The Twisted Skein

2069 -- Seventy Plus

The Ranger spoke into his communicator softly. "We have a confirmed Sue," he said. "I'm going to need Paladin support on this one."

Message understood, Ranger Leader's voice said from the comm. I'm alerting the Demas School, your backup should be along shortly.

"Thanks, chief," the Ranger said. "Illian out." Clipping the comm back onto his belt he peered around the tree that currently served as his hiding place and watched the Sue. "Just my luck," he murmured. "The very last Legoluster in the entire multiverse and she ends up on my desk."

"Oh, don't exaggerate," a soft female voice said behind him. "There's still a pretty strong cult following for the movies out there."

"Which is saying something, seventy-odd years on," the Ranger agreed, and turned around. "Hello, Lucy."

"Durran," Lucy Illiond greeted him with a slight nod, and then spoiled the effect by pulling her cousin into a hug. "How've you been?"

"Oh, you know," Durran Illian said with a shrug. "Lots of work, not much off-time, and the pay is still awful."

"Same old, same old," Lucy agreed. "They're lucky we love our work so much."

Durran grinned. "Well, where else would we get to dress like this?" he asked, gesturing first at his own drab camouflage, bow slung over his shoulder, then at Lucy's silver-grey woven armour and the broadsword at her hip.

"Oh, yes, it's all about the clothes," the Paladin agreed cheerfully. "Now, what've we got?"

"A Sue," Durran informed her. "She's quite a smart one, but she's given herself away by... let's see." He pulled a notepad from his belt and browsed through it. "She's after Legolas, obviously. Claims to be from the Kingdom of Rivendell, doesn't understand how the Sea-Longing works, and... ah, yes." He grimaced.

Lucy had seen the expression before. "Okay," she said with a sigh, "who is it this time?"

"She claims to be great-grandfather's daughter," Durran said with a wince. Lucy rolled her eyes.

"Of course. Because a child of FŽanor would be so interested in Mister Wood-Elf here." She shook her head. "What the PPC would do without our family, I don't know."

"Probably just ignore the Tolkienverse entirely," Durran suggested. "You Paladins don't get to see everything we Intel Rangers do so you probably don't realise this, but most of the time we're actually covering the backlog in Tolkien now." He gestured at the Word World surrounding them. "This is the first new 'fic I've gone into in a week. At this rate, we'll have cleared out all the old fanfic in less than ten years. We'll be on one or two missions a week, and the 'verse will probably get pushed over to the Legacy Fandoms Division."

"Like the Potterverse before it," Lucy said with a nod. "It'll be a sad day." After a moment's silence she shook herself slightly. "Right, anyway. You got a kill-point for me?"

Durran held out his notepad. "Two chapters from now she claims queenship of the Noldor despite House FŽanor being the Dispossessed." He glanced up at the Words. "The fact that she does it in Minas Tirith is just rubbing it in."

Lucy snorted in disbelief. "These people," she muttered. "All right, Ranger boy, I'll see you there." Plucking her Portable Portal Generator from its hook on her belt, she opened a portal under her feet and dropped through. Shaking his head at the Paladin theatrics, Durran opened his own, more conventional portal - the doorway unfolded in the air, the discontinuity around its edges clearly visible even though he had the blue safety glow turned on - and stepped from Mirkwood to the Tower of Guard in a single stride.

"Behold! I am Melwen, daughter of FŽanor and the eldest Noldorin royal line. By this birthright I claim the rulership of the Deep Elves, and of this Middle-earth!"

There was a stunned silence in the city...

... which was broken by a woman in grey clothes, who strolled casually over to Melwen. The Mary-Sue turned towards her. "Do you come to claim me as your queen?" she asked, but in a slightly puzzled tone often seen in derailed badfics.

"Not likely," the copper-haired woman said, and drew her sword with a single smooth motion. "Melwen daughter of FŽanor," she intoned, bringing the blade in front of her, "as a Paladin of the Canon Protection Initiative, I charge you with the crime of being a Mary-Sue, the sentence for which is death. Who will witness this charge?"

"I will stand as a witness," said a voice, and a man with thick black hair stepped into view, his cloak billowing slightly in the wind. "What evidence do you bring?"

Lucy nodded, and continued to follow the standard script for Mary-Sue executions, ignoring the murmurings of the crowd. "I present the evidence of this world," she said, "on behalf of-- oh, blast." The Sue had recovered somewhat from her shock, and had decided to flee. As she darted for the edge of the circle, Lucy plucked her communicator from her belt and threw it with unerring accuracy. It bounced off Melwen's head, and she dropped to the floor like a stone. Shaking her head, Lucy walked over to pick up the device, which was now dented in one corner.

Durran, who had wandered over to her side, commented, "The dosats aren't going to like that much."

Lucy grimaced. "The fething Technomancers can take it up with the Council," she muttered savagely. "They're the ones who insist we stick to the stupid formula."

"Indeed they do," Durran agreed. "Speaking of which, 'on behalf of'...?"

"Oh, right." Lucy looked down at the Sue. "I present the evidence of this world," she said in a bored voice, "on behalf of the Canon and in the name of J. R. R. Tolkien. First, that you did claim as your residence the Kingdom of Rivendell, while Rivendell is in fact a single household. Second, that you did claim the Sea Longing to be an overriding impulse towards water. Third, that you did claim descent from FŽanor of Valinor, without regard for the published family trees." She scowled. "You leave our family out of your little fantasies, all right?" The Sue, dazed, stared up at her uncomprehendingly. Durran nudged his cousin.

"Get on with it," he hissed.

Lucy took a deep breath. "And finally, that you did claim to rule the Noldor by right of birth, despite the fact that House FŽanor is the Dispossessed. This is my evidence; is it accepted?"

"It is accepted," Durran intoned. Lucy nodded.

"Melwen daughter of FŽanor," she said, "I judge you guilty of the crime of being a Mary-Sue. Your sentence is death."

"Your sentence is death," Durran repeated. Lucy swung her sword at the Sue, who raised one arm feebly to ward off the blow.

As Melwen's hand and head fell away from her body, the people of Minas Tirith shook themselves as if awakening from a dream, which wasn't far from the truth. Talking animatedly to each other, they looked back to the centre of the circle they had found themselves in, and saw...

... nothing. The Protectors of the Plot Continuum had gone their way, to return, perhaps, another day.

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