The head Suvian slammed his hands on his podium a few more times, despite none of his bit audience saying or doing anything without the fic’s instructions. Then he cleared his throat once more and spoke.
"This world is broken and full of weak creatures, letting themselves be ordered around by a tyrant who dares tell them what not to do! We are the heroes they need, and we are the heroes it gets!"
He spread his arms out in a grandiose gesture. No one in the audience reacted except for the Agents - specifically Molly, who wrote down a charge for ‘lies.’
“The world will be free, free to choose for themselves the most rational decisions, to advance civilization to greater heights! We will make our own order, our own rules!”
“And if anyone violates our rights…” The Suvian drew a handgun and fired a shot into the air. “They get what’s coming to them!”
And the trainees cheered in unison, arms pumping down in an eerie, robotic motion.
“...I don’t like this, Mister John.” Molly turned away from the scene and scooted closer to John, something that greatly confused the latter.
Why did she trust him? He did nothing to earn it, as far as he knew. Then again, he thought, it could simply be self-preservation leading her to move closer to the most combat-capable entity in the room. Surely that was a likelier explanation.
What was clear to him, however, was the nature of these creatures. At first, he had been conflicted about these being the targets to kill - they looked like humans (at least most of them), and it had confused him at first.
However, as the scene had gone by, he noticed more and more how unnaturally they moved - or didn’t, for that matter. They spoke in a way that seemed less alive than pre-programmed, and none of the bits did very little without their leader directly commanding them. They weren’t humans at all, merely monsters wearing their skin.
Finally, the scene ended with a booming, mid-chapter author’s note. It screamed:
(AUTHOR’S NOTE: THis is all of the rebels I have for now, but I’m always open for more!!! Just put their name and powers in the comment section and like the fic, and maybe your OC’s will show up in the next chapter! :D :D :D)
By the time the ringing had cleared from the Agents’ ears, the fic’s plot continued. What looked like a vague attempt at a training montage ensued.
John and Molly quietly watched as Brock, lord of the bits, ordered his minions to formation across the bunker floor - then demanded them to do “pushups, situps, and planks.” However, without time specifications, the room immediately descended into chaos. Many of the more lifeless bits blatantly sounded like cardboard as they twisted themselves into inhuman positions trying to do all three at once. The few with the smallest trace of individuality still struggled maneuvering around the flailing of the other bits.
Their Suvian leader didn’t seem to care, only spurring them on further. "Harder, faster! Are you alphas ready to change this world for the better, or are you chuds like those who want to keep us stuck in the past?"
“Why do the Words say they like her?” Molly said, looking concerned. “She’s pretty mean to them.”
John stared at her, silent. Not sure whether the stare was positive or not, Molly stumbled over her words as she continued.
“Do you… have something to say, Mister John?”
More silence. John slightly tilted his head. Unsure what to make of that, Molly quickly glanced at the Words. “Oh, will you look at that? The Suvians are moving!”
And she was right - the horde had formed a solid line and begun to march out the bunker doors. John and Molly hurried to follow them, managing to slip through as the heavy gates closed shut behind them.
Suvians and Agents walked together for a minute or so, cresting a nearby hill - then the world seemed to warp. Molly nearly lost her balance, stumbling into John’s leg for support as suddenly rows of tents appeared in front of them. The Agents found themself in front of an entirely different hill - one that Molly recognized.
“Ooh, Aslan’s Camp!” she squeaked, clasping her paws together. “I’ve visited here before, but it’s so nice to come back to!”
She turned to John, clearly excited. Her tail flicked back and forth, and what looked like tiny stylized stars sparkled around her head. “I hope you don’t mind if I explain! I really like this series, and this is an important place in the lore.”
She took his dead silence and blank stare as an invitation. She cleared her throat, then took a moment to adjust her glasses.
“Okay, here we go!” She pointed a tiny paw towards the camp. John couldn’t tell exactly what she was pointing at. “So you see that big red and yellow tent at the end of the path? That’s where Aslan’s waiting to come out! And the Stone Table… right, that should be a while that way!”
Molly kept talking even as the Suvians marched down the hill before them, towards the camp. She was fully engrossed in her verbal tour of Aslan’s Camp, stubby arms waving as she skipped from one side of the hill to another to view the camp from different angles.
Almost five minutes passed before John straightened up, realizing at some point his head had sagged forward.
“Oh!” Molly seemed to notice his movements, and rubbed a paw against the back of her head. She glanced away, a cartoonishly large sweatdrop appearing by her head. “Sorry if I rambled for too long! Was that too long?”
John considered this for a moment. For the sake of politeness, he decided a simple shake of his head would do.
"Thank you, Mister John!" Molly clapped her tiny paws together. “It’s nice to have someone listen to me.”
John was confused for the umpteenth time that day. Being thanked was a new experience for him (being the only resistance left alive in his home universe didn't help with that), and it caused a foreign feeling to stir in his chest. Not uncomfortable, but foreign. He also had no idea why simply listening merited thanks.
He didn’t get more time to think about it, however. The Suvian brigade had approached Aslan's Camp, lined up behind their leader. Brock, leading the horde as always, slammed a hand onto a suddenly-summoned podium (the same one from the bunker, on closer inspection) and began to speak.
“Aslan!” Brock shouted, heroic tones carrying out and over the air, cutting off the idle rambling of Aslan’s horde. “Your reign of tyranny and bigotry ends here! You and your minions are holding us back from true societal advance! You quash our potential, stifle our rights, and you will be stopped!”
*“And if that means killing you or making you scurry off and hide, so be it! Believe me, I couldn’t care less if bigots and their insane beliefs die out. I only care for *people.” He waved an arm. All of Aslan’s troops shrank back out of fear. **
“So what will it be, lion? Accept truth or die in delusion? Frankly, I couldn’t care about your decision, but I’m letting you choose anyway because I respect freedom.”
John sat in silence, glaring at the Suvian through his visor. This rhetoric vaguely reminded him of the propaganda he had heard from Earth-destroying invaders of his home world, of their call to kill all humans because they believed them meaningless to some grand advance of galactic civilization. Specifically, it brought to mind the Invaders' belief that humans were useless and actively detrimental to keep alive. This was a much different scenario, but there were some parallels. Any reservations he had about harming them faded away into nothing.
Molly’s squeaky voice broke him out of his thoughts. “I feel a little bad, Mister John. You look like you want to do something, right?”
John did, in fact, want to do something. He was actively holding back the urge in him to draw a weapon and blast these ‘Suvians’ on the spot. Parasites, self-absorbed monsters with no other desire than to consume and assimilate — they were exactly like the creatures he was created to kill back on Earth. They looked like humans, but were mere monsters wearing stolen skin. He realized his fingers were tightly clutching the grip of his energy rifle. He loosened the grip.
The movement didn’t escape Molly's eye. “Oh, was that a yes? Perfect, I have just the job for you!”
A jolt of adrenaline ran through John’s body. Was it finally time? He mentally prepared to draw his weapon and start firing.
Molly held out her charge list and pen. “You can try writing charges! We have to write down all the bad things here before we can fix them, you see."
John’s grip loosened immediately. Silently, he re-holstered his rifle. With his free hand, he reached down and plucked up the pen from his lap.
The pen was comically small in his grip, two armored fingers dwarfing the tiny metal stick as he turned it, scrutinizing it from all angles.
"So for instance," Molly continued, "you could write a charge for accusing Aslan of bigotry without evidence, or maybe dehumanization.” She took the charge list and tapped a paw on a blank line to demonstrate.
John continued staring blankly at the pen.
“Um… if you're ready, you can give it a shot!” said Molly in encouragement, holding up the charge list like a makeshift living easel.
John looked at the paper in front of him. He slowly lowered the pen towards the paper.
There was a quiet crack, and John separated his fingers, plastic scraps and drops of ink clinking and drizzling to the floor.
Molly looked considerably more stressed out than when the mission had started. Wiping another oversized sweatdrop off her brow, she reached into her shirt pocket. “Haha… whoops! It’s a good thing I always bring spare equipment with me!”
She pulled out another pen and was about to pass that one out as well. Then she paused, thought about it for a second, and packed it away again, still trying to smile. “On second thought, maybe I can charge after all.”
John handed the chargelist and remnants of the pen back, head slightly bowed. He looked vaguely ashamed.
“It’s okay, Mister John! We all have to start somewhere!” said Molly, even as she pulled a small plastic bag out of her purse to sweep the pen scraps into.
Still trying to wrap his mind around a feeling of unfamiliar embarrassment, John shook his head. He stared at the pen ink running down one of his armored hands.
Molly tried to give him a reassuring look. “It’s fine, I promise! Please don’t be mad at me.”
Thankfully for Molly, a trumpet blast from Aslan's Camp interrupted the conversation. The Lion himself appeared on the crest of the hill, flanked by a ‘Mr. Tummus’ - a mini-dragon, brown-scaled and spouting goat-like horns, who looked terribly confused at what it was supposed to be doing here.
“Who are you intruders who threaten our sacred tradition?” roared Aslan, sounding angry. “You would dare question my rightful authority? You will all die for your impudence!”
“Perish for your sins!” said Mister Tummus. The mini’s voice was the polite, accented tenor of the movie-canon Tumnus. Its single line finished, it flew off the crest of the hill and over the heads of the Suvians. None of them seemed to care as it left the scene.
It made a beeline for the Agents. John was about to draw his rifle when Molly put a paw over his hand. “Don’t worry, Mister John! It’s just a mini! They appear when fics misspell names.”
The mini-dragon coiled itself around John’s armored neck, humming softly like an old microwave. Still suspicious, John raised a hand and lightly pressed a finger to its scales. The mini only hummed louder, pressing its horns up against his chin.
“Aw, I think it likes you,” said Molly. “I’ll get a portal ready! A lot of the time, we send minis to the HQ Adoption Center for the pet-loving residents to adopt. It’s a nice place, really.”
She reached into her purse, pulled out a device, and tapped away for a few seconds. “Sometimes, though, the mini actually belongs to one of those Fanfiction Universities out there, so it can be confusing.” A portal opened up in the air, revealing a large room full of other mini creatures wandering about.
“I’m sure the Center workers can figure that out, though. Here, little dragon! Over here!” Molly held out her paws and made a noise that sounded like a clumsy attempt to click a tongue. Mr. Tummus tilted its head at her and yawned. “Um… Mister John, do you think you could help a bit?”
John complied, reaching to his neck. With careful hands, he uncoiled the mini-dragon from his shoulders and lowered it down to the portal. Mr. Tummus looked through the portal, tongue flicking in and out as it seemed to consider its options. Then it slipped out of John’s hands and scurried through, joining its fellow minis in the crowd.
Molly closed the portal and packed her device away. “Okay, that should do it… are they still arguing, Mister John?”
John gestured at the fic scene, where Aslan was going on about how he would stone the rebels to death as per the ‘old law.’
“Oh, this? Yeah, this is… not really accurate to his canon self. He’s a nice enough lion,” said Molly. “Not tame, but never anything like this, I promise.”
John looked at the arguing characters, then back to his partner, gun still gripped tightly in his hands. His skepticism must have been evident in his body language, because Molly elaborated.
“It’s - it’s not the real him.” She hesitated, trying to figure out the right words. “Here, let me check real quick.” She aimed the CAD at the scene.
A large, bright yellow question mark appeared over Molly’s head. “Huh? That can’t be right.” She tapped the screen with her paw a few times.
[Glod, you’re boring. Fine, yes, they’re replaced. All of them.]
The question mark disappeared. “Oh, thank you, Mister CAD!”
“Miss CAD!” Molly said, not missing a beat.
[Shut up.] And the CAD shut itself off.
“So there you go! Replacements.” Seemingly unfazed, Molly packed the device away and turned to John. “Sometimes canons act out of character because Suvians possess them, sometimes they kidnap them and stick them into plotholes so they can replace them with puppets instead. These guys are the second case.”
Noting John’s silence, she gave him an almost pleading expression. “Am I making sense so far? Do you need me to say that again?”
John shook his head. After hearing the Suvian strategies from his partner, realizing these targets shared more with the Invaders of his home world than the humans they appeared to be, he was starting to get a sense of familiarity back. Back on his ravaged Earth, said Invaders would often wear the rotting bodies of the dead as disguises and attempt (very poorly) to be other survivors, but they were never successful - something was always off their imitations. The little mouse’s words made sense, though he wondered where she got her information from, and how accurate it actually was.
Molly kept going, putting a paw up to an invisible mouth. “Though, for Aslan, it’s always replacements and never possession. I could never figure out why, but at least it’s an easy pattern.”
The one-sided conversation was interrupted by the fic.
“For Nar—” started Aslan before he was cut off.
Brock screamed louder than the lion could ever hope to match.
“FOR A BRIGHTER FUTURE!!!”
With his scream, the world seemed to crumple inward, stretched and distorted scenes flashing by as multiple hours’ worth of battling was compressed into a single sentence. Then everything snapped back to normal, reality wobbling like a rubber band. John took a step back, planting his rifle to the ground for support, while Molly was sent tumbling head over heels across the green.
Aslan lay dead on the ground, along with the bodies of nameless bit ‘followers.’ Around him, the Suvian’s own bits were cheering in robotic unison, pumping their arms up and down like they did in the bunker.
John gestured towards the dead lion corpse, turning a questioning glance to his partner. Molly shakily got to her feet and gave it a glance.
“Don’t worry, he’s still a replacement,” she said, rubbing a sore spot on the back of her head. “We can leave it be.” To double-check, she pulled out the CAD and aimed it at the corpse.
[I literally told you he was a replacement a few minutes ago. You didn’t have to wake me from my beauty sleep for this.]
"Just making sure, sorry!” Molly stuffed the device back into her satchel (with a muffled [I’ll kill you] from the CAD), then looked back to John. “So since it’s a replacement, I think we’ll be fine. It should vanish with the fic when the Suvians are gone, and we can always check if it’s not!”
With that, the Agents turned their attention back to the fic, where the Suvians were celebrating their ‘hard-earned’ victory. They had zero casualties or wounded.
“No tyrant will tell us what to do again! We are free, and now we can change the rules of this world for the better!” The lead Suvian put his heavy biker’s boot on the lion’s head, digging in his heel slightly.
“Well, we can start off with the simple, rational decisions. Round up any survivors - we’ll banish them from this land. We simply can’t tolerate those who align with the old ways of thinking if we are to truly advance.”
“You’re so right, Brock!” Colette swooned, grabbing my arm.
John stared, then slowly reached for his holstered rifle. He paused when Molly scurried over and started tugging at his arm.
“W-woah! Hey, Mister John! Mister John, wait!”
Her tugging didn’t even budge his arm an inch. John was sure that if he were to raise his hand, she’d be pulled off her feet.
“We can’t kill just yet!” She lifted her charge list, tapping at its pages. “We have to read our targets their charges before we act! Plus, we just have to fill out a quota for charges before we can read to begin with!”
John stared. He was unused to restrictions, especially when they came between a parasite and its death. He looked at the monsters before him, watching them gloat over their body counts, then back down to the little mouse pulling on his arm.
He couldn’t remember the last time he let authority prevent him from killing monsters. Granted, this was because when he emerged from his pod everyone else on Earth was dead, but still.
He studied Molly, saw how desperate she looked. She was back to tugging at his armored sleeve, yet another large sweat drop running down the side of her head.
“Mister John, please! It would violate protocol!”
His fingers tightened around the rifle’s grip.
“The Flowers would be so upset with us!”
He raised the rifle, leveling the sights at the lead Suvian’s head.
“Surely you can wait just a few more minutes… right?”
John stopped moving. He sighed, a sound barely audible through his visored helmet. His shoulders sagged, and he lowered his rifle back to his side.
“Oh, thank you, Mister John!” Molly wiped the sweat off her brow, then took a moment to re-adjust her glasses. “It won't be more than a few more minutes, I promise. We should have enough charges by then.”
John nodded. Molly didn’t know whether it was a ‘good’ nod or not, but optimism had her act like it was the former. “Sorry for the inconvenience, Mister John!” she added, just in case, and he simply nodded again.
In the fic, the Suvians began to cheer, drawing the Agents’ attention to them as their leader finished up his speech.
“We still have a few more loose ends to clean up before we can advance though,” he said. He gestured to the side, where an ocean and dock suddenly popped into existence where a stretch of land used to be. “We're going to the Dawn Treader! Prince Caspian represents the same cruel regime Aslan did, so we can’t tolerate his tyranny either!”
“Oh no… wait, Prince Caspian?” Molly pulled out her notepad and wrote down a charge. “That confuses the timeline quite a bit.”
John didn’t know who Prince Caspain was, but judging by his partner’s reaction he could tell this was a problem.
“FOR FREEDOM!” I shouted valiantly. I stood on the stern of my Ironclad Virginia as she sped away from the Narnian shores.
The two Agents watched as what looked like a Civil War-era ship rocketed away into the distance far too quickly to be natural. The hill was now empty, as every Suvian had vanished to appear on the ship’s deck as it left.
“Well, uh…” said Molly. “That’s not good.”
John stared at her in silence. Molly looked up and blinked. She glanced out to sea, then back to John, then back to the sea again. Then she jolted, reaching into her bag.
“Right, we can follow them!” She pulled out the RA and opened up a portal in mid-air. “Come on, through here!”
(Author’s Note: Sorry for this being a longer chapter than normal, I just couldn’t find a good place to split this one. Hope you understand.)