Personality Quirks

Bob Kiwi and Company Take on a Random Personality Survey

        The theater of the mind, that ephemeral realm where Jennies' creativity demons run rampant, is a vast and sprawling place. Aside from Brain Central – that functional workspace where ideas are spun into reality (whether they've funding and authorization or not) – there's Cloud Nine and the Pits (the Muses' and Creativity Demons' respective domains), Mad Ravings (the techno rave club and paintball/mud pit the creativity demons run at the edge of their territory), the Bishie Sanctuary (and adjoining Kindergarten and Biosphere for younger but still adorable individuals), the Accounting Department (no flammables allowed), the A/V Department (typically in the midst of some form of coup / power struggle), the Library (a seldom-quiet place with a racetrack running through part of the Reference section), the Laboratory (for the testing of dangerous concepts and ideas), the Forum (home of the Soapbox), and various Study Halls and Lounges where characters and “idle” (or, more accurately, “unfounded but scheming”) creativity demons tend to gather to relax, rehearse, or just sit around and chat. Such Lounges are scarcely visited by the Jennies - unless she's bored, or looking for someone.
        Characters and entities from all series and walks of life tend to gather here, discussing news, sports, ambitions, nefarious plots – whatever comes to mind. Impromptu sessions of brainstorming and plot development often occur here, which is one of the reasons the area is thoroughly bugged. Sometimes, the characters in a particular series – friends and foes alike – will gather in a single plush corner Lounge, weighing in on key points of plot and/or or story progress. This can be a very dangerous thing to do if Jennies is bored, as random bursts of inspiration strike frequently in these rooms. (Something to do with dry air and wooly carpet, or so I'm told…)

Bob: All I'm saying is, Bobetta has a point. Why do you always wear the same shirt?
Ferdie: It's not the same shirt. It's the same design. I have a closet-ful of them, just in case they get damaged.
Bobetta: But it's such a limited wardrobe…
Ferdie: I prefer to think of it as simple and uncomplicated. (shrugs) Besides, I have a suit for when it's really important…
Jennies: (bursts into room) There you are!
All: (jump w/surprise) Yeep!
Beak: Are we late for a meeting?
Jennies: No, but I've just been inspired. (waves paper) We're taking a personality quiz!
Bob: (groans) Oh, not another one!
Jennies: It's this or haiku. Besides, (shrugs) this one has nothing to do with Mary Sues or Karaoke. I just think it might be interesting. C'mon, pull up a chair!

The group grudgingly tugs couches and chairs into something approaching a drunken semicircle. A few fights break out over the most comfortable spots, and some of the villains get rather “creative” in choosing their seats – but all in all, the process goes smoothly.

Bobetta: (scowls at Jesmynne, who is curled up on D'Gal's lap in a battered easy chair) That is a highly inappropriate place to sit.
Jesmynne: (smiles demurely) So? Make me move.
Bobetta: …No, I don't think I will.
Jesmynne: (smiles)
Bobetta: (whispering to Bob) I say, is she entirely stable?
Passing Creativity Demon: A world of “no”.

        The sound of a localized explosion echoes from the direction of the errant demon's wanderings. Jesmynne calmly tucks the rocket-propelled grenade launcher back beside the easy chair as Bobetta latches onto Bob for protection.

Jennies: (ignores the burning creativity demon as he runs about in search of a fountain) Okay. Question number one –
Bob: Wait. Just what kind of quiz is this?
Jennies: Just a random one. No real topic.
Bob: So why are we doing it?
Jennies: (shrugs) No real reason.
Beak: Well, that makes sense.
Bob: (mortified) Beak!
Jennies: (smiles at Beak) Thank you. (looks at quiz) Now, then. Question #1: What is on your bedside table?
Iiwi: Bedside what?
Beak: A baNAna.
Bob: Coffee cup.
Ferdie: Reference book.
Ferdia: Handgun.
D'Gal & Jesmynne: Assorted weaponry.
Ivan: A lamp.
Squeaks: (nods) The same.
Sign Holder: And an alarm clock.
Bob: Oh yeah, I've got one of those, too. And a light.
Lita: (shrugs) Stuff.
Newton: A dragon.
All: (pause)
Ferdia: (thumbs to Newton) He wins.
Lita: Hands down.
Drake: (frowns) This isn't a contest.
Jennies: (snorts) Ha! Hahahahahaheehee…. (fit of smothered laughter) Hee… (recovers, frowning thoughtfully) Hmm. I think I'll skip number two - “What is the geekiest part of your music collection?”
Beak: Why?

        A computer terminal nearby beeps in a similarly inquisitive tone. As the group looks on, the words “Yes, why?” appear on the screen's yellow background, followed by a smilie face with a halo. D'Gal grins.

Jennies: That's why. (computer whines, displays frownie face with tongue sticking out. Jennies ignores it) So. Question three. What do you eat when you raid the fridge in the middle of the night?
Ferdie: Breakfast.
Squeaks: Or lunch.
Ferdia: Or possibly dinner. (glances at partner) It depends what shift we're on.
Bob: Vanilla yogurt.
Beak: BaNAna crème pie.
Iiwi: Pickles. Preferably sour ones.
Lita: (snorts) Fridge, hell. I go for the li- (catches sight of Ivan) –icorice jar or whatever's convenient.
Sign Holder: Cheese. With raisins.
Ferdie: Milk and leftovers. Well, provided they're not meatloaf.
Jesmynne: It really depends on why I'm raiding said fridge, and whether or not I have help.
Drake: And what's that supposed to mean?
D'Gal: You would have to ask, Dumas.
Drake: What? I sleep at night!
Jesmynne: Aw, poor baby. I'd feel sorry for you, if I didn't want to eviscerate you.
Bob: What about you, Jennies?
Jennies: Oh, I never feel sorry for Drake. (pause) Oh! You meant what do I eat! Hmm….well, pickles, cheese, crackers…Whatever's convenient. I usually try to balance sugary foods with salty ones. (pause) So. Question four. What is the lift-weight ratio of an unladen swallow?
All: What?
Lita: African or European?
Bob: Jennies! That's not part of the quiz!
Jennies: No, but is anyone here actually going to admit to a secret, guaranteed weeping film?
All: (silence)
Jennies: I didn't think so.
Bob: Wait, I will! “From Vine to Vintage: The Creation of Gourmet Coffee”. (sniff) It's just so beautiful!
Ivan: You're a strange one, Zero.
Ferdie: What about Night of the Living Dead, or other really bad, cheesy sci-fi movies? Those things make me laugh 'til I cry!
Jennies: I think you're missing the spirit of the question.
Drake: What about Old Yeller? The loyal dog that dies protecting his master?
D'Gal: Dies-? They put him down, fool!
Drake: Only because some evil fiend of a creature bit him and made him rabid!
Jesmynne: Oh, go fall down a well.
Drake: That's Lassie!
Jesmynne: Who cares?!?
Jennies: Moving on….If you could have plastic surgery, what would you have done?
D'Gal: (grins darkly) Oh, I know what I'd have done. But it wouldn't be to me.
Jesmynne: (glances up) Hm? (D'Gal whispers to her) Ah. (shoots Drake a predatory grin) …fun.
Drake: Wait, I know that look. What're you two plotting?
Both: (grin)
Drake: eep. (slides down in chair) help me…
Jennies: (chuckles) I love these things…. Do you have a completely irrational fear?
Beak: (points to Bob) Bridges.
Bob: (points to Beak) Tunnels.
Both: What?!?
Bob: (indignant) But – but they're so high!
Beak: (worried) And tunnels are so far underground!
Both: There's nothing irrational about it! (pause, glaring at each other) Oh, yes there is! (pause) No there's not! (pause) Yes there –
Lita: (holds up sheep)
Drake: (leaps onto back of chair) Aaaaa! Sheep!!!
Sign Holder: Haven't we milked that enough?
Lita: Evidently not.
Jennies: Anybody else?
Ferdia: (solemnly) Mimes.
Iiwi: Closed spaces.
Jesmynne: Hairspray. (the others look at her) What?
Ferdie: (as they recover from surprise and turn to him) Don't look at me. All my fears are completely rational.
Iiwi: (rolls eyes) Oh, I'm sure.
Ferdie: Okay, fine. But there's a story behind the meatloaf.
Jennies: (absently) There always is. Questions seven: What is the little physical habit that gives away your insecure moments?
Iiwi: Preening.
Squeaks: Tail twitch.
Ferdia: Fidgeting.
Newton: Look of total bewilderment.
Ferdie: Tendency to run away screaming.
Jesmynne: Flying into a homicidal rage and mowing down everything in my path.
All: (pause)
Jesmynne: What?
Ivan: (looking up from furiously-scribbled notes) Don't stop now! This valuable information!
Sign Holder: (helpfully, to others) The boss growls.
Ivan: (glares at Sign Holder)
Lita: Or glares.
Ivan: (blinks. Mutters)
Iiwi: And then there's the muttering…
Jennies: I, on the other hand, interrupt. Preferably before all hell breaks loose. Then I ramble and abruptly change the subject. Do you ever have to beg?
All: (silence)
Jennies: (holds up quiz) It's question eight, people.
Beak: Oh, okay! (pauses) Beg for what?
D'Gal: Mercy is usually pretty high on the list.
Jesmynne: Yes, we hear it a lot.
Drake: You sick, sadistic fiends.
Jesmynne: (to Jennies) Put him down as a “Yes”. (points to Drake)
Drake: (indignant) I do not! I would never – (Lita's carnivorous sheep pounces on him from atop the nearby mantel) Aaaaaa! Get it off me! Get it off me! (flails about madly) Oh pleaseohpleaseohpleaseohplease –
Lita: …Yeeaaah. O-kay. (turns back to group) Personally, I find bullying, nagging, and even whining to be more effective than begging.
Ferdie: And there's always running away. (pauses, frowning) Except when there isn't. Then there's begging.
Ferdia: (thinking) We've pleaded with people before.
Squeaks: It's more like cajoling.
Ferdia: We're also heavily into bargaining.
Squeaks: (quirks eyebrow at her) The Chief calls that 'blackmail'.
Ferdia: (shrugs) And Vernon calls it nagging. What's your point?
Squeaks: (grins) No point.
Jennies: (sighs) Right, and Question 9's not much better.
Beak: (reading over Jennies' shoulder) “Do you have too many love interests?”
Jennies: I vote we skip this one.
All: Second!
Jennies: Right. On to ten: Describe your bed.
Jesmynne: (grins) Well, -
Jennies: Not you.
Jesmynne: But it's –
Jennies: No.
Jesmynne: And it's got these –
Jennies: Don't wanna hear it.
Jesmynne: But it's just so much f-
D'Gal: (nuzzles her) Jes, love, let it go. Their loss.
Drake: (returning to his seat with a ripped sleeve, having finally shaken off the sheep) Loss? Hardly. If anything, we're better off not knowing. Enlightening us would only make us lose sleep.
Jesmynne: (sighs) How boring.
Bobetta: (muttering in as ladylike a manner as one can mutter) Not proper decorum at all…
Jesmynne: (head snaps around to glare sharply at Bobetta) What was that?
Bobetta: (sniffs contemptuously) My bed is a beautifully hand-carved Victorian piece; a mahogany frame with wrought iron accents and a light, wavy canopy. I've fitted it with a sumptuously soft, emperor-sized mattress, Eiderdown pillows, and satiny pink sheets trimmed with hand-stitched lace. The ruffles –
Lita: Somebody make her stop. I've read less nauseating descriptions in Barbie catalogues.
Jennies: What were you doing reading –
Lita: It was a dare. Ten bucks a page, until I passed out. I was going on a C-note when I hit the Princess collection and lost my lunch.
Bobetta: (muttering) Uncultured swine. (sweetly, to Lita) Do you even have a bed, dearie, or does that fiend (glares at Ivan) make you sleep on a couch somewhere?
Lita: Oh, I have a bed. It's your basic double & box spring, with a wheeled iron frame to keep it off the floor. It's got magenta-plum-type sheets and a couple dozen pillows, and half of it's generally covered with books an' projects an' stuff.
Bobetta: Heathen.
Sign Holder: I've got a twin bed with a wood frame an' plain sheets, an' I make it every day.
Lita: Why?!?
Sign Holder: (grins) Makes the maids think I'm up to something.
Lita: Are you?
Sign Holder: Sometimes.
Iiwi: (contemplatively) I usually just look for a warm, dry perch high above the ground and curl up for the night. But when I'm out in forests and jungles for extended periods of time, I tend to take cover in caves or abandoned nests, or make my own, and I do keep a nice, cushy bean bag in my loft for when I'm in town…
Ivan: You have a loft?
Iiwi: (shrugs) Gotta keep my stuff someplace. It won't all fit in the office.
Lita: You could sell it, you know.
Iiwi: A treasure hunter doesn't sell their trove. I only sell the bits I don't care to keep.
Beak: (interrupting) If a nest and a bag of beans count as a bed, does that mean my hammock does, too?
Ferdie: Hammock?
Beak: (nods) It's big and yellow and kind of looks like a baNAna. I bought it from an old African safari guide and hung it in the corner of my apartment, by the window.
Bob: You would do that…
Jennies: Okay, moving on –
Bob: Waitaminute! We're not done!
Jennies: Yes, you are.
Bob: But-
Jennies: (sighs) My bed is wherever I choose to sleep. Happy?
Bob: (blinks) Um…
Jennies: So. Question 11: Spontaneous or Plan?
Jesmynne: Spontaneous!
D'Gal: Plan!
Both: (pause, glance at each other) Both!
Bob: You people scare me.
Ferdia: I don't see what you're so upset about. It's a perfectly good strategy.
Beak: What is?
Ferdia: You start with the basic outline of a plan, and wing it from there.
Squeaks: (nods) It works well when responding to fluid or unpredictable situations, because it forces you to think quickly and adapt to changes on the fly.
Lita: Bah. I say spontaneity wins out for sheer element of surprise.
Iiwi: That's all well and good when your plan falls short and you run into something you didn't expect, but I find it's best to prepare for every contingency. After all, the element of surprise works both ways. If you've planned well and done your homework, instead of triggering alarms and bumbling into guards, you can anticipate them and even use them to your advantage.
Ivan: A good plan also lets you control considerably larger endeavors from start to finish. Tell a group of barely sentient thugs to steal the Crown Jewels, and they'll bungle it before they ever get near the doors. But tell that same bunch of high-school dropouts just exactly what to do, and when, and where, and you stand a decent chance of pulling it off.
Bob: Fiend.
Ivan: Besides, how else are you going to stay two steps ahead of anyone else?
Jennies: (nods) Good, good. Question twelve: Who should play you in a movie about your life?
Ferdia: Me. (glances at others) What? I need the money!
Jennies: (mutters) I can tell I'm not about to get any coherent responses to this question. Next!
Beak: Next what?
Jennies: Hm? Oh! “Do you know how to play poker?”
Beak: No. But Miss Iiwi does.
Iiwi: And how!
Ivan: Cheating is not the same as playing.
Iiwi: It is if you're doing it right. And it doesn't stop you from doing so.
Lita: Besides, boss, you shouldn't bet what you don't want to lose.
Ivan: And you shouldn't cheat against your employer!
Lita: Why not? I never make you pay. And besides, the sign holder usually wins.
Sign Holder: (innocently) But I don't cheat.
Ivan: (peers at Sign Holder) You know, kid, I almost believe you. Good acting.
Sign Holder: (grins wide) Thanks, sir!
Jennies: Anyone besides the villains-
Iiwi: (indignant) Hey!
Jennies: - and Iiwi – know how to play?
Bobetta: I can play a little. (beams) Bob taught me. (pauses, frowning) But I prefer Bridge. It's far more civilized, if not necessarily less violent.
Ferdia: (indicating self and Squeaks) We used to go up against Casey and Trevor on stakeouts, but we really haven't done those lately. I hear they're teaching the coffee how to play, though. Almost got it to stop dissolving the cards…
Jennies: (sigh) Moving on…What do you carry with you at all times?
Squeaks: A phaser.
Ferdia: A gun.
Ferdie: Reference book and notepad.
Bob: Coffee.
Beak: A baNAna or two…
Bobetta: My purse and makeup.
Newton: A spellbook. And quite often the dragon.
Lita: Attitude!
Sign Holder: My sign. Well, unless it breaks.
Ivan: Some sort of knife or firearm, generally.
Jesmynne: An assorted arsenal.
D'Gal: Whatever I need.
Jesmynne: (smiles deviously, eyes alight)
Jennies: (to Jesmynne) I forbid you to editorialize. (to Drake) And you?
Drake: Hm?
Jennies: The question? What do you always carry?
D'Gal: A grudge.
Drake: (testy) Don't get me confused with yourselves!
D'Gal: (bristles)
Drake: *gulp* Um…ah….
Lita: (stage-whispers to Sign Holder, thumbing at Drake) Death wish.
Beak: (oblivious) Can I add “lightsabre” to mine? (pauses, frowning) And doesn't Drake always carry communicators or something?
Drake: Usually, yes. And I'm always armed and in uniform.
Jennies: (muttering) And three steps from oblivion.
Drake: Hm?
Jennies: (smiles) Nothing! So! Next question: How do you drive?
Ferdie: (looks at sister) Like a maniac!
Ferdia: There's nothing wrong with how I drive!
Ferdie: Yeah, if you're in an action movie!
Squeaks: (calmly) There's nothing wrong with high speed maneuvers and unconventional tactics. (pauses) Provided you know what you're doing.
Ferdia: Which I do!
Squeaks: (nods) Absolutely.
Ferdie: (points at Squeaks, frustrated) You're one to talk! You're just as bad as she is!
Iiwi: I don't see what the big deal is. They drive like I fly.
Ferdie: Which goes a long way in explaining why no one ever asks you for a lift.
Iiwi: (fluffs out feathers) Look, just because your heap of a car got eaten-
Ferdie: Must everyone bring that up?!? It's got nothing to do with-
Beak: I ride a bicycle. Slowly and safely and-
Bob: Didn't Newt melt it?
Newton: I did no-
Bob: Not you. My scientist.
Newton: Oh.
Beak: Yes, it got melted. But I'm saving up for a new one.
Newton: I would ride my horse, but that seems to be frowned upon within city limits.
Ferdia: Only on roads and highways.
Squeaks: And sidewalks.
Ferdia: (brightly) But parks are okay! As is most of the historic district, where it's all cobblestones and pedestrian streets and carriageways.
Squeaks: Most of the harbor is open, too.
Ferdia: (smiles) We checked with the department.
Newton: (bows head) Thank you, milady.
Bobetta: All this talk of horses makes me nostalgic. Perhaps I'll take a trip out to the stables and renew my equestrian prowess with a ride through the country.
Ivan: You have a horse?
Bobetta: (haughtily) I own the stables. It follows that at least one of the beasts within belongs to, or at least would have no objections to loaning itself out to, me.
Ivan: I thought you preferred your blasted limo and chauffer?
Bobetta: Generally, yes – not that there's anything “blasted” about my limo. (remembers question) Oh, and my chauffeurs are always excellent drivers. What about your new driver, Ivan? (bats eyes innocently)
Ivan: (mutters) Actually, her style's a bit more like a certain transplanted East Coast cabbie…
Lita: (stiffly) You heard the mouse. Nothing wrong with fast maneuvers and unconventional style.
Ivan: (angrily) There is when it's my car!
Lita: (pouts) You never argue when we're being chased.
Ivan: There's nothing wrong with it then! But a trip to the theater should not be a death-defying endeavor!
Lita: Picky, picky…
Jennies: (looks at Jesmynne and D'Gal) I'm not even going to ask you two.
Jesmynne: (smiles) Live fast, die young.
D'Gal: (glances at her) Hopefully not.
Jennies: Alright, Question sixteen. What do you miss most about being little?
Ferdia: My father. (Iiwi nods)
Squeaks: My family.
Newton: My sense of security.
Ferdie: I second that.
Ivan: I don't. I hated my childhood.
Sign Holder: Me, too. (pauses) I'm liking it just fine now, though.
Lita: I liked thinking adventures were always great fun, where no one died unless they were mean, stupid, or had it coming.
Beak: I miss being able to discuss the Great BaNAna with other believers and scholars.
D'Gal: I miss my innocence. (to stares) What? I had one!
Jesmynne: (wistfully) Running along the beach, collecting shells…I used to love the water, y'know? Parents practically had to drag me out of the ocean for meals and school and such…
D'Gal: (faraway look) The farm was always quiet and peaceful, with fields of green that stretched on forever…
Drake: (scowling) Oh, bah! Like anyone would fall for that act!
Jennies: (aside) Leave it to Drake to break the spell.
D'Gal: (snarling and catching Jesmynne mid-spring) Of course, Dumas, one of the best parts of being a child was knowing nothing of you!
Drake: Likewise!
Newton: Oh, my.
Ferdia: Don't mind them. It's their hobby.
Newton: Oh, it's not that, milady. But – have you, perchance, seen the dragon lately?
Ferdia: (frowns) No, not recent- (the small carnivorous sheep skitters between her feet, followed by the diminutive dragon) There it – (sheep hits tile at end of carpet, skids, swings around and lunges at the dragon, who leaps backward in a flurry of wings and scrambles away) What…? Are they playing tag?
Newton: (watching tit-for-tat chase) I suppose since neither is large enough to devour the other, the most either can do is give chase.
Ferdie: (glancing between Newton and Lita) Your pets have issues.
Jennies: (massaging forehead) As if anyone in this motley crew can accuse someone of that. (loudly) Next Question! (bickering stops) Are you happy with your given name?
Lita: Yeah.
Iiwi: Sure.
Ferdia: (shrugs) Fine by me.
Ferdie: Well, with my first name, anyway. I could kind of do without the rest…
Iiwi: But we love your middle names, Fonzie!
Bob: (ignoring fuming Ferdie) Of course I like my name! Absolutely!
Beak: (nods)
D'Gal: It's as good as any.
Jesmynne: (smirks) Better'n most.
Newton: Aye. Provided it's not shortened, that is.
Squeaks: (half-shrug) It'll do. Though its significance is lost outside of Arellia.
Ferdia: Significance?
Lita: (frowns, thinking) Hey, yeah, wait, isn't 'Squeaks' a modern take on some ancient general's surname or something?
Squeaks: (blinks) Something like that. I'm impressed.
Lita: (shrugs) Hey, I occasionally paid some attention in History…
Ivan: Not that your grades show it.
Lita: This world's history is soooooo boring! What do I care when this or that land was discovered, or who invented the cotton gin? And even when the teachers get to the wars, they feed us a bunch of dates and just skip right over all the fighting! Didn't people keep records back then? I want tactics, and battle strategies, and the origination and integration of gunpowder and firearms into European warfare!
Ivan: (blinks)
Iiwi: (snickers) Oh, you have got to take her to a PTA meeting! The soccer moms would just die!
Ivan: That's what worries me.
Jennies: Oh, bah. I'm sure teachers would love it if their classes took more interest in the subject matter. And besides, knowing the basic histories of certain long-standing conflicts could be very useful to some people…
Beak: (looking confused) You're talking about the President again, aren't you, Jennies?
Jennies: No, I'm talking about a lot of people. I am deeply shamed by the level of wanton ignorance that pervades contemporary American society.
Beak: So…Congress, then?
Jennies: No, I – You know, I'm just going to read the next question. What color is your bedroom?
Beak: (smiles) BaNAna yellow.
Bob: Light mocha.
Bobetta: Pink.
Lita: (rolls eyes) Obviously.
Bobetta: With little pink sparkles brushed over top, so it shimmers in the sunlight.
Lita: Oh, barf.
Bobetta: (huffs) I suppose yours is black with bars on the windows, you little miscreant!
Lita: Actually, it's more of a textured lilac-y-beige. I can't be bothered to change it.
Ferdie: Mine's white, but you can't hardly see it for the posters.
Ferdia: Mine used to be white, but it's all faded and peeling from age. I don't think the apartment's been painted since before I hatched.
Squeaks: I doubt it was anything like up to code then.
Ferdia: Bah. It's affordable, that's all I care about.
Squeaks: It's an inspection away from being condemned!
Ferdia: (stubbornly) Not so long as the landlord keeps bribing the building inspector.
Squeaks: Look-
Ivan: (impatiently) Can we get back to the question, detectives? Room color?
Squeaks: (glares at Ivan a moment before continuing) Fine. Most of my flat's walls are light grayish-blue.
Ivan: (nods) I've got the lot of you beat. Hardwood panels and built-in shelves.
Iiwi: Helloooo? (waving) Outdoor person.
Ivan: What about that loft of yours?
Iiwi: (pauses) Hm. I think its walls are beige or something, but there's just so much stuff there, it's hard to tell.
Jesmynne: (opens beak)
Jennies: I don't want to hear it.
Jesmynne: (hurt) But we live on a ship. The walls are all the same grayish panels.
Jennies: Oh. Okay.
Drake: You stole that ship from –
D'Gal: No one cares, Dumas.
Jennies: (to Drake) He's right, you know. (turns attention back to quiz at Drake's wounded look) Nineteen. What was the last song you were listening to?
Ferdie: Before or after you're A/V Department started playing four different things overtop one another?
Jennies: Okay, fine, we'll skip that one. Question 20: Have you ever been in a school play?
Bobetta: Oh, yes, many of them. Everyone loved me. In fact, that was part of the reason I went into-
Lita: (waves) Oh! I got to play a thug when our class took a trip to that Hollywood film studio!
Bobetta: (muttering) Play a thug?
Ferdie: Really?
Lita: Yeah. Just a bit-part, though. Two scenes, then the hero gets away and my master decides to go after him on his own. But I got to beat the stuffing out of the hero's posse's stunt doubles, which was cool. (to Jennies) So, does that count?
Jennies: Hm. Depends. Did you get paid?
Lita: No.
Jennies: Alright, then. It counts. Anyone else?
All: (silence)
Jennies: Oh well. Next ques-
Drake: (coughs) Um, well, I was in the odd academy presentation, but they were mostly dramas and re-enactments.
D'Gal: Pansy.
Drake: (fumes) Why, you uncultured sli- (Jesmynne levels phaser at him) -er…
Jennies: (smiles conversationally) So. Ever been in love?
D'Gal: (smirks) Hell of a question to ask a man at gunpoint.
Jennies: (shrugs) It's the next one on the list. But I suppose I'll get a more…interesting…answer this way…
Drake: (gulps) D-do I have to say-
Jennies: (rolls eyes) Look, it's a yes or no question. Have you ever been in love?
Drake: I- er- (glances at phaser as Jesmynne absently fiddles with its settings) *sigh* Yes.
Jennies: Then count yourself lucky. Anyone else? (chorus of assorted affirmatives – some more emphatic than others – along with several negatives and a healthy amount of shrugs) Hey, what's with the shrugs? Who shrugged? What's that mean?
Ferdia: Don't know?
Ferdie: Not sure.
Squeaks: Possibly…
Jennies: (groans) How could you possibly not kn-
Beak: Have you ever been in love, Jennies?
Jennies: Well – er, ah – that is to say – mayb- er… (reddens) Let'sjustgotothenextquestion, shall we?
Beak: Um…okay?
Jennies: (reads quiz sheet) … 0_o; (bangs head on table a few times)
Bob: (blinks) You okay, Jennies?
Jennies: (rubs head) Yeah, yeah. Who writes these things, anyways?!? I- oh, well. My lounges are fireproof, after all… (composes self)
All: (eagerly) Well?
Jennies: Do you think you're cute?
Jesmynne: (grins girlishly) As a button!
Drake: (muttering) Yeah, on a doomsday device…
Bob: Of course I'm cute! Just look at these feet!
Bobetta: (primly) I was cute when I was four. Now I'm beautiful!
Iiwi: (sarcastically) And so very modest, too.
Bobetta: (oblivious) You really think so?
Lita: Why “cute”? I mean, the sign holder is cute
Sign Holder: I am not!
Lita: -but most of the rest of us are old enough to have graduated to more mature terms, such as “hot”, “fine”, or –
Jennies: (groans) Would the term “physically attractive” sufficiently define and placate your argument?
Lita: Well, yeah. But slang is more interesting.
Ferdia: What if we think a member of this cast fits that description, but they don't seem to think they do?
Jennies: Then you need to re-evaluate your answer to the previous question. But do it on your own time. We're almost done here, and I'd like to wrap this up and get back to work soon.
Lita: By “get back to work”, you mean “read the newest volume of InuYasha”, don't you?
Jennies: (points rolled up quiz sheet at Lita) None of that, now. I wouldn't even be hearing this argument if it was the next installment of Rurouni Kenshin.
Lita: What? That's an absolutely beautiful story, with swords and fighting and ninja! Woo-pah! (mimics sword moves and fighting stances)
Jennies: (shaking head sadly) Every time I start to think there might yet be hope for you… *sigh* Oh well. Last question: Do you consider yourself to be a nice person?
Jesmynne: (beaming) Absolutely!
Drake: (boggles) Wha- How so?
Jesmynne: Did I shoot you?
Drake: No, but –
Jesmynne: And wasn't that nice of me?
Drake: Well, yes, but-
Jesmynne: No buts!
Drake: (salutes) Yes ma'am!
Jennies: Anyone else?
Iiwi: We're all reasonably nice people. (pause) Usually. (pause) Most of the time. (pause) Except for Ozzie.
Beak: And Dr. Periwinkle.
Bob: And Ivan!
Ivan: What?! I'm a decent person, Mafioso or not!
Drake: But you're a criminal!
Jennies: Not all heroes are good. Not all villains are bad.
Drake: Don't give me that! That fiend (points to D'Gal) is the vilest, most dangerous beast this side of-
D'Gal: (smirks) Really, Dumas, I've warned you about flattery.
Jennies: (to Drake) He's also fairly civil to those that don't go around trying to kill him. Think of all the times he could've killed you in Scythe in Time, but didn't because he'd given his word not to. Would someone without even the slightest hint of mercy and benevolence have done that?
Jesmynne: (to D'Gal) Merciful? Benevolent? Is she insulting you?
D'Gal: No, luv. She means well.
Drake: (to Jennies) Don't be silly! He only did that because he owed Ace a favor! (pause) Wait. Ace, why did he owe you a favor?
Squeaks: (sits quietly, expression unreadable)
Jennies: (looks at watches) Geez, look at the time! Gotta go! (bolts from area, calling over her shoulder) If I don't hurry, the next shift of funded creativity demons will start a war with those in the A/V Department now! Ciao!

        The assembled group watches her exit. A long pause follows, during which Squeaks studiously avoids Drake's questioning glances. After a few moments, Bob gets up to refill his coffee mug, then rejoins the others.

Bob: So, Ferdie, about that shirt…