The Good, the Bad, and the Chibi: Part 1
A child of five could understand this. Fetch me a child of five.
- Groucho Marx
Newt's Laboratory, San Viano, 1:37 p.m. Saturday
Goodness, Newt remarked, gazing at the contraption on his workbench, What an amazing, and, er, bizarre
Isn't it, though? Beak beamed. The man who beat me about my head with it called it a 'slide-rule'. He rubbed the back of his neck, wincing a bit. It's a bit like an ordinary stick with a go-go-Gadget arm inside.
Bob shook his head, waggling a finger at the tall brown kiwi. I told you to be careful with his calculator, he chided, but *no*, a Magi is a skilled and agile performer, you said. Perfectly capable of juggling three Bananarama shakes while performing complex integrations on a calculator. Riiight.
Beak pouted. I was doing perfectly well until your friend's sister and her partner drove through the shop's window and slammed into me, he growled. Even then, I might have recovered, if the Great BaNAna's patrons hadn't panicked and stampeded over me.
Well, I can hardly blame them, Ferdie interjected, seeing as how the car was on fire and all. Melted banana shake is incredibly difficult to get out of feathers, you know, he griped, trying in vain to brush some of the dried crud off himself.
It wasn't even our car! Ferdia protested, We were on the motorbike behind it! When the car's driver bailed, there was nothing we could do to stop it from crashing!
You could have backed off so they wouldn't have bailed, Bob offered.
Yes, and then I would still be locked in the damned thing's trunk, Ivan grumbled, looking less than thrilled at being surrounded by do-gooders, and contrary to popular belief, those two, he jerked his thumb in Ferdia and Squeaks' direction, don't keep a cache of heavy artillery in their squad car.
Across the lab, Iiwi looked up from her preening. I still don't see why that gang tried to kidnap you, anyway, she puzzled. She glanced over at the sign holder, who was busily picking bits of fried banana and sticky-sweet dried banana-shakes out of his plumage. Kid didn't even have his sign with him, she muttered.
They completely ruined my outfit! Bobetta wailed, casting a teary-eyed glance down at her dress, which was splattered with banana goo and dusty footprints. I will never patronize that chain again!
I must admit, I fail to see why all of this has brought the lot of you to my lab. Newt shook his head. I am no detective, after all. I am a scientist. The rhymes and reasons of criminal conduct completely escape me.
Bob looked skeptical. Being a scientist hardly means you can't do evil. I've met far too many mad scientists and inventors bent on revenge to believe otherwise.
Besides, Beak added, You build all those nifty weapons and exploding things for Bob. I'm certain some of those are bound to infringe upon the limits of legality, payload-wise.
Ferdie blinked. Somebody's been sneaking Brain Food again, he muttered.
High in fiber, low in fat, Beak grinned.
Yes, well, Newt allowed, flustered, Be that as it may, I can offer you no explanations for this morning's happenings.
Oh, that's okay, Newt, Iiwi called from her perch, We just wanted to know if you had anything that would get the banana out.
Yeah, Ferdie added, Ma's doing some major housecleaning right now, and if all of us show up covered in gooey banana slime, she'll go into conniptions.
And then she'll kill us, Beak added worriedly. Especially if we get any on her drapery...
Oh. Was all Newt could say.
Well, he began, I'm certain I could whip up some type of banana-removing substance, if you'd all be so kind as to wait. He wandered back to his chemical supply shelves.
As an afterthought, he stuck his head back into the room and looked each banana-coated caller in the eye. Don't touch anything.
Aw, Beak pouted, I was hoping to get some more time logged on that Intergalactic Kiwi Network thingamabob. I'm almost getting the hang of fighting as Jell-O.
Ivan looked up from a highly-enticing freeze-ray gun. An entire lab filled with exotic weapons and fascinating bits of high-tech destructive fun, and you want to run about as remote-controlled gelatin? he asked. Heroes, he thought to himself. He'd never understand them. As he wandered idly about, admiring a shiny thing that looked vaguely like a rocket-powered sled, it occurred to him that he might want to look into hiring the scientist for odd jobs. Having a technological genius on the payroll was bound to pay off eventually, and he was certain the absent-minded kiwi wouldn't think twice about the offer not once he saw the amount of funding Ivan could provide.
Across the lab, the sign holder poked at an odd-looking red-and-white ball. Don't touch that, Iiwi warned as the young kiwi went to pick the ball up, It's a Stasis Sphere, she explained. It turns people into pure energy and stores the energy inside it. Newt made it as a way of keeping gravely-wounded people alive long enough to reach a hospital even if one was days away. The energy doesn't dissipate, so even if they would have only minutes before a wound killed them, they'll be okay in the sphere for weeks.
Wow, the kiwi breathed. Does it work?
Iiwi shrugged. Dunno. Think so, but nobody really liked the idea of being atomized and crammed into a tacky-looking kiddie-ball. Newt tried making a version that would give the occupant energy while they were inside it you know, like healing, or a good night's sleep but I think he wound up frying some lab newts, so he abandoned the whole thing.
And you know about this because
Ferdie prompted her.
Because *I* am a *bounty hunter*, and there are plenty of times I could really use something that sucks my charge into a tiny three-inch sphere.
A thunderous clatter erupted from the far side of the lab as Bob, trying to work what looked like a coffee-maker, accidentally triggered the launch sequence on a Deluxe Fireworks Display Rocket or DFDR, as the words on the contraption's side proudly proclaimed. As he and the others ran for cover, the rocket tore through a section of ceiling, streaking upwards into the sky before a deafening boom announced the detonation of pyrotechnics. Unfortunately, a few stray rockets had been knocked loose from the DFDR as it tore through the roof, and they now careened about the lab, bouncing off display panels and precariously-stacked gizmos as they burned through their payloads.
Newt came running out of the supply room at the sound of what seemed, to him, to be his lab caving in on itself. In truth, it was only seventeen stacks of inventions toppling over domino-style into another thirteen shelves of gizmos and two panels of computers, which sparked violently in protest of not having anything to topple on in turn. Unfortunately, in his haste to save his lab from Bob and company, Newt had neglected to secure the chemicals he had gathered, and the resulting series of explosions knocked him clear across the lab and into the huddled group of culprits.
We didn't touch anything! Ferdia shouted as the smoke began to clear.
Squeaks, always the most disciplined one in the group, busied himself hiding the multifunction taser/gattling gun that had *somehow* appeared in his hand.
Gak! Newt yelled, upon seeing the present state of his previously spotless lab and expensive equipment. (Actually, Newt said quite a few things aside from 'Gak!', but they shall remain unrepeated for the sake of keeping this story's rating. But you would be interested to learn that genius scientist/inventors with very large vocabularies can come up with a great deal of interesting word combinations that cannot be repeated in good company. Even if they are British.)
Anyways, as Newt chased the banana-caked group about the ruins of his lab, Beak saw something that caught his interest.
Hey, what's that thing?
Beak! Bob yelled, Forget the gadgets and run for your life!
But the Magi had, quite inadvertently - but effectively nonetheless sparked Newt's curiosity. The mad well, not mad as in crazy, but mad as in so-angry-I-could-scream - scientist paused in his chase (and was quite grateful to do so, for as a genius scientist/inventor who unlike Bob Kiwi and company was not usually running for his life, he was rather out-of-shape) to gaze in the direction Beak pointed.
Oh, he gasped, trying to regain his usual British composure, That is G.E.O.R.G.E.
George? the assembled company repeated.
Quite so, Newt nodded, See, it says so right here on the side. G.E.O.R.G.E.
Ferdie ventured, What's it do?
What's it do? Newt repeated incredulously, Why, it's quite obviously my Gets Everything Out Really Good Everytime machine!
Your what?!? Bob gawked.
Newt, that's a terrible name for it! Iiwi chided, It sounds like a poor excuse to use the acronym GEORGE!
True, Newt conceded. I probably named it something more along the lines of the General Eradicator Of Rust/Grime/Etc. device. But it's nice to see that someone pays attention to what I call things, at any rate. Most people just want to know if it makes things explode.
Wouldn't it? Ivan queried, With a name like that, it's got to have a laser or something, right?
Ferdie began, What exactly is it? I mean, sure, it eradicates rust, but so do Brillo pads. What's it mainly used for?
It uses high-intensity wavelengths of laser light to dissolve and disseminate otherwise permanent organic bonds.
The group blinked. It what?!? they chorused.
In plain English, it's a stain remover, Newt clarified. Must've forgotten I'd invented it, he chuckled, And as it seems to be quite nearly the only thing you lot haven't busted, I'd say you're quite lucky I did. Now we can get that bothersome banana off of you before you bollocks up anything else.
Newt strode over to the machine, making a show of polishing it up a bit before pushing it with a grunt to the nearest clear space in the lab. G.E.O.R.G.E. resembled a washing machine with an overgrown, 60's-style ray gun growing out the top of it, set off with translucent tail fins of glowing crystal spikes and iridescent gauze. Flicking an overly-large switch labeled 'On', Newt powered up the machine, which now made it alarmingly evident that there were hundreds upon thousands of blinking lights and glowing switches covering nearly every inch of the contraption. In addition to the many switches and buttons now winking cheerfully at all angles were dozens of levers and not a few slot-machine-style displays. It was, in short, the strangest, gaudiest, most complicated-looking thing any of them had ever seen in their lives. And aside from the comical 'On' switch, nothing seemed to be properly labeled.
If Newt noticed the ridiculous nature of the device, he gave no indication of it. He set about flicking switches and pressing buttons like the highly-skilled brainiac he was, confidently configuring the machine while waving the group to a spot about five feet in front of the 'ray gun'.
Everybody ready? he called to them. A chorus of half-hearted 'yea's sounded from the group although Ferdie was doing his best not to look too terrified. Pausing to mop his brow, Newt noticed that he, too, had a good deal of banana crud on him. Most likely from landing on the group after the explosion, he realized. Setting the machine's auto-timer, he quickly took his place amongst the others.
The machine's humming grew in pitch and volume, and the flashing lights increased the speed of their dance as the transparent rings around the ray-gun-looking-thing began to glow electric blue. As the glow intensified, the gun began to vibrate, as if pressure were building just behind the front-most ring, the hum now a high-pitched whine. At last, with a great shudder, the machine fired a bright, bluish beam right at the spot where group stood, bathing them in its glow.
Moments later, the beam cut off, and the machine powered itself down slowly, cooling steam rising from the 'ray gun' as the glowing rings' color gradually faded away.
It is debatable whether the sound that echoed softly in the background was divinely maniacal laughter or simply the machine cooling down. It *did* have many cooling fans and coolant jets, after all.