It is, of course, a parody of Kill Bill. The idea popped up sorta off-hand while KaMu and smurd and me were brainstorming concepts for Project Erika (see Project Miho for reference). While this was not the concept we eventually settled on, I went ahead and wrote a bit, which got KaMu drawing, which got me writing some more, etc. This is the result. Many thanks to Kage Musouka for the exceedingly cool poster art, to Smurd for the parody of the opening quotation, and to both of them for the comments and support.

user posted image

Bomb Dom, Volume 1
An alternate universe Megatokyo fic

Revenge is a dish best served after turning off the heat for an hour, gently reheating, adjusting the seasoning, adding some lemon juice to wake up the flavors, and garnishing with fresh herbs. - old Smurdish proverb

The Idoru sat at the table, for lack of another choice. She struggled against the shackles that held her wrists and ankles to the metal supports, but they were solid, and the table itself was securely fastened to the floor. A sound could be heard from somewhere beyond the empty confines of the room, like the distant roar of the surf, rising and falling.

A man stepped into view, a shadowy silhouette backlit by the single spotlight shining directly into her sweat-streaked, tear-stained face. He stopped and studied the Idoru. For a moment, she desisted from her efforts to break free.

"Do you find me sadistic?" he asked in a soft voice. He leaned forward with a white handkerchief that bore a small, black stick figure stitched into one corner, the name "Dom" sewn in small letters in the opposite corner. With tender care he began to wipe the Idoru's face. "It wouldn't do to have your public see you like this. No kiddo, I know that's my reputation, but I like to think you know me well enough by now to realize there's not a trace of sadism in any of my actions. Well, maybe a little, toward those clowns who read web-comics. And nerds who play dating sims. And fools who post in on-line forums. And idiots who can't spell worth a damn. But that's all. Mostly."

"Dom," the Idoru said, her voice strained, "please don't do this."

"You know well enough," Dom said, continuing his ministrations as though he hadn't heard her speak, "that everything I do is either for business, or for love. And this is for both, kiddo. There. You look much better." He folded the cloth and pulled it back beyond the Idoru's range of vision. Then he knelt and reached under the table. The Idoru felt his touch on her right hand, and a moment later felt the shackle securing it fall free. He stood and placed a felt-tipped pen on the table before her. "For autographs, you know."

"No..." she protested, renewing her struggle to free herself.

"Believe me kiddo, it's for the best," he said, as he turned out the spotlight and switched on the overhead lights. The room was now revealed as a retail store for animé DVDs and paraphernalia, with counters and racks all around. The blinds were drawn on the big shop windows. He walked to the front door and put his hand on the doorknob.

"I'll get you for this Dom. I swear it." the Idoru whispered, as he opened the door and stepped aside. The muted surf roar resolved into the sound of hundreds of voices chanting, "Hayasaka-sama...Hayasaka-sama...Hayasaka-sama..." Then the fans rushed the door, shrieking their adoration. The Idoru's scream of fear and outrage was lost in the noise.

"Doooooommmmmmmmmuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuu...!"

***

He'd seemed nice, but he was sick,
He drew figures made of sticks,
But he knew all the players who
Made animated features too,

Stab stab, he set me up,
Stab stab, to make a buck,
Stab stab, I felt the cut,
Stab stab, my agent set me up.

Seasons turned and changed my heart,
I could no longer play these parts,
I had no feelings I could trust,
And all my dreams had turned to rust,

Stab stab, he set me up,
Stab stab, to make a buck,
Stab stab, I felt the cut,
Stab stab, my agent set me up.

The music played and though I sang,
I could no longer bear my fans...

[Instrumental]

When I said that I would quit,
He played me a dirty trick,
By spreading rumors far and wide,
The truths he swore were only lies,

Stab stab, he set me up,
Stab stab, to make a buck,
Stab stab, I felt the cut,
Stab stab, my agent set me up.
Chapter 4: Teh d00d from Hokkaido

The bar was located in a coastal village north of Sapporo, one of those places the tourist books call "quaint" and that locals call "run down". A sign over the street entrance, printed in romaji, read "CYB3R-G4RD3N OF B33R". The interior was furnished in Canadian gaijin style, complete with a huge, moth-eaten, stuffed moose-head hanging over the bar. Several booths along one side of the taproom were equipped with computers and gaming consoles.

As the Idoru pushed through the doorway, she observed a stepladder set up behind the bar, and the lower half of a man dressed in blue-jeans standing on an upper rung. The man's upper half was inside the mouth of the moose-head, wires trailing down out of the mouth to either side. She could hear the high-pitched whine of a motor from the head, which stopped abruptly with a sharp click, accompanied by muffled cursing. A moment later he climbed down the ladder, a slender man with unruly brown hair that was just beginning to gray, carrying a cordless screwdriver in his right hand, and holding the side of his bleeding left hand to his mouth.

He froze a moment when he noticed the Idoru, then smiled. <Ah, welcome! Come in, come in. My Japanese, very good,> he said, "and lord help me, but j00 are r4ck3d!"

The Idoru smiled and approached the bar. "j0," she said.

The Barman's eyes went wide with surprise. "j0!" <Very good!> "j00 sp34k l33t?"

The Idoru grinned and wriggled her shoulders like a schoolgirl. <Oh no...just a few words I learned on the web. May I sit at the bar?>

The Barman nodded vigorously. <Sure sure sure - sit. What other words you learn? Excuse me.> The barman turned toward the gaming booths and shouted in English. "j0 Piro! We got a customer; get over here and pour some b33r!"

"Pour it yourself," called a small blonde man seated at one of the consoles. "I'm playing Clannad."

The Idoru put her elbows on the bar and folded her hands before her face to disguise her amusement, as the Barman lowered his head and muttered, "Damn that lazy bastard." He turned and shouted at the blonde, snatching up the screwdriver and waving it threateningly. "Never mind your wussy girl games! Get over here and pour the b33r!" He turned to the Idoru, smiling. <So. What other l33t you learn?>

<Oh...let's see..."r0xx0r".>

<"r0xx0r"...very good!>

<Uhm..."0wnz'ed"?>

<"0wnz'ed!" You know what "0wnz'ed" means?>

<It's like this, you know, l33t thing you do when you, like, 0wnz someone.>

<"0wnz" someone.> The Barman nodded approval. <Very good.>

<What else...I already said "j0", right?>

<Yes.>

<"Fear"?> The Idoru said, in a questioning tone.

<Oooooo. Not "fear".> The Barman said. <"ph34r". Repeat please.>

<"ph34r".>

<Most impressive! You sp34k l33t like j00 l33t j00s3lf!>

The Idoru giggled. <Now you're making fun of me.>

<No no no...serious business, l33t. Important to stop 3v1l ones. You say l33t very good.> The Barman said, brushing aside some of the wires trailing from the moose's mouth with an elbow, while washing out some extra large beer mugs.

The Idoru looked up at the stuffed head. <What's with all the wires and circuits that you're putting in that creature?>

<What?> The Barman said in incomprehension.

The Idoru pointed upward. <What are you doing with that?>

<Ah! That is my "m00s3 of ph34r"! Very l33t ph34rm00s3!. Protect b33rg4rd3n from 3v1l.> The Barman finished cleaning the mugs, then turned and shouted. "Piro! Get over here and pour the b33r!"

The blonde gaijin stood up and sauntered over to the bar. As he approached, the Idoru saw that he was wearing kitty ears. "Why do I always have to pour the beer?" he said with a surly whine. "If I weren't always pouring beer in this crappy joint, I might be a famous manga-ka or game animator by now."

"Hah!" shouted the Barman, brandishing his screwdriver. "If you created game animations, I'd be head of design, and you'd still be pouring the b33r!" The Barman threw the screwdriver over his shoulder with a sudden flick of the wrist. It flew straight up the left nostril of the stuffed moose and stuck there, quivering.

"Maybe she doesn't want any beer," the blonde said. He looked at the Idoru. "Do you want beer? You look too cute to drink beer."

<Huh?> The Idoru said.

"Never mind that; just get the b33r!"

"Awright awright, you don't have to yell," the blonde said. He poured Sapporo beer into a mug, and set it on the bar. To the Idoru he said, "I don't know why I have little black kitty ears sticking out of my head."

<Eh?>

"You weren't going to say anything about them, were you?" The blonde asked with an edge in his voice. "People are always asking me about things like that."

"You're finished pouring the b33r, so quit bothering the customer," the Barman said. The blonde looked suspiciously at the Idoru, then headed back to his game console.

The Idoru took a sip from her mug. <Good beer,> she said. <I like Sapporo.>

The Barman shrugged. <a little watered down, but still, a <a href='http://www.megatokyo.com/index.php?strip_id=282' target='_blank'>fine vintage</a>.> He reached up and yanked the screwdriver out of the moose's nostril. <So, are you from Hokkaido?>

<No, I live in Tokyo.>

<What brings you all the way up here?> The Barman asked as he began tinkering with some circuit boards.

<I came to see a man.>

<Ah. You have a friend live in Hokkaido?>

<Not quite. I never met him.>

<Who is he, may I ask?>

<Great Teacher Largo.>

The Barman stopped his tinkering, then looked up with a hard expression. The Idoru sipped her beer and returned his stare.

"\/\/h4+ j00 w4n+ w1th t3h l33t m4s+3r?" Why do you seek Great Teacher Largo?

"3y3 g0++4 h4\/3 4 <001 +h1n6." I require the use of a "cool thing".

"\/\/uhf0r u g0++4 h4\/3 4 <001 +h1n6?" What need drives you to seek a cool thing?

"3y3 g0tz m4j0r p0wnz0r4g3 c0/\/\/\/\1n6 |_|p." I must soon join battle with a redoubtable foe.

"z0|_|ndz d1<3y." Your foe must be formidable indeed if you require a cool thing to subdue him.

"j00 b3tz j00r s\/\/33+ 455." Indeed.

***

Dust motes floated in the beam of sunlight streaming through the skylight in the pitched roof. A trapdoor in the floor of the attic opened, and Great Teacher Largo climbed into the illumination, followed by the Idoru. Largo stood aside and gestured the Idoru into a space lined with racks on which reposed many Cool Things.

The Idoru walked along the racks, letting her fingers brush over the glossy metallic surfaces as she passed. She stopped and reached for one, then hesitated, and looked over at Largo. "May I?" She asked. Largo nodded assent. "Try the next one above."

The Idoru lifted her hand to the black and silver enameled sphere that the Great Teacher had indicated, and took it into her hand. For a moment she held it reverently, watching the light play over the polished surface, then her index finger moved to a recessed button. She paused, pressed. A cylinder unfolded from the cool thing, it's curved surface melding slightly with that of the globe, the flat ends projecting to either side. A handle, roughly four feet long, sprang out from the opposite side of the cool thing, perpendicular to the cylinder.

The Idoru grasped the end of the handle in both hands and held it vertically before her. A light sprang up around the cool thing, and an illuminated "+0" appeared above the mallet-shaped head. With one hand she swung the mallet in a tight circle, and the figure floating above the mallet flickered to "+1", and then "+2". The Idoru spun the mallet from one hand to the other in a figure-eight hasso pattern, and the figure increased to "+5".

Largo nodded. "I see you like the 'magical mallet configuration'. Me..." He pulled a rectangular circuit-board from his pocket, holding it up between the index and middle fingers of his right hand. "I like accelerator cards." He made a quick, sudden motion, and the card spun whistling toward the Idoru's head.

Quick as thought, the Idoru whipped the mallet around and intercepted the card. There was a plangent twang as the card was driven through the floor of the attic, leaving behind a slit-shaped opening in the planks. A moment later there came a sound like a ruptured bagpipe from the taproom below. Largo bent down and stuck his head through the trap door, then looked up at the Idoru with a frown. "You pwnz0r3d my moose."

The Idoru nodded. "Payback for the 'r4ck3d' comment you made earlier," she said.

The Great Teacher rose to his feet, approached the Idoru, and took the mallet from her hands. "I wanted to show you these, as you are one who can appreciate l33tness. But one as knowledgeable as yourself must surely know that I no longer make cool things, in a world that no longer respects l33tn3ss. I keep these for aesthetic and sentimental reasons." He tapped the button on the cool thing, and the mallet head and handle folded into the body of the cool thing with a sharp double-clack. "As proud as I am of my m4d skillz, I am retired."

"Then give me one of these," said the Idoru.

"They are not for sale."

"I didn't say 'sell'; I said 'give'."

Largo uttered a short laugh. "And why should I help you?"

"Because my foe is an old comrade of yours, and you bear a very large part of the responsibility for his being here."

Largo looked at her a moment, then slowly crossed to a dirty window. With his finger he scratched in the dirt of the window pane a crude stick figure wearing glasses. The Idoru nodded. "Even so," said Largo, "I don't really think..."

"And besides," the Idoru broke in, "I'm r4ck3d."

The Great Teacher paused, then nodded as though she had made a profound point. "That's true," he said. He walked to the trap door and climbed down onto the ladder. He paused and looked up at the Idoru. "It will take me a month to make the cool thing; you can sleep up here. I suggest you hone your l33t skillz in the meantime." He dropped out of sight.

Smiling faintly, the Idoru walked over to the window and stared at the stick drawing. Her smile widened as she added horns, a tail, and a big nose to the figure.

***

One month later, Great Teacher Largo knelt in his sanctum, lit by 14 CRTs and 14 flat screen panels. The whisper of twenty-eight cooling fans from his sacred Beowulf Cluster filled the room. Shimenawa hung above tubs of Oaty-O's and Ki-rin Beer. The Teacher was dressed ceremoniously in his Quake combat garb, a dark chevron of camouflage painted across the bridge of his nose, extending down both cheeks.

Piro knelt nearby, looking both scary and disturbingly appealing in his Quake crossdress-combat outfit. He picked up a body pillow painted with the figure of a young woman in a form-fitting fuku, on which rested a cool thing configured as a magical mallet. He stood, and with ritualized steps brought the pillow before Largo and set it down. He then moved back to his former position with the same ritualized steps.

Largo seemed not to notice. He spoke, almost as if he were in a trance. "I have finished doing what I swore an oath to Bioware I would never do again. I have created 'something that is cool', and in this endeavor I was a success. I have done this because 3v1l must be vanquished, and stick-figure 3v1l most of all." He looked down at the cool thing lying before him, and lifted it in both hands. "I can tell you with no ego, this is my coolest thing. If, in the course of your journey, you should meet Romero, Romero will be 0wnz3d." He pressed a button on the side of the cool thing, and it collapsed into an intricate sphere of black brushed-metal, a small, winged hamster picked out on its surface in gold inlay.

Great Teacher Largo held the cool thing out to the Idoru, who knelt before him. "And so, my R4CK3D B4B3-0-R4M4 W4RR10R, bear this with thee on thy journey, and turn aside for none."

The Idoru received the cool thing into her hands, bowed her head before it and said, "Sw33t."

To be continued...?
Dom once complained that no one ever wrote doujin that hooked him up with anyone but Ed. He later added an edit saying he was only joking, but we all know he really meant it. Think he regrets it now?
================================================================================

Chapter 2, Part 1: The Fan-trampled Seiyuu

The Idoru lay quiescent in her hospital room in intensive care, bio-monitors ranked about her bed like sleepless sentinels. The outer door swung open silently to reveal a pretty young woman dressed in a white nurse's outfit with lace at the collar and hems. A white ribbon was intricately twirled through black hair highlighted with fluorescent purple streaks.

The woman stood watching the Idoru, both hands laced through the handles of a white medical bag bearing a purple cross, a faint smile playing over her lips. She was Tohya Miho, member of the Darkly Cute Character Assassination Squad, code named "Purple Flame". Still smiling, she approached the Idoru's bedside, quietly humming a familiar little tune.* She drew the fingers of her right hand feather-soft along the Idoru's cheek.

"How strange," she mused in a low voice. "Even now, lying like a broken bird on the edge of eternity, you are more beautiful than ever. Still, we must make some changes." She placed the medical bag on the foot of the bed, opened it and drew out a make-up kit. She set to work with brushes and swabs, and within a few minutes had removed all traces of bruising and abrasion from the Idoru's face.

"There now," Miho said, "even at the end of your career, after all, you must meet your public's expectations." She lifted the Idoru's head and slid the pillow out from beneath it, then tenderly lay her head back on the mattress. She paused a moment, gazing down at the Idoru's still features, holding the pillow in both hands before her. Her smile widened just a trifling amount. Then she lifted the Idoru's hospital gown and stuffed the pillow up underneath, to rest upon her abdomen. She arranged the gown around the padding, then stood back. "Ah, don't you look the very picture of innocent motherhood," she said. "I'm sure your fans will be quite astonished."

She lifted a folded, telescoping tripod from her medical bag and set it up beside the bed, then fastened a camera on top. "The fan press really does love this sort of thing inordinately, you know," she said as she worked. "I'm sure these pictures will be all over the internet in a matter of days. It is a great pity that you will be in no condition to appreciate all the speculation. 'Who could the father be?', they will all want to know."

As Miho adjusted the positions of the bio-monitors to keep them out of the picture, there came the sound of tinny music, like a munchkin playing a toy piano, the same tune she had been humming just a few minutes before. Miho uttered a soft, exasperated breath and pulled a small cell phone from her pocket. "Yes, Dom." she said.

"What is her condition?" said the voice on the phone.

"Comatose."

"Where is she?"

"I'm standing over her right now."

"That's my girl," said Dom. Miho closed her eyes dreamily and smiled. "Now, I want you to abort the mission."

Miho's eyes shot open and the smile fled her lips. "You what?" she said in a chilly voice.

"You heard me."

"Dom, do you have any idea at all what I went through to get in here and set this up? Do you think I went to all this trouble just to tuck Sleeping Beauty here into bed?"

"Can I say one thing here?" Dom said.

Miho opened her mouth, paused, then closed it. A moment later she said, "What is it?"

"We've given her our best shot, you know that," said Dom, keeping his voice level and reasonable. "We've spread rumors and innuendo. We've smeared her name a hundred ways from Sunday, and then I chained her to a table and let her fans at her. Must've been a thousand of them packed into that room, crowding her, trampling her underfoot, at the end. But her heart just kept on beating." Dom paused, and when he spoke again, his voice held the slightest edge. "Now, we've done a lot of things to this lady, and if she ever wakes we'll do a lot more. But one thing we will not do is to sneak into her hospital room like a filthy paparazzi, and set her up while she's in a coma."

Miho heard the sound of a pump shotgun's action being worked. "Dom..."

"And the reason we will not do that thing, is that it would lower us. Don't you agree?"

"I suppose so," Miho sighed.

"Do you really only suppose so, Tohya-san?" said Dom.

"No. I know it would."

"That's my good girl. Come on home now, Miho."

"All right."

"I love you very much."

"I love you too, Dom." Miho folded the cell-phone and put it away. As she packed her equipment she glanced sidelong at the sleeping Idoru. "Well, a reprieve for you. Isn't that nice?" As she closed the medical bag she stood for a moment beside the bed, her composure once again intact. "Perhaps, if you wake up, we can play again sometime."

*People are strange, but I'm even stranger,
Faces look startled, when I'm around,
Walking on wires, sitting on streetlights,
While others plod down on the ground

And I'm strange,
My life's a mysterious game,
And I'm strange,
People think I am insane,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange.

I'm not deranged, I'm just a stranger,
Wandering streets among unwitting clowns.
Few of them realize when we start playing,
I'm the game master in this town.

And I'm strange,
My life's a mysterious game,
And I'm strange,
People think I am insane,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange.

And I'm strange,
My life's a mysterious game,
And I'm strange,
People think I am insane,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange,
And I'm strange.
Chapter 2, Part 2: My Name is Buck...

One year later...

There were four beds in the hospital ward, a comatose girl in each. Low power fluorescent lighting over each bed, as antiseptic as the starched white sheets, illuminated their faces. Otherwise the room was dark, the silence broken only by the faint hum of the lights, and the occasional, measured drip of the IV's.

The Idoru occupied the bed closest to the door. A tiny figure the size of a humming bird hovered over her, before lighting on the Idoru's right shoulder. At rest, the dim light revealed a tiny human female form, her feathered wings blending almost unnoticeably with the white nurse's uniform she wore. She carried a white-leather valise in one hand. A moment later she was joined by a bat-winged male in a white lab-coat.

"Is that the one, Seraphim?" he asked. She nodded. "She doesn't look all that beat up, for someone who was trampled by a herd of rabid fans."

"She's been here over a year, Asmo." Seraphim said. "What did you expect?"

"How are you going to go about waking her up?" Asmodeus asked, ignoring the question.

Seraphim beat her wings and hovered close to the Idoru's ear, cupped her hands around her mouth and called out, "Look! This guy's got nude pictures of Hayasaka on his web-site!"

The Idoru sat up abruptly, sending the bat-winged man pin-wheeling through six feet of air. "The hell he does!" the Idoru shouted, then blinked and shook her head. "Where am I...."

Asmodeus got his wings under control and flew back, his erratic course reflecting his dazed expression. "Good plan," he said.

Seraphim pulled an Apple laptop from her valise. "I'll start on the robot," she said. "You get to work on the other girls."

"We're going to wake up all of them?"

Seraphim turned him a cool look. "Didn't you read the mission briefing?"

"Um, I might have skipped over the boring parts..."

"Never mind. Just stay out of the way. I don't know why the CEA wanted me to work with you in the first place."

"You're not nearly as much fun as your sister, prissy wings," Asmodeus muttered under his breath.

"What was that?"

"Nothing."

"That's what I thought."

Meanwhile, the Idoru was trying to get her bearings. She looked around the hospital room at the other beds, the IV drip pinned to her arm, and the hospital gown she wore. She tried to swing her legs over the side of the bed, but found that she couldn't move them. Concern over this development was momentarily diverted by motion across the room.

A young girl in one of the other beds suddenly sat up, frowned, and declared Then her eyes gained focus. <Huh?> she said, as she looked around. As she turned her head, the Idoru noted that the girl wore excessively long earrings. Instead of an IV hook-up, wires were attached to the girl's earrings, leading to a console beside her bed. The girl raised her hands before her face, flexing her fingers. she said in a low voice, <No loss of movement function, but my peripheral pressure sensors seem to have malfunctioned.>

Another girl suddenly sat upright in bed. <Teddy bears? Where!> Then she frowned. <Ow. My arm hurts,> she said, rubbing her right arm.

With a sense of detached wonder the Idoru looked at the two confused girls, then over at the remaining bed. She was not surprised when a moment later the girl lying there sat up and said groggily, <So lunch is your treat, right?>

For a moment the four just looked at each other. <Who are you?> the Idoru asked then. <How did you all get here?>

The third girl spoke first. <I'm not sure. We were near a gaming store, and there was this big crowd, and an earthquake, and a bright light.>

The girl with the earrings said, <It was that mean bishi social studies teacher from my school. He had a huge plasma gun. Those are illegal!>

The second girl said, <And he knocked down a whole building with it!>

<Was it Dom?> the Idoru asked.

<Who's Dom?> asked the second girl, at the same time the third girl said. <Dom? The guy who runs that huge voice actress talent agency?>

The first girl shook her head vigorously, making her earrings flap from side to side. <I think I heard sensei call him "Ed".>

<Never mind,> said the Idoru. <Who are you people?>

The girl with the earrings said, <My name is Ping.> She looked sadly down at her hands then. <But I can't feel a thing.> The second girl giggled, and Ping frowned. <What's so funny?>

<I'm sorry,> the second girl said. <But you made it rhyme. It sounded cute!>

The third girl smiled. <My name is Mami. I was hit with a whammy!>

The second girl giggled again. <My name is Asako. And I...I'd like a taco!>

<My name is Ping, and I'd like to sing!>

<My name is Mami, and I'm wearing jammies!>

The three girls were all giggling now; Asako was almost in stitches. The Idoru said, <Look, I have to get out of here...>

<Hush!> said Ping. <I think someone's coming.>

The Idoru listened. In the hallway outside, she heard the click of heels on the tile floor. <Quickly,> she said then, <Everybody pretend you're still asleep.>

<Why?> said Mami.

<We'll surprise them!> said Asako.

said Ping.

The sound of the footsteps grew louder, then stopped. The door swung open then, and a man entered, pushing a rolling cot through the doorway in front of him. As the door clicked shut he looked around the ward at the four patients, to all appearances still comatose. <Hello again, ladies,> he said. <Ah, how lucky I am to have such pretty patients, all in one room.> He rolled the cot over to the Idoru's bedside. <I'll start with you, since you're my favorite. Hope you other girls aren't jealous!> He moved to the Idoru's bedside and started pulling down the covers. <Remember me, sweetie? My name is Buck, and I'm here to ->

SMACK!!!

***

<Buck! Buck, buddy, wake up!>

Buck sat up on the floor slowly, rubbing his head. <Is that you Takashi?> he said, squinting up at his fellow orderly.

<What happened to you man? And where are the clients.>

Buck looked around at the empty beds. <Damned if I know. I was about to move one of the girls onto the gurney so I could change the sheets, and all of a sudden the lights went out.>

<Here, let me help you up,> said Takashi.

With Takashi's assistance, Buck staggered to his feet. <Oh crap!>

<What is it?>

<My wallet and the keys to my truck are gone!>

<Your truck? The bright yellow one that belongs to your brother, the veterinarian?>

<Um, yeah,> Buck muttered. <I, uh, borrowed it tonight.>

<Well, at least it'll be easy to identify. What're those English words on the tailgate again? Something like "Kitty Car"?>

<Yeah, something like that.>

***

Meanwhile, down in the "Kitty Car":

<Move your toes. I got the wheel.>

<Ok, I got the brake and gas.>

<Ouch! Wish I could move my legs. Ping, see if you can plug into the cell network from that phone, and find out where we are.>

<Um...I'm a little low on power.>

<So plug into the cigarette lighter, too.>

<Oh! OK.>

<Now then...damn. Asako, can you reach the gear shift?>

<Sure! Can I play with the horn?>

<Asako...>
While I could just post a simple one sentence compliment, Shoka deserves a more substantial accolade. So in his honor, I present this filk tribute ...

The Ballad of Shoka-san
{After The Ballad of Davy Crockett.}

Born in the mind of Ed Gorey,
The strangest creature you'll ever see,
Writes up a storm to the forum's glee,
One of the best, I think you'll agree,
Shoka, the not-a-penguin, fleeing the mental wards.

When he's posting you know what's in store,
Haikus, limericks, and parodies galore,
And when with laughter the forums roar,
Then the forumites will call out for more!
Shoka, the not-a-penguin, king of the forum bards.

In the story forum he does dwell,
Where he filks often and he filks damn well,
When others doubt his work they can excel,
Then with vorpal cream pies he gives them hell!
Shoka, the not-a-penguin, leaves pies as calling cards.

When it comes to wordplay he won't be outdone,
And with wicked humor he often stuns,
In his limericks there are evil puns,
With Shoka here, the party has just begun!
Shoka, the not-a-penguin, king of the forum bards!
Chapter 2, Part 0: Motor Reflex

Inspector Sonoda was in a sour mood as he approached the little Megagamer's store in Yoyogi. He'd already had to deal with several emergencies this morning, stemming from an incident involving a high-energy plasma weapon and a wrecked building. He had caught the gunman and charged him with illegal discharge of a plasma weapon within city limits, illegal possession of said plasma weapon, destruction of private property without a permit, reckless endangerment of human life, reckless endangerment of android life, and aggravated bishi-ness. And within five minutes of booking that lowlife sewer scum, SONY's lawyers already had him free and clear. On top of that, some clown in maintenance had locked the radio tuner in his patlabor on a station that played only megadustrial grunge, and he couldn't get the damned thing turned off. All in all, this was not shaping up to be one of his best days.

Sonoda maneuvered his mech to a halt beside the broken glass windows of the store front. As he jumped down from the cockpit, a young police officer stepped through the front doorway and into the street. <Whatcha got for me, Son Number-one,> drawled* Sonoda, as the young man approached.

<Goddamned mess is what, Pop,> replied the rookie officer, Yuuji Sonoda. <Place looks like an earthquake hit it. Bunch of otaku fanboys trampled the store manager and his daughter. The girl was a famous seiyuu and idol-singer, though you wouldn't hardly recognize her now, busted up the way she is and all.>

The pair walked into the shop and across the floor in slow lock-step, surveying the damage as they went. <We found the store manager pinned behind the counter right over there,> said Yuuji. <He's roadkill.>

A feeble voice exclaimed, <I'm not dead!>

"Nani?"

<I'm not dead!>

<Here. He sez he's not dead.> said Sonoda.

<Yes he is, Pop.>

<No I'm not!> said the voice.

<He isn't!>

<Well, he will be very soon.>

<I think I'm getting better!>

<No you're not - >

<Now hold it right there, Son Number-one. You take this any further and I'll have to charge our writer with mixing parodies, multiple copyright infringements, and aggravated assault on a Python, and then where will we be?>

<Sorry, Pop.>

Sonoda squatted down on is heels beside the prone figure of the Idoru. <Durn. Looks like she was trampled flatter'n hammered owl-shit.**>

<Yep.>

<Where'd those bracelets come from?> Sonoda pointed at the remains of the shackles around the Idoru's ankles and left arm.

<She was cuffed to the table supports, Pop. And it looks like the table were bolted to the floor.>

<Man would have to be a mad dog to loose a crowd of otaku geeks on a purty li'l girl like this,> Sonoda said, leaning over her face. <Lookit 'er. She's a kawaii li'l stomped-on angel.>

The Idoru's left hand abruptly came off the floor and grasped Sonoda by the neck.

<Guess she's not entirely dead, Pop.>

<Gurk!> said Sonoda.

The Idoru's eyes never opened, but her right hand came swinging up toward the surprised Inspector's face - slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity-slappity! Then she spit in his eye, raised a leg and kicked him across the room.

<What the hell!?> gasped Sonoda, raising himself weakly on his forearms as the Idoru relapsed into immobility.

<Guess that's what they call a "motor reflex", Pop.>

*In the Rurouni Kenshin series, they used a Texas accent to dub the Kansai-ben dialect, so I figured it was fair to do that here.

**An actual Texan regional homey-ism, believe it or not.
Chapter 1, "3.1416"

The Tokyo day was brutally hot, waves of heat rising in wavering curtains from the pavement. Parked across the street from the Anna Miller's in Meguro, the Idoru kept the tinted windows of the "Kitty Car" rolled up and the air-conditioner running. She watched the restaurant windows with passive intensity, glancing from time to time at her wristwatch. She tapped a finger on the steering wheel, a mannerism reminiscent of the switching of a lioness's tail as it crouches in the tall grass, watching a wary herd of zebras. She gave her watch one last glance, cut the engine and got out of the truck. Rather than approaching the street entrance to the restaurant, she walked to the nearest corner, turned down the street and then into a service alley.

Two doorways, about fifteen feet apart, led from the back of the restaurant into the dingy alleyway. The nearest doorway bore a placard that read "Deliveries." The Idoru passed it by, heading toward the doorway marked "Employees." As she reached for the doorknob, another placard caught her eye, about ten feet further down the alley. It read "Vengeance-crazed Ex-roommates." It was hung on a dumpster.

"Cute," the Idoru muttered. "Little witch knows me too well."

She stepped through the door, passed up a short hallway through a door marked "Women", and entered a long, narrow room. A double bank of lockers lined the wall to her left, while a low counter ran along the opposite wall, a mirror hanging above it. A couple of hairbrushes, a blow-dryer, and several cosmetic containers lay on the counter. A long bench occupied the space between the lockers and the counter. A closed door of the kind that swings in both directions sealed the far end of the room.

The Idoru passed quickly through the room toward the door, then faded aside as she heard footsteps approaching from the far side. The opening door concealed the Idoru from the young woman as she passed through. She was a small, slender woman, somewhat improbably endowed in the chest for her stature, wearing a waitress's uniform with a short-sleeved blouse and a dress with a low cut bodice.

<Back to wearing padding again, are we?> the Idoru commented. She spun around, her eyes wide.

Time froze as the two women stared at each other. This was Nanasawa Kimiko, member of the Darkly Cute Character Assassination Squad, code named "Pixie Mischief".* Then the Idoru lanced her right fist into the woman's face. Kimiko fell awkwardly back onto the bench and rolled off onto the floor, somehow staying on her feet. The Idoru followed up quickly with a left.

<Eeep!> cried Kimiko and jerked aside, wind-milling her arms in an effort to stay on her feet. One of her arms struck the Idoru, whose missed punch had pulled her off balance. The Idoru fell forward into a controlled roll, but came up hard against the bank of lockers. She turned quickly and advanced on Kimiko, who stumbled backward toward the door through which she had just entered, her hands held up in entreaty. The Idoru advanced cautiously, reminding herself not to be taken in by Kimiko's feigned awkwardness. For Pixie Mischief had mastered her own variation of the Drunken Fist style: the Klutzy Waitress. It made her a deceptively dangerous opponent.

<Can't we talk about this please Eri- aaaaaaiiiiiiiiiieeeeeeeee!> She fell backward as the Idoru threw a kick, into and through the swinging door. The Idoru tried to follow at once, but was forced to dodge aside as the door swung back into the locker room. When she followed Kimiko into the kitchen, the other woman was already on the far side of the pantry.

A table lined with cream pies separated them. The pair looked at the table, then at each other. Kimiko smiled. <Let's have us a pie-fight.>

The outraged cook and his assistant, screaming imprecations, dove for cover as the combatants utilized the nearest weapons to hand. Pies flew through the air. Meringue spattered, whipped cream frothed. It's not a movie, so you can't see it, but believe me, the carnage was simply awful.

<Mommy?> A girl's voice called from the doorway to the women's locker room. <What's happening in here?>

Kimiko and the Idoru both faced the doorway, each hastily hiding a pie in one hand behind her back.

<Makoto, honey!> Kimiko said with unconvincing lightness. <Is school over already? Haha!>

The little girl in the doorway stared at the two women with big eyes, then around the kitchen at the broken dishes, fallen pans, and pie filling stuck to the walls and ceilings. <What are you doing, Mommy?>

<Oh, Mommy's just having a talk with an old friend, honey!>

The girl looked at the Idoru, who smiled and waved with her free hand. The Idoru noticed that the child had long earrings, almost identical to Ping's. <Hi there. You're a pretty little girl. How old are you?> she asked.

The little girl said nothing, but stared somberly at the Idoru.

<Makoto,> said Kimiko, <Mommy's friend asked you a question.>

<I'm 24,> said Makoto in a small voice.

The Idoru said teasingly, <Oh, you're making fun of me. You can't be 24; that's how old I am!>

Makoto looked at her wonderingly. <You're only 24 days old too?>

The Idoru blinked, opened her mouth, but Kimiko broke in at this point. <Now honey,> Kimiko said in a coaxing voice, <you go back in the locker room and sit for a while. Mommy and her friend have some Real Player Character things to talk about, OK?>

<Can I have some pie?>

<Maybe later, honey.>

<I like pie!>

<I said later. Now do what I told you.>

Makoto slowly turned and walked to the door, turned and looked over her shoulder. <Go on, now.> Kimiko said. <Mommy will be along in a little while.> The girl turned and pushed through the door.

Kimiko looked at the Idoru. <Want some coffee?>

The Idoru nodded and set her pie down on the table. <Sure.> Kimiko put her pie down as well and walked over to the coffee-maker. <Ah-ah,> said the Idoru, warningly. Kimiko looked back over her shoulder, an eyebrow raised. The Idoru cocked a thumb toward the cook hiding under the cutting table. <Let him pour it. I've seen what you can do with a coffee pot.>

Kimiko shrugged and backed off. <As you like,> she said. A minute later the two women were sitting in a booth in the restaurant, the covert object of attention of the horde of young fanboys who made up the restaurant's usual clientele.

<I guess you were expecting me,> the Idoru said, <judging from that little sign in the alleyway.>

Kimiko's mouth bent in a half-smile. <You could've followed the directions and saved me the trouble.>

<Really. We're confident, aren't we.>

Kimiko shrugged. <Dom got in touch after you woke up. And, of course, I heard about that little dust up at the Hikari no Umi.> She sipped at her coffee. < I suppose there's no chance you'd just accept an apology and go away.>

<You suppose correctly.>

<Not even for old-time's sake?>

<I wouldn't bring up the past, if I were you,> said the Idoru. <It's poor salesmanship.>

<Pretty please?> Kimiko said in a coy, little girl voice, fluttering her eyelashes.

The Idoru snorted.

<Well. No forgiveness?>

<Of course not.>

<Didn't think so. I'd rather not fight you with Makoto around, if you don't mind.>

<What's the story on her anyway?>

Kimiko shrugged. <Some special project of Dom's. I'm just supposed to look after her. No idea what it's about, but I've grown fond of her over the last few weeks.>

<Don't worry. We'll pick another time and place to meet.>



<I'll be there.>

They sipped their coffee silently for a few minutes.

<So what happened to you?> the Idoru said, finally. <After you helped trash my rep, you were supposed to take my place.>

<I did,> said Kimiko, <for a while. I got pretty hot, too. People thought I'd break your record for DVD sales.>

<So?>

Kimiko frowned down at the table, fidgeting with the handle of her coffee cup. <So I found out you were right, after all.>

<Wisdom come late,> the Idoru said. <But isn't this job a little public? Aren't you afraid you'll be recognized?>

Kimiko's lips stretched into a thin smile. <In this place? With all this padding I'm wearing? Believe me, the eyes of these fanboys never travel high enough to see my face.>

<Heh. You always were tricky, even as the innocent you used to be.>

Kimiko put her finger through the handle of her cup, slid it slowly back and forth, smearing the coffee ring. <So you see, I really am sorry about all that crap we did to you.>

<I'm sure.>





<Guess not,> said Kimiko, and flipped her half-full cup toward the Idoru's head.

The Idoru had been half-expecting something of the sort, and faded to the side, avoiding the projectile. Her left hand snaked forward, slid up the short sleeve of Kimiko's blouse and onto her shoulder. She yanked hard and spun, twirling Kimiko out of her seat and onto the floor between the booths and the gaping fanboys, to the sound of tearing and snapping.

<Well,> the Idoru said loudly. <What do you suppose this is?> She held aloft a heavily padded bra by one broken strap. Kimiko stood with her arms crossed over the suddenly slack front of her blouse.

There was a gasp from the fanboys, and several whispers of <She was presenting falsely!> <How dare she!> <I must change the data on our web-site immediately!> Kimiko's face went red with embarrassment, and that was all that was needed to spark fanboy recognition.

<Nanasawa-hime?> one of them breathed incredulously.

<It is! It is!> another said.

<Oh Kimi-rin! Why did you leave us?> a third sobbed falling to his knees before Kimiko.

Then there was a sudden, simultaneous convergence of fanboy worship, and a despairing cry. <Nooooooo!>

As the Idoru turned to leave, she was once again met with Makoto's somber gaze. She froze for a moment, at a loss for words. Then she shook her head.

<Well. I didn't want you to have to see that, but she forced my hand. And believe me, your mommy's only getting what she deserved.>

The little girl said nothing, only stared.

<When you grow up, if you still feel raw about it, get yourself a Rei Ayanami module, or even a Bugs Bunny, and come after me. I'll be waiting.>

With that declaration, the Idoru left the restaurant and the growing mayhem behind her. As she pulled the "Kitty Car" away from the curb, she could hear the distant sounds of police sirens approaching.

*Ah, McFinnigan, where have ye gone, laddie?
Given that Chapter 3 in the film was an anime sequence, I figured something a little more multimedia was called for. The link leads to a series of web-pages; hope you enjoy it.^^

Chapter 3: The Origin of O-ren Yuki

My apologies to the following artists, whom I have shamelessly ripped off:

Scott "Draegos" Thompson,
Mike the Vagrant,
PsychoKick,
Hiroshige Ando,

and, of course, Fred "Piro" Gallagher.

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