Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)
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||You are on Week 263
Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...
We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!
Story Two Hundred Sixty Three Ends February 24
Taya blinked sleepily, yawned, then rolled over on her side. She didn't want to wake up just yet. Her bed was just so comfy, and her sleepiness gave the Kau such a light floating sensation. She stretched a little and opened an eye to peer contentedly around her...
Taya jerked awake as she discovered the real reason for the light floating sensation. Quite simply, she was floating.
Her comfortable bed was several feet below her, and she was now resting disturbingly close to her ceiling light. To her even greater shock, the Kau discovered that when she pinched herself hard, it did nothing to change her rather unsettling position. Disappointed that this wasn't a dream, she began flailing her hooves around until she could create some semblance of movement. Twenty minutes and many panting gasps later, she had managed to propel herself to the silver sliding doors of her Space Station home.
With one last desperate effort, Taya lunged forward with all her strength (which only carried her a few inches) and hit a button in the wall with her hoof. The door slid open with a hiss to reveal a scene of chaos. Neopets were floating up and down the hallways, yelling in confusion and crashing into each other like slow-motion bumper cars. Many were still dressed in their sleepwear, and none looked particularly pleased with the change. A flailing Mynci floated by, making swimming motions like a furious Koi but not going much faster than a Slorg stuck in the mud.
As Taya gaped in awe, a voice crackled over the station’s loudspeakers.
"Attention Neopets. There has been an unfortunate technical malfunction in the Space Station’s gravity generators. While we are working to resolve this issue as soon as possible, we ask that everyone remain calm and attempt to move only as much as necessary..."
Date: Feb 17th
...Taya sighed. That explained a whole lot. During the entire six months she’d lived on the Space Station for her junior technician’s training period, there had never been a malfunction like this one, but maybe this sort of thing happened often here? Judging by the other pets’ reactions, though, that was hard to believe. The Mynci that had been flailing in midair was now bouncing in helpless slow motion from ceiling to floor; he had been knocked into by a panicked Chia who was careening around the room like a mad pinball. A pair of Lupes, one clinging to the feet of the other, were desperately trying to reach a doorframe that they could latch onto, and several of the younger Neopets were doing their best to cause as much havoc as they could by kicking off the walls and flinging miscellaneous breakfast items up and down the hallway.
In short, no one was behaving calmly, or in a way that suggested this was a typical incident. The Space Station was in a state of complete turmoil.
The Kau had just begun to wonder whether her limited knowledge of mechanics could be of any use when she became aware that someone was attempting to pass her. “‘Scuse me, pardon me... oi, watch where you’re goin’, there!” Startled, and at a loss as to who could actually be trying to navigate the crowded hall, she craned her neck just enough to catch a glimpse of a brown-scaled something passing with relative ease between the disconcerted pets that were bobbing through the air.
She soon realized that it was a frazzled-looking female Hissi, who had a grease-stained bandanna drooping low over her brow, and who appeared to be pulling some sort of toolbox with her prehensile tail. Though her movement seemed slightly impaired by her sudden weightless state, she was still infinitely better off than the other hapless passengers of the Space Station; beating her wings in a smooth, gliding motion, she moved purposefully toward the sliding door that lead to the large main chamber and, doubtlessly, beyond into the rooms that housed the ship’s gravity control system...
Almost without realizing it, Taya found herself grabbing hold of the Hissi’s tail gently but firmly with her two front hooves. “Excuse me, ma’am?”
The serpentine Neopet gave a hiss of annoyance and spun around to face her, the feather-scales on her wings bristling in agitation. “What do you think you’re doin’?! I don’t have time to chat, ye great bag o’ wet porridge!"
Taken aback by this rather rude outburst, the spotted Kau blinked in surprise before pressing forward intrepidly. “I’m sorry, but do you work here? I’m in training right now to become a mechanic myself, and, well, I just wondered if there was any way I could, you know, help out with... with whatever the malfunction is. With the gravity generators.”
After staring blankly for a moment, the Hissi gave a hoarse laugh and shook her scaly head. “So that’s what they’re tellin’ the passengers, then, is it? Malfunctionin’ gravity generators... biggest load o’ slop I ever heard in my life.” She seemed to take a moment to turn the situation over in her head before giving a sly grin, nodding to herself with a strangely reckless gleam in her eye. “Well, what’s the harm in it? Ye’ll never learn what’s what in this kind o’ situation without some firsthand experience, now, will ye? Come along, we’ll see if I can’t find somethin’ for you to do... if you can keep up...”
Date: Feb 20th
...The Hissi gave a philosophical shrug, pressed the “open door” button, and dragged the battered metal toolbox after her as she gracefully floated through the door. The spotted Kau laboriously flailed through the air following her, and Taya yelped in surprise as the closing door clipped her hoof. She paused a moment to rub her hurt foot before pushing off from the wall to follow the engineer.
“So why did we lose gravity like that?”
“I reckon we blew a power capacitator. They have a tendency to blow up when overloaded. We’re just lucky we didn’t lose the lights and the shipboard systems.”
“What would that do?” Taya panted as she clumsily “swam” down the hallway.
“Well, first off, we wouldn’t be able to see anything. The doors wouldn’t be able to open. The mechanical lifts and shuttles which ferry supplies around the space station wouldn’t work without power. We got lucky this time. If we lost the power and the lights, this mess would be twice as hard to fix. I don’t know about you, but I really don’t want to be messing around with essential systems when I can’t see what I’m doing.”
“Wonderful,” the Kau sighed unhappily as they rounded a curve in the hallway and almost crashed headfirst into a dozen Grarrls in full battle attire. At the last minute Taya threw herself to the side and instead struck a glancing blow against the wall of the Space Station.
“What are you doing here?” the artificial voice of one of the helmeted guards snapped. The brown Hissi mechanic drew herself up to eye level with the soldier and glared at him while her tail and the toolbox held by it lashed around behind her.
“I will have you know that I am the chief engineer of this Space Station and I will not tolerate anybody who interferes with my duties!” she snarled in return.
“I’m so glad to see we have somebody with experience.” the Grarrl muttered as he opened a cabinet which contained a dozen plasma guns and began handing them to the space-suited guards. “The power regulating valves on the outside of the Space Station were damaged by enemy fire. Somebody will need to go out there and jury-rig a temporary fix and restore power to the gravitational modulator.” He closed the cabinet, slung his own weapon over his shoulder, and shouted, “Move out! To your posts!”
The Hissi watched the retreating soldiers with a silent snarl frozen on her face until the space-suited Grarrls disappeared from view, then turned to the bewildered Kau. “Congratulations, kid, you get to help me fix this mess. Ever done EVA repairs before?”
“I’m not cleared for EVA yet,” Taya said weakly. “I’ve never been outside the space station. I’ve never even worn a space suit.”
The Hissi grimaced, and then shrugged. “There’s always a first time...”
Date: Feb 21st
...so stick close." The Hissi slowly moved over to a door nearby. While she keyed in some type of combination, Taya thought slowly. EVA, or External Virtupets Adjustments, was called the hardest aspect of any engineer's job. This was because of the edge weightlessness brought in, along with the infinite emptiness of space. Let go of the hull, and you floated away. Drop a tool and it might never come back. Taya sighed. She wasn't looking forward to getting out on the hull, but, as the Hissi said, "There's always a first time."
"That reminds me," Taya called back toward the Hissi, who had gotten the door open. "What's your name?"
The Hissi beckoned with one wing, the other holding on to the door. "My name's Kira. Now come on, kid!!" Kira moved into the room. Taya followed as best she could. Passing the door, Kira saw a sign on it. It said "Airlock." In the room, Kira was already getting into a space suit. "Yours is over there," she said, pointing with a wing tip over to the cubicle that said "Kau." Taya opened it, pulled out the suit, and strapped it on.
"Okay," Kira called back as she moved towards the airlock door. "Shut the door over there." Taya did and moved back. "When I open this door, enter the space between that and the outside door. Once we're sealed in there, I'll drain the compartment of oxygen, open the door, and we'll be out."
"Why do you drain the compartment?" Taya asked as Kira opened the first door and entered. The Kau followed, still waiting for an answer.
"Because if I didn't we'd be pulled out by the vacuum and swept off into space," Kira answered as she entered a code into a keypad next to the door.
The room slowly drained of oxygen. Kira and Taya had already activated the life support system in the suits. Slowly, Kira pushed the door open.
Taya was amazed as soon as they stepped out. It was so quiet, so serene. Even more beautiful than the scene from her windows.
Suddenly, she saw something flashing in the dark behind the Hissi. "Hey Kira," she called nervously. "Didn't the Grarrl say something about the power regulating valves being damaged by enemy fire?"...
Date: Feb 21st
...Amazingly, Kira shrugged again. "Depends on who you consider an enemy. Now come on, youngin', it's time fer yer EVA exam."
Once again, Taya struggled to keep up with the Hissi engineer as she flapped her arms like a Pteri. Kira looked back and rolled her eyes. "Oh fer crying out -- click yer heels!"
"What?" cried Taya, trying to turn herself right-side up.
"Yer heels! Click 'em once ta activate the boosters in yer feet. Click 'em twice to shut 'em off. Now come! I wanna get back inside before the 'enemy fire' returns."
Taya felt herself blush. She'd been living on the Virtupets Space Station for months and already she forgot how to work a space suit. She had been in training classes, but with all the events going on, it slipped her mind. She clicked her heels once and felt herself jet forward towards Kira, who was already at the power capacitator.
Clicking her heels again to shut off the boosters, Taya floated down by the Hissi and examined the damage. Clearly, the capacitator had been trifled with. Taya was expecting to see charred metal and smoke likely caused by lasers, but instead she saw chunks of metal and wires ripped apart from the ship. Almost like teeth marks.
Kira shook her head and rolled her eyes. "Enemy fire, my scales! I swear, those Grarrls are dumber than a snow Bruce livin' in the Lost Desert. This here capacitator wasn't shot, it was chewed!"
Taya shot Kira exaggerated look. "Chewed? Like, by an animal?"
"No, by a meteor. Of course, an animal! And by the looks of it, a real hungry one."
"But, the only thing that could eat through metal and wires would be a..." Taya felt her heart stop as she thought back to her training. Along with studying engineering, Taya was also trained on survival tactics in outer space. She learned about all sorts of creatures that lived in outer space and if her hypothosis was correct, then she and Kira were in a lot of trouble.
When she turned to address the Hissi, she gasped to see that Kira was pointing a laser directly at her! Apparently, Kira was always armed before leaving the station.
"Kira!" she cried, throwing up her hoofs. "What are you..."
"DUCK!" cried Kira.
Taya ducked her head just in time to see a red fuzzy face with sharp teeth get vaporized before it had a chance to attack her. A space Fuzzle! Taya's premonitions were correct.
Catching her breath, the shaky Kau turned to her heroine. "Thanks, Kira! Well, I guess that solves that problem. Now we can concentrate on the capacitator."
"Whattya mean solves that problem?" Kira snapped. "Don't you know nothing 'bout space Fuzzles?"
"Sure I do! They only eat metal... right?"
"Yeah, but that don't mean they can't hurt ya! And another little tidbit is that they travel in groups! Somethin' tells me that buddy's brothers and sisters ain't too far off and if we don't get this here capacitator fixed, we're all gonna be in a world of hurt!"
How Taya wished that Kira was wrong about the Fuzzle groups for when she looked up, she saw a large multi-colored fuzzball traveling towards them. The gnashing of teeth reached her ears as thousands of beady eyes came into focus.
"Uuhh Kira? I think the family reunion's gonna start sooner than we think!"...
Date: Feb 22nd
..."Well then, don't just stand there! Shoot!" Kira thrust her laser into Taya's hands. "Hold 'em off while I get this!" She grabbed a tool that Taya -- to her embarassment -- did not recognize and started tinkering with the capacitator. Taya gulped and turned to face the swarm of Fuzzles closing in on her.
Until now Taya had been feeling nervous, useless, and altogether sorry she had ever gotten up the courage to talk to Kira. Now, with a laser in her hand and a swarm of Fuzzles heading toward her, things changed.
Now she was terrified.
This had definitely not been covered in her Mechanics 101 class. Holding the laser awkwardly in front of her, she fumbled until she found the trigger. Fixing lasers, maybe; shooting them, no way. She squinted at the Fuzzles. Would they scatter if she shot? Should she wait for them to get closer?
"Don't just stand there, shoot!" Kira called over her shoulder. "What're you waiting for, an invitation?"
"Ok... err..." Taya pointed the laser at the ball of Fuzzles. How hard could it be to shoot, anyway? All she had to do was pull the trigger. Taking a deep breath, she did so.
Taya gasped as the laser heated up in her hands. she fumbled, almost dropping the thing, and by the time it cooled down enough for her to look up, she realized that she had missed by a mile. The Fuzzles continued to come closer.
"Never fired a laser in yer life, have you?" Kira asked, sounding exasperated. "Didn't you know they get hot?"
"Well... no," Taya admitted, "but I'll be ready this time. I'll just try again..."
The laser nearly burnt her hooves through the space suit, but Taya managed to hold it steady. To her extreme surprise, the beam of light actually hit a Fuzzle. Sure she had been aiming directly at the middle of the clump only to have her shot barely graze the edge, but she had gotten one!
"Don't get too excited, kid," Kira cautioned. "There's about seventeen thousand more of those things still heading towards us. And they don't look happy..."
Date: Feb 22nd
...With a shaking hoof, Taya aimed and fired again, pleasure at hitting closer to the center of the cluster being drowned out by rising terror and the pain which shot from the hot laser to her hoof. But she couldn't stop, even if it hurt. Again and again she fired, watching Fuzzles vaporize only to reveal dozens more behind each stricken victim.
Suddenly the entire Fuzzle pack came to a simultaneous halt. Breathing hard, Taya hesitated to fire, welcoming the break and afraid to provoke another charge. "Why'd you stop firing?" Kira demanded angrily. "If those things get to us we're gonna catch it hot."
"I've got a better question. Why did THEY stop?"
"Maybe they didn't," Kira said uneasily, and Taya transferred her gaze from the Hissi to the innumerable myriad of Fuzzles. The tens of thousands of deadly space pompoms were milling around furiously like a hive of agitated Buzzers. Then suddenly they parted, swooping left and right like opposite sides of a massive rainbow-hued curtain. And the horror they revealed set Taya's hair on end.
It was grey, it was round, it was massive, and it looked like no Fuzzle Taya had ever seen. The giant Fuzzle's feet ended in wicked-looking claws, its eyes glowed like fiery Skeith-sized rubies, and it was so big that it could have used the Snowager for a jump rope if it had possessed arms. For an endless and horrible moment it hovered poised among its milling miniature brethren, drilling the two Neopets with a ghastly and malevolent blood-red stare. Then suddenly it advanced, the smaller Fuzzles falling in behind it.
"FIRE!" Kira screamed, tearing her gaze away from the unnaturally massive Fuzzle. "I'm almost through with the patch-up job. If you can slow 'em down a sec' we can-"
Taya's shriek cut her off. The Kau's laser beam had struck the Fuzzle full in the face -- it would be difficult for anyone to miss such an enormous target -- but instead of being vaporized, the Fuzzle had exploded, scattering into dozens of lazily drifting fuzzy grey fragments. But this was not the reason for Taya's frightened scream. Within seconds the fragments began to twitch and wriggle, glowing with a soft, pallid light as they slowly expanded, each individual bit of fuzz sprouting feet, fangs, and wickedly glowing eyes...
"What the Samrin Hill..." Kira breathed, staring in fixed horror at the cruelly smirking Fuzzles, each of which was now nearly as big as the original Fuzzle had been. Coming suddenly to life, the Hissi whirled toward Taya and yelled, "I've fixed the capacitators. Artificial gravity should be runnin' proper. Come with me -- hurry up! And whatever you do, don't shoot!"
Taya couldn't have fired even if she had been ordered to. The scalding-hot laser had slipped from her unfeeling hooves and was floating listlessly away, the overheated metal cooling quickly in the icy blackness of space. Taya clicked her heels together, fishtailing wildly as she fumbled to adjust her course to follow the speeding Hissi. "What are we gonna do?" she wailed as she sped in Kira's wake. "Even the Space Station's laser cannons won't be able to stop those things!"
"I don't know," Kira answered gravely, all of her earlier sarcasm gone. "But whatever we do, we'd better do it fast..."
Date: Feb 23rd
...Already at the airlock, Kira waited for Taya to catch up.
"I'm not having you stuck outside 'cos ye dont know the code... I need someone to tell me that thing was," the Hissi said, glancing over her shoulder.
Taya arrived, crashing ungracefully into the door as she did so.
"Ow! Well, at least the walls are thick..." she grumbled, rubbing her head.
"Yeah, well they're not that thick, and I'd rather we not get another repair job, not with all them lot at meh back." Kira glanced back again at the Fuzzles. "Lets get behind some more metal."
She keyed in the entry code, and after an agonising moment, the doors slid open.
Pulling themselves inside and shutting the door behind, Kira and Taya stood staring through the window in the door, looking out at space as the airlock reoxygenated. The Fuzzles may have stopped advancing, but they were still moving. Droves were rising up from the back of the mass and repositioning themselves, encircling the Space Station. Even more worryingly, the rainbow coloured frontline was growing wider. Given time and enough Fuzzles, they would be in the middle of a great hollow ball of evil furry grins, with sharp teeth and an appetite for spacecraft.
In contrast to the frenzy outside, Kira and Taya removed their suits quite slowly.
"D-d-do you think the others know?" Taya stuttered
"Who? The Grarrls? Maybe by now, but I doubt it. Their commanders might have cottoned on, but entrusting their soldiers with information isnt the Grarrl way. If that lot don't get clear instuctions, they fall to pieces. As for the passengers, I wouldn't be suprised if the earlier 'malfunction' has mysteriously closed all the cabin window shutters. That's what I'd have done anyway," Kira said, sighing. "We'd better go to the bridge, in case they haven't realised the extra special treats the big grey 'uns have up their sleeves. And don't mention this to any passengers, ok?"
Taya nodded glumly. She wasn't quite sure what use she'd be on the bridge, but was now rather glad she had offered her help. She preferred knowing what the situation was, no matter how desperate.
They soon made their way to the bridge, where the Grarrl soldiers they had seen before were rushing about, preparing the station's defense system. Taya couldn't push back the feeling of hopelessness. There were just so many Fuzzles! What they needed was a plan that would push them all off in one blow, possibly enough to scare them off for awhile, and give time to protect the station.
And that's when she came up with one...
Date: Feb 23rd
...It was quite complicated, really, but it would work.
They had to attract as many Fuzzles as possible into the air lock, then shut them in. They would then fill the air lock with oxygen and open the door. The Fuzzles would be flushed out into space, where they would push their remaining fellow Fuzzles and never be seen again by the Virtupets Space Station.
Taya rushed to Kira after she had the brain spark. She explained everything clearly, but quickly, for they had little time to spare.
"Why, that's a jolly good idea," the Hissi exclaimed with a wide grin on her face. "But there's one little nick in the plan: The air lock door can only be accessed from outside the station or inside the air lock. And the force of the vacuum of space will be too much to handle from outside, so--"
"We'll be in with the Fuzzles." Taya finished for Kira. "But we can hang onto that steel ladder in the air lock that goes up to the emergency radio. And we wouldn't be in any danger with the Fuzzles around us -- they eat only metal."
"By golly!" Kira exclaimed, obviously excited. "You think of a lot for a young 'un." She looked proud of Taya.
So the two, along with a couple of soldiers, set to work, piling old parts of robot Petpets into the air lock to attract the Fuzzles. Then Kira and Taya pulled on their space suits and closed the door to the air lock.
As Kira drained the oxygen and typed in the access code for the door, a wave of uneasiness came over Taya.
What if I don't make it? she thought, terrified. What if I get sucked away with the Fuzzles? She suddenly felt ashamed of herself. Taya, she thought, you shouldn't be afraid of that. Nothing is going to happen. If you think something like that will happen, then why don't you go back to Neopia and hide under a bed?
She had no more time to think, as Kira had opened the air lock door. Thousands of Fuzzles surrounded the station. The two Neopets barely had time to think before the swarm of fuzzballs crammed into the large air lock.
It was amazing to think that they all managed to fit that space, large as the room was. But they fit. The Fuzzles closest to the bait began chomping away furiously. Taya and Kira squeezed between fuzzy bodies towards the ladder.
Kira brought the control panel with her, the cord dragging behind her. She closed the air lock door, then grabbed hold of the ladder, as Taya had done. The Hissi filled the room with oxygen, then opened the air lock door...
Date: Feb 24th
...or tried to.
Taya squeezed her eyes closed. She had wrapped her hooves around the ladder and was trembling all over.
"Taya!" Kira's yell was muffled through the many Fuzzles' bodies. She continued in a stream of anxious tones. Taya strained her ears, but could not make out what Kira was saying.
"What?" called Taya.
"The door!" the Hissi screeched. "The door isn't opening!"
"What?" gasped the Kau, shocked.
"I said the door-"
"I heard what you said! Why? Why isn't it opening?" Taya opened her eyes again. Sweat was running down her forehead, whether from nervousness or the heat in the small room she couldn't say.
"I dunno. Maybe one of the Fuzzles jammed something?" The Hissi inched her way over to Taya. Even though they had been rather near each other in the first place, she wanted to be able to see Taya through all of the fur. "I dunno what's really up, though," Kira continued when she caught sight of the Kau's face. "Blast! I can't even see my own wing with all these Fuzzles!"
Taya shuddered. "I guess one of us will have to go and check the door..." She gulped.
There was a pause. The two Neopets looked at each other.
"I'll go," Kira rasped finally. Her eyes grew determined. "Let me find out what's wrong with that thing."
"No! What if-if something happens?" whispered Taya. Kira didn't seem to hear her, or if she did, she didn't respond. The Hissi disappeared into the fluff.
An uneasy minute passed, where the Fuzzles milled about hungrily. The Kau sometimes heard faint mutterings from the other side of the room, but she couldn't make out what they were.
As still nothing happened, Taya loosened her grip.
"Kira? Kira?" she called. "What's happen-"
Suddenly an incredible force gripped at her like the talons of an unknown monster. The Kau could not suppress a shriek of terror as she struggled to get a better grip on the steel ladder. The Fuzzles squealed in surprise, then horror. Everything was happening so fast.
Just as Taya thought she would make it, she suddenly felt something wrap around her leg. Petrified, she desperately tried to shake it off. But it wouldn't budge. Taya was slowly being wrenched from the ladder... she screamed again... soon she would be in open space...
Then she felt the pressure release her. Taya opened her eyes and looked around. She was slowly rising to the ceiling with the lack of gravity. The Fuzzles were out of the room. They had shot off into the universe, colliding with their larger cousins. The plan had worked. And she was alive. Taya felt like weeping with relief.
"Hey, Kira!" she whooped. "We did it!"
Where was Kira, anyway? With dawning terror, the Kau realized she could no longer see the Hissi mechanic. "Kira?"
"I’m here," a tired voice breathed.
Taya looked down quickly at her leg in astonishment. Kira was clinging to it, panting.
"Woah, what a fight ye put up! I almost thought I was a goner."
The Kau flushed, remembering how she had kicked to get the thing off her leg when the door had opened. But for once she wasn’t ashamed of herself.
"You know something, Kira?" she said, eyes twinkling. "As much as an adventure this has been, I wouldn’t mind working in gravity for a while. Let's get back inside the station."
Date: Feb 24th
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