No one can ever be entirely sure what, or who, started the entire fanaticism over Colonel Fitzwilliam, but it cannot be denied that this plague has taken the Jane Austen fans of the female persuasion by storm, leaving page upon page of adoration in it's wake. There are, of course, a few who seem to be immune to the Fitzwilliam Fever and they strive to push him to the background of their stories or simply show no interest in him whatsoever. This inflicts varying emotions within the hearts of his faithful followers who immediately and valiantly defend their beloved's name, honor, and studliness; however, they also conclude that the less admirers there are, the less women they will have to 'dispose of' in the contest of capturing this elusive figure.
And so it was, that many years came to pass, and the Dwiggies mourned their numerous failures to capture Colonel Stud-muffin/Hot-Pants/Loin-Cloth/Fitzie-Pie/Hot-Loins/etc until finally one day a figure stood tall among the crowd and exclaimed...
"Hot Dogs...Get yer hot dogs...fresh and hot, get 'em right here..."
"What the...that's not right..." Incoherent grumbling and the ruffling of paper are heard. "Aaah, here it is! All right then..." Clears throat."
...until one day a figure stood tall among the crowd and exclaimed...
"...get relief for dry, red eyes...Wow."
"GAH! What the hell? Ben Stein, get off my set!" Boots Ben in the bum and continues reading. "And if there's any more interruptions, I'm not continuing...GOT IT?!" *silence* "Good!"
...until one day a figure stood tall among the crowd and exclaimed...
*looks around suspiciously but all is quiet* Riiiight... *continues reading*
The crowd, which had stood silent and attentive like a herd of cows, gasped at the profound declaration before erupting into a deafening cheer. Once again, General Coleen, fearless leader of the Colonel Crusaders had formulated a Plan. When the shouting died down, it was explained in great detail, added upon, and improved until finally all could agree that the Plan was, indeed, flawless.
A solitary figure lurked in the shadows around the edge of the crowd, listening intently. Once he obtained the information he had sought, he slipped away unnoticed. Everyone else, completely oblivious to the spy in their midst, spent the night celebrating, dancing, and eating Nutella and a variety of other sweets; soon - yes, soon, the Colonel would be in their possession again...and so, the next day, once everyone recovered from Nutella overdose, the Plan was set into motion...
The musty, smoke filled tavern was exceptionally crowded and the pungent smell of warm bodies and alcohol mingled in the air. Lewd jests and laughter reverberated through the room as two gentlemen entered, and stood in the doorway, searching the crowd. Spotting a familiar figured hunched down at a table, the duo made their way back, shouting greetings to friends as they passed. Stopping in front of the table, they looked down to the disgruntled form of Colonel Fitzwilliam. Stubble covered his face, dark circles were under his eyes, his skin sallow.
Darcy glanced at his cousin, Reginald Fitzwilliam, and shook his head. Ever since those Dwiggie ladies had chased Richard across England and beyond, he had done his best to hide. Many a time, he'd woken to find a particular lady standing above him with a lecherous gleam in her eyes. One time he had even been gagged, bound, and almost kidnapped from Matlock. Luckily, Reginald had been in the library, unable to sleep, and had heard the commotion. If it hadn't been for him, who knows what fate the Colonel would have been subjected to. (Knowing those Dwiggies, it probably would have included nutella, whips, chains and a whole lot of other fun stuff!) *sounds of drooling and panting fill the air*
But the very last attempt had forced the Colonel into hiding. The entire horde had infiltrated his camp and injured a number of men while General Coleen, with the assistance of Vicar General Karen Marie, chloroformed Richard and threw him into a waiting carriage. A mile down the road, they had lifted him out of the carriage and flung him over the back of an extra horse. The ladies split into four groups, each taking a different direction to throw off their followers. It had taken them the entire day to loose the militia who had followed with dogged determination.
Once they thought themselves out of danger, the ladies met at their rendezvous point and continued on to an estate that Tabbi had leased for this particular mission. The prospect itself was quite desolate and the ladies hoped it would discourage passersby's from stopping. The entire upper floor was dedicated to a laboratory where the ladies planned to clone Fitzwilliam, and keep them for personal stock, plus make a side profit by selling them as gigolos.
The ladies were so confident of their success in kidnapping Richard that they hadn't bothered to post out-looks on the rooftop and around the perimeter of the land. Had it not been for this one oversight, Richard would not have been found and rescued so soon. It had only taken the Colonel's regiment four weeks to track down their beloved leader. Not quite soon enough to prevent the Dwiggies from creating a multitude of clones, however. Fortunately, none of the ladies were captured during the raid, but they lost Richard and the clones during the chaos. They now had a new Plan, and soon Richard would be on the run again.
BUT...this time, Darcy and Reginald had a Plan, too! And this is why they sought him out...
Only Richard's eyes moved as his older brother and cousin sat in the chairs on either side of him. He didn't even have the energy to speak. I mean, after having been chased, used as a sex object, rejected by the women he loved, only to later have her die on him, and killed...well it just wasn't turning out to be his month...hell maybe this whole year was jinxed for our poor Richard. Because this is just the beginning. *feminine cackling heard in the background*
HEY! Do you girls mind! I'm trying to concentrate here...yeesh! *mutter* *grumble*
*mumbled apologies and then blessed silence*
All right now...where was I...............OH! Right! The Plan! Actually, ya'll can't hear it because that would just take the fun out of the whole story...
And so Reginald and Darcy discussed in soft whispers their Plan to Richard...and behold it was a Good Plan and thus their Plan was also set into motion...
The quiet hum of the air conditioner belied the turmoil of the room's occupants. General Coleen, and her army had been on the move for several weeks, trailing Colonel Fitzwilliam, his elder brother and Darcy. Due to the advantageous information Shem was able to provide, the months in which they had lost previously were reduced to but a few days. But suddenly, the almost too obvious trail had disappeared. The Colonel Crusaders were all in uproar, unable to move, but restless to continue their quest.
Shem spent most of her time trying to track down their prey, returning to base regularly with reports and new leads. Scouts were sent out on the leads to determine if they were genuine or mere diversions. So far they had all been false but two - however both were set off in different directions, hence the mounting frustration felt by all. A handful of scouts remained abroad, searching for answers while the others argue possibilities.
Tiki stood and began pacing in front of several maps and tactical drawings lining one wall of the room. Her brows furrowed and her mouth formed a grim line. "But it doesn't make sense. Their path was clear, and disgustingly obvious, and now it just disappears? Now the only two possible leads split in different directions." She growled, "I don't like the feel of this."
Deb voiced her thoughts, "But it could be that they only just realized they were being followed and purposely set up the diversions..."
"Both of which could be false." General Coleen pointed out, while studying the latest report.
"Yes, but what I meant is that the trail was obvious before only because they weren't aware of our following them."
Coleen looked up. "It is possible of course, and I certainly would like to think it's true, but previous experience with the Colonel leads me to think otherwise. I'm thinking they purposely led us here...I want to know why!" She slammed her fist on the desk in frustration. " We could have easily laid siege upon them a week ago in Marcomb, but I held back because I don't like the feel of this any more than Tiki does."
Christen replied archly. "It seems our prey has grown a brain. They're planning something while we're stuck here like sitting ducks."
A grim silence fell over the room as everyone faced the possibility that their plan wasn't going to work after all. Shem was due back soon and everyone waited anxiously for any news she might have. Exactly where she got her information, nobody knew. But it was always accurate and had earned her the prestige of Top Spy.
Tiki circled the room once more and flopped onto one of the sofas. "Well, I don't know about the rest of you, but I'm starving. How about we order some food while we wait for everyone to get back?"
Her idea was met with unanimous approval and after placing an extremely large order; Tiki went to have a shower before room service delivered it. The others talked amongst themselves, read, played cards, or watched TV. Vicar General Karen Marie performed her daily inspection of the surveillance equipment before joining General Coleen and discussing tactics.
Shem muttered to herself as the elevator stopped at the fifth floor of the posh hotel where headquarters were located for the time being. Suddenly all of her contacts had selective amnesia, especially the men, and couldn't remember seeing or hearing anything. Only Xavier could provide any new information and very little at that. What ever the Colonel was up to, he was keeping well hidden - and his brother and Darcy were buying secrecy. Try as she might, Shem could not convince her own characters to fork over any hints, even under threat of death.
Too occupied with her thoughts, she wasn't aware of an approaching person until she ran into him. Glancing up briefly, she mumbled her apology and walked on. It took approximately five steps until Shem realized just whom she had run into. Giving a muffled shriek, she whirled around but he had already disappeared. However, she noticed a slight movement from the corner of her eye and turned her head just in time to see the fifth door down click shut.
Shem bolted down the hallway leading to the room where base was located, fumbling with the little plastic card key. Numerous attempts later, and the door still refused to cooperate. Swearing angrily, she beat on the door, practically hopping from one foot to the other. The door swung open and she ran into the room, wild eyed, gasping and babbling incoherently.
Caroline eyed the gibbering Shem, and whispered to her companion, "What's she on?"
"I don't know but I'd like some myself." Andrea murmured, watching with amusement as Coleen tried to make sense of what was coming from Shem's mouth.
Several minutes passed and still no sense could be made of it all. Coleen poured some whiskey into a glass and handed it to Shem who accepted it without thinking and downed the contents in one gulp. Coughing and spluttering, she slammed the glass down and clutched her throat.
"That was cruel," she croaked.
Coleen simply arched an eyebrow and said, "Now tell us what happened."
Once again Shem began hopping from one foot to the other, waving her hands frantically and blurted, "The Colonel! He's here! Just down the hall. I was coming up the hallway and smacked right into him..."
The others gasped, firing question upon question at the frazzled Shem.
Coleen frowned, "Wait a minute...you smacked into him. Then...why isn't he with you?"
Shem blushed and looked down, "Well, you see, I was sort of not paying attention and by the time I realized who he was, he'd already gone into his room." Angry bellowing met this excuse before Coleen motioned for everyone to be silent.
"Which room is he in?"
Grinning triumphantly, Coleen replied, "Get the others back here. We have a Colonel to capture."
"Yes, ma'am!" Shem grinned and picked up the radio transmitter. "Roger Rabbit, come in Roger Rabbit. This is Petunia...the Sheep are in the Pen...repeat the Sheep are in the Pen. Over and out."
"Great! While we're waiting for them to get back, let's figure out exactly what we're going to do and who's being assigned where."
Mo pulled out her maps and gave a quick run down of the plan to everyone, explaining what each of them was suppose to do.
Twenty minutes later, everyone had been assigned their posts and was in the process of getting into position. Mo and Renata quietly edged up to the door to room 515, hugging the walls, stun guns in hand. Mo put two fingers in the air, pointing straight up, made a quick slash, and jerked her arm down, hand fisted. Renata looked at her strangely and mouthed, "What?"
Mo shrugged and whispered, "I dunno, but I've always wanted to do that." A noise behind the doorway stopped their whispered conversation as they strained to hear more. The sound of the elevator doors opening made them look down the hallway. Caroline, dressed a hotel employee, wheeled a cart toward them. There was a large tablecloth draped over the cart, covering the bottom where Lisette hid, carrying a stun gun of her own.
The rest of the girls were paired off and placed at every entrance, exit, and elevator throughout the building. Jen F. and Katy Ann covered the laundry chute downstairs, and everyone was confident of a quick capture. Caroline stopped in front of the doorway and knocked, "Room Service."
Voices were heard inside, followed by the sound of footsteps. Mo and Renata smiled at each other, tense and ready to strike. But when the door opened, Mo, Renata, and Caroline stood frozen in horror. Lisette, who hadn't been able to see who opened the door, immediately jumped out from her position and tackled the man standing in the doorway. Almost instantly she realized something was wrong. Not just the fact that whoever she had tackled was quite...eh pudgy, but also greasy. Scrambling away as quickly as possible, Lisette slowly raised her gaze, whispering a silent prayer that she was wrong.
Unfortunately God was busy taking a shower and didn't hear her through his singing. There, standing before the girls, wearing only a towel wrapped around his waste, was Collins. Lisette began shaking violently, cowering against the opposite wall.
"Oh my," Collins said in a flustered manner as he held up the towel that threatened to slip below his waist. Despite having just taken a shower, his hair remained limp, greasy, and plastered to his head. The Dwiggies' pallor turned a sickened shade of grayish-green at the sight of Collins' hairy gut drooping in front of them. "I do apologize for answering the door in my current state of undress. Lady Catherine would be most displeased if she were to see me attired in an inappropriate manner. Nude male bodies are not to be witnessed by proper young ladies such as yourselves. It might lead to inappropriate behaviors and thoughts and I would be remiss in my duties as a clergyman if I did not try to prevent them whenever possible. If I have given offense I here beg leave to apologize."