Disclaimer: Kim Possible and related characters are the property of Disney, while Dr. Helen Narbon (both of her) and related characters are the property of Shaenon K. Garrity. However, the copyright and/or trademark owners are in no way responsible for the content of the following story, which is entirely my fault.
Notes: This is the second story in the Sitch in Slash sequence, following the events of "Favor for Favor". I've retitled it (it was formerly "The Cross and the Beta", which I decided was too oblique), but it's otherwise as originally posted. I had not initially meant to kick off a multi-part epic, but I now have at least minimal notes for as many as five stories in the cycle. This one, though, is more than usually odd, as it's a crossover episode as well as a sequel. Narbonic is a real Webcomic, archived in full at www-dot-narbonic-dot-com, and well worth your attention irrespective of the uses I've put it to here. This was a plot bunny too tempting to resist, and I hope fans of both sets of source material can appreciate it.
As with the prior narrative, there is slashfic in the story, but the story itself isn't slash in any conventional sense -- although at the same time, aspects of the relationships between Kim, Shego, and Mrs. Dr. P are also not what you'd call conventional. (Confused yet? Heh, heh, heh.) Also, quite by accident, this turned out to be something of an experiment in point-of-view -- each chapter reflects a different character's viewpoint, creating a "round robin" effect that I hadn't originally expected.
1 • Please Don't Gene-Splice the Messenger
"I think you'd better have a look at this, Doctor," said the technician nervously.
Dr. Helen Narbon Prime – she preferred the designation to "senior" nowadays, as her daughter-clone matured – cocked an eyebrow at the tech, who flinched. The mad scientist's eyebrows weren't deadly in themselves, but they often foreshadowed messy exits for the individuals who prompted her to raise them. "Oh?"
"It's from the datascan of Worldtrack N+3/TD," the tech said. "Since we stabilized the Cross-Dimensional Induction Tunnel for travel between near-parallel universes, we've been checking potential destinations for information on relevant bio-analogs – and we got some, ah, exotic hits for this track."
"In other words," Dr. Narbon said dryly, "you Googled me over there, and something came up you don't think I'll approve of. Namely . . . what?"
"Um," said the tech, "two things, actually. First, you're not – real in that universe. You're part of a comic strip on the Web."
The scientist's cool expression brightened slightly. "A comic strip? About me?"
The tech swallowed. "Not – exactly. You're a supporting character; the lead is your, um, daughter."
Dr. Narbon frowned. "Beta gets higher billing than I do? That will never – no, wait. If the strip makes me seem less important, the element of surprise when I act will be greater. But you said two things; go on."
The tech went from nervous to downright flustered. "Yes, um, well . . . there's fanfiction based on the strip," he said. "And some of it's, ah, um – kind of X-rated."
"Slash, you mean," Dr. Narbon said. "About me, I take it?"
"Some of it, yes."
"I see." Helen Prime smiled narrowly. "And this should bother me, why?"
"Well, um, it's the pairing."
Except, noted Dr. Narbon, the tech had said pairing as if there were quotation marks around the word. "Oh? With whom do I engage in conjugal bliss?"
The tech's face blanched. "Ah, well – I think you'd just better look at it." Which, translated from his body language, meant please don't gene-splice the messenger.
"I see." She didn't, really; based on her acquaintance with fanfic in her own universe, there were three kinds of slash – the sort that treated its characters with striking respect, the sort that was blisteringly pornographic (and thereby, for the most part, too unlikely to take seriously), and the sort that was too laughably written to bother with. Clearly, however, something had alarmed the technician, and her staff didn't alarm easily. "Very well, I'll have a look," she said, taking the thick file folder from the tech's hand.
Several hours later, she was shaking her head in grim astonishment. Three Girls and a Gerbil was certainly blisteringly pornographic – which she didn't mind, in itself. It portrayed her as a flaming lesbian, which she also didn't mind in itself. But the writer had had the audacity to make her the simultaneous paramour of her own cloned offspring and Mell, Beta's amusingly sociopathic intern – along with their mutant gerbil companion, Artie.
She might, Helen Prime reflected, have forgiven the author the incest – hot sex was hot sex, after all – but she'd been portrayed in entirely too positive a light, as if she'd actually been motivated to improve her daughter-clone's mental balance. The technician had been right; the slight to her reputation couldn't be tolerated, not even three universes over in a dimension where she was considered a fictional character.
She paged the tech. "I presume," she inquired over the lair comm-link, "that you've traced the author's identity in her native universe?"
"Of course, Doctor. We haven't found a birth name yet, but she's a contract enforcer for N+3/TD's mad scientist community, under the working identity of Shego. Shall I send you the dossier?"
"At once," Dr. Narbon replied. "And put in a call to Mell Kelly. Tell her I may have a job for her."