Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Ispace Chapter Four: Operation - Dragon and Death

Deep in the desolation of Smaug, a glimmering blue portal appeared in the air. If anyone had been watching, they would have seen four girls tumble out, followed by some sort of strange furry duck. They would have watched as the two girls in brown cloaks rose, using the other two as support, and walked off to the north, accompanied by the small brown creature. A short while later, they would have noticed the girl in the royal blue cloak walk off in the opposite direction, the last figure, the one in the lilac cape, tagging along behind. Then, they would have only seen the ashes that remained of a once verdant land. But there was no one watching, and no one saw.

As Hethien walked towards the Lonely Mountain, leading Pointy and Platy, she thought about the shock she had recieved on entering Sarah's office and seeing her former partner sitting at the desk. Had she known that Merrylyn was free, and had been recruited as an operative for the Middle Earth Animal Protection Society, she would never have permitted a MEAPS team to accompany the mission. As the senior Agent here, she, Hethien, had the right to change any part of the operation, provided she had good reason to. And the presence of a fangirl was quite good enough.

At least those two, the fangirl and the techspert, had gone down to the Long Lake, and the remains of Esgaroth. If they had been accompanying the Ispace team, Hethien would have had to be restrained to stop her trying to kill her former partner. Although she was generally a very restrained person, if there was one thing she could not stand it was a traitor.

But there was no time for further reflection. They were coming up on the Wood Elf camp now, and King Thranduil's guards had seen them. Through careful experimentation, Sarah and the tech department had made a variant on the Someone Else's Problem field that made most people accept Ispace Agents, but it still paid to be cautious. There were always some overly-inquisitive people who could gt around an SEP, and the same went for the new version.

In this case, however, there was no trouble. The fact that the brown cloaks looked similar to the costumes of the elves themselves certainly helped, and within minutes the trio were inside the camp, wandering aroung and waiting for the battle to start. There was not long to wait.

The Agents had arrived at the moment at which the battle between elves and dwarves had been halted by Mithrandir and the timely arrival of a horde of orcs from the north. Swiftly, the elves arranged themselves on the lower slopes of Erebor. The Agents prepared their arrays of drugs, which would be used to heal the elves, and also their special StormBows, created by Alice from Tech, the girl who was now helping Merrylyn to retrieve Smaug the Golden.

Further south, near to the abandoned, still-smoking ruins of Lake Town, two girls - one in blue, one in lilac - conversed.

"So, Merrylyn," said the blue-cloaked one, "you're out of Detention. How'd you pull that one off?"

"Oh," replied Merrylyn with false modesty, "you know how it is. Liliac, in her capacity as Head of MEAPS, apparently realised that my talents were too valuable to leave me in Sauron's charge."

She was about to say more when the other interrupted. "I've been wondering - how exactly does a floating red eye wear a cape?"

Merrylyn gaped, and then laughed. "Alice, he's a . . . what's the word, Maia. He can do just about anything he wants." She saw Alice was about to ask again, and sighed. "Alright, I'll tell you. He wears it -"

They were interrupted by a loud crashing as a nearby building collapsed, and looked up to see that they were nearly at the lake. Through the smoke that still rose from the timber buildings they could see the ripples on the water that marked where their target, the great dragon Smaug, had fallen. Alice quickly took a look around, saw that no one was there, and pulled out her specially designed portal generator.

Although it looked similar to an ordinary generator, this one was designed to transport a single body. Using a remote controlled submarine from her bag, the techspert dragged the device out to the huge corpse of the dragon. As soon as it hit the body, the carefully programmed generator let out an almighty blue flash. Alice and Merrylyn covered their eyes, and when they opened them again the dragon was gone.

A second later, a small blue portal appeared above their heads, and a piece of paper wafted down. Written on it, in Liliac's large handwriting and purple in, were two words: Well Done. Alice nodded, satisfied, and, gesturing Merrylyn to follow, set off walking back towards their portal point, where they would wait for the three Ispace Agents.

Away to the north, a battle was raging. All five armies had arrived, and although the elves had not been injured on the first charge, as their arrows had been multiplied by Hethien's StormBow - Pointy's had malfunctioned - which released multiple shots simultaneously  there were now many casualties among Thranduil's army.

Amongst them rushed Hethien, Pointy and Platy, each administering aid in their own way. Where Hethien would place a mask over a distressed elf's face, giving him breathable drugs to increase his strength and healing rate, Pointy preferred to drop pills into their mouths. Hethien thought the girl perhaps spent a little too much time giving mouth to mouth to elves who probably didn't need it, but she always moved on soon enough. The Noble Platypus, being so short, simply ran around with syringes in her beak, injecting elves with medicine and orcs with poison.

Pointy had just put the elf's corpse down on the ground - the third who her efforts had been insufficient to save - and looked up, searching for another in need of assistance, when a shadow fell over her. She looked up to see a great goblin chieftain staring down at her. As she was sure her SEP would protect her she stayed motionless, kneeling beside the fallen elf. Then she felt a burning sensation against her ribs, and knew with cold certainty that the SEP, that supposedly perfect device, had just exploded.

The orc's expression turned to one of rage, and it swung its axe down towards her. Pointy covered her eyes, waiting for the blow that would end her life.

The blow never fell. Pointy felt warm blood falling on her face, and looked up to see a short, man-like figure, barely half her height. Glancing down, she noted the hairy feet that identified him as a hobbit, and then looked back up to meet the eyes of Bilbo Baggins. He nodded once to her, his eyes filled with a mixture of rage and fear, said, "You were lucky I was here," and then ran off towards the King's bodyguards.

The battle had passed her location now, and she was in shock, so she did not move. So it was that, at the end of the battle, it was only through luck that Platy found her, lying amongst the dead. Nevertheless the little creature did come, and, muttering through a closed beak, dragged Pointy to where Hethien was waiting.

The senior Agent had just come back from the mountain pass, to which she had followed the last of the orcs, accompanying a party of elves. Now that she had her entire team back together, she wasted no time in opening up a portal to the point at which Alice and Merrylyn were waiting.

Stepping out, Platy and the now-recovered Pointy Ears behind her, Hethien looked at Alice and asked, "Did you accomplish your mission?"

"We did indeed," replied the techspert. "The dragon is safely in the Ispace crater, and we went unobserved."

"Excellent. Then I need waste no more time. Let us leave at once."

With that, she opened another blue portal, stepped through, and crossed in an instant the dimensions that separated her from home.

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