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Murphyloopholes

by E. E. Nalley

Even Murphy's Law has Loopholes is a story written in partnership by E. E. Nalley and Joe Gunnarson. It's the third story featuring Nalley's Lit Chix alter ego, Elaine Ethel "Doc" Nalley, a.k.a. Loophole, and introduces Gunnarson's Lit Chick, Joanne Gunnarson, a.k.a. Murphy. The action takes place from 8 to 15 January 2007. The main themes are: Murphy and Loophole forging a new friendship; Elaine helping Kodiak to oust Solange from the Alphas, with the collaboration of Joanne; a romance between Kodiak and Loophole; and Elaine's new technological achievements and its consequences.

The story was published in six chapters, to wit:

Chapter OneEdit

Story released on 2009-06-14, this chapter covers 2007-01-08.

Murphy arrives at Whateley and encounters Jobe and Bunker, then gets into a fight with Tisiphone. Afterwards she gets sent to meet with Headmistress Carson to discuss the attack, then meets her roommate Grabby.

Loophole discusses with Lifeline their courses, then learns of the attack on Don Sebastiano by Skybolt and Cavalier.

Kodiak meets with Carson to discuss getting her to act as sponsor for the Alphas, then informs her that he'll take over the Senior Legacy which is renovating Crystal Hall.

Murphy heads to Crystal Hall for lunch and sits down at the usual table for the Alphas. Solange and Kodiak meet up with Murphy there, the former being a confrontation, while the latter gets along much better. Kodiak escorts Murphy away from the Alphas' table, warning her to watch her back, then introduces Murphy to the Lit Chix and asks them to introduce Murphy to Loophole, saying "they’ll either get on like snow and cold, or they’ll kill each other."

Carson orders an immediate, total search of the entire school in an effort to find any other signs of Black Sorcery, as well as having all the mage students take an immediate refresher course in ethics and law.

Kodiak meets up with Loophole and informs her that she's now an Alpha, and also informs her the sole reason why Solange is still in the Alphas is that she has the keys and access codes to the Alpha's specialty areas. He then heads off and asks Thunderbird to arrange a meeting between him and Pendragon, while Loophole meets Murphy. The two of them agree to go after Solange for different reasons: Loophole to get the Alphas' keys, and Murphy to get general revenge against her for the earlier confrontation.

Loophole heads to the Devisor Imaging and Planning Lab where, with Carmen's assistance, she works out the design of a costume to specific goals the primary of which are the ability to withstand a 120mm shell (equal to what Wallflower's shields can generate) and a full environmental seal. That night, she dons and tests the suit by flying. She has a confrontation with Gloriana in the air above Whateley due to the number of regulations she broke by the unauthorized flight, then flies away at super-sonic speed which causes even more of a commotion. After eluding her pursuers, she then lands on Kodiak's balcony.

Chapter TwoEdit

Story released on 2009-06-21, this chapter covers 2007-01-09 through 2007-01-10.

Mrs. Carson meets with Captain Richland over Loophole's test flight the previous evening. Brunswick NAS was put on alert because of it. Mrs. Carson and Dr. Tenent discuss the situation and decide to alter Loophole's schedule.

Tansy recruits Peeper and Greasy to spy on Kodiak.

Kodiak talks with Pendragon and enlists his aid in cleaning up the Alphas. Kody catches Peeper and Greasy spying on him and uses them as double agents to feed false intel back to Tansy. As Kody and Arthur go to breakfast, Flicker spies on them and records their conversation.

Elaine has her first class in Advanced Defensive Technologies. Jericho asks for her help with power sources.

Flicker and Fade compare notes over lunch and realize they must attack Loophole to remain in the Alphas. Murphy has lunch with the other new kids for this semester and they vow to remain friends.

Elaine and Lifeline are talking in Whitman between classes when Elaine discovers her schedule has been altered. Loophole throws a hissy fit and Mrs. Savage is NOT amused. Loophole discovers the Captain of the new training team she's been assigned to, Team Phoenix, is Kodiak. Kodiak introduces Elaine to the rest of Team Phoenix and they have a training sim.

Maggie goes to Combat Pistol class and has a run in with Holdout who is convinced Loophole was behind his roomate committing suicide last year and means to prove it. Holdout sasses Sgt. Wilson and gets detention.

After classes, Elaine and Joanne return a high speed camera to inventory and use this to set up a prank on Tansy. Back in Whitman they plan further on how to make Tansy's life miserable.

Kodiak has a dream where his home town is destroyed and wakes up to discover he's lost his Bear Spirit.

Chapter ThreeEdit

Story released on 2009-07-05, this chapter covers 2007-01-10.

Joanne uses Whateley's lost and found to get Carmen into the Evidence Locker. Carmen confirms that Cavalier's laptop has been sent to Central Supply. Completely by chance she learns where Tansy is storing the physical security keys; her Venus Inc. locker.

Tansy has the sunburn from hell. Elaine cackles maniacally, others are not so amused; non-exemplars could have been killed by the prank.

Kodiak feels the cold for the first time in his life, as he makes his way to Kirby Hall and the Mystic Arts Program offices. Which he can't find. Then Irene finds him. And talks him into pinning her, Abra, and Clover into the Alphas at the Rush Party when they are Freshmen, in exchange for her getting him into the Mystic Arts Dept. and to a teacher. “Done and Done!” goes Irene. “Hah!” thinks Kodiak, “I won't be there! Sucker!” Kodiak doesn't know about Mystic Contracts, it seems... Irene takes him to see Elyzia Grimes, who suspects Irene of Being Up To Something; Kodiak discounts her warnings.

Miss. Grimes succeeds in calling forth The Kodiak, who apparently had been punished for trying to give Kodiak warning about something. Just what, Kodiak has no clue. But they are rejoined. Yay!

Joanne is nice to Grabby, and Casey Steele talks to her about it.

Elaine meets with Mr. Paulson to talk about controlling the use of her power source. When the unit Jericho has approaches the two units synch and go critical, having to be slung into Containment Unit 12, triggering a 3 on the Richter scale when they blow. Mr. Paulson asks an important question: just where did she come by the idea for this power source?

Flicker sicks Aries on Joanne, in Tansy's name, and it backfires. Massively. Joanne is now targeted at Tansy. Mwa ha ha!

Headmistress Carson meets with Mr. Paulson, Jericho, and Elaine. Jericho is absolved of all blame and dismissed. Elaine... is not. Mrs. Carson concedes that Elaine would hold the patent, allows her to use the power source so long as Mr. Paulson says its OK, and insists she apologize to Drs. Hewley and Aranis for her unauthorized access of their files.

Flicker and Fade express their feelings towards Elaine, and gift her with a tape recording they think she should hear, concerning Kodiak.

Joanne has problems with dead ravens. Yuck! Eww, even.

Gunny comments on the previous day's class exercise. He's not impressed. He's horrified that he's forced to grant a grade of 'B'.

Elaine cozens Interface into doing her a favor...

Someone breaks into Central Supply, obtaining files from a certain laptop formerly used by Cavalier...

Chapter FourEdit

Story released on 2009-09-27, this chapter covers 2007-01-11.

At breakfast, Kodiak chats with Aries about the escalating war between Solange and Loophole. He is interrupted by Loophole, Lifeline, and Murphy, who confront him with the recording of the things he'd said to Arthur two days earlier. Watching from another table, Nancy and Heyley tell Tansy that she owes them for 'watching your back', and warn her that she needs to take the conflict with the Lit Chix more seriously. Tansy blows this off at first, until they point out that Lainey will probably make a move to get the keys and passwords for the Alpha clubhouses away from her next.

Back in Whitman Cottage, Mrs. Savage comforts an angry and depressed Loophole. Meanwhile, Joanne confronts Kodiak outside, hitting him repeatedly in the crotch with her hockey stick, which a remorseful Wyatt lets her. She then demands that he tell her what he can about Nancy and Heyley, and how they got the recording. After she gets the information she wants, Murphy forgives Wyatt and gives him a friendly hug, unaware that Flicker, who was following Kodiak, was recording them again.

In the Venus, Inc., locker room, several club members wait impatiently as two maintenance workers fix an electrical problem. Impatient to get to the keys, Solange barges past them to her locker, only to find they've already been stolen. While she's still fuming over this, the crewman finds a hidden webcam, which is pointed at the dressing area with Tansy's locker directly in front of it. The now furious Solange storms out to go find Peeper, whom she is convinced was the one responsible for the camera.

Fade tries to follow Solange but is unable to keep up with her. As Heyley tries desperately to get in touch with Nancy, Tansy confronts Peeper and Greasy, threatening them both. John immediately flees, and when Adam tries to get between Tansy and his roommate, Tansy beats him nearly to death. Unsure of what to do, a frantic Fade runs to a nearby security phone and makes an anonymous call for help. Solange continues punching Greasy until stopped by Glorianna, who gleefully informs Tansy that she's finally been caught in the act in a way which her money can't save her from.

Solange is brought, in Brick handcuffs, to Headmistress Carson's office, where a livid Carson tells her that she's gone beyond the pale this time, and that by all rights she ought to be brought up on a charge of Attempted Murder. She also points out that Tansy had no proof as to who planted the camera. Despite this, Carson reluctantly concludes that sending her to either prison or an in-school suspension would serve no purpose, and instead assigns her to watch over the Three Little Witches under Grimes' supervision.

On hearing about this, Flicker is furious at Fade for calling Security, but soon realizes that there hadn't been alternative. Nancy begins plotting out how to make the most of Tansy's situation for her own benefit.

In the sims, Team Phoenix run through a scenario of trying to stop a major super-powered terrorist threat in the skies over New York City. Still flustered from what happened earlier, Loophole makes a mistake which ends the sim early, with the result that most of NYC would have been wiped out. Gunny Bardue berates her and the rest of the team for their careless performance.

When Joanne is returning to Whitman, she sees Nancy showing Elaine another recording, this time of her giving Wyatt a hug from earlier that day. Before either of them can say anything to her, Joanne teleports both herself and Flicker out of the cottage, and uses her warping powers to disorient and humiliate Nancy, leaving her stuck in a snowbank. Retrieving the SD cards from Flicker, Joanne returns to the dorm to show Elaine the rest of the recording which Nancy has omitted before. Once Loophole sees the whole story, she forgives Murphy, and after discussing the possibility of Joanne joining the Gearheads, the two of them plot their revenge on Solange and her cronies.

Late that night, the Order of the Worn Wrench convenes at Loophole's request to discuss what to do about Solange's attack on Greasy, a fellow Devisor. After some wrangling (mostly from Belphegor), they declare 'open season' on Solange, agreeing that they would do everything in their power over the next 24 hours to humiliate and gaslight Tansy, with Jobe Wilkins delivering a dark warning to the others not to eat a certain combination of food the next morning.

Chapter FiveEdit

Story released on 2009-10-18, this chapter covers 2007-01-12.

Loophole visits Greasy in Doyle, where he is only beginning to recover from the injuries Solange inflicted on him the day before. She tries to talk to Adam about how Peeper mistreats him, but Greasy insists that John is his only real friend at Whateley. As she is leaving, Elaine slips him a 'get well soon' card with the Order of the Worn Wrench symbol stamped on it, to let him know that Tansy wouldn't get away with what she did.

In the Crystal Hall, Solange vents her frustration at her punishment to Flicker and Fade over breakfast, only to have the meal she selected attack her thanks to Jobe's trap. Kodiak and Aries, who had been squabbling over the situation with Loophole, watch the results.

Loophole is called out of class to Headmistress Carson's office, where she learns that, in order to pay for the damage she'd done to Arena 99 during the previous Fall's combat final, the school had arranged for one of her inventions, Pocolda, to be sold through a TV informercial arrangement, much to her dismay.

After Elaine and the advertising agent leave, Dr. Carson calls Ophelia Tennant in to discuss Greasy's condition, as well as demonstrate that Circe had figured out how Team Kimba's privacy charm works. Dr. Tennant informs Carson about the card Loophole had left for Greasy; Carson replies that she had expected, and even hoped, that the Worn Wrench to take action. She explains that, knowing that the punishment she'd given Tansy was far too lenient but seeing few other options, she anticipated that the engineering students would be certain to humiliate her in a way which would do Tansy more good than jail time was likely to. She assures Ophelia that she is keeping a close watch on the situation and would step in if it got out of hand.

Murphy continues plotting against Solange and her associates, and after conferring with Grabby, she goes down to the Workshop and offers $50 to whomever could help her prepare an extract of poison oak.

Loophole meets with Dr. Hewley and Dr. Aranis, confessing to them that she's broken into their lab's computer records and that she'd based TAPS on their theories. To her surprise, rather than angry, they are thrilled to hear how she's demonstrated the validity of the theory.

At lunch, Solange and Flicker meet with Aries, demanding that he track down the ones responsible for the gimmicked food attack. Nancy, fed up with Tansy and looking for her own chance at the top, throws herself at Arnold, who is more than happy for the attention. As this is going on, Tansy suddenly finds her clothes disintegrating thanks to a nanite swarm covertly sent to her by Compiler, leaving her completely naked in the middle the Crystal Hall, much to the amusement and delight of the other students.

Upon returning to her dorm room, Flicker finds that it has been filled to the ceiling with snow by Murphy.

Lifeline and Loophole meet at the gun ranges for target practice, and discuss classes, boys, and Phase's gender.

Having gotten dressed again, Solange leaves her last class for her assigned punishment in Kirby Hall, only to find the lobby inexplicably filled with plush toys. As she makes her way to Grimes' office, the dolls come alive and mob her, leaving her somehow dressed in an embarrassing pink girl's party dress, her face covered in doll-like makeup, and her hair in pigtails. As she storms out of the building, Fey magically retrieves the dolls before Security can arrive, while Bugs uploads footage they had taken of it to the school's intranet.

Murphy goes to sneak in to Solange's room, only to find that Tansy's roommate, Sahar, is there. After Joanne explains what she has in mind, she agrees to give Sahar a dollar to keep her mouth shut, an offer Semi gleeful accepts. Murphy mixes the poison oak extract into Solange's makeup.

Dashboard, Loophole, and Murphy leave campus to go to a nearby junk yard, looking to find a wreck which could be used for Joanne's project car. They pick out two Jeep Wrangler chassis with the intention of one one for spare parts. On the way back, the get challenged by some local hotrodders, only for Doc to blow the wheels off of them.

On returning, Loophole and Murphy are confronted by Solange in the Crystal Hall, who assumes that Doc had been the one behind all of the attacks she'd experienced that day. As soon as she accuses her, however, several of the other Devisors and Gadgeteers come to her defense, proudly admitting that they were the ones responsible. Still looking for a fight with Loophole, Tansy demands that Elaine step outside with her, only for Dr. Carson to step in and break them up. The headmistress declares that the Worn Wrench's vendetta was now settled, and tells Wyatt and Joanne to meet her in her office after dinner.

While Kodiak and Murphy go the Carson's office, Loophole asks Phase for business advice on how to quash the informercial deal, but he reluctantly recommends that she simply swallow her pride and make the most of it.

Elisabeth Carson confronts Murphy and Kodiak about the video of Joanne attacking Wyatt with the hockey stick. They both explain the situation, but Joanne refuses to make any excuses, though she does apologize to Wyatt again and agrees not start any more fights. Dr. Carson notes how thin and pale Murphy had gotten, and realizing that Joanne had been overexerting herself since arriving at Whateley, orders her not to use her powers unless it is an emergency, She also arranges for Joanne to receive special high-calorie meals until her weight was back to normal.

Chapter SixEdit

Story released on 2009-12-06, this chapter covers 2007-01-13 through 2007-01-15.

Loophole, Phase, and Mr. Donner travel to the school's speed course in the Bonneville Flats, via a teleportation portal. Mr. Donner tests the automobile afterburner Doc designed, demonstrating it's effectiveness. Elaine explains to Ayla how she got the nickname 'Doc'.

Upon returning the Whateley, she is called in to Headmistress Carson's, where she is surprised to find her parents, and her younger brother Steve; they inform her that Steve has now manifested. Elaine has a brief flashback to how Steve had behaved when their parents announced that she would be going to Whateley in 2005. Back in the present, Doc is informed that his tuition at the school would be paid out of the royalties from her inventions, much to her consternation. Elaine is told to escort Steve to Twain Cottage.

In Dickinson Cottage, Solange has a tantrum over losing to Loophole yet again, but this time, Flicker only teases her about losing Kodiak's affections and preens over her recent conquest of Aries, much to Tansy's disgust. As the two continue bickering, Fade 'borrows' some of Tansy's skin lotion, only to begin screaming in pain as the poison oak solution which Murphy had secretly added to it begins burning her.

As they head to Twain, Steve boasts about what a great superhero he will become, only to given a lesson in the importance of training by Loophole. They proceed past Holbrook Arena, where the Seniors are discussing the class project, a major renovation of the Crystal Hall. They run into with Kodiak, despite Elaine's efforts to avoid him; Steve takes an instant dislike to Wyatt, but his effort to stand up to him only impresses Wyatt.

In the Crystal Hall, Murphy, Seraphim, Thorn, Jolt, Erzebet, Gina, and Froggy all gang up in reminding Buck Swift about the safety course he's now being required to take. Someone mentions that Robert is trying to court Nacht, and the group fall in to gossiping.

In Melville Cottage's private spa, Solange approaches the Kenner brothers, asking them to scare off Loophole and Murphy should they try to get the remaining keys in exchange for sexual favors.

On arriving at Twain, Loophole and her brother are greeted by Mr. Filbert. As the house parent is taking care of paperwork, Elaine introduces Steve to some of the other residents. When he tells them the codename he wants to use, Dredz informs him that the name 'Monolith' is already being used by a major supervillain. Seeing Joanne as she is seeing Baird off, Steve makes a fool of himself in front of her. Elaine makes an escape with her friend, who is less than sympathetic - she has four siblings of her own, and is dreading the prospect that some of them might end up at Whateley, too.

Late that night, Dr Carson gets a call from Amelia Hartford, informing her a physical break-in at the school's computer system. They view the surveillance cameras, and see Loophole and Murphy as they finish accessing the last remaining cyber-keys for the Alphas' club facilities. They decide to continue watching the situation, but not to interfere directly unless a serious problem arose.

As the two girls make their getaway, they are confronted by Hamper and Damper, who take Murphy's pistol and shoot Loophole in the gut. As the brothers try to pin Joanne down, intending to rape her, Loophole (who had been wearing a Kevra bodysuit under her clothes) reappears in her power armor, and Elaine and Joanne drive the twins away. However, as soon as the two are out of sight, Murphy collapses from overexertion and cellular starvation.

After Murphy is rushed to Doyle, Elaine waits for her friend to recover. There, Dr Carson has a talk with her about the dangers students at Whateley often face, and how hard it can be when they are hurt. She also makes it clear that she knows what actually happened, but Elaine refuses to talk.

The next morning, Loophole and the now-recovered Murphy meet with Kodiak, and tell him they now have all of the Alpha's keys and passcodes, and give him full access to them. They also inform him of the confrontation with Hamper and Damper had done the night before, but don't give the full details. In gratitude, he grants an unused Alpha reading room to the Literary Club as their official clubhouse. The Lit Chix head down to get the room ready for use.

At lunch, Wyatt calls the leaders of all the clubs and training teams over to the Alpha table, where he announces that he would be restoring the Alpha Council, with elections to be held the next weekend. He then unceremoniously expels Tansy, the Kenners, and Icer from the Alphas, and warns Flicker and Fade that they'd be next if they don't watch their steps.

Headmistress Carson has a private discussion with Carmen about Loophole, and asks the AI to tell her what happened the night before. Carmen explains that she only saw the aftermath, but is able to tell her that the Kenner twins were the ones involved, and what she thought their intentions were. Carmen pleads with Carson not to act on this information, as it would tip Elaine off that Carmen was the one who told her.

The story ends with Team Phoenix being put through a training scenario by a peeved Gunny Bardue, where they would be bank robbers trying to escape with their loot, only to informed at the last moment that the hero who is there to stop them is Lady Astarte.

CharactersEdit

Chapter 1Edit

Chapter 2 Edit

Chapter 3 Edit

Officer Bradley Grimes

  • Titan - Big Bad (Mention)


Chapter 4 Edit

  • The Ultimates
    • Plasmoid
    • Binder
    • Charger
    • Black Star

Chapter 5 Edit

Chapter 6 Edit

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