2017 by Travis Barr
story you are about to read is true.
mean, it could be.
mean, it does happen in another galaxy unknown to ours, so it could
be absolute fact that was transmitted to my mind through some sort of
many of the names of the characters, places, and things in this story
have been changed.
no reason at all.
so here they were, four boys of different alien origin from four
different worlds who were striking out on their own, making a name
was the plan anyway.
they possessed the tools necessary for the job. There was “The
Vaccuumater,” a lengthy device that could suck up a pesky critter
and trap it for future storage. Then there was “The Shockinater,”
another long tool typically used to zap critters—and drive them
into the path of the aforementioned Vaccuumater. In addition, their
arsenal included “The Webinater,” a gun to catapult web nets at
critters, “The Fuminater,” a gun that gasses critters too quick
or small to be trapped, and “Traunt Detectors,” infrared scanner
devices to ferret out traunt critters.
there was their most important weapon of all—the boys themselves.
Or so it would seem at any rate.
unofficial leader of this business venture was a young man by the
name of Cordann Blu, hailing from the planet Dooshlodia. Cordann’s
immediate family consisted of a mother and father, two younger twin
brothers, and a younger sister. The mother, Betley, was an aloof sort
who spent most of her time pruning and pining over her plant garden.
The father, Caradeen, was just a plain pretentious jerk who came from
money and was clearly obsessed with his reputation…and fried pork.
Morski and Korski were clearly chips off the old sociopathic block,
as they repeatedly displayed their propensity for opportunistic
connivance. In stark contrast, however, was Cordann’s younger
sister, Lania—a somewhat insecure wallflower who was rather ignored
by the rest of the family. Except for Cordann, who always encouraged
Lania to find a life direction and pursue it head on.
enough about Cordann the Dooshlodian, the next boy of our attention
is Neffelefekus, an Enzymian from the planet Andor who was naturally
sensitive about his name. Neff, as the other boys called him, had
more than a passing interest in hypnotherapy, and had studied the
field extensively at the Andorian University of Fralton.
family was made up of a father named Koleffekus, an industrious man
who dealt in fuel production. The mother was Stona, the embodiment of
an overprotective mother to her two children. She smothered them in
many ways…and sometimes the offspring had a strong desire to
smother her—in her sleep. The daughter, big sister to Neff was
named Caldona, who would pester Neff frequently regarding Cordann. It
was evident she had the hots for her brother’s friend.
third boy of interest is called Parn, a Paxellian from the planet,
Subpaxel. Parn is the young man who first suggested that the four
chums enter into a business venture together.
family was deeply entrenched in politics—father, Smeldus was
governor of Keedo City. But mother, Itshtinx was truly the political
muscle behind her husband’s governorship. Both parents were
typically busy as hell, and it was a wonder that they even had Parn
in the first place. Certainly they had no time to produce a second
the fourth and final rascal of this new career venture came in the
form of Morch Caletskian, or “Morch the Porch,” a Minisculian
hailing from the planet Cubaat. Morch was blessed with two mothers,
Peesha and Excreesha. Together, the same gender parents ruled the
male enhancement industry on Cubaat and a few other “afflicted”
planets. Peesha was quite a direct woman and not very sparing of
feelings—particularly of those who worked for her and her partner.
Excreesha possessed a bit more in the way of diplomatic graces, yet
in her own way she could be just as manipulative as her life mate.
moguls of the lucrative “unit fix-it” trade had clear intentions
of gearing Morch to follow in their footsteps, take over the reigns
of their empire someday. But Morch, of course, had other plans for a
Mind and Pest Cleaners was the name of their small and fledgling
company. And as mentioned before, the four boys owned the tools
necessary to perform the duties. Now the question was, could they use
them effectively enough to actually get the job done?
a few moments from now, they would certainly find out.
had run through several equipment and job scenario drills in the past
few months, gearing themselves up for the real deal.
the real was at hand presently. Time to see if practice properly
prepared for actual duty.
up for this?!” Cordann Blu asked his crew of Restwell cohorts, his
tone full of gusto.
are!” the other three replied with vigor, holding their equipment a
held a vacuumater in front of him while Neff gripped a shockinater.
Parn had possession of the webinater which left the fuminater in the
tensed clutches of Morch. All carried a traunt scanner.
check,” Cordann ordered with officious barking. He hit the power
switch on his weapon and it hummed to life as it should.
hit his and it purred like a charm. “Yeeaahh, son,” he added with
that puppy,” Parn said in the same tone as his powered properly.
however… “Aw, you piece of jiss…” He growled as his tool
glitched and sputtered out. And frustratingly banged on it with his
fist a few times hoping to jar it to proper functioning, but it
okay, Morch?” Cordann asked in concern.
Morch spit out as he transitioned from fist bangs to out and out
kneeling down and smacking the device on the hard ground. WHAM! WHAM!
break it,” Neff chided.
not…” Morch grunted. WHAM! WHAM! ...WHAM! He alternated sides to
hit on the thing—WHAM! WHAM! CRACK! BONK! TINK! BAM!
rose with his humming fuminater and finally boasted, “Yeeaahhh…”
they all turned to face their destination: a large house owned by a
bio-chemistry specialist by the name of Doot.
asked, “Does this Doot fella have a last name?”
answered earnestly, “No, as far as I know, it’s just Doot.”
put in, “Doot…Dooter, Dootman…”
elaborated, “Doot is moot…”
again, “Don’t shoot the Doot…”
do the Doot…”
we gonna do
this, or are we gonna stand here all day and insult our first paying
customer’s good name?” Cordann asked with annoyance and
Parn let slip and giggled but tried his best to get it under wraps.
“All right, I’m done.”
rolled his eyes then said with as much conviction as his nervous
being could muster, “All right, let’s…approach…”
held their positions for an instant longer, then they slowly trotted
forth toward the front door of the house. A sensor alerted the
occupant of the house that guests were at the door. A moment later,
it was answered.
Doot inquired as he stood inside the opened doorway and stared at the
us,” Cordann replied with a bright face. “You have some nasty
critters giving you some hassle?”
indeed,” Doot said, “In the basement and running through the wall
hear and see ‘em?”
see their droppings. It’s getting to be a serious problem,
especially with my work.”
no more, we’re on it.”
so the boys entered. And embarked on their first assignment as the
self employed representatives of Restwell.
anything yet?” Cordann asked as he and the other boys searched the
corners and crevices of Doot’s expansive yet shadowy basement.
either,” Parn echoed with a bit of deflation.
Morch gave flatly. “It’s like they knew we were coming.”
of course they did,” Neff added coarsely, “They heard us coming
into the room, ya jiss scooper.”
jabbed his fuminater out toward Neff. “How’d you like this jammed
up your jiss hole?”
Cordann blasted in a bit of a whispery wheeze. “A professional
demeanor is key to our success here! If our customer heard us talking
right, sorry,” Neff amended apologetically.
Morch agreed. He turned to Neff with penitent eyes. “You’re a
master of the shockinater, Neff. I respect you.”
said in kind, “And you’re a wiz with the fuminater, Morch. I
nodded at each other in good faith. Parn smiled at the show of common
comradery between his two friends.
Cordann turned back around and rolled his eyes, thinking, these
are my business partners. Soon he refocused on searching for a sign
of the pests they had come to remove.
commented, “Doot was right about the droppings. There’s certainly
plenty of those littered about.”
asked, “Can you determine what critters there are from the
looks like…possibly some botters.”
and botters, Cordann pondered and prepared his mind for what could
happen. A nody was a particularly inhospitable and troublesome type
of rodent with not one, not two, but three separate heads. Knock two
out and the third one would keep the body going. And they were quick,
not too easily trapped. Botters were a bit of a different story—they
were bothersome to be sure; but they were also quite sensitive to
light. Their four eyes needed the shadow to move around and do their
damage. Deprive these little lizards of the dark and they become
disoriented and mostly ineffective. Just watch out for their
elongated tails—which acted like miniature whips! Not something you
want to feel unless razor sharp pain is what you enjoy.
skittered, out of sight.
boys tensed, aiming their weapons in the direction of the telltale
else scampered in another direction, another darkened corner behind
some crates. The boys quickly swung their aim that way. Still nothing
visible for them to target.
think they’re playing with us,” Morch quickly got out.
behind everything!” Cordann blasted. And all four did so hastily,
careful not to damage anything.
whisk of a creature zoomed out of sight from the peripherals of the
a vent in the lower portion of the wall.
wager they’re all in that air shaft, hiding out!” Neff hollered
as they turned to spot the vent.
we’ll see about that,” Cordann returned as he pulled from his
belt pouch a tiny orb-like device. He quickly approached the grill of
the vent, stood before it, and placed the orb inside the thick mesh.
From there, the gadget lit up a red dot on its curvature, and rolled
further into the shaft.
thing was a trademark tool designed to flush out most critters from
their dark, dank hiding spots—by rolling to their area of nesting
and releasing a quite objectionable high-pitch sound. One that only
the critters can hear.
only took a moment of roll and search before the boys heard many
screeching screams from deep within the vent. And scurrying. The
scratching running sounds were coming closer and closer.
yourselves!” Cordann warned the boys, and they complied, tensing up
their stance and weapons.
nodies and botters shot forth from the wall and quickly dispersed to
different hiding spots behind whatever sizeable object they could
Cordann actually caught one dead on into his vacuumater and trapped
floods, all of you!” Cordann ordered. The four boys activated their
blinding light rays hooked to their shoulder harnesses. “We can
take out the botters first!”
the powerful lights now acting as a new way to flush out at least the
botters, the boys began to search out the critters from behind
different things. Parn got two bots under a web from his webinater.
He hollered to Cordann to suck them up; he rushed over and did it.
Three down. Something like eight or nine to go! The nodies were
scattering away from their botter counterparts, making for harder
targets. Some were even shooting out right at the boys themselves,
causing them to duck. Yet they were still making good time collecting
the botters; shocking, webbing, and vacuuming the little buggers into
permanent containment. Cordann moved over to the storage portable,
hooked his vacuumater’s barrel end to its umbilical unit, allowed
it to join/open, and hit his switch to transfer the botters into the
portable. Trapped and secured. Cordann unhooked then went about
joining his friends in hunting down the pesky nodies.
damn, the things were quick and aggressive. Just when they thought
they had one cornered, two or three others would jump at them to
distract—and the target would dash away to another hiding spot.
it,” Cordann announced in agitation. “Morch, what is this ceiling
unlatched a metals determining scanner from his belt and did a probe
of the ceiling structure. When the results displayed on his
mini-monitor, he revealed, “It’s made of curbidus metal, boss.”
right, you boys know what to do. Hit your boots.”
it,” the other boys acknowledged, and all four of them kneeled down
to adjust their boots to be conducively magnetic to the ceiling’s
particular metal type.
done, they all sat down on the floor, shot their legs upward, then
hit a button on their belts. And instantly their bodies rose up till
they were all standing
on the ceiling!
it was quite a bit easier to see all hiding spots of the nodies! The
boys could even manage an arduous walk to bring themselves into even
better vantage points.
nodies did their best to try and evade or attack. But within minutes,
it was over. And the nodies angrily joined their botters friends in
the portable containment. All of the trapped critters viciously
growled at their captors, staring them down through the thick glass
with venom in their eyes.
yeah, nerk you, too,” Neff retorted to their vengeful looks.
you, boys. I’ve credited your account. Wonderful job,” Doot
compliment with a smile and relief.
at your service, professor,” Cordann responded with his own jovial
smile and casual salute.
offered, “Are you sure you wouldn’t like any hypnotherapy
no,” Doot answered dismissively, pishawing the notion.
sure?” Neff pushed but politely.
right, sir, then we shall bid you a fair and productive day,”
Cordann said and bowed slightly to show professional courtesy before
he and the boys turned to leave.
as they headed for the door…
four boys spun to face the professor with raised brows.
continued, “…Actually…there is
boys had gathered and seated themselves in the professor’s study.
Doot, himself, was facing them in his favorite chair as he explained
see, I have a bit of a…personal issue…well, it’s rather
Cordann assured, “Whatever you tell us will be in the strictest of
confidence. We’ll even put it in writing if need be.”
asked if they could and it was done.
that was accomplished, Doot finally revealed, “I…I have
a…girl…that I’m thoroughly fascinated with…”
all right, professor, good for you, sir,” Parn congratulated.
you…thank you…She’s a remarkable woman, she works with me at
the laboratory. We connect so well with each other, and I can tell
that she would like to take our association to a new plane, but…”
she owns a quite sizeable collection of dolls and, well…”
have a fear of dolls.”
a deftly fear of them, I’m embarrassed to say.”
you say why?”
that’s the major difficulty, I’m not sure why. My parents died
when I was very young, so I was never ale to find out from them why
this deep fear remains in me to this day.”
you think if we help you remember your earliest childhood memories,
you might be able to identify where the fear came from—and
hopefully how to stop it?”
yes. In fact, I’m desperate to know why, and if something can be
done about it. I’ve met and been intimately associated with females
before but…I really
want to get it on with this one.”
it in our capable hands, professor, we’ll get to the bottom of
things and you’ll be holding…”
in your arms with or without her dolls in no time. Neff?”
came forth and knelt down in front of Doot, coming to eye level with
him. “I want you to relax completely.”
breathe normal,” Neff continued, “And let your mind free itself
of all thoughts, concerns…”
waited a brief moment to allow Doot the process of clearing his mind.
“Now…I want you to envision that you are following me down a
path. The path appears to have no end, but you trust me to follow
along and that I know exactly where the path intends to take us.
Close your eyes now.”
are walking at a very leisurely pace,” Neff evenly continued,
“there are no worries, no troubles, only our relaxing stroll along
the path. It is daytime when we have started our walking, but as we
continue on the seemingly endless path, dusk is setting in, the light
of day is beginning to dim. It is becoming darker still until finally
it has grown to pitch black night. There are no stars, no moon,
nothing to light the heavy shadows now fallen on us. Now we can’t
even see the path that is before us, but we are still walking on it.
And it is still taking us where we need to go…Professor, I want you
to open your eyes…”
did. But his eyes were unfocused, relaxed.
continued, “…Professor, are we still walking the path in the
lazily, Doot said, “…Yes.”
boys squeezed Neff’s shoulders from behind him, a silent
congratulation that he had successfully hypnotized their first
went on, “Now professor, even though it is total night around us,
the path is going to become visible to us again…do you see the path
I do,” Doot responded.
do you see me in front of you?”
path is going to take a turn now…a turn into your past. We’re
going far now, past your earlier school years and into your earliest
formative period. The time when your parents were still guiding you.
Now professor, something happened in that time that was extremely
frightening to you…Something that involved a doll…Can you tell me
about this now?”
was two when I was given a certain present by my father. It was a
Zoopala Doll from my favorite holoshow, Zoopala
and Friends. I was thoroughly
excited to receive this doll, I was jumping around with joy with my
new gift. I had never been so happy in my life.”
what happened then that year that was so terrifying to you,
very night, there was a storm, an ominious and frightening storm. It
terrified me almost beyond reason. And I couldn’t run to my parents
for safety because they had gone out and left me with a sitter…a
very cold and vengeful woman. I remember screaming when the
lightening and thunder flashed and shook my room. And when it did, it
shadows on my Zoopala Doll, it made it look like a horrible demon!
Made me scream profusely. Before long the sitter came bursting into
my room and hollering at me, Be
silent! Stop screaming and crying or
she was going to tell my parents that I was a bad, bad Dooters…”
perked up visibly and looked at the others, as if to say, I pegged
it! I was the one who guessed his pet name!
soon, they all focused back on Doot as he described on, “…And
then the sitter marched over to my Zoopala Doll and quickly picked it
up. She stormed forth to stand over me in my bed and barked at me
right as the lightening and thunder hit, ‘Now take your stupid
little doll and go to sleeeep!’
The lightening cast the horrid shadows on my doll once more…and she
had shoved the demonic thing right in my face…I screamed even more!
The thunder was heard in my head as evil, soul shattering laughter!”
greatest joy became your greatest fear, professor,” Neff revealed.
it was really the fault of the sitter, professor, don’t you see? If
she had been a caring and generous spirit, she would have come in to
turn on the light and show you that your Zoopala Doll was nothing so
demonic or frightening.”
time to let go of your fear of Zoopala—and all dolls. The trauma is
not with them, but with the sitter…and if she still lives, I
strongly suggest that you meet with her to see if you can address
your difficulty. And if she has passed, then I strongly recommend you
making peace with her shortcomings. It will help you come a long way
in eliminating your aversion to such a harmless object as a Zoopala
and all other dolls. You will remember all of this as I bring you
back along the path to the here and now.”
the professor concurred.
turn back on our path. As we are walking back, we are passing your
growth through time…and the dark is fading to light, a day is
dawning on us…Now professor, I want you to close your eyes for me…”
Doot did so. “Do you still see the light of the brightening day?”
have come to the end of the path, back to where we began…Open your
did, and became more animate again, a normal functioning, cognizant
individual. “Wow…I remember…I remember what happened…and who
was responsible for fueling my deep fear…” Doot looked stunned,
amazed. He looked at Neff and said, “Thank you for your work on me,
boy. I’m impressed.”
am I,” Parn admitted, amazed his friend could actually pull it off.
Morch secretly hit Parn in his side, Parn reacted with a jolted face
of pain. “Owww…”
redirected with, “Once again, we’re glad to be of service,
professor. And we hope that your ladyfriend will be appreciative of
it as well.”
think she will be. Thank you again, boys. I will certainly call you
again if I have any more problems…either with my house or
so there they were, the four boys of Restwell Mind and Pest Cleaners
standing outside their first customer’s home, staring at each other
with somewhat nervous yet exhilarated eyes.
had done it, completed their first job successfully, glowingly. Pride
shown in their faces and postures.
announced, “This is it, boys, this is how it starts for us, do you
feel it? This is how our successful business begins. Nothing will
stop us now.”
boys must be stopped!” Cordann Blu’s father thundered to all the
others in the room.
was is name, and he was the chief engineer and
CEO for Kymar Industries. Kymar mass
produced household and business assistant androids—what are dubbed
in some circles as “Ass. Andies.” But don’t let Caradeen hear
you call them that.
others Caradeen spoke to in such a course tone were the parents of
the other boys who had joined Cordann on his bold new business
Enzymian parents, hailing from the Andor system, Koleffekus and Stona
felt compelled to be present at this emergency meeting. Leff, as he
was called, dealt heavily in fuel production for the galaxy’s
transports. Leff agreed wholeheartedly with Caradeen’s sentiments
concerning the boys’ career choice.
wholeheartedly agree with Caradeen’s sentiments concerning the
boys’ career choice,” Leff added.
what do we do about it then?!” Smeldus blasted to the other parents
in the meeting room. Smeldus was the governor of Keedo City on Sub
Paxel—and Parn’s father. Though Smeldus held the official title
of governor, it was his wife, Ishtinx who truly governed Keedo.
an idea,” Peesha spoke up with curtness to the others as she stood
next to her lifemate, Excreesha. “Why don’t we just tell our boys
that they have to quit this nonsense. We are their parents, for
Excreesha chimed in, “They owe us.”
surrrrre, that’ll fly,” Leff retorted sarcastically. “Good
Excreesha,” Peesha raged, “I’m
the difference, you’re both the mommies,” he pishawed.
our male enhancement products working out for you, Leff?” Peesha
we get back on the subject at hand, please?”
Caradeen protested to redirect. “Let’s not snipe pointlessly at
each other. Our end goal is the same here. We want our children to
carry on our hard earned legacies—which, I’m sure you would all
agree, is not too much to ask.”
would agree with the ‘Eeshas on one account, those boys do owe
us for all the sacrifices we’ve made for them,” conceded Leff.
chimed in, “Here, here. Ish and I used to have fun in life. But
that ended with Parn’s arrival.”
added, “I’m sure we can all remember that life used to be so much
more worth living before our offspring came along, but we made our
choices and we sucked it up and endured. And now
it is time that our boys sucked it up, got real, and carried on our
but again, exactly how?”
will tell you how. By ensuring that they fail in all of their
Ishtinx said as she approached Caradeen and stared him down. “we
use our resources to fake
legitimate pest calls, but we rig the jobs with some of the nastiest
Caradeen said with a smile. “Beasts that the boys couldn’t
possibly deal with.”
the customers—who we will select, of course,” added Smeldus,
“—will act as irate and dissatisfied as possible…”
the boys will be disenchanted, crushed,” Caradeen concluded. “And
will give up this crazy notion of pest control…and hypnosis…”
he ended with a sour tone.
you imagine…” Excreesha lamented
in disgust, “…sullying our good names with this vile
profession—rooting around in basements and dusty attics, it’s an
scandalous!” Peesha echoed.
not for long ladies…not for long,” Caradeen assured with
confidence. “By this time next week, we will have them right where
we want them.”
Rambidou was indeed a very happy man. And why shouldn’t he be? He
was, after all, president of the whole universe. Or at least the part
of it known as the Effen Galaxy. Spanning thirty-eight planets and a
couple of supercool nebulas, Effen was a happening galaxy to be a
for the last thirty years, Goldin had overseen the regulation of it
all. Proudly, judiciously…lasciviously. Unevenly, criminally,
caustically, violently, cruelly, backwardsly…well, you get the
general idea. Typical government practice. But at least Goldin was
dedicated. He had no domesticated life to speak of; no wife or
children, just the love of the job—and the love for the gross power
he wielded over many worlds and peoples. Despite no family of his
own, Goldin could hardly consider his existance to be wasted or
meaningless. After all, he was ruler of the Effen Galaxy and his
influence was felt throughout the various systems therein. Yes
indeedily, Goldin was a content man.
when his power and position were under threat of weakening—or
extinction altogether. Goldin had encountered this situation numerous
times in his thirty year reign of Effen.
unfortunately this kind of predicament had reared its rastard-ugly
head once more.
was a senator on the rise who proposed radical amendments to the
Effen constitution. His name was Osis Binarian, a righteous and
impassioned representative from Dooshlodia who was smooth talking his
way through the ranks. He seemed incorruptible and completely
honorable. Goldin despised him.
appeared that one of Osis’ proposals was to form a special task
force to clamp down on the slave trade that plagued the Effen
was not a fan of slavery per se, but he realized that it was a
necessary evil in order to keep the galaxy well financed…particularly
in funding his scientific experiments. Goldin covertly had his
science teams working on new chemical formulas to effectively control
the minds of the senate members. Manipulate them into voting his way
in important ratifications. Important to maintaining Goldin’s power
base at any rate.
had to be done about this idealistic and dangerously naïve new
senator. Something permanent. Goldin knew that if he simply tried to
smear the Dooshlodian’s good name, create some trumped up scandal
for Binarian, it may only delay trouble for Goldin’s grand plans.
He knew that politicians always had a nasty knack for bouncing back
from bad press. No, something more drastic must be put into play.
it must be done delicately, with supreme subterfuge, and with no
trace of Goldin’s administration being implicated by the Effen high
Goldin knew the right people to contact for this sort of intricate
assignment. First would be his personal assistant—his pers.
ass.—Snaris Umley. In the official Effen dictionary under
sycophant, it says “see Snaris”—at least Goldin felt it should
be. Snaris, as most knew, had his proverbial lips firmly glued to
Goldin’s rear. Anything that the president desired, Snaris made
happen, gladly and without question.
second person that would be contacted concerning the covert
elimination would be a man who was an unofficial liaison in these
touchy types of assignments: Gannik Butrillon. Gannik would then be
tasked unofficially with hiring an experienced and clever assassin to
carry out the deadly contract.
that assassin came in the form of the most ruthless, precise, and
cunning assassin in the Effen Galaxy: Putrak Alkak, or Putrak The
Much Feared as he is known in the criminal underworld.
would receive the particulars, gather his tools of death, and the job
would be completed. Period. Without fail.
Goldin had the perfect venue in which to carry out the killing of
Osis Binarian: the yearly Effen Galaxy Summit, where all delegates
from thirty-eight worlds come together to discuss the current state
of Effen. Osis was scheduled to speak, make a grand plea to the
populace for grand change. But before Osis would begin his speech, he
would suffer a “mysterious affliction” and die on the spot, in
front of the masses. Where there would be little suspicion for foul
play, no sniper’s bullet to be traced to anyone or assassin to
track down. Putrak was quite good at using tools that could end an
individual and leave no trace as to the cause.
it might look like convenient timing that Osis would croak just
before an important address to the Effen peoples. But these things
happen, Goldin could always defend, life is unpredictable; and
sometimes tragedy occurs when you least expect it.
Goldin had been under scrutiny before for suspicious dealings and
underhanded circumstances. But he had always weathered them with
grace, charm, and toughness of resolve. He hadn’t maintained his
thirty year rule by being a lightweight pushover who was easily
ruffled by scandal.
Goldin was confident that this current crisis would be resolved by
the beginning of the summit. And he, the president of the whole Effen
Galaxy, would continue being a very happy man.
prospective client opened the door to his humble abode on the planet
Bormie and faced the four Restwell boys.
you called about some pest critters in your home?” Cordann inquired
of the homeowner.
yes,” the proprietor concurred then offered, “Please come on in.
I’m desperate to resolve this problem.”
Neff, Parn, and Morch entered the man’s home and faced him for more
owner went on, “They’re rooting around in my basement, chewing up
my power lines and destroying circuits and pipes. It’s a real mess,
do you think you could get them out for me?”
sir. Leave it to us and we’ll solve your pest problem in no time.
Consider the job already done.”
terrific, that’s what I wanted to hear. This way, boys, to the
lower level of the house.” He guided them to the entrance of the
basement stairway. “This is as far as I’d like to go. Critters
creep me out.”
take it from here, sir,” Cordann assured. And he and the other
three Restwell boys descended the stairs.
owner closed the door behind them.
was some light down below which allowed the boys a fall-free passage
down the steps.
good that he closed the door…” Morch rather nervously commented,
don’t want any critters escaping,” Cordann assured.
sense.” But Morch was still tense, feeling closed in.
reached the basement and found that the area was vast and only
sparsely littered with boxes or old items. There didn’t appear to
be any dust on any of them.
owner, I guess,” Parn suggested.
doesn’t have much,” Neff added.
he’s a minimalist,” Morch surmised.
a Tupitarian. They’re not allowed to have much.”
doesn’t look like a Tupitarian.”
have a look?”
have a look. My uncle says they have a look.”
have a minimal look.”
an idiot. I’m going to shock you with this thing—”
The job, remember?” Cordann stressed.
right,” Morch and Neff amended in unison and got focused on the job
rattling noise was heard. But nothing was seen. The boys tensed, held
their weapons firmer, for the ready. They looked about, trying to
spot anything that might resemble a critter.
a whip-fast form on four legs sped by from behind two crates.
you see that?!” Morch blurted.
saw it! I saw it!” Cordann rattled out quickly.
was it?! Did any of you get a good look at it?!” Morch hastily
quick, they all responded back.
blur of movement came from behind shadowy items.
That one…looked like a…like a rocky something…”
four boys didn’t like the sound of that. This sight was unexpected.
teeth began to chatter a bit in deep rooted fear.
right, tighten up, boys,” Cordann barked, “We can do this.”
four braced themselves to focus on what was ahead.
soon Parn’s teeth resumed chattering.
Parn said nervously, “Can’t help it, it was a reckadeck, a
don’t know that for sure,” Morch sobered.
other critter has rock-like skin?!”
we get a better look—”
a cragged and orbish projectile, gray and hardened, rocketed straight
at the boys!
Neff squealed in an instant—and the boys did so in the split-second
nick of time!
stony ball shot over and past them to crash into the wall beyond. It
rebounded to the floor, uncoiled itself to a four-legged,
rocky-skinned nightmare, then zipped away to disappear behind a
that close enough for you?!” Parn stabbed at Neff.
Neff uttered, “…Yeah…close enough…Reckadeck, confirmed.”
all cautiously rose again, keeping a sharp eye on the crate.
quickly skittered behind them.
whipped about to track the source.
behind another crate, a spiky little devil peered its glowing blue
eyes out to stare at the boys with venom.
that’s a crondite,” Neff added with false calm.
is it doing here?!” Parn asked in high pitch fear.
the hell is a reckadeck
good questions for another time boys,” Cordann said, “But right
warning from behind another crate, a different, more indefinable
shape catapulted itself right at the boys, causing them to madly duck
down once more. They spun about to catch the wobbly, rippling mass
disappear behind another pristine crate.
me with a traunt detector…” Morch uttered, “…that was a
One of the most troublesome and destructive creatures in existence.
They exclusively fed off circuitry, powerlines, and coolant. And they
couldn’t easily be caught, because of their unique ability to
change at will from solid to liquid form. Try webinating one of those
and see where it gets you.
and reckadecks weren’t much better. Crondies were super-quick
reptilians with spiky skin and knife-like claws—and, oh yeah, a
propensity for hyper-rage. Reckies were quite dodgy to catch in their
own right in that, in addition to being able to curl up and throw
themselves through the air like hardened boulders, they could split
into four or five parts of themselves to confuse predators.
boys simply weren’t set up for these extreme cases—and for good
reason, of which they’ll explain in a bit.
up!” Cordann snapped, “we’re doing this, dammit!”
are?” Parn fearfully asked.
reckadecks cannoned themselves out from two far apart crates and
aimed at the boys head on!
attempted to whip-position his vacuumater to catch one of the living
boulders as it hurdled at him. But it was too quick and the thing
ricocheted off the end of the weapon’s barrel. It bounced off the
ceiling and fast diagonaled down to hide behind another crate.
the same time, the other projectile split into four different parts
and snap-attached themselves to Neff’s shockinater. Extremely
flustered, Neff attempted to shake off the four rocky leeches to his
weapon—especially since they seemed to be biting into its
construction, tearing at it. “Ah nerk! Get off! Get off!” His
shaking wasn’t doing any good.
and Morch rushed to him to try and shock and vacuum the little
bugger(s), but then two crondites leaped out and attacked them! The
creatures latched on, causing the boys to jerk and flail, stagger off
in odd stances and steps. Both cursed wildly in shock and anger.
looked around in a mad scan to see if something might pop out at him
as well. Nothing was at the moment—so he desperately attempted to
aim webs at the crondies clinging and clawing at his two friends.
Flecks of their blood were now flying! They hollered in their
struggle. Parn shot out webs but kept missing.
Neff ran to a wall to try and slam his reckadeck-infested shockinater
against its hard surface. But it was to no avail, the individual
pieces of the creature held firm to the damaged device. And the
banging was only hurting matters for his poor weapon. “Get
Parn continued to expend badly aimed webs at his partners, he heard a
new disturbing sound behind him…
spun about just in time to see a coagulating, brownish mass fly
straight at him! As it did, he managed to hysterically wail,
“MOMMIES?!” And then it hit—and engulfed him! His webinater
dropped to the floor with loud clacking sounds.
saw what was happening to his companions, and abandoned his weapon to
try and firstly aid Cordann and Morch, still battling the vicious
crondites. He grabbed Morch’s shockinater from his grasp and did
his best to correctly aim the shocks at the squirming critters. Yet,
from behind, another reckie rockish orb flew out to beam him on the
shoulder before it soared on and out of sight. He winced and groaned
in sharp pain, but kept his grip on the shockinater. After a few
mistaken shock-jabs—which further agonized his two assaulted
friends—Neff finally met his intended targets. And the crondites
squealingly dismounted to shoot away and across the room. But they
didn’t hide. They speedily spun into attack stances, ready to
strike again if the opportunity was ripe.
this, let’s get out
of here!” Neff ground out to the other two.
about him?!” Morch said of Parn. The poor boy was covered in a
liquidy brown… and it was threatening to close over his mouth and
nose! His fear was mounting.
all weapons,” Cordann ordered, “now.”
mean…” Morch hazarded.
leave ‘em. I don’t think we get to walk out of here otherwise.”
bet that thing would love to eat up all the power in them… All
slowly lowered the shockinater while Cordann did the same with his
in reaction, the klooner released itself of Parn’s body and oozed
off to the side, waited.
the four boys made for the stairs, their arms up to show no funny biz
was in the works. The critters watched their every move, ready to
resume the siege if necessary.
boys reached the door, felt for it, opened it, passed through—still
eyeing their superior attackers with silent dread—and slammed the
door shut as quickly as possible as soon as all were clear on the
is absolutely unacceptable!” the owner blasted at the boys as they
stood outside the front door. The owner was inside and facing them at
the doorway. “I thought I was hiring professionals but you four are
just third rate hacks! You might as well pack up your business and
run home to your mommies! I’m going to tell everyone how you
botched this job! Make bet on it!”
so sorry, sir, we came up against some unexpected—” Cordann
Never in my life have I seen such unprofessionalism! Whatever it
takes to make it in this job you four certainly
don’t have it! Now good day to you! And never
darken my door again!”
owner whooshed the door shut and left the boys to their dejection. A
sharp, cold wind blew at them causing their eyes to bat repeatedly.
uttered, “He seemed minorly dissatisfied with the result of our
retorted, “Understatement of the year, Nerkhead.”
you very much, please.”
really think we’re pretty much dead in the water now, boys,”
Morch assessed with no enthusiasm.