TITLE: Going, Going, Gone
DATE: Oct 2003
ARCHIVE: The Realm
A/N: Just feeling all nostalgic...I strongly recommend reading Jos Mous' "The Forgotten Dimension" for the groundwork and Mel/Misty/SailorUranus' "By the Gods: A Place on Earth" for descriptive fleshing-out. Follow the links to The Realm-
Newbee was a slender brunette. Shy, and a little insecure despite her strong-will & determination. Partly due to the dawning realization of her sexual orientation--The innocent teen realizing her attraction to other girls was more than adolescent experimentation or curiosity...
Which brought her here: the realm of FemSlash FanFic. She stood at the entrance of a darkened alley, bathed in the pinks, greens and purples of the neons beckoning her to "Roswell", "Dawson's Creek", and every other sign an invitation to some "Buffy" variance. Attractive as they were, she sought something Special; off the beaten track. She'd caught a glimpse of it once, thru an abandon web-site she could never relocate. Images and stories of unimaginable beauty and intelligence; the characters revered (despite the occasional abuse...) She had wandered here in the remote hope of finding more...
A noise in the alley startled her, her investigative nature overpowering her fear/flight intuition. Amidst the shadows a dim blue light illuminated a large black wolf and a grizzled old bearded bum urinating on a dumpster. Finishing, he arranged his blue boxers w/ the yellow smiley faces (a battered horse-blanket and red high-top basketball shoes completing the ensemble) and turned to address the disinterested wolf--
"See? ~Outside~ OK?" One could swear the lupine snickered then drew the bum's attention to Newbee w/ a sniff and a whimper. "Hey girlie! I've got just what you're looking for!", waving her into the alley.
"I seriously doubt it," the brunette smirked.
"Kennedy High? Brooke? Sam?..."
Newbee was speechless, but lulled by the bum's intuition and the wolf now gently tugging at her sleeve. What the hell--she had her tazer if the creep got out-of-line...
Thru a decrepit doorway, down thru countless flights of dimly lit stairs; they entered a long, graffiti-tagged corridor. Two tone institutional blue/gray with the odd door & ceiling light at long intervals. "That's me." He pointed to the "snarlsnout" sprayed in black with a sweeping flourish. He extended a silent invitation along with a spray paint can. The brunette grinned, then bit her lower lip. She gave the can a few shakes and scrawled her name among the others w/ concentration and gusto.
"Newbee. S-so what's his (?) name?" The wolf's curious gaze rivaling her own.
"No idea. Just watching it for a friend..." then in a conspiratol whisper, "who I'm not sure is even coming back"
The wolf whined and hung it's head forlornly; Newbee tried to brighten the mood. Her hand sweeping the vastness of the walls "So all these people are Popular fans?"
"They've all passed thru here at one point; many have moved on. It is rare to encounter a new pilgrim these days, but at one time we were thriving and prosperous."
The wolf scratched at a non-descript door. The bum opened it and the 3 wandered into a dusty, cob-webbed laced room with 3 ornate thrones fallen to disuse & neglect.
"Of course the Ancient Ones were long departed when I arrived, leaving only fables and legends. Their successors had a long, productive reign but have now succumb to the ravages of time. One by one, the Great Ones disappeared leaving their legacy, yes, but creating an indescribable void in their wake."
The 3 enter another door. A world-weary Mistress. A small but determine flock of young disciples. They are on mats, in robes, keyboards in extended arms slowly arcing thru an orchestrated yoga-esque ballet.
"Even among the few that remain, there are rumors of retirement. Of new interests. Of ~Real Life~." The wolf lets out a low guttural growl...They pass thru another door. "Of course, Popular has caught the imagination of the Illuminati/Literatate concession." Newbee observes several women moving thru banks of keyboards, monitors displaying diverse realms from "Coyote Ugly" to "The Practice" as the artisans continue weaving their vast, expanding universes, in first one world, then another.
Thru another door (marked "Research") the 3 encounter a frazzled Englishman whirling within a circle of computer screens, half obscured by various colored Post-Its (TM). Books lay open on every remotely flat surface, vast sections high-lighted. "Of course, some of us are more obsessed than others" the bum snickers as he proceeds to a wall of pneumatic tubes. He examines the bin under the tube marked "snarlsnout" and finds only a quarter-inch layer of dust...
"A bit barren in matrix lately old sod; Only a scant ration of Feedback from the surface--the usual lot..."
Newbee saw the bum's shoulders sag briefly, before he smiled and led her thru another door. They walked into a darkened drawing room. Thin light illuminating walls of ancient, leather-bound texts, many dealing with the arcane and supernatural, while an equal number delved into science fiction and fantasy. The wolf curled up in a red leather chair, sighed deeply, and feel asleep...
Newbee and her guide trudged further down the endless corridor, the derelict's progress becoming more labored with each step. Finally, near another anonymous door he collapses. The brunette panics, pounding on the door for any kind of assistance...
"OMG! OMG! OMG!" She is brushed aside as two frantic, hysterical (and don't forget naked!) brunette teens usher the decrepit derelict into his well-worn "Lazy-Boy" (TM) recliner. The Hollyesque looking one peels off his fragrant basketball shoes and begins to massage his poor gnarled feet as the Dawny looking one force feeds him several bottles of ice-cold dark brown beer. Gradually he recovers, at least judging by the smile and the smiley-face boxers...
"OK Perv. I'll take it from here."
Newbee swirls around to face an intense, beautiful, spike-haired young woman in a pale blue cheerleader uniform--"OMG! You're her! You're Nicole Julian: Spawn of Satan!"
"Yes," The petite blonde patiently sighed, "And you are obviously yet another jiggly jailbait brunette who is trying to usurp my rightful position as the focus of snarlsnout's adulation and accolades. Talk about your alienation of affection! His stories used to be all about me...and that insufferable Spam...now they are merely watered-down, bastardized shadows of their former glory--and worse of all: they're too few and far between!"
"B-But," Newbee recites all the arguments she encountered on her road to discovery, "It has been a couple of years now. People's memories fade: You guys--well most of you--have moved on to new shows; new characters --I can see why the old fart's memories are corrupted--"
"--Along with his morals," Nicole seethes as they watch the two tantalizing teens snuggle up in the easy chair, Holly remoting the "What I Like About You" tape into action...
Nicole leads Newbee to a vault, where after much fumbling, turning of keys and combos (and an electronic scan we won't discuss in polite company)--"Behold!" 6 battered videotapes. "While there is a small contingent laboring to digitalize these for the masses; Our boy's lofty ambition was to transcribe the ancient works for posterity, but all he does instead is drink beer and watch old Buffy re-runs..." Nicole leaves the oblivious author with an obscene gesture and leads the brunette further down the hall...
A tear rolled down from Newbee's overly masscara'ed eye. "So I guess the real Popular is lost forever...?"
"I'm afraid so kiddo," Nic sighed, "I know of one scribe devoting his life to a virtual Season Three...There was even rumors of an S3 outline from The Creator Himself...But until the day comes when the last straggling disciples can preserve it, or the brain-dead WB produces a movie to resolve the cliff-hanger, I fear Popular will drift further and further into obscurity..."
Newbee was visually devastated, and while Nicole would usually revel in those circumstances, she felt a strange bond with this beguiling, curious, altho hideously coiffed brunette. She flung open the double doors at the end of the corridor, secretly delighting in the huge, toothy grin now adorning that adorable face--"But in the meantime...there's always The Realm!"
We'll fade out with one of those cool ceiling camera pull-backs showing an ecstatic Carlyesque Newbee twirling euphorically arms outstretched in the center of a huge brightly lit library. Nicole walks directly to the Aeryn Sun section for a refresher in Samabusage...