|Summary:||Diligent research unearths a record from the past.|
|Timeline:||Ten Years Hence . . . ? During "The End Is Nigh!"|
|Published:||June 4, 2015.|
|Rating:||PG/K+ - Strange attitudes toward cities.|
|Beta:||Neshomeh, Desdendelle, and PoorCynic.|
Henry Robinson was tired. He'd been up for over thirty-six hours, and it was beginning to take a toll. He'd been in what was left of the Archives, sifting through old paper copies of console-to-console messages, work orders, security briefings, and a jumble of inconsequential garbage. It was his own personal hell, but he'd really be damned if he let a closet full of loose papers keep him from finding out the truth of what happened to his mom.
He'd managed to find a beat-up diary and was working on getting the lock open to see what was inside. It was slow going with just a sewing needle to interact with the mechanism. Sure, he could've just broken it open, but he liked the physical and mental challenge. It was a welcome break from the tedium of his usual work.
After a couple of minutes he thought he might be getting it. He pushed and twisted the needle while turning the book slightly with his other hand. He could feel the lock about to give when there was a sharp snap and his needle broke in half. He looked at the broken end in his hand.
"Stupid piece of crap," he said. He let out a frustrated growl and tossed the book, and what remained of the needle, against the wall. When the book came to a rest the lock had popped open. "You've got to be kidding me."
He picked up the diary and opened the front cover. It was inscribed with the words:
Captain Dandy's Personal Log
(DO NOT READ UNDER PENALTY OF HERBICIDE!)
Henry didn't know what he'd expected, but it definitely wasn't this. There might be some actual information in here! He opened the logbook and started reading.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Tuesday? I think it's Tuesday.
That party was the worst idea that any of my compatriots has ever had; and they have had a lot of terrible ideas. What was supposed to be a few hours of fun turned into days of dealing with infection and invasion. And don't think I don't know whose leaves the blame will be heaped on. Well, I won't stand for it! Tomorrow, I am going to march into the Committee Room and tell the Board exactly what I think.
Horoscope for the day: Give up: Defeat arouses that Calla Lily in Accounting.
Actually, that Calla Lily in Accounting is aroused by numbers and argyle socks. Nice try, though.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Probably a Thursday
That . . . that did not go as well as it did in rehearsal. I marched in to the Committee Room and the Board told me exactly what they thought. I regret to say that I stood for it. They want me to do a full review of our security, immediately. I should probably work on that.
Horoscope for the day: Today is probably a huge improvement over yesterday.
You can go pollinate yourself, horoscope author.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Gonna call it Wednesday
I am appalled. Most of the Doors into Headquarters are in serious disrepair. Did no one else even remember that they existed? My Weeds are spread too thin to guard so many entrances. Even the lowest Suvian could breach them with ease. We've been lucky that our enemies have a flair for the dramatic, or we'd have a new invasion every week.
I need to have a word with the Nightshade. Ops should have been on top of this.
Horoscope for the day: The stars predict that tomorrow you'll do a bunch of stuff.
I should know better than to get my horoscope from the Multiverse Monitor.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Feels like a Monday, likely a Saturday
I don't know what I was expecting. The Nightshade had nothing but excuses for me.
We're understaffed, it said.
Agents are constantly breaking everything, it said.
If you can keep them from bringing this whole place crashing down around our petals, then I will gladly get Building Maintenance to fix your Doors and keep them fixed.
This is getting me nowhere. I need time to think and come up with a solution.
Horoscope of the Day: The end is near, and it is all your fault.
I should definitely let the Sunflower know I found its horoscope.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: The tomorrow I worried about yesterday
I've thought long and hard. Something needs to change, that's certain. Even with the Weeds multiplying like weeds, we've lost too many to cover all the Doors and still do our work in the network. I think it's time to permanently close the Doors so that my Plants can devote themselves to more important tasks.
I suppose this means another visit to the Sunflower. Oh joy.
Horoscope of the day: Horoscope not found. Abort, Retry, Ignore?
Just my luck.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Either a Friday or a Tuesday
A full day of arguing with the Sunflower and the Nightshade. Not what I would call enjoyable, but at least I got some results. The Sunflower has agreed to my plan. It's also agreed that the Nightshade should provide the personnel to seal the Doors with Concrit. The Nightshade was unhappy, which did some work to make the day a bit better.
Now I just need to deal with the Elephant Grass in the room.
Horoscope for the day: A new pair of shoes would do you a world of good.
I sincerely doubt that. Another spot-on horoscope.
Dandy's Personal Log - Plot Date: Today? Can never be too sure.
New Caledonia. The city is like a mammalian female: I don't understand the appeal of either one. With the free flow of personnel and goods, it's no wonder we have so many unauthorized visitors and so much contraband. I can't close this door without causing a riot. This is going to be a problem.
I'll need to do a full security review and tighten security at the New Caledonian Door. Maybe Weed-Ninety-Three. Yes, I think putting a Puncturevine in charge of the Door will get the message across nicely.
Horoscope of the Day: Sounds like you need a hot bath and some valium.
It's not perfect, but I'd take it.
Henry turned the page again, hoping that there would be more. Unfortunately, the remaining pages were blank.
Henry let out a sigh. "Well, at least we know why the Doors were sealed. Stupid Flowers doomed us . . . again. Augh!"
With that last exclamation he threw Dandy's diary back into the closet with more force than was strictly necessary. It struck near the bottom of the pile and caused the whole thing to shift, dislodging a folder that had been hidden above the level of the door. Henry picked up the new file and read the title out loud to himself. "Cafeteria Incident BT13? What the hell is this about?"
He opened the cover and read over the summary sheet inside. "This is the thirteenth documented incident involving Barid the Troll and the cafeteria. In this instance, he appears to have added an unknown poison to the food."
Henry was shaking with excitement. This was big! This might be what he had been looking for. He hurriedly skimmed the rest of the report. He'd finally caught a break. Someone needed to see this right now! He only hesitated long enough to grab Dandy's diary before running off to bring this new report to Ilraen at the command center.