So, if you're familiar with Jasper Fforde's writing, this should have no need of explanation. If you're not, well... I highly reccommend it, for he is brilliant. I don't know of any way to explain his universe, besides to state that fictional characters have lives outside of their stories that readers never really see. Just keep that in mind, and everything should make a marginal amount of sense. Title: The Twenty-Third Sub-Basement Author: DWH Genre: Crossover Timeframe: Sporadic, largely KOTOR Characters: Leiraya Moran, Thursday Next, and a small army of Anakin Skywalkers Summary: An illicit Mysterious Handwritten Letter plot device is found in a pre-Mandalorian Wars fanfic, and as the Jurisfiction Prose Resource Operative in charge of KOTOR fics, Leiraya Moran must discover who let this plot device (with a Twisted Sense of Humour, no less) loose in the Star Wars quarter. Notes: For the Ridiculously Specific Challenge #7; Thursday Next, the Well of Lost Plots, and all related items are property of Jasper Fforde. *** Hey, my name is Leiraya Moran. A few of you may know me from The Blue Side of the Force, my home story. I get around in a few others within the continuity, too. But that’s just my job- staying in the story, playing the part, making sure that it’s the same every time you read it. I do it in my own story, and as a member of Jurisfiction, I make sure everyone else keeps the rules. Jurisfiction would probably seem like an odd sort of organization, so I’ll give y’all a quick outline- in the Outland, the Literary Detectives make sure that nobody harms original copies of books so as to change the narrative. Well, Jurisfiction is a lot like that, except on the inside. We are the characters that live in the books, both published and unpublished, and even BookWorld needs its police. I work in the Well of Lost Plots, twenty-third sub-basement. Home of all fan fiction. A veritable festering pit of grammasites, with the mispeling vyrus reaching epidemic proportions. It’s a tough patrol, but it’s my home. My watch is the Knights of the Old Republic era, 4,000 years before 90% of all Star Wars fans are aware that anything notable happened. If that many. But that’s okay, it makes my job somewhat easier. Somewhat. It at least limits the craziness a tiny bit. I’m sure you’re ready to leave this introduction, though, so let’s move along… * * * Living in a story is an interesting sort of existence, if you stop to think about it. Someday, I’d like to spend some time in the Outland to compare, but for now I’ll have to continue with my job at Jurisfiction and acting out my stories. The day of interest was one of the days when I was acting out Tell Me a Story, a short and rather absurd piece that’s interesting enough to avoid being broken down into text, but for all intents and purposes… it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. People and places that didn’t belong, and bits that I know don’t quite fit continuity, but hey, it’s cute. And worse stories than this one have been spared destruction due to the ‘cute’ factor. “But mommy didn’t die!” Bryce interjected indignantly. “Yes, son, I know that.” Carth smiled sadly. “But I didn’t know that then.” Suddenly, a new voice came from behind them. “Are you telling him that horrid story?” Whipping his head around, he saw Leiraya standing in the doorway, looking somewhat less than pleased. “I… uh… he asked me to?” Kicking the door stop out of the way, she entered the room and sat in the chair across from Carth and Bryce. “And that’s supposed to let you off the hook?” She narrowed her eyes. “That’s a scary story for a four-year-old to hear before bedtime.” “I’m brave!” Bryce piped in. “The waitress who cleaned up after I spit up the guunga fruit said so!” Seeing that his mother was less than convinced, he hastily added, “I asked for Pirates of Penzance first.” “And I don’t know that one,” Carth explained. “Is that some Corellian thing?” Ignoring him, Leiraya sighed. “Do you want me to tell you Pirates of Penzance?” “Nuh-uh.” Bryce shook his head violently. “I wanna know what happened when daddy got you in trouble.” “I did not- hey, what are you doing in here?” The narration suddenly dropped as Arden Moore, more commonly known as the Exile (and one among many, at that), dropped into the middle of the scene. I raised a rather confused eyebrow at her, and she extended an envelope towards me. “What’s this?” “I found this when I was visiting a friend in a KOTOR prequel fic.” I opened the envelope, and inside was a cutout of the aurebesh character dorn. On it was scrawled a cryptic message, no signature. “What’s this doing in the Star Wars quarter?” “There’s a couple of options,” Arden ticked them off on her fingers. “First, it could be an illicit plot device, seeing as it lacks the seal from the Council of Genres. Second, it could have been dropped by a Pagerunner. Third, and perhaps most likely, someone is hitting the fic in question with a Twisted Sense of Humour.” I wrinkled my nose. I often found myself in fics running rampant with Twisted Sense of Humour, but it was largely harmless. Still, if the possibility of a Pagerunner or illicit plot devices existed, I had to check it out. “Bryce, Carth, are you okay for a while without me?” “Sure thing,” Carth stretched and yawned. “Maybe I’ll go and take that nap I was thinking about.” “I can stand in for you while you’re out, if you need,” Arden offered. “It looks like your little Padawan there can use as many people around as possible for a while.” Bryce pouted. “I’m not scared.” “So why are you hugging that Ewok like your life depends upon it?” “’Cause… ‘cause I like it,” Bryce stammered rather unconvincingly. “I’d be grateful if you’d stay a while,” I replied with a grin and started searching for my shoes. Stupid things are never around when I want them, since I never wear them in my stories. But it doesn’t take long to figure out that walking around in the Well without shoes is just not a smart idea. After rifling around for several minutes, finding nothing, I sighed and settled on jumping into another fic, one that happened to have a supply shop, and I procured a pair of somewhat industrial-looking boots to wear about. They looked ridiculous with my ever-present hippie-like clothing, but there was nothing to be done about it. From there I entered the twenty-third sub-basement, the hub of activity for characters throughout all eras and fandoms. A handful of Harry Potter clones ran past me, heading straight for a Cheap Plot Device stand. Making my way through the crowd, I had to step over several gizka, push past at least ten Clark Kents, and try my best to avoid the ten million Anakin Skywalkers that seemed to be roaming around, either starry-eyed in love with one of the many Padmes, or about ready to go on a murderous rampage. It’s not my job to keep the Anakin brigade in line; that falls to Elan and Maz. They mostly do a good job at it, too, but they’ve been overwhelmed recently. “Hand-woven shawl, flowing skirt, and combat boots- it must be Leiraya Moran.” I whirled around and saw Telanis, a D’ni character from a Myst/Star Wars crossover that never got off the ground. Grinning, I stepped forward and gave him a hug. “What brings you to the twenty-third sub-basement?” “Oh, the usual,” he shrugged. “Looking for something to get the story going, thought maybe I could find a Cheap Plot Device stand operating somewhere in here.” I jerked my thumb back in the direction I’d just come from. “I saw a small horde of Harry Potters heading towards one over there.” “Ah, thank you. You always were the helpful one.” “Speaking of which, maybe you can be helpful.” I pulled the envelope containing the letter. “Any ideas where one might procure one of these?” Telanis peered closely at the envelope. “Someone has a Twisted Sense of Humour, it looks like.” “I’d gathered that much.” “Well, you can obviously limit your search to the Star Wars sellers, seeing as Smallville fan fiction has very little call for Aurebesh characters. However, the workmanship is quite nice on this one, hard to find this kind of quality these days.” He squinted his eyes and held it up to the light. “You can skip over the cutrate Plot Device stands, certainly.” “Are we talking quality on the level of the Coalition of Bao-dur Generics?” “Yes, I imagine so.” He handed the letter back to me. “There’s at least one like it for every era, too. The young Anakin Skywalkers have a nice shop, themselves.” I rolled my eyes. “I don’t even want to hear about Anakin Skywalker. A year from now, the hype will have died down, and we’ll be stuck with all these Anakin generics, and nothing to do with them. It’ll be just like that maid from Rebecca that the Great Library has far too many of.” “Well, they’ll be put to work like any other generic, I imagine.” Telanis shifted his glasses and smiled. “Don’t worry about problems that have yet to come, they’ll sort themselves out in due course.” “True enough.” I sighed. “I suppose I ought to start poking around, then.” I bid him farewell and watched as he ambled off in the general direction of the Cheap Plot Device stand. I wasn’t quite sure where to start my search, but I needed a base of operations that wasn’t one of my stories. I eventually found a decently written Pride and Prejudice fanfic, where I was able to secure an unused room from two very sweet old ladies running a quaint bed and breakfast that Lizzie and Mr. Darcy wouldn’t be visiting for five more chapters at least. It was small, but comfortable. The fireplace blazed consistently, and a small cat invaded, curling up on my rug. I didn’t object, seeing as it was probably just trying to warm itself. My search would probably start with the Bao-dur Generics, just to get a feel for what I was working with. I knew they were excellent plotsmiths, so they’d be able to spot a well-made plot device much more easily than I. Still, it wouldn’t hurt to get some rest before then. I shut my room’s door, which caused it to squeak loudly, waking the cat. It looked at me spitefully, but didn’t bother to move. It simply curled back up and went back to sleep. Stretching and yawning, I decided sleep might be a good thing for me to do, as well. I removed the bulky boots, pulled a nightgown out of the cabinet in the corner, and crawled under the covers, having little worry about anything happening. In fiction, problems can always wait ‘til the next chapter.