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(365 words) (with the Lord of the Rings)



The Federation had done a great job on him. Not only had they reconstructed his memory and personality, they'd made him believe he couldn't be conditioned, but the shock of the blasts ripping into him woke him up.

He'd always been a survivor. He'd survived the Balrog, for heaven's sake, what was a little blaster fire! The Grey Pilgrim rose, mighty in his wrath. Wind whipped his hair despite the fact that Blake's tracking gallery was underground.

"Eglath!" he shouted, seeing the lone figure in black and silver daring the troopers to shoot him. Damn fools. Gandalf kept telling the Teleri that naming their children things that meant 'forsaken' or 'desolation' was just asking for trouble. But they never listened. His staff appeared in his hand and he thumped Eglath on his skull, knocking him out. One more concussion couldn't scramble the dark elf any worse.

Gandalf froze the troopers with a wave of his staff and then knelt to attend to Strider. Eglath had very nearly made it impossible for the King to return, but a hastily muttered healing spell put matters to rights. He patched up the beautiful Goldberry, and the valiant Faramir, but puzzled over the dark girl. She wasn't anyone he knew. He shrugged and healed her. She wasn't one of Saruman's. Bit of a surprise seeing him returned as a woman. Just as blackhearted as ever, though.

Gandalf produced magical bracelets out of thin air, and put them on everyone he felt worth saving, including the humans Strider had recruited. Then he put his fingers to his lips and whistled for Shadowfax; Shadowfax, the white and shining, the swift, the brave and loyal steed, to return from exile in Beleriand.

Eglath would probably be angry that he hadn't brought back the Palantir with him, but using it had come very close to destroying the elf as it warped his innately honourable nature into evil. Gandalf brought it out of hiding and blasted the plastic box to smoldering rubble.

For a moment, Vila returned. He looked down at the melted Orac. "Got you, you rat in a box." Then Gandalf smiled as the teleport took them all back home to Shadowfax.

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December 2011

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