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Mean Girls (IC)


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Daisy "Student Body" Gibbons had been spreading nasty rumors about Alex Albright recently. She had tried to manipulate Mike Harris into beating the stuffing out of one of his best friends. This did not sit well with Zoe. Not. At. All.

It was time that Daisy learned that Young Freedom was off-limits.

It's like that old movie Uncle Mark showed me when he babysat - "If they send one of yours to the hospital, then you send one of theirs to the morgue." Nobody messes with my family, Daisy. You crossed the farking line, and now you will pay. And you will learn.

She left a message on James' voicemail. "Hey, Jay, this is Z. Got something I need to collab with you on. Hit me back when you can. Late."

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James picked up his phone and glanced at the message with a raised eyebrow. Not someone he expected to call given her connection with Eddie or Mike or Alex. He hadn't exactly spent a lot of time with her outside of Eddie's band but she seemed ok. She was certainly included in the whole Freedom group thing it seemed. He hit the callback button as he locked his car and headed towards the restaurant.

"Zoe? Hey, James here. What can I do for you?"

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"Hey James. I was wondering if you could give me the word on the Britney Spears wanna-be, Daisy Gibbons. You seem like people who know people. I'm putting together a little tutoring session for her, on why messing with my peeps is the biggest mistake she ever made in her life. You know anything I can use?"

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James chuckled. "Funny you should mention that. I've sort of started on something along those lines myself since I heard what went down. I'm over at the Beacon Diner about to order breakfast if you want to compare notes. Or I'll just send you what I've gotten so far when I've got a few moments." Given her speed, he could have said he was in New York or something and she'd still probably be there before he sat in a booth. "Up to you though. Either way, definitely going forward with it. I feel the same way about Alex and Mike. My friends are not to be touched," he said seriously.

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Zoe's face cracked into a truly fiendish grin. "I was about to offer you what the courts call 'plausible deniability,' but I'm glad we're on the same page. I'll be over there in a minute."

Of course, "a minute" was more like "3 seconds," but when you live your life between the ticks of a second, everything is relative. Zoe appeared seated in the booth across from James as soon as the waitress had her back turned. She nearly jumped out of her skin when Zoe said "Could I get a toasted bagel with cream cheese and a mocha with an extra shot? Separate cheques are fine."

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James chuckled at Zoe's sudden arrival. "Mornin Z." He ordered the chef's special with the homemade home-fries. The excellent food was why he was here after all. He waited for the waitress to wander off before turning back to Zoe. "So, guess you took serious offense to Barbie's slander and machinations against your twin, Mark and Mike? And don't mind courting some trouble by responding?" He certainly intended to. He doubted most of the others they knew would get seriously involved, and keep it quiet/smooth too. They were good people after all. James wasn't a bad guy. He wasn't evil. He just wasn't that good. And he intended to make use of that distinction often, especially in this instance.

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"Yeah, I 'took offense.' You could say that. I know I'm still a stranger to you, but you guys are like family to me. And anybody who messes with my family will be made to suffer. I wanna make an example out of this twit. I wanna give her the worst day of her entire life. I'm talking one-woman campaign of terror here. Well, two-person, if you're on-board. I brainstormed some ideas last night on how we can break her spirit. And some of them could use a little financial backing."

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He gave Zoe a look. The fact that she was hiding something was a given and he was trying to keep his recently discovered power from pushing. He didn't want to know what was going on. But he wasn't exactly great at controlling the new power. Pushing it aside, he tried to focus on Zoe's words and the situation at hand.

"I can fund it sure. But let me hear what you've got. I wasn't thinking terror campaign. I was going more for destroying her. Take away her support, things she craves, thing she feels are tried and true until her world has crashed down around her. All without her knowing how it happened. Then maybe asking her to apologize," he said with a grin. "Might take a little longer, but would be rather satisfying."

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"I, uh, wasn't thinking quite so long-term." Zoe cleared her throat.

"Here's what I've got so far:

  • [*:3onky55k]Replace every article of clothing she owns with the exact same item, just one size smaller. Make her think she's getting FAT OMG NOEZ!!!111 (Yes, Zoe actually sounds out that entire sentence.) "That's kind of a long-term one."
    [*:3onky55k]Replace her shampoo with Nair at the last second. Or just chop up her ridiculously-priced hairstyle while she's asleep.
    [*:3onky55k]Take a hacksaw to every heeled shoe she owns.
    [*:3onky55k]Use my PDA to upload a keylogger to her computer. Grab her passwords, then change them and lock her out. Change her social networking profiles and email signatures in really awful ways. Email love notes to the ugliest and nerdiest guys (and girls) on campus.
    [*:3onky55k]Use photo-editing software to create some embarrassing and/or compromising pictures of her, then distribute them publicly. Maybe upload them to her profiles.
    [*:3onky55k]Get her credit card numbers and Social Security number, then call her credit providers and report the cards stolen.
    [*:3onky55k]Get ahold of her diary (if she has one), scan the pages, and distribute it among the student body, either in print or over the OpNet - I mean, the Web.
    [*:3onky55k]Break into her locker and rig a dye-bomb, like banks use.
    [*:3onky55k]At lunch, replace everything she tries to eat or drink with something really disgusting at the last minute. Toilet water is not out of the question here.
    [*:3onky55k]Call her mom and pretend to be from a free clinic. Tell her 'we have her test results.'

Whatta ya think? Too much? Too little? I was thinking a blitz attack over a period of 24 hours or less."

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James gave a wry grin. Considering the speed Zoe lived her life, it made total sense. "Those are direct. And while I've got no problems getting in trouble, I do prefer to avoid getting caught. Some of those are pretty much guaranteed that you will be caught. Given the various powers that can be brought to bear, not to mention the mad-on Principals Summers is going to have, I'd go with something longer term and better planned." He grinned. "Most would still work on the longer term. Maybe a month or two to come to fruition. 3 on the outside to complete destroy her."

"I was thinking of actually making her fat. Little change to her favorite foods without her knowing, and presto. Simply need to figure out where she gets them. After that it's easy. Favorite one-of-a-kind things? Arrange to have more than one. Her cronies? Knock them down too. Pull their support out from under them. Turn them against each other. I admit, it'd take significantly longer than you ideas but a 24 hour hell day seems so...short for real suffering in my opinion. Physical things can be replaced easily enough if you can afford it. Emotional stability, confidence, belief? Oh, that's so much harder to rebuild." He gave himself a mental shake. Really shouldn't be getting such a good feeling when contemplating destroying someone...

"Or we could try some combination of both."

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  • 2 months later...

"Hmmm." Zöe cupped her hand around her chin in thought for a moment, then looked back up at James. "Maybe the combo thing is the right approach. I blitz her, you work the slow game. I hurt her, you destroy her. How d'you wanna divide up the list?"

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He nodded, thoughtful. "Well, we need to get the information for the long game before we start the blitz. We wouldn't want her to be ready for it. Perhaps a day so we can get things like her card numbers and passwords. Would also let me have a computer guy I know play with some photoshop stuff for her. Let's say we start the blitz tomorrw. The key with the blitz, to make it work well, is to make her think they're not targeted. Just things going wrong. Lots of them. Locker combos don't work. Passwords are different. Credit cards are lost/cancelled/stolen. Her wash ruins her clothing. Her cell phone now receives all sorts of wrong numbers for horrible things, we'll sign her up for some kind of freaky personal adds that would skeeve her out. Stuff like that."

"If you think you can get some pictures of her, or any of the other info today, without her noticing of course, that'd be great. I could do it, just would take me a while. I'll make some calls and get the ball rolling on some of this. I'll start hanging and socializing with her friends and crew too. Get in place for the gossip machine and all that as well as gathering information on them. How's that sound?"

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  • 6 months later...

"Sounds razor. I'll start gathering intel today, and I'll start the blitz during 'bathroom breaks' tomorrow." James blinked, and Zoe's bagel was gone. Another blink, and her coffee mug lay empty. "Hey, thanks a million for helping out with this. My mo-sis is lucky to have you as a friend. And I'm glad there's at least one other person on her side who isn't afraid to get his hands dirty."

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James smiled knowingly. Of all the Claremont group, he was probably one of the darkest in his outlooks. Of course, he was on multiple teams and had a job where playing 'nice' just wasn't on the agenda. Harsh realities and all that. "My pleasure. She's kinda like family. No one messes with my friends. And believe me, no one can play as dirty as I. I've got a great background for this," he said with a wry grin. "Look me up or give me a call later on and we'll see what we've got to play with." He stood up, already digging for his phone. Time to get to work destroying someone.

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Zoe smiled, grabbed the table, pushed herself halfway up over it, kissed James on the cheek, and then ran off, sending napkins and single-serving sugar packets flying in her wake. By the time she'd made it halfway to the door, she was running too fast to be seen by the naked eye. The other restaurant patrons could only hear the machinegun-tapping of her feet upon the carpet and the *WOOSH* of air blowing past them.

She set foot in the Claremont girls dorm before any of the stray napkins had touched the ground. She mentally hummed the theme music from Mission Impossible as she zipped over to Daisy Gibbons' room. As it was Sunday, Daisy was nowhere to be found. Probably out having "brunch" with her minions, or whatever GQ cover model she's picked for arm-candy this month. She spied Daisy's laptop sitting on her desk. That's a bingo.

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Chuckling, he dropped some bills on the table to cover both their bills along with a healthy tip. Turning he headed out the door. This was a welcome distraction from his activities of late...

And James' activities took a little more time than Zoe's. Whether he called in some favors, lied and talk his way past obstacles or just bought the information he needed, he was going full out. He dug into her past, getting her credit information, favorite stores, what clothes and product she favored, every little scrap of information. He probably shouldn't relish hammering the girl into the dirt, socially-speaking, but she did mess with his friends. And he didn't have that many of those. He had to admit though, this appealed to one side of him... He tried not to think about it as he compiled his information. Daisey might be rather skilled at manipulation but James was a master (whether he like it or not) thanks to his heritage.

Once he had it all, it was child's play to change a few things. A little bribery here, some smooth talking there and all sorts of things became possible. Changing the shampoo out for a far more entertaining, yet looking rather similar at first glance, chemical. (He really needed to thank his contacts for that one!) Getting her personal information and credit card numbers was easy. He'd have those all canceled as soon as they put everything into motion. Adding a few dozen unpaid fines to her name had actually been kind of fun too. Public indecency, disorderly conduct, public drunkenness, minor drug possession were just a few of the fun misdemeanors that he had tagged on to her public file. Sure, they'd come off pretty quick once someone really looked into it. But not after a fun arrest and hopefully awkward strip search to help crush the bitch. There was more of course...but it was a wonderful start.

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Zoe dropped down behind Daisy's bed, using it to shield herself from the door in case anyone walked in, and pulled her ArcheTech PDA out from its belt holster. She slid the keyboard-cloth free and tapped a button, bringing the holographic monitor to life. Another few keystrokes activated the wireless link between her it and the hard drive on Daisy's laptop. OK, we're in business. Furiously tapping her fingers upon the cloth at about a million keystrokes a second, Zoe went to work. She copied the entire contents of Daisy's hard drive to her own. Heh. Stupid whore doesn't even log out of her email or Facebook after she's done. Let's get those passwords...Likes her online shopping. Keylogger'll get her SS and those credit card numbers...Hook up a remote desktop link on J's server...install the keylogger...and done!

After she finished combing through the computer, she replaced the PDA in its holster and took her sunglasses out of her pocket. She then detached the tiny sensor patches from the main PDA, sticking two to the inside edge of the lenses and two more to the insides of her spiked leather bracelets. Pressing another button, she activated the remote 3-D interface. A translucent heads-up display appeared before her, visible only to her. She tapped, pressed, and dragged on points of empty air before her, and the display responded accordingly. Activating high-res video mode...there. Now I can just scope this all out and sift through it later. She rummaged through Daisy's closet, desk, and dresser drawers, recording everything she saw. Just like Uncle Chris used to tell us - Everything's relevant until it isn't.

Satisfied, she tip-toed over to the door, slowly turned the knob all the way open, lifted up on it, dragged it open quietly, pulled it shut gently behind her, and then bolted down the hall and out into the city.

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James sat back and lounged in his penthouse apartment, his comm (his NEW one) active. "Thanks 'Seph. Let me know what you can extrapolate about the data. I'll probably be up later tonight." He'd been up there almost constantly lately, when he wasn't out working, getting to know the ship and Persephone. He was planning...

He hadn't told anyone yet just what he was planning. He was still trying to make sure it was viable. He probably should be up there still, but this thing with Zoe and Daisy kind of needed to get done. Partly to teach Daisy a lesson and maybe get a little revenge. But another was Zoe. His glimpse inside the depths of her soul had been brief but laden with meaning. He shook his head. He'd have to talk with her at some point. When I'm not so freaking busy, he thought with a sigh, letting his senses stay alert for that tell-tale feeling.

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The next morning, James found an unmarked DVD sitting in his locker. When he finally popped it into a computer, he found a series of folders containing various image files, each one showing what appeared to be a still from some kind of high-resolution video camera. Some were scans of hand-written diary entries (including one that described an incident last summer when Daisy committed an "indiscretion" with Sandi's boyfriend at the time). Others were close-up pictures of the labels on Daisy's clothing - clearly a "shopping list" of sorts. There was also a text document, containing a list of email, online shopping, and social networking account usernames and passwords, along with a list of credit card numbers.

When James accessed his private data server, he found a real-time feed transmitting and recording every single keystroke from Daisy's laptop, along with a copy of every document on her hard drive.

Zoe proceeded with her usual weekday routine, bouncing back and forth between the classrooms, the dining hall, and the library, taking notes, washing dishes, and stocking bookshelves in the spaces between seconds. Gotta give Old Man Summers mad props for the "flexible schedule." In the middle of her second period, having already completed the assigned reading, she excused herself "To hit the bathroom" and, moving fast enough to evade both the human eye and the space-time continuum, took off running back to Daisy Gibbons's room.

As soon as he stepped into the hallway outside his 4th-period classroom for lunch, James noticed Zoe appear next to him, attempting to match his long strides with her own. "Phase One's in place. You get the care package I left you?"

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The year was almost over. Classes were past the caring about work stage. Not that it mattered to James. He was probably supposed to be in class right now for all he new or cared. He had more important things to deal with. Navigatrix and he had been having some semi-regular talks when James had a spare moment or two over the last few day. And what he learned helped him resolve his future course of action.

Being around teleporters, super speedsters, or anything that just materialized out of thin air was great for one's reflexes. Sure, it might make you a bit paranoid, but boy did you learn right quick which things were safe and which weren't. So when Zoe rushed up with a tailwind following her, he just grinned down at her. He didn't bother slowly his pace considering this was probably still too slow for Zoe. "Indeed I did. I've got a friend, a kind of behavioral specialist, going over it and ever scrap of data you had combined with everything I could gather. Figure we can probably shift into the striking mode as early as tomorrow. Won't be a lot of long term stuff of course but it's not like I've got the time left here for that anyway," he said, acutely aware he hadn't been around much. Not that he missed the classes and school itself; more that he missed Erin and the others. Everything had changed so fast... He gave himself a mental shake and focused on the moment. "I'm planning on going over it later today after I wrap up a few things see if there is anything else I can add."

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Daisy Gibbons, to say the least, did not have a good day. The combination on her locker didn't work no matter how many times she tried it, and finaly the custodians had to come in with an electric saw to chop the lock off so she could get to her books. Her phone kept buzzing off the hook all day with texts and emails from a bunch of sleazy guys she'd swore she'd never never met in her life. She'd almost broken her ankle when the heel broke on not one, but two different shoes throughout the day. Not one to actually sink to doing her own laundry, she paid for weekly "fluff-&-fold" service from a local dry cleaner. But this week's load was returned to her totally ruined, and not only did they refuse to pay for the clothes, they actually tried to bill her. They claimed that she'd left a couple of pens, items of food, and various other foreign objects in the pockets, and they'd lost money on the cost of cleaning and repairing the machines. Daddy had managed to "negotiate" with them, but only so far as waiving the repair bill and getting her a refund for that week, which totally wasn't anywhere near enough to replace all the awesome clothes they'd ruined! And when she went to try on the clothes she had left, nothing fit her right! Everything was just a little too tight! She couldn't be getting fat. She'd been so careful lately! Then, when she went to go shopping after school to fill some of the new holes in her closet, the cashier took her credit card because someone had reported it stolen! He took a pair of scissors and chopped it in half right there in front of Candi and Sandi! Daisy could have died of embarrassment right there.

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James sat back in his apartment, staring out the window with drink in hand. He'd put the last of his own plans in motion, Phase Two as Zoe called it, for screwing Daisy over today. Sure there was more he could do but it would actually require him to invest some significant time and effort which he just didn't have. This had been a great distraction from...everything really. And he did really enjoy hammering her into the ground for messing with them. But now that things were wrapping up... He sighed, not quite ready to get back to work.

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James's reverie was interrupted by a knock on the door from Zoe. "Hey" she blurted out as she rushed past him the moment he opened the door. "So far, so good. Daisy Gibbons just had a very bad day." She vanished for a moment, reappearing sprawled out on the living-room couch. "Which is great, and all, but I dont' really feel like it's enough. I mean, the clothes, the Craigslist personal ads, the credit card - all we've done so far is inconvenience her. Maybe make her feel a little more insecure. But I want her to suffer. And I dunno how I feel about this whole 'accident' angle anymore. I mean, what's the point of revenge if the skank you're getting it on doesn't know who or why?"

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James looked up at the knocking. Not too many people had permission to get up here so odds were good that it had to be someone he liked. He flashed a grin at Zoe, "Hey yourself. C'mon..." there was a flutter of air, "in. Help yourself. The fridge is stocked," he said to the empty air as he closed the door and turned for the couch. He might not know Zoe all that well but enough to know some of her habits and such. After all, he had inside information.

James shrugged as he plopped back down on the couch. "I never was interested in letting her know who. Or why. Just that she suffered. And we've done a bit more than a 'little'. She'd going to be suffering some major embarrassment and some rather crushing blows to her self confidence, her sense of self. From her about-to-have serious hair problems to being publicly arrested, I'd say we're a tad past inconvenienced." He sighed and shrugged one shoulder. "I don't mind the minor revenge. Actually I kind of enjoy it," he said, flashing a grin. "But more than that, more than what I've been doing, and we're heading into dangerous territory. You have to draw the line somewhere before you just join the other side. And the worst part is, you can't see the line when you're that close to it. Trust me on this." James was acutely away of going to far and giving in to the 'darker' impulses. He was trying to pull back a little now 'cause he knew how close he was to going over that line here. As it was, it was likely going to take Daisy a couple months to recover both physically and mentally. Regaining confidence and security in oneself was never easy and he had worked quite hard, albeit briefly, at destroying hers. "How far do you really want to push this? And can you live with the results afterwords?"

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Zoe grabbed the PDA from her belt, glanced at the screen, and tapped a couple of buttons. "Right. Stare into the abyss, monsters stare back into you. Deep." She shoved the PDA back into its holster. "You're talking to the girl who got her own parents killed, then went back in time and turned their lives inside out because she hadn't already done enough and she just couldn't stay away. I don't think I'll lose any sleep over Daisy Gibbons. But hey, thanks for the beer." Zoe took off running before James had a chance to respond. Her form faded into tranlucence as she ran through his door, as if it wasn't there.

Sorry, J, but we're gonna have to agree to disagree on this. That bitch needs to know who the fark she's farking with. Zoe raced back to Claremont, too fast to be seen, to fast to even be held in one dimension of space-time. She stopped in her room briefly to gather her materials, then ran straight to Daisy's locker, tried a thousand different combinations in the blink of an eye, popped off the lock, and went to work.

She'd already emptied the spray-bottle filled with a mixture of urine and bacon grease all over the interior walls (That'll smell good tomorrow), but had only half-finished rigging the dye packet that would have exploded next time the door was opened, when a pair of meaty fingers tapped Zoe harshly on the shoulder. She almost leapt out of her skin as she screamed and spun around to face...Duncan Summers.

[bg=#000000]"My office. Now."[/bg]

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