Dr. Sloth and the Bundle of Justice
A green hand slammed hard on the metal desk, sending a resounding claaaang... around the cold room.
“You are all aware of my current scheme for Neopian domination. You should know your assignments and most importantly you should all remember to report back to me. Is that clear?”
“Yes, sir,” a couple of guards answered in unison, saluting their fearsome leader.
“Good,” Dr. Frank Sloth said satisfactorily, leaning forward in his high-backed chair to dismiss his henchmen. “You may leave now.”
The evil overlord smiled slyly, watching the guards leave his office. Now that he was alone, he could start to plot his next evil scheme.
How he loved to strike fear into Neopia! He adored his job... only because he ruled the operation, of course.
But before he could plot his next marvellous scheme, he needed refreshments. Instead of calling his subordinates to fetch him a beverage or a snack of some form, Sloth decided that he would stretch his legs and walk to the Recreation Deck himself. At least that way he could be certain his minions were working and not attempting to slack off!
He exited his quarters, nodding a greeting to his guards outside the room, and proceeded importantly towards his destination.
Now Sloth remembered why he liked these little strolls in the space station. It was not because exercise released natural endorphins that make people happy, but the look of fear on his employees’ faces as he passed by them. It was deviously delightful to watch, he should do this more often!
* * *
When he arrived at the Recreation Deck he cut to the front of the queue and confronted the Grundo Chef.
“A Spudnik, Beef Rouladen and an Iceberg Sundae on the double. I don’t have time to faff around.”
“Yes, boss,” the Mutant Grundo chef complied, whipping up his best batch of the order for his superior.
Sloth glanced at a small Orange Grundo who was staring at him nervously in the queue. The overlord looked down his nose at him and said stiffly, “Stop staring, imbecile.”
The Grundo whimpered and glanced at the floor instead. Sloth chuckled, grabbing his food from the chef, and immediately made his way back to his quarters. He was the master of this place – next he’d rule Neopia!
Before Sloth arrived at his office again, he detoured to the Hangar to make sure that his troops were ready.
Hmm, he could have sworn that he had more ships than that... Oh wait, the scouting ships were out this time searching for other planets that he could conquer after Neopia. Excellent.
Dr. Sloth left a few instructions to the Captain of the fleet and returned to his quarters to consume his lunch.
All was going well until he bit into his Iceberg Sundae. He heard a baffling gurgling noise coming from somewhere in the room.
How odd... he thought, turning his head around to scout the premises without leaving his chair. Must have been my imagination. I work too hard.
He resumed eating his dessert when the gurgling resounded again, followed by what sounded like a hiccup.
Sloth leapt out of his chair defensively and withdrew a blaster from a draw in his metal desk. He then patrolled every inch of the room, not forgetting to look under the desk, and frowned when he could not find the source of the noise.
I should ask my guards to investigate, he mused, opening his automatic door to speak to the armoured Mutant Grundos outside.
“I want you to investigate my office. I am hearing curious noises and cannot find the origin of the sound.”
“Yes, sir,” they replied, entering the room to search every inch of the place. They could not see what the problem was after their investigation.
“Inconclusive search, sir,” one of them reported, saluting the overlord. “Would you like some borovan to calm your nerves?”
“What nerves?!” Sloth roared in offence. “But yes, some borovan would be suitable.”
* * *
Dr. Sloth returned to his high-backed chair with a steaming mug of borovan. He inhaled the aroma and exhaled, imagining the entire population of Neopia bowing at his feet.
He dropped his mug and climbed up onto the safety of his chair, glancing around his office frantically. “What the Flotsam was THAT?!”
No matter how much he scouted the room with his eyes, he could not spot where the sound had come from...
“DADA!” it squeaked again, this time struggling to climb on the desk, showing its huge, blue eyes.
“HOLY SPACE FUNGUS!” Sloth exclaimed in fright, almost falling off his chair. “GUARDS!!!”
The two Mutant Grundos burst into the room with weapons raised to dash to their master’s rescue.
They then stopped and looked at their boss quizzically.
“What’s the problem, sir?” the asked in unison.
Sloth pointed at the creature on his desk, clinging onto his chair for protection. “What is THAT?”
“That?” one of them asked sceptically. “It appears to be a Baby Xweetok, sir.”
“What is that doing here?!” he asked, aghast.
“We do not know. It is quite harmless, though,” the guard reassured him gently, coaxing the overlord down from his chair. “Are you all right, sir?”
Dr. Sloth cleared his throat and regained his composure, pretending that nothing had happened.
“Can someone please explain to me how this... baby... got into my office without detection?”
The little Xweetok crawled around the desk, gurgling and making strange squeaking noises.
One of the guards shrugged. “Beats me, sir.”
“No clue,” the other said dismissively, gaining a glare from his boss. “Perhaps the child belongs to an employee?”
Sloth drummed his fingers impatiently on the desk, suddenly intriguing the Baby Xweetok who crawled over to investigate what he was doing. He spat, “GO FIND WHO IT BELONGS TO.”
“Yes, sir!” the guards complied immediately, dashing out of the room as quickly as their legs could carry them.
Now Sloth was alone... with a baby. Great. He picked it up and carefully placed it at the end of his desk, staring at it like he was watching a Grundo repairing his special ship. It needed to be watched...
“You’re my hostage now,” he said to the child as it sucked on its little toes. “Whoever brought you aboard this ship will pay a dear price for leaving you here... You aren’t leaving my sight.”
In response to this, the little tyke clapped its paws and seemed generally cheery.
Ugh, gross. Cheerfulness.
Dr. Sloth resolved that his best plan of action was to ignore the child completely (it would not be able to run away from his room) and start working on new blueprints for his spaceship upgrades.
He picked up the baby and deposited it in the far corner of the room so it wouldn’t get in the way. He then pressed a button on his desk to convert the surface of it into a touch-screen work surface where he normally spent his spare time programming blueprints into his database.
Dr. Sloth became so absorbed in his work that he forgot about the Xweetok. His ingenious brain needed to concentrate, after all, and it was being quiet so that could only be a good thing –
Sloth jumped in shock and whipped around to see the baby crying in the corner. He glared. “Cease that terrible noise, child. Can’t you see I’m working?”
But it did not obey him. What a wretched, ungrateful child! Did it not know whom it had the pleasure of being in the mere PRESENCE of? Unbelievable!
He could no longer concentrate and wandered over to assert his authority.
“I am Dr. Frank Sloth. I am your supreme ruler. You will stop that racket right now or your family won’t get any food for a week, do you hear me?”
And by some miracle the baby stopped crying, looking adorably at the overlord. Was this... respect?
“Hmph, that’s more like it,” Sloth mused happily, returning to his work. But as soon as he walked away, the baby started crying again.
It turned out that the infant had gained a little TOO much respect for the overlord and wanted to accompany him at his desk.
Well, it was unorthodox but if it kept the wretched thing quiet, then he was willing to give it a shot.
And it worked! The child even seemed to like his plans.
* * *
Dr. Sloth found himself entertaining the Baby Xweetok for over an hour, but he had grown to like its keen interest in what he had to say.
He could tell it stories about how he wished to dominate the galaxy after he practiced enslaving Neopia, and it CLAPPED! When it grew older, he was thinking of recruiting the child as his apprentice. You don’t discard that kind of obedience.
“What shall I name you, child?” he wondered, giving it some Dr. Sloth Toy Blocks to occupy itself with. (Don’t ask why he has toy blocks in his office, that’s top secret information.) He paced the floor, keeping an eye on the kid. “You strike me as a ‘Slothette’...”
Suddenly the door to his office slid open, and in walked a Mutant Grundo guard, pushing in a lady Red Xweetok who was wearing a trench coat and a black beret.
Dr. Sloth scowled at his guard. “Can’t you knock?”
“Apologies, Dr. Sloth, grand supreme overlord...” the Grundo began hastily, backing away. “This lady was on the Recreation Deck and claims the child to be hers.”
“You may leave now.”
And the guard left Sloth alone to confront the older Xweetok. He stared at her scornfully.
“WHAT was your baby doing in my office?” he demanded, not breaking eye-contact with her.
The lady dipped her gaze, saying, “Please forgive me. Lana, my child, managed to wander off and must have found her way to your room. I hope that she has not been too much trouble.”
“TROUBLE?” Sloth bellowed, demonstrating his outraged side. “Trouble? That child has been a nuisance... but I have spared her because she seems to like my evil schemes, so consider yourself lucky.”
The Xweetok smiled. “Oh, really? Well, it is an honour that the great Dr. Sloth has chosen my child to share his wisdom with. I have always hoped for my Lana to grow up with a good role model.”
This changed Sloth’s opinion entirely, he now beamed with pride. “Oh, really? Well, you will be pleased to know that I have selected this child to become my apprentice once she learns to walk and talk... Although she won’t be allowed to speak until spoken to, of course.”
“What is your name?”
“I am Ms. Belvidere Crimson.”
“Well, Ms. Crimson, I am prepared to strike an offer with you. And by offer I mean I require your complete co-operation or you’ll die.”
Ms. Crimson only giggled. “Oh, stop! You had me at ‘offer’. How can I be of service, Dr. Sloth?”
He stood in front of the baby who was now drooling all over the toy blocks and folded his arms. “I am prepared to release this child into your care, but only if you raise her to serve me as her leader and return her to me at the age of seven so that I can train her as my apprentice.”
“Thank you, Dr. Sloth! Thank you!” she cheered, bowing once in gratitude. “She will be your best pupil, I promise.”
Sloth was starting to like this parent and child combo; they were willing to serve. He passed her the baby and grinned majestically. “Good. Now leave my sight. I want a progress report from you every year until she comes of age to be my apprentice. Don’t think that I will forget.”
“Yes, sir,” she said compliantly, curtseying. She then placed the baby down on the floor before taking Sloth’s hands. “I have something to offer you that you can’t refuse...”
The overlord cringed and wrenched his hands free. “What?”
Then came something he did NOT expect!
“STICK ‘EM UP, SCUMBAG, YOUR TIME IS UP!” she snapped, withdrawing a QX-92 Neutrino Blaster from the inside of her trench coat. She wasted no time in firing random shots around the room, blowing up as much equipment as she could in a few seconds.
“WHAT THE--?!” Sloth exclaimed, ducking for cover. “GUARDS!”
“I am Agent Crimson from the Resistance, Dr. Sloth,” she explained darkly, still shooting. “That baby is Agent Lana Duckling, our youngest Resistance member. She was wearing a bugging device that transmitted everything you said to her to our HQ. Now, if you’ll excuse me, we have to leave... and we will NEVER serve you!”
Dr. Sloth’s office exploded all around him and as soon as the doors opened to allow the guards in. The agents made a run for it out of the room, not stopping because their lives depended on it.
Alarms resounded around the space station in protest; AWOOOGA! AWOOOGA!
Sloth snapped at his guards as he raced out of his room. “Stop them! They’ve ruined my plans!”
But they never caught the double-crossers, and now Sloth was left without an office or an apprentice.
* * *
Dr. Sloth was now in his new office somewhere else within the space station whilst some employees rebuilt his old room. He was currently occupying himself with a new plan.
A new plan to eliminate the Resistance once and for all!
And who knows, maybe he will find the perfect apprentice... He would just need to recruit more carefully.