Part Two - Escape
Foaly was watching the drama unfold in the Op's Room, down in Police Plaza. Since Sool had been kicked off, he alternated between manning Section Eight and the LEP. It was demanding, but the budget was fabulous. The centaur grinned. Caballine was impressed by the way he managed to keep things up. Things were getting serious between them after almost four years, and Holly persisted in teasing him about the permanent loss of him tinfoil hats.
Although, the escape of 5U3M4R1 was partially Foaly's fault…
Folowwing the death of Julius Root, Foaly was trying to perfect the ultimate LEP suit, to minimize fatalities. Unfortunately, not many officers were keen on being the test subject of the new suit, (considering that there were a few … 'bugs' left in it), so the technical genius had to come up with making the new suit work.
Unknowingly, Opal Koboi had played a part in this – she had given Foaly the idea of using a clone to test out the new suit.
Using the mind of a guinea pig (ironically, the one which had been booted out when Leon Abbot's personality had taken over), the genius poured into the suit a batch of chemically engineered organic … slop, for lack of a better term (he hadn't patented the invention yet, and therefore didn't waste time giving it a cool name). Turning the suit's micro coils up to fairy body temperature, he used a series of electrical jolts to put the spark of life into the fusion, and left it for the eight months of the gestation.
He then set out to find masters of various fighting arts, used the Retimager and stored the information. Foaly repeated the process with other experts, be it with culinary arts, chess, or nutritionists.
Of course, he acquired the consent of these people first, once they knew that it was 'LEP business'. It also didn't hurt that a good portion of those were acquainted with Julius Root.
Foaly realized that what he was doing what not particularly legal, but he was desperate. The LEP could not afford to lose any officers, and if the Commander turned out to be someone like Ark Sool once more, the casualties would be far greater. Foaly knew it from the bottom of his hooves to the tips of his ears.
Once all the information had been stored, Foaly inputted it into the almost complete fairy. Along with some of his own, 'special' adjustments.
But things don't always go according to plan, and Foaly found himself with tail between legs, kicking himself over the escape of his creation, 5U3M4R1.
For it was a case of created over creator. Inadvertently, the centaur had made he experiment far too smart – and it had broken out two days before 'birth', hijacked a pod heading for Ireland. Foaly was reluctant to alert the authorities, but after Vinyáya had been unceremoniously thrown out of a shuttle heading for Tara, by a "brunette bimbo", Foaly was forced to spill everything.
Vinyáya was furious. Her training squad, consisting entirely of males, did not even bother trying to counter the hijacking (being far too occupied with ogling the female).
Ergo, it was Captain Holly Short who was sent above ground to locate the runner, equipped with an entirely new bodysuit, and strict instructions to arrest and return the rogue. Wryly, Foaly noted that a deduction labelled "Expenses for Retrieval of 5U3M4R1" applied o his budget.
The genii's attention snapped from his musing, back to the plasma screen. Holly was talking to Artemis and –
"D'arvit," breathed Foaly.
As Holly elevated her Neutrino, Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur's mind raced through the possibilities. Okay, think, Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur. What can you do? You can't stop the trigger happy elf. You can't whisk Arty off to Thailand. You can't stop bad romantic comedies.
Foaly's programming had apparently worked. Whilst thinking of all these viable routes, her legs had been working on automatic, rushing her into the path of –
She fell down, unconscious.
Holly retracted the visor of her helmet, and blew imaginary smoke from the tip of her Neutrino. "That's lucky. My thumb almost hit a higher setting."
Artemis could only stare.
Holly brushed off his penetrating stare. "What?" she questioned rhetorically. "It was the only way, Mud Boy."
"Okay, so maybe that wasn't the best line of action. But it worked! It's using your initiative that gets you places."
Artemis cleared his throat, regaining the use of his voice. "I do not believe that a mere theory is reliable, when faced with an unknown enemy. Especially if acting upon the theory could render your only ally unconscious."
Holly scowled. "Well it didn't, and you have that 'mere theory' to thank.
"Surely," he replied dryly. "However, do not celebrate yet. You still have the dubious task of transporting your escapee back to Haven."
Holly groaned. Just what she needed; to be transporting a deadweight such as 5U3M4R1 through the chutes, and then getting her back to the labs. Unnoticed.
Sometimes Holly hated Foaly and his (so-called, she suspected), 'genius'. This was one of those times. What the D'arvit had possessed them to make this thing?
The elf sighed. She could ponder these mysteries of life another time. For now, she had to concentrate on apprehending 5U3M4R1. Holstering her weapon, she said goodbye to Artemis, spared a glance at the prone Butler, and dragged the creation by the leg closer to the door. Attaching a Moonbelt around her, Holly slid down her visor, and opened out her Hummingbirds. "I'll be in contact soon, just to explain things. There won't be any forms for me, as this, technically, never happened, or a team up, but it'll be more than likely that I'll be back later to check for damage."
Artemis inclined his head. "Of course. As long as … Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur … is well away from myself, I am willing to turn a blind eye to this fiasco, and not claim, what is sure to be, a hefty sum of compensation due to damage to my person and associates."
Holly turned to glare at him, but noticed the small smirk playing about his thin lips. "Watch it, Mud Boy," she mock-snarled, and flew off.
Chute E1, Tara
Unfortunately, things were not going quite as planned for Holly. 5U3M4R1 had woken up whilst travelling to Haven, and was currently in the process of hurling abuse at her captor.
"You stupid, stupid girl. As if you, a mere … elf," she spat the word. "Could eve dream of defeating I, Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur." She pronounced the name grandly, tossing her head in a (Holly presumed) royal fashion. The effect was somewhat lost as it came from one who was strapped, face-down (Holly felt little mercy after her gender [lack of, according to the escapee had been insulted one too many times) upon a row of seats. Holly was in the front of the pod, steering,
"Okay, look," she said calmly to the flailing being. "You're less than a year old. I'm over eighty. Therefore, that doesn't give you the right to call me a girl. I'm not even human, let alone a human child. Second, you're a rouge from Foaly's lab. While he may view you as some sort of step forward in the world of mutation, the LEP see you as a criminal about to be processed. You've already been defeated. And third," stated Holly. "Your name is really stupid."
Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur made a sort of strangled scream and kicked her bound legs. "Yeah," snorted Holly. "That'll get you far." And gave an extra burst of acceleration into Haven.
Commander's Office, Police Plaza
"So let me get this straight," growled Vinyáya, her eyebrow twitching. 5U3M4R1 had fallen asleep due to exhaustion (actually, Holly had stunned her with her Neutrino again, but nobody was going to look into that detail). "This … thing? – calls herself – it is a she, right? - Destiny Devereaux Violette de Fleur, escapes overground by hijacking MY pod, caused general havoc in Ireland for approximately a week, and this mess culminates with her stalking the same Mud Boy whom we have been repeatedly involved with?"
"Actually Commander ma'am, she sent him letters of the love variety over the period of five days, knocked out Butler, the bodyguard with some sort –"
"Did I TELL you you could speak, pony?"
"Er, no Commander."
"That's what I thought." Vinyáya slumped into her chair, rubbing her fingers across her greying temples. The three were loated in the Commander's private office, to which no-one could access without her explicit permission. Foaly and Holly had been summoned to Vinyáya's office the minute 5U3M4R1 had been locked in isolation – the centaur had made sure it was much, much higher security than what was previously utilized. Holly had caught him muttering about laser blast panels and other various defence mechanisms – she swore she had heard something about a troll, but that thought had dissipated as quickly as vole curry down a gnome.
The elf broke out of her thoughts as the Commander sat up ramrod straight.
"Right," she barked. This is no time for time wasting. We need to get this situation sorted, and fast. Foaly, what can you tell me about our fugitive?
"Three foot two, dark hair, pale skin, knows a variety of Mud Man fighting techniques … Er, Commander ma'am?"
Vinyáya was glaring daggers at the technician. "What in Frond's name possessed you to give her MUD MAN knowledge? As if creating some rogue isn't bad enough …" She trailed off. "Continue, you imbecile."
Foaly stared at his hooves, abashed. "Er … basically I was testing out the prototype for a new suit and needed a test subject."
Holly frowned. "You couldn't have asked one of the meatheads in Recon? They wouldn't have minded, or noticed if you poured Stinkworm sap over them…"
Foaly coughed. "Well, there are still some bugs to be worked out in the suit. You probably don't want to know."
"From what you've had to say, I'm inclined to believe you." Sensing he wasn't quite knee-deep in dung, the centaur continued.
"Anyway, I needed a test subject. I'd been planning this for a while now. There's a lo of complicated science involved, bio-chemistry and what not. I won't bore you with the details. Basically, after eight months of careful care, you're left with a shell of a fairy. Pixie, in this case."
Vinyáya raised an eyebrow. "A tribute to Koboi, perhaps?"
Foaly shrugged. "Perhaps. So, it's not enough to have this shell – it doesn't work, in essence, as it should – no soul. So, I borrowed one. Remember Leon Abbot?" Foaly glared in defence at Holly's dropped jaw, as things clicked into place in her mind.
"It wasn't like he was using it at all! To the full extent, at least. All it needed was a couple of tweak to function as it should. I inputted the basic qualities I wanted in her – strong sense of justice, strength of mind, sarcasm-"
"-Sarcasm, bravery … I think that's about it." Vinyáya frowned again. It seemed like she did that a lot when in conversation with Foaly.
"So, you basically created the most basic fairy … who appears to be perfect?"
The centaur shrugged. "Not a great deal of thought went into the personality – the purpose was to have something that could test the suit out to find out the full potential, without being hesitant. The furrows in the Commander's brow deepened so much they may as well have been used for irrigation. She held her tongue, but beckoned Foaly to continue.
"So, I waited the eight months, and sure enough, things were progressing nicely. I checked regularly, but then the unthinkable happened.
"She escaped over ground thanks to your incompetence and I spent a merry week chasing her over half of Ireland?"
Foaly gulped, knowing not to anger this particular elf. Although, by her narrowed eyes, and thinly veiled light-hearted tone, she was less than happy.
"Erm … Sorry about that Holly. But, it gets easier now. As you know, she appears to have become attached to the Mud Boy himself, Artemis Fowl."
Holly narrowed her eyes further at him. "How does she even know who Artemis is?"
"I'd imagine it's because she heard us talking about him whilst she was in utero, per se. Susceptible to sounds and so on. Being as intelligent as created, it's no surprise that she saw him as a worthy … "companion". Or whatever females these days want."
Vinyáya spoke up, after mulling through her thoughts for a while. "But, why in the blazes would she pick a human boy for whatever she's doing?"
Foaly said, hesitantly. "Technically, she regards me as her father. Which," he snapped, staring mulishly at the now-laughing Holly. "I do not desire to be in anyway. Opal Koboi is in jail, so that leaves Artemis Fowl, the smartest and most devious person that she's heard of. I guess it didn't occur to her that he's about two foot taller, lives above ground and is human. Oh," he added as an afterthought. "5U3M4R1 seemed to assume that Artemis would go along with whatever she said. And when none of her messages were replied to, she somehow concocted a classified Atlantean fungi mixture. Don't ask me how she got her hands on it!" he screeched defensively. "She escaped, which should have been impossible. She outruns Holly in daylight. She gets her hands on the most unlikely of things with no viable explanation. I tell you, 5U3M4R1 can't be real."
The Commander raised her hand, halting Foaly's tirade. "I see. This fiasco is mostly your mess. However, as much as I'd like to, I can't blame you for all of it. See what you can do to stabilize her. With any luck, we can find a place for her amongst the People. If not, you're fired." She sad this with such a straight face, Foaly whipped his head up to look at her. Then scowled. "Very funny, Commander. You're worse than Julius."
Vinyáya smiled prettily. "I try."
The trio trekked out to the Op's Room, the centaur in the lead. Vinyáya and Holly striding behind.
"How are you holding up, Captain? I'm taking it for granted that you haven't rested yet after chasing after that 5U3M4R1 thing." Holly grinned wearily.
"Just dandy, Commander. No, really. This mission hasn't particularly difficult; just a lot of flying."
Vinyáya nodded, pleased with her subordinate. "You know, I've been thinking-"
But whatever she was thinking was cut off by a half-scream, half groan from Foaly.
"What is it?" demanded Holly urgently, rounding the corner into the Op's Room. Foaly banged his head against a heated plasma computer screen repeatedly. Holly sniffed the scent of singed centaur hair filling the room, wrinkling her nose.
"The D'arviting thing has escaped. AGAIN. From the D'arviting highest security!" Foaly indicated to a smashed tank on the ground; a greenish, viscous liquid oozing out. The thick glass laid disarrayed in chunks, on the floor of Foaly's domain. Fat splashes of fluid were flung around the room, as if the escapee had been in a hurry. Sticky handprints indicated where said escapee had opened the only door, and fading footprints down the corridor.
Vinyáya turned, furious, at the centaur. "Fix this, now, or I'm ordering you to be sent to the glue factory."
AN:- Updating in Canada, where it is fabulous. Not sure when the next chapter will be out, but it will be.
Yours until vampires turn vegetarian,