DISCLAIMER: I do not own Holly Short, Commander Root, Foaly, Artemis Fowl, or any other character from the Artemis Fowl books. Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!! *falls to her knees sobbing* however, I do own Carmen Geum, Basil Kobalde and the All-Seeing-Eye, and of course, I own my plot *sigh* which isn't much I know, but it's better than nothing!!!

A/N: the story takes place about a month or two after the end of the Arctic Incident. Enjoy!!!

Op booth, LEP central:

"Can you see the problem yet?" asked Foaly, bending down and peering through the mass of cables where Holly was crouched.

"Nope, sorry pony-boy, I can't see a thing." Holly pushed a bunch of fibre-optics away from her face, dust motes clinging to her auburn hair. "Remind me why I'm doing this again, would you centaur?"

Foaly chuckled. "Because you're the only officer stupid enough to crawl in that wired up death trap and the only one small enough to fit. Oh, and because you love me of course."

"Of course." said Holly's voice sarcastically. "Look, I really can't see anything," Her tone was serious this time. "There's not much point me staying here any longer, so I'm coming out."

She then proceeded to untangle herself from the mass of wires, and crawl out from underneath the computer. Not exactly a dignified method of exit, but what else could she do?

Holly stood up, rubbing her stiff neck. "You sure that was where the problem was Foaly?" she asked, brushing the dust off her jump-suit. "Are you sure it wasn't somewhere else?"

The centaur looked puzzled and shook his head. "I don't think so," He replied slowly. "Unless…" Suddenly, a look of understanding lit his face. "Unless it was in the – "

Holly tuned out. Techno-babble from Foaly was hard enough to understand when you were completely awake, let alone at 10 o'clock at night when you'd already been up for seventeen hours. It had been a very long day, and the thing Holly wanted most in the world at that moment was her bed. She was exhausted.

Holly sat down in a swivel chair and lent her head on the worktop. How easy it would be just to slip off into the beautiful land of sleep… She felt herself drifting away when a sharp knock on the door of the booth jerked her head up off her arms. Rubbing her eyes sleepily, Holly rose to open the door.

"Captain Short," said Commander Root, leaning past her to look into the room. "Thought I might find you here. Is Foaly around? There's something I need to tell the two of you about."

"Yeah, he's here," said Holly wearily, stepping aside to let Root into the room. She followed him in and took a seat again, fighting to keep her eyelids from drooping. The commander looked at her sideways, concerned, as Foaly came to sit with them.

"What time did you get in this morning, Holly?" Holly rubbed her head, trying to force her brain to think.

"Um, I think it was around six, sir." She answered vaguely.

"Am or Pm?"

Holly yawned. "Am." She replied simply. She didn't have the strength for much more

Root was visibly taken aback. "You've been here for sixteen hours?" Holly nodded mutely. "Why the hell didn't you go home hours ago?"

"I was just going to work a double shift, " she explained "Then Foaly asked me to do something and I got caught up. I was going to go home after that."

"And have about 4 hours sleep before coming in again? You can't work if you're dead on your feet!"

Holly didn't have the strength to argue, so she just nodded. Root gave her a piercing look before continuing with the business at hand.

"Anyway, the reason I'm here is because there's something I need to tell the two of you." Root paused, looking slightly embarrassed. "I don't know if either of you have heard, but as a 'treat' and reward for defeating the B'wa Kell, all council members and LEP officers that were involved will be invited to a party – a bit like a ball or a formal dance." Holly and Foaly exchanged looks, both knowing how the other felt about such occasions. Root grimaced. Obviously he shared their feelings. However, he wasn't finished with then yet.

"Now, because the two of you both played vital roles in the defeat of the B'wa Kell, you have been invited, and are expected to come." The commander emphasised the last three words to make his point clear. They didn't have a choice.

Holly, now wide-awake, started to protest. "But Comman-"

"No." said Root forcefully. "No buts – from either of you. I expect you both to be there, looking your best, and on your best behaviour. Especially you Holly. You may have been restored to your original status, but your position is far from secure. Do you understand?"

Holly and Foaly nodded sullenly. They understood alright.

"Now then," said Root, calming down slightly. "The ball will be held at the manor house of a friend of council member Lope. It will be an evening thing, but the time and date have yet to be decided. There is also," he fixed them with a very stern look. "A very strict dress code. Foaly, that means black suit, bow tie," Foaly couldn't stifle a groan. "And for you," He rounded on Holly, looking as stern as ever. "It means an evening dress."

Holly stared at him in horror. He had to be kidding. Her? In an evening dress? She opened her mouth to protest, but Root held up a hand to silence her.

"I'm sorry Short, but you have to wear it! If you don't have anything suitable," he continued, addressing them both now. "Then I suggest that you find someone who does and borrow theirs. I want you both to look your best on that night, so I suggest you try hard to find someone who will lend you something smart. Got it? Now, before I go, do you have any questions?"

Foaly raised his hand, a look of mock sheepishness on his face. "Um, Commander? If my Mummy writes me a note excusing me, do I still have to go?"

Root ignored him, and got up to leave. "Ok, that was all, I'll see the two of you tomorrow. Oh, and go home, Captain Short, and don't come in again until you've had a proper nights sleep. You can start your shift then. I can't have my officers falling asleep on the job."

"Yessir. Sorry sir." She stifled a yawn. She had just remembered how tired she was.


Well???? What do you think? Huh, huh, huh? Oooh, my first ever fan fic. Oooh, I feel all warm inside. Oooooh. Anyway, PLEASE REVIEW!!!!!! I will love you forever if you review, 'cos I really wanna know what you thought! Any suggestions would be appreciated too. But be gentle. I'm new, remember? ^_~ I'll write chapter 2 soon, and get it posted for ya, but I might be a bit faster if you review, hint, hint. All right, I'll shut up now, and go do summit else. Bye!!!