“AAAAAAAARGH! Don’t touch that switch...” Agusto’s cries were wiped out by the roar of the pod’s engine as it started to take off. Cream, who had absentmindedly pulled the switch in an attempt to see what it did, stumbled off the control panel and fell on top of Cheesedoodles, and they both toppled over onto the metal floor. Agusto desperately peered out of the window to see the Virtupets Space Station shrinking away into the distance as his other two pets, Number and Potion Maker, stared in shock out of the airlock that had closed shut when the pod had taken off.
“Oh, nice going, Cream!” Cheesedoodles grumbled as he dusted himself off. “Now we’re stuck in space heading who knows where!”
“You’re one to talk!” the Yellow JubJub shot back. “Who wanted to go into the restricted area of the Space Station in the first place?”
The Poogle straightened up haughtily and shot Cream an angry glare. “I wasn’t the one who was so keen on going inside an in-use escape pod!”
Agusto, the pets' owner, sighed and stared at the many buttons and levers. They were heading the wrong way from Neopia and he had no idea how to fly an aircraft of any kind, let alone this one. “Potion Maker would know,” he said. “She’s the gifted one.”
“SHUT UP!” Agusto yelled, not able to take their bickering anymore. “We’re lost in deep space, and we’re going to have to figure out how to get back to Neopia in one piece.”
“We’re lost?” Cream trembled.
“That’s right!” Agusto said. “And if we die up here, both of you are grounded!”
“Ugh, I’m sick of this space food!” Cheesedoodles groaned, holding the dehydrated food packet between his finger and his thumb.
“Me too,” Cream said, gagging at its taste. “I can stomach almost anything, and even I hate this stuff!”
Agusto ignored these complaints, switching the headlights off and on. I’m getting the hang of this, he thought to himself. “All right, guys, I think I’m pretty good at driving this thing now!” He slowly put a minimal amount of force on the steering wheel, and made sure the forward thrusters were on before pressing the acceleration. The ship moved forward at a steady pace.
“Ah! This is good.” Agusto smiled with delight. “Before you know it, we’ll be back in Neop-“ Suddenly, a red dot appeared on the radar.
“A planet!” Cheesedoodles gasped. “Head towards it, Dad!”
Agusto did, and before they knew it, they were streaking towards a blue and white planet.
“Hang on, guys...” Cream said nervously. “That doesn’t look like Neopia.”
“I don’t care!” Cheesedoodles said, groaning. “I just want to get out and stretch my legs!”
Meanwhile, Agusto had seen a fatal flaw in their self-rescue plan. “Uh... guys? I’m afraid I don’t know how to land this thing!”
“What?!” Cream gasped in horror. “I thought you knew how to fly!”
“Fly, yes!” Agusto yelled. “But in the middle of deep space, you can imagine I didn’t get much practice with landing!”
Acting quickly, Agusto scrambled to make a plan. He switched on the backwards thrusters and turned off the acceleration. They had already entered the planet’s gravity, and while the changes he had made to the ship had slowed them down a lot, they were still going pretty fast. The planet surface became nearer and nearer, until, finally...
The escape pod came down on the planet’s surface, bounced, and skidded to a halt. The three Neopians inside stumbled out in a daze, very dizzy.
“Geez, we made it!” Agusto sighed, relieved.
“Um...” Cream said, staring upwards. “What is that?”
Standing in front of them was what seemed to be a gigantic stone statue of Sloth. Only Sloth was poorly constructed, holding a flower in one hand, a ray gun in the other, and seemed to be dancing.
“What the-“ Agusto’s exclamation of surprise was drowned out by what they had originally mistaken to be flowers.
“DO YOU KNOW OUR WEADER?”
Cheesedoodles looked at the little puff-ball creatures with surprise. “Um... Donny the lawn guy?”
“No, I think they mean their LEADER,” Agusto whispered. “I think they just have bad enunciation.”
“Ah...” Cheesedoodles went up to the puff-ball creatures. “Well, who IS your leader?”
“Swoth, of course!” said a large-ish puff thing in the front. “This pwanet is called Swothtopia!”
“Oh yeah!” Cream said suddenly. “Like that article in the Neopedia!”
Both Cheesedoodles and Agusto turned around to stare in shock at Cream, who, to their knowledge, had never read anything more complex than a storefront window sign.
Cream blushed. “Ummmm... It was a project for Neoschool!”
Cheesedoodles and Agusto both decided not to point out that Neoschools hadn’t opened yet, since they didn’t really want to know the real reason their illiterate family member had been reading.
Agusto turned to face the Slothtopians. “So, our ship has a big hole in it, and we’ll need to patch that up. “
“We’ve got wots of building matewials!” the big Slothtopian said. “I’m Mayor Ploofy!”
“Ah, yes, Mayor.” Agusto cleared his throat. “So, we should start fixing that ship.”
“Oh, no,” Mayor Ploofy said, still beaming. “First you have to pwedge undying woaylty to Swoth!”
Agusto shrugged. “Well, I’m sorry, but on our planet he’s kind of the most evil creature on the face of the univer-“
Before he knew it, the Slothtopians had completely covered him and he was running around like he was insane. Cream and Cheesedoodles took one gaping look before throwing their arms up in the air and screaming, “LONG LIVE SLOTH!”
“Excellent!” Mayor Ploofy exclaimed merrily, as his cohorts stopped attacking Agusto and rejoined the group. “Now we can give you the matewials you need to fix your ship!”
A hammer, some nails, a welder, and scrap metal were passed to them by the crowd. Agusto walked over, mostly unharmed by still shaking.
“You people are COMPLETELY CRAZY!” he seethed.
Cheesedoodles sighed. “Boy, Potion Maker and Number must be so worried,” he mused.
“CONGA LINE!” Potion Maker screamed over the loud music.
“Boy, sis,” Number laughed, enjoying the party they were having in Agusto’s fifty thousand neopoint hotel room. “Dad’s gonna be pretty mad when he finds out.”
“Who cares?” The Korbat laughed. “C’mon, join the dance!”
“There! Finished!” Agusto gasped, the long, arduous work of patching up the hull finished at long last. “We can go home!”
Cheesedoodles yelled out from the inside of the ship, “We’ve got enough food, and I found a map of the stars that can lead us right back to Neopia!”
Cream... Well, Cream didn’t say much of anything, as he tended to fall asleep during work and was snoring. Both Cheesedoodles and Agusto gave him a glare before hoisting him onto the craft and getting ready for departure. Mayor Ploofy bounced up to him.
“So, when you get back, you’ll bwing our leader back with you?” he asked politely.
“Uhhh... Yeah! Okay!” Agusto said before quickly scrambling inside and firing up the engines, prepared for takeoff. The escape pod lifted off and streaked in the direction of Neopia.
“So,” Mayor Ploofy beamed, “all we have to do is wait.” And so, the Slothtopians waited. And waited. And waited...
“We’re home!” Cheesedoodles cried as he dashed out of the escape pod into the Space Station ship bay.
“Guys! You’re back!” Number cried, running up to them.
“We sure are!” Agusto said with a smile.
“Oh, and... Dad?” Potion Maker smiled innocently. “The Space Station sent us our bill a little... early.”
“Oh, don’t worry, sweetheart,” Agusto said, smiling. “Nothing could dampen my mood!” He took the bill and read it. “Except this! You threw a PARTY?”
Cheesedoodles whistled, looking over Agusto’s shoulder. “We’re not allowed back here till when?”
“That’s five worlds we’re not allowed to go to now.” Agusto sighed.
Number coughed. “Six.”
...And waited. And waited. And waited.
Mayor Ploofy looked around. “I don’t think they’re coming back.”