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Skin-Deep part 2

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Light Warnings: this 3 part fan fiction is based on two stories that sometimes contain mature themes, but does not feature them itself. Does contain subtle safe-vore and a small amount of strong language.


Dr. “Tip” Wilkin, the man in women’s clothing, and Nick, the shorter blonde woman went to assess the carnage while the dog, Sweetheart, and the stitched up multicolored girl, Unity, stayed near Will.

“What agency did you say you were from again?” asked the dog, Sweetheart. Coming closer to Will, circling and sniffing him in a determined fashion.  What really made Will uncomfortable was when the two-faced girl, smiling and giggling, did the same.

This close he could see, with more detail, the stitching that ran down her face. It curved towards her left shoulder and disappeared under her shirt. This close her skin also looked more odd. The best he could describe the look was, drained.

“Um, I didn’t say, is it important?” asked Will.

“It might be” said the dog, stopping in front of him and sitting down. She gazed up at him.  Somehow she managed an expression similar to one he had seen on Cetz during interrogations.

“I’m an agent for The Watch,” said Will.

“Never heard of it,” said Sweetheart. “Unity?”

“He smells human!” she proclaimed.

“I know that, I meant about the agency,” said Sweetheart.

“Nope, not a clue!” she said.

“Is that going to be an issue?”

“Probably not. You’re from another dimension so your government might have different agencies than ours. We don’t even know all the departments in our complex,” it said, then dismissed the girl to go help the others.

Another dimension!? Could it be? The more Will thought about it, it made sense. But how had the dog known. He asked her.

“That’s how we found you,” she answered. “After Dr. Jones escaped from the institute, again, space-time anomalies started popping up all over the country. We weren’t notified of it until the robots started showing up,”

“So, how does this lead to finding me?” asked Will.

“Our agency has the most experience dealing with Tigerlily; for the last few days it’s been us tracking her. We never expected to find you.”

“I was in the machine she stole from my universe,” said Will. “I think she took it with her when she ran.”

“That’s someone else’s problem now, we’re here to deal with the robots, well, animal cyborgs now,” said Sweetheart. “But it will mean extra paperwork.” Its tail stated wagging.

“What happens now,” asked Will. What’s going to happen to Louis and me?

“Round-up, registration, and relocation,” said Sweetheart. “We have to find these cyborgs homes, possibly jobs or counseling.”

“Counseling?” asked Will, though he had not meant to say it out loud.

“Of course! And don’t tell Tip, I’m pretty sure he brought the therapy puppets,”

The dog’s ears perked up in slight surprise, then fell, an expression of exacerbation on its face. Sweetheart sighed, turning towards the rest of the Skin-Horse agents.

“I have to go deal with something,” she said, then added “if you ever get command of a team, don’t have flesh-eating zombies on it.”

Sweetheart ran off, and started shouting. Her ton one of practiced command.

“UNITY! NO EATING THE CYBORGS!”

“But I’m hungee!” shouted the girl, who, to Will’s distress, appeared to have bitten into one of the metal arms of a cyborg.

“We’ll get sandwiches on the way back!”

“REALLY!?

Will turned away. He had a lot to think about, and with the skin-horse agents occupied, Will finally had a chance to talk to Louis. He put his hand to his middle and spoke in a low voice. He wasn’t sure what to say first.

“Louis, have you been listening?” he finally said. Louis had been silent for a while.  

“I haven’t been able to do much else!” came the angry reply followed by a kick.

“Do you think it’s true, that we’re in another dimension?” asked Will.

“How the fuck could I know while I’m stuck in you! I can only hear voices. So you tell me!”

Will looked around again. The ground, trees, and sky seemed normal. But then, there were cyborgs, robots, a zombie girl, and a talking dog. What happened to Louis and himself had stretched his view on what was possible, but not that much.

“I think we are, and we should tell them about you,”

Will felt Louis stand up.

“Not just yet fanboy. Don’t be so quick to trust them. They could be lying through their asses. Wait to see if they can help us, then we tell them.”

“Ok,” said Will.

Hearing the others behind him he turned around.

“You’re sure they’re docile now?” asked Sweetheart, directing the question at Nick.

Clam sure! Their interface wasn’t too abstract,” she replied.

“Then let’s get out of here,” said Sweetheart. “Nick, what’s your ETA?”

“Less than a minute!” said Nick. “Good thing to, this body’s running down”

“I call shotgun!” cried the zombie girl.

“Like smell you do!” said Nick. “Your choking minty excuse for blood is krill on my upholstery! Its my body, I get to choose who gets shotgun!”

Nick surveyed them all. “Well, I don’t particularly like any of you. So new guy gets shotgun.”

“Does the new guy have a say in this?” asked Will. He was sure he was missing some context in this conversation.

Whatever the answer was, Will didn’t hear it over the noise of an enormous helicopter. It had appeared from the direction the skin-horse agents had come from. Will recognized it as a black V-22 Osprey.

“Hey love-chunks! Miss me?” it said.  “Move over lugnuts I gotta land here!”

The voice sent chills down Will’s spine. Though the voice was male, its cadence and timbre were exactly like the blonde woman’s.

They all moved out of the way and the aircraft landed neatly in the clearing. It had no pilot. The door on the side opened and the agents walked to it. Nick entered first, followed by Will and the rest. Will followed him to the front of the cockpit, to the two empty seats. Between the seats, coming up to Will’s chest, was a large white cylinder.

Nick opened a compartment and took out a power strip, plugging it into an outlet on the dashboard. Then Nick sat down in the pilot’s seat, and shoved the cord up her nose.  Her expression became completely blank and she went still. She wasn’t even breathing anymore.

Will stared blankly. When is the strangeness going to stop? His mind was working furiously, trying to figure out this one mystery.

“Nick, are you the aircraft?” asked Will.

“You got that right,” said Nick.

“Then what is that?” asked Will, pointing at the blonde, “woman”.

“A remote drone, so I can actually do work on missions that isn’t transport! You think field missions are easy when you’re a 15 ton military helicopter?”

“I guess not,” said Will.  “So, let me see if I’ve got this right. This team, comprises of a talking dog, a zombie, a transvestite and…”

“If you’re trying to be subtle and summarize what’s going on for my benefit you’re doing a piss-poor job!” came Louis’s voice, then a strong kick. Will couldn’t respond.

“A bad-ash battle cyborg that can fly!” proclaimed Nick.

“Can we get going already!?” called Sweetheart from behind them.

In response the engines started up and propellers spun; slow at first, then faster and faster. It was eerie; it was like a ghost was piloting the craft.

“Nick, can I ask you a question?”

“You’re wondering, ‘if I’m a cyborg, how come I ain’t got living parts? Well, my brain in the container next to you,” came the reply.

“Actually, I was wondering what Project Skin-Horse was.”

“Oh. Well, we are the federal sapient resource assessment; our mission is to aid and assist the U.S population of nonhuman sapients,” said Nick, sounding like he was reading from a textbook.

“That explanation was as clear as shit!” Louis commented, knowing full well Will could not respond.

“It’s a mouthful huh? Essentially; we are the black ops social services,” Nick laughed, which was creepy.

“If you’re black ops, how do you have clients?” asked Will. Or had he not just heard Nick say “social services”.

“Trust me, if you need our services you probably are aware of us, or soon will be.”

That greatly concerned Will in a way he could not explain.

“When are we stopping for sammiches!” exclaimed Unity from behind Will, who turned to see what was going on.

Unity and Tip sat in the two chairs and Sweetheart sat on her haunches, head resting on Unity’s legs.

“We can’t stop! Fighting the cyborgs got who-knows-what on my sleeves! I need to get to stain remover ASAP!” countered Tip. There was indeed an unidentifiable grey-luminescent substance on his right sleeve.

“But… But… Sammiches!” cried Unity, her voice wavering and threatening. Her hands gripped the seat.  “Sweetheart promised! Tell him Babe!”

“We’re stopping for take-out,” said Sweetheart, not even opening her eyes.

“But this is an emergency!” pleaded Tip.

Nick decided to add his opinion, saying “I’m flying, and I say we stop, remember what happened last time?”

“Oh right,”

“Yeah, the replacement parts cost me a smack ton of WoW access!”

“I don’t want to know what happened do I?” inquired Will.

“No.” they all said in unison.

The ride was mercifully uneventful. Nick proclaimed a “plucking flawless landing” When they touched down on the roof of the Annex One complex. Tip was the first to exit, running out the door as soon as it had opened wide enough for him to leave.

When Nick reactivated the drone, it looked like someone coming back to life. He followed Will onto the roof.  

“Hey, Mr. Rowe, can we talk a mo?” asked Nick, as the other agents exited the roof.

Will turned to face Nick, not sure whether to look at the drone or the helicopter. The drone was looking at him with a sort of smugness so Will chose to direct his attention to it.

“Sure, what do you want to talk about?” Will didn’t like the look the drone was giving him.

“So is there a reason you ain’t told nobody you’re not alone?” said Nick.

“What are you talking about?” asked Will, trying to sound normal and resist putting his hand over his stomach.

“Will, don’t be an idiot! There’s no fucking way he could know!” said Louis.

“O really?” said Nick. “There’s no way I could know?”

Will’s brain froze. Nick had responded to Louis’ comment, he was sure of it. What made him sure was the drone, while it was expressing emotions, was not talking, the voice Will heard was Nick’s male voice. And it was coming in over the Sprecht.

“Dude, or should I say dudes? I got multi-phase scanning equipment. I can see in like 20 spectrums and can hear like, every frequency, radio and auditory.”

“So you can hear me?” asked Louis.

“Yep.”

“But, that’s impossible, the Sky Sprecht’s not meant to handle three connections,” said Will.

“Oh, well I’m facilitating the connection now, before I was just listening,” said Nick, the smile on the drone’s face widening. “Don’t worry, I’m not gonna tell. I ain’t a tattler. There’s nothing I could gain from revealing it anyway.”

“How kind of you,” said Louis, his voice dripping with sarcasm.

“I can be an faucet troll if you’d prefer! I’m not gaining nothing by keeping your infinite malted secret neither!”

“I couldn’t understand half of what you just said!” said Louis, “What the hell is wrong with you?”

The drone’s expression became irritated. Will had been wondering the same thing for a while, but out of politeness had not mentioned it. Louis seemed to have no intentions of being polite.

Finally the drone sighed, walking closer to Will. When Nick spoke it was through the drone, “I’ve tried asking myself that question many times,”

“And what happened?” asked Louis.

Nick continued walking, as if bored with their conversation, reaching the roof entrance and opening the door.

“It never came out right.”

Will followed Nick into the building.  Strange sounds could be heard from behind doors labeled with even stranger department names or symbols. They stopped when they reached a door with a silhouette of a rocking horse on its opaque window.

“I got spit to do elsewhere,” said Nick and he walked away.

Will opened the door and entered what looked like a reception room.  There was a desk with a large machine behind it. It was round, silver, and had small arms on its sides. Out of the top was a cylindrical head, characterized by two optics and curling wire facial hair. Will could hear gears turning as it faced him and spoke; its voice was like a train whistle.

“Ah, you must be master Rowe, welcome to Project Skin-Horse. Our director, Mistress Gavotte wishes to speak with you.”

“Does she have an office?” inquired Will.

“It is located through the door behind me. Master Tip, and Mistresses Sweetheart and Unity will join you shortly,”

“Thank you,” said Will, walking around the desk to find a doorway with beads hanging from the doorframe.

He pushed the beads aside and entered the office.

At first he thought he had been told the wrong room. Covering nearly every inch of the walls, hanging from the ceiling, and scattered across the floor, were potted, flowering plants. Bees buzzed around. But this world was strange, and eventually he a desk at the back of the room, with a phone and a plaque that read “Project Director Gavotte”.

There was no one seated behind the desk.

The buzzing became louder and suddenly there were many more bees in the room.

“Please, have a seat,” said a disembodied female voice.

Nervously, Will sat down in one of the chairs in front of the desk. The majority of the bees gathered into a swarm behind the desk.

“Greetings Agent William Rowe, I am Gavotte,”

Will leapt out of his seat; sure he had finally gone mad. Talking dogs, zombies, and cyborgs, he had so far been able to accept. But this was too freaky. This swarm of bees could not be the director.

“I see you were not properly informed about me. I apologize for this oversight, we were unaware of the fact you have never had any prior encounters a gestalt entity. If you would please sit down.” The swarm moved; it was gesturing at the chair Will had just been occupying.

Will sat down again, still uneasy.  How did it, they no… the receptionist had referred to Gavotte as she. Will recalled. How did she even think, or speak!? Goosebumps went up his arms as the bees that were not in the main swarm buzzed around him.

“Have a toffee William, or should I call you something else, Will, or Billy?” said Gavotte, motioning to a bowl on her desk.

“No thanks, and I prefer Will um…”

“Since I am not your superior Gavotte is fine. Are you quite sure you don’t want a toffee? They’re made with fresh honey.”

“I’m sure, Gavotte.” Will didn’t know whether to be disgusted or not, he tried not to think about the candy.

The beads rustled, signaling Tip, Unity, and Sweetheart’s arrival.

“Vere Do Hyu Vant Deesh?” asked Sweetheart through the file folder in her jaws.

“Just spread it out on my desk. And Tip, careful not to spill any tea on the report,” said Gavotte.

Sweetheart lay out the papers on the desk and Tip placed a steaming cup of tea next to them.  A few bees landed on the cup’s rim. Unity and Tip sat in the two remaining chairs.

“According to this you’re from an alternate dimension, is this true?” asked Gavotte.

“It seems to be,” said Will, trying to imagine he was giving a report to Cetz, and not an intelligent swarm of bees. “Although I can’t say I’ve ever traveled to other dimensions before now, and didn’t even think it was possible.”

“I understand you were forcibly taken from your reality by a one Dr. Bernice “Tigerlily” Jones. Has she ever appeared in your world before this?”

“I can’t say,” said Will. “Why would she come to my reality anyway?”

“You tell me, what did she do?”

“She, well, she stole my agency’s Bio Transcriber mark 10. I just happened to be in it,” answered Will. “But it seems to me that this reality has much more advanced technology, from what I’ve seen. Couldn’t she have gotten something like that here? Hell, couldn’t she have built one?”

“She’s a convicted felon and mentally unstable,” Sweetheart said, “We can’t even begin to guess her reasons.”

“Her reasons don’t have to be crazy,” said Tip. “Tigerlily is a mad engineer, she would have to steal biotech from another mad scientist, which would be too risky. I bet she’s been going to other dimensions where she isn’t known and could easily steal supplies.”

“What do you think Unity?” asked Gavotte.

“Msk snsh mt mff!” said Unity.

Everyone turned to face her. Her cheeks were puffed out and mouth practically glued shut. The candy bowl was nearly empty of toffees.

“Well, if that is all, I think we can wrap this up,” said Gavotte, the swarm starting to disperse.

“Wait!” said Will. “What about me? I’m stuck in this dimension and have no idea how to get back to mine!”

“I’m sorry, we can’t help you,” said Gavotte.

“What do you mean you can’t help me!? I thought you were the social service!” said Will.

“We are, but that does not mean we can provide any service. We can only use our resources and funds for those who are A) citizens of the US, and B) non-human or transgenic,” said Gavotte. “I am sure we could do something clever with paperwork since you are a citizen of the US in your universe, but we can not do anything about you not being transgenic without breaking several laws.”

“What does transgenic mean?” asked Will.

“What are you getting at!?” asked Louis, having caught the excited curiosity in Will’s voice.

“That would be a being or organism whose genome has been altered by the transfer of a gene or genes from an outside source,” answered Sweetheart.

“Will, DON’T! I’m not transgenic!” insisted Louis. “This is ridiculous!”

Will pressed a hand to his stomach. “Louis, unless you plan on living in this dimension, I think you are,”

“Who are you talking to?” asked Unity, who had since finished all the toffees.

“My partner, Louis,” said Will. “He has the ability to shrink himself and right now he’s in my stomach,” he said.

Tip raised an eyebrow.

********

It didn’t take Will long to explain his and Louis’ situation to the Skin-Horse staff, who listened with interest. They thought it was definitely strange, but they believed Will. Not because anything freakier had happened to them, this was considerably weird, but because many things just as strange had.

“Sounds like you’ve had run-ins with mad scientists before now. It’s no wonder you’re not reality blind!” Dr. Wilkin commented.

“Mainly just the one,” said Louis.

After confirming Will’s story, they had Nick broadcast Louis’ signal to a small speaker on Gavottes desk. They discussed ways of extracting Louis from Will.

Tip made a call to someone he thought might be able to return Will and Louis to their reality. Informing them that this person could come by tomorrow. Then Dr. Wilkin left to send an email to all the departments in Annex One to ask for help with their other problem.

“And we can’t use sedatives?” suggested Sweetheart.

“From what I know, his biochemistry is linked to mine, we have no idea what sedating me would do to him,”

“We could just kill you,” said Unity.

Sweetheart’s ears perked up “That could work!” she said.

“That sounds like a terrible idea!” said Louis.

“Revivification isn’t that difficult,” said Sweetheart. “But you might end up a zombie.”

“Absolutely not,” said Will.

“Hey the Department of Refurbishing Misused and Confiscated Madtech says they think they can help us!” called Tip, who was in the other room at his desk.

“Did they say how?” asked Will.

“No, they didn’t. But I think we should pay them a visit.”


********


“So, why can’t you just send us back to our dimension?” asked Louis.

They had all gone to the Department of Refurbishing Misused and Confiscated Madtech and were talking to the three employees, Dr. Flansburg, Dr. Linnel and Dr. Ng. Will was holding the speaker.

What they were being shown where two chambers, each on the opposite side of the laboratory. Will thought they looked like some sort of pod that aliens might sleep in.

“Because these are sight-to-sight teleporters, dumbass. Not interdimensional transporters,” said Dr. Ng, the only female scientist.

“How exactly would this work?” asked Will before Louis could speak again.

“Well, to put it in terms you can understand: We’d calibrate it to your DNA code exclusively. It shouldn’t transport anything else,” said Dr. Linnel.

“This is the best idea we’ve had so far,” said Will.

“Wait a second. What could go wrong?” asked Sweetheart.

“Worst case scenario? We turn one of you into mush,” said Dr. Flansburg

“But that hasn’t happened in years!” said Dr. Ng hastily. “If an anomalous result were to occur I suspect it would be gene transfer or personality swapping.”

“The more I hear the more this sounds like a bad idea. If I understand correctly, if this goes wrong I could actually turn into fanboy!?” said Louis.

“That’s possible, but it is more likely that he could transform into you, since he is the one being teleported. On the other hand you could each become a combination of each other,” said Dr. Ng. “But it won’t kill you.”

“Any of those outcomes sound worse than death!”

“Ana here has neglected to mention that we could reverse any unwanted effects,” said Dr. Linnel. “We may not be mad scientists, but we have their technology.”

“What do you say Louis? Should we go for it?” asked Will.

“Anything is better than the manual way.”

An hour later they were ready.  Will was laying down as best he could in Transporter 1. It was cold and is heart was racing. He felt flutters from his middle but Will wouldn’t be able to communicate with Louis until the procedure was finished. The scientists had required him to remove all his clothing and equipment to minimize possibility of error.

As they were given the signal that teleportation was to be initialized, both Will and Louis realized they had no idea what to expect. It was too late now; the machine had been activated. For the smallest instant they both experienced terrible pain and saw a bright, white light (though they were both sure they had their eyes shut tight).

The next thing Will knew was that Louis was no longer inside his stomach. He opened his eyes; it was pitch black. He hoped he was in the second teleporter. The doors opened and someone threw his clothes at him. Will got dressed before leaving the teleporter.

He was indeed on the other side of the laboratory, and he ran to the first teleporter.

Everyone else was already there, even Tip, Unity and Sweetheart. After hearing a persons voice all this time, they wanted to see to whom it belonged.

Dr. Ng pressed the bottom on the side of the machine to open it.

Light fell onto an irritated, full sized Louis, already wearing his sunglasses. Will smiled.

“Are you Ok?”

*******

Louis was directed to the nearest Decontamination shower. Tip said he would try to find some clothes for Louis so he wouldn’t have to wear a jumpsuit.

“Hope you like wearing dresses!” commented Unity after Tip left.

“If that Barbie-Man thinks I’m going to wear a dress!” said Louis, “I would sooner die in this jumpsuit!” and then followed Sweetheart to the Department of Irradiation for decontamination.  

Will headed to the cafeteria to get food, promising to bring back coffee. Part of him hoped Dr. Wilkin wouldn’t find anything Louis would be wiling to wear.

He was disappointed to find, upon his return to the Skin-Horse office, Louis in a plain white t-shirt and blue jeans. His disappointment was masked however, by the sight of the most shocking thing he had seen so far: Louis was talking animatedly (animatedly for Louis, that is) with Tip. He wasn’t smiling or anything, but neither did it seem like he was disinterested.

They didn’t stop talking until Will had walked right up to the desk. He set down the still piping hot coffee a little to forcefully and some of it spilt. Louis looked at him, scowling, but snatching the coffee gratefully.

Tip finished whatever he was doing, turned off his computer and stood up. He looked tired, but happy. While he spoke he redid his hair.

“Now that you two are officially ok, I can clock out!” he turned around.

“Sweetheart, tell Gavotte I might be late tomorrow!” he said. “It’s lady’s night!”

Sweetheart, who had been working at her own desk, looked up. Unity too.

“Not again! Tip, you can bring anymore strange people into this office after hours!”

“Do you even remember their names!?” said Unity, sneering.

Sweetheart leaned over to Unity, “I bet they remember his!” she gibed.

“Can’t you just tell Gavotte?” said Tip, not letting their teasing get to him.

“Nope, because I’m coming with you!” she said, hopping off her chair.

“AND ME!” cried Unity.

“But you never come with me to lady’s night!” said Tip, amazed.

“Yeah, well. It’s been a tough week and I need booze cheapened by the mere fact that I’m a woman!” retorted Sweetheart. Her tail wagging as she walked purposefully to the exit, followed closely by Unity.

“Either of you wanna join?” asked Unity.

Will and Louis declined the invitation.

As the three agents left, Louis turned to Will

“What was that for fanboy?” asked Louis.

“What was what for?” said Will, though he knew very well what Louis was talking about.  “I don’t like that man.”

“Why? Because I was talking to him?” sneered Louis.

“You were chatting, like you were old friends, or something! You don’t even talk to me like that.”

“Maybe that’s because there’s nothing worth talking to you about,” said Louis.

“What could you possibly find worth talking about with him?” demanded Will.

“Our military service in the Middle East,” said Louis.  

Will didn’t know what to say, so he just said, “I can’t imagine what that’s been like in this reality.”

“You don’t have to. Apparently its been exactly the same,” said Louis.

“Dudes, where the drip stickers is everyone?” said Nick, who had just entered the room, followed by a very tall blond man, taller than Louis, and very short and stout redheaded woman.

“You just missed them,” said Will.

“Which one of you is the one that shrinks!?” asked the woman, looking at both men with scary interest.

Louis faced Nick, effectively glaring through his shades. “You said you wouldn’t tell!”

“An email was sent to every department in the building crumb track! I didn’t have to tell!”

“Nick, if we don’t get going, we’re going to be late!” said the tall man.

“Fine!” said Nick, ending his odd staring contest with Louis.

“If you guys aren’t doing anything tonight, we’re headed to the sci-fi movie marathon at the CineMax. Wanna come?” asked the woman.

“Yes,” said Will instantly.

The woman turned her expectant gaze to Louis.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

sucrose! Let’s go,” said Nick.

Will didn’t feel great about leaving Louis behind. However, he was also curious to see if the movies were any different in this dimension, so he followed Nick and his companions

And so the preview image is explained!

Fun at Annex One! Lots of stuff happens to our inter-dimensional travelers. Next chapter they should be more active in driving the story than passive. Also, will they get home?

This fanfiction is a crossover between :iconpeachnewt:'s prose story Getting in Deep and the webcomic Skin-Horse skin-horse.com/comic/12302007/
Because both are about really strange things happening to secret agents, explained with SCIENCE! They are action packed and often hilarious. 

I really don't own anything in this. Everything belongs to either Shaenon K Garrity and Jeffery C Wells, or Peachnewt.

Also, I probably OOC'd a lot of things from both stories. FOR SCIENCE!

Part 3: fav.me/d6zy5kh
Part 1: fav.me/d6lue9w

Skin-Deep the comic fav.me/d74qe3x (I illustrated a scene from part 3)
© 2013 - 2022 Tuiteyfruity
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jeffreycwells's avatar
“Yeah, well. It’s been a tough week and I need booze cheapened by the mere fact that I’m a woman!”

So much yes.

--Jeff, the dude who tends to write this character