4. Make It So
Captain's log, stardate 3210.7. The Enterprise has picked up a strange distress signal, but it is weak and so far we have been unable to pin down its location. Our science officer, Mr. Spock, believes he can amplify the signal, though so far he has had little success.
"Captain!" Uhura spun in her seat. "The intensity is increasing. I think I can make out words…"
"Put it on speakers."
Uhura flipped a switch. Around us buzzed static and bleeps, then faintly, faintly, a pattern became evident: "Meessaaa. Meeessaaa. Meeessaaa."
The crewmen stole glances at each other. I signaled to Uhura to shut it off and turned to the science officer.
"I could not decipher a meaning, captain, but undoubtedly it is some form of communication."
I yawned. "You're so funny."
"Thank you, Captain, though I do not believe that was a logical statement, given the nature of our conversation."
A great warning blip came from Uhura's station. "Captain!!!" She spun again, this time all her features lined in alarm. "There's been an exponential increase…" At exactly the same time the whole ship rocked. I fell off my chair. Spock fell somewhere under it.
"Can't you drive, Mr. Sulu?" I clutched my bruised humorus.
Sulu looked back and bowed his head in sorrow. "Sorry, Captain, I - " He never finished. In the momentary distraction of her helmsman, the Enterprise rammed into a spacepole. Luckily I was still on the floor, but this time everyone else fell onto his or her or its or herhisits back. The whole bridge went dark. I fumbled for a convenient button. "Scotty?"
"Aye, Captain? Couldna'a call back later? We're showin' those new Leprechaun recruits aboot and…"
"But you're not Irish." I frowned.
"Well, I'll be derned!"
I cleared my throat. "Now, Mr. Scot, why haven't you installed seatbelts yet?"
Uncomfortable silence at the other end, broken when Scotty ahemed. "I was just goin' ta tell ya, Captain, the life-supports have clean shut off. The backup systems too."
"Ok! Kitt out." I was thinking about half-Vulcans.
"Captain," Spock seemed to have extracted himself from the chair. "Someone is beaming aboard."
My dazed grin vanished. "Inconceivable!"
Red emergency lights had come on, and there on the crimson bridge a beam of light sparkled and materialized into some floppy creature. For a second it stood perfectly still – then with a jerk, its long tongue lolled, its ears twitched, and its eyes, drooping and wild, rolled towards toward the captain's seat.
"Mesa has axe. Yousa wanna play wid moi?" The Gungon sprang toward the chair and Spock intercepted, crunching him with his most lethal neck pinch. The bothersome creature went rigid. We all sighed. Then in an eyeblink the Gungon sprang back to life and hacked his axe into Spock. Six or so phasors went off at once and Jar Jar was nothing.
My white bedroom dresser popped onto the bridge and Dr. McCoy burst from the top drawer. He scurried over to the half-Vulcan.
He lifted his brows to me. "He's dead, Kitt." And McCoy scampered back into the dresser.
Suddenly the ship was tipping and I was slipping, slipping, and, of course, falling from the Alps onto the gravely glassier debris below.
I opened my eyes before I was crunched. Two inches away were two dark openings, like some sort of monstrous snout. The snout retreated and focused into a way too familiar face.
"ALIVE!" Frodo's screech was an unwelcome hammer against my pounding head.
Ok. If I'm dreaming now, why am I having dreams in it? Because that last one was definitely a dream with the Alps thing. I am bruised all over and not waking from Middle-earth. Not waking. Holy shoes. What madness is this? I don't take pills or nothing.
I could not deny any more that I was simply dreaming. I had really given up that idea long before, but never admitted it. After all, how many people dream of sitting for hours on the Last Homely House's floor, counting cracks? No; I knew I was in a coma. I could see myself, lying betubed in a hospital bed, in the company of wilted flowers. Sigh. By now I hope I don't wake up till summer. Then I can just start all my course work afresh fall semester.
Frodo squeezed me in his rapturous glee. I really wished I could imagine being in a comatose state in a coma. Ooch. Owe.
"You found our small friend. Good work, Frodo!" Gandalf shuffled from behind a rotted tree.
Frodo didn't answer. I had resigned to having my bones crushed.
The others slowly trudged their way over. Gimli found the pitiful remains of Boromir's shield and offered it to the man, who snatched it with a seething scowl, which I could not help but feel pierce my skull. The hobbits sat on the dirt and groaned. Aragorn and Legolas, ever rolling their eyes around in search of peril, brought up the rear with the pony.
Pippin, rubbing a swollen foot, said conversationally, "There were dozens of them, giant monstrous crows. Flew right over our heads, didn't they, Merry?"
"Did they see you?" said Aragorn sharply.
Pippin shrugged, but saw he needed to better address Aragorn's look of horror. "I'm sorry Strider, but they were just a pack of birds…"
Aragorn continued to look scandalized.
Then said Pippin: "Gandalf, it's been hours. Are we going to camp?"
Whined Merry: "Well, then, where are we going? We're not going back up the mountain, are we?"
"Of course not!" The wizard wagged his beard.
"Then where are we going?"
The others stared at Gandalf; Gimli alone had a salient look, of a kid who knows he'll get that new gaming station before he asks.
"Moria, Master Took." Gandalf nodded, all sagacity of the Maiar upon him. "This was a sign. It was no accident that brought Odi to us. This is the Valar's will." Holy shoes. Me in cahoots with the Valar. C'mon.
Legolas' jaw dropped. Gimli almost squealed. The others still looked perplexed. Well, not Aragorn. He opened his mouth, "Gandalf, if you pass the doors of Moria, beware --"
I cut him off with a squeak and, leaping off of Frodo, waddled further downhill.
I had not gone far enough to miss Boromir's grumble: "Are we truly trusting our lives to this… rodent?"
Next moment there was crash and a yelp. I turned around, not believing what I was seeing. Frodo was on top of Boromir, giving him full fist. Boromir seemed only too ready to do likewise, but Aragorn and Legolas pinned him down while stout Gimli, hampered somewhat by the 'help' of Merry and Pippin, tore off Frodo.
"Never again… never say… anything… about Odi…" Frodo was hissing, fighting with all his might to escape Gimli's iron hold.
Wincing through a puffy eyelid, Boromir trembled in rage, still held between Aragorn and Legolas. "This is folly, Gandalf! We cannot enter the Mines! It is sure death! Let us take the Gap…"
It was that instant I smelt it. Bill smelt it. We looked at each other and as one voiced our most high pitched animalian noises. Everyone froze. Legolas gasped, suddenly pricking his ears as it were, and darted his bright eyes along the darkening landscape.
Right on cue, about two-dozen creatures howled in the distance.
"Wolves!" cried Aragorn, quickly on page.
"See, Boromir." Gandalf always had to have to last word. "Isengard bars the way south. We can only escape the eyes of the enemy's servants by taking the Mines. Make haste!"
We hastened. Gandalf thought he knew the way and didn't and we turned all around again. Meanwhile the howls were becoming more loud and taunting. They seemed to come from all sides. For a while we seemed to be hopelessly lost, until Gimli tripped into the dried bed of the Gate -stream, and along this we hastened some more. The sky was pinkening before the coming sun by the time we reached the Lake. We all were panting, tongues drooping out.
Gandalf looked like he would snap his stick, so hard was he leaning on it. "Lake… should not… here… be… but around it… make…"
"Haste!" said Pippin; his energy seemed to return with an actual goal in sight.
I dare say, Legolas thought this whole running-till-mortals-die-of-exhaustion thing was funny up till that moment. Maybe he was thinking Gandalf was only joking about going to Moria. But here we were, and he was one sad-looking Elf. He lagged behind with Bill. Leading the way were Gimli and Pippin.
Aha! At last my chance to be alone and so perfectly situated to be with an Elf in need of comfort, which only a small cuddly animal can provide… I silently slipped off Frodo's drooping shoulder and gamboled four-leggedly toward the Elf's shoes. I chirped 'ello. Bill snorted. Legolas grinned…
Must have been the direction of the wind because none of us smelt them coming. Even Legolas knew only a split second before. Two wolves dropped dead from his bow before he nabbed me by my scruff and made a break for it, yelling to the Company at the top of his lungs. Dangling like a wad of laundry was not exactly romantic… often had I envisioned scenarios such as this, but they had involved more of a sweeping off my feet thing. I am not sure whether it was because they saw Legolas held a pointy object or because they liked the smell of the Elvish sweets, the wolves tore after poor Bill. We got just enough time to scramble with the others to the Wall.
We turned to its blank stone face and saw that we had a teeny problem. No ithildin was to be seen. Gandalf didn't know the password. And the hellish wolves were inching closer, their fangs flashing in malevolent grins. Drat. Where's Scotty when ya need him?
To be continued…
A/N: I miss Spock.
Elf cookies for all readers! ^_^
This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of J R R Tolkien. The characters, settings, places, and languages used in this work are the property of the Tolkien Estate, Tolkien Enterprises, and possibly New Line Cinema, except for certain original characters who belong to the author of the said work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the enjoyment of Henneth Annûn Story Archive readers, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.