This, then, was the first mission in which Dafydd was partnered with anyone other than Selene. As a glance at the reports that follow it will reveal, it was the start of a long trend. No one is sure why Upstairs kept sending Dafydd off after this, but that's the sort of thing they do, really. ~Terri Ryan, DOGA Archivist
Agent Dafydd wandered the streets of Ankh-Morpork, the greatest city on the Disc. Or at least, the largest. After only five minutes, he had come to the conclusion that anything - even a termite mound - could be greater than Ankh-Morpork, as long as it didn't smell so much.
As he gazed into the window of a dwarfish weapons shop, half of his mind wandered back to the reason he was here. No one could have thought that a homicidal partner could actually be useful when not confronting 'Sues, but there it was.
Of course, it was not a normal situation. The discovery of Googlefight had the whole of HQ in an uproar, all typing names in to see who was the 'winner'. It was inevitable, of course, that someone would match herself against Selene.
In the end, it had been Penny from the Dept. of Mary Sue Experiments who had dared. Or rather, she had been volunteered to try and match Selene by Vemi, her partner. Penny would have been quite happy just to sit quietly on the edge of things, watching everyone, and cheering on Vemi. But Vemi was too proud for that.
If he'd been quicker, Dafydd could have warned Agent Penny that, although beating Selene was fine in itself, telling said agent of this might not be such a good idea. But he hadn't, and now Penny was in Medical suffering from severe lightning burns, Selene was being reprimanded by Upstairs, Agent Vemi was without a partner, and he, Dafydd, was wandering Ankh-Morpork on a 'vacation'.
Of course, 'vacation' actually meant ogling weapons, such as Burleigh and Stronginthearm crossbows, and trying to find something to buy to pacify Selene.
What he did not know, however, was that he was not the only PPC Agent in the city. Vemi, stalking the streets alone in search of the latest 'Sue, was also there
The Laws of Narrative Comedy being what they are, what happened next was inevitable. Dafydd stepped back from the shop window, turned to walk away... and crashed straight into Vemi, knocking both Agents to the ground.
Scrambling up quickly before being trodden on by a passing troll, Vemi glared at the Agent, about to give him a lecture on minding where he was going. Then, however, she realised who the young man sitting on the cobbles looking dazed actually was. She stared at him.
Dafydd blinked a few times, trying to clear the haze. "Er, yes? Do I know yo... oh, wait, you're that Agent. Er... Vemi, isn't it?"
Vemi nodded and offered a hand to pull him up. "Penny is still recovering. Selene is quite the weapon."
Taking the hand, Dafydd scrambled to his feet. "Yes, she is. It's very useful for killing of the 'Sues - some of them are deadly at short range, so lightning's the only way."
"Arrows work fine for the rest of us," replied Vemi, a little curtly, but then she grinned and looked around. "Is the SO still giving her a telling-off?"
Dafydd shrugged. "I'm not too good with a bow, and Selene never bothered to learn. Or at least, she never mentioned it. And she is, yes - he said she'd be tied up for several hours. I'm hoping he didn't mean literally."
Vemi's grin became even wider at the thought of any of the Agents trying to tie up Selene. She would have paid good money to see it. Money borrowed from Penny, possibly, but still good money.
"So what are you doing here?" she asked. "Did the SO give you a mission, too? I wouldn't have thought that there were many Discworld Sues around."
"Hmm? Oh, no - he actually decided to give me some time off, and sent me here on vacation. Maybe he wants at least one sane agent in every team." Dafydd paused to consider this, and then frowned. "Did you just say that you've got a mission here? Or am I still not thinking straight?"
The girl gawped at him. For a few moments all she could do was open and shut her mouth in surprise and confusion. "Wait...what...a holiday? Right, that's it! The second I get back, I'm going to demand a holiday, too! They say Genua is nice at this time of year...Oh, and yes. I'm on a mission. Daughter of Susan, or something."
Dafydd winced. "Daughter of Susan. Oh, dear Eru... no, wait, that's 'Oh gods' here, isn't it? But seriously, Susan, a daughter?" Dafydd blinked then as an idea struck him. "I think such a terrible mission would take a lot out of you - so much so that you wouldn't be able to go back to HQ for several hours after, and would instead by forced to wander the Disc on what is most certainly not a holiday."
"Take a lot out of me? Are you calling me..." and then the light dawned. "Oh...oh yeah, of course. Take a lot out of me. Right. 'Course, something like that might take more than a couple of hours to recover from. Like a trip to Genua...fancy seeing Genua? Or would Selene bite your head off? Or..." she glanced at the dirty shop window behind Dafydd, "...would you rather carry on looking at weapons all day? P-r-e-t-t-y weapons!"
Dafydd laughed. "If I take her back a crossbow, Selene will forgive <I>anything</I>. She's been wanting one for weeks. But, uh, I kinda don't have much money..." His voice trailed off.
Shooting him a funny look, Vemi shook her head sadly. "Money? This is Ankh-Morpork, Dafydd. Send the SO the bill. How do you think I got this nice collection of knives?"
"Besides," she added as an after thought, "Selene is usually your weapon, isn't she? Meaning you don't have a weapon on you at the moment. You can't wander round the Disc without a weapon"
"Ooh, knives. Like knives. Pretty knives." Then he blinked. "Oh. I'm being stupid again, aren't I? I was worried about the Thieves Guild, but if they can't see me..." He shrugged. "And no, I don't have a weapon. Back in a minute, then." Dafydd wandered into the shop and could be seen looking over the weaponry on display.
After a few minutes he wandered out again, carrying a wooden crossbow in his arms. As he approached Vemi, she could hear him muttering things along the lines of '... my precious, so pretty aren't you...'
She shook her head again, and pulled out a large map of the city, keeping close to the wall. After all, if they had gone out in to the crowds, they would have been bumped and jostled around, making it impossible to read the map. Frowning, Vemi traced a finger over all the streets. "Damn," she muttered, half to herself, "I can't find it..."
Breaking out of his trance, Dafydd wandered over. "What are you looking for?" he asked.
"Periwinkle Street," she replied. "You look. If you can't find it, we can go and find a canon character to point us in the right direction. Carrot, maybe, or Dibbler."
Dafydd pored over the map for a minute or two, and then straightened up, frowning. "Not a sign. I wonder if we're just being blind, or if the SO set this up deliberately."
"I had thought that it was in the Shades, but it doesn't seem to be there. Shall we go and find Dibbler, then? He's always in Sator Square, and that should be easy enough to find."
"It's a very Shades-ey name, I'll admit," Dafydd said, nodding. "Dibbler sounds good - does this mean I've been drafted your mission?"
"Depends," Vemi replied, as she started walking in the direction of Sator Square, "On how much Selene would mind if she thought that you had been off killing Sues without her"
Dafydd laughed and followed the other agent. "Like I said, she's got a crossbow now, so she'll forgive anything."
"So long as you don't do a Gollum," came the retort. Suddenly, Vemi came to a halt without giving any warning, and pointed up to the name of the road leading off the street they were on. She grinned, and turned to Dafydd. "The canon is obviously on our side, then. Nice to know Ankh-Morpork likes us!"
The sign read "Periwinkle Street"
"Well, there's a thing," Dafydd replied. "I guess it must really want to get rid of this 'Sue. How bad is she?"
"Read it yourself," replied Vemi, "she isn't too bad, considering some of the 'Sues in Middle Earth. But the Disc just isn't used to them."
Dafydd nodded and glanced up. His eyes defocused as he read the Words, and then he grimaced. "Ouch... there is so much wrong with this thing. When did you want to kill her?"
"As soon as possible. She's intolerable! I mean, honestly, what a little brat! I can't believe that she's referred to as being like 'Susan's inner child'!"
"No one in Susan's family acted anything like this. But I think we'll have to wait for the mischaracterised Hogfather to show up first." He scanned the Words again, and then paled. "Oh gods... there's a full chapter disclaimer to suffer through."
As the two Agents stalked down the street to the place where Susan and Lascivia lived, snow began to fall. It was not the crisp, fresh, white snow that they were used to from the Tolkien-verse, but it was Ankh-Morpork snow. Dirty grey stuff that seemed to be more like ash than snow, resting on the street and turning instantly in to slush
Dafydd brushed distractedly at his top, and muttered, "I do hope this stuff doesn't stain black. Or dissolve it, for that matter." Then he glanced up and stopped. "Number 34, right?”
"It should be. Look, that's Susan up there looking out of her window. Probably watching everyone finishing off their Hogswatch shopping. It is tomorrow, after all." Vemi glared at the house for a moment, which was a typical Morporkian house. Very plain on the outside, with its door locked and its windows shut. She shrugged, flicked a small dagger out of her hair where it had been hidden, and stuck it in the lock. After a moment or two of twisting it this way and that, mumbling, the door clicked and swung open, letting the two Agents walk in.
Dafydd looked around at the house. "Nice place. Very typical. Except that I doubt Susan would celebrate Hogswatch with all these decorations. Or any, for that matter. She'd be more likely to stay down here and chat to the poor guy."
His partner nodded her agreement, looking around at the tacky, predictable decorations. "Paper chains?" she scoffed. Although she didn't doubt that paper chains were very popular with most of the people in the city, she couldn't imagine Susan Sto Helit stringing them up all over her home.
"We've got a couple of hours to wait. Got any cards?"
"Cards, cards..." Dafydd patted his pockets, and then pulled something out. "Got these in that weapons shop - don't know why they were selling them there. They're Caroc cards... will that do?”
"Can you play Cripple Mr. Onion with them?”
"I think so, yes. I'm not too good at it, though..."
Satisfied, Vemi smirked. "That'll do me fine, then. Come on, we may as well go to the kitchen. That's where she first appears."
"Lovely. We'll let the turkey watch. Obviously Susan couldn't afford a pig. Or someone to kill the thing."
When they entered the kitchen, Vemi smiled happily. There was something about kitchens. They were warm, snug, and this one had Lancre whiskey in it. She picked up the bottle, sipped a bit, and then handed it to Dafydd. "Fancy a taste?"
Dafydd's eyes gleamed. "They don't let me have alcohol that often..."
"Same. Don't drink too much though, or we'll be too drunk to kill the little brat. Now, how about that game of cards?"
He took a sip from the bottle and handed it back to her. "Right. Now, remind me... how do we start?"
It was close to two hours, and a lot of losing on Dafydd's part, before the pair heard footsteps on the stairs. Dafydd looked up. "She's coming. Er... where do we hide?"
"...Great Onion beats your Double Bagel...oh..." Vemi looked up as she also heard the footsteps approaching. Looking around quickly, she grabbed her partner and pulled him under the large table. Perhaps it was not the best place to hide, but it was dark, and the 'Sue had more interesting things to think about than whatever was under the kitchen table.
Like getting drunk, for example, despite being only six. Or running through the house like a headless chicken, as she did a moment later. Dafydd groaned. "Shouldn't that have woken Susan up?" he asked of no one in particular.
"You'd think. She must be seriously OOC."
Dafydd glanced back at the Words. "Oh, no, wait, she 'ran silently'. Despite the fact that the stairs creak."
Vemi whipped out her notebook and scribbled down the list of charges. In pink. A pink, sparkly pen in a pink notebook. It ought to have been a disgrace to the PPC. After writing the last of the charges, she looked apologetically at Dafydd.
"I can't help it if Suvians abuse pink now, can I?" she defended herself. "Shh, the 'Sue is here."
He raised his hands defensively, and whispered, "I didn't say anything."
"I said shush!"
Dafydd bit his lip and watched silently.
That was when the six-year-old Sue entered the kitchen. The small child picked up the whiskey - a lot less drink it than there should have been - and settled down by the fireplace. Vemi had her pink pen poised, ready to scribble down more charges.
Dafydd pulled out his own notepad and scribbled something down. He passed it to Vemi, and she read, 'She waits here for 3/4 of an hour!'.
The assassin sighed and rolled her eyes. It was going to be a long night, and she was going to be very stiff in the morning. She scribbled a reply and passed it back to Dafydd.
Dafydd looked down at the paper and winced. Through the haze of pinkness, he could just about make out some words. But what did they say?
Vemi smirked to herself. Of course he would wince. Her handwriting was so full of loops and curls very few people could read it. Childishly she poked her tongue out at him, and squirmed in to a comfortable position, leaning against the table leg, watching the Sue intently
While Vemi watched the 'Sue, Dafydd amused himself by writing out all the Quenya threats and curses he could think of. He had just reached 'May you be eaten by ravenous lions from the deepest pits of Angband' when there came a noise from the chimney.
The air tensed, and the two Agents stopped their separate writings. Soot from the chimney floated down, just like the snow outside.
"Bugger, bother and blast"
The Hogfather spoke, and Lascivia leaned up. Vemi turned to her partner.
"How is it possible to lean up?"
"Maybe she's... no, wait, that would be leaning in... I haven't the faintest idea," concluded Dafydd.
"It can go on the charge list."
As Vemi scribbled what could, at a stretch, be recognized as words on to a fresh page in her little notebook, Dafydd continued to watch the words in front of them play out the scene.
"I'm sorry," he said, "but is the Hogfather fifteen? 'Cos the 'Am not/Are so/Am not' exchange doesn't seem to be his style..."
"That's not fair!" whispered Vemi, remembering to keep her voice down, "I'm sixteen and I don't act like that! Let's just as it to the list of charges as corrupting a canon character."
"Corrupting?" Dafydd queried. "Replacing more like. Honestly, the Hogfather, Susan... is there no end?"
"Replacing?" Vemi frowned suddenly, ignoring the immature quarrel between the so-called-Hogfather and Lascivia. "Do you remember Jay and Acacia's last mission? The one with the slutty Arwen!Sue, and they had to go and rescue the real Arwen from the Plot Hole? Do you think...do you think that we might have do a similar thing here?"
"Oh, gods, I hope not. You remember what happened when Susan had to hunt down the Hogfather... I don't want to go pig riding!" Dafydd looked worried for a moment, then added, "I say we kill Lackey, or whatever her name is, and then see if the Hogfather goes back into character."
"Definitely...oh look, the little bint just used the Voice. Well...an imitation of it, anyway."
"And, get this, the Hogfather didn't know she was the great-granddaughter of Death. Despite knowing every single child well enough to know what presents they deserve. Do you have a CAD?"
"It's here somewhere..." she pulled the CAD out of her pocket, and pointed it towards the chimney. It beeped loudly, and Vemi just had time to shove it under her bag to smother it before either the 'Sue or the Hogfather heard it.
"I suppose that means he'd OOC, then,"
Dafydd grinned. "I guess so. It'd be interesting to know exactly how OOC, but I doubt Makes-Things would appreciate another exploded CAD.”
It was all Vemi could do not to laugh at that. She stuffed her fist in to her mouth, and rocked slightly, trying to hold in the mirth. What she heard next, however, was enough to destroy the smothered giggles.
"Would your grandfather happen to be a little bony?"
The assassins looked at each other.
"That means...Susan and Mort...eurgh!"
"Yuckyuckyuck!" exclaimed Dafydd, forgetting for a moment to whisper. Fortunately, the 'Sue was too involved in turning the Hogfather into the Head of the Spanish Inquisition to notice.
"Keep it down! Do you want to her to hear us? She'll not be a problem, but it's Susan that I'm worried about! She'll know if her daughter's in trouble and... oh...won't Death be around here, somewhere?"
"Oh, Eru... if there's one thing I do not want to face, it's two Grim Reaper incarnations trying to kill me."
"Eru won't help us here. Besides, Death doesn't try to save any lives if he knows that it's their time to die, remember? Just so long as this brat doesn't send him OOC..."
"... which she will, of course, considering she claims to be related to him. I think we should kill her quick."
"Now? She's about to poke fun at the Hogfather...listen, he's just asked for help getting out of the chimney. Poor man."
Dafydd muttered something foreign-sounding. "Please can we get her now... Alright, alright, it's your mission, you call it."
"Happily," growled Vemi, and crawled out from under the table. It would have been a lot more impressive if she hadn't hit her head on the table and flopped back to the floor, dazed slightly. Not one to give up, but now holding the attention of the 'Sue, she stood up again, a little wobbly on her feet, and glared at the six year old.
She got out her charge list to read, opened her mouth...and then squinted at the notebook. The curls and loops were blurring slightly. "Hey Dafydd, read her the charges."
Dafydd coughed. "You're asking me to read from your notebook?"
"Well I can't read it, I'm taking aim!" She thrust the pink book in to her partner's hands, and drew two very, very sharp daggers. The 'Sue got up and, being mature, didn't scream for her mother to help. Instead, she attempted using the Voice.
WHO ARE YOU? the 'Sue asked. Dafydd grinned.
"You don't need to use that tone to get an answer to that. We're assassins. Hi."
"And now," said Vemi, before the 'Sue could say anything else, "I'm going to kill you. Dafydd hasn't read out the charge list, but that's just too bad."
She flung the two blades right at the 'Sue with a smug grin on her face. With deadly accuracy, they struck the 'Sue, killing her instantly. One in the heart, one in the throat. She gurgled, and then fell to the floor, lifeless.
Quickly, Dafydd said, "Mary-Sue, you are charged with being a Mary-Sue, and all that that entails. Your penalty was death." Then he turned to Vemi and said, "You know how much trouble Jay and Acacia got into for doing that, don't you?"
Vemi shrugged. "They retired. Then again, they dumped the Sue in a different continuum, and we haven't done that. Oh, that and the fact that I think people could actually read their writing. So what do we do with Hogfather?"
Dafydd thought for a moment. "We could give this impostor to the Auditors. They did want him dead, after all. And then we'd have to hunt down the real one...”
"Isn't this what happened last time?" groaned Vemi, "With the Hogfather vanishing right before Hogswatch?"
Then she gasped, suddenly. "Hey, maybe this means we have to stand in for him this time! Just think...all those people expecting presents..."
Dafydd chuckled. "Vemi, I don't think that will be the case. Unless, of course, you wanted to...?"
"Imagine what everyone back at HQ would say..." she trailed off, her eyes glazing over, "and after all, it would be one heck of a way to see the Disc."
Dafydd nodded. "It would, at that. And of course, it's merely a way to get the Canon back in line, right?"
"Exactly! And...oh, hang on, we haven't even finished off this fake one yet! Do you want to do the honours?"
Dafydd shrugged. "Sure, why not?" Wandering over to the fireplace, he yelled up, "Oy, Hogteen!"
"Don't call me that! You're so unfair!"
Dafydd rolled his eyes. "You're charged with being stupid and far too young! Byebye!" With that, he fired the crossbow up the chimney. There was a sickening meaty sound, and then silence.
There was a pause, and then Vemi looked up the chimney. She leant against the wall, folding her arms.
"Some chimney sweep is going to get one heck of shock next time the chimney needs cleaning..."
Dafydd shrugged. "This is Ankh-Morpork. He was obviously an unlicensed thief. That makes it suicide."
After some consideration, Vemi nodded. She had to agree with it. "Hey...maybe we could go and tell the Night Watch! I always wanted to see Nobby and Commander Vimes! We could give them a Hogswatch present while we're about it."
Dafydd frowned. "Like what? I doubt they'd appreciate being glomped..."
Dafydd laughed at that. He had to laugh. "True. But not Vimes. Or were you not going to get him anything?" After a short pause, he added, "And anyway, would you want to glomp Nobby?"
"It's Hogswatch, isn't it? Although, I have admit that I do prefer young Sam."
Dafydd shook his head. "I don't think we really have an excuse to go back thirty-odd years."
Vemi looked downcast. "No, I don't suppose we do. Come on lets deliver this unlicensed thief. Um...I've just thought...what do we say if they ask us what we were doing here? We can't exactly say 'killing somebody', can we?"
"We're wearing black. We can pass as Assassins. Except then Vimes would hate us... hmm. It's tricky."
"That, and Discworld assassins don't leave dead bodies with the watch house. They leave a note." she looked at the bodies, thoughtfully. "Do you think we ought to do that? It'll probably be easier, in the long run."
"Sadly, it would. But can we not do it in pink?"
"I suppose." she tucked the pink pen behind her ear, letting Dafydd write the note.
Dafydd pulled out his pen, and scribbled down 'This man was selected to die for crimes against the Disc, and for a sum of AM$30. Have a nice day.' He showed it to Vemi. "That do?"
"AM$30 is a bit much for him, isn't it? But you forgot her. Hang on..." there was a pause, and the only thing that could be heard was the scratching of a pen. The note now had, in loopy writing, ‘And this Mary Sue was also killed for crimes against the Disc. We killed her for the sum of AM$2.’
She pinned the note to the small child, and looked around. "I suppose...this means I can't glomp Nobby now, doesn't it?"
Dafydd looked at her slyly. "Well... he does have a history of getting Hogswatch presents, and of being on patrol at the time. If we can just find him..."
Vemi gave a happy whoop, then ran out of the kitchen door, leaving Dafydd on his own in the kitchen. A moment later she ran back in, picked up the Lancre whiskey, and then ran out again, calling behind her; "Come on! Let's find Nobby, and then get those presents delivered!"
Dafydd rolled his eyes, and then followed his energetic partner at a more sedate pace. At least, for the first few seconds he did. Then he realised that he was on the Discworld, and could spend however long he wanted looking around, and started running.