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Storytelling Competition - (click for the map) | (printer friendly version)

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Week 501
You are on Week 502
Week 503

Every week we will be starting a new Story Telling competition - with great prizes! The current prize is 2000 NP, plus a rare item!!! This is how it works...

We start a story and you have to write the next few paragraphs. We will select the best submissions every day and put it on the site, and then you have to write the next one, all the way until the story finishes. Got it? Well, submit your paragraphs below!

Story Five Hundred Two Ends Friday, April 15

Rolan leaned back in the plush leather seat of his spaceship. He loved being a pilot. It was at times a stressful, but exciting, job. At the moment, it was calming as he was the only one aboard.

As he whizzed through the stars, he sat back and thought of the cargo he was delivering. A few crates were supposed to go to Grundos Cafe, which was where he was probably going to have his lunch. He also had a shipment of robotic Petpets on board.

But the boxes that left him curious were unmarked. He'd been given specific orders to put them at the end of the hangar of the Space Station. His payment, he was told, would be delivered to his home upon the retrieval of the boxes.

Rolan was concerned that they were something vicious, but Dr. Sloth hadn't been seen in some time. He and his fellow Grundos could rest safe at night without someone trying to control them.

"Oh!" Rolan let out a gasp of surprise as he was jostled in his chair. His mind had been on those boxes, he realised as he settled down, so he had probably just drifted too close to a meteor.

WHAM! The sound of metal against metal made Rolan's antennae twitch. He pushed a few buttons on his control console, pulling up his view screen. Next to his ship, a small, faster ship was getting ready to ram him again...

Author: Peroxwhy_gen
Date: Apr 11th
The assaulting ship was a small silver blur against the darkness of space. Rolan gripped the wheel tightly and spun it away from the nose of the attacker's ship. He could hear a large crack as a crate jarred free of its lashings and connected with another crate. The resulting noise that followed alerted Rolan that the Petpets were now loose. As he looked back into the hold, momentarily distracted, the villainous ship struck his again. Rolan huffed out in annoyance.

Buzzing and whirring echoed across the Grundo's craft as the Petpets began to explore their newfound freedom. Rolan forced himself to ignore them to deal with the first matter at hand. He was no stranger to space combat; he'd fought along his fellow Grundos to free his kind from Dr. Sloth. His simple cargo vessel had a few tricks up its metal sleeve.

Rolan flipped several switches and pushed a small sequence of buttons on the instrument panel. The ship lurched forward suddenly as it kicked into overdrive, accelerating ahead of the tiny assailant. The Grundo consulted his view screen and, with a smug grin, noticed he had in fact escaped the attacker.

He quickly zipped through space, eyeing his gauges. His fuel was getting slow; overdrive wasn't exactly cost effective. After consulting his star maps, Rolan realised he wasn't too far away from Grundos Cafe; he could still make lunch. Warily watching the viewer, he reveled in the fact that he was once again alone. He returned the ship to its original casual pace and, throwing on the auto-pilot, stood up to deal with the newest issue.

It was a rather large collection of Petpets, some recent craze causing the space Petpets store to run dangerously low on stock. Rolan shook his head. "Just another crazy fad; they'll be moving on to faeries or something soon enough."

Rolan scooped up a Nedler into his arms, the tiny Petpet wiggling its tentacles at the Grundo. Rolan gulped softly and held the Nedler out at arm's length.

"Well, aren't you..." the Grundo gulped, forcing the word, "...adorable."

The Petpets' container was smashed to bits; Rolan glanced around to find a new vessel to hold them in. His eyes caught on the unmarked crates, and he bit his lip in contemplation. The Grundo shook his head, though. He probably shouldn't venture into them; they were unmarked for a reason.

He heard a small batch of happy beeping and soft mechanical purring coming from behind him. The food shipment for Grundos Cafe was cracked open, and several mischievous Petpets had found their way inside. Floating Pigs in Blankets and Floating Pasta Mass began to drift out of the crate and into the hold, chased quickly by flying Pincerons and Blobagus. Garthroxian Goo puddled at the bottom of the cracked wood, a small Charnie licking at the viscous liquid. A little green Tencals held a Cosmic Cheese Star with each one of his tentacles.

Rolan sighed and sat down next to a sad-looking Wain. The Grundo rubbed his face in his hands and, noticing a bag of Dehydrated Chicken Dumplings, grabbed the sack and ripped it open. He offered one to the Wain before partaking of the rest of the bag himself. His contract to Grundos Cafe would probably be revoked, so he wouldn't get to eat there anymore. Might as well make the best of it.

He noticed a Baby Space Fungus chewing on the corner of a bag of Dehydrated Fungus. "You probably don't want to eat that," Rolan mused out loud. The Baby Space Fungus just stared back, still mindlessly gumming the plastic bag.

Rolan patted the Wain's head and stood up, heading back to the cabin. The Petpets were all sedated, filled with their stolen snacks. He had more than enough time to get to the Space Petpets shop where he could explain his predicament and get the Petpets delivered. Upon his return to the console, he noticed a renegade N-4 Info Retrieval Bot peering at his view screen. As it saw the Rolan approach, it quickly turned and began to beep frantically at him.

The Grundo patted the Petpet's head and pointed to the back. "There's food back there for you." The N-4 Info Retrieval Bot made no motion to leave; it just continued to beep at him. Rolan looked past the agitated Petpet, staring at the view screen. The small silver ship had returned.

Rolan quickly slid back into the pilot's seat, grabbing the controls. The N-4 Info Retrieval Bot hunkered down as the Grundo took over. Something caused Rolan to pause, though; the other ship was not ramming his cargo bay this time. Instead, it was circling him. He watched as the silver spaceship slowly approached the cabin, the view screen focusing enough on the pilot seat of the previous assaulter.

The other pilot was gesturing to Rolan. The Grundo squinted as the screen zoomed in on the vessel's captain. It was a slim Zafara, as blue as the Galactic Water that now doused his cargo hold. Rolan canted his head in curiosity as he pondered the Zafara's gestures.

It looked like the Zafara was trying to say...

Author: filter
Date: Apr 11th
...that he meant no harm when he had rammed his spacecraft into the side of Rolan's ship. The Zafara wore a smile on his face and was waving and gesturing wildly.

It was only then that Rolan suddenly remembered that his spaceship came equipped with a radio, which he could use to transmit a message to the Zafara. Quickly, he pressed a few buttons on the console and fiddled around with the dials; at first, there was nothing but static, filling the ship with a cacophony of crackling, but soon it cleared and Rolan was able to talk.

"Hello?" he said into the mike. "Do you hear me?"

A voice, barely audible, came back. "Ace Zafara. Can you hear me? This is Ace Zafara, I repeat, Ace Zafara. Do you hear?"

"Yes," Rolan said loudly, enunciating each syllable. "Yes, I hear you."

Ace Zafara's voice was clearer this time. "What is your reason for flying today?"

"I have a shipment of Petpets and cafe food," explained the Grundo, gesturing toward the horde of Petpets still eating. "But it got... ruined when the Petpets decided they wanted to escape. I also have a few unmarked crates, but I was told not to open them."

A pause. Then, "Don't open them!"

Rolan blinked rapidly a few times, surprised at the statement.

"You should not open them," said the Zafara, his tone of voice making it clear that Rolan was to obey under all circumstances. "If you open those boxes, things could get dangerous quickly."

"Okay, okay, got it."

There was a silence as the radio signal deteriorated, the static once again making it hard for Rolan to hear Ace Zafara. He twiddled the dials once more, trying to get the best reception as possible, but it seemed as though they were out of range now.

Oh well, he thought to himself, shrugging. Might as well go deliver those Petpets now.

He turned his craft in the direction of the Petpets shop, but was stopped when his spaceship was faced with...

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Apr 12th
...another ship. A very, very big ship.

Rolan blinked. He was pretty sure that hadn't been there a minute ago. Or maybe a few minutes ago... he had been pretty distracted by Ace. For a deserted stretch of space, seeing this many other ships was incredibly unusual. At least this one wasn't ramming him!

Beep! Beep! Beep! The Grundo jumped when his console beeped at him but realised it was just the other ship signalling him. He had been so busy staring dumbly at the other ship that he had forgotten the radio -- again. What a strange day.

Shrugging sheepishly, he tucked the N-4 Info Retrieval Bot out of sight on his lap and pressed a button to accept the incoming transmission. His viewscreen flickered; the view of the mammoth ship was replaced by a grizzled-looking Krawk.

"I'm Captain Dlouro. We've observed that your ship appears damaged. Are you all right?" he asked.

"I'm fine! Some of the cargo is a little battered, but I'll survive," Rolan responded, surprised anyone had noticed his plight... and so quickly.

The Krawk's eyes narrowed, and someone off-screen muttered something Rolan couldn't quite make out... it almost sounded like... Endolamite? And... vaporisation? That couldn't be right; Endolamite wasn't real -- it was just an urban legend. He must have misheard.

After a moment, Dlouro spoke again. "I think your vessel is more damaged than you realise... we're coming aboard to assist with repairs. Decompress your docking bay and prepare for boarding -- we'll send a shuttle over," the old Krawk told him, not unkindly.

The transmission was cut before Rolan even had a chance to react. The Grundo grumbled under his breath and patted the shaking Petpet absently. His ship was fine; there might be Cloned Corn underfoot, but that just meant he needed a maid, not repairs! And now his shipment was going to be even later; bad enough that the contract with Grundos Cafe was all but a thing of the past, did he have to lose the contract with Space Petpets too? Still grumbling, he keyed in the commands to decompress the bay and snagged a piece of Gruncheese that was floating by. Breaking off a piece, he offered it to the Bot in his lap. "One of us may as well be happy," he told it, but to his surprise the little Bot didn't take the proffered piece of cheese.

Metallic sounds reverberated throughout the ship, must be the shuttle Dlouro had sent. Were all ships faster than his? That had barely been three minutes! He patted the Petpet in his lap, but if anything, the N-4 Info Retrieval Bot began shaking harder; Rolan stared at it. What a strange, strange little Petpet. Shrugging, Rolan stood up to go meet his "helpers."

But as he did so, his radio crackled again, a voice barely audible amidst the static. It sounded like... Ace again?

"What {STATIC} on {STATIC}? {STATIC} okay?" came the Zafara's voice, barely discernible amidst the heavy static.

Rolan fiddled with the dials in frustration. Why was everyone worried about him? "I'm fine," he told Ace, somewhat grumpily. "A shuttle is docking to help me repair my ship."

A burst of static erupted from the radio, and Rolan flinched, still trying to tweak the radio. "Those {STATIC} not {STATIC}!!" Ace yelled, his voice mostly lost amongst the white noise. Finally, after another moment of playing with the dials, Ace's voice burst through loud and clear. "Pirates!!!" he yelled at Rolan, stunning the Grundo.

"Pir... pirates?" he stuttered, unsure of what he had heard.

"Pirates!" Ace confirmed, sending a wave of ice through Rolan's veins. Fear settled in his stomach like a rock. He'd never dealt with pirates before. "You have to get out of there -- now! Grab the crates and get ready -- I'll get you out of there!"

For a moment, Rolan merely stood there, stunned. Ace's voice burst out of the radio and filled the silence again. "Don't think!" he told Rolan. "Just MOVE!"

Rolan ran into the Cargo Bay, the N-4 Info Retrieval Bot still in his hands. Already, he could hear voices coming from the direction of the Docking Bay... and it might have been his imagination, but they sure didn't sound friendly. Diving, he grabbed the three crates. Fortunately, they weren't very large and didn't seem to have been cracked in the slightest when Ace had rammed into him... but wow, they were heavy! As he did so, a horrific peal of noise erupted around him, and Rolan's vision went grey. He tried to spin around to see what was happening, but...

Author: agedbeauty
Date: Apr 12th
...he was promptly knocked out when he accidentally hit his head against the wall. Everything blacked out in his vision, putting Rolan in a deep, deep sleep...

Several hours later, Rolan awoke with a headache but no visible injuries. As he struggled to stand up, he realised that his hands were tied behind his back. Rolan's attempts to break free from his bonds proved to be futile, and he had to sit back down from his sudden fatigue.

Looking around at his surroundings, Rolan could see that he was no longer in his own cosy ship, but instead in a large chamber that contained nothing but crates and crates of pears.

While trying to figure out where he was, Rolan felt a sudden nudge behind him. Trying to turn around to see what it was, he could suddenly feel relief in his wrists as the ropes that tied his hands together suddenly fell apart.

Having his strength return, Rolan finally twisted around and saw the N-4 Retrieval Bot standing there, quietly beeping. Rolan, happy but a bit confused at how the bot had sliced the ropes, patted the bot on the head.

With his newly found freedom, Rolan decided to explore a bit to get a sense of his surroundings. As he tried to find an exit out of the spacious room, he attempted to replay his memories.

"Hmmm..." he mused to himself. All he could remember was... Ace Zafara and something he said. Was it pinatas? Pineapples? No, something else...

A rapid clicking sound startled him from his recollections; Rolan glanced up to see the N-4 Bot standing near a rather large grey panel that resembled a door except for the fact that it had no handle nor a way to enter a password.

Puzzled, Rolan slowly stopped when he came to the "door". Pushing, pulling, Rolan tried everything he could to try to force it open for his escape. However, it was all for naught. The only "reward" he received for his valiant efforts were sore muscles.

Stepping back, Rolan's eyes searched over the area of the grey panel, looking for some clue. After several moments, he spotted a small black dot that had seemed to have materialised out of nowhere.

It was a bit higher than his eyes could reach, so Rolan had to drag a crate of pears over and stand on it. Finally being able to reach the dot, Rolan discovered that it was large enough to peek into.

Sticking his eye directly in front of the hole, Rolan nearly fell off the crate as a crackly, tinny voice asked, "Password for entry?"

Gulping from his sudden fright, Rolan quickly regathered his wits and nervously whispered, "Um... Rolan?"

"Entry denied," simply replied the metallic voice that seemed to come from nowhere.

Obviously Rolan would have to think this one through. Sitting down on the crate and finding that his new seat was comfortable, he began to ponder what the password could be. The N-4 Bot, which had been standing patiently next to Rolan until now, sat down next to the crate, occasionally looking up at him with an inquisitive eye.

Rolan continued sifting through his memories for some clue, any clue. He faintly started to recall Ace Zafara's words...

"P...Pir-Pirates!!" exclaimed a joyous Rolan as he suddenly jumped up. The N-4 Bot seemed startled by Rolan's sudden elation.

"Ah, wait, now that I remembered that..." Rolan mumbled to himself. He could now remember the conversation with Ace Zafara clearly. Apparently pirates had boarded his ship... now if he could only remember the name of one of them...

"Deliro? Dlomo? Dlouro?" Rolan murmured to himself, lost in his thoughts. He leaned backward against the door to make himself more comfortable but found himself falling as the door suddenly opened.

"Password correct. Access granted. Closing again in ten... nine... eight..." announced the robotic voice.

Stunned for a few seconds, Rolan quickly realised that he had managed to open his ticket out of this room, one way or another. Running back into the room to scoop the N-4 Bot into his arms, he made a quick u-turn to barely escape the closing entryway.

The air-conditioned hallway seemed to calm Rolan down as he tried to figure out what to do next. Suddenly, he heard footsteps coming from far away...

Author: aeraex
Date: Apr 13th
...which, as it grew nearer, was soon joined by a chorus of angry voices...

"He has to be here somewhere," one of them was saying. "Oh, you idiot, letting our prisoner simply escape like that..."

Another tried to apologise. "I-I-I'm sorry, s-s-sir... We were o-ordered t-to come up to the--"

"Don't give me excuses; give me results!" bellowed the first voice, sounding strangely like that old Krawk Rolan had spoken to earlier. "Where did he go?"

"He w-w-went... th-that way?"

The footsteps grew louder. Rolan soon realised that they were headed straight for him...

Holding onto the N-4 Bot, he ran down the hallway, taking care not to make too much noise. Wherever he was, it certainly not the Space Station -- that much he knew. As Rolan kept running, the voices and footsteps in pursuit seemed to grow fainter, quieter...

He stopped.

"That was a close one," the Grundo muttered, mostly to himself.

But the crates he was supposed to deliver were nowhere to be seen. If these Neopets were indeed pirates, they would certainly have more stores of stolen loot, wouldn't they?

And those crates contained... Rolan then remembered he had never found out what was inside them and struggled to think of an appropriate end to his thought. ...Important stuff, I guess...

As he continued down the hallway, Rolan suddenly realised that each door leading from it was marked with a letter of the alphabet, starting with A on this end and Z on the other, several hundred metres away. Each door was large enough to fit his spaceship through.

Which one contains the boxes? he wondered, walking down the halls looking at each letter with interest. A was pink, while B was silver and made of a shiny metallic material. C was made of clear glass.

G was made of wood. With some difficulty, he pushed open the door -- as it turned out, it wasn't locked -- and found himself face-to-face with...

Author: chocolate_lover67
Date: Apr 13th
...the strange boxes that had started this entire mess. They sat in the midst of a sterile, cavernous room, placed a few feet from each other. Slowly the Grundo approached the nearest crate, tentatively running a hand along the once splintery structure, and then jerking back as if shocked.

It was cold. No. Not cold... freezing.

Whatever was in there had turned the battered wood of the heavy crates into a freezing, impenetrable substance unlike anything Rolan had ever encountered in his valiant adventures during the rebellion, let alone his existence as a humble cargo pilot. With wide eyes, he gazed to the second crate, noting the heavy crowbar atop it. Someone had obviously attempted to prise open the stolen booty without success, something that didn't strike Rolan as particularly odd. The transformed, glacial crates would not yield their secrets easily to the force of a simple bar.

In his arms, the odd little N-4 Bot gave a strange whirring noise, followed by a shudder. Rolan, now somewhat accustomed to the Petpet's eccentric behaviour, barely glanced down, his gaze fixated on the crates, searching for some sign that their appearance as well as their texture had altered, but they appeared unchanged in that regard.

The second whirring sound didn't bother him. Outside, the hallway appeared to be silent; the Petpet could chatter to itself all it wanted. If he was on the pirate's ship as he suspected, the multitudes of mechanical melodies that hummed throughout the structure would easily blend in with the small emissions of a robot Petpet.

Idly the Grundo circled the crates, trying to think. With a grimace he rubbed his head, trying to sort the ringing in his antennae out from the ship's many noises. He must have hit that wall hard, he mused, because he could feel an impressively sized lump forming atop his head that would certainly impress the fellows at Grundos Cafe, if he lived to tell them the tale. He was just approaching the second crate when the Petpet in his arms suddenly fell silent, the soft vibrations that had accompanied its whirring and chattering shuddering to a stop, as ominous an action as Rolan could remember ever noticing. He had barely a second to commando roll behind the crate when the wooden door slammed open, and a voice snarled from the doorway.

"He's in one of these rooms, you fools! You lost him; you find him!"

Taking a deep breath, the Grundo peered out from behind the icy crate. It was the Krawk from earlier... what was his name again? Dlouro? This memory lapse issue was something Rolan would have to get checked out if he survived this mess, he thought to himself. The Krawk stood in the doorway, his massive form, which had seemed almost friendly through his own ship's radio and image transmitter now appeared mountainous and threatening. What had seemed to be a cheerfully grizzled look could now not be mistaken for anything but the scars of a plethora of space battles and the hard look of a creature with no kindness in his heart.

"Get in there, you jabbering twit!"

The Krawk heaved one of his lackeys into the room, a weedy-looking Techo, half-Neopet, half-robot, a strange metallic patch shielding one eye, the other a vivid crimson and flickering around the room anxiously. When he spoke, his voice was a high pitched whine.

"But sir... the Endo..."

His whimper was cut off with an agitated roar from the Krawk, who snarled viciously.

"Fool! Do you want the whole universe to know?"

The Grundo shrank back against the crate, thinking as quickly as his muddled head would allow, one hand resting lightly on the head of the now silent N-4 Bot. He couldn't just sit here and wait to be discovered. There was nothing for it; maybe if he waited until the Techo was searching behind the first crate, he could dash toward the door and push past the Krawk, make his way toward...

Toward what? You don’t even know for sure where you are!

Okay, that was true. But he couldn't just sit there and wait for his end. He had to take action. Inhaling deeply, the Grundo shifted himself into a crouch, muscles tensing as he prepared to spring forward, his heart racing a mile a second. He had just started to spring forward when a hand grabbed him from behind, slamming him back against the crate so hard that his vision blurred for a second. Through the haze of yet another probable concussion, Rolan blinked slowly, unable to comprehend the presence now hunkered beside him...

Author: anjie
Date: Apr 14th

The heroic-looking Zafara held a finger to his lips and silently patted a tiny ray gun in his belt. Randomly Firing Freeze Ray?! That seemed... dangerous! Rolan's eyes widened in comprehension as he glanced between the unassuming little weapon and the unnaturally icy crates.

In the distance, Dlouro screamed something unintelligible into the hallway. The Techo flinched but quickly realised the rebuke wasn't directed at him this time, and continued edging deeper into the room. Behind the strange-looking Neopet, the door slammed shut; the grizzly Krawk was now out of sight -- happily, as far as Rolan was concerned. Sensing an opportunity, the Grundo tensed to leap out at the lackey creeping about the room, but Ace shook his head and gestured. "Keep still," he breathed, his voice barely louder than the tiniest exhalation; had Rolan been just slightly farther away from the Zafara, he would never heard it.

Rolan struggled to keep himself still, patting the N-4 Bot to keep it calm and fighting the surges of anxiety welling up inside him. The Techo edged closer, closer, surveying the room, presumably keeping his eerie red eye out for any of sign of the escaped Grundo. His stomach churned, the bitter cold of the odd crates fighting with the sudden, chilling terror of being caught. Beside him Ace was calm and collected, unfazed by the peril that had Rolan's stomach twisting. His chest rose and fell in an even pattern; the contrast relative to the Grundo's own tortuous breathing would have been comical in any other situation. And still the Techo came closer, closer, closer, until Rolan was sure he must have felt the freezing cold emanating from the boxes.

After what seemed an eternity, when Rolan was entirely sure they were about to be accosted by the alarming-looking brute, Ace stood in a quick, fluid motion, his ray gun drawn in a manner that spoke of years of experience in fighting situations. Before Rolan could even blink, the Zafara fired, the blast erupting from the gun in an arc of icy blue that sent sympathetic shivers down his back; the colour would have beautiful elsewhere, but it was terrifying here.

Ace nodded briskly and offered Rolan his hand. Standing, he peered at the Techo, whose distorted visage was frozen in a twisted grimace of surprise. The N-4 Bot beeped contentedly in his arms as he patted it absently. The Zafara raised an eyebrow as he glanced at the little robot Petpet, but didn't comment.

"Sorry I couldn't get you out of your ship in time. I tried, but these pirates are nasty creatures," he said, shaking his head. Rolan shrugged. Without Ace, who knew where he'd be at the moment? The Grundo wasn't in the habit of carrying weapons, and even if he was, he doubted the pirates would have let him keep it when they tied him up.

"These crates are going to be a problem. I managed to freeze them before the pirates got them off of your ship, and it looks like they haven't managed to pry them open yet... but it's only a matter of time," he said grimly. "If they get the Endolamite, they'll make Sloth seem like he was Coltzan in comparison."

Rolan gasped. "Endolamite... is... real?!"

The Zafara nodded. "Real, and just as deadly as the rumors say," he confirmed, looking even more grim.

Rolan could only stare at the crates, his eyes impossibly wide as he pondered the ramifications of having had Endolamite on his ship.

"When you picked up your cargo, did they say anything?" Ace questioned, searching his face... for what, Rolan wasn't sure.

"No, not really, just that I had everything I needed for my shipment..." he replied, shaking his head.

Ace sighed and started studying the crates. "We have to neutralise them somehow!" he said, a note of desperation creeping into his cultured voice. "We can't let them have something this explosive!"

Suddenly, the N-4 Bot started gesticulating wildly, behaving in the strangest manner Rolan had ever seen a Petpet behave... it was almost like...

Author: agedbeauty
Date: Apr 14th
The N-4 Bot seemed to be warning the two Neopets of imminent danger as it jumped up and down wildly, starting to click and beep in a rapid fire. Rolan, concerned about the Petpet, reached out toward it to help it calm down, but it nimbly ran over to the crates that supposedly contained the hazardous Endolamite.

Ace, a grim frown creeping into his face, slowly walked over to the Bot, which was still jittery and apprehensive. The Zafara intensely stared at the crates as if he was trying to bore holes through them; his expression was still composed, but his eyes held the tiniest bit of dread hiding in his dilated pupils. He suddenly turned around to Rolan, his mouth wide open as he prepared to break the heavy coat of silence that had fallen over the room.

However, the N-4 Bot seemed to go beserk as it twitched and shivered while letting out unintelligible, rusty sounds that reminded one of worn-down machinery. Startled, Rolan looked behind him where the N-4 Bot was staring at and saw the doorway bang open with Dlouro, purple with rage, stand in the middle of the entrance, making the chance of escaping nil.

Laughing bitterly, he mocked, "Well, what have we here? It looks like our guests have discovered the crates." Dlouro snapped his fingers and a swarm of his lackeys appeared behind him, holding vast variety of dangerous ray guns that had a threatening gleam to them.

Ace, who had immediately regained his collected coolness as soon as the pirates appeared, ambled in front of the crates while holding his Freeze Ray in a steady hand.

With his minions chuckling at the prospect of recapturing their prisoners, Dlouro took a menacing step forward. The frightened N-4 Bot jumped into Rolan's arms; Rolan wasn't faring too well either. His legs started trembling as he tensed up from the very notion of being tied up and thrown into a fruit storage room again.

The Krawk had now moved all the way into the room and had his arms crossed before him regally. He cackled and then smoothly asked, "You have two choices. You can either come with us without resisting, or come with us after we've taught you a lesson. Which one would you like?"

Ace, glaring right at the Krawk, promptly responded with a firm, "Neither."

Dlouro, closing his eyes in confidence, snapped them open and had a brief stare down with the stoic Zafara. After a few tense seconds had passed, the Krawk sneered, "Oh, really? And what can you do then?"

Instead of answering, Ace stuck his hand in an inconspicuous pocket that not even Rolan had noticed before. Leaving his hand in the pocket for a bit, the Zafara lightly responded, "You know, I learned an interesting fact about Endolamite a while ago. It certainly is powerful; in fact, it could probably annihilate all of the Space Station and Kreludor together just with a crate of it. However..." Pausing mid-sentence, Ace flicked out a Virtublaster 1000. "If Endolamite ever comes in contact with high temperatures after being frozen, it'll spontaneously explode. Now..."

With that, Ace pointed his Freeze Ray and his Virtublaster at the stacked crates. Rolan, who had been amazed at how intimidating Ace had sounded, stole a quick glance at the pirates. All of them had backed away from the doorway, gripping their weapons tightly to their chests. Except Dlouro.

The old Krawk threw his head back and laughed. "You amaze me! If you even try that here, you know that you'll be caught along in the blast, along with your little friend!" he cried arrogantly, refusing to give in.

Still, Ace did not flinch. He instead chose to quietly whisper, "So I suppose we'll just have to sacrifice ourselves."

Rolan, frozen in fear, gaped at Ace as if the Zafara had grew wings. Sacrifice? he thought to himself. Is he crazy?!

Even the Krawk was taken aback. "Y-You don't have the guts to do it!"

Ace Zafara calmly held up the two ray guns and pointed them at the crates...

Author: aeraex
Date: Apr 15th
With a sly grin, Ace took a quick glance toward Rolan, then back to the crates. Rolan blinked, befuddled. Everything seemed frozen in time, the moment slowing down to a crawl. He noticed the movement again from the Zafara, and clutching the N-4 Bot tight to his chest, the Grundo slowly stood up.

"Go!" yelled Ace, and Rolan took off running. The moment seemed to last forever, but it was only a split-second as his body splayed out over the three crates, the freezing cold wood sticking to his clothes. He didn't know why he thought to do that, the tension of the moment taking all sense out of him. His eyes turned to Ace, and his heart stopped. The Zafara's fingers pulled on the trigger of the Virtublaster 5000.

Rolan screamed out as he felt a form land on top of him, and the explosion rang out in his ears. His breath caught, and he felt as if the very ground beneath him gave out, his stomach churning in agony. Not a moment too soon, he felt the ground rush up to greet him, a resounding groan of air escaping his lungs as he felt an ice-cold box land on top of him.

He was too scared to open his eyes, laying there for what seemed like aeons. "Go!" he heard a familiar voice yell. He turned his head toward the voice and slowly blinked his eyes open. A wide-eyed and bright blue Zafara was yelling at him. "Go!" Ace screamed again.

Rolan quickly looked around and realised they were in the cargo bay of his own ship. The two crates lay haphazardly around him, the third perched upon his shivering body. Many tiny eyes stared at the confusing scene; the Space Petpets had gathered around the returning Grundo.

"What, how did we get back here?" Rolan asked.

"GO!" Ace yelled, pointing to the pilot's seat. Rolan jumped up and ran for the controls, his eyes catching on the pirate spaceship his own ship was tethered to. A huge hole protruded from the side, debris scattered in every direction. The spaceship hung lifelessly, no movement from within, no spurring force driving it on.

Rolan looked back at Ace, a questioning look in his eyes. Ace just pointed straight out into space, "Go!"

"I get it! You don't have to keep saying it!" the Grundo yelled back.

Ace smirked as Rolan started his engine. The simple tether snapped as the cargo ship dropped into overdrive and zipped away. The disabled pirate ship was quickly a blur in the view screen. Rolan did note that a small silver ship was following his, and he glanced back to Ace who noticed as well.

"What can I say, a good ship never leaves its pilot," Ace grinned, patting a small homing beacon in his pocket.

Rolan steadied the controls and set his ship into a casual pace once the threat of the space pirates was far behind them. "How did we escape? And with the crates, they didn't blow up?"

Ace shook his head. "That was just a Mechaberry Bomb I shot. Good items to have on hand, very cheap, but they sure pack a wallop! I hid one next to the door and zapped it with my blaster. Then I used my teleport device to bring us back here."

"You couldn't just have done that from the beginning, teleported us out of there with the crates?" Rolan snorted.

"No way! Then who would stop those mean ol' space pirates from coming after you again!" Ace smiled, and playfully punched Rolan in the shoulder.

Rolan sighed, then glanced back toward the crates. "I guess we should get the Endolamite somewhere safe?"

Ace cackled loudly, and Rolan looked up at him in surprise. When the Zafara finally calmed, he explained, "There's no Endolamite in there."

"What? Then why did those pirates want the crates so badly?" the Grundo asked, alarmed.

"Because they're space pirates; they want everything badly!" Ace giggled as he wandered over to the first crate. He aimed his Virtublaster at the crate and fired. Rolan ducked and waited for the proceeding explosion, but none came. The ice encasing the crate melted off to a puddle on the ground, which several thirsty Petpets took upon themselves to drink. Ace picked up the crate and brought it to Rolan, cracking it open.

The Zafara lifted up a clear plastic sheet with a print upon it. Rolan gawked at the image upon the sheet. "They're just... ads?!"

Ace nodded, placing the ad back in the crate. "Yup, I heard about the wave of advertisements they were going to plague my airspace with, so you know me, I had to stop them!"

Rolan smacked his hand upon his face and lay his forehead down on his ship's control panel. "All that for some ads."

Ace placed his hand comfortingly upon Rolan's shoulder. "Many Neopians will thank you, trust me."

Ace helped Rolan round up the errant Petpets and deliver them to the Space Petpets shop. The angry shop owner sat and listened to their wild story with disbelief in his eyes, but he excused the Grundo's tardiness. The shop owner did note that one Petpet seemed to be missing from the shipment list. Rolan and Ace just grinned to each other and stated that the poor guy must have been lost in the ensuing chaos.

Returning back to the cargo ship, the N-4 Information Retrieval Bot waited happily at the control panel. Rolan patted his head before scooping the Bot up in his arms. He looked up as Ace addressed him.

"Well, that seems about enough fun for one day. My ship has been patiently waiting for me to return, and I'd better be off. I've got more menacing evil-doers and ads to thwart!" Ace laughed.

Rolan paused for a moment, staring down at the N-4 Information Retrieval Bot nestled in his arm. He turned back to Ace, holding out the Petpet toward the Zafara. "Here," he said, "I think he would do you a lot of good out there on your adventures."

Ace blinked and gingerly scooped up the small Bot, his head canted to the side. "I will take good care of him!" Ace patted the N-4 on its head. "You can be my new co-pilot, Spade!" The Petpet beeped merrily up at the Zafara. Ace looked back up at Rolan, "You know, you could join us too. Travel space, save poor innocent Neopets from those nasty space pirates!"

The Grundo chuckled softly, shaking his head. "My adventures with space pirates are definitely over. I'll go back to my nice, comfortable cargo route, thank you very much."

"Well, how about we at least get dinner together?" Ace asked. "I know a nice little place just around the asteroid belt."

Rolan perked a brow up. "Oh? That sounds like a good idea, what's the place?"

Ace's grin broke before he could even finish his sentence. "Grundos Cafe."

The End

Author: filter
Date: Apr 15th

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