How NOT to Save the World (Season 1, Episode 1)

Season Content Notes (incomplete): violence, anti-nonhuman bigotry

Author note: This story started on TVTropes and never left. It is not meant to be taken seriously and few (if any) of the characters are fully developed as they are, first and foremost, defined by the tropes that inspired them. Tropes are footnoted1 for my fellow fans of all things Troperific.2 For everyone else, please enjoy a rather silly story that knows not to take itself seriously.

Prologue3

In 2199, the usually ‘New century’ hysteria took over (The milder version of the new millennium hysteria which made 1999 so memorable for the people who lived through it).

No one really expected anything to change, except for the calendars.

Especially since many of them still remembered 2099.

For once, the hysterics were right.

On New Year, at the stroke of midnight (UTC -14:00)4, the universe as humanity knew it ended.5 Magic ripped through the world, returning6 from god-knows-where (and ze isn’t telling). In an instant, people were gifted with magical abilities, transformed, or in some cases just plain dead (usually of heart attacks).

Dragons appeared, and unicorns, and elves, and little plaid men in blue kilts who spent all their time getting drunk and stealing anything that wasn’t nailed down.7

And… the world went on. Granted it went on very differently than before, but food still had to be grown, sex was still a driving force behind society-as-we-knew-it, and politicians continued blathering.

One group rejoiced in the arrival of magic: bureaucrats, who were able to create a half dozen new departments at every level of government, and had an excuse to create new and arcane paperwork for people to fill out.

The argument about whether or not non-human intelligent races were people lasted about one month. By which point the dragons had eaten anyone stupid enough to get on tv and say that dragons shouldn’t be allowed to vote.

The head of the World police force, who had himself been transformed into a dragon, expressed consternation and dismay at his department’s inability to catch the perpetrators of these horrid crimes.8

Science tried to analyze magic, magic refused to be analyzed. Magic tried to invalidate science, science refused to stop working.9 In the end they settled into an uneasy truce, where science was allowed to catalog magic and they worked in parallel to find new ways to improve daily life and bring death and destruction upon the world. And thus did things continue, until the present day.

T-minus 2 years10 11

Tracey* Frederickson,12 who sometimes managed to forget for hours at a time that she had once been Ameohne’e of the Cheyenne, officially conquered the world,13 14 at 1:15 GMT on the 6th of March, 2465. At which time she was sitting in her office reviewing an archaic list15 a friend had shared with her the night before.

“‘All naive, busty tavern wenches…’ whoever heard of a naive bar server?” She flicked her finger, deleting the paragraph from her holographic display. ” ‘All non-instantaneous deathtraps…’ Really? Note.” A new holographic screen popped up, adding a bluish sheen to her bronze skin. “Wu: research old vids with drowning pools, trash compactors, and/or gas chambers for next month’s marathon. Send.” The second screen winked out. “There’s gotta be something behind that one. ‘All slain enemies will be cremated…’ how is that not obvious. Necromancers. ‘1.45 MB file size? Padded?” A light flickered at the corner of her eye. “Yes?”

“Ma’am, Mx. Lu is here to speak with you.”

She sat up, the chair reshaping itself as she moved. “Send zir in!”

The handle on the old-fashioned door opened and Wu stepped in. Tracey, for once allowing nerves to drive her into procrastination, took the excuse of admiring Xu once again. And as far as Tracey was concerned, Lu Xia Wu16 17 was always worth admiring.18

Wu was a small person with what zi said were ‘classic’ Han features. Though the scattering of golden scales19 across hir skin wasn’t really ‘classic.’ But as far as Tracey was concerned, they turned Wu’s face into a work of art. Wu wore a 20th-century Western man’s business suit, in pale yellow.20 To modern eyes the simplicity of the outfit marked it as antique and androgynous.

Wu, excited and impatient, cleared hir throat as Tracey admired the way the color of the suit brought out the warmth of Wu’s skin.

Tracey shook her head. “Yes, I’m delaying.” She took a deep breath, but couldn’t continue.

Wu bowed but kept hir eyes on Tracey. “May this humble one give zir report?”

It was a chastisement, though likely only Tracey and a few others would recognize it.

“Okay, I’ll be good.” Another deep breath. “Tell me.”

Xu smiled, grinned actually. “They have conceded. As of 1142 Greenwich, you are officially the ruler of–”

Zi didn’t get to finish because Tracey had raced across the room in an instant and caught Wu up in a bear hug.21 “We did it!”

“You did, my friend.” Wu’s voice rasped with grief and memories and lack of air.22 “You led the way and won the prize. Even when this one thought it impossible, you persevered.”

“Not alone, Wu. And I couldn’t have done it without you at my back.” She released Wu and took another breath. Allowed herself a moment to thank whatever gods or spirits might be listening. She hadn’t been bluffing, but there is a long distance between ‘not bluffing’ and ‘eager to assassinate opponents and their families in job-lots.’ Tracey was honest enough to know she was a villain. But there are villains and villains, and there were some types of villains she didn’t want to become.23

A moment only.

“We planned for this. Is everyone ready?”

They were of course, and Wu assured her that everything waited only on her orders.

“Perfect!” Tracey threw a formal robe with interlinking black-and-red triangles over her casual office outfit. “Let’s go.”

On the way to the door, she called over her shoulder, “Computer, print poster-sized copy of document ‘Evil Overlord list’.”

A yellow ‘acknowledged’ light blinked.

“Evil overlord list?” Wu tapped the sigil temp-branded on zir wrist that would order all units to start moving.

Tracey grinned. “Something for the waiting room of my new office.” They strode out of her old office together, moving for the garage. “I figure it will amuse people.”24

“You mean people’s reactions to it will amuse you,” Wu said, as zi summoned the elevator.

“I’m a people too.”

“Allegedly.”

Five minutes later a convoy emerged from the underground bunker, headed for the World Government headquarters in the city of Maua.


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1 Footnoting has been rather more of a pain than I’d hoped. Enjoy for now, but I can’t promise to continue.

* From the beginning (over 5 years ago), this character has been Trevor. But for some reason, I found about 2 pages of an earlier draft where ‘man!Trevor’ became ‘woman!Tracey’. After a lot of back and forth, I decided to go with both. So the newsletter has Trevor and the website has Tracey. Both are canon.

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