A "Nuke 'Em Til They Glow!!" side story
by Benjamin A. Oliver
[Begin Pointless NETTG Side Story!]
Once upon a cloud, there was a tiny white spore that flitted about, never passing beneath the stratosphere or ever seeing the ground. There, it sprouted and began to mature. However, once its primary development phase was completed, a small meteorite came unexpectedly from behind and knocked it down to the ground. What happened then can only be properly described in verse:
Thus it was that Bruce, the White ArbyFish, found himself taken from his natural environment by an equally natural disaster. He spent his years apprenticed to Flanburger, the Second One, in order to become a right proper ArbyFish when he grew up.
Naturally, the only school available was a segregated Green school, which meant that all colors would attend in protest. However, Bruce's group tended to consist more of yokel Greens from the swamp than of any other group.
During every day at class, Flanburger would initiate roll call.
"DeadlyShrub Itchin' 'Edge?"
And then Bruce would typically show up a bit late, much to the chagrin of his well-paid volunteer tutor.
"Friggin' n' Floomin' Green Beans 'n Haussenfeffah Jolly Rot!"
Three flippers shot up.
"Present!" "'Ere!" "Roight!"
"They'z cute lil' triplets, they is," Flanburger noted to himself, then turned toward the White ArbyFish that had just tried to sneak in. "Mouldey Pants!"
Bruce wordlessly hauled his bookbag over to his desk, then sat heavily upon his closed reading material in the traditional manner of ArbyFish learning. Folding his flippers, he hunched over to sulk.
Flanburger cleared his throat. "Oye said: Mouldey Pants!"
Bruce pulled out a pair of long knitting needles and continued the project he had started the day before: an argyle sock.
The Green teacher hopped up close to indignantly address his star wayward pupil. "Ahem. Mouldey Pants!"
"It's Bruce!" the juvenile White 'Fish shot back.
"Yeech!" Flanburger wrinkled his snout. "You'll neva' get very far in loife bein called 'Bruce.'" He straightened up. "We'z gonna call yew Mouldey Pants, n' that's final."
It was a daily ritual. Young Bruce found himself muttering a great deal of death threats and otherwise, which everyone else seemed to ignore or take in the best possible manner.
"I think you all should dry up and die!" Bruce screamed to anyone who would listen. "I am going to kill you all one day. Right now, maybe!!!"
Flanburger turned away from the smeared mold board and smiled proudly. "Oh, thank you very much, Mouldey Pants!"
"Roight, Mouldey Pants. Now let's get started on the math." Flanburger started smearing a moist 'shroom on the board. "We'z gots eight 'shrooms in the noight. Wot 'appens then?" He turned around to see one of the chubbier 'Fish turned around in the back corner, wearing a "genius" cap, raise a flipper. "Awl roight. Mossweed, wot's the answer?"
"Well, ya see," Mossweed began in a shrill voice that would have sounded better on a Pink, "ya'z gots eight 'shrooms in the noight, n' they moight multiply if it's real moist, but they'd need ta munch on stuff ta grow, but since they'z only gots themselves there, they'd start gettin' inta cannibalism n' such. So, eight 'shrooms in the noight would get'cha 'ate shrooms in the noight!'"
A few in the front row started to clap. A glance from the teacher silenced them.
"Roight. Very good," Flanburger said after a moment. "Next problem." He scrawled some more mushrooms onto the board. "'Ere, we'z gots two 'shrooms n' anotha' two 'shrooms." He drew an equals sign. "That will surely equal six. Who can answer this one?"
Like a savannah full of meercats, the faces of Flanburger's class straightened up and started looking around randomly — anywhere except at the teacher.
"Roight, then. Just 'ave ta pick someone. Mouldey Pants!"
"Bruce!" Bruce cried irritably.
"Get up 'ere, then!"
"Fine," Bruce muttered, getting off his books and putting away his sock before hopping up to the front of the classroom.
"Good. Now, we 'ave two 'shrooms n' two 'shrooms. Wot will that make?" Flanburger handed over the drawing mushroom.
Bruce took the 'shroom and examined the complex problem on the board. Pushing up the fur on each of his flippers, he took a deep breath and went about solving it. On the board, he made various calculations. The notation slowly covered the entire line, then another. Soon, nearly the whole board was scrawled with strange markings. At the end, he scrawled an equals sign and paused to ponder his work.
Flanburger cocked an eyebrow at Bruce's proof.
Finally, the White ArbyFish wrote down his answer. "World Domination!" He drew a box around it with four quick strokes and faced the class with a rebellious look.
The teacher stared at the board and worked through the equation his student had just made. When he finished, he shrugged and said, "Eh, close 'nough." Straightening up, he added, "Roight! On ta Biol'gy."
Bruce sat back down and put away his sock, preferring instead to concentrate on scheming and plotting for the moment.
Flanburger scraped the board clean with a broken rubber windshield wiper and drew another mushroom on it. "Ya see, ya'z gots the green 'shrooms, the speckled 'shrooms, the magic 'shrooms, the Mumbling Moscow Clown Mushrooms, n' the Peta' Poipa' Picked a 'Peck a' Pickled Polygonal Par'y Prism 'Shrooms, but they're Legen'ary." He puffed up in pride at his perfectly proper pronunciation.
Mossweed, in particular, seemed fascinated with the lecture. "Wot otha' koindsa 'shrooms are there?"
"Plen'y 'a 'shrooms! We'z gots tons a' 'shrooms!"
Bruce humphed while everyone else scribbled down notes.
"We'z gots the Death's 'Ead 'shrooms, the thin 'shrooms, the puffy 'shrooms…. Whoy, we'z even gots the Furry 'Shrooms!"
"FURRY MUSHROOMS?!!?" Bruce exclaimed in disbelief. "That's absurd! There are no furry mushrooms! It's," he struggled to think of an apt descriptive term, "it's just not proper!"
"Not propa'!?" Flanburger cried, rising up above them all. "'Course it's propa'! Gotta 'ave the Furry Mushrooms. They'z proime substance for beverages n' parties! Else, 'ow'dja get the badgers' eggs ta hatch?"
"Badgers don't lay eggs!"
Flanburger snatched something from a desk drawer. "'Ow'dja explain this, then?" He held up the object for all to see. It looked like a white chicken egg, and it began to form cracks. Within moments, a fragment had fallen off and the tiny furry face of a baby badger popped out, then promptly began to squeak. "There, ya see?"
Bruce was flabbergasted. "But!"
"Rebellious generation," Flanburger muttered, rolling his eyes.
Years of this went on, and it was a slow indoctrination process; one that never seemed to have any impact on the displaced White ArbyFish. Also, considering how long these 'Fish tended to live, they tended to have very, very slow learning curves and easily got set in their ways. To make matters more complicated, Bruce absolutely refused to develop certain traditional, mandatory racisms.
One fine morning after class, the Green Mossweed, with a small box tucked under one arm, hopped up to him to say hello.
"Hi, Bruce!" Mossweed greeted sweetly.
With a snick and a flip of his flipper, the White ArbyFish whipped out a switchblade. "DIE!" Then, he lunged at the other's throat, slashing as long and as deeply as decades of honed reflexes would allow. Much to his surprise, Bruce's strike split Mossweed's skin, spilling out a puff of white and pink. "Gwaaah!?"
"Oh no!" Mossweed cried, trying to hold up the dangling flap of fur and conceal what lay underneath.
In some texts, this was the second recorded incident of a White ArbyFish actually being in wide-eyed, stuttering shock. "You're a p-p-p-P—"
Mossweed dropped the flap and dragged Bruce behind a tree, just in time to escape notice of a pack of proud, parading Yellow ArbyFish that went by. She breathed a sigh of relief, then grinned nervously at her White companion. "I guess there's no point hiding it from you now."
"Not really," Bruce admitted, regaining his composure. "That was… unexpected. Well, not completely unexpected. I thought you were a bit bulky for a regular Green ArbyFish. But not even one of those distasteful creatures could be nearly as ugly as that smudged costume of yours."
Mossweed nodded. "It's a thick outfit. It was so hard to get on. It was supposed to be really hard to get off."
"Mossweed can't be your real name, then."
"No, it's not. My real name is Ribbons. Ribbons DewBlossom." Through the new slit, she slid off the hood of her disguise. Under the dull green facade was a lovely pink and white coat of fur that positively sparkled. Cute was a term that was often used to describe Pink ArbyFish, often in disdain. However, in this case, "cute" barely began to explain the slender creature's appearance.
Bruce swallowed heavily. "All right, Ribbons. I've got nothing against Pink ones, any more than Green ones or Grey ones, in any case. So, why dress up Green, then?"
"I always wanted a quality education, and you know how everyone sees us Pinks. Nobody understands us and we look out of place."
"I think I understand. I've felt out of place most of the time, as well."
Ribbons's sweet eyes lit up. "Then you won't tell anyone else about me? I mean, me being a Pink ArbyFish?"
"Why?" Bruce asked, then whispered to himself, "I'd be giving up a tactical advantage." Aloud, he continued, "I won't tell."
Ribbons threw her flippers around him. "Oh, thank you, Bruce! Thank you so much!"
Bruce shut his eyes as he slid the Pink one off of him. "Yes, yes, well, don't push your luck." He took out his knitting tools. "Here, let me fix that disguise of yours."
"Oh, Bruce! You're so nice!" Ribbons beamed.
"I may not have anything against you yet, but watch your language, got it?!"
"Oh, yes, of course, Bruce! Of course!"
Bruce made a friend that day, though he would never, ever admit it. Ribbons and he spent a lot of time together after that, generally being rebellious in their own ways. Bruce taught her how to plot and knit, and she showed him how to dance.
Nothing lasts forever, though. A secret plot formed to cleanse the Pink ones from the ArbyFish species once and for all. Flanburger and a host of the elder ArbyFish, armed with party invitations, ran rampant through Pink strongholds and devastated countless numbers of them. By the time the Pink ArbyFish caught on, it was too late. Only a handful remained, hunted down by the most powerful death squads of the holy war.
Employing gravitational and temporal-based powers, Black and Purple ones terminated Pinks one-by-one. Perhaps less than a hundred remained when Ribbons DewBlossom was finally discovered.
"Please don't hurt me," Ribbons pled, bits of her ruined disguise falling around her. She batted her eyelashes in hopes of stemming the assault. Unfortunately, her reflex action had the opposite effect.
"Yeech!" Flanburger spat as he and four others approached. Among the prime death squad were such illustrious Black names as Frosty McKleinBottle and FloominWottle. The Purples were F. Choppins and FluFlaFloggins. "Once we've done away with your Pinkness, the una'verse c'n rest peacefully. Until then, we'z gots ta destroy awl the Pink!" He held up a recently-published lawbook and slapped it on the ground a few times before directing his aides to attack.
Ribbons sized up her situation. Bruce had taught her well about relative power levels and the need for planning. Those skills had served her well in avoiding extermination so far, but there was only so far ahead she could plan. She had run completely out of ideas, and now she was about to be crushed into a singularity and sent who- knows-what dimension or epoch.
"This hurts you more than us," Frosty McKleinBottle noted honestly as he began to compress space around the poor thing.
The others did the same in their own ways, FloominWottle using his innate powers and the Purple ones employing strange devices from the past, future, or present.
However, before any significant effect could take place, a flurry of throwing knives came at the death squad, imbedding themselves into their flesh and destroying the Purples' devices. The sudden attack effectively disrupted the Blacks' concentration.
When they regained their balance, the space between them and Ribbons suddenly became occupied by a White ArbyFish.
"Hello," Bruce sneered, "says I to you to me and you back in return."
Flanburger blinked a bit. "Mouldey Pants?"
"Bruce!" Ribbons echoed, her flippers clasp together and her eyes full of hope.
The Green one brightened up. "Oh, goodie! Lookie 'ere, lads, 'e's foinally learned th' tra'itional greetin'! Mouldey-Pants's got it!"
"'Scuse me," Frosty McKleinBottle said to Bruce, "yew's in our way 'ere. We'z gots a job ta complete. Ya know, Pink extermination and such."
"Roight!" Flanburger added. "Away wit'cha. We'll call ya if we needja. This's n' easy one, though."
FloominWottle examined the White's resolute expression. "Eh, looks loike 'e's not movin'."
F. Choppins nodded. "He hasn't moved." He turned up his face. "Or won't, or wot'evah."
Flanburger stared at Bruce. "Ey! Why won't yew move?"
"Do the words 'Go suck on some fabric softener' mean anything to you?" Bruce inquired.
"Nope!" Flanburger denied, then hopped to the side in order to get around Bruce, who hopped in the same direction to block him. He tried again, the other way. Again, Bruce stood in his way.
"Look 'ere, lad," Frosty McKleinBottle pressed. "It's roight propa' ta get rid a' the Pink, n' we—"
In a flourish, Bruce whipped out a pair of switchblades, one in each opposable flipper. "If you want her, come and claim her!"
The members of the death squad blinked, looked at each other, shrugged, then looked back at Bruce. "Alroight!"
Anyone who has studied relative ArbyFish power levels will know how absurdly, obscenely powerful Black ArbyFish are. With the power to manipulate gravity on any scale, they can create black holes on a whim and warp space to their hearts' content. Purple ones fall close behind with the power to distort, swim through, and flutter above, time.
A mathematician calculating the odds with eight supercomputers over three lifetimes would tell you that it was plainly impossible for a White ArbyFish to vanquish even one of the opponents present that day.
Nevertheless, armed only with his own motives and a pair of magic knives, Bruce fought long and hard to vanquish them. All the while, Ribbons cheered him on as he resisted gravity attacks, mythic weapons, and the experience of his old teacher.
An hour into the battle, a strong blow from McKleinBottle broke Bruce's right flipper. "Argh!" He looked back to see Ribbons still waiting on the results of the fight. "What are you waiting for?! Flee! Hide!"
Reluctantly, Ribbons nodded and sped away as fast as her tail would carry her.
The history books are a bit fuzzy as to how long the battle lasted, but Bruce finally succeeded in knocking out the Purple and Black while tiring out Flanburger.
Huffing and puffing in an attempt to get some air back in his system, Flanburger asked, "How? Oye mean… yer flipper… the odds…?"
"Don't you remember?" Bruce growled. "I'm terrible at math!"
*SHIIIIIIIIING!!!* One final swoop knocked out the Second One of the ArbyFish species. He flopped to the ground with a dull thud.
Exhausted at his last expense of effort, Bruce also fell to the ground, breathing harshly. "Argh…" He leaned on his one flipper that wasn't broken, then took out a sort of makeshift sling he'd knitted a few days before and slipped it on.
The sudden peace and quiet soon attracted the attention of the Official ArbyFish Lawmaking Counsel.
"Well, wot's awl this, then?" Cheesedough, the Third One, inquired. "Flanburger's 'ere." He looked at Bruce. "Looks loike someone was wontin' ta pass sum legislation now, eh?" He chuckled at that idea.
"What?!" Bruce coughed. "No, we were—" He broke off, plotting and scheming flooding his mind. He took on a malevolent smile. "Er, yes. Yesss. They were wanting to pass a peace accord, sparing all remaining Pink ArbyFish and granting them free passage wherever they will."
Cheesedough cleared his throat. "Wos they, then? 'Oighly irregular, y'know. Wos yew participatin' in th' legislation, then?"
"Oh, no, sir. I was… taking notes." He glanced around, all shifty-eyed.
"Well, then! If that wos wot they was votin' on, n' they'z awl passed out, then it's the Law." He leaned down and scribbled something on a piece of paper before hopping off.
Greatly relieved, Bruce went off to find a quiet spot to rest, and remained there until he healed.
It's a big universe, and though Bruce looked, he never found Ribbons DewBlossom again. He spent the remainder of his days plotting and knitting while studying his specie's history. Of greatest interest to him were tales of a legendary "First One," the beginner of all ArbyFish life. Many years were devoted to finding out who he was, where he lived, and what he did.
Unfortunately, once Bruce discovered the First One's location and went for a visit to ask life's ultimate question, it was only to find out that the First One had recently passed away, defending a few members of a very strange bipedal species against another, very large and powerful bipedal creature.
In his quest to discover why the First One would have given his life for such an undignified cause, Bruce unwittingly kicked the bucket in an embarrassing incident involving a star, five Yellow ArbyFish, and a sack of clean laundry. It was the laundry that finally did him in.
In the end, Bruce met the First One and was surprised by his behavior; he again sacrificed himself so that another one of those strange, bald monkey-things could come back to life. What's more, the First One had done it in such a way that Bruce could live again as well.
This puzzled Bruce. He had "saved" Ribbons in the past (for his own selfish purposes, he kept telling himself), but couldn't comprehend why the First One had acted as he did. Ancients tended to behave in strange ways, he imagined, but there had to be something more to it; something indescribable about the primates near the First One's home world that made him want to give things up for them.
In any case, Bruce resolved to go there and find out for himself, once and for all, what was so special about Humans.
(Sailor Stylin', posing, appears in front of a famous TV logo)
Stylin: In today's fanfic, we learned that in a weird, wild world that some of us have to live in, sometimes we have to be evil in order to be good, sort of, if that's the way we want to do it — it's not always the most popular thing to be evilly good or goodly evil — Daddy likes to think that it's all good, so long as there's an explosion at the end, and in my story next time, there'll be lots of huge explosions, but only after a nice meeting with Katrina and Mina — Oh! Next time, Alan from the anime will show up and become a contributing member, and we'll also have guest villains of Brian Randall's Reavers, which shouldn't be too tough, right? Daddy said he fought them, so I should do fine, even though I've never gone up against them, maybe, but I hate spiders and bugs and vampires, too, though I can kinda do okay against them — So, keep an eye out for Codename: Project Sailor Stylin' Chapter Four, coming soon to a website or mailing list near you.
Author's notes: Okay, so what did everyone think of the side story?
I know most people have been anxious to see more of Rabbits or Heart of Sugar, so I'll see what I can do about those in the meantime.
And, I've recently gotten to see the entire Excel Saga series, so that'll likely reflect in the next few fanfics I write. Of course, I'm also watching FLCL, so who knows how that will affect things.
In any case, thanks for reading!
Benjamin A Oliver
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