Notes: When was this last updated? Oh, almost a year ago? Oh gosh, that's terrible. Sorry. Um. Some talks with friends at the PPC have brought IAHF back to mind again, so here's another chapter. Erp. Apologies for the fail and the disjointedness and, ugh, everything.
Additional Disclaimer: Big Murphy belongs to KGarrett, and is borrowed with his encouragement, actually.
There was something… something missing…
Arthur Kirkland clutched his forehead, but his mind felt foggy, fuzzy, enveloped in white oblivion. He tried so hard to think, but all he could think of was sitting in a room, discussing a bridge…
The Bridge? Wasn't that in a different fandom? But Eduard Von Bock said there was one here, too…
But didn't American Workbitch say it connected badfics to Canon, the one in that other fandom?
Arthur was so very confused. Perhaps it was a different sort of bridge, since IAHF obviously couldn't be considered Canon, not by a long shot. It had to be something different.
Perhaps the true intent of this bridge was revealed after the oblivion overtook him. Shame he couldn't remember a speck of it.
Arthur wanted to bang his head against the nearest surface. But banging his head would be counterproductive to the issue, and would probably make a headache worse.
"Iggy-darling?" Someone was simpering that revolting nickname at him again! He opened his mouth to give the fanbrat what for, but the fog was swirling in his mind once more, drawing and sucking him in, pulling him under.
The last thing he knew was the sound of Suvian laughter.
"Do you know the steps of genocide?" asked Howard the Spy.
The others gathered in the room – mostly the second semester and new students – all shook their heads. Howard took it in stride, though, turning to the makeshift blackboard (scrawled on with chalkboard paint at the last minute) to write them down.
"There are eight steps of genocide. Copy them down; this might save your life. First, you have classification."
"Identification?" demanded an urple-haired, bled-eyed Sue as Sandra East stepped into the main building.
Sandra held out the card that the Sues had forced all the students to obtain. The Sue looked at the card, back at Sandra, and sneered.
"Ah, you're a Nerd. The library's the other way, sweetcheeks."
"Really?" asked Sandra. "I thought you lot burned the library."
The Sue glared. "Move it," she snapped, stepping aside. "And under no circumstances are you allowed into that cafeteria!"
"Next, you have symbolisation."
In his room, Peter looked at the glasses that he'd been forced to wear. Across from him, Stanley South flopped down onto his bed and tossed over some leftover food from lunch.
"I'm sorry, bro, about Lila. You must be starving," remarked Stanley, frowning.
Peter sighed. "She's fine. She's Underground."
"And the others?"
"Also there." Peter stared at his hands. Whoever thought that Hetalia would make history all rainbows and puppies and sunshine needed to be dragged out into the middle of the street and shot.
"You know, that's what I used to think," Stanley muttered. "That Hetalia was supposed to be lighthearted. Well, it is, but… it's lighthearted because then the irony's even more apparent, you know?"
Peter raised an eyebrow. Stanley stared up at the ceiling.
"I thought it was just a bunch of jokes about stereotypes," he said after a moment.
"It is," said Peter, frowning. "It's full of cute Nations with… fun stories… and friendships… but that just makes the bad parts worse, doesn't it? We read about France and Jeanne D'Arc, and we see those strips, and we… we see the story where Francis meets Lisa… and it's so much sadder because we know. We know the history behind it."
"When did it become this serious?" wondered Stanley.
Peter snorted, and put the nerd glasses away. "Everything changed when the Sparkle Nation attacked?" he suggested weakly.
"Then you have dehumanisation."
Ismenia Yolanda Octavia frowned as she strode past the occupants of the main building. Sandra should be somewhere nearby, she knew, and thus she blocked out the jeering of the Sparkly Police.
"I wish you'd go home, swirly!" someone shouted – Yolanda couldn't even see her face – but she found herself being pulled away from the corridor, sucked back into the darkness of her purple lamp.
Time ticked on, and it felt like ages before she heard someone step by and rub the lamp. With a gasp of relief, Ismenia surfaced –
Only to come face to face with Anna Kirkland, one of the more squealy new fangirls to the school.
"I heard you're a genie, and you'll do whatever I command you to!" declared the girl. Ismenia resisted the urge to bang the lamp against her head. She also resisted the urge to flee back into it, since chances were, the girl would resummon her.
"That's the rule, yes," she replied drily.
Anna hugged her Mochi Kimajaro-San – who looked more like a mountain in Africa than a Mochi or even its supposed bear namesake. "You're going to make Iggy-chan fall in love with me!" she declared.
Ismenia gaped at the girl, rubbing her temples and adjusting her identification glasses. "Are… you serious?" she demanded.
"Do it now!" snapped Anna.
"There's a war going on, and you want… what?!"
"Exactly! We should have Iggy on our side, right? Because we gotta win, right? We're going to win and I'm going to marry Iggy and be happy until the end of my days! This is just like the Blitz! Isn't it exciting?"
As if on cue, the air raid sirens rang throughout the dorms. Ismenia and Anna took cover, but Anna's eyes gleamed at the genie from her spot under the desk.
"Don't even try to float away, swirly," she whispered. "You're nothing but my slave, and you're gonna make Iggy fall in love with me or else."
"Then you have organisation."
The all-clear sounded. R'lyeh looked up from his papers to see a blue oblong doorway flicker into existence.
"How on earth did this happen?" demanded the tall, solidly built Irishman that stepped through said portal.
The first thing that R'lyeh thought had happened was that one of the numerous Ireland OCs had somehow gotten wind of portal technology. But no, this man had a patch on his sleeve with a quail on it. R'lyeh's eyes narrowed.
"And who are you?" he asked hesitantly, his hand straying towards the gun lying on the table next to him. The broad red-haired man held his hands up in an appeasing gesture.
"James Murphy, Department of Operations," he declared. "We at the PPC regularly hear the Lurker's Underground broadcasts. Upstairs wanted to practice a policy of isolationism, but some of us thought otherwise and, well…" he held out his arms. "Here we are. How did the Sues become so organised?"
R'lyeh frowned. "How do I know I can trust you?" he demanded, his hand closing around the gun. Murphy's eyes flickered to it and back to the Lovecraftian City's face.
"There are only nine members of the Fellowship," he replied. "Francis is not a rapist, Yao does not say aru after every line, and 'Iggy' is not a suitable nickname for Arthur Kirkland."
R'lyeh pursed his lips, but his hand drew away from his gun.
"You claim to be from the PPC, I note," he said after a moment.
"I run a store in New Caledonia called Big Murphy's. It sells weapons."
R'lyeh frowned. "Anything else?"
"It connects to HQ, where I can obtain other supplies." Murphy strode over to the Lovecraftian City. "I can tell you're going to need all the supplies you can get, so tell me in return – what sort of Sues are these?"
"An assortment, I think," replied R'lyeh. "Some claim to serve one they call 'Angelle Hill'; the others claim to serve the 'Sunflower Emperor'."
Murphy's eyes widened. "Say that again," he demanded.
"The two factions in the Sues serve different people, one called Angelle Hill, the other called the Sunflower Emperor."
Murphy's shoulders slumped. "No wonder they're organised."
"They all serve in common a Sue called Imogene Fraser," added R'lyeh.
"An axis of glitter," snorted Murphy, but his expression sobered almost immediately. "Right, I've got it, then," he declared, opening another portal behind him. "You'll be hearing from us soon. Don't worry – Upstairs will only have to turn a blind eye. Well, if they had eyes, that is."
And with that, a faint glimmer of hope was kindled.
"Then you have polarisation."
"You know, Stanley Milgram once performed this experiment," said Lila as Peter took a seat next to her on a ratty old sofa in the Underground. Her brown hair was unkempt and she looked like she hadn't slept for days, and yet still she was beautiful – still, she persevered, kept on living and hoping even though there was a price for her head.
"What experiment?" wondered Peter as he put an arm around her. Lila burrowed into his side, sighing.
"He wanted to know if it was possible to turn ordinary people into sociopaths," she said. "You wouldn't electrocute someone, would you?"
Peter recoiled. "No," he replied, scowling. "That's…painful."
"And yet these ordinary people in the experiment did it. They sent four hundred and fifty volts of electricity through another human being." Lila paused. "Well, they thought they did, at any rate. It was all a simulation, with no one actually getting hurt on the other side. But the person sending the shocks – the subject of the experiment – didn't know that, and yet still they went higher and higher."
Peter raised an eyebrow, urging Lila to continue.
"Of course, the subjects of the experiment weren't exactly happy with the situation – they were all stressed and stuff – but sixty-five percent of them finished the experiment, which means that they delivered the final amount. And do you know why they did it?"
"There was someone telling them to."
"Exactly." Lila scowled. "Just because someone told them to, they did it. They went against their own morals and electrocuted another human being. That's the exact same thing that's going on right now."
"People aren't getting shocked," Peter pointed out.
"But the people that do get captured are betrayed by their own friends and peers," replied Lila. "Ordinary people who're just 'doing their jobs' or 'didn't actually mean any harm' could still become monsters. Ordinary people just trying to protect their way of life could become killers, unwittingly allowing the deaths of millions. Do you think that –"
There was a scream. Lila and Peter leapt to their feet immediately. There was a pounding, a pounding on the walls and the pitter-patter of feet.
Moments later, Samantha Marie Pappas came running into the room. "Lila, Peter, we've got to go! Erich's betrayed us – the Sues are coming!"
"And right now, we're at preparation." Howard looked out at his students. "I'd like to remind you all that there are two steps left, and we can only hope that we don't get there. We can only hope for help. We're doing the best we can to stave off the oncoming storm, but in the end, it takes only the attitudes of the moderates who aren't affected adversely to change the outcome of these conflicts. Only you can stop genocide."
He paused, looking back at the board. "Throughout history, real-life genocides have been over things far worse than this, things that may not be the result of your upbringing. You can become educated in history and languages and therefore be dubbed a Nerd by the Sparkly Regime. But you cannot help what race you're from, and many of these historical genocides have been targeting race. Racial-driven hate speech still exists today, and every slur could potentially broil into something much worse if not held in check by everyone else. As much as I hate to see the innocent suffering, I feel like this time at IAHF is the perfect time to show you what war and hate really is about. That's something the Canon doesn't want to cover, but something that must be discussed anyway."
After a while, he laughed. "This, I think, is learning through pain."
Oh, but he wasn't a little Japanese girl, was he? He was Arthur Kirkland, the former British Empire, the one who Ruled the Waves.
"Iggy-chan, I had my new slave bring you over here! You're mine now, hee! I think I'll also add Mattie to my collection after this – Slave Genie! I wish for you to bring me Mattie and make him fall in love with me!"
Arthur Kirkland blinked in confusion as he sat up, but the moment he did, he was bowled over by a diminutive female form, squealing about how 'kawaii' he was.
The fog was ebbing only slightly. Arthur turned his head to see another student, a Genie with six arms and long pink hair and a set of thick-rimmed glasses on her face, looking at him with sorrow in her light blue eyes.
"I'm so sorry," said Ismenia. "I'll get you out of this somehow."
And the fog won Arthur over.