A/N: Okay, so I've spent a lot of time thinking about this...this 'branching out'. I've been a faithful fanfic writer for Avatar: The Last Airbender for the past few years, and just recently I've decided to venture into other fandoms, namely this one. I don't know the Artemis Fowl series as well as I know Avatar, but I'm willing to take a crack at it, and also willing to learn more about it. So this is my first crack-hopefully no gaping holes will open in the earth and swallow me...whole. Haha...sorry. These kinds of jokes are what have attracted me to the Fowl fandom. So hopefully I can live true to Colfer's writing.
Holly awoke as if from a nightmare, gasping for breath, cold fingers of fear gripping her heart. Blinking rapidly, her eyes—one hazel, one blue—adjusted gradually to the midmorning light. Momentarily paralyzed by the shock of waking up in an unfamiliar place, the LEPrecon captain stared at the steel roof several feet above her. Her vision blurred in and out of focus, and she focused fixedly at an air conditioning duct secured to the ceiling, willing her senses to sharpen.
I'm lying in a hospital bed, she thought, feeling the coarse sheets ripple against her as she shifted on the thick mattress.
With a jolt, she realized she was no longer wearing her LEP uniform, instead, she wore a pair of pale blue hospital trousers and a loose fitting, billowy tunic made of a shield-compatible variant of cotton. Holly twisted her head to the side, checking her magic supply.
Completely gone, she thought, confirming what she already knew. Bracing her hands against the mattress, she pushed herself to a sitting position, moaning slightly as the room spun briefly before her senses settled to the new position, and she glanced around.
The room was oblong and cylindrical, and a large, concave, reinforced window opened up one wall to the glittering vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. A view, Holly thought bemusedly, feeling a wave of momentary seasickness wash over her. I'm sick of the water.
She swallowed carefully around the lump in her throat and shoved the crisp hospital sheets to her ankles, glancing up as a shadow flashed over her from the window.
The curious, wide eyes of the minke whale stared unblinkingly at her, and Holly's breath caught in her throat. She knew the statistics on these creatures, many human publications used the word 'threatened' to describe their endangered status. The whales were hunted to the brink of extinction, and had been protected by human laws for several years, despite efforts to continue hunting them.
The animal bumped its snout playfully against the glass, snapping Holly out of her thoughts. She watched it as it pumped its tail and moved out of sight, leaving a trail of bubbles in its wake.
Another thought hit her suddenly. Where is Turnball Root?
Fear settled in her gut once more, and her hand snaked out from beneath the sheets to touch the rune burned into the skin on her neck like a brand. Her heart fluttered. She remembered everything—leading No1 unknowingly straight into the crazy elf's hands, attacking and shooting Juliet, seeing the stricken and horrified expressions on her friends faces as she betrayed them against her own will…
She had been fighting it. With every electron of her being she had been trying to resist the hold Turnball had over her, but she watched herself double-cross them, her hands doing things without her instruction.
When Artemis—Orion, Holly corrected herself—when Artemis's alter ego struck her with the pellets, she had rejoiced despite the pain. She had fallen flat and slipped into oblivion with a smile in her heart, and now she was awake—but where was everyone else?
As if answering her thoughts, a door on the far side of the room hissed as it slid aside to reveal Foaly. Holly turned toward him, and a smile flooding her eyes with relief.
Seeing his friend awake, the centaur clopped right in, crossing the room in two brisk, loping strides to wrap her shoulders in a tight embrace.
"Holly, you're alive!" he squealed shrilly, "I can't even begin to tell you how glad I am to see you—you know—yourself!"
The elf flicked her friend's ear playfully. "I'm fine," she said, a wistful smile distorting her features. "A little sore maybe, and plumb out of magic, but other that than I'm peachy!" She winced slightly as a twinge in her back reminded her of the severe injuries she had sustained when Foaly's reprogrammed probe had attacked them in Iceland. A twinge of guilt, more painful than her physical ills, swam in her stomach as she recalled Vinyaya and the other fairies who had died that day.
Foaly pulled back from his spontaneous show of affection and tugged on her arm. "I've already debriefed the acting LEP Wing Commander, figured I'd save you the Trouble." The centaur immediately tittered at his clever joke.
Holly rolled her eyes, but was, nevertheless, grateful for the centaur's initiative. Explaining the situation to her superiors was hardly high on her list of what I want to do right now.
"Where is everyone, Foaly? Are they okay?"
The centaur patted his friend's arm comfortingly. "Everyone's fine, Holly. From what I heard from N01, Orion was pretty heroic, dragging your unconscious self out of Turnball's ship before it released its docking clamps."
Holly colored. That part she didn't remember. "Naturally," she sputtered to cover up her embarrassment. "Knight in shining armor."
Foaly chuckled, and the laugh rumbled deep in his throat and exited through his nose like a horse's. "The Butler duo we stashed in one of the cargo bays," he continued, "so they would have room enough to stand up when they recover. It took some finagling to modify beds large enough to hold them, though."
Holly nodded, her expression grave despite the centaur's attempts at cheering her up. "Is Turnball…?"
"Yes," Foaly tried to sound sad, but his voice was tinged with relief. "He and Leonor."
"How..?" Holly began, but the centaur was already on it.
"His ship was rigged to blow. It did."
"Mmm," Holly said, but the centaur could tell she had someone else on her mind.
"Artemis is fine," Foaly interjected, "Orion agreed to be sedated and they're currently treating him with some drugs that will hopefully repress Stage Two of the Complex."
Holly nodded, submerged in a plethora of emotions.
Foaly stamped a hoof, sympathetic to his friend's feeling of responsibility. "Come on, dearest princess," he said teasingly, "Let's go to the mess—you're hungry, aren't you?"
"I'm so far beyond hungry," the elf admitted, successfully distracted, "I'm practically starving!"
"Onward, then, princess," Foaly spun on his hindquarters, trumpeting sarcastically. "Would you like a ride on thy noble steed?"
Holly laughed, sliding off the bed to the sterile, padded floor. Her bones creaked but held steady. "I'm all right, Noble steed. Please, lead on. The princess would like something besides mission rations."
Foaly released a neigh of laughter as they left the room together.
"How about hospital rations?"