The Mission to Kreludor
Dedicated to my Aisha, Fuzzy_Eclipse. Many thanks to Pixie for making my dream pet wish come true so many years ago!
"Look, they they are!" someone shouted out from the crowd. Everyone turned their attention to look and children gasped in excitement and utter amazement. The door opened and out they came, the seven astronauts carefully chosen to be the first to go to the mysterious land of Kreludor, nicknamed "Mission 1". They all looked identical, seven green alien Aishas in full white space suits. Each one had a different color nerkmid patch on their sleeve with their names embroidered in cursive in the middle and a golden nerkmid chain around their necks.
They exited the building and onto a platform that would lead them to the ladder of the spaceship. They carried their helmets in their left hands and waved to the spectators with their right. The children crowded up close around the fence, cheering and waving back. Among these children, was Fuzzy, a small plushie Aisha. He was breath-taken by the alien Aishas; he had never seen any before in his whole life. Mostly because at this time, they were extremely rare and were thought to have "extra-terrestrial powers", which is why they were the perfect candidates to go to Kreludor. They had four ears instead of two and a red triangle on their foreheads. He gazed at them and watched as they climbed up the ladder and into the ship. He clung closer to the fence, his heart beating with so much joy and excitement it was all he could do to contain it. He waited and waited, but nothing happened. Things seemed dull for a while, it took about a half-an-hour for the Aishas to get settled into their cabin and do their final checks. But soon, a voice on a loudspeaker could be heard...with the countdown.
"10..." he said and began to countdown. Fuzzy's heart started to race again.
"8..." He clung the chain fence tightly in his hands.
"6..." Why can't time go faster?! he thought.
"4..." His head was racing; the adrenaline rush was kicking in.
"2..." He could feel his heart pounding so fast, but he didn't care, for he knew this could be the best moment of his entire life.
And all of the sudden, the chemical reaction from the chambers inside the ship sent it soaring sky high at what seemed like a million miles per hour! Fuzzy watched as it soared higher and higher, until he could no longer see it. The spectators let out a huge applause and cheered, chanted and hugged one another. It had worked, and they had just witnessed the first spaceship to ever takeoff to the unknown mysteries of Kreludor. Although some stayed and mingled with one-another, most chose to go off and celebrate. Fuzzy stood there, speechless, still clinging onto the chain-link fence. This was like nothing he had ever seen before. Nothing he could have imagined in his wildest dreams. It was truly the most amazing thing he had ever witnessed.
Soon, the sun began to descend and everyone returned home. Fuzzy did not want to leave; he didn't want to forget anything about this moment. He walked around the perimeter of the fence for about an hour, just grazing the fence with his fingertips while he looked down, trying to understand the event that had just happened. He suddenly wished he could do the same thing, wear a white spacesuit and travel with them, exploring new ways of life and finding scientific explanations for things we don't understand. He looked up and let out a sigh, "no, it could never be possible" he thought. He didn't know anything about science and he was never any good at math. He came from a poor family who wouldn't be able to put him through school anyways. It was a hopeless dream for him, no matter which way he looked at it.
Suddenly as he was walking, something caught his eye. He stopped and looked through the bars. There was most definitely something there, and it looked shiny. The signs all around the fences clearly said no authorization, but his curiosity could not be tamed. He looked all around him to make sure there was nobody around, then grabbed the fence and climbed up it. It was a rather tall fence, but he was used to having to climb tall trees to pick apples on his family's farm, so it wasn't anything he couldn't handle. He jumped down, checked again to make sure no one was around, and then ran for the object. It was right under the platform the alien Aishas had walked on just a few hours before. He ran faster and faster until the object was in his clear view, grabbed it, and ran back, scaling the fence in record time. He jumped down, crashing into the ground. He could feel that a bruise would be coming onto his shoulder later, but he did not care, he opened his hand to see the object. Inside, a solid gold nerkmid necklace.
"Excuse me, Ms. Robinson. Have you happened upon any new Kreludor books by any chance?"
"Oh hello, Fuzzy," the librarian said, adjusting her glasses. "Yes, we just got in a shipment. I ordered them just for you!"
"Ms. Robinson, really?!"
"Yes, it is so inspiring to see someone put so much dedication and devotion to a subject they truly love," she said as she reached inside the box. "Straight from the publishers with the new findings from Mission 1." Fuzzy reached around his neck and held the nerkmid necklace tight in his hand, thinking of all the things it meant to him. It belonged to one of the seven on Mission 1, one of his idols.
"Let's see here...we have Made of Stars, 4 Billion pie Recipes, man, those little orange and purple dudes love to cook, Space Station Schematics, Emergency Shuttle Procedures, Nerkmid Values and Secrets of the Universe. Seems like you've got of new material to read, sonny!"
Words couldn't describe the sheer and utter joy of the expression written on his face. This was the best news he had heard all month, maybe even all year! The library did an excellent job of getting the most-recent prints and copies of the books. Fuzzy picked three to check out, as per the daily limit. He thanked Ms. Robinson, tucked away two of the books in his worn down and tattered backpack, then exited the library. The weather was beautiful, it was a nice sunny day and he already had all of his schoolwork done, so he was free to spend the rest of the day reading. He began to walk towards his favorite reading spot, his clubhouse. He examined the new book in his hands. It was wonderful! The bright, colorful picture on the front illustrated the Space Station. The bold title on the spine of the book read "Space Station Schematics, written by the members of Mission 1". He thought of how exciting it was going to be to read this, along with the two other titles he picked out, Made of Stars and Emergency Shuttle Procedures.
Finally, he arrived to his oh-so familiar tree house. He built it himself and lived there by himself. His owners decided they wanted to move, but Fuzzy had far too many memories here and refused to move away from the place where he had once seen the first space ship take off ten years ago. He was old enough now that he could watch and take care of himself so they left, but still visited him often.
He climbed up the rungs of his rope ladder and set his books down on a hardwood desk. He pulled out a clipping from the Neopian Times and stapled it to his wall, thus adding to his large collection of similar articles. This one read "Mission 1 to Return to Neopia Central" and talked about the date they would be coming back, exactly two weeks time. This was exciting news for the community, for the astronauts have been gone for over ten years now and especially to Fuzzy, who planned to be at the station waving at the alien Aishas as they departed from the ship. He would have by then read most of the books they had written (over one hundred were published!) and knew all about their findings and explorations. Now that he was grown he wanted to meet one, and most importantly, he wanted to be one.
Ever since that day, Fuzzy knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to be. The nerkmid necklace he found gave him faith, and he would overcome any obstacle to be on a spaceship one day, sitting next to people who were as passionate as he was. He started reading, and reading... and reading. The books were fascinating and he was able to understand them. The first book he read, Back in Peaceful Times, was a book given to him by his owner and was his favorite of all time.
It now seemed that he was a genius and could understand all of the ins and outs of space. But, he didn't know if it would be enough to get him into space. So one day, he decided to inquire about the possibility. He went to the space station, but was given the bad news that he would never have the chance. With his stomach twisted in a million knots and his heart broken, he asked a sorrowful "why not?" And as it turns out, the space agency responsible for the selection and training of new astronauts were only interested in alien Aishas.
His world had just crashed and burned right before his eyes. All his hopes and dreams, ambitions and goals, passion and willingness to learn...gone as fast as a shooting star.
Two weeks had passed and he reflected on the devastating news, but never dwelled on it. It was not in his nature to give up. He set out for the space station, where the spaceship would be returning and the alien Aishas would depart from the ship. As was before, hundreds of people from near and far crowded around the chain-link fence. Children gathered in the front, and Fuzzy chuckled to himself when he thought of himself doing the same thing so many years ago. With the nerkmid necklace still worn around his neck, he stood proud and tall, yet excited for the things to come.
Several hours had passed, and just had everyone began to grow bored and tired, it came. Slowly it dissented down to the ground, onto the landing platform. Everyone cheered and applauded! Mission 1 had returned home safely and brought back so much knowledge about Kreludor, a job that was once thought impossible. The door of the spaceship opened, and out came the first alien. Fuzzy recognized him right away, Beerlap III, who was the first to step onto Kreludor. Then the others followed him out... Farlax V, Eddix, Moxi, Gargon IV, Shreegla VI and Norbekk. They all took off their helmets and waved to the crowd. Another loud wave of applause and cheers came from the spectators. They waved one last time, with the exception of Moxi who delivered an air kiss to everyone, and then headed inside.
Three days later, after a little bit of time allotted for relaxation purposes and getting used to Neopia's center of gravity again, the Aishas from Mission 1 gathered again to take photos and to meet fans. Naturally, Fuzzy was there and he was there quite early. Even though he was older now, these Aishas were his idols and his role models growing up and he knew so much about each and every one of them. He waited for hours and hours until the sun came up and illuminated the sky. The doors opened, and people were allowed in. Although he was there early, he didn't get there early enough to beat out about fifty other fans, so he had to wait his turn. He entered the building and could see them, all sitting behind a long desk in semi-casual clothing. They were talking to fans, taking photos and thanking everyone for their support.
Fuzzy grew to become nervous as he approached the beginning of the line, but all nerves went away when he shook the hand of Beerlap III. Beerlap was the first to step foot on Kreludor, and seemed to be a leader to the rest. He was blue, and wore the nerkmid necklace around his neck.
"Hello there! Thank you for coming out today."
"Hello, Mr. Beerlap, it is an honor to meet you. Your findings on binary stars are amazing and was an extraordinary read. Would you mind signing this for me sir?" Fuzzy said as he pushed an old photograph of the group towards him. The picture shows the aliens all waving before boarding the ship.
"Anything for a fan. Here you go!"
"Thank you, sir."
The next was, Farlax V who had a major part in the alien vending machines, quite common around Neopia Central. Then Eddix, Gargon IV, Shreegla VI and Norbekk.
Then lastly, there was Moxi, a beautiful pink alien Aisha who was quite different than all of the rest. Her research and findings mostly had to deal with fashion, home decorating, cooking and the social norms of the Kreludorian culture.
"Hello there!" she said with a soft voice and a much softer handshake. "Name's Moxi."
"Oh yes, I certainly know who you are. I've been reading your books for over ten years."
"Oh, you have?"
"Yes, ma'am! I was there the day the spaceship took off!"
"How wonderful! It's great to meet such a devoted fan," she said. As she spoke, Fuzzy noticed that she was not wearing a nerkmid necklace like the others had been.
"Would you be willing to autograph this for me?" he asked.
"Absolutely, whom should I make it out to?"
"Fuzzy... there you are!"
"Thank you. It was very nice to meet you. Oh, and one last thing," he said taking off the necklace. "I believe this belongs to you."
"My... my necklace!! Where ever did you find this?"
"Ten years ago under the platform, I guess it must have fallen off before you boarded the this."
"I guess so, thank you so much for returning it to me!" she said as she fastened it around her neck. "It means a lot to me, its part of a set you know," she giggled.
"It meant a lot to me, too. It gave me the drive and passion to be just like all of you," he said proudly. She said nothing, for she didn't know if he knew that he wouldn't be allowed to go to space.
"Thank you again, Fuzzy. It was very nice to meet you," she said with a warm, kind-hearted smile.
"And you as well," he said, bowing his head. As he was leaving, he saw one more familiar face. That of Arlhox VII, known as the highest ranking alien Aisha. He was in charge of selecting the Aishas to go to space, he was the one who might possibly be able to get Fuzzy to space! He could hardly contain his excitement and walked over to him and introduced himself.
"Hello, sir! My name is Fuzzy and I..."
"Sorry, kid, I don't have time for fan clubs. I need to be planning my next mission."
"But sir, I am very interested in being in the next mission! I have studied research for years and..."
"Ha! Kid, you're not an alien Aisha. You're a plushie Aisha, and only real aliens go to space. Find something else to do," he said as he began to walk away.
"Arlhox, how can you be so insensitive?" a familiar soft voice said. He turned around and rolled his eyes at Moxi.
"Moxi, don't start. You know why."
"Because he is not an alien? Out of all of the research we did, none of our findings ever concluded that another species or color couldn't survive on Kreludor and do what we do. Have you heard him? He is an intellectual genius! From what it sounds like to me, he has read all of our research papers and books and probably knows the inns and outs of everything by now! Why should he be disqualified?"
Fuzzy stood in disbelief. Arlhox turned and looked at him again. "I'm sorry, kid," he said as he put his hand on his shoulder. He nodded his head sideways, then walked off.
Fuzzy let out a sigh and hung his head low. If there was no convincing Arlhox, there wasn't convincing anyone.
"Thanks for trying, Moxi. Guess it's a lost cause."
"No... it isn't."
"Alright new recruits, today is the day to show your stuff. I can train you on everything you need to know, but you need to be the right fit for my team. Does everyone understand that?" Arlhox shouted.
"Yes sir," the group shouted out. Among the twenty to thirty alien Aishas, stood Fuzzy, cleverly disguised as one of them. Moxi helped him create fake ears and helped covered his patches and anything that would give away the fact that he was not a real alien. She spent all night on him, but she was successful in giving him the appearance of a perfect yellow alien Aisha.
"And what is your name?" Arlhox yelled as he stood in front of Fuzzy.
"My... my name? Oh yes, it is... um... Eclipse!" he said, anxiously. Arlhox looked him up and down then moved onto the next recruit.
It took nearly two weeks for the space boot camp to finish, but by the end, Arlhox had a clear vision of his next team. The listing was posted, and to Fuzzys surprise, he was chosen. Several months later, he was suited up with a red nerkmid patch on his jacket with "Eclipse" embroidered in white letters. He stood on the platform, his heart racing, and waved to the spectators. In front, several small children pushing each other out of the way were trying to see. He waved to them and they cheered and waved back. He smiled, for he was there once and now he had a chance to be a role model as his predecessors were to him before. He got into the space ship, buckled up, and soon... he was in the air.
Eclipse went on to do great things in Kreludor. His research was very broad as he was interested in everything, and eventually went on to release a book called Secrets of the Universe. He discovered so many things and had a huge impact on the scientific community with his theories and his constant drive to learn more about his surroundings.
Eventually, it was found out that he was truly not an alien, for the disguise would not last forever, but he then became an even bigger role model. He showed people that if you work hard and truly believe, that you can do anything you want to do. He became the first of many non-alien neopets who would visit Kreludor and research it. To this day he still studies Kreludor and was a part of Mission 2, 3 and 4. He is now on Mission 5 and is writing a series of books called Under the Surface.
He kept the name Eclipse for sentimental purposes, but instead of abandoning his old name, he connected the two. Thus he became Fuzzy_Eclipse, the spaceship dreamer.