Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Empire Strikes Back


"You're late."
"You're late," the coordinator announced as Seagull disembarked the blimp.
"I came as soon as I could.  I almost didn't even get to come this early."
"Hmph.  Well, let's hurry up and get started.  You'll probably want to spend a lot of time practicing anyway, so let's not waste any more time," the coordinator replied stonily.  Turning to the masses, the coordinator began to announce the start of the Poptropolis Games.
"Don't mind him," a small voice behind Busy Seagull spoke up.
"Who are you?"
"I'm the representative of the Nanobot tribe, my name is Little Clam.  Don't mind the coordinator, he'll forget all about it soon."
"Okay, thanks.  My name is-"
Little Clam cut him off with a smile, "Your name is Busy Seagull, you captain a ship on the high seas, and you are one of the great heroes of Poptropica.  I know.  Here."
"What's this?"
"It's a program with the names, occupations, and tribe designations of all the contestants."
" that's how you know about me."
Grinning, Little Clam replied, "Uh huh.  I've got to go practice now, see ya 'round, okay?"
"Okay." As Seagull glanced down at the program, one name suddenly jumped out at him: Speedy Wing.  He couldn't believe his eyes! Apparently, she was the representative for Seraphim.
"Looking for someone?"
Busy Seagull, engrossed in his thoughts, was startled and swiftly swiveled around on his heel to see who had surprised him. "Wha-? Oh, hi, Speedy Wing."
"Jeesh, don't do that!  Hi, Busy Seagull."
"Sorry.  What brings you here?"
"Same thing that brings you here, silly," Speedy replied.  "Com'on, we've better start practicing.  Which event are you going to start with?"
"Um, I guess I'll start with the hurdles."
Four hours later, twelve minutes after lunch break:

Determinedly, Busy Seagull prepared for the jump.  This was his first long jump after having lunch, so he was rested and he thought that he would do rather well.  Four hours of practice had helped immensely to bring back the old skills that his father had taught him when Busy was a young boy.  (Every Poptropican was required to train in the art of Poptropolissian athletics for some amount of time.)  As he walked up to the beginning of the track, however, he felt rather strange.  Feeling lightheaded, he assumed the heat of the island was getting to him, so he walked back to his bench to take a swig of water from his sports bottle.  Taking his place again, he started down the track on a strong sprint, yet before he neared the foul line, Busy Seagull felt his legs give way as he unexpectedly fell headlong on the track.  As she was next to practice, Speedy Wing noticed what happened and grabbed an official.
"Are you alright?" Speedy Wing asked as the two ran up.
"I don't feel good.  I feel strangely lightheaded, and my legs won't support me."
"We'll take care of this," the official replied.  Calling over another official, the two officials helped Seagull up and took him over to the doctor's tent.
"Well, what caused that?" Speedy Wing wondered.  Unfortunately, there was little she could do, so she made ready for her own jump.  As she got ready to start, Speedy noticed something out of the corner of her eye that looked like a silver bird, but when she looked, it was gone.  "How odd.  Something fishy is going on around here."
Meanwhile, Little Clam was trying to polish his skills at javelin.  A tiny flying robot flew past him and hid itself under the shield of a nearby statue.

A tiny flying robot flew past him and hid itself under the shield of a nearby statue.

Curious, Little Clam went over to look at it.  As soon as he tried to get a glimpse, however, the little piece of metal flew off.  It moved quickly but Little Clam was a fast runner.  Chasing it down, Little Clam captured it in his hands and examined it. "I should probably show this to an official," he reasoned.
"What do you have there?"  One of the officials in fact had been watching and wanted to know what was going on.
"Oh, I was just about to get you.  It looks like some sort of robot...  Ouch!  It's feisty too!"
Spreading like wildfire, the news that a flying robot had been captured caused quite a hubbub.  No one knew what to make of it.  Certainly, they found this news more interesting than that about the athlete who had fallen ill during training.  By now, Speedy Wing had gotten wind of it, and things were starting to come together for her.  Still, she had to see the thing before making a final conclusion.
Walking up to the crowd, she asked, "Where is it?  May I see it?"
"Why, of course," the official in charge replied.
Although it had been put in a cage and was trying desperately to escape, there was no mistaking it for one of the messenger drones of E. Vile's invasion force.  Years ago, Speedy Wing, Captain Busy Seagull, and several other Poptropicans had chanced upon a planet that showed signs of violent activity.  Checking it out, they found wild animals fleeing for their lives and an army of robots training for an invasion of Poptropica.  Drawing their swords, the adventurers had wrecked havoc among the robot army and obliterated them...until they ran across a mysterious transparent "wall" of sorts which kept them from pressing farther.  Fortunately, it also prevented the robot army behind it from attacking Poptropica.  Since then, they had found out that the army of robots belonged to one "E. Vile," who, after learning about the destruction of a great deal of his army, made every effort to destroy the mysterious crystalline wall and free the rest of his army.  No one knew how the wall had gotten there.  However, the appearance of the messenger robot could only mean one thing: the wall was down and Poptropica was once more in danger.  Someone had to go and fight the invasion army before it left its planet.  Only one of those original adventurers still carried a sword, and that was Captain Busy Seagull.  Sure, Speedy Wing still had her sword, but she hadn't needed it, and so through lack of practice had lost some of her skill.  On the other hand, Busy Seagull always carried his sword, because his life on Skullduggery Island depended on it.  Thus, the sea captain had to be the one to fight such a dangerous mission.  Yet he was ill, and there was no telling what might happen to him.


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