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A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Two


by appaloosa500

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Rocky slowly drifted back to consciousness. He was lying on something rough-sand. He must be in the Lost Desert. Why? Oh, yeah. DeSoni's friend-Geiger. The letter… DESONI!!!

     The Red Ruki bolted awake with that last thought. What had happened to DeSoni?!

     He sat up and suddenly became aware of a couple voices from directly behind him.

     "I'm telling you, it's not Rickster_Rocker. For one thing, he's far too young."

     "Look, he's up. Let's just ask him."

     "It's a waste of time. I knew him, and that's not him. A remarkable resemblance, but not him."

     "Humor me."

     Rocky turned his head toward the voices and spied two Red Rukis beneath the palm tree. They were both tall, muscular fellows. One appeared to be about his age, the other a good deal older.

     They walked up to him purposefully.

     "Is your name Rickster_Rocker?" asked the younger one.

     Rocky inwardly sighed. He had a feeling where this was going. "Yes."

     "HA!" cheered the younger Ruki. "It is him! I told you!"

     "It can't be," said the older Ruki in shock. "Ricky?"

     "Rocky, actually." He stood up and dusted the sand off, rather disconcerted to find he was a head taller than either of them.

     "You're his son! That's it!" gasped the older Ruki.

     The younger smiled in absolute delight.

     "Your father-what happened to him?! And your mother-?!" asked the older one urgently.

     "Look, I'm really sorry," began Rocky, scanning the sands for some sign of DeSoni or Galba. "But I really don't have any time for a buried past. My best friend-"

     "Respect your elders!" barked the older. "What happened to your parents?"

     Rocky shook his head sadly. No sign of where DeSoni had gone, and now he would have to spoil these guys' day. "They-they got sick."

     "Oh no," whispered the younger one.

     "They died. Many, many years ago."

     "No," said the older one tragically, devastated. "Ricky! And the princess! Lovely Azalea!"

     "I'm really very sorry," continued Rocky, acutely embarrassed. "I really must be going. My friend-"

     "You don't understand!" said the younger Ruki. "We are of the Royal Guard. Not only is it now our duty to deliver this news, but we must bring you to our queen as well."

     "I'm sorry, but I really don't have time. I can't explain without breaking a vow, but my friend was captured-and an old friend of his is in danger-and I know exactly who is behind it all, and I HAVE to stop him!"

     The older Ruki looked around at the vast rolling sands, scattered clusters of palms, and the distant city. "Do you have any idea where to begin?"

     "Well-no," said Rocky reluctantly. "But I have to try!"

     "You are so much like your father," said the old Ruki sadly. "You'll never accomplish your goal on your own. Please, come with us, and I promise to help you on your quest. I am the Head of the Royal Guard-my promise is good."

     Rocky scratched his antennae in nervous indecision. He scanned the view again-the old Ruki was right. He didn't stand a chance on his own in such a completely foreign environment. He was from Neopia Central, a city-boy, no matter where his parents came from.

     "Deal, and I'll hold you to that promise."

     ******

     "Khar! Khar!" shouted a voice outside Wocky Detective Khargana's house. A short Blue Shoyru was bouncing up and down in front of the client door to the detective's office, flapping her wings for extra height.

     A Green Wocky distractedly shoved the door open outward, accidentally knocking over the hyper Shoyru.

     "Sorry about that, Rissa," said Khargana, holding out a paw and helping her friend up. She held a few triangular objects in her other paw, which she slipped into on of the many pockets of her long, suede vest.

     This was the Wocky Detective. Surprisingly, she looked nothing like a detective, except for her sharp, darting brown eyes. She was of medium build, height, and looks-not small enough for spying, nor large enough for brawling, nor even beautiful enough to get information with a minimum of effort. Or so everyone thought at first. In fact, Khargana was perfectly average in everything but her choice in clothing-the many pocketed, well made, but completely out-of-place, brown suede vest that had become her signature over the years. Her owner, appaloosa500, had adopted DeSoni recently-thus, she was his older sister.

     CarissaOfire, the small, hyper Blue Shoyru, was one of Rocky's three 'sisters,' again because they all shared the same owner. She was an ex-thief who'd run away from her wicked owner and been put up for adoption by the Neopian Central Authorities (then the Chia Police). Rocky's three sisters were lifelong friends of Khargana's, so it was only natural for the two boys to become close buds.

     "So, what's up?" asked Khargana, leaning casually against the doorframe.

     "I cain't find Rocky!"

     The detective sighed. "That's hardly cause for interrupting me. I was in the middle of something…" Her paw strayed to the pocket with the pyramid-like objects.

     "But he must be with DeSoni!"

     "Do you think I keep track of his every move?"

     "No, but surely you can trace him! Don'cha have him micro-chipped or something?"

     Khargana frowned and stood up straight. "Well, yeah. Why is it so important?"

     "Rocky promised to take me to Tyrannia today, after putting together his bike at DeSoni's shop."

     "Okay, but it's hardly an emergency," sighed the Wocky, stepping aside and motioning the Shoyru into her handsome office.

     The Wocky Detective's office had a large, dark green rug spread in the middle of the paneled wood flooring, with walls painted light brown and either dark brown or black furniture. Several full bookshelves were pushed up against the walls, maps were pinned up in the free wall space, and a pirate chest was hidden in the shadows of a corner. Surprisingly, despite the darker colors, the room seemed comfortable and professional, at least partly due to the golden light streaming in from the large windows on either side of the door.

     Khargana sat at her desk, pushed aside a Neopian Times article on some desert gang whose leader had just been captured, and flipped open the briefcase that lay on it-her disguised super-computer she'd made at the Space Station Technological Institute. After around seven seconds of typing, clicking, and playing around, she gestured Rissa over.

     The briefcase's propped-open top-a screen disguised to look like the smooth black interior of the case-showed a map of the Lost Desert with two blinking red dots on it.

     "That answer your question? Either something came up or he forgot or both. Most likely both." The Green Wocky frowned at the screen thoughtfully.

     Rissa tilted her head to meet Khar's eyes sarcastically. "You coulda just told me you had Rocky 'chipped too."

     "You got your answer; I'd like to get back my problem." Khargana took out the triangular objects again. "Incidentally, your speech lessons with Tanny are really paying off. We haven't had nearly as many people asking for translations." She chuckled, her eyes examining the tiny pyramids she played with in her paw. "See you." She casually set aside the computer-briefcase and pulled over the NT article.

     The Wocky's whole impression was of 'issue resolved' and 'conversation concluded.' But Rissa never was much good at taking hints, especially not when she wanted something.

     "I wonder if it's got somethin' to do with this," she said, pulling out a crumbled piece of paper and smoothing it out on Khar's desk. "Looks like one of them crazy codes my old owner used to come up with before a big job…"

     That got Khargana's attention. "A code?" Her ears visibly pricked upright. "I've been dying to try out this code-breaker gizmo Kay created for me!" She swept the objects back into her pocket, tossed the NT article into a drawer of her desk, and snatched the paper Rissa held out.

     Rissa smirked. Contrary to her hyper, airhead, happy-go-lucky personality, she did have a brain. And she knew how easy it was to get Khargana interested in a puzzle.

     "Would it change anythin' if I said Rocky's bike weren't finished?"

     "Wasn't, Rissa. Wasn't. And it just might," said Khargana, eagerly taking in the rows of hand-sketched high-tech tools. She opened a drawer of her desk and pulled out what looked like a simple pencil attached to a tiny screen. She swiped the pencil-thing lengthwise over the message and the same symbols popped up on the screen.

     "I'd say DeSoni's," mumbled Khar, hooking the pencil thing to the side of the gadget and examining the screen. "And he wouldn't be foolish enough to link the tool to a related letter-so I'd say random, but definitely by letter. Too many to be by word, and those types of codes have so many variables they end up being clumsier than if they… Gotcha!"

     She tapped the bottom of the screen a few times and some letters popped up.

     "Whoa!" exclaimed the little Shoyru. "How'd you do that?"

     "I assumed the first word was Derek, DeSoni's real first name, and the gizmo filled in all the D's, E's, R's, and K's. I also guessed it was written in typical neograph-code, which uses the word 'stop' instead of putting periods." She looked it over for a second, then typed some more. The rest of the message popped up. It read as follows…

     DEREK PLEASE HELP STOP BEING FRAMED STOP SEE IN DESERT PLEASE STOP KREGOR

     "Beautiful," said Khargana softly, smiling.

     "Heavy," whispered Rissa with huge eyes.

     "Now there's something about their locations on my screen that I want to check out-"

     "Why?"

     "Because, last time we checked, the locator indicated Rocky to be 20 feet underground and DeSoni in the Sakhmet palace's dungeons."

     ******

     "Nice place," said DeSoni dryly. "I could really get comfortable here."

     "You may just have to," smirked Galba, shoving his stunner against the tiny Aisha's back to keep him walking.

     "No, seriously," continued DeSoni, pretty much simply to avoid thinking about whatever he was about to face. "It doesn't smell too bad, there's no blood or gore or torture devices, and we actually have light." The tiny Fix-It shop owner gestured around the dungeons and the narrow, barred windows through which blazed the scalding Lost Desert sun.

     "Perhaps," said Galba sardonically and in unusual good humor. "But there is plenty of mold and mildew, a wonderful diversity and abundance of chains, locks, and cuffs, and the beautifully dismal surroundings of steel bars and cold stone. Speaking of which-"

     They turned a corner and, for the first time in over half a decade, DeSoni saw his old best friend-Kregor Geiger. The slim built Blue Alien Aisha had his head bent over and resting on his paws. A shackle was around each of his forepaws, attached to a chain that locked him to the stone bench.

     "Kreg!" shouted DeSoni, jumping forward to check on his old friend. Galba caught his shoulder with his free paw and yanked him back.

     The Blue Alien Aisha looked up, not in the least surprised to see DeSoni. "I'm sorry, Derek. I never should have sent that message. I-"

     "It's okay, Kreg. I'm kinda used to it."

     "Derek! You don't-"

     "Shut up! Both of you!" barked Commander Galba. He shoved DeSoni into Kregor's cell and to the right, revealing something that had been hidden from the doorway and the hall.

     A large table tilted at a 45-degree angle took up half the space. There were five straps, one to each corner and one around the middle.

     DeSoni recognized it instantly. "N-n-NO!" he shouted, twisting from Galba's grip and bolting out of the cell. It was a reaction, not of coherent thought or ideas of escape, but out of sheer terror and a flood of memories from his nearly forgotten past.

     It took Galba around one second to aim and shoot the stunner at the direct center of DeSoni's back, and even then the captive had made it halfway down the dungeon corridor. The tiny Yellow Alien Aisha who had been treated as a freak and experimented on his whole childhood collapsed to the ground, instantly unconscious.

     The large, Red Alien Aisha walked over to the inert body and lifted it easily.

     "Please, don't do this!" begged Kregor Geiger in a devastated voice. "I'll refuse the promotion! I'll resign my position! I'll even leave our homeworld forever!"

     "My mind is made up," said Commander Galba coldly. He reached the table and started strapping the small figure down.

     "No, please!" said Kregor. "You don't understand-he used to have nightmares nearly every night when we were dorm-mates at university! He would flinch whenever someone mentioned the word 'experiment'!"

     "All the better," said Galba coldly. He knew full well-every Alien Aisha over 10 solar years knew full well-that Derek Sonix, the genius freak half a normal Alien Aisha's height and missing two earstalks of a normal Alien Aisha's four, had been tested and experimented on since day 2.

     "Please, Galba! Be reasonable! It's everything I've been working to end! Please!"

     "Which is why to frame you for actually committing it would be so perfect."

To be continued...

Let me know what you think--I'm wide open! And I really want to know what you think of the way things are shaping up! And please 'stay tuned' for part three, introducing Rocky's grandmother and giving Kregor the chance to tell his story!

 
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Other Episodes


» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part One
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Three
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Four
» A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Five



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