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||You are on Week 289
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 Eighty-Nine Ends September 8th
"Green Four to Space Station command, requesting permission to land."
"Space Station to Green Four, you have clearance."
"Acknowledged. Preparing for-- hang on a second."
"Green Four, you have clearance. Is something wrong?"
"Green Four to Space Station. My radar is picking up an unidentified object, which is heading toward the Space Station at an accelerating rate."
"Thanks, pilot, we see it now too. Space Station to Green Squadron, a large unidentified object has been sighted near Green Four's coordinates. Please investigate with caution."
"This is Green Seven to Space Station. I have a visual on the target. It's very large. I suspect it's an asteroid."
"That can't be. Our scientists haven’t picked up any strange activity in the system."
"This is Green Three to Space Station. I think Green Seven might be right. It looks like an asteroid from what I can tell."
"This is Space Station to Dr. Kessler. Our pilots are picking up an asteroid on a collision course with the Space Station. Why were we not informed?"
"Dr. Kessler, do you read?"
"This is Space Station to all squadrons and security teams. We have a Priority 5 alert! This may be an emergency here..."
Author: Blue Eight|
Date: Sep 1st
..."Green Seven hold your position and continue to monitor the asteroid's approach. Green Four, pull up and abort landing procedure. Lock onto the astroid with your weapons and prepare to fire if necessary. We need a medical and investigative team to report immediately to the science wing. Dr. Kessler is not responding to hailing."
"This is Green Four to Space Station confirming that our weapons are locked."
"This is Green Seven to Space Station. There seems to be a strange energy field around the asteroid. It appears that it is not falling but rather being guided towards the Space Station."
"Green Four this is Space Station. Stand by to fire."
"This is Investigation Team Alpaha to Space Station. The Science Wing has been ransacked. There is no sign of Dr. Kessler or... What is... no... help..."
"Investigation Team Alpha this is Space Station. Please repeat last transmission."
"Investigation Team Alpha respond."
"Investigation Team Alpha!"
"This is Green Four to Space Station. Asteroid is in range. Waiting for order to fire."
"This is Space Station to unidentified speaker. What is your rank and affilation."
"Don't destroy... home..."
"Space Station this is Green Four. The asteroid is falling at an increased rate. If we wait much longer, there may be some damage to Space Station from falling debris."
"Green Four this is Space Station. You have permission to fire..."
Date: Sep 5th
..."Space Station to Unidentified Speaker; please state your rank and affilatoin."
"Not... no... stop..."
"Unidentified Speaker - please state-"
"This is Green Seven to Space Station - no apparant damage has been done to the asteroid. Transmission of footage in progress."
"Green Four to Space Station - permission to investigate?"
"Green Seven, this is the Space Station, failure of sufficient impact has been noted. Green Four, permission to investigate denied. Green Three, Green Six, Green Two, proceed to an external scan of asteroid force field. Take caution to remain at a distance.
"Unidentified Speaker, this is the Space Station, are you able to make a response?"
"Green Seven here. Transmission completed."
"Green Four standing by."
"Green Two commencing scan... Word from Green Six and Green Three. Scan is in progress.
"Unidentified speaker? Can you read me?"
The Grundos of the central command unit didn't bother to exchange glances; an attempt of escaping the asteroid course was going through; a full system scan for any viral components or abnormalities to the Station's physical host was underway. Security footage was being scanned. But the unidentified speaker had yet to respond - as had the investigation team which had been sent to investigate Dr. Kessler's apparent disappearance...
"Medical Squad, this is the Space Station, Central Command, respond please." Talvarox gazed anxiously at the screen; the data information being transmitted by the Green Squadron; snatches of information that the computer had scanned flashed before his eyes before the Medical Squadron could respond.
"Medical Squadron to Central Command. Responding to request by Cental Command."
"Do not proceed to Dr. Kessler's quarters, Medical Squadron. The situation seems worse than we observed. Can't hold a visual from the cameras in sector B." The Grundo glanced over his shoulder, a forced calm painted over his features as he addressed one of his co-workers. "Shehexi - is there any possibility available of avoiding the asteroid's impact?"
The Lutari pulled an unhappy face. "It'll be difficult..." she stated hesitantly. "It can be done... But our best bet is if - if the situation is as the Green Squadron expects - that we locate and immobilize whatever is causing the abnormal behavior of the asteroid, and -"
"Green Three to Space Station! Urgent - no response from Green Five!"
Shehexi's eyes widened as she quickly turned to her set of monitors - what?
The asteroid and six of the seven pilots were apparent on the screen, but Green Five was, as Green Three had relayed, not at its post. In fact, as Talvarox urgently demanded them to respond, she saw several other tracking units go off - they lost, quite suddenly, Green One, and Green Four...
"Radar shows traces of the missing ships," came the voice of Pantalaine, a fierce-looking kougra. "It is apparant that magnetic energy from the asteroid's possible force-field has disabled transmission on certain units."
Talvarox turned quickly to his speakers, flicking dials and attempting to tune in to the frequencies of his Squadron; another Grundo taking up his post by the information the remaining Squadrons had sent. "This is Space Station to Green Squadron, respond if you read. Green One, Absence noted. Continue."
"Green Two, roger that."
Green Three, standing by."
Silence. "Absence noted."
More Silence. This time, the squadron simply continued.
"Green Six, at ready."
"Green Seven, read you loud and clear."
Shehexi glanced anxiously up from her controls. "Any word from Investigation Team Alpha or Dr. Kessler?"
Distracted, Talvarox shook his head. "What do the asteroid's external scans give us?"
The Grundo who had taken over for him seemed to think for a moment, large, ruby-red eyes peering over the data scans, hands working on a keyboard and typing in computer commands. "The force field has a very unorthodox signature, but it's nothing we want to tangle with when it comes to impact. An anomaly on the surface - here - look at this -" ...
Date: Sep 5th
..."A tower," Talvarox peered over the Grundo's shoulder, deciphering the data as it rolled across the screen. "No recognizable life forms located inside, framework composed of an unfamiliar metal compound. Its base must have the strength of a thousand Uber Fire Faeries to be grounding the tower without an atmosphere."
"But several dozen patches of an unrecognized energy have been detected by heat sensors in the upper regions of the tower," the Grundo technician added, adjusting the controls to show the results of the heat scan. "The sensors judged their temperature at about the body temperature of a medium-sized Neopet, but as I said, no recognizable bodies were detected by the tests. According to them, the tower is empty."
"Is the tower of a recognizable architecture?" Shehexi asked, her eyes not lifting as the Lutari clutched the navigatory course maintenance like a last lifeline - which, come to think of the fact that the oxygen system aboard the Space Station was all that protected its crew from a gruesome death of suffocation, it really was. "Perhaps a rival company of the Space Station sponsors-"
"No. Architecture not resembling any contracts within the computer memories," Pantalaine's pawpads shicked softly over the buttons of his keyboard. "Green Five's communication systems are back online, Green Four and Green One are still down."
"Have we located the generator for the force field yet?" Talvarox snapped, rubbing his wings agitatedly.
"No sir. But the patches of energy-"
"Green Five to Space Station, urgent!"
Talvarox flicked a switch along the intercom panel before him. "Space Station to Green Five, report."
"Green One is being taken into the asteroid's proximity by unknown means! I repeat, Green One is being drawn onto the asteroid's surface by unknown means!"
The Korbat paced behind the row of technical pits, his hands clutched behind his back. "The idiots, are they trying to land?" he demanded.
"No, Commander, their navigational systems are also down-"
"Sir!" yelped the Grundo at his right suddenly. "The strange patches of energy that we sensed within the tower have appeared in Dr. Kessler's quarters. Whatever they are, they're inside the Space Station!"
Young, yet lined with the world-weariness of the best commanders, Talvarox sank into his chair. "Have any of the entrances been breached?"
Pantalaine sent out an inquisition to the Space Station guards. "No sir, no intruders have been reported within the last 24 hours."
"Has Investigation Team Alpha reported back yet?"
"No sir. The signal from their communications devices have been cut off."
Better situated to ground piloting, the navigations overseer Shehexi wrung her tail with anxiety. "What are they, ghosts?" she asked in a manner meant to be joking.
Meant to be joking, that is, until a single glance of the commander turned her to stone.
"Green Five to Space Station. Green One has docked at the base of the asteroid tower. From our view point, the crew appears to entering!"
"We warned you..."
"Commander." Pantalaine turned to face Talvarox, eyes brimming with a worry uncharacteristic of the seasoned sensory advisor. "Green One's communications are back online..."
Date: Sep 6th
...Talvarox felt shaken, but he didn't allow the emotion to surface upon his features. To see fear on his face would only cause doubt to run like a fever among his teams. "Green One this is Space Station. Please respond and report your current status."
There was the hiss and crackle of static at first, and Telvarox momentarily thought that Pantalaine might be incorrect for once. Then, a voice spoke low and hauntingly. Despite himself, Shehexi's ill timed joke that about this being the work of ghosts echoed in his mind like a jagged melody.
"We told you not to attack," the voice said slowly, as if each syllable was a struggle, "but you did not listen. You should have listened."
"Unidentified speaker," Pantalaine responded, forcing his voice to remain clear and steady, "what have you done with the crew upon Green One?"
"Nothing. They are just gone."
"Lying to a Space Commander is a breach of Intergalatic Code 197 and carries severe consequences," Pantalaine announced. "I ask you again. What has happened to the crew? Why did you force Green One to land?"
"The ship is now a part of our home."
"Commander," a Grundo technician cried, "Something is happening to Green One's vessel. It appears to be melting and changing." He turned slowly to face his Commander. "It is becoming part of the asteroid."
"That's not all," Shehexi added, "I've finished the complex scan of the asteroid itself. It appears to made up of an amalgamation of different metals and resources. Sir, I think this thing eats other ships and stations."
"Eats?" Pantalaine repeated. "How can it eat? It's an inanimate object."
Shehexi was about to respond, when the lights went out plunging the perplexed crew into utter darkness.
"Red alert!" Pantalaine cried...
Date: Sep 6th
...Crimson lights flashed, klaxons blared, and the entire crew wrestled with panic. "Five seconds to collision!" Pantalaine reported, his voice rising to a yell. "All hands brace for impact!"
With movements honed to precision by dozens of drills, the crew of the Station's command center leapt into their chairs and buckled in. The last click of the seatbelt touched the air like the farewell chirp of relative normalcy an instant before the Space Station rocked under the violent impact of the asteroid.
Talvarox bit back a cry as he was wrenched painfully against his seatbelt, and all around him he heard grunts and groans as the stricken Station bucked like a frantic Uni. The Korbat winced as he thought of what it must be like for those who had not had access to any sort of restraint; then he dragged his mind back to the command center.
Surely there had to be something he could do. He was in charge of the Station, at least for the duration of his shift; he couldn't just sit here while his crew was in jeopardy.
"Unidentified speaker, cease your attack or we will retaliate," he warned, hoping he could effectively back up this threat if pushed to the point. "Repeat, cease your attack." There was a moment of silence, broken only by the on-and-off shrieking of the alarms. "Unidentified speaker, do you copy?"
There was no answer except for a sudden silence that rang even louder in Talvarox's large ears than the klaxons had. In front of him, the viewscreen flickered to life, displaying the asteroid, which was now embedded in the side of the Space Station within feet of an external camera.
But it was the side of the Station that caught his eyes. Smooth, sleek metal was being replaced with --
"Sir!" Shehexi yelped, interrupting Talvarox's horrified thoughts. "The walls!"
Yes, the walls. The shining steel exterior of the Station was shifting, melting, resolving itself into pitted brown stone. "The asteroid!" Pantalaine breathed. "It's eating the Space Station!"
"You should have listened," the laboured voice of the asteroid's spokesman repeated. "You should not have attacked."
"We shouldn't have attacked?!" Talvarox yelped, fear and anger mingling in his voice for a moment before he brought himself back under control. "You aimed your asteroid at our Space Station! You destroyed our Science Wing! You gave us no choice!"
There was a sharp inhalation on the other end of the transmission. "Your Science Wing has been destroyed?" the voice asked, suddenly sharp with suspicion and alarm.
"Yes," Talvarox said slowly, wondering why this was of such importance to the unnamed speaker.
"And your science officer, gone?"
"From all appearances, quite possibly, yes," the Korbat replied warily, wondering how the other being was aware of Dr. Kessler's sudden inability to communicate. What did it know that he didn't?
Whatever it was, the reaction to it was dramatic. The asteroid suddenly sprang into reverse, darting away from the Space Station like a living thing that had been burned. The blotch of brown remained, but all the younger occupants of the command center let out a collective sigh of relief.
Talvarox, however, did not, and neither did Shehexi or Pantalaine. Even if they had felt any real relief, it would have been banished by the speaker's next cryptic words, which seemed to address not them but one of its unseen companions.
"Their home, too, has been struck. He's already here..."
Date: Sep 7th
..."Who's here?" Talvarox badgered, but the words were ripped from his lungs by the sea foam snarl that flooded the ship. Lesser technicians slumped in their seats, while the ones stronger or harder of hearing twisted their ears between their nails in agony. Pantalaine crushed his spin to the innards of his chair as the viewscreen before him became suddenly a solid view of metal studded with rhinestones - no, simply the gems of another world, but that was terrible enough.
The Space Station flinched at the metalline leg extending from the asteroid's gossamer belly, which steadied its tip on the Station's rim as though bracing itself. With a sensation like that of a string being yanked from the bowels of a vacuam, the asteroid withdrew itself from where it had previously enveloped the Space Station.
Though thrown to the floor at the second impact, Talvarox was fueled by the fighting madness of someone who had absolutely no idea what was going on and wasn't okay with it one bit. Flipping himself upright, the Korbat throttled the baton of his communicator. "I demand you explain what you mean by him!" Small in stature and short of serenity, the commander in full fury was an impressive sight nonetheless.
However, judging by the rate at which the asteroid was putting distance between itself and the Space Station, this might have been by Neopian standards alone.
"Explain yourselves!" Talvarox roared after the marauders anyway, blind to the technicians around him that scurried to stabilize the Station. "Who's here? What's inside our Science wing? What have you done with the Green One crew? TELL ME!" But as the asteroid winked to become a mere blip against the eternal night of space, his voice quieted. "Why are there so many questions and so few answers?"
"There must always be unanswered questions, but perhaps not all unanswerable. The ultimate story, the only story that matters, must go on," But this new voice made Talvarox feel as though the cover of the Space Station's story had been closed for ever. "It can only go on."
"The energy is now outside our control room," Pantalaine droned half-heartedly; one paw still clutching his ear, as though to keep the echoes of the asteroid's noise from escaping his mind and setting out to terrorize the rest of the crew once more. "Investigation Team Alpha's communications are back online."
"Dr. Kessler?" Shehexi yelped in alarm, seemingly unaffected by the transcendant gloom that shrouded the Space Station control center. Again came the voice of mold, and iron locks.
"You knew me as such."
Talvarox twiddled the switch of the intercom system, on and off, on and off. "What have you done with the investigation team?" he asked, only out of obligation. Every second dragged past like a Slorg, leaving a trail that fogged his thoughts.
Each second created greater difficulty for the Korbat to remember why it mattered, or what "it" was.
"They are alive." Beyond the artificial windows of the control room, the grand emptiness that is space enfolded the Station, whispering lullabies and liasons. "The crew of Green One too is alive. You may save them, if you like."
As though moving through a haze, Talvarox's hand drifted through the air. "Open the door, Pantalaine."
Hissing the last protest of the forlorn, the control center's iron doors parted. In stepped...
Date: Sep 7th
...It took everything within Talvarox to keep him standing, for before him was a sight that threatened to blow him away. He knew this thing before him could be none other than Dr. Kessler... but it was not Kessler... it was something worse.
Shehexi screamed, refining the blur on the edges of Talvarox's mind. He stiffened, ears up, a tiny peeping sound erupting from the corners of his mouth. His ears caught the sound as it bounced back, clearing the image before him.
Kessler moved no part of himself, but the voice came and went anyway, heavy like the blast of a distant Supernova. "Follow the asteroid or your men die."
Talvarox nodded to his crew and it was done, the course of the ship altered with one great wrenching sound. His eyes and ears watched the creature, an Alien Aisha gone awry. It had once been Kessler, but now its skin had mutated, its ears twisted into tentacles, spikes jousting out from every direction. Kessler now stood five feet higher.
Amid the tension, the asteroid came into view on one monitor, and Shehexi weakly verified it. Talvarox stared and didn't move, using his sonar bleeps to see Kessler from all sides. He searched for a weak spot and found it, lying betwixt his green neck and third tentacle. But there was no way to reach it, not now.
"I have waited for you, my friends," Kessler said, the communicators turning on of their own accord. For a moment there was silence, and then--
"This time had to come, this question had to be answered."
Kessler seemed to hold himself higher while the Neopets around him shrank back. "I sensed your approach lightyears back. You are fools to think you could capture me."
"What is a fool who saves the world?"
"A hero. A dead hero," Kessler replied, voice snide, deep. "Come quietly or I will slay you and the crew of the Station. I have the answers that you seek."
There was a pause. "Answer me!" Kessler boomed.
"Here is your answer," the asteroid replied. Kessler fell away, as did the rest, for the ship lurched as if the very sky were falling upon it and it wished to get out of the way. Neopets soared through the air, slamming into things... then Kessler, amid the chaos, waved a hand, and the gravity-defiers went off. Neopets hung in the air now, frightened and confused beyond sanity. Talvarox pushed off a wall and brought Pantalaine and Shehexi against the opposite door.
"Here is what we are going to do..." he whispered into their ears. He knew what would happen before it occured... for now the innards of the ship were contorting, swirling, splitting into course metal, then breaking off into dirt...
There came a flash of blue light, and Talvarox closed his eyes for a moment. He felt his body slip past him, as if dissipating into another dimension. His mind, his aura, were bound by a new energy. He knew. Everyone knew. They had become a part of the asteroid...
Date: Sep 8th
...the feeling was incredible as he erupted out of blackness, and back into consciousness. To the outside eye, watching, he was a speck of dust revolving in the blackness, a blast of heat from the dying breath of a long-dead star. But, to those entrapped by the asteroid, he was Talvarox, moving as a ghostly spectre above the rock's surface.
Kessler was in tow behind him, and the spectres from the asteroid's previous victims cringed beneath him. He was no stranger to this place...
As they neared the tower, Kessler's speed increased, his expression grew darker. And as they came to its base, he noticed something -- familiar shapes. This still retained their shape and color from their previous selves, unlike the older spectres. It was the crew of Green One.
Nione, the Aisha who had led the crew, stood before him and held out one red paw. Her eyes were red and unfocused. He was tenative to reach for her, his hand shaking.
"Touch her! She can take us to them," Kessler growled. "Take her hand, or you can both die!"
But, instead of leading them onward, the Aisha caused a flood of images to rush into his head. And suddenly, he knew everything.
The tower had been built by a far off world as a defense against space invaders. It was a terrible weapon that consumed everything it touched, eventually even the creatures that operated it. But, it was the only answer to how they could protect their world.
Then, Kessler found it -- an mad genius who had discovered that if someone with strong enough willpower could be absorbed by it, he could also absorb it: using it to terrorize and enslave the universe. On their home planet, Kessler was captured, and the weapon banished. They thought they had destroyed him. Thought. But then came the final question: How long before he found it and gained control?
Perhaps the answer was right now.
She showed him the future -- Neopia consumed by the asteroid: a surface packed full of helpless spirits. And this was the choice they had to make, themselves or thousands of other Neopets...
Instead of leading him towards the tower, she released his hand, and looked down at the answer: a small, jagged rock lying at their feet.
"Take me to the tower! Take me now! Or, you will all remain here forever!" he snarled.
Understanding what she wanted, Talvarox slowly backed away, swiping the rock from the ground, and he extended his other hand towards Kessler. The over-eager monster snatched it, and Talvarox sprand into action, slamming the rock into the weak spot beneath his third tentacle.
Kessler let out a hideous screech, and as the world exploded into light, Talvarox again lost conciousness.
They woke up in front of the control panel of the Space Station.
"What- What happened?" Shehexi stammered.
"They... destroyed it," Talvarox stammered, watching as bits and pieces of rock floated past the station, and hundreds of small ships lined the space before their screen. "We all did."
"But how?" Pantalaine asked.
"His greed kept it together. He needed the energy of the fear he created, it made him into... what he was. He needed that will to open the door to the tower. And when someone declined to be afraid, to instead swallow fate and do the right thing... it destroyed what he'd kept alive... It set everyone free."
"But... they're gone," Shehexi said, staring at the screen as hundreds of voices poured over their communication lines, her voice on the verge of tears.
"It was a honorable way to go," Pantalaine said, bowing his head in sadness.
"Don't count on that just yet," Talvarox said, a wry grin pulling at the corners of his mouth.
"Space Station? This is Green One, requesting permission to dock."
Date: Sep 8th
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