Posts Tagged ‘reannual grape wine’

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.

, 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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