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::::::::: FILE NAME: INCIDENT11.TXT ::::::::::::::::::::::
Cutting outside communications...
Nightmare was making mistakes. Although they appeared minor, I fully intended
to exploit them to their full potential. His first mistake was in believing
I would sacrifice my friends for my own safety. Instead, the threat of losing
my friends galvanized me into action.
But his second mistake was far more subtle -- and dangerous. Nightmare had
assumed I wouldn't seek help. Ordinarily, he would have been right. I do tend
to work alone when possible, preferring the company of my own thoughts. But
this was far more serious than a laboratory experiment or a physics class. I
needed some help.
Fortunately, I knew exactly where to find it.
End of Prologue
Location: Neopia Central Launch Pad 1
Time: 9:26 pm NST
The flight passed uneventfully, thankfully. We passed through the upper atmosphere
of Neopia like a fiery comet, superheated air trailing away from the ship as
it plunged towards the ground. Once we were through the clouds above the landing
pad, the pilot (a human girl with a co-pilot Wocky) cut the engines and smoothly
glided the craft to a landing. We exited the plane as quickly as we could, carrying
the precious lump of titanium in one of my bags. The night sky was overcast,
so we couldn't see any stars. As we walked towards the parking lot, I heard
a familiar voice.
"There he is!" I groaned inwardly. It was Dark
Night. The shadow Shoyru ran up to us, trench coat flapping in the slight breeze.
Behind him ran a girl I assumed was his owner. She was about my height, and
had long yellow-blonde hair that seemed to keep getting in her way. She wore
a dark grey sweater with a flame pattern on the sleeves, as well as an ordinary
pair of blue jeans. From the amused expression she wore, I got the impression
that she was quite used to Dark's attitude. The pair stopped in front of us,
and Dark got out a notepad from inside his coat.
"To save you some questions," began Dark Night,
"this lady here is Megz. She's my owner. Treat her nice or I'll shove this notepad
down your throat. Now, I understand there was something of an incident on the
way to the Virtupets Space Station?" He smirked, pen poised above his notepad.
Infernus spoke first, and I choked back an angry reply.
"You would be better off asking the spaceport
management," Infernus spoke, his calm tones taking the edge of my irritation.
"Sabreur was asleep when the incident occurred, and I wasn't in a position to
see much." Dark Night scowled. He had clearly been hoping for me to speak to
quickly and incriminate myself.
"Well," Dark said testily, "I guess I'll go
do just that. But you'd better be telling the truth, you hear me?" He waved
his pen in our direction and stalked off towards the spaceport. Megz turned
to follow him, but stopped and turned back to us.
"Don't mind him," she said with a weary smile.
"He always gets like this when he thinks he's on to something big. Just so long
as you haven't done anything wrong, you'll be fine." She paused. "You -- haven't
done anything, have you?"
"No, nothing," I replied, laughing a little.
"Good," she said, chuckling, "otherwise I'd
have to smack you with a fish!"
"Umm..." I wasn't sure how to respond to that
Location: On the road
Time: 9:31 pm NST
"So, where are we going?" queried Infernus from the passenger seat. I kept my
eyes on the road, as the headlights pierced the darkness ahead.
"Drake's house. I need to get this titanium
forged, but we don't have the right equipment in the lab." Drake_Da_Dragon was
a long time friend of mine. He was well-built, brown haired, and appeared in
all respects normal (although he had a habit of wearing armor on a regular basis).
I could never shake the feeling that there was something not-quite-natural about
him, but I had yet to see anything out of the ordinary. In any case, Drake was
highly interested in armor and swords of all types, and had a well-maintained
forge attached to his house. I was certain he could help me modify the fire
sword, provided he could heat his forge enough to work with the heat-resistant
We pulled up into Drake's driveway, and I noted
with some relief that the lights were on - Drake was home. We got out and ran
up to the door, knocking hurriedly. Drake answered the door, wearing his usual
set of armor made from overlapping metal scales.
"Um, hi," Drake said, obviously surprised by
our arrival at the somewhat late hour.
"Sorry to bother you, Drake," I said, "but we
need help." Drake glanced at us, then turned around.
"Okay, come on in. You can tell me about it
inside." We followed him in, and sat down at a large oaken dinner table. As
quickly as we could, we explained the events of the past few weeks. Drake listened,
occasionally raising an eyebrow at some of the stranger parts of the story.
When we had finished, I brought out the fire sword and the titanium from the
Virtupets Space Station.
"That's where you come in," I said, pointing
to the fire sword. "I want to replace the blade on the fire sword, but I can't
get enough heat with the equipment in my lab to make titanium soft enough to
"Hrmm," Drake mumbled, leaning over the table
and gently running his hand across the blade. He picked up the lump of titanium
and closed his eyes, thinking. After perhaps a minute, he opened his eyes and
set the titanium back on the table with a thud. "I can do it. It will take maybe
an hour to get the forge up to the right temperature. In the meantime, I want
you to draw up plans for exactly how you want the new blade to look."
Drake picked up the fire sword and strode purposefully
through a door leading to the back of the house, where the forge was. After
a few moments, I heard an unearthly roar - most likely Drake had just started
up his furnace. I took out some drafting tools from my bags and began to sketch
some preliminary designs. Infernus took out a notebook and began reading off
critical measurements and calculations we had made on the flight back to Neopia.
An hour passed. I had just finished the final
design, complete with measurements when Drake burst into the room. He was sweating
heavily, and smelled like sulfur. "If you want to use the forge, now's the time!
I can't keep it at this temperature for long!"
"It's ready!" I said, grabbing up the designs.
Infernus snatched the titanium off the table and we darted into the forge room.
A blast of heat hit us like the backwash from a jet engine. Tears stung my eyes,
and I began to sweat. Even Infernus looked uncomfortable. The haze of heat made
it difficult to see, but Drake directed us through the maze of equipment littering
the room easily. At Drake's urging, Infernus set the titanium down on a table
next to a barely-contained inferno.
"Alright!" Drake exclaimed, grabbing a massive
blacksmith's hammer. "Now for the fun part!"
Location: Drake's House
Time: 11:21 pm NST
"I think that's it!" yelled Drake, slightly hoarse from yelling over the noise
of the forge. With a pair of tongs he plunged the semi-molten titanium into
a vast container of water, sending clouds of steam everywhere. He wiped sweat
off his forehead and placed the newly finished blade on a table for inspection.
Infernus looked closely at the sword with a magnifying glass.
"Even blade, straight lines... no dents or deformities...
no discolorations..." Infernus muttered, running a clawed hand along the blade.
He looked up and grinned. "It looks perfect."
"You weren't doubting my work, were you?" said
Drake, trying without much success to turn his grin into a scowl. Despite his
comment, he seemed pleased. I looked at the blade, and grinned. As Infernus
had said, it looked perfect.
The original fire sword had been dully metallic.
The new sword gleamed brightly. It was also considerably thinner, and was only
sharpened on one edge. This made it a great deal stronger, and I could twist
my wrist to keep the blade pointed in the correct direction. The blade had been
remodeled from an unwieldy cutlass-style blade to a thin saber, similar to my
old sword. The tip was sharpened on both ends, making the sword suitable for
both cutting and thrusting.
The fire sword was no more. The Advanced Fire
Saber had taken its place.
"Anything else you need?" Drake asked, placing
his tools back in their racks.
"No, thank you," I replied, sheathing the sword
in my belt. "There are some other modifications I want to make, but I need my
lab to do that."
"Alright," Drake sighed and turned towards me,
smiling. "But next time, would you give me a little warning before barging in
here in the middle of the night!?"
:::::::::: END OF FILE: INCIDENT11.TXT ::::::::::::::::::
To be continued...