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||You are on Week 545
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 Five Hundred Forty Five Ends Friday, March 2
|Gerald made his way to the Science Fair, lugging his entry behind him in a wooden wagon. He was mumbling to himself, angry because the event was one he'd rather not have anything to do with.
It wasn't his fault that he was expected to be a more knowledgeable Neopet, nor was it his fault that his knowledge was low compared to even those whose knowledge was seriously lacking.
Arriving at the doors of the building where the convention was to take place, the Techo was met by laughter from his peers. He was the last Neopet anyone would expect to be entering such a contest -- he definitely couldn't believe he was going to.
Gerald was too cool to look nervous, though -- he had a reputation as a cooler-than-thou tough guy -- and so he waved to the many that mocked him. "'Sup," he said with a brief nod before walking through the door.
"Who are you?" an usher asked Gerald.
"I'm Gerald," Gerald said casually.
The usher looked down a clipboard he had and started walking away, motioning for Gerald to follow him. There was an empty table on which he would set up his project, and the Techo, taking the contraption out of the wagon, placed it to the left of his area.
Eventually, the time came to give awards to those whose creations were exceptionally purposeful or marvelous. Three judges walked around the tables and inspected the work. Occasionally, they would ask questions.
At the table adjacent to Gerald, a Cybunny -- he overheard the judges call her Jessica -- discussed a weather experiment. She began to falter under the pressure, mixing up her words, and ended up talking herself out of a ribbon.
I hope that doesn't happen to me, Gerald thought.
The judges came to his table. "So, what does this do?" a well-dressed Mynci asked. The others on the mobile panel consisted of a Chomby and an Aisha.
"Er..." Gerald began to fumble. He didn't really know what it did, since he hadn't actually built the machine. Instead, he'd stolen it from a young Lenny that he presumed was entering the same contest. The Lenny went away crying, and he didn't have to do a project -- a win situation for him. Gerald wished now, however, that he would have tested it out first to see what it did.
The judges' eyes burned through the Techo. Gerald hesitated. "Er, how about I show you?" he said as he flipped a red switch on the side of the machine. Closing his eyes, Gerald hoped for the best...
Date: Feb 27th
...The stolen project began to vibrate and let out a weak buzzing sound before it came to a stop. The Aisha judge scribbled down something on the notepad she was holding before asking, "Does it do anything else?"
Her comment was met by laughter. Gerald blushed, a shade of pink against his shadowy scales, as he realized his peers had all gathered around his table to watch him fail. Gerald shook away his embarrassment and replied to the judge, "Of course it does! I just don't know what," he finished with a mumble. He then frantically grabbed the red switch and jostled it around, in hopes that it would do something... and then it did!
The switch completely snapped off.
The sound of laughter filled the room yet again as the judges shook their heads and began to walk away. "Wait," Gerald begged. "I know it works. Please, just wait!" Panicking, Gerald hit the machine with a clenched fist.
The bump seemed to be exactly what was needed, as the device began to hum and rattle. The laughter stopped and Gerald found the judges back at his table, observing with interest. The hum quickly grew to an overwhelmingly powerful deep tone, which pulsed throughout the room.
"What is it doing?!?" the Chomby judge shouted over the sound. Gerald tried to keep a confident face, but inside he was just as confused as everyone else, if not more. Each wave of sound seemed to intensify, and soon became too much to handle. "Can you turn it off?"
Gerald examined the machine, but failed to locate any buttons or switches besides the one he'd broken off. The Techo thought that maybe he should hit it again, but then found he couldn’t move! The sound was paralyzing, and as the pounding waves grew more frequent, Gerald felt like he was being crushed.
In fact, everything in the room was being crushed! Science projects were flattened, tables were squashed, and even Gerald's peers were being deflated, as if the laws of physics no longer applied! The terrible ordeal seemed to last for hours, but after what had, in reality, only been a few minutes, the machine came to a sudden stop.
Gerald gulped as he looked around. Everyone and everything in the room had become entirely 8-bit...
Date: Feb 27th
...The Chomby judge was the first to react. "An interesting premise for an exhibit," he mused, "but I can only wonder why you chose 8-Bit?"
Gerald thought fast. At this point, he knew there was only one choice of action -- he would have to coolly play the incident off, find the young Lenny, and reverse the damage. "Ah, 8-Bit! I thought the color suited the theme of this science fair. Kind of... science-y, if you know what I'm saying."
The judges nodded. They were impressed. The crowd, however, was raucous. "But how do we get OUT of being 8-Bit?"a small Kougra screamed from the back.
Ad-libbing at this point, Gerald quickly shot back, "Be patient. I want you to be able to explore the world with this new perspective. In an hour, I'll reverse the effects of the machine and everything will be back to normal. Trust me."
Someone on the judging panel cleared his throat. Gerald spun around to face the Mynci judge. "I must confess," the judge said smoothly while squinting at Gerald's name tag, "er... Gerald, that I am surprised at the depth of your knowledge. I was the under the impression that you had no idea how your machine worked. To be frank, I was expecting a flop. I must now question your control over the situation." The judge squinted over his 8-Bit-stylized glasses to stare directly at Gerald.
"Sir..." Gerald stammered. "As you know, there should be s-some element of surprise in a science fair project! Excuse me for being theatrical, but I thought my behavior suited my exhibit."
"Very well," the Mynci replied, "but I fully expect to be returned to my previous form in an hour. If I am not, I believe that perhaps the truth of the matter will be revealed."
Gerald feigned a smile. "Don't worry, sir!" he exclaimed, somewhat lacking in enthusiasm. "Now, as for the rest of you -- explore the world in your new form! There's so much more to be discovered from a different point of view."
The crowd already seemed to agree. All of the 8-Bit Neopets seemed to be growing more relaxed with their new color, and they were looking around the room with awed expressions. The bright colors of their 8-Bit-ified surroundings struck a note of sheer wonder in the gathering.
Taking advantage of the distraction, Gerald quickly walked to the door. He needed to find that Lenny within the hour. If not, his reputation would be forever ruined. He pushed through the exit doors into the dazzling sunset outside...
Date: Feb 29th
...Gerald strode the twilight streets, keeping his eyes peeled for the tricksome Lenny whose fault all of this was. If he couldn't find the feathered fiend or figure out how to reverse the machine's effects before an hour was up, he would be faced with an angry mob of 8-Bit proportions. He suddenly wished he'd given himself more time to figure things out. The Techo sped up and rounded a corner onto what seemed like a deserted alleyway.
But no, there was a flash of colour at the other end in the dim light. Gerald approached with caution and spotted exactly what he needed -- a single silky white feather lay crumpled on the ground.
The Techo broke into a sprint and rounded the next corner, vaulting a low wall and dodging various obstacles. After a few more turns he could see the tail feathers and flurried feet of the fleeing Lenny, and after a few more he was within reach of him -- or, at least he would have been, had his arms been a little bit longer. Gerald lunged at the Lenny and the two of them went tumbling to the ground in a tangle of limbs and feathers.
"Get off me, you ugly brute!" the Lenny hissed in a combination of fury and fear.
"No! You gave me a dud project, so it's your job to put things right," he retorted, pinning the Lenny down. The Lenny gave a strangled squawk and stopped struggling, as doing so would only cause him more pain.
"I don't know how it works," he protested, "and even if I did, I wouldn't tell you."
"Why would an egghead like you make something he doesn't even know how to use?" the Techo asked suspiciously.
"For reasons far beyond what your puny wit could understand. And it's Heed," he said, struggling again in a halfhearted show of indignation.
"What?" Gerald was beginning to get confused, and he didn't like being confused.
"I said it's Heed, not Head. My name is Egg Heed!"
The shock and amusement of it all made Gerald let go of the Lenny and slump sideways in a fit of uncontrollable laughter. This was surely priceless! In his moment of laxity, however, the Lenny -- Egg -- had freed himself and was now looming over the Techo. In an instant, he had pulled out what looked like a Virtupets laser with a large ring on the end and fired it. A thick and heavy net shot out, wrapping itself snugly around Gerald.
It was now his turn to struggle...
Date: Feb 29th
...Gerald fought all he could to try and get out of the net that had been shot around him. Even in 8-Bit form, the ropes were jumbled in ways that he didn't know ropes could jumble.
"Let me out of here before I pound you!" Gerald said.
Egg was slowly approaching Gerald's struggling form, watching him try to get out of the ropes. "You have no idea what you've gotten yourself into, do you?"
"It's not like you do, either!" Gerald shouted back, still struggling with the ropes. "You're the one who said you don't know how it works!"
"That's right," Egg said, "I don't. I do, however, know what I was supposed to do with it, and I know why. I was supposed to take that contraption to the next supply ship heading for the Space Station, where it was going to be placed in a manufacturing plant of evil robot Grundos being made for Dr. Sloth. I also know that it was going to completely shut it down by turning the entire place 8-Bit, thus thwarting his army of darkness and another invasion."
"AND!" Egg said, with a lot of anger in his voice at that, "I know that you, in your great stupidity, set the thing off too soon, and from what you said broke it, thus dooming all of us!"
Gerald stopped struggling after Egg said that. "You're lying... you have to be. You're just some kid who made an invention that doesn't even know how it works. Why else would you go running off crying when I took it?"
"Because I was hoping that someone would step in and stop you if I played the part of the victim," Egg said. "Much to my dismay, they just let it happen."
"Well, what can we do?" Gerald said, not wanting to go down in history as the one responsible for dooming all of Neopia, struggling to get out of the ropes again.
"We," Egg said, "Are not going to do anything. What I'M going to do is get my device back and try to get in contact with HQ, seeing if I can get in touch with the inventor to see if it can be fixed from here. What YOU'RE going to do is stay right here, so that you don't mess things up any further."
Egg was about to leave when Gerald shouted out to him. "You can't leave me like this!" he said. "Not after what you just said."
"Watch me." Egg replied, pulling out a small device that started beeping. "So, it's this way then?" he said to himself and started walking toward the science fair.
Gerald realized that he wasn't going to figure out how to get out of these ropes, which left only one other way of escaping. He might not have been very smart, but he was tough, so he grabbed two parts of the rope and started to pull them apart with all of his strength. Slowly, the ropes began to snap under the strain, giving Gerald an escape from the trap.
As soon as he was free and on his feet, Gerald ran after Egg. The Lenny didn't have a chance to complain before he was being hoisted up and literally carried as Gerald ran to the fair.
"PUT ME DOWN!" Egg shouted.
"Not a chance!" Gerald said. "We're working together to fix this, whether you like it or not!"
Egg continued struggling to get free from Gerald's grip, but it was no good. He was stuck in his clutches. "Fine," Egg said, "Just let me do the talking." Egg was silent for a moment, "And the thinking," he then added.
That was fine by Gerald. He didn't want to have to do the thinking anyhow. Now they just had to get to the science fair and hope that the device could be repaired...
Date: Mar 1st
...They arrived just as the last table was finishing their cleaning. The Mynci judge approached them. "Gerald! There you are. You forgot this." he said, handing the dreadful device to Gerald. He then peered at Egg. "Oh, and who's this?" he asked suspiciously.
"Just a friend, here to help me carry this home!" Gerald said, cutting in (a little too quickly) before Egg could say anything.
The Mynci still looked suspicious, seeing as how the device wasn't very large, but just said "Ah... very well, then," and began walking away. "Oh," the judge said, calling over his shoulder, "Remember that you only have thirty-five minutes left to return us to normal." Egg stood there looking shocked while Gerald assured the judge that it was no problem at all.
Once they were outside and out of earshot, Egg exploded. "Thirty-five minutes?!" he exclaimed angrily. "We can't even make it to HQ that fast! This is supposed to be secret work; we can't have a school board snooping around!"
While Egg was ranting, Gerald was growing more angry and feeling dumber by the second. "Enough!" he finally yelled. Surprisingly, Egg shut up. "I told him an hour back when I thought it was just a stupid science project. If you had told me what it really was, instead of running away crying, this whole mess would have been avoided!"
Egg just glared at him. "Well, fighting won't help us now. Let's hurry up and get to headquarters, before anything worse happens..."
Date: Mar 1st
..."And how, exactly, are we going to do that?" Gerald yelled. "We only have half an hour--"
"Be quiet," the Lenny snapped. "I'll call us a spaceship."
He whipped out a tiny remote control and pressed the red button on it, sparking a string of bright lights and beeps that soon turned into a small flying disk that, almost as if by magic, seemed to instantaneously materialize in the middle of the sky.
"Come on," Egg said shortly, opening the door to the spaceship. "We've got to hurry."
Gerald glanced down the gleaming metallic hallway, feeling more self-concious with every passing second. HQ had turned out to be a little metal box -- for lack of a better word -- floating in the middle of space, and if he wanted to be very honest, it was the biggest disappointment ever.
"I thought we were going to the Space Station," Gerald said.
"Yeah, change of plans," Egg replied, whisking the Techo through a set of glass doors. "In here..."
Date: Mar 2nd
...Gerald tried to balk, the words setting off alarm bells in his head, but Egg proved to be stronger then he looked when the Techo didn't have the element of surprise on his side.
"Sorry, buddy," the Lenny said, "But I needed you to come with me willingly. It would have been a lot easier if you'd just stayed trapped in the ropes, but when you didn't, I needed to trick you."
He started at Egg suspiciously. "Why did you need to trick me?" he asked with a glare, then glanced around before asking sheepishly, "And... what did you trick me about?"
The Lenny rolled his eyes. "If I'd said come with me to a tiny facility in the middle of space, rather than the big, well-known Virtupets Space Station, would you have come?" he asked derisively.
Gerald shrugged. "Sure, why not?" he asked, eliciting an incredulous stare from Egg.
After an awkward moment, the Lenny shook himself and muttered something under his breath that sounded suspiciously like "brainless fool," but Gerald couldn't understand the mumbled words.
"So why am I here?" he asked finally.
It was now Egg's turn to act a little sheepish. "Well... we hadn't exactly planned on needing to reverse the damage. The machine only went one way, and you're already 8-Bit, so I figured we could test solutions on you..." he trailed off.
With a double take, Gerald's mouth fell open. "YOU CAN'T TURN IT BACK?!?" he shouted, flabbergasted.
"I didn't say that!" Egg shot back defensively, and then took a deep breath. "Well... we don't know. Alex?"
A white Xweetok entered the room at the Lenny’s call. "What are you doing back so soon, Egg?"
"We've got a problem," he began, and then quickly informed his friend, who Gerald learned was named Alex Mart.
"Like smart alec, but backwards?" he'd asked, but only received a glare in response.
At the end of the sordid tale, the Xweetok scratched his head. "Well... I have a second machine, but I don't have an 8-Bit Reversification Device!"
"Can't you just, I don't know... invert the polarity ray or something?" Gerald asked, grasping at straws.
Alex and Egg stared at him for a moment, mouths slightly open. The Techo flinched; it might have been a dumb idea, but this wasn't his area of expertise! He was just flailing for technical jargon... they were the scientists.
Egg turned to Alex and raised his eyebrow. "Could that work?" he finally asked.
Alex bit his lip. "Uh... actually... yeah. Yeah, it could," he mumbled, scratching his head absently again.
Gerald's mouth fell open with an audible pop, but the two ignored him. Instead, they rushed out of the room, only to return a few minutes later with a device very similar to the one he had swiped from Egg earlier.
Muttering between themselves, the two poked, prodded, and adjusted the machine with tools they seemingly produced from nowhere. Gerald didn’t follow much of their conversation, but the two seemed generally satisfied.
After what felt like an eternity of watching the two fuss, something finally clinked into place and Alex nodded purposefully. "There!" he said, "Now, just hold still..."
Before Gerald could protest, the Xweetok flipped the machine on. From his perspective, the world seemed to pop to life -- everything took on a depth. He had begun to grow used to its absence, and the sudden return to reality startled him.
"It worked!" Egg and Alex cried happily in unison.
The Techo breathed a deep sigh of relief. "Thank Fyora!" he said vehemently.
"Now," Egg said, "Just one more thing to do..."
With a grin and a flourish, Gerald flipped the device on. The Mynci and the other judges, as well as the spectators, all popped back into three dimensions, leaving the 8-bit world behind -- all except one Chomby, who had left early after declining to go back to his original colour. Apparently he'd quite liked it.
"Well," the Mynci said, somewhat grumpily, "That's all well and good, but you're 16 minutes late."
Gerald's face fell, but then cleared. "That's okay, sir. I don't really deserve to win anyway."
The Mynci gawked, stammered an awkward acknowledgement, and then left. Slowly, the crowd dispersed.
Egg stared at him. "You told him the truth?"
"Well... sort of," Gerald said, and shrugged, "Lying didn't really get me anywhere I wanted to go anyway."
"No, I guess it didn't, did it?" the Lenny replied.
Gerald smiled. "Can I buy you a cup of Borovan? I think I owe you one."
Egg stared at him even harder before finally nodding. "Yeah, I think I'd like that... and maybe next year, I can help you with your project instead of you stealing one."
"I'd like that," Gerald replied, and then the pair headed towards the Catacombs for a cup of Borovan. It was an odd start to a friendship, but sometimes, the best friendships start that way.
Date: Mar 2nd
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