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PostPosted: Sat Feb 27, '10, 5:32 am
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Today was not Rolf Eushys's day, to say the very least.

Weeks ago, the Governor-General of Motavia had given him what had seemed to be a simple assignment: "Break into the BioSystems Laboratory and procure the Environment Systems Recorder," he ordered. "This should help us understand what's going on with Mother Brain!"

Simple enough, yes, he thought. Just me and Nei on a simple trip to the lab. That was before a giant of a man appeared at his front doorstep, offering his services as a Biomonster hunter. And the charming, innocent red-haired doctor, and the gangly purple-haired man who seemed to follow her everywhere. Then came the armored woman who claimed to be a CounterHunter. He didn't even want to begin to contemplate the strange history of the man who called himself Joshua Kain. Finally, his childhood friend Shiruka broke into his house.

Friend. Leader. Meatshield. Itempack. Party host. His six new companions came to regard him in all of those roles, and he came to respect them as their journey went on.

I should have listened to Mom and gotten into computers, he continued, as he and his current companions waded through a hip-deep pile of decomposing waste. Adjusting the laser sword strapped to his hip, he glanced upward, wincing. "Hold up a second," he ordered. "I don't see another path around all this."

"Awwww!" Nei groaned, sweatdropping. "We have to go back through all this garbage?! I feel so unclean! T_T"

He didn't blame her for complaining. "I know, Nei- we all do. I think we made a wrong turn, though. Hugh, what do you think?"

There was no answer from the biologist. A bit nervously, Rolf repeated, "Hugh?"

"Fascinating. Absolutely fascinating." Hugh was standing several paces down, inspecting a mass of vegetables piled in a thick grayish murk. "Rolf, did you know that the farms near Oputa seem to be having soil depletion problems? These carrots are shorter than usual, and-"

How Amy deals with this, I'll never know, Rolf decided. "Hugh, can we talk about this later? We really need to find this Jet Scooter the locals were talking about-"

The Jet Scooter. Ever since Mother Brain banned ocean travel in AW 1234, the large cruise liners that sailed the Motavian Ocean had disappeared, recycled into scrap metals and spare parts. Ingenious children were known to use these spare parts and scraps to build small vehicles to travel across water. Most of the time, they were successful.

Rolf was hoping that this wouldn't be a wild goose chase, or worse, lead them to a Jet Scooter that would blow up the instant someone turned it on. Taking in a deep breath (and supressing his gag reflex, as the stench of soiled diapers hovered around the group), he continued, "It's a dead end up ahead. Where's Shir?"

"She headed off in the other direction," Hugh replied, pointing to a path between two disgusting masses. "She said something about the winds calling her. I'm a bit concerned, Rolf- the Pinchants around can capture a lifeform several times more powerful than they are, and suck their bodily fluids clean out!"

I really didn't need to hear that, Rolf thought. "All right. Nei, Hugh, come with me- Shir might be in trouble."

He drew his sword and activated the flickering purple blade, waiting for Nei and Hugh to form up behind him. "Shir?" he called. "Shir of the Winds? Where are you?"

"Maybe she found some Meseta, or even a Laconia chunk?" Nei offered. "Shir always said she was looking for valuables, and you'd be surprised to see what people throw out!" Turning to Hugh, she whispered, "Once, Rolf threw out an entire loaf of bread because it was sitting on top of the fridge for a month. ^_^"

"Interesting."

Rolf tensed, raising his sword. "Footsteps. Get ready," he said. Shir, please be all righ- "Yaaaah!"

Shir swung into Rolf's vision, hanging by her legs on a tension rod, her green hair dancing across her face. Giving him a devilish grin, she said, "There you guys are! I was looking for you, you know!"

"Shir-"

"I thought I smelled some Laconia, so I went the other direction," she continued, swinging down to the ground. "No Laconia, not even some silver or gold, but I did find a lead on that Jet Scooter!"

"Really?!" Rolf asked, surprised. "Where?"

"Hold on- Stotz! C'mon out!" Shir waved someone the group couldn't see on. "My friend wants to talk to you!"

Turning the sword off, Rolf relaxed. A young Motavian emerged from behind the piles of garbage, offering a gift-wrapped box. "I am Stotz," he said. "You are here for the Jet Scooter? My friends down below are working on it-"

"Good. Stotz, do you mind," Rolf asked, "If we could borrow it for a little while?"

"Of course not," Stotz replied, advancing forward with his box. "In addition, we of the Roron Garbage Appreciation Society offer you and your companions a gift of shortcake." He pushed the box into Rolf's hands. "Please, take it."

The box smelled just as bad as the rest of the garbage in Roron. Raising a curious eyebrow, Rolf unwrapped the box and opened it, revealing a piece of shortcake.

"Hey, Rolf, I've never bought shortcake like this before," Nei said, giving it a poke. "There's all this blue and gray fuzz on it..."

"That's what gives it that zesty flavor!"

Rolf sweatdropped again, barely noticing as Hugh took the cake piece. "A local custom!" he said cheerfully. "I'm honored to receive this, Stotz!"

"Hey, Hugh! Didn't your mom ever tell you-" Shir started, as Hugh ate the cake in one bite. "-...not to eat rotten shortcake? Hrmm, I guess not, eh, Rolf?" She nudged her friend in the ribs.

Immediately, Hugh's face turned as purple as his hair. "...Quite a kick," he mumbled. "Vintage... Sixty... excuse me."

He dashed off behind a pile of garbage, and Rolf, Nei, and Shir heard him gagging and retching. After an uncomfortable minute, Rolf asked, "Hugh? Are you all right?"

"I... I'm fine, I'm fine. I... Oh, God, no I'm not..." Again, Hugh coughed and gagged, and they could hear something splattering into the garbage.

"I'll be right back," Nei offered. "I think Hugh needs someone to use Anti on him."

Rolf sighed. The sooner we find this Scooter, the better.

Will Rolf and the others find the Jet Scooter?! Will Shir find more money than even she knows what to do with it?! Will Hugh ever recover from his shortcake experience?! And will Rudo ever learn how to manifest Techs?! Find out... in the next random mess of a fanfic I decide to write! =D
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