The Pirate King Files - Saving Princess Lotus
Night had fallen on Neopia Central, and outside of the Defenders of Neopia's headquarters, a pink Aisha named Mimi was pacing.
A lot of things had been on her mind lately. She and her partner, Uchiha Zwiro, were in talks to be promoted to Rank III defenders. With that would come a whole new slew of responsibilities - and the possibility that she and Uchiha would be assigned different partners.
She had been with Uchiha ever since her promotion from Cadet so long ago. They had been through so much together, and were loyal with each other through all of it. Uchiha was a powerful ally with his immense strength and speed, he was kind, strong, and brave, and there was something about that cheeky smile and those warm brown eyes...
The hairs on the back of Mimi's neck stood up, as if they were charged with static electricity. Mimi glanced behind her, but saw no one. Perhaps there was a storm coming, or her magical powers were flaring with her emotions again...
A hand clasped over her mouth, a hand that smelled of ozone and made her teeth sting as if she'd bitten into metal. Mimi's magic flared, but the hand did not relent. A harsh voice whispered into her ear.
Agent Uchiha Zwiro, alias Pirate King, yawned as he rose from his bed. The pirate Xweetok knew that had to do a lot of things today, all relating to his upcoming promotion. Paperwork to fill out, uniforms to be fitted for...and the possibility of a new partner to be assigned.
Uchiha dreaded the idea of being assigned a new partner. He liked Mimi, and he knew Mimi liked him.
"It'd break my heart, and it'd break hers," he muttered. "I say that like there's more than just a partnership here."
He was wondering if Mimi was up yet when he heard a knock on the dormitory door.
"Come in," he stated.
The door slid open to reveal his commanding officer, a robot Gnorbu known as Borgia Circuit, standing before him.
"Greetings, Agent Zwiro," the Gnorbu said in a flat monotone. "The preparations have been made for the process to begin. However, we have detected a problem."
"A problem?" inquired Uchiha.
"Yes," replied Commander Circuit. "Agent Mimi Kattel has gone missing."
Uchiha's heart seemed to turn to stone and plummet into his feet. "W-what do you mean?"
"When I arrived at her dormitory to inform her of the preparations being made, she was not in there," Commander Circuit replied. "I inquired with Agent Sonorus and he told me that she had stepped outside sometime during the night but never came back in."
Uchiha knew Agent Sonorus, alias Hamradio, as the timid little Korbat who slept next door to Mimi. He had supernatural hearing and would have heard absolutely everything that happened in the rooms next to him.
"Did he say if he heard her anywhere?" Uchiha asked.
"Agent Sonorus reported inserting his muffling device into his ears and going back to sleep after Agent Kattel left the room," Commander Circuit stated.
Because his hearing was so powerful, in order to sleep without being driven crazy by sounds like the breathing of the Defender six dorms away, Agent Sonorus wore special headphones that deadened out almost all sound.
"When he awoke," Commander Circuit continued, "he said Mimi's bed remained vacant. He searched the surrounding areas and found no trace of her. He had returned to his dormitory by the time I arrived to speak with Agent Kattel."
"Where do you think she could have gone?" Uchiha said.
"We are currently reviewing security footage in an attempt to trace her location, though so far we have found - "
Commander Circuit's Virtupets comm device on her belt began to beep.
"This is Cavalier, come in Commander Circuit," came a fuzzy voice from the other end.
The Gnorbu picked up the comm device. "Commander Circuit coming in, over," she replied.
"We've found somethin' interesting on the security footage," Cavalier's voice came over the comm. "Bring Agent Zwiro, he's gonna want to see this."
"Roger, over," Commander Circuit responded, replacing the comm device on her belt. "Agent Zwiro, please accompany me to the security room. I believe we may have found where Agent Kattel went."
The security room was a vast wall of screens, all imported from the Virtupets Space Station. At the base of the screens was a control panel that was a sea of buttons, levers, switches, and blinking lights. At the control panel sat a scruffy-looking red Usul, his ears styled into dreadlocks, and his blue-violet Defender uniform in impeccable shape. Hearing Commander Circuit and Uchiha enter, he swiveled his chair around to face them.
"Good day, Commander Circuit, Agent Zwiro," Cavalier said. "Come here and see what we found on Camera D4."
Commander Circuit and Uchiha approached the screen wall, their eyes looking where Cavalier's finger was pointing. The screen to which he gestured was that of the camera that overlooked the backside of the Defenders' HQ, where the trash cans were kept.
Cavalier pressed buttons and flicked switches until the screen's image changed to that of a night scene, with Mimi pacing beneath the lights. Suddenly, something began creeping up behind her, and Uchiha watched in horror as a shadowy Neopet grabbed Mimi. A thick cloud of black smoke obscured the camera, and cleared to reveal that both pets had vanished.
"Oh, no," Uchiha moaned.
"I haven't been able teh determine who the pet that took Agent Kattel is," Cavalier replied. "Commander Circuit, I want ye to search our database of powered pets livin' in Neopia Central and see if ye can pin down someone who could possibly have some sort o' smoke powers."
"Affirmed, Cavalier," Commander Circuit replied. "Agent Zwiro, please come with me. I will need your assistance."
Mimi Kattel awoke to complete darkness and the feeling that she'd filled her mouth with copper. Her fur stood on end and crackled as if it'd been filled with static electricity. Something cold and heavy was pressing on her chest and arms.
"Would you like me to remove the blindfold now?" cooed a voice, which to Mimi's addled ears sounded like it was being spoken through a metal tube.
Mimi tried to speak, but her mouth felt so dry and heavy she could barely bumble out a semblance of a sound.
Something was pulled off of Mimi's head, and her vision was flooded with light. Blinking at the sudden change, Mimi could just make out the silhouette of a Neopet standing directly in front of her, a burlap bag in their hand.
As the lights danced out of Mimi's vision and feeling returned to her body, she realized that she was bound to a chair with cold metal chains that bit into her skin, and her hands and feet had been fastened together with what seemed to be tape.
The Neopet that stood before her began to come into focus, and Mimi could see that she was a blue Ixi wearing a black burglar's mask and a shiny blue jumpsuit emblazoned with a silvery lightning bolt. The Ixi, seeing Mimi in a better state, crossed her arms and chuckled.
"Finally," the Ixi said. "I'd thought my electricity had done something worse to you."
Mimi gathered up as much saliva as her mouth would muster and licked her dry lips.
"Who are you," she croaked, "and what d'you want?"
The Ixi chuckled. "Oh, sister," she crowed, "I thought you'd know me when you saw me."
Mimi's brain racked its memory, and when it fell on one face, Mimi gasped in horror.
"Eleanor?" she cried.
The Ixi shook her head. "I'm afraid it's Electroshock now," she replied.
"W-what do you mean?" Mimi asked.
"You see," the Ixi replied, "while you were learning how to be a do-gooder off in the Defender academy, I was growing jealous of the fact that my sister, the golden child, the one who was so conservative with her powers and opinions that her milquetoast self got to join the most elite force of superpowered pets in all of Neopia, was being praised and encouraged for the same things that I was scolded for, and lionized by the pets who trod me down!
I had the courage, and I had the discipline. What I didn't have was the support. I was denied every opportunity to join their ranks, and for what? My powers were too dangerous. My personality was too bold, too brash. It reeks of excuses to keep me from the position I deserved!"
"You didn't deserve it," Mimi snarled. "A Defender, above all else, must have an inherent desire to do good. You might have been brave enough but you didn't have that!"
"And that," cooed Electroshock, "is why I became a villain. Defenders uphold the status quo, however oppressive it may be. And villains, despite what your sanitized viewpoint may tell you, simply seek to change it. I became Electroshock, wielder of lightning, and sought to educate the world! To avenge those oppressed by the same pets who oppressed me!
And what did you become?" scoffed the Ixi. "Princess Lotus? What a terrible name. How fitting of you to embody meekness in the name you chose for yourself!"
"You've lost your mind," snapped Mimi. Her body hummed with energy as she tried to muster the ability to teleport. With every pulse of energy in her body, a freezing shock pierced her from the cold chains holding her down.
"Are you trying to use your magic?" Electroshock chuckled. "I'm afraid those cold iron chains will do a good job preventing that. It's the same stuff they use to keep faeries in bottles, so it will most definitely work on you."
"What do you want from me?" Mimi growled.
"The same thing I wanted from our parents," Electroshock replied. "Respect. Dignity. A chance at what I should have been given years ago. Renounce the Defenders, leave your ranks and join me, and I'll let you go. Say no..." Electroshock's hooves began to crackle with electricity, making Mimi's heart race.
"You wouldn't dare," said Mimi firmly.
"I would," said Electroshock. "So what'll it be? Yes, or no? You still have some time to decide, don't worry about it. But if you haven't made up your mind in, oh, three hours, you won't be spared. I'll leave you to your thoughts."
With that, Electroshock turned and left the room, leaving Mimi chained to the chair.
Commander Circuit and Uchiha were searching the Defenders' extensive database on villains, rogues, thugs, and petty criminals, but finding no leads. Unfortunately for them, the database was mostly in paper file folders, and searching it was tedious.
"Don't we have a faster way to do this?" Uchiha groaned as he tossed another file into the heap of unlikely candidates.
"I am attempting to narrow the search parameters, but the data is limited," Commander Circuit replied. "There is little information provided by the video. All we know is that the perpetrator has produced a cloud of smoke, which could manifest from over a dozen different powers or devices accessible to ordinary Neopets."
"Uh-huh," Uchiha muttered. "And of course, we'll need a motive. Who'd want to kidnap Mimi?"
"Another factor that is difficult to determine," Commander Circuit said. "Agent Kattel has a comparatively small list of potential threats. It is entirely possible that it is a pet not on that list, however, few of even those would have reason to kidnap a Rank II Defender."
Uchiha grabbed handfuls of files, glancing at them as he tossed them aside. He picked up one that had a photograph of an Ixi on the cover and was about to toss it when he noticed something unusual written on the top of the file.
"KATTEL, ELEANOR (ELECTROSHOCK)"
"Commander! Take a look at this!" Uchiha declared, waving the file in his commander's direction.
Commander Circuit put down the file she was perusing and turned towards Uchiha.
"Eleanor Kattel," Commander Circuit stated. "How had I not considered that possibility?"
"What do you mean?" asked Uchiha. "Who is this?"
"Eleanor is Agent Kattel's sister," Commander Circuit replied.
Uchiha was taken aback by this information. Mimi had never mentioned the fact that she had a sister. Perhaps her file being in the rogues gallery had something to do with it.
Uchiha opened the file and began to read.
"'Eleanor Kattel,'" he started, "'alias Electroshock. Powers of electrical manipulation (class 4). Relations: Agent Miriam 'Mimi' Kattel (alias Princess Lotus), Defenders of Neopia. Last seen: 6153 Bracknell Road, Y17 Month of Celebrating. Threat level: 7, can be reasoned with but powers are unpredictable. Prepare to apprehend if seen.'"
"A familial motive is a strong one," Commander Circuit remarked, "especially if one sister is a villain and one is a Defender. The question remains, where is Mimi being held?"
"What's '6153 Bracknell Road'?" inquired Uchiha.
"I shall search my internal database," replied Commander Circuit. "Searching database...6153 Bracknell Road...data found. 6153 Bracknell Road is an abandoned warehouse, formerly associated with Cybun Electromatics."
"We'll check there first," Uchiha said firmly. "From what I know about villains, they tend to have a home base to return to. An abandoned electromatics warehouse just screams villain hideout."
Mimi was not sure how long had passed since Electroshock had given her the ultimatum. The cold iron continued to bite into her skin, and the tape was abrasive on her hands and feet.
She had to get out of this mess, and quickly. Perhaps she could bite the tape off of her hands and free herself. She attempted to raise her hands to her mouth, but found them bound fast by the chains.
She had seen a film on Neovision recently where the hero had been bound by tape, and waggled out of his shoes to free himself. Perhaps that would work. Thankfully, she said to herself, I do not wear lace-up boots.
Stretching her legs as far as they would go, she wriggled her feet, shifting her legs as she attempted to remove her boots without the help of her hands. Grunting as she did so, the chair she was sitting on banged and scratched against the floor.
"Cut that out!" cried Electroshock's voice from the other room.
With a final effort, and an ear-wrenching scream, Mimi's boots slipped from her legs and tumbled to the floor. The chair she was chained to fell to its side, leaving Mimi on the ground, still chained up and now shoeless. A door creaked open, and Electroshock stormed into the room.
"Trying to escape, are we?" growled Electroshock. "I'll make sure that doesn't happen."
She raised a hand that sparked with electricity, but before she could fire, Mimi's foot lashed out and swept Electroshock's legs out from under her, sending the Ixi crashing to the floor.
"You little - !" cried Electroshock, seizing Mimi's ankle with an electrified fist. A burst of voltage seared through Mimi's body, numbing every muscle and clouding Mimi's vision with black static.
"One. Hour," growled the Ixi as she hurriedly left the room.
"This is it?"
Uchiha, Commander Circuit, Hamradio, and Cavalier stood before a three-story warehouse, a vast structure of brick and steel, covered in ivy and grime, with many of its windows broken or missing, and a faded "CYBUN ELE" painted on the facade.
"This be it," Cavalier replied. "Hamradio and I'll take the lead. Hamradio, keep yer ears open fer any signs of Mimi - and Electroshock."
"Y-yes, Commander," Hamradio stuttered. "Already I can hear someone growling 'bout...a deadline? Thirty minutes? Thirty minutes til...the ultimatum?"
"That has to be Electroshock," said Uchiha. "But what does she mean by ultimatum?"
Hamradio's ears fluttered as he picked up more sounds.
"I hear...'She'll pick me over them, I know it. She'd rather have her life.'"
"Pick who?" asked Uchiha frantically.
"Now it's just things I can't repeat in polite company," Hamradio said frankly. "I don't wanna waste any more time, Commander."
"We're goin' in," stated Cavalier, drawing his gold-edged sword from its scabbard. "Remember: do not rush Electroshock, and when we find Princess Lotus, getting her out is our first priority."
"Aye," echoed the group.
With that, the four Defenders stepped through the warehouse's ajar metal doors.
Mimi could feel sensation returning to her fingers and toes.
"Twenty-eight minutes!" Electroshock shouted from the other room. "Have you made up your mind, sister?"
Mimi tried to answer, but her lips would not move. They felt as if they'd been stung by an enormous Flightning Bug.
"I take that as a noooo!" cried Electroshock. "Twenty-seven minutes! Make up your mind before then and I'll spare you!"
Suddenly, a loud crash rang out in the distance.
"What was that?" roared Electroshock as she ran out of the other room. "Where'd that come from? Who's in here besides us?" She turned to Mimi. "Don't move!" Another jolt of electricity returned the painful numbness to Mimi's limbs. With that, Electroshock hurried out of sight.
"Hamradio, you clumsy!" hissed Uchiha. The Korbat, despite his great hearing, had merely average vision, and in the poor light he had crashed into a stack of metal drums.
"Someone's coming!" cried Hamradio, his ears frantically twitching.
"Get behind me!" roared Cavalier. "Circuit, initiate guard stance!"
"Initiating guard stance," Commander Circuit intoned. She raised her hands, which opened to reveal twin blaster heads in the palms. Her eyes, now glowing red, swept the entire area.
"Show yourselves!" cried a faraway voice. The air began to fill with static electricity that made Uchiha's mane stand out like a Yurble's.
A bolt of lightning shot out of seemingly nowhere and hit Commander Circuit square in the chest. The robot Gnorbu groaned and began to fall backwards. Cavalier caught her before she hit the ground and laid her down.
"I've got to reboot her," the Usul said. "Pirate King! Hamradio! Catch that blasted Ixi!"
"No catching will need to be done," came a voice as a blue Ixi in a black mask and shiny blue jumpsuit stepped into view. "I think it's you who will be gone by the end of this."
Uchiha stepped forward, his fists balled, but before he could act, Hamradio let out a powerful scream.
The scream shook the entire building as if an earthquake had torn through it, and dust, rubble, and debris tumbled en masse from the ceiling. A shockwave burst from Hamradio's mouth with an ear-wrenching boom, and slammed into Electroshock with massive force. The Ixi was hurled backwards, crashing into a stack of drums that stood in a pile along the back wall.
Rushing with incredible speed, Uchiha reached the stack of drums before Electroshock could even process what had happened. He seized her by the arm, roughly pulling her up.
"Cavalier!" he cried. "I need the - "
He was cut short by a sharp pulse of electricity piercing his body, forcing the Xweetok to his knees, howling in pain. He was beginning to lose feeling in his limbs.
"Got it!" came Cavalier's voice. Electroshock turned and began to run away when a flying yellow shape tackled her and brought her to the ground. Hamradio was on top of the Ixi, trying to sink his teeth into Electroshock's flesh and pin down her arms and legs simultaneously.
"You idiot!" shouted Electroshock, and pulsed more electricity. Hamradio tumbled from his quarry, twitching violently, as Uchiha shakily stood, beginning to regain feeling in his body.
Sweat beaded on Electroshock's brow as she reached for something on her belt. Uchiha, his limbs still tingling, leapt forward just as the Ixi hurled a small black sphere onto the ground, which burst. Black, foul-smelling smoke erupted from the sphere, filling the room with an impenetrable cloud.
Uchiha hacked and coughed the smoke from his lungs as he stumbled in the cloud for something to orient himself. Suddenly, a hand seized his wrist, and Uchiha pulled it upwards.
"T-thanks," came the voice of Hamradio.
"She'll be gettin' away!" roared Cavalier. "Hamradio, Pirate King, track down that Ixi! Commander Circuit and I will search for Princess Lotus!"
"Hamradio, can you hear Electroshock?" asked Uchiha.
"Yes!" cried the Korbat. "Take my hand and follow me! I don' want us getting lost in the smoke!"
Electroshock paced the room where Mimi was being held, growling under her breath. Cursed Defenders had found her, and it was guaranteed that she'd be caged up again. She shouldn't have used her old hideaway for this mission. Of course, they'd also rescue her precious quarry before she had a chance to finish her off...
"Your little friends won't be delaying your demise," Electroshock snarled at Mimi. The Ixi grabbed the chair Mimi was chained to and began to pull it upright. As she did so, Mimi's foot lashed out again and slammed into Electroshock's stomach.
With a vicious grunt, Electroshock doubled over, and the chair teetered and fell on its side again with a mighty crash.
"This way!" came a faint voice from somewhere in the distance. The sound of feet pounding the floor grew increasingly loud as Electroshock drew breaths.
"DOWN HERE!" shrieked Mimi. "DOWN HERE! HELP ME! HE-"
She was cut short by a burst of electricity from Electroshock that numbed her body once again, forcing her tongue to droop uselessly from her lips.
"Seems you've chosen your Defender friends over me," growled the Ixi. "Very well. Looks like I'll - "
A gray blur slammed into Electroshock, hurling her into the wall with a horrendous crash. A yellow Korbat clad in a red and yellow costume scurried into the room, waving his arms frantically. Noticing Mimi, he cried out, "Pirate King! Over here!"
Uchiha seemed to instantaneously appear next to Mimi. He grabbed her chair and roughly pushed it upright, and then seized the chains holding Mimi down and began to break them apart.
Suddenly, a burst of electricity knocked Uchiha in the backside, and he tumbled to his knees with a groan. Electroshock stood nearby, her fists covered in crackling lightning bolts.
Hamradio screamed another earth-rattling sonic blast, knocking Electroshock backwards into the wall once more. Electroshock's lightning exploded from her hands, filling the room with intense static and slamming into Hamradio, knocking him out cold with his hair standing on end.
Uchiha staggered to his feet, and grabbed the last of Mimi's chains. With a mighty pull, he tore them apart, freeing Mimi. He then took hold of the tape binding Mimi's wrists and ripped it off, forcing Mimi to let out a yowl as hair came off with the tape.
Electroshock, leaning against the wall, tried to stand, but was weakened from the sonic blast and the extended use of her electricity.
"It's over," Mimi said firmly, and raised her hand. Her fingers glowed with energy, and she fired a blast of magic at Electroshock. The Ixi groaned as the bolt hit her, and her eyes rolled back into her head as she fell unconscious.
"Pirate King! Hamradio!" came more voices as Cavalier and Commander Circuit burst into the room, weapons drawn. Their eyes fell upon the sight before them - Electroshock and Hamradio out cold, and Uchiha standing near Mimi.
Cavalier hurried over to the unconscious Electroshock, snapping handcuffs onto the Ixi's wrists. He lifted Electroshock's limp form onto his shoulder.
"Commander Circuit, collect Hamradio," ordered Cavalier. "Pirate King, take Princess Lotus. Let's get 'em out safe."
Back at HQ, Mimi was being treated for possible injuries in the Defenders' sickroom. Uchiha stood attentively by her bedside.
"How are you feeling?" Uchiha asked.
"Like a million Neopoints," Mimi chuckled.
"I spoke with Commander Circuit," Uchiha told her, "about the partner thing? Turns out there were never any plans for us to change partners. We'll stay together when we promote."
Mimi smiled widely. "So all my worrying was for naught?"
"Mine too," Uchiha replied. "To many new adventures together?"
"To just that," Mimi said.