The Thirteenth Mary Sue
by The Plaid Adder
[Read The Plaid Adder's author bio]
Disclaimer: Darth Maul, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Darth Sidious are copyright George Lucas. The Sith Academy is the brainchild of Siubhan. Ophidia belongs to me, but she'll freelance if the money's right. Special heapin' thanks to Siubhan and Laura for suggesting possible endings. Thanks to Joan and Darth Julie for betaing and helping me remove unintentional continuity errors. All remaining continuity errors are intentional. Moohoohahaha.
Maul had been too lazy to take the basket down to the laundry room. Now he was standing in the middle of his apartment clinging with both arms to a huge pile of laundry, realizing that there was not a single surface in his domicile upon which he could deposit it. His eyes darted around the room with desperate fury, but everywhere he looked he saw the same carpet of inch-thick cat hair. My Apprentice sat on the sofa, scratching herself and glancing up now and then with a look of malevolent self-satisfaction.
The pile stirred. Maul grew worried, knowing that in spite of everything some of these items retained sentience, and that 40 minutes in the dryer had only lightly stunned them.
The phone rang.
Maul tripped over a pair of Obi-Wan's discarded boots. His freshly laundered clothing flew into the air, cascading gracefully down toward the cat-hair-impregnated carpet as Maul flung himself at the phone, only to hear the machine pick up.
"You have reached the dark side. You know what to--stop it, you're tickling me! Cut it out! All right then, you asked for it, you little Jedi pain in my--"
The machine beeped. Maul closed his eyes in shame.
"Greetings, my apprentice."
Maul's gut joined his throbbing head in an anticipatory howl of pain.
"I have at last returned from the Dark Side Annual Intergalactic Conference. You will be pleased to hear that I am refreshed, revitalized, and full of new and exciting ideas about how to hone your rage and hatred."
Maul got painfully to his feet and headed for the refrigerator. Sidious's voice kept right on talking.
"There was a particularly interesting presentation on metafiction, and its possible applications in our work. Do you know what metafiction is, my apprentice?" Maul had uncapped the quart bottle of Hamster Death Gulp and was chugging it as fast as he could. "No, of course not. You are too busy drinking that horrible pink concoction and planning to rise up and slay me to figure it out. But do not worry, my apprentice. You will understand, soon. Very, very soon."
Maul screwed the cap back on and replaced the jug in the refrigerator. Sidious could go stick his head in a bucket. Let him hone his own fucking rage and hatred. He, Maul, was going back into the bedroom to see if he could help Obi-Wan hone something else.
"Who was that?" Obi-Wan mumbled sleepily, as Maul climbed under the cat-furred blanket.
"That is not important," Maul said. "The important thing is that I have successfully laundered my black spandex briefs."
Obi-Wan woke up. Maul forgot about the phone, his rage and hatred, and the two pints of Hamster Death Gulp sloshing around in his stomach. My Apprentice, after discovering that a few well-placed nips failed to attract anyone's attention, leapt onto the windowsill.
Outside, dusk was falling. My Apprentice stared with world-weary boredom into the ominous stillness of the Coruscant evening. And slowly, silently, the first of the U-Hauls arrived.
"What the FUCK is that?"
"How the fuck should I know?"
Maul conceded the point. They had, after all, been awakened at precisely the same instant by the same thing: a grinding metal grating sound that appeared to be vibrating in the fabric of the building itself. Feeling Sithly anyhow, Maul said, "I thought you Jedi had developed special sound-identifying capabilities through years of rigorous discipline and sensory deprivation."
"I don't know what the fuck it is, I just know it's not helping that Hamster Death hangover."
Maul heaved himself woozily out of bed. His own HDH was not inconsiderable, and he felt the need for a buffered analgesic.
"Now what?" Obi-Wan said, as Maul, back from a short and disappointing tour of the bathroom, fixed his petulant glare back on the bed and its reclining and buck-naked occupant. "Are we out of aspirin again?"
"There's some in my bathroom, go over and get it."
Obi-Wan stuck his head under the pillow as the building's paper-thin structural core thrilled once again to the siren song of whatever large, heavy, blunt object was being dragged slowly on its butt across the concrete-thinly-veiled-with-cheap-airport-carpet floor of the outside hallway.
Maul emerged from his doorway. Someone was at the end of the hall, dragging an enormous chest of drawers behind her toward the open door of one of the other apartments.
Maul winced. At first he didn't know why. Then, when he looked at her, he realized. She was a young female humanoid, of average height, with blonde hair, blue eyes, and a set of extremely white teeth that flashed in an extremely chipper smile.
Maul ducked quickly into Obi-Wan's apartment.
She was still there when he emerged. "Hey, can I have a little help here?"
Maul gave her his best red-eyeballs, perish-in-flames, never-fuck-with-a-Sith-or-with-a-pseudo-Zabrakian-and-certainly-not-with-someone-who's-both-and-also-has-horns glare, and growled menacingly.
"Oooh!" The woman gave a little squeal of delight. "You are so hot when you do that!"
Flee, said his gut.
"I'm so glad we're going to be neighbors," she said. "What's your name?"
Despite the frantic urgings of his apprehensive gut, Maul found himself saying, "My name is Maul."
"Maul, huh?" The woman gazed at him with eyes that suddenly seemed...seemed...he couldn't put his finger on it...
"Pleased to meet you, Maul," said the woman. "I'm Mary Sue."
Maul shook his head. No, it wasn't Obi-Wan's sister. He couldn't be that hungover. And anyhow, it was apparently a common name, on some planet or other.
"Can you give me a hand with this bureau? I'm moving in right across the hall from you. I'm subletting from Cynthia. You've met Cynthia, right? She's nice, but she's kinda shy. Me, I'm not shy."
Flee, flee, flee, said Maul's gut. Run back into your apartment, bolt the door, and never leave it again.
Maul's heart listened sympathetically. But, at the same time, Maul was amazed to hear his mouth forming the word, "Sure." He was even more surprised to realize that he was lifting one end of the bureau and helping her drag it down the hall.
You're not listening to me, said Maul's gut peevishly.
"I just got my Ph.D. from Coruscant University, I'm a rocket scientist," Mary Sue said. "My parents wanted me to be an accountant, but they've always misunderstood me. Just like they misunderstood the nose ring when I got that. Course that was really for my ex-boyfriend. What a sack of shit he was. You know he cheated on me twice? Nobody understands me, really. Except I bet you do. I can sense that..."
Through some mysterious power he did not understand, Maul found himself compelled to drag this piece of furniture into this woman's apartment, while she continued to relate her own life story in minute detail. Then the same mysterious power compelled him to stand there, sweating like a pig, while her eyes ran greedily over his taut muscular form. He knew this was what was happening because when he finally snarled, "What are YOU looking at?" she said, "I'm running my eyes greedily over your taut muscular form." And then, before he could snarl back, added, "Have I mentioned that you're HOT?"
Maul opened his mouth, fully intending to say, "You have awakened my rage and hatred! You will perish in flames!"
Instead, he said, "Although you are insipid, boring, and without a discernible personality, I too find you strangely compelling. Please come over this evening to hang out with us while we drink beer and listen to loud and raunchy music. Also, I yearn to hear more of your life story, which fascinates me as nothing else but Obi-Wan can."
"Thanks, neighbor!" said Mary Sue. "I will!"
Boy-- began Maul's gut.
I don't want to hear it, Maul replied as his feet, finally liberated, carried him swiftly out of Mary Sue's apartment.
They also carried him smack into another piece of furniture being dragged down the hallway toward another empty apartment.
"Oh my God!" Maul blinked, looking around for the source of this excited and high-pitched squeal. "Oh my God, you are SO HOT!!!"
Maul wondered how he could hear the extra exclamation points. But they were definitely there. As, unfortunately, was the woman who spoke them. She was a young female humanoid, of average height, with brown hair and green eyes, and suspiciously well-formed and perky breasts which jiggled under her skimpy tank top as she bounced up and down in a fever of perkiness.
"Hi i'm Mary Sue!!!" she shrieked.
"You can't be," Maul snarled.
"LOL I know its Obi-Wans sisters' name but i'ts mine too!" this Mary Sue chirped, bursting into a high-pitched giggle. "So where do you live I want to come over right away so I can meet your cute boyfriend." This Mary Sue, who he decided he would call Mary Susie in order to distinguish her from the other Mary Sue, scampered over to his apartment door, which he had foolishly left ajar. She seemed to have forgotten all about her furniture.
"Hi Im Mary Sue!" Maul was too full of rage even to savor the knowledge that Obi-Wan was now suffering almost as much as he was. "Im moving in down the hall from you and I just met your cute boyfriend! Is this your cat? She's so cute! Fuzzy wuzzy kitty witty fluffy wuffy woo!"
Maul saw something furry streak out of the half-open doorway. His mind told him it was too low to the ground to be Obi-Wan. Then he realized it was My Apprentice, fleeing for her life.
Snarling curses that by rights ought to have turned both Mary Sues gray, Maul chased My Apprentice to the end of the hallway. My Apprentice froze near the stairwell, cornered and rattled but clearly ready to die before she would let anyone force her to spend another minute near this new menace. Maul knew how she felt. Still, he reflected, if he couldn't escape this increasingly horrifying nightmare, why should she?
Five minutes later, Maul was lying on his back on the hall carpet, having finally detached My Apprentice's claws from the stucco to which she was clinging like a thing possessed, and fallen over backwards. As he blinked up into the fluorescent light, clutching tightly to the enraged cat with scratched and bleeding arms, he saw with a shudder of dread another female silhouette bending over him.
He waited. But all she did was stare at him, with an unsettling, intense, and predatory gaze.
"Hi," she said. "I'm Mary Sue. I'm moving in up the hall from you."
Maul scrambled to his feet and charged down the hallway. Mary Susie was in the doorway.
"OK Obi-Wan I'l come over tonite!! Thanks so much you rock!"
Seizing his opening, Maul darted through the doorway, slamming it on Mary Susie's retreating form. He released My Apprentice, who disappeared under the sofa and remained there until the following Thursday.
"Maul!" Obi-Wan shouted, emerging from the bedroom wearing nothing but an outraged expression and a towel wrapped around his waist. His hair was wet from the shower and his damp braid sent a trickle of water running suggestively down his chest. "Who the fuck was that and why did I just invite her to come over and hang out with us?"
"I do not know," Maul said. "I have not been feeling like myself today. Come and see if you think I feel like myself today."
Obi-Wan smiled, and grabbed Maul by his t-shirt. "After I get dressed," he said, as Maul followed him in. "Not that I want to, but it might be for the best, since it seems to be open house in here today." Maul sighed, admitted that Obi-Wan had a point, and contented himself with sneaking up behind Obi-Wan and, among other things, causing the towel to drop gently to the floor.
"Quit it!" Obi-Wan laughed. "I'm trying to find my plaid, it's way back in the--AAAUGH!"
Obi-Wan jumped back, snatching the towel up to a strategic position. Maul jumped back even farther. The green, intense, and unnaturally bright eyes of the most recent Mary Sue beamed at them from behind a pair of Obi-Wan's khaki trousers. The sense of impending doom that had been hovering threateningly over Maul's head settled down for the long haul.
"Who are you and what are you doing in my closet?" Obi-Wan shouted.
"I'm Mary Sue," she said, emerging into the bedroom. "I'm your new neighbor."
"How do you do," Obi-Wan said. "I'd love to chat, but right now's not a good time. Do you mind?"
"Not at all," she said, and continued to stare at him.
Maul looked in her eyes and decided that he would call this one Scary Sue.
"It's OK," Mary Sue said. "You two go on ahead, I'll watch--I mean, I'll just sit here and read the paper."
Scary Sue sat down on a pile of discarded clothing and picked up an old copy of Jedi Scum. She bent her head down toward the page, but that was clearly not what she was looking at.
"Maul," said Obi-Wan, a little on edge.
Scary Sue looked up, eyes bright in anticipation. Seeing, however, that Obi-Wan was still standing a few feet away from Maul, she returned to her paper. Maul decided that Obi-Wan's approach was not working.
"GET OUT!" he shouted. "LEAVE IMMEDIATELY, OR YOU WILL PERISH IN FLAMES!"
Scary Sue looked up, and that look in her eyes got several orders of magnitude scarier.
"You are so hot," she said.
"AAARGH!" Maul's rage reached its completion. Seizing Scary Sue by the lapel of her leather jacket, Maul hauled her through the apartment and tossed her bodily into the hallway.
"All right, Maul," said Scary Sue. "I can take a hint. But don't worry, I'm not offended. I'll be back."
On the one hand, Maul found his gut contracting into an unhappy and tympanitic knot. On the other, at least Scary Sue was now finally walking away. Maul shook his head. For a moment he stared after her in disbelief, too intent on contemplating his rising rage and hatred to realize what he was looking at.
Then he realized.
The hallway was swarming with them. Blocking the elevator doorway, dragging boxes up the stairwell, climbing over each other's furniture, blaring a hundred different grunge-lite angst anthems out of a hundred different stereo systems. Mary Sue, Mary Susie, Scary Sue, and what seemed like an unnumbered horde of other women who--be they blond, brunette, redheaded, green- or blue- or brown-eyed--all had the same suspiciously well-proportioned body. All young, all female, all humanoid, and all of them--all of them--stopping whatever they were doing to stare at him the way someone a month into the Lettuce And Cottage Cheese Miracle Diet stares at a pound of triple chocolate fudge.
"HI!" they all shouted. "I'm Mary Sue!"
Maul yanked his head inside and slammed the door.
He didn't know what these creatures were or where this plague had come from. But he knew who had sent them. Oh yes. He knew. And when one day he rose up and slew that person, he would be very sure to remember how he felt at this particular moment.
"Maul," Obi-Wan said. "We need food."
"You go. They're not as bad--"
"The hell they aren't!" Obi-Wan picked up the torn and mutilated remnants of what had once been a garment, and brandished them at Maul. "Yesterday I forgot and got into the elevator. My plaid! My fucking plaid! They're animals!"
"I told you, you can't use the elevator," Maul said. "If there's one place where you're sure to run into them--" Maul cursed, and flung a pair of Scary Sue's panties out of his laundry basket. They kept getting mixed up with his dryer loads, but he was damned if he was going to return them to her.
"Anyhow you're the one who keeps inviting them over!" Obi-Wan shouted. "What is the matter with you?"
Maul had been wondering that himself lately. It was obviously the result of some kind of whammy, but he seemed curiously defenseless against it. Last night half a dozen of them had been piled up on the couch drinking all their Pete's Wicked Ale and watching Naboo 90210. Halfway through a three-hour saga about Mary Sue's experiences at Coruscant Junior High, Maul had tried desperately to make her perish in flames, but all he had managed to do was nod and say, "Please tell me more. You are a deeply cool person, and although my body belongs to Obi-Wan, I want you to be my best friend in the whole world." Then, seeing the look of elation on her face, Maul had made a last-ditch effort to make himself perish in flames; but that too had failed, and he had merely gotten up to get her another beer.
There were thirteen apartments on his hallway, not counting his and Obi-Wan's. He was sure that every one of them was now inhabited by a Mary Sue. He had only been able to identify eleven of them so far. Mary Sue, Mary Susie, Scary Sue, Padawan Sue, Senator Sue, Princess Mary Sue, Darth Lara Sue, Alternative Rock Sue, Poet Sue, Very Scary Sue, and Mary Three's Better Than Two. Sometimes he lay awake at night wondering which of them would finally bring his hatred to completion. But more often lately when he was awake at night it was because he was chasing Scary Sue out of his bedroom.
"I went last time," Obi-Wan said.
Maul sighed and headed out the door.
He heard the familiar sound. A heavy box being dragged up the stairwell by someone who was not pleased about carrying it. He wondered if he could risk the elevator. It seemed to be pretty quiet this morning.
As he stood deliberating, the box slid out into the hallway, propelled by a violent kick from the woman behind it. Maul glanced at her wearily, noting the arrival of Number Twelve.
Number Twelve, however, failed to glance back at him. He noticed that unlike the others, she was a big woman, with bushy red hair, dressed in a shapeless T-shirt thrown on over a pair of plaid shorts. As Maul watched, she stopped, stretched her back, and decided to lift the box.
Swearing, she staggered a few steps down the hallway, and finally dropped the box on the floor, sitting down on it to catch her breath.
"Son of a BITCH," she grunted.
Maul was surprised that she hadn't asked him to help yet. That was, in his experience, the first thing that happened. It forced him to work up a sweat, and gave them an opportunity to introduce themselves and tell him that he was hot. After a moment, she noticed him staring at her, and looked up.
"Hey!" she snapped. "What are you looking at, Stendhal Face?"
"My name is Maul," he said.
"As in gangster's, or as in shopping?" she answered, making another attempt to lift the box.
Maul realized that she was expecting a snappy comeback. He did not have one. Like many of his new neighbors, she was speaking gibberish.
"Looks like that's too heavy for you. You want some help?"
Maul made the offer on the spur of the moment. His gut had informed him suddenly, somehow, that this would irritate her intensely. And indeed, he was right.
"No," she said. "I'll be fine. You take your big manly body out of my way and I'll just throw my back out dragging this thing down the hallway by myself."
As much as he would have enjoyed soaking up the rage that was sure to continue emanating from her as she wrestled her box down the hallway, Maul decided that it was time to flee for the stairwell. He could sense movement behind one of the other doorways. And indeed, he had just time to swing the door shut behind him before Mary Susie's door opened.
"Hi!!!" Even from the stairwell he could hear the exclamation points. "I'm Mary Sue! Have you met Maul? hes so HOT! What's your name?"
Maul waited. He knew, somehow, that down at this woman's end of the hall, hatred was beginning its magical and asymptotic approach toward completion.
"Ophidia Varegia," she said.
"Thats a weird name like is it foreign orsomething? what does it mean?"
"It's Caledonian for She Who Is Going To Rip Plaidder A New One As Soon As She Gets The Chance."
"Your weird," said Mary Susie.
Ahh, there it was. Sweet, sweet rage and hatred, emanating in waves through the stairwell door. And for once, from someone else. Things were looking up.
But not for long.
There was a knock at the door.
"Don't answer it," Maul said.
There was another knock at the door.
"You know they don't ever go away," Obi-Wan said. "And you lost the coin toss."
There was another knock at the door.
Half an hour later, Maul gave up and opened it. It was Mary Susie.
"Hi I got a phone call for Obi-Wan and I have to give him the message," she said.
"Why would someone call for Obi-Wan at your apartment?" Maul growled.
Mary Sue blinked. "I didn't think of that oops. Uh...cause our phone number is one digit off yours yeah thats right. It's your uncle Herbert, he wants you to come visit him on Tatouine for the weekend."
"Gee, thanks!" chirped Obi-Wan, taking the slip of paper from Mary Susie. "You're so nice. OK, neighbor, I have to go, bye now! Will you water my plants while I'm gone? I'd hate for Qui-Gon to come back and find his jubjub bush has gotten all withered."
Obi-Wan was already on his way to the door. Maul shook his head. Something about him was suddenly not right. Too chipper. Too friendly. Too little of a pain in the ass and too much like...like...
"Obi-Wan!" Maul snarled. "Have you been taking Perkium again?"
Obi-Wan blinked. "Perkium?" He folded the note up neatly and put it in his Padawan Day Planner. "What's that?"
Maul stared. "Perkium is the shit they put you on at--"
Obi-Wan was already waving goodbye from the doorway. "And will you feed Mr. Fluffy too?"
"No, I will not feed Mr. Fluffy," Maul snarled. "Mr. Fluffy has been dead for the past 13 months. What is the matter with you?"
"Don't be such a sourpuss," he said. "I'll be back next week! Bye, neighbor!"
Maul looked at Obi-Wan's vacant eyes and idiot grin, and it suddenly clicked.
"Don't go!" he shouted, as Obi-Wan disappeared down the hall. "Don't go! It's a trap! They just want to get me alone!" Obi-Wan was getting farther away. "It's the fucking Mary Sue whammy! Don't leave me here!"
"See you next week!" Obi-Wan waved, getting into the elevator.
Maul's cry of despair echoed down the hallway.
The doors were closed. But he knew, as sure as if he could see it, that in every one of those doors there was a peephole to which was glued an eyeball belonging to a Mary Sue. They were watching. They were waiting. And with Obi-Wan out of the way, there would be no stopping them.
Maul slammed the door behind him and went looking for furniture to pile up against it.
For the first day, it wasn't too bad. The knocking at the door died down after a few hours, and most of them hung up once they got the answering machine. But by the morning of the second day, he had run out of Hamster Death Gulp. By the afternoon of the second day, he had run out of beer. And by the evening of the second day, he had run out of food.
The phone rang. Maul curled up in the fetal position.
"Hi, Maul, it's Ophidia from 12A," said the voice.
Maul sighed. He hadn't seen her since the day she moved in, and had begun to hope that maybe she wasn't part of the plague at all. She certainly didn't seem to hang out with them, and had never come to his apartment, even on the night Maul had failed to defeat Scary Sue's whammy and invited the whole floor over for Guinness and strip poker. And now here she was, stalking him like the rest of them.
"I hope you don't mind, I got your number from Scary Sue. Listen, this little green pervert left a case of Pete's Wicked Ale backstage for me at my show last night, and I've got no use for it and Alternative Rock Sue said you drink it so--"
Maul seized the receiver, knocking the answering machine to the floor with a loud SHWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEK.
"I am here!" Maul shouted. "Yes! Yes! Give me the beer! Also give me any food you may have that is not already supporting sentient life!"
"I was just going to say, I left it outside your door," she said. "Glad you can use it. Bye."
She hung up. Maul replaced the receiver, and opened the door cautiously.
He didn't see beer.
He looked to the left. No beer.
He looked to the right.
Aha. She had left the beer outside Obi-Wan's door. Fabulous. Eleven other women on this hallway who had memorized his tattoo pattern, horn configuration, phone number, and t-shirt rotation, and she had to be the only one who couldn't remember his apartment number. Ah well. It was beer, and he was desperate.
He stepped carefully into the hallway, reaching out toward the beer. It was heavy, but with the Force he could still drag it, slowly and stealthily, toward his own doorway.
Not stealthily enough.
"Hi Maul!" Doors flew open all up and down the hallway.
"Cool!" shouted Alternative Rock Sue. "Pete's Wicked Ale!"
Maul pounded on the door of 12A. "Let me in!"
"Who the hell are you?" Ophidia shouted.
"It's Maul! Let me in!"
It was too late. The Mary Sues had turned the corner, and now they were upon him.
"Hi Ophidia!!" Mary Susie shouted. "Come down to Maul's apartment, we're having a party!"
Ophidia opened the door, and looked out at the massed ranks of the Mary Sues. And at Maul, who was desperately struggling against a group Mary Sue whammy but knew in his bones that it was hopeless.
"Hey, why don't you all come over here?" Ophidia said, cheerfully. "I've got humus, and plenty of herbal tea, and in 20 minutes they're re-running that X-Files where Scully takes it off. I mean, sure, on the one hand she's screwing some creepy guy that she by rights shouldn't look at twice, but on the other hand, he's really just triangulating between her and Jodie Foster, so it's OK."
Mary Susie looked puzzled. Princess Sue, however, seemed to suddenly achieve epiphany.
"Ewwww!" she shouted.
This same epiphany somehow spread like wildfire through the other Mary Sues, who stampeded down the hallway in panic.
"Oh, sure!" Ophidia shouted after them, sarcastically. "It's all hot and sexy as long as it's two guys!"
Maul stood on the threshold, slightly bewildered.
"Morons," Ophidia said. "You might as well run back to your cover while they're still scared off."
Maul knew that this was what he should do. And yet, he felt a strong and inexplicable desire to stay and talk to Ophidia. He was not sure why, except that he was convinced all of a sudden that she was very, very wise, and that if he talked to her even for a few minutes she would be able to solve all of his problems.
"Do you really have herbal tea in here?" Maul said.
"No," she answered.
Maul walked into her apartment and closed the door.
"What can I do for you, Maul?" Ophidia said, sitting down on her futon as he dropped gratefully into a chair.
Maul wondered what the answer to this question really was. Then he remembered Sidious's message.
"Do you know what 'metafiction' means?" he said.
"What is it?"
"It's what's happening now."
"I know that," snarled Maul. "I hate it. Tell me what it is so I can make it stop, and then rise up and slay my master."
"All right," Ophidia said. "I'll give it a shot." She took a deep breath. "Have you ever had the feeling that your life is an episodic, bizarre, and highly absurd soap opera being written in loosely connected installments by a group of mysterious and powerful beings who have little in common besides the fact that they all derive some kind of twisted pleasure from watching you suffer?"
Maul's jaw almost dropped, but he caught it in time.
"Yes," he said. "Constantly."
"Well, it is."
"How do you know?"
"Never mind. Ordinarily, these powerful beings remain outside the story and control it from there through subtle and largely invisible methods. In metafiction, the mechanisms of control become visible, and are manipulated by people who are actually inside the story."
"Mary Susie is right," Maul said. "You are weird."
"My point is," she said, "that these Mary Sues are avatars, if you will, of those mysterious and powerful beings, and therefore have the ability to control the story. That's why you end up doing things that are stupid, against your will, or out of character."
The Mary Sue whammy. This part at least made sense. And, there was something else that suddenly made sense.
"Hypothetically," he said. "If one understood this metafiction thing, and could take control of the 'story,' could one, for instance, move all of the tenants out of an apartment building and send a plague of Mary Sues down upon it, thereby honing one's apprentice's rage and hatred to previously unknown levels?"
"Hypothetically," Ophidia said, "one could."
Maul's teeth ground briefly, but violently.
"Thank you," he said. "Now tell me how to make it stop."
"It'll stop as soon as the story's over," Ophidia says. "Something will happen at some point that will get rid of the Mary Sues and return everything to the status quo ante."
"What is that thing?"
"The status quo ante?"
"No, the thing that will return everything to the status quo ante." Maul didn't know what it was, but it had to be better than this.
"What, and ruin the suspense?"
"You will tell me what it is or you will perish in flames!"
"Don't make me sic the snakes on you," Ophidia said.
Maul noticed a basket in the corner, and that the lid was moving.
"All right," he said. "I will not make you perish in flames." Ophidia laughed. "But if you live here for very long, you will soon wish you had."
Ophidia looked at him. He knew he had her. If, as they had taught him in that Achieving Service Excellence training workshop he had honed his rage and hatred in a few months ago, it was true that body language could communicate as clearly as speech, Ophidia's body was constantly saying, "Get me the hell out of this rathole."
"OK, Maul," she said. "I'll give you a hint. How many apartments are there on this floor, besides yours and your boyfriend's?"
"Thirteen," Maul said.
"And how many Mary Sues are there?"
"Twelve counting me. And--"
"Wait," said Maul. "You said your name was--"
"Mary Sue isn't a name, it's a category. I hate to break it to you, but I'm One Of Them."
Maul successfully fought the urge to scream "NooooOOOooooo!"
Instead he said, "Do all Mary Sues come straight from hell?"
"No," she said. "A lot of Mary Sues can pass as ordinary characters. They blend in, they mind their own business, they're fine. These ones, the ones that run around yelling 'I'm Mary Sue' all the time, they are a giant, rank blot on the fanfiction escutcheon, and are normally weeded out during the selection process. I don't know how they got past quality control this time around."
Maul didn't either, but he was betting it had something to do with Sidious.
"So getting back to my point," Ophidia said. "Thirteen empty apartments, and you've only met twelve Mary Sues. Do the math." Maul did it. "Who's living in that thirteenth apartment?"
Maul pondered very hard.
"Someone with meta privileges?" he said, hopefully.
"That's right," Ophidia answered encouragingly.
"I can't tell you."
"Cause I'm trying real hard to keep this thing inside the canon."
"What the hell does--"
"Forget I brought it up. The reason you haven't seen this thirteenth person is that this thirteenth person is very secretive. This thirteenth person is someone neither you, nor your master, nor my author herself wants to mess with. And this person is someone who can help you, if you make it worth this person's while."
Something happened inside Maul's head.
"Thank you," he said. "You have been very helpful."
"That's my job," Ophidia said. "Every author gets off on different things. Some get off on sex, some get off on suffering, some just want to see Ben-Wa lick stuff. Mine gets off on handing out sage advice and solving everyone's problems. It's just as annoying to the readers, but at least this time it comes in handy." She opened the door. "Now you better get out of here before I start singing."
Maul gulped. "You sing?"
"That's right," she said. Maul's hand was already on the door. "Mostly Indigo Girls, these days."
Maul did not know who the Indigo Girls were, but his gut told him to open that door and flee.
"Good luck," Ophidia called, as it closed behind him.
Maul stood in the hallway. It was a strange ending to a very strange day. But he could feel the other eleven Mary Sues standing at their peepholes, ready to pounce. He walked toward the thirteenth apartment.
He knocked on the door. It swung slowly inward. Maul peered into the dim light.
"Great steaming balls of poodoo," he exclaimed.
The door closed behind him.
"...latest fire to break out at the Coruscant Arms, but was miraculously confined to a single floor. Fleabag Properties, which owns Coruscant Arms and four trillion other rental units in the Temple district, states that all efforts are being made to determine the source of the blaze that gutted twelve one-bedroom apartments in Coruscant's cheapest and biggest apartment complex. All the affected tenants survived, and have been relocated for the time being to another Fleabag Properties complex, the Gunga Den. In other news..."
Obi-Wan looked at Maul. Maul shoveled another spoonful of Count Chocula down his gullet.
"How did you do it?" Obi-Wan said.
"You know what I'm talking about. The Mary Sues. What happened to them?"
"There was a terrible accident," he said.
"Caused by whom?"
Maul put his hands behind his head, leaned back into the cushions, and started whistling.
"And where did all those scratches on your back come from?"
Maul sat up abruptly. "My Apprentice. She is honing her claws, and her rage and hatred."
Obi-Wan's eyes narrowed. Even with the application of a whammy he wasn't going to buy that one.
"I'm not mad," Obi-Wan said. "Really. I just want to know how you got rid of them."
Maul shook his head.
"You want to have sex again sometime before you die, don't you?"
Maul sighed. "It was very simple. All I had to do was find the thirteenth Mary Sue. After that it was taken care of."
"And who is this thirteenth Mary Sue?" Obi-Wan demanded.
Maul looked at him and said, sweetly, "It's whoever you want it to be."
Obi-Wan, with a howl of rage that made Maul reflect what a pity it was that Obi-Wan had chosen the wrong side, sprang upon Maul and began tickling him.
"All right!" Maul shouted, after he realized he could take it no longer. "All right! The thirteenth Mary Sue is--"
Viewers at home! Who do YOU want the thirteenth Mary Sue to be?
If you want Mary Sue to be a CANON character, click here. If you want Mary Sue to be a NON-CANON character, click here. If you want Mary Sue to be a SUPER-META character, click here.
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