The Rise and Fall of Dr. Boochigald: A Hero's Tale - Part Four
Also by a_greenparrot
Sunday, 6th Day of Running, Many Years Ago,
Kreludan Training Facility.
A glowing, green projectile burst through the pitch-black room and a small, purple Grundo let out a painful scream as it hit him in the back.
A voice emanated from behind him, “Gotcha, kid.”
He let out a frustrated groan and shimmied around to the back of a low, metallic wall. Ducking behind it, he pulled out a ray gun and hung it over the top edge. He fired a long volley of matte black pellets – his head still below the edge – and settled back down for a moment’s rest. As he rested, he was able to take in the surroundings. The room was in complete darkness – apart from the blinding white light flashing throughout the whole room at a constant pulse - and the many individuals throughout the chamber were only identifiable by their glow-in-the-dark uniforms. These outfits were comprised simply of a powerfully defensive armour bodysuit, and a glow-in-the-dark cloth over the top. Both the cloth and the armour covered every part of the wearer’s body, except for their face. Although they were greatly protected, it was still incredibly painful to take one of those pellets.
The whole room was made from some kind of metal, and was like a maze. Due to the temperature conductivity of the metal, it was terribly cold. So cold, in fact, that it made it difficult to move once you were down. This was done purposely, to see how the trainees responded in varying temperatures; one of the trying situations that they would definitely face after graduating to a Kreludan protector.
A shuffle could be heard from behind the Grundo; he stopped his breathing to make it seem that he was out, but as the tiny shuffling sound progressed into a silent sneak, it was obvious that they weren’t falling for it. He continued to sit silently, starting to gasp for breath; waiting for his opportunity.
The attacker drew closer, and then slunk behind a cylindrical pillar. When he noticed that the Grundo wasn’t in any hurry to move, he walked out from behind the column and drew his ray gun, aiming it at the Grundo’s head. His fingers clenched on the trigger; his heart beat at a sustained, but unusually fast pace, as he got ready to fire.
This was his first field test ever, and he was a little unsure of firing at an advanced agent. Which is only to be expected – if he had wanted to, the Grundo could easily outwit and outfight his attacker.
When the attacker was sure that he was not going to move, he pulled the trigger three times.
Despite his appearance, the Grundo wasn’t stupid at all. When he had heard the trigger’s ‘clunk’ sound, he grabbed the top of the wall and flipped over onto the other side of it. While in mid air, he pulled his left arm in front of his face, revealing a powerful reflector, stuck to his sleeve. The pellets ricocheted off of it and rebounded back into his attacker’s body.
The Grundo grinned, proud of his achievement, and said, “Nice try, buddy.”
At this moment, the lights flicked on, and stayed that way – the training session was finished. The Grundo squinted, blinded from the sudden introduction of light to the dark room. As soon as his eyes became accustomed, he walked towards the exit, following the directions marked on the walls of the maze.
After exiting the training room, he heard a familiar voice, “Hey, Seven! Vanin wants to see you.”
To ensure their protection, all trainees were called by their ranking. After becoming a field agent, they would be given a new name.
He turned to see a green Grundo standing atop the stairs.
Seven groaned, “What’d I do this time?”
The Grundo just laughed, “He’s in a good mood today.”
Seven smiled and followed him up the stairs and into the room on the second storey. Well, more like the basement – this was an underground facility to ensure protection from Dr. Sloth.
Upon entering the small, modernized office, he was greeted by a small, royal Grundo – Zarin.
With a cheerful smile, he said loudly, “Ah, Seven, good to see you! That was some nice work out in the training room, just then. That vault over the wall was magnificent!”
“Thank you, sir.”
“Now, Seven, down to business.” It was obvious Zarin wanted to continue talking, but his schedule disallowed him that desire, so he continued, “I want you to become the new Kreludan Protector.”
Seven’s neutral face changed to show disbelief as he said, “W-what? But I’m not One, yet.”
Usually, field agent positions were given to the trainee ranked number one.
“That doesn’t matter.” Zarin grinned. “If you can fight like you did in there today, you’re all we need.”
“Th-thank you so much, sir.”
“You used to live in the village known as Traag, correct?”
“Then you will serve there. Go and see the village leader to get everything confirmed.”
“Thank you. Thank you so, so mu—”
Zarin cut him off, “Oh, hush. Get going, I want you out protecting Kreludor from Sloth as soon as possible.”
Seven nodded and went to walk out of the door.
“Oh, and, Seven – please don’t mention any of this to the trainees.”
“Of course, sir.”
On Seven’s reasonably short walk back to his old village, many things went through his head. I wonder what my new name will be? Will I ever get to see my friends again? Why did he promote me so quickly? These thoughts, however, quickly passed as he focused on his walk.
He walked for a little over fifteen minutes, before reaching a large mountain.
“Over this mountain is my village. It’s such a beautiful place; I wonder if it will still be the same?” he thought to himself.
After trudging over the hill for more than an hour, he reached a tiny, dilapidated village. There were four visible, stone buildings that were obviously deserted, and the rest were simply a pile of rubble. Seven stood aghast in what the town was now. What used to be an alluring, bustling village with glistening waterfalls and green paddocks was now nothing more than a crater.
Seven broke down, “What happened?”
He fell to the ground and sat with his head in his hands. He sat, not moving, for a long time before looking up and noticing the sun was setting. He decided it was unwise to be sitting around at night, so picked himself up.
He looked back at the stone buildings, and noticed that in between them were small huts where the citizens lived. All of these were identical, except for one, which was quite obviously larger, and had a tall, metal pole attached to its roof. Hanging off of the shaft was a triangular, red flag. This symbolized that this hut was where the village leader lived. Seven took a deep breath, and walked into the hut.
The room looked like it had been hit by some kind of explosive. Everything inside it was strewn all over the uneven, muddy ground. The walls were scratched, the books lying on the ground were all marked and most did not have a cover. The only thing in the room that wasn’t completely destroyed was a wooden desk, standing solidly in front of Seven.
He took a quick look around, but saw nobody. Bearing a confused look on his face, he moved slowly towards the bureau. He stood there for at least a minute, and then searched the desk for a way to communicate with somebody. Eventually, he found a rusted bell, and rang it. There was a movement in the wall in front of Seven, and a worn-out looking Island Grundo stepped out and stood behind the desk.
“Ah, Seven, it’s good to see you!” Despite his weary appearance, he spoke with a joyful and excited voice, “I hear you got a promotion, congratulations!”
“Thank you, but... who are you?”
“I’m Leader, and I, obviously, am the leader of this village.”
Seven tried to hide back his laughter. “That’s an original name.”
Leader frowned. “It’s no more hilarious than your name, Seven. Besides, you’ll be getting another name similar to mine assigned to you in a minute.”
“...Oh. This village... it is not how I remember it. We never had names like these, it was a beautiful and great place, and--”
Leader sank his head solemnly and muttered, “Now is not the time, Seven. You will understand what happened here in due course, but for now, we must get down to business.”
Leader took one of the biggest and oldest-looking books off of his desk, and flipped through it. On the pages were varying styles of handwriting, ranging from confusing cursive to large print. From what Seven could make out, they were lists of random words.
“This is a book that lists all of the names that have been given out amongst the villagers in the history of this town.” He turned around the book so that it was viewable by Seven. “As you can see, names are given out based on what job you have in the village.”
Seven viewed many odd names, such as ‘Pilot’ and ‘Pianist’, and immediately felt sorry for anybody that had the job of cleaning toilets.
“Your job is to defend us. So you will be known as... Hero.”
Leader frowned. “Hero, this is one of the most prestigious names and positions available, it is a privilege.”
“I suppose. Thank you, Leader. When can I start?”
Leader winked, and mumbled, “Now.”
He disappeared behind the wall he had appeared from, and left Hero to exit the room and begin his work.
“Almost there... I just need one last piece of Kreludite.” Boochigald was working on his large ray gun. “814, Could you get that for me, please?”
Immediately, one of the robot minions sprang to life, and headed over to the ever-shrinking pile of supplies.
It rummaged through for a moment, before saying to Boochigald, “I’m sorry, Master, but it appears that our Kreludite supplies have depleted to the point of nothing.”
“What?” Boochigald’s temper was fuming. “I thought I got enough!”
“No, sir; apparently not. However, my scanner tells me that there is a laboratory in a small village known as Traag. Inside there, they keep small amounts of Kreludite.”
“Interesting. I’ll go there now.”
“Master, I must apologise, but I cannot allow you to go and retrieve this Kreludite.”
“What? You do not tell me what to do!”
“I know, Master, I apologise. However, excessive exposure to Kreludite is known to cause insanity and evilness.”
“I’ll be fine. Watch the place, I’ll be back soon.”
As soon as Boochigald walked away, the robots immediately lay down and went to sleep.
After Hero had left the hut, he began to patrol the village. There wasn’t much of it, and what was there was practically destroyed. In the couple of minutes he’d been patrolling, he had found the most modernized building in the village. It was a small laboratory. Although, he couldn’t quite tell what was in there.
Hero walked away from the lab, and ducked down behind a barrier. From here he had a great view of most of the village, so he decided it was a good place to hide out.
It didn’t take long for him to spot his first sign of movement, as a bush rustled in the distance. Hero ducked down further and viewed the action through a gap in the barricade, as a small Bruce snuck out from behind the shrub and ran into the lab.
With this, Hero jumped into action, vaulting over the barrier and following Boochigald into the laboratory. Inside, he found a long hallway, leading into a metal door, which was clamped shut tightly. Hero saw Boochigald standing at the door, so hid behind a wall to the side. Peering around the side, he could make out a small keypad to the side of the door. Boochigald was standing in front of it, pressing buttons that seemed random.
“Curses, I need a code.” The Bruce looked around, taking in his surroundings and searching for a way around the door.
All of a sudden, however, it seemed as though somebody implanted a thought into his head. Immediately, he headed over to the keypad and tapped quickly at four buttons. The door creaked and groaned, but eventually opened, to reveal a small storeroom stacked with shelves. Boochigald immediately began to rummage through the various items. Eventually, he obviously found what he needed and left the lab, with Hero following his every step. He wasn’t used to stealth work, but quickly became accustomed to the silent and sneaky ways of doing things. In the short time he was following Boochigald, there were several times that he was forced to hide behind a building, or duck below a bin, but Hero doubted the Bruce spotted him at all.
When the Bruce stopped walking, Hero found himself in the old mining corporation. Nothing appeared to be there but a huge, seemingly complete ray gun. It was this Boochigald headed towards, and then placed whatever he had stolen from the laboratory inside it. Hero placed his hand near the ray gun strapped to his belt, and held the grip in his hands.
A faint smile could be seen on Boochigald’s face, as he joyfully said with his back still away from Hero, “Hello, friend. Don’t you think it’s a bit rude to be pointing a weapon at me? I mean, we’ve only just met. Wouldn’t you like to have a nice cup of borovan with me, befor—”
“Be quiet. Who are you? What’re you doing?”
Boochigald laughed obnoxiously. “I suppose I can tell you; you won’t be around to do anything about it. I am Dr. Boochigald, and I will use this ray gun here to turn all of Neopia into babies, so we can enslave them quickly and easily.”
Hero was intrigued by this absurd scheme. “Who’s we?”
“Why, Dr. Sloth and I, of course. We shall rule the world together, as equals.”
Hero was overcome by the hilarity of the Bruce’s ignorance, so he laughed. “Equal? With Dr. Sloth? You have to be kidding me.”
Boochigald’s temper suddenly flared, and he ordered, “Enough! If you think you’re so good, let’s see how you compare to my robot servants!”
Hero was late to realize what Boochigald had said, and wasn’t expecting the heavy hit that burst into his right side. The sheer force of the metallic monster’s punch was enough to send the solid Grundo to the ground. With an impressive jump, Hero launched himself back on his feet.
“If that’s the way you want to play – let’s play.”
With this, the Grundo did a cartwheel around one of the robots, drawing his ray gun in mid-spin. He was too quick for the sluggish robot, so ended up behind him. With a single blast to the back of the automaton’s head, it burst into many pieces of metal and fell over.
It took Hero only a few minutes to defeat all six monsters. He proudly looked around the area for anymore.
“Bravo, bravo!” Hero turned to see Boochigald sitting on his ray gun. “I really wish those robots weren’t just a diversion, now.”
With this, he pulled a lever on the side of the ray gun, and an unbelievably bright laser beam came out of the end. It travelled at lightning speed towards Hero, and he covered his eyes with his arm. He waited for the end, but all he felt was a forceful push on his arm, followed by the sound of an explosion.
He took his arm away from his eyes and took in the scene around him. The ray gun was now a smoking pile of rubble, and the evil Bruce was nowhere to be seen. Struggling to comprehend what had happened, he glanced down at his arm. When he inspected it, he found something he had forgotten about. Still attached to his arm, although completely destroyed, was his powerful reflector.
Now understanding what had happened, he walked over to the ray gun, stepping over many dismembered robots to get there.
Still holding his ray gun in the ready position, Hero stepped around the mine cautiously, looking around for Boochigald, but no movement could be seen. Soon, Hero spotted something lying atop a pile of smoking debris. He walked up the mountain, and saw what it was; it was Boochigald’s lab coat. The once white item of clothing was now badly charred, therefore turning most of it brown. Not thinking any more of it, Hero turned and headed back to his village, not noticing the small movement under the lab coat.
To be continued...