Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie was, from time to time, a very naughty girl.
And she enjoyed being a very naughty girl. It tended to be profitable for her. In high school, she had set up an online "purity test", and then set up a way for students to get other students' results.
She didn't have to worry about money again for the rest of high school.
Oh, Mac could've easily been shut down. However, the test worked to her advantage when it turned out that it amused a certain classmate of hers to see the beautiful people so thoroughly excoriated. That classmate's name was Veronica Mars.
If life was Rebel Without a Cause, then Veronica was definitely James Dean. She spent most of her last two years of high school angry and vindictive, a chip on her shoulder the size of the Matterhorn.
But Mac was on her good side. Mac was her friend. And for that, Mac was ever thankful.
Right at the moment, though, Mac was being EXTREMELY naughty. She had found her way into the Balboa County Sheriff's Department mainframe, and she was about to play merry hob with their computer system.
She knew better than to mess with the essentials, but if she could for one moment inconvenience that strutting martinet Vinnie Van Lowe and his posse of tools and dickwads (Mac's personal term of endearment), then she would certainly not hesitate to do so.
Unfortunately, the mainframe didn't turn out to be much of a challenge. It took Mac less than thirty seconds to get in. "Aw, poo," she muttered. It had been quite a while since she had been faced with a real challenge.
As she was navigating the inner workings of the sheriff's department computer system, though, she noticed something strange. It appeared to be a piece of code that was some sort of entry into another system – a virtual Judas gate, almost. And it looked familiar.
"Where have I seen you before?" Mac mused to herself. Pulling up another window, she quickly wormed her way into the Hearst College mainframe. And there it was again. The same little piece of code. But that wasn't the only place. It was also in the Neptune Regional Schools mainframe.
"Okay, this is just too weird," she muttered. But it was also far too tempting for Mac to just overlook. And so, she attempted to make her way through the little virtual Judas gate –
And the power went off. "The hell?"
Mac wasn't too concerned. Her MacBook had a battery that would last for four hours, and the Airport card would connect to whatever wireless network was available. Sure enough, the computer was still up, and the hacking program was still trying to find its way through the tiny bit of code –
And lo and behold, it worked. "Alright!" Mac exulted, as the lights began to flicker back on.
That's when the screen of her computer went wonky. All the windows disappeared, and a random stream of information began to scroll across the screen. "Have I suddenly entered the Matrix?" Mac asked herself, noting the odd resemblance the screen bore to the code from the sci-fi trilogy.
It seemed, though, that it was actually some sort of virtual deadbolt, which her computer was rapidly figuring out. Each time it deciphered one of the "tumblers", that column would freeze, with one character lit in bright yellow.
After about five minutes, all the tumblers were frozen in place. "TT0412253," Mac muttered, writing the combination down.
And as soon as it appeared, it disappeared – to be replaced by an Internet browser. "Now this is interesting…"
The browser displayed a message for a brief second – "AOLTW LOCKBOX" – and then redirected to another page.
Mac narrowed her eyes in confusion. "Why am I being redirected to LiveJournal?"
And then the title appeared at the top of the page: "THE VERONICA MARS FANFICTION ARCHIVE."
Mac's eyes widened. "What the hell is this?!" Her voice went up about an octave over the course of the sentence.
It was enough to distract Parker. She looked up from the book she was reading. "Mac?"
"Parker, you gotta come take a look at this."
Parker stood up from her bed and crossed the room to look at the screen. "The Veronica Mars fanf- what the hell is this?!"
"I'm not entirely sure," Mac replied, "but it looks interesting."
Parker leaned over Mac's shoulder as Mac scrolled down. "The Year of Living Dangerously," Mac mused, as the first link came into view. "By Vanessa Galore. Looks interesting."
Mac clicked on the link. Half an hour later, the two roommates were sitting in front of Mac's computer, engrossed in the tale of what might be to come – yet puzzled at the idea of it being a television show.
They were snapped out of their near-hypnosis by the sound of Mac's phone ringing. Looking at the caller ID, Mac's eyes widened. She opened the phone quickly. "Veronica!"
Veronica started to say something, but Mac cut her off. "Whatever it is, it can wait," she said insistently. "You've gotta get over here right now. And bring Logan. He's got to see this, too."
Mac snapped her phone shut, and backed out of the story, back to the archive. "Okay, so let's see if we can figure out what all these acronyms mean," she muttered.
"Well…" Parker mused. "I'm pretty sure that LoVe stands for Logan and Veronica."
Mac looked at her roommate, then back at the screen, and then smacked herself in the forehead. "I'm such an idiot," she grumbled. "All these years I've been writing fanfic, and I couldn't figure out the basic abbreviations for pairings."
Parker picked up a notepad from Mac's desk, then spent a moment scrounging around the mess for a pen. Finally coming up with a purple pen that had a little troll head on its tip, she began writing. "Okay," she said. "So, like I said, LoVe stands for Logan and Veronica…"
"DuVe…" Mac muttered. "Must be Duncan and Veronica."
Parker's eyes narrowed in confusion. "Duncan?"
Mac shook his head. "Veronica's old boyfriend. He skipped to Mexico about two years ago."
"Gotcha," Parker replied, nodding. "Okay, so, PiVe must be Piz and Veronica…"
"And WaVe is Wallace and Veronica," Mac added. "Ew!"
"I know," Parker said, wrinkling her nose in disgust. "That's just not right."
"Neither is this!" Mac yelped, jumping out of her seat as if she'd been burned. "MaDi? Please, please tell me that doesn't stand for Mac and Dick."
Parker tried not to smile, but failed. "Oh, I think it does," she said. "And MaPa…"
They looked at each other. "Oh, GOD!" Parker wailed.
"EWWW!" Mac spat out simultaneously. They both started laughing, almost uncontrollably.
Finally, Mac recovered enough to say, "Not that I don't love you, roomie, but, just… no!"
And that's when the knock sounded on the door. Parker crossed the room, and pulled the door open.
"What the hell is going on in here?" Veronica asked, stepping into the room. "It sounds like a drunken sorority party from the hall!"
Logan stepped into the room uncertainly. "Hi, Parker," he said, trying not to be too awkward.
"Logan," she replied, and then stepped back behind Mac.
"Okay, V-Thug, you gotta see –"
"Did you just call me V-Thug?!"
"Yes, I did. You gotta take a look at this."
Veronica bent over Mac's shoulder, looking at the computer screen. "The Veronica Mars fanfiction archive," she muttered. "Goddammit, I was hoping this was just a hallucination."
"You've SEEN THIS before?!" Mac exclaimed, turning to Veronica.
"I have," Veronica muttered, unhappily. "The only time I had seen it before, though, was on Moe's computer screen, after he drugged me. I was really, REALLY hoping it was a side effect of the GHB."
"There's people out there writing fanfic about Veronica?" Logan asked. "This I've gotta see. Anything good?"
"Oh, you could say that," Mac replied. "It seems like half of the people on here are obsessed with you and Veronica's sex… life…"
She realized what was saying, and looked back at Parker. "What?" Parker asked.
Mac didn't say anything. "Oh, come on!" Parker snapped. "Logan and I broke up nearly a year ago. I'm aware that he and Veronica are back together. I would've had to have been under a ROCK not to know about it. I'm okay with it, really, I am!"
"Okay," Mac replied quietly, turning back to the screen. "Anyway, there's all kinds of pairings here. Like I said, there's you and Logan – abbreviated LoVe – and then there's DuVe, you and Duncan, PiVe, you and Piz, WaVe, you and Wallace –"
"Oh, that's not right!" Veronica interrupted. "Me and WALLACE?"
"Oh, it gets better," Mac replied. "There's also DuMe – that's Duncan and Meg, there's PaPi – Parker and Piz, there's my personal favorite –" she rolled her eyes "- MaDi, and I dare you to guess what that stands for."
"MaDi," Veronica said. "You and Dick?!"
Mac nodded. "Makes my stomach hurt to think about it."
"Hey," Logan interjected. "Dick's not a bad guy. Just kind of, well… he's Dick."
That's when a notice popped up on the screen. New submission, it informed Mac. Display?
"Hmmm," Mac said, clicking on OK. The new story popped up. "The Bridge to Coronado," Mac read. "A LoWe fanfic."
"LoWe?" Logan asked. "What's LoWe?"
Veronica cocked an eyebrow. "LoWe… Logan, and…" Her brow furrowed in confusion, and then her eyes widened in realization. "And Weev-"
"Oh, FUCK no!" Logan shouted, cutting her off. "Click it off!"
"No way!" Mac shot back, a note of glee in her voice. "This I've GOTTA see!"
Mac scrolled down, and began to read. "The cool night air of San Diego swept over Logan's skin. He teetered precariously on the edge of the Coronado Bridge, a bottle of Jack Daniels in his hand."
"That's bullshit," Logan grumbled. "It wasn't Jack Daniels!"
Mac ignored him. "The sound of ships in the harbor carried across the waves to Logan. He inhaled deeply, taking in the scents of the bay – salt air, diesel exhaust, bird crap. What a lovely bouquet.
"That's when another sound, a sound foreign yet familiar, interrupted the night. The sound of half a dozen one thousand cubic centimeter engines. Six motorcycles, rolling down the westbound lanes of the Coronado Bridge.
"They came to a stop in a horseshoe around Logan's XTerra. Six riders dismounted, their leader removing his helmet.
"'Well, well, well,' said Eli Navarro, known simply to Logan as 'Weevil'. 'What have we here?'
"Following his lead, the other PCHers removed their helmets. Logan looked around. Six Latino men, all staring at him – their eyes glistening with desire. He smiled. This was gonna be fun."
Logan had buried his face in his hands. "Oh God, kill me now," he groaned.
That didn't stop Mac from reading. She kept going, much to the amusement of Veronica and Parker, and much to Logan's dismay and despair. Fifteen minutes later, she stopped.
Logan looked like he was going to kill somebody – possibly Mac, but more likely himself. "Not… cool…" he spat out.
Standing up, he crossed to the computer. "Move," he ordered Mac. Mac, a grin on her face, did just that.
Logan sat down at the computer. He backed out to the main page and started scrolling through. "No… No… No… No… wait."
He turned around and looked at Parker, and then at Veronica, a grin spreading across his face. "This is interesting. I just found one with the label 'PaVe'."
The two blondes looked at each other, and their eyes widened. "No," Parker breathed.
"Don't you DARE, Logan!" Veronica hissed.
His grin widened, making him look almost like the Cheshire cat. "Ah, but I just sat through a story of me being gangbanged by the PCHers," he rebuked them. "Therefore… I believe we'll be reading ALL ABOUT some hot blonde-on-blonde action."
Ten minutes later, Logan stopped. Veronica and Parker both looked mortified. Mac looked amused, and Logan… well, Logan looked turned on.
"Okay," he said. "Veronica, I think we need to go. I… have something that I need to take care of."
"Take care of it yourself," Veronica grumped.
"Aw, Veronica, where's the LoVe?" Logan shot back, emphasizing the second half of the word.
She looked down, but couldn't stop the smile that was starting to form on her face. "Oh, alright," she finally said, standing and taking Logan's hand.
Veronica opened the door, and then turned back. "Mac, I want you to forget about that website," she said. "And we will never speak of this again."
"Gotcha," Mac replied.
"Agreed," Parker added.
Logan and Veronica exited the dorm room, closing the door behind them. "Okay," Mac mused, turning back to the computer. "Now, where were we?"
Parker smiled. "I believe we were on our way to check out that PiLo category."
Mac grinned. "Excellent."
Author's Note: "TT0412253" is the identifier code for Veronica Mars on the Internet Movie Database. AOLTW stands for AOL Time Warner, the old name of the Time Warner Company, the parent company of Warner Bros., the studio that produced and distributed Veronica Mars.