|Fandom - Mr Benn / Invisibles / Pop.
Disclaimers - For external use only. More disclaimers at end.
Rating - Store out of the reach of children. Particularly lots of swearing.
Summary - When Jack Frost and Jolly Roger find they need to break into a record company’s impregnable headquarters they call upon the help of a singular individual.
Notes - For info on Mr Benn go to: http://www.mrbenn.co.uk/main.html
If you are not familiar with the Invisibles they are a secret society of revolutionaries who are fighting against the secret rulers of the world. It is a tad more complicated than that but... Jack Frost is the future messiah and Jolly Roger is a gun happy lesbian terrorist.
They fight crime.
Well, kind of.
“Chaos always creeps in. They can cover the world with cameras but they can’t stop the guys in the monitor room from jerking off or playing the sixteenth sequel to doom.”
Mr Benn: Invisible
It was half an hour later and they were running out of creative uses of the word fuck.
“Ay, Roger, you sure you can’t do some of that ninja stealth shit?”
Jolly Roger explained in careful detail exactly why Dane’s suggestion would not work, showing that necessity was the mother of creativity.
“Fucking hell, just asking.”
Dane turned on the TV and flicked to the station that was currently pissing them off. They needed to get into Future Records but the executives of the company or their bosses had hit upon a unique method of security. The company was responsible for Britney, N’sync, Marilyn Manson, Dr Dre and a host of other creations. So rather than hiring a bunch of people to watch their security cameras they sold the rights to their security feed to a production company and produced a fully interactive TV station where millions of fans could scour the security feed for a glimpse of their idols. If someone saw a security breach they could call a premium rate number (“calls cost $5 a minute”) to report it and if it led to an arrest then they got a bunch of signed posters and shit.
It worked like a dream. Millions watched it, every second of the day and night. The people who worked there became minor celebrities. They made a fortune from the phone calls and even though there were many break-ins they were always spotted in moments. The cameras would go off with a message: “For your protection the cameras are no longer broadcasting in the event that lethal force may be required” and they would release their security monsters. Not that they would tell the public that last bit.
Dane and Roger had tried to find out exactly what the security monsters were but they had hit a blank wall, nobody knew. It could be a swarm of killer bees, it could be an elderly fox terrier called Ace the Bathound. Jolly Roger had found out that every security breach seemed to have required lethal force even with the fans who had just broken in to get on TV and the funerals tended to be closed casket so she was pretty sure it wasn't a fox terrier.
They couldn't shut off the cameras (it would release the monsters), they couldn't cut the phone lines (release the monsters), they couldn't shut down the power to the building (monsters), they couldn't personally chloroform every person who watched the channel (a fucking stupid plan).
They had considered and discarded a dozen equally stupid and unreasonable plans.
“I’m no good with this shit. I’m a guns blazing girl. Let’s just go for it and I’ll take out the fucking security.”
“Fuck that, Roger. We need to be cunning, like.” A gleam appeared in Jack Frost’s eye. “I think I’m beginning to get an idea, yeeeeah, I know what we can do. Use misdirection and shit.”
“Fuck yeah, Ringo. You shout ‘look behind you’, I’ll shoot 'em.”
“Stop calling me fucking Ringo, I can’t cope with one codename as it is. Nah, I mean we let 'em all see us but set it up so we can do whatever we want and they’ll never even realise it.”
“What the fuck you talking about, Ringo?”
He proceeded to explain his plan, causing Jolly Roger’s face to go from dubious to very dubious to slightly bored, again to dubious and finally to ‘what the fuck, we’ll give it a try even if it is probably suicidal and I‘d rather be in bed with a beautiful woman.’ (A specialist expression that she had developed while in the military.)
Jack was pacing excitedly. “We’ll need to get someone in who’s a fucking mistress of disguise right, some bird who’ll fool everyone.”
Roger smiled a shit-eating grin. “I know just the guy.”
* * * * *
It was a warm evening on Festive road and as Mr Benn stepped out of number 52 with a smile on his face. He had a sudden urge to visit the costume shop that had been the source of many adventures.
As he strolled peacefully down Festive road Mr Benn saw Mrs Kensington’s daughter and her friend Alice. They seemed to be arguing. Mrs Kensington’s daughter, Jane was obviously apologising to her distraught friend. Mr Benn passed by on the opposite side of the road and heard snatches of the conversation.
Mr Benn saw Alice jerk her shoulder away from Jane’s tentative hand. Alice was glaring angrily at her friend.
“Please try to understand.” Jane pleaded, she was crying freely.
“Oh I understand, you just want to be normal. To fit in.” Mr Benn could hear the contempt that the word ‘normal’ was spat out with.
Mr Benn couldn’t hear any more of the conversation and frowned as he wondered what the problem between the young people was. It was a shame that they weren’t happy but he really doubted there was anything he could do about it.
It wasn't long before he reached the costume shop. The window filled with bright and exciting costumes. A Cowboy, an astronaut, a chef, a skater. He had long since tried out most of the staples in the shop but the Shopkeeper always seemed to have something special for him to try on.
He sauntered happily into the shop and looked around at the seemingly empty store. “I wonder if there are any that I haven’t noticed yet?”
Pop. As if by magic, the shopkeeper appeared.
“Hello, Sir. Perhaps I can recommend you something. It‘s from our new Popstar collection.”
It wasn't long before Mr Benn walked into the changing rooms with a pile of clothing in his hands. He examined it and was most surprised to discover that there was a blonde wig, some garments that seemed to resemble a school girl’s uniform and a white g-string. This was not normal attire for him.
Nevertheless he gamely stripped out of his suit and bowler hat and put on the costume. He looked at himself in the mirror and tried to work out if a bare midriff suited him. “Maybe if I take off my vest?” He muttered to himself.
At that point he noticed another door in the room. He could have sworn that wasn't there a moment before but he was used to it appearing out of nowhere. Mr Benn opened it and stepped through.
* * * * *
“So where is this amazing fucker?” Jack Frost asked in between stuffing his face with salt and vinegar crisps.
Jolly Roger just smiled, far calmer right before the mission than she was at any time in normal life. “He’ll be here on time. Trust me, his handler is very reliable.”
They were both dressed in smart, black suits and another of Roger’s allies was along for the tech side of things. Her name was Atthis and she had refused a suit, explaining that techs always wore tech stuff and she would look fucking stupid in a suit. She had however agreed to cover her shaved and tattooed scalp with a baseball cap.
Further conversation was halted as the door to the limo opened and Britney Spears got in wearing a kinky schoolgirl outfit and looking every bit as perky and sexual as she did in her music videos.
Jolly Roger gaped while Jack tried to remember his mind control resistance training. Roger had told him that Mr Benn normally looked like your average civil servant but he somehow couldn’t see through the illusion. It was like Mr Benn had literally become the essence of Britney. Realer than real. Atthis just grinned and checked out Britney’s ass.
“Hello.” Said Mr Benn pleasantly.
“Yeah, er, hi.” Said Roger. “We’re off to record a song, want to come with us?”
“Yes please.” Said Mr Benn. “What kind of song?”
“Well” Jolly Roger considered how best to put it. “The record company is using songs to control people so we’re going to record a song that will fix things.”
“That sounds like a worthy cause.”
Jack couldn’t quite believe Mr Benn was there. He/she seemed too nice and simple to be real. He/she didn’t even seem to notice Roger handing out hidden comm devices to Jack and Atthis so they could communicate without it being broadcast to the world.
“What a lovely warm night.” Said Mr Benn.
Frankly he was creeping Dane out.
* * * * *
The four of them strode confidently into the lobby of Future Records. It was a massive temple to pop, with the marble and steel surfaces polished and gleaming and large posters of all of their top talent adorning the walls. The ceiling was intimidatingly high and the surveillance cameras were dotted around like voyeurs in raincoats.
“It looks smaller than it does on telly.” Atthis mumbled to herself.
Their shoes clattered noisily on the marble floor as they strode purposefully past the night watchman’s post and headed towards the lifts.
The company didn’t really need a night watchman with their security set up but they wanted one for the look of the thing. They had hired the best looking applicant and all he really had to do was look photogenic in his uniform for the cameras. The guard had taken the job expecting to see celebrities every hour of the night, but he had discovered that he rarely saw a living soul and when he did he was supposed to arrest them.
The night security man gaped when he laid eyes on Britney. “Good evening, Miss Spears. Er. We weren’t expecting to see you here today.” He jogged beside them, unwilling to even try and stop them physically.
“I’m here to record a song.”
“Er, well you see, Miss Spears, it’s like this. I’m not supposed to…”
Dane stopped walking and gripped the security man’s shoulder casually. In words that weren't all spoken out loud he said in a soft and commanding tone. “Its ok (we respect you) we have proper (do not question) authorisation (you fear our authority) for ourselves and Miss Spears (sexual fantasy) to be here.”
Roger shifted, uncomfortable watching the mind fuck.
“Ok then.” The security guard stepped aside and let them past, trying desperately, hopelessly to hide his lustful gaze at Britney.
“Have a nice day.” Said Mr Benn cheerfully, flashing the guard a guileless smile.
The security guard didn’t stop smiling for a long while.
* * * * * *
“Can’t believe this is fucking working, Ringo. Helped that the guard had pop culture for brains.”
“Fucks wrong with pop culture? Like you don’t read Harry Potter books.”
“That’s different. I just read ‘'em for the slash.”
“Will you two shut up.” Atthis hissed. “The viewers at home will be watching us real close.” She pulled her cap down to cover as much of her face as possible, wishing she had gone with the suit after all.
The advantage of the security cameras being free (figuratively speaking) for all was that they knew exactly where they were going.
* * * * *
It wasn’t long before Mr Benn was set up in the recording studio. Jolly Roger started to talk him through the song he’d be singing and Jack and Atthis went into the tech booth to set things up.
“We can talk freely in here, Frost, they didn’t bother with cameras.”
“Well they wouldn’t, what with all the subliminal shit they’re doing in here.” Jack Frost peered at the controls hoping that they made more sense to Atthis.
Atthis removed her cap and started working like a maniac, connecting up her laptop to the massive array of machines and dials. “Yeah, bastards are getting a taste of their own shit now. Hoo yah.”
“Fucking calm down. Tell me what you’re doing.”
Atthis, who did now have a manically crazed look to her didn’t even look at Jack as she started to type on her laptop. “I’m using the fucking enemy’s weapons to throw a grenade into people’s minds. Bastards set this up themselves. They couldn’t rely on peer pressure and lapdog media. They had to have more control over what people thought, their self-image, who they thought they wanted to fuck. Fucking makes the world go round, Jack, you control who people want to fuck you control the fucking world.”
“Well control your fucking self and get on with it.” Jack said unnecessarily as Atthis was working like mad, she bent under the console to rewire it and Jack tried to avoid staring at her ass.
“Sorry.” Atthis said, popping up again. “But I get enthusiastic. It’s shit like this that made me join the invisibles. We live in a culture where subliminal advertising is everywhere and it’s so entrenched that people don’t even realise it.” She started typing, hacking into the system. “They’ve successfully made people think that all there is to subliminal messages is ‘drink coke’ flashed up quick in a movie theatre or sex spelt out in ice cubes. People don’t realise that everything in an advert that works below your normal perception is subliminal and it is the cornerstone of the advertising industry.”
“Yeah well, I aint arguing, not since I saw one of those films Fanny made out of adverts.”
“Yeah I saw those when you lot hacked into the MTV feed, most disturbing porn I’ve ever watched.”
“It was just clips from ads that are on all the time, she’d just cut 'em up and mixed 'em and, well fuck, like I said no argument.
“Most people argue it. They don’t like the idea that they are being controlled.”
Jack laughed. “Maybe we shouldn’t be trying to control them then.”
“We’re not.” Atthis bristled defensively. “We’re just trying to undo some of the damage that the enemy has done. They use songs like Britney’s to try and control people’s politics, opinions, sexuality. Well after we‘ve fucked with this song maybe some people who have been denying their sexuality will get the push they need.”
“Or they’ll be so screwed up they fuck the first person who smiles at 'em.”
Atthis glared at Jack and was almost ready with a witty retort before Roger entered the booth. “Hey, stop making out or whatever you’re doing in here and get on with it. Our Diva’s ready, you all set up Atth?”
“Yeah. The computer’ll feed in Jacks spooky subliminal talking thing when Mr Britney sings.”
“’Kay then, come on Jack, we’re going for a walk while the professionals do their job.”
“What? Fuck you talking about?”
Jolly Roger grinned, evilly. “We’re going monster hunting.”
* * * * * *
Mr Benn cleared his throat, adjusted his bra and, as Atthis started up the pre-recorded music, started singing.
“Oh baby baby”
* * * * *
“This way, Ringo.” Roger strode confidently. She suspected that every drooling fan would be glued to the image of Britney singing live on their TV but she still wanted to look like she belonged. She itched to pull out her gun, just to have it in her hand but resisted.
“We went to a fuck of a lot of trouble to avoid these bastards, why’re we trying to find 'em.”
“Trust me, looking for 'em and having 'em sent after us is a whole different thing. I’m really curious about what they are.”
“You just want something to shoot don’t you? It’s written all over your frontal lobes.”
“Keep out of my brain, Jack, it’s too scary in there for a boy like you.”
“Fuck, yeah. You’ve got kinks I’ve never even heard of.”
* * * * * *
Mr Benn was having an extremely enjoyable time. He had never had cause to sing in public before and he was surprised that he appeared to have an acceptable voice.
Atthis had a real thing for voices. She closed her eyes and let the voice sink into her and felt her body reacting to it.
Mr Benn started to dance to the music, never moving from the spot but doing a lot with his hips. It was enormous fun and he was really letting himself go.
Atthis opened her eyes and was greeted with the gyrating form of Britney. She stifled a low groan of enjoyment and tried to tear her eyes away. This was too much. At first she had just let herself check out the hot girl but that had gotten old very fast. She knew that she was looking at a person pretending to be Britney, she was looking at an illusion, she was looking at a guy!
Atthis hated being manipulated. She prided herself on knowing her own mind and if not totally controlling it at least choosing which things affected her. But she couldn’t seem to stop her body reacting to the man in the Britney suit and it was bothering her. She didn’t like knowing that she really wasn’t in control of herself at all.
* * * * * *
“Here it is.”
Jack guessed the Roger was correct, the door said ‘top secret’ and ‘authorised personnel only’ and the paint job didn’t hide the riveted metal.
Roger tested the door with a punch. “It’s fucking thick; we need to get Atthis up here to hack us in.”
“Don’t worry. I can feel someone on the other side. He’s getting an uncontrollable urge to let us in.”
“Ringo, hon, you’ve certainly changed my mind about all this mind control shit.”
The door slid open smoothly revealing a patriarchally handsome and square jawed man in a white lab coat and neat suit, smoking a pipe. “Can I help you gentlemen?”
Roger looked around for cameras, couldn’t see any and punched the doctor hard in the gut. He bent over double, gasping for breath. Roger pushed him into the room and closed the door behind them.
The room in question was a large, sterile looking chamber with a bank of computers and three large lcd screens hung on the wall. They were currently black, though one had a glow in one corner that looked suspiciously like a nightlight.
Dominating one wall were three steel tubes the size of a large man.
“I think we’ve found our monsters, Ringo.”
* * * * * *
Jack could walk around people’s minds like levels of Doom. With slightly less shooting. He peered into the Doctor’s brain, finding that the neat categorisation and stereotyping made for very easy reading.
“Fuuuuuck.” Jack Frost could barely believe what he was seeing in the man’s brain.
“What is it, Ringo?”
“Hang on a sec, I think this is something you have to see.” He fiddled with the controls for a minute and the three tubes slid up revealing cylindrical tanks in each. Despite their size they each held what looked like a child. Or something like a child.
Jolly Roger surveyed them as Jack provided a commentary.
“They are test tube, genetically engineered five-year-old girls.”
They each had massive heads with oversized eyes. There were rounded stumps where their hands and feet should be.
“The bastards created hundreds of the fuckers, these were the only survivors but they’ve got every fucking superpower in the book. Flight, strength, heat vision, you name it.”
The three girls were floating in some kind of clear liquid and covered with wires and tubes.
“He called them Bubbles, Buttercup and Blossom.”
Jolly Roger finally found her voice. “Mother. Fucker.”
“But you haven’t seen the best bit.” He played with the controls a bit and a cartoon image of the three girls appeared on one of the screens, their heads and limbs looking almost normal in the unreal setting. “When they were first created they couldn’t be controlled. The first one that woke up just broke anyone near her without even meaning to so this fucker plugged them into a virtual reality where they were superheroes. Whenever they have to destroy an intruder they are be given a scenario where they fight something, not realising that their punches are ripping off heads in real life.”
“How can people do sick shit like this?” Muttered Roger before saying to Jack. “We’re gonna have to put 'em down.” She pulled out her gun and took off the safety.
“Put 'em down, they’re not fucking pets. They think they‘re superheroes.”
“Don’t matter, Ringo, doesn’t matter if they think they’re Ghandi in there, they’re dangerous. We can’t just let the enemy have 'em.”
Jack nodded in agreement. “You’re right. We best take them with us.”
“No fucking way. You want us to unplug them and let them rip our skins off?”
“Not quite how I would put it. We wouldn’t be in danger, they’ve got procedures for unplugging them. They can sedate them. We can keep 'em under long enough for Mason to have something built for them. Some virtual world like the one they‘ve got there.”
“You’re fucking crazy, Ringo.” Roger paused and then shrugged. What was she complaining about, this whole mission was far too boring anyway. “Fuck it, what do we do with Dr Evil here?”
“We need to make sure he doesn’t make any more of them.”
Jack put his hands on the Doctor’s temples but jerked back as the man’s neck exploded. Jolly Roger put away her gun. “Done.”
“Jesus fucking Christ, Roger, you didn’t need to do that!”
Roger was icy calm. “Your psychic shit’s all good, Jack, but the enemy have their own psychics. There was only one way to stop him making more monsters.”
“I could have made him want to cure world hunger for fucks sake. Guy was a genius and you just killed him like he was nothing.” His rant faded into a mutter. He knew the enemy had their own psychics but he still thought she shouldn’t have killed him. “Fuck it. Lets dope 'em up and get 'em ready.”
* * * * *
“That’s a wrap, baby.” Atthis said in her best nice voice. “Let’s pack this up.” A few more keystrokes and the song was recorded in the company’s archives. It was a pretty simple remix of ‘Baby, one more time’ and ’Slave 4 U’ that the executives had decided would be Britney’s next hit. The video had already been recorded, it was already completely wrapped up. This visit would be seen as Britney being a perfectionist and nobody would ever realise that Atthis had changed all of the subliminals in the single and album. Soon the single, ’Hit me, baby, I’m a slave.’ would soon be shipping to stores across the world and suddenly millions of boys and girls would start thinking slightly differently about their best friends. Oh glorious future. Atthis smiled a happy smile.
Mr Benn poked his head through the door and smiled back at Atthis. “I think it went quite well.”
Then the alarms started going off like crazy.
* * * * *
“Fuck, fuck, fuck.”
The three girls were all unconscious but opening the tubes had set off a head splitting alarm.
Roger added another “fuck” and shot out the speaker in the lab. A quick touch to her comm and she was talking to Atthis. “Hey, baby. Get Britney and meet us in the lift.”
“Roger.” Jack pointed to the screen he had patched into the security network. Several armoured personal carriers were pouring out black uniformed soldiers at the front of the building.
“Damn. That’s a good response time, I’m pretty impressed.”
“What other escape options have we got?”
“It’s already death to go down so we go up.”
They ran out of the room, Jack carrying two of the girls while Roger had a gun in each hand and a girl under one arm.
The lift opened and Roger pulled Britney and Atthis out of it and started running up the stairs.
“What the fuck happened and who the fuck are they?” Huffed Atthis as she tried to keep up with the other fitter agents.
“Genetically engineered super powered children.” Replied Jack. “We’ve rescued them.”
Atthis paused for a moment to take this in. “Ok. Just asking.”
“Atthis shut up. Jack can you tell where the soldiers are?” Roger shouted.
“Most of the soldiers are about two flights below us, a fuckload more have just been airlifted onto the roof. They’ve got orders to kill anyone they see. That security guard who let us in is already dead.”
“Why would they do something like that?” Asked Mr Benn, aghast.
“They’re not normal humans, they’ve had their minds blanked and reprinted with very basic commands. Almost totally immune to psychic attack and completely fucking merciless. It’s like something out of fucking ‘Authority.’”
“This way.” Roger commanded as she veered off through a door. It became clear why a second later as soldiers from a higher level started shooting down at them. They all sprinted after Roger who was searching for an escape. They ducked into an office just as soldiers started flooding into the corridor. Roger started grabbing things and barricading the door while Dane checked the window as a possible escape route.
Pop. As if by magic a man appeared.
“Fuck! Where’d you come from?” Shouted Atthis, causing Jolly Roger to swing round with her gun pointed at the newcomer.”
The man gulped. “Why don’t you exit this way?” He gestured to a door that hadn’t been there a moment before.
A burst of automatic fire cutting through the door made up their minds and they all ran through the door.
* * * * *
Mr Benn found himself alone and back in the changing room. He had long since stopped being surprised by developments like this and simply sighed happily and, slightly reluctantly, started to strip out of the pop princess identity.
In moments he was changed back into his normal clothes and exited with a neatly folded pile of clothes.
The shopkeeper was standing there waiting for him. “Did you enjoy that costume, sir?”
“Very much.” Said Mr Benn. “I didn’t know how much fun it was to be a pop star. Although I wonder if next time you might be able to get hold of a Jolly Roger costume. She looked like an exciting person to be.”
“I’ll see what I can do.” Said the shopkeeper, smiling beneficently.
* * * * * *
“Where the fuck...?” Jolly Roger trailed off as she realised that they were back in their safehouse. She saw that Jack and Atthis were equally dazed. Opening the door that they had come through, she saw that it was still simply a closet. “Ok.” She holstered her guns and clapped her hands together confidently. “We won.”
“How the felch?” Jack asked broadly.
Jolly Roger resisted the urge to ask what ‘felch‘ meant and simply answered. “I think that was the Shopkeeper.”
Roger cut off Jack’s swearword. “Mr Benn’s handler. He’s like a ghost, can get in and out of anywhere and never be seen unless he wants to be.”
Jack’s forehead furrowed. “So, this guy can go anywhere and we just risked getting our bollocks ripped off when he could have just gone in and out.”
“Er.....Yeah..... I guess so. Wasn‘t so much a risk for me anyway.” She grinned at him.
Jack dismissed the annoyance and gently placed the three mutated little girls on the couch. “I’m gonna give Mason a call, he should be able to set something up for the kids.”
“Still say we should have just killed them.”
Jack risked a quick look into Roger’s mind and, surprised to discover that Jolly Roger was actually getting warm maternal feelings over the hideous mutant children, started dialling Mason’s number.
* * * * *
Mr Benn strolled back along Festive road with a deeply satisfied feeling. He was already eager for his next adventure but knew he would have to wait till it was the right time. He put his hand in his pocket and realised something was in there that hadn’t been in there before. He pulled it out and examined it. It was a small badge that was completely blank. Mr Benn gave it a bemused smile and decided it would make a good souvenir of his adventure.
Pausing for a moment he realised that up ahead was Mrs Kensingtons’s daughter, Jane, and her friend. They weren’t shouting at each other anymore and when he saw Jane reach out tentatively to hold hands with the other girl he realised that they had made up.
Mr Benn smiled happily at the sight. He often had the urge to involve himself in the problems that he encountered in Festive road on the way to the costume shop but they always seemed to have worked out by the time he returned.
Mr Benn resumed walking towards his home dreaming of his future adventures and wondering how life could possibly be better.
Mr Benn is the property of Dave McGee
The Invisibles are the property of Grant Morrison and DC Comics
Britney Spears is presumably her own property.
Future Records is a made up name and I have no clue who manages the singers I mentioned.
The Powerpuff Girls are the property of Cartoon Network.
Miracleman is the property of Neil Gaiman - I mention that because halfway through writing the bit with the Powerpuff girls I realised that the plot of superhumans being controlled with a cartoony virtual reality was used first by Alan Moore in Miracleman.
I should probably mention the Josie and the Pussycats film because that also has the plot of subliminal messages in pop songs but that is one of the things which have given subliminal messages this image of being a ridiculous sci fi fantasy when in fact they exist in more places than you realise. They don’t turn people into zombies I think but they are subtle and in most advertising.