Swarm - Attack of the Acara
Author's note: Dedicated to all of us underdogs.
The pamphlet depicted a brightly colored portrait of
a yellow Wocky standing on top of a tank and grinning broadly. One of his paws
rested on the lid of the cannon, the other waving at the invisible crowd. His
teeth were bright and reflective, almost shining as vivid as the desert sun.
A white-knitted scarf hung decoratively around his neck. His expression looked
as if he just conquered the world. The picture, of course, was showing Odysseus
T. Wocky, the famous conqueror of the swarm of the Lost Desert. Under the glossy
enhancement, a caption read: "Autographs by the great Odysseus! Tomorrow Only!
Come to the Lost Desert to get your free autograph!"
"Isn't he dreamy?" Sighing, Briseas held the
pamphlet to her chest. A far away glint burned brightly in her green eyes, as
if she was remembering a past memory. A smile passed on her expressive face;
she was hooked. "You're so going with me. How can you pass this up?"
"Going would be pointless," Teresias said, shaking
his turquoise mane out of his eyes. Holding his palms out in an exasperated
fashion, he shook his head at her naiveté. "He wouldn't notice us if
we had warfs strapped to our heads."
The quip not breaking her dreamy state, she just
sighed in contentment. Her energy radiated in waves and Teresias admitted to
himself that he had never seen his sister this happy.
"Alright. I'll go with you. But only to keep
you out of trouble." Sighing reluctantly, Teresias turned to walk out the door.
"But you're going to have to hurry up or we'll miss your famous Odysseus."
Five minutes later, walking down the sandy path
towards the desert's arena; he regarded his sister, who was chattering away
about her experiences with the game Swarm.
"They say that Odysseus can beat all ten waves
in ten minutes." She chatted excessively, expressing her thoughts by wildly
waving her red paws in the air. "Ten minutes!"
Teresias cocked an eyebrow. "What's so impressive
about that, sis? You can beat them in fifteen - although you do come home with
all those bug guts on you. I bet Odysseus stays nice and clean." Quirking a
half smile, he remembered the sight quite clearly. It took hours to scrub the
green-putrid slime out of her short, fine, Acara fur. But, according to her,
it had been worth it. She hadn't shut up about her high score for days.
Briseas didn't take the joke lightly, however.
She sighed in resentment. "Fifteen is too slow. I will beat it under ten." Suddenly,
she brightened her eyes expressing the familiar glint. "I know! I can ask Odysseus
for tips. I'm sure he'll help."
Teresias kept his mouth shut. He knew that there
wasn't a chance that she could talk to the great and wonderful Wocky. But, he
reflected, she could dream whatever she wanted.
A few minutes later a large crowd came into view.
Approaching it, Teresias could see that there was no way they were going to
be able to get anywhere near the hero; let alone talk to him. Standing on his
tiptoes, he peered over the crowd to see if the grand commencement had started.
"Get out of my way, you silly Kyrii. Make room
for the great Odysseus!"
Falling to the ground, he didn't even have time
to make it look dignified. Sand and dirt immediately caked on his knees and
through his normally illustrious mane. Turning on his side, he saw the bottom
paws of a very familiar Wocky.
"HEY! You just knocked down my brother!" Briseas
screeched at the top of her lungs. "Apologize!" She started after him through
Her command fell upon deaf ears. Odysseus was
already at the front of the now-cheering crowd.
Getting up and dusting off the dust from his
fur, Teresias scowled at his sister. "Forget it, sis; he isn't going to listen."
Tugging on her elbow, he turned to leave.
She immediately tugged free from his grasp. "No.
I'm going up there." Turning around, she pushed and shoved her way through the
Teresias just stood there and gaped after her.
After a few seconds, he couldn't even see her. Standing on his toes, he once
again peered through the crowd. He groaned out loud when he saw her. She was
scrambling up the second cannon, which was parked right behind the one where
Odysseus was now standing; giving his speech.
The crowd, at first, was oblivious of the little
Acara. Once she started to scream, however, heads started to turn towards the
Teresias did not catch the first part of her
rant; but he did catch the expression of Odysseus' face, which went from a photogenic
good-nature grin to absolute rage.
"I bet you didn't even beat the swarm. I bet
I, a lonely Acara, can beat your score," Teresias heard his sister scream to
A chubby green Chia, who looked to be Odysseus'
agent, scrambled onto the tank. He whispered something in Odysseus's ear that
the crowd couldn't make out. Instead of taking his agent's advice, he brushed
him off with an impatient paw.
"How dare you challenge me? You've got yourself
a duel!" he yelled towards Briseas, rage contorting his face. His paws were
clenched at his sides, as if he was using every ounce of his will power to contain
The next few minutes were a blur. Teresias watched,
mouth open, as his sister climbed down into the tank. On the opposite side of
the courtyard, Odysseus did the same. A muffled shout was heard from his tank.
"Release the bugs!"
The crowd all simultaneously covered their ears
with their paws as a loud screech filled the air. They watched, in shock, as
both tanks started to fire.
Dust started flying and the cacophony of tank
fire, gasps from the crowd, and high-pitched whines of swarming bugs filled
Minute after minute the battle raged on. Just
as he started to think he couldn't stand the sound any longer, the sounds ceased.
No more whining of bugs; no more tank fire.
Teresias uncovered his ears, shook the dust out
of his mane, and looked around for his sister. Both tanks sat in the field.
Except…there was something different.
The one on the right looked like it was going
to fall apart with the next gust of wind. Pieces of metal lay forgotten on the
sand. Slime covered every surface. The tank's gun swung like a pendulum.
The tank on the left, however, looked brand new.
Although, the pile of squashed bugs and green slime did not enhance the image.
Teresias looked at the top and his jaw dropped. There, covered head-to-paw in
green slime, was a grinning Briseas.
Taking off her helmet, she shook out her fur
and ears. The crowd inhaled a collective breath and, much to the surprise to
Briseas and Teresias, started to cheer.
Odysseus emerged from the tank. His once-white
scarf was splotched with green slime. His fur was matted. His once-proud stature
sagged in a defeated pose.
Briseas turned to the crowd and held up a paw
in an act to silence the crowd. She turned to Odysseus and bared her teeth.
"That's what you get for knocking down my brother!"
Not waiting for a dignified response, she looked
towards the back of the crowd - towards her brother - and smiled as bright as
"Nine minutes! New record!"