By Seldes Katne
By Seldes Katne
Seldes Katne printed the last of her agenda items on the list and scanned the room full of Ultimate Central authors. Beside her, Ice jotted notes to himself for his next chapter of Essential X-Men; on the other side, Project X2 turned a page in the latest Fables trade.
“Six months of trying to get everyone’s schedules to match up, and we finally managed it,” Seldes said.
“Go us,” Project X2 remarked.
“I just think it’s a good idea to get as many people’s inputs as we possibly can on some of these issues,” Seldes told him. “None of us are as smart as all of us together. Besides, it’s not just my forum, it’s theirs too, and they should be actively involved.”
“Uh, huh,” Project X2 responded. Seldes frowned at him. “Look, I’m not arguing, okay?”
“A little more enthusiasm, please.”
“Whoohoo,this-is-going-to-be-the-best-thing-ever-and-I-can’t-wait,” Project X2 said in a rush. “Better?”
Seldes peered at him over her glasses.
“Maybe we should just get the meeting started,” Ice suggested, putting his pen down.
“Good idea.” Seldes stood up and began, “Gentlemen, if I could have your attention, please—” The conversations continued. “Excuse me, but we need to get started,” she tried again in a louder voice.
Victor Von Doom suddenly sprang to his feet and bellowed,
“HEY! EVERYBODY SHUT UP AND PAY ATTENTION! SELDES IS TRYING TO GET THE MEETING STARTED AND WE DON’T HAVE ALL DAY!”
Silence. All eyes in the room were focused on Victor and most were as big as teacup saucers.
“Um, yes. Thank you, Victor,” Seldes said mildly into the silence.
“Don’t mention it, bra—I mean, ma’am.” Victor sat down. A moment later, several authors cautiously crept out from under tables. Seldes cleared her throat.
“First of all, I want to thank everyone for coming – we’ve got a respectable crowd, and I’m hoping we’ll generate a lot of good ideas for our discussion.”
“I’m not sure I’d use the word ‘respectable’ with this bunch….” Project X2 muttered.
Seldes coughed discreetly. “Let me just run through the list of fanfic-related topics for today. I’ll try to be brief.” There was a round of laughter at this. Seldes smiled dryly. “Yes, I know, not a characteristic for which I’m famous. But we’re NOT talking about Thor, so it shouldn’t be a problem to edit my comments for length.” Several people snickered.
“Okay. First, we have several authors who have listed new stories that will be posted in the next couple of—” She broke off as Hbiki, Caduceus, sjmole and Thee Great One entered the room.
“Sorry we’re late,” Hibiki said as the four walked to empty seats at various tables. “We were just finishing up our appearances in sjmole’s UC: Wrestling fic.”
“Right. Okay, well, we’ve just started….”
ComicLvr127 leaned forward and tapped Ultimate Houde on the shoulder. “Speaking of Ultimate Central fics, aren’t I supposed to be making an appearance in Law and Order: UC?”
“No,” Ultimate Houde replied, attention focused on the Scientific America magazine he’d brought.
“Yes.” Ultimate Houde turned the page. “I finished writing that series weeks ago. You were supposed to show up for it back in July.”
“Didn’t you get the PM?”
“Well, my Inbox was kinda full back then, so….”
Ultimate Houde looked up from the magazine, rolled his eyes, and went back to reading. Then he did a double take and looked back over his shoulder. “Wait a minute. Who are you, anyway? Have I ever seen you before?”
“If we could please keep this meeting moving....” Seldes named off the authors with new fics, with most of the room’s inhabitants clapping in congratulations.
“Next, I just want to mention authors who have finished fics—” She stopped and glanced up as Victor Von Doom rose and started edging toward the door.
“I, uh, have to go,” VVD said. “I’m supposed to be appearing in Ultimate Houde’s UC: Stuck series.” Several other members looked at their watches and jumped.
“Oh, hey, me too!”
“Whoa! How’d it get this late?”
“Jeez! Gotta go!” There was a small stampede out the door. Ultimate Houde closed up his magazine.
“Sorry. I tried to schedule it for later, but this was the only time I could get everyone together for the same scene. I’ll try to make it fast.”
ComicLvr127 asked, “Am I supposed to be in this one?”
“No!” snapped Ultimate Houde. He stabbed a finger at ComicLvr127. “Sit! Stay!” Then he strode out the door after the other authors.
Seldes sighed. “All right. In the meantime, I promised a couple of authors that we’d talk about ideas for increasing the number of people reviewing fics—”
TheManWithoutFear poked his head into the room. “Hey, Seldes, sorry to interrupt, but Compound is waiting for Hibiki so they can get the next segment of The Board: UC written up.”
“I’m starting to think we should just put a revolving door on the Fanfic forum and call it a day,” Seldes remarked after Hibiki had excused herself and left. “People say they want to improve things—”
The Forum intercom suddenly blared and everyone jumped. “Squaaarrrkkk!”
“I thought E was going to fix that,” Project X2 said.
“He is. Right after he gets the chatroom back up, the calendar revamped, and the site name change registered,” Ice told him.
“Would you repeat that, please?” Seldes asked the intercom.
Three bursts of static answered her. Finally, the intercom said, “Sorry. This is Random. Is Sacred and Profane there? I wanted to remind him that I need his voice recording for the UC: Flash Cartoon.”
“Sorry, Random, but unless he’s cleverly disguised as a chair, table, or other piece of furniture, he’s not here,” Seldes said. “This is a meeting just for the Ultimate Central authors.”
“Oh, okay. If you see him, could you....?”
“We’ll let him know you’re looking for him, Random,” Seldes assured him.
Ice scribbled himself a note. “I’ll remind him if he shows up on MSN tonight.”
“Great! Thanks!” The intercom clicked as Random signed off.
Seldes shook her head. “This Ultimate Central fic stuff is on the verge of becoming a raging pandemic.”
“Well, it is really popular right now,” Project X2 remarked. “But you know, a lot of us are still trying to write original stuff and non-UC fanfics.”
“True. And doing pretty well at it, too,” Seldes admitted. “I suppose it’ll run its course eventually. “Now, where were we....”
Someone tapped on the door; a moment later E entered the room. “Sorry, just passing through. Don’t mind me. I need to check the moderators’—” He glanced at the members in the room, then at the mods “—er, broom closet and, um, do some cleaning.”
Seldes nodded and turned her attention back to her notes. “Right. Okay.” Then she stiffened. “Oh, wait, E? You might not—”
A deluge of words and pictures cascaded out of the closet door and all over E and the six feet of floor around him. E disappeared under the flood.
“—want to do that,” Seldes finished.
The closest authors jumped up and helped dig E out. E climbed to his feet, staring at the mess. “What is all this junk?”
“Well, this is where you told me to put all those posts no one was going to use any more,” Seldes reminded him. “And that you were going to, um, clean up later?”
“Right, but.... I didn’t realize there was this much to throw out.”
ProjectX2 studied the words and pictures littering the floor. “Aren’t these Gamma Man’s proposed fics?”
“They do make up a lot of this, yes,” Seldes said. Then, ticking them off on her fingers, she added, “UC: Pets, UC: Addams Family, UC: Gangs of the Street, UC: The Rebooted Fanfic.... Oh, and I think Compound’s UC Christmas Carol is floating around in there somewhere, too.”
“All of them Ultimate Central-based fanfics?” E asked.
“There seems to be a lot of that cropping up on site lately,” Seldes commented.
Ultimate Houde poked his head into the room. “Proj, any chance you and I could get together to talk about our UC: Team-Up arc?”
Ice and Seldes both started at Project X2. “Um, yeah, I guess I did kind of promise I’d do that,” Project X2 admitted.
“Is there anyone on the Fanfic and Art Board who isn’t writing a UC-centric fic?” Seldes asked in exasperation. Suddenly everyone in the room began studying the ceiling; a chorus of “innocent” whistling broke out. Ice and Seldes glanced at each other. Ice’s ears reddened.
“I started one, but I decided not to finish it,” Ice said. “That doesn’t count, right?”
Dedicated (with affection) to the authors of Ultimate Central, who certainly do keep life interesting.... :wink:
And thanks go to Ice and ProjectX2 for the helpful suggestions that added to this fic.