ASN:   (Anonymous Sister's Note)  For those of you who haven't read Artemis 4, the 'anonymous sister' is the co-

            author.  The co-author with all the good ideas.

AN:      (Author's Note) She lies.  And for those of you who haven't read Artemis 4 and already think we sound crazy...we

            are.  But in a nice way. *grin*

ASN:   To get to the point of this little intro...this story is set between the Artic Incident and the Eternity Code, so you could             say it's Artemis Fowl 2 1/2. 

AN:      Why did we write it?  Well, we couldn't wait for the third book to come out.  And we were sorta bored. 

ASN:   And our little sister's real into Artemis Fowl, and between us we had about 4 dollars...

AN:      Instant birthday present!  No money required.

ASN:   Real quick:  Neither of us own, nor claim to own, any of the characters from Artemis Fowl.  

AN:      Unfortunately.  I could use the money.  *sighs*   Don't sue us. 

ASN:  So, with no further ado *wild clapping from readers*, we present...

Artemis Fowl: The Centaur Encounter

Artemis Fowl: A Psychological Assessment

from "The Teenage Years"

by Prof. J. Argon, Brotherhood of Psychologists

Commissioned by the Lower Elements Police

            By the time we run into the infamous Artemis Fowl Junior again, he has just reached the age of fourteen.  During this period, he has created a brand new computer operating system that has made the stand-by Microsoft Windows obsolete, earned two degrees by taking university courses over the Internet, and was forced to start taking music lessons.  After two months, Artemis rivals the world's premier violinist.  He has also sent three principals and sixteen guidance counselors into early retirement, tricked the Russian Mafiya, and was a suspect in the heinous Hope Diamond robbery.

            One might recall that he accomplished all this while avoiding the watchful presence of his parents.  With his father's return, Artemis had found his criminal outlet stifled.  Artemis had actually contemplated focusing his efforts on legitimate and legal activities.  He dismissed that thought as absurd within five seconds. 

            It was also during this time that the People were forced to ask for Artemis's help.  Again.

            Thus inflating an already overblown ego.

            Shame he lived through it.

Prologue

Howler's Peak, South Pacific

            The island was a small, uncharted dot of sparkling sand in the South Pacific ocean.  It was surrounded on all sides by dramatically tall cliffs, but was filled with lush vegetation and beautiful birds.  To most humans, this would be paradise.  To the People, it was known simply as Howler's Peak.    

            Opal Koboi sat under a palm tree, letting the wide leaves shade her skin from the sun's damaging rays.  When one has spent her entire life underground, the sun was not a girl's best friend.  She shifted, rattling the chain that bound her to the tree.  The caves, the actual prisons of Howler's Peak, were filled with the brainless goblins who had gotten caught during the uprising, leaving her in solitary confinement, forbidden to speak to the other prisoners.

            Still, all was not lost.  After all, the tree was better than the caves.  At least, out here a pixie could see the sky, listen to the birdsong, admire the rainbows. 

            Opal was bored stiff. 

            Her entire life, up until now, had been centered around her work.  She had never been still in her life.  Opal had always been working on some project, racing to out-invent that stuck-up centaur, or planning some scheme to gain control of the Lower Elements.  Now she had been sentenced to life imprisonment on this wretched island, and when you're a pixie, life is a very long time.    

            Opal stood up, stretching her arms.  She paced as much as her chains would let her.  After a year, she knew exactly how far she could go.  Three steps from the tree in all directions and two feet up the tree.  She sulked.  After a year, she had gotten very good at that too.  There was no hope of escape.  There was nothing on the island that would unlock the coded magnetic band around her ankle, and the LEP had been remarkably thorough in relieving her of all her hidden tools.  They had even found the microlaser in her fake eartip.  Opal suspected Foaly had tipped them off.  He always had a wonderfully devious mind, he just wasted it in that Operations lab at Haven. 

            A strange noise shattered the stillness and birdsong.  Opal started, looking around.  She had never enjoyed her Mud Man classes in school, but even she remembered that ominous sound.  A low throbbing sound was a helicopter, the one human vehicle that could land on this island.  After the noise of the helicopter died, odd, yipping noises rang through the silent forest.  The odd bark was the call of a dog, a creature which could smell a fairy, even when shielded.  And Opal was not shielded.  Two huge shaggy brutes came flying from the forest.  The pixie screamed and started climbing the tree.  Unfortunately, she could only get two feet off the ground.  That was just high enough to look into the beast's mad eyes as it stopped inches from her face.

            "Nice doggy." she squeaked.

Howler's Peak, Control Room         

            Lieutenant Sland was not having a good day.  Someone had tossed a dwarf in the goblin cell.  Everybody knows that putting a goblin and a dwarf together will create an explosion that resembles an atomic blast, but with more blood.  Naturally, nobody wanted to separate the fight, since fireballs were ricocheting off the sides of the cell.  The dwarves in the next cell were demanding revenge, and the sprites were taking bets. 

            "Knock it off!" he yelled at the cell full of sprites. 

            "I'll give you 50-1 odds on the goblins!" a sprite called back.  Sland turned just in time to see one of the guards pulling out his wallet. 

            "Hey!" he roared, and the guilty fairy jumped.  "What the heck do you think you're doing?!"

            "Uh, getting enough to buy my daughter a new pair of shoes?" the guard offered. 

            "No, not on my watch.  Now go in and get that dwarf!" the lieutenant said as he stomped into the control room.  Immediately he noticed an ominous blinking light on the perimeter board.          

            "What?" the guard whined shrilly as he followed his CO.  Sland winced and turned back. 

            "Did you just question my order, Corporal?"

            "No, sir." the guard whimpered.

            "Good." Sland returned his attention to the board, calling up a camera at Koboi's tree.  He saw two gray mutts barking at her tiny figure clinging tightly to the trunk of the tree.

            "D'Arvit." he whispered.  If it weren't for the fact that dogs meant humans, he would get great pleasure out of letting the dogs eat Ms. Koboi.  He'd even give them a mint when they were finished.  Sland whirled back around and returned to the main cavern.

            "Everyone shut up!" he bellowed at the top of his not inconsiderable lungs.  Amazingly, everyone did.  The unfortunate guard had actually made it out of the goblin cell in one piece, only slightly singed, and was now trying to pry the dwarf off his right leg.

            "We have a crisis on our hands." Sland announced.

            "It can't be another goblin uprising at Haven, they're all here!" the dwarf sneered.  Sland pulled out his buzz baton.

            "Quiet, dwarf, or I'll let the goblins finish.  The island has been invaded by Mud Men.  Koboi has been discovered by the dogs.  Suit up men, we have to go get her."

            "Aw, do we have to?" asked a guard in the back, hidden by the crowd.  Sland's face reddened. 

            "Shut up and get ready, or I'll put you in the goblin cell."

            "Yessir!" all the guards yelled, racing off.  Sland sighed.

            "Why, oh why, didn't I go into marketing like my mother told me?"

            Opal clung to the tree, shivering in fright.  So far, the dogs had been content to bark their heads off, and had not tried to sample fresh pixie.  Her pointed ears caught more noise over the din of the dogs.  She heard voices and big feet tramping through the forest towards her.  She watched as three Mud Men stepped out of the trees, and stopped, staring at her.  Opal readied herself, gathering what little magic she had left.  The sun had bleaching effects on magic, and she hadn't completed the Ritual for almost three years.  It was difficult to find oak trees on a tropical island, and who had time for a vacation to the surface when you were trying to take over the Lower Elements? 

            The Mud Men came within a few feet of the tree and stopped.  They had the look of powerful men unused to casual clothing, and all three of them were wearing baseball caps with California Technology Labs emblazoned on them in red.

            "Go away, Mud Men.  There is nothing to see here.  Oh, and take your monsters with you!" she ordered, her voice loaded with the hypnotic power of mesmerThe humans turned and looked at each other, then back at the pixie clinging to the side of the tree. 

            "I don't know guys, what do you see?  I see something real strange." the shortest one said snidely.  Opal frowned.  The humans should have been willing to jump off a cliff if she asked.  Then she noticed the sunglasses.  Mirrored sunglasses. 

            "D'Arvit." she moaned as they came even closer.

            "Hey, look at this chain.  It has no lock.  The boss would be interested in this." one whispered.  Suddenly, Opal had an idea.  It was crazy, but it just might work.  Besides, anything was better than eternity on a island with nothing to do.

            "Well, if your boss is interested in new and unseen technology, you definitely found the right pix...person."  She smiled sweetly at the men. 

            Sland and his team flew shielded through the forest on their DoubleDex wings.  As they approached Koboi's tree, the lieutenant motioned his team down.

            "We're going to hit them with the mesmer first.  Then we'll wipe their minds and set them loose to terrorize other islands."

            "Why don't we throw them in the goblin cells?" asked a fairy, anonymous in the dark flight suit.  Sland just gave him a Look, and the fairy withered.  The team, as one, stepped out into the clearing.  No one was there.  The only inhabitant of the clearing was a neatly cut chain attached to the palm tree. 

            A stream of very unprofessional swearing split the quiet.  Sland motioned the team into the air, and they flew down the path of wreckage the Mud Men had left in the forest.  They arrived at the beach just in time to see a small helicopter fading into the clear blue sky.  Without a word, the team flew back to the caves.  Ripping off his helmet, Sland stepped to the comm panel in his flight suit.  The other fairies watched as he dialed Lower Elements Police Communications.

            "Yes, Howler's Peak, how can we help you today?" a pretty sprite asked.  Sland cleared his throat.

            "Uh, Haven, we have a problem."

AN:      As always, we welcome comments and reviews!  We read them and taken them seriously.

ASN:   And since we've already written this one, a new chapter should be up every other day or so.  At least, that's the plan.