Part 25: Falling Starmen
Part 23: Falling Starmen
Snow melted underneath our feet as we screeched to a halt outside of Dr. Andonut's lab in Winters. We rushed into the lab and looked around. It was deserted, except for the Cave Boy that helped Dr. Andonuts around the lab.
: "Apple Kid? Dr. Andonuts?"
My voice echoed throughout the lab, but nobody came forward. Then, a small scratching noise drew my eyes to the floor. Looking up at me was a small mouse that seemed familiar somehow.
: "You're Apple Kid's mouse, aren't you?"
: "Yes. My master had just completed work on his "Eraser eraser" machine when some strange, silver creatures came here and kidnapped him and the kindly old man who lives here."
The mouse handed me a small gadget that could only have been the Eraser eraser. A short wand-like device with a large red switch on one end, it had various kinds of erasers clamped along the sides. I stowed it quickly in my backpack."
: "They went to the north. I was there, but helpless. Sorry about that."
: "That's alright. We'll get 'em back."
I looked at my friends.
: "Up north? You think they went near the Rainy Circle?"
: "I doubt it. There's something else to the north, something incredibly mysterious, that seems much more likely to me to be the enemies' destination."
: "You mean...?"
In the center of the big display of rocks, we found a small hole, barely visible underneath the snow.
A rope ladder led us down below the surface, where a dark cave awaited.
: "I'd say we found it."
: "This could be really dangerous, guys. Keep your eyes open and be careful."
We hadn't gone three feet past the cave entrance when a huge, steel eraser blocked our path.
: "Oh, for the love of..."
: "That must be why Apple Kid made that Eraser eraser. Give it a shot."
: "Yeah, but...How the heck does he know? Every time it seems like he just...knows!"
: "You can ask him yourself once we save him, just use the eraser!"
Grumbling to myself, I aimed the Eraser eraser at the eraser, and watched as the metal obstruction melted into thin air.
: "...I have no idea what any of that was about."
: "It's not important, Poo. Let's just get going."
The base spread out for miles underneath Stonehenge, a labyrinth of faintly glowing corridors and roughly-hewn floors. We kept our weapons at the ready, but so far, we were alone, and as our footsteps echoed through the subterranean base, we began to feel more than a little paranoid.
: "I guess I figured there would be more resistance than this..."
: "Shh! I hear voices up ahead!"
We clammed up and ducked behind a nearby wall. I could hear a slimy voice talking to a robotic one.
: "Sir, the human prisoners have been packed into tubes at Extraction Site 1. They await your inquiries."
: "Excellent. Secure the *whirr* base and meet *click* me at Site 1."
We heard a sloshing of tentacles as a red, slimy alien, much like the one that we had faced in the Fourside Department Store walked past us.
: "Good, he didn't see us. Let's try to sneak-"
: "Sir! The Eraser has been erased! The four have penetrated the base!"
: "Oh, crap."
: "What?! They're *whirr* here already?! I want a full brigade dispatched immediately! Find them! Kill them! I've *beep* got to begin extraction right away!"
'Extraction' sounded horribly unpleasant, so rather than just let them get away, I decided to take a stand. I leapt out from behind our cover and got my first look at the 'master' of the base. My heart skipped a beat at what I saw. It was a Starman, like the one Buzz Buzz had saved me from so long ago, but this one was huge, with slick, silver spikes decorating its shoulders and head like a crown. Gaudy red symbols, like some alien military badge, adorned its chest, and it pointed a thin, curved arm at us.
: "Hey! Here we are! Come and get us, you intergalactic jerks!"
I sounded brave but I was quaking at the memory of how strong the Starman was back in Onett. Buzz Buzz wasn't here to save me this time. And this one looked even stronger than the last one. One of Giygas' elite forces. I gulped and hoped we were prepared for this.
: "There they *click* are! Attack, troops!"
At his words, smaller Starmen began to march into the room. The commanding Starman flickered and then vanished into thin air.
: "He teleported!"
: "Dang it! We've got to get through these guys and save the captives!"
We charged into the battle as ten or fifteen Starmen surrounded us. They grappled with their silvery arms and attacked with powerful psychic attacks. I blocked what I could with psychic shields and counter-attacked with psychic attacks of my own. I ducked and rolled under their needle-like jabs and smashed them in the legs with my bat, bringing them down to the ground where I could pummel them into submission.
Paula was doing very well for herself, dancing out of the way of the incoming attacks and firing off bursts of scorching fire and freezing ice, keeping the advancing Starmen guessing.
Jeff, also, was handling himself well. He was lobbing his handmade bombs into groups of the Starmen and taking his shots with his pistol as they scrambled to get out of the explosion. He hit one in its shaded visor, and the alien shrieked and collapsed to the ground, clutching its face.
Poo was...well, to be blunt, Poo was kicking some ass. His training had obviously helped in more areas than just the Starstorm technique, as he was pummeling Starmen mercilessly left and right. He seemed to have developed strong shields as well, and the Starmen's flames bounced harmlessly off as he battered them with the deadly starstorm.
I crushed the last Starman's head with my bat, and took a quick look around at the devastation my friends and I had wrought. We had turned the dank corridor into a junkyard. Twisted, sparking metal lay everywhere as the battered remains of the Starmen brigade littered the floor.
I looked at my friends. All of them had taken some small injury in the battle; I myself had a small cut on the side of my face where one of the Starmen had nicked me with their needle-like arms. We regrouped and quickly chased after the teleporting commander.
We rushed through the dimly-lit corridors in hot pursuit. Occasionally we were attacked by Starmen stragglers, who had apparently missed the initial offensive push. After taking out an entire room of them, the four of us were able to mess them up easily.
We climbed down a long ladder. I realized we must be miles underneath the earth's surface now. We touched down on a metal catwalk suspended in the air on high pillars. Our footsteps echoed as they clanked on the walkway and we strode forward into the darkness.
Suddenly a low whooshing sound filled the air, and in a flash of gleaming light, we were ambushed by a handful of Starmen once again. These, however, were shining bright gold in the dim light of the underground base. Silently, they raised their slim, pointed arms at us. I barely had time to throw up a shield over the four of us before white-hot fire shot at us, engulfing the narrow walkway in an inferno.
I could feel myself sweating as I struggled to block out the fire. Poo added his shield to mine and I felt the pressure lessen a little bit.
: "These guys are tough! It seems like they can keep this up for a long time!"
: "I have an idea! Jeff, toss some explosives over the shield! Poo, help me try to push them back!"
Jeff opened his backpack and started throwing bombs into the air, where they exploded on the ground near the Starmen. Together with Poo, I began to slowly shove the shield forward, pushing the flame back and closer to the Starmen. However, I had forgotten one important thing: They could teleport. Suddenly, the flames disappeared, and in a flash, the Starmen were behind us. I didn't have time to get a shield up, and as they renewed their psychic assault, all we could do was frantically dive out of the way. We scattered as the flames engulfed the spot where we had been standing. Poo leapt into the air and launched himself at the golden Starmen. They turned their fire away and aimed at him in the air. I took this opportunity to fire off a barrage of psychic light at our foes. Distracted, they weren't able to respond as my attack knocked them off their feet. We seized this opportunity and rushed at them. Poo had landed with a powerful kick and caved in the chest of one of the shining androids. The rest of us descended, bat, frying pan, and ray gun at the ready, and turned the rest of them into scrap.
: "Everyone okay?"
: "Yeah, technically."
: "That was close."
At the end of the catwalk, a heavy iron door awaited us. Nervously, we opened it wide, and inside we saw a series of long, glass tubes lining the far wall.
Inside were people, submerged in a dim green liquid.
: "Oh, my God!"
Dr. Andonuts, Apple Kid, and one of the Mr. Saturns were floating in the tubes. Their eyes darted about, panicked, but they couldn't speak. There were also a few people in the tubes we didn't know. I was wondering what purpose the enemy had in mind for them when Jeff gasped again.
: "Oh, Tony...They got you too?"
Jeff was looking up at a kid about our age suspended in the liquid.
: "You know him?"
: "It's Tony, a friend of mine from boarding school. He helped me bust out in the first place. I wonder why they've got him here?"
Mr. Saturn suddenly started hopping around in his tube. I knelt down in front of him, and saw that he was gesturing wildly towards the right with his large nose.
: "He wants us to go in the next room. C'mon, guys. We must be close now!"
We were indeed. In the next room we walked in to see the spiked Starman commander from earlier frantically pressing buttons on a strange, alien console. The door slammed loudly behind us and the imposing alien looked up at us.
: "We were not *beep* prepared for that eventuality...The prophecy from the *click* Apple of Enlightenment may be true...But you must not *whirr* underestimate us."
It struck suddenly and swiftly with a swipe of its silver arm, catching us off-guard. I felt the breath knocked out of me as its heavy blow slammed into my stomach and I was sent flying. Jeff was blasting his gun at it, but the shots just bounced off. This Starman was obviously not going down easily. Jeff winced as his own blasts came ricocheting back at him.
: "Ow! Ow! He's got some kind of shield up, I can't get through it with this! Be careful!"
Paula and Poo were roasting the Starman with psychic flames. Its silver armor was singeing in places, so I gathered that whatever forcefield it was using wasn't effective against psychic attacks. I leapt off the ground and blasted the Starman with an attack of my own. It put its arms up to hide its face as my psychic onslaught buffeted its body around. Jeff, meanwhile, was apparently trying different methods to try and break through the Starman's shield. His bottle rockets dented its body, but the flares bounced off and exploded harmlessly in mid-air, showering us all with colorful sparks.
We battled the Starman for a little bit, not making much headway, when suddenly a colossal explosion rocked the room. The lights flickered and the Starman howled in what sounded like rage and pain. A massive fireball had engulfed the control console in the center of the room, and it had been blown to pieces. I looked around wildly only to see Jeff, standing defiantly, a smoking bazooka leveled at the crater where the console had been.
: "What in the-"
: "Get away from that alien, you guys!"
Obligingly, we darted away from the spiky Starman, who was doubled over, struggling to regain composure. Jeff aimed his bazooka at it and squeezed the trigger.
: "Jeff! What are you doing?! If it bounces off the shield, it'll kill us all!"
The rocket sailed across the room, and in another explosion, the Starman was obliterated. Smoking shards of metal flew around, clanking off the walls and sending sparks all over.
Boss Battle: Starman Deluxe
Google Video / Backup
: "Alright, Jeff, that was awesome and everything but where in the world did you get a bazooka?!"
Jeff blushed slightly.
: "Well, sometimes I have pretty bad insomnia...When it's late, and you guys are asleep, a lot of the time I'll stay up for a few hours just working on some gadget, you know. I found these really heavy-duty tubes a while back and so I converted them into a sort of miniature rocket launcher. Uh...I'm glad it worked, because I hadn't actually tested it before now."
: "Haha! Man, Jeff...You never cease to amaze me. Why didn't your rocket bounce off his shield, though?"
: "I blew up that console first. It was controlling everything in this base, from the communication systems to that guy's shield. In fact, it should have also released the prisoners from their tubes."
We rushed into the other room and saw our friends had been freed. Tony ran up to Jeff and gave him a big hug. Jeff looked rather put off by it, but Tony seemed oblivious to his discomfort, and immediately started shaking his hand excitedly, thanking him over and over again.
: "Although some good came of it. I was able to meet Mr. Saturn, and he's going to be helping me and Dr. Andonuts with our work on the Phase Distorter."
: "Great! Glad you guys are alright. Uh, hey, I just remembered. Do you have a book called "Overcoming Shyness?""
: "Oh that. Well, I had already taken it back to the library in Onett...But it doesn't seem like you really need that book, do you, Ness?"
: "Well, it's not for me...It's really a pretty long story, but there's a tribe of amazingly shy beings somewhere on the other side of the world that we want to help."
: "Oh. Well, it's at the library in Onett, then. I had to ride my bike all the way to take it back, and when I did, the road was closed anyway...it was a really big pain."
: "Yeah...That's Onett, all right."
: "I want to start on the Phase Distorter as soon as possible. Oh, I almost forgot to thank you. Thank you."
: "You're welcome, sir."
: "Don't worry about us...You've got important things to do."
Suddenly Tony ran up to me and started shaking my hand vigorously.
: "Thanks so much for coming to save me! You be sure and take good care of Jeff! Don't let anything bad happen to him!"
Finally, we excused ourselves and made our way back up to the surface. We were exhausted by the time we made it out and the minor injuries we had sustained were aching and sore. We were riding high nonetheless. We had just attacked one of Giygas' fortresses and made it out alive. We knew the enemy was scared of us. We had saved a bunch of our friends from a terrible fate, and as we emerged from the hole into the crisp Winters air, we felt like we could take on anything.
Next time: Pink clouds, self-help, and the return to Onett! Don't miss it!