A Confusing Conglomeration: Part Two
Rocky slowly drifted back to consciousness. He was lying
on something rough-sand. He must be in the Lost Desert. Why? Oh, yeah. DeSoni's
friend-Geiger. The letter… DESONI!!!
The Red Ruki bolted awake with that last thought.
What had happened to DeSoni?!
He sat up and suddenly became aware of a couple
voices from directly behind him.
"I'm telling you, it's not Rickster_Rocker. For
one thing, he's far too young."
"Look, he's up. Let's just ask him."
"It's a waste of time. I knew him, and
that's not him. A remarkable resemblance, but not him."
Rocky turned his head toward the voices and spied
two Red Rukis beneath the palm tree. They were both tall, muscular fellows.
One appeared to be about his age, the other a good deal older.
They walked up to him purposefully.
"Is your name Rickster_Rocker?" asked the younger
Rocky inwardly sighed. He had a feeling where
this was going. "Yes."
"HA!" cheered the younger Ruki. "It is him! I
"It can't be," said the older Ruki in shock.
"Rocky, actually." He stood up and dusted the
sand off, rather disconcerted to find he was a head taller than either of them.
"You're his son! That's it!" gasped the
The younger smiled in absolute delight.
"Your father-what happened to him?! And your
mother-?!" asked the older one urgently.
"Look, I'm really sorry," began Rocky, scanning
the sands for some sign of DeSoni or Galba. "But I really don't have any time
for a buried past. My best friend-"
"Respect your elders!" barked the older. "What
happened to your parents?"
Rocky shook his head sadly. No sign of where
DeSoni had gone, and now he would have to spoil these guys' day. "They-they
"Oh no," whispered the younger one.
"They died. Many, many years ago."
"No," said the older one tragically, devastated.
"Ricky! And the princess! Lovely Azalea!"
"I'm really very sorry," continued Rocky, acutely
embarrassed. "I really must be going. My friend-"
"You don't understand!" said the younger Ruki.
"We are of the Royal Guard. Not only is it now our duty to deliver this news,
but we must bring you to our queen as well."
"I'm sorry, but I really don't have time. I can't
explain without breaking a vow, but my friend was captured-and an old friend
of his is in danger-and I know exactly who is behind it all, and I HAVE to stop
The older Ruki looked around at the vast rolling
sands, scattered clusters of palms, and the distant city. "Do you have any idea
where to begin?"
"Well-no," said Rocky reluctantly. "But I have
"You are so much like your father," said the
old Ruki sadly. "You'll never accomplish your goal on your own. Please, come
with us, and I promise to help you on your quest. I am the Head of the Royal
Guard-my promise is good."
Rocky scratched his antennae in nervous indecision.
He scanned the view again-the old Ruki was right. He didn't stand a chance on
his own in such a completely foreign environment. He was from Neopia Central,
a city-boy, no matter where his parents came from.
"Deal, and I'll hold you to that promise."
"Khar! Khar!" shouted a voice outside Wocky Detective
Khargana's house. A short Blue Shoyru was bouncing up and down in front of the
client door to the detective's office, flapping her wings for extra height.
A Green Wocky distractedly shoved the door open
outward, accidentally knocking over the hyper Shoyru.
"Sorry about that, Rissa," said Khargana, holding
out a paw and helping her friend up. She held a few triangular objects in her
other paw, which she slipped into on of the many pockets of her long, suede
This was the Wocky Detective. Surprisingly, she
looked nothing like a detective, except for her sharp, darting brown eyes. She
was of medium build, height, and looks-not small enough for spying, nor large
enough for brawling, nor even beautiful enough to get information with a minimum
of effort. Or so everyone thought at first. In fact, Khargana was perfectly
average in everything but her choice in clothing-the many pocketed, well made,
but completely out-of-place, brown suede vest that had become her signature
over the years. Her owner, appaloosa500, had adopted DeSoni recently-thus, she
was his older sister.
CarissaOfire, the small, hyper Blue Shoyru, was
one of Rocky's three 'sisters,' again because they all shared the same owner.
She was an ex-thief who'd run away from her wicked owner and been put up for
adoption by the Neopian Central Authorities (then the Chia Police). Rocky's
three sisters were lifelong friends of Khargana's, so it was only natural for
the two boys to become close buds.
"So, what's up?" asked Khargana, leaning casually
against the doorframe.
"I cain't find Rocky!"
The detective sighed. "That's hardly cause for
interrupting me. I was in the middle of something…" Her paw strayed to the pocket
with the pyramid-like objects.
"But he must be with DeSoni!"
"Do you think I keep track of his every move?"
"No, but surely you can trace him! Don'cha have
him micro-chipped or something?"
Khargana frowned and stood up straight. "Well,
yeah. Why is it so important?"
"Rocky promised to take me to Tyrannia today,
after putting together his bike at DeSoni's shop."
"Okay, but it's hardly an emergency," sighed
the Wocky, stepping aside and motioning the Shoyru into her handsome office.
The Wocky Detective's office had a large, dark
green rug spread in the middle of the paneled wood flooring, with walls painted
light brown and either dark brown or black furniture. Several full bookshelves
were pushed up against the walls, maps were pinned up in the free wall space,
and a pirate chest was hidden in the shadows of a corner. Surprisingly, despite
the darker colors, the room seemed comfortable and professional, at least partly
due to the golden light streaming in from the large windows on either side of
Khargana sat at her desk, pushed aside a Neopian
Times article on some desert gang whose leader had just been captured, and flipped
open the briefcase that lay on it-her disguised super-computer she'd made at
the Space Station Technological Institute. After around seven seconds of typing,
clicking, and playing around, she gestured Rissa over.
The briefcase's propped-open top-a screen disguised
to look like the smooth black interior of the case-showed a map of the Lost
Desert with two blinking red dots on it.
"That answer your question? Either something
came up or he forgot or both. Most likely both." The Green Wocky frowned at
the screen thoughtfully.
Rissa tilted her head to meet Khar's eyes sarcastically.
"You coulda just told me you had Rocky 'chipped too."
"You got your answer; I'd like to get back my
problem." Khargana took out the triangular objects again. "Incidentally, your
speech lessons with Tanny are really paying off. We haven't had nearly as many
people asking for translations." She chuckled, her eyes examining the tiny pyramids
she played with in her paw. "See you." She casually set aside the computer-briefcase
and pulled over the NT article.
The Wocky's whole impression was of 'issue resolved'
and 'conversation concluded.' But Rissa never was much good at taking hints,
especially not when she wanted something.
"I wonder if it's got somethin' to do with this,"
she said, pulling out a crumbled piece of paper and smoothing it out on Khar's
desk. "Looks like one of them crazy codes my old owner used to come up with
before a big job…"
That got Khargana's attention. "A code?" Her
ears visibly pricked upright. "I've been dying to try out this code-breaker
gizmo Kay created for me!" She swept the objects back into her pocket, tossed
the NT article into a drawer of her desk, and snatched the paper Rissa held
Rissa smirked. Contrary to her hyper, airhead,
happy-go-lucky personality, she did have a brain. And she knew how easy it was
to get Khargana interested in a puzzle.
"Would it change anythin' if I said Rocky's bike
"Wasn't, Rissa. Wasn't. And it just might," said
Khargana, eagerly taking in the rows of hand-sketched high-tech tools. She opened
a drawer of her desk and pulled out what looked like a simple pencil attached
to a tiny screen. She swiped the pencil-thing lengthwise over the message and
the same symbols popped up on the screen.
"I'd say DeSoni's," mumbled Khar, hooking the
pencil thing to the side of the gadget and examining the screen. "And he wouldn't
be foolish enough to link the tool to a related letter-so I'd say random, but
definitely by letter. Too many to be by word, and those types of codes have
so many variables they end up being clumsier than if they… Gotcha!"
She tapped the bottom of the screen a few times
and some letters popped up.
"Whoa!" exclaimed the little Shoyru. "How'd you
"I assumed the first word was Derek, DeSoni's
real first name, and the gizmo filled in all the D's, E's, R's, and K's. I also
guessed it was written in typical neograph-code, which uses the word 'stop'
instead of putting periods." She looked it over for a second, then typed some
more. The rest of the message popped up. It read as follows…
DEREK PLEASE HELP STOP BEING FRAMED STOP SEE
IN DESERT PLEASE STOP KREGOR
"Beautiful," said Khargana softly, smiling.
"Heavy," whispered Rissa with huge eyes.
"Now there's something about their locations
on my screen that I want to check out-"
"Because, last time we checked, the locator indicated
Rocky to be 20 feet underground and DeSoni in the Sakhmet palace's dungeons."
"Nice place," said DeSoni dryly. "I could really
get comfortable here."
"You may just have to," smirked Galba, shoving
his stunner against the tiny Aisha's back to keep him walking.
"No, seriously," continued DeSoni, pretty much
simply to avoid thinking about whatever he was about to face. "It doesn't smell
too bad, there's no blood or gore or torture devices, and we actually have light."
The tiny Fix-It shop owner gestured around the dungeons and the narrow, barred
windows through which blazed the scalding Lost Desert sun.
"Perhaps," said Galba sardonically and in unusual
good humor. "But there is plenty of mold and mildew, a wonderful diversity and
abundance of chains, locks, and cuffs, and the beautifully dismal surroundings
of steel bars and cold stone. Speaking of which-"
They turned a corner and, for the first time
in over half a decade, DeSoni saw his old best friend-Kregor Geiger. The slim
built Blue Alien Aisha had his head bent over and resting on his paws. A shackle
was around each of his forepaws, attached to a chain that locked him to the
"Kreg!" shouted DeSoni, jumping forward to check
on his old friend. Galba caught his shoulder with his free paw and yanked him
The Blue Alien Aisha looked up, not in the least
surprised to see DeSoni. "I'm sorry, Derek. I never should have sent that message.
"It's okay, Kreg. I'm kinda used to it."
"Derek! You don't-"
"Shut up! Both of you!" barked Commander Galba.
He shoved DeSoni into Kregor's cell and to the right, revealing something that
had been hidden from the doorway and the hall.
A large table tilted at a 45-degree angle took
up half the space. There were five straps, one to each corner and one around
DeSoni recognized it instantly. "N-n-NO!" he
shouted, twisting from Galba's grip and bolting out of the cell. It was a reaction,
not of coherent thought or ideas of escape, but out of sheer terror and a flood
of memories from his nearly forgotten past.
It took Galba around one second to aim and shoot
the stunner at the direct center of DeSoni's back, and even then the captive
had made it halfway down the dungeon corridor. The tiny Yellow Alien Aisha who
had been treated as a freak and experimented on his whole childhood collapsed
to the ground, instantly unconscious.
The large, Red Alien Aisha walked over to the
inert body and lifted it easily.
"Please, don't do this!" begged Kregor Geiger
in a devastated voice. "I'll refuse the promotion! I'll resign my position!
I'll even leave our homeworld forever!"
"My mind is made up," said Commander Galba coldly.
He reached the table and started strapping the small figure down.
"No, please!" said Kregor. "You don't understand-he
used to have nightmares nearly every night when we were dorm-mates at university!
He would flinch whenever someone mentioned the word 'experiment'!"
"All the better," said Galba coldly. He knew
full well-every Alien Aisha over 10 solar years knew full well-that Derek Sonix,
the genius freak half a normal Alien Aisha's height and missing two earstalks
of a normal Alien Aisha's four, had been tested and experimented on since day
"Please, Galba! Be reasonable! It's everything
I've been working to end! Please!"
"Which is why to frame you for actually committing
it would be so perfect."
To be continued...
Let me know what you think--I'm wide open! And I really want to know what
you think of the way things are shaping up! And please 'stay tuned' for part
three, introducing Rocky's grandmother and giving Kregor the chance to tell