She awoke the annoying bleeping of her alarm clock. It was 4:30 in the morning. She hit snooze blindly and turned over sleepily, snuggling closer to her husband. He mumbled something she could not understand and pushed her gently away. He spoke groggily again as she tried to get next to him, "Kiara… Kiara, get ready for work. It's Monday." Jealous, she rolled out of bed, cursing her husband's superiors for having him go into work three hours later. As the hot steam poured down upon her, she cursed her own superiors for having her go in at 5 am. Blast it! I want real water! In Canada, I had real water. She stepped out and pulled on a pair of black slacks, a white blouse and her white lab coat. She threw up her black hair into a ponytail and did some quick make-up in the mirror.
She opened the door to their bedroom to find her husband curled cutely about himself. She went over to him and leaned down, whispering as she kissed him, "Patrick, you lucky dog." Grabbing a pouch of freeze-dried apples, she headed out.
It still amazed her, the International Atlantis. It was a bunch of rooms, making up a small village, which was floating in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. After WW3 began, the world was devastated and barren. NATO had built a hospital in the middle of the Atlantic to serve patients of the war, for it was agreed between NATO and Soviet Union that the International Atlantis was a safe haven for any injured person of the world, whether they are from NATO countries or the Soviet Union. The International Atlantis worked night and day for it was the only area in the world to be radiation free and many of their patients were people who had radiation poisoning. So many more patients came each day because WW3 was not over and it hadn't been for a hundred years.
As she stepped into her office, she slipped on a nametag that read, 'Dr. Kiara McBride, Genetic Counselor'. She was greeted by several of her nurses and went to call the first of her patients in. "Mrs. Harrison?" An old, wrinkly woman stood and began to make the long journey across the room with her cane.
"Lonnie! Help Mrs. Harrison would you?" Kiara slid back into her office, letting her intern guide Mrs. Harrison. Sooner than she thought, Mrs. Harrison was inside her office and sitting patiently as Kiara called up her files on the computer.
"It seems that might need to be tested for breast and ovarian cancer, Mrs. Harrison. Both of those run in your family. Where do you live?" She could guess that Mrs. Harrison lived somewhere in the United States, but she could not pinpoint it exactly.
"My grandmother lived in Cincinnati. Good city…was… When was the latest bombing?"
"Last October. After my husband died from radiation poison, I took it upon myself to come here and get tested." Her eyes became misty but then she rubbed her tears away.
"Well, Mrs. Harrison, I am going to recommend you to a good colleague of mine, Dr. Joy Kleisinger. She's great and very excitable." Seeing Mrs. Harrison's dubious look, she set her heart at ease with, "Here, I'm going to put her on speaker so you can get a feel for her." She dialed a number and let it ring.
On the third ring, Dr. Kleisinger picked up. "Hello?" Her voice was high and lofty.
"Hola, mi amor, Joy. Tis your good friend Kiara here. I have a Mrs. Harrison who is at risk for breast and ovarian cancer. Can you give her a couple of zaps of your radiation?" Kiara smiled wryly at Mrs. Harrison as Joy reprimanded her.
"Kiara, we don't zap anyone here. We don't have radiation. Although, I can test and treat her if necessary. Just send her on down."
"Will do, Joy Joy."
"Si, mademoiselle." With that, Kiara hung up and turned back to Mrs. Harrison. "Okay, Mrs. Harrison. I'm going to send you down to 2A with Lonnie to get you tested and possibly treated. What I need you to do is send your daughter in next week. I tried to call her but her phone is down. Just need to check on the little one in her belly. Lonnie!" She opened the door and showed Mrs. Harrison out.
"You know, I read that Rita Welty was taken away last week. I heard she was found trying to poison patients." Kiara munched happily on a sandwich as she gossiped with Joy.
"We have a whole world of wackos. We don't need any in the only safe haven. Did you hear that they burned down the last library in the world and it was right in D.C.?"
"Yeah, they stripped the building of text books and history books and burnt all of the fiction. It is as if the US government is trying to kill imagination, just like the rest of the world. How is anyone supposed to have fun?"
"I don't think we're supposed to be having fun. Not with the world's largest war going on. I can't believe it has lasted a hundred years. You think by this year that they'd be like, 'Hey, let's call it quits, fellas.' But no, it's 2045 and they are still going at it." Joy wiped her chin free of the mustard that had just slid down it.
"Although, it does give us good business."
"Yes, it does." She paused before asking, "Is Patrick working today?"
"Yes, he's policing the boarding patients." The International Atlantis was so sought after it had at least a hundred police officers on board in order to keep it chaos-free, as much as possible. "What are your afternoon duties?"
"Surgeon. You?" They were short on staff and so divisions where they tested patients and areas that did not have many patients were put on double shifts in order to compensate.
"I'm actually supposed to be helping inspect the patients about now. Got to go, chica." She kissed Joy on the cheek as she quickly left the room.
"Hey, baby," she greeted Patrick with a kiss.
"Hey, Kiara. I've got the children and their mothers over on the right." He pointed. There were five children, three with mothers. "And the elderly over there. And adults on the left. Of course those who needed immediate help are receiving it now."
"Thank you ever so much, Pat. Okay. Tell those who are waiting that Melissa and Robert will be with them shortly. I have child duty today." She rubbed her hands together as she approached the children and their mothers. "Hello all, I am Kiara McBride and I will be diagnosing your problems today." She bent down and sat cross-legged on the ground. She pointed to the first boy, motioning him to sit. "What's your name?"
"William," his mother cut in before he could speak.
"Ah, Guillermo. What hurts?"
"His stomach." His mother had done it again.
"Hey, mom. I usually let the kids tell me what's wrong with them because it seems a little more truthful. Okay?" The mom turned away, tapping her foot. "Now, Guillermo. You tell me."
"My tummy hurts," he mumbled. "It hurts right down here." He pointed to his appendix. She reached out and pushed on it a little bit, making him gasp in pain. Then, she tickled him. "Go to the Pediatric Lobby, ask for Dr. Kiley Sanders, and she will be your Pediatrician. She's good and she'll cure anything this little guy has," she told the mom. She grabbed her son and quickly went away. "Next!"
This time it was a little blonde girl, her mother worried terribly. "What's your name, sweetie?"
"Emilee," she murmured.
"What's wrong with you, Miss Emilee?"
"I'm getting a bone marrow transplant from my sissy, Erica." She pointed to a little girl who stood just behind their mother, wearing the same six-year-old face Emilee had.
"Mom, you know where to go?"
"Hop to it, chicas." She motioned over the next boy, who had a sever rash and told him and his mother to go to the infectious disease ward, leaving only a small boy at the back. "Hey, little mister, come here." He moved slowly forward, his legs shaking. "What hurts, little one?"
"My great-great-grandfather was asked by Manwë to give this to you. Since none of my ancestors could give this to you, it was my duty, Kiara Elise Woods." He knew her maiden name, which was strange because the only people left in the world that knew that name were Patrick and Joy. He handed her an old, large leather book. "The Legendarium of Middle Earth, the last true book left in this world. Keep it safe, Kiara Elise Woods. This book tends to capture its reader." He turned and strode towards the side of the Atlantis, the water of the ocean brushing roughly against the side from an oncoming storm. "My duty is complete. I am free." He dropped off the side and disappeared beneath the waves. Kiara scrambled to the side, calling into the deep, her eyes searching wildly. "Patrick! Patrick!"
He ran to her side. "What's wrong, Kiara?"
"A boy fell into the water!"
"The waters are too rough to find him."
"Someone needs to save him. Christ! We're at a hospital! We save people!" She started to remove her heavy clothes, wanting to dive in after him. Patrick put a hand on her shoulder, pushing her away from the edge.
"He's lost, Kiara! Even you can't save him! People die! Everyone dies!"
"Then what joy is living if we can't escape the inevitable?! What use is a hospital other than to help delay death?" The skies broke open and rain drizzled down upon them as if crying in hopelessness. "If we die, instead of going painfully through the motions of life, why doesn't everyone just do what they are destined to do?" He went to hug her but she pushed him away. "Just leave me be." When he did not move, she screamed, "Go away! I don't want you!" Hurt, he got up and walked away, not looking back. Crying, she screamed into the heavens a wordless scream, clutching the book tightly to her chest. The only word going through her mind was 'why'.
"Kiara," Joy knocked on the open door of her bathroom, looking down at her friend who sat coiled in a ball inside the shower, steam pouring down upon her clothed body. Joy slid the door open, reaching a hand out and grasping Kiara's arm. Pulling her up, she wrapped a beach towel around Kiara's shoulders, hugging her close. "C'mon, let's get you dry. Go into your room and get some pajamas on. The administration has the hospital on lock down because of the storm. Patrick is sleeping over at our place tonight. Henry will provide excellent food and our spare bedroom for him." She pushed Kiara into the bedroom, pulling the door close.
It was not the first time Kiara had had an episode like that. She had known her since they were in middle school, but she also knew that Kiara did not normally break down. To Kiara, life was sacred; so sacred that it usurped any and all duties if there was a life in danger. Joy knew the reason for how Kiara held life and it seemed that Patrick still could not feel his wife's anguish. Joy took Kiara to see a fertility doctor when she found out her friend was having trouble conceiving. When they received the test results, Kiara had been severely depressed for two weeks; she was barren. Joy noticed that since Kiara had gotten the results back, she held the lives of children more hallowed than anything. Seeing a child die earlier only stirred up sorrow from the past.
Five minutes later, Kiara came out, dressed in a white nightgown that had a light green leaf pattern across the deep neckline. "Feeling better," Joy asked as Kiara, laid down next to her, resting her head on Joy's thigh. "I'm sorry, honey," she whispered as Kiara cried softly. "I'm so sorry."
They sat like that until Kiara stopped crying. She sat up and asked Joy where the book was. Joy looked confused, "What book?"
"The big leather book. It's here somewhere." She went into the bedroom and looked, not finding it. Frantically, she looked all around her apartment. Finally, she spotted it on top of the closed toilet lid. "Thank you," she prayed quietly. Coming back into the living room, she brought the book to Joy. "Can you read this to me?"
"Sure, chica." Joy waited for Kiara to settle down on the couch and opened the book. "What's this book called?"
"The Legendarium of Middle Earth."
"I don't care if it's boring. I just want to understand why this book is so important."
"Okay, I'll give it a whirl." Joy turned the title page and saw the author. "J.R.R. Tolkien? I've heard that name before. Can't remember where though… Okay, sorry. Now, then." She looked down and struggled with the title of the first part. "The Silmar…shit, The Silmarillion. That is a word I have never seen before…" She cleared her throat. "There was Eru, the One, who in Arda is called Ilúvatar; and he made first the Ainur, the Holy Ones, that were the offspring of his thought, and they were with him before aught else was made…" The world and words blurred and they both drifted off into sleep, dreaming about Middle Earth.
That night the ocean swallowed the Western dorm, murdering one hundred and forty-eight people. Kiara McBride's apartment was in the Western dorm, while Joy Kleisinger had a dorm in the Eastern dorm. The Legendarium of Middle Earth deteriorated beneath the waves, the first copies of The Silmarillion, The Histories of Middle Earth, Unfinished Tales, The Children of Húrin, The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and many more of the Legendarium were lost forever. It is said that not long after the deaths of Kiara Elise McBride and Joy Daniella Kleisinger, their husbands Patrick Thomas McBride and Henry Ronald Kleisinger committed suicide, the former was the first and Henry followed. NATO won the Third World War, ending it after one hundred years, leaving the Earth barren, burned, and inhabitable. The rest human race left the dying planet and sailed across the star sea, finding new places to live. And so the planet died, leaving traces of the horror of the human race. It was a warning for the rest of the universe: everything that is good and pure is destroyed by excessive industry, selfishness and greed.
From the deep, I bring you, Alatar and Pallando. I am Eru Ilúvatar and I know you. You were formerly known as Kiara Elise Woods and Joyce Daniella Puckett, but that was in your broken world. This is Arda, a land you know only from words. Your people have suffered for many long years, you have spent your lives trying to save others, and for your efforts, I grant you a new life in this world. Both of you have struggled with personal vulnerabilities, but I shall grant your freedom from them. Alatar, your womb is now fertile. Pallando, life to you now will no longer feel numb and fake as it had before. You are now Maiar; you are followers of Oromë.
And so it was that Kiara became Alatar and Joy became Pallando, the Maiar of Oromë. And for a long time they did the bidding of Oromë, happy and blessed, but they were acutely aware of the growing evil. There came a time in the Third Age, just like in The Legendarium of Middle Earth, that Alatar and Pallando were sent to Middle Earth. Of course, Alatar and Pallando did not remember their former lives as Kiara and Joyce or the Legendarium. Their mission was beautifully retold in the Legendarium: It was afterwards said that they came out of the Far West and were messengers sent to contest the power of Sauron, and to unite all those who had the will to resist him; but they were forbidden to match his power with power, or to seek to dominate Elves or Men by force and fear. Then the one Men called Saruman the White travelled with them to the East, past Mordor and after a time left them to be the spies on the inside. Alatar and Pallando, women from the year 2045 AD, were alone in Harad.
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.