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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 24th day of Hunting, Yr 21
The Neopian Times Week 93 > Continuing Series > Cherries Jubalee: Part Two

Cherries Jubalee: Part Two

by theeaterofworlds

There are certain situations that seem so unreal that it takes a while to realize that they are actually happening. This was one of those times for Zoma. All that was really getting through to her brain was that there was no way she was going to get home in time for the Yes Boy Ice Cream special.

     Ketcher held on tightly to Sparkles, who was struggling to get out of his grasp.

     "Rrrrrioooop!" the Khnum growled, and bit him on his paw. Startled, Ketcher dropped it. He wasted no time in racing down the corridor and disappearing around a corner.

     "We can't let Sparkles get away! Ms. Maxwell would kill us," Zoma said while taking off after the desert petpet. Ketcher yanked her back to him right before she turned down the hall that Sparkles had.

     "What are you-" she started to protest, before the pink Poogle held her beak shut.

     "Shh! The guards..." he whispered. A troop of mutated Grundos hustled past, filing into a door further down the hall. The Khnum ran in behind them, thankfully going unnoticed.

     "Rats! What are we going to do now?" Ketcher said as he rubbed the back of his neck with a paw.

     "We need to get in there unnoticed somehow. Unless we suddenly grow six feet tall and scaly, I don't see how we're going to do that," she said as she looked around, searching for inspiration. "Wait a second..." she said, eyeing an air vent.

     "No. No way! That might work in the movies, but there's no way that it works like that in real life." Even while he was protesting, the green Pteri was pulling the cover off.

     "Come on, there's plenty of room," Ketcher finally agreed, and followed her into the metal shaft.

     His Poogle feet were padded and silent, but his friends claws clicked against the metal. The noise made him nervous.

     Somehow, Zoma managed to lead them to the right room. The vent was mounted very high up on this wall, so they had a very good view of what was going on. At that moment, Ketcher wished he couldn't see it so well.

     They were looking down on some sort of lab, where a Shoyru was strapped to a steel table. Guards were stationed all around the room. At the head of the table was a sight that made Zoma freeze with terror. It was the would be conqueror of Neopia, Frank Sloth. In one hand he had a weird vial of ooze, in the other was a small black tape recorder.

     "8:00, NST. The subject remains heavily sedated. We will commence with the mutation process." The Doctor said, with all the emotion and concern of a man ordering a pizza. He reached over, opened the small reptile's mouth, and emptied the vial down it's throat.

     Nothing happened for a few minutes. Then, slowly, Trevain opened his eyes. The pupils contracted into pinpoints, and the irises were swimming with patches of gray. His skin was turning a darker gray-blue, and the soft scales were becoming rough and lumpy. All over his slight frame, the muscles were bulging and growing.

     Sloth nodded and murmured into his recorder, pacing back and forth. He seemed perfectly at ease, even though his mutant servants looked ill. As Trevain stopped struggling and lay back panting, Dr. Sloth leaned over him and grinned.

     "Ah, I see you're back with us, Trevain. You've caused me quite a few setbacks, so this is going to feel especially vindicating. You, over there!" he barked at one of his Grundos, "Bring that machine over here."

     The device was a buzzing, humming bunch of wires, ending in a steel cap. It was placed on the mutated Shoyru's head, and fastened under his chin with a leather strap. As soon as it was in place, Trevain stilled.

     "Nod if you can hear me," Sloth commanded. The Shoyru complied without hesitation. "Mutation has made the subject open to mind control. Let us proceed to stage two, shall we?"

     Zoma gasped in shock. She had always wondered why Sloth made Neopets into mutants, since the mutants she knew seemed to be normal, and not particularly evil. Something about the mutation made it easy for Sloth to make them into mindless slaves.

     "Well Trevain, you've put up quite a fight. All for nothing, I'm afraid. I am your master now. When I tell you to do something, you will do it without question." The doctor continued to describe in detail the sort of punishments that disobeying him would bring.

     Meanwhile, Sparkles was emerging from his hiding place under some sort of monitor. He gazed around the room, looking for something interesting to occupy himself with. When it spotted Ketcher and Zoma crouched behind the air vent, it started yapping loudly.

     They shook their heads, trying to silently send it away, but the petpet had already been noticed.

     "How did that thing get in here? Don't you fools realize how delicate this procedure is?" Sloth roared. "When I find out who is responsible for this, I'll throw them out of an air lock!"

     The Khnum ran back and forth under the vent, as if he was consciously trying to give away their position. Zoma desperately tried to shoo it away, when suddenly the vent she was leaning against popped right out of the wall.

     As she fell, she wondered why the station had been made so shoddily.

     The moment she hit the ground, she was picked up by the guards.

     "It's a pity that we haven't perfected the mutation process in the Pteri species yet. However, I think that I can come up with a suitable use for an interloper like you." She realized he was only talking to her. That meant that they hadn't noticed Ketcher.

     Don't try to make a daring rescue, please... Zoma hoped. Just get away and try to find help.

***

"I've got to rescue Zoma!" Ketcher said to himself once he was far away from the lab. He had stayed in the vent as long as he could afford to, trying to make sure nothing had happened to his friend. After Sloth had mentioned having special plans for her, she had been taken to another room.

     He had no idea where they had taken her, and not even an inkling of a plan to get her back. All he could do was watch for an opportunity, and wait.

***

The room Dr. Sloth moved Zoma to was absolutely nothing like the lab. There was actually carpet here, instead of cold tile, and not nearly as much machinery. One wall showed a magnificent view of Neopia below them, but there were more pressing things on the young Pteri's mind than the scenery.

     "Contact the Neopian press and let them know what our demands are. They have forty-eight hours to comply. I doubt that they'll have much trouble scraping the ransom together, that bleeding heart Fyora will probably pay most of it herself from the Hidden Tower money," Sloth commanded one of his followers.

     "A petty ransom? I was under the impression that those sorts of things were below you."

     "They are," he replied with a smirk, and said no more.

     Darn. She was hoping that he would spill his master plans in a typical super-villain manner.

     The doctor bustled around the room, getting equipment ready and sending memos off to underlings. Every once in a while he'd pause to admire the blue planet he aspired to rule.

     "Such a beautiful world. You'd never guess just by looking at it all the pain it's caused me. In all my years I've never had such difficulties getting the natives of a planet under control, and I've been doing this for longer than you could fathom," he said during one reflective moment. "All I want is a world at peace, a world united in glorious servitude under me."

     "You're mad," Zoma growled.

     "They always say that about the true geniuses."

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

Cherries Jubalee: Part One

Cherries Jubalee: Part Three

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