AGENT KOBA

INCIDENT REPORT - THE SKELETON WARS

SECTION 1: RECRUITMENT

[BELLA'S POV]

As I detailed on my previous report, my partner, Agent Tris10, was experimenting with portal technology last week. I still take no responsibility for what ensued, but to recap, a fifteen-foot tall skeleton came out of a mirror Tristan converted into a portal; it then proceeded to consume a stack of classified files I had been working on before retreating back into the mirror.

As one might expect, HQ contacted us nigh immediately to assign our next mission: entering the portal and retrieving the files. HQ knows everything, and they know it before they logically should. Nothing new there.

In this report, I will discuss that mission and its immediate aftermath.

Tristan still seemed a little too proud of herself as she brought me to the mirror. "Pretty cool, huh?" I watched her hand disappear as she thrust it through the mirror. "I analyzed your portal gun. Really interesting technology."

She didn't mention it at the time, but she had misaligned my portal gun in the process. Permanently.

"I don't see the point of you making a portal that only goes to one place," I admitted, hesitantly sticking my own hand into the mirror. The other side was frigid. "Especially one that leads to a frozen wasteland filled with giant, hungry skeletons."

She crossed her arms. "Well, it was supposed to lead to Taco Bell."

That piqued my interest. "Okay, that's not a half-bad idea. You know I'm better at spatial stuff than you are, though. Let me work on this when we get back."

She refused to acknowledge my superior physics skills, but we didn't have time to argue about it. Our heads snapped up at a sharp crack that split through the air.

"No, it's breaking!" Tristan shrieked, throwing herself through. "Quick, before it's too late!"

At the last second, she snagged my hand and together we plummeted through the rapidly shattering glass.

An explosion behind us sent us sprawling face-first into a bank of snow. The impact embedded shards of glass into the back of my trench coat, but thankfully, not through.

"So much for taco bell," Tristan grumbled as we rose to our feet, shaking away glass and snow.

"Let's focus on the task at hand, okay?"

And so, we began to traverse the snowy world, our eyes searching the bleak, white landscape for any sign of life. Gradually, I realized that my previous assumption that this was some sort of skeleton dimension was incorrect; there was nothing here, save hopefully the one skeleton we were looking for. I had to wonder, why would such a place exist?

My musings were interrupted as Tristan threw out her arm to catch me, pointing to a figure on the horizon. "There."

Sure enough, it was him.

"HEY!" Tristan shouted, trudging towards the skeleton before I could stop her. "YOU! SKELETON MAN!"

The skeleton's head snapped towards her. "Are you assssssssssuming my gender!?"

I nearly tripped in my hurry to catch up with my undiplomatic partner. "Apologies, my lady."

"Are you assssssuming yet again!?"

Tristan elbowed me. "Wow, Bella. You're being super offensive right now."

"Shut the hell your mouth."

Snakes slithered around the skeleton's neck and arms like jewelry, while a great crown of bone sat atop its head. Menacingly, it towered over us. "I am General Venom," it announced, its voice booming from within its rattling chest. "I command the ssssssskeleton army. Why dare you disssssssturb this realm?"

Tristan would like me to include, at this point, her assessment that this was "not just any ordinary skeleton, but in fact, a snaketon." Please excuse her.

I swallowed. "Well, sir-or ma'am-or whatever you'd like to be called-to answer your question, you, um...you ate something very valuable to us."

The skeleton looked down at the case files protruding from her slimy ribcage. "And?"

"And we have to have them back," Tristan insisted. "I know it was careless of Bella to let you eat them in the first place, but-"

"Hey! You're the one who made the portal!"

"Yeah, and you're the one who left perfectly edible case files sitting on your desk."

"PERFECTLY ED-"

"I will return your trivial mortal possssssessssssssionsssssssss to you." The Skeleton General's voice boomed through the wintry landscape, commanding our complete attention.

"Really?" Tristan remained completely unfazed by the General's intimidation tactics.

"Yessssss," assured the skeleton, "but firssssssst, you must fight."

WIthout hesitation, my partner turned to me, putting up her fists. "No problem. I can take her."

"Tristan!"

The skeleton general rolled its eye sockets. "You musssssst fight in the Ssssssssssskeleton Warssssssss."

"The Skeleton Wars?" I repeated uncertainly. "But we aren't-"

The General knelt down, taking one of each of our hands and touching them to its crown. Our flesh abandoned us immediately and collapsed to the ground, taking our clothes with it.

"Oh," I sighed.

There was nothing to do now but see it through. We stood in a foreign wasteland with no way home, robbed of our flesh and the case files we still had orders to recover. The only way out of this mess we could see was to comply with the General.

As soon as we had agreed, the world was swallowed in a flash of piercing, white light. I felt my consciousness fade away.

And that's how my partner and I ended up enlisting in the Skeleton Wars.

...

...

"Come on, Bella!" Tristan yelled, trying to grab the datapad out of her partner's hands. "It's my turn to write the report."

"What are you talking about!?" Bella leaned out of her reach. "I haven't even gotten to the battles yet!"

"You got to write about how we got involved in the Skeleton Wars in the first place! I should be writing the report about the battles!"

"Your reports read like bad children's books," Bella snapped, slapping away her hands. "And you're the hero in all of them! You make me sound like an idiot."

"Yeah, and yours all make me sound like a lunatic," Tristan countered, snatching the datapad and absconding gleefully. "Yes!"

"You are a lunatic!" Bella retorted, giving pursuit. "Hey! Bring that back here!"