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The Day The NT (Almost) Died


by birdinggal

--------

Also written by punkinunk

Everything was quiet. Too quiet.

     Captain Noblefeathers the Brave, a Weewoo with glistening white feathers that shone like snow in the sun, knew this could mean only one thing.

     His arch-nemesis, the evil Doctor Dastardly, must be in his lair, piecing together his latest fiendish plot.

     Captain Noblefeathers knew that he, the bravest White Weewoo in all of Neopia, was the only one with enough skills, bravery, and dashing good looks to stop him.

     And so, taking flight from atop the tree he had perched upon to survey the city and its inhabitants, he began the long and perilous journey to the lair of the evil Doctor Dastardly...

***

     The evil Doctor Dastardly was in his lair, piecing together his latest fiendish plot.

     The Darigan-coloured Weewoo laughed evilly to himself as he proudly admired his latest invention. It was finally complete. Now all he had to do was test it.

     But just as he was about to try, a bundle of white feathers crashed though the skylight in the ceiling in a shower of glass.

     Doctor Dastardly scowled as the figure rose to its feet.

     "Captain Noblefeathers!" he spat.

     "Doctor Dastardly!" Captain Noblefeathers exclaimed. "What fiendish plot do you--" He stopped short upon seeing the invention.

     "What in the name of Ha Ha Grubs is THAT?" he cried, as he stared at the haphazardly-constructed contraption that stood before him.

     Doctor Dastardly smirked. "Beautiful, isn't it? It took me half a lifetime to invent it."

     Captain Noblefeathers shook his head. "That still doesn't tell me what it is."

     "Well, since you asked so nicely, I'll tell you." Doctor Dastardly walked over to the Machine and placed a wing on it. "This," he said, pausing dramatically, "is my Time Machine."

     "...That's a Time Machine..."

     "I do believe that's what I said."

     "What's it for?"

     Doctor Dastardly shot Captain Noblefeathers a pitying look.

     "I do hope you are not that dense. A Time Machine - in theory - allows one to travel into the past, or even future."

     "I know that," Captain Noblefeathers said, rolling his eyes. "But what are you going to do with it?"

     Doctor Dastardly grinned, glad for a chance to finally reveal his plan in a dramatic manner.

     "Dear Captain," he said. "I'm going to go to the past and prevent the creation of the Neopian Times."

     Captain Noblefeathers gasped. This could not happen! Doctor Dastardly must be stopped, at any cost!

     "Didn't you learn your lesson when you tried to steal the priceless Jade Weewoo?" Captain Noblefeathers said, shaking his head. Then, upon seeing that Doctor Dastardly had not learned his lesson, opened his beak, and began to sing.

     "Don't you know that evil never pays?

     When will you learn the errors of your ways?

     Stop this madness, let it cease!

     And we can all live in peace."

     After finishing his song, Captain Noblefeathers looked at Doctor Dastardly imploringly. Dastardly was unimpressed.

     "If you think one pitiful little song is going to change my mind, you're crazier than the Lab Ray Kookith."

     For a moment, Captain Noblefeathers looked insulted. But then, with a determined look, he said,

     "Well, then I shall just have to stop you myself! For great justice!"

     He dove for Doctor Dastardly. Unfortunately, his noble aim was not so good, and he missed, zooming right into...

      ...The Time Machine.

     "No!" Doctor Dastardly gasped. "It cannot be!" He lunged for the machine. On the upside, this meant that Captain Noblefeathers was no longer by himself.

     On the downside, this meant that they were hurtling through time.

     "Now you've done it!" Doctor Dastardly squawked angrily. "You've just launched us BOTH into the past!"

     Captain Noblefeathers looked deeply disturbed. "It is a tragedy!" he lamented. "How foolish have I been! The past should never be trifled with! Oh, what a heroic blunder I have made!" He hung his head in shame.

     "Not that!" Doctor Dastardly said, annoyed. "I merely cannot afford to have you in my way!"

     And, with a dramatic wing gesture, he began to sing:

     "My evil plan is terrible and nasty

     And there is just no way that I can fail

     But I cannot have a hero in the works so fine

     Though he's in vain, of course; I shall prevail!

     My plan has been both foolproof and formidable

     But now it seems I've hit with just a snag

     So intricate, the past; and I know I must move fast

     If I want to keep to keep this scheme within the bag!"

     At last he finished, sweeping his wing around him in a bow.

     "No!" Captain Noblefeathers said. "Don't you see? Time must flow untainted! No wing nor paw may affect what was meant to be! Don't you see?"

     "Quit your blathering, you pathetic Pawkeet. We've stopped."

     Indeed, the bizarre feeling seemed to have left Captain Noblefeathers. They did not seem to be moving any more.

     "I will stop you," Captain Noblefeathers declared.

     "Go ahead and try," Doctor Dastardly sneered, and darted for the door.

     Scrambling to his feet, Captain Noblefeathers once again put his noble aim to good use and charged towards our dear Doctor Dastardly.

     However, this time, his noble aim was better than the last, and he tackled the Doctor to the ground and began to bludgeon the villain with his noble wings, while shouting "For great justice!"

     For a moment, it appeared that the Captain was going to win. But that was, of course, before Dastardly resorted to one of the most primitive forms of battle, dating back to when Neopia was a much nastier place...

     Glancing behind Captain Noble feathers, Doctor Dastardly frowned.

     "That's a strange place for a piano," he mused.

     Alas, Captain Noblefeathers took the bait, and whirled to see this strangely-placed piano. No sooner was he distracted, than Dastardly rendered him unconscious and slipped away, darting though the door.

     Once safely outside, he took flight and headed towards his goal: the building where the very first issue of the precious Neopian Times would be printed...

***

     "Ugh."

     Captain Noblefeathers awoke with a wing to his head. At first, he didn't know where he was. "Darblat... pianos," he said, trying to reunite himself with reality. When it became clear this was not going to work, he gave up in favour of simply looking around. It was then that he remembered.

     "Doctor Dastardly!" he said, narrowing his eyes. "He must be stopped." Determined to do just that, Captain Noblefeathers stood up and tried to take a step - but found he could not. His foot appeared to be stuck in something.

     "What is that?" he asked himself with disgust, and tried once again to remove his foot from the floor. This time he was successful, and he scraped a bit of the offending substance from the bottom of his foot with his wing before walking.

     He sniffed it. "Feather gel!" Captain Noblefeathers was shocked. Creating a time machine to try and prevent the creation of the Neopian Times, well, that was evil. Lying about a piano was quite bad. But using feather gel to make his feathers appear more evilly fluffy? Well, that was downright dastardly. With determination, Captain Noblefeathers puffed himself up and strode purposefully out of the time machine toward the building where, he was sure, Doctor Dastardly was already putting his nasty plan into action.

***

     Doctor Dastardly was indeed already putting his nasty plan into action. He had already infiltrated the building, and was now traversing the maze of vents, making his way to the room where the master copy of the newspaper would be. Once he reached the room, all there would be to do was find the newspaper, steal it, and destroy it - right before the eyes of the pitiful helpless do-gooder Captain Noblefeathers.

     But how to destroy it, once I have it? Dastardly mused. I could always just tear it into pieces, but no – the fool might try and tape it back together, and that would not do at all. Burning would work wonderfully, but where would I get the matches? I could instead make it so waterlogged all the ink would run, but that would take too long. I need something quick and easy, yet disastrous and traumatizing. But what...?

     Had he not been so caught up in his inner monologue, he would have noticed that someone was sneaking up on him. But alas for him, he didn't notice it until he heard the telltale cry of "For great justice!" accompanied by a directionally-challenged White Weewoo crashing into him from behind.

     "Gah!" Dastardly cried, pitching forward. Angrily, he whirled around. "You!" he spat.

     Noblefeathers smirked. "You were expecting the Easter Cybunny?"

     Dastardly scowled. "No matter. As soon as I reach the master copy, I'll be unstoppable!" And with a cackle, Dastardly began to dash down the vent.

     Captain Noblefeathers was right behind him. The two Weewoos raced down the vents, both intent on completing their goals.

     Just then, up ahead, it appeared: the vent cover. The vent cover that was above the room that the master copy of the first-ever issue of the was resting in.

     With a surge of energy, Doctor Dastardly leapt forward and down onto the vent covering, knocking it out of place and sending him and it tumbling into the room.

     The cover clattered to the floor as Dastardly flapped his wings and began to fly in place. Spotting a newspaper on the table, he flew over to it and somehow lifted the rolled-up thing above his head, cackling in triumph just as Captain Noblefeathers tumbled though the opening in the ceiling...

     There was a loud 'thwump' as Captain Noblefeathers crashed to the floor. "Ow!" he said. It took only a moment for him to recover, however, and when he did he saw a very triumphant-looking Doctor Dastardly holding a newspaper.

     "No!" Captain Noblefeathers cried, lunging for the paper.

     "Yes!" Doctor Dastardly said gleefully, diving out of the way. "I have the master copy now!" And with that, he began to sing:

     "At last my plan was a success

     The future in my wings

     Now no one will ever see

     These precious 'paper' things!"

     Captain Noblefeathers frowned, and added in a verse of his own:

     "But don't you know it's not too late

     Surely you can see

     That all Neopia, and beyond

     Needs stories to be free?"

     Doctor Dastardly scoffed.

     "Neopia, with all its faults

     Needs nothing of the kind.

     They-"

     But Doctor Dastardly was cut off by a loud moan. "What is that awful screeching?" came a voice from the other room. Startled, the Weewoos looked toward the door, and momentarily, a familiar figure appeared.

     "What in the world are you two doing here?" asked the young golden JubJub.

     Dastardly froze. Then with a quick grin of triumph directed towards the good Captain, he flew into the vents, dragging the paper behind him.

     Noblefeathers was torn. He knew he should follow Dastardly, but he also felt the need to explain to this poor, confused JubJub what was going on.

     "Dear JubJub," he began, "I have terrible news! That Darigan Weewoo you just saw has STOLEN your master copy of the Neopian Times! No doubt he is on his way as I speak to you to DESTROY it and RUIN THE FUTURE FOR EVERYONE!"

     The JubJub just chuckled. "You sure are worked up about something, aren't you, little one?" he asked the squawking Weewoo before him. He clearly hadn't understood a word Noblefeathers had said.

     Upon realizing this, Noblefeathers groaned and flew up into the vents to follow Dastardly, knowing it was no use staying here with a JubJub who didn't speak Weewooese.

***

     Dastardly laughed a stereotypical evil laugh as he flew though the streets of the Neopia Central of the past. He now knew what he was going to do with this master copy. He would take it to the petpet shop, to be used as liner for the cages. Once the petpets were done with it, it would be throw into the garbage and taken to the dump, where it would rot into slop. Or even better, perhaps it would be incinerated after rotting a while. In any case, no one would see the precious issue - not now, not ever.

     Spying the shop from the air, Dastardly swooped down and released the rolled-up paper, which hit the door with a thud.

     Landing in a nearby tree, Dastardly smirked, waiting for his plan to complete. Upon hearing a fluttering of wings behind him, he turned to face the White Weewoo that flew towards him.

     "You're too late, Noblefeathers!" Dastardly shouted in triumph. "I've already taken your precious newspaper to the petpet shop to be used as cage liner!"

     Noblefeathers was horrified. "No!" he shouted, swooping towards the ground where the issue still sat.

     With a snarl, Doctor Dastardly dove after the Captain, tackling him to the ground and pinning him. "You will not interfere with my plans again!" he hissed, picking up a rock to knock Noblefeathers out with.

     Noblefeathers braced himself for the inevitable as Dastardly brought the rock downwards towards his head. But just then, there was a creaking sound. Dastardly's head whipped towards it, and Noblefeathers used this moment of distraction to free himself.

     The creaking sound had been the door of the petpet shop opening. The green Usul looked around to see who or what had thumped against the door, and then she spotted the paper on the ground. Dastardly grinned, and Noblefeathers cringed. But what happened next, neither of them - and certainly not Doctor Dastardly – had expected.

     The Usul's eyes grew large, and she gasped. Quickly bending down, she picked up the paper and with trembling hands untied the string that circumvented it.

     "It's out..." she breathed as she gently ran her hand over the paper. She sounded as if she could hardly believe it. Then, breaking into a grin that could light up even the darkest room, closed her door behind her and took off running though the streets, holding the paper above her head while calling to everyone she met that "It's out! It's finally out!".

     Dastardly blinked as the Usul disappeared around a corner. Surely his perfect plan hadn't just gone running down the street in the hands of that Usul, had it? Upon hearing a chuckle behind him, he turned to face Noblefeathers and scowled.

     "And once again, justice prevails," Noblefeathers said proudly, standing up as tall as he could.

     "Spare me your gloating," Dastardly growled, glaring at the triumphant Weewoo before him.

     Noblefeathers decided to grant him this one favour for the time being. (After all, there would be plenty of opportunities to goad him about it later.)

     "It is time for us to return to the future," Noblefeathers said gravely. "The past has been tampered with enough."

     "Do you honestly think I'm going to let you come with me?" Dastardly sneered.

     "No," the Captain had to admit, "I don't. That's why I must-" he stopped short, an odd look coming over his face.

     "What is it now?" Dastardly sighed, wishing his foe would finish his noble speech so Dastardly could get back to mocking him

     "It's nothing," Noblefeathers said dismissively, waving his wing. "It's just, well..."

     "What?" Dastardly was quite irritated by now.

     Noblefeathers shrugged. "It may just be the current fad for decorating, but... Heh... I never would have thought to put a piano there..."

     "Where?" Dastardly turned around.

     You'd think having already pulled this trick on Noblefeathers, Dastardly would have seen it coming, but no. Falling for the trick, he looked for the oddly-placed piano, only to find himself falling forward into blackness.

     Noblefeathers sighed. "Sometimes," he mused, "a hero's gotta do what a hero's gotta do."

     Taking hold of his foe, he began to drag the unconscious Weewoo in the direction of the Time Machine.

***

     The still-unconscious Doctor Dastardly sat propped against the wall as Captain Noblefeathers examined the controls of the Time Machine. He frowned as he looked at all the flashing lights and blinking buttons and springy twirly thingies. Surely it couldn't be that hard to operate, right?

     Taking a deep breath, he pushed a promising-looking button and braced himself.

     Nothing happened.

     Frowning, he pushed it again. And again. And again and again and--

     He was getting nowhere.

     Glancing around the controls once again, he spied something he hadn't noticed before. It was some sort of lever, and Captain Noblefeathers hoped that, with any luck, it would start the contraption and send them back to the future.

     Grabbing hold of the lever, he began to pull it downwards.

     Dastardly was just starting to awaken at this time, and saw what Noblefeathers was doing.

     "No!" he gasped, lunging towards the White Weewoo.

     Alas, it was too late, for just before Dastardly tackled Noblefeathers, the lever had been pulled all the way down.

     The Machine began to shudder and make all sorts of horrible noises.

     "You fool!" Dastardly cried. "Now who knows where we'll end up!"

     "It matters not," Noblefeathers said heroically, "as long as I'm able to stop you and your fiendish plans."

     The Machine finally came to a stop and Dastardly lunged for the door. Noblefeathers followed, and tackled the other Weewoo as they both fell out the door and into...

     ...Dastardly's laboratory?

     The two Weewoos blinked. Could they really have gotten that lucky and been sent home? Or were they in some past or future version of the lab?

     Dastardly wasn't going to stick around and find out. While Noblefeathers was busy being dumbstruck, he slipped over to the door. Just as he was about to exit, though, Captain Noblefeathers snapped out of it and took chase.

     The Weewoos tumbled out the door and flew though the streets, Dastardly in the lead. Upon noticing some commotion towards the large golden statue of a Chia, he swooped down towards it, and perched at its feet.

     Noblefeathers frowned. Where had Dastardly gone? He saw him head for that crowd, but then he'd disappeared. Perching in a nearby bush, the Captain surveyed the crowd, hoping for a glance of his foe, and in the meantime to find out what was going on.

     The crowd was quite excited about something, and near the statue, a green Usul was babbling excitedly to a green-skinned alien Aisha who looked as if he were trying not to be bored out of his skull.

     "Can you believe it? Five hundred and fifty issues! Why, I remember when the first one came out! My issue was delivered to me by a Weewoo! Can you imagine?"

     The alien Aisha beside her was wearing what appeared to be a forced smile as he listened to her babble. "That is rather special, isn't it?" he said, and tried to move away. The Usul followed.

     "You're telling me!" she exclaimed. "I would've hugged that Weewoo, but he left before I could." She sighed, a wistful expression on her face.

     "Then how did you know it was a Weewoo who delivered it?" countered the alien Aisha.

     "Oh, Weewoos are the only petpets that deliver the Neopian Times, silly!" she giggled. "Of course, being an alien, you wouldn't know that."

     The alien Aisha was obviously insulted by this, but held his tongue. As he looked for a way of escape, he noticed Dastardly hiding in the feet of the statue. Realizing that this might just be his ticket out of there, he interrupted the Usul's latest ramble that extolled her knowledge of Weewoos by way of a tap on her shoulder.

     "Excuse me," he said, "but since I am an alien and therefore ignorant about the species of this planet, perhaps you could tell be what species that is?" he pointed towards Dastardly, knowing full well it was a Weewoo.

     Then Usul gasped. "It's a WEEWOO!" she squealed, rushing over to it.

     Before Dastardly could react, he was scooped up into the arms of an Usul who began to coo what sounded like utter nonsense as far as Dastardly was concerned. "Oh my word, you are just the cutest thing! Aren't you just adorable! Yes you are! Who's adorable? You are!"

     With the Usul now distracted, the alien Aisha slipped away to the other side of the crowd, where hopefully, he would not be found.

     Noblefeathers smiled. Dastardly had been defeated, and was no longer a threat to the Neopian Times. With the sun shining brightly above, Captain Noblefeathers the Brave once more spread his wings and took flight, soaring over the city he loved, knowing that once again, truth and justice had prevailed.

The End

 
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