This is where it all began. With the arrival of Selene, the Department of Pyromaniac Rejects became reality. They worked diligently to assist the work of entropy in combining everything with oxygen, and in their own minds, they were famed across the entire PPC. Unfortunately for their egos, most Agents had never heard of them, but that was okay – they didn't get out much anyway. ~Terri Ryan, DOGA Archivist
More Than Ordinary
Agent Dafydd was relaxing, for once. He sat in his response centre, feet on the console, reading through Unfinished Tales again - with a red pen. He had just reached the end of Tuor's journey to Gondolin when there came a crackling roar and Thanduril swooped into the room.
The Mini-Balrog hovered in the centre of the chamber, near the ceiling, until Dafydd sighed, put his book down, and opened a cupboard that was built into the metal of the console. Pulling out a piece of bacon, he tossed it up to the circling mini – who immediately dropped down into his heatproof corner to eat it – and sealed the cupboard very tightly.
Only then did he rise and look over at the girl standing in the door. She was dark haired and coffee-skinned, and was wearing a black PPC uniform with no patch. Normally this would have meant 'new recruit', but something in the way she stood – and not least the fact that she seemed to find a flying fiery miniature demon perfectly ordinary – implied that she was a transfer from another department. All this he absorbed in a split second, and then sat staring at her for a full half minute before saying, "Yes?"
The girl cleared her throat. "Um... Agent Dafid?" she asked, horribly mauling his name. He sighed once again. This was an old problem.
"It's Dafydd, actually," he replied, pronouncing it Davith. "But close enough. And you are?"
She stood up straighter and tilted her head slightly. "My name, in the short form, is Selene Morgana Lillith Perdita X Windflower. I have been assigned as your new partner."
That woke him up. "A partner? Finally! Now, why didn't anyone tell me?"
At that moment, in accordance with the laws of narrative comedy, the console [Bing!]ed. Dafydd strode over and looked down at the screen. Then he moved his book out of the way and looked at the other screen. On it, in glowing letters, was the announcement that he was getting a new partner. He rolled his eyes. It seemed Upstairs was doing as good a job as ever.
He skimmed the bureaucratic babble – in recognition of excellent service and devotion to duty blah blah blah – and reached the details of his new partner. Scrolling, he spoke to her absently.
"So, Agent... hmm, that's a long name... and more... still name... ah, here. Agent Selene, I see you like to be called."
"Actually," she replied, stepping into the room and shutting the door, "I would like to be called Agent Selene Morgana Lillith Perdita X Windflower, but unfortunately, some have trouble with that. So yes, Agent Selene."
Dafydd nodded. "Hmm. Right. Um... It says here you were kicked out of the Department of Mary-Sues, but it doesn't say why."
She wouldn't look him in the eye. "Um. I kindasorta set fire to something."
He looked up from the screen, interested. "Really? Like what?"
She hesitated before replying. "Well, like Lothlórien."
Dafydd winced. "Ouch. Take my advice and don't tell the Mallorn about that. He may only be a bonsai, but he still doesn't like to hear of his kind being burned."
"Great," Selene replied.
She looked so despondent that Dafydd took pity on her. "Don't worry about it, though. I did something similar. I was with the DMS before I met the Mallorn and started up this department. On my last mission I was in Rivendell – or rather, Ravindeel – hunting down a set of three 'Sues who all claimed to be Elrond's daughters. I got a little bored, knowing they were inside one room I couldn't enter – they'd locked the door – so I got a torch and torched the building. It wasn't a canon building, so it would have been alright, but the fire sort of spread."
She looked at him, obviously amused. "How bad was it?"
"Well... we got all the canon characters out, and saved a couple of the trees, but it took a taskforce thirty days to rebuild the place. So they kicked me out."
The two looked at each other for a moment, uncomfortable. Then Dafydd turned back to his screen. "Good operational record... only three major breakdowns in the past year, well done, better than me... no relations in the PPC... you're a Boromir luster?"
Selene smirked at him. "Well, yes actually, out of all the choices the dead guy was the least complicated one. He continued to stare until she suddenly flared up in anger. "Well what's wrong with that? I can like who I want! It's not like I'd attack him when I'm on a mission! And besides, you haven't said who your Lust Object is yet!"
He smiled. "Easy to get you angry, isn't it? I'm a Goldberry fan, actually." At her incredulous look, he shrugged. "Niche exploitation, y'know? Most of them have never even heard of her. But anyway. You've got a good record, slight pyromaniac tendencies, and an absurdly long name. You'll do. Welcome to the Department of Geographical Aberrations."
She looked up at him, all anger gone from her eyes. "Really?"
Dafydd nodded. "Sure. Welcome aboard. Here's your flashpatch," he handed her a circle of black fabric with a flame emblazoned on it, "your bag's over in the cupboard, this is your response centre. The mini's called Thanduril, he's mine. You can feed him bacon, eggs or fangirl whenever you like, but remember to lock the cupboard again. That's about it."
Agent Selene looked up from doing the last stitches between her badge and her jacket. "Great," she said, "thank you so very much. Now, when do we begin?"
There was a moment of silence, in which Dafydd slowly raised his hands to cover his ears. Selene groaned. "Oops."
Dafydd staggered over to the console, struggling to keep upright against the barrage of noise. Back in the centre of the room, Selene had keeled over, having not got her hands over her ears in time. As soon as he reached the console, Dafydd removed one hand and slapped it down on the override button. As the echoes of the sounds died away, Selene rose to her feet. Gasping for breath, and shaking her head to get rid of the ringing in her ears, she asked, "Wasn't that a little loud?"
Dafydd smiled wryly. "Yeah. Manufacturing fault. I keep meaning to ask Makes-Things – or anyone else in Sufficiently Advanced Technology, for that matter – to fix it, but somehow I never get round to it."
She nodded, then said briskly. "Right. As soon as we get back, you either go down there or I drag you. Got it?"
He smiled. "Gottit. Now, let's see what the Mallorn has for us today."
A summary of the story scrolled across the screen, which Selene read out. "Rivendell 'Sue. Comes from a mysterious place called 'Hasland'. Half elf, amazing fighter, tragic past. Lived in Rivendell for ages, but still doesn't speak elvish. And... oh, how nice, she wants to join the Fellowship. Lovely. We don't have to wait for that, do we?"
Dafydd shook his head. "Nope. DOGA has slightly different rules to DMS. Technically we could get her as soon as we go in, on the charge of creating Hasland, but sometimes there's a bit of argument over whether the place could actually exist. So it's a good idea to get a bit more of a charge list."
Selene frowned. "How can there be argument over whether it exists?"
"There are a lot of blank areas on the maps, in which a town could conceivably be. Look," and he pointed at one of the maps on the wall, the one of Middle-earth during the Third Age. When he was sure she was paying attention, he continued. "Big blankiness in Eriador, the east, central Mordor... lots. So we have fail-safes. Now, it's all in Rivendell, yes?"
Selene nodded, and Dafydd smiled. "Elves, then? We can hop over to Hasland once we've got her and finish everything off. It says they're 'terribly racist against elves', but I'm sure we'll survive. And I never liked orcs."
Selene smiled. "Elves sound fine. Let's do it."
The two agents dropped out of the portal in Rivendell. After a quick glance to check they hadn't landed on someone (it had happened before) Dafydd put the remote activator away, while Selene watched the 'Sue. The half elf stood in a semi trance, and a quick glance at the Words showed that she was having an angsty moment. Selene leaned over to her partner and whispered, "Please can we kill her now?"
Dafydd sighed. "I'm sorry Selene, but we need to have a reasonable charge sheet."
Selene huffed. "But look at her! A half-elf, dead family, non-existent homeland. She's even stolen Legolas' weapons, for Varda's sake!"
Dafydd shook his head. "I'm afraid she does far worse before this thing ends. This is only the prologue. Now we go on to chapter one."
There was a moment of temporal uncertainty that set both Agents' heads spinning, and then they found themselves behind a bush, listening to the 'Sue moaning at Aragorn. "Oh, please can't I come with you, Aragorn?"
"She's nearly 2000 years old and still she sounds like a whiney teenager?" muttered Dafydd. "Oh, how I wish we could kill her now!"
The pair suffered in silence through her arrogant assumption that she would accompany the Fellowship (even though no one even knew there would be a Fellowship at that point), through the author's note description of her clothing, and through Aragorn's very quick acquiescence. As Amariel walked off to show off - sorry, to 'practice' her fighting - Selene pulled out her Canon Analysis Device and pointed it at Aragorn. Fortunately the mute was on, as the message of 'Aragorn. Human male. Canon. OOC: 39.54%' would undoubtedly have resulted in a loud 'Beeeeeep' to make all of Rivendell shake. The Agent shook her head.
"Poor guy. She even forced him to say 'Alright'. It's so painful."
Dafydd nodded. "But another charge for the list. Where's my notepad?"
The two walked past the oblivious ranger - fortunately, canon characters are unable to see Agents on a mission - Dafydd scribbling lines of charges and Selene checking her weaponry.
"Elven bow - check. Knives - check. Poison - check. Matches - check. Catapult with explosive ammo - check. Oh, dear Eru."
Dafydd looked up from his notes. "Having an inappropriate name... oh. Yes, I see."
Amariel had just put a knife to Pippin's neck, apparently believing there could be orcs in Rivendell. They suffered through an excruciating conversation between the 'Sue, Merry and Pippin, Selene pointing her CAD at the two hobbits and getting surprisingly low OOC values. She pointed this out to Dafydd, who shrugged. "They are actually pretty much in canon for the movieverse, you know. Apart from Merry's abuse of the common comma. Must note that down."
"Put down the creation of a geographical Mini, too," added Selene. "I don't think I've ever heard of 'Rivendel' before."
"Mm-hmm," Dafydd nodded. "Oh, and can you grab my CAD and check Amariel? We need to make certain she's a 'Sue."
Selene snorted. "I have no doubt that she is, but if it makes you happy..."
Sure enough, the device showed the words 'Amariel. Half-elf female. Non-canon. MARY-SUE'. Dafydd nodded, and wrote it down. Then he glanced up at the words and gaped. "She's just told those two that there's going to be a council. That is just so wrong!"
"Oh, look," put in Selene, purposely ignoring his moaning, "she's just told us where Hasland is. 'Not far from here' is so very descriptive."
"She's really racking up these charges," said Dafydd, and then winced as Pippin said, "You're an elf? Sam loves elves! I'm sure he would love to meet you."
"They're in a valley full of elves, and poor Pip still thinks Sam would like to meet this one? I guess he just went OOC."
"And I think Aragorn just grew pointy ears," added Selene. "Apparently, he's a half-elf."
Dafydd considered this. "Well, I guess there might be some justification for that, given his Numenorean heritage, but I doubt the hobbits would know about it. Another one for the charge list."
"How about adding that she doesn't speak Elvish, despite having spent well over 1800 years in Rivendell? Or even Rivendel, which still appears to be ruled by Elrond."
Dafydd dutifully wrote it down. "By the way, did you know that Elrond could actually claim the title of High King of the Noldor if he wanted? He's descended from Turgon."
"Really?" said Selene. "That's very interesti... oh, look, here's our resident ring barer. How exactly does one bare a ring?"
"Well, I suppose it could be wrapped in cloth. Or a cotton wool ball, like the one over in OFUM."
Selene laughed at the thought, and then grimaced. "Here comes Aragorn. Time for some more mangled grammar."
Both agents winced at Amariel's "How can such a burden lay on such a person as small as he?", "Sizeism!" muttered Selene looking very much as if she was considering killing the 'Sue there and then. However, Dafydd restrained her.
"We've still got another OC to appear," he said, and then added, "Brace yourself, timeshift coming up."
Amariel left the scene, with a final comment of 'Try not to treat me like me' ("That makes no sense!"), and the agents found themselves briefly twisted into a seven dimensional knot before being dumped by the gates of Rivendell.
"Does Rivendell even have gates?" asked Dafydd. Selene put a finger to her lips.
"Shh! It's time for the arrival of Legolas and the other OC... oh!" Selene gasped in surprise.
"What is it?" asked Dafydd. His partner turned to look at him.
"Legolas isn't the love interest. She's actually gone so far as to make her own up, although," Selene looked over at the two elves who were now talking to Amariel, "she doesn't have much of an imagination when it comes to names."
Dafydd stared. Fortunately he didn't need to listen too hard, elf ears being what they are. "Theaden? That is nothing like elvish! She's not even trying!"
"Well, look on the bright side. At least he comes from a canon location... although I'm not sure how often Lórien elves wander around like this. I was under the impression Galadriel liked to keep them all well inside the Wood."
"Yes, but we can't actually get her on that unless we're sure. Wait, duck, they're coming!"
The two agents hid behind a bush as the three elves walked through to Lord Elrond's study. Then they crouched behind a wall - not canonical, but certainly very useful - and watched Amariel fiddle with her sword - where it had come from, they didn't know - and wait for Legolas and Theaden to come out.
Once they did, the two sat through a painful conversation featuring the word 'she-elf' - "I'm sure Tolkien never used that term," muttered Dafydd - and an awful lot of swords. When another in-text author's note bellowed in their ears, Selene said, "Having her swords on her waist would interfere with something later. Does this sound like a sex scene in the making?"
"Oh, come now," responded Dafydd. "The author's only, what, eleven? I don't think she'd write like that. But she's right, it is copying Legolas."
As Legolas made one last hideously out of character comment, causing Amariel to run off, Selene pointed her CAD at the elf and sighed. "Poor thing. They always pick on him."
"That they do," agreed Dafydd, and then added, "Come on, they're leaving. Better catch them."
"Do we have to?" asked Selene. "The next chapter's really sappy, and we can just watch the words. If I have to go anywhere near that, I think I'll be sick."
Dafydd looked at her in mock surprise. "What, you don't want to hear about Legolas' girlfriend, his habit of attacking Aragorn 'playfully', and all about the two lovers wandering Rivendell?" Selene simply shook her head. Dafydd sighed. "Okay then, we'll stay here. I can get the charges straight from the words. Did you bring a CD player?"
Selene slapped her forehead. "I knew I'd forgotten something. I lent it to my partner just before the Lórien incident, and never bothered to get it back."
Dafydd smiled. "Never mind, you can borrow mine. I'm afraid the only thing I've got with me right now is the PPC songbook, but I'm sure you can survive that."
Selene looked at him quizzically. "We have a songbook? Yeah, I'll listen to that. You don't mind?"
He shook his head. "Not really. I always liked the sounds in Rivendell anyway. Go on, take it."
She did so, and slipped gratefully into musical oblivion. Dafydd sat and noted charges through the next two chapters of sappiness - including a terrible conversation between Aragorn and Legolas, in which Aragorn suddenly became terribly chauvinistic - and then lay down to sleep until the morning, and the Council of Elrond.
The agents watched the council from behind a bush - the same bush, in fact, as the oblivious Sam crouched behind. Although, to their surprise, the 'Sue did not interfere with the proceedings - apart from simply be being there - there were some interesting effects on the speech habits of the canon characters.
"The Ring was made in the fires of Mount Doom, only there can it be unmade. It must be taken deep into Mordor and cast into the fiery casume from wince it came. One of you must do this," said Elrond. Dafydd winced.
"What exactly is a casume anyway?" he asked Selene. She grinned.
"Probably something from Imladis, where Isildur's pain is apparently found," she replied, and then watched him write several more charges on his list.
The council ended without too many canon-manglings, although the line 'Now indeed it is hardly impossible to separate you two even when he is summoned to a secret council and you are not' did prompt Dafydd to mutter, "Breathe, Lord Elrond, breathe." However, the greatest surprise came when Amariel did not volunteer to join the Fellowship, but let the 'nine companions' line stand. Instead, she followed Legolas off towards his room.
"Oh goody, more whiney teenager moments," muttered Dafydd. "Just what I needed."
"Oh, just wait," replied Selene, "she gets to fight soon. And make Elrond go out of character. The fun never stops."
The two watched as Elrond decided that Amariel would have to prove she was worthy to go. "Why?" asked Dafydd. "No one else did!"
"Calm down," said Selene. "Don't try and apply logic to a Sue-verse. It's a waste of time."
"Oh, yes. I was forgetting. Oh, how nice, she can beat all four hobbits."
Selene smiled dangerously. "Of course, this didn't mess her clothing up one bit. Nor did it make her too tired to fight Aragorn."
Dafydd nodded. "But she is out of breath. As Elrond should be, after such a long run-on sentence. Honestly, has the author never heard of commas?"
Selene shrugged, and turned back to watch the battle that had started. Apparently, Elrond had decided to let Amariel prove herself as a warrior by fighting Aragorn. This she did, managing to get rid of his sword despite being on the ground at the time. It was rather amusing, considering she was still wearing That Implausible Dress, and it frequently tangled her legs so much that she had to stand still. Nevertheless, the agents were glad when it was over and Mysogynist!Elrond could take centre stage. The two agents watched as he first told Amariel that she could go as long as she had a guardian, and then when she said she didn't want one just agreed anyway. Once everyone gathered had wandered off, Selene screamed.
"A Guardian? Why do they do this? Why? What did the characters ever do to them? It's not fair!..."
Dafydd listened as she ranted on and on, covering every aspect of 'Sues under the sun, until finally she wore down and sat sobbing on the decking. Random elves wandered into the area, alerted by the screaming but unable to see the now-quiet agents.
Dafydd knelt down beside his partner, feeling awkward. "Don't worry, okay? It's only one more chapter, then we get to kill her and destroy all her works. Only one more chapter."
Selene sniffed, and wiped her eyes. "Can we take a break before we go on? I don't think I can handle seeing her again so soon. I might be tempted to forget the charges and just disembowel her."
He nodded understandingly. "It takes place tonight, so we can rest first. Just get off this boardwalk and lie down. Take all the time you need."
It was night by the time Selene felt ready to face the lovely 'Sue. By this time, Legolas and Theaden had already heard a noise in Amariel's room and were trying to break in. When Theaden, the supposed Lórien elf, fell out of a tree, Dafydd hissed but managed to refrain himself from speaking. Theaden was an original character, and might notice the two agents.
They quickly portalled into Amariel's room, being sure to stay in the shadows, and arrived just in time to see the 'Sue kick Legolas into a pile of books - Dafydd got out his notebook again - and alert the guards. Two elves with swords came rushing in, to leave again when she told them to. Dafydd blinked, and wondered why they had appeared.
"Guards. To stop Nazgul. When did Vilya get nicked? Selene murmured to Dafydd."
Theaden then entered, fell over again, and started abusing the poor comma. When Legolas picked up Amariel's diary, completely disregarding her privacy in a totally un-elvish way, Selene could stand it no longer. Stepping out into the centre of the room, she pointed a finger at the surprised Amariel and said, "Amariel Halfelven, utilising my powers as an agent of the Protectors of the Plot Continuum, I hereby charge you with the following: Creating a non-canon location, to whit, Hasland. Being a Half-Elf - which are very rare, dear - and yet having a non-elvish name. Utilising gratuitous angst, and through this and other means messing with the characters of Aragorn, Merry, Legolas and Elrond, especially causing random chauvinism in Aragorn and Elrond. Wearing impossible clothing, and wanton cruelty to the common comma. Acting variously like a lovestruck fool and a spoilt teenager. Altering Aragorn's genetics by making him also half elven, and causing Aragorn, Legolas and Elrond to use modern slang. Creating Mini-Balrogs - Rivendel and Imladis - general spelling and grammar errors, and in-text author's notes. Not being able to speak the language of a place you have lived in for over 1800 years, kicking Legolas, and causing guards to appear in Rivendell. Also for annoying PPC agents and claiming not to be a Mary-Sue when you so very blatantly are, you are sentenced to death, along with your geographical creation."
With that, she smashed the 'Sue over the head with a convenient book and, slightly out of breathe, looked over at Dafydd. He had moved at the same time as she had, and was standing in front of Legolas and Theaden, ensuring that they could not move. Fortunately, neither of the two elves was armed, and their elven grace was no advantage against a PPC agent currently disguised as an elf.
When Selene stepped up beside him, covering the two elves, Dafydd looked down at his notepad. "Theaden of Lórien, on my authority as a PPC agent, I hereby charge you with messing with the character of Legolas, especially by forcing him to use modern slang, with having a non-elvish name, and with acting like a lovestruck fool. Also with wanton cruelty to the common comma, and with besmirching the name of LothLórien by merely coming from there. Honestly, a Lórien elf, falling out of a tree? There is no way that would happen!"
He noticed Selene's glare, and continued. "Anyway, on all of these charges - although you do have less than your girlfriend there - you are sentenced to death. I hope you have fun down in Mandos. There are a few people down there who really hate OCs."
With that, Dafydd nodded to Selene, who hit Theaden over the head with Amariel's diary. Leaving the dazed Legolas to come out of his trance, the pair picked up the unconscious OCs and portalled to Hasland.
"An entire village full of original characters," muttered Selene. "Just what I always wanted to see."
"Oh, lighten up, will you?" retorted Dafydd. "It's a nice thatched village. It will burn so very well."
Selene grinned. "Then let's get started."
Half an hour later, flames lit the darkened sky. On the edge of the inferno two elves sat, basking in the heat. Dafydd turned to Selene and said, "A good job well done, I think. Shall we go home?"
Selene considered this. "Hmm. Yes, I think we should. Then you can go over to the Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology and get our console sorted out."
Dafydd sighed. "Slave driver. But well done." When she looked at him quizzically, he said, "Your first mission went off very well. Welcome to the team. We're very pleased to have you."