"Are dinosaurs real?"
Kaitlyn swatted away the hand that had lifted her headphone away and span her chair to face the intruder. "I don't think you understand how this works," she said over the cheery chords of the Shire theme. "When I sneak up on you and ask bizarre questions, it's funny. When you do it to me, it's the worst thing ever."
Agent Huinesoron looked briefly mortified, but then he seemed to take in the smile on her face and relaxed. He said something that Kaitlyn couldn't hear over the music, then looked immediately guilty.
Kaitlyn tugged off the headphones and dropped them onto her console. "I'm going to assume that was a grovelling apology," she said, then regretted it immediately as the elf's obvious guilt deepened. "Sorry, that was meant to be a joke," she assured him. "I didn't mean to upset you."
"It's... it's fine." The elf shook his head in bewilderment. "I'm sorry, too."
"No need." Kaitlyn pursed her lips in thought. "Unless you broke the lock to get in here," she corrected herself. "Selene gets kinda antsy about her privacy."
"No, she let me in," Huinesoron said hastily. "I know her from back in DOGA, remember."
"Ohhhh, that makes sense." Kaitlyn beamed, then reached down and fiddled with the controls on the side of her chair. With a hiss, the seat rose up, adding about a foot to her height, bringing her that much closer to eye level. "Well, it's good to see you! What brings you here?"
"Er." Huinesoron coughed. "Dinosaurs?"
"Yes! Right." Kaitlyn tugged at her waistcoat, straightening it. "In what canon? Because I'm sure you know as well as I do that there's a Triceratops in Mary Sues and a T. rex in Internal Affairs. I'm told there's a Velociraptor or something here in Floaters, too, though I've never met him."
"We've got a Quetzalcoatlus in Analytical Science," Huinesoron supplied. "But I meant your world." He frowned. "Or mine? Because Middle-earth is the history of World One, correct?"
"I mean... maybe?" Kaitlyn wobbled her hand in what she intended to be an illustrative gesture. "I think World One is the future of Middle-earth, without the reverse necessarily being true." She frowned. "Something about chiral history, I think? You'd have to ask one of your DAS lot."
"I asked Norlossë from Multiversal Physics," Huinesoron said, his lip twitching in an involuntary smile. "Her answer was about as coherent-or-otherwise as yours."
"That actually makes me feel pretty good," Kaitlyn mused. "If no-one understands this stuff... anyway, sorry! You were saying?"
"Dinosaurs," Huinesoron reminded her. "Are they real?"
"Why do you want to know?" Kaitlyn leant back, her office chair issuing a deep rumbling sound as it tilted. "Is this for a mission, or just a new hobby?"
"An old one," the elf said. "You know I'm in the geology division at DAS? Well, I found some rocks in the White Mountains during a recent survey that could be dinosaur fossils - except I'm not even sure that's possible." He frowned slightly, head tilting to one side. "So I suppose it was a mission, too, in a way."
"Not just 'a way'," Kaitlyn corrected. "Infrastructure - or whatever Analytical Science counts as - missions are still just as mission-y as Action missions! Don't put yourself down."
"I'll remember that," Huinesoron murmured. "So... dinosaurs?"
"I know, I know, I'm getting to it." Kaitlyn drummed her fingers on the arm of her chair and sat up straight. "Previous caveats about chiral history aside, there are two schools of thought on the matter," she explained. "The first is that yes, dinosaurs totally existed."
"Okay..." Huinesoron eyed her warily. "And the second?"
"The same," Kaitlyn said, grinning widely, "but with a big argument about feathers. Does that answer your question?"
"I think it does." Huinesoron returned her smile, pairing it with a nod of thanks. "You've been," he considered for a moment, "very helpful."
"Nah; but I'll accept the 'helpful' part." Tugging at the console, Kaitlyn swung herself back round and picked up her headphones. "After all," she said, slipping them on and letting the music wash over her again, "that's what friends are for."
There's kind of far more prehistoric animals in the PPC than I realised; it's fun!
As for why hS didn't just ask the archaeologists at DAS-AWAY: Durand has trouble separating the concepts of 'dinosaur' and 'dragon', and Joan doesn't like to deal with anything pre-industrial if she can help it.