Liliac gave Hethien, Kjersti - Pointy - and Platy their briefing in her purple office. As she read through the prepared speech - "You shall not harm elves. You shall not cause elves to come to harm. You shall not . . ." - her mind wandered. She contemplated the deep purple of the walls, the lighter lilac splodges spaced over them. She ran her gaze along the lines of purple candles covering every surface, noting those which had gone out and needed replacing. She saw the black wooden door, behind which a fixed blue portal lead to her MEAPS ofice, set into the side of the crater of an extinct volcano further down the chain.
She came to the end of the spiel, and looked back at her two new agents and one veteran. "Do you understand?"
"We do," the trio chorused.
"Good." Liliac nodded. "Go and see Rachel down in Supplies for your equipment, then meet me in the Tech department. Ask for Sarah when you get there."
They nodded their understanding and trooped out through the main door. Liliac sighed and got to her feet. She needed to go and find a suitable Meaps operative to accompany the . . . what was that word of Sarah's? Oh, yes. To accompany the Techspert, the Tech expert, to the Long Lake. Perhaps Blizzard . . . well, she'd decide in a minute. For now, she opened the black door and stepped into the Meaps office.
Hethien led her two new Assistants - Two! What a stupid idea! - down the staircase to Supplies. as they passed out of Assignments, the walls faded from deep purple into red. Each section had its own colour, to aid navigation, unlike some of the other Trans-dimensional organisations; the PPC headquarters, for example, was famously impossible to get around if you were paying attention. Hethien's theory was that the all-grey walls introduced some rather strange space/time anomalies. On the one occasion she'd visited there, she had spent hours wandering around looking for the Head Office before giving up and taking a portal back to Merrylyn at Ispace HQ.
They came finally to the black doors of Rachel's office. Knocking, they entered . . . into a room straight out of history. A blazing log fire in a huge stone fireplace lit the chamber. The red walls were covered with all varieties of weapons from all ages and universes. At the cntre, where the other offices had a desk - that was shoved up against one of the side walls - was a staircase down to the storage catacombs below. Against the back wall stood Rachel.
Her red cloak - of course she had a cloak, everyone had a cloak - swirled behind her as she stepped forward. The coffee skinned woman looked at them for a second, and then said, "Two girls in brown cloaks and a platypus. You must be Liliac's Agents."
Hethien stepped forward. "We are indeed. There are Pointy and Platy, and I am -"
"Hethien?" interrupted the black haired woman. "Yes, it is you. I'm sorry, I hadn't seen you without Merrylyn before. I heard about what she did, of course, but . . . well." Rachel turned to the other two. "And these are your two . . . Kjersti?"
Pointy Ears stared in shock at the Head of Supplies. Platy sighed, and mttered, "Do I have to do everything?" Then, in a louder voice, the creature said, "Yes, it is, but she answers to the name Pointy Ears now. Do you know my pet?"
Rachel nodded slowly. "I know of her, certainly. But no matter. You came for the standard kit, yes? Where's that brief . . . ah, yes, a battlefield. If you'll just follow me," and she began to descend the stairs to the caverns beneath the mountain, "we can get you sorted in double time."
Pointy Ears looked at the woman, who turned, smiled sweetly at her, and continued down int the depths.
Liliac stepped from her office into the brightly lit crater where the animals currently under Meaps protection lived. Soon, she anticipated, much of this would be filled with the great dragon Smaug. But for that, she needed an operative . . .
Sariah ran up to her. "Liliac," she called, "we got her!"
The girl in the purple cloak frowned. "Got who?" she asked.
"The new recruit you wanted," replied Sariah. "Blizz got Sauron to release her from Detention."
"Well done Blizzard," Liliac nodded. Then she looked up in surprise. "Sauron is running Detention?"
The blonde girl smiled. "They found him in one of the Fanfic-spawned realities. Apparently, he'd just been outwitted by a girl of fifteen, and was eager to accept the offer of recruitment. He's painted the entire section black, but we can handle that."
Liliac smiled. "In that case, very well done Blizzard. Pass that message on, please. And send our new operative to me. I think I have a job for her . . ."
Hethien, Pointy and Platy entered the blue lab in the Tech department and looked around. Only one person - a golden haired girl in a royal blue cloak - was visible, and as they stood there she looked up from the machine she was working on.
"Hi," she said, "I'm Sarah. Lili told me you'd be coming. She's waiting through here. Come on."
The girl lead the trio through a door into an office. The two figures before the desk turned, revealing themselves to be Liliac and . . . Hethien gasped in shock as her eyes widened in recognition . . .