"I guess the question foremost in my mind is - are we really Mary Sues?"
The group had been gathered in a back room of the Subreality Café for most of the day. Now, as evening approached, there were still no signs of the meeting breaking up; the discussion had ranged from almost every subject imaginable before coming down to the topic at hand.
Lee Holland, as the unofficial head of the group, had put the question forth, and now thoughtful looks graced every face present. "According to most of the 'rules'," she went on, "we are. Most of us, if not all, were created specifically so that our author could put herself in a new universe - preferably more than one at the same time."
There were multiple groans of agreement at that, and one of the women at the table leaned forward, mug of klah in hand, to speak her piece.
"I'm a good example," Pam Williams/on said. She wore an outfit of wherhide leather, with an identifying knot pinned to one shoulder: its colors were red and black, with a thread of brown woven through. "I started out as a New Mutant, only to somehow become a displaced Pernese who was Menolly's best friend when we were young - and then of course I had to have a thing with Doug. Not to mention the stealing of the aging-slower-on-one-world-than-on-another concept," she added, rolling her eyes at a young red-headed girl who grinned back at her.
Across the table, a short girl with long, glossy black hair was nodding in recognition. She wore a loose, sleeveless shirt tucked into belled pants of a black, heavy fabric, and a greyish-purple headband held back her hair; all but one section that flopped over her right eye, and two strands which fell in front of each of her ears. On her shoulder rested a lithe golden fire-lizard.
"I know where you're coming from," Kumari stated. "Heck, I started out as a throwaway character on one episode of 'Wheeled Warriors'. Next thing you know, I'm on the team, I'm about six years older, and we're visiting Pern - just so I could get a fire-lizard or two, and all the purpose that served was to get Jayce and me together." The gold in question gave a sleepy chirrup, and she stroked its head reassuringly. "Not that I'm complaining, but, you know. And then there was the unfinished story where we landed on the World of Two Moons."
"Okay, I'll grant you that much," Lee replied to the two. "That is, after all, the very definition - the self-insertion, the dramatic crossovers, the romance and all. But there's generally a lack of the cosmic powers or the universal adoration that's also associated with Mary Sue-ness."
"Oh, I don't know. Everyone on the New Mutants loved me," Pam said under her breath, earning herself a glare from Alexi Collins.
The rider sitting next to Pam raised her hand. "Do I count? I started out as a self-insertion."
Lee looked the young woman over, then shook her head. "Not really. Even if you did elbow Brekke out of the way to end up with F'nor, you didn't look anything like Pam and you weren't overly special."
"But I was," Calli protested. "My little brother Tellis and I were of Ruathan blood, only no one knew it. And in the first draft, I Impressed a bronze."
There was stifled laughter at that, and Calli giggled along with it amiably. "All right, all right, I give," she chuckled, subsiding.
"Besides, you're still in use as Cellia, so you can't claim the abandonment part," Lee pointed out reasonably.
"Neither can you." This from the small red-headed girl again, and Lee glared at her.
"Point taken. Ruby, since you're being so vocal, was there anything you wanted to add?"
The young girl shrugged, curled tresses bouncing. "I dunno. I mean, I was made for the Gemworld, and I had the same age thing going on as Amy -Amethyst, I mean - and I had the thing going with the cute Michael Hutchence clone, Gril - but that was about as far as my story went."
"I think you were our first redhead, though," Calli pointed out, and Ruby smiled at this, appeased.
"What about you, Alexi?" Lee turned to her longtime friend. "Anything to add?"
Under the sudden scrutiny, Alexi Collins blushed. "Well, I don't know. I basically haven't done much since Doug died. All I was, was a healer for the New Mutants, and Doug's girlfriend - and I came from the same dark future as Rachel Summers did. Oh, and I got to kiss Bono," she added with a sudden flash of a smile, pushing her glasses up. "But even I started out with that same name, until she realized that I needed some identity of my own."
"I hear ya, sister," came a smiling voice from the other end of the table. The speaker was a woman in her mid-twenties, with dancing sea-green eyes and long golden-brown hair that fell over her right eye before cascading down her back.
"Pam Downey," Lee nodded in recognition, and the singer smiled back, taking a sip of her beer before going on.
"How many metamorphoses of bands have I been through? Whodunit, Blood Red Sky, Twelfth Door? I lost a couple of guitarists, went from being a keyboardist to singing lead - and all while having a relationship with Neil Finn and an affair with Bono Vox. I even got to have Bono's kid, but that ended it for me and Neil. And my bandmate, Alex Sardian - she looks kinda like a grown-up version of you, Ruby - she's with Michael Hutchence, or at least another clone of him named Julian something-or-other."
Downey tucked a leg beneath her, glancing at the woman seated to her left. "You at least got a name change, coz."
Ariadne Olsen, a younger-looking version of Downey dressed in a Robotech uniform, a one-piece blue jumpsuit with a red undershirt and brown calf-high boots, shrugged, smiling. "That was about it. I still look exactly like you. I was even adopted, although my birth father was another Michael Hutchence clone. At least Ric is all his own." Fondly, she squeezed her husband's hand; he gave her a warm smile in return. "And my mom's best friend on the SDF-1 was Edge's kid. Does that count?"
"Sure," Alexi said, before glancing at Lee. "What about you? You've been pretty quiet this whole time."
Lee shrugged, looking almost embarrassed. "I don't know if I count. I was kind of a self-insertion, but not really; I was almost written more for the romance with Richard Marx than the membership in the X-Men. And I was just written into existing storylines; I never had a story of my own until the last SC story and 'Games'... unless the roleplaying counts."
"Can I just say something?" This was from a voice that had been mostly silent up until now. The woman to whom it belonged was slim, petite, resembling a slender, more curly-haired version of the author. She was dressed in a long jacket over a tunic, baggy pants and calf-high boots. "Is there really a point to all this meandering, or are we talking just to hear ourselves talk?"
"What's your take on it?" Lee replied curiously, leaning forward to rest her chin on one hand.
"Well, okay." The woman stood and began to pace slowly as she spoke. "Maybe we're all Mary Sue. Maybe not. But what if we are? We don't need to be justified or explained away. Even if some of us have taken up permanent residence here--" and this was with a grin to some sympathetic faces around the table. "If it wasn't for our author's creativity and desire to experiment, we wouldn't exist. So I say we should be proud of who we are."
"Hear, hear," a voice called over the resultant applause following the impromptu speech. With a sheepish smile, the woman reclaimed her seat, while Lee looked around, a satisfied expression on her face.
"All right, I think we're done here," she called. "Let's get out of here and have something to drink and relax."
As the group filed out of the back room, Lee dropped back, waiting for the last speaker. As the woman came up, Lee fell into line with her; she gave Lee a quick smile that tugged at the redhead's memory.
"I think I know you," Lee said thoughtfully. "Aren't you the version that she killed in 'Circle of Honor'?"
"The very one," Pam replied, for so it was she.
"Buy you a beer?"
"Make it a mead and you've got a deal."
The various stories in here are ones that will mostly never see the light of day, aside from Lee's aforementioned SC story, "Don't Do Me Any Favors" and "Games People Play", both of which can be found on my page. 'Circle of Honor' is one of the few that actually got a title. Pam Williams' last name varied between that and Williamson, hence the /.
Back to the X-Fic.
this page last updated on 18 january 2003