Tangled Webs

Lofty Skies

Chapter Four: Ringed by the azure world

"Oh now this is just ludicrous."

"You always say that," Dassie Hyrax replied. Traf Elosia shot him a look.

"One, no I don't. Two, this time it's true."

"Go on, then, spill the peas."

Traf scowled at him. "I know you know that one. You're just trying to distract me."

"It's working," Dassie observed. Traf sighed.

"Dassie, it isn't funny. We've had a portal malfunction - didn't you notice?"

"Oh come on - I've only been in the PPC-"

"Long enough to know that this isn't the Enterprise," Traf interrupted. "Or tell me I'm wrong."

Dassie looked around at the snow-bound landscape. "No, I'll give you that one. So where is it?"

"With any luck, Earth," Traf replied, tapping at her Remote Activator. "That would put us in chapter three. Despatch is bound to be annoyed if we miss out part of the report, but... oh. Not good." She spun the Intel-issue RA around to show Dassie the coordinates.

"‘Icebay of Forochel, Middle-earth'," he read out. "Never heard of it. Can we go now?"

"I tried that already," Traf said. "The Activator isn't Activating. I think we're stuck here."

Dassie blinked, and looked around. "... it's going to be a long winter," he said. Then he blinked. "Why did a snowman just appear in front of me? Is that a thing in Centre-earth?"

"Interestingly," a new voice said, "the people in these parts are called ‘snowmen' by others. But I doubt they look like this."

Dassie stared at the white figure. "You... can talk?" he squeaked. Traf rolled her eyes.

"Of course it can't talk," she said. "Stop teasing him, Morgan."

"Oh, fine." A tall woman with short blonde hair stepped out from behind the snowman. "You're no fun, Traf."

"I don't try to be," Traf replied. "What are you doing here, Morgan?"

"Just passing through," Morgan said airily. "I wondered if you wanted a lift."

"That could-" Dassie began, but Traf waved a hand and he stopped.

"What made you think we might need rescuing?" she said. "I'm only going to ask this once, Morgan."

Morgan sighed. "There's a power outage in HQ," she said. "I thought you might be in trouble - you usually are - so I came to help."

Traf shook her head. "You shouldn't have," she said. "I mean really shouldn't have. Our Remote Activator isn't working, and I doubt yours is either."

"Then it's fortunate I didn't come by portal, isn't it?" Morgan said. "I read myself in - it's a trick I picked up. I'm not sure where the snowman came from, though - clearly I'm not getting it quite right. Listen, do you want to go, or shall we all freeze to death?"

"I want to know what's going on in HQ," Dassie said, glancing at Traf. Morgan shrugged.

"We flew the lofty skies of the multiverse too long unprotected. Now the Ironic Overpower has noticed us - and we're far too close to the sun."

"How poetic," Traf said. "Did it actually mean anything?"

"Not a whole lot," Morgan replied, "but I liked it. Now - you coming, or what?"

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