A successful first outing for Narto and Lou, and another 'Sue dead. This one wasn't too bad - certainly not on the level of 'legolas' - but the sheer insanity of replacing the Undying Lands with North America, and throwing in fairies and a Frodomance to boot, meant she needed to die. As the story hasn't been updated since March '04, I suspect the author agrees with me. ~Terri Ryan, DOGA Archivist
I sat up, rubbing my eyes. After the Bonsai Mallorn's parting words, I'd expected to be sent off on a mission within a minute of stepping into RC #7216, but that hadn't happened. I'd had a half-hour chat with Louise – all right, Louise had spent half an hour talking while I stuttered my way through the conversation – and then taken a nap in the corner. The Response Centre was fairly bland, with the plain grey walls marred only by the console and a single small metal table, but from what Louise – Lou, rather – had been saying, she had a certain amount of redecorating planned. She didn't say how she intended to accomplish this, and as your typical PPCer gets paid less than nothing – literally in some cases, they actually charge certain agents to work here – I assumed it was mostly wistful thinking. Of course, with what I know now… but I'm getting ahead of myself.
The console beeped again, but before I could get to it, Lou walked out of the bathroom towelling her hair dry. Fortunately for my state of mind – I don't know about everyone else, but I'm firmly of the belief that thinking of your partner in a way even approaching sexual is a bad move – she was fully dressed, and the black towel even matched her uniform. She brought her right hand down on the red button, acknowledging the mission and shutting off the beep, for which I was profoundly grateful. I noticed that she'd removed her DMS flashpatch and replaced it with the flame symbol of DOGA, a fact which made my flying pig all the more embarrassing. Fortunately – or not, depending on how you look at it – Lou wasn't interested in minor details at that moment. Gripping the edge of the console, she glowered at the screen and said, "Narto? Over here, please."
I got up from the floor, dusted off my uniform – apparently the grey décor isn't all intentional – and made my way over to the console. Tight-lipped, Lou pointed at the screen. One look showed me why she was so tense.
Garden of Noncoty, by Madrona
Frodo makes it to the 'undying lands' to discover a race of fairies. Meets kilter, who steals his heart and shows him that he still has life to live. Fairies, i know kind of cheesy. Wrote before reading the Silmarillion, so created my own 'undying land
Lord of the Rings - Fiction Rated: K - English - Romance/Fantasy - Chapters: 1 - Words: 5364
"Ow," I said. It was all that came to mind, and for a wonder she understood me and nodded.
"Ow indeed. At least it's only a single chapter." She scanned the Words and added, "Pretty bad, though, if not as bad as some I've seen."
I nodded. In my time with IC I'd seen worse, but not much worse. Scanning down the screen, I tapped a point with a fingertip. "Think we can kill her there? Then we don't have to deal with her father and his councillors, plus it says she's 'distracted', so she should be easy to get at." I saw Lou's look, and hastily added, "I mean, if you don't think we should, we won't, I just thought…"
She shook her head. "No, that should be fine, I just didn't expect-anyway," she interrupted herself, "my hair's dry enough now, so we can go. See if you can find something to set the disguises for in that mess while I brush it out. Can't let it get tangled, you know?" And with that, she wandered back into the bathroom, leaving me at the console.
Now, don't get me wrong, I've used my share of disguises in Implausible Crossovers, but this story was so loosely bound to Canon that there weren't that many options. I skimmed over the Words, checking to see who was said to be there. Frodo, but he was the only hobbit around. The 'Natives', who were human, bronze-skinned, black-haired, wore animal skins, 'worshipped the land', and basically should have just been outright called Native Americans and left, were also UnCanon. While we could have used them, it was technically against policy to increase the amount of UnCanon in 'fics. Then there were the fairies, who were not only UnCanon but also rarely seen, so they were out. And the only other species were…
"Elves," I whispered. Despite all the years I'd spent with the PPC, the idea of an elven disguise – of becoming an elf, in effect – still held some magic for me.
And, apparently, for Louise as well. "Elves?" she asked, stepping out of the bathroom again, this time without the towel. "We get to be elves? Good." She walked over to the corner of the room next to the console and rummaged through the bag she'd left there. "Bleeprin, good, CD player, good, CAD, good… now, where's my bow?"
I raised an eyebrow as she searched around the bag. This fussy woman was a far cry from the Lou I'd known up to then. "Bow?" I asked.
She stopped searching for a moment and looked up. "Yes, Narto, my bow. How were you planning on killing her, a sharp look? Ah, here it is." She lifted a bow and quiver from the mess in the corner. "See, I was thinking that if you read the charge list, I can probably hit her from a distance."
"And why do you get to kill her?" I asked, more bewildered than annoyed. She shrugged.
"I was an Assassin, killing things was my primary role. You were an Untangler – you should probably get a new patch, by the way – so you did things slightly differently. I'm sorry, but I'd rather trust my skills than yours at this point, at least until I've seen how good you are. That okay?"
I nodded, not trusting my voice. She was right, of course – as an Untangler, I'd only had to perform two or three assassinations. Even when they were necessary, we often had a DMS team in specifically for the job. Nevertheless, it irked me that she could read me so clearly.
Apparently she noticed something in my expression. "Don't worry," she said, "I'm not going to keep bossing you around forever. I'm still a bit put out after being sent over here in the first place." She smiled, and for a moment the cold assassin exterior broke down. Then it was back again. "Now let's get moving, Nar. If we finish this mission quickly enough, you can take a shower when we get back. Your hair could do with one."
I rolled my eyes, but pressed the button on the console to open the portal. Checking that the disguises were set, and that the Remote Activator was safely in my pocket, I picked up my pack from the corner where I'd been using it as a pillow and followed my partner through the portal.
I emerged into a darkness of the kind you never see outside the PPC – despite being completely black, it seemed to have pink and urple highlights. A sure sign of 'Sue-induced noplace, that. And, as usual, that meant Author's Note.
A point of silver light appeared, allowing me to see Lou – who makes a very nice elf, not that that's hard – standing next to me. Then a whiny teenaged-girl voice started speaking, and the light flickered along with it, sort of like those wave drawings you can get on some music players.
Frodo and other characters like that are not mine, but all belong to Tolkien, the king. Kilt is my creation. Yeah that's all I have to say. Give this story time. It's long, but I think it's good.
"You would think that," muttered Lou, and then turned to me. "Do you think we're allowed to write 'Having egotistical author's notes' as a charge?" she asked, and I realised that if I was going to have to read out the charge list, it was probably a good idea to actually write one. I scrabbled in my backpack, and managed to pull out my notepad and pen just before the silver light formed the words 'Chapter 1' and we fell into the sea.
I scrambled to shore – fortunately we were only in waist-deep – and waited for Lou to catch up with me. "What a mess," she said, "what an absolutely soaking mess."
I didn't reply. See, she was right, we were soaked. We were also in Elven disguise. And while the disguises are all very nice, they're also rather lightweight, at least in warm environments. So she was wearing a thin, light-coloured top, which was soaked through, and, apparently, very little underneath it.
Yeah. As I said, she makes a very nice elf.
I was polite, though, and didn't stare. "Ah, Louise," I said, "your top… uh…"
She glanced down and hissed. "Nessa," she muttered, dropping her pack onto the ground and fishing through it. She pulled out a black cardigan – also soaked, but not transparent – and put it on. "Right," she said, looking at me, "is that better?" I nodded dumbly, and she shook her head. "If we weren't here to kill the 'Sue, I'd have to kill her for that."
Fortunately, the uncomfortable moment ended as Frodo stepped off the White Ship onto the dust. I frowned at the Words, which were detailing his thoughts. "Lou…?"
"You're right," she said, "this place is nothing like Valinor. It's our Geographical Aberration."
Frodo Baggins had expected something different of where they were heading when he left the Shire. He thought that it would be like Lothlorien, the Elfish forest, aglow with perfection and light. This was like the place he had left, except...except he was going to stay.
"Okay, first off," I growled, listing charges to take my mind off what had happened moments before, "Elfish? Isn't a word here. And secondly, it should be more like Lórien, and a lot less like the Shire."
Lou nodded. "Ah, Frodo, Frodo, you poor Hobbit. Headed for the Blessed Realm, ended up in North America."
Gandalf walked up behind Frodo and placed a hand on his shoulder. "Well, what do you think Frodo Baggins?"
I blinked. "What does he think Frodo Baggins?"
"Mark it down as a missing comma," replied Lou over Frodo's reply. Nevertheless, I heard it.
"Not what he expected? Of course it's not what he expected." I glared downwards at the ground, as if it had personally offended me… which it had, in a sense.
Gandalf apparently grew bored with the Hobbit, turning back to watch the party leaving the ship. Lou mumbled a commentary as they did so. "Elrond, Celeborn, Galadriel, and a bunch of other elves. Hmm. So where's Bilbo?"
"And why is Celeborn there?" I added. "He stayed in Lórien."
Lou gave me an approving look. "Indeed he did," she said, and then resumed looking at the Words, reading ahead. "Narto," she said, "take a look at this, it'll be useful for your charge list."
I did so, and immediately spotted several over the couple of paragraphs of introspection that followed, including a mini-balrog in the form of Glimi, the lack of Samwise's full name, and a couple of instances of faulty logic – they had felt like the last living creatures alive, itself a horrible phrase, but they had been watching fish at the time.
I mentioned these to Lou, and she nodded. "Don't bother writing them down just yet," she said, "we've got a space of a year and a half in a few more paragraphs, and it looks like… yes, there he goes."
Frodo had stopped watching the ocean and turned towards a bush the Words identified as dogwood. Peering past him, I could see the blue, glittery creature he had noticed. The Hobbit took a step forward – I noted with distaste that he was once again described as having 'massive feet', and the creature ' crashed against one of the inner walls of the bush and fluttered away into the safety of the tree branches'. Given the strange sense of humour that governs 'fics while agents are in them, this manifested as the fairy swinging sideways and melting through the branches to the outside of the bush before flying off. "Crazy stuff," I said. Lou smiled slightly.
"The elves tell me that they have a perfect site for your hobbit hole to be!"
We winced as Gandalf called out, using his apparently-spherical hands to make himself heard. "To be?" queried Lou. "No building or anything?"
"Of course not," I replied bitterly, "they're elves. They'll probably use magic."
Frodo turned his back upon the bush and headed to where Gandalf was standing. Frodo stopped and slowly turned his face to the dogwood. He raised his sky blue eyes to the branches of the woods. There are other creatures besides squirrels and birds watching from those leaves.
We stared at the words. "Er… what?" I asked, not expecting an answer.
I didn't get one, or at least, not a useful one. "Not a clue, it made no sense. However, we've got a break now, so you should probably write up the charge list. Have it finished when I get back."
"Where are you going?" I asked, and winced a moment later as I realised how annoying that could be if she was, say, going to the toilet. Fortunately for me, she just smiled and looked down at herself, gesturing at her top.
"Where do you think? I'm going to find somewhere out of this wind and hang this stuff out to dry."
I nodded, and then blinked. "You, uh, don't have anything to put on instead," I said. She shook her head.
"No, I don't. Fortunately, I can find somewhere out of the way so no one will happen across me, and you," she added with a glare, "are not to follow me. Understood?"
I nodded hastily, trying not to think about her sitting around naked. She looked at me and nodded thoughtfully. "Good. I'll come back once it's done and we can portal forward." She glanced up at the sun. "Should be about two hours. It's around 11 am now, so that should be fine, I'll get the noon sun. Right." She picked up her pack and threw one final glance at me. "I want to see a long charge list when I return, all right?" Then she was gone, and I was alone on the beach with the elves and the hobbit, none of whom could see me.
"Well," I said to myself, "charge list time, and then I'll see about getting my own clothes to dry off." I wandered off down the beach in the opposite direction to Lou, searching for a sheltered spot.
To cut a long story short, I found one, and managed to do both those things before the two hours were up. I headed back up the beach, and reached the ship fifteen minutes before I was due to meet Lou. Grabbing an empty crate from where the elves had been unloading, I settled down to wait.
Sure enough, fifteen minutes later – knowing her, to the second – Lou bounded out of the forest to stand before me. "Right," she said cheerfully, "let's be off."
I stared. "Uh, are you all right?" I asked, stupidly. This was yet another side of Louise that I hadn't seen – first the normal, then the bossy, and now, apparently, the hyperactive.
Apparently, she gathered this from my expression. "It's not just you," she assured me, "I'm actually pentapolar."
I blinked. "Is that a type of sweet?"
Laughing, she reached forward and ruffled my hair. "Silly Narto. No, it's like bipolar, only more so. You've seen normal!Lou, strict!Lou, and now hyper!Lou."
From that, I worked out that there were meant to be five states. "What are the others?" I asked, dreading the answer.
I was right to fear. "Depressed and angry," she replied, her smile not slipping at all. "Let's hope you don't see them very often. Got the Remote Activator? I'd hate to have to sit here for the next year and a half."
Reaching into my pack, I pulled the device out. Fortunately, it still worked after the soaking we and all our equipment had received, and we stepped out of the blue doorway into the bright sunlight.
I saw Frodo tiptoeing towards a dogwood bush and frowned. "Isn't there meant to be a bit of introspection before this?" I whispered to Lou.
She nodded. "Eight paragraphs. Looks like we missed it, though with a gap of over a year, being half a minute out isn't that bad."
I nodded, thinking that I'd have to find a few moments to get the charges from that missing section down. Frodo stuck his hand into the bush, and seemed surprised when it came out empty. "Oh, come on," muttered Lou. "It's been a year and a half, and he still expects there to be something in the dogwoods?"
I nodded again. "I'll add it to the charge list. Speaking of which…?"
Lou looked at me. "Do it now," she said, "and we'll use the portal to catch up with him down by the river."
"Got it," I muttered, and pulled out my notepad again. Squinting, I studied the Words, making good use of my skill – acquired after too many missions as an Untangler – at writing without looking at the page.
"Right," I said, finally looking up, "done right to the point we're getting her."
Lou nodded approvingly and said, "Portal, then, please." I pulled out the Remote Activator and portalled us down to the river, where Frodo was already watching a fairy – our 'Sue – getting out after her swim.
Her head broke the water as her feet struck shallow water. She stood with water cascading off of her and took a couple of steps so that her feet were on the warm grass
All that presented us with a rather confusing image. "Is she upside-down?" asked Lou, as the fairy went through a series of baffling contortions before finally standing up on the grass.
I glanced back at Frodo, whose eyes had suddenly become sky blue, and then up at the Words. "'She was his size if but an inch shorter'," I quoted. "Does that make sense?"
"Not really," replied Lou, "but little of this does. Oh, lovely," she added, "a nice chunk of description."
"Actually, I don't mind," I replied. Lou stared at me as if I'd gone insane. I shrugged and explained. "We don't have to read it except to get charges, which I've already done, and it doesn't take up any time, so…"
"What are you?" asked the fairy, having finished somehow drying off by shaking so fast she was a blur. I personally thought her arms should have flown off, but that was what charge lists were for.
"A hobbit," replied Frodo, and then fell silent for a few moments as the fairy looked at him in surprise. "What are you?"
"A Mary-Sue," muttered Lou, even as the fairy said, "A fairy." Immediately after, there was a sound of hoofbeats – not faint, as one would expect, but fairly loud – and the 'Sue flinched.
"Good girl," commented Lou, skimming the Words, "she's scared of Gandalf."
"He'd probably see her for what she truly is," I replied, watching as the fairy did a strange little dance, squirting glitter everywhere, and began to shrink. "Well," I added, "should make her easier to catch."
"But not to shoot," said Lou, glowering. "I guess we'll have to change-there she goes!"
Indeed, the fairy, now small enough to hold in my hand, and with butterfly wings, had flown off in a blur into the trees. I glanced at Frodo, still staring after her, with Gandalf riding up behind him, and then back at Lou. "Should we follow?"
"You've done the charge list, haven't you?" she asked. When I nodded, she smiled. "Well, then, no need to stay here. In fact…" She looked up at the Words again. "What would we miss if we skip straight to the killing? A lot of description of this Noncoty place – useless, as it'll all be burnt pretty soon – and, basically, that's it."
"Portal, then?" I asked, anticipating the answer and pulling out the Remote Activator. When she nodded, I set the location and time, pressed the button, and hopped through to a hidden spot in the trees next to Noncoty.
"The look of him I like very much," said the fairy – whose name was apparently Kilter – to the flower she was sitting on. "I would like to see him again." Then she drifted off into her thoughts for an indeterminate period of time.
"Right," whispered Lou in my ear, "I'll wait here, you go in there, grab her, and bring her over."
I frowned. "What if she bites?"
Lou rolled her eyes. "Really, Narto, you ask the most ridiculous things. Now go," she finished, suddenly stern.
I went. The fairy was sitting on her flower in front of a large bush that the Words identified as an Azaleas, and even though my feet went straight through the floor of this garden – a floor made from interlocking leaves, of all things – she didn't notice me until I grabbed her and picked her up. Her screams were muffled by my hands, and to my relief, she didn't bite as I carried her back to where Lou was sitting.
"Very good," said my partner, hearing the screams. "You going to read the charge list?"
"I'm kind of out of hands," I muttered. "Could you…?"
"Of course," Lou replied, plucking my notepad out of my bag and opening it to the right page. "Your handwriting is awful," she commented.
I sighed. "Just read it, will you?"
"Of course." She leaned over and peered into my hands. "Little fairy? Can you hear me?"
The screams turned into muffled, high-pitched cursing, and Lou smiled. "I'll take that as a yes. Kilter of Noncoty, on my authority as an agent of the PPC, I hereby charge you with: Having an egotistical Author's Note. Serious abuse of commas, or rather, the lack of commas. Almost drowning PPC agents. Creating sentient plant-matter… Narto," she said, stopping her recitation, "can we really use that as a charge? Considering who our boss is?"
I nodded. "Yes. It's not native to this place, so we're fine."
"Okay." She resumed the charge list. "Making elves leave footprints. Exaggerating the size of Frodo's feet. Removing Valinor and replacing it with North America. Using the word 'Elfish'. Placing Celeborn on the White Ship. Removing Bilbo from the White Ship. Giving Frodo nine companions, thus creating a Fellowship of ten. Creating Glimi the mini-balrog."
On cue, the Mini in question ran out of the woods. "Ah, there he is," I said. I'd been wondering where he'd got to, and whether Minis only mentioned in thoughts would actually appear. Apparently, they did.
"Good, he'll be useful in burning Noncoty." As expected, this provoked a fresh bout of cursing from Kilter, which Lou ignored. "Failing to give Samwise his full name. Using severely faulty logic. Placing fairies in Aman. Causing a fairy to melt for no reason. Giving Gandalf spherical hands. Talking utter nonsense. Giving Frodo childlike features. Making Hobbits afraid of being near water despite Hobbiton being on a river."
"I've been thinking about that one," I interrupted. "It might be that what she was trying to say was that the hobbits would expect Frodo, specifically, not to like water. I mean, his parents did drown..."
Lou shook her head. "Not buying it. He went through enough rivers that they'd never think that. Now please stop interrupting me." I nodded meekly, and let her finish the list.
"Building a Hobbit hole in wheat. Making Frodo utterly inconsistent. Placing Native Americans in the Undying Lands. Making Frodo into an idiot. Turning Frodo into a coward. Numerous contradictions - 'his size if but an inch shorter', for example, or 'almost completely dry if but a bit damp'. Overdescription. Making Gandalf shout at Frodo. Having a horrible name. Creating a new location, namely Noncoty. Really bad architecture. And, last but not least, being a Mary-Sue." She leaned closer to my hands and gave Kilter a dazzling smile. "You do not get to plead guilty or innocent, but you do get last words. What are they?"
Apparently, the words the fairy wanted to be remembered by were yet more muffled curses. Shaking her head, Lou cupped her hands around mine, looked at me for a moment, and then clapped our hands together quickly.
As it turns out, fairies are very fragile things. However, they make rather disgusting squishing noises, and the glitter gets everywhere. I glared at Louise. "You could have warned me!"
"Yes, I could have." She returned my gaze evenly. "However, she's dead, so it doesn't matter. What matters is that we burn this place. Now."
I continued glaring at her, but some of the intensity was gone. She was right, after all, and anyway, I was going to get a fire. I like fire. A lot. "You're planning on getting Glimi to do it?"
"It's only fair," Lou replied. "Glimi? If you'd be so kind?"
He was. He launched himself forward into the middle of Noncoty, and the fairy kingdom – giant flowers and all – burnt down around him.
At least, it did until it suddenly vanished, leaving us sitting on the grass in a high-walled canyon, looking out to where the sea was lapping at a sandy shore. I blinked. "Uh?"
Lou looked just as confused as me until she glanced over her shoulder. Then her eyes lit up. "Narto," she said, "we just destroyed the 'Sue and her GA. When we do that, Canon reasserts itself. And at the moment, Canon says we're in…"
"Valinor," I whispered in awe, turning to look the other way up the Pass of Light. There, sitting atop green Túna, was the ancient white city of Tirion, home of the Noldor and widely renowned as the most beautiful city in Arda, if not the entire Multiverse. "Oh, we have got to go sightseeing."
Lou smiled. "I was about to suggest it myself," she said, standing up. As we walked over the soft grass, she looked at me, laughed, and added, "Don't think I've forgotten that you need a shower, though. As soon as we get back."
"As soon as we get back," I repeated. "And may that be a long time coming."