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||You are on Week 479
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!
Four Hundred Seventy Nine Ends Friday, October 8
It was just a routine maintenance check.
That's what they told me.
Just a routine maintenance check to Neopia Central to look at the Vending Machine there and to restock it.
Just a routine maintenance check.
Ha. Don't I wish.
They weren't the ones who crash-landed on some Fyora-forsaken island in the middle of nowhere. They weren't the ones who had to run for their very life from blood-thirsty giant Petpetpets. They weren't the ones who ended up having to tear apart what was left their own ship for shelter and to use for weapons and defence.
Never will I, Farlax V, go on "a routine maintenance check" again.
So you may further understand my reasons (as if what I listed weren't enough), allow me to tell you how it all began.
You see, I had just been summoned by our supreme commander, Arlhox VII...
Editor's Note: This week's Storytelling beginning was written by Birdinggal. Please keep sending in your entries for next week's Storytelling beginning!
Date: Oct 1st
...He knew I was out for his job. Everyone on the ship knew. From my performance on past missions, I had a good chance, too.
He would have done anything to get rid of me.
Arlhox was a hulking robot Grarrl, who always had a mean look on his mug. He scared the Nerkmids out of everyone in that station. That is, everyone except me.
"You must have been taking your sweet time to get here. It's about time. I'm afraid we have a problem." His voice was as threatening as usual.
"Ah... I'm glad you've decided to call upon me first when a problem arises, rather than using your own judgment, Commander," I teased. Instead of the scowl I was expecting, Arlhox grinned evilly.
"Sure, Farlax. Sure," the Grarrl replied, his soulless eyes glowing red. "I took it upon myself to set you up with a partner of my own choosing."
I knew he was up to no good. Arlhox never reported my missions to me unless they involved a mop or a broom.
A cold shiver ran through me as the entrance of the commander's chamber opened, and in walked my new partner. Arlhox had really set me up this time...
Date: Oct 4th
...Zarla had a record like none other. In her first month on board, she'd managed to space two week's worth of food supplies. In her second, she'd almost taken out one of our engines in a small collision with an asteroid. After that, she'd been restricted to KP duty, where she managed to burn dinner at least twice a week.
Where Zarla went, bad luck followed. I'd done my best to steer clear of her before, but it looked like I was stuck this time.
Arlhox smiled wide, showing all of his metal teeth. "I hope you have no problems working together?"
Oh, man, did I ever. But I wasn't about to let him get the better of me. Gritting my teeth, I replied sharply, "No, sir!"
"Good. Now, get out of my sight," the commander rumbled. I was all too happy to beat a hasty retreat; I needed time and space to think about how I was going to get through this one, maintain my perfect record, and prevent Zarla from killing us both.
I spared a glance for my partner, who seemed to be twitching. In excitement or terror, I wondered. I almost jumped when she announced...
Date: Oct 5th
"You shouldn't worry." A smile crept across her face and I shuddered.
Shouldn't. Worry. Shouldn't worry? I started shaking and turned on her, but before I could get the words out, she pulled something out of the pocket of her clean-pressed suit -- cleaned and pressed by the LP department, not her, of course.
It was a small vial of green liquid.
"What in the universe is that?" I demanded.
"My good luck charm. Look, Farlax. I know what Arlhox is trying to do. I'm not completely useless, just uncoordinated. And unlucky. And inattentive. And..."
She went on, listing all of her faults.
"Well, I guess I'm almost completely useless. But, I know that he's trying to break you, so I'm bringing this along."
"What, exactly, is that?" I asked as the green liquid sloshed in the vial.
"A bit of the first Freeze Dried Sprout Soup I was ever served on a ship."
Oh no. Useless and crazy.
"I know you don't believe me, but it works!" she insisted all the way to the loading dock.
We strapped ourselves into the pilot and co-pilot chairs and waited for the take-off order from Central Command. Arlhox himself wished us well over the loudspeaker as I pushed forward on the throttle and pulled up on the wings.
We were off. Every time Zarla had to do something, be it adjust our course or refill our cups, I watched her with a tentative eye, ready to spring up out of my seat if anything even looked like it was about to go wrong.
After hours of sailing through space at near-light speeds, we caught sight of the small floating globe of Neopia. Relieved, I reached for my drink. What I grabbed instead was Zarla's "lucky charm." I was about to toss it back on the console when a red light started flashing madly and too-familiar words darted across the display.
Instead of dropping the vial over the console, where it only had to fall a few centimeters, I dropped it over the floor.
The vial's fragile glass was no match for the floor's metal tiles. The tinkling sound echoed in my ears at the same moment my brain registered the full force of the words scrolling across my screen in big, glaring letters...
Date: Oct 5th
Red lights suddenly flashed around the cabins. The sound of the sirens was unnervingly loud, much too loud.
Zarla was on the floor, mourning the loss of her good luck charm. The soup had created a giant green puddle on the cold grey metal floor.
I pushed several buttons in a desperate attempt to regain control of the ship, but my efforts were in vain. With every second that passed, we plummeted closer to the blue and green marbled surface of Neopia.
"Zarla! We're going to crash!" I yelled.
"Well, by now I'd say that's pretty obvious..." Zarla replied contemptuously.
I realize that what I did next was the exact definition of desperate, but I wasn't ready to give Arlhox the satisfaction of knowing that he had disposed of me for good.
"Zarla, we're going to have to jump. If we don't, we'll die."
Without waiting for a reply, I pushed open the door and grabbed Zarla's hand.
As we fell, the spaceship was clearly visible, a chunk of metal against the clear blue sky...
Date: Oct 6th
With an undignified pair of splashes, accompanied by screams (heard only to our own ears within our helmets) and the flailing of limbs, first Zarla and then I landed in the middle of the vast and empty ocean. As our spacesuits are airtight and water resistant to depths of 200 meters, we easily made our way back to the surface unharmed. It was with horror, however, that I then watched as our abandoned spacecraft slammed into the water's hard facade, impossibly far away from us, where it promptly disintegrated into a shower of smaller pieces and shooting flames.
I removed my face shield and, turning toward Zarla, I screamed, "Routine maintenance check! It was supposed to be a routine maintenance check!" I continued to rant at the small Grundo, all six of my ears twitching with anger, but instead of cowering before me, she... smiled. Zarla's smile became broader, and she excitedly began to swim to a point just behind my back.
Spinning indignantly, I watched with confusion as the Grundo swam toward and happily retrieved a square of dull grey metal that bobbed unimpressively in the gentle waves.
"Well?" I asked as Zarla hugged the strange object to her chest. "Mind telling me what's so special about that?"
The Grundo smiled, her grin sheepishly lopsided and mysterious, and she turned the object toward my face. Tracing the fingers of her left glove along a groove in the metal, she asked, "Don't you recognise this?"
When I shook my head, half confused and half annoyed, she said, "Look closer. See here?"
I paddled over to her, happy that my spacesuit was buoyant and warm, and squinted at where she pointed. Green. A smudge of green and sticky goo clung to the grooves in the square of dull metal.
"Yeah, okay. That's great, but..."
"Don't you see?" Zarla beamed even more excitedly and said, "It's the Freeze Dried Sprout Soup. My lucky charm. Everything is going to be just fine now."
"Ah... okay. You're not going to... eat that... are you?"
"No way. Not my lucky charm." Zarla shook her head, causing her antennae to shake crazily, an effect that made me dizzy and a bit nauseous.
"Alright," I said, raising my arms to make her stop. "I guess we could use a lucky charm." Looking around at the limitless horizon in each direction, I surveyed our situation. "No spaceship, no boat, no guidance devices, no visible land masses, no food, no water. But hey, we've got a soup stain, so we're going to be just fine."
"Well, we are, you know. I can't explain it, but... oh my goodness, would you look at that!"
I followed Zarla's raised arm and was stunned. Stunned to see more pieces of the spaceship burst through the surface of the water as though rejected by the ocean's depths and sent flying up by a great force. A wall section containing a storage compartment landed to my right in a blinding, spraying flume, and as it settled into a gentle wobbling on top of the water, the latch opened and out popped our inflatable boat. To my left, the main control panel, complete with the guidance system still blinking and flashing with lights somehow. As I spun and splashed around in stupefaction, I saw every necessary piece of equipment come floating toward us, as though on command. True, I knew we would need to dismantle and rearrange some pieces, and that it would be a lot of work, if we could somehow make our way to dry land, but I still could not believe my eyes. My luck.
I started laughing and churning the water around me in delight. I turned to see if Zarla was joining me in celebrating our good fortune, but that is when I felt a rumbling deep down in the depths of the ocean beneath my water-treading feet. Something was rising, coming toward us. Something was...
Date: Oct 6th
Quickly, Zarla and I clambered onto the little inflatable boat, in order to avoid being eaten by whatever it was that was lurking under the sea.
The rumbling continued as the water began to foam, rocking our little boat back and forth. Before long, a pair of eyes appeared, followed by a nose and -- I gulped -- a mouthful of sharp teeth.
In every appearance, he appeared to be a Crabula, but overgrown; those pincers could snap off one of my ears or Zarla's antennae in a second.
Zarla had forgotten how we were floating on a raft, ninety-gazillion miles from the nearest point of civilization, and made a scramble for the edge of the raft; she was stopped by the frothy sea before her.
"Quick, throw something!" I yelled. "Distract it!"
I grabbed for the nearest thing, which happened to be the piece of metal, which contained the freeze-dried sprout soup that Zarla treasured beyond belief. I knew that she would likely kill me for using her charm as a distraction device, but I wasn't going to stick around to be a midday snack for some overgrown Crabula.
Zarla shrieked as her charm flew, arching, falling, finally landing with a clunk, on the monster's head.
To our surprise, he growled, but left us alone.
If I expected praise for saving ourselves, I was in for a lot of disappointment. The first thing Zarla said wasn't words of praise, but rather a long and angry rant about losing her greatest treasure.
I wasn't listening to her, though, because I had just spotted something, something much more significant than a bit of soup. A feeling of mystery lingered in the air, as there was something eerie about what I saw...
"Farlax! Are you even listening to me?!"
I pointed towards the horizon.
Was that land I saw?
Date: Oct 7th
"Land! It has to be!" I declared.
"It's too small to be land," Zarla said with a frown. "It looks more like a ship."
I squinted at the speck in the distance and realized that it was a ship. It wasn't as good as land, but a close second. If only we could get closer we could call out to it and be rescued. We needed to find something to row with.
I grabbed a chunk of metal and began to push it through the water, simply making the raft turn to the right. Grunting in frustration, I knew I wasn't going to be able to row alone.
"Zarla, grab something and row toward the boat!" I yelled.
She obeyed, although by the way she sent glares in my direction I could tell she was still angry at me for throwing her "good luck charm."
We were in luck, though. The ship was coming toward us, so we wouldn't have to paddle as far and hard as we would've had it been going in a different direction.
Sweat seeped off us as we rowed harder and harder, both giddy with excitement at being found so quickly.
As we neared the ship, however, I saw that the ship had a black sail. I immediately wished that I hadn't seen the ship at all.
These were pirates...
Date: Oct 7th
Pirates! I know, right? I couldn’t believe it either, but there they were, bearing down on us at full sail, with Zarla and me reversing the direction of our paddling, desperate to move out of their way. Next thing I knew, the giant Crabula creature surfaced again to our starboard side, sending out enormous waves that threatened to capsize our small rubber raft. Just then...
Wait a minute. When I started this story, it was about how I had crash-landed on some Fyora-forsaken island, how I had to tear apart my own spacecraft for shelter and weapons. And the giant Petpetpets! I need to get to those, so I’ll just skip ahead a bit here.
Okay, Zarla and I are in a raft, in the middle of the ocean, no land in sight, right? There’s a pirate ship, helmed by desperate looking sailors of unknown intention, bearing down on us, fast, and suddenly a giant, mutant, Crabula-type thing emerges from the briny depths, forcing a surge of water to have a tidal wave-type effect on the raft. Zarla and I hung on to the raft as the waves lifted us up and away from the confrontation between pirates and sea creature that was just commencing as we were swept away. The waves were of such force that the raft was sent skipping across the surface of the ocean, where we got caught up in a powerful current. I will spare you the boring details of the days spent at sea, the spiteful glares that I had to endure from a certain petulant Grundo, and skip right ahead to the part where this current, finally, delivered us to the shores, crash-landed us there if you will, of the aforementioned Fyora-forsaken island.
At first, we thought that just finding land made us the luckiest castaways alive, and Zarla and I kissed the sand, grinning at each other like crazed children with the grit stuck in our long-unbrushed teeth. What happened next, however, was truly unbelievable. As we stood and high-fived and danced a little jig, a gleam of something metallic in the waves caught my eye: approaching the shore, impelled along on the same current that had delivered us here, were the large sections of our ship that had once surrounded us, lights and screens still blinking with power and life.
I gave a great whoop and ran into the surf, anxious to haul the pieces up to the beach, and yelled for Zarla to help me. When she didn’t appear by my side, I turned to see her running through the water, away from the direction I was headed, and toward some smaller, less impressive piece of the wreckage.
“I need your help over here!” I implored, as I reached the first large section and attempted to drag it in, alone. It was easy enough while the water was still deep, but as I gained the sand, it became impossible to move by myself. I sat down on the beach, catching my breath and surveying all the sections that I still wanted to retrieve, as Zarla ran up to me.
“I have your help right here,” she crowed, waving the small, metal square above her head.
I squinted toward her and said, “That the soup stain?”
“Yep. It is the lucky charm.”
“You know I think that’s crazy, right?”
Zarla grinned her annoying, lopsided grin and shrugged, saying, “I think it’s pretty lucky to find this island. To find the pieces of our spacecraft just floating up to shore.”
“Well,” I answered slowly, “I would say it’s pretty unlucky to crash that spacecraft in the first place.” I conveniently neglected to mention that the crash only happened after I had smashed Zarla’s so-called lucky charm, and continued, “And I would say it’s pretty unlucky to be attacked by a giant, mutant sea creature, and nearly attacked by pirates, and set adrift in the open ocean for days.” I turned my head and shrugged. “Just saying.”
The Grundo continued to smile knowingly as she traced a finger over the faded green goo that yet clung to the grooves of the section of tiled floor.
Okay, so then we salvaged the rest of the wreckage, tearing it apart for shelter and weapons, yada yada, like I said before. But the Petpetpets! That’s what I really wanted to tell you about. This is what happened next...
Date: Oct 8th
All of a sudden, out of the corner of my eye, I spotted a red dot that was moving along the nearest hill. Zarla continued to grin at her treasured soup stain while I stared in horror as huge Skufflers began to crawl out from behind bushes and trees that were nearby.
"Um, Zarla... look up. Now," I whispered with the fear that can only come from seeing giant Skufflers on an abadoned island.
"What now? Can't you see I'm having a fantastic reunion with my--oh my Fyora."
We watched in mute terror as the Skufflers got closer. And closer.
Zarla started muttering some mumbo jumbo that went along the lines of, "Gek ridah scahfl. Heff geh ouhielan."
I gawked at her in disbelief.
"Zarla! What in Fyora's name are you doing?!? We're being surrounded by Skufflers, for goodness sake!"
She turned around and gave me a surprised look.
"Oh! I was just making up a spell that might save us with the help of my charm!" she exclaimed.
I stared at her with utter disbelief. I couldn't believe what a nitwit she could actually be!
"Well, whatever! I am going to actually try to save us!"
I began to pick up some of the impromptu weapons we had created from the leftovers of the destroyed ship while the Skufflers moved ever closer.
"Zarla. ZARLA! Help me pick up these weapons to... fight... off..." I demanded.
My voice trailed off as I watched Zarla walk toward the Skufflers. She held out her hand that wasn't holding her beloved soup stain.
"There, there. Aw, you guys are so much cuter up close!" she squealed with excitement.
The Skufflers paused in their advance and watched her with their piercing yellow eyes. Suddenly, the biggest Skuffler (probably the leader) crawled forward and nuzzled her hand with the lightest touch.
By then, my mouth must have been touching the ground as I watched the Skufflers and Zarla interact with each other as if they were family.
"Oh, right! You guys, let me introduce you to my friend, Farlax V. He can be pretty intense sometimes, but he's really nice too!" she declared confidently.
My mind was boggling as I watched them come forward and stop right in front of me. Right then, I realized how big the Skufflers really were.
"Aba. Agagoo. Ah..." I whimpered like a baby.
The Skufflers were twice as tall as me! This was impossible! Surely this was all a dream and Arlhox VII would soon be hollering at me to wake up.
Zarla was grinning from ear to ear as she excitedly announced, "Farlax! My friends said that they're willing to help us go home!"
"What?!?" I exclaimed.
"What do you mean by what? Don't you understand English anymore? They can HELP us! Home!" Zarla shrieked in delight as she bounced up and down...
After that came an extremely long discussion between Zarla and the Skufflers as they decided how best to repair the ruined spaceship. A few hours went by, and Zarla finally got up and brushed off her suit.
"Well?" I inquired.
"Yep, it's all good to go! With the help of my trusty soup charm, we were able to come to the conclusion that the repairs will probably take about... three days at the most."
I sank to the ground in utter relief. We could go home! Thank goodness...
I won't waste too much time going over the long days of repair. Zarla and I aided the Skufflers in pushing and pulling bits and pieces of the spaceship this way and that. Finally, after exactly three days had gone by, the spaceship was sparkling with the radiance of the sun.
Zarla turned toward the Skufflers with tears in her eyes.
"Well, you guys. Um... I guess this is goodbye. I'll never forget how much you all helped us," she sniffled.
I stood behind her, as silent as a statue. However, as I heard her heartfelt thankfulness to the Skufflers I began to feel the mist around my eyes.
Zarla patted all of the Skufflers on the head one more time, and then she turned to me.
"Let's go," she whispered quietly.
We both went into the spaceship and headed home...
"Farlax! FARLAX! Wake up already!"
"Hurmph. What?" I mumbled as I slowly sat up in my bed.
Zarla was bouncing up and down beside me with her soup stain charm dangling from her neck.
"We have another mission!" she shouted with absolute joy.
"Where to?" I asked.
"This time we're going to Meridell! Apparently, the commander needs us to fetch something!"
I sighed as she turned and jumped out of the room. However, as soon as the door closed once again, the trace of the faintest smile appeared on my face.
Date: Oct 8th
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