This fanfiction was written for our fundraiser for San Diego Comic-Con. A sequel is also in the works. It was written by Angel, with passages by Tara, Undie, Bandit, and Erin. Overall grammar editing was done by Tara and Erin.
Angel leaned back in her desk chair, feet up on her desk, as she scrolled through the recent headlines of the day on her laptop. Benedict Cumberbatch had been cast as Xavier in the new X-Men reboot, Peter Parker in the new Spider-Man reboot, and as every single member of the Avengers in the new MCU reboot.
‘Those roles should have gone to Tatiana Maslany,’ she grumbled to herself. ‘Or Laverne Cox.’
Before she’d managed to catch up further on the latest geek entertainment news, Erin burst through her door holding a stack of papers, panting heavily and clearly worn out from the apparently urgent dash to her office. The commotion startled Angel’s cat, Bruce Wayne, who leapt from the window sill and hid behind a stack of manga.
“Erin, did you run here?” Angel sat up in her chair.
“He’s escaped,” she said, leaning against the door frame. A few loose papers fell off the stack onto the floor, but she was on a mission to convey her message and paid them no mind.
Angel froze at that name. She closed her laptop and scooted away from her desk.
“Run that by me again?”
“404 Error. He was freed from his cage. He already took out The Backlot. The Mary Sue is currently battling him, but they’re going down quickly.”
“And The Daily Dot?”
“They’ve evacuated, but their headquarters are on fire. It’s crumbling.”
Angel stood from her chair and paced her office, contemplating their options. She began fiddling with the tip of her ponytail, a nervous gesture that only became apparent under extreme duress. A lot of responsibility rested on her shoulders, but she wasn’t sure she was really cut out for this. She was barely keeping them afloat as it was… and now this?
“Does the rest of the team know?” Angel asked.
“I wanted to tell you first. I didn’t know what to tell them. Or how to tell them.”
Angel nodded, knowing that in order to conquer this, she needed to rally the entire team.
“Right. Okay,” Angel said with a frustrated sigh. “We need to come up with a plan.”
“An evacuation plan?”
The main floor of The Geekiary’s headquarters was buzzing with chatter over the articles that were going up that day. There were a couple of TV episode reviews stacked in the editors’ tray already and everyone was busy working on even more pieces to add to the pile. Several comics had just released new issues and a major movie just opened all at the same time, so there wasn’t an idle writer in sight. Things were so hectic that nobody noticed Angel walk in and pick up the TV remote. She flipped on the Internet News Network and turned up the volume.
“404 Error has launched an assault on progressive entertainment news websites across Internet City,” the news anchor stated. A silence immediately fell across the room as all eyes turned towards the TV. “Seven website headquarters in total have been taken out ranging from peer reviewed journals to entertainment blogs. 404 Error is currently rampaging towards the By Fans, For Fans sector, setting fire to every small blog it encounters as it moves across the city.”
The next shot showed the dragon-like beast smashing small internet bloggers on the streets of Internet City. They didn’t have a chance; without editors or administrators to back them up, they were easy pickings. Knowing what sites could take him out if they were organized, he took out those targets first – and now he went after the smaller organizations, the ones he didn’t think had the backing needed to defend themselves from his onslaught.
The Geekiary staff stared at the screen as the websites they admired were essentially burned to the ground. They existed because of these sites, but 404 Error showed no mercy.
Angel turned off the TV.
Tara leaned forward in her Iron Throne desk chair. “Who the hell broke that jerk out?”
“I don’t know.” Angel turned to Emily. “Fandom bullies?”
Emily bent over her keyboard. “I’m on it.”
“What are we going to do?” Jessica asked. “Why is he so mean? Why can’t he just let us blog in peace?”
“I don’t know…I don’t know. He’s just a big bad,” Angel replied. “A great big jerk of a dragon who can’t stand progressives in geek culture.”
“Not bullies,” Emily said, not taking her eyes off her screen. “Not a sock account or known trolls, either.”
“Not a known troll. Someone new?”
“Maybe,” she said with a shrug. “Hard to say. It’d take a lot more time to find that out and… well…” Emily glanced at the windows, knowing that 404 Error was drawing ever closer. He’d be within sight in minutes.
“Right.” Angels sighed. “I guess it doesn’t matter who did it. He’s headed this way…we have to do something. Where’s Rin? Dragons are her thing after all.”
“Haven’t seen her in a couple of weeks,” Erin said.
“The anime department!” Farid shouted as he popped up from his cubicle.
Confused about the outburst, Angel turned, narrowing her eyes at him. “Yes, that’s a thing that exists…”
“No no, I mean, they might know something? A giant lizard is sort of like a kaiju, right?”
“We have bigger lizards in Australia,” Undie quipped.
“Giant fire-breathing lizards?” Jessica asked.
Undie shrugged. “Sometimes. Nothing compared to the Drop Bears, though. They… they killed my family…” Lost in her memories, her voice trailed off.
Silence. The Great Drop Bear Tragedy of 2008 weighed heavily on everyone’s minds. It took a few moments for The Geekiary ladies to collect themselves, but finally they proceeded to discuss the matter at hand.
“I think Farid is onto something,” Angel decided. “We need to consult with the anime department.”
Pearl, Ashley, and Charli were oblivious to the mayhem happening just outside their anime art deco office – they were too busy watching subbed (not dubbed!) releases of their favorite shows. They all practically jumped out of their chairs when a group of editors shoved through the door.
Angel paused for a moment, then shouted, “Kaiju!”
Charli pulled her headphones off and stares at her blankly. “Huh?”
“Some itty bitty lizard is lighting Internet City on fire,” Undie informed her. “Generally screwing everything up.”
“It’s pretty big, actually,” Tara said. Then, under her breath, “That’s what she said.”
Angel sighed “Yeah, I wouldn’t listen to the Australian. This thing is huge – and it breathes fire. We came here because we thought you could help.”
The three girls exchanged looks, then shrugged.
“Okay…so it’s a big lizard,” Pearl clarified. “Just because Kaiju show up in anime sometimes doesn’t mean that we have some innate knowledge about how to take it down.”
“I don’t even watch much that has Kaiju in it,” Charli chimed in.
Angel turned back to her senior editors who both exchanged doubtful shrugs. They thought they’d been onto something, but it was a dead end. The anime department didn’t know much more than they did.
“Dammit. We…we need to evacuate.” Angel pinched the bridge of her nose and looked to the floor, devastated that they were about to lose something they’d all worked so hard on. The two editors started to turn and exit the room to begin the evacuation, but a voice stopped them in their tracks.
“Wait.” Ashley stood up. “Not yet. We may not be Kaiju experts, but we know some things.”
Charli cocked an eyebrow. “Ashley. Now?”
“When else? Internet City needs them.”
“Needs who?” Undie asked.
“The Internet Senshi,” Ashley explained. “Eons ago, seven soldiers fought in the Battle of ListServe Troll. Their online profiles were deleted in battle, and they lost their memories of the event…but legend has it that they were to be reborn with new online handles, so they could rescue Internet City from a seemingly unstoppable evil.”
“What’s that got to do with us?” Undie asked.
“It’s you,” Charli said. “You’re the Geekiary Girls, the Internet Senshi reborn for a new generation.”
Pearl turned around and removed a large framed Sailor Moon poster off the wall. Behind it was a safe, which she quickly opened to reveal a large black box. She removed it from its safe space and opened it as she turned to face them. Inside there were seven pens, each with a unique emblem topping it.
“It’s dangerous to go alone,” Charli said.
Pearl handed the box to Angel. “Take these.”
“Seven Senshi?” Undie asked. “There’s only three of us here, so who else is part of this?”
“The emblems will tell you,” Ashley promised. “Pay attention to the emblems.”
Angel, Undie, and Tara closed themselves up in the admin office and examined the pens.
“Could they be any more vague about the details?” Tara asked.
“I don’t know. I think that’s kind of how anime works. It’s OUR mission, our goal – we have to figure it out on our own. It builds character or…something.”
“I guess it can’t be too hard,” Tara picked up the red and gold pen that was topped with a lion head. “This one’s obviously mine. It has ‘Lannister’ written all over it. Who else could it belong to? I’m lost on the rest though.”
Undie picked up a pen that featured the S.H.I.E.L.D. logo on top with a bright red base that matched Agent Carter’s lipstick. “I guess this one’s mine.”
Two pens were nearly identical, both topped with winged pentacles. Angel held them up side by side. “Well, um, these clearly say ‘Destiel’…but there are two of them. Which is mine?”
Undie snatched the pens out of her hand, then held one of them up. “This one has a little pirate hat on it.”
“Emily!” Angel said. “She’s the Captain of the USS Destiel.”
Tara was confused. “What’s a ‘Destiel’?”
“It’s… it’s a ship thing. We decided we were a pirate ship and set sail on the open sea and…” Angel trailed off when met with Tara’s baffled expression. “Never mind. Who else do these belong to?”
Tara picked up a blue and black pen with a bird symbol on it. “What the hell is this one about?”
“Dick Grayson maybe?” Undie asked.
“That’d be Jessica!” Angel exclaimed, excited to uncover one more member of the team.
“But she’s so nice,” Undie said. “How can someone so sweet be a badass warrior?”
“Maybe she kills with kindness,” Angel quipped.
Undie rolled her eyes and reached into the box, choosing a gray pen with a miniature TV and blue Twitter bird on it. “This must be Erin’s. She Tweets her enemies to death!”
“Okay, and the last one?” Tara picked up the last pen and looked at it. The handle was a red and gray plaid design, and a single slice of apple pie adorned the top.
“That’s very Dean Winchester,” Undie pointed out.
Angel was excited. “Oh! It must belong to our resident Dean Winchester.” Then, realizing that Tara and Undie were confused, Angel clarified, “It’s Bandit’s.”
The seven girls gathered in Angel’s office. “Okay, guys,” she said as she passed the pens to their respective owners, “I know that this seems ridiculous, but it came straight from the anime department, and they have authority here. You see – ”
“We’re superheroes,” Undie interrupted.
“Awesome!” Bandit took the pen that Angel was offering her; when she examined it her eyes lit up. “Am I, like, the superhero of pie or something? Please tell me I’m the superhero of pie.”
“Um, I think it’s more Sailor Moon-ish,” Angel informed her. “I mean, it came from the anime department and they used the word ‘Senshi’ so…”
Bandit curled her lip. “Man…I’d rather be like…Captain Marvel or Jessica Jones or something. Minus all the PTSD and shit treatment in the past, of course. Or Hawkeye. I could be Hawkeye.”
The others quickly nodded their agreement. Angel shrugged. “Well, it’s our story, isn’t it? I say we can do whatever we want with it. You want to be Captain Marvel, you be Captain Marvel. Or Hawkguy. Or whatever.”
“That sounds more like it.” Bandit leaned back in her chair and took a sip of whiskey from her flask.
“So we’re going to have to fight?” Jessica asked.
“In order to save our website, yeah,” Undie grimaced.
“I don’t want anyone to get hurt.”
“Too late for that,” was Tara’s blunt response. “He’s already hurt a lot of websites. We’re just protecting our own.”
“Can’t we just trap him?”
“Uh, well…” Angel trailed off.
“We don’t really know how this will play out,” Undie interjected. “But we’re going to go out there and do our best. If we can trap this tiny – ”
“GIANT,” Tara corrected.
“- lizard,” Undie continued, “then we’ll capture it.”
Suddenly, the building across the street exploded into a giant fireball.
Jessica was shocked and appalled. “Did the dragon just take out Genre TV For All?”
Angel stepped toward the window and chewed on her lip for a moment. Finally she turned to face them, pen in hand. “It’s time.”
The Geekiary Girls exited the building and found themselves surrounded by the flaming wreckage of several other small independent blogs. Because 404 Error was too busy taking down its current target to notice them just then, they had a moment to contemplate their plan of attack.
Emily held out her pen. “Okay, how the hell do we use these?”
“Hold on,” Tara said. “Everyone hold your pens out, like Emily’s doing.” The other girls quickly obeyed, and immediately Angel and Emily shared a look that said they knew what to do.
They tapped their pens together and shouted “Destiheller Power!”
A warm light engulfed them, forcing the other Geekiary Girls to take a step back and shield their eyes from the intensity. When the light faded Emily and Angel were standing back-to-back in completely new outfits – Angel in combat boots, knee-high black and white socks, a purple dress, and a black leather vest with the Destiheller biker logo emblazoned on the back, her long blonde hair parted into two pigtails that reached down to her knees; Emily in pirate boots, gray pants, and a black leather Destiheller jacket, with a sword dangling from a holster on her hip. Her vibrant red hair spilled out from beneath the pirate captain’s hat that was perched jauntily on her head.
“Hell yeah, I’m so into this!” Bandit grinned, holding up her own pen. “I don’t know what to say, though…um…Pie?”
Her body was similarly surrounded by a bright light, and when it faded away her superhero persona was revealed. She wore shit-kicker boots, jeans, and a plaid button-up shirt similar to the colors of her pen. A Babylonian amulet hung around her neck, and her makeup greatly resembled that of the Carol Danvers version of Ms. Marvel, perfectly accenting her usual bright red lipstick. A pearl-handled revolver was tucked into her thigh holster, a shotgun was slung across her back, and she carried a crossbow in her right hand. Bandit’s long hair was perfectly quaffed and somehow flowing in the non-existent wind.
She turned the crossbow over in her hands and then looked at the rest of the Girls, eyes shining with excitement. “This is AWESOME!”
Undie lifted up her pen next. “I can’t let you guys have all the fun!” She held up her pen. “SHIELD!”
When the light settled around her she was dressed similarly to Agent Carter, but instead of a classy pair of pumps she wore a pair of tennis shoes and bright blue TARDIS socks. Her hair was curled like Agent Carter’s, too, and her make up was also similar. She wore large dark sunglasses and she had a large semi-automatic rifle strapped to her back.
Tara looked down at her pen and sighed. “I’m sorry, I don’t watch any of these shows…”
But her transformation began before she could finish that thought, and before they knew it she was clothed in a costume resembling Cersei Lannister’s famous red silk gown, complete with armored bodice – though this dress was quite a bit shorter and featured tight-fitting sleeves that were much better for battle.
“Um…what’s this for?” Tara held up a chalice. The other Girls shrugged, but when she peered inside she was pleased to discover that it was filled with a delicious red wine. She drank it down and set the cup aside; within moments she was looking down at her hands, clenching and unclenching them. “I feel so much stronger! But I should have an actual weapon, too…” A thought struck her, and she bent to lift up her skirt.
“Um…what are you doing?” Angel hissed. “This story is supposed to be PG-13!”
“Don’t worry, I’ve got this,” Tara grinned as she pulled a long dagger from where it was strapped to the inside of her thigh. “A woman’s best weapon is between her legs, right?”
Angel snorted. “Looks like it! But um…why is it WET?”
“Poison, of course,” Tara winked. “Remember, poison is a woman’s weapon?”
Undie rolled her eyes. “That’s ridiculous.”
“Is it? If I do a half-assed job stabbing someone with a regular dagger, I’m screwed…but with a poison dagger…”
“Point taken,” Undie agreed. “And I bet that poison was culled from one of Australia’s many ridiculously poisonous animals, which makes it even better.”
“Okay, my turn!” Erin said. “Hashtag Superhero!”
Blue wings sprung from her back as the light flared around her. When it faded she was clothed in a gray skirt and blue blouse in the same shades as her pen. Erin flexed her wings to test their strength and a moment later she was hovering just above the ground, her wings stirring up a slight breeze around the Girls.
“Can you believe this? I’m flying!”
“I wish I could fly,” Bandit pouted.
Erin alighted beside her. “Dude, you’ve got more weapons than any of us. You could probably take 404 Error out single-handedly.”
Bandit nodded. “Fair point.”
Jessica was still on the sidelines, but when she spoke everyone immediately turned toward her. “Right,” she said, looking down at the pen cupped in her hands. “Uh… I don’t know….”
“You can do it, Jessica,” Emily said encouragingly. “Just hold it out and…feel for it. It’s hard to explain, but it will just come to you.”
“Okay.” Jessica thought for a moment, then her face lit up. “I know – be kind!”
The light fairly swallowed her up, but it was warmer and more comforting than that of any of the transformations before her. When it faded she stood before them in a long sleeve ruffled white shirt, a shimmering pink skirt, and tall cowboy boots. A stylish straw cowboy hat was perched on her auburn hair, which fell in ringlets over her shoulders. Her makeup resembled Nightwing’s mask, with eyelash-like accents around her eyes.
“This is amazing, y’all,” she said, spinning around happily.
But they didn’t have much time to admire their brazen new fashions; the crashing and smashing and sounds of rubble falling about them had stopped. Slowly the Geekiary Girls turned around…to find 404 Error perched on a building above, watching them with its soulless black eyes.
“Looks like the pre-show is over,” Tara said.
Angel nodded. “Right. Let’s do this.”
“I’ll distract him, guys,” Bandit said as she aimed her crossbow and fired at the beast. The bolt punched into his gut, and the ensuing howl echoed through the narrow streets of Internet City. The Girls remained frozen for a moment, until Bandit shouted, “I’ve got it! Go!” and began reloading her crossbow. The beast set its sights on Bandit and the other girls finally scattered.
Jessica and Emily ducked into a nearby alley to hide from 404 Error and formulate a plan of their own.
“What do we DO?” Jessica whispered, doing her best to avoid attracting 404 Error’s attention.
Emily glanced around, hoping that something would inspire her. When she caught sight of a fire escape attached to the side of a nearby high rise, she exclaimed, “Oh! Up! We’ll go up! We’ll have a better vantage point from there.”
Emily jumped up and pulled the metal ladder down. She hoisted herself onto it and beckoned for Jessica to follow, which she did without hesitation.
Undie had ducked into an alley on the opposite side of teh street. The reality of the situation was finally hitting her, and she had a rare moment of acceptance regarding how dangerous 404 Error was.
“He’s a medium sized lizard, at least,” she muttered to herself. “What to do?”
The door to one of the nearby buildings was hanging open; reaching over her shoulder and touching the rifle slung across her back, Undie decided that she needed to find a better vantage point. Being trapped in an alley wasn’t going to help anyone, so she dashed through the open door.
The people in the building were too busy evacuating to pay Undie any attention, even if she was trapped out in superhero attire with a rifle strapped to her back. Undie made her way up the first set of stairs she saw, hoping to find a unit with a balcony window with a clear view of 404 Error.
Tara had chosen a different tactic, running further up the block. She crouched behind a car to hide from view and realized that some people had fled so quickly that they’d left their vehicles running; figuring one of them could be of use she continued moving up the street, keeping low to the ground as she searched for a vehicle she could use.
Finally she moved around the front of a large van and spotted an open-topped Jeep idling in the middle of the road not twenty feet away. Tara knew that from a tactical standpoint it was best to have a vehicle that allowed the team to use their weapons easily, so she bolted toward the Jeep and hopped into the driver’s seat. Unfortunately it seemed that 404 Error had caught wind of her – when she looked in the sideview mirror (which conveniently warned ‘Objects in mirror are closer than they appear’) she saw the beast turn toward her, its mouth a gaping maw as it roared. She was about to put the car in gear but thought better of it, instead turning to look over her shoulder. The warning on the mirror was pretty accurate; 404 Error was still quite a ways up the road from her…and at the moment distracted by Erin, who had taken to the air in an attempt to escape. The beast caught sight of her from the corner of its eye and whipped around to attack, moving faster than anything that big had a right to do.
Thankfully Bandit was there, releasing a crossbow bolt at 404 Error’s head and drawing its attention away from Erin just in the nick of time. The bolt slammed into 404 Error’s jaw, and the dragon let loose another horrifying roar. It seemed to be more angry than in pain, but at least it turned away from Erin.
Bandit was working to load another bolt into her crossbow when she realized that she wasn’t alone in the street; Angel was standing just behind her. “You need to go!” Bandit insisted, all the while keeping her eyes on the beast, which seemed to be gathering itself for its attack.
“I can’t leave you!”
“Angel, you said it yourself: I’ve got more weapons than anyone. This is my job, my part in the story.”
“I can’t -”
“GO!” Bandit said.
Angel hesitated for a moment, then quickly hugged Bandit from behind.
Bandit tensed in Angel’s grasp. “Whoa whoa whoa. No chick-flick moments.”
With that, Angel released her and dashed off, leaving the flash point of the battle behind.
“It’s just you and me, buddy,” Bandit said as she fired her crossbow one last time. Her final bolt lodged itself in 404 Error’s chest, but apparently it wasn’t going to do enough damage. The monster hunkered down, staring at her as steam began rising from its nostrils. The moment Bandit realized what was happening she mumbled, “Ah, shit,” and dove behind a nearby vehicle just as the dragon opened its mouth and doused the street in flames. Bandit flattened herself against the ground to avoid them, and when the air cleared she quickly strapped her crossbow back into place and prepped her second weapon. She wasn’t sure how effective a shotgun could really be in this situation, but she knew that she had to try.
Unfortunately, before she had a chance to check and see if her shotgun was even loaded, 404 Error rained fire on her again. Had it not been for the glittery white powder that suddenly filled the air, seemingly neutralizing the flames, Bandit would have bit it right then and there. She didn’t know where the stuff had come from, but she was grateful for its presence – and 404 Error seemed equally surprised and confused by the sudden appearance of the powder. They both scanned the area looking for its source, but thankfully Bandit spotted it first. Undie had set herself up in the highest window of a nearby building, and when she realized that Bandit saw her she gave her a thumbs up.
Looking down at her shotgun, Bandit wondered if it was loaded with a similar type of ammo. She aimed at the snarling monster and fired. This time her aim was impeccable, and the projectile disappeared into the creature’s mouth…and then exploded, engulfing 404 Error’s head in the same glittering white powder and causing the beast to choke.
But Bandit’s celebration was short lived. 404 Error shook its head violently, and the cloud of powder dissipated as the dragon stepped toward her again, snarling.
“Ah, shit,” she repeated.
At Bandit’s insistence, Angel had run up the street, but she didn’t like her writers putting themselves in such danger and she felt bad for leaving Bandit behind…until suddenly a Jeep screeched to a halt beside her. “Get in!” Tara shouted.
Angel finally obeyed, and as she climbed into the passenger seat Tara handed her the poison-soaked dagger.
“What do you want me to do with this?”
“When we get close enough, stab him wherever you can and just and leave it where it lands. The poison will absorb into his bloodstream and take him down.”
“Brilliant! I – argghhh!” Angel suddenly clutched at her head.
“What the hell? What’s wrong?”
“Bandit. She’s in pain. I can feel it…”
Tara spun the steering wheel, hard. Angel was forced to grab hold of the door frame as the Jeep screeched around to face the beast. Bandit was pinned beneath its clawed foot as it snarled down at her, glitter-tinged drool dripping down onto the pavement around her.
“You’re going to have to get over that. We need to act now – she’s depending on us.”
Angel nodded, clenching her jaw against the pain and tightening her grip on the poison dagger. As Tara mashed down on the accelerator and the Jeep raced toward 404 Error, Angel braced herself and leaned out the side of the Jeep. Tara aimed the Jeep directly between the dragon’s legs; blade in hand, Angel waited for the opportunity to strike. As they passed by the leg that was holding Bandit down, she took a chance and shoved the blade up into the slightly softer flesh on the inside of its thigh. The beast immediately lifted its foot off Bandit, roaring in frustration and pain.
As soon as Angel saw Bandit scurry to safety, she turned to Tara. “I think can feel all of you in my head. Back there, it was like I knew exactly when you wanted me to stab that thing.”
“Is everyone okay?”
Angel closed her eyes in concentration and reached out. ‘What do ya hear, Starbuck?’
On her nearby roof, Emily smiled. “Nothing but the rain,” she replied, laughing.
Jessica gave Emily a concerned look. “What’s going on?”
Before Emily could reply, Angel continued, ‘What do your Pirate Ship Captain eyes see?’
Emily moved to the edge of the building and peered down at the 404 Error. The beast was desperately trying to dislodge the blade from the inside of its leg, but as it moved, Emily noticed the glint of the sun hitting a strange metallic object on the back of its neck.
“Jessica, look. Do you see that thing on the dragon’s neck?”
The other girl squinted. “Yeah, I think so. But…what’s going on?”
Emily made a vague gesture at her temple. “Angel’s in my head.”
“Oh, okay,” Jessica shrugged. After all that had happened that day, it was easy to accept this news about psychic powers.
Emily was trying to get a better look at 404 Error, but it was moving too frantically for her to see exactly what the metal thing was.
And then it was once again surrounded by a cloud of sparkly powder.
“I really do like that glitter,” Emily said as the dragon was momentarily stunned and she was finally able to get the good look she needed. “It’s a socket! It has a socket on the back of its neck!”
Back down in the Jeep, Angel turned to Tara. “It’s got a socket in the back of its neck!”
Tara quickly pulled over on the side of the road. “Maybe we should short circuit it somehow.”
“Someone would have to get up there to jam something into it.”
Tara snorted. “Seriously, can we bring back ‘phrasing’?”
“Huh?” Angel asked, confused.
Tara waved her off. “Never mind. What do you think we should use?”
“I don’t know. Hold on.” Angel turned inward again. ‘Emily, is there anything up there that you can use to short-circuit that socket?’
“Uh…there’s some junk up here. I suppose I could try to construct something…”
“Right, boss. I’m on it.”
Angel paused for a moment to gather herself, then reached out again. ‘Erin?’
“Whoa,” Erin said, shocked at the sudden presence in her head.
‘Yeah, apparently I’m psychic,’ Angel quickly explained. ‘Anyway…do you see Emily and Jessica up on that rooftop?’
Erin’s wings beat the air as she flew higher to scan the rooftops, finally spotting the pair on a building not far above where 404 Error was writhing in the street. “Yeah, I see them.”
‘Go to them. They’re going to need you.’
“Got it. Headed there now.” Erin flew over and alighted next to Emily and Jessica.
Next Angel reached out to two minds at once. ‘Bandit, Undie.’ She sensed their surprise at the sudden presence inside their heads, but Angel forged on. ‘We need you to distract that thing while we figure out a plan. Can you keep shooting that glitter stuff at him?’
“Can do!” Undie replied, reloading her rifle.
“Hell yeah,” Bandit said, taking up a position behind a truck across the street from Undie.
Tara was watching Angel. “What now?”
“Now we have to take that thing down so that they can get to that socket and short circuit him.”
“Maybe there’s something here we can use,” Tara turned to rummage through the back of the Jeep, but when she pulled back the blanket that was covering its contents she jerked back in shock.
Jeff Goldblum was laying under the blanket, moaning in pain over his mangled leg.
“Ian Malcolm?!” Tara gasped.
Angel shook her head. “I think he’s a Jeff Goldblum meme.”
“I don’t know. I hope it’s not the gross one.”
Just then 404 Error roared again, reminding them that they had much bigger priorities than trying to decipher which meme they’d just stumbled upon in the back of the Jeep. Tara grabbed up the stack of rope that was sitting next to the injured Goldblum. She stared at it for a moment, and then it clicked. “I’ve got an idea!” She grabbed one end of the rope and hopped out of the Jeep..
Angel and the Jeff Goldblum meme watched Tara dart over to a truck that was parked next to a lamp post on the street corner. She climbed into the bed and used it as a platform to knot the rope around the post about eight feet off the ground, then ran back to the Jeep. She slid back into the driver’s seat and pulled the vehicle up next to the nearest lamp post. They were now in 404 Error’s line of sight, but it appeared that Undie and Bandit were doing a fair job of keeping it at bay with their shots of glittering powder. Every time the beast moved toward one of them, the other would fire at it, and 404 Error would turn back to whoever was shooting. He was left pacing back and forth between them, and never had time to attack one or the other.
Tara climbed on top of the Jeep and tied the other end of the rope to the second post.
“So…what is this plan, exactly?” Angel asked.
“We’re going to trip him.”
“Well…those glitter bombs seem to catch his attention.”
Angel nodded. “That’s a start.” She reached out to Emily again. ‘How are things going up there?’
“Almost finished,” Emily replied as she bent some wires together to make them easier to jam into the socket. “Maybe one more minute, max.”
‘Okay. Let me know as soon as you’re done. Erin?’
Erin shook her head, still not completely used to hearing Angel’s voice inside of it. “Yeah?”
‘We’re going to lure this thing into a trap and trip it up – literally. We need you to take whatever Emily is making and fly it over to take him out. Can you do that?’
“I’ll do my best.”
‘You’ll do just fine,’ Angel reassured her.
“They about ready?” Tara asked.
“Yeah. You know what we have to do?”
Tara grinned. “I’ve got the gist of it. Say the word, and we’re off.”
Several moments passed, and then Angel’s face suddenly screwed up in concentration again. “Okay,” she finally announced. “They’re ready.”
“Good. I was getting a bit antsy there.” Tara put the Jeep in gear and turned to face 404 Error. She and Angel shared a Look, and then Tara floored it.
They raced toward the monster. All too soon it realized what was happening and seemed to brace itself for an impact, but at the last moment Tara whipped the Jeep around. It rocked on its wheels, but soon enough they found purchase. Rubber burned against blacktop, and then the Jeep was moving away from 404 Error – but the dragon was already in pursuit, and they’d lost precious ground in the time it had taken them to turn the vehicle. Tara’s knuckles were white as she gripped the steering wheel, and Angel kept looking over her shoulder.
“Gods, I wish I had my GTI,” Tara mumbled.
“This damn Jeep has no pickup! Shit, I hope we can make it…”
“We’ll make it,” Angel promised.
In the back of the Jeep, Jeff Goldblum raised himself up on his elbows. “Must…go…faster…”
Angel rolled her eyes. “Ugh, he’s that meme.”
“Whatever, I’m just psyched to have Ian Goldblum in the back of this thing,” Tara shrugged.
“Don’t you mean Jeff Gold-”
“Okay, okay! Just keep us ahead of this thing!”
Tara nodded, jaw clenched, and finally they were driving under the rope. The Jeep just barely fit under it, and though Angel turned to watch what happened next, Tara stayed focused on the road ahead, refusing to stop until she knew the dragon had fallen. Sure enough, 404 Error barreled into the rope at full speed – and though the beast’s weight ripped the lamp posts from the ground, they and the rope were soon tangled around its legs.
The dragon fell forward, the ground beneath it shuddering with the impact. Tara finally slammed on the brakes, and she, Angel, and the Jeff Goldblum meme turned to watch Erin do her part.
For a moment nothing happened, and then suddenly a blue and gray blur that could only be Erin shot down from the top of a distant building.
There had been a moment of panic when the handoff didn’t go as smoothly as planned, but the moment Erin had the short circuit device in her hand she propelled herself off the roof, aiming directly for the socket on 404 Error’s neck. Emily and Jessica watched with anticipation; Undie and Bandit ceased fire for the moment but remained at the ready as Erin dove in to finish the job.
But just as she was about to land on its back, the dragon made its first attempt to lumber to its feet. Erin was forced to retreat a bit, and for a second she hovered in the air above 404 Error, clearly unsure about what to do. “Quick, before he moves again!” Angel shouted. The beast heard her call out and it swiveled its head around, fixing its malevolent gaze on the Jeep…and in that moment Erin made her move, jamming the device that Emily and Jessica had created into the back of 404 Error’s neck.
404 Error reared back, slamming into Erin and sending her wheeling. Bandit was right in the beast’s path, but she made sure to dive toward Erin, catching her and setting her to rights in one smooth move.
“Get out of there!” they both heard Angel scream inside their heads – and not a moment too soon. 404 Error was short-circuiting, all right. Sparks were flying from the socket, his eyes, and his snout. Erin wrapped her arms around Bandit and somehow found the strength to fly them both away from the giant beast as it flailed violently and then fell motionless against the concrete.
The next minute or two crawled by as everyone remained in place, worried that the dragon would come back to life and continue wreaking havoc on Internet City. Finally Tara put the Jeep in gear and drove it to within half a block of the fallen monster. She and Angel stepped out to examine the body, and soon the rest of the Geekiary Girls cautiously emerged from their attack positions.
Angel gently poked the beast’s nose with her index finger and then jumped back, afraid that he might move again. When nothing happened, she tried poking him again, and then again. Upon poking his snout the third time, she reached a solid conclusion. She turned to the rest of the Girls, who were standing expectantly, looking somewhat disheveled form the battle but still gripping their weapons in case they needed to have another go at the dragon.
“We did it,” Angel murmured. She took a deep breath and then announced in a much louder voice, “We won. 404 Error has been defeated.”
One by one the Girls let this news sink in. Emily and Jessica hugged each other while Bandit immediately pulled a flask of whiskey from her belt and took a long drink from it. Erin, wings beating with excitement, hovered several feet off the ground and pumped her fist with victory. Undie and Tara approached Angel as if to pat her on the shoulders, but they were both so exhausted that they ended up leaning against her instead. The Jeff Goldblum meme moaned one final time before evaporating into thin air, his work at this particular moment apparently complete.
404 Error had been defeated.
The main floor of Geekiary headquarters was mostly business as usual, but the team members couldn’t help but glance at the TV when the newscaster said, “404 Error was brought down by the Geekiary Girls. The small website in the ‘By Fans, For Fans’ sector managed to take down the beast with a combination of engineering, memes, and glitter.
“Meanwhile, the Backlot, The Mary Sue, and the Daily Dot are rebuilding, no doubt on their way to once again being pillars of progressive Internet geek websites. Internet City has survived – damaged, perhaps, and in need of a reboot in some sectors – but it has survived.”
Author: Angel Wilson
Angel is the admin of The Geekiary and a geek culture commentator. She earned a BA in Film & Digital Media from UC Santa Cruz. She’s contributed to various podcasts and webcasts including An Englishman in San Diego, Free to Be Radio, and Genre TV for All. She’s written for Friends of Comic Con and is a 2019 Hugo Award winner for contributing fanfic on AO3. She identifies as queer.
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