"Well, Lindy's settled in with the doctor," Cazzie said, walking into the dormitory. "He said he'd give her a hearty meal of oats and put her in the pasture overnight, but I think he was joking."
"Probably not," Penny said absently, leaning back against Iplis. "That sounds like Doughnut Jimmy. He usually treats racehorses."
"Why does it not surprise me," asked Mercuria loudly, "that this shamble of a university can't afford a real doctor?"
"Ignoramus," Raen snorted. "Everyone knows Doughnut Jimmy – Doctor James Folsom, I should say – is the best medical practitioner in Ankh."
"We're not all as obsessive-compulsive about these things as you, Assassin," Mercuria snapped back, and Raen's butter knife seemed to teleport to her hand.
"Insult me again", the PPCer said in a low voice. "I dare you."
"I thought," Cazzie interrupted loudly, "there was a new doctor in the latest books. Doctor Lunch or something."
Raen stared at her. The brief silence was broken by the 'pop' of an ambulatory black plastic lunchbox appearing.
"I think you mean Doctor Lawn," Raen said slowly. "And I had... forgotten him."
"Well," Phoebe put in, "what I want to know is what on the Disc happened with Liliac. I mean, who did she say she was with? The Interdimensional...?"
"Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Elves," Tisea supplied, and held up a folded piece of paper. "She gave me a flyer."
"Great," Phoebe deadpanned. "I get the Amazing Handless Girl, you get a pamphlet – she's a regular Hogfather, isn't she?"
As was usual in after-hours dormitory discussions (or at least, as far as 'usually' can exist after only a handful of days) a cluster had formed in the middle of the floor, the girls wrapped in their blankets as they sat or stood. As the core were the four remaining elves – Phoebe, Tisea, Mercuria and Phoenix Flight. Tindomiel and Andy hung around nearby, waiting to see if their 'distant elvish ancestry' (or 'wannabe-elfness', as Phoebe always thought of it) would give them an in on the conversation. Naturally that meant Saphie was sitting with them...
And so it went on. Tisea and Phoenix Flight seemed to have managed to escape any hangers-on, but Phoebe's friends were there – Cazzie sat at Phoebe's shoulder, her minor victory over Raen granting her that right in the dorm's political environment. Penny was still sitting with – although Phoebe thought 'snuggled against' was closer to the mark – Iplis, who seemed in two minds as to whether she was with Phoebe's group, or the handful of vampires behind Mercuria.
"It says here," Tisea announced, frowning at the pamphlet, "that 'Ispace places the highest priority on its operatives' needs, and our en-suite residential apartments are designed by the greatest architects and decorators in the multiverse.'"
"Yeah, right," Nenya snorted from her bed. "Sounds like the stuff we got from the PPC. Half the year as holiday and gourmet packed lunches, and what did we get? 'Evildoers and friends of Cam' followed very quickly by 'You're hired, your basic pay is zero'." She shook her head, recalling. "They actually claimed HQ had a pool, if you can believe it."
Amid the laughter of those who knew the PPC's sprawling HQ – Nenya, Raen, Penny and Kaitlyn – Tisea glanced up from her perusal of the leaflet. "It's funny you should mention that," she said, "because apparently Ispace Mountain has-"
"So what do they do?" interrupted Kai. "This recruitment spiel is all well and good, but who are they, that they sent Liliac here to interfere with things?"
"I don't think I'd say interfere," Penny disagreed, sitting up and frowning at the vampire. "It seemed more like she was trying to achieve something specific."
"Well, it would certainly have 'interfered' with the elves' Learning-Through-Pain," Iplis laughed, and Phoebe didn't think anyone else spotted the look she shot at Kai. "But Pen's right – they were after something specific. What did they want the elves for?"
"Apparently that's just what they do," Tisea reported, still reading. "Listen to this. 'Almost ten years after its foundation by the renowned Glorfindel of Rivendell, Ispace has become a truly multiversal organisation, defending and protecting elves of all worlds from all unwarranted aggression."
"Well, as the only elf here – no, sorry, as an elf," Phoebe corrected herself, "I'm certainly in favour of being protected."
"And that 'unwarranted' part must explain what the platypus said to Magrat about friends and relations," Mercuria mused. "I wonder if-"
"I wonder that they'd bother defending fangirl elves at all," Raen cut in. "Surely people like," she paused and glanced around, "all right, like Lindyellwen don't deserve protecting."
"Yeah, they mention that," Tisea reported. "Apparently 'Ispace rejects the unnatural division of Elvenkind into 'canon' and 'uncanon'; such pejorative slurs as 'fangirl' and 'Mary-Sue' serve only to blind the Multiverse to the universality of Elvenhood and the truth that all elves are in dire need of protection.'"
A ripple of shock ran through the room, taking in far more than simply the four PPCers. Andy's mouth dropped open, Saphie gasped aloud, and Yukimona actually seemed to go weak at the knees. Hawkelf's ghost wavered and vanished for a moment, reappearing up near the ceiling. None of which forestalled Raen jumping to her feet and marching over to snatch the flyer from Tisea's fingers.
"'Traditional respect for canon married to a modern perspective'? 'Consideration for the rights of all living things'? 'Imperative to separate authors and their creations'? Oh, very pretty words for a bunch of Suethor apologists!" the Assassin snarled.
"Hey, now," said Vee mildly, "this is Liliac we're talking about. I always thought she knew quite a lot about canon."
"Clearly she was swotting up so she could eviscerate it," Raen snapped, waving the pamphlet in the air. "I should have expected it – she was at a university for fangirl idiots, after all."
"Hey!" went up a cry from around the room – with the loudest objections coming from Lucy2, Esme, Becky and Sliver – and, rather surprisingly (to Phoebe, at least), Kaitlyn. Raen sneered.
"What? Suethors, the lot of you. I can't believe I volunteered for this."
Amidst the general uproar, Lucy2's voice rose above all the others. "You have insulted me for the last time!" she yelled, and threw her arms wide. "Fear my magickckck!"
"What I want to know," Cazzie said, leaning forward to murmur in Phoebe's ear and completely ignoring the chaos erupting around them, "is what was going on with the Administrator."
"You heard that too?" Phoebe muttered back. "Yes, they clearly knew him from somewhere – and equally clearly didn't think he was the same person. Any thoughts?"
"Not a one," Cazzie shrugged, and ducked underneath a book thrown by Becky. "I just thought it was interesting. And now, shall we find cover? I think things are about to get messy in here."
Disclaimer: All Discworld canon characters and locations are the creations of Sir Terry Pratchett. The Official Fanfiction University concept is the creation of Miss Cam. The Interdimensional Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Elves is my invention. Phoebe is based on an application to OFUDisc by Fawkes Phoenix. All other students are based on applications to OFUDisc. All details of (and mistakes in) plot, narrative and dialogue are mine. Thanks to the Irish Samurai for betaing.
Author's Note: It seems like Ispace may have changed a little since the old days...
For additional notes on some of the characters in OFUDisc, there is a character list elsewhere on the OFUDisc Files.