Excel Saga Fan Fiction Cliché: Blanket-fic Edition
Summary: We all know the plot of a "blanket-fic", right? Those of you who don't, you are the blessed few. Picture this: one guy, one girl, one blanket, a whole lotta snow. What's the best way to keep warm? Will Excel figure it out, or will this tired old dog of a plot finally be infused with some new life?
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters depicted within this piece of…whatever descriptor you feel like applying. I somehow don't think the guy who does own them will be too offended at what I'm doing to them, based on what he did to them himself.
More of ten than not, the grandest, most thrilling, and most all-encompassing epic tales of human joy and human sorrow and human courage are spurred into action by an incident that is, for lack of a better word, utterly insignificant in appearance. That would, of course, be four words, and perhaps "silly" would be just as accurate, but all of this is beside the point.
The point is, of course, that if you trace almost any grand epic back to its roots, you will likely find them to be ignominious, a little embarrassing, and lacking in any grandeur whatsoever.
Thus, it becomes easy to imagine any silly, pointless chance happening as leading eventually to an epic quest for the future of the world.
The tale that will now be related to my reader(s) was very decidedly not one of those times.
Indeed, from the moment that Ilpalazzo announced the new mission of the day, which was to repair the pit in the floor of ACROSS's underground headquarters, currently out of order, one could nearly feel the plot spiraling downward into the depths of stupidity. And this was even before he continued on to add that, to retrieve the necessary parts for the necessary repairs, it would be…er, necessary to take a roadtrip to Siberia.
"Your most faithful Excel is thrilled that her Lord Ilpalazzo is trusting her and agent Hyatt with such an important mission!" Excel Excel gushed, bouncing wildly about the room with all the restraint and composure of a hummingbird after a quart or two of espresso, of which there were currently three buzzing around as a result of the last disastrously failed mission.
Oddly enough if it had been anyone else, but perfectly normally considering Excel's nature as Excel, it did not occur to her to wonder if, since the pit was mostly for her benefit, it would be in her best interest to purposely fail at the mission, now that there was no pit to be dropped down.
Of course, there was still the option that Lord Ilpalazzo could simply shoot her.
However, he had seemed oddly squiffy as of late about anything that involved a gun being aimed at Excel.
Runoff, it was supposed, from the 25th episode.
Either way, the thought of intentional failure in the name of self-preservation never once crossed Excel's mind, and she and Hyatt prepared to set out, their goal firmly established.
Until, that is, Hyatt collapsed in a heap on the floor and lay, unmoving, except for the trickle of blood leaking onto the tile.
Had this been anyone else in the world, the response of the two still-alive people in the room might have been different.
However, as it was Hyatt, Excel simply laughed nervously, rubbing the back of her head.
"Heh…I guess Hatchan's dead again."
Ilpalazzo simply pushed his glasses back into place and sighed in annoyance, knowing that he would regret his next words long and thoroughly.
"Very well. Agent Hyatt will remain here to guard the headquarters. Excel, I will accompany you to Some Little Town In Siberia That Exists Only As a Plot Point, Which We Shall Probably Fail To Reach Before the Plot Kicks In."
"Those Russians come up with some weird names," Excel commented briefly, before blushing brightly and acquiring a bad case of "shiny-eyes" as she was struck with the implication that this turn of events could very well result in her being alone with Lord Ilpalazzo for…a longish time. Then another thought joined this one, where the two proceeded to form a very short conga-line around Excel's brain to the sound of music that only she could hear. "Lord Ilpalazzo!" she gasped. "Surely one such as you would not reduce himself to such a menial task as this! Your most faithful Excel can handle it on her own!"
For a brief moment, the caped man was tempted. Very tempted. But, he recalled, Siberia was a nasty place to cross on foot. And since ACROSS had yet to invest in a vehicle of any sort, this would be his senior agent's mode of transport. More experienced and skilled explorers – which actually covered a fairly large portion of the world's population – had been known to perish while attempting such a trip alone.
Not, as Ilpalazzo would have hastened to tell anyone who asked, that he was particularly concerned for Excel's safety. It was simply a chilling thought to have to listen to her constant chatter the next time she got going – which was surely due to happen any second – because the pit was still out of order.
How Ilpalazzo would have explained why he expected to need the pit should he lose Excel to her own stupidity remains a mystery to this day.
"No, Excel," he finally sighed reluctantly. "It is a long, difficult journey on foot, and with a mission of such great importance, we cannot risk failure."
Still, Excel was unwilling to concede the point.
"But…but…Lord Ilpalazzo, doing such demeaning leg-work?!"
"Leg-work?" Ilpalazzo repeated with a smirk. "Oh, I don't think so, Excel."
"Lord Ilpalazzo, your Excel would like to ask if it would have maybe been a little more efficient maybe to maybe buy a sled or some horses, or a pack of work-turtles or pigeons or something," Excel shouted above the howling, biting wind once she found her breath again after a particularly strong gust made its way up the bottom of her long, furry, and weather-appropriate coat like some perverted fanboy.
Steeling herself, she gave the reigns a desperate tug to keep the gigantic throne draped in red fabric, adapted for the purposes of travel over snowy plains by a pair of old skis duct-taped to the bottom, in motion.
I'll be screwed if this dumb-ass thing stops completely, she lamented silently. If she could just make it to the hill sloping downwards a few hundred feet ahead…
"Remember, Excel," Ilpalazzo said absently, fumbling with his hand-held dating simulator game. Really, video games and wooly mittens did not mix well… "The measure of a man's freedom is what he can do without. The same applies to an organization. Such a luxury as a vehicle is simply unnecessary to ACROSS."
"Oh, that's so endlessly noble, Lord Ilpalazzo!" Excel squealed, a rush of adrenaline causing her to burst into a run. "To abandon your own comfort and convenience for the glory of ACROSS! Excel is inspired, and has risen above her crippling fatigue and the biting cold! Hail Ilpalazzo!" she concluded, fatally stopping dead and turning around to throw out her customary salute.
This would have likely been no problem, save the annoyance of another delay, had the relentlessly energetic young woman's sprint not carried her, the throne, and within the throne, Ilpalazzo to the start of the hill.
It did, however, and Excel found herself learning a very hands-on lesson about the concept of inertia as she fled frantically from the runaway chair.
The combination of Excel's shouts of dismay and terror with the sensation of moving very quickly got Ilpalazzo's complete attention, and, after tucking his video game safely away, he set about shouting various useless bits of advice.
"Go that way! No, no, not that way, the other that way!"
Excel, in a flash of true Excel-like thinking, decided to veer about the hill crazily in as close an approximation as she could get to running on both sides at the same time. That way, she reasoned, she would be right either way, and the chair would be so confused, it would stop. Then, naturally, Lord Ilpalazzo would be so impressed by her brilliance and "outside the box" thinking that they would give up on the mission and go somewhere to…get warmed up.
However, at that point, Ilpalazzo seemed to be too busy shouting thoroughly unhelpful orders at her to think about anything else.
"Stop going that way, and go that way instead!"
Another, even more useless favorite was,
"Damn it, Excel, stop this thing!"
"Oh, yeah, right," Excel wheezed. "How do I do that? And why is this thing following me?! It's possessed, isn't it? Oh, Lord Ilpalazzo, as soon as I can find a good place to stop and regroup, your Excel will save you from the clutches of this demon chair! Damn it, chair, stop chasing me!"
Indeed, if one had happened to glance quickly at the scene unfolding on That Snowy Hill Somewhere in Siberia, one might have wondered in confusion why the chair seemed to be following Excel very closely, no matter which way she zigged and zagged.
If one had chanced to look a little more closely, though, one might have wondered in even greater confusion why Excel was gripping the reigns attached to the throne, very tightly, and dragging it in strange squiggly patterns all the way down the hill.
However, one would have had little time to watch either of these things, as at the end of the hill was a sharp twenty-foot drop which Excel, in her desperation to escape the wrath of the chair, failed utterly to notice.
Ilpalazzo was a little more aware of it, but unable to do anything, as getting Excel to pay attention to anything at that moment was about the equivalent in difficulty to making a decent living selling Avon merchandise at a Hell's Angels convention. Babbling incessantly about the cold, the snow, the spirits possessing the chair, her itchy wool sweater, turkey dinners, bunnies learning to tap-dance, and the secret meaning behind 'Happy Birthday', Excel was, in fact, having the time of her life.
However, her enjoyment of the situation decreased abruptly when, feeling the chair nipping at the backs of her heels, she made a mad leap to the side.
From here, the chair continued on down the hill, her mass not being sufficient to anchor it in place.
It was at this point that Ilpalazzo, still enthroned and coolly watching the events unfold, frowned and wondered aloud,
"Just how long is this hill, anyway? It only looked about four feet long from the top."
As he finished this pondering, he began to notice a strange sensation in the pit of his stomach, somewhat akin to that of learning just how much the new improvements to the underground headquarters would cost, or that his internet girlfriend was secretly Bob the Far-Too-Friendly Puchuu in disguise.
When he glanced to the sides to see the grey, featureless sky rushing past, and then up to see the edge of the cliff off of which they had flown rapidly becoming a little dot, he nodded calmly, realizing what had happened. Then, just as calmly, he withdrew his video game and set about wooing the cute li'l bespectacled redhead in the library.
In the meantime, Excel, who had been dragged from the cliff face-first by the reigns wrapped tightly around her wrists and waist, was reflecting that she enjoyed falling feet-first more, although the lack of tentacle monsters waiting for her below would be a nice change.
The exchange of falling down the pit to which she had become so accustomed for falling head-first off a snowy cliff became an even better deal in the cold-addled mind of Excel when she landed with a thump that forced all air from her lungs for a time, directly across Lord Ilpalazzo's lap.
The aforementioned Illpalazo blinked several times, staring rather uncertainly at the girl's backside, pointing slightly up into the air, as a result of her awkward position.
"Spanking isn't exactly my thing," Excel began, breaking into his thoughts, "but Excel is open to experimenting!"
"Must…have…restraint," a tall, bespectacled girl with rampantly curly hair, bearing an uncanny resemblance to the author whimpered from her position at the top of the cliff, her voice echoing throughout the barren, dazzlingly white wasteland that was not the future. "Too soon…for blatant…'shippiness or…pointless…smut!"
"Hey, hey, hey, it's never too soon for pointless smut!" one of the hummingbirds that had previously been darting around the underground headquarters of ACROSS, but had gotten bored and thus decided to follow the strange-looking procession of a madly babbling girl dragging a massive red chair, argued.
However, as neither Ilpalazzo, nor Excel, nor Rhianwen could grasp the intricacies of Hummingbird, no one paid it any mind.
Instead, Excel, who was reflecting in faint disappointment that this wasn't as much fun as she had imagined, shifted slightly, trying to find the best way to climb off of the cape-wearin' man's lap without injuring…certain things that she especially wanted to keep in good working order.
At this, Ilpalazzo noted with great interest that he might not need the dating simulator at the moment; one of its pet situations seemed to have dropped into his lap, so to speak.
"Okay, that's it!" Rhianwen proclaimed as she leapt from the top of the cliff and landed ignominiously head-first in a snow-drift. She dragged herself to her feet, sputtering and coughing up snow. Then, gathering together what shreds of her poor abused dignity remained, she turned to Excel and Ilpalazzo. "I give up! I have to take some time off from this story until I can get my mind out of the gutter! So you two just wait there, and…I'll be back."
Both watched, a little bemused, as Rhianwen scampered off after a bunny that had happened past and caught her eye.
"Well, what do you suppose we should do now, Excel?" Ilpalazzo asked casually.
"I don't know," Excel began hesitantly, hoping that this wasn't one of those trick questions that had no right answer – only answers that were less wrong, and thus would warrant less severe punishment, than others. "I guess she's the author today. If we don't do what she says, she could do anything to us! She could drop us into a volcano that opened up right below us for no reason, or she could make an army of penguins take over the world and turn us into their love slaves, or she could throw us in a Mexican prison with Emeril and his fifty-seven clones, who would probably show us a whole new meaning to the phrase, 'Bam! Kick it up a notch!' Or she might do something really weird!"
"You make your point, Excel. We'll wait for now."
And so, thus deciding, Ilpalazzo withdrew his video game from a pocket somewhere within the folds of his cape, and once again cursed the lack of mobility that mittens provided.
Excel rested her chin on her hands, elbows supported by being propped up against the outside of Ilpalazzo's right leg, and began to whistle.
Seconds later, she became aware of a pair of golden eyes glaring down at her.
"Don't. Whistle," Ilpalazzo commanded forebodingly.
A few seconds later…
"And don't hum."
Another few seconds later…
"And don't tap!"
Another few seconds…
"And especially don't sing!"
Another few seconds…
Excel and Ilpalazzo glared up at the sky and exclaimed in unison,
"Will you end the chapter already?!"
End Notes: Whoa. So far, abysmally out of character. I can't write Excel. I mean, I can't write anyone else in this universe, but it's especially glaring in the case of Excel. She's so great, and I just can't get a handle on her at all!
Not only that, I'm completely unable to infuse my writing with the chaos and energy of Excel Saga. Oh, well. It's kind a fun anyway. I hope. And it'll get stranger. Once I get more into the swing of the universe.