your writers." Falstaff swept off the stage with a bow, just beating the curtain opening to reveal the massed group of writers standing grouped around a piano. Abyss sat at the keys with a smile and a pair of enormous glasses on. Oh, and a pair of bunny slippers, but that probably isn't important. The red-hot opening notes burned out of the piano under his fingers as the writers launched into song.

           It's getting late, I haven't done my update, oh, tell me when my mail gets here.
           It's seven at night, and I'm ready to write, going to get some stories up out there.
           Dex is drinking and Tap is thinking about what to do with Dawn this year.
           Abyss' drunk t'boot, the Neon Nurse is cute, and Laersyn is the one they fear!

           It ain't nuthin' but aggravation, Falstaff just can never win!
           Saturday night's all right for writing, squeeze a little artwork in.
           Get a dental fix for ol' Haesslich, raid Darqstar's site all night.
           'Cause Saturday night's all right for writing, Kielle said it's time to write, to write, to write!
           Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

           Well, they're packed pretty tight in here tonight, Lori MacD on the left, Lady A on the right,
           Jelpy's wrote down a little of what I need, with Bum and Dyce, I got enough to read!
           A couple of the writers that I really like, like Patrick, Tangerine, and Min's Emma tyke.
           I'm a rapt observer of the "Civics Class," Desert Nomad, Mr. Newcomb and his "Man of Glass."

           It ain't nuthin' but aggravation, Ms. Marvel really pulled me in.
           Saturday night's all right for writing, T-Catt draws some mutant sin.
           Read 'bout Wisdom man from our dear Suzene, Bucktown and Team Zeta are all right!
           'Cause Saturday night's all right for writing, Mirage says it's time to write, to write, to write!
           Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

           It ain't nuthin' but aggravation, Phil keeps me up all night.
           Saturday night's all right for writing, keep Breanna's diaries right.
           Denise, Aleph, Melissa and Montgomary, Luba's got her characters right,
           ' Cause Saturday night's all right for writing, Hawk says it's time to write, to write, to write!
           Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh.

           "And now, on with the show!"


The Subreality Cafe belongs to Kielle, sterling lass that she is. She is also to blame for this whole mess. You know what to do.
Manchild and Bucktown are David J. Warner's
The young Scots girl is Mhairie and thus is Lady Amethyst's
Misfire is also Kielle's from 'No Way Up.'
Logan, Remy, Deadpool and Cable are all Marvel's, though used in too many fics to name here...
Team Zeta is Yukon 3D's
"Civics Class" is Jelpy's
"Man Of Glass" is actually "Through The Looking Glass Man" by Greg Newcomb
"Saturday Night's All Right For Writing" is a parody of Elton John's "Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting"
Victoria is Emma's tyke, and the creation of Min
Emma is mine! I'm hijacking her, damn it! But until I reach Cuba, Marvel has some say.
...And all of the writers mentioned belong ostensibly to themselves, though I hate to make any major assumptions. Me? I'm just on a time share here. Three months of the year, I'm Patty Walkes of Decatur, Alabama.          

Fanfic Hall Of Fame
By Dex (

           Kielle blinked in surprise, stopping her path through the bar. One corner had expanded out into what seemed to be an English pub. A mounted TV had both rugby and the video feed from the stage on it. A few fics played darts on the one side, mainly Gambits and Braddocks, which made for some remarkable shots. The one which took a ricochet off three pint glasses, a Colossus, through a teleportation disc and back into the triple twenty last Tuesday won the pot. It actually missed by a half inch or so, but was still considered a damn good shot nevertheless. Knowing and dreading actually what and who'd by inside the dark corners, Kielle went in.
           "Who ordered the Guinness?" Everyone answered affirmative.
           "Geez, this is getting old," Beth/Zero muttered, pouring another pint. Callahan patted her hand kindly, his red Irish face smiling warmly even as Moira rushed by, wielding a fire extinguisher on a hapless Pete Wisdom.
           "You're doing fine. This crowd isn't that bad."
           "You haven't met Abyss yet."
           "Point taken." They both looked over at the bunny slipper which was half down a pint.
           "The thing that scares me most is that he paid for it, too," Callahan remarked absentmindedly.
           "Um, what is this?" Kielle stood at the bar, looking very puzzled.
           "Callahan's. Well, sort of a mix of Callahan's, the Druid's Head and the Wolf Head. Pint?" the cheerful girl announced.
           "Who are you?"
           "It's kind of vague right now. I work at the coffee shop."
           "Right." Lord, another bloody Round Robiner, Kielle thought. "Look, have you seen Falstaff? He's due to announce the next category."
           "Try the booths along the wall. A bunch of Writers ducked in earlier."
           "Thanks." Kielle checked down the row, finding her co-presenter indeed closeted away at the very end. Phil, Dex and Luba all gave her a cheery wave and invited her in.
           "Staff, we've got the next award to do."
           "Already? Wow, I didn't think it was that soon."
           "Ad-lib something." Dex said.
           "Ad-lib an award?" Kielle responded incredulously.
           "Sure. Do that 'Tapestry and Dawn in mime' bit," Phil joined in. The table erupted into laughter.
           "Come on, Falstaff. These are the big awards."
           "Right. I'll be back." The others raised their glasses to the departing writers. Phil put down his pint o' scrumpy and waved over Bum as she threaded through the crowd.
           "What now?" Luba tipped back her pint.
           "I saw an impromptu football match being set up in the parking lot. A bunch of Luba's Excalibur lot verses DV8 and some ringers from the Common People set," Bum said, deftly snatching Dex' drink from his hand and taking a long pull.
           "Ooh, bloody viscera. Sounds good." Phil chuckled as they ducked out the watch the carnage.

           "We're running late," Renee said, checking her watch. Actually, she was checking someone else's watch which happened to be in her possession at the moment, but that was a minor detail.
           "It's the Scribe. Like anything starts without her," Summer responded, contentedly munching on a handful of peanuts as they watched the crowd. The X-Women had finally arrived, clones in tow. Within moments the body count had tripled. Summer grabbed another handful of peanuts and ducked behind the curtain to see Falstaff and Kielle rushing up.
           "How far behind are we running?"
           "About three Gambit beatings and a dead Jean Grey."
           "Ah, not as far as I thought." The Subreality had a unique way of telling time known as Cliché Curve Plotting. With the amount of fan fiction that poured into the creative ether of their little silopsisic corner, it was possible to actually plot certain events along a curve of overused plot devices and characters like a probability curve. The smallest unit of time was the 'New Gen-X Student,' or approximately five minutes. Next came "Gambit and Rogue romances," followed by "Phoenix deaths," "defeats of major foes" and finally "actual characterization," the longest time period in fan fiction. There were theories on a new period new as Published Fan Fiction, though it was highly suspect and the researcher considered to be an unethical, drunken git.
           "K, shall we do this?" Falstaff was pulling envelopes from a box guarded by a feral Wolverine and two Sabretooths.

           "Right, bloody well listen, y'soddin' toerags!" Wisdom snarled into the microphone. Kielle made a mental note never to let him introduce anything again.
           "Thank you, Pete. Okay folks, we have one of the big ones here. The Fan Fiction Hall of Fame. As you may or may not know, there are two parts to this award. The first is to the most popular pieces of fan fiction. Works which have gained notoriety and praise through our community." Kielle's voice cut through the noise thanks to modifications to the sound system made by Taki.
           "And the second part is the writers which have blazed a path of fame in the world of fan fiction. Men and women and unknowns who have made impacts with their writing which stuns and amazes the mass of readers." Falstaff scowled slightly. "Not that making a bloody timeline seems to be good enough for that honour though."
           "Shut up."
           "Yes ma'am."
           "So, without further ado, the nominees for the Fan Fiction Hall of Fame." The applause was deafening as the crowd hooted and hollered, calling out their favourites and craning to see the screen which descended to the floor.
           "This award is meant to recognize the famous pieces of work which represent the giants of Fan Fiction. These are our Hamlets, our Tale Of Two Cities, our Stranger In A Strange Lands. Pieces which have reached out and grabbed the hearts and minds and imaginations of the reader, drawing them into an unfamiliar world populated by loved characters." Falstaff gave the mic over to Kielle.
           "He is right. This is about the popular works which have touched some unique chord in a huge percentage of our community, and exist in fame or infamy large in our group consciousness."
           " A Friend in Need. Writer: Jennifer Sorowitz"

           "No!" Jubilee screamed. She turned to face Tessa. "You've hurt everyone that's ever meant anything to me," she said, walking closer. "But this is all pretend. This is all just in my mind. It's not real. And neither are you!" Balling her right hand into a fist, she struck Tessa square in the jaw. Tessa fell backward and onto the ground. "Take a hike, bitch!" she screamed, letting lose with her plasma powers.

           "A Month Of Terror. Writers: J.B. McDonald and Nony."

           "Don't you trust me?" He sounded hurt and Moira almost started to soften, until she heard the White Queen's voice.
           "Sean, where do you want me to put your underwear?"
           "I dinnae ken what she's talkin' aboot." Sean held the receiver slightly away from his ear, which was already almost deaf.
           "Ma bloody foot ye dinnae ken what she's talkin' aboot! Sean Cassidy just what are ye doin' up there?!"
           "Trying to compromise."
           "ON WHAT?! WHICH BED SHEETS TA USE?!!!!!!!!!!!"
           He was about to answer when the crash on the other end of the line told him that the phone had been slammed back into the cradle, and most likely pulled out of the wall...
           "So, how did it go?" Emma asked, smiling like the cat that ate the canary.
           Twenty-nine days left.

           "I was set up by tha' wuman!" Sean loudly proclaimed for his seat, Moira glaring fiercely at him.
           "Talk to your writers, and Falstaff, stop smirking."
           "Yes Kielle."
           "Where were we? Ah... Betrayal. Writer: Valerie Jones."

           With quick steps, Remy returned to her side and took Cody into his arms once again. This time she willingly slipped into his embrace and tucked her head against his chest. She could feel his heart, beating out the count of their last moments. The children clung to them, frightened of something they could not see or hear. Rogue held desperately tight to the three people she loved most in the world, and felt Remy's arms like warm bands around her. She had held to faith and to love for ten years, and could never regret her choices. She looked up at him for only an instant, but knew in that moment that he knew it, too.
           Then paradox struck, time lurched, and the world changed.

           "The Dawn Arc. Writer: Tapestry."
           "Gosh, I wonder if we can find a quote?"
           Kielle narrowed her eyes and glared at the heckler. Tap looked abashed and muttered an apology.

           I couldn't hear what Glenn said next, because the room went black. The pounding had started again for the third time in the space of two hours. And this time it was pure AGONY. The first two times seemed like a walk in the park compared to this. The cries of the dying alone were tearing my mind apart, and when I tried to scream no sound came out. I could feel what each person was thinking when they died, and the waves of death seemed endless. I could feel Glenn holding me tightly, trying to calm me, but my mind seemed detached from the rest of my body. The thing that DID comfort me, though, was the thoughts I gleaned from his mind. They were soothing and filled with concern for me. I tried to focus on them, but it didn't work, my mind was being pulled deeper and deeper into the madness. Finally I screamed mentally :SOMEONE -- ANYONE -- FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, HELP ME!!!!!!

           "Devil's Due. Writer: Laersyn." The room went suddenly quiet, everyone edging away from the collection of mangled, dead fics which sat in Laersyn's corner.

           Warren's eyes widened in horror. His eyes turned to Harpoon, who was already moving into position.
           The first harpoon went into his right wing. Terrible, soul-searing agony consumed him. The Marauders laughed. The second harpoon went into his left wing, and left him there, pinned. Just like before. He writhed and sobbed, hoping that this time he would be lucky enough to die.

           The mass of horrified fics turned away from the screen. Laersyn had drifted on stage, humming to himself as the screen fast-forwarded through the carnage. Tangerine cradled a sobbing Angel, holding him protectively away from the floating black ball which had created the grisly record of the death of the X-Men. Kielle changed the screen quickly, shooing Laersyn and desperately trying to lighten the atmosphere.
           "Ah, next is The Experiment #713 Series. Writer: Lori McDonald."

           Ororo nodded in understanding.
           "Rogue is truly sorry for what happened. And she wants you to know that she does understand about not wishing to get close.
           He thought of Sinister, of his experiments, and snorted in derision.
           Ororo's smile was gentle. "It is true. Rogue's powers make it impossible for her to make skin
to skin contact. She would not have actually touched you."
           He sighed, suddenly feeling stupid.
           "May I put this tray on the table?" Ororo asked. He nodded and stepped back to give her room. After setting the tray down, she surprised him by saying: "Would you like to come up to the mansion? Surely you do not wish to spend the rest of your life down here. If nothing else, we will be able to remove that collar."
           He backed away, uncertain. To lose the collar he'd worn so long, to have his powers be near people again. To trust. He wasn't sure he could.
           Quietly, he turned and walked back into the shadows.

           "Kid Dynamo. Writer: Connie Hirsch."

           Besides which, I knew I could take care of myself, if it came to that.
           It must have taken several blocks for it to dawn on me that I was being followed. There were some horns beeping in back of me, I turned and saw a pickup truck loudly pulling out to pass a slow moving black car with tinted windshields, cruising slowly down the street at walking speed. My mother didn't raise no fool, as they say, and unlike most mothers, she specifically warned me about black cars like this.

           "Neon Hearts. Writer: Susan Crites, the Neon Nurse."

           "Just at this moment," Hank said, with a quiet sincerity that made something quiver inside her, "I am quite remarkably happy with the world at large. I wouldn't be able to think of a single complaint." And while Cassie sat stunned, trying desperately to think of a suitable reply to such excellent dialog, he exited the car, LEAPT over it with consummate grace, and opened the door to hand her out to the pavement.

           "Sometimes Even The Music Is Against You. Writer: Denise Keppel."

           Rahne had hoped to borrow something from Paige or Monet for tonight. But it was clear that Emma was trying, so Rahne would try to be nice.
           "Let's see," she said as she followed Emma into the house. Trying to avoid looking at actual objects around the house, Rahne focused on Emma's words.
           "It's something I bought a while ago, when one of my suppliers liked classy women. Wore it once and never again." What would Emma need with a saddle and handcuffs? Rahne shook her head, and made a point to ask Kitty about it later. The flustered look on Kitty's face would make up for any embarrassment she would feel by asking the question.

           The bar exploded into laughter. Emma sat glaring at the screen, ignoring the helpless Abyss and Dex, who were whooping and laughing at their table. Tears streaming down his cheeks, Dex looked up.
           "So what is it for, Emma?"
           "Dex, you'll never have the opportunity to find out in any case. Why don't you crawl back to your meager existence?"
           "So crawling has something to do with it?" Abyss noted. Both men fled as Emma launched herself at them.
           "Oh boy." Falstaff shook his head. "Through The Valley Of Shadows. Writer: Darqstar."

           Despite of everything she's done to the girl, Laura Miller does love her daughter, Logan thought. This feeling of unease settled over him, the feeling that the world was slightly askew. He knew everyone saw the world a little bit different from everyone else, but normally people's visions were close enough that peering from one person's into another wasn't upsetting. Now though, he found himself looking into a world where a mother who loved her daughter could lock her in the basement. She could leave her down there, alone in the dark for eleven years and be absolutely terrified of her, but still love her. It was an eerie feeling because if this family could do that out of love, what were they capable of doing out of hate?

           "And, finally, X-MST3K. Writer: Kelly 'Kielle' Newcomb." Kielle grinned.
           "This thing is rigged!"
           "Shut up, Tap!"

:: Mutant Powers: Has the ability to fire a blast of psychic energy out of his right

CROW: Nipple.
TOM: Eh! Comics Code, buddy! Comics Code!
CROW: What? What? No it isn't! Isn't that one of Lady Death's abilities?
TOM: I think that's out of BOTH...
MIKE: {clears throat loudly} A-HEM!

:: eye.

CROW: Rats.

:: The blasts can range from stun to instantaneous death.

{all muffle howls of laughter}
TOM: And even on up to instantaneous netflame!

:: It is also thought that he could develop psychic powers.

CROW: If hit on the head enough times. Hard. VERY hard. Preferably by me.

:: Also has the ability to fly small distances at great speeds.

MIKE: Uh, no, that's called FALLING.

           "Oh, I still get flashbacks." Kielle said, shuddering. "Falstaff, the envelope."
           "Don't tell me..."
           "Here!" Falstaff pulled a bedraggled looking envelope from his vest pocket with a flourish.
           "The winners are..."
           "Kid Dynamo. Writer: Connie Hirsch."
           "Betrayal. Writer: Valerie Jones."
           "Sometimes Even The Music Is Against You. Writer: Denise Keppel."
           "And X. Writer: Andrew Vincent."
           "Just kidding."

The Subreality Cafe is Kielle's, yadda yadda yadda...          
Beth/Zero is from the GenX Round Robin 'Subreality Coffee'
Callahan is from Spider Robinson's 'Callahan's Crosstime Saloon."
The Druid's Head is Ian Foster's
The Wolf's Head is Warren Ellis' from Gen13 Bootleg.
Renee LeBeau is from Valarie Jones' 'Betrayal'
Summer Ison is Me's 'Shades of Grey'
Cliche Curve Plotting is Dex's
Are of the writers here as themselves, but, since no writer is a island, but rather *whap* Donne mode off, sorry!
All recognizable characters from Marvel, DC and Image are infact, their own.
All nominee sections are taken from the nominated story and attributed to the listed writer.
And me? I'm just a little butterfly who believes that I'm a Chinese Philosopher dreaming that I'm a technicolour cheese wedge or something...

Writer Hall Of Fame
By Dyce (

           Everyone waited for a moment to see who would be the next presenter. Nothing happened.
           They waited for another minute. Eventually, there was a muffled clatter from backstage.
           "Oh, bother." A small yellow bear in a red shirt hopped onto the stage, trying to get his foot out of a bucket. "Hello, everybody."
           "H-Hi," stammered a small pig in a stripy vest, peeking out from behind him.
           There was a moment of stunned silence, then laughter and a round of applause, as the two, having gotten rid of the bucket, ambled up to the podium.
           "Oh my, how very kind," Pooh said, climbing up on a hastily proffered chair. He pulled Piglet up behind him. "Now, what were we going to do, again?"
           "Present the awards, remember?" Piglet prompted. He held out a sheet of paper.
           "Oh, of course. Thank you, Piglet." Pooh cleared his throat. "Here are the knobbyknees for the 'Writer Hall of Fame.'"
           "That's 'nominees,' you addlepated piece of fluff!" hissed a large rabbit, poking its head around the curtain.
           "Whatever you say, Rabbit. They are -- Abyss, Lisa 'bum' McKee, Darqstar, David J. Warner, Denise Keppel, JL 'Jelpy' Puckett, Kelly 'Kielle' Newcomb, Lori McDonald, Luba Kmetyk, the writer known as 'Me,' Perridox Smith, Susan Crites, Tapestry, and Valerie Jones." Pooh beamed around at the crowd. "Isn't that wonderful?" Everyone clapped.
           "You read that very well, Pooh," Piglet congratulated him.
           "Thank you, Piglet. I got Rabbit to help me practice it," Pooh said humbly. They stood in silence for a moment.
           "Now you open the envelope and tell them who won, remember?" hissed the voice from off stage.
           "Oh yes, how forgetful of me." Pooh chuckled. "Where is the envelope, please?" A tiny smoky blue kitten bounced up to them, the envelope tied with a red ribbon around his neck. He purred hopefully.
           "What a nice kitty," Piglet said. He climbed down, carefully untied the ribbon, and released the envelope. The kitten leaped off the stage and was passed back to the Gencats table, where he curled up on a convenient shoulder to watch. Piglet climbed back up and offered the envelope to Pooh.
           "Oh no, Piglet, it's your turn to read one," Pooh insisted. Piglet blushed, and shook his head. "You can do it, Piglet, you just have to be brave." They both stared at the envelope for a minute.
           "Oh d-d-dear."
           "It seems we have a slight problem," Pooh agreed. "Paws aren't much good for opening envelopes, I'm afraid. Would anyone--"
           Another kitten, almost identical to the first, bounced over to the two presenters. This one had a small letter-opener tied around his neck with a yellow ribbon. "Oh my. They do think of everything, don't they?" Pooh sighed in admiration. Piglet retrieved the letter opener, and opened the envelope, as the kitten was handed back to his friends.
           "A-ahem." Piglet cleared his throat. "Third place goes to--"
           "A little louder, Piglet." Pooh encouraged.
           "A-all right, Pooh." He stuttered. "Th-third place g-goes to D-Darqstar." Darqstar came up to receive her award, as everyone clapped.
           "Here you are," Pooh smiled, handing it to her. "Congratulations."
           "Thank you, Pooh." She shook the bear's fuzzy paw.
           "S-s-second place goes t-to L-Lori McDonald," Piglet squeaked. Lori joined Darqstar, to another round of applause, next to the diminutive presenters.
           "How nice." Pooh beamed, carefully handing her an award. "Congratulations to you, too."
           "Well, thank you!" Lori smiled back.
           "And t-the first place goes to--" a drum rolled from somewhere offstage "--Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb." Piglet sighed in relief. Kielle bounded happily up onto the stage, to thunderous applause.
           "H-here," Piglet stammered, after Pooh prodded him forward. He lifted the award, which was almost as big as he was, and offered it to Kielle. "C-c-congratulations, M-miss Kielle."
           "Thank you very much, Piglet." Kielle shook hands with them both.
           "Oh, y-you're welcome. It w-was a p-pleasure," Piglet stammered, blushing.
           "Yes, it was." Pooh agreed. He looked out at the audience. "Perhaps you could manage one more round of applause for our prizewinners?" he suggested.
           The foundations shook as fics, writers and staff saluted the winners as they left the stage. Pooh and Piglet climbed off their chair, and waved to everyone. "Goodbye, now. Thank you for having us," Pooh said politely as they trotted off the stage.

Most Improved Writer
By Laersyn (

Laersyn would like to apologize in advance to Disney for his ripping off of their music/concepts, and he would at the same time like to thank them for writing songs so easy to alter.

           Falstaff assumed the podium and glanced out over the audience, his face an unusually serene mask of sober calm and impeccable maturity. He did not so much as flinch when he saw Lynxie magicing the punch bowl.
           "The first award to present tonight, is for the most improved writer." He rolled his eyes dramatically. "And by Kielle, you can all use some improvement. To present the award we have..." The esteemed co-MC paused, staring at the tele-prompter. "That can't be right," he muttered, glancing backstage. "Kielle, who prepped the tele-prompter?"
           "I did. Why?"
           Falstaff looked back to see if his cue had miraculously changed. With all the powers and magic rippling through this room, it was quite possible that someone was playing a prank. A very sick, very demented and traumatically unfunny prank, albeit, but it was still preferable to... Falstaff sighed heavily. The name was still there.
           "Are you sure you got the names right, Kielle?" Falstaff knew that her Ladyship was infallible, and that Celendra and Silvanis were likely now sharpening their knives to silence his sacrilege once and for all, but despair had forced his hand.
           "Of course I am," the saintly deity of all CFAN called back.
           Falstaff's back stiffened. In fact, everything was stiffening from his toes to his nose hairs. This was not a good sign for the rest of the night. "To present our Award...for MOST improved writer..." Falstaff swallowed back bile. "It is my--" he made a gurgling sound around the word "pleasure" "--to announce...the one...the only..." It took all of his remaining will power to spit out the name.
           "Andrew Vincent."
           The crowd burst out laughing at the riotous joke. Kielle, however, knew something had gone suddenly, terribly amiss. In fact, she had been expecting things to go awry. But this... "WHAT?"
           Falstaff shuddered as he looked over and saw Shadow approaching the stage. The somewhat stout co-MC clenched his hands and chewed uneasily on his mustache. Somewhere, he was certain, it was written that the day that Andrew Vincent stepped foot in the SC, the end of everything was near.
           Unbelievable arrogance manifested in a ridiculous aura of power surrounded the figure approaching the dais. The audience was no longer laughing. Someone was whimpering softly. Mary Sue was vomiting copiously into a potted fern. Kielle was backstage looking for Laersyn's chainsaw.
           "Thank you, Falstaff, you can go," Andrew said in a voice that struggled to hide a bad nasal whine.
           The red-bearded man shivered at the thought of leaving his podium to this...this...this...thing...but Andrew WAS the presenter... Kielle preserve us he thought weakly and retreated.
           "And thank you all for reading my stories," Andrew told the audience politely. "I didn't think they were that good until everybody read them. And especially thanks Kielle, for helping getting me noticed."
           "Breathe," Falstaff murmured to Kielle backstage. "It'll be over soon."
           "How could Laersyn do this to me?" she whimpered.
           "The award for most improved writer is an impotent one--"
           "Important!" Kielle screamed. "Learn to spell!"
           "Because it encourages us writers to excel in this field we do," Andrew finished, obliviously. "The nominees for Most Improved Writer are: Denise Keppel, Lisa 'bum' McKee..." Andrew paused, apparently stunned by what he saw on the teleprompter. Then he straightened up with a huge grin. "Well, it seems you guys really are with it." He cleared his throat. "The next nominee is me. I'm so touched." He shook his head. "Oh, and there's Paul Tran, Seraph, Suzene Campos and Tapestry."
           There were more and less articulate strangled noises from the scribe.
           "And the winner is..." He tore open the envelope like a kid with a Christmas present, sending a shower of confetti all over the stage. "Me!" he shouted in delight. He picked up the Creative License and held it up triumphantly. "I am so honored. I knew if I worked really hard on my stories they would get appreciation."
           Kielle's patience had, apparently, been exhausted.
           The chagrined fanboy looked around, his face clouding over in fury. "No! I won't let you take it! It's mine! Mine! Mine! Mine!" he whined.
           In a burst of shadows, he was gone.
           The audience breathed a sigh of relief. Kielle and Falstaff came on stage, looking around furiously. "Laersyn, when I get my hands on you..." the Scribe muttered. She looked around for Me. "I'm sorry, we'll get you another award..."
           "No!" Falstaff snapped with sudden vehemence. "We can't let him keep getting away with this sort of thing."
           "Just let it go, 'staff," Kielle said tiredly.
           Falstaff leaped atop a table, which was quite a feat, considering. The audience looked up at him in uncertainty. "Andrew Vincent is a beast!" Falstaff roared loudly. "He'll make off with your characters!" The crowd gasped at the very notion. "He'll come after them in the night! We're not safe until his head is mounted on the wall of this bar!"

"Nothing's safe until he's dead," Haesslich chimed in.
"He'll start writing us at night!" Paul Tran warned.
"Set to sacrifice our fictives to his monstrous appetite!" Cassandra quavered.
"He'll wreak havoc on all ficdom if we let him wander free," Phil Foster told them.

"So it's time to take some action boys, it's time to follow me!" Falstaff sang out in full voice.

"Through the mist through the streets,
through the lamplights and the shadows
it's a fanfic but it's one mind-bending ride.
Say a prayer and we're there
at the doorstep of a mansion
and there's something truly terrible inside

He's a beast, he's got tales, rather dull ones
massive flaws in his stories never cease
Hear him drone, see us groan but we're not coming home til he's dead
Good and dead! Kill the beast!"

"I won't let you do this," Kielle piped in suddenly. Everyone stared at her in astonished perplexity. She brandished Laersyn's chainsaw. "Without me!"

"Grab a light, mount your bikes!" the crowd sang in chorus, climbing onto a conveniently appeared host of Harleys.

"Screw your courage to the sticking place!" Falstaff shouted, starting his engine with a roar.

"We're counting on Falstaff to lead the way!" the Writers bellowed.

"Through the mist through the streets, where within a haunted mansion something lurking that you don't see every day!" Tapestry, Cassandra, and Suzene Campos chimed in.
"It's a beast! Ego tall as mountain
we won't rest till he's good and deceased
Thunder on! Tallyho! Grab your bricks and your bows
Praise Kielle and here we go!

We don't like what he writes, characters and plots and powers
and his stories are predictable at least
Bring your rope to unwind
save your fictives from his kind
We'll save our ficdom and our minds
We'll kill the beast!

"You'll see characters you thought you knew," Falstaff warned them. "Show no mercy. You'll be doing them a favor. Hurry, we don't have much time, but remember the beast is mine!"

"Minds ablaze, tempers high
We go marching into battle
Unafraid of Andrew Vincent in the least

"It's been due for so long
here come we're fifty strong
and fifty writers can't be wrong!
Let's kill the beast
Kill the beast!
Kill the beast!
Kill the beast!"          

           The song ended as they roared onto the campus of the much abused and horribly-inaccurately-written X-Mansion. With a heroic flourish, Falstaff smashed through the front door with his Harley, skidding to a halt inside.
           The house was quiet and silent inside. The army of indignant writers looked around uneasily, feeling ill to see the facade that their beloved mansion had been turned into.
           "I haven't seen a violation this bad since Ben Ra--" Tapestry began, but Lynxie cut her off.
           "Don't mention HIM," she hissed to the teenage Missourite. "He can come for your soul if you do."
           Tapestry shrugged. "What do we call HIM then?"
           "The Destroyer of Continuity," Haesslich hissed.
           "I'll check upstairs..." Falstaff informed them. "You look around down here."

Meanwhile, upstairs...

           The Shadow stared into the flames in the fireplace, sensing the approach of his enemies, but blithely ignoring it. He was Andrew Vincent. An X-Man at 14. Wanted by the government. Terror of bullies everywhere.
           Yet he was troubled.
           In his mind's eye, he saw the Scribe. Ruthless, yes. Razor-witted, yes. Ego-stomping, spell-checking, Andrew-Vincent-hating, yes. But he knew he could win her over. With all of his power though, he just didn't know why he wanted to. Looking into the fire, he could almost see her there, haughty, confident, wise and oh-so-alluring.

"Oh holy Scribe Kielle," he sang out.
"You know I am a writing man
of my stories I am justly proud

"Oh holy Saint Kielle
You know I'm so much
cooler than
the common, older less pretentious crowd

Then tell me, oh Kielle
Why I see you laughing there?
Why your Mistie jokes still scorch my soul

I feel them, I hear them
like barbs caught in my
pasty flesh
are tearing at my
ego-centric role

My writing
bad writing
The writing from my brain
This burning
that's driving you insane

It's not my fault!
I'm not to blame
It is the holy scribe
Kielle who gave me fame
It's not my fault!
If in Her plan
She made bad writers so much
greater than I am!

Protect me, oh Kielle
don't let these writers have their way
don't let their fires sear my flesh and bone
destroy all the writers
and let me gloat while Falstaff and they
plead and beg for me to leave them alone

           "Andrew! Andrew!" Discharge screeched suddenly, breaking into his song.
           "What is it?"
           "Falstaff is on the way!"
           "It doesn't matter now. Let him come," Andrew murmured disconsolately.
           Discharge quivered and ducked out.

"My writing!
bad writing!
oh now Scribe it's your turn
choose me or, your writers
be mine or they will burn!

I'll have mercy on her
if she chooses me

But she will be mine, or she will SQUIRM!!!!"

           The last notes of the song were fading when he heard the clapping behind him. Andrew slowly turned to the bulky figure of Falstaff. "Very nice, but my Mob Song was better."
           Shadow bristled furiously. "You cannot challenge me! I am Shadow!"
           "Yeah, but you don't have the Shadow's nose," Falstaff quipped. "Just give me the Creative License and I'll forget I found you, okay?"
           "No! It's mine!" Andrew whined.
           Falstaff sighed, tipping back his bowler and rolling up his sleeves. "Oh fine, have it your way..."

           Downstairs things were eerily silent. The writers had fanned (no pun intended) out and searched most of the first floor. There was no sign, however, of Shadow, the award, or any of the grotesque fake-X-Men. Kielle was on the verge of following Falstaff, but she was having trouble getting the chainsaw started.
           That's when all heck broke loose.
           "Now!" someone screamed.
           The X-Men and the Uber-characters that were on Shadow's team suddenly appeared all around them. There were no signs of teleportation or translocation, though.
           "Hah! You fools! You forgot that you can't see two-dimensional characters when they're turned sideways!" the fake-Cyclops chortled.
           For a moment, the writers stared at the macabre simulacrums in silent horror. Then Kielle got the chainsaw working. "All right everyone, let's clean this up."
           A red-optic beam nearly fried Martha's cat. "He's got mutant powers!" someone cried
           "You idiots!" Haesslich roared. "We've all got mutant powers!"

           Much gratuitous violence later, the downstairs was quiet. From upstairs, though, the noise of climactic battle reverberated still. The writers dusted themselves off and turned to the stairs. It was time to deal with Mr. Vincent.
           Only at that moment he and his assailant came flying over the balustrade. They landed on the main floor with a titanic crash. Shadow was using every power at his disposal, but it was unable to counter the growing fury of Falstaff. Meaty fists slammed into the Fanboy, trying to force him to go down. Something about him, though, in this place, would not let him.
           "You can't beat me Falstaff!" Andrew crowed.
           "Maybe not," the infuriated writer snarled. "But I have something you don't?"
           "Oh? What?"

           "Oh Andrew...?" Kielle whispered sweetly.
           Even more gratuitous violence later, the battle was still raging. There was no stopping the personification of arrogance that was Andrew Vincent, though. No amount of powers, chainsaw, bricks or anything could seem to bring him down.
           They had wearied him, but that was all. Andrew glared around at the writers, daring any of them to attack him again. They appeared to be as tired as he, though. "Ah hah! That'll teach you. Now I'll just finish you lot off..."
           "Not so fast," a new voice interjected.
           "Yeah, you haven't won yet, Mr. Vincent."
           Confused, Andrew turned to see who dared try and challenge him now. His eyes widened when he saw who they were. "You!"
           "You could have stopped with 'X,' but no, you had to write a sequel."
           "You...aren't going to hurt me... Are you?" The Shadow had gone very pale, which was most odd, considering.
           "Oh no, we have much, much better plans in mind," Tom Servo told him.
           The two 'bots from the SOL grabbed Andrew Vincent and stuffed him into a rocket they had ready nearby. "Wait! Wait!" Andrew screamed.
           "Did you hear anything, Crow?"
           "My next story will be better!"
           "That's it, launch him," Crow growled.
           The rocket lurched and thrummed and then propelled itself through the roof of the mansion. Chuckling, the two 'bots sauntered out. "Man, it's going to be good to inflict these things on someone else," Crow muttered.
           "You have the 'Manos' tape handy?"

Best Original Female Character
By Dex (

           "Remind me why we agreed to do this?" Emma snarled from the edge of the curtain.
           "Because, it is supposed to be a fun night, and it's good publicity for us."
           "Just because you're my writer doesn't mean you have control over me."
           "Actually, it does." Dex grinned and ducked back away from the curtain. "And remember to smile!"
           *sigh* " Only upon the announcement of your demise. Jubilation!" Emma snapped to her young co-speaker.
           "Yeah?" Jubilee said, deftly snagging another tray of snacks from a passing Wisdom. Apparently the group of them had lost a bet and were drafted as waiters for the night. One of the Kittys had made some comment about the fact that they didn't even need to change clothes for it. Most were sulking.
           "First, please refrain from spraying crab cakes on my outfit. Second, remember that you must be on your best behavior this evening. There is a room full of writers out there. Unpredictable, unrestrained and uncontrollable."
           "So I would like to avoid being shanghaied into some bizarre erotic story or paired with the cast of South Park," Emma stated.
           "Well, it might not be so bad..." Jubilee mused.
           "I saw one of you and Monet kissing quite passionately earlier."
           "Oh, gross, like with a capital O."
           "Oh, and that version of you and Logan look very happy..."
           "Ick, ick, ick!" Jubilee made gagging noises.
           "See what I mean?"
           "Gotcha, boss-lady."
           "Good. Then perhaps we can get through this evening intact."

           "I'm sure I had them here earlier!" Falstaff said has he searched his pockets. Curious onlookers where watching the improbably growing pile of stuff from his pockets with interest.
           "What's going on?" Elizabeth peeked over Kielle's shoulder.
           "Falstaff lost the tally for the best Female Character."
           "I did not lose it." Falstaff said gruffly.
           "I have merely misplaced it." Falstaff said, going red behind his beard.
           "Misplaced it," Kielle and Elizabeth echoed.
           "Yes." Falstaff dropped a pair of goggle glasses on to the pile and began on the other pocket.
           "Are you looking for something?" Nightcrawler asked from his perch on the ceiling.
           "Yes Kurt. Falstaff has lost--"
           "--the results of the best female character vote."
           "Would it perhaps be in a small blue envelope?" Kurt smiled.
           "Yes." Kielle nodded.
           "Then it would be on the table, where herr Falstaff placed it earlier. Under his bowler." Elizabeth picked up the hat and held up the envelope triumphantly.
           "See. I misplaced it," Falstaff said.
           Elizabeth shook her head and Kielle gave a chuckle before addressing Kurt again. "Thanks, fuzzy elf. Remind me to write you into something soon."
           "Danke, Kielle." Kurt gave a quirky upside-down bow.
           "I'll get this to Emma." Elizabeth rushed off with the letter as Kielle turned to discuss organization with Falstaff.

           The crowded masses of ficdom ignored the pointed cough. The mob had been embroiled in food fights, brawls, blood duels, writers' battles and even a spontaneous sing-along. Things were going downhill and accelerating rapidly. Emma looked hopelessly back it the back stage, trying to catch the attention of someone. Wren gave a jaunty wave to her as she came over.
           "No one is listening to me."
           "I could soup up the sound system," Wren offered, the nano-plates on his arms morphing into different shapes.
           "We need something with more...punch." Emma caught sight of one of the writers in the back and an evil grin spread across her face.

           The main room had again erupted into chaos. A Cyclops was standing red-faced, trying to explain to dozens of himself about being attracted to Gambit was natural. Luba was shouting at three Storms who still refused to accept the reality of Kitty and Pete, and the poker game had grown to epic proportions. Suddenly, the atmosphere of the club changed. The lights dimmed dramatically, indirect illumination coming from the thousands of dripping red candles that had sprung up on the walls and wrought iron candelabra. Even the lights had gone a deep right, creating twisted and gnarled shadows dancing through out the room. The giant fireplace blazed, sparks exploding out of the mouth. A hush fell over the crowd, and a sense of dread pervaded the room. Bach's Toccata and Fugue in D minor flowed menacingly from the numerous speakers, and a single light snapped on to the stage. Into the light floated a black sphere of unknown composition, and two eyes glared out baleful from it's center. Silence reigned in the Cafe. This was Laersyn.
           And he had spoken! Stunned, the fics could do no more then than gaze helplessly at the stage, hoping that they would not be the next to attract his attention.
           A sobbing Wolverine dove through the large window and hit running. Even the Bartender winced as Laersyn's gaze raked the bar. Everyone waited in dread apprehension. What would Laersyn do, and who would die from it?

           "Laersyn, you're incorrigible." Kielle muttered from her spot at the edge of the stage. She was glad he had decided to go out and restore order, since he was the only one that the fics truly feared. Someone came up behind her.
           "He's impossible, isn't he?" Kielle turned and said. Laersyn bobbed up and down in agreement. Kielle took a startled look from one Laersyn to the other.
           "How did...what is...who??" She sputtered. Laersyn, dispute the fact that he was merely an amorphous black blob with eyes, still remarkably managed to convey a puzzled shrug. The other Laersyn floated from the stage in the silence. The two came face to face with Kielle watching them both. As the curtain dropped behind her, the Laersyn from the stage suddenly shimmered like light on water, and disappeared. In his place stood Abyss, bunny slippers in hand.
           "Hey Kielle."
           "Yup. Emma said that things were getting pretty nuts out there, so I had Wren rig me up an image inducer and calmed things down." Abyss explained.
           Kielle laughed and shook her head. "Good job."
           "Yup. I owe these two a bucket of sake from their help. See you later!" He waved as one of the slippers tried to gnaw off his arm in a good-natured way.

           "Now that I have your attention." Emma said, taking the podium of the stage. The lights had returned to normal, but several fics still shot hunted looks about themselves, just in case.
           "Geez, what a bunch a' weenie fics. Just cause of some writer," Jubilee said, finally being pushed on stage. A Jubilee from the crowd gave her a nasty look. She noticed the bandaged foot and the cushion the girl was gingerly sitting on and decided to hold her next comment.
           "As I was saying, we are here to present the award for Favorite New Female Character. This category is open only to those characters who are female, obviously, and have never made an appearance in any published comic. It is a tribute to both the strength of the writer and the character that they can stand out among the hordes of mainstream characters and even gain following as dedicated and avid as any published character," Emma said.
           "Yeah, an' it's cool that since most of the big writers are women, that believable and realistic characters get portrayed. Not like teens who end up years younger than they started and trapped on sucky plots and lame art that..."
           "Jubilation, please stop ranting."
           "Right. Sorry boss."
           "Jubilation makes a good point in such that female characters on the net have a level of integrity not necessarily mirrored in many of our counterparts. Those of you with mainstream roots have certain set images and stories, were as the new characters must completely stand on the strength of their characterization." Emma smiled and stepped back to avoid the screen which descended from the ceiling. Standing in front with Jubilee, she began announcing the images which appeared on the viewer.
           "And the nominees are..." Emma began.
           "Cassie Cantrell, from Neon Hearts. Writer: Susan Crites."
           "Celeste, from Girl Talk. Writer: Denise Keppel."
           "Dawn Embers, from the Dawn Arc."
           "All seven thousand pages of it," quipped Jubilee.
           *sigh* " Jubilation--"
           "I know, I know."
           "Writer: Tapestry."
           "Delphi, from the aptly named Delphi Arc. Writer: Perridox Smith."
           "Jessica Pierce, from Kid Dynamo. Writer: Connie Hirsch." Emma turned to look at Jubilee who was fanatically searching through her purse.
           "What are you doing?"
           "My impression of Falstaff and the results." Emma groaned as the audience erupted in laughter.
           "Reine or Riposte, from Wild Cards. Writer: Elena Zovatto."
           "Renee 'Nightengale' LeBeau, from the Witness set. Writer: Valerie Jones."
           "Sikudhani McCoy, from the X-S series. Writer: Darqstar." A table of blue women of varying ages began to cheer.
           "And finally, Summer Ison, from Story Without A Title/Shades of Gray. Writer: Me."
           "An' da Winna and champion is..." Jubilee yelled.
           "Dawn Embers, from the Dawn Arc. Writer: Tapestry!" Emma said. The floor erupted in cheers as Dawn was helped up onto the stage by Glenn and came to stand beside Tapestry, who'd been shoved out by Kielle to the podium. Both accepted the awards with shy smiles and slightly dazed expressions.
           "Wow, I mean... Wow!" Tapestry said, turning the award over and over in her hands, not quite believing it was really for her. " I, uh, when I started the Dawn Arc, apparently hundreds of years and pages ago, I never expected it to be as popular or loved as everyone tells me it is. I mean, who is going to love a story where the heroine is killed off by sickness? Considering the nominees, I never expected to win against the talent I was up against. Thank you very much, and I hope you enjoy the next thousand pages!" Tapestry left to cheers and huzzahs.
           "That's my writer." The crowd laughed but all could hear the pride in Dawn's voice. "I would like to thank her and my companions without whom, I could not imagine where I'd be." A spotlight caught the table dead center, and the other members of Tapestry's Arc waved gamely at the cheering crowd. "Especially Glenn, who makes living worth the pain of dying sometimes. I'm glad you like the stories, and the numerous drawings people have been willing to contribute for me. It's all very flattering. And a big kiss to Falstaff, for bringing me into the series he loves so much, so that I can twit Tapestry occasionally and not be completely mangled for it. Thank you all again," Dawn said, leaving the stage with a wave. Emma and Jubilee handed the floor back to the MC's, leaving the chaos for them to deal with...

'K, the Subreality Cafe is Kielle's...again and this is all her fault.
The South Park mix is from Abyss' "Beer And Bunnies."
The Jubilee and Emma host are from my own "To Mistress, With Love..." by Dex
The M/Jubilee pair are Falstaff's from his Arleccino Timeline.
Wolverine and Jubilee pair off in so many bloody fic, you get to pick the one you think I used.
Nightcrawler and the three Storms are from Luba's "Idyll's Of The Cat" series.
Wren is from FritoMuncher's story "Prejudices."
The poor bisexual Cyclops is from Lady Amethyst's "Mhairie."
The Jubilee who bristles at Jubilee's comments is from Laersyn's "Devil's Due."
All of the Marvel characters mentioned are obviously Marvel's. Go figure...
All of the writers mentioned are theoretically themselves, though I know from experience that it isn't always the case. Me? I'm willing to rent out at reasonable rates...feel free to e-mail me for details!

Best New Male Character
By Dyce (

           Falstaff waited until the excited babble died down, then cleared his throat a couple of times, just to make sure that everyone was paying attention. "Next, we have the award for Best New Male Character. Our presenters are...Marvin the Martian and the Tooth Fairy!" Two tiny figures made their way to the lectern. A helpful fic dashed onto the stage with a little set of stairs on wheels, and in a moment Marvin and the Fairy were gazing out at the audience.
           "Oh my! What a wonderful turnout," Marvin said happily. "It's so exciting, isn't it?"
           "Everything excites you, Marvin." The Fairy grinned at him. "But yes, this is a big event. I'm especially thrilled to be here tonight, because I recently got into a fanfic, and it's great to get the chance to meet all you guys. Marvin here has been promised a role too, and well, it's a big thing for two little entities. No cracks about our height, though, or you'll have to petition your writers for new teeth. Okay, I know you're all dying to know who's going to win the big one, so here we go. Marvin, would you like to read the nominations?"
           "Oh, goody." He picked up a very small piece of paper. "The nominees are: Archetype, from 'The Archetype Association' by Mr Jim R. McBriarty; Ash from the Experiment #713 series, which was written by Lori McDonald; Cameron Quinn, who is a character in that wonderful X-S series by Darqstar; Glenn Keaton from the HUGE Dawn Arc by Tapestry; Hotshot, from his very own series by Ben Church; the Manager, from right here in the Subreality Cafe, created by Falstaff; Perkolater, from the Bucktown Timeline by David J. Warner; Shadowflash, from the Shadowflash set by Mitch Kelly; and, oh, how nice, a duo from the talented Ms Valerie Jones, Remai'llon 'Remi' Neramani and Cody LeBeau, both from the Witness arc." Marvin beamed around the crowded room.
           "What a list!" the Tooth Fairy gasped, sitting down on an upturned glass. "It's longer than I am! I could be cruel and drag this out, but I won't. Envelope please?" Marvin carefully passed her an envelope roughly the same size as a matchbox. She opened it carefully, and hovered an inch or so away from the microphone. "And the winner is...Remi Neramani!"
           Everyone applauded. Remi, a handsome, red-haired boy of around fifteen, hurried up onto the stage. "Thank you. I am honoured," he said formally, falling back on protocol training in his excitement.
           "Oh, you've earned it," Marvin assured him, shaking hands and carefully handing him the award. "I enjoyed the series immensly."
           "You did some great work, dear." The Tooth Fairy planted a tiny kiss on his cheek. Remi blushed. "Is there anything you want to say?"
           "Oh...yes, of course. I very much appreciate this. It'" Remi's mind went blank. Then he looked down at Valerie and his family. "Of course, a great deal of the credit goes to my Writer, Valerie, and to the other members of the Witness storyline." He looked down at the award in his hands. "Thank you," he said simply, and walked off the stage.
           "What a nice boy." The Tooth Fairy beamed. "Well, it's time for the next award, so...Falstaff? The stage is yours." Marvin and the Fairy left, towing Marvin's little staircase.

Best New Writer
By Celendra & Silvanis (

           The stage darkens as a random announcer speaks. "And now, to introduce the presenters for Best New Writer, the X-Quartet!" "YEAH!"
           Three spotlights light up the ceiling as Cyclops, Chamber, and Colossus, smiling brightly (even Jono manages to look happy), descend on ropes, singing a happy rendition of "Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego?" with Cyclops on lead.
           "Doo-op, hoop-a do-bey doo-op, hoop-a do-bey doo-op, hoop-a do-bey doo-op..."
           Just then a fourth spotlight flashes on as Bishop swings across the stage, wearing a smile that sends multiple fics and Writers into sugar shock, his bass "Boooow" filling the room. Continuing to look as if they have never had a moment of angst in their lives, the quartet enthusiastically plunges into the rest of the song.
           Suddenly purple and silver spotlights shine on the slowly parting curtains and two figures step out. One is a flame-haired (can you tell whose writing THIS part???) young woman in purple kelvar body-armor with a silver -=K=- on the front and a green cloak, with "Don' mess wit' de bes', hommes. SCRIBE POWER!!" and a purple henshin stick with a silver -=K=- in the circle embroidered on the back. Next to her walks a supermodel, clad in scanty bits of nothing that can pass for clothing on a foggy day, but none of the attention is on her. Instead the second spotlight is trained on the dark purple pillow with silver trim in her hands, on top of which rests an orange newt with black spots, eyes half closed in contentment and pleasure. Then the newt glances at the crowd and begins to look very annoyed as it realizes this means no privacy.
           They come to the podium and the woman steps up to the microphone. "Grrrrrrrrrrreetings, Subreality!!" she cries and is met with enthusiastic cheers and whistles. "I am Celendra, one half of the twinly presenters for the award of Best New Writer!" The crowd breaks out into new cheering and a few chants begin, namely "Sahlstrom, Sahlstrom," "Dyce, Dyce," and "Falstaff, Falstaff." Those and the invariable crowd of Bobbys that always chants "Emma, Emma" in hopes that it will make them seem less pathetic. Good luck, you're gonna need it.
           "My twin Silvanis is, as those who know us from #fictalk will tell you, the newt you see before you. (pause for momentary newt basking in stage light and question marks hanging over everybody else's heads) He annoyed me a few minutes before we came out, and he insisted that, if he had to be a newt, like it's a bad thing or somethin', he would be carried by one of the 'Third Rock' extras from the Superbowl night and ride on a purple pillow." Celendra shrugs. "He gave in on the happy dust for my 'Carmen Sandiego' thing, so I kind of owed it to him. Anywho, on with the Nominees for tonight's award." She turns to the Third Rock Chick(TM) and gives her a Look (you girls know what I mean). "You may leave now," she says icily as the Third Rock Chick(TM) hands her the pillow and happily scurries away. The newt gives Celendra a Glare Of Death(TM).
           ~Change me back.....I hate telepathic newt-speak,~ says Silvanis.
           Celendra gives an Evil Incarnate with Cherries(TM) grin as she pretends to consider it. "Well, you have been pretty good......I suppose." She reaches one hand up to her hair, giving it a confident *flip*, then puts her hand on her *hip*, spinning and *wink*ing at the same time. *ZAP*.
           As soon as the purple smoke clears a young man wearing a dark purple tuxedo with a silver shirt appears, two silver -=K=- lapels shining in the light. Adjusting his glasses and looking extremely uncomfortable in the tux, he mutters "It's almost worth being a newt..." Looking up, he squints at the teleprompt. "I will now proceed to try to take over the world??? Mervin, get the right message up there!" he yells at the teleprompter. "Sorry about that...where were we? Oh, yes. I'd like to thank the academy, my sister and of cour--OOF!" The OOF! coming from the elbow that has been in ground into his solar plexus by his smiling sister.
           "We haven't even released our fic yet, remember??" she asks, sotto voce.
           He looks annoyed as he is forced to admit, "Oh, yeah. Well, what are we doing here then? OW!" The OW!, of course, being from the slap that just echoed on his forehead.
           "You ditz! A few hours as a cute little newt and you're impossible! The Lady Scribe (pause as the echo dies down) asked us to present the Best New Writer award and we cannot deny the Lady Scribe (echo...echo) anything!"
           Silvanis nods. "Right. The Nominees for Best New Writer are..."
           A huge screen crashes down, landing on a tabby's tail, which sends the tom screeching up into the air with an indignant look on his puss. (Ugh, I can't believe I just wrote a pun!)
           Celendra continues with an apologetic look to the kitty. "Alara Rogers!" The screen starts and words/pictures course down the screen...........

Heart's Desire

Erik Magnus Lensherr is trapped in a cabin in the midst of a snowstorm with
his wife, Magda, who he had thought lost to him for all time. He wants to
have what they had again but Magda is frightened of him.....................

           "Erik, you truly can't see it?" she cried. "Don't you have a conscience? Did you ever? You killed *innocent* people! If you had only killed those who were hitting you, that would be forgivable, that was self-defense, but you killed them *all!*"
           Rage welled, that she would judge him so harshly. "Those *innocent* people stood by and let our daughter *burn* to death! Is that the act of an innocent person? They heard a child, screaming hysterically for her parents to save her; they saw the two of us, being restrained and beaten for the crime of wanting not to be cheated, being held back from saving her... Magda, they murdered her just as surely as the ones who set the fire!"
           "And when they took the men in your camp off to the selections, and you did nothing, were you innocent?"
           All the blood drained from Erik's face. He lunged forward and grabbed Magda by the front of her dress, making her shrink back and whimper. "How *dare* you throw that up in my face? You were there -- you know as well as I there was nothing we could do! I hadn't the power to stop it, then -- I hadn't the power to do anything but survive! Now I have the power to protect myself and those I love, and I will be damned before I hold back from using it! If that makes me a monster, so is every man who has ever killed in defense of his country, his wife or his children!"
           Abruptly he realized what he was doing, realized how terrified she was, and released her, stepping back. "I -- I'm sorry. I didn't mean to frighten you. It's just -- I cannot believe you would blame me for saying nothing in the camps, when you were in the same situation!"
           "I...I'm not blaming you, Erik." Her voice was very tiny. "How could I? You're right, I did the same thing."
           "Then why bring it up?"
           "You didn' didn't
understand me at all." She took a deep breath. "Those people were powerless, Erik. They couldn't have stopped the men beating you. Those men were police. If anyone had come forward to stop it, they would have disappeared."
           "Yes. The secret police would have taken away any who defied them. Including anyone who stood up for us. Why should they have risked their lives for us, a pair of strangers in the city?"
           Erik stood stock still, horrified as the import of her words sunk in. He shook his head reflexively. "It wasn't like that. Were they beaten? Starved? Held under guns, behind barbed wire? They were free people. They could have said something."
           "They couldn't have."
           "Yes, they could."
           "They were frightened people, keeping their mouths shut like you and I did in the camps, and you killed them all."

           A hush falls over the crowd as they wait for the next nominee, but they can see already that it's going to be a stiff competition.
           Silvanis turns. "Alicia McKenzie!"


Cable, Wolverine and Bishop team up to find a
very special little the hands of a madman.

           "I know," Cable said unsteadily. Logan looked away, not wanting to see memories of Tyler in the other man's eyes. "All right. I'll do it. I can't guarantee that I'll find her, but if she's really as powerful as you say, I might be able to pick up her psi-imprint." Looking tense and reluctant, he stared down at the table-top. "I'll have to drop my shields--"
           "Not a good idea!" Bishop protested. "If you do that, you'll be open to her power!"
           Cable's right eye spat golden fire as he stared across the table at Bishop. "Ever thought of engaging your brain before you open your mouth, Bishop? Do you think I want to be wandering unprotected around the astral plane, you moron?" Logan gave him a warning look and Cable stopped, taking a deep breath. When he continued, his voice was more level. "I can't carry out a wide scan with my shields up. It would dull my perceptions when I need them to be their sharpest." He smiled tightly. "Besides, if I tried, I'd probably lose control over the T-O virus. And I won't risk that, not even for this kid." He glared at Bishop, as if daring him to disagree.
           For once, Bishop was smart enough to keep his mouth shut. Taking a deep breath, Cable looked over at Logan. "If you even think that something's wrong--"
           "Hit you?" Logan suggested with a faint smile. Cable shook his head, looking amused.
           "Something along those lines. Try not to enjoy it too much." Closing his eyes, he withdrew into himself in that eerie way a telepath had. Logan would never get used to it. It was as if he suddenly wasn't there anymore, despite the fact that his body was still sitting there at the table.
           The two X-Men waited for some reaction from Cable. But when it came, it was nothing like they had expected.

           Celendra smiles. "Nothing like a cliffhanger to make you want to read the story! Our next nominee is Dex!"

Hey Little Sister

Emma's younger sister Cordelia attacks her,
thinking to gain control of her sister...

           The mental shields crumbled under her attack, and she felt her essence flow into Emma. She could suddenly smell every individual scent in the air around her sister. Every strand of hair, every drop of sweat, and every nerve transmitted its information into the mind of Emma Frost and thus, Cordelia. It was a shock to feel the heightened sensory input, far more then normal. Just as curious was the fact that she was riding the sensory sectors of the brain, not the higher order functions. She saw and felt as Emma Frost brought her arms from behind her back, the razor in the left hand, the smoothness of the handle washing through her senses.
           "Cordelia, you have never understood what telepathy is really about, have you? It's not the amount of power in your control or the people that you influence. It's about yourself, from mind out. Every little neuron, every vessel, every thought. The power is from the source inside from which the elements that make up a person come from. The core of all that you are. It's the true power, out of the blood and the bone and the head. The one that you have never tried to understand." Emma raised the razor and smiled. "And it's about the balance, the more you use the power, the more it uses you. The more you take, the less you have. And it's about pain, Cordelia. It's all about pain."
           Cordelia realized in horror what Emma was about to do, and tried desperately to gain control of her entire mind. But, years of experience had given Emma the ability to temporarily thwart the greater power until it was too late.
           With frightening precision she drove the razor into her forearm and dragged it up along the muscles, the blade scraping against bone. Cordelia screamed as the pain tore into Emma, amplified hundreds of times from her connection. The feel of the flesh parting under the blade, each individual nerve firing a message directly to the brain, flooding it with sensation. The almost sensual feel of the razor's edge as it effortlessly severed the muscle, the coppery scent of the blood filling Emma's nostrils, and her own. With a scream the connection was severed, a survival instinct on Cordelia's part to prevent her own senses from overloading. Emma stopped and tossed away the razor, ignoring the blood which gushed from her arm. With slow, carefully steps she approached her sister and took an object from her neck, hidden by her hair. Emma held it up for a moment and crushed it between two fingers. The fragile wires crumpled and twisted, and she dropped the ruined machinery to the grass at her feet. The energy which had been transmitting from Chamber to Cordelia stopped abruptly, and the floating forms dropped heavily to the ground. Cordelia looked up through tear-filled eyes at her sister, who stood over her.
           "But, I won," she wailed, bewildered.
           "No, at the end of the day, all that matters is where you stand. You have lost Cordelia, and to me."

           "Geez..," someone in the audience says. "Now I know why everyone says that you can tell that Dex read 'Mhairie' first!!"
           Celendra raps on the podium-type-thingee. "Enough outta the peanut gallery, already!" she calls. "Diamonde!"

People Will Always Surprise You

Another typical day in Physics class.......................

           Jessica's eyes were apparently focused on Banshee, but her brain wasn't paying attention.
           ~Boredboredboredboredbored...this sucks. When do we get to go shopping? What's the point of living near a city if you can't go shopping? I'll ask Jubes, she'll know.~ Jessica quickly scribbled down a note and flicked it to Jubilee. Jubilee sent back the reply by the conventional route favored by those who couldn't levitate the attached paper clip, i.e. Everett. He dropped the wad of paper onto Jessica's desk without turning around.
           ~What's it say? Not until the weekend?!? We've been here for two weekends already! Oh man. This REALLY sucks. Wonder where Jono is? And who cares? Boredboredbored... Oh, Marcos, you gorgeous boy you. That's right, throw the paper aeroplane, lean over and make it look like Monet did it...hee hee. Right in the purple hair. Oh no, Mr Cassidy, it wasn't him. Ha ha. No, wait! Don't ground him, he has to drive me so that I can go shopping!! Oh, crap. I'll hafta try and charm Ange or someone. Dumb teacher. Dumb America, won't give me a license because I'm an Australian citizen and I don't have an Australian one. Dumb lesson. Boredboredboredbored... I know, I'll draw a picture. But I don't know what to draw. I'll plan my escape route! Yeah, good idea, Jess! I need a map, first. Okay, here's my desk, here's everyone else's desks, here's the door, here's the window. There's the teacher's desk. Big monster behind it with purple hair. Now, I have to make him think I'm gonna try and get out the door before I do a turn and fly out the window, so the little arrows go along here. I'll hide behind Mondo and creep up next to Skin's desk. He won't tell on me, Angelo's cool. I get to Paige and have to make a mad dash. Violet will see me and try to catch me; he won't use his powers inside unless he has to. So that's when I jump up on Jubilee's desk and head for the window. Do I take her with me? Nah, it's a dog-eat-dog world in here, she can take advantage of the confusion and slip out the door. Little Jubilee footprints heading for the door...~
           "That's a very nice map ye've got there, Jessica."
           She screamed and slammed the book shut. "No! You shall not see my secret plans!" Jessica leapt up and sprinted towards the door, book cradled against her chest.
           "Hey! Come back here!" He was after her. Time to put the plan into action. She turned ninety degrees around the corner of Paige's desk, ran across the front of the classroom and dived out the open window.
           ~Yay! Sweet freedom. What's that noise... AAAAAAAAHH!! He's still after me!~ Jessica sped up and started to veer to the left. By this time, the other students were leaning out the windows to watch and calling encouragement. Jessica managed to get onto the roof and keep most of it between her and Sean. He looked at her and stopped, holding up his hands.
           "Steady on, lass. Ye've shown a fair bit of tactics and initiative here, I'd just like to know what compelled ye t' suddenly run out of a physics class."
           "I was bored. Really bored. I guess I got a little carried away making my escape plans."
           "Jess, 'tis a difficult subject, and I think ye'd be better off paying a little more attention."
           "But I know all this molecular stuff, I can even tell you the practical applications of most of it. S'boring. And when I get really bored I start to act a little weird."
           "That's true, Sean." Marcos added helpfully. "She's like Danny. If you don't give them anything interesting to do they go totally loopy, like last time when they blew up a bathroom for no apparent reason except to prove that they could." Sean gave a silent groan. That was all he needed.
           "Well, why don' ye come back inside and I'll try to make it more interesting for ye."
           Jessica just looked at him suspiciously and moved further behind a chimney. "If you try and make me go back in there, I'll be forced to implement phase two."
           "What does phase two involve?"
           "I try to lose you in the trees, then hightail it all the way to Westchester and refuse to let go of Gambit's leg until you manage to successfully bribe me. If you don't come up with a suitable deal within an hour, I throw a tantrum that lasts until a higher authority shows up or I puke. If I chuck, we move to phase three."
           "What's phase three?"

           Celendra and Silvanis raise simultaneous eyebrows when the giggling people pick themselves off of the floor and back into their seats. "Thank you," says Silvanis. "Next, is...DuAnn Cowart!"

Just Lucky, I Guess

Domino flashbacks to her days in Tolliver's hands..................

           She was sitting at the end of a long formal dining table, tied to the chair with wire cable. Hulking armed guards stood on either side of her, and the obligatory inhibitor collar was fastened snugly around her neck. She looked down the length of the table and through a bleary technicolor haze saw the arms dealer Tolliver deep in conversation with the now-familiar mercenary Deadpool and a strange, timorous brown-haired woman.
           She thought she saw the woman cast a look of pity in her direction, but she wasn't sure. The drugs she'd been slipped had done their work all too well; it was all she could do to open her eyes, much less focus her gaze. Still staring at the others, she blinked in surprise -- they'd really given her way too high a dosage,
because where the brown haired woman had been there now stood a woman who looked rather like herself. Odd.
           One of the guards poked her in the ribs with a baton. Glaring up at him, even through the drugs she managed a sarcastic laugh. "Very original. Did you think up that one all by yourself or did you have help?" Her voice lowered contemptuously, even if it did sound a million miles away "Don't even *think* about touching me again, you slimy bastard. I've killed tougher things than you with my pinkie toe."
           The man looked at her stupidly but his companion chuckled, a brutish, ugly sound. "Oh, don't worry, sweetheart, we wouldn't think about it. Buzz an' me here wanna keep our jobs. The boss wants you all for himself -- says he wants to sample the old man's goods before he takes you out, whatever the hell that means. I've learned not to ask. " He shot a sideways glance at the door. "Oh, goody..." He nodded at a tiny man who'd come in a side entrance. Leering at her, the man pulled a hypodermic needle out of a pocket in his vest and injected her in her exposed arm. The room immediately began to slip and swirl, people moving and standing at impossible angles.
           On the other side of the surreal room she thought she saw the hooded Tolliver nod his head. Deadpool and the woman -- who now looked just like her, she noticed, stood to leave. Walking by her chair, Deadpool rapped his knuckles three times on her skull.
           "Too bad, Petey," he rumbled "I hated to do it to ya, but them's the breaks." Turning to the other woman, he motioned towards the door. "C'mon, Nessie, time to make the donuts. Mr. Tolliver here's got work to do." The other woman walked towards her, and for a moment Domino wondered if she weren't a hallucination. The woman was now a mirror image of herself. 'Even moves like me,' Domino noted bleakly. As the woman passed, she thought she heard a soft "I'm sorry," but she couldn't be sure.

           "DUN DUN DAAAAHHHH!!!!!!!" cries Celendra at the top of her lungs. She teardrops as she sees everyone give her a Look. "Ummmm...where were we?? Oh, yeah! Dyce!"

Where Kittens Come From

The Gen-Kitties are kidnapped by Sinny and
you won't believe what he wants from them!

           Any reply Everett might have made to that little comment was forestalled by a sharp click as the room filled with light. The rest of the team, as well as the two teachers, were scattered across the floor. Dragging his eyes away from Paige, who was wearing, well, not much, Jono looked around for an exit. A window. A jailor. A sign saying 'You have been kidnapped. Sorry, all our evil villains are busy at the moment, but you just stay right there and we'll get back to you.'
           ~That's it!~ Everett yowled suddenly. ~I smell something SINISTER!~ Jono turned to see a clear panel high in one wall, behind which stood a terrifyingly familiar figure. Around him, the others started to stir.
           "Sinister, you twisted old bastard! What're you up to?" Jono demanded. It was hard to achieve dignity in an old t-shirt and boxers with little smiley faces on them, but he managed it. He glared defiantly at the fashion victim above him.
           "No need to sound so belligerent, Mr Starsmore. I am simply taking advantage of a unique situation. You and your teammates' newly acquired shapeshifting ability is really quite fascinating, and I intend to study it in all the detail it deserves. Naturally, to a geneticist such as myself, the most pressing concern is whether it can be passed on."
           ~Passed on?~ Angelo enquired fuzzily.
           "Inherited, Mr Espinosa. By your offspring."
           "HOLD IT, HOLD IT, HOLD IT!!!" Jubilee shrieked. "WHADDAYA MEAN, OFFSPRING?"
           "Quite simple, Ms Lee. I have no intention of harming any of you potentially productive little creatures." He grinned like a shark. "I merely intend to breed you for your hopefully more powerful, well, kittens."
           "B-but they're just kids! Ye cannae be serious, man!!" Sean turned as a small hand tugged on his bathrobe. "What is it, Leech?"
           "What he mean, breed for kittens?" Leech asked, as Artie frowned and nodded. Everyone looked up, down, at Sinister, anywhere but at the two innocently inquiring faces. No-one had ever quite gotten around to explaining the facts of life to the kids. Penny looked confused too.
           " isn't a good time, lad. Someone'll explain it to ye later." Sean looked back up at Sinister. "You," he stated with deep conviction, "are a very sick man, Essex."
           "Naturally. Don't worry. I won't watch."

           Silvanis is giggling evilly as he looks up and realizes it's his turn. "Oh, yeah. Next up, Falstaff!"

Arleccino Timeline: All My Love

Jubilation 'Rebecca' Lee is about to confront the biggest challenge of
her life: sharing the secret of her love with that special person............

           Jubilation Rebecca Lee paced back and forth. [She's not coming. Oh, God, she's not coming. She saw the card, and she freaked. She'll never talk to me again.] She covered her eyes with her hands, standing there in middle of the Academy's quad, feeling ridiculous in the red dress she'd bought specifically for this occasion. Even with the leather jacket Wolverine had given her for her eighteenth birthday as a shield, she felt utterly undone. And yet, she was thoroughly unwilling to allow herself to cry, even though it was what she most wanted to do. [She's gonna hate me. Maybe I can fool her into thinking it was a joke or something. Maybe then she wouldn't hate me -- maybe then I--]
           It was a musical voice; contralto in timbre, soft in volume, caring in tone. It was a voice she had loved, along with the woman who possessed it, from the moment four years ago when she first started really listening. It was the voice of Monet St. Croix.
           Rebecca didn't dare turn around. She couldn't. "Look, Monet, about those flowers--"
           "How did you know?" Was that a sob in her voice? Confused, Rebecca turned round. And for once, she could find no words.
           Monet was clad in a dress. A splendid dress, actually; black and simple, very classy. [Funny,] Rebecca thought, bewildered, [she doesn't looklike she's angry...]
           Rebecca's baffled gaze was met by a hooded glance from Monet. "How did you know?" she repeated. "I was quite certain I'd kept my feelings hidden from you. And I did a remarkable job, if I do say so myself."
           "You--" Rebecca blurted, still unable to get a full sentence out. Monet's only answer was a nod. Their eyes met, and for a moment, they simply swam in each other's gaze. [My God, her eyes are amazing,] Rebecca thought. [The most incredible eyes I've ever seen...WAKE UP, MORON!] "Uh, you want to sit down?" Rebecca asked, gesturing to the table that Mondo had helped her cart down to the quad this afternoon.
           "Yes," Monet said quietly. She seated herself at one end of the table; Rebecca sat down opposite her. And they sat in silence for a short while, neither knowing quite what to say.
           Finally, unable to bear the stifling stillness any longer, Monet cleared her throat. "The card with the was--"
           "I knew I was going too far I mean it was too much too soon and I should have thought before I did it and I didn't and I'm really sorry," Rebecca said in a rush.
           M smiled tenderly. "I was going to say that it was beautiful."
           "Really?!" Rebecca asked, stunned.
           "Yes, really," Monet said, nodding.

           "Awwwww..." Celendra sniffles. "Dat's so sweeeeet! Ahem. Next up, Jacque Koh!"

Gambit's Cat-astrophe

Gambit has been put into the body of a cat, thanks to Sinister.
But what's worse, being a cat or being the X-Men's cat???

In the kitchen of the X-mansion ...

           "Here ya go, Sugah." Rogue place a bowl in front of him.
           #What's dat?#
           "It's -- well, it's cat food."
           The black cat just stared at her.
           "Aw, come on Remy, ya got ta eat something. Bobby and Joseph went out to specially buy this for ya. They're sorry for laughing at ya."
           #Yeah right.# He sniffed at the bowl suspiciously. #The can probably reads like a riot.#
           "It's not ya real body, Remy. But ya still got ta feed it the proper -- er -- cat nutrition."
           #But dat's not all dis is. What else y'put in dis, chere?#
           "Ya promise ta eat it?"
           #Dat depends, chere.# The cat sat down again and stared up at her.
           "Well, Hank suggested it. We got ya some -- er, worm tablets. Ya won't taste them, I mixed it up real good."
           Gambit sighed as he took a tentative bite, and proceeded to lick the bowl clean.
           As the black cat settled down to clean itself, Rogue prepared a litter box and placed it near the back door.
           #Don't tell me--#
           "Er -- well--"
           #I hate dis.#
           "Do ya need to ... "
           #What? Y'want t'watch?#
           "No! 'Course not." She blushed furiously, "It's just that -- ah -- er need ta--"
           Gambit saw the truth in her mind before she could shield that thought. He bolted, but Rogue was much faster than any cat alive.
           #Y'can' be serious?! Chere!?#
           "Ah'm sorry, Remy." Rogue carried him out of the house apologetically.
           Bishop was waiting for them beside an ominous tub, into which he had briefly dipped his hand.
           #Chere?! Pup?! Y'can' do dis t'Gambit!?#
           The big man rubbed his neck awkwardly with his dry hand as they approached, the expression on his face was also deeply apologetic.

           Silvanis laughs. "It almost makes you feel sorry for Gambit, doesn't it? Anywho, next up is...Leary!"

Today is a Good Day to Die

Another of the unofficial sequels to Devil's Due (pause for shudder
and a mutter of "Laer, you are eeeeeeeeeeevil!") -- X-Force is going
after the castrated Cyclops (hugmongous burst of applause) and Sinister.
Cyclops to save (unfortunately) and Sinister to kill (any guy that is
THAT hung up on the Summers needs professional help, I tell ya.........).

           Before she could blink, Meltdown's hands were seized by Victor, raising her off the ground. An instant later, she was pinned against the wall, Victor's other hand closed around her neck, disrupting her concentration.
           "Why?" she barely got out around his grip. "Why'd you do it? I risked all my other friends to reach out to you, and you pay me back by becoming a Marauder again. Why?" Her feelings of betrayal were clearly evident.
           "Only a weak frail like you would ever feel sorry for someone like me. Ya shoulda known better." Sabretooth drew his hand back, preparing to painfully rake her life out with his bloody claws. He hesitated, briefly, stopping to watch Tabitha shut her eyes in anticipation. A sole tear escaped her eye. Not only for the very real and very tangible fear of knowing she was about to die, painfully, but for the feeling of betrayal she felt by the man holding her still. She had reached out to him in his time of need, and now he was showing her his gratitude by ending her life in pain...
           Sabretooth waited no longer. His clawed hand came down, but instead of slashing at her body viciously, he put it back on her neck and snapped it with a simple flick of his wrist. Tabitha Smith died quickly and painlessly. For Victor Creed, slaughterer of hundreds and one who rejoices in the pain he can inflict on others, that was an expression of thanks.

           Silvanis waits for the crowd to die down as they all glare at the various Sabretooths in the Cafe. "Kill him on your own time, people...we have a show to keep going. Our next Writer is Min!"

Vicky's Diary

           Please don't blame her, Hanks, but Aunt Rogue woke me up in the middle of that night. She told me that Bobby was leaving us and he wanted to see me first. When she sneaked me down, I saw you and Mom sleeping there, so I tip-toed. This time, I held his hand and he smile at me.
           I said I wanted to help him but didn't know how to so I was going to sing a song for him. And I sang 500 miles and put all the meaning I could into it. He hummed along with me but then he squeezed my fingers and he sang the last part himself. He sang it very, very softly so that you and Mom won't wake up. If you miss the train I'm on, you will know that I am gone, you can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles
           And when he sang it, he was looking at my face all the time so he'll know if I know what he means. I'm not stupid, Hanks but how can he do that? He didn't want me to walk with him even a bit of that 500 miles!!
           You woke up then because I made too much noises and I was sent back to bed. When I was there, I really felt really bad that I got angry with him. And I was thinking about this for some time when you came to my bed and tell me Bobby had died.

           Celendra wipes a tear from her eye. "Wasn't that just so sad?" She blows her nose and then gazes once more out onto the crowd. "Our next author is....Molly Grue!"

In a Life Before This

Chamber retells a life he had before...

           Her hands reached out suddenly and ripped the bandages off Jono's face. Underneath there were no longer any red and orange psionic waves, but a face. Paige let out a strangled gasp from across the room. He reached up to his face and felt his mouth, his cheeks, and smiled. Tears began to form in the corners of his eyes. The woman giggled again and put her hand gently on his forehead. As soon as she did, Jono's eyes glazed over and she fell to the ground shrieking and moaning and writhing about as if she was being burned alive. Two men in red robes quietly entered the room and sat next to Chamber. They began to ask him questions in voices so monotonous they sounded like programmed computers. Banshee was straining at his chains, Emma was silently concentrating on regaining her powers, and Paige was staring at Jono, her eyes as wide and glassy with shock as his were. Jubilee, next to Everett, was trying to unhook his chains, while Skin stared at Jono.
           *Who are you?*
           "I am Antonio Sparx," Jono said, and his voice was thick with an Italian accent.
           *Are you married?*
           "To Paige, yes. In this life, she is Mimi Sparx." Paige looked at Ms. Frost for explanation, and Emma stared back at her, questioningly.
           *Who is your dearest friend?*
           Angelo, or Leonard Grey. That's his name here."
           Angelo looked at Paige, then at Jono, at the woman still writhing on the floor, at the two monotonous men, then at Ms. Frost.
           Ms. Frost said, quietly, "He's experiencing forced telepathic past life regression. He thinks he was married to Paige in a former life of his."
           The monotonous men waited till she was finished, and then continued. *What do you do for a living?*
           "I was a musician. Mimi was a seamstress, and Leonard was a lawyer."
           *Are you happy?*
           "Yes," Jono answered, his voice thick with emotion. "I have not much money and my right leg has been useless since birth, but my music comforts me. I can't give Mimi all that she deserves, but we love each other. And I have a truer friend than I could ever have hoped for."
           *How did you die?*
           "I committed suicide."
           "It started when Leonard fell in love with Mimi."
           Skin was beginning to feel very uncomfortable. Paige glaring at him didn't help either.
           "He asked her, one day when I wasn't home, if she loved him back. She told him no and that was that. I came home to find them laughing and talking together. I began to be suspicious, especially since Leonard looked guilty every time I saw them together. I wondered if maybe she did not want to be married to me, crippled and poor, but wanted a young, handsome, and rich husband. Namely, Leonard. I started to follow her around and stopped speaking to Leonard. I couldn't sleep, eat, or think. It made my blood boil, thinking that she might...not love me. I yelled at her whenever I could. I tried to get her to admit that she was committing adultery. She would not. I was so angry, I began to want to...kill her."
           Jono's voice broke and tears flowed freely down his face. Paige had a sudden desire to hold him, and never ever let him go. But she couldn't. She could only watch. The story he was telling, it sounded...familiar to her. She almost fancied she knew what he was going to say before he said it.
           "I started hitting her, too. Whenever I moved my arm she would flinch. Her eyes always looked like the eyes of a frightened stray dog. It made me want to kill somebody when she looked at me when she looked at me like that. The only person I could think of was Leonard. It was his fault. I forced her to write a letter to him, inviting him to our home. He came, just as I knew he would. I was ready, gun in hand. But she tried to stop me. She begged me to stop. To become, once more, the man she had loved. Her Antonio. I...slammed the gun into her head, and she fell, knocking her head on the floor. I can still hear the sound of her skull cracking on the stone. Leonard screamed. He ran over to her and listened for her heart beat...he called me a murderer. He said I had killed her. He picked her up and ran out the door. I don't know where he took her. I didn't know what to do. She'd always loved me, and I knew that now. I had killed my Mimi...I stood, and stared at the gun in my hand. I turned it around to face my eyes. I looked down the barrel and pulled the trigger..."
           The tears streamed openly down his cheeks, and he could barely speak for sobbing. When he did manage the words, he screamed them. As his voice faded, Jono fell in a heap on the floor.
           The woman stopped writhing about. She stood up shakily. "You have been shown the Light. You are free." She pulled a key out of her pocket. Then she unlocked his chains. He didn't move.
           "Is he..." Paige asked, her voice strangely high-pitched.
           "No," Ms. Frost assured her.
           The woman looked at M and said, "Your turn."

           Silvanis winces. "That looked painful...on to queenB!"


Warren searches for his love...

           Warren lands lightly on the roof top, hoping this is where Betsy went. He crouches close to the rain-slicked tar of the roof, using his feathered wings to keep most of the pounding rain away from his face.
           Yeah, Warren's a mutant, also. Ten to one you already knew that. Had it pretty rough, too. See, he's got blue skin and used to be under the influence of a three-thousand-year-old sadist, who invented the word power-monger. Still don't know why it turned him blue. Maybe it's Apocalypse's favorite color? Archangel's wings used to be metal, too. But they're feathers now and were once before, back when he wasn't blue. Needless to say, that's why him and Betsy hit it off so well. They're two peas in a genetically twisted and previously brain-washed pod.
           There's no trace of Psylocke
until he remembers...*the shadows*...and then he sees her. Her red, crescent-shaped tattoo gleams brightly out of the shadows, and her lips curl back revealing a toothy, almost oozing grin. She leaps for him, summoning psychic knives from both fists. She's quick and final.
           He reminds himself, *Yes, Warren, this is the woman you love...*
           And as he screams himself unconscious, his mind melting away layer by painful layer, love might be the only thought that keeps him alive. That is if Betsy remembers what that is, and we all know how confused she's been lately...

           Celendra smiles evilly. "Bet that hurt more. And now, last but certainly not least...Patrick Sahlstrom!"

The Sea, The Sand, And The Autumn Wind

Jubilee reflects on a world gone mad......

           She was the last.
           Jubilation Lee, last of the X-Men, stood by the Mediterranean Sea.
           How long ago was it she and Monet had came here, to Monet's home? It seemed like yesterday. Monet had already suffered from Legacy then.
           She walked down the beach. After the rise of the Sentinels, and the subsequent wars when mankind had bombed itself back to Stone Age (well, actually it was the 1920s, technology-wise, but 'back to Stone Age' sounded better), there hadn't been much activity on what used to be an area crowded with tourists. There weren't any tourists, these days. People were still too busy trying to get the world back on the right track. With most major cities reduced to smoking craters, and the World economy gone insane, it was a big job.
           She stopped and looked up, at the birds that were migrating south for the winter, and wondered what had happened to the expedition Sinister had led, the quest for a new planet for a "new, noble race." Had they succeeded?
           She walked back to the house. It had been luxurious, and consequently had been thoroughly looted, but it was still impressive. She stopped twice.
           The first time, she stopped by a huge metal door. Adamantium, it would resist anything short of the whole world being vaporized. Behind it lay all the records regarding the X-Men she and Monet had been able to compile, stored in computers and on paper -- and in some fifty different languages.
           She wasn't sure why Monet had insisted on building the storage chamber. Was it for future historians? Or left as a memory for those who had traveled to the stars, in case they ever came back? Or was it just that very human impulse to leave something behind, something to say "Hey, I lived once"?
           Monet couldn't answer. She had died only a few days after the chamber was filled and sealed, all her energy exhausted.
           And that was where Jubilation Lee stopped the second time, at the tombstone of Monet St. Croix, her teammate, her friend and, for a much too short time, her lover. She laid down a perfect sea shell by the grave, one she had found during her walk.
           After an indeterminate time, she walked away and went inside.
           Jubilation Lee, the last X-Man.

           A gigantic timpani, played by none other than the Sentient Bunny Slippers(TM) themselves (Wink on Low, Nudge on High) starts to boom. "And the winner is...hey, did you hear the one about Clinton
and the OW!" The OW! was, of course, from the rotten cabbages that are hitting Celendra upside her head. "Okay, okay! The winner is..." (mutters "One, two, three") "DYCE!"
           "Oh, Dycey! You didn't think you were leaving this place without a trophy, did you??" asks Silvanis gleefully.
           Dyce stumbles up on the stage " wow. Thanks guys...I don't know what to say..."
           "I do." Delphi joins her other self on stage. "We're very honoured, this is truly amazing, etc. Credit to all the characters for putting up with--"
           "It's true, you can be a real trial sometimes. Anyway, lots of affection to friends and fellow writers, like." Delphi assumed a vacant Oscar-winner-like expression and put her hand on her heart. "I just have to say thank you to Lynxie, Yatzel, Krista, Mel, Ian, Jelpy, Luba, Darqstar, Lestat--" Delphi was kicked sharply in the ankle "and especially our baby sister Diamonde." A bullet whizzes past Delphi's ear at her patronizing of hard-working Dia, and Michael is forced out by security. "But absolutely no credit to Lobdell and Bachalo -- we can see you back there! Who let them in here? This is a fanfic award!!" Michael and the security guards band together to evict the icky people from the premises, sending Marcos to board up the window in the gents. "Dyce, take the nice award..."
           "I can manage! You get down there with the other 'fics!! I just want to say kudos to Kielle, for organizing this." There is a big round of applause for Kielle. "Thank you."
           Delphi and her writer/alternate identity leave the stage. As they go there can be heard arguing.
           "Did you have to come up? I could have managed by myself!"
           "You could not! You froze!"
           "And speaking of freezing, where did you get that dress? I never wrote you anything like that! Psylocke wears more than that!!"
           Several Elisabeth Braddocks seem to consider this statement, but let it slide due to the nature of the context.
           Celendra and Silvanis bow, their Scribe Merchandise glistening. "Thank you, thank you! You've all been a wonderful Subreality! Let's do it again some time, 'kay?"
           The X-Quartet start up again but then Celendra looks up, looks at Silvanis, grins, grabs his hand and winks, in perfect synchronization with her twin. The quartet plummets to the ground; purple sparkles fall off of them. Celendra leans over to the mike. "By the way, in case some of you fics were worried about this...they're the MAINSTREAMERS!"
           They walk towards the parting curtains to thunderous applause and yells of joy. The four formerly known as the X-Quartet start to scream.
           ~Wot in the bloody 'ell? Oy was singin' bloody 'Carmen Sandiego'????~
           " head hurts worse than when I had that bloody hangover the last time I made the mistake of getting undrunk..."
           "Dear God! Bishop's face is stuck in that lurid grin! He can't get it off! Someone call him an ambulance! Hold on, Bishop. I'll make sure everything is okay. Piotr, Jonothan...AFTER THEM!!!!"
           Celendra and Silvanis look back as they hear a distant roar. They turn around, both exclaiming "Nani????" only to see a steel Russian, a pissed Englishman, an American with a stick shoved...never mind. PG-13 rating and all. Where was I? Oh, yeah. And one helplessly grinning and blubbering, extremely pissed schitzo from one of many possible futures which may or may not, in this universe or another, some how wind up coming to be, without the certainty that he will ever be born to come back and...never mind. This is worse than looking at the Summers Family Tree. I tell you, those people breed like rabbits. Oh...Silvy says I'm rambling. Let's wrap this up then.
           The twins careen through the curtains and into the audience until they find the Lady Scribe (echo.....echo). Silvanis jumps on her shoulders and Celendra sits on her feet, making sure they're warm, of course. "SAVE US!!! HEEEEEEEELP!!!"
           "Oh, okay," says the great Lady Scribe (echo......echo). "I know just what to do..."

Interlude #1
By Dex (

           "Things are getting insane in here!" Tapestry shouted as she dove to avoid a flight of Lockheeds as they winged through the back area. Marty Blase poked his head up from behind the couch and helped Tapestry over. The X-Writers came broiling though again, another set of battle cries on their lips.
           "Man, I heard that the Bouncer got held down and painted blue by various fics," Blase said. Tapestry looked shocked at the statement. The Bouncer looked like he had been hewn rather than born, with muscles like footballs mating in a net bag. He had handled hundreds of powerful and disruptive fics without a problem. If he had gone down, it might that things had truly gotten out of hand.
           "Great. The troop from the Villains Lounge showed up about twenty minutes ago."
           "Later than I thought."
           "Yeah, well, apparently world conquering doesn't require map-reading skills."
           "Ah." Blase ducked as an X-Cat went over his head, hissing and snarling.
           "They were asking about Abyss in an off-hand-I-really-want-to-know-but-won't-act-like-I-do way."
           "He can take care of himself." A wingless Angel ran by with Tangerine at his heels, wielding a squash racket with devastating accuracy.
           "You know what? I'm going to hide."
           "Capital suggestion," agreed Marty as they both ducked back behind the couch.

           Kielle edged between a John Constantine/Pete Wisdom shouting match and grabbed a breath of fresh air at the door. The night was going better then she had thought, but battles, pranks and general madness were still running rampant through the bar. It was nice that some of the mainstream writers had even made an appearance. Ellis had occupied his throne for a brief stay, sharing stories with the writers and introducing Spider Jerusalem to the Cafe. Claremont had poked his head in and smiled like a proud father at the chaos. He had waved aside the honors which they had tried to present him with, muttering something about the Fantastic Four and Wolverine before heading back to his bar, The Hideaway. Even Lobdell had made an appearance, but within seconds he had been reconned into a pink bunny that was Cable and Rachel's child from an alternate time line and had been last seen wandering confused through the streets of Subreality. Kielle took a deep breath and plunged back into the crowd. Time for another musical number, and Falstaff was recovering from a blow to the head from a flung Ash. It left her to run the thing for a while.

           "All out of Swedish meatballs, stab their eyes!" a snarled Stryfe as he replaced the metal tureen lid on the empty container.
           "Blame Apocalypse," Magneto dead-panned. "He's been wolfing them down since he got here. And he cut in line," he said accusingly.
           "Survival of the fittest, Magnus," the blue mutant replied.
           "As applied to a buffet? Man, you are grasping, Poccy." Fitzroy smirked. Apocalypse's arm shot out in a lightning-fast spike, impaling the unfortunate Upstart through the throat. He died with a moist gurgle, and Apocalypse retracted his arm with a satisfied smile.
           "That will teach you to mock the Lord of the Morning."
           "The Lord of the Morning is going to clean up the mess or I'll teach him some lessons about his arse getting kicked all over the landscape!" Mary Sue snarled behind him. Apocalypse turned and drew himself up to his full height, towering over the slight Mary Sue.
           "You dare threaten the mighty Apocal-whuuaaa!" He was cut off as Mary Sue planted a knee with deft precision. The villains at the buffet quickly distanced themselves from the hapless Apocalypse. He tried to straighten, only to be brought down by a blow to the throat. As one might dispose of a bag of trash, Mary Sue hoisted him out the door. He skipped several times before crashing into the building opposite. Conversation quickly resumed as she turned back to the bar.
           "Any one else have a problem." A chorus of no's met her question. "Very good." Dusting her hands, she returned to the crowd. Magnus ladled more potatoes on his plate as he continued his speech.
           "And the point is that we never really get a shot at winning."
           "Come on. You are at least a misunderstood, tragic figure. Me, I'm still tagged with Liefeld," Stryfe complained.
           "Well, it could be worse. Poor Essex has become a caricature of what he was," Magnus jibed. Sinister looked up from his plate to respond.
           "Magnus, I resent such a -- ah, beef stroganoff. My plans are falling into place," he said with delight as he raised the lid of the warmer.

           "Dis is not a good idea, petite," Remy said, fighting against the writer who were pulling him towards the stage.
           "Remy, first get your elbow out of my eye!" DuAnn shot back. "I volunteered you, and that's the end of it."
           "But I don' even like singing much."
           "Tough," Dex muttered as he shoved the resistant Gambit along.
           "Gambit be payin' you back one day, ami."
           "Try it, Cajun, and I'll have you dating Jubilee behind Logan's back. How do you think he'd react to a physical relationship between the two of you? Or perhaps I could lend him a copy of 'Mhairie'..." Remy paled at the threat, knowing that was beaten.
           "Relax, Remy," DuAnn said, shooting a nasty look at Dex. "You'll do fine." They left as the final touches were being put on the stage. Remy looked about despondently at the sea of faces watching him expectantly.

           "Okey, folks! Settle down. We have a...a song from Remy?" Kielle gaped at the notes in front of her, a smile tugging at the corners of her mouth. Laughter erupted from the audience, Remy turning red behind Kielle.
           "Fini! I say dis was a bad idea..." Gambit said as he began to stalk off the stage. He stopped short as Dex waved a thick sheaf of pages at him and jerked a thumb towards a table full of Wolverines.
           "As I said, with have a song from Remy. Apparently he wants to set the record straight to Rogue about the events in the Antarctic." Dozens of simultaneous snorts of disbelief came from the Rogues in the crowd. "Take it away, Gambit." Kielle hustled off stage as the first soft piano notes floated off into the crowd.

           Rogue left me far away in the cold, told me that I could never come home.
           She wouldn't listen to what I would say, she could only remember the lie.
           We had to live with the fear of a touch, and the chance that we could both be proved fools.
           She will not listen to me anymore, thinking that may love for her is a lie.

           I know you're only protecting yourself.
           I know I hurt you like somebody else.
           But I still love you and I've got to try,
           To make up for the lie,
           That I told to you all for so long.
           Now I'm prepared to do anything,
           To restore your faith in this man.
           Some people see through the eyes of the wrong, before they ever get a look through the right.
           I'm not afraid of the consequence, because now I'm an Innocent Man!!!

           Laughter erupted at the chorus. Remy turned beet-red, stopping the piano.
           "Fine, you t'ink Gambit, he only a joke. Keep th' girl. I'll find a femme of my own," he shouted, storming off the stage. Kielle stepped back on as she realized that Gambit still had the mic. She turned just as the angry Cajun voice crackled back over the speakers.
           "And Logan! I enjoyed Jubilee in 'Mhairie'!"
           Kielle's eyes went wide as she dove to avoid the rush of berserking Canadians.

The Subreality Cafe is Kielle's, and the various reasons for which this story exists is also her fault.
Remy's song is a parody of Billy Joel's "Innocent Man" from the 1983 album of the same name. Highly recommended.
The Lockheeds are from various Excaliber fics such as Luba's and Suzanne's.
The X-Cat is Dyce.
John Constantine is copyright DC: Vertigo
Spider Jerusalem is copyright Warren Ellis and Darick Robertson under DC:Helix
Ellis, Claremont and Lobdell are their own.
The Bouncer, Manager, Bartender as such are apparently Falstaff's
Ash is from a round robin and is a bunch of people who are too freakin' numerous to list here. You know who you are...
Mhairie is Lady Amethyst's and yes, I know it keeps showing up.
"Ah, beef stroganoff! My plans are falling into place!" was actually posted by someone on RACMX and nearly caused me to rupture something from laughing so hard. If it's yours, let me know so you can get full credit.
Mary Sue is another character owned by a cast of thousands...
Liefeld is owned by the Devil ever since he sold his soul to him for fame in the early nineties.
Any characters in here which have appeared in Marvel Comics are owned by Marvel.
The writers are themselves or at least representative of themselves. Whatever else they do concerns them privately. Me? I'm writing this from the back of a tramp steamer loaded with mangos, sailing for Iceland. So I'm theoretically cargo and owned by Del Monte.

Best Established Writer
By Susan Crites (

           To be sure they weren't late for their cues, Cassie Cantrell and her personal version of Hank McCoy had come to stand in the curtained wings, several awards before they were actually scheduled to go on stage. Diamonde scooted over amiably to make room for the couple. "You know, you really do look like Helen Hunt," she said, by way of making conversation.
           "That's what everyone says," Cassie admitted, with a quirky little flip of her head that tossed her wispy blonde bangs. "It doesn't matter at all to the plot, of course, but She put it in because Readers like to know."
           "And HEEERRRE'S Hank--The Beast!--McCOYYY!!!"
           The small stage shook visibly as TWO robust and furry individuals climbed atop it from opposite sides. One was mainstream blue, dressed in a crisp and natty suit straight from the pages of GQ Plus, hair slicked back firmly with industrial strength mousse. The other wore his trademark silver pants with a matching tank-style t-shirt that practically screamed "mid-life crisis." His dreadlocks bobbed in time to his jaunty step. Said step faltered as he spotted his double, who had also stopped to stare in disbelief.
           Almost in unison, the two near-identical Beasts resumed a casual approach to the podium, each trying to subtly increase the speed and length of his stride so as to arrive first. A desperate grab for the mike resulted in two huge hands, one bright blue and one dark grey, gripping it tightly enough to almost wrench it in half.
           "What are you doing here?" Hank whispered to his rival between fiercely smiling clenched teeth.
           "I'm here to announce the presenter of the next award, just as the roster indicates. So BUZZ OFF!" This too was spoken in a heated whisper, although the sound system was easily transmitting their hushed repartee to a transfixed audience.
           "YOU?!? It says right here," a blue finger pounded the paper in question, seriously threatening the continued physical integrity of the podium, "'Hank McCoy.' And we both know that when She says 'Hank', She means me!"
           "Yes, but when She says 'McCoy,' She means ME!" Unhappily unable to refute this, the blue McCoy just glared more indignantly over his pasted-on emcee smile. The other had already let his disappear. "You just can't stand to let me have even a TINY moment of glory, can you?"
           "I just don't want you--" Hank looked to the side-wing curtains, where Cassie was watching anxiously. While his rival's head was turned, McCoy gave her a flirty fingertip wave and Evil Grin (tm), then blanked his expression as Hank spun suspiciously back around. McCoy had obviously had access to cable during the Chevy Chase Saturday Night Live years.
           "I insist on reserving the right to introduce Cassie," Hank said firmly, in a desperate attempt to regain some sort of control over the situation.
           "Worried about the scientifically verified 'bad boy effect' on nice girls?" McCoy leered. "I would be too, if I were you."
           "You ARE me, you--" Bunching both fists, Hank struggled to control his temper, and maintain the evening's G rating.
           "Precisely." Hank wondered briefly if his own blandly all-knowing smile was that infuriating to others. Couldn't be -- he was still alive.
           From within the right curtain wings, Kielle's waving arms finally caught their attention. She pointed to her bare left forearm and made a rapid twirling motion where a wristwatch would be, indicating tempus was fugiting.
           As their gazes met again, Hank assumed an almost realistic forgiving smile, while imperceptibly tightening his grip on the mike. "This is ridiculous, you know. Why can't you simply accept -- say, is that Sinister over there!?"
           McCoy flinched and jerked around towards where Hank was pointing. "WHERE!?"
           "LadiesandgentlemenmayIpresentCassieCantrell?" McCoy spun back around, 350 pounds of outraged fury in motion. "Made you look," Hank mocked.
           "Guess how I'm going to make YOU look," snarled his out-witted opponent,
preparing to spring.
           The Bouncer, on duty inside for this special night, loomed from out of nowhere. "Take it off stage and outside, boys -- we're trying to put on an awards ceremony here." They both glared identical glares at the intruder. He ignored it to gaze out into the crowd. "Sure are a lot of Writers here tonight waiting for the results. Be a shame to make 'em ALL mad...."
           "Good point...." Neither version of Hank McCoy put up the slightest protest as the Bouncer diplomatically steered them to exits on opposite sides of the stage.
           "Break a leg, my dear," Hank murmured, adding a kiss in the general direction of Cassie's ear as she climbed to the platform. Cheerful applause, hoots and general happy pandemonium greeted her, and the curtains of the stage were suddenly alight with blazing hearts in neon colors. Cassie clapped her hands and laughed. "Thank you," she said to the unknown talent adding to the floor show. "Thank you all." The crowd calmed down a bit, eager to find out the winner of the next award. "May I say what an honor it is to be here tonight?"
           "SURE!" came a multi-voice roar. It was definitely that kind of group, Cassie sighed to herself.
           "As a fic who is also a writer, I was greatly honored to be asked to present the award for Best Established Writer." More raucous cheering greeted these words -- it was even money backstage that this audience would literally shout the ceiling tiles down before the night was through.
           "Writers have a lot in common...." Cassie continued, then paused. She threw an 'are you sure?' look to the left, and Hank nodded encouragement. It was certainly traditional to tell jokes at this point of an awards ceremony, but.... Before she could lose her nerve, she asked, "How many writers does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
           After a nanosecond of stunned silence, most of the audience shouted back, "HOW MANY?"
           "Ten." Cassie smiled nervously. "One to change it, and nine to say they could have handled the theme better."
           The characters in attendance began to whoop joyously. To their credit, the writers joined in as well. Cassie smiled in relief, and looked back to Hank, who nodded in satisfaction. It had been his joke, modified somewhat from the original 'research scientists' joke.
           "All right." Cassie cleared her throat, all business now. "The nominees for Best Established Writer are: Darqstar, Denise Keppel, Kielle--" Frenzied ecstatic screaming overpowered the sound from the mike, setting up a squeal of feedback. Cassie clapped her hand over it and waited for relative peace to descend once more. "Can we hold off the mild expressions of approval until the end of the list?" Everyone laughed and applauded briefly, then grew more or less silent again.
"--Lisa 'Bum' McKee, Lori McDonald, Luba Kmetyk, Perri Smith, Suzene Campos, Tapestry, and Valerie Jones." Now an expectant hush flooded the room. Someone experimentally dropped a pin, but realistically you couldn't hear it all that well.
           "And the winner is...Valerie Jones!!"
           Loud cheers and applause resounded in the cafe, with the epicenter being a clump of tables pulled together, where Mulder and Scully sat amongst a kaleidoscopic group of mainstreams, their variations, and their descendants. A dozen hands helped Valerie out of her chair -- she looked charmingly stunned -- and propelled her gently towards the stage.
           Cassie handed Valerie the gleaming award with her name inscribed upon it, then stepped back from the podium. "I'm...very surprised," Valerie managed to say, after several false starts. "I know everyone says this, but I really didn't expect to win, so I don't have a prepared speech." A few cheers yipped out from the rowdier elements of the audience, but they were quickly subdued. "I'll just say more of the usual things -- thank you to my husband and kids, my characters, my readers...and especially to everyone who voted for me. And if I think of more to say later, I'm sure Kielle will find a place to post it." A deafening roar of approval washed over the stage. "Thank you, everyone!"
           Valerie's coterie had pushed to mob the front of the stage, and they signaled her to move forward. Thinking someone wanted to take a group photo, she obliged, and found herself swept off onto the group's shoulders, then carried off in a cheering conga line for a victory lap of the room.
           Cassie, behind the podium once again, tapped delicately on the microphone to get everyone's attention, or at least everyone not parading. "May I introduce our next presenter..."

Best Original SubGenre
By Tapestry (

           Dawn Embers glanced at her Writer doubtfully. "I don't really feel comfortable with this..." she began, fiddling with the fit of her black dress. Tapestry snorted.
           "Like *I'm* gonna go out there and do this thing," she said, crossing her arms over her chest. "You *know* I'm glossophobic. I'd pass out. It was all I could do to keep from going into shock when you got that 'Best Original Female Character' thing."
           "Yeah, yeah..." Dawn sighed. "How did we *win* that thing, anyway?!"
           "Darned if I know. I'm just the Writer."
           "Uh-huh." Dawn ran a hand through her hair nervously. "But if you don't keep Glenn and Ahlric under control I *will* kill you. Why on earth did you let *both* of them be here, anyway..?"
           Tapestry shrugged. "Well, technically 'Ric *has* been written, and there is no way on earth Glenn would've let me live if I'd kept him away from this. Besides, how was I supposed to say no? Ahlric won't put down his sword, and Glenn is about ready to tear my head off and hand it to me as it is."
           "Like you don't deserve it."
           "Shush or I'll make you a distant cousin of Cyclops."
           Dawn shuddered. "Oh, all right." Dawn fidgeted a little more and eyed Tapestry enviously. "How come *you* get to wear jeans?"
           "Because *I* don't have to go on stage," Tapestry replied smugly, sticking her tongue out (proving once more that sometimes fictives *are* more mature than those who write them). Then she smiled as the previous presenter, Cassie Cantrell, announced Dawn as the next presenter.
           "Hey, you're on," Tapestry grinned, giving her favorite fictive a gentle shove towards the stage. "And don't worry, I told Verney to keep those two apart. At the very least he'll be able to get Jason and Karen to help..."
           :And that's another thing!: Dawn sent as she stumbled towards the stage. :Stop skipping ahead!!!:
           "Hey, can I help it if I like you guys post 'Ties best?" the Writer giggled. "Now get out there...we've got dead stage time."
           Dawn took a deep breath and moved onto the stage nervously. Cassie gave her a reassuring smile and made her exit as Dawn cleared her throat uneasily and stepped behind the podium. She shuffled her cue cards self-consciously for a moment before she looked up and smiled apologetically to the audience.
           "Hello again..." she said, blushing a little. "This feels a little redundant, but I really didn't think I'd win anything tonight so I let my Writer line me up as a presenter. Oh well. If I'm lucky, I'll get out of here with all my body-parts intact and you poor people won't have to see me die *again*."
           A smattering of snickers broke out as a clear "I heard that!" came from backstage. Dawn contrived to look innocent.
           "ANYway..." Dawn said, glancing at her cue cards, "I will be presenting the award for Best Original Sub-Genre. The nominees are: the Arleccino Timeline, author: Falstaff; the Common People, author: Various; Mutant Comics, Mystery Science Theater 3000 (the fanfic/comic-book-based ones), author: Various; Panels, author: Various; the Subreality Cafe, author: Kielle and Various; and the X-S series, author: Darqstar and Various."
           As titles were read cheers erupted from the floor, and Dawn smiled. This hadn't been nearly as bad as she'd thought it would be. She inhaled to announce the winner...
           And was interrupted as two large, struggling somethings suddenly crashed through the ceiling
and almost landed on top of her.
           Dawn (as well as the audience) was completely frozen in shock. It wasn't the two beings entrance that surprised everyone (this wasn't particularly unusual in the Subreality Cafe, after all) but their identities.
           "You idiot! Now we're on the STAGE!" one howled, brandishing his sword.
           "*You're* the one who put my head through the roof!" the other snapped defensively, scrambling to his feet and brushing his brown hair from his face.
           "Yes," Ahlric conceded, making a swipe at Glenn's arm. "A pity your head was so thick all you did was ruin a perfectly nice ceiling."
           The latter was Glenn Keaton, who had been allowed "out" for this occasion. The former was a newcomer called Ahlric, or, as he was know not-so-affectionately in certain circles, "that-smart-mouthed-bastard-with-the-#$&%ing-huge-sword".
           "TAPESTRY!" Dawn screamed as Ahlric and Glenn, apparently oblivious to her as they circled each other warily. "You PROMISED!"
           "You think this is *my* fault?!" the Writer's slightly panicked voice came from backstage.
           "Well, it's not!"
           The audience, now over their initial shock, was starting to flow closer to the stage in anticipation of a fight. Neither Ahlric nor Glenn looked as if they were about to disappoint them.
           "Then fix it anyway," Dawn grated, growing more than a little red in the face. "This is an awards ceremony, and I get enough of this at home!"
           "Give me a second..!" Tapestry chirped from backstage. There was the sound of running feet, and Dawn sighed in exasperation.
           I can't believe it. She ran away. If I wasn't going to kill her before, I most certainly will now.

           Meanwhile, Ahlric had begun making feints at Glenn with his sword, calling the English mutant names that can't really be repeated in a public fanfic. Glenn was seething as he ducked and dodged Ahlric's taunting sword-thrusts, obviously *this close* to striking back...
           "STOP THIS *NOW*!!!!!"
           Glenn, Ahlric, and the entire audience turned around to witness perhaps one of the most memorable things in the known universe. Dawn, standing with her fists clutched at her sides so tightly the knuckles were stark white, was not angry. This state of mind was so far above angry that it threw angry into the next timezone without even bothering to cancel the newspaper. People had seen Dawn upset before, but this emotion transcended anything anyone (even her two fellow fictives) had ever seen before.
           Because now Dawn Embers was well and truly *pissed off*.
           "Do I have to knock you both out just so I can get through this award ceremony?" she hissed between gritted teeth. "Because I *will* do it."
           Glenn was crestfallen, and even Ahlric had the decency to look a little ashamed of himself. Wordlessly, the pair slunk off the stage and into the audience (some of whom were feeling a little gypped at missing out on what had promised to be an interesting fight) to find a table.
           "Ah...sorry, Dawn," Glenn said softly, looking back up at his girlfriend. Dawn just scowled at him.
           "Just find a seat and try not to kill each other, all right?" she said, unmollified. "We'll talk about this later. It's already cost us at *least* two million in property damage alone! Do you know how *hard* it is to find good insurance now?!"
           Glenn looked abashed, and Dawn softened a little. "Argh, I hate it when you do that puppy-dog-eyes-thing..." she sighed as several other fictives watched (or gagged at) the little melodrama. "Just find a seat and I'll talk to you both in a minute."
           Glenn nodded, looking relieved. Dawn nodded and stepped back up to the podium, gracefully skirting the rubble. She straightened her skirt, cleared her throat, and, feeling much calmer, attempted to continue with the show.
           "Anyway," she began once she was sure the audience had settled down, "before I was so rudely interrupted, the winner of the Best Original SubGenre is -- the Subreality Cafe!"
           There was thunderous applause, especially from the regular patrons of the Cafe. The Manager and Bouncer looked surprised and gratified, especially as a few people started whooping and clapping them on the back in congratulations.
           "Now," Dawn said loudly over the ruckus, "since the SC is a public domain thing we can't really give the reward to just *one* person...but we *can* give it to the three who started it! Or," she amended with a grin, "the three people seem to *think* started it. Someone go get them, please..."
           There were three very startled yelps from behind the curtains and Kielle, Falstaff, and Tapestry were hurled bodily onto the stage.
           "But Falstaff and I are just the MCs...!" Kielle protested as Tapestry attempted to hide behind her.
           "So?" Dawn asked. "You started this. We've got you to bla -- um...thank." She looked at the award she was holding, seemingly produced from thin air. "Unfortunately, we've only got one of these..."
           "Give it to Kielle," Falstaff said, grinning through his beard. "What would we do with an award anyway?"
           Dawn saw Tapestry roll her eyes and snicker at Falstaff (although she still looked a little pale), and then saw Falstaff give her a Look.
           "Remember..." he said under his breath, grinning evilly, "you owe me an AT story."
           Tapestry winced. Dawn snickered heartlessly.
           "But I--" Kielle was protesting as Dawn handed her the statuette.
           "Oh, just accept it gracefully," Dawn murmured. "Anyway, we've got scores of little things to hand out to everyone -- and I mean *everyone* -- who participated in this later. But you're the one who started it, so it's only fair you get the first."
           Kielle smiled reluctantly and took the award, although she looked like she was trying to figure out how she could escape. Falstaff was grinning at her and looking just a touch smug, and Tapestry was still trying to hide.
           "Twice in one night is *way* too much. I swear I'm going to kill you for this," she whispered to Dawn.
           Dawn smiled sweetly. "What, again?"
           "Oh, not *again*..!" Dawn moaned as Ahlric hurled a chair at Glenn's head. She didn't know whether to despair or kick their heads in.
           "I was right, wasn't I?" Falstaff smirked at Tapestry, who was looking a little better now that the crowd's attention was diverted. "They *are* out to get you -- if they don't get each other first."
           "Oh, shut up, 'Staff," the younger Writer said. "Besides, I found something earlier that just might help..."
           She motioned for Dawn to stay put and jumped off the stage, walking calmly towards the area where her two fictives were trying to maul each other. She waited until she was six feet away, reached behind her back -- and produced a very large, very serious-looking chainsaw.
           Those on the stage watched as the short, normally flaky Writer grimly started the chainsaw. It roared loudly, abruptly silencing the combatants as well as scaring the living daylights out of everyone else in the auditorium, save for a large, red-eyed spot of darkness, which didn't look
surprised in the least.
           "Now that I have your *attention*," Tapestry said loudly, brandishing the chainsaw in a manner that looked disturbingly competent, "I strongly suggest you both cut it out. NOW. Or...unpleasant...things will happen. I would like to remind you both that for some inconceivable reason I am considered one of the most sadistic Writers around when it comes to my fictives, whether I act as such or not. I suggest that you do *not* try my patience."
           Glenn and Ahlric paled as they sized up their Writer's unusually dark face. Ahlric sheathed his sword, and Glenn stood down from his defensive position. Tapestry nodded curtly and shut the chainsaw off.
           "Great. Just wonderful." She glared at Ahlric. "I can't *believe* I haven't even written you in formally and you've *already* alienated half the fandom! Do you know how hard it's going to be for me to convince readers you have *any* redeeming qualities?!" She turned to Glenn. "And *you*! You're supposed to be the *sane* one! Just for this little scene I am *seriously* considering lending you to Laersyn!"
           Glenn paled. "What..?! You wouldn't...!"
           Tapestry smiled sadistically. "Oh, wouldn't I? And I hear you'd be co-staring with..." She whispered something in his ear.
           "WHAT?!?!?!??!?! But people would *drown* in our combined--"
           "Quiet," Tapestry said. "It'd be good for you."
           "How is getting *maimed* good for me?!"
           "Hey, he's been letting *some* people live lately. And anyway, you'd probably *enjoy* it."
           "Yeah, right..." Glenn muttered desolately. Tapestry ignored him.
           "And speaking of Laersyn..." she said, abruptly changing back to her normally cheerful self as she turned to the darkness looming nearby, "thanks for lending me the chainsaw, bro."
           The thing let out a hoarse, eerie chuckle as said implement of torture vanished. Tapestry rolled her eyes.
           "Oh, cut the dramatics," she snickered, and flashed him a quick smile. The darkness merely blinked, almost innocently. The small Writer wrinkled her nose and grinned.
           "Wish I'd had the foresight to set up some awnings here," Tapestry said idly. "Very *low* awnings, if you know what I mean...I'd like to see how much respect you get after you walk into--"
           Dawn interrupted her Writer by psionically "clearing her throat," causing the occupants of the Cafe to turn back towards the stage. She was standing beside the podium, eyeing Laersyn warily.
           "Er, not to interrupt, but we're running out of time and I still need to list the other writers involved in the SC so far," she said tentatively. "I think this segment's been a little too long already."
           Tapestry sighed an nodded. "Right, right...I got a little carried away." She glanced up at the ominous figure standing before her. "We'll finish this later, EvilBoy," she grinned. Laersyn responded by merely tousling her hair with a pseudopod of darkness and melting back into the shadows. Tapestry smiled and rolled her eyes heavenward.
           "Incorrigible indeed," she murmured to herself as she slunk back towards the stage, shaking her head. "K, I dunno *how* you live with him..."
           Tapestry disappeared, and Dawn got back to business as everyone took their seats once more. "Now," she said, staring fixedly at the sulking Ahlric and seriously neurotic-looking Glenn, "if there are no more interruptions, I will announce the Writers who've been kind enough to contribute to the SC so far..." she glanced at the list and frowned slightly, "for better or for worse."
           Then she stiffened for a moment, as if listening to something worrying. She licked her lips and cleared her throat. " Writer just informed me that anyone -- myself included -- who even *thinks* about booing any of the Writers I'm going to announce will be bidding a fond farewell to one or more of their limbs." In a slightly softer tone she added, "As if I wasn't going to end up maimed anyway...again..."
           "Dawn, you'd better get on with it or you're going to end up marrying X-Man!" Tapestry called from the wings.
           "But I *like* Nate--" Dawn began to protest, even though she looked slightly frightened.
           "Not that much, you don't!"
           Dawn gulped nervously. "Um, point. Anyway, without further ado, the following Writers should see me after the main ceremony is over for their awards." She looked a little sheepish and added, "We'd really rather do it now, but there isn't enough time, so we figured an honorable mention would do. Anyway, the Writers are: A Spawn's Kid, Admiral Draala, Airawyn, Ben Church, Blaquesmith, Bones, Celendra, Cynjen, Damian Jedwabnik, Darqstar, Dawn L. Bobby, Denise Keppel, Diamonde & Dyce, DuAnn, Elizabeth Celeste, Falstaff, Firewing, Geoff Jones, Haesslich, J.B. McDonald, Jelpy, Jesse N. Willey, John Birt, Kelly 'Kielle' Newcomb, Leary, Lestat, Lise, Lori McDonald, M. O'Quinn, Me, Mike Gibby, Min Heng, MsMarvel, Nekotcha, Neva Laurie, Pamela Thalner, Paul Tran, Phil Foster, queenB, Red Monster, Reuben "Supereub" Macapinalac, Stormdance, Susan Crites, Suzene Campos, Tapestry, Terri 'Fancy Catz' Arpino, Terrie Strike, Twist, Tyler Dion, and Valerie Jones -- and of course the marvelous Archivist Image, without whom there probably would have been less Writers to thank."
           When the applause finally ceased Dawn, relieved, announced the next speaker and stepped down to join the rest of the Dawn Arc at their table. She was silent a moment, then, just as the next presenter reached the podium, whispered, "Glenn, I'm going to talk to you about this stupid rivalry thing later. At great length."
           Glenn winced, and Ahlric look smug. Dawn shot him a look. "What are *you* laughing at? When we get home I'm worming you."
           Ahlric's jaw dropped open. "WHAT?!"
           Dawn smiled innocently. "Oh, just a little thing we do here to get rid of parasites...and I'm sure you've gotten *lots* from that medieval dimension you come from..."
           Ahlric looked horrified, and Glenn shook his head. "Sometimes I wonder if you aren't as bad as Tapestry," he muttered. Dawn merely looked at him.
           "Me? Nah. And by the way, have fun playing tag with the Marauders, Glenn," she said sweetly, and her best friend blanched. Dawn sat back, grinned, and enjoyed the rest of the show.
           Until the next intermission, anyway, where she was taking a brief breath of fresh air when about half a ton of fresh strawberries dropped on her head. The only sound that was heard after that was the enraged scream of "NOT FUNNY, FALSTAFF!!!!!!!" and the swift, severe beating of several of the more rambunctious Arleccino Timeline characters who had actually perpetrated the trick. This, of course, is completely irrelevant, and probably should've been omitted entirely. Oh well.

All Writers (myself included) belong exclusively to us.
All the stories mentioned are property of A) the Writers they have been said to belong to, or B)
are property of the public domain and therefore *really* hard to categorize.
Don't ask about the awning thing. It's a kind of inside joke a few people'll get, but not many, so just ignore it. ;)
The strawberry incident is from one of Falstaff's AT stories, at the moment unreleased. (No, you have the check them out yourself. It's worth it, believe me. ;)
And yes, I do act like that. Isn't it frightening? :)

Best Serious Crossover
By Denise R. Keppel (

           This, Buffy thought as she quietly cleaned her nails with a wooden stake, was uncle Scott's fault and not uncle Alex's. Because she was a Summers, she was expected to be dry and mundane, without a single funny bone in her body. So when she had been asked to present an award, they had assigned her something that fitted her position as a crossover and as a Summers: best serious crossover story. Too bad she was adopted.
           Giles had told her about a soul vampire that had been attacking people on Muir Island and those that were in touch with them and sucking dry their personalities, leaving Pod People in their place. This vile creature, this Raab, was known to slink around the Subreality Cafe. Now, accepting what Scott had picked out for her wear was another matter. Her uncle had the fashion sense of a blind bulldog.
           Jubilee 813 smiled at her friend as she walked into the green room. "It's not that bad..." she offered.
           Buffy looked at her dress, puke green with a bow on the back. "Kind of says 'Here I am, slay me' in a good way?" She turned around, allowing Jubilee to see the dress in all its bridesmaid-ship glory.
           "Says that Scott Summers is color-blind and that Jean picks out his clothes and that's a good thing, or that Alex was mind controlled by something that wants to scare us back into the seventies," Jubilee offered her honest opinion. "What happened to your other dress?"
           "I kind of killed Raab on my way over and got the dress all ashy," Buffy explained. "And then Douglock's girlfriend, Rosey the Robot, couldn't get the ash out so I had to take anything. This was it."
           "Thank goodness Raab's dead!" Jubilee sighed. They had offered her book to Raab, but Emma had paid a little visit to the man. After intensive psychotherapy, Raab wisely rejected the idea of writing Generation X. "So what did Rahne say when she found out that Douglock had a girlfriend?"
           "YAAAAHHHOOO!" Buffy smiled as she remembered the way that the were-woman had run out of the Angst Pit off in the general direction of the New Mutant Bar and Grill. "After she found the missing plot from the New Mutants LS, the whole class kind of went off into the sunset. Sam and Rahne one way, Dani and Xi'an another, Berto and Amara a third." Jubilee giggled. "So here I am, having saved the day and still having to go on stage."
           "Be glad there's no musical number." Originally, the Writer had intended to set the nominees to the tune of "On Top Of Ol' Smokey."
           "Well, after I reminded her that the last time I was on stage, I had just killed a demon, she agreed to change." Still, Buffy didn't like the idea of standing in front of all those people, including way too many of her family, and talking. "Can we make a deal?"
           "What?" Jubilee leaned in, hoping Buffy would exchange her gift certificate to the Mall of America in order to get out of the ceremony.
           "I'll kill Emplate for you."
           "But he's not a real vampire," Jubilee pointed out.
           "He and Ev didn't do the sucky?" What 'the sucky' meant in technical slayer terms was an exchange of blood so that the human became a vampire. What Jubilee heard was another thing.
           "Deal!" It was bad enough that Ev and Monet kissed, but to think that something happened between him and Emplate was unthinkable.
           Sometimes, it paid to be vague. Buffy smiled as she shook Jubilee's hand and quickly bolted out the backdoor to track down the mutant vampire.

           Jubilee looked at the stage full of people and gulped. She was utterly speechless for a change. After a moment, she picked up the list of nominees and started reading. "First up is something really different, something with no X-Men in it. Now that's an idea whose time has come! 'Dire Fates' by David Tai & Rod M which is a Hellblazer/Oh My Goddess! crossover."
           Gulping and working past her terror, she read the next one. "Bliss and Sarah Rainmaker and Monet, oh my! David Warner's 'Double Team' with Gen X and Gen 13."
           Now that her hands had stopped the waterworks, she felt more at ease. "Rogue causes a lot of trouble in Valerie Jones' X-Men and X- Files crossover, 'Faith And Dreams.' And Mulder and Scully are still searching for the truth in 'Here There Be Tygers' by Sean Venning."
           "Next up, we were going to have Wesley Crusher talk about Me and Phil Foster's 'Playing Games,' which was a Star Trek/New Mutants crossover, but he got one look at Harmony and started to drool. Then he slipped and broke his butt bone." Jubilee let the laughter subside.
           "And after all the trouble Rogue caused, Scully finds herself knee-deep in more doo-doo in the sequel to 'Faith And Dreams,' 'Strange Encounter' by Valerie Jones." She popped a bubble and hoped Buffy had had good luck killing Emplate.
           "The Uncreated create a lot of problems in 'What God Has Joined Together' by Luba Kmetyk and Roberta Ghidara, where Pete and Kitty met Scully and Mulder. So what is this truth that these two FBI agents are looking for? The Twelve, Frosty's real bra size, or Wolvie's past? You decide." Scattered laughter came from the audience.
           "And finally, the 'X-Men/Sandman' series by Jacque Koh was nominated. Am I the only one that has a flashback to that old, old song 'Mr. Sandman, bring me a dream' every time I hear that title?" No one came forward so Jubilee opened the envelope. "And the award goes to-- You know, before I read the answer, I'd like to request a crossover. Remember me and Robin?" No writer started to pull out a laptop, so she sighed and announced, "It's a tie! 'Faith And Dreams' and 'Strange Encounter' by Valerie Jones."

           All lame bad guys were alike, Buffy had discovered. They stalked the mainstreams and reminded them that they were one recon away from having a villain on the team. Emplate was sitting with Sabretooth at the moment, waiting for people to come out of the cafe. With one quick plunge of the stake, Monet's brother was no more.
           She got the better end of the deal.

Buffy belongs to Paramount and soon to Dark Horse Comics, Jubilee and Emplate to Marvel, Raab to Raab, and Robin to DC, Star Trek to Paramount and Rosey the Robot to Hanna-Barbera.

Best Humorous Crossover
By Haesslich (

           Kielle popped onto stage quickly, grabbing the mike from the last presenter. "And next, here to present the award for Most Humorous Crossover we have Deadpool from Creative Killing, courtesy of Innocent Bystander--"
           From above, an ululating cry came along with the dull sound of a chest being thumped as the fics and writers looked up in confusion.
           "Aaaaaa-AAAAAa-aaaaaa-aaaa...ah hell, forget that! Like I need to be some Tarzan-SpiderGeek amalgam crossover..." grumbled the voice from the shadows above, as he cut off in mid-howl.
           Swooping down from the roof came a masked red figure, swinging from a rope which he released to land right beside the somewhat startled Kielle. Slipping the mike out of her hand, he raised it to his mask and immediately began exercising the second most important weapon in his arsenal: his mouth.
           Deadpool took another look around as the Scribe slipped off stage right, then chuckled as he turned up his voice and the sarcasm. "Hell, I see we gotta lot of Writers mixed in with their fics tonight. It's a wonder none of those poor freaks showed up with a set of Summers for bodyguards, though that might end up getting 'em killed anyhow. Or killing their poor @*$^&$! bodyguards: standin' by a Summers is just askin' get nailed...or angsted. Oooh, scary!"
           Several members of the audience shifted restlessly as the crowds around them either chuckled or booed the figure on stage. Most of the booing came from the Cable and other assertive Summers clones in the crowd, though most of the Scott Summers fics were silent as usual.
           "Seriously though...I just got here straight from the set of Creative Killing, and boy was that embarrassing. Felt sorta like being stuck in the middle of nowhere with a bunch of *@$^#*@$@ undead Al Gore clones, 'cept the zombies showed more emotion."
           Wade paused a moment. "Though an undead Al Gore is an oxymoron."
           The silence was stifling.
           "Ah, *@$^. What are ya all, DEAD or somethin'?"
           Hidden in the crowd, someone chirped like a cricket.
           "Anyhow..." the merc alternately known as Deadpool (or as his friends often called him, 'Would-You-Please-Shut-The-F@#*-Up!') continued. "I'm here to present this large plastic paperweight for the Most Humorous Crossover tonight. The nominees are..."
           Deadpool paused, visible frown lines crossing his masked forehead as he looked out over the crowd. "Could someone turn on the %$_#$* teleprompter already?" he yelled, snapping his fingers after the display lit up. "Thank you!" he called back, muttering under his breath. "Wonder how I could use a barstool and a bowl of beer nuts to get that bastard..."
           Out in the crowd, one of the more violent Summers redheads leveled a gun at the presenter on stage. Unfortunately for the 'fic, the Brute Squad responded quickly and savagely; the offender was simultaneously shot several times, insulted, perforated, torn apart, critiqued on her technique, impaled, crumpled up like a paper ball, then thrown bodily into the air and snapped up like a piece of popcorn by Haesslich, the dragon.
           Their quota for gratuitous violence reached, the Brute Squad returned to watching the meek gathering as Deadpool started to protest.
           "Hey! Killin' people in fun and imaginative ways is MY job, you **#$^@@!" The merc sighed a bit, then shrugged. "The nominees are: 'As The Fur Flies' by Martha McMahon, of which I'll say nothin' as I'm still trying to find the damned plot...'It's A Mutant Invasion, Charlie Brown' by Twist," Deadpool read, muttering quietly, "I coulda done better than that bald bowling ball if I'd had a fire hydrant and some duct tape..." then he returned to the list. "'MST3K: Excalibur #113' by Suzene Campos, where it took seven of them to do what I do all by my humble self...
'The Mutants Unite!' series by Desert Nomad, also known as 'Will Angst for Food'...'Of Mice And Mutants' by David J. Warner, not at all related to Dot Warner -- he's been seeing her on the sly, but don't mention I ever told ya that...'Rogue 1/2: The Scent Of A Mutant' by Jaelle & Orla, who aren't here with us tonight because they're travellin' back to New Zealand and got lost somewhere over Barbados...lucky stiffs."
           Several of the Writers were covering their mouths at some of the descriptions, along with most of the 'fics. Others were busily plotting his demise, if the dark looks being thrown towards the red-suited presenter were any indicator of their ire.
           Wade squinted at the monitor, as the list scrolled along. "Also nominated is 'There Goes The Neighborhood' by Ben Church, and I'm almost sorry to report that he was killed in an accident with his word processor, the details of which we'll skip over..."
           "Next on the Neverending List we've got 'The Xavier Bunch' by Denise Keppel & Krista Schneidereit, which shows all those Mansion freaks getting stuck in sitcom-land by Franklin Richards. Gotta admit, there ain't anythin' more scary than having a Summers as a brother or sister." Deadpool blithely ignored the glares from the Summers portion of the audience, nearing the end of the speech. "'X-Men: The Real World: Anchorage' by Lea Downie & Dawn L. Bobby, a story that lets everyone know how clueless the X-Men really are. I mean, they could at LEAST hide their faces after showin' up in some of those **@#^&! stupid costumes...hell, after getting beaten up at Disneyland by a bunch of kids, I'd wear a mask like mine too!"
           "The Scribe, also known as Kielle, Kelly Newcomb, Goddess,
Darkchilde, Lady Kielle 'the patron of a non-denominational group of fanboys and fangirls,' and 'The Woman Who Has Too Many Names' brings us the classic 'X-MST3K,' required reading on the FAQ of those who make fun of bad stories and movies, Mystery Science Theater 3000, alternately known as the Church of Deadpool. I'll gladly take any donations from the audience, be they money, jewels, your sisters or daughters...and back to the thing!"
           Giving his most dazzling (but unseen due to the mask) smile to the audience, Deadpool wrapped up. "And last if not least -- okay, so I'm lying. Last, we have 'X-Tremely Odd' by Mike Leary, who crossed over the X-Losers with The Tick. And I say it's ABOUT *@^$#&@ TIME someone did that, but that's just my personal opinion, and doesn't apply to the rest of you...well, it does, but not in that way. A cliched drumroll, please!"
           Looking over to the wings, the loudmouthed mercenary leaned over to snatch an envelope from Falstaff's hand while the drumroll dragged on. Turning back to the restless audience, Deadpool let his motor kick into high gear. "And the winner of this 'Most Humorous Category' is..."
           He tore open the envelope, read the contents, and slapped his forehead with disbelief. "'Of Mice And Mutants,' by David J. Warner. David, you're our next contestant on 'The Price Is Right (as you're not getting any monetary compensation)'! Losers and gals, give him a hand!"
           The Writer was quickly led onto stage, and Deadpool thrust the award into his hand before pushing him into the wings. "Thank you, ladies and fools, you've been great but I gotta teleprompter guy I need to massacre right away. You've all been great. Really.
Could a face like this lie? Okay, so you can't see that either..."
           Cursing, Deadpool grabbed the dangling rope and swung off over the crowd towards the rear of the room.

Best Adult/Mature Fanfic
By Laersyn (

           "Thank you," Kielle murmured after Deadpool with a tone too confused to convey sincerity. "Now here to present our award for Best Adult/Mature-Themed Story or Series is a special appearance by a brand new fictive from the questionable mind of Laersyn." Kielle braced herself, mentally repeating over and over to herself, "He'll be good tonight. He'll be good tonight...." She straightened. "Here she is, the newly-created Gossamer Rose."
           The crowd in the Cafe went very still, mentally telling themselves over and over again, "We're all gonna die. We're all gonna die..."
           A slender, some might say willowy, young woman glided onstage. Her hair was a brilliant red, so bright that it appeared to be light shining through a stained-glass window. Her slim body was clad in pure white that billowed at the elbows and knees. Her face was a rainbow of color. "Um, hello," she began, sounding awkward and nervous. "Laersyn felt that to pick a fictive to present this award would indicate favoritism, so he created me." She blushed -- a multi-hued splash across her cheeks. "His hope was to create someone as aesthetically pleasing as possible."
           It was about this time that waiters began circulating among the tables closest to the stage, serenely depositing neatly-folded packages of something in front of each patron.
           "The category for Best Adult/Mature-Themed Story or Series is to pay tribute to fanfics whose content is either too sexual or too violent in nature to be suitable for younger readers. As can be seen from the nominees, adult stories can run the gamut from the gory to the sensual."
           Gossamer Rose heard the stage creak somewhere behind her, but she did not see any reason to turn her attention to it. Before her, the crowd was staring back at her in absolute boredom.
           Time to move along, she told herself.
           "The nominees for Best Adult/Mature-Themed Story or Series are..." A shadow, or several actually, loomed over her. She coughed uneasily and continued. "Choices, by Darkstar..."
           The imposing shadows were a bit too overwhelming to ignore any further, and they were accompanied now by a charnel reek that was making her delicate senses cringe. Slowly she began to turn, wondering what would possibly interrupt the awards ceremony...
           The audience saw first. In fact, they had seen the four ragged, bloody and grinning-oh-so-evilly-as-they-prepared-to-do-something-really-gratuitously-unpleasant figures emerge from backstage. They had simply been either too horrified, too amazed, or too eager to see what the newcomers were going to do.
           The people in the front tables unfolded the conveniently-provided sheets of plastic and draped them over their finery.
           The Marauders chuckled in the manner wolves would if they thought the kill was funny.
           "Oh no..." The Manager sighed.
           "Oh...Laersyn..." Kielle murmured.
           Tapestry giggled.
           The room exploded suddenly in violence. Or, rather, Gossamer Rose exploded in violence.
           **Excessive violence**
           **Blood sprays**
           **Rain of body parts**          
           **Several screams**
           **A few lost lunches**
           **Further violence deleted**
           Scalphunter took the podium, managing to look dignified despite the fact that he was covered in blood. "To continue the nominees," he said with aplomb...
           "Devil's Due," Arclight growled with a feral grin. Several Scott Summers in the room turned many different shades of white when they saw what she was tossing from palm to palm. "By Laersyn."
           "End Of Innocence by Ruby Lis," Blockbuster said with an ironic smile a few understood too well.
           "In The Midnight Hour by Melissa Nolan," Harpoon piped in.
           "Mhairie by Lady Amethyst," Scalphunter put in. There were whistles and cheers from the crowd.
           "The Narrow Walk by JF Jackson," Arclight announced.
           "Neon Hearts by Susan Crites," Blockbuster told, leering openly at several Jubilees. A severed Wolverine head on the bar shouted at a vicious warning that was ignored.
           "Past Imperfect by Cassandra Fraser," Harpoon went on, squinting as he struggled to read the TelePrompTer.
           "Scars by Ruby Lis," Scalphunter said next. "Like the title on that one."
           "You're here to present, not entertain yourselves," Kielle snapped from her podium.
           "Yes ma'am," Scalphunter replied immediately, scowling at his fellow survivors of "Devil's Due." "Strawberry Shortcake by Luba Kmetyk."
           "And Xtenuating Circumstances by Garrett Faulkner," Arclight finished.
           "May I have the envelope?" Scalp asked politely.
           The three Marauders looked blankly at each other. Scalphunter glanced briefly downward, not bothering to speak. "Oh," Harpoon muttered.
           They picked through the bloody pool they were standing in until they came up with the envelope. Arclight handed it to their esteemed leader, who shook it off with vague distaste. "And the winner is..."
           Blood dripped from the envelope as he tore it open. "We have a tie, ladies and victims," Scalphunter told them.
           "That ain't right," Blockbuster grumbled as he read the results.
           "Guess we got to kill this Nolan chick," Arclight told Scalphunter.
           There was a startled squeak from the back of the room. "You will not!" Kielle warned dangerously.
           "The winners are...Devil's Due by Laersyn and In The Midnight Hour by Melissa Nolan," Scalphunter told the crowd.
           From two ends of the room, the Writers approached the stage. Melissa stopped a few feet from the Marauders and the bloody mess that had been a fictive. Laersyn eyed the monsters he had let loose on the X-Men with trepidation, but finally approached the podium.
           Blockbuster let out a throaty "Yeah!" as Laersyn accepted his award.
           "I'd just like to thank all you guys who wrote me about 'Devil's Due,' and all you who wrote sequels. It was a real ego boost." The dark under his hood grinned. "And yes, the official sequel is in the works."
           Laersyn left the stage as the audience applauded. Melissa finally braved the menaces glaring at her and snatched her award. "I would like to thank all my readers, and of course Kielle..."
           So intent was the audience on her speech that no one heard Laersyn muttering, "Now that all the Excalibur Writers are here, I can nick their precious team for MY sequel..."
           The wicked laughter that followed was drowned in the applause for Melissa as she resumed her seat.

Best Non-Team Fanfic
By Haesslich ( with Heather Engels (

Disclaimer: Marvel owns most of what's inside, save for the insult-duels, which comes from Ron Gilbert's 'The Search for Monkey Island' game by LucasArts. See Credits for acknowledgements. Oh, and those parodied in this fic, don't sue. =)

           After several minutes, most of the blood had been mopped off of the floorboards, and Kielle returned to introduce the next presenters. "And now," Kielle pronounced, staying off to one side of the stage. "to present the award for best Non X-Team Fanfic, we have the best of the best, those unstylish Mutants in Black from the Symposium X series, Agent E and Agent M!" Kielle stepped aside as the spotlights lit up the wings.
           From stage right strode out a confident-looking young woman with fiery red hair and a slinky black cocktail dress that glimmered in the spotlights, looking as insubstantial as the opaque forcefields from which it was made. She wore a brilliant smile as she stepped out in high-heeled stilettos, the dress cut low and high in the right places and sending Summers all over the Cafe scrambling closer to the stage.
           In the 'Adult Fanfic' section, a blond-haired and lecherous Alex Summers started to crane over to get a glimpse of cleavage when he heard a soft 'snikt' behind him.
           "And WHAT do you think yer doin', bub?" Light glinting off an extended admantium claw stopped the Summers dead in his tracks, quickly sending him towards the exit. Logan sat down in the vacated seat, grabbing a beer off the table and sipping at it before waving to the Agents. "Hmph."
           Agent E made his way towards the podium with far less fuss in comparison though his black and white suit was of an especially archaic cut; a Victorian-era tuxedo complete with long tails and white gloves made up most of it, with a thick sash crossing from his right shoulder down to his waist, where it met another sash and was secured by a large starburst medallion of some sort. A silvered dagger was thrust into the cloth bunched up beside the starburst, along with a sleek silver pistol. A pair of dark wraparound sunglasses hid his eyes from view, as he came up beside the other Agent.
           Agent M smirked a bit at the fuss being made over her and blew a kiss to her "protector" that to anyone else would look like nothing more than an amused and thoughtful pursing of the lips. Turning her attention to her partner, one slender brow rose slightly. "Careful, E. Your age is showing," she said in a stage whisper as she neared him.
           Agent E shook his head, eyes scanning his partner critically, especially the prominent gap and the amount of skin revealed. "At least that's all I'm showing, Em. If I were anyone else, I'd be staring like the poor slobs-- wait, we're politicaly correct now, and I can't say the word 'slob' when referring to the Summers clan," he whispered, his voice dripping with sarcasm. "Or else I'd be staring like those maltreated, happiness-challenged Summers males."
           Em rolled her eyes and gave a strategic little sway of her hips. A faint smirk touched her mouth at the sound of another Summers falling out of his chair. "Let me have my fun, E. I've been a good girl, haven't I?" she replied quietly.
           "Any more 'good' and I'll be calling you 'Agent Mata Hari.'"
           Em gave a pout that would make most men beg to buy her a mansion and a Mazarati. "All right," she said with a sigh. "Let's get this shindig over with."
           Agent E muttered out of the side of his mouth, glancing at the teleprompter. "Mata Hari was a nice girl, really. I remember when she was in my class..."
           Em cleared her throat and promptly stamped on E's foot as she started reading from the prompter. "Thank you, Kielle, for that...eloquent introduction. How 'bout a round of applause for Deadpool, my own personal favorite loudmouth merc." She then clapped a bit, thoroughly enjoying the fact that the Summers in the adult section were enthusiastically following her lead.
           Out in the audience, the masked merc bowed mockingly. "Thank you, thank you very much. Now get lost. I'm busy." A soft moan of pain could be heard drifting out of the shadows, fading into a whimper as Deadpool slipped back out of sight.
           Agent E squinted a bit at the teleprompter before going on. "The nominees for the best non-team fanfic or series are, in no particular order... Angeldust And Parasites by Kerrin Watter; The Gestalt Arc by Lori McDonald; Infinite Loop by Allegra...."
           Em picked up smoothly where E left off. "Jean & Me by David J. Warner; No Man's Land by Perridox Smith; One Small Step by Me...."
           "Sometimes Even the Music Is Against You by Denise Keppel; Thick as Thieves by Valerie Jones and Lori McDonald..."
           Em resumed the listing. "To The Gallows Foot And After by Melissa; The Value Of Nothing by Lori McDonald..." She turned to look at E. "Is it just me, or does Lori seem to have a lot of her work nominated here?"
           E shrugged. "She's a rare commodity, now that she's stopped writing fanfic for the most part."
           Em nodded and said, "And finally, The Witness series by Valerie Jones."
           "And the winner is..."
           High-kicking and red-slippered feet interrupted the presentation as all eyes were led over to stage left. A long line of green-haired, blue-eyed women in frilly dresses as befitting a cancan line danced on, catching the eyes of many present; they were all clones of Vertigo.
           Loud curses and wolf-whistles were drowned out by the retort of three guns firing almost simultaneously, dropping a trio of clones before the line danced its way offstage. Both agents had deadly-looking pistols in hand, though the third shooter remained unseen.
           Slowly, Agent E lowered his gun and muttered vile oaths under his breath as he holstered it in his sash. "Now WHAT in the Nine Hells was that?"
           Em exhaled noisily, rolling her eyes and slipping the small pistol she held back down the front of her dress. "Dunno, but I've wanted to do that for ages now. Back to work, you," she finished, elbowing her partner.
           The other man nodded, chuckling softly as he noticed the ardent Summers backpedaling away from the stage. "And the winner is--"
           A body dropped down onto the stage with a sick thud, and E kicked it offstage before looking up. He growled to his partner, "You'll have to finish, Em. I've got some merc to fry," then leapt off stage and sprinted up a set of conveniently placed stairs into the rafters.
           Shrugging her shoulders, the green-eyed woman adjusted the mike and picked up the envelope. "And the award for 'Best Non Team Fanfic or Series' goes to--"
           Spotlights rocked a bit as a certain wisecracking mercenary and an equally antagonistic MC faced off and fought in a battle that would remain undescribed in order to save both space and the Comics Code.
           "What say we kill each other like civilized people? A battle of both wits and weapons, though I'm afraid you're rather deficient in the first department..."
           "Oooh, I'm shakin', I'm shakin'!" Deadpool tossed back as a wrench fell into the crowd to brain the Manager, sending him/her to the floor, senseless.
           "My name is feared in every dirty corner of the island!"
           "So, ya got that job as janitor after all, eh?"
           Steel rang on steel, temporarily distracting the audience. Em stood on stage, rolling her eyes again at the commotion. "Boys with toys," she grumbled.
           "Goddamnit, Wade! You REALLY need to invest in breath mints..."
           "Aww, I didn't know you cared, E."
           "You know, with a cigarette and a dark trenchcoat, I could really see you as Cancer Man from X-Files..."
           "Say goodnight, E."
           "Aren't you going to read me a story first?"
           "Hell, what do you think you're doin-- look! An artificial rip in the space-time continuum!"
           "Ain't falling for tha-- what the hell?"
           "Damn! Marvel writers!"
           At this, everyone stopped to look up AGAIN, with alarm. They remembered the Cold Dash of (Sub)Reality storyline that had been thrown at them.
           "You're kiddin' me, right?" called Deadpool, bemused and disbelieving.
           "No. Look at the one wrapped up in the orange parka. Benjamin Raab, the Excalibur-slayer. The big red-jacketed kid is Bob 'Cartman' Harras, and THAT one with the funny hat's gotta be Larry 'Kyle' Hama."
           "You thinkin' what I'm thinking, old man?"
           E replied with an almost audible smile. "On three. One...two..."
           More violence erupted in the loft, impossible to forget yet censored out by the Senate watchdog committee on violence in the mainstream media. A charred, ripped-open, maimed, dessicated, annhilated, oil-painted, illuminated, filleted, deboned, covered-in-preservatives, mummified, gauze-wrapped, and generally insulted corpse in a once-intact orange parka fell to the stage before disintegrating.
           "Oh my God!" wailed Kyle upstairs. "They killed Benny!"
           "You bastards!" yelled Cartman at the unseen figures above.
           A moment later, two and a half bodies followed Benny's descent towards the hard floor. One was Bob the Headless, followed quickly by Head the Decapitated. Kyle survived long enough to slam into the stage, skewered by a deadly point as Agent M stepped on the last Marvel victim.
           "And the winner of the 1997 Comics Book Fan Fiction Award for Best Non-Team Fanfiction or Series is...Lori McDonald for 'The Gestalt Arc'!" Em exclaimed, leading the audience in a round of applause for the smiling Writer sitting in a corner. Another fic led the Writer onto stage, where Em handed the award to her.

           Sitting by the spotlights, Deadpool and Agent E joined the accolade.
           "Ya know," Deadpool sniffed, "all this carnage is a beautiful thing, especially when you get someone like Raab. It's wonderful."
           E nodded. "Know the feeling. I like how the kid down there handled Hama, though. Shows promise."
           "Yeah. And watch your step! You're going to fall!"
           Deadpool screamed as he punched through the stage behind Em, to land with a disgusting crunch somewhere in the basement.
           Agent E laughed wickedly as he stood and turned to walk back down into the cafe proper. "Nobody challenges me and wins, Deadpool," he muttered under his breath, dusting his hands off. "Not unless the Writers are on your side."
           E started down the stairs, looking over towards a certain empty spot. "And now, back to Kielle and Falstaff for the next presentation. Excelsior! and all that crap..." he added, walking out of sight.

Credits: The Subreality Cafe was created by Kielle.
The Manager was originally brought to life by Falstaff, but owns his/herself.
X-Files is Fox's and Chris Carter's.
Agent E and Agent M are mine. ;)
The horde of Summers belong to whoever is willing to take the blame.
Bob Harras, Benjamin Raab, and Larry Hama all own themselves.
South Park belongs to Comedy Central.
These credits are on loan from someone else, who I can't name right now.

Best Team Story/Series: Excalibur
By Suzene Campos (

See disclaimer at the end of the segment...

           Backstage, things were going only a little less smoothly.
           "I can't believe I let you talk me into this, Pryde." Pete Wisdom scowled and jerked his neck away from his lover's attentions. "Leave off with the hangman's noose, will ya?"
           "Lockheed, watch him!" The purple dragon swooped down from the rafters, perched on his mistress' shoulder and fixed the rumpled Englishman with a warning glare. Kitty, who was already decked out in a strapless floor-length dress of glittering midnight-blue material, continued to straighten Pete's tie. "All I ask is that you wear the suit for this one event, okay, Wisdom? I didn't ask you to dress up when you met the X-Men. I didn't demand that you wear an unstained shirt to your own funeral..."
           "For the love of Christ...! That was a stand-in! You know as well as I do that Twist person is demented..."
           Kitty tightened the bow tie until Pete's words trailed off into a gurgle. "Don't interrupt me." She loosened the tie again and retied it into a perfect butterfly bow, much to Pete's horror. "As I was saying, I don't think it's so much to ask that you dress up for the people to whom we owe our very employment, just this once. I didn't even ask that you not smoke." She gestured pointedly at the Marlboro clamped between Pete's lips. "Just that you remain sober and *somewhat* pleasing to the eye until after we present the award."
           When Kitty glanced away to wave to someone or other, Pete tried tugging at the tie, only to have his fingers snapped at by an attentive Lockheed. "Yer logic's flawed, luv," he protested. "The fans out there, they love me 'cuz I'm a chain-smokin', booze-inhalin', authority-snubbin' wanker. Ya think they'll be so thrilled if I come out in this get-up?"
           The Manager walked up behind Pete and tapped on his shoulder. "Just so you know, fella, Ellis is in the audience."
           "That tears it." Pete struggled out of the immaculate jacket and prepared to hot-knife his cummerbund into oblivion. "Pryde, I love ya more than life itself an' you can kill me good an' proper later, but the writer whose forehead I sprang from ain't seein' me like that." Kitty fixed him with a single pleading look and watched Pete's defenses melt. "Aw, c'mon now...don't look at me that way..." A defeated sigh escaped Wisdom as he slowly pulled the offending articles of clothing back on. "All right, all right. But I'm going t'look a right bleedin' idgit all night."
           Kitty gave him a peck on the cheek. "Thanks." Pete's reply was a great deal of unclear mumbling. Their cue was called, Lockheed was handed off to a waiting writer, and Pryde and Wisdom walked out onto the stage.

           "Thank you, Kielle." Kitty stepped up to the podium and flashed a dazzling smile at the writer-goddess as she exited stage right. "The next category is Best Story or Series starring Excalibur." Silence. Kitty gave the man behind her a subtle elbow in the ribs.
           "Wot? Oh...and the nominations are..." A drum-roll started up and died away in a series of discordant crashes as Lockheed spewed a jet of flame at the unfortunate drummer.
           "Wrong part, Pete," Kitty whispered, indicating the little paper loop pinned to the lapel of his jacket. Upon closer inspection, the scrap of paper was revealed to be part of a shredded cover to Excalibur #108.
           Pete sighed. "This is gettin' a bit old, innit? Anyway, I'm wearing this reject from the dust bin t'show support for The Coalition Against Raab's Retcons. CARR? That's the soddin' best they could come up with?"
           "Ix-nay the editorials, please."
           Apparently, Pete had just developed serious hearing problems. "And we'd like t'thank everyone what actually cast a vote in this category. All ten of you..."
           Another fireball charred the stage at Pete's feet and toasted the Englishman's toes.
           "BLOODY F***!!!"

           Several minutes and a bucket of ice-water later, peace was restored.
           "Now, if the peanut gallery has no more objections?" Pete glared up into the rafters. Lockheed sneezed down on his own personal Anti-Christ. "The nominees are..."
           Kitty stepped in smoothly. "Alter X: Excalibur by Paul Tran." As Kitty spoke, a theatre-sized screen came down behind her and Pete, flashing a clip of the afore mentioned nomination in comic-book format.

           Shadowcat, in her phased form, stared in shocked silence at the spanse of air directly before her eyes.
           The Black Bishop chuckled and strode to the unconcious form of Meggan on the floor. Kurt leaped to his feet and was about to charge the large man in black and silver to protect his love when a hand clamped on his shoulder.           
           Kitty pulled Kurt back to the wall in a jerk.
           In a yank, Shadowcat pulled the back of her blue friend's uniform into the wall with her phased arm where she let go, instantly fusing the cloth with the wall.
           "Katherine Pryde! Get me out fr--!" Kitty's hand clamped over his mouth, and Kurt seriously considered biting her hands with his fangs.
           "Shh!" she hissed. "He won't do it. Watch."
           Struggling once more in a last effort, the bamf's eyes widened considerably then calmed when he saw Brian's still pose across the room.
           Brian Braddock had gingerly lifted Meggan's head in his right hand and raised his left one in a fist. Brian stared. The closed eyes. The long eye lashes. The delicately placed cheekbones. The full lips. A perfect face crowned in thick, shining, golden hair. The embodiment of that which was, is, and always will be Britain. Brian remembers. He remembers finding her. The first time he laid eyes upon the creature before him.
           She had been fleeing him at the time and huddling in a trapped corner. Her hair had been long, blonde, and stringy. Antennae protruded from the temples. Grey-green skin covered her as web-winging arms wrapped aound her. The "beast" the village people feared had remarkable, sad eyes. Lonely, still wells of deep, rich blue. He showed her kindness, then. They all had. "My team" he thought. Filled with their love, she changed to the beautiful woman who charmed all she met. The eyes. The face. The lips. The hair. The Eyes. He loved her eyes. Blue, sparkling, filled, and always returned love in greater amounts than given. Brian again gazed upon Meggan's face -- her closed eyes -- and wished vehemently the blue orbs would open for him, but he had caused them to close off to the world she loved.
           Shadowcat and Nightcrawler stared in rapt attention at the man whose unmoved fist still threatened Meggan. They stood like that for a half-minute, a minute, or five. They were unaware of the time that passed. The only sound came from Lockheed who stood on his hind legs, wings outstretched, and tail swishing the floor in sweeping, agitated motions. Suddenly, Brian's left, fisted hand fell limply by his side. His stony face softened into a look of pure and simple anguish as he gently cradled Meggan to his chest. He was Captain Britain again.

           Pete picked up the next one, knowing Kitty would grab the one after it. "Ash by Lori McDonald."

           Die. He took a step forward and was right on the lip of the cliff, his toes over the edge, listening to the sound of dislodged pebbles falling. All he had to do was take one more step, or even just lean forward, and he'd never have to see the look on everyone's faces when they found out what kind of monster he really was.
           "Herr Ash, please step back."
           He hadn't heard Nightcrawler come up behind him, still absorbed on that single point of focus.
           "How you know I was out here?" he asked.
           "After the FOH attack, we set up sensors along the cliffs. One of them picked you up. These cliffs are very loose. Is there a reason you're standing so close to the edge?"
           He shrugged. "I was t'inkin' of jumpin.'"
           Wagner was silent for a long moment. "Ash," he said at last. "I don't know what religion you follow, but I am a Christian. I have always believed that anyone who commits suicide is damned to Hell automatically."
           His face twisted as his shoulders hunched and he tried unsuccessfully not to cry. "It's GOTTA be better dan dis!"

           "Crawling Between Heaven And Earth by Breanna MacLeod."

           "Moira, you can't possibly understand..."
           "An' why not? Explain it tae me Charles. Why have ye been cuttin' yuirself off from yuir students? Can ye nae let anyone help ye? Or are we simply not up to yuir standards?" The verbal sting was uncalled for, but she was trying to provoke a reaction. *Like a bloody brick wall. Ye can be such a dolt at times, Charles.*
           Only the soft humming of the medical monitors betrayed the silence in the room. Moira decided on another approach. "Ye disappeared. Vanished. An' now, now that ye've been found again, yuir actin' as though ye died while ye were gone. Well yuir nae more dead than I-- than th' rest of us. D'ye have any idea how much I've been worryin' aboot ye?"
           "I'm sorry." he whispered. Moira stared at him with searching eyes, and made it evident that she was waiting for him to continue. "I need some time to myself."
           "Fine. But ye also need tae work through this." Charles looked down into the sheets, his face showing no emotion. There was another long and uncomfortable silence in the room. *Well this is gettin' us nowhere. Ye won't get angry, ye won't let yuir walls down. Might as well get right tae th' point then*
           "There's nae way I'm leaving ye here tae suck off IV's an' get bedsores. Yuir comin' tae Muir."
           Charles' eyes snapped back up to her face, "No."
           "Well, tha's too bad then isn't it, because I'm nae askin' ye."
           "Moira, after everything..." Charles drew in a shaky breath, "After what I've done. So many mistakes, can't you just leave me be? Leave me where I can do no harm?"
           "Cry me a river, Charles. I'm not lettin' ye sit here an' tread water in yuir pool o' self pity. Bloody hell, I'm beginning tae sound like Hank. Yuir comin' wi' me where I can keep an eye on ye. Ah--" Moira
caught him as he opened his mouth. "Ye just go back tae yuir silent routine f'r now, there's nae point in arguin'. I'll see tha' yuir things are packed."
           "I'm not going," was his firm reply.
           "We leave tomorrow." Moira turned and walked out of the room, leaving Charles alone. *Cannae talk to him aboot it all now. I need tae get him away, get him tae where he'll open up tae me. An' if he starts tryin' this high and mighty tripe again, I'll drown him in me bloody coffee!*

           "The Great X-Pectations set by Suzene Campos."

           A few minutes later, Pete was settled down with his drink, trying to pretend that his in-flight magazine on Pennsylvania and the surrounding states was the most interesting thing he'd ever seen in his life ("What stupid sod decided to name a town 'Intercourse'?") when the kid behind him thumped the back of Pete's seat a good one, causing Pete to wear a good portion of his longed-for drink.
           "That bloody well tears it." Pete gulped the last part of his scotch, stood up, and began to rail off a long, continuous string of creative threats and colorful curses at the ten-year-old boy behind him.
           Thirty seconds into his tirade, the kid began cursing back. At thirty-five seconds, the child's mother sprinted out of the bathroom to see what the commotion was, and was shocked to see her darling in a confrontation with some horrible man. She promptly leapt to the defense of her offspring. Forty-two seconds, and two stewardesses were trying to break up the fracas.
           "Sir...sir, if you please..."
           "' if you had anything resemblin' gray matter in that made-up skull o' yers you'd put this rotten bugger on a chain and choke collar and slap a muzzle on 'im!"
           "Kiss my ass!"
           "You shut up, junior, and let me 'ave it out with yer mum 'fore I cart you back to the lav and see if a few adjustments to that vacuum flush don't take yer sphincter right out yer arse..."
           "Will you PLEASE sit down?!"
           "You can have all the drinks you want, just please sit down! You're distracting the pilot!"
           An hour later, as Pete sipped his third drink, he wondered why adults stopped throwing tantrums. They sure as hell got results.

           "The Idylls Of The Cat series by Luba Kmetyk."

           Rogue looked at her in honest surprise. "What on earth ya fussin' about, sugah?"
           Looking quite upset, Kitty babbled nervously, "I'm sorry, I should have thought, Pete and me fooling around all the time, making you feel bad since you can't touch anyone..."
           Rogue was touched by the younger girl's sudden concern, even as she laughed it away. "Don't ya fret none now, Kit, Ah'm not upset or jealous. Ah'm used ta Jean an' Scott being t'gether, and now Warren an' Betsy, too, and even Sam an' Tabitha. Ah think it's kinda cute and sweet, you two t'gether, just like your guy is cute an' sweet. Like Ah said before, as long as you're happy, that's all that matters."
           She saw Kitty positively glow. "Oh, I'm so happy, Rogue, I can't even begin to tell you. But how come you've been so open to Pete, so accepting? He hasn't exactly been on his best behavior so far here, so how can you call him cute and sweet?" Kitty smiled suddenly, brilliantly. "Even though you're right, he is."
           "Ah told ya, sugah, it's 'cause Ah mind how y'all didn't want me either, when Ah first came, 'specially you an' Storm." Rogue couldn't resist teasing Kitty again about those early days, but stopped quickly when she saw Kitty taking her too seriously. She continued, with a very straight face, "An', besides, Ah come from redneck country, Ah'm used to men bein' dirty obnoxious drunks. Just th' accent is different, 's all."

           "Lori McDonald's No Happy Endings."

           "Welcome to Excalibur, *mein freund!"*
           He smiled shyly as his new teammates whooped and hollared and threw confetti at him. There was even the sound of a champagne bottle being opened. When he'd asked to join the team and Moira declared him fit enough for light duty, they all decided to throw a party in celebration.
           As the party got started in earnest, Pete looped an arm around his shoulders. "Now yer listen t' me. No matter what any o' these soddin' wankers say, ye don't need ter be picking some bloody codename or runnin' around in yer spandex bloomers, got it?"
           He smiled, sure that Pete had no problem with seeing Kitty in skintight material. "Oui, I got it."
           "And stop talkin' French ter me. Makes me head hurt." He gestured expansively with his drink, of which he'd had a little too much. "Stick wi' me and I'll show yer how ter survive 'round here wi'out going barmy -- no offense intended."
           "Herr Wisdom, are you trying to corrupt our newest member?" A smiling Kurt stepped up, accompanied by Brian. "He's only just joined, after all."
           "It's me duty ter begin educatin' the youngsters early," Pete said piously.
           Brian, always a straightlaced sort, frowned. "I'd stay away from him," he warned. "He's a scoundrel and you're quite obviously a good, law-abiding citizen."
           He blinked. "Uh...sure. Whatever y'say."
           Suddenly, the door opened and Moira came in. He smiled at her brightly. "Bonjour! I was afraid y' weren' comin'."
           She took the glass of wine he handed her. "A would nae miss this, but A had a new patient t' deal wi'."
           He stared at her, feeling slightly betrayed.
           She laughed at his expression. "Dinnae worry, Remy. A'll still be workin' wi' ye. But Charles thought A did sooch a good job wi' ye, he sent me someone new."
           "Someone..." He swallowed, his face pale. "Rogue?"
           She nodded with a slight smile. "She does need a wee bit o' counsellin', so she got a leave o' absence from the X-Men. Besides, she wanted t' see you." Her eyes sparkled. "According t' Charles, she was quite insistent. Threw a few cars around t' make her point, A ken."
           From what he'd seen of Rogue's temper in Sinister's lab, he could believe it. "Where...where is she now?"
           "Freshening up after her--"
           A green-clad form bulletted through the open door and slammed into him, knocking them both backwards onto a couch, then tipping it over and dumping them both to the floor behind it.
           "--trip," Moira concluded.
           Around them, conversation ceased as everyone turned to regard the newcomer. Pete put an arm around Kitty's waist. "Friend a yours, Remy?" he asked calmly. Rahne started to giggle.
           "Hi, sugah," Rogue whispered. "Miss me?"
           Flat on his back with her on top of him, there was nowhere for him to look but in her eyes.
           There was no condemnation in them, no regret. No hatred for him or loathing for herself. There was only relief, and love. And a growing joy as seeing the look in her eyes changed that in his own to match.
           "Chere?!" he gasped.
           "Ah told ya th' X-Men would nevah give up, Remy." She smiled. "Put up ya shields, sugah, 'cause ah got a powerful hankerin' t' greet ya th' way all ya French do."
           He put them up, the mental shields that made him telepathically invisible and protected him from her powers, and she kissed him.
           "Ah dinnae believe it!" Rahne gasped.
           "Neither do I!" Kitty laughed. "Way to go, Remy!"
           Dimly through that all-encompasing kiss that was making his knees, and the rest of him, weak, he heard Moira's chuckle. "Dinnae ye know that Remy was special?"
           For the first time in years, as he lay there, he found he actually believed her.

           "Pulling Their Fat Out Of The Fire by Luba Kmetyk."

           Kitty and Kurt and the others were dumbstruck at the sudden appearance of a perfectly normal-looking, tall blond man in a brown trenchcoat strolling into this insane chaos. Pete just offerred silent thanks for John's uncanny ability to show up wherever he was needed, wishing he didn't usually leave it to the last possible moment. "Shit, mate, I've been trying to figure how to get you here..."
           "Pete, what the fuck is goin' on? I could feel something bloody brewing for the last few days, but I couldn't get a location until just now..." John was equally surprised to find Pete in the middle of whateverwas going on, but he had the definite impression this was not a good timeto catch up on news and gossip.

* * *

           "Consstantine..." the demon hissed. It suddenly shot a jet of flame at John. The others all jumped back but John didn't even flinch, just held out his hand a little to let the flame light his cigarette. "Clear everybody out of the building and the area," John muttered under his breath to Pete. "Get them as far away as you can. This might get messy."

* * *

           Suddenly, they saw an enormous blast rise upward from the building, which collapsed into a pile of rubble, raising an enormous dust cloud obscuring the ruins. They braced themselves to renewed battle, expecting the demon to appear above the debris. Instead, as the dust cleared, they saw a slight brown figure emerging from the surrounding brown cloud.
           Brushing dust off his trenchcoat with one hand, not a hair out of place, John sauntered over to where they stood waiting. He was carrying the soulsword in his other hand.
           "What happened?" Kurt asked. "Did you destroy the demon?"
           "Who, me, destroy a demon? Nah, I can't do that..." John was putting on his best 'I'm just an ordinary bloke' act.

           "Romance 101 by Perridox Smith."

           "That is soooo romantic."
           "It might be if that Reeves bloke knew how to act."
           "You have no soul, Pete. No sense of romance. But I guess it's not your fault, you can't help being typically male."
           "No romance? Typical? What d'ya call this?"
           "That' romance. That''s...well, it's not romance."
           "It'll do in a pinch."
           In the only suitable response, Kitty threw the contents of the half-empty bowl of popcorn on her lap directly at Pete's smug, extremely *male* smile. He jumped away from her and off the couch, trying to keep the kernels from going down his shirt. Kitty watched him shake himself out, trying not to laugh too loudly. It *was* three a.m., after all, and most of the other residents of Muir Island were asleep.
           "You'd better help me clean this up, or sure as hell, that bloody MacTaggert witch is going to blame me!" he blustered quietly.
           Kitty swallowed a few more giggles, then got down on her hands and knees to start picking up popcorn kernels. *One of those times I'd like to have a really useful mutant power, like telekinesis,* she thought. *Or telepathy. Always assuming there is actually a mind in there.* "Now, if this isn't romantic, I don't know what is," she said out loud. "You take me to the nicest places."
           Pete gave her a baleful look from a foot away, before looking around the main living room. "*This* is romantic? I always knew you were a strange bird, Pryde."
           "That's the point. And be grateful, Wisdom, would anyone but a 'strange bird' have taken you on? Believe me, you have to be *pretty* strange for that," she shot back.
           "Trust me, I'm grateful," he assured her with a slow, sexy grin. "Gimme a min t' finish this up, and I'll show you how grateful..."
           He got another handful of popcorn in the face. "Men! You're not listening."
           "Yeah I am. Hard not to, since you're yellin'," he grumbled half-heartedly, concentrating on shaking popcorn off his shirt again.
           Kitty looked at him, sprawled in the middle of the floor with popcorn in his hair, and gave up. He might be dense, but he *was* kinda cute. And he was all least for now.

           "Snow Day by Patrick J. Sahlstrom."

           "Rahne, have you seen Pete?"
           "A think he's on the roof."
           "On the roof?" Kitty asked. "Does he think he's Gambit, or what?"
           "More likely he wanted tae smoke, and with the snow blocking all the doors and the fire-extinguishers all over the island, well, he doesnae have much choice, does he?" Rahne answered with a giggle.
           Kitty chuckled. After a particularly fierce argument over Pete's smoking habits, Moira had put a fire-extinguisher in every room on the island. Nobody knew whether Moira would actually use them to put an end to smoking indoors as she had threatened, but Kitty and Pete had agreed that it was better not to find out. And when the members of Excalibur had woken up in the morning and found that Muir Island had been hit by what amounted to a small ice age, Pete Wisdom had been forced to choose between braving the fury of the elements on the roof or braving the fury of Moira MacTaggert under the roof.
           "Would ye like me tae fetch him for ye?" Rahne offered.
           "No, there's no need to, he'll come down all by himself. Pete hates cold even more than early risings and Moira's coffee together. I'll just get the kitchen ready. We're going to cook today, Pete and I."
           "Nae, ye will do nae such thing! Half the time, the food wounds up burned, because a certain couple gets too busy doin' other things than watching the food!" Rahne complained. "When A get married, A'll kick muh husband out of the kitchen and lock the door when there's cooking tae be done, A swear." Then, more thoughtfully: "Or maybe A'll kick him intae the kitchen and lock the door."
           Kitty blushed. "Well, I guess we do get a bit carried away sometimes," she conceded.
           "Sometimes? Kitty, unless there's something verra much wrong with muh nose, ye and Mr. Wisdom are worse than rabbits." Smiling mischievously at her dumbfounded team-mate, Rahne went on: "A may be the only bushing virgin left on our wee island paradise, but that doesnae mean A'm ignorant about the birds and the bees, ye ken. And that's yuir fault too, by the way."
           "Wha...what do you mean?" Kitty managed to stutter.
           "A mean that Dougie found the copy of the Kama Sutra ye two rascals had gotten from somewhere, read it and came tae me wi' a truck load of questions."
           "He didn't!"
           "He did. A sent him tae Lady Moira." Rahne got up. "Come, A'll help ye with the cookin', and ye can tell me cookery anecdotes as a payback."

           "'Vigil' by Luba Kmetyk."

           As Kitty contrasted Pete's lined, craggy face with Peter's smooth, boyish visage, she recalled her recent visit to Rasputin's holding cell. "Please, Lockheed, please be happy for me. Pete's good to me, dragon. Peter asked me that, and I didn't even have to think about the answer. Pete's good to me, he makes me happy, just like Peter used to, once upon a time, a very very long time ago..."
           Lockheed just snorted again, but Kitty wasn't paying attention to him anymore. She was thinking more about what Peter had asked, how she had assured him so readily that Pete was good to her, and wondered how she could be so sure after just a few days of being together. She had to ask herself whether she wasn't fantasizing something that wasn't really there.
           But, looking at Pete's bruised and battered body swathed in bandages, aching herself in sympathy as she ran her hand gently down the skin of his neck and shoulder and chest where the bandages didn't cover him, Kitty decided that her immediate reaction had been right, that he was good to her, and good for her. Even when he'd fought with her in the past, before their adventure in the Dream Nails base, he'd treated her like an adult, an equal. And during their time in Dream Nails, when he'd looked at her as a woman for the first time, when she'd seen him as a man for the first time, he'd made her see herself differently also, made her feel she was indeed a beautiful, attractive woman. However, Pete also obviously valued her fighting skills and her brain, as much or more than her appearance.
           Kitty reassured herself she couldn't be misreading all of that. Colossus was so big and strong, he'd always made her feel tiny and fragile, almost trivial, whenever she was around him. She'd never felt she had affected Peter in any significant way, she'd buzzed around him like Tinkerbell around Peter Pan, with as little impact. With Pete, in contrast, she was made to feel precious and protected, but not small or inconsequential. Wisdom treated her like a full equal, but an equal he treasured beyond anything. He could be incredibly rude and obnoxious, she'd seen his performance many times, and been on the receiving end in the past, but he'd been only tender and caring with her since they'd come together.
           And their times together were incredible, the response Pete awoke in her wild beyond any of Kitty's imagining. She didn't know if that was typical or not, she had nothing for comparison, but she couldn't believe their encounters were just routine or average.
           She glanced down at Lockheed, still curled comfortably in her lap. "Peter had no right to come back four years after he told me he loved Zsaji, after he said there was no chance for a future for us together, after he pushed me away without a word when Illyana died, and expect me to be waiting for him with open arms. I found something better, something wonderful, and he'll just have to accept that...they'll all just have to accept it...Pete, and me and Pete being together."

           "The runner-up," Wisdom drawled, letting everyone stew for a bit as he slowly peeled the announcement open, "is none other than... Aw, bugger, not that one. I'm sorry, folks, there's been a misprint..."
           Kitty snatched the envelope from his hands, wondering what she'd been thinking when she'd asked Pete to help her with this. "The runner up is the Great X-Pectations set by Suzene Campos!"
           "Okay, I got it now," Wisdom smirked as the applause died down a bit. "The KFFL stuffed the ballot box again." From a darkened corner of the Cafe, a bolt of mage energy leapt out, nicked the ash off of Pete's fag, and dissipated before it could hit Kitty. "Can't you wankers take a joke?!" He lit his cigarette again, muttering under his breath. "Bloody upstarts..."
           Kitty ignored the near-extermination of her lover. After a dozen or so variations on Excalibur #92, you got used to that kind of thing. "Before we announce the winner, we'd like to have a round of applause directed to Tapestry for doing the art for our presentation." Polite applause rose up, but intensified mercilessly as the audience realized that the attention was mortifying the object of their gratitude. It finally died down as Kitty lifted the envelope again, signaling silence. Pete grinned. At least he wasn't the only one eating out of Kitty's hand. Now if she'd only hurry up so he could get out of target range...
           "Now the moment you've all been waiting for. The winner for best fan-fic starring Excalibur is... Idylls Of The Cat by Luba Kmetyk!" The applause rose in a thundering wave and the band struck up a quick version of Weezer's "In The Garage" as the Archmage of the KFFL walked up to the stage, accepted the award, bowed, and went back to the aclove where the rest of the group sat around the sacred PC. Emboldened by their earlier success, they were now trying to channel the mind of a long-tailed mutant hamster into r***.
           "Hey, after all of this we don't get a bleedin' speech outta this one neither?"
           "Pete, shhh!" Kitty's warning went unheeded as the put-upon Brit stepped off the stage and approached the huddle, rolling up his shirt-sleeves as he went.
           "Maybe if we change the cage lining to shredded copies of the Colossus One-Shot..."
           "And send another batch of used ones to the Marvel Offices..."
           "A-HEM!" Conversation at the table stopped as heads raised to take in their visitor. The robed figures seated at the table were all female (if you didn't count the hamster), but the dark human-shaped cloud hovering over the entire table and spitting random lightning bolts at various mainstreamers had a distinctly male presence about it.
           "Was there a mix-up? Are you the actual prize?" Predatory grins spread over at least two faces at the table.
           "Can we trade him for Fuzz-- OW!"
           "Yeah-- eep!"
           "Hush, you two. You've already given your number to every Nightcrawler variant in the place."
           "We have them both in therapy. Really we do."
           Pete was about to drag one or more members back up to the stage and threaten some sort of speech out of them when he noticed what they were up to. "What's all this?"
           "Why don't you lean waaaay over and find out?"
           And, amazingly enough, Pete Wisdom -- survivor of countless spy missions, attacks by ultra-wedgied super-villains, and air strafes by disgruntled purple handbags -- fell for the oldest trick in the book.
           "Got him!"
           The PC, Pete Wisdom, the table, and its occupants vanished in a puff of smoke that smelled an awful lot like printer's ink. A note fluttered to the floor and lighted upon the bare patch of floor where the table had been.

We'll return him.

           Kitty sighed and thudded her cranium against the podium, phasing just enough to discourage splinters from sinking into her forehead. "I'll bet Billy Crystal didn't have to deal with this crap."

Well, I don't like doing disclaimers, but it'd hardly be fair to withhold from my peers what I routinely have to post for Marvel's lackies. Therefore...

"Ash" and "Happy Endings" and all text excerpts from those stories are copyrighted to Lori McDonald.          
"Vigil," "Pulling Their Fat Out Of The Fire," and "You Can't Go Home Again" and all text excerpts from those stories are copyrighted to Luba Kmetyk.
"Crawling Between Heaven And Earth" and all text excerpts from that story are copyrighted to Breanna MacLeod.
"Britain's Betrayal: The Confrontation" and all text excerpts from that story are copyrighted to Paul Tran.
"Romance 101" and all text excerpts from that story are copyrighted to Perri Smith.
"Snow Day" and all text excerpts from that story are copyrighted to Patrick J. Sahlstrom.
"It's a Small Plot After All" and all text excerpts from that story are copyrighted to Suzene Campos (and don't you forget it!).

Tapestry, Kielle, and the members of the KFFL belong to themselves.

Kitty Pryde, Lockheed, and Pete Wisdom belong to Marvel Comics.

"In the Garage" (Kitty Pryde, Nightcrawler!) is the property of Weezer.

The Cafe is Kielle's. I think Falstaff created the Manager.

Also, the Management would like to extend its deepest condolences to the family of that poor, poor drummer. The good ones are always called home too soon. We'd like to settle out of court if at all possible.

Best Team Story/Series: GenX
By JL "Jelpy" Puckett (

           "How's it going?"
           Kielle started at the sound and looked up to see Tapestry hanging upside down from a trapeze she'd conveniently written into the scenery.
           "Oh Lord." The Scribe pushed a several fraying strands of hair back into her carefully styled and rapidly decaying hairdo. "This is bloody awful. I don't believe all this bickering, politicking, confusion and complete lack of maturity from the people around here. You were right; we should have used only fictives instead of including the authors."
           There was a burst of shouting from the bathroom and a thin veil of disgusting-smelling smoke drifted past: Another Willey stinkbomb. Lord, just because he wasn't nominated for anything...
           Tapestry dropped to the floor with a thump. "How far along are we?" she asked, peering over Kielle's shoulder.
           "Let's see...Best Mature Fanfic, that was Laersyn--"
           "Did you talk him out of the end-of-the-show Kitten-Juggling routine?"
           "Gawd, I hope. Dyce'll have a fit. Best Team Story/Series: X-Men is in Denise's hands...Best Team Story/Series: X-Force, that's Desert Nomad -- she's ready to go...Best Team Story: GenX is Jelpy and she's..."
           The Scribe's voice trailed off as she looked at the group of presenters.
           "Oh Shit."

           "What do you mean,'not exactly ready?'" Mirage asked wearily. "You did write the awards presentation, didn't you?"
           "Uh, well yeah, but uh..."
           "But what?" Mirage clung to her patience with her fingernails.
           "Um.." Jelpy was staring at a hole in her tennis shoes.
           "What was that again?"
           Jelpy cleared her throat. "The um...Bird ate it."
           "You let the bird eat it?" Mirage repressed an urge to scream.
           "I didn't LET him do anything, he's just real sneaky. I swear, he was busy tearing apart my chair, next thing I know I turn around and he's munching on the floppy. I didn't know he could move that fast."
           Mirage tightened her hold on her psychology textbook, wondering if battering her co-archivist about the head would be considered a valid technique for relieving stress.
           "I'm sorry." Jelpy sounded both apologetic and defensive. "I barely had time to scribble my arrival down on a napkin, I haven't even had a chance to write down a suitable wardrobe."
           A frantic-looking Kielle burst into the bathroom. "Jelpy, you're on in 20 seconds...AAAAAAAIIIIIIIEEEEEHHHHHHHHHH!!!"
           The Scribe ended her sentence with a strangled scream as she took in the smudged sweats and ragged tennies and realized the presenter was completely unprepared. Tapestry appeared in the doorway and clapped a hand over Kielle's mouth before the entire show came screeching to a halt.
           "Come on Sis, take a nice, deep breath. In...out...on...out..." Tapestry glared at two archivists. "Mirage, you're the brains in your outfit, do something!"
           Mirage looked from the Scribe to the feckless coarchivist and sighed. "Let me borrow your laptop..."

           Jelpy pushed her way through the crowd of presenters, stumbling as Mirage changed the tennis shoes into high heels. Kitty was still cussing after the departed KFFL -- Jelpy squeaked as her loose sweats were turned into a stranglingly tight dress.
           "Mirage!" Her protest echoed down their "co-archivists' mindlink."
           "Don't bug me. I'm saving your ass."
           "But the dress is too tight!" The thought was slightly blue due to oxygen deprivation.
           "You said you were a size 12!"
           "I said I WANTED to be a size 12!"
           "Fine, I'll fix..Oh Damn!"
           Jelpy stepped onto the stage and stumbled as one of the high-heeled shoes was replaced with momentarily with a tennis shoe. Falstaff, watching behind the curtains, winced as her clothes wavered between a sequined gown and a dirty pair of sweats before settling as a dark blue satin dress that looked distinctly uptown. Jelpy opened her mouth, desperately hoping Mirage would make her sound good.
           "Ladies and"
           Mirage hastily corrected the typo.
           "It is a great honor to present the award for the Best GenX Team Series or Story. And the nominees are:"
           Jelpy's mouth gaped open as Kielle scrambled to find the list so Mirage could type in the words.
           "Crap." Kielle pulled a handful of wadded paper from her cleavage and flipped through the sweaty pages, trying to find the right one. On stage, Jelpy stood humiliatingly still, unable to continue or close her mouth until Mirage wrote the directions. A snicker arose from the fictive audience, growing louder as Jubilee started trying to toss wadded up bits of paper into the oriface.
           Kielle finally produced the list and Mirage started typing again.
           "Civuchs Weshun ba Jail Hucheh--" Jelpy struggled to get the words out over the bits of paper before successfully clearing her mouth.
           "A Friend In Need by Jennifer Sorowitz
           A Month Of Terror by J.B. McDonald & Nony
           The Bucktown Timeline set by David J. Warner
           The Dawn Arc by Tapestry
           The Field Trip Series by Lisa 'bum' McKee & others
           Games Without Frontiers by Andrew Edelen
           The Generation Cat series by Dyce
           GenX Presents A Short (And Somewhat Inaccurate) History Of The X-Men by Jaelle
           Red Snow by Lisa 'bum' McKee
           Shades Of Gray by Me
           And the Winner Is:"
           Mirage added a dramatic pause and a flourish of rolling drums as she struggled to make out Kielle's scribbled notes.
           "The Generation Cat series by Dyce!"
           There was an excited squeal, whether it was from the author or a kitten was unclear. Kielle watched in dismay as multi-colored stage lights started flashing wildly.
           "Nothing extra!" she thought in disgust. "I told them 'nothing extra' without clearing it with me first. The electricity bill is going to kill me. Next year we're holding the damn thing in Bucktown."

           Dyce bounded toward the stage, her progress marked by the occasional excitement-induced hairball being coughed up by a member of her fuzzy entourage. Much to her annoyance, Jelpy found herself stepping back and generously offering the podium to the exuberant winner.
           "Mirage! Come on! I wanted to congratulate her personally, and I wanted to say something about the vanishing rainforests." The mental whine made Mirage's head hurt.
           "Quiet, Jelp."
           "I mean it. I've had enough for one night. One more complaint and I'll let Laersyn finish writing this."
           Behind them, Laersyn bounced around gleefully at the prospect and Kielle distracted him with a Barbie Doll to dismember, wishing for the umpteenth time she'd made him leave the chainsaw at home.
           "My fellow authors...I don't know what to say..."
           "If she says the cat's got her tongue," thought Jelpy, "I'm gonna puke."
           Kielle looked at Mirage. "Did you do that?"
           "Uh, no."
           From the audience, a chorus of deep-throated barks echoed through the cafe, causing the kittens on stage to hiss back. Kielle looked at Mirage nervously. "Mirage, you didn't type in a dog or anything, did you?"
           "No." The archivist was staring at the laptop screen, a puzzled look on her face. "I don't think any of the fictives even have a dog, do they?"
           "None except..."
           "Siku!" They looked at each other in horror. There were at least 20 Sikus in the audience and if each one had brought Blizzard...
           There was a shriek from Dyce as a ravaging pack of Blizzards charged the stage, followed by a shouting groups of Sikus trying to wrestle the dogs down before they clashed with the kittens. Generation Cat, hair stiffened to the point of resembling squawling brillo pads, yowled in protest and swarmed up their author, somehow managing to all perch on her head. Dyce swiped frantically at the encircling hounds with her trophy in a fruitless effort to beat them off.
           "Oh Gawd." Kielle groaned, wondering what her financial liability was when author and fictives were devoured in her cafe.
           "Punishment! Punishment!" the N'Gari Eater cackled gleefully.
           "Lion!" someone screamed in warning as Chiya's pet charged the stage.
           Kielle stared helplessly at the gathered authors, wondering why they were collectively so utterly useless in a crisis.
           Jelpy simply stared, panicked into motionless. Laersyn soaked in the chaos, capering with delight. Tapestry's eyes were glassy as she clutched the Scribe's arm chanting repeatedly: "Relaxtakeadeepbreathinouteverythingsundercontrolrelaxrelaxrelax..." JB McDonald could be seen doubled over with laughter. Only Mirage typed frantically, trying to regain control.
           "....-stress of the elements!' Enter!"
           Instantly the cafe was soaked in a torrential icy downpour, courtesy of the Mistress of the Elements, temporarily dampening the enthusiasm of the assorted attacking canines/lions/Eaters/kittens sufficiently to allow the embarrassed Sikus to leash their respective Blizzards, lions to be coaxed away and N'Gari's returned to their gurgling author.
           Dyce appeared to be in shock, her dress scratched, tattered and shredded beyond belief; her dignity in even worse shape. Mumbling an incomprehensible word of -- presumably -- thanks, she tottered off in search of a sympathetic shoulder and a laptop with enough RAM to repair her clothing.
           Falstaff tottered onto the stage, trying not to slip in the road hazard of wet blue fur that covered the stage.
           "'s time for the intermission, now. Uh...does anyone have a towel?"
           Kielle's mental calculator added in assorted laundry bills to the evening's mounting cost. Oh God, she'd be in debt for years.
           Jelpy appeared in the doorway, beaming happily.
           "All things considered," she said brightly, "I think that went pretty well?"
           Kielle glared at the author for a second before pointing her finger.
           "Laersyn! Fetch!"
           There was a piercing shriek of either complete terror or maniacal laughter as the saw-wielding horror chased the writer out of the cafe. Instantly, Kielle's headache felt better as she left to inventory the damage. Two Tylenol plus a tequila slammer and she might just make it through the rest of the evening.
           Only Mirage was left standing there as she flipped a coin to see if she'd change her co-archivist's heels back to tennis shoes. She gazed thoughtfully at the coin on the back of her hand.
           "Tails: Tennis Shoes." She started to type, then paused, remembering the time Jelpy had erased all the .gifs in one push of a delete button 'just to see if they'd REALLY disappear.'
           "Make it two out of three."

Lion belongs to JB Mc Donald
Siku belongs to Darqstar
The N'Gari Eater belongs to JB McDonald
Blizzard belongs to Darqstar
Gen Cat belongs to Dyce
Laersyn belongs to Kielle

Interlude #2
By Dex (

           "Where is everybody?" Kielle and Falstaff looked puzzled around the back room. There were pretty of fics wandering about, but the writers were suspiciously absent. Falstaff eased past a crowd of various GenX'ers to the snack table at the back.
           "Do you think they took off?" he said, taking some small oranges from the plate.
           "No, they wouldn't have. They must be here somewhere."
           "Hmm..." Falstaff agreed, his mouth full of orange. One of the oranges dropped to the floor, and a hand passed it to him as he stooped to retrieve it.
           "You're welcome."
           "Anyway, the...wait a minute." Falstaff pulled up the edge of the tablecloth, revealing a dozen writers hiding under the large table.
           "Hey Kielle," Tapestry said merrily. Several writers waved at her.
           "What are you all doing under there?"
           "Safest place here. Sake?" Patrick held up the cup. Kielle shook her head.
           "Not out of a stein, thank you. Look, you guys can't spend all night under here."
           "Watch us," said Dex. He had run afoul of a group of Emmas, and could still feel the stiletto heel imprints on his body.
           "Look, we need you here to keep control," Falstaff said, making the mistake of trying to reason with frazzled writers.
           "Control? Not if there was a thousand of us," said Desert Nomad, the others nodding in agreement.
           "Come on. Do you know what could happen if you're not out there?" As if on cue, a topless Psylocke arched into view from behind the couch. She gave a smile to Falstaff before bending back to her activities out of sight.
           "Psylocke?" Falstaff said. Marty nodded.
           "As in 'The Conditioning Of...'?" Kielle said. Mirage nodded.
           "All right, out! We need you out here." Grumbling, the writers clambered out from under the table. With a sigh, Kielle grabbed Dex from the group before he could get to the bar.
           "Who's next for the music number."
           "You seem to have the strange belief that I have a clue what's going on."
           Kielle's eyes narrowed. "Dex..." she said warningly.
           "Scott and co. have the stage."
           "Will they let them?"
           "Bum lent me a few of her GenX'ers for peacekeeping."
           "Try not to gt blood on the carpet," Kielle said, releasing Dex. A familiar pressure started behind her eyes, turning into a full blown headache. She wanted to escape the chaos and stress of the Cafe, even if only for a few minutes. Looking around, she noted that she was suddenly alone in the back room. With a smile, Kielle crawled under the table and dropped the cloth back down, hiding her from the world.

           "So, this is the night that will go down in fictive history," Aleph said to the Bartender, who shrugged and continued filling glasses.
           "Frankly, I'd rather forget the whole thing," he said, as Manchild flew past him, hitting the mirror with a sickening crunch. He stepped over the prone form to get at a bottle, ignoring the chaos as best as he was able it.
           "Yeah, but imagine what has gone into it."
           "Yes, and I have a pretty good idea what will come out of it," he said, passing a tray of glasses to a Wisdom.
           "Yeesh, you'd think you didn't like it here."
           "What was your first clue?"

           Falstaff came out onto the stage, scanning the crowd for Kielle. He hadn't seen her since they had brought the writers back out. The musicians where finishing up their setups, and the last number of the evening was almost ready to go. He caught sight of a group of winged Angels, Dawn and Seraph exchanging tips on grooming in the rafters, and Luci and Misfire arm-wrestling in the corner. The noise was slowly growing, promising another explosion if he didn't head it off immediately. Taking the mic, Falstaff called for attention, noting that they were more readily paying attention to the presenters.
           "Ladies and gentlemen and things. We have a final number for you tonight!" Cheers answered his announcement. "The Summers have a song for us." The cheers turned into groans as the stage was pelted with tortilla chips and dinner rolls. Falstaff cursed and waved over his special squad. Gregor, Jubilation Phoenix, Luci and Misfire took up positions around the stage. The shouts and tossed food stopped suddenly. Falstaff smiled and stepped off the stage, leaving it in the hands of the Summers. A Cyclops took the mic and cleared his throat nervously.
           "Uh, folks. We know how confusing things have been with us, so we thought that we might explain things a bit." Scott set the mic in its stand as the music started.

           Meeting in a class in Westminister,
           trying to control our powers and beams.
           The man in the chair said, "Stay out of my hair!
           You know you're only here to fight for my dreams."
           Christ, you know it ain't easy.
           You know how hard it can be!
           The way things are going,
           They're gonna crucify me!                                

           Finally got caught by a villain,
           Chuck makes a new X-Men set.
           The hairy one says, "I got my eyes on you, Red!
           And what Logan wants, you know Logan, he gets!"
           Christ, you know it ain't easy.
           You know how hard it can be!
           The way things are going,
           They're gonna crucify me!                                

           Changed your new from a trip to space,
           Powers made quite a big splash.
           You ate a sun, and found it was fun,
           So you had yourself blasted to ash!
           Christ, you know it ain't easy.
           You know how hard it can be!
           The way things are going,
           They're gonna crucify me!                                

           Saving all my memories, tuck my heart away,
           Trying to shake clear my poor head.
           Then I meet your clone, have a kid of our own,
           And you come back from the dead! --Geez!

           Make a lightning trip into see you,
           Form a team like the original one.
           That's when my ex discovers the joy of hex,
           And tries to feed us all to demons for fun!
           Christ, you know it ain't easy.
           You know how hard it can be!
           The way things are going,
           They're gonna crucify me!                                

           Joined the teams together at last,
           Every mutant back in the fold.
           Again you are dead, come back and we're wed,
           Man what can the future possibly hold!
           Christ, you know it ain't easy.
           You know how hard it can be!
           The way things are going,
           They're gonna crucify me!

The Subreality Cafe is Kielle's. If you haven't figured that out by now, too bad!
"The Conditioning Of Psylocke" is by Jinx. Definitely adults only!
Manchild is David J. Warner's
Dawn is Tapestry's, and the winner of the 'Best Original Female Character' tonight. If you haven't read the 'Dawn Arc,' quit your job and spend the months reading it. Well worth it.
Luci Morningstar belongs to Lynx
Gregor Northumberland is Falstaff's from the Arleccino Timeline.
Jubilation Phoenix is originally Lady Phoenix's, but has appeared in Falstaff's work as well.
Misfire is Kielle's. A very useful fictive leg-breaker.
"The Ballad Of Scott and Jean" is a parody of " The Ballad Of John And Yoko" by the Beatles, 1970.
All of the character mentioned here that are Marvel's, are obviously Marvel's. Wait, did that make any sense? Never mind...
The writers are in a sense their own, though since I have never met one, it could be a government plot to secretly introduce AI's into society. Just a theory....Me? I belong to the teachings of Heinlein, who said "Always take time to stop and watch the pretty girls." I started in fanfiction with "Mhairie." Go figure...

Best Team Story/Series: New Mutants
By Patrick Sahlstrom (

           "Excuse me," a very deep voice boomed, "is this the Subreality Cafe?"
           The Bouncer and Mary Sue, Deputy Bouncer for the night, tilted their heads back to take in the sight of an enormous individual whose appearance was one of uncanny lunacy and obviously had been first in line when tentacles were handed out. He was wearing a well-fitting tuxedo, a miracle which later gave birth to several religions.
           "Yes," Mary Sue answered as she reached for an M-12345(and so on) gas grenade. Charged with half a pound of a particularly nasty brew of Moira MacTaggert's coffee, the M-12345(and so on) was known to have put elephants in coma for a year, stopped the Juggernaut and even given tax collectors second thoughts. "My name's Mary Sue, and that's the Bouncer over there. Who are you?"
           "I," the towering creature roared, "am the great CTHULHU!"
           A few seconds later, the great Cthulhu went on (in a considerably meeker voice): "Err...feel free to run away screaming or something like that."
           "Listen, we've got a cafe filled with fictives and Writers here."
           "Writers. So I don't think you want to do anything stupid, big guy. What are you doing here, by the way?"
           "Promise not to laugh?"
           "I'm pick up my date" Cthulhu admitted, tentacles twitching in embarrassment.
           "Umm...yes. See, I've even got a bouquet of red roses." And the great Cthulhu held up a large bouquet of red roses, with a few human sacrifices thrown in to add a personal touch.
           "That's...very nice. Who is your date?"
           At this point, a Dark Phoenix burst out through the door, tripped over a firehose and would have fallen into the pile of rotten tomatoes which lay beneath a sign saying:

           !             Rotten Tomatoes             !
           !                100% Free                !
           !            For throwing ONLY            !
           !            Donated by the               !
           !             AoA Bar&Grill               !

had Cthulhu not caught his lover in his strong if somewhat slimy tentacles. The twosome then proceeded to eye-gazing, sweet-nothings-whispering and other things lovers are wont to do.

"Yes, Kielle?"
"Do get to the point, will you? People are getting impatient."
"Yes, ma'am."

           "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. For those of you who don't know me, I'm Sharon Friedlander."
           "And I'm Tom Corsi, and we have the honour to present the nominees in the New Mutants cathegory. Shall we begin, Sharon?"
           "Our first nominee," Sharon intoned, "is 'Brothers in Arms' by Jeremy Bottroff. In this story, the old New Mutants -- hey, isn't that an oxymoron? -- fight X-Force."
           A huge viewscreen popped into existance with a (fortunately stench-free) BAMF! and began showing parts of the story. Several people patted Jeremy on the back rather forcefully, making him spill his drink.
           "Our second contendant," Tom took over, "is 'Circles' by none other than the talented Tapestry. We hope this means a new dawn for New Mutants stories."
           For a while, all that could be heard in the Cafe was the sound of Tapestry rolling her eyes, which sounds rather like the sound of one hand clapping, except slightly more orange and a less Zen.
           "Our third nominee is a story where the New Mutants are reunited and *finally* graduate," Sharon went on. "Thank God, I was afraid they'd stay high-school dropouts for the rest of their lives. Maybe they'll go on to college after this 'Class Reunion' by Leary."
           Somebody put on a tape with "Xavier's School," a song the New Mutants had recorded one day when they felt particualrily mischeivous. It sounded like a re-worded, off-key version of "My Way," performed to the music of some sort of strange hybrid between a bagpipe, a church organ and a violin.
           "I thought I had erased those tapes," Magneto moaned.
           "It's probably one of the copies I got for the Hellfire Club's S/M parties," Emma Frost said.
           "Well," Sean Cassidy replied, "I think we'd better erase that one." He shot a worried look in the general direction of his students, who were more busy taking notes than they had ever been in the classroom.

           Outside, the Bouncer made a face, Mary Sue went to see if she could find some cotton to use as earplugs, and Cthulhu and the Dark Phoenix sat close to each other, holding appendages and talking about which planet they should rule with an iron fist.

           "Nominee number four is genuine soap opera, with love, deceit and revenge. I give you 'Empath: From Russia with Love' by Sami Merchi." The audience, shaken but not stirred after listening to the dreadful song, cheered.
           'Nominee number four needs no presentation: 'Kid Dynamo' by Connie Hirsch!"
           The crowd applauded and stamped its collective feet, the latter with sufficent force to cause a netquake, which caused glasses, bottles and parts of the ceiling to fall down and shatter, adding a couple of zeroes to the already much-too-high cost of the night.

"WHAT? Oh, $&&%$/$"!!!! I can't believe you're doing this!
"Just relax, Kielle honey..."
"Kielle, you're tearing at my gas mask."
"There, there it'll be fine. See!"

           Patrick sat down at the keyboard, hammering furiously at the keys. One second later, a letter addressed to Kielle appeared from nowhere.

           "What's this? 'Kielle, you have won 1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 dollars. The money has been transfered to your account at the Subreality Bank.'"
           Patrick left Kielle staring blankly into space and went back to the business at hand.

           "All right then, nominee number six: 'Paradox' by Brian Perillo." Everybody looked around, fully expecting the Writer-in-chief to do something weird and paradoxical. Nothing happened, which was very strange in itself.
           "The seventh and last nominee is the 'Through A Cat's Eyes' series by our current writer."
           "Who's going to manipulate the vote so he'll win, I bet," someone said.
           "I won't!" Patrick replied in a rather muffled voice due to the gas mask he wore in order to avoid an allergic reaction to all the furry creatures gathered in the Cafe.
           "And the winner is -- drum roll, please -- 'Kid Dynamo' by Connie Hirsch!"
           The Subreality Cafe exploded. No, not literally (we don't want to drive Kielle *completely* insane, after all). The crowd simply made about as much enthusiastic noise as a decent volcano can make upon eruption.
           When order was restored (meaning when everybody was next to unconscious), Jessica Pierce entered the stage.
           "Hi," Jessica said. "Unfortunately, my 'mommy' couldn't come, but I'd like to say a word or to on her behalf." She produced a speech about as thick as the 1997 edition of "Who's Who in the Summers Family Tree" by Meyers & Essex, and people began to look worried.
           Sadly, we'll never know what Jessica might had wanted to say, because the roof was lifted off of the Cafe. A very annoyed Cthulhu glared at the crowd and said:
           "Keep the noise down, will ya."

Welcome to the Disclaimer Zone

The Subreality Cafe belongs to Kielle
The Bouncer belongs to Falstaff, I think
The great Cthulhu used to belong to H.P. Lovecraft, but has been used by many others
Mary Sue belongs to all of us.
Kielle, Patrick, Tapestry, Jeremy Bottroff, Leary, Sami Merchi, Connie Hirsch, Brian Perillo and Brucha Meyers belong to themselves
Jessica Pierce belongs to Connie Hirsch
"My Way" belongs to Frank Sinatra
Everybody else belongs to Marvel

Best Team Story/Series: X-Force
By Desert Nomad (

Short Note before we begin: "Movie clips" were copied directly from their respective stories, without permission (I'd've gotten permission, but that would've ruined the surprise!) I apologize to all the nominees who didn't get clips, but this thing was running long. On with the show!

           In the pause, the crowd had gotten unruly. One of Abyss's slippers had gotten away from him and had apparently gotten into a nasty spat with Lockheed, and someone had provided a few of the Gen X annuals which were now being used as spitballs. Finally, Kielle stamped back on stage, mumbling something about roofs and Patrick Sahlstrom's allergies. The crowd grew silent.
           "Okay," Kielle said tiredly. "Now it's time for the Best X-Force Story. This award will be presented by..." She squinted at her notes. Hmm. Between the arrows and the doodles, she could barely read her own handwriting. "...some fictive of Desert Nomad's." Oh well. That'd have to do.
           A girl about sixteen strode out onto the stage. All eyes followed her. She glanced around rather self-consciously. "Don't look at me. I'm just the translator." She waited a moment, then stuck her head behind the curtain. "Get out here, Mr. Bigshot. You're the one who wanted to do this."
           After getting tangled in the curtains in a way slightly reminiscent of Sesame Street's Guy Smiley, a man entered the stage. He was dressed all in black, his face ghastly white. The room fell silent. Five Gambits, two Scott Summerses, and a full set of Marauders promptly made a not-so-subtle trip to the Mens' Room.
           "Hey!" a voice from the back yelled out. "I had dibs! Don't make me sic my bunny slippers on you!"
           "Relax, relax!" the Translator shouted. "It's not Sinister. Really! And frankly, Abyss, I'm not afraid of those slippers. Kielle's been slippin' them drinks of Subreality Sake all night. They're as sloshed as Pete Wisdom in an Absolut factory."
           "If that ain't Sinister, who is it?" someone asked.
           "Aw, just a mime," the Translator replied. Several more people made some not-so-subtle trips to the bathroom. The Translator sighed. "Just get on with the presentation, wouldya, Harpo?"
           The mime took a deep bow, and handed the Translator an imaginary flower. She rolled her eyes.
           "He says thank you."
           The mime waved hello to the audience.
           He extended his arms, then contorted himself into a series of positions that looked like a dyslexic trying to do the YMCA.
           "Welcome to the 1998 Comic-Book Fanfiction Awards."
           The mime flapped his arms, then pretended to eat something, then spun around a few times.
           "He's trying to open with a joke. Don't worry about it. It's not funny."
           Suddenly, there was a loud clatter and the distinctive sound of someone being hit in the gut with the butt of a gun. Another white-faced figure appeared on the stage.
           "You!" she hissed venomously.
           The mime grinned, and outstretched his arms for a hug.
           "You're going down, Beppo!" Domino screamed, launching herself at him. The mime, suddenly sensing danger, dashed off the other end of the stage. Domino ran after him. One of the security guards ran across the stage after the both of them.
           The Translator stood on the stage by herself, look somewhat bemused. "Well," she said, half to herself. "That was special." She glanced out into the audience.
           "Make something up!" Kielle was mouthing furiously from the front row.
           "Oh. Okay." She took a deep breath, and stepped behind the podium. "Hi. Um, well... Sorry about the mime. So what are we doing again?"
           "Best X-Force Story," Kielle promptly.
           "Oh! Okay, I can do that." She brushed her shaggy brown hair out of her face. "Hi, folks, I'm Desert Nomad. Although I occasionally dabble in other genres, X-Force is my fav. I know it's not as popular as some other books, but I blame that on its lack of funky-accented, smoking, tough-guy characters. All in all, though, this has been a great year for X-Force fanfiction. We've had such classics as DuAnn's 'Just Lucky, I Guess.' We got ol' Shatty's past explained to us in Leary's 'Shatterstar, Warrior Born.' We got a cool vision of the future in Samy Merchi's 'Shadows Of The Future.' Plus, many more. Who wants to see the clips?"
           Silence reigned supreme.
           "Aw, c'mon, someone wants to see the clips."
           More silence.
           "I wanna see the clips!" Impar Vi finally yelled.
           "Thank you!" Desert Nomad replied. "Hey, Falstaff, could you get the projector?"
           "Sure thing!"
           There were a few odd sounds as Falstaff set it up, and a few more odd sounds as Abyss threw one of his slippers at Impar. Finally, Falstaff flashed Desert Nomad a thumbs up.
           "Someone hit the lights?"
           Bones took this as a hint to shoot Prism. Not that anyone minded. There were as many broken Prisms hanging around the Subreality Cafe as whole ones. Tapestry turned off the lights.
           "Okay, I made this myself," Nomad explained. "It's just sort of a general overview, I'll get to the nominees in a few."
           The projector whirred to life. The tape was the old grainy style, like the opening credits of The Wonder Years. "Norwegian Wood" played in the background. Someone held a sheet of notebook paper on which was written "The Year In X-Force Fanfiction." After a few seconds, it disappeared.
           "Okay, this first clip is from one of my stories, 'It's Too &*%^ Hot in Here.' Y'know. The Slip'n'Slide story."

           "Have you seen, the uh... Slip'n'Slide?"
           "The what?"
           Bobby licked his lips nervously. "Y'know. The Slip'n'Slide."
           "You know," Tabby interrupted. "The Slip'n'Slide. The one you bought us back when we were in the X-Terminators. After we promised not to tell Jean about--"
           "Oh, THAT Slip'n'Slide! Oh, geez. What do you want that thing for?"
           "We're hot."
           "We've got a perfectly good lake to swim in." Six pairs of eyes stared at the lake. Then back at Scott Summers.
           "With all due respect, Senor Summers," Ric started, "There are things living in that lake that could fend off the Dark Riders."

           The video continued, segueing into a city scene.

           Rictor found an officer about his size sitting outside the building taking a coffee break.
           "Hey, officer! There are some hookers over on Brunswick Avenue!" Rictor said to him.
           "Go away, kid. I'm not expected to go all the way to Brunswick Avenue to arrest some hookers on my coffee break," said the officer with annoyance.
           "But I know a shortcut you could take."
           "Really? Where?" asked the gullible officer.
           "Through this dark, seedy alley over here!"
           The gullible immigration officer on a coffee break followed Rictor into the dark, seedy alley, where Rictor beat him up quietly and traded clothes with him.

           "Ahh, I love that one," Desert Nomad sighed. "Okay, that was my absolute favorite scene from Red Monster's 'X-Force: The New Breed.' What a poignantly brilliant existential satire on the state of human conditions as portrayed through the medium of fanfiction and graphic novels. I think."
           The next scene was down in the sewers.

           "Wish us luck!" Sam hollers, then leaps into the portal everyone else has gone through. The trio looks at him as he disappears into the light.
           "They're not kids anymore, are they?" Kurt says softly to his old friend, Ororo, both now leaders of their own respective teams.
           "No, they're not." Storm responds with her usual royal air. "They haven't been for a long time."
           Then they both turn around sharply to hear sounds of unlocking bolts and locks, and finally feet running in water.
"SAM!! Wait just a damn minute here!!" Cable runs down the corridor to the Morlock tunnels, carrying an enormous rifle, while holding a towel around the waist of his soaking body. As he rushes at the closing portal, Nightcrawler sticks out his tail in a nonchalant manner, causing Nathan to dive head-first into the sewer trash.
           "Oops -- clumsy me." Kurt smiles dimly, "...and you right out of the shower, too."

           "That's was from Leary's 'New Mutants: Class Reunion.' As a side note, folks, it's better than that stupid limited series. Much better."
           The video continued, although 'Norwegian Wood' had run out, and 'Heart Of Glass' had started up. This time, Cable and Domino shot violently at a myriad of enemies, Shatterstar jumped around and stabbed people with his sword, Meltdown yelled some feminist maxims and Sunspot explained his powers.
           Our Hostess scratched her head. "I have no idea what that's from. Frankly, it could be anything. Sorry. Okay, this next clip is the opening to another one of my favs, Samy Merchi's 'Shadows Of The Future:"

           "This is Blue Team. We're in position."
           "Green Team in position. Tho' Wade's goofin' off as usual."
           "Red Team here. We've got him in sight, guys."
           "White Team standing by. Lock X-Wings into attack positions."

           "I love a good Star Wars joke. Okay, our next clip is from another classic: DuAnn's 'Just Lucky, I Guess.'"

           "Hey, everybody, what's up?"
           Shatterstar answered "We were discussing Cable's disposition this morning. It seems that some of us" he motioned toward Tabitha and Bobby "consider him a 'hardhat.'"
           Rictor broke in, smiling. "HardASS, 'Star."
           Shatterstar snorted. "Whatever. In any case, I disagree. On my world, I underwent much harsher training when I was only a child."
           Tabitha looked at him over her sunglasses. "Yeah, and look how well you turned out."

           "And now, our final bit, from Smitty's 'Strange Happenings,' a short quote that pretty much sums up this year in X-Force:

           "Is there a way to solve this without violence?" Everyone kind of looked at each other.
           "Ric," Tab explained, gently, "this is X-Force. NO. We do not do anything without violence."

           Finally, the tape ground to a halt. Desert Nomad stared out at her audience, most of whom were sawing logs quite vocally. She sighed. "Oh my God! It's Rob Liefeld!" Everyone awoke with a start, and there were a few shrieks of terror. Two Cables and a Cannonball made for the Mens' Room. "Oops, false alarm. Okay, now for the part of the ceremony you've all been waiting for: the winner. Well, the nominees are: 'Class Reunion' by Leary, 'It's Too %&^$# Hot in Here!' by me, Desert Nomad, 'Just Lucky I Guess' by DuAnn Cowart, 'The New Breed' by Red Monster, 'The Operation Reciprocity' series by Samy Merchi, 'Promise' by Alicia McKenzie, 'Shatterstar: Warrior Born,' again, by Leary, and finally, 'Winds Of Change' by Scott Kruse & Robin Alarcon.
           "I'd like to start off by saying that these are all great stories, and congratulations to their authors. X-Force fanfiction is a tough field to work in, trust me, I know, and you guys are the best. It's a shame you can't all win. And as a final note before I announce the winner, I'd like to say a big, giant thank you to all X-Force writers out there. Unlike every other genre out there, I'm proud to say that we haven't had a single fanboy/girl with godlike superpowers who swoons all over all members of the opposite gender. You guys are the greatest. And now -- the winner."
           She waved the envelope, and pulled at the flap. Someone with a sense of humor had licked it. She started to rip it open, and gave herself a papercut. This never happens in the Oscars, she thought to herself, as she finally removed the little card-thingie.
           "And the winner is-- me! For "It's To %&^$# Hot in Here!" Aw, you guys are the greatest! Okay, I guess I need a hokey acceptance speech. Here goes: I wanna thank my big sis, who bought me my first comic book, Marvel comics for putting out such great stuff, and my pal Alison, who'd die if she knew she was being mentioned, but whose Slip'n'Slide inspired my story. I love all you guys..."
           She trailed off as Domino's voice echoed through the Cafe.
           "I KNOW you're in there, so come out, RIGHT NOW!" All heads turned to where she was standing impatiently outside the Mens' Room. "That's it! Fire in the hole!"
           Desert Nomad sighed. "I guess I'll be owing you a new door, Kielle. That's all, folks. Enjoy your evening."

Author's Notes: Okay, remember at the end of CBS Storybook Specials (I know y'all used to watch 'em, so don't deny it.) they used to show the book you'd just seen and tell you to go get it at your local library? Well, here's that same message! Did you like any of those clips from the movie? The titles of those nominees sound good? All those stories can be found right here on the Internet at:
Fire In The Hole, my X-Force page:
Lori's X-Men Page:
the Shifting Sands:
and Samy's Bachelor Pad:
Go for it, and tell those poor, abused writers what you think! Better yet, write your own story! Try it, you'll like it!

And now: Ye Olde Disclaimers:

The Subreality Cafe is property of Kielle. Kielle, Falstaff, Patrick Sahlstrom, Impar Vi, Abyss, Bones, Tapestry, and, of course, Desert Nomad are property of themselves. Abyss's slippers are property of himself. All stories mentioned and story excerpts are property of their respective authors. X-Force, X-Men, Gen X, the Marauders etc. and all related characters are property of Marvel Comics. "Norwegian Wood" is property of the Beatles. "Heart of Glass" is property of Blondie. The mime is property of Desert Nomad. "The Year In X-Force Fanfiction," directed by Kerrie "Desert Nomad" Smith, and filmed by Greg Darone, can be obtained by sending $29.95 to-- never mind.

Best Story/Series: X-Men
By Denise Keppel (

           Princess Veronica Isabella Goldeneyes looked royally at her court of admirers and calmly stepped up onto her stool -- because she felt like it, not because it made life easier for the audience. X-Cat started to lick herself, waiting for the humans to realize their mistake. Since the average human had an intelligence level lower than a cat's, this could take a while.
           After a long moment, Bishop finally figured out what was wrong with the cat that owned him. "She can't talk," he reminded the audience. "We need help." Princess Goldeneyes was relieved to discover that her training had paid off.
           Dani Moonstar sighed and walked up to the stage, allowing the cat to sit in her folded arms. She'd been in sillier and more humiliating positions before -- she knew she had, but for the life of her, she just can't remember when.
           The cat nodded her approval and started to bat at one of Dani's braids. As Dani firmly shook them over her back, X-Cat turned to the audience. "It is a great honor for me to be here tonight, I just wanted you to know that. Tonight was the Garfield special." After allowing the audience to know how lucky it was, X-Cat started listing all the nominees for Best X-Men story.
           "A Laying On Of Hands by Sarah Crauder. I liked it, but no one petted the cat, although Sam got petted a little." Out in the audience, several Sams quickly pointed to Sarah's fictive. Their dates Rogue, Rahne, and Tabitha looked relieved.
           "Betrayal by Valerie Jones, where Cat-eyes got to know that Xavier was his father. It's better than Mr. Dog being his brother." Gambit applauded that.
           "Black Love by John Bartley. Jean Grey died and came back. She's got more lives than a cat." Most of the X-Men agreed.
           "Devil's Due by Laersyn. The X-Men used up all their nine lives.
           'The Gestalt Arc by Lori McDonald where Cat-eyes and Stripe get to have a kitten." Gambit and Rogue looked up from pacifying their son and quietly nodded.
           "Girls' Day Off by TygerEye & Fang. I do like the authors' names." High praise from a cat.
           "The Long Day by Daniel "deX!" Perry, where Logan acts like a dog." Laughter followed that remark.
           "Onslaught: Redemption by Swpwarrior, who cattified the Onslut nightmare." From a cat, that was a compliment.
           "The Three-Part Harmony set by Denise Keppel & Krista Schneidereit, where Mr. Tall, Blue and Furry was one busy tom cat." Krista and Denise laughed and quickly made their way out the back door as they were pelted by demands to reveal who Kitty's baby's father was and when the next chapter would come out.
           "X-S by Darqstar & others. Great series, and Siku, who is furry, gets a cat." Siku, being the house favorite, received a huge round of applause. Cleo stood up and accepted the praise.
           "You Can't Go Home Again by Luba Kmetyk, which centers around a Kitty, who gets petted a lot." A spotlight was shown on Luba's fics, and quickly flew away, because Kitty and Pete were starting to make plans to capture next year's best Adult/Mature award.
           "Now, the best serious X-Men story goes to..." With a little maneuvering, Dani opened the envelope and held it for X-Cat to read, who then turned pale. For a fur-faced feline, that's a feat. " this in the right place? Did the awards get switched or something?" Dani verbalized for X-Cat. They looked off-stage simultaneously at Kielle and Falstaff.
           "But shouldn't this be in the 'best mature readers fanfic' section?" Kielle motioned for them to continue. "Okay. I guess this is right." Silent pause. "As you all know, I am a cat. Anyone who owns a cat knows that we can be...brutal to our prey. Many a rodent have been left permanently unrecognizable, thanks to us. But this story featured that left everyone, including us felines, amazed and often nauseous as well. The winner is Laersyn's Devil's Due."
           They turned and saw an amorphous black form drift up onto the stage and, unlike most award-winners who simply took the award by hand, absorbed the trophy into the dark recesses of his body. X-Cat merely blinked and let Laersyn pass by to return to his seat.
           As both Dani and X-Cat headed off stage, no one heard X-Cat mutter to Dani, "NOW who's going to change my litter box?"

Best Fanfic Series
aka Meanwhile, Back At The Ranch...

By Falstaff (

           He beat his head repeatedly into the wall. "I am in Hell. I am in Hell. I am in Hell."
           "No, you're not."
           The sudden words made the Writer look away from the slight dent in the well-warn plasterboard. A trio of tall, rather pinkish beings -- not exactly *men,* and certainly not women, but something a little more -- let us say openly powerful, like a bloodstained dagger in a silken sheath. They were all dressed in various shades of red; cloaks and capes and togas.
           The centermost of the three shook his head urbanely. "Hell is three pocket universes down."
           The one on the left snorted. "Perhaps *yours,* Mephisto dear, but the actual Hell is on the other side of the Mists."
           The one on the right chuckled. "Gentledevils, please. Let's get back to our seats. And don't forget to meet at Mr. Raab's convertible for our lift home."
           Falstaff -- for who else could it be? -- sighed. Okay, so maybe the myriad tunnels and corridors of the Subreality Cafe's backstage area weren't Hell. It was still pretty hectic.
           He raised a voice over the general din. "Hey, has anybody seen Sinister?"
           "Which of us are you seeking, o Creator?" the X-Man Prometheus asked, his eyes glinting in the dim light. Being a Writer, of course, Falstaff could see through the Sinister variant's clever disguise...and it was a particularly Sinisterly smile the fictive was smiling.
           "Baseline," Falstaff said, pushing his customary bowler hat back on his head as he tapped his clipboard with his pen.
           "Ah. He's in our dressing room." Falstaff started down one of the tunnels. "I wouldn't do that," Prometheus remarked in a cool and steady voice.
           "Why not?" the Writer said huffily, annoyed at being cautioned by a figment of his own overactive imagination.
           "He's trying to recover from learning what Abyss has planned for him later, poor fellow," Prometheus said, although he did not sound particularly sympathetic. "And Brucha was sitting in the audience, and sensed his distress, and..." the fictive raised his left eyebrow, summoning up his tweediest Oxford intonation, "I daresay she is--" he coughed politely "--comforting him."
           "Great. Just great," Falstaff sighed. [Oh, well. Can't hardly get worse, can it?] Idly, he slipped his pocketwatch from his waistcoat and snapped it open, glancing at it. [Yes it can. I have to go on in ten minutes. Joy to the ruddy world.]

           Meanwhile, some distance away (A note to all less experienced with the Subreality Cafe: distance being relative, I might mean a yard, and I might mean a mile. Since each and every Reader pictures the SC differently, well...let's just say it's a ways away and leave it at that, eh?), blissfully unaware of her creator's woes, Rebecca Lee was nearing meltdown.
           Well, yes, she was nearing Meltdown as well -- she passed one of the Tabitha Smiths as she walked, this one carrying a Monopoly board under her arm -- but that's not what I mean. I mean that she was angry. Torqued. Frustrated.
           Not the emotional state one hopes to find Celestial Avatars in.
           She'd arrived early, with the rest of the Arleccino Timeline crew (team spirit and so forth; plus, since they weren't up for any awards, Falstaff had drafted them to serve as pages for the preparatory stage of the event) and spent most of the evening thus far trying to convince six distinct versions of Rahne Sinclair that none of the other five were demons sent by Satan to steal her soul and place in the universe.
           [Our Rahney never acted like that,] she thought, making her way through the twisting passageways. [Where in the hell did they put the furtzin' stage door?]
           But it wasn't the migrating geography of the Subreality Cafe that was the cause of her irritation. Because she'd been wrapped up with a roomful of Rahnes, she hadn't seen Monet all day long.
           She was tense, she was frustrated, she had the grandmother of all cramps in her neck, and the only person with the power to fix these problems -- less the audienceful of Writers in varying degrees of sloshyness out front -- was nowhere in sight.
           [Oh, grow up, Lee,] she muttered mentally, [it's not like you're an awkward fourteen-year-old with a silly crush now. You're a grown woman, in a mature, adult relationship--] She paused to let out a growl reminiscent of her foster father [--who hasn't seen her partner in the aforementioned relationship since before noon. At this rate, I may gut Falstaff the next time he shows his Frosty the SnowMan-looking butt. Stuck in the Cafe and the Limbo version of home since mid-goddamn-October--]
           And then she cut herself off in mid-rant, because something more interesting than her Writer had entered her field of vision.
           Monet. Monet in a exquisite little red dress that Rebecca had never seen before. Monet a mere twelve feet away, laughing that beautiful laugh of hers.
           Rebecca grinned. At moments like this, looking at her, it was hard to believe that John Logan was merely her foster father, and not the genuine article. It was *his* grin, the wolfish one with the impish mischief dancing in the eyes, that she was grinning now. [Becky, hon,] she told herself, [good things come to her who waits. And your ship just came in.]
           She ambled quietly up behind Monet -- making sure that the Algerian telepath wouldn't see her -- and sidled up in back of her. With a twinkle in her eye, she reached out a hand and gave Monet's derrière a playful squeeze.
           "Hey, darlin'. Miss me?" she said.
           Monet turned, shock in her eyes, a slightly scornful sneer forming on her lips. "Jubilee, have you lost your Diet Coke-addled mind?"
           [Ohh *shit.* Wrong Monet.]
           Monet's companion, his glowing eye narrowed protectively, took a step forward. His eyebrows arched. "You wanna explain why you're fondling my girlfriend, friend?"
           [Wow. An equal-opportunity schmuck. Almost a shame to drop-kick to Pohkeepsie.] She cleared her throat. "It's X-Man, right?"
           Nate Grey nodded. "That's what they call me."
           Rebecca nodded. "Sorry, never met one of you guys before." She crossed her arms, doing her best shoulders-back, blunt-and-honest truth look. "I thought she was somebody else."
           "Obviously," the Monet said icily.
           [Gaaah, vocal frostbite,] Rebecca thought. [Wonder if all of her can all do that?] "Anyway," she continued, "I apologize. Didn't mean to tread
where I'm not wanted."
           X-Man stroked his chin, nodding thoughtfully. "No problem. This place can get confusing."
           "Sure can," Rebecca said. She nodded briskly and walked away. [Stage door, stage Writer's a dead man.]

           Meanwhile, the main room of the Subreality Cafe was growing silent, as Falstaff rose, resplendent in a freshly-written-up white tailcoat tuxedo and the ever-present bowler hat. "Ladies and gentlemen, fictives and unwritten fragments, to present the award for Best Fanfic Series...I give you Hard-Boiled Henwy and Jessica Pierce."
           The small avian fictive and the slim, white-haired New Mutant made their way to the podium. Arete doffed her helmet, speaking first. "And the nominees for Best Fanfic Series are:

David J. Warner for the Bucktown Timeline --
Various authors for The Common People --
Tapestry for The Dawn Arc -
Lisa "bum" McKee and others for the Field Trip set --
Dyce for Generation Cat --
Lori McDonald for the Gestalt Arc --
Denise Keppel for Girl Talk: Facing The Music --
Luba Kmetyk for the Idylls Of The Cat set --
Valerie Jones for the Witness Saga --
Darqstar and others for X-S (Growing Up X)

           Polite applause followed each nominee's name, and the final round, for all seven of them, was thunderous. Finally, the small yellow bird hopped up to the microphone and spoke into it.
           "And the winnew is--" he ripped the envelope open with his beak "--Dawqstaw, for X-S (Gwowing up X)"
           "Hooray!" shouted all the Sikus, but they were drowned out by the nearly deafening applause. Even Falstaff, sitting sulkily in the wings, grinned at the news.
           "HOWEVEW!" roared Hard-Boiled Henwy, crowing at top-volume. "Howevew, we have one tiny wittle announcement."
           "Seeing as how X-S is technically a genre, and not a series, we're also awarding a special, secondary first-place award toooooo--" Jessica said, her voice trailing off--
           "To Lowi McDonawd, for the Gestawlt Awc," Henwy said, smoothing the lapels of his bird-sized tux with his bill.
           There was more wild applause from the audience. And (though they'd be loath to admit it later) a bevy of Gambit fangirls sighed loudly.
           "Uh, Mr. Falstaff?" Milksop Milquetoast said, his red bellhop's rig traded in for a cheesy red tuxedo. "If you could come with me, please?"
           "What's wrong?" the rotund Writer asked.
           "Uh," the fictive gulped, "there seems to be a problem with Mr. Sinister..."

           "I am not coming out."
           "Look, Professor Essex -- can I call you Professor Essex?--"
           "No, you may not. And I have told you, I am *not* *leaving* *this* *room.* That lunatic Canadian is out there."
           Falstaff paused, staring incredulously at the dressing room's door. "You're afraid of Abyss?"
           "I am not afraid of anything," came the clipped, terse reply. "Except, perhaps, those rare days when Arclight and Vertigo have PMS at the same time. But that's immaterial. There's nothing that will make me leave."
           Falstaff sighed heavily. "Fine. Do whatever you want." The round little Writer walked away, rubbing his ever-expanding forehead with one hand while pulling spasmatically at his reddish-brown beard with the other. "How am I supposed to have him out of there so that Abyss can use him in the next chapter?" he asked a passerby -- a tall, thin fictive with a bowler hat much like his own, and carrying a starchy black umbrella.
           "Possibly I might be of some assistance," the fictive said, helpfully.
           Falstaff looked skeptical. "And how, exactly, would that be?"
           "Well," the fictive said, extending a cream-colored business card, "even though I haven't been issued my formal license yet -- I'm still Unwritten, you know -- I might be able to pull a few strings. Just call this number--" he produced a fountain pen, dipped it into a rather suspiciously convenient (as if some bearded, be-bowlered Writer had just Written it into existence a nanosecond before) "--and tell them than Mr. Cringebottom has given you the green light."
           Now the writer pulled a slim digital phone from his pocket. "All right, all right... Hello? What was that?" He rolled his eyes. "The Subreality Plot Contrivance Department? Hi, my name's Falstaff, and here's the problem..."


Credits: Hard-Boiled Henwy belongs to Marvel; the various Fics are copyright their respective authors, I am copyright to myself, so nyah, and (in closing) I am NOT sulking.

Best Humorous Fanfic
By Abyss (

           The crowd-noise dimmed somewhat as a crew of pirates, led by a barechested Logan, rushed the podium. They spread out across the stage, blades out. Most of them had large tankards of beer in their free hands. One, a Nightcrawler fictive, actually had a tankard in each hand and a third in his tail. The Logan fictive hammered his tankard on the podium for silence.
           "Ahoy! I'm Logan, Cap'n of the 'Wolf's Crest'...and these sluggards are some of my mates."
           The pirates took this opportunity to yell and cheer. The audience enthusisatically joined in. Logan continued.
           "I have the so-called honor of introducing the presenter fer Best Humourous Fanfic. Thing was, he didn't wanna come out here, so me mates brought 'im out anyways."
           The pirates let loose a huge yell, which was echoed by another group led by a Mariko fictive, who came rushing out from backstage carrying over their heads a human-sized bundle wrapped in sailcloth and tied quite soundly with thick rope. The bundle struggled somewhat, and there was a muffled curse when it was dropped unceremoniously to the stage floor.
           The pirates propped it up again, and a bit of an argument ensued as to which end was properly supposed to rest on the floor. Eventually, Mariko pointed out that the noiser end was the topmost one. This led to much poking and prodding to generate enough noise to establish to the pirates' commective satisfaction that yes, the bundle was in fact upside down. Eventually this was corrected. This done, Logan walked over and popped his claws. The bundle stiffened at the sound.
           "Ladies and gents, may I introduce the presenter of the next award -- Mister Sinister!"
           With that Logan struck out with his claws...once, twice, and there was Sinister himself, resplendent in an Armani tuxedo. The pirates walked off stage to thunderous applause as Sinister attempted to straighten himself up. Various whistles sounded out from the audience as he walked up to the podium. He studied the crowd suspiciously, then pulled from an inside pocket a white envelope which he held in his hand as he spoke.
           "I have the dubious honour, this evening, of presenting the award for BEST HUMOROUS FANFIC. While I am not renowned for my sense of humour..."
           "Oh yeah? How do you explain the cape?" someone shouted from the crowd. Sinister continued without pause.
           "...I have witnessed the development of the genre over the course of centuries..."
           "What about the Nasty Boys? Explain that!"
           "... I have studied the wit of the greats, Lenny Bruce, the Marx Brothers, Chaplin in his prime..."
           "Two words: LUCKY CHARMS!"
           "Oh, that is quite enough."
           Sinister pointed his finger into the crowd and blasted the heckler, one Perkolater, property of David Warner. The unfortunate fictive was blown out a conveniently located window.
           "As I was saying, I am imminently qualified to present the award. There were many nominees, but rather than list them all, we present you with this brief sampling of some of the best, to use the term lightly, dialogue from the works in question, in absolutely no particular order. May we have the audio tape, please?"


The Green Ranger kicks Magneto in the gnads.
"NO way, McCoy, I'm not gonna be poked and prodded and..."
"YOW! Watch the butt, I'm still sore there!"
"You are aware that they're 100% silicone?"
"It provides me with ease of movement."
"What do you mean it's too short? It's almost ten feet tall!"
" That's what all the fuss is about? (Pulls down his pants.) Mine's bigger."
"Boy, I'm glad I didn't have to wear this thing,"
" I was neutered last Monday."
"ALL: "EEEEeeeeeewwwww!"
"Clarice: Careful, it's slippery.
Sam: Durnit, how does this thing fit in heah, anyhoo?
Betsy: You've got it in backwards."
"Can Leech come out from under the bed yet?"


           While the tape was running, a young man in a blue jacket walked up the aisle.
           "Mr. N. Sinister?"
           "Fed-ex. We have delivery for you. Sign here please. Thank you sir. Nice tux, sir."
           The man left and Sinister looked at the box. It was a small cardboard shipping box addressed to him, care of the Subreality Cafe.
           "Hmmm, curious." Sinister said to himself. "Who dares send Sinister gifts?" He shook the package experimentally, but no sound came out.
           Unseen by Sinister or anyone else, a small figure crept along the rafters of the ceiling above the stage. It kept to the shadows, and was low enough that unless someone was looking carefully, they would not see it. The crowd was too busy laughing to look carefully. When the intruder reached a point above the podium, it busied itself with certain preparations.
           The presentation ended, so Sinister placed the package down on the stage next to the podium and took his place. Too faint to hear, something in the package went "Kkkrkt" and began scratching on the cardboard.
           "Truly, a veritable cornucopia of amusement. And now, the winner of the 1998 CFFBA award for Best Humorous Fan-Fic goes to..." He pulled the paper from the envelope and unfolded the contents. "KIELLE and DOC NUKE, for X-MST3K!"
           Kielle and Doc Nuke walked on stage, hand in hand. Sinister presented her with a Creative License and then stepped aside as she moved up to the microphone.
           "Thank you, this is really an honour. I just want to thank my proofreaders..."
           As Kielle spoke, the audience began to giggle. The ripple of low laughter ran across the room and increased. Kielle stopped her speech, confused, and looked at Sinister, who shrugged. They were in exactly this position when the bunny slipper that had been descending from a wire, Mission:Impossible style, from the ceiling behind them swung forward and slammed a custard pie it was carrying in its fangs into Kielle's face with a cry that could best be described as:
           The audience was in hysterics, security rushed the stage. Sinister whirled on the suspended slipper and let loose with an energy blast, just as the bunny slipper dropped from the line and scurried into the crowd as only a predatory cannibalistic bunny slipper can. Unfortunately Sinister failed to correct his aim, and the unfortunate Doc Nuke was blasted clear over the bar where he lay as a combination of scotch and dishwater dripped over his head. Chaos reigned for a few minutes and Kielle was escorted off the stage, trying to fend off several Lockheed fictives and the odd cat who kept trying to lick her face.
           Sinister glared at the audience.
           "Well, I hope you're all satisfied. This is a farce, a mockery of the long tradition of..."
           "Hey, Sinny!" the voice came out of the front row. Sinister didn't need to see the speaker to identify him.
           "Not now, Abyss..."
           "Sinny, what's white and fuzzy and has long ears and fangs?"
           "I have no idea."
           "Me neither, but it's crawling up your leg!"
           "Oh, please, you cannot seriously expect me to..."
           As he berated the audience, Sinister was unaware of yet another small, fuzzy, white bunny slipper climbing up the leg of his tuxedo. With a cry that could best be described as "Hssst" the creature suddenly leapt up and bit him on the nose, hanging on for dear life as he swatted at it. Suddenly, the slipper released his nose and dove down to the podium and crawled under the tipped shipping crate it had arrived in. Without hesitation, Sinister thrust out his hand and blasted the box into cinders, revealing a small hole in the stage, just large enough to allow a predatory bunny slipper to crawl through, and an alarm clock wired to a small lump of grey-looking plastic. Sinister had just enough time to blink when the hands of the clock lined up at 12:00. The explosion was sudden, deafening, and utterly without force. The audience didn't even have time to react before it was raining Frosted Lucky Charms throughout the cafe. Sinister stood at the podium, covered in sugary cereal fragments. His tormentor was nowhere in sight...
           "DAMN YOU ABYSSSS!!!"
           He was still ranting as they carried him off the stage.


The nominees for Best Humorous FanFic, shown here in the order in which they were featured, were;

* A Fanficrific Halloween by Greg Z. Newcomb
* The Three-Part Harmony set by Denise Keppel & Krista Schneidereit
* Boil A Lot Of Water Bub! by Denise & Krista
* Civics Lesson by JL "Jelpy" Puckett
* Professor X And The X-Babes by Lori McDonald
* O X-Mas Tree by Perridox Smith
* Revenge Of The Shower Rod by Denise & Krista
* GenX Presents A Short (And Somewhat Inaccurate) History Of The X-Men by Jaelle
* X-Cat by Denise Keppel
* X-MST3K by Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb & Greg "Doc Nuke" Newcomb
* Mutants Unite! by Desert Nomad
* The More The Merrier by Lori McDonald & Melissa Chambers


- Wink-Wink & Nudge-Nudge, The Predatory Canniballistic Bunny Slippers, own Abyss.
- Abyss adapted the Pirates.

This was an Abyssmal Production,
February 1998, in association with CFAN Inc.

Abyss (

Best Serious Fanfic
By Greg "Doc Nuke" Newcomb (

           While the room was still in raucous celebration from the previous presentation, a large figure drifted up onto the stage. He was covered by a black cloth, and he was pushed along in a wheelbarrow.
           "I am the drewd piwate Woberts!" he bellowed. Most of the crowd looked his direction as he rolled along the edge of the platform. "You will all pay attention to me now!"
           While the black-clad giant already had most of the award-show patrons' attention, the few remaining souls who weren't looking at him had no choice but to stare when he suddenly burst into flames.
           'See how I burn!" he continued to holler. "Wook at me! I am who you want to see!"
           Some of the gathered writers and characters clapped, a few ran for the fire extinguishers. Needless to say, no one was noticing as Doc Nuke silently made his way to the tech booth where the show effects were controlled.
           The tech in the booth was frantic. "I don't have a 'Dwead Piwate Woberts,' on the program!" he yelled in a whisper into his headset microphone. "I have no special effects cues labeled 'Woberts!'"
           While the tech scurried about looking for a reason to have a burning, giant pirate on his stage, Doc Nuke waved a rare "Princess Leia as Jabba's Prisoner" action figure under his nose.
           "My life could have meaning again!" the tech screamed as he lunged for the figure. Doc Nuke tossed it into the cluttered backstage area and waited for the frothing tech to scramble after it.
           Doc Nuke sat behind the control console and pried open a box marked "TOP SECRET." Inside was a switch labeled THEIR STYLE and MY STYLE. With an evil laugh, he pushed the switch to his style.

(Meanwhile, up on the stage, Kielle is still playing emcee and trying to calm
down the crowd after the appearance of the Dwead Piwate Woberts.)

Okay everyone, let's calm down now. We just need to put the fire out on
this Dwead Piwate Woberts, and then we can continue with the awards.

(Out of the crowd, a man wearing an orange shirt, green pants,
and with neatly-cut blonde hair, jumps out of his chair.)

Fear not, all! I, The Waterguy, shall use my powers to stop these fires!

(The Waterguy activates his amazing telepathic abilities. Little white ringlets
of telepathy shoot from his head and speed towards the ocean where a pod
of passing grey whales acknowledge his call. Moving to help the aquatic
champion of justice, they throw themselves up on the beach and desperately
try to flag down a cab. Unfortunately, they expire before a driver notices.)

(Meanwhile, at Rainbow Warrior Headquarters:)


(Meanwhile, back at the Cafe, The Waterguy, standing at the window,
telepathically picks up the death throes of his beached friends.)

NOOOOOOO!!!!! What have I done!!!!
By the Gods of Atlantis!!!! I suck!!!!

(While The Waterguy breaks down into a sobbing heap, a gaggle of Storms
sitting at another table gleefully douse the fire with their El Nino blasts.)

Silly Waterguy, powers are for heroes. Well, the fire is out, and we're just
moments away from handing out the final award of the evening, the big one
that you've all been waiting for. I'm trying to get word from the backstage
crew if our next presenters are ready, but I'm not getting anything...

Hey, that's not a Dwead Piwate Woberts, it's a Fezzik!


OY!!! And it's not a real Fezzik, it's a bloody Animatronic Fezzik!


And dis ain't de usual style, cheres, dis is
some sort of weird script style, frerejacque.


Yeah, and what about Scarecrow's brain?


Kill. Murder. Death.


Wait a minute, this is starting to add up. Script style, an Animatronic Fezzik,
The Waterguy and beached whales... This is the work of Doc Nuke!

(The maniacal laugh of Doc Nuke echoes
throughout the cafe over the PA system.)

Yes my dear, I've taken over this section of the awards. My cronies and I are
going to present the Best Serious Fan-Fic Award. Ironic, don't you think?

Nuke, honey, I love you and all, but don't you
think this is slightly out of your league?

Of course, that's why I'm doing it. You all laughed at me, but, how do you say
it: "Laugh while you can, monkey boy"? I'm like the vengeful Phantom of the
Opera, not the wimpy Michael Crawford type, the hideous Lon Chaney type.

Before he goes any farther, folks, I better go ahead and announce
this award. The winner for Best Serious Fan-Fic goes to...

I can't let you do that, Dave.

(Doc Nuke pushes a button on the backstage technical panel. A cart of sushi
and unedited fan-fics rolls onto the stage with an obvious squeaky wheel.)

To... (eyes sushi) to... (eyes fan-fics) to...mew!

(Kielle dives behind the cart and begins eating and reading.
Laersyn, sensing trouble, starts moving towards the stage.)

Maim. Hurt. Grind.

No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die!

(As Laersyn nears the stage, a net-full of Smurfs, Beanie Babies, Care Bears,
My Little Ponies and Cabbage Patch Dolls dumps around him. He hisses
and recoils from their powerful cuteness effect. Finding himself surrounded
by the cute toys, he folds into a cloaked ball and quivers.)

I hate to use such tactics, but award shows are hell. Ladies and gentleman,
for your reading pleasure, I present the Best Serious Fan-Fic Award!
Welcome now your celebrity presenters, Magneto and Jack Palance!

(Magneto and Jack Palance come up from the audience, arms around each
other's necks, swaying badly and trying to keep their balance. It's obvious
that they're plastered. They reach the stage and break into their song-and-dance
number with Jack Palance jamming, Townshend-like, on an electric guitar.)

"Old, Drunk and Evil"
Sung to the tune of "Pinball Wizard"

Ever since we were young men,
We've loved our alchohol,
From Martininis to Manhattans,
We must have drunk them all,

But they only made us meaner,
So we had no shame at all,
When we got really plastered,
And went out to kick some balls!

(doing windmills with the guitar)
Just like a couple of bastards,
We think we're pretty keen,
Knockin' over grannies,
and pickin' fights with teens,

We have no inhibitions,
We think we have the gall,
To get damn well plastered,
And go out to kick some balls!

We're old, drunk and evil,
You know we can't be missed,
Old, drunk and evil,
We're lots of fun when pissed!

I can drink you under!

Like hell, 'To!

Watch me throw it down!

Can't judge our reactions,
You can bet we really smell,
Devoid of all emotions,
As we raise a little hell,

Always up for one more,
Never heed "last call,"
Cause we are plastered,
and want to kick some balls.

I may be as ancient,
As that fossil Larry King,
But I want to make it,
With some young foxy thing!

When we go to a party,
My friend here he's the best,
I may have more disciples,
But his have bigger breasts.

We're just two wild codgers,
Getting a rise before we fall,
When we're really plastered,
We like to kick some balls!

(After the song, they move to the podium and take the microphone.)

Evening, lashies and gendermen. I am Magneto, Mutant Master
of Magnetism. Only someone of my stasture would be right for
preshenting this award: Best Sherious Fan-Fic.

And I'm renowned film star Jack Palance. Like
at most award shows, I'm here to do this:

(Jack Palance falls to the ground and starts doing one-handed
push-ups. The crowd, a little bewildered, politely claps.)

Ah, just like me, that never gets too old.

While Jack and I are both honored to be preshenting this award,
thish show took so long, eshpecially this intro, that we had plenty
of time to go through a cashe of pershimmon wine.

Believe it, or not.

So we're quite pickled, but that won't shtop us from presenting this award.

Besides, Magnus old man, I hold my liquor better than you do.

You're shure as hell right there, Jack. You're not even schlurring.

I challenge you to believe it, or not.

You keep shaying that. Anyway, before I announce the nominesshess,
let me remind you all that I am the Mutant Mashter of Magnetishm, and
the day will come when you all bow down to me, and only mutant-kind...


Oh, shorry, mutant-kind and Jack Palance will rule this Earth. The rheign
of Homo shapiens is at an end. Amd if you don't heed my warning, then I
will come to your houshe and pershonally rip up all your Gen13 comicsh.

What do they see in those comics, compared to yours?

Big thingies. I alwaysh lose to big thingies.

(Meanwhile in the audience, four young boys sit at a front row table...)

Dude, this sucks!

Yeah, I thought we we're going to see
some cool superheroes, not stinky old guys.

Really cool ones, like Wonder Woman, or Silver Sable.

Mhms mmt mme mimmemt mumkmmg mmts M'me mmmr mmmn!

Bigger than Jean Grey's?

Heh! Heh! Heh! Hee!

(wearing dark shades and a goatee)
You children can keep yappin' away, but, seriously,
I'm waiting for my moment of stardom.

What moment, Cartman? You're not up for this award.

I'm up for an award.

What, the Biggest Fat-Ass Award?


Dude, our fan-fic was a nominee hours ago. You missed it.


Yeah, you were still at the buffet table. That CFAN chick won.


(Up on stage, Magneto and Jack Palance
are interrupted by Cartman's outburst.)

Excuse us, we're trying to read nominees here.

Screw you! I want my fan-fic award. I WAAANNNNT IIITTTTT!!!!

I know these ragamuffins, they are children from my neighborhood.
What are you doing out sho late without your parents, children?

That's okay, dude, our friend Chef brought us.

Yeah, where is Chef, anyway?

(In some abandoned dressing room...)

You know, Mrs. Greys, I've never made sweet
love with this many super-heroines before.

We're going to raise you to new heights, Chef.

I'm mostly already there.

Oh, CHEF!!!

(Out in the audience...)


Enough outbursts! Children, keep quiet
sho I can preshent thish award, okay?

Dammit! People your age die, why don't you?

Infidels! Prepare to meet my wrath!!!

(Magneto rears back and crackles with magnetic force. Unfortunately,
being so drunk, he only manages to attract a few stray paperclips to
his outstretched finger. The kids laugh while he struggles to remove
them from his finger. Jack Palance, growing tired of the situation,
takes out his pattened $12-Shovel and begins beating on the nearest
quivering object until it stops moving. Unfortunately, in Jack
Palance's state, he was unable to tell Cartman from anyone else.)

Oh my God! They killed The Waterguy!

You bastards!

Quiet you, we crap bigger than your fan-fic. Now, here are the final nominees
for Best Serious Fan-Fic: "Betrayal" by Valerie Jones; "Devil's Due" by Laersyn;
"End Of Innocence" by Ruby Lis; "Ghost," a Common People story by
Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb; "If You Believe In Forever," an X-S piece by
Darqstar & JF Jackson; "Just Lucky I Guess" by DuAnn Cowart; "Kid Dynamo"
by Connie Hirsch; "Neon Hearts" by Susan Crites; "Onslaught: Redemption"
by Swpwarrior; "Paradox Law" by Valerie Jones; "Shades of Gray" by Me;
"Sometimes Even The Music Is Against You" by Denise Keppel; "Thick As
Thieves" by Valerie Jones & Lori McDonald; "Vertigo: No Way Up" by Kelly
"Kielle" Newcomb; "Violations" by Denise Keppel; and "White" by Min.

And the winner! Yes, the winner is me!

(looks up from sushi)



Ladies, did you ever see "Jurassic Park,"
when that pack of raptors ate that guy?

Why didn't you just say so, Chef! (leaping at him)

No way, dude!

Me mummimg mimmmd mt mff!

I want to thank everyone who bowed down and voted
for me, and the Academy, and my coshtars and them...

But, we had better be going with your award.
There's a party at Spago's we can't miss.


(Magneto and Jack Palance turn to leave, but the Animatronic
Fezzik, who had been standing quietly at the rear of the stage,
lurches forward and knocks their heads together. They collapse
in a heap while Animatronic Fezzik moves to the microphone.)

Evewybody, the weal winner is: "Betwayal" by Vawerie Jones.


I'm a little nuts, but I believe in fairness.

Here's a wittle cwip.

           "De game was rigged from de beginning," [the Witness] said, and the cold in Remy's stomach turned to ice. "Dere's no way for me to win."
           "But, de X-Men are going t'live now, right?" Remy felt like he was holding his breath.
           "Oui." He smiled bitterly. "So officially, I win. But dat's not how it works." He pulled his cloak more tightly about him. "Follow de logic: Because o' what you know now, de X-Men won' allow Colossus t'betray dem. An' if he don' do dat, he won' try t'kill you."
           Remy stared at the Witness in stunned silence as understanding hit him. If the X-Men weren't betrayed, then Colossus would never try to kill Remy, which would in turn mean that his powers wouldn't be awakened then, and he wouldn't transport himself back to New Orleans thirty years in the past. He would never grow up on the streets of New Orleans or be taken in by the Thieves guild. In short, there would never be a Remy LeBeau -- never be a Gambit.
           "You said dis would cost me my life." It came out as a choked whisper.
           The Witness' face was completely expressionless. "So I did."
           "But I'm still here, now?" Remy couldn't help but glance down at himself to make sure that was, indeed, the case.
           The Witness nodded. "Remember, paradox only occurs in y'original timeline. De X-Men would have been betrayed about ten years from now. Dat's when de paradox will collapse."
           Remy could only stare at him. He was going to die in ten years. No, worse than that -- he was going to be erased. Everything he had been, everything he had done, would be gone. And no one would ever know that he had been there. Not his guild, not the X-Men...not even Rogue.

           As the clip rolled, Doc Nuke and Animatronic Fezzik secretly made their way out of the cafe. As they walked along in the darkness, Animatronic Fezzik asked, "Did you turn the style back?"
           "Of course," Doc Nuke replied. "I changed it back during the clip. See how proper everything looks now?"
           Animatronic Fezzik looked at the previous paragraph and nodded. "I see."
           "That was great of you, knocking those two drunken bastards out like that," Doc Nuke said proudly. "You know, Animatronic Fezzik, you did something right."
           "I won't wet it go to my circuits," the giant grinned as they disappeared into the night.

In Conclusion...
By Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb (

          "ALL RIGHT, PIPE DOWN!" Kielle roared from the stage. Between the custard pie (some of which was still matted in her bangs) and Doc Nuke's one-man coup, the Scribe had lost quite a bit of credibility -- her shout didn't do an ounce of good. Then Haesslich merely roared. The dragon's bellow shattered three windows and every wine glass behind the bar, but it did the trick -- for a brief moment blessed silence reigned in the Subreality Cafe, which only moments before had been hurtling towards a state of all-out post-ceremony riot.
          Kielle planted her fists on her hips and sighed heavily. She really hadn't been intending to take an active role tonight. She really hadn't. And besides, there was still some sushi backstage with her name on it. Better make this FAST. "We're not done yet! I've got a few extra awards and announcements to make before we pack away the podium." She owlishly adjusted her glasses and peering at the first of a series of 3x5 cards in her left hand.
           "Item One: Not officially an award here, just a list of the stories which got mentioned the most amount of times over the course of the survey. Eh-hem. Okay, here goes: A Laying On Of Hands by Sarah Crauder, the Experiment #713 set by Lori McDonald, the Idylls Of The Cat set by Luba Kmetyk, Neon Hearts by Susan Crites, Scars by Ruby Lis, Strange Encounter by Valerie Jones, the Vicky set by Min, Wild Cards by Elena Zovatto--" here Kielle paused to gasp for air "--the Witness Arc by Valerie Jones, the Gestalt Arc by Lori McDonald, the Mutants Unite! series by Desert Nomad, the Summer Ison set by Me, X-S by Darqstar & others, You Can Never Go Home Again by Luba Kmetyk, the Dawn Arc by Tapestry, annnnnd Generation Cat by Dyce. No surprises THERE -- oh, no, wait, oh dear. Someone fetch some smelling salts for Sarah...thanks Whiskers, you're a good girl. Just keep waving them under her nose until she comes around.
           "Item Two: Some additional last-minute awards which are purely my fault...
           "Longest Average Number Of Words Used In Story Titles: Falstaff. Though Phil's 'Apocalypse Soonish' alone almost put him into the running."
           Kielle paused to duck a thrown tomato and popped back up grinning. "Uh-uh, I'm not done yet! Onward:
           "Names Which Look The Most Like Typos: a tie between Me and N.
           "Longest Consecutive Plot Tease: Susan Crites. How long has been been for Cassie and Hank now, Sue, three years? Ouch!
           "Living Proof That Talent Is Genetic: Darqstar and Lasher, with runners-up Dyce and Diamonde.
           "Most Likely To Be Caught In A Compromising Position With Her Co-Writer Before The Year Is Out..." Kielle stopped, scrutinized the card carefully, and then chucked it over her shoulder. "Hardy-har-har, Tapestry. Next:
           "Most Terrifying: Hawk. Or Abyss on a good night.
           "Most Chokably Multi-Talented: Dex. It's not fair, I tell ya, it's not fair...
           "Most Likely To Be Featured On A Milk Carton: Supereub. Anyone seen him since October...? Followed closely by Brucha Meyers, although we all know exactly where she is. Hope Sinister can handle sharing his bathroom and the remote control for the rest of his life."
           Amidst the ensuing ripple of laughter, Kielle flipped through the rest of the cards and sent them flying over her shoulder after the last one she'd tossed. "Ah, enough of this in-joke stuff. Item Three: all results of this poll, including everyone who was voted for (not just the winners) and their respective standings will be posted on CFAN -- in fact, they're probably up online even as we speak." Writers and fictives alike exchanged glassy-eyed glances which plainly said "Hmm, I wonder where *I* stand on that list..." and started edging towards the door en masse. "Uh, hey, wait, I'm not d--"
           Chaos erupted once more as a mad cheering stampede broke for the door. Chairs skidded and tables started flying...

           And thus it ends like it began, with two people debating the wisdom of this entire set-up:

           "Oh bloody hell. Not again."
           "It was only a matter of time..."
           "Yeah, I know." Kielle stood gingerly amidst the remains of the Subreality Café, rubbing the last traces of cream pie out of her right ear and eying the disaster with a resigned air. "I'm amazed it took them THAT long to destroy the place. Ah well, no worries -- it can be rebuilt, just like last time. It WAS fun, wasn't it?"
           "What, the last time the place was razed?" the Manager replied sourly.
           "No, no, the awards ceremony. Admit it, you had fun."
           "I most certainly did not."
           "Not even the tiniest bit?"
           "Beg your pardon, ma'am, but NO! Complete insanity...Writers all over the place...totally out of scrumpy and sake before the curtain even rose...even Mary Sue was on the verge of going postal. I, for one, am glad that it's over." Without waiting for debate, he/she stolidly turned and stumped off of the roof wreckage, intent upon calling in Damage Control to deal with the mess. Again.
           "Hey, c'mon, take it easy, it's over isn't it?" Kielle watched him/her go and only then allowed herself to break into a broad up-to-something smile. The delicate silver chain which bound the Sacred Dictionary to her wrist (when she remembered to write it in, anyway) jingled musically as a light breeze swirled a most unnatural shadow around her form. "Well, until next year at least," she added under her breath. "C'mon, Laersyn. We've got writing to do."

.-= FINIS =-.

Final Score!

The 1998 CBFFA Team

Initial Concept: Claymore
Just About Bloody Everything Else Except
The Actual Writing: Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb

Intro: Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb
Fanfic Hall Of Fame: Dex
Writer Hall Of Fame: Dyce
Most Improved Writer: Laersyn
Best New Female Character: Dex
Best New Male Character: Dyce
Best New Writer: Celendra/Silvanis
Interlude #1: Dex
Best Established Writer: Susan Crites
Best Original Genre: Tapestry
Best Serious Crossover: Denise Keppel
Best Humorous Crossover: Haesslich
Best Adult/Mature Fanfic: Laersyn
Best Non-Team Fanfic: Haesslich
Best Team Story/Series: Excalibur: Suzene Campos
Best Team Story/Series: GenX: Jelpy
Interlude #2: Dex
Best Team Story/Series: New Mutants: Patrick Sahlstrom
Best Team Story/Series: X-Force: Desert Nomad
Best Team Story/Series: X-Men: Denise Keppel
Best Fanfic Series: Falstaff
Best Humorous Fanfic: Abyss
Best Serious Fanfic: Greg "Doc Nuke" Newcomb
In Conclusion...: Kelly "Kielle" Newcomb

The Voters
(many by codenames)

0165, Abbey Rhode, Alexa, Alleigh Summers, Angharad, Anonymous Codename, BlueHeeler, Bond - James Bond, Booboo, The Bouncer, Bubble, Carcal, Celendra, ChanceCraz, Clockwork99, Coralle, Dande, Decado, Deep Throat, Def Dumb & Dangerious, Dingus, Diz, Dragonlet, Draven, Dr. Who, Elspeth Tarses, Enigma, Etienne, FluffyWuffy, Fudge Brownie, Gen-xmaster, The Goddess Of Scott Bashing, GPSMS, Greencheese, HappyBug, He-Who-Turns-People-Into-Cabbages, HeXadecimal, Hoshie, Junkmail, Kielle's Pet, The Kilted One, KitSilver, Kosseran, Lazarus Long, The Lingering Scent Of Cheese..., Logan, Mack, Maverick3, Mermaid, Mutant Mash, Nate, Nate Grey, Novaya, Orakle, Patches, Polaris, Raïssa, Red, S|iNkY, Sassi, Seraph, Shadow Mistress, Silversheep, Skiss, Sniper, SPIKE, Squirrel Boy, StarFive, Sun In The Eyes, T-God, Thaylyaht, Theophil, T'sao T'sao, Twiller, Unicorn, Vasz, Virginia, Wallaby, WantJagger, Zipper, and Zoe123

The Winners

...can be found on display at CFAN until the end of April 1998. Beyond that...who knows? Until next year, mes amis...