Kaitlyn spun the office chair back to the left, letting it whirl her round. As it slowed, the blurs passing in front of her eyes slowly resolved into the console (displaying her just-completed concrit for their last mission, which had required actually reading the fic due to someone’s inability to keep her neuralyzer under control), the weapon stockpile (which was mostly made up of knives and throwing stars, since Selene had firm preferences in that area), and Selene (whose face showed a mixture of bafflement and irritation). Kaitlyn guided the chair to a stop facing her partner, and grinned.
“What d’you think?”
“I think I leave the room for five minutes, and you start throwing away our pay on random furniture.”
“That’s where you’re wrong,” Kaitlyn said. “Firstly, we don’t get paid.”
“We do, actually,” Selene corrected. “We get paid room, board, medical fees, psych fees, repairs, equipment-”
“-and ‘reasonable requisitions’,” Kaitlyn put in. “Which is what this is. Since I’m spending so much time writing, the Morning Glory was happy to get this chair in for me.”
Selene blinked. “Sorry, the who?”
“She’s the Quartermaster,” Kaitlyn said. “And when I say ‘happy to’, I mean I had to listen to half an hour of complaints about how everyone takes her for granted, and shouldn’t she really have been promoted by now, because really, this is ridiculous. So then I pointed out that I’d heard she was Head of Finance now, and she suddenly went very quiet and set me up with this, uh,” she bent down and peered at the side of the chair, “‘Galactic Tyrant-brand Executive Pivoting Helium-Cushioned Mobile Throne of Glory’. It’s got wheels, see!”
Selene stared at her. “That,” she attempted, then returned to staring for a few moments before managing, “That is the most ridic- no, actually, it isn’t; I was partnered with Dafydd.” The vampire thought for a second. “That is… in the top thirty most ridiculous things I’ve ever heard.”
“Don’t knock it if it works,” Kaitlyn said. She kicked off the console, sending the chair flying towards the bedroom door; a well-timed spin let her rebound off the wall and return to the computer, where a mistimed spin let her scrape her knees against the work surface. “Ow.”
“Aren’t you a bit worried about… well, playing like this?” Selene asked. “The Ironic Overpower is a knave in grain; it’ll surely rain punishment on your head for enjoying yourself.”
“Nope,” Kaitlyn said, smiling smugly. “We got an email while you were out. Our next mission is coming by courier.”
“By… what?” Selene stepped up to the console and frowned at the message. “What… I mean, why…?”
“Haven’t a clue,” Kaitlyn replied. “But that means no beep. Instead, we get to wait for-”
“... was that an actual knock?” Kaitlyn asked. “Don’t people usually do, uh, more than one?”
“Generally,” Selene agreed. She walked briskly to the door and swung it open. “Pauming owlers!”
“Your idioms are getting more and more incomprehensible,” Kaitlyn said, nudging her chair in the direction of the door. “Or do I mean less and less comprehensible? Oh.”
The ‘oh’ came when she saw what was outside the door, or rather, didn’t see. The corridor outside their RC was completely black, rather than its normal grey. “Selene,” Kaitlyn hissed, “you can see in the dark, right?”
“Normally,” Selene said. “But not this darkness. There’s something-”
“Delivery for you,” came a sullen voice, and a package flew out of the darkness. Selene caught it reflexively, and Kaitlyn beamed.
“It’s the Canon Librarian! I’d recognise that sulk anywhere. What’re you doing out of your nest?”
“... wishing I was back in it,” the Canon Librarian’s voice said after a pause. “Are we done here?”
“I don’t know; are we?”
“Yes.” There was a soft sound of motion from the hall, and then, “No,” the Canon Librarian corrected himself. “You have one of my collection.”
“Oh.” Kaitlyn coughed. “Um. I guess you need it back?”
“Not need,” the Canon Librarian corrected. “Want. It’s my only first edition.”
“DVDs have first editions?” Selene wondered.
“They do if you’re a true collector.”
“I’ll, um, I’ll just get that, then.” Kaitlyn hopped off her chair and scurried across the room. She shuffled through a pile on the table, found the Parent Trap disc, and returned to the door. “Here you go. Um, thank you for-”
Something - it could have been a very pale hand, or a white tentacle, or something else entirely - whipped out of the darkness and snatched the case from her fingers. “Good,” the Canon Librarian said. “You’re welcome. Bye.”
This time the sound of movement, soft though it was, continued until it faded into the distance. Kaitlyn shook her head slightly.
“If he got out more, he’d be a lot happier,” she said. “Or, you know, got out at all.”
Selene was still squinting into the darkness. “Oh, that sidledywry simkin!” she exclaimed. “And here I was convinced he had some kind of magical power!”
The vampire tossed the package to Kaitlyn, pulled a handkerchief out of her pocket, stepped into the shadowy corridor, and reached up to scrub at the light fitting. “Ink,” she said, as the ambient glow slowly returned. “He sprayed ink on the bulbs.”
“Huh.” Kaitlyn thought about this. “Hang on… I didn’t think we had lightbulbs.”
Selene looked up and down the corridor. Sure enough, the fitting she was wiping was the only one in sight; the rest of the corridor was simply lit by a uniform glow. “Um…”
“And that still doesn’t explain why the darkness stopped precisely at our door,” Kaitlyn added. “I’m pretty sure physics doesn’t work like that.”
“And besides, didn’t you say it was unusual? That you couldn’t see into it?”
“Shall we open our package?” Selene asked hurriedly. “I’m dying to find out what’s in it.”
“Eager for a mission?” Kaitlyn asked. “Do we need to take you down to FicPsych?”
Selene flinched, her hand flying up to touch the brasswork of the Key on her face. “No,” she said, “no. I’m fine. Peachy. Absolutely fantastic.”
“... good!” With rather more vigor than was necessary, Kaitlyn tore open the brown paper package. “And we have… a DVD of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” She flipped open the case. “It’s a rental copy. Wait, no.” She frowned at the disc, bringing it closer to her face. “I take that back. It says it’s ‘Not For Rental’, and then someone’s taken a black marker and drawn over the first two words.”
“Saves trying to get hold of genuine rental versions,” Selene said. “So we get to watch a film?”
“I guess so.” Kaitlyn upended the package and shook it, causing a sheet of glossy paper to fall out and float lazily to the floor. “Or maybe not.”
Selene picked up the letter. “Dear Agents Windflower and Jackson,” she read.
“Okay, two questions,” Kaitlyn cut in. “First, how are you doing that Flower voice? It’s creepy. Second, why are you listed first? And, uh, second part two, why do Upstairs always like using my surname?”
“I’m going to assume all of those were rhetorical,” Selene said. “Dear Whoever, we have noted a distressing tendency for agents to spend large amounts of time in the field. This naturally leads to a lower mission count, and thus a continuing buildup of badfic backlog.
“Consequentially, we are trialling a new system. In missions where the Department of Intelligence determines that the majority of the badfic consists of direct quotes from the canon, a DVD will be provided. You are required to watch the movie; your console is programmed to pause and open a portal whenever the story varies from the source canon.
“Images of any OCs have been provided in this package. When they appear in the story, but cause no changes from the canon, you are required to stick the picture to your screen, to remind you that they are there.
“It is our hope that this will lead to an increased throughput of missions, and less work for our poor, overworked, understaffed and underpaid Intelligence agents.
“Thank you for your cooperation in this trial…”
The vampire raised an eyebrow and studied the paper. “Then there’s what looks like the words ‘The Sub Rosa’, only crossed out. Underneath it is ‘The Sunflo’, also struck through, followed by ‘The Board o’, ditto, and finally, ‘Your Department Head’.”
“Uh… huh. May I?” Kaitlyn took the sheet and examined it. “Would you say you’re… convinced by this letter?”
Selene considered the question. “I would say,” she replied, “that in the hypothetical case where this was a ruse by someone in the DoI to try and get us to do our job quicker, so that they could fire off all their backlog and go down to Rudi’s to get plastered on rhum and coke-”
“That’s a very specific hypothetical.”
“I’ve known a few Spies in my time.” Selene shrugged. “Anyway, if, hypothetically, that were the case, I would say that the scheme was entirely convincing, and that I had no chance of seeing through it, and that therefore I would treat it as genuine.”
Kaitlyn thought about this, then grinned. “That’s good enough for me,” she said. “I’ll get the popcorn.”
“We should do more missions like this,” Selene said, leaning back on the beanbag with her fresh bowl of popcorn. “It’s good to relax.”
“Shh!” Kaitlyn hissed. She scooted her chair a little closer to the console. “I like this scene.”
“You like all the scenes.”
“They’ve all got Bilbo in them,” Kaitlyn shot back, shrugging. “He’s not the cutest hobbit in the world, but he’s still a hobbit.”
“I’m not sure how much that means when he’s only talking to people of his own size,” Selene replied.
“Nonsense!” Kaitlyn pointed at the screen as a heap of dwarves tumbled through the door of Bag End. “Here comes Gandalf now.”
“Yes, and he still comes across like a giant who’s strayed into the film,” Selene said. “Seriously, he’s like a cross between Hagrid and Dumbledore.”
Kaitlyn considered that mental image and winced. “Thanks for that. Shouldn’t you be making a charge list?”
“Of what?” Selene asked. “I’ve already put ‘copying extensively from the film’, and it’s starting to look as if we’re never actually going i-”
“Nice one,” Kaitlyn said, scowling at her partner and getting to her feet. Skirting round the automatically-opened portal, she tapped at the console for a moment, then glared up at the paused movie. “Not fair! It’s locked out the disguise controls.”
“Probably pre-set by the Spies,” Selene said, grabbing a dagger from her collection. “Problem?”
“Well, I…” Kaitlyn looked guilty. “I was just thinking that, y’know, we could be… hobbits?”
“It would seem logical,” Selene agreed, keeping her expression bland.
“Really? Because I was sure you’d say we couldn’t!”
“It doesn’t look like we’ve got a choice either way,” Selene pointed out. “Look on the bright side - maybe they thought it made sense, too.”
“Yeah, that’s a good point!” Kaitlyn grabbed her pack and scampered over to the portal. “Gonna be a hobbit, gonna be a hobbit, gonna be a-”
“This is not a hobbit disguise.”
Selene was very glad of her large, bushy beard - it made hiding her smile much easier. “It doesn’t look like it, no,” she said. “Maybe next time.”
“Maybe evil,” Kaitlyn muttered, sitting down on the grass with what was likely meant to be a flounce, but given the weight of her dwarven disguise’s armour, ended up as more of a crash. “What’re we doing out here? The story’s in Bag End.”
“I guess this is where the OC shows up,” Selene said. “I’m not sure why we’re in the middle of the field, though - maybe so she doesn’t walk into us when she comes along?”
“Hmm.” Kaitlyn peered into the night air. “What do you reckon - down the road, or out of the forest?”
“She could come from the sky,” Selene suggested. “We don’t know anything about her.”
“Including that she’s a she,” Kaitlyn said. “She could be a he. Or an it. Or a… xe? I think it’s xe. Might be xhe.”
Meanwhile, a dark shape appeared on the nearby grassy lawn. A shadow cast over the figure, and it appeared to be a silvery wolf. As the wolf walked closer to the Hobbit hole, the shadow changed, and it became the silhouette of a hooded figure. A person. A Ranger of the North, and an Animorph.
“... or they could be a wolf, and could appear out of literally nowhere.” Kaitlyn frowned at Selene. “Is that a vampire thing? I know the wolf is…”
“Depends on the vampire,” Selene said. “My kind, no. But did you miss it? It said she… er, the OC is an Animorph.”
“I didn’t miss it,” Kaitlyn corrected, “I just don’t know what it means.” She considered the word. “Though I guess animal-plus-morph pretty much covers it.”
“That’s about right,” Selene said. “It’s a series of books about these human children who get the power from… well, do you know Agent Ilraen? Or Iskillion?”
“The blue horsey-scorpion guys?” Kaitlyn asked. “I once sorted out an argument between them - well, not really an argument, more a polite discussion. So they’re, like, alien wizards or something, giving out magic powers?”
“... sort of, actually,” Selene said, “only with technology rather than magic. It’s been a while since I read the books, though. Anyway, apparently she has that power, though what the Andalites would’ve been doing in Middle-earth, I have no idea.”
“She-or-whatever’s got another power, too,” Kaitlyn observed.
“Yes - the ability to walk. Come on, we’re going to get left behind.”
The agents caught up with the OC just as Bilbo threw open the door to Bag End and was cut off in the middle of his angry greeting by the OC looking confused.
“And female,” Selene pointed out. “So it wasn’t an unwarranted assumption after all.”
“Being right doesn’t mean you were being reasonable,” Kaitlyn said. “But, uh, do you have the charge list? Because Bilbo can see her face, but had to rely on her voice to peg her as a woman.”
“She could be very masculine-looking,” Selene said.
“What, a Suvian, not look stunningly beautiful?” Kaitlyn snorted. “Please.”
“Like you said - we don’t know anything about her,” Selene retorted. “She’s got a weird set of powers, but she might actually be a good character - or just a non-entity.”
“We do know we’re in a badfic, though,” Kaitlyn said. “There must be some problem, and she looks like the only change from straight movie canon.”
“That’s a fair point,” Selene allowed, then winced as the OC’s words reached her. “As is the fact that her name is ‘Evelyn Númenessë’.”
Kaitlyn tilted her head curiously. “What does that mean?”
“Haven’t a clue,” Selene said. “That was more Dafydd’s role.”
As Bilbo swung the door closed, a portal appeared next to the agents. “Apparently we can check,” Kaitlyn said. “I hope my popcorn hasn’t gone cold…”
Back in the RC, Selene obediently stuck the cutout of Evelyn onto the monitor - “You know, she does look kind of manly from some angles” - while Kaitlyn fished out her book of name meanings (PPC Edition).
“Here we go. Evelyn. From Aveline, diminutive of Avila, which means… a town in Spain. I don’t think there’s much meaning in there.”
“And the other half?” Selene asked, crossing the room and settling into the office chair. “That’s definitely Quenya, I know that much.”
“It’s a name dictionary, not a translator,” Kaitlyn said. She picked up a communicator off the shelf, checked the directory, and dialled. “Hello, is that SIELU? Hello? … I’m sorry, could you repeat that?” She listened for a moment, then shrugged and turned the device off. “I think someone just swore at me in Elvish,” she told Selene. “I’ll try again later.”
“No rush,” Selene replied. “Shall we start?”
“Good idea. Just as soon as you get out of my chair.”
Evelyn apparently stayed quiet until Thorin arrived. Then the portal appeared again, and the agents returned to Middle-earth. In their dwarven disguises, they went unnoticed amid the throng inside Bag End.
Thorin, following canon, insulted Bilbo a few times, drawing a glower from Kaitlyn. Then, moved by nothing in particular, he noticed Evelyn.
“I am Evelyn Thalina, a Ranger of the North.”
“I thought her name was-” Kaitlyn began, and then her jaw dropped as Evelyn went on:
“I can avoid being seen if I wish. But to disappear entirely. That; is a rare gift...For others at least…”
The agents watched in disbelief as Evelyn vanished from sight, only to reappear alongside Balin. A short speech later, she teleported back across the room to Thorin’s side.
“And just like that,” growled Selene, “the whole point of the story is gone.”
“Throw in misappropriating lines,” Kaitlyn added, “and we’ve got ourselves a-”
“So, you can move in the shadows, but, despite the fact that you are a Ranger, can you fight properly?”
“Mollish minikin!” Selene hissed, as Thorin explained that he was asking because Evelyn was ‘a woman, after all’. “What’s she done to Thorin?”
“Made him a rabid misogynist,” Kaitlyn growled. “Merciful Nienna, was there anything in the film to make you think Thorin dislikes women?”
“Not that I remember,” Selene said. She pulled out her charge list and began to write - then froze again. “She’s challenged him to a duel?”
“Battle-hardened king of the Durin’s Line versus magical Andalite line-stealing shadow woman,” Kaitlyn said. “Can I get any bets on how long- oh.”
The fight was already over. Evelyn blocked Thorin’s first blow, then teleported behind him and knocked him to the floor.
“Hardly proof that she can fight,” Kaitlyn noted. “I mean, what if they’re up against something that actually requires stabbing skills? Or if they’re somewhere with no shadow? Or- I’m sorry, why are you glaring at me like that.”
“It’s Animorph,” Selene said. “Not Andalite. Andalites are completely different.”
“... right.” Kaitlyn cocked her head. “Are you getting hungry again?”
“No,” Selene said, “but I’m not anxious to find out what happens if you get the spelling right but the species wrong. Does that create a mini?”
“Not when you’re a PPC agent,” Kaitlyn said, and glanced over her shoulder. “Oh, hey, portal.”
Kaitlyn dialled the Special Interdepartmental Elven Languages Unit again. “Hi, who’s that? Naergondir? Hi. Listen, I called earlier, and- oh, really? Heh. Thanks. Anyway, can I get a translation of ‘Númenessë’? I think it’s Quenya- no, no, I’m sure you do. Okay. How about ‘Thalina’? I don’t- okay, right. Thanks. Talk to y-” She paused, held the communicator out, then shrugged. “He hung up,” she reported.
“I can’t imagine why,” Selene replied. “So?”
“Apparently my first call was routed to an Agent Râmwê. He, uh, ‘refuses to speak anything except Primitive Quendian’, apparently. Which explains why I-”
“The names, Kaitlyn,” Selene said with exaggerated patience. “What do they mean?”
“Oh. Heh. The first one is ‘of the West’, so I guess she’s adding Ainu to her list of achievements - or maybe just ‘Dunadan’.” Kaitlyn frowned. “The second is, apparently, ‘I don’t know, maybe a horrible mangling of ‘Thalion’.”
“And what does-”
“That one’s in my name book,” Kaitlyn cut her off. “It’s ‘the Steadfast’.”
“I see.” Selene looked down at her charge list. “So she’s a shapeshifting, darkness-embracing Ranger and master swordswoman named ‘of the West’ and ‘the Steadfast’, who steals lines, has a lovely voice, and apparently looks like a man. Did I miss anything out?”
“Um… that if she bothered to interact with the plot at all she’d be a flaming Suvian?”
Selene bared her teeth in what might charitably have been called a smile. “I figured that went without saying.”
“I just… the movie-copying means she’s literally ignored most of the time,” Kaitlyn said. “I don’t know why you’d do that. Okay, it’s a badfic, it’s not going to make full use of the storyline, but surely she ought to at least be contributing to the conversation! They just went straight on with the movie after she beat up Thorin.”
“And, speaking of which…” Selene gestured at the console.
Kaitlyn chuckled and jumped back onto her chair. “Sounds good. Roll tape!”
The movie played until the very end of the Bag End night-time sequences. Then, about three frames before the next scene began, a portal appeared.
“What do you reckon?” Kaitlyn asked, grabbing her kit. “Dream sequence?”
“I’m going for supposedly-revealing midnight conversation,” Selene replied, ducking through the portal.
The agents stepped out into the streets of Dale, but it was a misty, immaterial Dale. “Called it,” Kaitlyn declared. “Welcome to the dreams of a Suvian.”
“Not quite,” Selene said, pointing at the kites overhead. “Welcome to the prologue.”
“Um.” Kaitlyn squinted at the sky. “So that shadow-”
“Is Smaug,” Selene confirmed, watching the dragon as he flew towards them. “Uh…”
“Do you think-” Kaitlyn began.
“It’s only a dream dragon,” Selene put in.
Fire rained down on Dale. The building in front of Kaitlyn crashed down, and she yelped, throwing herself back. A spark caught in her beard, spreading rapidly, and she beat at it frantically before
the scene changed, and they were suddenly in the darkness of Bag End, watching Evelynn wake with a start. The fire was gone, but Kaitlyn still ran her fingers through her beard mournfully. “It’s never going to be the same again,” she said.
“I thought you didn’t like dwarven disguises,” Selene hissed.
“Well, no,” Kaitlyn admitted, “but it’s still my beard. And now it’s ruined!”
Selene didn’t reply, since their target had quietened down from her initial awakening. Kili was apparently sleeping right next to her, and woke up to see if she was all right. It emerged that Evelynn had hit him in her sleep, leaving a slight bruise - or, a couple of sentences later, a freely-bleeding scratch.
“Consistency,” Kaitlyn murmured. “What is it good for? Absolutely nothing!”
“Including names,” Selene whispered, indicating the Words. “She’s picked up a second N at the end of ‘Evelynn’.”
“She’s also picked up a boatload of angst,” Kaitlyn replied. “Not only is she a survivor of Dale, she’s also just generally violent. ‘Compared to what she was capable of, this was the tiniest injury she could give someone’ - oh, cry me a violin!”
“Let’s be fair,” Selene said, “she can transform into a wolf; a minor wound, even one of indeterminate nature, is pretty mild for her.”
“I suppose,” Kaitlyn grumbled. “Does that mean I have to like her?”
“Absolutely not,” Selene assured her. “Come on, she’s gone to sleep - let’s get back.”
Over the next few chapters, the agents found themselves stepping into the story more frequently, but still only for short bursts. Evelynn was nearly thrown from her horse, which said good things about the beast - “Though if we take her back to HQ,” Kaitlyn said, “we are not letting her keep the name ‘Nektosha’. Evelynn revealed that she was Thorin’s (adopted, a hasty Author’s Note assured them) daughter, and added the name ‘Aiyana’ to her collection, along with a dragon-shaped birthmark and the revelation that Thorin had kept her in Dale rather than Erebor.
“What I can’t decide,” Selene mused, “is whether that’s because he was ashamed of her, or because ‘daughter’ is a euphamism for ‘strumpet’.”
For three glorious chapters, Evelynn did absolutely nothing while the trolls attacked the company, though she still managed to make herself inconvenient - the narrative switched to first-person, necessitating a quick trip to pick up a Crash Dummy. Then, in the troll horde, she picked up a sword with a red dragon engraved on the blade, and the words Fenume Andatehta, which Evelynn translated as ‘Dragon’s Mark’.
“Hi, is that Naergondir again? Hi. Can you give me a translation for ‘fenume andatehta’? Pardon? Yes, andatehta. Right. Okay. Thanks!”
“‘Wingless dragon, long vowel’,” Kaitlyn reported. “So I guess that makes it ‘draaaaaagon’?”
Finally Radagast appeared, and followed up his stick insect routine with a random aside: “Oh my Gandalf. Did you know that you are travelling with a monster?”
Kaitlyn snorted, and even Selene had to muffle a laugh. “Your Gandalf, huh, Radagast?” Kaitlyn asked.
“Wizard slash - that’s all we need,” Selene said, shaking her head.
Kaitlyn grinned at her. “Bet it exi-ists…”
Selene waved a hand. “Bet I’m not going to irritate the Ironic Overpower by argu-ing,” she replied in the same singsong tone. “But old man romances aside, they’re not monsters, they’re just misunderstood.”
“They who?” Kaitlyn asked. “Anda- uh, Animorphs, shadow thingies, adopted people, or Suvians?”
“Probably all of the above,” Selene decided. “Why be specific?”
“I think Evelynnnnn lives by that mantra,” Kaitlyn agreed. The pair leant back against a rock and watched the ensuing scene; Evelynn was passive enough that she was unlikely to notice two extra dwarves, and none of the canon characters could see them. The arrival of Azog’s orcs went much as it had in the film, right up to the point where Evelynn delayed Kili in fighting off a Warg by dragging him back for a kiss.
“So that’s reckless endangerment to add to the other charges,” Selene mused. “Do you think we’ve got enough to charge her yet?”
“I think I’m fed up of jumping through portals,” Kaitlyn said, “so let’s go with yes. And hey, this is a battle scene - I’m sure we’ll get an opportunity to grab her.”
The battle between the dwarves and orcs went on a little longer, and then Evelynn found her excuse to show off: Thorin was under attack, and since simply shouting to him wasn’t an option, she had no choice but to utter a melodramatic line to Kili, run wildly towards Thorin, and transform into a wolf to defend him.
“Oh, yes,” Kaitlyn muttered. “She’s a horrible monster, all right. You can tell by the way she’s saving his life. The fiend.”
“She’s saving him by making the canon characters less competent,” Selene pointed out. “It’s not monstrous, but it’s not exactly brilliant behaviour regardless.”
“That’s why we have charge lists,” Kaitlyn said. In the thick of the battle, Evelynn-the-wolf was torn away from a Warg and flung against a rock. She transformed back to human in mid-flight, struck, and went limp - whereupon the orcs and dwarves alike completely ignored her and went on with the scene.
Selene snickered. “And so she dies as she lived,” she said, setting off towards the limp Suvian, “completely ignored by everyone around her.”
“I doubt she’s dead,” Kaitlyn said. “I mean, the Words keep going, right?”
“Yes,” Selene agreed, “but we’re here now.” Ignoring the battle raging only a short distance away - the elves of Rivendell had made their appearance, the dwarves were hiding in a tunnel, and the orcs were in flight - she kicked Evelynn in the ribs with her steel-toed boots. “Oy. Wake up.”
Evelynn stretched prettily and opened her eyes - then started at the sight of an unfamiliar dwarf leaning over her. “Who are you?” she asked. “You’re not- this isn’t where-”
“-you expected to be?” Selene asked. “No, and you won’t be going there. You see, Evelyn(n) Alatariel Anessathiel Vanessë Númenessë Thalina Aiyana, we’re from the PPC, and we really don’t like you.”
“That’s not quite fair,” Kaitlyn disagreed. “She’s not as bad as she could be.”
“No,” Selene agreed. “She mostly left the canons intact - because she ignored them, and they never acknowledged her existence. But she’s got a list of powers a mile long, serious punctuation problems, a nasty habit of sticking ridiculous similies onto her dialogue tags, a ridiculous angsty backstory, and no personality at all.”
“You think I’m a monster don’t you?” asked Evelynn, her voice breaking like a forsaken heart. “I’m just misunderstood.”
“No, you’re a Suvian,” Selene said. “An unconventional one, to be sure - I don’t think I’ve ever met a Suvian as boring as you - but a Suvian all the same. Any last words?”
“She already had last words,” Kaitlyn pointed out.
“Oh, yeah.” Selene plucked a dagger from her belt. “The nice thing is,” she noted, as Evelynn finally sat up, “she’s so passive, she’ll let me get away with this.” And with a flick of her fingers, she launched the dagger on its course.
The knife struck Evelyn square in the chest. She let out a soft squeak, and then simply dissolved. In her place, half a dozen glowing spheres appeared, bobbing about near the ground. Each one was differently-coloured, and several of them seemed to be making strange noises.
Kaitlyn stared. “Did the Suvian just explode into a bunch of powerup orbs?”
“It does look that way,” Selene agreed. “I wonder if- don’t touch them!”
“I just want to see if I can pick it up,” Kaitlyn said, kneeling by the nearest of the orbs. “It’s perfectly sa- eep!” As Kaitlyn’s hand drew near, the pastel-pink orb suddenly leapt the gap, landed on her finger, and vanished. Kaitlyn yanked her hand back and stared at her finger. “At least it didn’t hurt,” she said, in a voice as soft as silk.
Selene blinked. “Say that again.”
“Say what?” Kaitlyn asked, her words as smooth as cherry blossoms.
Selene had to smother a laugh. “You got one of her powers,” she told her partner. “It’s like you said - she was basically a list of skills with only a name tying them together. Well, it looks like one of those abilities is now yours.”
Kaitlyn’s eyes went wide with realisation. “Aaaaaa!” she squeaked, and her voice was like golden honey. “Why can’t I stop? Why couldn’t I have had one of the cool powers, like shapeshifting or the shadow thing? How do I make it go away?”
“Because the Ironic Overpower hates you,” Selene said cheerfully, pulling out her communicator. “It’s all right, calm down, I’m on it.”
Several hours later - after the DoSAT team had contained and removed the remaining powerups, after Nektosha the horse had been renamed Thalia - “What?” asked Kaitlyn defensively. “I just like the name!” - and dropped off with Alice’s herd in the Miss Cam Courtyard, after a visit to Medical had resulted in a diagnosis of ‘It might wear off by itself, given time; if it never goes away, come back and see me’, and after Selene had prevented Kaitlyn from slamming her head against the wall too many times - the agents returned to their Response Centre. Kaitlyn dropped straight into the office chair and glared at the console.
“Stupid ridiculous new mission design,” she grumbled, in a voice like the sun on the daisies.
“I’m not sure it actually had anything to do with-”
“Oh, look, I’m not listening to your logic.” Leaning forward, Kaitlyn ejected the DVD from their console and held it up. In words like a fairy’s wing, she said, “We should probably take this back. I don’t think I want another personal visit from the Canon Librarian.”
Selene shivered. “Good plan.” She crossed the Response Centre and pulled the door open.
Standing patiently outside the door were two agents in neat, black uniforms. They bore no flash patches, but one of them held up an ID badge. Selene’s eyes went wide as she read the words engraved in the badge: Department of Internal Affairs. For your safety and ours.
“Agent Windflower,” the DIA officer said, “I am Agent Hazelhead; this is Agent Taldaris. Would you please come with us?”
“Selene?” Kaitlyn called, her voice like music to the ear. “Who’s that?”
Selene was frozen to the spot. After a few seconds, she managed to swallow enough of her fear to reply: “It’s the DIA. They want me to go with them.” She looked back at Hazelhead. “Do… do I have a choice?”
“Not really, no,” Hazelhead said. “This way, please.”
Disclaimer: The PPC belongs to Jay and Acacia. The Hobbit belongs to Tolkien, and the movie version to Jackson. Thorin’s Little Princess belongs to weareinfxnte, and is quoted, paraphrased and dissected here for the purposes of parody and humour; no claim of ownership is made by Huinesoron or any other members of the PPC.
Huinesoron’s Author’s Note:
And we didn’t even get to the part where she claims to be a Shadow Hunter, hereditary enemy of the dwarves - and also a term ripped off from Cassandra Clare’s recent novels. (Which, given what Cassie Clare is famous for, is somewhat hilarious - but that’s another story)
And… what the agents said. She was just dull. Not (just) in terms of plot, but by way of having no visible personality. The fact that everyone ignored her whenever she spoke didn’t help...
Agent Kaitlyn’s Constructive Criticism
The central theme of your story - the idea of Thorin having a daughter who enters into a relationship with Kili - is a really interesting one. It could be used to explore the dwarven notion of kinship; to expand on the relationship between Thorin and his nephews, or between Fili and Kili; to examine the dangers of playing favourites while on something like the Quest of Erebor. The fact that it’s entirely possible either Evelyn or her future husband would become Thorin’s heir - and the Heir of Durin - only adds an extra layer of intrigue.
But your story suffers from an overabundance of ideas. Evelyn picks up new names and descriptions every chapter or so, and her flurry of powers barely see any use. She uses her Animorph powers exactly once - why not use them against the trolls, or in the Misty Mountains? Her shadow powers are equally useful, and equally unused. And, really, she couldn’t use them all - if she did, the story would have no threat in it at all. It would have been much better to limit her to one power - or none at all! - and let the story unfold from there.
The other major improvement you could make is not to repeat the events of the film. We readers already know what happens; we don’t need entire chapters in which Evelyn makes occasional, unnoticed comments. If she were offering a new viewpoint on events, it would be a different matter, but as things stand, these long sections just take up space.
My advice to you is to choose one story you want to tell, and write only what you need to tell it. Give Evelyn the powers she needs for that story - her romance with Kili, or her ‘monster’ heritage, or whatever - and show us only the scenes that develop that tale.