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Swarm - Attack of the Acara


by pugnaciousilliterate

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Author's note: Dedicated to all of us underdogs.

The pamphlet depicted a brightly colored portrait of a yellow Wocky standing on top of a tank and grinning broadly. One of his paws rested on the lid of the cannon, the other waving at the invisible crowd. His teeth were bright and reflective, almost shining as vivid as the desert sun. A white-knitted scarf hung decoratively around his neck. His expression looked as if he just conquered the world. The picture, of course, was showing Odysseus T. Wocky, the famous conqueror of the swarm of the Lost Desert. Under the glossy enhancement, a caption read: "Autographs by the great Odysseus! Tomorrow Only! Come to the Lost Desert to get your free autograph!"

     "Isn't he dreamy?" Sighing, Briseas held the pamphlet to her chest. A far away glint burned brightly in her green eyes, as if she was remembering a past memory. A smile passed on her expressive face; she was hooked. "You're so going with me. How can you pass this up?"

     "Going would be pointless," Teresias said, shaking his turquoise mane out of his eyes. Holding his palms out in an exasperated fashion, he shook his head at her naiveté. "He wouldn't notice us if we had warfs strapped to our heads."

     The quip not breaking her dreamy state, she just sighed in contentment. Her energy radiated in waves and Teresias admitted to himself that he had never seen his sister this happy.

     "Alright. I'll go with you. But only to keep you out of trouble." Sighing reluctantly, Teresias turned to walk out the door. "But you're going to have to hurry up or we'll miss your famous Odysseus."

     ~*~*~

     Five minutes later, walking down the sandy path towards the desert's arena; he regarded his sister, who was chattering away about her experiences with the game Swarm.

     "They say that Odysseus can beat all ten waves in ten minutes." She chatted excessively, expressing her thoughts by wildly waving her red paws in the air. "Ten minutes!"

     Teresias cocked an eyebrow. "What's so impressive about that, sis? You can beat them in fifteen - although you do come home with all those bug guts on you. I bet Odysseus stays nice and clean." Quirking a half smile, he remembered the sight quite clearly. It took hours to scrub the green-putrid slime out of her short, fine, Acara fur. But, according to her, it had been worth it. She hadn't shut up about her high score for days.

     Briseas didn't take the joke lightly, however. She sighed in resentment. "Fifteen is too slow. I will beat it under ten." Suddenly, she brightened her eyes expressing the familiar glint. "I know! I can ask Odysseus for tips. I'm sure he'll help."

     Teresias kept his mouth shut. He knew that there wasn't a chance that she could talk to the great and wonderful Wocky. But, he reflected, she could dream whatever she wanted.

     A few minutes later a large crowd came into view. Approaching it, Teresias could see that there was no way they were going to be able to get anywhere near the hero; let alone talk to him. Standing on his tiptoes, he peered over the crowd to see if the grand commencement had started.

     "Get out of my way, you silly Kyrii. Make room for the great Odysseus!"

     Falling to the ground, he didn't even have time to make it look dignified. Sand and dirt immediately caked on his knees and through his normally illustrious mane. Turning on his side, he saw the bottom paws of a very familiar Wocky.

     "HEY! You just knocked down my brother!" Briseas screeched at the top of her lungs. "Apologize!" She started after him through the crowd.

     Her command fell upon deaf ears. Odysseus was already at the front of the now-cheering crowd.

     Getting up and dusting off the dust from his fur, Teresias scowled at his sister. "Forget it, sis; he isn't going to listen." Tugging on her elbow, he turned to leave.

     She immediately tugged free from his grasp. "No. I'm going up there." Turning around, she pushed and shoved her way through the crowd.

     Teresias just stood there and gaped after her. After a few seconds, he couldn't even see her. Standing on his toes, he once again peered through the crowd. He groaned out loud when he saw her. She was scrambling up the second cannon, which was parked right behind the one where Odysseus was now standing; giving his speech.

     The crowd, at first, was oblivious of the little Acara. Once she started to scream, however, heads started to turn towards the commotion.

     Teresias did not catch the first part of her rant; but he did catch the expression of Odysseus' face, which went from a photogenic good-nature grin to absolute rage.

     "I bet you didn't even beat the swarm. I bet I, a lonely Acara, can beat your score," Teresias heard his sister scream to the Wocky.

     A chubby green Chia, who looked to be Odysseus' agent, scrambled onto the tank. He whispered something in Odysseus's ear that the crowd couldn't make out. Instead of taking his agent's advice, he brushed him off with an impatient paw.

     "How dare you challenge me? You've got yourself a duel!" he yelled towards Briseas, rage contorting his face. His paws were clenched at his sides, as if he was using every ounce of his will power to contain himself.

     The next few minutes were a blur. Teresias watched, mouth open, as his sister climbed down into the tank. On the opposite side of the courtyard, Odysseus did the same. A muffled shout was heard from his tank.

     "Release the bugs!"

     The crowd all simultaneously covered their ears with their paws as a loud screech filled the air. They watched, in shock, as both tanks started to fire.

     Dust started flying and the cacophony of tank fire, gasps from the crowd, and high-pitched whines of swarming bugs filled the air.

     Minute after minute the battle raged on. Just as he started to think he couldn't stand the sound any longer, the sounds ceased. No more whining of bugs; no more tank fire.

     Teresias uncovered his ears, shook the dust out of his mane, and looked around for his sister. Both tanks sat in the field. Except…there was something different.

     The one on the right looked like it was going to fall apart with the next gust of wind. Pieces of metal lay forgotten on the sand. Slime covered every surface. The tank's gun swung like a pendulum.

     The tank on the left, however, looked brand new. Although, the pile of squashed bugs and green slime did not enhance the image. Teresias looked at the top and his jaw dropped. There, covered head-to-paw in green slime, was a grinning Briseas.

     Taking off her helmet, she shook out her fur and ears. The crowd inhaled a collective breath and, much to the surprise to Briseas and Teresias, started to cheer.

     Odysseus emerged from the tank. His once-white scarf was splotched with green slime. His fur was matted. His once-proud stature sagged in a defeated pose.

     Briseas turned to the crowd and held up a paw in an act to silence the crowd. She turned to Odysseus and bared her teeth. "That's what you get for knocking down my brother!"

     Not waiting for a dignified response, she looked towards the back of the crowd - towards her brother - and smiled as bright as the sun.

     "Nine minutes! New record!"

The End

 
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