rc_999: Getting down to business. (business)
Set just after "What's Latin for 'You Suck'?"

The door to the Lichen's office burst open, and he was somewhat surprised to see Agent Supernumerary bearing down on him. To the Plant's relief, he did not look angry, but one lens of his glasses was missing, and the taut, waxy expression of determination on his face was frightening in its own way.

Agent Supernumerary! the Lichen said rapidly. To what do I owe th—

"I'll do it."

. . . Beg pardon?

"You know exactly what I'm talking about. This is what it's all been about, isn't it? All the shit missions you've been sending me? In the words of the Professor, 'It is plain enough what you are pointing at. Bilbo the silly hobbit started this affair, and Bilbo had better finish it, or himself.' Well, you win. I'll do it. God help me, I want to do it." He put a hand to his head in a distressed gesture that said I must be mad. "When ought I to start?"

The Lichen was silent for some time. Finally, he said, Supernumerary. You have repeatedly surpassed my every expectation. You have been a great asset to my department. I would not ask this of you.

"I would tell you to go pollinate yourself if you did," the man replied flatly.

Quite. The Lichen graciously forbore to mention that he did not have pollen. That said, we simply cannot find anyone else. The Board have been putting pressure on me for some time now, and with the recent success in the Potterverse . . . well, it does seem the opportune moment, does it not?

"I know. I get it." He took a deep breath and sighed. "Just . . . give me some time to get things in order, in case . . . in case. That's all I ask."

Of course. You may have whatever you require; only don't take too long. I can't delay forever.

"I'll need new glasses, to begin with," grumbled the agent.

You shall have them. I'll tell the Supply Depot to make it a priority. Good day, Agent Supernumerary.

He turned on his heel and marched out with a wave that said to hell with you as much as good-bye.

As soon as he was gone, the Lichen relaxed—a brief ripple seemed to run through his pale green mass. Oh dear oh dear. It set to work.
rc_999: Nume and Ilraen: badasses. (Default)
Ilraen looked up from his worktable at a strange sound from the direction of the console. His partner was sitting stock-still, staring at something on the screen.

<Nume? What is it?>

"Nothing!" he said, too quickly. The screen went blank. He rose and surreptitiously ran a hand across his face, then gave a sniff—the sound that had attracted Ilraen's attention.

Ilraen said nothing, but returned his main eyes to his work. His stalk-eyes roved over the room, carefully not focusing on Nume.

For a moment there was silence. Finally, Nume said, "Leonard Simon Nimoy is dead."

<Oh.> Tentatively, he added, <You admire him greatly, do you not?>

"Yes I do." A pause. "Ilraen, did I ever play any of my Alien Voices collection for you?"

<I believe so. Not recently.>

"Well, the article doesn't mention his work on Alien Voices at all. It's ridiculous." He opened a cabinet above the console and started rifling through its contents. "So, what do you say? Journey to the Center of the Earth or The Time Machine?"

<I do like him as Professor Lidenbrock.> Ilraen did not add that this performance of Nimoy's reminded him of his partner.

"Sure." Nume pulled out the CD and popped it into the console.

The two settled down to enjoy it.
rc_999: Ilraen jumps for joy. Or something. (leap)
No sun was yet visible overhead in the Miss Cam Courtyard, but on one horizon the sky was tinted pink and gold, like a winter sunrise. The light slowly changed, and Ilraen-Aroline-Fothergill crested a rise, following a path beside a shallow, stone-filled rill that wound its way through the grass. At the top of the rise was a small pond fed by a spring that rippled but did not break the surface. Ilraen didn't know whether it was natural or artificial, and he didn't care to find out and risk disappointment. This place was perfect for his needs.

He watched the sun come up. (Granted, it might not have been a real sun, but it was close enough.) When the bottom cleared the horizon, he began.

<From the water that gave birth to us...> He dipped his right forehoof in the pond. <From the grass that feeds us...> With his wet hoof, he crushed a patch of grass. <For the freedom that unites us...> He spread his arms high and wide. <We rise to the stars.> He lifted all four eyes to the sun. <Freedom is my only cause. Duty to the people, my only guide. Obedience to my prince, my only glory. The destruction of my enemies, my most solemn vow. I, Ilraen-Aroline-Fothergill, Andalite warrior, offer my life.> He took a steady stance and raised his tail-blade to his throat.

After a moment, he relaxed with a sigh. Another day began.

<That is four mornings in a row without being interrupted. A new record!> he remarked to no one in particular.
rc_999: Ilraen's usual uncertain look. (nervous)
I met someone new this morning. I was in the courtyard for my run, and for the first time I can remember, someone else was there, sitting on one of the benches. I think I startled her, coming up from behind, but I was so excited to see another agent there that I could not wait to say hello.

I could tell something was wrong as soon as I saw her face. I am certain she had been crying before I came along and interrupted, but she did not seem offended. She asked about my species, and we talked for a little while about casual things—home continuum and such. Her name is Agent Cinderella, and she is a Beauxbatons witch from the Harry Potter universe.

I thought she would ask me to leave once the polite amount of conversation was over, but instead she asked me to stay. That moved me deeply. She seemed so lost and lonely, and if I am honest, I am unused to anyone seeking out my company of their own free will. Being wanted . . . I felt I must try to help however I could.

The talk turned to missions, and it came about that Cindy had been subject to something terrible during her last one, something that provoked her to an action she regrets. For her privacy, I will not reveal what it was, but I could see how much it hurt her. She was afraid she might do this bad thing again, afraid of what that would make her. Worse, I think she believed she had to suffer alone. She was incredulous when I told her I, too, have things in my past that I regret. And so I told her my own story of shame and failure.

It helped. I think, when people trust each other with their demons, it sets them free for at least a little while. We live such isolated, insulated lives here in Headquarters, but we are not alone. Others have fought the same battles as we have; others toil as we toil; and others will reach out to us if we reach out to them.

Cindy and I exchanged response center numbers before we parted. I hope I will see her again.
rc_999: Ilraen jumps for joy. Or something. (leap)

I am Ilraen-Aroline-Fothergill, and I have been told by a good friend that I should try one of these public journals. I already keep a private journal for recording things I cannot speak of, but this way I can share some of my thoughts with my friends and fellow-agents. I do not know if anyone will really read these entries, but since I would like to have more contact with others, I agreed to a trial—on the condition that my friend and chief instigator, Jenni, start one herself. I believe it can be found here.

This journal is also set up so that my partner, Supernumerary, may use it if he wishes, but I don't think he will. Nume is not particularly fond of sharing anything.

What to say? As I write this, it is midday, and so far we have not had an assignment. I do not trust the console's silence for one minute, but it has been a pleasant morning. I have been visiting the courtyard to conduct my daily rituals, and I have begun to notice an effect. The courtyard itself was a discovery I made some time ago, and it alone has done wonders for me. An Andalite needs space to run; we were not meant to live indoors. I find that I am much happier there, with Alice and the other horses various agents have rescued over the years for company. We race sometimes; Alice wins. Someday I may ask her permission to acquire her and a few of the others for a new morph. Then we shall see.

But, returning to the rituals. Something to mark the opening and closing of each day adds a significance that was previously lacking. Even if I miss one due to a mission, once I return to the routine again, it is reassuring. I do not know how much of this effect is attributable to my species—have we evolved to need structure?—or simply to my own, personal need. Whatever the reason, I feel more at peace with myself than I ever have before.

Orken, if you are reading this, I hope it does not trouble you to know that I am trying to become more like the Andalite you expected when we first met. It cannot change my opinion of you, my friend.

May 2015

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