Rambus & The Ducks Who Did
It's Tuesday today, and Tuesday is a good day for us: our master grants us an allotted break of 44 quacks today, rather than the usual 4. So for every Tuesday of the last year I have held my breath (quacking is like hiccuping for us, it's rather involuntary - you can imagine how uncomfortable this experience has been for me) to write our story, our plight.
Who are we? Well, I have no name... we are not assigned one at our creation, but for the purpose of this story I shall refer to myself as Rambus – I once witnessed Gargarox preparing his specials' menu for the night, and I quite liked the sound of it.
To be frank, I am a duck. A perfectly proportionate, perfectly presentable, and (was) a perfectly packaged battle duck; our master is Dr Sloth, and we are his war – and bath minions. This is a story about a few brave ducks, who despite unforgivable odds, and unforgivable work-hours have managed to rebel against the horrific tyranny of their creator.
I was created exactly a year ago, I remember the moment as if it were yesterday. I first moment I felt the ominous silk cape hang over my plastic body I recollect a great feeling of pride, I saw myself reflected in those bright red eyes, and I felt part of a family, of a cause, for the first time in my life. Shortly after my eyes opened the room reverberated with laughter, maniacal and frightening... How could I have known what was to come? It was inevitable, of course... I should have known then and there that I was simply an object to be used.
It occurred to me during the first bath that I took with the master. I was made to squeak on command, and he forced me to be quiet when he played with his battleships instead; the worst moment of my then-short life came when he left me there, soaking wet he abandoned me in a bathtub so gargantuan that it took me a week of slippery squeak-filled hopping to be able to climb out of.
I made it back to the laboratory, my 'birthplace', and my master eyed me up with his red gaze... breaking into a grin he picked me up, placed me next to a monstrous contraption and uttered the word 'create'.
He had left me on a steel-like platform with nothing but an enormous red button next to me, and (an object that I now know was) a microphone in front of me, with a counter above it. Every squeak that escaped from my little beak subtracted a number from the counter. 4,3,2,1... the first break I'd ever had in my life was over. The steel counter I lay on suddenly became electrified, and to save myself from the pain I leaped onto the red button, it was then that the cogs and gears nearby began to churn... and before I knew it another platform rose up next to me with another duck on it!
Naturally I suspected some sort of trickery was involved, perhaps my master had left a mirror nearby (I am a rather perfectly proportioned duck after all), but the newcomer began to squeak! Alas, it was not me, but a duck that I had created!
Horrified I stared down at my wings, wondering what I'd done... I'd brought a brother into this world full of strange machinery and humongous bathtubs, oh the horror!
Noticing me, my brother began to squeak excitedly... I do not remember the quacks he uttered, but I'm sure it had something to do with the joys of life. The pleasure soon vanished from his dull black eyes when his counter too read '1'.
Glancing at the counter-top underneath me I still saw the blueish hue of electrical charge running through it and suddenly my fate dawned upon me. I hopped once, nervously quacking away and before I knew it more platforms were springing up around me, my brother had learned that hopping was the only was to survive, so the room was slowly filling up with noise.
It was then that I realized that I could not see any walls, or any end to what Dr Sloth had started. The sound of the zapping of electrical charges filled the room, mingling with terrified quacks. I knew from that very moment that I had to do something.
By dawn the next day our numbers must have reached the thousands, my ears (yes, we have them, they're just rather minute) were ringing with the squeaks of my brothers, though by now the sound of electrical charges had succumbed to the familiar bouncing rhythm.
I must point out that despite the apparent tyrannical elements of our plight, some ducks were happy to bounce... sometimes that's all a duck wants to do, is bounce. I for one though, felt differently... I knew there must have been something better out there, something, anything for a duck to do.
The worst, for me, my friends, came on my first Friday at work.
In our 'field of work' you must understand that we don't exactly have the best view, or the best distractions. I suppose this helps productivity, though one could argue the electrical field does that job pretty well too.
On a good day you might be able to hold your breath for a decent amount of time, I for one adore the number '2'... It's not quite '1', but nowhere near '4', which seems much too large for a duck like me... I digress.
This Friday I was enjoying my break as much as any other duck, lingering on my favourite number, and contemplating how wonderful it is when out of nowhere our Master arrived. His presence brought an eerie chill to the room (we do not feel cold, but we can certainly feel uneasy), as Dr Sloth made his way towards me I noticed his cape swishing past electrical table-tops, singeing itself.
The stench of burnt silk hung in the air, it even seemed to upset the beauty of the number '2' for me... to this day I don't understand why. Our master however did not, as I expected, make his way to his first perfectly proportioned, perfectly presentable duck... but stopped at my brother alongside me.
I felt the ominous glare of those red eyes reach even my tabletop... as my brother, my very own creation shivered. It was the first time he had seen our Master.
Dr Sloth grinned as he swooped down above the counter-top, and in a swoosh of singed cape and green skin, our Master was gone... and so was my brother.
When one bounces from dusk 'til dawn one learns to appreciate the little things... and having a familiar duck alongside you is one of those things (after all we are rather little).
I cannot explain the heartbreak that I felt that day, I was truly, truly alone for the first time in my life, surrounded by tens-of-thousands of ducks... I was alone.
He never came back, my brother. Dr Sloth returned... but duckless, armed only with insults and threats. Though I have noticed a few soapy bubbles still remain behind his ears... I fear my brother lies lost at the bottom of the gargantuan bathtub of terror.
I do apologize for the sad story so far, I'm doing as well as a duck could do, I assure you that there is good to come (you try typing with no thumbs).
The idea of inciting a duck revolution came to me whilst contemplating the number '22' one Saturday morning... I knew we were better than regular ducks, I knew we had something else inside us... I just wasn't sure what.
I discovered our hidden talent when that very Saturday my numbers reached '2'; I was holding my breath as usual... but had managed to get a quack stuck sort of between my throat and my nose; it was unpleasant to say the least. In my attempt to furiously keep it bottled up, I... exploded. Well, I suppose it's more similar to a 'regular human' sneezing, but you see... we ducks do not sneeze.
This... explosion that came out of me blew a hole straight through my 'ex-brothers' work-station, revealing to us for the first time the lower decks of the space station.
We ducks are by no means geniuses, but I must say that the thought that came to me that very second was no less than a stroke of genius.
Escape. But... go where?
The hubbub that floated through to our floor from the space-station below was exhilarating, it was freeing, intoxicating even. Through the murmuring of the crowds I heard talk of a great, good faerie queen... and decided that she seemed to be the very opposite of our Master, it was there that I'd go.
But... I could not leave. I started everything, it's because of me that every single duck is here, right now, bouncing for his life... quacking and bouncing, rinsing and repeating, just to avoid becoming Gargarox's next 'fried duck speciality'.
No, I decided that I would stay... but send my brothers onwards. I would continue, alas... to produce minions for the cruel Dr Sloth, but I swore that the numbers would never reach the millions, I swore to send them all on to something better, a life of service, where we are valued weaponry, free to sit still in equipment bags as long as we want, or to quack when we want!
It was Sunday morning when I first began evacuating my brothers. I spread the word, and quack by quack the rows and columns of ducks began to fly... or, rather bounce a little higher than usual. I told them to bounce exactly '11' times, and on the '12th' and highest bounce, leap for the floor and then to the hole of freedom. This they did first in the hundreds, and then in the thousands... leaping into backpacks and shopping trolleys, cargo boxes and Gargarox's export ships, anything that would get them to Neopia... where then in droves they sought refuge at Queen Fyora's castle.
She welcomed my brothers with open arms and open heart, allowing them so sell themselves as mercenaries to valiant neopians that seek to conquer evil.
Oh great, good Fyora... I am a happy duck now, thanks to you.
I continue to work for our Master, Dr Sloth... I work exceedingly well, doubling the ducks I would usually produce, so that I can keep him well away from our workplace. He does not come to compliment good work, only to complain when we don't work well, this way he does not see my brothers making their escape, nor does he see the good Neopians, the good ducks who are continuing to thwart his evil plans.
I entrust this to my brother who worked 11 rows and 2 columns to the left of me to take with him... he has good, dull black eyes that I feel can be trusted.
I ask that Queen Fyora forward this to anyone and everyone, I do not ask for salvation for what I have done, only recognition... and awareness that Dr Sloth does not tire, or slack.
Lastly, I ask a favour of all of my brothers: every Friday of the week I insist you visit the Faerie Furniture store, to remember our brother whilst you browse the bathtub isle... I'm sure he'd appreciate it.
- Rambus the duck