Warning: spoilers for the Inhuman Alliance Saga.
Note: read “Under New Management” and “Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Roads” first.
A few weeks after the war against the Inhuman Alliance, Susan Laine-Stoley, CEO of FauCorp, enters her office at the top floor of Faucheuse Tower, her fluffy Binky and her personal assistant following her inside.
“Mrs. Laine-Stoley, don’t forget that appointment with the legal department at 3.”
“I haven’t forgotten, Anna. I’m not jumping for joy over it, who would be? But those little weasels are a necessary evil.”
Anna, a fresh-faced young woman with red hair, is a relatively recent hire. Her predecessor retired not long after Pierre did.
Susan and her husband Xavier are both very busy people. She’s got FauCorp to run, he’s got Fluffywood to run.
Which is why they’re grateful that they have so many friends willing to look after little Xidorn, their recently-born son, until they both get home from work.
Unlike her father, Susan has only ever been able to be in one place at a time.
Today, Susan’s honorary aunt June is looking after Xidorn, and completely disregarding Susan’s request to not sing a certain erinaceinae-related song to the baby.
Yes, it’s an unusual name.
But they’re an unusual couple.
Susan is X-Positive, and Xavier is half-Lumixian.
Naming their son something like John or Joe wouldn’t have made a difference.
That kid was never going to be normal.
As Susan sits down at her desk, after placing Binky in a basket on the desk, her eyes linger on the family portrait hanging on one wall. A present from her uncle Deston, shortly after she became CEO.
In the days that Susan’s father Pierre called this office his own, and a much older painting hung on the wall, that painting hid a secret.
A concealed door.
And in the days that Pierre was CEO, when the world was still relatively normal, nobody outside his immediate family knew about the hidden door, or what was on the other side.
Pierre stashed some of his Remote Bodies in it, so that he would, technically, always be present in Faucheuse Tower.
But all of Pierre’s Remote Bodies were destroyed during the Demonic Invasion a few years ago. As was the final Remote Body which Pierre built for the World Revolution last year.
These days, the door is common knowledge, as are the contents of the room beyond:
A small workshop, where the His and Hers Armors are stored and maintained.
That’s what Xavier and Susan’s power armors are officially called now.
The brilliant Dr. Valerie Valentine, Susan’s older half-sister, who built those armors, sincerely regrets making a certain bet with her sister and brother-in-law.
She didn’t think they would actually kill a hundred demons.
Susan checks the notes on her desk, reading them out loud for Binky, quickly working through the notes relating to FauCorp’s many non-fluffy-related business enterprises.
In other words, the boring notes.
That’s not what you’re here for, is it?
At one point, Binky pointedly yawns, and Susan speeds up a bit.
Before long, Susan gets to the good stuff.
“Ah, Fluffy World is building a new themed area.”
“Wut am da feem?”
“Foal Land, it says. I’m surprised we didn’t already have a designated area for foals.”
“Well, it has to be tricky, designing rides for foals, right?”
“That’s true, Anna. Oh, and here’s some good news from Fluffywood: shooting has wrapped up for Fluff of the Dead.”
Working title: Night of the Living Fluffies.
“A fwuffy zum-bee moo-vee? Hoomins in zum-bee moo-vees am dummeh enuff.”
“It’s like nobody in a zombie movie has ever seen a zombie movie, Binky.”
“That reminds me, Mrs. Laine-Stoley, that order of lampshades was just delivered this morning.”
“Oh, good. Tell the maintenance staff to start hanging those lampshades, Anna. Ah, here’s a note from my sister. The Federation team has begun their… analysis.”
Neither Anna nor Binky knows exactly why the Intergalactic Federation sent a team of scientists to Earth.
As far as most people know, the Federation is merely assisting the ChaotiX with a matter relating to the Inhuman Alliance.
That’s not exactly untrue.
However, most people don’t know just how big the matter is.
Or where the matter is.
If everyone did know, it wouldn’t end well. There’s be riots worldwide.
Which is why the Fluffy Cabal is doing everything they can to keep it under wraps until a solution is found.
Something they have experience in.
“Mrs. Laine-Stoley, I hope they get… whatever they’re doing done soon.”
“I couldn’t agree more, Anna. Oh, here’s some interesting news from Faucheuse Games…”
Also known as Sega.
“Development on the first ChaotiX game is nearing completion. Cal’s already in the loop. He’s been very excited about this.”
Those ChaotiX members whose images are used in FauCorp products, such as video games, or the plush dolls and action figures, are, of course, compensated for the use of their images.
“Dey haf been takin dey time, mummah.”
“I’m not letting them make that mistake again, Binky.”
When Pierre initially bought Sega out, he instated a new policy, at Calvin’s suggestion.
Every member of the newly rechristened Faucheuse Games has been required to play the 2006 Sonic the Hedgehog game. They have consoles set up for new hires.
It’s so they know what not to do.
Neither Pierre nor Susan approves of products being hastily rushed out the door to meet a deadline, regardless of whether or not the product is finished.
They’d rather do things right than do things quickly. They have no patience for those who are content hawking shoddily-made products to the masses.
But they always appreciate those who go the extra mile for the fans.
Susan’s been considering Calvin’s suggestion to offer the Sonic Mania team literal truckloads of money.
“Um, what kind of game is it? I don’t play a lot of video games.”
“It’s a fighting game. Look at this, Anna, there’s a list of the starting roster.”
Anna reads the list.
“…You and Mr. Laine are on there.”
Susan grins, tilting her head towards the painting.
“Our electronic counterparts will be using the armors, naturally. Cal said it’s like a Ryu and Ken thing, but I don’t know what that means.”
Anna examines the list further.
“Slayer’s going to be in this game? Um, I’ve seen Doomguy Dave’s FluffTube videos. Are Slayer’s… talents really appropriate? Kids are going to play this game, aren’t they?”
“Which is why Slayer’s moveset won’t be incorporating his… talents.”
“Binkee bet Swayew nu am happeh abowt dat.”
Susan strokes Binky.
“Well, his virtual doppleganger will still be using his demonic powers. He just won’t be raping his opponents.”
“Dat nu am vewy faif-fuw tu da weaw Swayew, mummah.”
“Yes, but the ESRB would have an aneurysm over Slayer raping his enemies. We’d be lucky if we got an M rating.”
A small screen on Susan’s desk turns on, displaying the face of her sister Valerie, right outside the office.
“Suzy. We need to talk.”
“Val? What’s up? I’m just going over the notes with Anna and Binky.”
Valerie speaks up.
“You’re probably going to have to send them out of the room for this.”
Valerie mouths the words “guest in the basement”.
So Susan quickly thinks up an excuse to send Anna and Binky out.
Fortunately, Binky comes through at just the right moment, and voices his need to relieve himself.
There’s a saferoom set up outside the office, just for Binky.
As Anna takes Binky to go make good poopies, Valerie walks in, up to the desk.
“They’ve been analysing the energy signature, Suzy. And one of the older team members said that the readings are vaguely familiar.”
“What are they doing now?”
“Cross-referencing it with the Federation database. It’s a big database. But that one scientist said she was sure she’d seen similar readings in her youth. She doesn’t remember exactly when. There has to be a record of those readings in the database.”
“Is that scientist a Lumixian?”
“Most of the team is.”
“Then that doesn’t really narrow it down. Lumixians live for a rather long time. Does Dad know?”
Valerie nods again.
“As does Uncle Des and Cal. Uncle Des will be asking our thin friends what they know, and Cal will be asking the Grand Judge. Cal’s been meaning to drop in soon anyway.”
“And what’s Dad doing?”
“Right now? Feeding his dodos. He is retired, Suzy.”
Susan gets up, walking towards the window behind her desk, giving her an excellent view of the city below.
Valerie walks up, standing next to her sister.
“What are we going to do, Val? Even if we find out what’s inside the planet, we have no idea what to do about it. How do we get something out of a planet without destroying the planet?”
“Cal’s been pondering that too. But we will find a way to save the world, Suzy.”
Susan feels a strange sensation. A sensation she’s never felt before.
Her power as an X-Positive is to detect lies.
And right now, her power is going nuts.
Because it can’t detect whether or not Valerie is telling the truth.
And that could mean anything.
Susan manages to hide her bewilderment and concern about this, and tries to play it cool, winking at her sister.
“We’ve done it plenty of times by now, haven’t we? We’ve got Cal. With him around, it feels like there’s nothing we can’t do. Dad really chose the right man to take his place, didn’t he?”
Neither Valerie nor Susan is upset about Pierre not picking them to lead the ChaotiX.
After all, it’s not like he gave them nothing.
“Between you and me, Suzy: there was a time when Dad thought Bertie would take his place as the Man on the Wall.”
Now Susan’s power works as normal, and Susan can tell that Valerie is being honest.
And this time, she can’t hide her bewilderment.
“Really? Dad never told me about that.”
“Well, Dad realized his mistake shortly after…”
Valerie trails off, not wanting to bring up Bertrand’s murder of his stepmother, Susan’s mother.
“Val, I don’t even want to imagine that reality. Can you imagine Bertie running the ChaotiX?”
The sisters both start laughing at the very idea.