Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Ispace Chapter Six: Fight For Your Life

With the onset of the Alarm, Agents and Department Heads gathered in the Admin foyer. Everyone was there - Sauron in his black cloak, the Medical team, led by Elanor Gamgee, in white . . . even Rachel from Supplies had turned up, and was distributing a variety of interesting weapons to the assembled.

Glorfindel swept out of his office, green cloak billowing around him. Bilbo- san and Malfoyelf stepped into guard positions at his side as he spoke to the assembled horde.

"We are in danger of failing our obligation to my people. An elf is under attack by a fangirl swarm, and we have done nothing to prevent this.

"A greater swarming has not been seen since the Great Breakthrough when the Lord of the Rings film was released. We will use all available resources. Liliac, can MEAPS help us out?"

"Of course," said Liliac. "If you'll excuse me, I'll go and arrange things with Sariah and Kellex."

Glorfindel nodded his ascent, and she ran from the room. As she left, she heard him start up again. Dramatic speeches were his thing, and he wasn't going to miss a chance like this.

As soon as Liliac burst into her Meaps office, Sariah started talking. "We've got Smaug all settled in, and the Balrog's getting comfortable, and Lax and Doomy are going to -"

Liliac cut her off. "We've got a full scale emergency on our hands. There's a fangirl swarm bearing down on some defenceless elf. We're going to help Ispace fight them off. Call everyone up here. Now."

Within minutes, the nine Meaps operatives were assembled in Liliac's office. Looking at them, she explained the situation. As she finished, Merrylyn said, "Ooh, he'll like this." Then she grabbed a portal generator from the desk and flicked a few switches.

As Merrylyn, lilac cloak billowing, jumped through the blue portal, Spyra cried, "I'll follow her!" and leapt after. The portal snapped shut with a twang, and Liliac looked at Sariah. The other shrugged.

"She'll be back," said the Meaps second in command, "don't worry."

"I'm sure she will," replied Liliac calmly. Then an evil glint came into her eye. "Did you say Smaug was settled?"

"Uh . . . yes," replied Sariah, suddenly wary. Liliac grinned.

"Let's go and see how he is, shall we?"

The entire population of the Ispace Mountain gathered on the flattened area near the summit. Glorfindel stood at the front, his back to the huge drop. He was on the verge of leaving without Liliac's lot, who had not yet arrived, when suddenly a glint of gold caught his eye. It grew rapidly, until at last Smaug the Golden landed on the slope above the assembled. From his neck, Liliac waved down.

"Hi!" she called. "You don't mind if my pet comes along, do you?"

"Of course not," the elf replied. "The more the merrier."

With that, he pulled out his portal generator. Around the perimeter of the crowd, several Agents - Fireblade K'chona, the Black Rider of Gondor and the Lady of Mowzerness among them - duplicated the action, preparing to open a ring portal and transport the entire group.

As the generators started to hum, there was a flash of light and a rectangular door opened in the air. Through it walked two people in black, followed by Merrylyn and Spyra. Looking around at the group, Merrylyn said, "Are we too late?"

Smaug popped into existence hovering above a huge empty field, and immediately settled on the grass to allow his passengers to dismount. Liliac was going to stay on, but when she saw the dark-clothed elf waiting for them, she changed her mind.

"Hey, cutey," she said, hopping down. The elf looked over and sighed.

"Hello, Liliac. I should have known you'd be here."

Her eyes widened. "What, not happy to see me, Huinesoron?"

Huinesoron smiled. "Of course I am. If I need protecting, I'm sure you'll be the one to help. And I *do* need protecting. You know why you're here, yes?"

Liliac nodded. "Fangirls. They found you?"

He nodded grimly. "I'm not sure how, but it seems so. And Elanhin's wandered off, so you lot are all I've got to defend me right now."

Liliac shrugged. "Well -"

She was cut off by a loud avian screech. Looking up, she saw a pair of kestrels diving towards the group. At the last second they pulled up and came to rest on Fireblade's shoulders. Looking over at Liliac, the Agent said, "Fangirls. Churr and Kell saw them. They're almost here."

"Quick!" called Huinesoron, his voice reaching all the assembled Ispacers. "Prepare for battle! They are coming!" With that, he ran off back towards his base, followed by a small group of Ispacers - Glorfindel and Rachel leading, several Agents following behind. The rest of the team set up a perimeter. Then there was nothing to do but wait.

They did not have to wait for long.

The battle itself was a blur. The fangirls swarmed over the plain before the base and were repulsed. But again they attacked, and each wave came ever closer, until at last the battle raged across the entire plain. Near the front, Pointy and Platy fought together, Pointy with conventional weapons and Platy with strap on poison spurs, specially created for her.

Slowly, however, the Agents were drawn apart. Platy found herself in the midst of a group of fangirls all identically clad in black, and soon started having fun. Pointy, on the other hand, was pushed towards the centre of the battle, until at last she was pushed out into the entrance of Huinesoron's base.

Her brown cloak had been lost somewhere in the fight, leaving only nondescript clothing. As she tumbled into the area directly before the Base, she had a moment to notice the space around her before her world dissolved into fire and pain.

Rachel lowered her flamethrower. She hadn't needed to use it too much - Huinesoron's mini-Balrog Thanduril had done most of the work - but it had been most satisfying. Up until now, she had been busy handing out weaponry, mainly to the two PPC agents who had turned up. They had been brought in by Agent Merrylyn, with barely a chance to get organised. As a result, they required large numbers of interesting weapons.

Rachel watched as the girl ran in circles, screaming as her hair and skin burnt away. Then a platypus leapt out of the crowd. "Pointy!" it screamed, and threw itself onto the girl.

Platy had heard Pointy screaming from a reasonable distance, and had immediately turned and run for the noise. "My pet had better not be hurt!" she panted as she ran. Then she burst out and found herself atop the other Agent, trying to douse the flames. Fortunately, Huinesoron saw the problem and threw a quick ball of water at the pair, but Pointy was seriously injured. Worse, pulling the medical team from the battlefield could mean the loss of the battle itself.

But all was not lost. At that very moment, help arrived. Unlooked for, unhoped for, Legolas, Lord of the Pancakes, burst from a swirling blue portal with his Assistants. It later emerged that they had been brought by Elanhin, Huinesoron's conspicuously absent Assistant, but at the time they seemed to have been sent by the Valar themselves.

And perhaps they were, for who can fathom the mind of a God. Whatever the truth, when, a few moments later, an army of elves charged into the back row of the fangirl horde, several of the Ispacers glanced up to the sky and muttered quick thank-you messages to whoever might be listening.

Liliac sat astride Smaug, watching the battle. When the fangirl horde was still fairly condensed, she had occasionally gone on strafing runs, but now there was too great a chance of hitting Ispacers, or some of the new arrivals.

Off to her left, she could see a great Oliphaunt. Sariah sat astride it, and behind came the other MEAPS Operatives, Balrogs - or at least, one Balrog - in their train. Fangirls were crushed before them, but still the horde came onwards.

Directly below Liliac was a group of the newcomers, elves mixed in with a couple of humans. One of those, a girl in a blue cloak, seemed vaguely familiar. Liliac thought for a moment, and then it clicked.

Smaug set her down right beside the group. Hopping off, she joined them. Sarah looked over at her.

"Oh, hi Liliac."

Liliac smiled at the Head of Tech. "Hey Sarah," she replied, "glad you could make it. Having fun?"

Liliac saw the twinkle in Sarah's eye as the girl spun, stabbed a fangirl coolly and efficiently, and turned back. "Oh, definitely."

"Good, good. Wouldn't want . . ." Liliac's voice trailed off as she saw Legolas a little way off, and, more importantly, what was happening behind him. The world seemed to slow down as a blonde fangirl crept up behind the Elf Lord. A few more steps and she would ensnare him. Liliac swore under her breath, and then cried, "LEGOLAS! BEHIND YOU!"

As Legolas turned to confront his attacker, Liliac called down Smaug. The great golden dragon plunged from the sky, coming in over the field in a strafing run. As he passed over Liliac, he grasped her in one giant paw. Then, after a burst of flame, he had passed the fangirl, and was desperately weaving to lose airspeed.

From her position between his talons, Liliac had a single glimpse of the fangirl, hair ablaze after Smaug's attack, running back, away from Legolas. Then the dragon's wing crossed her vision, and the fangirl was gone.

The battle raged for many hours after that, all the events blurring into one. Liliac remembered nothing distinctly, just sensations of heat and pain, images of flame and fangirls, smells of smoke and burning flesh mixed with boiling mud.

And then it was over. The bodies lay, at least until they could be gathered together. Then the fangirls were burnt, and those who had fallen in Huinesoron's defence revived by Sarah and her technological wizardry. And then . . . everyone left, to continue their normal lives.

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