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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 14th day of Eating, Yr 23
The Neopian Times Week 4 > Continuing Series > In a Really Strange Land: Part Three

In a Really Strange Land: Part Three

by Phifi

Days and weeks passed by and Shamathia enjoyed her new life more and more. Andy showed her a great deal of owners' world, and when he was still at school she often went over to visit Amie. Every now and than, Andy and his dad checked if Shamathia's robotic body was working fine, exchanged some very used parts or even improved her functionality. Soon, she got a set of really fine claws made of stainless steal, which she could push out to walk on rough terrain, climb a bit or impress the cats which roamed around through the garden now and than. Andy had also taken her into town quite some times, and once even to a friend of his, of course without telling him.

One nice morning, Andy waked Sammy up and told her that it was time to go to school. She looked at him with big eyes, and he explained her, that he had to take only a few books with him today so that there was enough empty space in his backpack for a cat or something of that size.

At first Shamathia was skeptic, wasn't that a bit to dangerous? But soon Andy convinced her that it would be only great fun, after all, they had been under people in the city before and never had anyone noticed her. Also, Sammy was very interested to experience what school was like at owners' world, and so she jumped into the backpack between the text--and exercise books.

After a fifteen-minutes walk they arrived at school. Sammy could hear many different voices around, younger and older ones. Andy seemed to walk down some stairs, than greeted someone and had a little talk about nothing too special. They walked down a long aisle, opened and shut a door and than the backpack was put to the ground very carefully. There were many voices very close. Obviously, the lessons had not yet started and the pupils were chatting with each other. Andy had explained Sammy that he sat in the first row of tables, close to the teacher's desk.

Soon a bell rang, once and a few minutes later another time. The door was opened and in walked someone with fast steps towards the front of the room. Still some pupils were chatting with each other but the teacher said something about "Good morning" with quite a strong voice they felt quiet. The first period was math, and afterwards history. The math lessons was quite interesting and the teacher seemed to be nice. He was not too strict but yet no one questioned his authority. This period was actually about trigonometry you know, some really wired stuff about how to calculate the angles and edges of triangles.

The next period was very much different. The history-teacher had the mysterious ability to create an atmosphere of deadly boredom as soon as he entered the room. It was so boring, that time seemed to slow down, yes even to stop or go backwards. History can be a very interesting and enjoyable subject, or it can be like this. It all is depending very much on the teacher.

The teacher hold a long monolog about the end of a great war, you know, he spoke only for himself, did not allow anyone to interrupt him and in some way just encouraged the pupils to follow various activities to pass time by. For example writing little letters, chatting, or playing cards under the table. Some even listened to portable CD-players or just fell asleep. When finally the bell announced the end of the period it was a relief for all parties, pupils, teacher and Shamathia.

After each period was a small break, but after the second and forth period was a larger break to give the pupils time for eating their little break-feast they had either brought with them or bought in the cellar of the school at a little snack-bar owned by the grunty housekeeper. Sammy could hear Andy leave the room, heading off for the rest-rooms. During the history lessons he had drunken a whole bottle of apple-juice and eaten half a sandwich to keep him awake.

She listened to the pupils around, and than suddenly she heard those words which had made her blood freeze in her veins if she had had any. "Do you think Andy did his Latin-translation for today? I really ain't got no time for doing 'em yesterday and it's only ten minutes till 'the chef' arrives..." said one voice.

"Dunno," answered another one, "Just have a look at his exercise-book, that's certainly all right with him!"

Someone bent down next to the backpack in which Sammy hide and was going to open it! What if he found Sammy in it? She was desperate, she would be discovered and there was no way she could help it. But than, in the ultimate moment, when Sammy thought she could already hear the zip of the bag slip open, she suddenly heard Andy's voice. He had realised at once what was happening and managed to save the situation.

"Hey guys what are ya doing there? Wanna eat my apple-pieces, I suppose?" The someone who had bent down next to the backpack stood up again. Saved... "There you are, no we are not for the apples, not today, but for ya translations for Latin. Please tell us you made them?" he said.

"Yep, just a moment." Andy bent over his backpack and zipped it open very carefully so that only he could see the inside. He took out the translation and closed it tightly again.

"Here we go, but tomorrow it's your turn man. I really got better stuff to do than this crap." Sammy could imagine well what he really meant with this.

The next period was Latin, taught by the headmaster of the school who was a person of great authority. At once when he entered the room everyone fell silent. The headmaster went to the front of the room and greeted the class in an old-fashioned way. The lessons were very hard, and though she had no problems with any translations of the texts, Sammy could imagine well how difficult it must be for the pupils. Andy did not too bad, and his translation turned out to be quite fitting. And by some miracle, the ones of half of the class as well.

As the lessons went on, Sammy could almost feel the tension around her. Everybody hoped that it was not him or her to read and translate the next sentence. One boy did especially bad this day and though the teacher did not shout at him, his words were very mean and supposed to hurt. Shamathia thought that the teacher would have liked to beat that boy.

When the last period was over, Andy stuffed his books into the backpack, wished his classmates bye-bye and quickly exited the building. Back home he needed only eight minutes, certainly because he was more encouraged to hurry up a little bit.

Finally they arrived at home, Andy opened the door, put the backpack on the ground and let Sammy out. "Everything all right with you?" he asked, "And did you enjoy it?"

"Oh yes, I am OK," replied Sammy.

"Thanks for taking me with you... wow, those history lessons were the most boring thing I've ever attended. Even worse than the first knockout competition at the Battledome. Really, I thought I would die!" They laughed at this, Andy had certainly felt the same way. "But the break after the second period was thrilling. I was so close to been found," Sammy went on. "Yes, the blood froze in my veins when I came back into the room... so what do you think about school here?"

"Well, most of the lessons are really though. It is a total different standard than in Neopia. And I am happy that I am not obliged to go again!" Again they had to laugh.

***

Shamathia and Andy had a great time in owners' world, Andy showed Shamathia around everywhere, he even took her with him on a bike-tour one day, and Sammy learned to sneak around without being seen so well, that Andy permitted her to go to the other gardens and even the little woods nearby during night and early in the morning.

But like a beautiful summer-day passes by and sun sets, also their happy time together darkened. On afternoon in mid-September, the doorbell rang and Andy went to open. To his surprise, or rather shock, a soldier was standing there, asking if his parents were at home. He would have loved to deny this, but in the background his mother asked who it was. Andy said it was for her and she came to the door as well. The soldier told her that he had to talk with her about an urgent matter, her and him alone. Together they went into the living room and shut the door tightly behind them.

Sammy was shocked when she saw the soldier entering the house as well. Of course she had been at the battles in Tyrannia and Lost Desert and seen soldiers there, but that had been different... she was a bit afraid of this soldier for she had never seen someone from owners' world in uniform and wearing military boots. And he had had that mean look on his face.

Andy came into the room, looking like the walking death. She asked him if everything was all right, and nodded though he really did not look like that. He went into the bathroom and looked out of the window. Outside on the street stood an army-jeep. Two other soldiers were sitting in it, listening to the radio. Andy looked at Sammy, "Peep out of the windows and look at the army-men. Remember what they look like and always stay away from them" Sammy did what she was told, though she could not quite understand the sense in it. The two men in the jeep seemed friendly, besides their uniforms and guns. "Why do I have to? The army is there to protect us, isn't it?" she asked.

Andy gave her a sad glance. "Usually yes, but this is different. Stay away of them, it is dangerous and please don't ask why."

Half an hour later the soldier left again and drove away with the other in the jeep. Andy's mother called him downstairs into the kitchen. Somehow, Sammy had a really bad feeling about the whole thing... she went also downstairs and lay down under the table in the dinning-room so that she could listen to what Andy's mom was saying:

"... and asked us if we knew anybody in possession of military property. You had heard about that burglary in the military base several weeks ago? It was big in all newspapers. A young man of about 17 or 18 years stole expensive equipment. He was spotted on a security camera but unfortunately he was wearing mask. Still the military have no idea where to search and so they are asking the population now. You don't happen to know anyone who could be involved in this affair? The sergeant said these parts which got stolen could pose a thread to the public if they would be given into the hands of terrorists."

Andy replied nervously, "Burglary? No, I really don't know anyone who would dare stealing equipment from the army. That must have really upset them, I mean, just from the army one shouldn't expect such a lack of security."

After the talk, Andy left because he had to take care of some "urgent matters" as he put it. He ordered Sammy not to leave the house under any circumstances. When he returned, he was in a worse condition than before, nervous and his face pale white. He did not talk much that evening and went to bed early.

It must have been around three or four in the morning, when it happened. The sound of heavy diesel engines could be heard on the street and than all at once the front door was kicked in with so much brute force that the glass-windows in it shattered. A command of soldiers, wearing storm-masks and carrying rifles with lasers ran into the house looking around everywhere. Shouting could be heard, shelves and cupboards were opened, things fell to the floor and broke.

Andy jumped out of his bed and quickly locked his door. Than he pushed a heavy bookshelf in front of it and also one of the desks. He took on some cloths and than turned to Sammy who was sitting in one corner of the room, frightened.

"Come on Sammy, we gotta leave! It's no longer safe here! Be a good girl and climb into this backpack quickly," he said.

Sammy was close to panic. "Andy, what is going on here? Are the after us? And what are we..." she was stopped in the middle of the sentence.

Andy had reached below her right front leg and deactivated her with a secret switch hidden there. He packed her in the backpack, put it on his shoulders and than opened the window and climbed on the roof. In his room behind him, he could already hear how two or three soldiers tried to open the door. He ran across the roof and jumped onto the one of their neighbours' house. On one side stood a ladder, placed there by Amie. He climbed it down and ran through the garden, crouched under some bushes and came to a road on the other side. Behind he searchlights were switched on. He ran, just ran, heading towards the station.

When Sammy was activated again, the sun was just rising and a new day started. She looked around, where was she? The floor was seemed to be made of solid iron and was very dirty. In addition, it was moving. A train she thought, and she was right, but it was not a passenger train but a goods train. What the heck was going on? Andy sat nearby on a wooden box.

He was the fist to break the silence. "I am sorry," he said, "I am very sorry for not telling you the truth earlier and for bringing us into all this trouble." Sammy knew nothing to reply and so he went on, "It was all my mistake... when I started building your robotic body, I soon realised that it really was far over my skills and also the parts were so costly. Worse, when I had solved some major big problems, I found out that no ideal CPU [central processing unit] was available to run the robot at all."

Slowly Sammy began to understand. "Did you break into the military base and stole equipment?"

Andy, who was now crying, nodded. "Yes, I happened to know that they stored the prototypes of new chips for use in experimental battle-robots, so called "Combat-Mechs" in a base nearby. I spied it out and soon found a security bug in the computer-systems. Yes, and than I did do the burglary and to my surprise they had not only chips in the base, but also a great number of ready-to-use robot parts. All I had to do was collect everything I needed, and soon your body was finished."

"That was very very kind of you, risking so much for... me. But what is happening now?"

"I made the mistake to underestimate their possibilities and now it is all lost. When the soldier came in yesterday, must have had a scanner with him to locate the stolen parts. At the moment he entered the house he knew that the parts were there."

There was a silence, before Sammy asked, "And, what are your plans now?"

"Returning to the military base and putting things into order again," he replied.

To be continued...

Previous Episodes

In a Really Strange Land: Part One

In a Really Strange Land: Part Two

In a Really Strange Land: Part Four

In a Really Strange Land: Part Five

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