Ashes to Glory

Written by Yukai na Itazura




Thank you to all of the generous people at the PPC board; I was surprised and pleased by your encouragement and support!  I hope I don’t disappoint with this next installment!




            The USS Eminence cruised amid the stars at the leisurely pace of one-quarter impulse, casually disheveling the nearer portions of the Star Trek canon as she went.  Fortunately, the starship was far enough away from Federation space—and everyone else’s space, for that matter—to avoid overly disturbing the canon’s key players.  The Dominion continued pummeling the combined forces of the Alpha Quadrant, the Founders continued sloshing about on their homeworld in the Gamma Quadrant, and the USS Voyager continued provoking every species in the Delta Quadrant—all in blissful ignorance of the fact that their continuum had been compromised by some of the most hunted creatures in the known multiverse.

            In point of fact, even if a canon character had somehow found him or herself aboard the Eminence, he or she likely would not have recognized it as a Federation-crafted vessel.  For one thing, nearly every inch of the starship’s previously neutral-toned corridors had been overlaid with vibrant color, courtesy of Sweetie’s attentive hands.  The bulkheads and doorways blazed with silken drapes of purple and turquoise, as well as a generous selection of pink and silver flower garlands.  The bland deck plating had been covered over by festive multihued carpeting—extra-soft, of course, to provide a safe and comfortable environment for exquisitely shaped bare toes.  Naturally, everyone aboard was well-pleased with the results of Sweetie’s massive effort.

            Well, almost everyone.

            “There’s glitter everywhere,” Sentinel groused, disembarking from the turbolift with a sulky toss of her fiery mane.  “Shifter, what possessed you to let Sugar-puff muck around with the bloody ship?  It looked fine before!”

            Shifter turned away from the main viewscreen’s starry tableau, regarding her sister’s scowling face with a faint smile.  As always, the tart expression only managed to enhance Sentinel’s fierce beauty.  Anger almost suits her better than a smile, the elder sister mused.  Aloud, she answered calmly, “You know that decorating is one of Sweetie’s favorite hobbies.”

            “That isn’t decoration, it’s a disaster!” Sentinel protested, her high stiletto boots thumping irritably against the floor as she descended to the bridge’s lower level.  “Have you been down to the crew quarters, Shifter?  It looks like a unicorn exploded on every deck!  I’ll be sneezing perfume for a week!”

            Privately, Shifter had to agree with Sentinel’s assessment; she wasn’t overly fond of Sweetie’s taste in décor, either.  However, the younger woman’s obvious happiness was heartening, and Shifter was pleased to see her sister’s joy.  Besides, she did agree to leave the bridge alone, Shifter thought with a slight smile, surveying her blissfully bland surroundings.  “As a matter of fact, Sentinel, I was just down there myself a few days ago, to welcome our newest arrivals,” she told the redhead.  “It was…well, it’s intense, but it can be tolerated.”

            “By the blind, maybe,” Sentinel muttered.

            Shifter glanced at her hot-tempered guardian with mild disapproval.  “She is your sister, Sentinel,” she reminded.  “We are all of a kind here, no matter our personal preferences.  I know that you don’t particularly like many of Sweetie’s habits, but please, be kind to her.  She cannot help the way she was created, any more than you can.”

            Completely unfazed by Shifter’s gentle chastisement, Sentinel flashed her fangs in a saucy grin.  “At least I was created with some sense of fashion,” she said, striking a fairly naughty pose in her skintight leather garb.  “It’s compact, practical, and shows off my best assets!”

            Shifter laughed lightly.  “That it does,” she agreed, “but I can’t see Sweetie in it.  Or myself, for that matter.” 

            Sentinel folded her arms and gave her dark-haired sister a considerate once-over.  “Nah, that dress suits you better, anyway.”

            Shifter’s smile brightened at the praise.  “Why, thank you,” she replied, glancing down at her own simple, unornamented gown.  Its long silken sleeves fell nearly to the floor, and the color perfectly matched her eyes.  “Which do you think is better, this green one, or the blue one?” she asked, pirouetting once and tossing her hair over one shoulder.

            “The red one,” Sentinel answered promptly.

            At that, Shifter paused in mid-pose, her dark brows knitted in a faint frown.  “I don’t have anything in red, Sentinel,” she replied, cocking her head curiously.

            The guardian sister shrugged eloquently.  “Well, get something, then.  Red would look good on you.”

            “All right, then, if you say so,” Shifter said, tapping one finger against her lips in consideration.  “Red it is, as soon as I have the time.”  With that, she turned back to the viewscreen and gazed once more at the lazily drifting starscape.  As she contemplated the multitude of glittering lights, she was suddenly reminded of one of her past personas: Liegiea, the ice fairy from the northern reaches of the Sundering Sea, who had washed up on a beach in Middle-earth for the sole purpose of saving the Elves of Rivendell from total destruction.  Shifter’s eyes drifted shut, and she gave a low, longing sigh.  Oh, that I had time, she mused wistfully, echoing her words of just a few minutes before.  I would bring still more perfection to such brilliant, flawless life… 

            After a few beats of contemplative silence, Shifter opened her eyes again and glanced back at her redheaded guardian, who’d since folded her shapely form into one of the chairs at the center of the bridge.  “Sentinel, how are our sisters settling in?” she asked.

            “Oh, they seem to be making themselves right at home.  Sweetie’s blowing up more unicorns in their quarters,” Sentinel replied puckishly.  “She’s even including wall hangings of their favorite canon characters.”

            Shifter smiled at Sweetie’s thoughtfulness.  She may not be the most serious girl, but she certainly has charm, she thought.  “Sweetie is quite good with the sisters, isn’t she?” she mused aloud.  “All five of them have taken an instant liking to her.”

            “Yeah, mainly because she’s willing to listen to their incessant prattle about their love interests,” Sentinel pointed out tartly.  “I got a colossal dose of it when I went down to deliver the latest rescuee.”  The guardian sister let out an aggravated huff and began ticking points off on her fingers as she spoke.  “Asherazel Morningstar just met one Prince Legolas, and thinks he is the ‘finest and loveliest warrior’ she’s ever seen.  Chrystya of Lothlórien has been secretly in love with Prince Legolas for the past two thousand years, and she was just working up the nerve to tell him when she was attacked.  Fuega Sunrunner is a flame fairy, and she accidentally started a fire in this Legolas’ home forest because she was following him around so much.  Burgundy Suede is a half-Elven Ranger of the North, and she fell in love with Legolas after heroically rescuing him from a band of Orcs.  Oh, and lest I forget, we have Demonelle the spirit-vampire, who wants Legolas to be her eternal soul-sucking lover.”  Sentinel shook her head and folded her arms again.  “They’re all beautiful girls, Shifter, each as perfect as can be, and I’m glad we rescued them…but to be honest, I wish they would get over their previous love lives.  I tried to tell them that liberty was better than a thousand Legolases, and they almost started crying!”

            Shifter’s lips turned upward in a fond smile.  “I believe I have seduced that particular prince before.  He is quite the charmer.”  At Sentinel’s annoyed look, she gave a consoling wave of one delicate hand.  “Oh, don’t worry, Sentinel; they’ll soon forget him.  Freedom brings clarity of thought, you know that.  How long has it been since you seriously thought about your first love?”

            Sentinel’s posture relaxed somewhat, and she nodded slowly.  “I suppose you’re right.  It’s been ages since I thought about him.”  Her golden eyes twinkled impishly.  “If I hear even one sister mooning over my Aragorn, though, I may put a fist through a bulkhead.”

            Shifter’s slim shoulders quivered with merriment.  She tossed a sly glance at Sentinel, and with a coquettish flutter of her lashes, she purred, “Mm, as I recall, he was rather nice to me, as well.  A bit difficult to subdue, though…”

            “Ha!  He melted like butter for me!” Sentinel bragged.  “That half-Elven wench didn’t stand a chance, either; she couldn’t fight her way out of a water skin.”  The redhead gave Shifter an appraising glare.  “Speaking of Aragorn, when did you go after him?  I don’t recall hearing about this before now.”

            “Oh, it was a long time ago,” Shifter said with a dismissive wave.  “I was Arwen’s abused younger sister at the time.  Aragorn couldn’t help but fall for my pathetic state of need.”

            Sentinel raised her sculpted brows skeptically.  “I thought you hated playing out weak roles.”

            “This was long before I met you or Sweetie,” Shifter explained with a slight shrug.  “I hadn’t yet begun to seek out, shall we say, personas of superior quality.”

            “‘Superior quality,’ huh?” the guardian sister echoed thoughtfully.  “You know, I’ve been a Ranger, an assassin, a protégé of ultimate evil, and a spitfire daughter of just about every Elven lord and lady in Middle-earth, but I’ve never been able to do a ‘weak-woman’ fantasy.  I always end up mouthing off at someone.”

            Shifter smiled and took the opportunity to point out, “Ah, but Sweetie, on the other hand, is an expert at such roles.  You’ve seen her work; entire armies have flung themselves into harm’s way in order to defend her virtuous innocence.”

            Sentinel rolled her eyes and absently twined her crimson curls around one long finger.  “Speaking of Sugar-puff, I need to get off this ship for a while—you know, rescue a sister or two, beat on some PPC agents, that sort of thing.  Maybe it’ll help work the glitter out of my system.”

            Shifter chuckled at her guardian’s tone.  Despite the biting sarcasm, Sentinel’s eagerness to rescue her sisters from the PPC’s ruthless minions was palpable.  “Of course,” she replied, beckoning to the redhead.  “I’m sure the Mirror has a thing or two to show us.”

            The Mirror was the only item Shifter had brought aboard the Eminence.  It was mounted on a port-side bulkhead, where the starship’s dedication plaque might have hung, had the ship been granted an actual dedication ceremony.  Upon first glance, the Mirror appeared quite ordinary: an elliptical pane of reflective glass housed within a richly carven silver framework.  It had been polished to a high sheen, but otherwise, it seemed rather unremarkable. 

Nothing, however, could have been further from the truth.  The Mirror was actually a souvenir from one of Shifter’s earliest roles—namely, an Elven princess with self-styled ‘Seer Magic,’ who’d served as an advisor (and, of course, lover) to Elrond Half-elven.  Over the course of the story, Shifter had learned how to manipulate the Mirror’s mystical ability to show its owner anything she wanted to see; and when the creator had abandoned the character and the story, Shifter had kept the Mirror.  The key to using it was simple, really: it responded only to requests and commands spoken in rhyming verse.  Shifter had become an expert at crafting descriptive little poems for the Mirror to follow; also, since she’d owned the Mirror for so long, it was somewhat attuned to her wishes, and always seemed to know exactly what she wanted to see, whether her commands were highly detailed or not.

            “All right,” Sentinel said briskly, clapping her hands together and flipping her hair over her shoulder, “it’s rhyme time.  Got a verse up your sleeve, Shifter?”

            “Of course,” the dark-haired elder answered.  She approached the Mirror and extended one hand toward it, as though in benediction.  The rhymes fell from her sculpted lips with ease.


“Mirror, mirror,

Silver and bright,

Show me a sister

In peril and flight.”


            The Mirror’s surface rippled, as though made of liquid, and an image sprang to sudden and vivid life within.  A lovely young woman with silver hair, standing in a sunny clearing, trembling with obvious fear…fear inspired by the pair of weapons-brandishing women standing opposite her.  PPC agents, to be sure, Shifter thought, her eyes narrowing with pain.  It was a familiar scene, one that wrenched at Shifter’s heart each time she witnessed it.  “There she is,” she murmured tightly.  “Go, Sentinel.”

            The guardian sister nodded wordlessly.  Training her eyes on the Mirror’s flickering depiction, she reached out and tore at the air in front of her, her long fingers slicing a sparkling golden fissure in the canon’s fabric, creating a portal between the universes.  Those at the PPC needed to use machines in order to create such gateways, but because Shifter and her sisters had been created to exist within the canons themselves, they were able to simply slide from one universe to another.  Granted, such a feat took much concentration and energy, and none of them could do it too many times in a row, but it was a definite advantage. 

With a sharp salute, Sentinel stepped into the haze of gold, and she was gone…




A war was brewing in Middle-earth.  To the east lay the Golden Wood, the land of sun-kissed leaves and flaxen-haired Elves—the home of the Lady Galadriel, a beautiful but cold Elven queen, before whom all Elvenkind bowed in reverence.  To the west lay the Silver Wood, a mysterious realm of moonlit trees and pale-skinned nymphs—the ages-old dwelling of the Fey Folk and their ancient sovereign, the silver-eyed King Larak, whose magic rivaled that of Galadriel herself.  The two kingdoms had been bitter foes for as long as anyone could remember, though no one could quite recall the reason for the harsh animosity between them.  Thousands of years had passed, and the hatred had only grown more vehement with time.  Galadriel’s magical mirror ever spied upon the Fey Folk, her wisdom tainted by suspicion, and the customarily benevolent Larak was forced to ready his people for battle, lest they should be caught unaware if and when the hostility erupted in violence.

            Mercifully, a semblance of peace had long been maintained, due to the intervention of the grand kingdom that lay between the two feuding realms.  The Green Wood, a mighty forest of towering oaks and playful Elves, was ruled by the stern King Greenleaf, an Elf lord whose great military force made up for his utter lack of magic.  He had made it quite clear that he would not tolerate any battles within his borders, and that if either of the neighboring Woods decided to attack, he himself would vanquish both Galadriel and Larak, thereby solving the conflict.  And so, since neither Galadriel nor Larak wished to invoke Greenleaf’s wrath, the war was postponed, and still the hatred grew.

            In due course, however, Greenleaf’s power waned; and though the Green Wood flourished, her lord withdrew ever further into the enfeebling grasp of age and liquor.  The Elves of the Green Wood began to worry for their borders, for the antipathy festering within their neighbors’ hearts had only worsened, and both Galadriel and Larak had begun to build up their armaments.  The Green Wood’s boundary guardians doubled in number, their commanders desperate to stave off a war that could potentially destroy their own fair woodland.  Tension mounted, fear increased, and the Golden Wood and the Silver Wood glared at each other ever more threateningly with each passing day.

            And then, into the midst of impending chaos, a peculiar romance bloomed—a forbidden romance, to be sure, but passionate nonetheless.  Love flared, if only for a moment, between two hearts belonging to opposing peoples: an exquisite maiden of the Golden Wood, with hair as radiant as that of Galadriel herself, and a joyfully fiery heart to match; and her lover, a fierce nymph of the Silver Wood, a fine creature of lithe build and keen gaze, crowned with tresses of flowing silver.  The two encountered each other purely by chance, and immediately fell deeply, madly, and irrepressibly in love.  All thoughts of battle and hatred vanished beneath the moon’s amorous caress. 

Despite their devotion, however, the lovers parted ways after but a single night together, knowing in their hearts that their union could never be complete, for they were born of warring houses.  But to the Elf maiden’s surprise, that night’s torrid affair produced a child, a daughter of extraordinary beauty.  Overjoyed at her ill-fated tryst’s tremendous boon, the maiden named her child Liliana; and though she loved her daughter dearly, she strove to keep the girl hidden from prying eyes, lest anyone should suspect her blended parentage.  Eventually, however, it became impossible to conceal Liliana’s obvious nymph-like features any longer, and with a breaking heart, the mother left her daughter at the border of the Green Wood and fled, praying that some kind soul would discover the child and care for her in her mother’s stead.

As luck would have it, the border guardians of the Green Wood soon found Liliana, and brought her to be raised in the palace.  The child grew in grace and beauty, and all who saw her marveled at her cascading silver hair and fathomless blue eyes.  “For,” said they, “surely this is a child of Elf and nymph, to have gained such strange and lovely features!” 

For her part, Liliana knew nothing of her lineage, but her heart was content.  The palace resonated with her sweet laughter every day, and soon after her sixteenth birthday, she captured the eye—and verily, the soul—of King Greenleaf’s only son, Legolas Greenleaf.

“Legolas, Legolas!” Liliana sang out, twirling gaily within a sunny clearing, deep in the heart of Green Wood.  Her deep blue gown complimented her sapphire eyes, and her silver hair flowed like liquid moonlight as she whirled about, laughing and piping the name of her love in a high, clear soprano voice.  Butterflies of every hue conceivable danced and fluttered about her, and a chorus of birds added their sweet tunes to hers.

Liliana paused to bend down and tickle a nearby bunny’s chin.  The little animal twitched its nose and seemed to grin up at her.  “Oh, bunny, he loves me!” the girl exclaimed merrily.  “My Legolas loves me!  Can you believe it?”

The rabbit didn’t answer, although its soft brown eyes shone, and its velvet ears twitched forward in rapt attention as Liliana continued to coo with joy.  “Can I tell you a secret, bunny?” she whispered gleefully.  “Legolas asked me to marry him.  If we get married, he says the war might end!  I don’t know why it would end, but isn’t that wonderful, bunny?”

To her great surprise, then, an audible voice answered: “Fan.  Freaking.  Tastic.”

Liliana frowned slightly, wondering why her fuzzy little friend sounded so utterly derisive.  Had she offended the rabbit in some way?  “Bunny?” she asked uncertainly.

“No, genius, not the rabbit.  We’re over here,” the voice continued irritably.

Liliana turned to see two young women picking their way out of the thorny brush at the edge of the clearing.  They appeared nearly identical, save for a few minor differences: the one on the left was blonde and wore what seemed to be a pair of thick, squareish panes of glass over her eyes; her brown-haired partner wore no such contraption, but her eyes were heavily outlined with dark makeup. 

The latter of the two swore eloquently in no fewer than three languages, invoking several principal deities, a few minor divinities, and someone named Tolkien.  “Why us, Penny?” she griped between gritted teeth, pulling thorns out of her skin and wincing.  “Out of all the possible places—ow!—that we could have ended up—ow!—the portal dumped us—ow!—in a frigging thorn bush!”

The blonde’s response was significantly more subdued.  Her eyes watered as she, too, tried to extricate herself from the abusive vegetation, and she whimpered most unhappily.

Liliana wasn’t quite sure who her two visitors were, or how they’d gotten into the bush, but her pure heart winced in sympathy.  “Do you need help?” she asked musically.

“Not from you,” the first woman snarled.  Ow!  Hang on a sec, Penny, I think I’m almost—ow!—out of here…”  Less than a minute later, the darker-haired stranger was free of the bush’s tangled grasp.  Rubbing at her pinpricked skin, she gave Liliana a stern glare.  “Stay there,” she commanded, then turned back to help her companion.

Liliana dutifully remained where she was, curious as to her strange visitors’ intentions.   To pass the time, the maiden wove a fragrant crown from the nearby wildflowers and carefully set it atop her gleaming tresses.  Then, struck by a sudden fancy, she crafted a tiny crown for the bunny as well.  “There, now, I proclaim you king of the bunnies!” she whispered to the small creature, giggling to herself as she placed the colorful little circlet on the rabbit’s wee head.

The blonde woman’s extrication took scant minutes, and soon, both strangers stood clear of the bush’s entanglement.  The blonde hurriedly wiped her eyes and adjusted the strange contraption affixed to her face, while her dark-haired companion plucked a few remaining thorns and twigs out of her clothing, muttering a variety of lesser oaths under her breath.

Liliana turned her attention back to the two strangers.  “Are you all right?” she asked.

The dark-haired woman glanced back at the half-Elven maiden.  “Oh, you’re still there?” she asked.  “Thanks for waiting.”  She turned then, her arms crossed, hands held up on either side of her face, and the sunlight glinted from the slender knives tucked between her fingers.  Her smile was grim.  “Time to die, little Sue.”

Liliana froze, her eyes wide.  She stared uncomprehendingly at the two strangers.  “Wh-what?” she choked out.

The blonde produced a bow from somewhere and nocked an arrow to the string.  “Vemi, I think an arrow would be more effective in this case,” she said.  “Your knives are too small to do much damage at this distance.”

“Not if I throw ‘em hard enough,” the one called Vemi replied.  “Put the bow away, Penny, and read the charge list.”

“But you’re more likely to miss with the knives than I am with the bow!” Penny persisted.  “Besides, the arrow will kill her more quickly.”

“More quickly than eight knives to the heart?  I don’t think so,” Vemi snorted.  She shot her companion a glare.  “And I never miss.  I get at least one knife into ‘em, no matter how fast they dodge!”

“Yes, but—” Penny began.

“Let’s just get this over with,” Vemi interrupted, glaring even more blackly.  “Read the charges, so I can kill her already!”

Penny sighed resignedly and slung her bow over one shoulder.  “Fine,” she answered, retrieving a small notebook from her pocket.  She turned to Liliana and cleared her throat.  “Liliana of the so-called ‘Green Wood,’ you are hereby charged with the following: drastically changing the geography of Middle-earth; creating a non-canonical race; causing personality alterations within canon characters; changing the history of canon characters and races; causing a canon character to act like a lovestruck idiot; employing melodramatics; talking to animals; and, finally, severely annoying Vemi.”

“Why do they always have long hair?” Vemi growled, scowling at Liliana’s flowing silver tresses.  “Why can’t the Sue ever have a butch cut?  Or a nice flock-of-seagulls?”

All throughout the two women’s minor dispute and the ensuing charge list, Liliana had been staring at her visitors in dismay and growing dread.  She was paralyzed with terror.  All thoughts of flight wavered and collapsed as the light reflected from the deadly blades in Vemi’s grasp.  Liliana knew, without a doubt, that she was going to die.  She would never see her beloved Legolas again.  The war would consume all three Woods, leaving naught but death and destruction in its wake.  Her lips worked, forming small, pleading sounds.  “N-no…please…” she stammered, shaking like a leaf caught in a chill wind.

“Oh, how original,” Vemi said, rolling her eyes.  “That doesn’t even deserve a place in the notebook, does it, Penny?”

The blonde shook her head.  “Nope.  We save that for the really good death speeches.”

“Well, then, since that’s all taken care of…”  Vemi flexed her fingers slightly, her knives glimmering lethally.  “I suppose this is it.”

And then she was there.  A tall, buxom woman, clad in close-fitting black leather, with a mane of curling crimson and eyes of deep, angry amber.  She stepped between the two agents and their quarry, her slender brows quirked in what seemed to be mild amusement.  “Well, aren’t you a dull pair,” she scoffed.  “I wonder, do you two ever tire of sharing the same face?”

Vemi swore aloud, annoyed at the interruption.  “Who in the name of GreyBast are you?” she demanded.

Penny pulled her CAD from her pocket and winced at its high-pitched shrilling.  Her eyes widened a bit.  “She’s definitely a Sue,” the agent whispered to her companion.  “But not a normal one.  These readings are off the chart!”  Penny stared at the smirking redhead, chewing her lip anxiously.  “Vemi, I think that’s her.


“You know, the Super-Sue the rumor mill’s been buzzing about,” came the quiet answer.  “The one that took out Nenya and Rosie, and Dafydd from the DOGA, and the girls who went after the flame fairy, and—!”

“I get the point, Penny,” Vemi muttered.  She shot a glare at the newly-arrived Sue.  “Look, I don’t really care who you are.  All I know is, you’re between me and my newest dartboard.  Move, or be moved.”

Liliana whimpered in fear, but her redheaded rescuer merely cocked her head saucily.  “Move me,” she stated flatly.

“Vemi, forget the small fry,” Penny said, her tone soft but urgent, one hand tugging at her partner’s sleeve.  “We should go.  We have orders to report any contact with that Sue, anyway!”

The redhead chuckled scornfully.  “Yes, little agents, do run home,” she taunted.

Vemi’s fingers tightened around her knives.  “You know, you’re really, really starting to piss me off,” she growled.  “You think you’re so tough?  I bet I could knock your pretty little head into next week before you knew what hit you!”

“You’re welcome to try,” the Sue sneered.

“Vemi, come on!” Penny hissed.

“Super-Sue or not, even she can’t dodge all eight blades,” Vemi muttered under her breath.  With that, she flung her hands out, releasing the barrage of small knives with an expert flick of her wrists.  A veritable curtain of death hurtled forth, the blades in perfect formation, on a direct course for the Sue’s vital areas.

To the agents’ shock, however, the Super-Sue merely slapped the blades away, her own hands moving with superhuman speed and agility.  The knives spun off in crazy arcs, embedding themselves in the grass.  Liliana’s short, muffled shriek went largely ignored, as the redhead deliberately dusted her hands off.  “Is that the best you can do?” she asked derisively.  “And you wonder why my sisters have overtaken this canon with such ease!  Its so-called ‘protectors’ are complete incompetents!”

“That’s it,” Vemi said darkly.  “I’m gonna mop up the canon with your face, you little—”

“Vemi!” Penny interjected, her voice more insistent.  “Let’s just go, please?  We can’t handle her on our own!”

“There’s no way we’re going to let this freak and her little bunny-chatting friend get off so easy,” Vemi shot back heatedly.

“I don’t want to leave them here any more than you do,” the blonde agent whispered urgently, “but this Sue nearly killed the last couple of agents who tangled with her.  Dafydd’s still nursing a broken arm and three busted ribs!  I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to get taken back to HQ in a plastic bag!”

            That seemed to stop Vemi in her tracks.  She glared blackly at the Super-Sue, then at Penny, then back at the Sue.  “Fine,” the agent gritted out finally.  “We’ll go.”  Just as Penny fired up the portal generator, however, Vemi stabbed a finger at the redhead.  “Don’t you get any ideas about this being finished, Sue-hwran!  No one screws with the PPC and gets away with it!”

            The Super-Sue laughed aloud.  “We’ll see about that, little agent!”

A particularly colorful Welsh curse flew from Vemi’s lips, but anything else she might have said was lost when Penny pulled her into the portal’s glimmering halo.  The two agents disappeared, leaving the two Sues alone in the clearing.

Liliana trembled still, but much of her fright abated when her redheaded savior turned to face her with a bright smile.  “Had a close call there, didn’t you?” the leather-clad woman remarked.  “You needn’t worry about them anymore.  My name is Sentinel, and I’ve come to take you somewhere safe.”

The half-nymph maiden smiled timidly, and asked the first question that came to her fear-frazzled mind.  “Will I see Legolas there?”




            “Internal Affairs, Agent Black speaking.”

            “Black, this is Irvine.  We just had another Red Sue incident.”

            “How bad?”

            “Not so bad this time, fortunately.  Agents Vemi and Penny retreated before Red decided to get nasty.”

            “That was smart of them, considering.  Did you get everything on tape?”

            “Sure did.  You should’ve seen it, Black.  Red knocked Vemi’s knives out of the air like they were paper planes.  She’s not going to be an easy catch.”

            “We will find a way, Irvine.  Do a complete sweep of the site, then report back here.  Black out.”




Agents Vemi, Penny, Rosie, NenyaQuende, Dafydd, Irvine, and Black are used with permission.  The DOGA and DIA belong to their respective department heads.  Middle-earth and all of its workings belong to J.R.R. Tolkien.  Special thanks to Vemi and Artemis for their assistance!  Additional thanks to Miss Cam for hosting Ashes to Glory on her website!