War V

by Maureen Wynn (and a cast of thousands!)
Copyright © 1997

This is everything (?) that I wrote for FK-War V. The exploits are true, only the names have been changed to protect the guilt... I mean "innocent".

Thunder & Lightning. Enter Three Witches.

Time: 9AM, Wednesday, November 1st
Place: Ann Arbor, MI

Maureen strode into the office, her open raincoat flapping behind her, and barely nodded to the woman seated behind the reception desk before heading toward her own office. I wonder where Betsy is? I didn't know she was taking any time off... she thought, momentarily distracted from her anger, as she pulled off her wet coat and put it, along with her umbrella, in the closet. Then, as she bent to pick up her bag again, and noticed the small objects that had fallen out of her pockets, she started to seethe again. Somebody's going to pay for this! she thought angrily. I swear by all the demons in Scotland, someone's going to pay for this if it's the last thing I do! she continued as she bent down to pick up the Q-tips(TM) from the floor.

She entered her office, and tossed the Q-tips into the trash can. She turned on the computer, and while she waited for it to boot up, picked up the phone and dialed a number.

"Hi, it's Maureen. Yeah, I've been out for a couple of days. Don't ask!" Maureen shuddered, something she'd gotten very good at lately. "Did I miss anything important?" She listened to the man on the other end of the line, making notes from time to time. "Okay, thanks, I'll let you know the final figures for the October shows by tomorrow. Or maybe Friday."

Opening her e-mail, she was startled by the number of messages waiting in her in-box. I thought I'd set all the lists to digest...? As she started to scroll through the messages, she was shocked to realize she'd missed something very important. A War. A War had started, and she'd been too busy with the turmoil at work to notice. How had this happened?

Opening one of the earlier messages, she started to read...

Some time later, bleary-eyed, she leaned back in her chair, and took a sip of her Diet Coke. She knew now, without a shadow of a doubt, that she hadn't imagined the whole horrible experience on Sunday night. The face that had sneered at her, that had made her doubt her own mind, that had nearly driven her over that fine line to insanity, hadn't been a figment of her over-worked, exhausted mind. It had to be a part of the War.

This also explains the Q-tips! she thought, thinking of the sight that had met her eyes as she walked into her bathroom that morning. She shuddered again, remembering the sight of her bathtub piled high with the horrible things, and her cat, Ophelia, half-buried in them, happy as a pig in slop as she batted them this way and that. The cat had turned her little fang-face toward her companion, startled by the scream, but not loosening her hold on the little white instuments of torture.

Turning back to her e-mail, Maureen started to compose a message to her Mercenary companions. As she reached to hit the Return button to send it off, she was interrupted by a sound from her computer. Startled, she pulled back from the keyboard, and watched in horror as the screen give a twitch before compressing into a single bright point in the middle of the screen. Maureen collapsed back in her chair, staring at the screen. Why today? she thought, surprisingly calm. I knew this was coming, the way this &*^%$#@ technological instrument of torture has been acting up, but why today? Maybe it's a sign, a portent of things to come, an omen from the Fates above... She stared at her computer, the bright point on the screen flickering like a candle flame, seeming to speak to her, telling her what she must do...

"What do you mean, you're taking some time off?! We have four shows opening in November, you still haven't finished the reports for Hall— um, I mean the concert on Sunday, and Financial Operations needs your final deposits for the last two weeks..."

"My flight leaves at 3PM today. I have comp-hours up the whazoo from all the over-time I've put in over the last month." She leaned closer to him, and lowered her voice. "Consider it mental-health time. If I don't get some time off now, I'll start strangling the customers — and that'll really kill your budget! And what do you think the Dean will say to that, hmmmm?"

The plane took off into the overcast sky, the flash of lightning and roll of thunder not interrupting its smooth lift-off. Maureen looked out the window at the rolling gray clouds, and smiled. It wasn't a pleasant smile. Not pleasant at all...

Time: Wednesday, Nov. 1, late at night
Place: Toronto

The mercenary fitted the large brass key into the lock and turned it, entering the Merc safe-house. She looked around, noting the suitcases piled in the foyer, and the clutter of cups and wineglasses in the sitting room. She stood still for a moment, listening.

Pleased at the silence (except for a soft sound from the second floor that sounded like thunder, but was probably a snore), she turned and re-opened the door. Slipping outside, she moved quietly to the car parked at the end of the driveway, and opened the trunk.

First she removed and unfolded a light-weight wheelchair, then she carefully manuvered a large object from the trunk and placed it in the chair. Wheeling the chair to the house, she started to hum. I can't get that song out of my head! Oh, well, there are worse songs to have stuck in your mind than "Obsession". "Through this world I wander, so many times betrayed, trying to find an honest word to find the truth enslaved..." she sang lightly under her breath as she entered the house, pushing the wheelchair, and made her way to the sound-proofed studio on the first floor.

First taking care to close the door firmly, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a ski mask, which she then pulled over her head. Turning to the huddled mass on the chair, she turned her small flashlight on, illuminating the shape of a human form. She shone the light on the closed eyes, and lifted the lids to check the reactions of the pupils. Satisfied with what she saw, she nodded, and started to lightly slap the cheeks of the woman. The woman started to groan, then opened her eyes and blinked them rapidly, trying to bring the world into focus. When she finally focused on the black-clad and faceless form in front of her, she screamed and started to struggle.

The merc watched silently for a moment, then said "That won't do you any good, you know. Those ropes are too tight, and this room is soundproofed so no one will hear you scream."

These quietly spoken words startled the victim into silence, as she gazed in fear at her kidnapper, and said, "Wha— what d-do you wa-want?"

"Only the truth," said the black figure, "...and nothing but the truth!"

"I don't know anything!" the woman said quickly. Too quickly? It had the sound of desperation, of fear, of perhaps knowing too much for her own good.

"Methinks she doth protest too much..." mis-quoted the black figure, as she started to prepare for this long night. "What is it that you don't know?"

The woman in the wheelchair was starting to regain her senses, and with them, her anger reasserted itself. "This isn't fair! Why'd you pick on me? Oh, you just wait — you're going to be in so much trouble!" She started to struggle again, showing more emotion than sense. "It isn't fair!" she yelled again.

"Fair is foul, and foul is fair..." said the mercenary with an evil grin. "And how can I be in trouble if you don't even know who I am?" The dark figure zipped open the large fanny-pack attached to her belt, and removed an object. She held it up so that her prisoner could see it. "What do you know about these?" she asked.

The prisoner looked bemusedly at the scruffy Q-tip held by the mercenary, then looked at the mask covering her face. Who could it be? I'd swear I know that voice... and then closed her mouth firmly. "No." she said. "I'm not telling you anything!"

"Oh, I think you will," the merc said, and there seemed to be an undertone of amusement in her voice. "I think you'll be very happy to tell me what I want to know..." And so saying, she opened up her bag again, and removed another object, holding it up so the unfortunate kidnappee could see it.

"Nooooooo...!" the poor (shoeless) woman wailed, as the mercenary advanced on her holding a large feather...

Time: Evening, Thursday, Nov.2
Place: The Raven, Toronto

Maureen walked into the Raven, yawned, and looked around, hoping to see a Cousin or two that she knew. Talking to people over the internet had it's down-side — you never knew what people looked like in real-life. She took a second look at the club itself. It's not so bad as I thought, she mused. But it still needs some work...

Not seeing anyone she knew, she yawned again, and continued over to the bar, where several people were clustered. Tapping a tall brunette (who looked an awful lot like Rosie O'Donnell) on the shoulder, she said, "Hi there — do the words 'Cousin Deborah' mean anything to you?"

The brunette looked startled, then amused. "They should — enough people say them to me on a regular basis! Let's see," she said, looking over the newcomer, "Red hair, black raincoat, a noticible lack of scruples... you must be Cousin Maureen!"

The two women smiled at each other, then hugged. "Nice to finally meet you!" Maureen said, then yawned.

"I'm glad you're so thrilled," Deborah said, amused that Maureen seemed to be having trouble staying awake.

"Sorry! I didn't get any sleep last night...," Maureen said, as another yawn interrupted her words. "...and I really need to crash soon. I just wanted to stop by and check in. I gather I missed some kind of meeting?" she asked.

"Yeah, we had a War Council with all the Cousins." The rubenesque cousin looked at her watch. "I'm on my way out, but let me tell you what's going on..." Deborah continued, and spent several minutes filling the late Cousin (no, I mean the Cousin who was late, no, I mean the tardy Cousin... oh, you know what I mean!) in on events.

"...and that's where we stand now. Most of the Cousins are already out and about. So," Deborah said enthusiastically, "Are you ready to start?"

Maureen groaned, then yawned again. "All I'm ready to do is collapse! If I don't get some sleep soon, I'm likely to do something I'll regret. You don't know what sleep-deprivation does to me." She shuddered (just to keep in practice), and got up from the chair she'd been slumped in, and pulled her raincoat around her, preparing to leave. "I'll talk to you in the morning..." she started to say, before she was interrupted by someone coming up beside her and taking her arm. Startled, she looked at the stranger who had her arm in a vise-like grip. She looked down at the hand that held her arm, then back up at the strange man's face, and said, very quietly and calmly, "You will let go of me, now."

"LaCroix wants to see you," he said, not budging an inch, and not releasing her arm.

Still watching his face, she said, "I've asked you once. I won't ask again."

He stared back at her, impassive. He started to tug at her arm, to drag her away, and then looked startled, as he found himself whirling around her as she shifted her weight. He let go of her arm as the centrifugal force swept him off his feet, sending him flying through the air, to land with a thud! on the floor by the bar. Totally astonished, he looked up at the small woman standing above him. He looked at the other cousins standing around staring at the sudden scene, hoping for some support. When he didn't get any, he stammered, "Um, I, uh, well, LaCroix wanted to see you right away..."

"Then I'll go see him," she replied, still calm. "But I won't be dragged!" she added, the anger suddenly blazing out of her eyes. She turned on her heel, and stalked to the offices at the back of the Raven.

Seeing the door to the radio studio, she pulled it open and walked in. LaCroix looked up at her, and said, mildly enough, "You have heard of knocking, have you not?"

"When you try to have me dragged before you, you really shouldn't stand on ceremony," she retorted, dropping into the chair next to his desk.

He raised one eyebrow at her casual manner, and said, "Please, have a seat."

"Thanks, I already have," she said, grinning affectionately at her favorite "Uncle", disregarding the increasingly annoyed glare he directed at her. "By the way, I forgot to thank you for your help last night. That mind-wipe thing comes in pretty handy from time to time." She grinned again, thinking about the shenanigans that had resulted in her losing a night's sleep.

The heat of his glare increased exponentially, as he said, "It is not a "mind-wipe", as you so charmingly term it. I am not some science-fiction gadget, here for your convenience. If it hadn't been necessary to keep the incident quiet, I would not have indulged you." He regarded her coldly for a moment, before adding, "And remember — I do not guarantee that the effects will last forever."

The Cousin/Mercenary sat up straight at these words. "Wait a dog-gone minute! You didn't say anything like that last night! What do you mean, the effects won't last?"

LaCroix smiled, pleased at having once again regained the upper hand in the conversation. Really, dealing with these list-members is so much more difficult than dealing with vampires! At least my own kind respond properly to threats — these people seem to have no fear of the death — or worse! — that can result from their precipitous actions, he mused. "For one thing, the... "subject" had been drugged prior to my efforts..."

"But she'd already come out from under the drug!" argued Maureen.

LaCroix glared at the impertinent snip who had dared to interrupt him, and continued, "...and hypnosis is never guaranteed to last, especially during times of great stress." He leaned back in his leather seat, and picked up the wine glass that stood on the desk. "Personally, I can't think of anything more stressful in your little lives than a War. Can you?" And, smiling at his wayward 'child', who was starting to look much less sure of herself, he took a drink of the not-wine in the glass. "And if she starts to remember the events of last night," he murmured quietly, "What will you do then?"

The Mercenary/Cousin stared at him, trying desperately to get her sleep-deprived noggin to function, but the only thing that immediately sprang to mind was, "Oh, my prophetic soul! Mine Uncle?" She was starting to realize that she may have made a mistake...

Gee, I wonder who it was that I kidnapped... any volunteers? And what will happen once she starts to remember? And by the way, who shot J.R.?

Nevermore, Quoth the Raven
by Maureen Wynn

Place: The Raven
Time: Tuesday night (Nov 7)

The Raven was hopping. Even at the height of the atrocities that Uncle had perpetuated on the place, it had never been this crowded. And, of course, when Janette had been the proprietress, the clientele had tended toward quality, rather than quantity.

"I love parties!"

"Well, DUH! Who doesn't?"

The speakers wandered out of earshot of the Mercs seated at a dimly-lit table near the bar. I love over-hearing bits and pieces of conversations! You never know what you might learn that way... Maureen thought, sipping her wine.

"So what exactly do you need me to do?" the Merc-in-training asked eagerly. "Do I get to kidnap someone? Or maybe interrogate someone? Or, oohhh, can I follow someone? I've been reading a book on the best methods for trailing a suspect..."

"No, no, nothing like that!" the head Merc interrupted hastily, before her trainee could get carried away. A book? She expects to learn this job from a book? There are too damn many librarians on the list! she mentally groused to herself. They're a bad influence... "How's your acting ability?" she asked. "Here's what you're going to do..."

Virginia waited at the position Maureen had put her in, trying not to fidget. Don't be nervous! You're supposed to be a Mercenary, for pete's sake! It's all part of the job. Oh, there he is! She moved closer to her prey, putting on her best "I'm just a bimbo, and aren't I cute?" expression. "Um, excuse me... aren't you Vachon?"

The long-haired man turned to stare at her blankly. "Ye-es, yes I am. Do I know you?"

"No, but I'm just such a fan of yours, you don't know!" Virginia gushed. She leaned in and continued, "I just love men with long hair! And your eyes — they're so... hypnotic. Like pools I could just drown in!" She flipped back her long red hair, and moved in, pretending to trip and falling against Vachon, who caught her arms automatically to keep her from falling. "Sorry! Gosh, you're just so strong!" ...and I'm about to gag! Maybe I'm overplaying it a little?

Vachon didn't seem overly eager to let go of the tall mercenary, however, so Virginia assumed the part she was playing was working. "Are you all right?" he asked, moving her out of the way of the worst of the crush. "It's too crowded in here to move without being knocked down," he added, frowning at the crowds of people around the bar.

"Why don't we move somewhere that isn't so crowded?" Virginia offered. "I think there's more room back there," as she indicated the tables beyond the dance floor. He looked undecided, so Virginia delivered the coup-de-grace. "I'll buy us a couple of drinks, and we can just sit down and talk for a while, okay? You can tell me all about yourself! I'm sure you've led such a fascinating life!"

"Well, why not? I'd like to get away from all these...um, people," he said.

Sucker! crowed Virginia. No man can resist an offer to talk about himself! She turned to the bar, and caught the bartender's eye, and indicating herself and Vachon, held up two fingers to indicate two drinks, then laid a twenty on the bar-top. The excessive tip got her immediate service, and she grabbed the drinks and turned to lead Vachon to a table.

Maureen, watching from behind a pillar, smiled with satisfaction. That should keep him busy for a while! And if talk doesn't do it, then she knows that she's to spill his drink on him. Since he's actually dressed nicely for a change, for the party, he'll be willing to wait while she "cleans up" the stain. Maureen smiled again, imagining Vachon stuck, pantless, in the little vampire's room while Virginia took her time in cleaning out the stain. Okay, plan A in action. Time for Plan B...

Dianne was enjoying herself. But then, she always enjoyed herself, believing, above all else, that the purpose of life was to have fun, no matter what you're doing. It just helps if you're at a party, surrounded by friends, and with a drink in your hand. Life was good! She lifted the glass to take another drink, when she was interrupted by a voice behind her. "So, what is that — a zombie beachcomber?"

Dianne did a classic spit-take, the words triggering an immediate flashback to the last War, and turned to glare at the figure that had come up behind her. "No, it's not, thank you very much!" she said, brushing the drops of liquid off her clothes.

"Tsk, tsk, Dianne, spilling good booze is such a waste," Maureen said, smiling up at the taller woman. "That'll count against you in the afterlife."

Dianne looked at her, puzzled. "What the hell does booze have to do with the afterlife?!"

"Oh, well, I'm Irish, you know. The Irish believe so completely in the magical powers of uisgebagh (ed. note: "whiskey" to you non-celts), that they consider it a sacrilege to spill any. So the legend goes that all the booze that you've spilled in your lifetime is collected in a barrel. When you die, you're suspended head-first in that barrel, and if you drown... well, then to hell with you!"

Dianne started to laugh, then suddenly stopped, looking suspiciously at the other Mercenary.


"Oh, nothing," Dianne grumbled. "You just better not have told that story as an excuse to tell me to go to..."

"Why, Dianne! You wrong me. I'm deeply hurt. Deeply!" Maureen said, smiling innocently up at her friend and collegue. "Would I do that to you?"

"You better not!" Dianne said, her good humor restored, grinning evilly back. "We both know who can beat up whom, don't we?"

Maureen raised her glass in a toast. "To friendship — and may the balance of power never tilt!"

Dianne joined her, "To friendship!"

***several drinks later***

"Uh, excuse me, I have to answer a call of nature!"

Dianne headed back toward the rest rooms at a fast walk, breaking into a trot after a few steps. She really had to go now. She shouldn't have held it in so long, but she was having such a good time, she hated to interrupt it for anything so mundane as a trip to the john. She turned into the hallway where the restrooms were, and was dismayed to see long lines coming out of both doors. "Man, did everyone decide to go to the restroom at the same time?! Just my luck!"

She started to get in line, but the length of the line, and the sensation from her bladder told her that she would explode if she had to hold it any longer. She was about to push her way into the bathroom and to hell with the rest of these people! when she spotted a figure coming in the back door of the Raven, buttoning up his levi's. Well, if it works for him... now's not the time to be proud!

She ducked out the door, and looked both ways down the alley, to be sure there was no one hanging around. She moved to duck behind the dumpster for a little privacy, when...

Maureen looked up when the Cousin sat down at the table. "Well?"

"Mission accomplished! And it was so simple! I should have thought of that plan myself."

"Well, you didn't. I did, and I'm the one who gets paid for it. Right?" Maureen said meaningfully.

"Oh, right! Here you go," the Cousin said, handing over the package. "The payment we agreed on..."

Maureen opened the small box, smiling with pleasure at the glitter within. "Yep, this should take care of things nicely. And with enough to provide a nice cut to everyone who helped out." She raised her glass, and said, "To friendship!"

You Got to Kick a Little...
by Maureen "The Mad" Wynn

The night of Wednesday, November 8, 1995
Concurrent with "Mercs Hijak CERK" and "To the Rescue!"

"Friggin' Winnebago suspension...!"

"Slow down!"

"Hang on!"

"To what? Ouch! Can't you at least slow down for the corners? Owwwwwww!"

Maureen switched on her headset and called in over the radio, "We're moving... they're definitely headed away from us, towards the south end of town. Everyone, this is it! Positions, weapons ready... Lane?"

"Transmitter hijacked. CERK team ready to descend from the roof. Maureen, I can see you guys coming in via Sixteenth... use the wires we left in place, and remember to blow through the 8th floor, that's where the control room is, it'll confuse them even more... Chris, you're on."

Maureen turned the corner off Sixteenth, and pulled the Winnie into the loading dock. These boats are just impossible to park! How does Nick manage with that Caddie? she thought distractedly while pulling together her gear. "Are we ready to go?" she asked the other Mercs.

"Ready, willing, and able!

"Check! Let's rock and roll!"

"Time to kick some butt!"

They piled out of the truck in time to see Cousins of all shapes and sizes pouring out of the front doors of the CERK building. They all dove into cars, and started to pull out into traffic. Maureen grinned when a 4X4 narrowly missed smashing into another car. "Chris will lead them a merry chase — with any luck they'll all crash into each other and tie up traffic for miles!"

They ran into the building across the alley from the CERK building, and took the service elevator to the top floor. They got across to the CERK building on the guy wires Lane had conveniently left in place, and started down to the control room, armed and dangerous.

"Man, didn't anyone stay behind to guard the place?" Sara sounded disappointed that there didn't seem to be anyone for her to use her weaponry on.

"Just because you don't see anyone doesn't mean that they're not there. Stay alert!" Maureen said, moving down the hallway, counting doors. Third door on the right... here it is! "Okay, Sara, you open the door, and Abby and I will go in. Sarah, you watch the corridor — we don't want anyone coming up behind us. All right — ready, set, GO!"

"Hey, who are... what do you think you're doing... hey! Stop that!"

The cousins who had been manning the Control Room started toward the Mercs, only to be beaten back by the streams of high-powered water from the Super Soakers. As they were trying to protect their faces from the jets of water, Sara and Sarah moved into the room and snagged their wrists with the handcuffs, attaching them all to a (very conveniently placed!) railing along one wall.

Maureen examined the main controls carefully. There were certainly enough lights and switches and knobs and dials, oh, my! How to disable this, without cutting off the trasmission from our pirate signal... what to do, what to do...?

Then it came to her, and she smiled. It wasn't a nice smile. Abby edged away from her Poobah, not wanting to be too close to anyone with a smile like that. "Uh, Maureen, Your Madness, what are you gonna do?"

Maureen backed away from the controls, bringing her Super Soaker up bear on them, and then let loose, playing the stream of water across the panels. The delicate electronic equipment did not appreciate the gallons of holy water pouring into them, and protested with screams of electric woe (echoed by the watching Cousins), then started spitting sparks everywhere.

Maureen stopped when her weapon was empty, and looked with satisfaction at the havoc she had wreaked. One of the sparks landed in a half-full wastebasket, and a small fire started. Maureen moved toward it to put it out, then, when she realized that she was out of water, started to ask Abby to put it out when the overhead sprinklers came on.

The Mercs ran from the room, and then stopped outside in the hall, watching in awe as the sprinklers soaked the entire room, Cousins and all. "Well, I think it's disabled, don't you?" Maureen said, grinning with glee. "Come on, I need to re-load." And they moved off down the hallway, with the outraged screams of the Cousins trailing behind them.

"Chris? It's the Poohbah. We're half-way down... no sign of Dianne yet. We only ran into one bunch so far — how're you two holding up?"

"Pretty well. About thirty moving violations, no fatalities, and oh, six or seven of Toronto's finest after our butts. We're on the Gardiner Expressway, headed toward — uh, Jane Street, and back to Cartier?" There was a moment of static on the radio, then Chris asked, "How much more time do you need?"

"Give us another twenty minutes... ooops. Gotta go!" The gaggle of cousins they had spotted further down the stairwell saw the black-clad Mercs running toward them and ducked through a door leading into some offices. The Mercs followed, screaming and whooping like lunatics, and driving the Cousins before them like a herd of cattle. The chase ran through the offices on several floors, with the Mercs blasting away with their Soakers, and Sara jabbing her dagger toward any Cousin stupid enough to get close to her, but being careful not to actually puncture anyone.

Eventually they were moving down the stairwell toward the lobby when the descending Mercs saw the ascending Rescue Team with Dianne in tow. They came together, squeezing the remaining Cousins out the door into the lobby.

Lane said on his headset, "We're almost at the door, and you better be too, guys!" Then Lane's Strike Team were through the doors, as Maureen's Strike Team took up fire support positions and ran through the lobby, vaulting over furniture, kicking and screaming and shooting off their Super Soakers as they cleared a path for Lane and Dianne.

Despite the general mayhem, Maureen was startled when Virginia raised her sword and macheted one of the lobby plants with it, laughing maniacally and yelling, "There can be only ONE!" Someone is getting into this a leetle too much, maybe!

Then Lane and Dianne were out the door, and climbing into the Mitsubishi that was waiting there for them. When Maureen saw that the rescuee was safely away, she signaled to the rest of the Rescue Team that it was time to go. They all stayed in formation until they were through the door, then everyone was running hell-bent for the Winnebago.

It was a tight squeeze, but everyone was in, and the Winnie was screeching down the street before any Cousins had gotten more than a step through the door. "We are the champions, and we'll keep on fighting to the end, we are the champions, we are the champions... of the world!" the Mercs sang in ragged harmony as they headed toward the Happy Souvlaki and a richly deserved party.

War V
Color of Choice
by Maureen "The Mad" Wynn

Date: Friday, November 18
Time: About 8:00

immediately after part 2 of "Vampwatch Knights"

"I'll check down this way..."

"OK, give a holler if you find him!" Jennie said.

Betsy moved down the hallway at a run, worried about Nick. Maybe we should have planted a homing beacon on him, just on general principles she thought. You never know when you might want to find a vampire... She yelped as heavy cloth suddely came down over her head, shutting out her sight and muffling her yells.

"Hey! Lemme go!" She struggled vainly as she was lifted from her feet and carried off down the hallway. "Jennie! Perri! NAT! ANYBODY! HELP!"

The people carrying her suddenly dropped her into a chair. The breath was knocked out of her momentarily, and she paused in her yelling. She leaned back in the chair to try to get to her feet, and the back went down, taking her by surprise and knocking her off balance for a second.

Someone grabbed her hands and fastened them to the arms of the chair, despite her struggles, then the blanket was pulled off her head. She looked up fuzzily (since her eyeglasses had been knocked askew) and tried to bring the person standing there into focus. "Maureen? Is that you? What are you doing?!"

Maureen reached down and straightened Betsy's glasses. "Yep, it's me! How are you doing? I haven't seen you since the War began — enjoying yourself?"

"Well, I was up until now! Why are you kidnapping me? And why now? I mean, the War is just about over, and I don't have anything anyone would want..." Betsy paused, suddenly afraid. "Who hired you to grab me? It wasn't those vampire hunters, was it? Or... LaCroix?" Betsy shuddered.

"Who said anyone hired me?" Maureen said, picking up a bottle and starting to shake it.

"Well, you're a Mercenary. You don't do anything unless you get paid for it."

"You forget, Betsy, old buddy, old pal, oh friend of mine, that I am also a Cousin. Sometimes I do things just because I want to. Or because they need to be done."

"What, I mean, how, uh, why are you..."

"Betsy, stop babbling."

Betsy glared at her friend, then focused on the bottle that Maureen still held in her hand. Miss Clairol. She looked at the label — "Essence of Fire". Her eyes widened, and she suddenly realized that the chair she was sitting in was one of those tilting chairs you find in a beauty solon. "You wouldn't!"

"Oh, yes I would!" Maureen was suddenly angry. Betsy was always startled at how quickly Maureen could lose her temper; must have something to do with being a red-head.

Maureen said, in a dangerously quiet voice, "Does the name 'Al Bundy' ring any bells?"

As the water started to run over her hair, Betsy screamed, "Nooooooo!!!"

War V
by Maureen Wynn

Time: Nov 9
Place: the Happy Souvlaki Deli

after "You Got to Kick a Little..."

"Christina! Oh, Christina..."

"Whaddya want? I'm busy!"

"We gotta di—, divest—, um, we gotta remove ya from office."


"Well, (hic)" Maureen said, "You're not the Poobah Pro-Tem anymore. It's time for the tearing-of-the-epaulets."

"Oh, okay. What do I do?" Chris said.

"People, people..." All the Mercs continued partying (which they do so well, after all), oblivious to their soused leader. Maureen frowned, then gave a piercing whistle which cut through the noise. When they all turned toward her, she said, "It's time for Chris to be de-throned; everyone gather around."

Once everyone had quieted somewhat, Maureen turned to Chris and said, "Um, repeat after me: 'I, Christina...',"

"I, Christina..."

"'Do hereby repent me of my sins...', oops, sorry, wrong ceremony." Maureen thought for a minute, weaving slightly, then her face brightened, and she dipped her fingers in her wine glass, then sprinkled Christina's head. "I now pronounce you un-Poobah-ed!" She turned to the assembled guests and raising her glass, said, "Ladies and gentlemen, I give you... Chaos! (hic!) You may now party."

We deserved that party, didn't we??? —Christina, happy camper


It's been fun, but I must die now...
Maureen the Mad, GHP

War V
Let's Get Naked!
By Maureen Wynn

Time: early morning, Saturday, Nov. 4
some time after "Thicker Than Water (And Much Tastier!)"

Place: Wine Cellar of the Raven

"...and he is not a child!"

"Then why does he continually pout all the time? There is nothing so tiresome as someone who spends hundreds of years pouting."

"It's not pouting, it's angst. He's had a lot to deal with, and you haven't helped at all! You kill his companions, you hound him all over the world, you won't let him get away and have a life of his own, and you've never even tried to understand why he wants to be mortal..."


"No, it's not enough — let me tell you something, buddy, you better change your tune, or one of these days Nick is going to come after you with another flaming stake, and the next time, his aim might be better!"

"ENOUGH, I say!" LaCroix snarled at Sandra, his eyes glowing red, and his self-control dangerously frayed. The Knightie had gone too far. Once she realized that the ancient vampire that she had feared so much wasn't going to have her for breakfast, she had gathered her courage and tried to talk some sense into him regarding Nick. As the day wore on, and the bottle of wine that she'd had for breakfast got emptied, however, the "discussion" had degenerated into a shouting match.

Sandra shivered, the realization settling into her wine-fogged mind that it probably wasn't a good idea to get a vampire angry at her. She decided to try to make amends. "Um, do you want another bottle of... um, another bottle?" she said, getting up and wandering down the line of racks.

LaCroix sighed, closing his eyes. "Yes, I might as well. I have to do something to keep myself occupied. ...and not thinking of the warm blood running through your veins... There are some good vintages down at the bottom of that rack."

Sandra bent down to look at the bottles, and pulled one out. Under it, beneath the rack, she saw a small, light colored rectangle, and reaching in, she pulled it out. It was a deck of cards. "Hey, look at this!" She carried the bottle and the cards over to LaCroix. "We can play cards!"

LaCroix opened his eyes, and looked at the mortal holding up the deck of playing cards. He took the bottle from her and uncorked it, taking a long drink from its contents, pretending to ignore her shudder of revulsion. "What card games do you know?"

"Go Fish?"


"OK, how about gin rummy?"

He sighed again, and took another drink. "What about poker? Do you know how to play five-card draw?"

(some time later)

"You lose, you lose! What do you want to forfeit this time?"

The scene was slightly different than it had been earlier. There were more empty bottles lying around, for one thing. Quite a few more. And there were other things lying around also...

"I guess (hic) I'll forfeit my shirt," he said, slowly unbuttoning the black silk.

"Yeah, it's time we actually saw some flesh!" Sandra said wickedly.

LaCroix only lifted his eyebrow at her, and said, "It just proves that I'm a better player than you are." He looked at her attire, and added, "After all, we've seen quite a bit of your flesh, haven't we?"

Sandra would have been angry, but she was too drunk to care. She looked down at herself, clad only in bra, panties, and half-slip, and giggled. LaCroix finished unbuttoning his shirt, and took it off. On a whim, he started whirling it over his head.

Sandra giggled again, and then whistled. "Go, baby, go!"

LaCroix decided to add a little bump-and-grind to the routine, to enthusiastic cat-calls from his audience. He threw the shirt to Sandra, who caught it and waved it in the air triumphantly. "OK, now it's my deal," Sanda said, and started to lay out another hand.

And now we draw a curtain across this scene...
Further developments left to your fertile imaginations...

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