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Saga Raissa Baiard Solves Them All--Part 2 added- OC Revolution Fall Challenge

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction- Before, Saga, and Beyond' started by Raissa Baiard, Oct 22, 2014.

  1. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    I'm posting this in two parts, because, like so many of my stories, this one turned out to be a lot longer than I expected ;)

    The story takes place about 17BBY, several months before the events of "Everyone Comes to Doran's Place."
    *******************
    The Case of the Missing Mushrooms
    "Ah, there you are, Vice Prefect!"

    Raissa Baiard looked up from the theft reports she was reading to see her boss, Prefect Ari Renau, leaning jauntily in her doorway. She refrained from pointing out the obvious; this was her office, where else did he expect her to be? She forced up a smile and stuffed down a sigh. "What can I do for you, Prefect?" Whatever it was, she knew she wasn't going to like it. Renau had the diabolical twinkle in his eyes that meant he thought he was too clever by half.

    Renau plopped down in the chair across from her and propped his feet up on her desk, heedless of the flimsies she was reading. "I have new assignment for you, my dear," he said, giving her his "I'm so charming" smile. "One that ought to warm the cockles of your regimental little heart."

    She bit down another sigh. "I'm still working on the last 'special assignment' you gave me," Raissa reminded him, indicating the reports under his feet. The last case he had foisted off on her, rather: The Case of the Missing Mushrooms. One of Renau's gambling buddies, a belligerent Chagrian named Dar Amas, had stormed his office daily for the last six weeks complaining that someone was stealing the mushrooms that grew around his vaporators. The Prefect had finally grown tired of fielding Amas's complaints, and shunted him off to Raissa. It was her opinion that someone's rogue eopie was to blame, but the stubborn Chagrian was demanding proof. So here she was, second in command of the Merkesh garrison, looking for mushrooms, while Lt. "Useless" Eusclaes had been assigned to investigate the sudden influx of death sticks in Merkesh City. Not that she was bitter or anything.

    Renau put a melodramatic hand over his heart. "Ah, but this really is a special case, Vice Prefect! A sweet little old lady, bereft of her dearest companion, needs your help."

    "Missing person?" Raissa perked up; that sounded interesting.

    "Actually, no," the Prefect answered diffidently. "I believe he's a pygmy roba."

    "You want me to look for a missing pig-dog." Native to Talus, robas were singularly unattractive creatures. With pendulous ears and broad snouts, they were a curious mix of porcine and canine. She couldn't imagine that miniature version would be much cuter--or why anyone would want to keep one as a pet.

    "Tsk, tsk, Vice-Prefect," Renau admonished. "I thought all you Imperial Youth Scouts just lived to help sweet old grannies." He smiled wickedly. "Or is that only when they're crossing the street?"

    Raissa dropped her head to her desk. There was no arguing with Renau; there was never any arguing with him. "Fine," she muttered into her flimsies. "I'll look into it."

    The Porcine Problem
    Gertris Magrivray lived on Tanje Road in the Old Quarter, one of Merkesh City's worst neighborhoods, in a disreputable tenement built in what had once been a row of middle class trader's homes. The ornate lattice work that decorated many old Merkeshian houses had broken away or been boarded over, and graffiti marred the stucco walls. When the owner had decided to chop the row houses up into small apartments, he'd replaced the graceful arched windows and brass bound wooden doors with tiny, barred portals and blast-proof safety doors. Raissa stood on the stoop and tapped on a door that looked like it was trying to put "blast proof" to the test. She grimaced to herself, imaging an old woman living here with only a pygmy roba for companionship.

    The door slid open halfway, and a wizened gnome with the face of cranky worry peered out. Her skin was the color and texture of jerked bantha, and her sparse white hair straggled out of a tight knot atop her head. Flinty gray eyes regarded Raissa suspiciously. "What do you want?" she demanded, leaning forward on a metal cane that looked like it would be quite handy for knee-capping Hutt thugs.

    Raissa took half a step back. This was Renau's sweet old granny? She looked more like the outrider for a swoop gang! Don't be silly, she chided herself. You can't go by appearances. She's probably a perfectly nice old lady. Raissa put on a helpful smile. "Good afternoon, Mistress Magrivray! I'm Vice-Prefect Raissa Baiard. I'm here from the garrison about your missing roba."

    "The garrison? They're supposed to send an officer."

    "Yes, ma'am." Was she senile or just hard of hearing? Raissa smiled again and spoke a little louder. "That's me: Vice-Prefect Raissa Baiard. May I come in?"

    Mistress Magrivray looked her up and down, scowling. "You're a girl."

    "Yes, ma'am," Raissa agreed through clenched teeth. "Prefect Renau sent me to help you."

    The old woman's wiry brows straggled upwards. "Renau? Well, why didn't you say so!" She hobbled back into her apartment, indicating with a wave and a grunt that Raissa should follow.

    It was like walking into a womp rat's den. A sweet, musty-- and somehow familiar-- smell permeated the gloom, and something crunched underfoot as Raissa stepped inside. She couldn't tell what, since only a few brave shafts of sunlight peered through the shuttered windows. She could just make out that they were in a tiny sitting area, with two sides curtained off with heavy canvas drapes; Raissa assumed they were the kitchen and bedroom. She eased herself gingerly into a sagging chair. Something poked her in the seat of her pants; she hoped it was a spring.

    Mistress Magrivray plopped down in the other chair with a grunt. She propped her evil looking walking stick next to her and squinted at Raissa. "So you're the one Renau sent about Frugly."

    "Yes," Raissa answered, pulling out her data pad. "He's your pet?"

    "No," Mistress Magrivray retorted. "He's my Life Day dinner."

    Raissa tapped her stylus against the data pad, took a deep breath and counted to five. "Can you describe him to me?"

    "Looks like a roba."

    Raissa counted higher this time. "Any idea where he might have gone?"

    "You're the detective, girlie!" the old crone snapped. "You tell me."

    "All right." Raissa stood up. "Why don't you show me where you keep Frugly."

    Mistress Magrivray shot her a blaster-bolt look as she hauled herself to her feet and stomped back out to the porch. "That's where he sleeps," she said, pointing her cane to one corner. There was no bed there, not even a blanket, just a length of frayed cord attached to a bolt screwed into the wall. Raissa knelt down to examine it, and found that the rope was a tough braided jerba-hide cord. The frayed end was sticky-- gnawed through rather than cut. So Frugly hadn't been stolen; he'd chewed through his leash and run off. Can't imagine why.

    The porch was otherwise bare, and the yard was just a plot of powdery sand dotted with a few scraggly tufts of grass-- not very good for holding a track, especially in the shifting autumn winds. Raissa found nothing more interesting there than a pile of dried roba droppings, but she noticed that one corner of the building's foundation was cracked and beginning to bow out. On closer inspection, she saw that the bowed area was actually a plaster covered access panel that was hanging by a single rusty fastener. It swung aside easily, creating an opening big enough for a pygmy roba or even a small person.

    "Hey!" Mistress Magrivray scurried down the stairs as Raissa removed the broken panel. Apparently, she was spry enough when she wanted to be. "What do you think you're doing?" she demanded, prodding Raissa in the small of her back with her cane.

    "Don't worry; I'll put it right back after I've checked for Frugly," Raissa assured her. She unclipped her mini glowrod from her belt and shined it into the hole. It looked like there was something back there, but it was had to tell in the glowrod's narrow beam. She laid down and stuck her head in for a better look, when she felt another sharp poke.

    "Don't go in there!" Mistress Magrivray's voice was sharp and panicky. She was fairly dancing with frustration. "There's...probably sand scorpions in there!"

    "I'll be careful." Raissa didn't believe for one minute that Mistress Magrivray cared if she was stung. Maybe she was just worried that she'd die wedged under there and stink up her porch. Which already smelled pretty bad. The same sweet-musty smell from inside permeated the stuffy air in the access shaft, along with something rank and sickly. Perhaps something had already died under there. With that cheery thought, Raisaa crawled forward, sweeping the glowrod in front of her. Something glittered in the darkness; she trained the light on it. A pair of beady eyes blinked at her from beneath a heavy brow ridge, and the shadowy form shifted, tossing floppy ears.

    "Frugly," Raissa said. Well, that wasn't too hard. She wondered if Mistress Magrivray bothered to look anywhere before she called the garrison. "Let's get you out of here, eh, Frugly?" The pygmy roba picked up his head at the sound of his name, wide nostrils snuffling rapidly. He gave a huff, dropped his head back to his paws, and turned away in apparent disinterest. Raissa frowned; she had no idea how one called a roba. She resorted to clicking her tongue like she was calling a pittin. She inched closer, one hand outstretched. "Come here, boy," she crooned. "Who's a good pig...dog...thing?" Frugly gave her a baleful look. He snorted and jerked away when her fingers brushed one toe-toed paw.
     
  2. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    The Porcine Problem, cont'd
    Raissa sighed and blew a dusty strand of hair away from her face. Clearly, a bit more persuasion was in order. How could she tempt the roba to come to her? She remembered the candy she always kept in her belt satchel for the local children. She reached into the satchel, currently flattened beneath her, and manuevered a couple pieces free.

    Frugly perked up and began sniffing enthusiastically even before she had the wrapper off the first piece. He crawled toward her, whuffling with interest,and his broad, sloppy tongue licked the candy out of her hand with a single swipe. "Like that?" Raissa asked as the roba nosed her hand, looking for more. She scooted backwards as she unwrapped the second piece. "Come on, then." Frugly followed her, wriggling eagerly, when he suddenly stopped and gave a deep, hacking grunt. He wheezed and his sides began to heave.

    "Ack, no!" Raissa tried to pull away from the retching roba...too late. "Shavit!!!"

    Startled by her outburst, Frugly squealed and bucked, scrabbling backwards into something that rattled loudly when he hit it. He collapsed into a heap, whimpering and twitching.

    Raissa tried to wipe the worst of the splatter off her face before she got sick, too. She edged forward, making soothing noises and trying to avoid the worst of the mess, as she shined her glowrod past Frugly. Behind him, a series of crumpled, irregularly shaped disks, each as big as Raissa's hand were strung together, hanging from the coolth pipes. They looked like nothing so much as a row of severed ears in the faint light. Raissa grimaced and eased closer. Frugly raised his head, but seemed otherwise disinclined to move.

    Fortunately, a second look proved that what was hanging behind him wasn't a string of ears.

    They were mushrooms, and Raissa would bet her rank bars they were Dar Amas's missing mushrooms.

    The Case of the Guilty Granny
    As she inspected them, the light from her glowrod reflected dully off a square package half hidden by the mushrooms. Raissa frowned and reached back to find a plasti wrapped cube of white powder. One corner had been chewed open and was still wet with slobber. Apparently, jerba hide leashes weren't the only thing Frugly found appetizing.

    Some of the powder spilled from the hole as Raissa handled it. She rubbed it between her fingers. It was slightly gritty and smelt strongly of the sweet-musty scent that had permeated Mistress Magrivray's apartment, and suddenly Raissa remembered where she'd encountered that smell before. When she'd been stationed on Yaga Minor, she'd been part of a raid on a lab that had been illegally manufacturing ixetal cilona. It had smelled just like this.

    Several things clicked in place for Raissa at once: on Talus, some enterprising souls had trained robas to use the extraordinary sense of smell to hunt for valuable and rare mushrooms. One of the most sought after was the balo mushroom, which was the source of ixetal cilona-- the main ingredient in death sticks.

    Gertris Magrivray was no sweet granny; she was a slythmonger. And she was waiting outside while Raissa was trapped inside an access shaft.

    She was quite literally up to her butt in trouble.

    Raissa tapped her wrist comlink. "Baiard to Merkesh Garrison," she hissed, hoping that the old bat outside wouldn't hear. "Come in, Merkesh Garrison."

    The comlink crackled and sputtered. "Merk....Gar.... who..."

    "Shavit," Raissa swore softly. The building's thick pourstone foundation was preventing her from getting a good signal. She wasn't going to get any backup from the garrison. She'd just have to crawl out and hope that Mistress Magrivray didn't have any weapons besides that evil-looking cane. Maybe if she could propel herself backwards quickly she could take the old woman by surprise. Raissa tensed and got ready to push back.

    A wet nose nudged her wrist. Frugly's piggy eyes regarded her soulfully. Don't leave me here, they seemed to say. "Oh, come on," Raissa whispered. "You'll be safe under here. I'll be back for you." Or someone will. He whimpered and bumped her hand up again, creeping forward until it came to rest on top of his head. His dirty tan fur was surprisingly silky under her fingers. Frugly stared up at her and gave his tail a hopeful wag....And Raissa knew there was no way she was leaving him behind. "All right," she told the roba, feeling like a prize idiot. "I'll get you out." Probably get myself killed, but, hey, the pig-dog will be free. She levered him him up onto one shoulder and crawled backwards as quickly as she could with twenty kilos of roba in her arms.

    Mistress Magrivray was waiting for her, and, of course, she had a blaster.

    "I found Frugly," Raissa told her.

    "Bet that's not all you found, eh, girlie?" the old hag chortled. "Nah, don't get up," she said, waving her snub blaster as Raissa tried to get to her feet, her efforts hampered by Frugly's bulk.

    "I've got backup coming," Raissa lied. "They'll be here any minute. Let me go, and we can tell them it was all a big mistake."

    "Oh, I'll tell 'em," Mistress Magrivray said, giving her a snuggle toothed smile. "You'll be dead and stuffed back in that hole."

    "So you're just going to shoot me out here where any of of your neighbors could see and hear you?" Raissa asked, trying to keep her talking long enough to find something that would distract Mistress Magrivray long enough for her to grab the blaster. Unfortunately, there wasn't anything useful in the yard unless she wanted to try pelting Mistress Magrivay with dried roba droppings.

    Suddenly, Frugly bolted from her arms and charged Mistress Magrivray, sinking his teeth into her scrawny ankle. She shrieked and tried to kick him loose, but the roba had a vise-like grip on her. She raised her cane to beat him off. As she stood barely balanced on one foot, Raissa launched herself at the old woman, who crashed to the sandy ground with a resounding thud. She lay there stunned, and Raissa darted in and twisted the blaster out of her grasp. "Stay down," she ordered Mistress Magrivray as she pulled her arms behind her back and snapped a pair of binder cuffs closed on her stick-like wrists. The old bat writhed on the ground, screeching insults at Raissa that would have made a warden on Kessel blush.

    Raissa stood up and heaved a sigh of relief. She supposed she ought to call the Garrison now, but first....

    Frugly lay in the dirt, panting heavily, and blood oozed for a cut across his muzzle. He winced when Raissa ran her hands over him, checking for injuries, but he wagged his stubby tail and nuzzled her hand. "Good boy, Frugly," she told him. "Good boy."

    Raissa Baiard Solves Them All
    Raissa gave Prefect Renau's door a perfunctory tap as she walked in. She normal waited a minute, to give him a chance to put away whatever Hutt smut he was looking at, but today she just didn't care. He didn't have any pictures of Twi'lek slave girls this time, but his sabacc deck was spread out across his his polished oro wood desk. He froze in the act of laying the five of staves on the six of flasks. The Prefect's debonair mustache twitched as he slowly put the card down. "Vice Prefect? What's this about?"

    Raissa was sure she looked-- and smelled-- just wonderful; her usually crisp gray uniform was streaked with grime from crawling around under Mistress Magrivray's house, and she had a feel there were still flecks of roba vomit in her hair. She slapped three files folders down on his solitaire game. "These are the cases I solved today," she told him. She picked up the first and flipped it open. "I found Mistress Magrivray's pygmy roba. He was hiding in an access shaft beneath her apartment, where I also found Dar Amas's stolen mushrooms..." Raissa tossed the second file on the first. "And a large package of ixetal cilona." She smacked the third file onto the pile. "Turns out your sweet old granny 's the one who's been flooding Merkesh City with homemade death sticks. Now if you'll excuse me, that's the end of my shift for the day." Raissa paused in the doorway and turned back to a gaping Prefect Renau. "Oh, and one more thing. The next time you have a case involving a little old lady....give it to Lt. Eusclaes instead."

    Epilogue
    Merkesh City's resident vet was more used to treating eopies, cu-pas and other beasts of burden, but he agreed to take a look at Frugly. After turning in her reports to Prefect Renau, Raissa went back to Doc Huwe's office to check up on the roba. He was drowsing in a large livestock pen when she got there. He woke up and whuffed at her as she knelt down to take a look at him.

    "Well, the good news is that he didn't have much ixetal cilona in his system," the vet told her, peering at the notes on his data pad. "He may have gorged himself on the mushrooms, but he doesn't seem to have ingested much of the ixetal powder-- or if he did, he vomited most of it up." Raissa grimaced. Tell me about it. "I'd like to keep him overnight for observation, though. Balo mushrooms aren't as potent as refined ixetal cilona, but they still have some hallucinogenic properties. You can pick him up in the morning."

    Raissa looked up. "What?"

    The vet pursed his lips. "I can't keep him here forever. You must have some idea what you want to do with him.

    Actually, she hadn't given it much thought. When she'd brought Frugly in, she'd just wanted to make sure he wasn't going to overdose on the drugs he'd gotten into. Raissa looked down at the roba, who was busily and sloppily licking her hands though the wire bars of the crate. "Do you know anyone who might want him?"

    "The chef at the Azure Kroyie would probably take him off your hands," Doc said with a shrug.

    It didn't seem fair-- mistreated and sick, Frugly had still been brave enough to attack Mistress Magrivray. He'd saved Raissa's life. It just wasn't right that he should end up as the main course at the Kroyie. She reached into the pen and tousled his ears. "Hey, Frugly." He looked up with a happy whuff. "So, we made a pretty good team today. Have you ever considered joining the Imperial constabulary?" Frugly snorted and bumped her hand up with his snout until it rested on top of his head. Raissa laughed. "I'll take that as a yes." She rubbed behind his ears until his eyes rolled back in an expression of bliss. "Welcome aboard, Deputy Frugly. Who's my good pig-dog, then?"
     
  3. Mando-Man

    Mando-Man Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Dec 1, 2008
    "The case of the guilty granny" pure genius!
     
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  4. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    Yay![face_dancing] Three solved cases, a nefarious granny captured, and a pig-dog added to the Imperial constabulary (he and Raissa raise the tone of the establishment just by being there, really. ;))

    Merkesh City really shines here with all the details that give it the feeling of an ever so slightly seedy small(ish) town. Frugly is also a perfect name. This was awesome, and provided some much-needed laughter.
     
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  5. Findswoman

    Findswoman Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Feb 27, 2014
    Delightfully written and hilarious mystery story—brava! =D= Very creative interpretation of the fall OC challenge: R. B. goes into her mission thinking it'll be just a matter of helping an old lady in true Youth Scout fashion, but it turns out to be helping free a mistreated creature and return him to health—and he helps her, too, of course. Very valiant behavior by this "pig-dog" at an extremely tense moment: thanks to his quick action that old battle-axe got what she deserved and Raissa's life was saved. Definitely a worthy addition to the constabulary. :cool:
     
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  6. Viridian-Maiden

    Viridian-Maiden Jedi Master star 1

    Registered:
    Aug 14, 2013
    Very clever and humorous. Does Raissa Baiard always solve multiple cases in one moment? ;)
     
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  7. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    [face_rofl] I'm laughing so hard I think the whole building can hear me. I never -- NEVER -- expected that the person being helped through a difficult time would be Frugly! And I'll second Mando-Man: "the case of the guilty granny" was a stroke of genius.

    Now I really want to read Doran's place. I think I'll go for it on the first leg of the trip home tomorrow :)
     
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  8. Rau_Fang

    Rau_Fang Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    How's that for a mic drop! Haha!

    Also - I'm glad Fruggers had Raissa to help in his time of need. This was an excellent treat! Good work.

    Btw- random aside - I haven't read any more R. B. stories (which I hope to remedy) but does your fic title harken back to a certain 90s show starring Malissa Joan Hart? Is there a connection or am I just stretching? :)
     
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  9. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thanks for the great comments, everyone! I had a lot of fun writing this one, so I'm glad you all enjoyed it.
    Chyntuck my original premise was to do a variation on the Cat Up a Tree, where Raissa has to help a sweetly vague old lady, but I wanted to give her a more interesting pet. I remembered Frugly the roba, the first animal my creature handler tamed in SW Galaxies, and the story went all kinds of strange directions.

    Rau_Fang The title is actually a nod to a children's book called Encyclopedia Brown Solves Them All. It's part of a series about a boy detective that used to read when I was a kid.
     
  10. Rau_Fang

    Rau_Fang Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Mar 28, 2005
    Oh Lord- Encyclopedia Brown!! And he exposes that cheating kid nomming on ice before the used dishwater drinking competition! I totally read those at my g-ma's plc growing up. That's an even better reference than Clarissa Explains It All.
     
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  11. Chyntuck

    Chyntuck Force Ghost star 5

    Registered:
    Jul 11, 2014
    Woohoo. The award noms are giving me the opportunity to not only catch up on my reading, but also to re-read fics I already know and love. And Raissa clearly deserved her nom for best OC in this story -- she shines in every story where she appears, but she's particularly entertaining in this one, especially the moment when she dumps the files on Renau's desk :p

    And now a confession: I considered nominating Frugly as the best OC. I finally decided against it because he appears only in this one, short fic, but I certainly hope we'll see more of him in 2015!
     
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  12. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I could totally imagine this as a young reader book, with pictures. Fun stuff!

    Renau strikes me as a huge ball of slime and...other waste. Not sure if this is mobbing, extreme sarcasm or if he was just brought up to be a jerk, but he's annoying. Same goes for the pet-eating old lady who appears not to be that frail at all. I'm glad Raissa eventually showed them and got herself a fun pet.

    nothing more interesting there than a pile of dried roba dropping - ummm, no, poop is always interesting.

    Startled by her outburst, Frugly squealed and bucked, scrabbling backwards into something that rattled loudly when he hit it. He collapsed into a heap, whimpering and twitching. - poor thing. :(
     
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  13. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Thank you! I'm glad you enjoye Raissa...and Frugly! :D he was meant to be a one shot character for this story, but Raissa and I just couldn't abandon him after he saved her life so valiantly. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of him; he's managed to work himself into Raissa's life and story quite thoroughly, to the point where planning future stories, I had a vision of an arthritic Frugly with Raissa's teenaged children. :D

    Now I'm going to have to work on illustrations. :)

    Yeah, Reneau is a sleazeball. Utterly charming at times, but still a sleazeball. It was kind of fun channeling Claude Rains as the Prefect Louis Renault from Casablanca for this story, since Renau is murdered before the opening of "Doran's Place."
     
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  14. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    By any means, do it. I enjoyed seeing character portraits in your OC thread, though Doran's haircut had me giggling at first. :D
     
  15. Kahara

    Kahara Force Ghost star 4

    Registered:
    Mar 3, 2001
    [face_love] Yes, please! [face_dancing] (So sue me, I'll read and undoubtedly love/cry over the canon-compliant version, but I'm still holding out for the happy AU that I think you might have mentioned once. 'Cause I went and got all emotionally involved while reading these stories. :p)
     
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  16. Raissa Baiard

    Raissa Baiard Chosen One star 4

    Registered:
    Nov 22, 1999
    Yeah, Doran's sketch is not my best work. It is about 13 years old, though, so it probably was a little less weird when it was drawn. Or perhaps, like Tatooine, you just can't get a good haircut on Merkesh :D

    You know, now that the novels are Legends and not canon, I feel less compelled to write the sad but compliant version. Since it's all just AUs anyway, why not have a happy one?
     
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  17. Ewok Poet

    Ewok Poet Force Ghost star 6

    Registered:
    Jul 31, 2014
    I don't think the sketch is bad, I just find mullets funny. The combo of a '40s film and an '80s haircut. ;)