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Archive for the ‘Interludes’ Category

Because time in HQ can be very wonky indeed, the Radioactive Moss Creature was already at the Nursery, waiting for him. It was talking to an elderly lady with her hair in a bun. She turned and smiled at Mittens, then she cooed at Elisabeth, who giggled back and made happy spit bubbles.

“Shall I put you down as her legal guardian?” asked the lady and took the baby from Mittens.

“Uh, I’m not sure if …” he began.

“You won’t have to adopt her or raise her, but it would be a kind gesture. It will be nice for the girl to know that someone cares about her.”

Miss MacKinnon,” said the RMC firmly, “I appreciate that you are thinking about what’s best for the children, but it’s not nice of you to try to emotionally blackmail my partner. He is not responsible for the child.”

“You’re right. I’m sorry.”

“I would like to come visit,” said Mittens. “That is, if I may?”

“Oh, that would be wonderful.” Miss MacKinnon beamed a smile at them. “And have you thought about a name?”

“A name?” asked the RMC.

“Well, she can’t go on being named Winchester and since she’s so young, we can change her first name also.”

“I haven’t got any ideas,” said the RMC. “Never really saw the purpose of names, myself. How about you?”

Mittens thought about this. He tried to think of a good girls’ name. Someone he admired. Finally he said: “Ammy, and for her last name, she should be called Moss.” He looked down at the RMC, worried that he might have gone too far, but it just looked bemused.

Miss MacKinnon looked very pleased. “Ammy Moss, a beautiful name. Well, Ammy, I think it’s time for your bottle so wave goodbye to the nice agents.”

Ammy looked thoughtful and stuck her whole hand into her mouth. Then she took it out and made what might have been a waving motion.

Both Mittens and the RMC waved in return, before starting the walk back to RC#170.

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Thank you to Rats and Phobos for betaing this.

”Transferred?” the Radioactive Moss Creature repeated.

Mittens nodded. “We’re supposed to go and see the …” He checked the screen again. “The Reannual Grape Vine.”

The RMC thought about this for a moment, then decided that the best course of action would be to shrug (figuratively) and go with it. “Which office?”

“Number 57.”

Mittens had only knocked once when a telepathic voice, sounding rather impatient, said: Yes, yes. Do come in.

Maybe wandering backwards through the corridors of HQ had taken longer than they had thought and they were now late. But the message hadn’t specified a time and anyway, he had no idea what time it was, since he hadn’t seen a clock since he came to the PPC. Still, back in Hell, reasons like that would not have stopped anyone from punishing him for being late, so it was with a feeling of unease that he pushed the door open.

They entered a small office, kept neat in spite of the fact that it was packed with crates and cardboard boxes. Behind the desk sat the Sentient Reannual Grape Vine. It was wearing a robe and a hat with the word ‘Wizzard’ embroidered on it. Small clusters of unripe grapes could been seen amidst its leaves.

Ah
, it said, in a brisk voice. My new Agents. Welcome to the Department.

The agents looked at each other, looked down and shuffled their feet or feet analogues a bit. Finally the RMC said: “Pardon me, but what Department would that be? The message didn’t specify …” It let the sentence trail off.

The Reannual didn’t look surprised. The Department of Improbabilities. We used to be The Department of Ah, Hell Naw! but people objected to the name. Anyway, it’s not surprising that you haven’t heard of us. We were never big in terms of numbers and we tend to get a bit overshadowed by the Department of WhatThe. I haven’t had agents ask to get transferred to this Department in a decade and this is the first time in years that Personnel has actually sent someone here, so you will understand why I was eager to meet with you at once. Now, to answer your question …

“I’m sorry,” the RMC interrupted, as politely as possible. “What question would that be?”

The question you just asked of course.

“But we didn’t ask a question,” the RMC insisted.

Didn’t you? Oh, dear. The Reannual looked slightly flustered. I accidentally started answering your question before you had asked it. It happens sometimes. You were going to ask me what this Department does, exactly. We deal with fics that contain elements that are highly unlikely, but not on the level of brainbreaking WTF. So we don’t get your typical clichéd thirteen-a-dozen Sues. But something like that eight year old Tenth Walker you took care of would have fitted nicely.

“You’ve read our reports?” Mittens asked.

Well, technically, no, I haven’t read them and won’t get around to it until this afternoon. But for the sake of getting this conversation to make sense, let’s just say that I have. I wanted to know who my new agents were. What you’re good at. Whether you own a flamethrower. According to your reports, you’ve performed … adequately. I’m sure you’ll do this Department proud. Or at least not embarrass it. Though I really don’t see how you could do that, since hardly anyone know we exist.

It mused about this for a moment, then continued. One last thing, before you go. Would one of you be so kind as to ask the question?

“What question?” asked Mittens.

Oh, not that again. The question I answered just a moment ago.

“But,” said the RMC, “you already know what it is. You’ve already answered it.”

Answering the question before it gets asked is all fine and good, the Reannual replied. But answering a question which then never gets asked violates the laws of Time and can disturb the fabric of causality.

Mittens tried to think back and remember this exact wording. “So what does this Department do, exactly?” he asked.

Thank you, said the Reannual. I’ll let you get back to work. Good luck. And it waved a stalk dismissively.

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Agents Mittens and the Radioactive Moss Creature were on their way back from RC#9L0121F4114C3, walking backwards through the corridors of Headquarters, when the RMC said: “Now, about that Sparkewolf …”
Mittens’ mouth opened and closed, but no words came out. Finally he swallowed and said: “How did you know? I thought I snatched it when everyone were distracted.”
“I don’t think Agents Shieh and Elerossiel noticed a thing. I certainly didn’t see you take it. I just heard you lament the fate of the poor mini and then you went awfully quiet on the subject. It didn’t seem like you at all.”
“I didn’t mean for anyone to know. I didn’t want anyone else to get into trouble.”
“Mittens …”
“We can’t send it back. We can’t.”
“You know the rules as well as I do. We can’t keep it.”
“I’m not talking about about keeping it. But we can’t let it be stuck in badfics forever. We just can’t.”
The RMC was surprised and a little bit shocked to see that Mittens’ eyes were wet. It was enough to make its mossy heart ache. Mittens, who always did his duty, who never complained and who never asked for anything.
It lowered its head. “Can’t send it back, can’t get it adopted. What we need,” it lifted its head again, “is a third option. And I have an idea as to who might provide that.” It lifted a paw to stop Mittens saying anything. “Mind you, I haven’t promised anything. If we get a no, then the mini goes back. I’m giving it a chance, nothing more.”
Despite these words, Mittens beamed a smile at the RMC.
“Now we just have to find …” the RMC began, then stopped when it noticed the sign on a door on their left, “… RC#412. Which is right here. Well, I guess it was a rather distracting conversation we were having.” It looked at Mittens. “Go on. Knock.”

On one hand, there was no answer when Mittens knocked on the door. On the other hand the door wasn’t closed properly and opened when he knocked on it. The Agents looked at each other, shrugged and entered a small room. It didn’t seem like anyone was living here, since the room contained nothing but a desk with a computer and a chair, in which a woman was sitting. She gave a small start and turned to look at them with a guilty expression as if she had been caught doing something she shouldn’t, while at the same time closing a browser window.
She blinked. “Oh,” she said. “It’s you.” Then, as if remembering her manners: “What can I do for you?”
The RMC turned to Mittens. “Close the door please.” When it had been done, it said: “Mittens, this is EileenAlphabet, Agent of the Department of Intelligence and author self-insert.”
Mittens stuck out his hand, which Eileen took, a bit awkwardly. He noticed that she was wearing nail polish, which was in a fetching shade of blue, but so worn and chipped, that on average only half of each nail was covered.
Eileen looked at the RMC. “So, how may I be of assistance?”
The RMC looked straight back at her, as it said. “Mittens, show her the mini.”
Mittens didn’t hesitate, but placed the backpack on the floor and took out the mini-Sparklewolf in question.
Eileen looked at the wolf questioningly, but said nothing, apparently waiting for an explanation.
“This,” the RMC said, “is a mini-Sparklewolf.” It paused. “It’s name is Stephanie.”
It took a moment, the understanding dawned on Eileens face. “Oh,” she said.
“Yes, oh,” the RMC agreed. “You know what the problem is. It can’t be adopted and there’s no OFU for Twilight it can be sent to. We were hoping that you, being what you are, could help us find a solution.”
“What, are you expecting me to start a Twilight OFU?”
“Certainly not.” The RMC actually shuddered a bit at the thought. “We were hoping you could think of a third solution. Come up with something creative.”
Eileen leaned back in her chair. “If I could do that – and I’m not saying that I can, but if I could – you realise that the Flowers very much frown on this type of thing? An author self insert, using her … abilities to break a stated rule? That’s more than halfway to Suedom right there.”
“I’ve been led to understand as much. But I have to admit, I can’t see the harm in writing a happy end for this poor mini.”
Eileen smiled, an odd smile, and leaned forwards towards the mini-Sparklewolf. Mittens shuffled his feet uneasily. Something about her seemed different suddenly. She started to speak and her voice sounded like it was coming from somewhere other that her lips.
“The authoress reached out towards the cute mini-Sparklewolf.’”
Mittens shivered. Stephanie looked fluffier and more glittery than before. He looked at Eileen’s hand as she reached out towards it. The nail polish was perfectly smooth and without the smallest scratch.
“’Do you need a place to stay, little one? You can stay with me and those evil Flowers won’t have anything to say about it.’”
Her hand was almost touching the mini-Sparklewolf’s head. It gave a low whine, but seemed rooted to the spot, unable to move. Then she pulled back her hand; the nail polish was chipped again.
“No.” She looked at them with an ironic smile. “This wasn’t what you had in mind when you asked me to think of something to bend the rules?”
The RMC shook its head.
Eileen once more leaned back in her chair. Her demeanour was now crisp and businesslike. “We can get in a world of trouble for doing this and no doubt we will. But I’m afraid you came to the the right person. I never could refuse someone asking me to help a small fluffy creature.” She reached out and scratched the mini-Sparklewolf behind the ears. It thumped its tail against the floor enthusiastically. “I’ll think up something for Stephanie here. But you’ll owe me one” She sighed. “And if the Flowers find out – and I suspect they already know – you owe me an even bigger one.”

The noises from RC#170 could be heard not only though the closed door, but a rather long way down the corridor.
Mittens sighed. “There they go again. No doubt they started fighting the moment we left and have been at it ever since.” He opened the door and he and the RMC stepped inside.
The sight that greeted them was not quite what they had expected. James and Saxo were facing each other across the small table; James was growling and Saxo had his own teeth bared and none of them had noticed the other two Agents enter. It looked like they had been sitting down for a cup of tea or something and had then gotten into an argument. But that was of course impossible. They would never sit down to have tea with one another.
Then Mittens noticed the small tiles that were strewn on the floor and bent to pick one up. It had the letter C on it and a small number 8 in one corner. He showed it to the RMC who looked from it to the two agents.
“Have you been playing Scrabble?” it asked.
They broke off their staring contest and turned to the RMC, both looking a bit sheepish.
James found his voice first. “I have been playing. That … that craven blackguard,” he pointed at Saxo, “have simply been cheating.”
“Rules are for muggles and weaklings. The strong and capable make their own rules,” Saxo replied loftily, which made James start to growl again.
“No fighting, please,” the RMC said.
“Why are there more mini-Aragogs than usually?” asked Mittens, who had been looking around.
Saxo and James looked at him, then at each other, then back at the other two and then they started to tell them about a mission, they had been on. It was all rather jumbled together and it didn’t help, that they kept interrupting each other, but Mittens and the RMC gathered, that it had been a really awful fic and that they had defeated it together.
“In that case,” said the RMC, “we congratulate you. You are no longer newbies or trainees. You are full agents and real partners.”
Saxo and James eyed each other unenthusiastically at these words.
“We should celebrate with some tea,” Mittens said. “And you know, I have some biscuits, that I have been saving for an occasion like this.” He walked towards the small kitchenette.
Saxo and James gave each other a look of sheer panic this time, before rushing up to Mittens, almost dragging him away from the cupboard and assuring him that they most certainly did not need any biscuits.

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Author’s Notes: The tulip kitten, Aniseed, was the result of Agent Grace Leon using one of her inventions to analyse a broken CAD. She (Aniseed, not Agent Grace) was then offered up for adoption and has now found her forever home with the Radioactive Moss Creature.
The Elrond/Picard slash, being refereed to, actually exists and is called Sons of the Stars. It can be found on the Über Pit of Voles. No, I will not post a direct link, and you can’t make me.
Disclaimer: The PPC belongs to the marvellous Jay and Acacia; I’m only playing in it. Mittens and the Radioactive Moss Creature are mine.

Agent Mittens, Agent Radioactive Moss Creature and the latter’s pet, the tulip kitten Aniseed, were all sitting in the Cafeteria, eating. The RMC had a large glass, containing a blueish-greenish liquid, and was drinking from it with a straw. The other agents in the Cafeteria eyed the glass with suspicion. They would have been relieved to learn, that this was not the Cafeteria experimenting with slush-ice, but a liquified version of the stuff the Flowers lived on.
Aniseed was sitting on the table. Her food was placed in a small ceramic bowl, decorated with a cute drawing of a cat, and was the same stuff, only less liquified, giving it a texture not unlike canned cat-food.
Mittens didn’t need to eat, but could do so recreationally and had chosen to join the RMC for lunch. He was having lasagne and was liking it very much. This was definitely in his top-five of favourite foods; which wasn’t at all strange considering that he had only tried about a handful of different foods in his whole life, and they had all been from the Cafeteria.
The pair of them drew some looks from a couple of the other diners. Well, actually it was only the RMC. Mittens probably couldn’t have drawn any looks, even if he had streaked through the Cafeteria, painted urple with polkadots and yelling ‘prelicence overpolemical glaziness’ at the top of his lunges. He was just that kind of person. But even at HQ, with its mixture of every kind of beings imaginable to fiction, a Radioactive Moss Creature was something you didn’t see every day.
“How does it … Can it even use the gadgets?” one of the diners mused, looking at the RMC’s large clawed front-paws. The agent was actually trying to find a neutral topic of conversation; to find out whether or not her partner was still mad at her for screwing up on their last mission.
Her partner raised an eyebrow. “From what I’ve heard, those two are conscientious and thorough and they haven’t gone mad yet. That is all we can wish for in our colleagues.” She did not add ‘and hands or no hands, I bet it would never forget to put the exorcism bell and candle back in the backpack, leaving its partner to exorcise Lord Elrond and Captain Jean-Luc Picard, using one of those Santa-figurines that lights up and plays Jingle Bells whenever something moves’ but from the tone of her voice, she might as well have. “Anyway,” she continued, “if you think something without hands can’t do its job properly, why are you saying it to me? Shouldn’t you be upstairs informing the Flowers of your concern?”
“All-right, all-right, no need to get upset. I was just thinking out loud. And when it goes on missions, it probably goes in human disguise anyway.”
Her partner smiled a wide and false smile. “See? I knew we would see eye to eye on the matter.”
The first agent nodded. Now she just wanted to acknowledge that the other was right and end the conversation. She obviously hadn’t been forgiven.
Back at the first table, oblivious to the discussion, the two agents and the kitten had finished their meals and were getting up to leave. Aniseed climbed onto the back of the RMC and started kneading its back, pulling the moss with her small claws and purring with a sound not unlike a drunk guy sawing in a piece of wood. They waited while Mittens walked up to the counter to return the now empty plates, compliment the food, which made the woman behind the counter beam with pride, and receive a huge pack of premium bacon to feed the minis back in the Response Centre with.
With all that taken care of, they left the cafeteria and started the walk back to RC #170.
“Would be nice with a cup of chai, when we get back,” Mittens said. He was actually just trying to distract himself from paying attention to where he was going, by thinking about chai tea, but somewhere the Ironic Overpower heard him and smiled. Not a nice smile.

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Disclaimer: The PPC is the creation of the epic Jay and Acacia; I’m only playing in it. Mittens and the Radioactive Moss Creature are mine.

 

Mittens and the Radioactive Moss Creature were walking backwards through the corridors of HQ on their way to the Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology. They had found that this was the fastest, although not the most pleasant, way to get to where they needed to go. Constantly walking into walls, things and other agents was very distracting.
Mittens once again walked into something and turned around to see a door with a sign on it. “We’re here,” he said and the agents entered the Department of Sufficiently Advanced Technology.
The door led to a lab, where the only person was an Asian looking man, who was looking intently at something resembling a steampunk cuckoo clock. When he noticed them, he gave a small start and his eyes darted from them to a door in the wall as if calculating the distance. Finally he asked: “Are you assassins?” From the descriptions they had read, this had to be Makes-Things.
“Nuh,” the RMC replied. It didn’t feel a need to elaborate by explaining that, although they were not Assassins per se, they did occasionally kill things.
Makes-Things relaxed for a moment, then tensed up again, although not quite as much as before. “Are you going to ask me?” he asked.
Mittens and the RMC looked at each other, then back at Makes-Things. “Ask you what?” Mittens asked.
“Whether I’m not supposed to be dead.” Makes-Things replied.
“Yu dun look dead,” the RMC said.
“No, I don’t,” Makes-Things said and crossed his arms.
There was a pause. Finally Mittens thought that if Makes-Things was expecting to be asked the odd question, he didn’t see any harm in obliging him, and asked: “Aren’t you supposed to be dead?”
Makes-Things gave him an expressionless stare and said: “What are you here for anyway. A broken CAD?”
“No,” Mittens replied, relieved that the weird part of the conversation seemed to be over. “We’ve been sent here to requisition a Fictionary.”
“Oh, you have?” For a brief moment there was a look in Makes-Things’s eyes that might have been pity, but it was gone again before either of them could be sure. He turned towards a large shelf packed with various gizmos and gadgets and retrieved one of them along with a small stack of papers. He handed the thing, which looked a lot like a CAD but with a larger display, to Mittens. “This is the Fictionary. Be careful with it.” He looked from Mittens to the RMC and also handed the papers to Mittens. “And this is the evaluation form; you’ll need to fill it out after using the Fictionary. Consider yourselves beta-testers.” He narrowed his eyes. “You will not be testing the breaking stress.”
“No, sir,” Mittens said and gripped the Fictionary a little tighter, suddenly afraid of dropping it.
“Is there anything else?” Makes-Things asked. He didn’t want them coming through the door again, two minutes after they left, with an ‘oh-by-the-way’.
“Nuh,” the RMC replied. “We wull be leving.”
“Great,” Makes-Things said and turned his attentions back to the steampunk cuckoo clock. It seemed to have grown flowers during their conversation. Mittens and the RMC took the hint and left the room.

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