Opal Koboi Loose Again

Despite the LEPrecon assurances that this time, Opal Koboi would remain under tight security with no chance of escape, it has happened again. This fiendish pixie has vanished without a trace. Efforts by a certain centaur who wishes to remain unnamed have gone in vain, and all tracking methods have failed, including the aforementioned centaur's recent invention that act as indicators of where someone has been in the last forty-eight hours-

Foaly slammed the newspaper down irritably, muttering darkly under his breath. He sat down in his specially-modified swivel chair and opened up his computer to do a search into Koboi's records. They wouldn't reveal anything new- he had written them, after all- but they would make him feel like he was doing something.

A beeper went off. There was someone at the door of the Operations Booth. Glancing at the screen of the camera's view, he sighed. Sool. Again.

"Come in, Commander," he said unenthusiastically, and punched in the code to open the door.

"Ponyboy!" Sool shouted, "I want an explanation! How did Koboi get out of that cell?"

"Excuse me, Commander, but I'm a centaur."

Sook scowled. "I don't want your cheek, Foaly, I just want the facts."

Foaly sighed. How he missed Julius.

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Holly Short was sitting at her desk, doodling on a corner of a piece of paper. She had thought that by quitting the LEPrecon force, she could live a life of her own, one in which she could do what she wanted when she wanted without having Sool breathing down her neck. And that's what she had now. But she found that she didn't like it.

There was a knock on her office door. "Come in, Mulch," she said dully.

The door opened, and a very un-Mulch-like fairy entered. "Hardly Mulch, Captain."

Holly jumped up from her chair, flustered. "My apologies, Major Kelp. I just assumed… though it is rather unusual for Mulch to knock…"

Major Kelp, famous for choosing the name "Trouble" when he graduated from the Academy, smiled and, removing his helmet and tucking it under his arm, sat down in an unoccupied chair across from Holly's desk. Trouble was the only one who still called her Captain, and she found that she liked it. It gave her a sense of purpose.

When Trouble didn't speak for a moment, Holly asked nervously, "Can I help you, Major?"

"Holly," he said slowly, as though choosing his words carefully, "I know how you feel about Sool and the LEPrecon, and so I hate to ask you to do this. I trust you saw the article in the paper this morning?"

Holly shook her head. She had stopped reading the paper after the headline news had been Bob's Pizza Parlor's thousandth anniversary.

Trouble's eyes widened. "You're kidding."

"What is it?"

"Holly, you really oughta keep up on stuff like this…"

"What's happened?"

"You need to read the paper more often, you know…"

"Major, with all due respect, tell me what happened or I'll punch your face in."

Trouble didn't doubt it. He told her.

Holly sank back into her chair with a moan. "Opal Koboi. I should've known. In all honesty, Major, the Mud Men have a good reason for the death penalty."

"Yes, Captain, but they're barbarians. Most of them, at least. Thus why we don't have the death penalty in Haven."

Holly's fingernails were digging into the arm of the chair. "Someday that pixie is going to find herself backed into a corner. And when that day comes-" Holly grinned so maliciously that Trouble shuddered- "I'll be there."

"I don't doubt it. Now, Holly, I have a proposition to make you."

Holly knew what was coming.

"You're the best officer we have- or had, rather- in the field. You've beaten Koboi twice now, and emerged mostly unscathed."

"It wasn't because of me, Major," she said, heaving a heavy sigh. "It was all Artemis' doing. He's the genius behind both of Koboi's defeats."

"I know, Captain, but you'd do a better job at it than anyone else. I have to ask you to rejoin the LEP, even if it is temporary, in order to catch Koboi."

Holly considered it. She really did. But she had made up her mind. "Trouble…"

The use of his first name must have alerted Trouble to what was coming, because he interrupted quickly. "Do this for Haven, Captain. If no one else, do this for me."

Holly stopped short, no pun intended. How could she say no to that?