Invisible Paint Brushes rock Circulation: 188,575,482 Issue: 536 | 16th day of Running, Y14
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Transmogrifiers


by thorndove

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For Kristy. Thanks for being such an awesome friend! =)

The green Cybunny hopped over to the Fresh Produce section, and reached for a large and particularly fresh looking carrot.

     "No!"

     With this drawn out and unnecessarily dramatic cry, a red Nimmo flung himself at her. The Cybunny's basket fell from her paw, and she landed hard on her back, struggling to push him away from her.

     "Get off me! I... can't breathe, you Meepit!"

     "Oh, sorry." The Nimmo moved back.

     Gasping for air, the Cybunny staggered to her paws. "What was that...?"

     "No time." The Nimmo seized her arm and dragged her around the corner, into the petpet food aisle. His eyes flickered about warily. Then, pressing close to the shelves, he inched forward and peered into the Fresh Produce section. The Cybunny stepped past him, and followed his gaze.

     "What is it?"

     "That carrot."

     "Oh, dear Fyor... ahh!"

     The Nimmo had seized her arm once more, and pulled her back none too gently, which caused her to almost knock over a pile of tins. The Cybunny, most annoyed by this, wrenched her arm free and rubbed at her shoulder.

     "You're a loonie," she growled. "Why the heck should I be afraid of a carrot?"

     His eyes looked past her, darted left and right.

     "They're everywhere."

     "What?"

     "Giant robots... disguised as ordinary pieces of fresh garden produce."

     "Oh, no," the Cybunny covered her eyes. "You know that's ridiculous, right? For one, how could a giant robot become a tiny carr...?"

     "Ack! Look out!"

     The Cybunny quickly glanced up. A giant robot Lupe, eyes blazing red, stood at the entrance to the aisle. She froze. Its jaw began to glow.

     "Move!"

      The Nimmo seized her arm for a third time, and dragged the Cybunny out of the way, just as the Lupe's mouth opened, and a burst of flame burned a hole in the floor where the Cybunny had just been sitting.

     "Kass feathers!" The Nimmo dragged the Cybunny behind a stack of crates at the far end of the aisle, and released her arm. Crouching, he cautiously raised his head to see where the robot was, then quickly ducked. A laser beam shot overhead.

     "Right." He turned to the Cybunny. "We don't have much time."

     "Yeah."

     "Here." He held out a blue plastic cube. "Take this."

     She eyed it critically. "What, and let him melt it into a pretty blue disc?"

     "This is no ordinary blue plastic cube. It's the Blue Plastic Cube."

     "Stop wasting time. What am I supposed to do with it?"

     "I want you to take this, and put it in the freezer."

     She stared. "Um, what?"

     "Look, just trust me. Now, hurry up and move!"

     He pushed her into the next aisle, then drew his laser gun and fired it at the robot. Another appeared by the Fresh Produce section. This one was a robot Wocky. It snarled at the Cybunny, and she bolted towards the sign marked "Frozen Goods". She could hear the thundering of the Wocky's metal paws as it gave chase. It fired a laser, which missed the Cybunny by a hair. She could feel its warmth against her fur. The Cybunny yelped, clutched the Blue Plastic Cube more tightly, and turned into an adjacent aisle. A shelf exploded behind her, sending tinned fruit flying. Terrified, the Cybunny kept running. Suddenly, an apple lying in the middle of the aisle began to whir. Before her very eyes, it transmogrified into a three metre tall robot Scorchio. It snapped at her, while flexing its claws. Trembling, the Cybunny pressed herself back against the shelves, eyes wide.

     "Nimmo guy, help!" she cried.

     With a snarl, a mutant Lupe sprang past her, firing a laser gun. The beam burned a hole in the Scorchio's chest. With a crash, it collapsed against the shelves, toppling them over into the next aisle. A Xweetok with a shopping basket backed away from the machine, mouth hanging open in shock.

     The mutant Lupe whirled to face the Cybunny. "Go."

     The Cybunny stumbled over broken jars and splintered wood, glad that she was wearing Sensible Shoes. In the next aisle, she found a copy of Meridell Monthly. After a moment's thought, she stuffed it into her back pocket- reminding herself, of course, to pay for it later- and sprinted onward. At last, the freezers were in sight. The Cybunny was almost there when a robot Hissi seemed to rise from the ground in front of her.

     He sneered at her. "Give up, little Neopet. Your world is ours."

     "A supermarket isn't exactly the world," the Cybunny managed to gasp, backing up against a shelf.

     The robot sneered. His stainless steel teeth glistened.

     "Your kind are weak," he hissed. "Weak. You deserve to die for it."

     "Well, at least we can go out in the rain without rusting," the Cybunny retorted, anger rising.

     The Hissi grinned. "What's that you've got in your hand?"

     The Cybunny only then remembered the Blue Plastic Cube. She shrank back, holding it close to her heart. The robot frowned.

     "Give it to me, Neopet."

     The Cybunny turned and, clutching the cube in her left hand, used her right to climb up onto the nearest column of supermarket shelves. It was a very high column, but she was a very good climber- it came from years of mountaineering, she supposed. By the time the robot had time to process what was happening, she was out of grabbing range.

     "Come back here!"

     He latched onto a shelf with both hands and hauled himself up after her. The Cybunny gasped, clinging to the edge as the shelves shook alarmingly. For a few moments, she was paralysed by the fear that it would fall. Then the shaking lessened, and the Cybunny realised how close the Hissi was getting. She forced herself onward. After a few minutes, she reached the top shelf. Hunched over so as to not injure herself against the roof, the Cybunny scurried away from the edge, and turned. The grinning face of the robot Hissi leered up at her.

     "You can't run forever," he taunted.

     Beyond him was the freezer. The Cybunny remembered what the Nimmo had told her. Would she be able to make the throw from this distance? The shelves shook, and she fell forward, yelping, as she was flung over the edge and towards the robot. She managed to grab on to a shelf near to the top. The force of her motion flung her against them, winding her, and caused her to drop the Blue Plastic Cube. The robot was right in her face, laughing at her.

     "Looks like you dropped something, Neopet."

     "Don't count your chickens before they hatch, metal man!"

     The Nimmo stood below them, holding the cube aloft. It was he who had called out. The mutant Lupe crouched at his side, growling quietly, his weapon drawn. The robot roared at them, pushed away from the shelves. They swayed violently in the other direction, and toppled into the next aisle, the Cybunny still clinging desperately onto them. With a crash, the shelves hit the ground, sending items flying everywhere. As she unsteadily rose to her feet, vision swimming, the Cybunny blearily noticed that the aisle was a mess of chips, diary whip, and shattered jars of salsa. A scream of agony bought her fully to her senses, and made her whip around. The robot stood frozen, jaws wise open in an agonised snarl. The Nimmo grinned at the Cybunny as she walked unsteadily towards them.

     "What happened?" she asked.

     "Well," the Nimmo was practically beaming, "the Blue Plastic Cube is pure energy, right? And when you cool something down, it loses energy to the surrounding environment. So, by chucking it in the freezer, I made it too weak to function."

     "How does that explain what happened to the robot?"

     "Oh, it doesn't. We rammed three containers of ice-cream down his throat. He's just got a massive brain freeze. Also, it'll melt into a liquid, so... some of his internal gadgetry may not work so well for a while."

     "Oh, okay." The Cybunny steadied herself against the freezer, and looked around at the destruction all about them. Then, something occurred to her.

     "What does the cube-thing even do?" she asked.

     It was the Lupe who replied this time. "The Blue Plastic Cube can be used to turn ordinary fresh produce into these transmogrifying robot creatures."

     "Oh." The Cybunny nodded. "That's pretty powerful."

     "It is."

     "So." The Nimmo was evidently growing impatient. "We've saved the day, yada yada, it's all good. Can we go and get some lunch now? I'm starved."

     "Okay. Wait a moment." The Cybunny paused. "Can you wait for me outside? There's something I need to do first."

     She removed her magazine from where it had landed, amongst a pile of broken corn chips, and went up to the counter. A blue Pteri smiled at her.

     "Will that be all, miss?"

     "Yeah. Sorry about the mess." Even though it wasn't her fault, the Cybunny felt obliged to apologise.

     The Pteri frowned. "What mess?"

     "You're kidding, right?"

     But no. All around, checkout operators and departing shoppers seemed unaware of what havoc had been wreaked in the store around them. Unable to believe it, the Cybunny went and joined her companions at the exit.

     "They must be blind!" she exclaimed.

     "They just didn't notice," said the Nimmo, matter-of-factly. "Let's go to Pizzaroo."

     With the Nimmo leading the way, they began to cross the road. Suddenly, there was a scream, and a robot Uni reared its head in the distance. The Cybunny looked at the Nimmo. His expression had become one of grim determination.

     "Let's do this."

The End

 
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