"I'll Have the Tofu Bowl, Please."
"Look at this."
The dark room was quiet and still, save one tall silhouetted
figure pacing back and forth. His head tilted down, hands limp at his sides,
he stood at one side of the room for a while, then quickly turned on one heel
to face his shadowy audience. "Look at this place! The Virtupets Space Station,
huh...? An absolute atrocity; everywhere you look, there's some insipid
'Buy-Me' sign or a tourist trap... This place isn't my evil lair anymore-- It's
a tourist attraction!"
The sudden shouting made the audience start. For a
second, light flickered as it reflected off their armored forms. They all gave
the leader their complete attention. Satisfied, he continued his speech. "Me,
I've had enough of it. I long for the old days of this place... terror around
every corner... horrible slave labor... not some lever that takes your chump
change every time you pull it."
"I was gonna buy some soda with that mo--"
"SHUT UP!" The entire room jumped at this, and the
lone complainer was immediately silenced. "I think it's time this entire station
underwent some... reform! Change! And, oh... the Space Faerie..." He
stopped, choking up. "Why... why don't you ever come here anymore...?" He buried
his dark face in his hands, bawling.
"...dude, is he crying?" someone whispered.
"Dude, he's seriously crying," another answered, then
the comments ended quickly as their leader gained his composure, wanting to
continue his pep talk.
"Anyway," he coughed, "like I was saying, it's time
for a change around this place. And I know the perfect place to start: with
you! It's time for this place to really turn back into the Virtupets
Space Station I remember! It's time to take back what's mine! ...Ours,
At this, the crowd burst into applause and cheering.
A light turned on, revealing the leader's contorted face. It was Dr. Sloth,
(formerly) feared and hated the world over. Now he was just... hated. Since
his embarrassing failure to carry out his dastardly plans, Sloth was regarded
as more of a pitiful shell of what he used to be. Cheering him on was his faithful
league of mutant Grundos-- the ones that still respected him somewhat. Sloth
himself looked relieved to see his plans met with such overwhelming receptiveness.
It really was time for a change at the old space station, but what he'd
overlooked was that the biggest change was needed... a little closer to home.
"YEAH!" some overenthusiastic soldier
screamed. It was a... a girl. Hands raised, a starry Ruki came flying
to the front of the crowd. "WOW! Mr. Sloth, I respect you, sir! That was an
amazing speech, sir! I can't wait to see your plans put into action, sir!" She
spun around on one leg. "And I promise you that I, Java B. Ean, will follow
you to the ends of the earth! When I spot anyone who gets in your way, I'll
do everything I can to stop them! I'll put my life on the line, not even kidding!"
She stared at Sloth with wide, bright eyes. "Let's change this station back
to the way it was...TOGETHER!"
Sloth was horrified. He stared back at Java, seething
with contempt for her. He didn't even remember how she managed to get into his
League of Faithful Minions, but he wished she hadn't. He only remembered the
first instance that she'd run up to him and cried "Mr. Sloth, sir! Let's
conquer the world together, sir!" And after that, there was no getting rid of
"Java...don't you think you'd be better off doing
something else?" moaned Sloth, evil, brooding hands in his evil, brooding pockets.
"I mean, don't you like... uh... Usukis like girls your age do?" His voice sounded
strained as he tried to drive her away.
Java simply cackled. "OH-SOU-KAYS?! HA!" The crowd
flinched at her horrible mispronunciation. "I laugh at the doofus
that plays with those, sir!" One of the mutated Grundo soldiers started, then
shoved something in his pocket without the slightest bit of hesitation. Sloth
"But, Java..." he began, "You're... you're mistaken.
You see, this evil regime is for... well, evil. Java, you're not necessarily
evil. I mean, in fact, you're..."
"A girl?" Java shot back, staring him in the face
with a fire in her eyes. "A girl?! I know I'm a girl, but I'm as good a soldier
"That's not... what I meant." Sloth paused, waiting
for Java to settle down. "You're energetic and capable and all of that, but..."
He sighed, wondering how to put this. He decided on the blunt approach. "You're
not a Grundo, Java."
"Wh...what?!" Java gave him a look of shock, gasped
when she saw his stone-cold face, then turned around to face the other soldiers.
She stared at them all through tear-blurred eyes, then fell to the floor dramatically
with a long, overdramatic "NOOOOOOO!" As she hit the ground on her knees, she
reached for her head and found two antennae, where they'd always been. Completely
satisfied, she immediately stopped crying and got up to look at Sloth with an
"I-know-you" kind of smile. "That was mean, sir. But look, I've got antennae
like a Grundo, so... I'm not that gullible." The entire room seemed to
Sloth, on the other hand, was expecting this. She
always said it to him when he tried to convince her that she wasn't a Grundo.
She didn't seem to know what a Ruki was, really. "What do you mean, 'why do
I have four legs?'" she would ask. "I've got two, just like any self-respecting
Grundo, sir." And when he'd ask her to count, it would always come, with a bit
of cheating on her part, out to two.
"All right, Java. I've got a mission for you. If you
can prove to me that you're a Grundo capable of staying on the team, I'll give
you some candy," Sloth murmured.
She gazed at him with what seemed to be stars in her
eyes. "R-really?! Oh, I knew you'd let me prove myself, sir! You're wonderful,
Mr. Sloth, sir! Excellent! Fantastic! YAY! ... But, what do I have to
"That's the fun part, Java!" Sloth exclaimed,
sounding more frightening than endearing. Everyone in the room except the clueless
Ruki backed away. "What I want you to do is undergo some... top secret training!
Doesn't that sound like great fun?"
"Y-YOU BET!" Java shrieked, inciting a little
more fear in the quiet audience. "What do I gotta do? Just say the word, sir!"
Sloth coughed. "Oh, I'll say it, all right..."
The setting was Neopia Central at noon. The sun was
high in the sky, and the Space Station was clearly visible from the ground where
Java stood. Standing on all four two legs, she held a booklet entitled, De
Dictionary of Dastardly Deeds to be Done. Flipping through its pages, she
sighed. "Aha, so my training starts! Sloth told me to do ten dastardly deeds
in this book, but I can't find any good ones," said the Ruki to herself. "And
geeze, this book is, like, Neo-College level or something! I mean, these words!
What the heck is a...c....ccc...aaa...ttt... What the heck is that, anyway?!"
Java flipped to the back of the book, looking for
a better deed. "If I do a really big one, it'll count for, like, four!" she
shouted. "Okay, here! Eenie-meenie-miney-mo, catch a Kougra by the-- oh, this
one's good!" Not bothering to finish her rhyme, she landed her finger on Dastardly
Deed No. 5,943 and began to read it aloud. "B... No, that's a 'D'... D...es...tory
N...igh...opa... Ugh, this book is too hard!" She tossed it aside. "I'll come
up with my own deed of pure evil!"
At Toys Galore toy shop, colorful dolls, balls, wands,
cars and many other enchanting playthings lined the shelves. A red Lupe sat
at the counter, bored to tears. There were tens of annoying children all around
the shop, pointing out the pretty toys they wanted, but no one actually came
to the counter. A crossword puzzle she hadn't finished lay in front of her,
but she had no incentive to pick it up again. She hated days like these.
And then everything changed.
SLAM! "BA-DAAAAAAAAAAAN! The
lovely evil JAVA has arrived!" Some crazy starry Ruki came waltzing through
the door with her own fanfare and imaginary entourage. "Hello, pitiful Neopian
scum! Welcome to... to..." She looked lost for a second, then started
counting on her fingers. She frowned. "... HELLO, PITIFUL NEOPIAN SCUM!"
The Lupe was worried for the first time since she'd
opened the shop. "Who... who are you?" she began, standing. The crowd inside
the toy shop turned around to look at the scene.
"Why, I'm only..." The Ruki grabbed a nearby piece
of chalk and ran awkwardly over to the play chalkboard near the counter. She
began to scribble something. The letters were large and wobbly, and some people
began to whisper to each other. "A... B... No, A... C... ugh!"
She paused, realizing everyone was staring. A few
more scribbles and she backed away to reveal "G-E-B-A" on the board.
"Ge... ba...?" The Lupe was confused. She stared at
Java, then back at the board. "...Geba... is your... name...?"
"What? Didn't I just say Java? Java! JAVA!" the Ruki
screamed, tossing the chalk back into its basket. "Do I have to spell it out
for you or-- wait..."
"That doesn't spell Java, hon," said a bystander.
Java clutched her head and began to scream, "Why...WHY
ARE YOU ALL GANGING UP ON ME?! LEAVE ME ALONE! IT'S JAVA! JAVA!" There
was a sudden awkward silence as Java looked around the room, then ran over to
a keychain and took it. She then pointed at the shopkeeper suspiciously. "Yeah,
I'm taking this! And... and no following me, ya hear?! NO FOLLOWING ME!" She
ran out the door.
"It...It was awful, sir!"
Java wept, burying her head in her hands. "Neopia
Central's toy shop is an evil among evils! They made fun of me because I...
can't spell!" She wept harder, sinking to the floor. The Grundo audience let
out a unanimous "Aww..."
Sloth was unamused. He held the keychain that Java
had stolen in his hands, staring at the picture of some disco Aisha secret agent
on it. "Well, you failed to do what I asked, anyway. Java. So I'm going to have
to let you go." He knew this wouldn't work, but...
Java sighed despondently. "Ahh... Yeah. I know, I
kind of let you down, didn't I?" She stood up, dried her eyes with the back
of her hand and looked at him, trying to be as pathetic as possible. "I... I'M
SO SORRY!" She ran off, wailing, to the transporter room.
Sloth, stung by guilt, began to call after her but
dismissed the idea before he did so. Instead, he let out a stolid, "Anyway,
let's go eat lunch or something." The crowd, easily amused, completely forgot
Java and cheered wildly. They probably forgot Sloth's plan for reform as well.
At Grundo's cafe, there was a table for roughly a hundred, occupied by Sloth
and his minions. They were all poring over their menus deciding on something
cheap. "The chicken platter sounds nice, but a little fattening. I'm trying
to cut calories, you know," said Sloth. The table stared at him blankly. "...
For health, you idiots." There was a silent "mm-hmm, sure" from
across the table.
"Who said that?!" Sloth roared. "I'll have you know
I'm VERY concerned about my cholesterol level!" He stood up, banging his menu
on the table. "THAT'S IT! TOFU BOWLS ALL AROUND!" The group groaned painfully.
"A hundred tofu bowls? Excellent choice, sir!" A familiar
voice broke through all the groaning and shouting from the Grundos. Sloth looked
up slowly at the waitress who'd come to the table. "What? Oh, Mr. Sloth, sir!
How nice to see you here!" It was Java.
Sloth shouted and backed away, almost knocking himself
out of his own chair. "What... what are you doing here?! Harrassing someone
when they're trying to have lunch!"
"Wh... oh, silly. I work here!" she exclaimed
happily. "I figured, if I couldn't take over Neopia from your base, I'd just
do it from this restaurant!" She gave him a sly look. "I'll just slip poison
into all the food and destroy Neopia one by JUST KIDDING! So, seriously, what
can I get you guys?"
The table was dead silent.
"Wait, so this means I'm hired again, right, sir?!"
Definitely Not The End.