um wtf

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Duo woke up. From a very technical standpoint, he had been unconscious for about four seconds. The fact that a few months shy of a year had passed in those four seconds didn't do much for his reflexes, but he did notice, in the way an orphan raised on poverty stricken streets under the heel of an uncaring, militant government notices things that affect his survival, that he was a very very very long way away from the ground. The explosion of the quantum generator thingy was still burgeoning upward, which was bad. What was worse was when he fell through it.

He squeezed his eyes shut. The light was blinding. It was also sort of...warm and made him feel...fuzzy. It occurred to Duo that falling through the giant quantum field was probably not the best way he could have arrived back on Earth (and then thought Oh, God, am I back? and not in a happy inernal voice, either) and then there was a clap, a sound of something moving quickly and improbably and with power, and then he was through the light and moving faster and was much closer to the ground.

Prague? he thought, confused, only it was far too large to be Prague but the architecture wasn't London and he had been falling towards South America, anyway. Shit, he thought, then paused enough in his very bewildered thought process to edit that to Oh, boy.

His thermal scythe kicked on and started spinning the way it was supposed to, thank god, and his descent started to slow. Not hugely, but enough, and gradually. He noticed, brightly, that he seemed to be heading directly for a river. At least he'd be landing in water, then.

It should have rung a bell, somewhere, that when he did hit the water, he bounced.

"Awe sonovabitch-" he yelped, helmet and backpack banging hard against things that should have been floating but weren't. Once he'd skidded to a halt, he began to sink a little. It was a terrifying enough thought, being submerged in...whatever this get him scrambling for the nearest bank, regardless of how loudly and persistantly his muscles were screaming at him in protest. Once he was out of the...water was a bit much...the 'river', he caught his breath, looked around, tucked the now sputtered-out thermal scythe between his backpack and his shoulders, then turned and started crawling up for street-level. Somewhere deep in the back of his mind there was grieving that was begging to be done, but almost twenty years of very hard living was lying over that panic like a layer of silt, if silt were composed of steel, and it said later. That could come later. Now, he needed to know where he was and possibly when and if he had any enemies.
maladicta von borogravia

OOC Announcement

I have contacted everyone but our darling Ponder-mun, Viky, and the consensus seems to be that no one minds if the braided one shows up. Unseen University, you may wish to get involved, as will, I assume, the Watch and possibly his Lordship the Patrician. Then someone can give Polly the head's up.


OOC: Character notes

Different pups have returned to different points on the timeline. A few may have undergone substantial changes in the intervening time.

What's different about yours, that might not necessarily merit explicit mention all the time but which other characters may well notice/have heard?


Polly now wears her hair in a braid. This does not, technically, have anything to do with Duo; she wears her hair long as a political statement, but is aware that this could be a danger in combat, so she keeps it well back for practical reasons. Nevertheless, it's likely to get her a few odd looks from people who know about him.

She is also much, much harder. Partly this is because of her loss, which she's dealt with by trying to lose herself in her task. It is also, in large part, because of the spot of bother with Zlobenia shortly after her return. Objectively, it could easily have been so much worse- Blouse's genius with military semaphore, Polly's gift for manipulation, and most people's instinctive reluctance to harm known women helped keep the body count low- but it was still an unforgettable event, including the deaths of a few comrades-in-arms and Polly's own first (plus a couple more, but of course the first is the biggest deal) kill.

To her, the Island now represents self-indulgence. She got respect and could do things for herself, because her hardest duty was unavailable for performing. If she got the chance to return permanently? It'd kill her, but I don't think she would.
Bad cop

Ankh-Morpork style

The Vimes-Ramkin home was decked out in style.

Some time had passed since the ballroom had been used (“We have a ballroom?” Sam had asked when the subject had first been brought to him. “What the hell would we do with a ballroom?” But Sybil had sent him a Look before he had had chance to make any further objection. And Lady Sybil was well-versed in Looks), but the dust-covered sheets that until a couple weeks ago had populated the hall like retired ghosts, had barely been an obstacle. The Emmas had descended in force, clearly, cleaning, reorganizing, designing, decorating, and now, with their help and Sybil’s, it twinkled with elegance that out-shone most of its occupants.

It was, Vimes had mused earlier as the members of Ankh-Morpork high society had begun to trickle in, one of the many problems that came of having a wife who could refer to the supreme ruler of the city by his first name. When Vetinari wanted something particularly dissatisfying from the Commander of the City Watch or, gods forbid, His Grace the Duke of Ankh, he knew exactly where to go.

A special diplomatic mission was being sent to the city from Borogravia. “To refortify friendly and mutually beneficial links between our two great nations,” which, as far as Vimes could tell, was diplomat-speak for, “We’re really, really sorry about the burning-down-the-clacks business, now could you please give us some money?”

“And when I mentioned it to Lady Sybil,” Vetinari had added casually when he had informed Vimes of the mission’s impending arrival, “she said you would be perfectly delighted to host a social gathering in their honor.”

“She what?”

“Is there a problem, Commander?”

“That’s not-”

“Good.” And then, just as casually, Vetinari had said, “Sergeant Polly Perks and Corporol Maladicta von Borogravia will be part of the mission. A gesture of goodwill and Borogravia’s determination to move with the times, I believe. You’ve met them, have you not, Sir Samuel?”

That had gotten Vimes’ attention. And his (albeit reluctant) assent.

He sometimes wondered if the Patrician really could read minds.

And so now the ballroom, until very recently shrouded in dust darkness, sparkled. Most of those Ankh-Morporkians who graced the pages of Twurpe's Peerage had already arrived, plus a few of the city’s less pedigreed notables. Against one wall, a lavish buffet table was laid out, and in one corner stood a small band. The foreign officials had made their entrance, and the dancing had begun.

At the very least, it was set to be an interesting night.