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Orbulon Has Landed


by tashni

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Visitors to the Virtupets Space Station could be so inconsiderate. Orbulon had been walking along, minding his own business and looking for scraps of food, when a Grarrl came tromping through the hallway and knocked the little alien Petpet into an open air vent which he fell down. He fell for a while, bumping into the cold metal walls, spinning around like a top and getting himself thoroughly roughed up. Eventually, Orbulon saw a blue light at the end of the tunnel. He tumbled out of the vent and was very happy to be in an open area away from metal walls. But then he continued to fall, and soon realized that he had fallen completely off the station and was now hurtling towards a giant blue planet. All in all, Orbulon thought that maybe this wasn't going to be such a nice day.

      Orbulon fell for a long time, and so he had the opportunity to do a little gazing at the big blue planet, which was getting bigger and bigger as time went on. After a long time of falling, Orbulon grew uncomfortably hot from friction with the atmosphere, but he was falling towards a small green blob and hoped that he got there soon as he was getting quite sick of falling.

     He began to feel anxious about falling onto this green spot. Would he be able to pick up free crumbs there? Could he find a quiet place to nap? Most importantly, would he land in that round thing of lava? Orbulon was worrying about all this really for nothing, because he actually landed a bit to the right of the island and plunged into the Neopian sea.

      His tiny body hit the water at such great speed that a massive tsunami was created, and it headed straight for the island he had seen earlier. If you hadn't guessed it by now, the green spot was Mystery Island. The islanders saw the big wave coming and ran up Techo Mountain, knowing that Jhuidah the Island Faerie would be able to protect them there, and indeed she did. But she wasn't able to protect the whole island with her faerie force field, so the wave wiped the shore clean of everything. It even cleared away a lot of sand. But their island was in no short supply of sand, so it wasn't really that big a deal. What bothered the islanders most were all the shops and kiosks and tourist traps that had been cleared away with the sand. But then they remembered the beach had also been littered for many years by Tombola junk, and since that had been cleared away too, they considered it a more than fair trade.

     Now, Orbulon had never seen any size body of water before, much less swam in one. So he really had no idea what to make of an ocean. But what bothered him most was that he was still falling, although now he was in this thick wet stuff.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Meanwhile, one cloud-colored Krawk was having a pretty nice day. He had just moved to Maraqua with his family and was going to spend the day exploring his new home. But what this poor Krawk did not know was that his good day was about to collide with the bad day of our Orbulon.

     After breakfast, Nar the Krawk decided to explore the ruins of Old Maraqua. As he approached the ruins, he saw several signs warning of giant, vicious Slugawoos. The signs got bigger and more warnful as he went on. "We mean it, these Slugawoos are dangerous!" said one. 'Oh, please,' thought Nar. 'I had a Slugawoo once, it was so gentle! I can't imagine one being vicious no matter its size.' The next sign read: "We don't care if you had a Slugawoo once and can't imagine a vicious one no matter its size - these are!" So, a little creeped out, Nar took some heed to the warnings and continued on his way.

     Now, Nar and all the other Slugawoo owners of Neopia are quite right - Slugawoos are very mild, quiet creatures. However, as you may recall, Maraqua had been destroyed, and with it went these giant Slugawoos' homes. Since Maraqua was cursed, they were unable to return and rebuild. From then on they had to hide amongst the ruins of Maraqua, a city they hadn't liked even when it was intact. But now they had to scrounge around for whatever odd piece of food they could find there, which was limited at best. I'm sure you'll agree that even the mildest of creatures would get a bit snippy under these conditions. And so that is how the Giant Slugawoos of Maraqua got their bad reputation.

     Nar was astounded by the beauty of the Maraquan ruins. He explored the crumbled building that had once been the famous Chef's Kitchen, sifted through the remains of the utility fish shop, and looked on in awe at the ruins of the royal palace. Gold and Maractite and chunks of marble littered the sea floor Nar strolled along, and he took all of the beauty in. He jumped on top of a boulder to get a better view, but his weight pushed it off of another stone. He didn't worry about it, though, since everything was in ruins anyway. The Krawk continued to swim through the rubble of the palace until he heard a load, underwater roar.

      You see, the crevice between the boulders Nar dislodged had been the shelter of one rather snippy, homeless Slugawoo. This Slugawoo had been out all night looking for something better to eat than dry coral, and naturally his eyes were blood-shot from exhaustion. So when the Slugawoo went looking for this crevice, he was aghast to find his shelter destroyed! This was just another slap in the face after the destruction of his real home a year or so ago, which had really been a pleasant place. But this latest tragedy just really pushed the poor thing over the edge, and his yell of frustration was the roar Nar heard.

      Slugawoo's roar scared Nar, and he looked around anxiously for its source-and the nearest emergency exits. So when Slugawoo came over a ledge into Nar's view, he roared again and his wild bloodshot red eyes wandered all over the place looking for a new shelter. Nar interpreted this as a battle cry and was sure the creature was going to eat him, so he ran as far away from the blood-eyed Slugawoo as he could.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Meanwhile, Orbulon continued to sink into the Neopian ocean and after awhile, picked up a lot of speed. By this time, he was REALLY sick of falling, and couldn't wait to get back on solid ground. He wasn't very fond of this thick wet stuff all around him either, which we call water. He could see the ground now, and he was approaching it fast. There were lots of big, sharp rocks which he sincerely hoped he wouldn't land on. He also saw something blue swimming away from his projected landing site. Orbulon prepared himself for impact. But in a phenomenal stroke of improbability, Orbulon landed smack on our Slugawoo's head, cleanly knocking him unconscious with a 'splug.' (Incidentally, the impact was so great that it really could have killed the Slugawoo, but due to SR 1, this did not happen.) Orbulon, on the other hand, found the Slugawoo's head to be very cushiony and suffered no ill effects.

     He had decided on his way down that he didn't like this big wet place and wanted to go home to his space station where he knew he could pick up scraps and had several favorite warm spots for naps. Knowing he had fallen down a long way, his logical conclusion was the only way to go home was to go up. Looking over his surroundings, he spotted a mountain not all that far away. So, Orbulon walked. Walking was difficult for him, what with those stubby legs and stout body and all. Plus he was used to low or no gravity. There was lots of gravity at the bottom of the ocean. It took him a good while and a good bit of effort, but he made it to the base of the mountain. He couldn't help but look up; the slope towered above him, and he couldn't even see the top! There were plants swaying in the currents, and even some small critters. Being from a Space Station, Orbulon had never seen anything like this, so it's really no surprise that he didn't pay attention to what was below him. He walked off a cliff at the foot of the mountain. So Orbulon found himself falling again into deeper and darker places of the ocean. He fell so deep that the light no longer reached his eyes and he was surrounded by blackness. This didn't bother him as much as it might you or me, as he had spent most of his life surrounded by the black of space. But he was very tired of falling. Soon he saw below him a large glowing yellow plate. It got bigger and bigger until he landed on it. The plate blinked, and the body attached to it thrashed and a tentacle wrapped around Orbulon. If you hadn't guessed, the plate was actually the eye of a giant squid. The squid, whose eye had been poked, thrashed and writhed and shot up the ravine with poor Orbulon in its grasp.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     After a long morning, Nar was tired and hungry and in need of relaxation. And he didn't have the money for an excursion at Kelp. So he headed to the underwater fishing hole, where he hoped to unwind and catch a free lunch in the process. The underwater fishing hole is in a cavern in the side of a mountain with an air pocket in it, and this cavern overlooks a deep sea trench full of all sorts of creatures and kelp. Incidentally, all the crud washed from the shores of Mystery Island had sunk down into that very ravine, providing it with enough junk to keep amateur fishers occupied for decades.

     Upon Nar's arrival at the cavern, a Jetsam handed him a fishing pole and a single piece of bait. "One catch and ya get what ya get," he said.

      Nar nodded, headed out onto a boardwalk and sat on a chair overlooking the underwater lake. He sighed and cast his line out. 'This is nice,' he thought to himself. 'No giant Slugawoos to eat me here.' After a few minutes, he felt a tug on his line. He sat up straight, his eyes locked onto the water. Another tug, this one stronger. "I caught something, I caught something!" he yelled.

     The Jetsam rolled his eyes and grumbled something about tourists.

          Then Nar felt a stronger jerk on his line, this was no rotten shoe! "Lunchtime!" he said with glee as he started to reel in his catch. Then he felt a very strong jerk on his line. So strong, in fact, it almost yanked his arms out of their sockets. A shadow appeared under the water, and the Krawk's eyes grew to the size of dinner plates. "Lunch and dinner ... " he whispered nervously.

      "Et's a squeed!" shrieked the Jetsam as he dove behind his counter.

      "What?" yelped Nar. Sure enough, the shadow soon took on the shape of a very, very large squid. For a moment the water domed, then the sea creature burst through, its pink rubbery skin glistening, its tentacles flapping about like a psychotic chicken that lost its feathers. In one of its tentacles was Nar's bait, and the creature ripped the pole out of his claws. The giant squid flew over the boardwalk, splattering gallons of water over the bait shop, and landing with a very loud thud on the cavern floor.

      As you know, squid like water, and this being a very large squid, he liked a LOT of water. Now that he was out of the water, he thrashed and wriggled and gnashed his beak and slapped things. The Jetsam, being rather fond of water himself, understood the squid's misery and put him out of it with a big frying pan right between the eyes. The squid didn't thrash anymore.

      The bait shop Jetsam looked over at Nar, who was pale, sweating, and whose mouth was hanging open. "Congratulations..." said the panting Jetsam. "Ya jus caught... a titanic squid."

      Nar wagged his lower lip in protest.

      The Jetsam pointed at Nar's bait in the sea monster's tentacle. "Yar bait, yar catch."

      The Krawk was silent for a moment. "Calamari for everyone - on me."

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Now you were probably thinking, isn't this the squid that was holding Orbulon in its vice-like grip? Yes it was, but as the squid came flying out of the water into the underwater fishing cavern, it was so shocked and distraught that it flung Orbulon into the cavern wall, knocking Orbulon out, and his body slid down to the ground. He woke up a little later feeling a bit woozy and with a slight headache, but very happy to be out of the thick wet stuff. He looked around for a way to go up towards his Space Station, but saw none. Then he noticed something that looked sort of like a space shuttle, only it was alive, but decided to get on it anyway. As he got on the creature's back he saw a sign that called it the "Maraquan Chomby Rides to New Maraqua," but he couldn't read and so didn't know what this meant.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Having lost his appetite, Nar left his catch with the Jetsam, who said he would be sure to feed it to everyone who came in. Nar rode a Maraquan Chomby back to New Maraqua. His sister Nokura had threatened to hurt him if he didn't bring her something, so he went to the sea shell shop on the main street. He had barely put his foot in the door when an Aisha darted up to him.

          "Greetings, kind customer!" she said. "My name is Finella, and I sell sea shells below the sea shore!"

          Nar could have sworn he heard crickets, but said hi.

      "Let me show you some of my merchandise - the finest in Maraqua!" Finella the oddly friendly Aisha proceeded to explain to him the coloring, origin, and intricacies of each shell.

      Nar liked blue, so he picked a shiny blue shell. He paid the Aisha and fled.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     After a pleasant trip, Orbulon was thrown off the Chomby's back onto the ground in the thick wet stuff. He wasn't happy. But he was getting used to that. Now, Orbulons as a breed aren't very bright Petpets, but they are determined and, luckily, resilient. So he picked a cliff and went towards it so he could attempt to go up once again, and climb that much closer to his home.

     After some time and effort and careful avoidance of any underwater canyons, Orbulon's trip up the cliff was really going well for him and he was soon halfway up. But as he put his weight on a rock it dislodged and tumbled off the side of the cliff. Orbulon almost went with it, but he managed to hold on tight with his chunky little fingers to the rock face and found a different foothold, allowing him to continue his trek up. The stone he had dislodged however, continued on its plummet down.

     * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Nar now regretted not eating any calamari. He was very hungry and went to the marketplace to pick up an early dinner. He glided through the water down a stony path lined with shops made of rock and coral and shells. Shopkeepers cried out to all the passersby, advertising the best green kelp, the freshest fish, or the cheapest Petpets After some weaving in and out of the shops, one little shop made of driftwood caught his fancy.

      Neatly lined up on a dinner table were several traditional Maraquan dishes, and Nar decided on Kelp Samosa. He picked up the plate and made a very reasonable offer of 1,400NP, but the Acara shopkeeper was not pleased.

      "This is classic Maraqua food!" he insisted. "You pay 1,700! Good deal!"

      Nar knew very well that this was not a good deal. "That isn't the price I had in mind. I've seen Kelp Samosa sell for 1,300."

      "Inflation," said the Acara flatly.

      "... since two days ago?"

      The Acara glared at Nar. "Yes."

      Nar was about to continue his protests when he saw a shadow form over the Acara's head. He looked up. A boulder was hurtling down at them. He was beginning to dislike shadows.

      "What you looking at?" asked the shopkeeper. He looked up. "Oh. Aah!"

      He and Nar ran from the shop, the plate of Kelp Samosa still in Nar's claws. The boulder crashed onto the shop, splintering it and all of its goods into shreds. The poor Acara could only stare at his collapsed heap for a long time. Nar couldn't help but wonder if he'd been bitten by the bad luck faerie.

      After several minutes of jaw-dropped silence, Nar turned to the shopkeeper. "Take 1,800," he said and handed over the NP. "You need it more than I do."

      The Acara's wide eyes looked down at the NP put in his hands. "Come back soon..."

      Nar decided to go home and sleep the bad luck off.

          * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

     Determination was the only thing that got Orbulon to the top of that underwater cliff. His arms and legs were sorer than he ever could have imagined, he was more tired than he thought possible, and he was covered with cuts, bruises and blisters. And he was hungry. Thankfully, though, Orbulon found at the top of the cliff a sandy stretch of dry land. He liked dry land, even though there was still too much gravity. On the beach were many island people, and they were all rejoicing over the "great cleansing wave," and giving thanks to some Mumbo Pango thing. Orbulon decided to find some food. Right after a nap in the nice, warm sand that is. Maybe he didn't need the Space Station after all.

The End

Author's Notes: Thank you for reading my first attempt at a comedic short story! If anything, it has given me great respect for anyone who can successfully write comic fiction, such as the almighty Mr. Adams. Any comments are most appreciated!

 
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