Categories > Books > Artemis Fowl > Dark Days0 Reviews
Captain Trouble Kelp is having thoughts that would be considered mutiny if he was in the military. Since he's under the command of Ark Sool, however, it's just common sense talking. The LEP is in f...
This story is rate PG-13 because of the swearing and violence. Sprites swear heavily (really, just read the first book if you don't believe me) and sprites featue heavily in this fanfic. As for the violence, it's no more than in a regular Artemis Fowl book, but just to be on the safe side I might move the rating up to R.
Finally, I've mis-placed my copies of The Opal Deception and The Last Colony, so I am probably spelling Sool's name wrong. If I am, please tell me, so that I may fix it. Thank you.
Outskirts of Haven City
The trouble, Captain Trouble Kelp decided, as he stunned the final goblin, only to turn around to see five more rushing at him in the dark tunnel, was that their bloody computers had crashed /a-bloody-gain/. He backed up quickly, as he tried to set his Neutrino 2000 to a wide burst setting that the newer Neutrinos had. You could do it with the 2000s if you jimmied the settings a bit.
A fireball soared through the air, and impacted on his right hand. He dropped the gun, swearing, and made a dive for cover as more fireballs sailed to where he had been. The only problem was that in this dark passage there was no cover.
The magna strips had never been installed in this section. It wasn't as derelict as some areas of Haven-like the one his squad had just come from, chasing the goblin gang only to run into a mob of their cronies in this perfectly clear and now horribly open tunnel.
Ideally, the set-up should have been perfect. Ideally, of course, the Retrieval squads wouldn't be at half strength. Six assorted elves, sprites, and one gnome against about fifty gods-damned fireballing goblins didn't stand a chance. And his sprite lieutenant's language was rubbing off on Trouble, which didn't exactly help.
But Captain Kelp wasn't a LEPretrieval captain for nothing. There was cover in the tunnel, you just had to think laterally, and hope that you had the most vital element on your side. Surprise.
He dove into the center of the pack of five goblins and lashed out with everything he had. His hands and feet became a blur of back, and is buzz baton crackled thought the air, electricity arching behind it, he was moving so fast. One fist connected with a scaley head, and then his opposite booted foot caught another reptile in the gut. His elbow rammed the idiot behind him in the nose. Finally, the goblin in front of him faced the buzz baton coming under his chin in an upper cut that Trouble would remember with a warm tingly feeling of satisfaction for a long time to come.
And then surprise wasn't working for him anymore, and a fireball hit him square in the chest. His suit insulated him from the skin melting heat, but the force of the magical blow knocked him backwards, just as he heard Lieutenant Hertz scream into the mouth piece: "He's clear, and there're more of the hellspawn comin' outta the damn pipes!"
And then there was an explosion. The roof came down on Trouble's helmeted ears, and woud have crushed him flat if Hertz hadn't zoomed in at the last second, and pulled him from under the rocks that were tumbling from the ceiling.
When Captain Kelp came down from the adrenaline high he was sitting on a ledge far up in the tunnel walls, swinging his heels next to Fritz Hertz. The sprite had his helmet up, and was grinning. Kelp stopped grinning back as the ringing in his ears receded. His scanners told him that they had all fifteen of the goblins that had not either been captured already, or run away, boxed in by two walls of rock and dirt. He looked behind him for Corporal Rass, who was carefully replacing the detonation equipment in the proper bags and cases that he stored about his person. The gnome was very careful about his equipment, especially since the commander had begun to cut the weapons budget.
"Good job, Rass," Trouble told his demolitions expert, definitely meaning it. "Hertz got you up here?"
"Aye," Rass had been Atlantis raised, and nautical jargon tended to get wound up with policeman's cant at stressful times. "We came out of corridor 56 first, with Grevil on our tails. He kept the heat off us long enough for the lieutenant to get me up here. Old catwalk for Magna strip repairs."
The gnome was being strangely tight lipped for his race, but that was why Trouble liked him. Rass was old, but he was competent, and knew explosions like no one else. He wasn't your average gnome, obsessed with procedure, although like all gnomes he was highly conservative, and didn't like things like change, or public displays of emotion.
"Damage report Lieutenant Hertz," Kelp turned to his second-in-command.
"Grevil's dead," the sprite reported flatly. "Silverweed has severe burns, and will need medics even with his own magic, both Grenza and Tiff are dry from healing themselves, and Tiff's out cold, while Grenz has some interesting scaring on his wings now."
"D'Arvit," Trouble said tonelessly. It was what you said at times like this. Your teammates were down, and there was nothing else that you could do or say as officers of the law, and fairies who knew that it could have been worse.
"Got some good news," Hertz said, brightening. It's hard to keep a sprite's cavalier attitude down. "Got medics arriving, and some pixie has managed to patch the computers together again, so we're reconnected to Police Plaza. They'll be a couple of vans arriving to take these guys into custody. Oh, and Commander Sool-," Hertz broke off, seeing the darkening complexion of Trouble's face under his helmet, "can go to Hell," Hertz finished loyally.
"I'll go report to Sool when the medics arrive," the elf said grimly. He didn't bother to give the officer his rank. "That's half our squad down, in just one mission, because we didn't have enough People to begin with, and we don't have Foaly's computers anymore! That damned bureaucratic bum dragging stick-in-the-mud gnome! Sorry Rass," Trouble remembered belatedly.
The gnome shrugged. "Why? I agree. But now is a good time to remind you now that the computers are up again-,"
"Everything we say can be heard," Trouble finished disgustedly. "And just when I was considering congratulating that pixie for making some headway with Foaly's mess."
"You should try anyway, Captain," Hertz grinned. "They say the civi is a pretty hot babe."
"No thanks, I'll leave it to you," Captain Kelp replied. Female pixies had mental problems in his experience.
Kelp rubbed the final flakes of dead skin off his ears as he exited the locker room. He was going down to the mess, get a bite to eat, and then go to his apartment. He was too tired to do anything else. The report to Sool had been unpleasant. Trouble had never realized how hard it was to refrain from calling your superior an idiot. Even Cudgeon hadn't been this short-sighted.
First Arc Sool wasn't a battle commander. He had not been part of Recon or Retrieval. He was good at getting the LEP out of legal difficulties, which was why he had been appointed by the Council, presumably. Given the LEP's recent past, Trouble Kelp couldn't exactly blame them for choosing someone who would try to keep the LEP's reputation clean.
But the problem was that Ark Sool didn't know policing. He didn't understand that dangerous situations could only be handled by people who knew when and when not to follow the rules. He also didn't understand that just because a commander was good, that didn't mean that he didn't need the people under him.
Sool was impressed with Captain Kelp's record. And the record of several other Retrieval officers. And from those few shining lights he had deduced that LEPretrieval squads could be just as effective if there were more squads with less men. There was still the same amount of men in LEPretrieval, just twice as many squads, now that the twelve man teams had been broken down.
And while this worked mathematically-Kelp thought it might, anyway. He was having trouble following his commander's logic-it was not working in practice. Twelve man teams were needed. Yes, he was able to complete his missions with only six men, but he wasn't completing them without massive injuries anymore. He simply didn't have enough men to put back-up plans in place. Each week on regular jobs was looking worse than the attempt to rescue Captain Short.
And that was another thing. Trouble didn't understand Sool's dislike of an officer who dedicated herself to the People the way Holly did, and tried so hard to keep fatalities to a minimum. Grevil probably wouldn't be dead had he been under Captain Short's command, and seven goblins had been caught under the rocks that Corporal Rass's artistry had loosed from the ceiling. The People weren't Mud Men, and they didn't have the luck of breeding like rabbits.
And none of the disasters today would have happened if they had the information that there had been a horde of goblins in the tunnel, or a map of the area for the Retrieval team to set up more than an impromptu ambush. All which they would have had if Foaly hadn't resigned. That was the breaking point for Kelp. Sool had chased away the techie centaur, who, although supercilious and sarcastic, did get the job done. If they had access to the hub of information that Foaly used to provide today wouldn't have happened.
He was just fed up with the whole stinking business. One of his fairies was dead. Two more were off duty until they could get the surface-side passes needed to complete the Ritual and get their magic back. The trouble was, Trouble realized, that if something didn't change soon he was going to hand in his badge.