The Rise and Fall of Dr. Boochigald: A Hero's Tale - Part Five
Also by a_greenparrot
Monday, 7th Day of Running, Many Years Ago,
The weather across Kreludor quickly changed. The once bright, warm surface was slammed into darkness as the sinister dark clouds covered the sky entirely. As well as this, the wind picked up to an incredible speed. The many enslaved Grundos that were present in Kreludor had suddenly disappeared, all of them hurriedly seeking refuge from the approaching dastardly weather in nearby buildings.
Over at the Mining Corp., Boochigald’s remaining mountains of scraps caused a wind tunnel to form, pushing the wind through the mine at mind-blowing (literally) speeds. For more than an hour the wind continued to accelerate through the mine, picking up and carrying anything in its path; tools, scrap metal, the remnants of an enormous ray gun - and a charred white lab coat. As it was lifted, it revealed the frame of a tiny, pink being, curled up and barely moving – something far from what used to be inside the coat. The once large, arrogant and maniacal super-villain had been reduced to nothing more than a tiny and weak baby! As the wind’s force slowly began to die down, the rain started. Drenching everything in its path, the cold water plunged into the ground powerfully.
Feeling the cold water hit his face, Boochigald awoke and examined his surroundings, blurry-eyed and still dazed from the earlier occurrences. He recognized the environment, but could not remember how he got there at all. He forced himself up from the ground, but succumbed to the stabbing pain in his side, falling back to the ground in a heap. He contorted his body to get a good look at his sore side, and saw a deep gash caused by the ray’s explosion firing him backwards, into the ground. It was then, however, that the Bruce noticed something unexplainably different; something that he was positive had changed since before waking – his head was too close to the middle of his body. Seemingly something trivial, it was clearly bothering Boochigald. Throwing his head backwards and forwards to survey his body, he noticed that this wasn’t the only odd thing – his arms were smaller, his feet were smaller – and his field of vision also seemed smaller. He stopped himself panicking by taking several deep breaths, and forcing his way through the pain to sit up and lean against a rock. He closed his eyes and tried to remember what had happened. It came in flashes at first, as if he were watching an old fashioned NeoVision video that had corroded through the decades. Flashes of his early life, his years with Dr Sloth – and finally, the incident with Hero at the Mine.
“That’s it,” he thought. “That blasted Grundo had a reflector on his arm... it must have backfired and turned me into a Baby!”
Fuming from the effects of his transformation, he realized that he had not remembered everything – he found himself asking, “What’s my name?”
He employed similar tactics to what he did earlier, laying his head back against the rocks and closing his eyes softly. This time, however, the memories did not come back in random flashes – this one came as a burst of live-action, as if he was watching a scene from NeoVision play out in front of him...
Saturday, 23rd Day of Celebrating, Many, Many Years Ago,
Boochigald’s Childhood Home.
Boochigald sat in his high chair, looking out for his mother suspiciously as he subtly fed the Asparagus on his plate to the Zomutt at his feet. He was what many would describe as a ‘cute’ baby – his feathers neat and tidy with a lovable curl at the top of his head, and a velvet red bow hanging from his neck. He could barely talk or walk, but was developed enough to be incredibly cheeky – and to know that he hated Asparagus.
Just as the hungry petpet launched himself at the last bit of Asparagus in Boochigald’s hand, the young Bruce turned to find his ageing mother standing in the doorway, staring at him, eyes ablaze. And not just because she was a Fire Aisha – she was so full of anger that her eyes seemed literally as if they were on fire!
“Are you feeding your Asparagus to Zom AGAIN?” Her voice reflected her anger, yelling, “I don’t understand why you must make cooking dinner so difficult for me!”
Boochigald cast his eyes downward, stuttering, “Bu---but mwummy—“
“Don’t give me any buts, Boochigald!” She cut him off. “If you don’t eat your Asparagus from now on, I cannot see you getting any presents on the Day of Giving! It’s only two days away, remember!”
With this, she turned and left the room, leaving Boochigald to stare down at his feet, ashamed.
“Boochigald!” he thought to himself. “That’s my name, I am Boochigald!”
Excited to rediscover his true identity, he attempted to exclaim it out loud.
“I AM BOOCHID—BOOCHIWOR—BOOCHILARD!”
No matter how hard he tried, his newly baby mouth could not pronounce his name.
Frustrated, he tried again, “BOOCHICU—BOOCHIFOLD!”
He slumped against the rock behind him, infuriated by what Hero had done to him. Sulking to himself, he realized something – he could pronounce the first part of his name, Boochi, but not the end of it.
He thought for a moment, before jumping up from the ground and yelling, “I AM BOOCHI!”
The cry rang out for kilometers, with it being heard by several Grundos on the other side of Kreludor.
The newly named Boochi surveyed his surroundings once more, and caught sight of his original ray gun near the entrance to the mine. He slowly limped towards it, still in pain, but eventually reached it and picked it up. He examined it, and apart from a few minor scorch marks, it looked perfect, as if brand new. He aimed it at a Fleaf in the distance and fired, a bright green flash discharged from it and hit the Fleaf perfectly, reducing it to an even tinier baby Fleaf.
Boochi smiled evilly and thought to himself, “So, that foolish Grundo thinks he can mess with my plans by turning me into a baby? If he’s going to try to stop a mastermind as great as me, he’s going to have to try harder than that. I will succeed in my plan to zap all of Neopia into babies, I will prove myself to Dr Sloth, and I will go down in history as the greatest evil Neopia has ever seen!”
The Baby Bruce limped restrictedly towards the entrance to the rest of Kreludor, ready to initiate the next part of his plan.
Friday, 1st Day of Collecting, Present Day,
Virtupets Space Station.
An aging Hero sat back in his leather chair, feet up on his rotting desk and head back with his eyes closed. He was meant to be working on a major piece of paperwork for a recent mission by the Space Faerie – see, since the incident with Boochigald, things had not gone well for poor Hero. After leaving the Kreludan Mine he had been demoted for following Boochigald back from the Traag laboratory. That was not his position – he should have radioed back to ask for support and stayed at his post. Alas, he was cursed to a life of meaningless, never-ending paperwork and bad cups of borovan by the boatload. Now sporting a rather smart-looking grey goatee, Hero sat forward on his chair and looked around him. He sighed as he surveyed his tiny office – basically four walls and a floor. The boundaries of the office matched the boundaries of his desk, with only enough space on one side of the desk to fit a door in. The walls had wallpaper stripping off them in places, and the door was only half painted, the rest of it bare wood. It was the typical office of someone who was not important and that was replaceable – unfortunately, Hero’s current position did not reflect his capabilities.
Hero opened the Neopian Times on his desk to the first page, and saw a headline that made his eyes bulge and confusion strike:
“Unknown menace zaps random Neopets Baby!”
He immediately jumped off his chair, grabbing the newspaper as he went through the door and into the main Space Station office. He continued running at top speed, vaulting over desks and others’ heads, when he reached his captain’s office door. The automatic door began sliding upwards for Hero as he came close to it, but his pace was much faster than that of the door.
He hammered his forehead into the rising door at full pace, flinging him backwards. He opened his blurry eyes in a daze, faintly making out the silhouette of his captain standing over him.
“What in Neopia’s name are you doing? Are you okay?”
“I-I’m fine.” He staggered, grabbing his captain’s hand and using it to pull himself up.
“Good to hear. What was it you wanted?”
“Here.” Hero handed his captain the newspaper article, “Boochigald’s back! Sir, you have to send me back out!”
The captain glanced down at the paper for little more than a second, before staring back in Hero’s eyes blankly.
“No,” he said bluntly.
“Thank you, sir, I really appreciate this opportu—what?”
“I said, ‘no’. There is nothing in this article that grants a reason to get involved with that cretin yet again.” He looked Hero up and down darkly, “Let alone you.”
“No reason? He’s zapping Neopets from all around Neopia!”
“I think they should consider themselves lucky that they don’t have to fork out six hundred thousand neopoints! I don’t want to hear anything more on the subject.”
The captain moved to walk away from the door.
“Sir, please.” Hero grabbed his captain’s arm with his hand and lightly pulled him so he was staring him in the eyes. “I need to do this for myself. I can’t stay in here and write meaningless words that nobody ever reads. I’m not cut out for that. I’m a hero; in fact, I am Hero. I need to make up for what happened last time. I just need to, sir. Please, give me another chance.”
His captain’s eyes softened.
“You’re a good man, Hero. You have to understand. I didn’t demote you as a punishment; I demoted you because I couldn’t let somebody as exceptional as you make a fool of yourself. I didn’t want to, but if I left you out in the field you would’ve been the laughingstock of everybody, and that would have been on me.”
Hero’s eyes began to water as he realized what his captain had done for him.
“That’s why I can’t let you do this.”
Hero’s heart sank.
“—on your own. I want hourly updates via this.” He handed Hero a VirtuCommunicator. “Remember that this is your last chance.”
“I-I—thank you so much, sir, I won’t let you down,” Hero cried, forcing back tears with a giant grin stretching the width of his face.
The captain nodded and suggested, “Take the red ship. I’d suggest you start where it ended last time – a little Pawkeet tells me something has been going on there.”
“Thank you, sir.”
Hero inhaled deeply at the entrance into the Kreludan Mine Corporation. It had been many years since he left this place, thrilled with himself about what he had accomplished – but all of that turned to nothing when he got home. He exhaled and began to walk through the opening.
Upon entering the mining corporation, Hero noticed, curiously, that everything was almost exactly the same as when he had been here last. The demolished ray gun lay in a rather large blast hole in the ground, with the rest of the mine basically covered with mountains of scraps and rubbish.
“Right. Probably smart to start at the most obvious place.”
He moved quickly towards the ray gun, anxious to find Boochigald. Running his hand over it, the recollections of the happenings of that day came flooding back to him: Boochigald’s plan, his robot gargantuan distractions, his huge ray gun blast, and of course, Hero’s accidental deflection. He snuck a wry smile before surveying the ray’s ruins.
Except for the horrid rust all over the metal’s surface, it was exactly how he remembered it being. Knowing better than to dismiss it, however, Hero continued to examine every part of it, until he noticed a small, red button in an aperture clearly carved into the ray’s debris. Hero ran his right-hand forefinger over the gap, and quickly realized it was too small for his fingers. He stood back for a moment and thought about the possibilities of what to do.
Suddenly, something beeped, and he heard his captain’s voice over the VirtuCommunicator in his pocket, “Hero? Are you okay?”
He took it out of his pocket, pulled out the aerial and held it up to his ear, clicking the long button on the right side.
“Yeah, sir, I’m fine, got here safely and am now investigating the mining corp.”
“Alright, Hero, good job. I’ll contact you soon.”
The VirtuCommunicator beeped again.
Just as he motioned to put it back in his pocket, the aerial caught his eye. The thin, long, and strong metallic aerial.
Hero wasted no time. He angled the aerial towards the hole in the ray gun and pushed it in carefully until he reached the button. He took a deep breath, and pushed the button. Immediately, his field of vision was blinded by a staggeringly bright, green light. And that was the last thing he saw.
When Hero came to, he was sitting in a chair, in some sort of dark cave.
He tried to move, but found he was tied to the chair and couldn’t.
“Ughh... what’s—what’s happening?” Hero struggled to speak.
Suddenly, a high-pitched and almost infantile voice spoke out from somewhere in the darkness, “I think I can explain that one.”
Lights flashed on in the cave and Hero, once his dilated pupils constricted to let in less light, was able to examine the cave.
It was, in fact, an extremely high-tech laboratory built underground. Surrounded by sophisticated looking equipment, weapons and items, Hero couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed. Looking around the room, he found the source of the strange voice – a tiny Baby Bruce.
“Err... who are you?” Hero asked bluntly.
The Bruce laughed, “We’ve met before, Hero. I am Boochi!”
Hero looked stunned. “You—you’re Boochigald?”
Hero erupted into hysteric laughter.
Boochi yelled, “Quiet!” clearly holding back tears.
Hero calmed himself. “So what’s the deal with this place?”
“This,” Boochi proudly exclaimed, “is my lab.”
“I can see that, you moron. I mean what are you doing here?”
Boochi grumbled loudly, “Many years have passed, Hero, yet nothing has changed. Except that you’ve become an old and tired man. I have realized that with my tools the way they are, I can’t enslave all of Neopia.”
“So, you’ve finally realized your plan is ridiculous.”
“No. I may not be able to enslave all Neopets. But Sloth can. If I can impress him by individually zapping Neopets around Neopia, he will surely join me and help better my tools and plans.”
Hero snorted pessimistically. “Are you serious? You expect Sloth to work with someone else – let alone you?”
“Of course. Sloth is not a fool; he knows a good opportunity when he sees one.”
The room was silent for a few seconds before Hero said, “So what’re your plans with me?”
The young Bruce sighed deeply.
“Hero, you’re an old man. You are no threat to this plan; I doubt you could even lift your ray gun anymore. But I know what happened last time, I can’t take the chance.”
The Bruce moved over to his desk and picked up a small, entirely silver ray gun.
He raised the ray gun and fired a single blast. All the restrained Hero could do was sit and watch himself be engulfed by a blinding green light.
To be continued...