Caution: Quills may be sharp Circulation: 138,002,725 Issue: 286 | 6th day of Eating, Y9
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Revenge and Resistance: Part One


by dan4884

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BANG.

     The residents of the house at the end of the cul-de-sac in Neopia Central awoke with a start. A loud noise had sounded from outside their house. Probably just a homeless Warf searching for food. Wiping the sleep from his eyes, the sole human of the house rose from his bed and cautiously made his way to the front of the house, yawning.

     BANG.

     He jumped. What was that? That didn’t sound like a Warf.

     BANG.

     CRACK.

     He was wide awake now. His breath came heavily, matching the rising fear inside him. Whatever was out there was trying to get in.

     CRACK.

     The human, a rather tall brown-haired boy, poked his head around the corner, looking into the main hall, where the sounds were emanating from. He gasped. His front door was being split in half. With every loud “CRACK” that issued forth, the door weakened. He whipped around and yelled to his pets.

     “Wake up! Wake up! Someone’s trying to break in!” he shouted as he banged on their bedroom doors.

     “What?” his Grey Gelert said groggily. “What are you talking about, Dan?”

     “Just get up!” the human, Dan, shouted again. “We have to get out of here!”

     But it was too late. The door, in a resounding final “CRACK,” splintered into pieces. The boy froze. He became very still and gestured to his pets to do the same.

     Thump. Thump. Thump. There was someone—or something, the human reminded himself—coming towards them. Silently, he moved from the hall into the Gelert’s bedroom and tried to shut the door as quietly as possible. Just as it clicked, something pushed from the other side, and the human was thrown backwards onto the floor.

     He turned around and tried to stand up, but was suddenly shoved down. As he looked up to see who it was, the figure grabbed him and began to drag him through the house. He screamed again, and realized his screams were joined by someone else’s. His pets apparently were suffering the same fate.

     The figure—his grip was cold, almost metallic—was taking the human outside. The front door now lay in fragments on the ornate Shenkuu rug, the human noticed as he passed through the threshold. It made no sense to scream; he doubted whoever his captor was would stop if he did. Judging by the grunts and wheezes, he figured his pets were right behind him.

     It was cold outside. The human could feel a fresh coat of frost on the grass, and it crackled as he shifted in it. His pets were dropped next to him, and they shivered as they came in contact with the frigid ground. At least the human had clothing on. A light exploded on, and the captives threw up their hands to shield their eyes from the light. As they adjusted to the light, they saw what had attacked their house.

     They were robots. Tall, imposing, malicious, green robots. The human gasped as he recognized what they were.

     Sloth Clones. About ten of them. They all wore the same vacant expression and carried blasters twice the size of the human’s hand in holsters on their waists. Behind them a small capsule sat, about the size of a small bathroom. One stepped forward and his eyes lit up with a red light. Its voice crackled into life.

     “Are you user dan4884?” it asked in a monotone voice. The human nodded.

     “And your employment is with the Neopian Times Newspaper Agency?” it continued without taking note of the human’s response.

     “Yeah,” the boy replied with a more than a hint of trepidation. “Why?”

     “You are hereby charged with treason against the Doctor. Your sentence is a life term in the holding chambers aboard the Virtupets Space Station.”

     “What?!” the boy replied. “Treason?”

     “Your pieces published in the Neopian Times have slandered the illustrious Doctor’s name. He will not tolerate this sort of disobedience. Hence your punishment,” the robot replied. The other clones stood still as statues behind him, eyes dull.

     The boy thought about it. His stories and articles had poked fun at Doctor Sloth, but that was just it: they were for fun, nothing more. Couldn’t the Doctor take a joke?

     “What makes you think I’ll go?” the boy asked defiantly.

     The lead clone pulled out a blaster from the holster on its side, taking aim at the boy. He recoiled and fell silent. His pets watched silently, fearfully.

     “What of my pets? They’re going to need to have support somehow; they can’t live on their own!” the human said, becoming more fearful.

     “They will join you in your cell,” it said, still aiming the blaster at the human’s head.

     The human stared silently. Why was this happening? Why now? As these questions floated around his head, he decided on a last-ditch effort to escape. He wasn’t going to go easily to life imprisonment, and whatever came with that.

     Suddenly, he began to scream. “HELP! Someone help me! Please, help us!” he shouted over and over. Hurriedly, his pets began to yell too, and soon enough the houses surrounding theirs lit up with lights as their residents heard the commotion. Heads appeared in the windows, and some ran out their front doors, but froze when they realized what exactly was going on. They weren’t going to get involved if there was the chance they might get hurt. The Sloth clones stood still and kept their focus on the captives in front of them. As the human realized this plan wouldn’t help, his screams stopped and frantically, he looked around for another way out.

     “Run,” he muttered to his Gelert beside him. “Run fast, run far. Just run.”

     “No, I can’t,” he replied fearfully, swollen eyes remaining on the robots in front of them.

     “Do it!” the human shouted, this time too loud. The pets scrambled up and scattered, the human right after them. The other clones quickly pulled out their blasters and shot purple beams of light after them.

     “After them!” the lead clone said. Instantly, all clones were in the air, rockets in their feet propelling them forward. They caught the boy first, who by now was sobbing.

     “No, please, no, you can’t do this to us,” he wept as they dragged him into the small capsule. His pets joined him soon after and the door swung shut behind him. It was completely dark, and all that was heard was the boy’s muffled sobs. Outside, the clones were heard speaking.

     “Commander Garoo—Mission Accomplished. Requesting new coordinates.”

     A stifled voice crackled. “Very good. Send the capsule up. Your next target is over in east Neopia Central. Same charge.”

     “Yes, sir,” the clone replied, and the voice crackled out. From the inside of the capsule, they could only hear the clones moving around slightly. Suddenly, there was a blast, and the captives were pushed against the floor as the capsule shot towards the sky.

     The neighbors still stood rooted to the spot. It was too captivating to watch. But as the capsule left, and then the clones, the assorted Neopets and humans turned to return to their beds. They weren’t going to worry themselves about it. Stranger things had happened in Neopia, and honestly, they didn’t really care that a family had just been abducted and imprisoned. But most of all, they returned to their beds because tomorrow was a weekday. They had work or school tomorrow. There were more pressing matters than a sudden kidnapping.

     But soon enough, the citizens of Neopia, who stood idly by as other Neopian Times authors were taken abruptly from their homes and sent to space, soon enough they would wish they had cared when they had the chance. For this was only a precursor to what was to come. A warning for the masses.

     Sloth was coming. He had spent the last half a decade or so planning his attack carefully, and everything was ready. It was time to put his plan into action. The first step was being executed already. The first stage was to correct his image. No more would he be viewed as a foolish “chicken-head” with a penchant for Usukis. He was a cold-blooded killer. A strategist with weapons and a readiness to use them. The authors were but martyrs for the cause. Sloth’s revenge called for many of them.

     That’s what he was calling this. Sloth’s revenge. His revenge against a planet that mocked him, made him into a running joke. Against the leaders that didn’t take him seriously. And most of all, his revenge against a planet that laughed at him. He hadn’t given up, as most had guessed. He was finished with the ridicule. It was time to strike back.

     ***

     Nervous. The “cold-blooder killer” was nervous. This plan was risky, despite all his self-assurances that it wasn’t. Secretly entering Neopia to recruit right under the noses of his archenemies? This wasn’t risky, it was suicide.

     Nevertheless, here he was in the cramped capsule, traveling under cloaking device towards Mystery Island. Or rather, under Mystery Island. His companions, a blue Acara named Ylana Skyfire and two Alien Aishas, Sophix II and Sprax, were uncomfortably situated across from the doctor, who waited impatiently.

     “Are we there yet?” he barked at the navigator at the head of the small ship.

     The gaunt-faced Blumaroo flinched. “No, my lord, but nearly,” he said.

     “Well, speed it up! I’ve got a tight agenda, you know,” Sloth replied, hoping the anxiety didn’t show.

     Though he didn’t say anything, the pilot smiled slightly. He had been with Sloth long enough to know when Sloth was hiding something. And it couldn’t be more obvious why Sloth was snapping at his subordinates. Garoo made a quick mental note of this and refocused his attentions to the landscape ahead of him.

     The island was fast approaching. Consequently, Garoo slowed the speed substantially, suddenly sharing the feelings his master was currently harboring. If they were to reach their destination, they’d need to use exact precision. If they missed, they were all dead. And that was never a good thing.

     If anyone was looking out across the sea at that precise moment, they would have noticed a massive splash as the invisible ship plunged into the deep. Sloth braced himself for the possibility of electrical shortage, but thankfully that never came. The mechanics had done a good job of waterproofing the ship.

     Soon enough, they had arrived at their destination. In front of them, a colossal metal box stood, supported by thick metal pipes that descended into the nothingness below them. Garoo docked the ship and the group worked their way into the airlock systems.

     While waiting in the pressure chamber, Sloth pulled a stun blaster from the folds in his clothing. Skyfire produced her weapon of choice, the Virtublaster 3000. The two Alien Aishas, one pink, one green, followed suit.

     “Be prepared for anything,” Sloth muttered as he kicked the door open.

To be continued...

 
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