Dr. Sloth Returns... Again!: Part Three
D opened the door to her neohome, ready for another day of dailies when she was met with the most extraordinary sight. There was a tribe of coconut men worshiping an idol of Pango Pango that had a picture of Dr. Sloth's face taped over it. A Pteri flew overhead trailing a banner that read "Sloth Rules." Even Techo Mountain was puffing smoke clouds that spelled "I ♥ Sloth." A green Skeith in a suit walked up to the shocked owner.
"Excuse me, ma'am," he requested politely, "do you have a moment to discuss the word of Dr. Sloth?" D immediately turned back into her home, slamming the door. She clung to the frame for a few seconds.
"SWEET FYORA, THAT WAS FAST!!!" she shouted. She immediately set to dragging the couch in front of the door.
"Mom, what's going on?" Serphine asked.
"Sloth took over already?" Chris deduced.
"He must've activated the control tower and begun broadcasting control signals to the minds of those who are already infected!" Flame announced.
"Yeah, what she said," D replied, out of breath. "Let me see... I think I still have that teleport bracelet that Athena found... Yes! Here it is!" She pulled the bracelet out of her pocket. "Alright, everybody! Let's go!"
"But we still need a plan!"
"Don't be ridiculous, Flame, we don't have time for a plan!" She gathered all her pets into her arms. "Alright. Allons-y!" She pressed the button on the bracelet and her neohome dissolved into blue pixels, replaced instead by the dark metallic walls of the space station.
"Alright, guys," D whispered to her pets, "we have to be quiet or -" The lights popped on in an instant. There was the click of several weapons being primed for action. D blinked, her eyes struggling to adjust to the light. When they finally did, she saw that she was surrounded by soldiers, and that Athena and Myana were standing right in front of her with blank expressions.
"Oh, COME ON!"
"Take the pets away from her," Athena ordered the soldiers. "We'll take her to the master." The soldiers roughly captured Flame, Chris, and Serphine, who all shouted various protests. Athena and Myana took hold of D, but something tipped D off. They both winked. At the same time. Anyone else might've thought it was a glitch. But D knew better. They were just pretending. The agent decided to play along.
"Don't eat anything they give you!" she shouted at her pets. "You've gone without food before!" That didn't seem to make her pets feel better. Oh well. The plan was already beginning to form. Athena and Myana went down a different corridor than the guards.
"It's really a shame about you two," D told her friends. They didn't react. "Really a shame. I was hoping that I could have one of you sabotage the control tower. But oh well. So much for that." Myana let go of D's arm and walked the other direction. The plan was in motion.
Athena dragged D into Dr. Sloth's throne room. Oddly enough, the traitor didn't seem worried at all. Then again, she was certifiably insane. She smiled and leaned against the door frame.
"Hey Frank," she greeted, "How's it hangin'?" The informality of her greeting confused Sloth to no end. "You know what I realized? No one ever calls you Frank. I don't even think your mother calls you Frank."
"No offence intended," Sloth replied, "but we are hardly on a first-name basis. Especially now, as I have you in a very bad situation. You have no hope of escape. Your pets are mine, and while they may be returned to you eventually, they certainly will not be the same way as when you left them. Of course, you're not very likely to be the same way either. I've always wanted to study the minds of owners, and I believe yours would be a particularly interesting case."
"Um," D interrupted, "I'm sorry, but... are you done yet? I know how much you hate it when people interrupt your 'Resistance is Futile' speech."
"Yes, well, you've already interrupted, so do continue!" Sloth hissed back.
"Sorry, sir. Anyways, you mentioned my having no hope for escape. First off: don't tell me what to do. Second: my escape is not hopeless. I have friends." Sloth smiled and chuckled a little bit.
"Like who?" he asked. "The pitiful resistance? You realize that they are under my control as well. Most of Neopia is."
"No. Athena and Myana."
Myana managed to stay in character. Which was difficult. But she managed. She arrived at the door to the room with the control tower's... controls. All mass commands were output through there. She relieved the guards at the entrance and stole inside. She relaxed herself with a massive sigh and then broke into a crazy, wicked smile. She approached the dashboard and pulled open a hatch to reveal the tower's circuits and wires. She pulled a can of Neocola out of her pocket. Now for the fun part. She popped the can open and poured all of its sticky, sugary, carbonated contents all over the machinery, laughing as the sparks flew and the machine caught fire.
"Athena and Myana?" the genius doubted. Myana walked in the door, trailing D's three neopets behind her. "They're under my control as well. It seems your plan (if you had one) was not very well thought through." A single "Ha!" slipped through Athena's mouth before she could stop it. She tried to go back to being emotionless with limited success.
"Athena, the cat's out of the bag," D told her friend. "You can quit pretending." Athena relaxed a bit and leaned back on the wall. Myana let out a long sigh and resumed her naturally crazy demeanor. "You see, here's the thing: after all these years, you are still bone-dead stupid. You got all three of us in the same place. That's how Darigan Castle blew up. We were all in the same place." Suddenly a violent explosion rocked the whole room.
"WHAT IN THE BLAZES WAS THAT?!" Dr. Sloth shouted into the intercom on his chair.
"I... I don't know, sir!" a shaky voice replied. "The control tower! It just exploded!"
"How did that happen?"
"I don't know! It just blew up!"
"You know," D said calmly, "that sums up the Darigan Castle incident quite perfectly. 'I don't know, it just blew up!'"
"Myana," Athena requested of her friend, "we should go help everyone escape."
"Oh, just come on!" Athena dragged Myana out of the room. D smiled at her former boss.
"Now, sir, I do believe you are in a bad situation," she told him. "No hope of escape. Hopefully the explosion won't crash the whole space station. Honestly, you need to just give up. It's getting old. What? Dr. Sloth's trying to take over again? Ugh, I'll go call the Space Faerie. I mean, seriously. You are losing your touch. Come on, mind control cheezburgers? That was almost a worse idea than dressing up like a faerie and telling everyone that Kreludite isn't dangerous. Maybe you should get a new hobby. Like stamp collecting. Or fishing. Or something like that."
"But we aren't just gonna let him run, are we?" Serphine suggested, trying to move things along.
"Oh, of course not. He's too dangerous. Flame, you still have the potion?"
"But, Mom, he's not a Neopet. I don't know what it'll do to him."
"Well, it's time to find out."
"Ooh! Can I do it? Please?" Serphine begged. D nodded to Flame, who then reluctantly handed a Usul Transmogrification Potion to her youngest sister. Serphine eagerly walked up to Dr. Sloth, uncorked the bottle, and poured the mysterious orange liquid on his head Sloth gasped with surprise. The room filled with green smoke. There was much coughing and spluttering. Eventually, the smoke cleared, revealing a tiny white bundle where Sloth once stood. It shivered and moved, revealing a head with two shining purple eyes and two fluffy white ears. The thing tried to stand. D and her pets could see what it was: a baby Usul.
"What's going on?" it squeaked. "Why is everything so big? What did you do, D?!"
"I'm not sure," D answered, stifling a laugh, "but you appear to be some kind of... baby Usul." Chris gave Usul-Sloth a hand mirror. He took one look at his reflection and let out a high-pitched, squealing scream. D and her pets laughed out loud.
"I get it now!" Flame exclaimed. "They turn cute things ugly and ugly things cute!"
"But what are we going to do with him?" Chris wondered.
"We can just drop him off at the pound." D kneeled down and picked up Usul-Sloth. He squealed in protest and wriggled his tiny limbs in a futile attempt to escape. "Oh, don't worry about it," she told him. "You'll get out of this eventually."
A week later there came a knock at the door. D dragged herself off the couch to go answer it.
"Oh, The Neopian Times! Of course!" she shouted when she saw the yellow delivery Kacheek. She had forgotten all about it!
"Here's this week's issue, miss," the Kacheek replied, handing her a newspaper.
"Right on time, as usual," the owner praised the Kacheek, fishing around in her pockets. She pulled out a bag of a hundred neopoints and dropped it into the Kacheek's open paw. "Here you go!" Seeing the amount on the bag caused his eyes to widen.
"Thank you, miss!"
"Run along, now," D told him. He readily obeyed. "And I told you to call me D!" the owner called after him, smiling. She went back inside and plopped down onto the couch, unrolling the newspaper. Perhaps it would be something good, like a funny comic, or an interesting article, or maybe one of her own stories had made it in. She glanced at the headline: Evil Baby Usul Escapes Pound. She sighed with annoyance. "Great..." she muttered to herself.