The Kreludan Conspiracy: Part One
I was not accustomed to fear, but never before had I been
so afraid. My heart was pounding in my ears and my breathing was rapid. I was
in trouble. There was no doubt about it, but what would be the consequences of
my actions? I stared at the floor and crossed my arms nervously.
BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!
My Virtupets microtronic watch went off; reminding
me of the 'appointment' I had with the Boss. A new wave of fear engulfed me
and I started to feel sick. My eyes swept across the door. Any moment it would
open and I'd have to enter the room beyond.
A few security officers passed me in the hallway.
They gave me fairly sympathetic looks; they knew how uncomfortable my situation
I watched the time travel on my watch, and as
the seconds passed, my anxiety grew. It was my entire fault. If things had gone
according to the plan I wouldn't even be here.
The door slowly swung open and a small Grundo
clerk stepped out and gestured towards me. He leered at me as I staggered over
to the door.
"The Boss will see you now," he told me.
I entered the room and heard the door close
behind me. I slowly walked towards the desk at the end of the room. I wiped
my sweaty palms onto the fabric of my Virtupets uniform. This was it.
The room was ominously lit with soft green lights
and computer monitors were forced into all of the walls. At the end of the area
was a huge desk and positioned behind it, facing a wall-to-wall screen, was
a tall high-backed chair. I gulped nervously and gave a short bow to the back
of the chair. Then I reluctantly sank into a cold metal seat in front of the
desk and waited.
After what seemed like eternity, a voice spoke
from the depths of the chair. "Well Commander, what have you got to say for
yourself? The reports I have received are very unsatisfactory."
That was a very polite way of putting it. I
took a deep quivering breath and said, "I- I can explain, sir; those reports
contain false accusations."
"Do you think so, Commander? I am willing to
listen to your side of events if that is the case. If not, then you are wasting
my time and I will be even more displeased." The tall chair swung around and
Dr. Sloth pierced me with his eyes. "If these reports bear truth, then it would
appear that you have been treacherous, and treachery is one thing I will not
tolerate." He surveyed me trembling before him. "That and fear," he said coldly.
"P-please," I fought to steady my voice, "give
me a chance."
"Very well, Commander Roack, you may explain
to me what happened now. If I have misjudged you, you will be pardoned, if not..."
His voice trailed off echoing with threat.
I had a chance. Just one chance to save myself.
I brought my eyes up to meet his and I took a deep breath...
...I leant back comfortably in a cushy VIP chair
in the passenger area of a Virtupets Transport Shuttle. There was still another
half orbit until it was time to land. I snapped my fingers and a diminutive
Grundo came scurrying from the back of the shuttle.
"What can I get you sir?" he squeaked.
"A can of Neocola will do for now," I told him.
"And be quick about it. I have better things to do than demonstrate patience
to you trainees."
He scuttled away to fetch my demand and I casually
flicked through copy of Kreludan Facts. After a few seconds, I tossed the book
aside in boredom and was about to yell for the attendant when suddenly...
BLEEP! BLEEP! BLEEP!
I squinted at the tiny computer screen on my
watch and saw the little mail icon appear in the corner.
"Open mail," I said, hoping it wasn't another
Money Tree charity request.
"Downloading message. Please wait..." a whiny
programmed voice filtered from the watch's speakers. "Download complete. Open
now or later?"
"Now! I already told you I wanted to read it!"
"Message file is video formatted. Open now or
"Now," I said through clenched teeth. The smarter
the computers were, the harder it was for them to take a simple order.
"Opening file. Please wait..."
The screen on my watch went blank and was instantly
filled with an image of the Boss. "This message has been broadcast to all of
my commanders. You are to attend an urgent meeting at the Space Station regarding
our current situation with Kreludor. Further details will be discussed there.
Due to security reasons, this message will self-destruct in ten... nine..."
I pulled the watch from my wrist and bounded
over to the trash chute. I tossed it in and pressed the 'eject' button. Moving
over to the window, I saw the small computer drift into space. Then a small
explosion erupted from its center and it was engulfed in flame.
Every single time I received a message from
the Boss I lost a Microtronic Watch. I slunk back to my chair and sat down grumpily.
Now I'd have to buy a new one.
The Grundo attendant approached me apprehensively
and handed me a can of Neocola.
"You certainly took long enough," I snapped.
"It's not even cold! And you could pour it in a glass with some ice! What do
they pay you for? Standing around moping?"
"I'm very sorry, sir," he said shaking. "I'll
go back and get another one."
"Don't bother," I said. "I need you to tell
the pilot there's been a change of course. We're going to the space station
now. And also, get him to turn the gravity generator up. I can feel my feet
"Sir, this shuttle is scheduled to land on Kreludor.
We can't change the course. I'm sorry, but it's regulations. Scheduled transport
shuttles must always remain on course unless an emergency situ-"
"I know what the rules are! Tell the pilot we're
going to the space station now! Unless, of course, you want me to tell the Boss
why I was late for a meeting." I stared him down.
"I-I'll go tell the pilot, sir." The attendant
bowed and hurried from the room.
I sat back and popped open my can of Neocola.
An urgent meeting at the Space Station eh? What on Neopia was going on?
Several hours later the attendant appeared before
me. "We've landed, sir. It's safe to disembark."
I ignored him, I stood up, and left the passenger
area. As I descended down the transport beam a security guard approached me.
"Commander Roack?" he said as my space boots
touched the space station's floor. "You can follow me sir. I'll show you where
the meeting is being held, but first I'll need an identification scan."
The guard held up a computer in his palm. I
pushed my thumb into its surface and watched my name flash up on the screen.
"Good. Follow me please." He led me into the
warehouse level and directed me through a maze of cargo boxes. "The meeting
of course has to be held in a secret location," he said conversationally. "We
don't want tourists stumbling in do we?"
I grunted in reply.
The guard guided me to a solid stretch of wall
in-between a stack of crates. He pulled a metal card out of his belt and pushed
it into a crack on the metal plating of the wall. A small beep was heard and
the wall neatly slid away to reveal a conference room behind. The guard bowed
and left me.
I strolled into the room beyond and took my
seat at the conference table. I gave a few polite nods to my fellow commanders
and then glanced at my watch to check the time... and soon after remembered
that my watch had been the victim of one of the self-destruct viruses embedded
in all of Dr. Sloth's messages. I sighed and drummed my green hands on the table.
Moments later, Dr. Sloth stormed into the room
and took his place at the head of the table. He surveyed us closely for a few
moments. I stared nervously at the table top and wished he'd get on with the
"My loyal commanders," he said at last, "I have
summoned you here to discuss the difficulties regarding my Kreludan moon base.
As you know, construction of this base began a few months ago, but since then,
many attempts have taken place to sabotage what has already been completed.
It is not necessary to explain that the base will play an essential role in
my upcoming Kreludan campaigns. I need it to be completed by the designated
date or my plans will be delayed and I will face several unnecessary difficulties."
He stood up and began to slowly circle the room.
"I have sent agents to Kreludor, but many of them have disappeared. This 'inconvenience'
must be resolved as soon as possible. I therefore intend to send a team to Kreludor
to further investigate this matter and identify the culprits. The perpetrators
will be caught and punished severely." Sloth returned to the head of the table
and leant forward. "I want one of my commanders to lead this team. You will
be given further details when you're appointed for the position. Now, are there
I lowered my eyes to the table's cold metal
surface. Although I was a devoted commander, I'd prefer to avoid a job like
that. The fact that several agents had already gone missing was slightly unnerving;
even for someone as brave as me. Apparently my fellow commanders were thinking
the same thoughts. Not one of us raised a hand.
Sloth smiled coyly. "No one?" he said softly.
"How very disappointing." He resumed pacing around the table. "I hoped that
one of my commanders would have the little courage it would take." He suddenly
turned to me. "Commander Roack, your past efforts in our Neopian wars have been
"I would like you to 'volunteer.'"
The Boss stared right at me as if he were daring
me to refuse. I met his red eyes.
"Sir, it would be an honour to be chosen for
this mission," I said confidently.
To be continued...