Posted on: 2022-05-11 16:41:07 UTC
EPC missions? Yes please!
Posted on: 2022-05-11 16:41:07 UTC
EPC missions? Yes please!
Yes, for the first time, we have two releases today which both still exist! Both J&A and their first great follower released missions today (or, for those just tuning in: today exactly 20 years ago. Welcome to PPC+20!)
Protectors of the Plot Continuum: Sisterhood by Jay & Acacia
"It's a Code Eighteen. Is that a fluke?" Oh yeah, I remember this mission very well. :D And yes, to my amusement and despair, I can confirm that one of the Suvians is indeed an elf from the sky: we have an MST of the first two chapters of the badfic, from which I've put the original text back together.
It sounds like the reviews to TOS were a fun place to be! There's other spinoffs in there (which naturally we now know nothing about -_-), poems, target suggestions - Jay and Acacia were really interacting with their readers, it's great. I'm sure nothing bad would ever come of it!
Intelligence Briefs for the PPC: Time Will Tell by Architeuthis
In which the Cafeteria puts in a triumphant appearance, and Archi's conclusions on her target are not quite what we've come to expect. I think the badfic is long gone though.
By this point (um... technically yesterday ^_^;), the fact of The Takedown was pretty well established. In this 'chapter', mulberry got in touch with Acacia, and got the word direct from her (making this, technically, a cowrite!):
Clan of the Cactus: News Brief by mulberry & Acacia
Of note here is that there was already a new homepage for the PPC: this one, hosted by Philosopher@Large (and archived only three days later, good going Wayback Machine!). That page would go on to become the main homepage of the PPC for many years...
And found both Neshomeh and Huinesoron had reviewed it.
—Ls, certain that this is irrelevant.
(Sorry my replies are kind of throwing this thread out of order; I'm trying to keep up as best as I can!)
Acacia doesn't think the disguise generator can produce the forms of specific, named characters, but one of Indemaat's agents wound up doing that in one of her A-Team missions. Doesn't mean it's a good idea, though, and it's understandable the Flowers and DoSAT don't want that function to be common knowledge in HQ! Once they're disguised, I love that Acacia went with a spooky elf, a perfectly reasonable appearance for a Maia, while Jay just went to plaid (and without even passing Ridiculous Speed first!), and it is complete and full plaid, the staff and the beard and everything! Why is there no fanart of this? I feel dumb, though; even though the disguise generator was set to "Scotsman," I was still picturing Jay as a Scotswoman until Aragorn sees her as a man towards the end.
I agree with Jay: that was way too many OCs to introduce into a short story and expect readers to keep up, especially with the final eight all being introduced at once! I will say that I found parts of the original duel scene legitimately funny, putting aside Boromir's weird comeuppance. I especially like that Gimli and Galami show species solidarity and refuse to fight each other! I feel like Galami, and maybe the hobbits, could have integrated into canon harmlessly, so I sort of wish Jay and Acacia had let them be. Also, we all agree Arond "tripped" on purpose as an excuse to cuddle Legolas during the sweet embrace of their mutual unconsciousness, right?
Ah, I see crash test dummies haven't been conceptualized yet! I thought the scene where J+A started singing to Aragorn was weird, though still funny, but it was worth it for the payoff during the first charge scene. I love it when the canons snap out of it just in time to be helpful!
R.I.P. Eep's poem! Acacia says it was in the reviews, and . . . well . . . I've already seen the titles of "future" posts on this thread, so . . .
—doctorlit did not remember Acacia having a little sister. Is that the only mention of J or A's family ever?
I especially like that Gimli and Galami show species solidarity and refuse to fight each other! I feel like Galami, and maybe the hobbits, could have integrated into canon harmlessly, so I sort of wish Jay and Acacia had let them be.
I think the whole "letting side characters reassimilate into canon" seems to be a more recent trend that started with the push to do less assassinating in general? I mean, J&A recruiting badfic characters was established as unusual, and they did kill off all bit characters in "Rambling Band" and others, too. I remember even when I was doing E/C missions they'd go out of their way to kill the bit characters there, too -- though by the time they were doing Star Trek missions they'd let a couple bits reassimilate. But during TOS era it appears that the standard procedure was to excise all non-canon stuff, including killing off bit characters. (I could, obviously, be wrong. :P)
But yeah, I do imagine that had someone been tackling "Sisterhood" now, the less obnoxious Sue-Fellowship members would be neuralysed and plonked into some other part of Middle-earth far away from the Fellowship.
I just like the idea that some continua are full of background characters "touched" by the PPC, you know?
"Ensign Jones?" Nurse Flynn smiled with gentle concern at the young woman poking at her replicated peanut butter sandwich. "You're quieter than usual, dear. What's wrong?"
Agatha Jones shook her head. "I don't know, really," she confessed. "I keep having these strange dreams where I have a sister who gets taken away by people wearing black, but... I'm an only child."
Nurse Flynn hummed thoughtfully. "When did you first start having these dreams?" she wondered.
"About a month ago?" Agatha frowned, and then sighed. "I first thought it was because of the transition from the Academy to the Enterprise. Stress nightmares would've made sense, right?"
"Indeed they would." Nurse Flynn took a sip of her own tea. Replicators never seemed to capture the exact taste of her favourite blend, so she would try to get packets of it whenever she was on shore leave. "Not to mention you being assigned to different ships from your Academy friends. I can imagine that being difficult."
"For some reason, most of my Academy friends have always been older students." Agatha shrugged. "Holly Marshall and Hannah Klein graduated before me. We sorta keep in touch. Work's been overwhelming lately, though, so they haven't really been online."
"Have you told anyone else about these dreams?" asked Nurse Flynn. "Or recorded them in a journal or something?"
Agatha took a bite of her peanut butter sandwich, wrinkling her nose a little at the muted flavours. "No," she admitted after a moment. "It hasn't affected my performance yet. I just... I don't know. I feel like there's an entire part of my brain that's locked up to me, and these dreams are telling me something about it. I don't think digging into it is a good idea, and yet part of me wants to. You know?"
Nurse Flynn nodded. "It could be how your brain is trying to parse a buried traumatic memory," she said gently. "I'd talk to our ship's psychiatrist about it, if I were you."
... And then there's this entire thing where Agatha Jones, only child of Jack and Cynthia Jones (Cynthia in particular having disappeared unexpectedly during Agatha's first year at the Academy), ends up reconnecting with Hannah Klein, who, according to their social media accounts, had been a good friend of Agatha's up until Cynthia's disappearance, and then inexplicably stopped hanging out with her. Hannah and Agatha dig into the fact that Agatha's been having these dreams about an older sister getting taken away by what was basically the Men in Black, and discover a network of people in Starfleet who'd had close encounters with the Men in Black but can't seem to recall exact details. Sort of like how the 21st century had people claiming to see "cryptids" like Bigfoot or getting "probed" by little green men who are most definitely not Vulcans!
Oh, and also, some older people in the Academy swear there used to be an apartment complex near campus called the Declor building, but there is no record of the Declor building and it certainly did not burn down sometime around Cynthia's disappearance.
Agatha and co are from a missioned fic taken on by Eledhwen and Christianne in 2014. I picked this one since it had the widest variety of named side characters, some of which aided and abetted the Sue, but were still spared by Eledhwen and Christianne. Plus Star Trek being the origin of Mary Sue in general means there's probably decades of close encounters with the PPC!
This is, hands down, my favourite PPC spinoff ever.
Broken Plot Continuum is the tale of what happens when a pair of fangirls discover that the PPC has been taken down from FFn, and see an opportunity to safely write themselves into Middle-earth. It is, I believe, the only PPC spinoff to show what happens if we don't do our job - spoilers, things get quite bad.
(Nath signed the original Constitution, by the way; we got big names here.)
But the other thing it does is establish the Takedown as an actual in-universe event, which actually stopped the PPC from functioning. The next mission release is 10 days from now (it's Despatch), so potentially the organisation was out of action for a week or more. But what HAPPENED? How could FF.net taking down Jay and Acacia's reports lead to the whole PPC being locked up?
And, given the simultaneous release of Protectors of the Plot Discontinuum - is this connected to the creation of the Mirror Multiverse? Because it seems so plausible that the creation of an Evil PPC and the temporary fall of the
Good Lawful Neutral PPC would be linked. But... how?
(Any explanation needs to take into account the fact that the Mirror Multiverse has its own history: if it was actually created at this point, it was created old.)
Okay, I know we try to avoid talking about authors any more, but I can't avoid it here, since MS and SM are explicitly writing themselves into Middle-earth, Despatch-style. But I mostly want to focus on the implication here: stories published start shattering the canon world, but the PPC's presence was keeping the damage from spreading. When the PPC disappeared, the cracks began opening. No . . . that's not quite it, huh? Let me try again: stories published (on the Pit) start shattering the canon world, but the PPC's presence (on the Pit) was keeping the damage from spreading. When the PPC disappeared (on the Pit), the cracks began spreading. In other words, this story is written from the viewpoint that FF.net itself was the main locus of . . . all of it, all that's happening here, everything in the orbit of the PPC. It doesn't account for other fandom sites, or the in-universe possibility of fic written in other universes.
To try to tie this in to hS's theory that mirror universes were spawned from this event . . . let's see. The PPC itself is also a continuum, but unlike other published series like the Legendarium, it existed solely on the Pit. So during the time period when it was deleted, it had no form, but stories like this one and "Discontinuum" were still getting published on the Pit . . . which means the PPC's only form during that period was lines like "'They're, like, soooooo horrible!'" and "'Why do you think they hate us?'" Could this fractured and purely antithetical view point have produced the EPC? Could residents of HQ during that period actually see the cracking, the splitting off of an entire mirror HQ, complete with mirror people being formed in real time?!!?!?
Two things for fun:
"green muck smeared over their faces and hands"
Are they cosplaying as Elphaba to do witchy stuff?
"Sue Mary would be the first to admit the candles weren't strictly necessary, but they looked really cool"
Despite being opposed to the PPC, SM recognizes the validity of at least SOME narrative laws!
—doctorlit is still in the English, for the record
...Obviously the answer is that by the laws of quantum physics as interpreted by someone who doesn't understand them, entities must be perceived to exist. Because the stories of the PPC were erased, there was no longer any way to observe it and therefore it briefly ceased to exist until it was observable again.
This is an entirely real and accurate explanation with no problems whatsoever.
That explanation makes no sense. According to the Copenhagen Interpretation (Honestly, not my favorite interpretation of quantum mechanics) which I think is what you're going for, that only applies to wave-functions, which TOS is not. Besides, it wouldn't not exist, it would half-exist while at the same time half not-existing.
This irrelevant diatribe was brought to you by Linstar, who's wondering why he even bothered.
Think about it: two particles (dihydrogen, for example) can still be modelled as a single wave-function. I mean, they can't - we can't even model the electron orbitals for anything other than a single proton - but in theory a model is possible. Therefore, any number of particles can be modelled the same way. The PPC is just one ginormous wave-function equation of almost-infinite complexity.
I think the cat-in-box uncertainty makes it even more exciting! It wasn't that the PPC vanished - it was that it entered a state of superposition between existing and not. That must have caused massive ripples at every point it intersected - or, as the case may be, didn't intersect - a canon world, possibly leading to things like the Bridge in Suedom (coming in... October, I think).
And... the Mirror Multiverse. To abuse a few more physics concepts, various conservation laws mean that the non-existent phase of the PPC had to still exist (we're pushing towards Platonic Ideals here!). Since by the Pauli exclusion principle it couldn't exist in the same place that it didn't exist, it had to undergo quantum tunnelling through the void (or energy barrier) surrounding the multiverse. Once out beyond, y'know, everything, it underwent a parity inversion and became an anti-PPC, with - and this is important - its own history as long as the PPC's own.
Best guess is that interactions between the two multiverses created the rest of the worlds known to Multiverse Theory: the PPC and EPC are essentially a positive and negative terminal, so any interactions should carry a massive 'quantum reality charge'. Since multiversal travellers don't arrive with massive reality-altering force, the charge must be siphoned off into the Void and spawn a new multiverse each time.
hS, Master of both Chemistry and Technobabble
a. Had nothing to do with chemistry.
b. Made no sense. (Seriously, which interpretation were you going for? Many Worlds?)
c. Was hilarious.
I want to write a DoSAT character now, just based on that.
So, anyways, I read the first chapter, and oooo! Interesting, honestly! I didn't even know this existed!
I really like how these characters think they need to do some sort of ritual (or spell?) to enter the world of Middle Earth. It also seems that, even though they hate the PPC, they read far enough to know a Sue gets pushed off a tower? Interesting.
My question is why did these girls think that they needed the spell to teleport, and why did they need to smear herbs all over their faces, but I guess I can chalk it up to "people don't do their research" or it's a case of research failure on my part. Most spells I've read about mostly just requored the candles, some crystals, and maybe the herbs to be burned (the others just require chanting or very complex procedures), although I can't speak a ton since most of those things are Wiccan and I don't practice that religion. I'm only speaking on my experience with trying
to go to another universe out said spells I looked up. I was a curious 13-year-old.
It also makes me wonder if anyone who belueves in Reality Shifting also believes in the PPC. Do some shifters put anti-PPC lines in their scripts? Dp they even believe the PPC can touch them? It brings up interesting questions.
Coming in just one day after the PPD's launch, the second chapter includes Elenya's worried A/N about the PPC being taken down. I hope she found out what happened!
Protectors of the Plot Discontinuum: MY SLUMBER PARTY!!! by Elenya Aurelin
This chapter introduces Brett, who I guess we can take to be a Mirror!Intelligence agent. More will be seen of him next time round, but there's nothing here to disprove the idea that Mary and Sue are just particularly flighty EPC agents.
Okay, the writing is a lot better here! Still could do with a bit more clash between the Suvian and OC personalities, but the interactions we do get are on point. There is one (probably unavoidable) contradiction, where the Suvians have to be knowledgeable about canon in order to identify "errors." (Knowing about Valinor, for instance.) But without that, the story wouldn't get very far, so yeah.
Unfortunately, I think there is a detail that contradicts hS's theory: the Tolkien canons we've seen so far appear to be the same as their counterparts in real life/PPC canon. But doesn't the EPC universe have morally flipped canons? Master Who and that sort?
—no Old English, the doctorlit is in the English, therefore the doctorlit is normal, therefore the review is wrong
... that most Mirror canons, specifically including Lords of the Ring, are functionally identical to their Prime counterparts. The difference is in nuance - tiny tweaks to the text of the books, or to the staging of the movies.
It's possible that the canons drift further over time (maybe just since the Takedown!), so for instance Old Who is identical, but New Who is more different; but that has not yet been demonstrated.
Emergency! The original PPC has disappeared, as I so rudely found out this morning when I decided to re-read the last chapter. Not only that, but the author "HarpWire" is (according to FF.net) "no longer an active member of Fanfiction.net".
All across FFn, we can find evidence of the great Takedown of May 11th, 2002 - the date Protectors of the Plot Continuum was unceremoniously deleted from FFn. mulberry devoted an entire chapter of their spinoff to it:
Clan of the Cactus: EMERGENCY!! by mulberry
Which has a lot of discussion in the reviews. But you can also find reviews on Protectors of the Plot Discontinuum and The enterprise expands as the PPC community let each other know what was going on. There must have been more such reviews elsewhere, but either the fics or the authors followed J&A into exile.
What happened? PFFT, do you think early-noughts FFn was in the habit of telling people? One of the reviews speculates on it being "the flamers", which suggests the PPC review section wasn't as rosy as the A/Ns might imply. Acacia, in an email coming "tomorrow", will speculate on it being "sheer volume of Suvian complaints". That certainly tracks with FFn's track record of just giving in and taking down fics that were causing a fuss.
Another possibility is that the PPC was deemed to violate the ban on interactive fiction. They'd definitely been getting more involved with their readers of late, and if the flamers saw a button they could push... (this is what happened to the original OFUDisc a couple of years later, for the record).
So here you are: waking up on May 11th (a Saturday morning!) to find that the new PPC mission you'd spotted yesterday and saved for the weekend was gone. Wiped from existence. And unless you happened to have Jay or Acacia's emails saved, there was absolutely nothing you could do about it.
It's gonna be a long 24 hours before someone steps up to help.
Well, looks like I'm staying later than usual at work. Might as well catch up a little more . . . Of course, it would be a TERRIBLE shame if the individual I'm waiting for were to arrive while I'm typing and interrupt my train of thought . . .
. . .
Well anyway. No surprise to anyone that FF.net is authoritarian, but you'd think the people who run a website for fanfiction would value fanfiction enough to warn the authors ahead of time, so stories wouldn't get lost? I often day dream about going back in time to make backup copies of all the old stories that have been lost over the years. Or that I had just plain discovered the community in the early days, and thought to make copies as I went. But, we can't change the past, and there's no way to go but forward. Folks, back up your stories! We can save future Boarders the head scratching and disappointment we get from old spinoffs today!
Okay, now I'll just turn on my flashlight, but the friend DEFINITELY won't be here yet.
. . .
Dratted ironic overpower is busted tonight.
—doctorlit is indoors this time, but still imagining ant bites
If I was alive twenty years ago, I'd have been very sad at this.
(Side note: I happen to know that My Immortal was similarly deleted for no reason, a few years later. So they didn't delete just good fanfic.)
(No time for the mission this morning!)
Ah, there's Joe Bob! Still feels weird to read about good food in the cafeteria. Boy, I really forgot about the Flowers "eating" crystals. Must be some kind of chemical fertilizer? The maligning of sea life continues, however, as Architeuthis here seems to imply an octopus' tentacles aren't already surrounding their mouth. I have to assume someone who names herself after squid would know that, though; maybe she was trying to simplify the description for readers unfamiliar with that fact?
Nice to see Alice get a big cameo! Archie's attitude towards her feels a little disrespectful towards a mearh, though. I guess Agent Architeuthis is just a get-the-job-done sort? At least, knowing Alice is just about sapient, I can assume she consented to the nanites, etc. Also nice to see the PPC's first in-text approval of a goodfic! It makes sense for an Intelligence spin-off to involve some, compared to one set in an action department.
Another first for the PPC: the first known appearance of an alternate, or even anti-PPC!
Protectors of the Plot Discontinuum: Chapter 1 by Elenya Aurelin
On my timelines I've had this down as an alternate timeline of the EPC, the Mirror Multiverse version of the PPC, but... to be honest I think it might just be the EPC. It doesn't look like "Protectors of the Plot Discontinuum" is used as a name in the narrative, so yeah, they're just Mirror Assassins 4-6 years before Tawaki formally introduced the EPC.
Which... given what else happened today, suggests a very interesting theory on where the Mirror Multiverse came from. But more on that tomorrow, when the other half of the evidence gets here.
I'm jumping the gun slightly, but I found something cool in the reviews: both Jay and Acacia reviewed this story, separately and at different times. That's cool!
Oh hey, this one is short! Dare I try to review it on my phone, while my big lizard friend soaks up his weekly sunlight infusion? Even though there are so very many ants around me?!
I don't think I've read this before. It's not exactly laugh out loud funny, but it's rather clever, for how short chapter one is. The simplicity of naming the agents "Sue" and "Mary" is so perfectly elegant! I do wish more time was spent on watching the OC, so we could get a bit more of the Suvian perspective, but I suppose that's too much external effort for Suvians! And, of course, this story is even less designed to world-build around than even the OS was.
How great that Jay and Acacia, and Mary and Sue, all picked Maiar disguises in the same week! And on a week that really needed some nice things, too.
Making a lot of bad misclicks . . . I guess this isn't really a project for a phone screen. Time to bring the lizard back home, anyway . . .
—doctorlit, imagining ant bites . . . Or is he?
I posted a picture of him in the generic salt channel on Discord.
—doctorlit is a zookeeper, if that wasn't clear yet
I mean, I came to it pretty dang late (years late), but I do remember it being kinda funny. Very much a fic of its type.
I figure this would definitely be a closer representation of a mirror PPC than the EPC turned out to be, though I can see why Tawaki went with "Suvian minions of the Sunflower Emperor" since it more closely mirrors (ha) the Star Trek mirrorverse with its Empire. It could be that in the Mirror Multiverse the Sunflower Emperor took over like the Mysterious Somebody did in the Prime Multiverse, leading to a delayed Reorganisation in 2008 for them.
At least in my take on the EPC the Mirror!DIS/White Cats did more than just oppose the Emperor; they appear to function as a Mirror Multiverse informant branch of the PPC. It might align with the PPD as well if any of the White Cats have canon-protection inclinations...
... with my EPC mission a couple of years back. Huinesoron and the Morrigan are simultaneously bloodthirsty sociopaths and Suvian versions of themselves. It's good fun! (I almost want to go back and continue the EPC: Don't Panic saga, with Mirror!hS going through a different partner each time.)
... because by flipping over Sergio and Nikki I just end up with exact expies of their already-existing evil clones, Sergey Speed and Kurara Tsukimoto. Which they already bagged during Blank Sprite. Considering that during The World Without Authors Sergio also had to take down an insane alternate timeline version of himself, making yet another evil version of him is really begging for a portal to spring up right behind me and him getting out to tell me "Gimme a break, will you?"
However, this of course means that Mirror!Sergey and Mirror!Kurara are in fact likely to be very similar to Prime!Sergio and Prime!Nikki. Which would probably mean the sane clones bagged the insane originals sometime in the Mirror Multiverse? Okay, that is something that might warrant exploration sometime...
About Corolla, well... let's say that I'm rolling with Huinesoron's PPCCUU rendition of her as latex-wearing dominatrix with an harem of her own. It's utterly ridicolous, but Corolla, prime or mirror, is about making ridicolous things work "because Corolla"!
EPC missions? Yes please!