“What is it this time?” Sam Carter asks with a sigh. “Another flow chart?”
Kate Beckett shakes her head. “Worse.”
Sam gives her an incredulous look. “What could possibly be worse than being reduced to a clichéd female stereotype by someone who claims to hate them and all they stand for?”
“Point taken. But this,” CJ Cregg says, poking the computer screen for emphasis, “is still pretty damn bad.”
“Those frakking internet people are at it again,” Laura Roslin grouses, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Apparently,” Helen Magnus leans in and squints at the text on the monitor, “there are individuals online who become obsessively invested in a relationship between two characters. The most dedicated of these so-called ‘shippers’ routinely take it upon themselves to create nicknames for their preferred couples.”
The color drains from Sam’s face. “Oh no.”
Dana Scully gives Sam a grim smile. “They call it ‘name smushing’.”
“It’s a type of portmanteau,” Helen adds.
CJ swivels in her chair to face the others. “Except a lot more stupid.”
“I don’t know,” Buffy says with a shrug. “I think some of the names are kind of cute.”
CJ rolls her eyes and turns back to the computer. “You would,” she comments as she pulls up Google and begins to type.
“What’s that supposed to mean?” Buffy asks, her hands tightening into fists at her side.
“This is ridiculous!” Kate exclaims, slamming her palm against the desktop. “There is nothing even remotely cute about the name ‘Caskett’.”
“Maybe not; but given what you and Mr. Castle do for a living,” Helen says, eyeing the copy of ‘Heat Wave’ in Kate’s hand, “even you have to admit the name is rather apropos.”
“No.” Kate glares at Helen, holding the book tightly against her chest. “I don’t.”
CJ leans back in her chair and gestures at the search results on the screen. “No more than the name they’ve concocted for you and Jack the Ripper.”
“The…what?” Helen pushes past CJ to get a better look. “’Magnitt’? Oh, Nikola is going to just love this.”
“Nikola?” Dana’s brow furrows in confusion. “I thought his name was John.”
“It is. You see our…friend Nikola has the ability to control magnetic fields and he really isn’t much for sharing the spotlight so…” Helen trails off at the sight of Dana’s disbelieving expression. “Never mind.”
Sam’s eyes widen in surprise as she gets a good look at the screen. “Wait—there’s a Wikipedia page for this?”
“There’s a Wiki page for everything,” CJ replies with a dismissive wave of her hand.
“Wiki page or not,” Laura says, “whoever came up with ’Rodama’ should be airlocked.”
“You could always go with ‘Adamalin’ instead,” Kate suggests with a smirk.
Laura merely glares back at her in response.
“Jomantha?” Sam stares disbelievingly at the computer. “That…doesn’t even make sense!”
“Sure it does,” Buffy says.”What they’ve done is used your first names instead of—”
“Do you have any idea what Jack is going to do when he sees this?” Sam exclaims.
“Oh God.” Kate puts a hand to her forehead. “If Castle gets wind of this, I’ll never hear the end of it.”
“Do you really think he’ll be that upset?” Dana asks worriedly.
“Are you kidding me? He’s going to be thrilled.”
“I’m going to have to put Bill’s model ship into storage again,” Laura muses. “And hide all the paintbrushes.”
Helen pauses to give Laura a quizzical look before turning to the others. “I don’t mean to belittle anyone else’s concerns, but lost dignity and broken knickknacks are going to be the least of our problems if John ever happens to find out about this.”
CJ winces and raises a hand to her throat. “Right. So…suggestions, anyone?”
“What about Sarah Connor?” Laura asks.
CJ shakes her head. “She’s got her hands full with Facebook. Zuckerberg and his minions are proving to be a much bigger pain in the ass than we’d originally thought.”
“It wouldn’t make a difference.” Dana leans against the edge of the desk and crosses her arms. “Other men, other women, sexual orientation, outright mutual hatred, death….No matter what kind of obstacles you throw at them, the shippers always find a way to come back. They make taking down Facebook seem like a walk in the park.”
“Here’s what I don’t understand: none of our names are particularly long or difficult to spell.” Kate reaches up to tuck a lock of hair behind her ear. “Can’t they just…use them?”
“Apparently not,” Laura sighs.
“I think it’s meant to be a term of endearment. Like ‘sweetie’. Or ‘snookums’.”
Kate turns to give Buffy a dubious look. “Is that supposed to make it better somehow? Because it really doesn’t.”
“I think what Buffy is trying to say,” Helen interjects, “is that perhaps we should be grateful that someone out there is rooting for us – however silly their means of showing it may be. Who knows? Maybe if these ‘shippers’ are vociferous enough about their desires it will be enough to break this ridiculous ‘Moonlighting Curse’ that’s been haunting us all for decades.”
There’s a chorus of groans at the mention of the curse, peppered with a few murmured words of disdain for Glenn Gordon Caron.
“So…” Kate begins once the noise has died down, “what you’re saying is that there’s a chance these shippers can convince the writers to let Castle and I get together sometime before I’m eligible for retirement?”
“Well…” Helen glances from one cautiously excited face to the next. “Maybe not ‘together’ exactly—”
“But,” Kate interrupts, her expression intent, “we might be able to have sex? Soon?”
Helen closes her eyes and thinks for a moment before answering. “If a group of fans can send forty-thousand pounds of peanuts to the CBS network and save a show like ‘Jericho’ from cancellation then…yes; I suppose it’s possible a group of writers could be swayed by an over-abundance of smushable cuteness.”
“Okay then,” Kate says with a clap of her hands. “’Caskett’ it is.”
“Really?” CJ gives Kate a disappointed look. “You’re going to put up with a nickname like that based on ‘possible’?”
“Have you seen the two of us together lately? At the rate Castle and I are going, if I don’t sleep with him soon I’m liable to end up shooting him instead.”
“I guess I could put up with ‘Jomantha’ for a while if it means Jack and I will get a chance to visit that moon base someday.”
Dana gives Sam a pitying look. “Given the way things have been going for MGM lately, I wouldn’t get my hopes up,” she cautions, giving the other woman a gentle pat on the arm.
“Sex was never much a problem for me,” Buffy says with a shrug. “But I’m happy for you guys,” she adds brightly a moment later. “Really. Sex is good.”
“I want to make myself clear,” Helen warns. “There are no guarantees.”
“Guarantee or not, we have an army at our disposal.” Sam glances at each of the other woman in turn. “I say we use it.”
“And afterwards?” Laura asks. “Once we’ve gotten what—”
“And who,” Kate chimes in.
Sam’s lips curl into a resolute smile. “Then we kick their cutesy, name-smushng asses.”