The Adventures of Agent W007 - Episode I
From Sheepish Beginnings
The city of Neopia Central. The heart of Neopia. The source of endless adventure and excitement. Unless you happened to live on a small farm with Samrin, a humble shepherd who only sought a quiet life tending to his petpets. Such was the fate of an unlucky Babaa named Sheepy.
Sheepy wanted nothing more than to become one of the heroic Defenders of Neopia. He dreamed of fighting crime alongside the legendary Judge Hog, the courageous Sergeant Brexis, and his personal hero, Lightning Lenny. But when Sheepy told Samrin of his goal, the Kacheek laughed at him.
"You? A SUPERHERO??? What are you going to do, bleat them into submission? No, you'd better stay home, where it's safe."
Sheepy turned to his fellow petpets for comfort, but they mocked him too.
"Don't you need superpowers to be a superhero?" sneered one Doglefox. "Your only power is to shrink in the wash!"
Sheepy was deeply hurt by their insults.
"I'll show them!" he muttered. "I'll become a Defender of Neopia, no matter what it takes!"
Later that night, he gathered his few belongings together, taking great care when rolling up his poster of Lightning Lenny, and left Samrin's farm for Neopia Central under the cover of darkness. He traveled all night long, only stopping twice to rest his weary hooves. Just as the sun began to peek over the horizon, Sheepy reached a hill with a sign that read NEOPIA CENTRAL.
"At last!" cried Sheepy, racing to the top of the hill as fast as his hooves could carry him.
Neopia Central was greener than he had anticipated. A few buildings lay scattered along streets that were little more than dirt roads. Where was the glinting silver of the high-rise buildings from Neopia's busiest city? Sheepy paused, puzzled. This wasn't anything like the place he'd read about in his comic books.
"I guess the artists preferred a more stylized look to the real thing," he mumbled, trying to convince himself. "That makes sense..."
A glint of gold metal caught his eye. Sheepy felt his heart leap into his throat and he rushed toward it with renewed hope. He realized that it could only be one building...
The Music Shop.
Sheepy stopped short. The Music Shop?! That wasn't right... not right at all. With a dejected sigh, he turned back to retrace his steps and spotted another golden glint. The little Babaa darted across the dirt path to the modern building gleaming in the morning sun, a familiar gold, blue, and white logo shining brightly at its peak. This time, he knew he had found the right place: the Defenders of Neopia Headquarters.
Sheepy ran over to the automatic glass doors - and promptly smacked into them. Ouch. He rubbed his bruised nose with his hoof as he pondered the situation. Why hadn't the doors opened for him? According to issue 13 of the Defenders of Neopia, the door should have moved when he...
Sheepy let out a loud sigh. Of course. He was too short to trigger the door-opening mechanism.
"So much for helping every pet in need," he grumbled.
Putting down his bundle of belongings, Sheepy slid out an old cork gun that he'd squirreled away for just such an occasion. He fired a shot directly at the small red dot of the door sensor. The glass doors slid open. Sheepy grabbed his bag and ran through, his tail just barely clipped by the closing doors.
Muttering to himself and rubbing his sore area tenderly, Sheepy took in his surroundings. His jaw dropped open as he realized that he was standing in the famed Defenders of Neopia lobby. Statues of strong-looking Neopian defenders stood on pedestals around the room, which was flooded with natural light from the glass ceiling above. Retired Defenders of Neopia costumes were displayed in glass cases on the far side of the lobby. Two hallways led off in opposite directions, just like in the comics.
Forgetting his aching tail, Sheepy followed the hall on the right. If this really was like the comics, he knew just where he'd end up...
Yes! Sheepy found himself staring at the famed Defenders of Neopia information center. The far wall was covered entirely by monitors and electronic charts: the latest in Virtupets surveillance technology.
However, Sheepy was unmoved by the impressive display of crimefighting equipment. He was staring in awe at a figure slouched in a chair before of the massive control panel. Sheepy cautiously snuck forward until he was facing the Neopian defender eye-to-kneecap. Slumped in the chair was a Lenny clad in a cyan, silver, and black bodysuit. Soft snores escaped the slumbering crusader's beak.
Sheepy was hardly able to believe that he was staring at the real Lightning Lenny - in the feathers! He was so busy staring slack-jawed at his hero that he failed to notice that he was slowly drifting closer to him...
Sheepy found himself suddenly flying through the air. Just as he realized this, his unintentional flight was interrupted by the official Defenders of Neopia coffeepot (featured in DoN comic #237, he noted as he collided with it), which had thankfully been sitting for hours. Babaa and coffeepot crashed to the floor, scattering coffee and glass everywhere. Sheepy quickly checked himself for injuries beyond being soaked in nasty old coffee. Thankfully, only his pride was damaged; his bag of belongings had protected him from the glass.
Satisfied that he was relatively unharmed, Sheepy stole a glance back across the room at the chair Lightning Lenny had been occupying. It was empty. Sheepy looked around the room. No sign of his hero. Slightly confused, he picked himself up and turned around to get his bag... only to see a large clawed foot in front of him. Sheepy craned his neck upwards. A furious-looking Lightning Lenny was glaring down at him. Uh oh.
"What do you think you're doing, cotton ball?" snapped Lightning Lenny. "Sneaking in here and attacking me!" The angry superhero unceremoniously grabbed Sheepy by the wool on the back of his neck and lifted him to eye level. "Who sent you? Hubrid Nox? Dr. Sloth? From the look of you, I'd have to guess Mr. Chuckles."
Sheepy blinked, stunned. This was not the reception he had expected.
"No one sent me," he said. "I'm here to become a Defender of Neopia, like you."
"YOU?! A Defender of Neopia???" Lightning Lenny laughed derisively. "You haven't got what it takes to defend a riverbank, let alone a real one!" He began to carry Sheepy to the door. "Just look at this - AAAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!"
Lightning Lenny broke off in an anguished cry of pain, loosening his grip on Sheepy, who grabbed onto the hero's costume to avoid another fall to the floor. Sheepy looked down to see what had happened. A jagged piece of glass had lodged itself deeply in Lightning Lenny's foot.
"NOW look at what you've done!" snarled Lightning Lenny through gritted teeth. "I oughta -"
But Sheepy never found out what Lightning Lenny intended do to him, for at that moment, an alarm blared loudly and all of the monitors over the control panel flashed red with a message in bold white letters: INCOMING TRANSMISSION.
"Oh great! What wonderful timing!" muttered Lightning Lenny as he limped over to the control panel and collapsed into the chair. He unceremoniously dropped Sheepy onto the floor next to him. "Now you just stay put and keep quiet!" growled Lightning Lenny to Sheepy.
"QUIET! Or so help me I'll make a sweater out of you," Lightning Lenny snapped as he pushed Sheepy closer to the control panel and out of view. He quickly smoothed his feathers and pressed a large blinking red button on the console. The siren silenced immediately and the red glow of the monitors faded as they presumably dissolved to their previous displays. Sheepy had to guess at this last point, as he could not see the monitors from his vantage point.
"Lightning Lenny, I'm glad you're there," boomed a rumbling bass voice. "There's trouble afoot in the Haunted Woods."
Sheepy scrambled to the side before venturing a peek over the edge of the control panel. He suppressed a gasp. On the center monitor was Judge Hog himself! From the tropical scenery behind him, Sheepy deduced that he was on Mystery Island - near Geraptiku, based on the plant life.
"Who is it this time?" asked Lightning Lenny, his tone clear and professional. This was the hero Sheepy had expected to find.
"It's Meuka again. He broke into the Crumpetmonger's shop and gorged himself on her fine pastries. The ensuing sugar rush pushed his mucus-generating metabolism into overdrive. Now all of Neovia is covered in mucus. I'm counting on you to stop him."
"You've got it, boss!" Lightning Lenny replied with a salute, his blue eyes blazing with determination.
"With your speed, this shouldn't take you long to -" Judge Hog broke off in mid-sentence. "Who in the Tyrannian blazes is that?"
Sheepy froze like a Grundo caught raiding the cookie jar by Dr. Sloth. Lightning Lenny glanced sharply at him, then turned back to Judge Hog to answer before Sheepy could even open his mouth.
"He's a freelance reporter. He's here to research an article about the inner workings of the Defenders."
"I see," replied Judge Hog, sounding somewhat bemused. "And why is he soaking wet?"
Lightning Lenny paused ever so briefly to choose his words. "Slight coffeepot malfunction, sir. We were just about to get him cleaned up when you called."
"Well, this is a fine opportunity for him to see one of our top men in action." Judge Hog turned to address Sheepy. "Be sure not to report any of our top secrets, young man!" he joked, teasingly wagging a muscular finger at the Babaa. He turned back to Lightning Lenny. "Good luck, Lightning Lenny. I will join you as soon as I can. Judge Hog out."
The screen flickered back to its original display. No sooner had the transmission ended than Lightning Lenny slumped back in his chair and started to painstakingly remove the glass shard from his foot. After a few moments of watching, Sheepy retrieved two towels, a vial of water, and a first aid kit from his bundle of personal belongings. He dried off his wool as best as he could with one towel, then pressed the other to Lightning Lenny's foot as the shard pulled free.
"What do you think you're doing?" growled Lightning Lenny, gritting his teeth against the pain.
"Putting pressure on the wound," Sheepy replied.
"No," scowled the Lenny. "Why are you doing it?"
"To stop the bleeding more quickly. I'm surprised: as a superhero, I would have expected you to know elementary first aid." Sheepy wrapped bandages around Lightning Lenny's foot, not noticing that his hero's face had turned a vivid shade of purple. "There's not a moment to lose. We must reach Neovia as quickly as possible."
"We? WE?! We are not going. I will go and you will -"
"You can't go alone," said Sheepy matter-of-factly. "Your injury won't allow you to reach the sort of speeds you normally can. You need help - my help - to get to Neovia in time."
Lightning Lenny glared daggers at the little Babaa, but was forced to admit that he had a point. "All right, but only if you stay out of the way once we're there. What's the plan?"
Sheepy reached into his bag of personal belongings and pulled out his official Defenders of Neopia skateboard. "We move out immediately."
Sheepy clung to the skateboard for dear life as Lightning Lenny used his good foot to power the board along. They weren't traveling at the Lenny's top speed, but still much faster than Sheepy had ever gone before. Within minutes, they reached the Haunted Woods. The rough terrain forced them to slow down, prompting Lightning Lenny to grumble under his breath until they reached the outskirts of Neovia.
It was worse than they'd imagined.
A layer of two meter thick mucus almost completely covered the town. Most of the Neovians were cowering in their houses, trying to prevent the mucus from seeping in through the doors and windows. An unlucky few were trapped in the yellow-green slime, unable to flee from Meuka, who was throwing globs of fresh mucus at them while laughing mercilessly.
Lightning Lenny stopped before the edge of the mucus and took his injured foot off the skateboard. "Well, kid, this is where you get off."
Sheepy frowned. "But -"
"No buts. I've got to get to the Crumpetmonger's as quickly as possible. The skateboard won't make it through the mucus, so it'll just slow me down."
Not waiting for a reply, Lightning Lenny ran across the mucus toward the Crumpetmonger's shop. Sheepy watched in amazement as his hero's feet skirted the surface without getting sucked in. It looked like Lightning Lenny hadn't needed him after all.
Lightning Lenny had almost reached the Crumpetmonger's when he was struck in the back of the head by a glob of mucus. The hero kept his balance and stumbled onward, but the second and third blobs brought him down into the muck.
"Not so fast, hero!" sneered Meuka as he advanced on Lightning Lenny.
This was bad. Sheepy looked around frantically for a way to reach Lightning Lenny. A nearby tree caught his eye: its gnarled branches extended over the roof of one of the Neovian buildings. His hooves made it difficult for him to climb up the trunk of the tree, so Sheepy used the walking stick that had carried his bundle of belongings, which he had brought as a weapon, to pull himself up by wrapping it over each branch. He almost fell a few times, but he finally reached the top.
Sheepy dropped down onto the roof and surveyed the scene below. Meuka was still taunting Lightning Lenny, who was unable to free himself from the mucus. Sheepy spotted the Crumpetmonger's shop a few meters beyond them. He couldn't possibly reach it from here, unless...
Sheepy took a running start and used his walking stick to vault onto the roof of the next building over. After repeating the process half a dozen times, he found himself leaping onto the Crumpetmonger's shop. The steep slope of the roof almost tumbled him into the mucus below, but Sheepy wrapped his walking stick around the chimney just in the nick of time. He inched his way upward and tumbled down the chimney into the fireplace below.
The second he landed, Sheepy found himself covered in a layer of mucus.
"Well, at least my wool didn't get burned," he mumbled to himself as he pulled himself out of the fireplace.
Sheepy surveyed the rest of the shop. It was wall-to-wall mucus. What could Lightning Lenny have possibly hoped to gain by coming here?
"Think, Sheepy, think!" muttered the Babaa as he slogged through the shop one sticky step at a time.
He could hear the muffled sounds of the scuffle outside - and it didn't sound good for his hero. Sheepy knew he had to do something quickly.
"There must be something we can use to stop him," he mused.
He tripped over something in the near-darkness and fell face-first into the mucus. After a few awful moments, Sheepy pulled himself free. As he gasped for air, he spotted a spice rack on a counter. A large section of it was mucus-free.
Of course! That was it! Sheepy grabbed a vial from the rack and hurried outside as quickly as he could.
There wasn't a moment to lose. Meuka was holding a gigantic ball of mucus over his head, about to drop it onto Lightning Lenny. Sheepy uncorked the vial and threw it at the giant mucus ball. Instantly, the ball lost its shape and covered Meuka in a thick pile of snot. The Meerca snarled angrily and attempted to lunge at Sheepy, but the mucus surrounding him hardened, holding him fast.
Sheepy made sure that Meuka was fully incapacitated, then rushed to where Lightning Lenny was lying. The little Babaa helped his hero into a sitting position. Though the costumed crusader was covered in mucus from head to toe, he seemed to be otherwise unharmed.
"You..." said Lightning Lenny in bewilderment between heavy coughs. "You saved me? But... how...?"
"I found some salt in the Crumpetmonger's shop. Nature did the rest."
Lightning Lenny stared at Sheepy thoughtfully. He opened his beak to speak, but a booming voice cut him off.
"Excellent work, Lightning Lenny!" Judge Hog said as he trudged through the mucus toward them. "I'd have been here sooner, but Tekkitu was a bit more tenacious than I had anticipated." He chuckled loudly. Noticing Sheepy standing in Lightning Lenny's shadow, the Moehog raised a questioning eyebrow. "Is this the reporter? A little close to the line of fire, isn't he?"
"It was his choice, sir," said Lightning Lenny.
Judge Hog frowned at Sheepy. "You should know better than to get yourself into trouble, little guy."
Before Sheepy could protest, Lightning Lenny spoke up.
"Actually, he was the real hero here, boss. He stopped Meuka from drowning me in the least humane way possible and saved Neovia."
"Really?" asked the Moehog in disbelief. "This little fellow?"
"Yessir," said Lightning Lenny, clapping a wing on Sheepy's back. "He's a true hero."
"Well, that's a different story entirely!" said Judge Hog. "Thank you for your help, young man!"
"The pleasure was mine," said Sheepy, whose insides were dancing with excitement. "There is no greater honor than to serve the people of Neopia."
"Spoken like a true Defender!" Judge Hog replied proudly.
"What do you say we skip the standard recruitment process and make him a full-fledged Defender, boss?" Lightning Lenny elbowed Judge Hog in the ribs, getting mucus on his costume.
"He's certainly proved himself worthy of that," agreed the Moehog as he tried to wipe the mucus off. "What do you say to that... er, I'm afraid I never caught your name."
"My name is Sheepy," said the little Babaa proudly. "But you can call me Agent W007."
Author's Note: Many thanks to Aisling, Crickeet, Obi, and Xayla for first inspiring this little Babaa to follow his dreams and to Sheepy for giving me permission to name Sheepy after him. :)