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The Return of Celia Synoptics: Part Two


by appaloosa500

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"I must say, DeSoni, you do clean up rather nicely. You could almost pass for a lecturer. Nearly opposite your normal self and all."

     "Thanks, Rocky. I think…"

     The two friends were wedged in on a public transport Space Bus. There were at least 60 Neopets and humans crowded in the 50 Neopian passenger-seater, and all were carrying on different conversations-very loudly too.

     "Are we there yet?!" screamed a Kyrii from the back.

     "And on our right we can just glimpse the Nockefeller constellation," lectured an S.S.T.I. professor returning from shore leave.

     "Is space food any good?" asked a human girl, counting Neopoints.

     "What about Kreludor? Andre insisted it was a waste of time, but on the other hand Marissa claims- " whined a Pteri.

     "I wanna play Gormball!" shouted a Kougra.

     "Will we see Dr. Sloth?" innocently inquired an adorable Baby Lupe.

     DeSoni, now nicely outfitted in suitable clothing to lecture the future Space Station engineers and technologists, smiled cheerfully-he was perfectly at home. "I think this could actually work!" he chuckled.

     Rocky shook his head and whispered fiercely, "This is ridiculous! They're bound to know what you're up to!" Besides the whole matter being foolish, he felt incredibly uncomfortable surrounded by all these shouting, boisterous people.

     "Ah, but there is something they don't know about!"

     Rocky's antennae twirled in disbelief. "I doubt it."

     "They don't know about you."

     The red Ruki's two huge eyes widened. "No way. You can't mean it."

     "Of course I mean it! Why wouldn't I?" laughed this tiny yellow Aisha.

     Rocky glanced both ways in alarm, as if expecting an Alien Aisha or faerie to pop out of the crowd of tourists. "I am not using those powers that potion of yours gave me!" he whispered, barely audible.

     "No one's listening. Oddly, the safest place to talk about private matters is on public transport. And of course you'll use your powers to help me."

     "You said the Alien Aishas could track me if I used them, something about a signature?"

     DeSoni groaned. "Come on! With the Space Station's shields and all their technology, nothing can be traced there. Besides, I need to see my parents, and I can't without your help!"

     Rocky shook his head stubbornly.

     "Announcement, announcement!" shouted the loudspeaker over the din. "We have just received news that the Space Station's public landing port will be closed for maintenance. New landing instructions have been received and we will be landing at the Space Station Technological Institute's new landing port. We apologize for any inconvenience." The loudspeaker shut off and the din resumed, this time filled with questions and angry complaints over schedule problems.

     "Oh, Miamice!" groaned DeSoni, slouching in his seat huffily. "It's the Space Faerie; I know it is!"

     "Looks like she saw right through your idea. Not that it wasn't obvious."

     "I knew she'd know what I was up to-I didn't anticipate her rerouting the Space Bus's landing schedule. They're planning to keep me locked up at S.S.T.I. the whole time! C'mon, Rocky! All you have to do is sneak me out of the Institute-just once!"

     Rocky rubbed his hands together in indecision.

     "I won't be long! I just want them to know I'm all right. I haven't even heard of them, let alone from them, since I became an espionage agent all those years back."

     The tall red Ruki sighed. "Okay, but you'd better take care of yourself. And I'm watching your back the whole time, whether you like it or not."

     *****

     "Here it is!" gasped Celia Synoptics, staring at a computer screen. "I found him!"

     The giant green Alien Aisha leaned over her shoulder to see the picture on the screen. "Sorry, miss, that's a normal Aisha. It's gotta be."

     The gorgeous red Alien Aisha slapped the hired help angrily. "You idiot! Don't you think I'd recognize my old nemesis?! His stupid face is branded on my brain in the section reserved for vengeance!"

     The big guy still looked doubtful. He leaned forward and tapped a line of words at the bottom of the screen. "But it says he's a lecturer on elementary particles and chemical fusion. According to your sources, Derek Sonix is posing as a shop owner."

     "Don't underestimate the little scum. I did, and look where it got me! Humiliated! Anger management classes!"

     The green Alien Aisha didn't answer, though he was assuredly thinking those classes must not have helped much. Instead he pointed to a flashing schedule next to his picture.

      "Wonderful!" smirked Celia. "He's lecturing today, and on this very station! The fool."

     ******

     1500 hours (or 3 pm NST), at the S.S.T.I. Landing Dock, passengers were unloading off the Space Bus.

     "Here we are!" cheered DeSoni, pulling out his lecturer identification badge and pinning it to his lapel. Rocky stared around in awe at the giant landing port, massive entry doors, huge transparishield windows showing Neopia and Kreludor, and all the shining metallic and high-tech devices. The closest the Ruki had ever been to this sort of view was an Alien Aisha military base, but that was somehow entirely different.

     The Space Faerie herself was waiting for him. Ignoring the gawking of the tourists and the surprised stared of the employees, she walked right up to DeSoni, not noticing his tall, red Ruki friend.

     "Welcome, DeSoni. Come along to my ready-room."

     "Of course, but first-have you met my good friend _Rickster_Rocker_?"

     "That's a lot of underscores," chuckled the Space Faerie, extending her hand to shake.

     Rocky took it in a state of awe. "C-common n-name," he stuttered softly. "C-call me Rocky." He was bad enough meeting new people, but this was THE Space Faerie! Most Neopians only dreamed of seeing her, let alone shaking her hand.

     "Pleased to meet you. DeSoni, if you would?"

     The short yellow Aisha nodded and he and his friend followed her to her ready-room (space slang for office).

     ******

     "Achyfi!" screamed Celia from an empty office with one-way glass. "He's right there! But that stupid Space Faerie's with him! And he's got some sort of bodyguard tailing him!"

     "I still say that's not an Alien Aisha," grumbled the green henchman. "But I can take the bodyguard."

     ******

     Despite the Space Faerie's raised eyebrows, DeSoni motioned Rocky to come with them into her private office.

     "Don't worry," said the Alien Aisha traitor. "My buddy Rocky knows all. Well, most of it anyway."

     "Does he know why you're here?"

     Very slowly and casually, DeSoni blinked. "To lecture on-"

     "Don't be foolish, DeSoni! You want to see your parents, and we both know it! And I am forbidding you to follow said action. It's a death-trap waiting to happen."

     DeSoni blinked again. "I have no idea what you're talking about. I shall remain at S.S.T.I. and leave tomorrow morning at 0800 hours for home."

     The Space Faerie leaned back and glared at the saucy little Aisha for a full minute. Rocky was vividly aware of the old phrase 'tension so thick you could slice it with a knife.'

     She finally broke the silence. "You'd better. And you're due to lecture at 1600 hours, or 4 pm as your NST-style clock would say."

     "I know my space time very well, thank you. My usual fee and quarters, I assume?"

     "Of course, forwarded to your shop till, naturally. You know your way to your quarters, and I believe there is a connecting room fully equipped; your friend may use that. I wish to speak with you at 1900 hours, no excuses. Until then, dismissed."

     DeSoni bowed formally and exited. Rocky nervously copied the bow and hurried to follow.

     "That little alien's too smart for his own good," groaned the Space Faerie. "He's up to something. And knowing DeSoni as I do, there's some other reason he brought that Ruki besides wanting a friend along."

     She flicked open a channel to Research. "See what you can find on a red Ruki, name _Rickster_Rocker_. Don't forget the underscores. Probable owner, hmm, it wouldn't be appaloosa500 so try horse_computer. I want a direct channel with answers as soon as you get them."

     ******

     Rocky attended DeSoni's lecture and sat in the back, in awe the whole time. From the moment DeSoni entered the room, the class was wide-eyed in admiration for the tiny Aisha. Even Rocky couldn't ignore the confidence oozing off his friend as he started dashing off laser pictures on a lazRboard and discussing elementary particles and…whatever to the class.

     He couldn't help but be amazed at the comprehension and obvious intelligence of the S.S.T.I. students, as they appeared to understand every word-even to the point of asking sensible questions. For his own part, everything being discussed went over his head. But it was still pretty cool.

     If he'd been paying more attention to the room instead of his buddy, the red Ruki would've noticed an astoundingly beautiful red Aisha in a large blue hat, sitting near the back and staring at the lecturer, but not commenting or taking any notes.

     ******

     After the lecture, a cheerful DeSoni motioned Rocky to come over. The students were still leaving the room, a certain red Aisha lagging behind-but naturally, DeSoni paid no attention to the students.

     "We've got an hour before we meet with the Space Faerie, Rocky. What shall we do? Check out Grundo's Café? Visit Engineering? Shop? Explore? And before you ask, it wouldn't be breaking what I said to the Space Faerie because there are several direct routes-"

     "Sir?" asked a voice immediately behind the yellow Aisha. He turned to see the pretty red Aisha, nervously playing with the brim of her large blue hat. It actually was a rather attractive and fashionable contrast with her color. "Mr. DeSoni? I'm having a problem with my cuboid model of Slotherian crystal. Could you just look it over for me?"

     "I'm sorry, miss," said DeSoni, every inch the college lecturer. "It's my friend's first time here and-"

     "Please? It's my scholarship project. I just can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!" she said desolately.

     DeSoni turned to Rocky and shrugged. "Well, buddy?"

     Rocky's suspicions were going crazy with this girl, but since he thought he was just overreacting to someone's peculiarities, as usual, he simply nodded. "Sure, I'll tag along."

     And the two friends innocently followed Celia Synoptics into a trap.

To be continued...

Ah, I'll bet lots of you saw that twist coming. I'm always open to any kind of Neomail, so please write me and let me know what you think.

 

 
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