Preparing Neopia for the Meepits Circulation: 109,523,333 Issue: 207 | 9th day of Gathering, Y7
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The Astounding Squad: Part One


by o_apollo_o

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The hall was silent; there were grey, metal walls surrounding the whole room. With every step you would take, a clanking noise would arise no matter how bad you wished it wouldn't.

     "Excuse me… sir?" A small starry Grundo approached a shadowed figure, his legs shaking even by standing still. He was frightened, but he cleared his throat and spoke up, "I finished my part of the bargain… can you send me back home?"

     "Of course, it is only fair!" The loud voice boomed across the barren hall, shaking the metal tiles on the floor and on the wall. The figure stared out of the nearest window, into the cold, dark, depths of outer space. He tapped his fingers on the metal armrest of his chair, and paused before he spoke up. "Just step into the transporter pod, and I'll send you safely home, back to Kreludor."

     The Grundo gave a weak, forced smile as he timidly stepped inside the cylindrical shaped capsule and it closed suddenly. He was trapped and he knew it. The Grundo started to pound on the glass furiously, in hopes of getting out. The figure just stared at him and laughed coldly.

     A mist of nauseating green and brown arose and surrounded the poor, used Grundo. This wasn't a transporter pod. In about five minutes, the Grundo stepped out, large, green, and disgustingly muscular.

     "What a perfectly wonderful mutation! Yes, yes you are my little slave!"

     The figure patted his mutation on his head, while the Grundo smiled blankly with his eyes half closed. A drop of spit fell from the side of his mouth and splattered on the floor.

     The figure sighed and laughed some more while the Grundo just continued staring at him with that blank expression. The mysterious man stood up from his chair and crossed the hall. As he left, he shut the door tightly behind him, and locked it up. His Grundo slave followed him every step of the way, hypnotized.

     ***

     The sun shone down brightly on a lush forest, full of towering trees and beautiful daisies and roses. It was truly a wonder in Neopia.

     "Practice time is over! It's time to head back to Virtupets!" Captain Astounding's voice rang loudly to the other members of the team. Three other green Grarrls, all in black and pastel purple costumes, headed towards him.

     Practice time was when the four Grarrls practiced their skills, to perfect them and use them to help others. Targets, speed courses and weightlifting were all part of the drill. They came down from there space headquarters only a few times a year to practice on solid ground.

     They were the Astounding Squad, a team of four green Grarrls gifted with super-natural powers from a mutation experiment gone wrong, an incident involving Dr. Sloth.

     Captain Astounding was the leader of the group, and was unbelievably wealthy. He owned a small corner of the Virtupets Space Station, which the team called their home. He got rich after his powers were given to him, and used them dishonestly to get ahead. After realizing his wrong ways, Captain Astounding gathered the other three assuming that they got super-powers from the incident as well. Now he uses them for fighting crime, and protecting the good. His super speed, metal-melting eyebeams, and ability of flight made him the most valuable member of the team.

     "Come on, can we stay a little longer? Fresh air is so nice, better than that stuffy, stale space station air! Besides, this forest is beautiful, better than those barren moons and asteroids," piped up the smallest Grarrl there.

     Captain Astounding rolled his eyes. Electro-boy, the youngest member of the team, never really thought about anything important (or anything) at all. He still hadn't learned to control his powers, even after two full years. His power was extremely dangerous as well, electricity. Electro-boy could corrupt any type of electrical device. That included lamps, toasters, oven, and anything up at Virtupets. The possibility that his powers could explode all of the Space Station was always on the team's minds.

     "Looks like you might get your wish, kid," the Wall spoke up from where he was standing, in front of the team space shuttle. "This engine is messed up, and looks like someone tampered with it."

     The Wall was great with machinery. He designed and built the Astounding Flyer, the space shuttle that the team used to move around in space and to transport them from Neopia back to Virtupets. It had built in lasers, used for combat and to destroy any space fungus in their way. The Wall also had the power of super strength. He had a job at Grundo's Gym after the mutation until joining the team.

     "So we're stuck here?" said the Incredible Grarrl as he looked up from his book annoyed. His eyebrow was propped up, and the other was down low in a questioning look.

     The Incredible Grarrl was the quiet, more mysterious member of the team. He was never very social, even before he got his powers. He was an advisor to Captain Astounding while he was in his prime of business, and helped him to get out of using his powers dishonestly. He is the co-founder of the team, although Electro-boy never gave him any respect. The Incredible Grarrl has the ability of telekinesis, which he was showing off by levitating off the ground. He could move objects with his psychic waves, but nothing too big. He also was telepathic which allowed him to read others minds.

     "It sure would look that way-" Before the Wall could finish; Electro-boy threw his hands up in excitement as a jolt of electricity flew out. He gave the rest of the team a sheepish grin as they all rolled their eyes.

     "Don't worry, Marc; I'll learn to control them eventually!"

     The Captain cringed. He hated when his real name was used in public. Electro-boy sensed this and stared at him with his jaw dropped in disbelief.

     "Come on!" he shouted, pacing the ground as he gesticulated wildly with his arms, "No one is here, I can use your names if I want! I'm Caleb," he shifted glances to the Wall, "You're Brock, and you're Theo!" He ended his statement with a look at the Incredible Grarrl, who was trying to ignore him the best he could by keeping his eyes glued to his book.

     "Electr-I mean, Caleb." The Wall turned to him and his voice turned gentle and calm. "We are going to be stuck down on Neopia for a while; I suggest we keep our identities secret from the public, you never know who might be around."

     Caleb sighed and sat down on a pile of rocks in disappointment. No one was here, and they all knew it. He sensed the dislike that the other team showed for him, especially the Incredible Grarrl. Sometimes the rest of the team would go on space missions, but he was left out. They would always say, "It was too dangerous," or, "You're not strong enough," and he was sick of it. How could he learn to control his powers if he barely had a chance to use them? He wanted more excitement, more respect from the team. His wishes were about to come true…

     ***

     "Perfect…" A mutant Usul was in a tree above the team, and having gathered enough information, she began dashing through the trees and shrubbery of the forest. She could arrive and leave quickly and quietly, being the best spy in her group. The information she gathered was information on the Astounding Squad, and she was going to report them to her leader, her master. She even got their real names! He would definitely give her a promotion.

     She landed silently on the ground after jumping down from a tree. Cautiously, she approached burnt and charred trees, all having been damaged by the landing of the large spaceship standing in front of her. It had been there for about an hour, and she got her job done quickly. An opening was suddenly made in the ship's front side, and a stepped slope slowly alighted to the ground.

     "Spy #3464, how goes the expedition?"

     A shadowed figure stepped down from the slope and his feet touched the burnt ground. He eyed the Usul suspiciously. Gathering her courage, the spy spoke up, "It is fine, my master; I have recorded all of my information on this tablet."

     The tablet was snatched out of #3464's hands once she got close enough. She immediately took a step back. Her master's keen eyes skimmed quickly over her shorthand approvingly.

     "You have done well. Board the ship; we will head back to my lair soon. This shouldn't take long."

     The mutant, obeying him, stepped aboard as her master pressed a button on a remote control and an army of thousands of mutant pets flooded out from the forest into the opening. Lupes, Aishas, Chias, Meercas, Kyriis, their footsteps all in the exact same rhythm. They each had a red number imprinted upon their head, just like the Usul spy. As the army marched out into the forest, she slowly stepped back into the ship. Things were going to get ugly.

     ***

     "Anything yet?" asked the Incredible Grarrl. His voice was slightly annoyed at the slow progress in fixing the engine.

     "Well, this isn't easy! You want to try?"

     Theo rolled his eyes. They weren't going anywhere. Somehow, he felt that they'd want to leave here; and fast.

     "What's that noise?" The Wall turned to his team questioningly.

     "Sounds like the engine," replied Captain Astounding. "Did you get it working?"

     "No…"

     The group all exchanged worried looks and Electro-boy bit his lip. The noise came closer, and gradually took a crescendo. Out past them and entering an opening from the forest were mutants, charging and shaking the ground as they came. One pulled out a Virtupets laser and shot it at the Incredible Grarrl, but he stopped it with a psychic shield.

     "Astounding Squad, attack!" bellowed Captain Astounding, as the team prepared for a battle.

To be continued...

 
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