• Chiara Shih

Space Madness

It was a normal Monday, or so I thought.

My name is Diana Zephere and I woke up to the smell of Veranda—my older sister—stomping down the stairs. I turned on my Holopad and pressed a button. Then my wardrobe opened.

I felt like some fresh air, so I decided to turn into a raven and flew out the window. When I flew back after 15 minutes, I smoothly turned back into a human.

I am a Metamorpheus, a shape-changing alien.

I stepped off the ledge and I put on my blue set of robes, utility belt, and Lentasteel (the toughest metal known to the universe, made directly from the mines on Lethapaphy), chest plate, and went to breakfast.

After breakfast, I went upstairs to call my Robo Dragon. “Aventurine, where are you?” but there was no response. Normally, Aventurine would come bounding down the steps, but today, silence. I kept calling, but nothing.

I hurried to my room to pack, and reached for my Holopad. I plugged in Aventurine’s ID number and searched for her coordinates. Nothing. Where was she?

I had to get to school, so I stuffed my Holopad into my bag with some pieces of Holopaper and dashed off. I knew how to get to school quickly, so I headed down a small alley and over to the other side where I ran across the abandoned star ship port. Five mins later, I arrived at school. There was no one in the schoolyard. I checked my watch. A holographic screen turned up. 8:20am. Geez! At this time, people should have been flooding the yard. I waited and waited. Then I suddenly had a thought: What if, everyone else has lost their dragon?

Ten minutes later, I walked into the hall and dropped off a set of books I didn’t need in my locker. I walked to my classroom. Still no one. Even Professor Rrndutty wasn’t there filing his notes.

I sat at my desk. While I waited I went over my notes, which I had saved onto my Holopad. It was getting boring so I changed my hair color to black with purple highlights and waited. It was only about 9:15am when people finally started coming in.

My friend Emma Lesters walked in and took her place next to me. “Hey! Di, how come you’re so early?”

“I took the shortcut. How come you're so late?”

“I’ve lost my—”

“Robo Dragon.” I finished.

******


Professor Rrndutty coughed for attention and we all looked at him.

“Now, now class, even though we all have an ermmmm uhh an issue with our Robo Dragons, we can still learn. So today's Math topic is…” he droned on.

I already did advanced reading on this so I zoned out and my thoughts wandered elsewhere. I thought about the dragons that have disappeared. I wanted to do something. No, I NEEDED to do something.

I was lost in thought, even while I was walking home. I absentmindedly saw a star ship take off, and disappear like a ghost. Then suddenly, a scrap piece of metal dropped from the plane and landed just a few feet away from me.

I thought I could use the metal for shoulder armor, so I went to pick it up and turned it around, then noticing a mark on the metal:

It was a sign. The sign of Zypanofsky. The worst planet there was.

The planet was home to many villains in hiding, not to mention the cruel Rottenji, a group of blood-thirsty alien cannibals. I had the tingling feeling that Zypanofsky had something to do with our Robo Dragons' disappearance.

When I got home, I tried to do my homework but couldn't focus. I tried scanning the metal and looking for signs of its origin. When I looked closely, I noticed a mark in the piece of Zypanofsky metal, it was a fingerprint of some sort. Not from humans though…

I was reading about different metals on my Holopad when my sister came home from her part-time job, sweating and looking worried. My sister was generally pretty cool but she looked very problematic. "I lost Ferlana!" she said.

Ferlana was my sister’s Robo Dragon and she was a pretty sleek machine.

Oh my goodness, I thought. Veranda’s NEVER lost anything. It was usually me or dad who lost things. She stalked past me and glared. "What are you looking at?"

I bounced to the sofa and set the comfort dial on the side. “Aventurine is missing too, and everyone in my class have lost their dragons." What's next, I thought. The whole planet losing their dragons?!

I turned on my Holopad and read the live news headline:

THOUSANDS OF ROBO DRAGONS GONE MISSING FROM PLANET BESKAR

Great, just what I thought would happen.

******

The next day, I left for school as an eagle and flew out from my window, my bag gripped tightly in my claws.

When I arrived, there were a few people there, but not many. I saw my friend Emma and a teacher whose name I did not know. “Hey!” I heard Emma calling out to me as I landed. “What?“ I said, as I turned back into a human. “Have you heard? Even more planets have lost their dragons.”

“Geez”! I said, and I told her all about the metal piece and the ghost ship.

“Hmm, I agree with you," Emma said. "I think that Zypanofsky really does have something to do with the dragons.”

We went into our classroom and talked. This time, it was 9:25 am when the people finally began coming in, and there was lots of talk about the missing Robo Dragons. Where could they be? How could we find them? It was such a mystery.

When I was on my way back home as an eagle again, something on the ground caught my eye. I swooped in and saw that it was a jet-black hologram recorder. It was small and lightweight. I noticed that the Zypanofsky mark (¶) was emblazoned on it. I picked it up with my beak and stored it in my bag.

When I arrived home, I looked at the hologram recorder and pressed the red play button. All of a sudden, the recorder made a whirring noise: ZZZZZZMMMM. A hooded holographic figure appeared and said, “Need more dragons, or you will be tortured severely. I need them for my…” Then, the hologram was cut off, so I couldn’t see or hear the rest of the message.

That was very strange, I thought. Suddenly, a few clogs fit together in my mind. The bad guy, whoever he is, is stealing the dragons so he can do something with them.

I made a list of what he could do with them...

  1. Create an army

  2. Turn them into a giant robot

  3. Use the magnetic bits to piece together and gather all the special ores.

  4. Sell the lentasteel and get rich

I read through my list. That all sounded pretty relevant so I hurried downstairs and typed in what I wanted to eat into the kitchen computer. A plate of carbonara zoomed towards me. I sat down to think for a bit while chewing on my pasta absentmindedly. There were a few more pieces missing. I needed more clues. When Veranda came home, she glared at the mess I made while eating and then at my face. I shrugged and walked back to my room.

The next day, I decided to walk to school. It was a very BAD idea. Somehow, the villain figured out what I was doing, and as I walked past the old star ship port, two angry-looking Maximinimals jumped out and started chasing after me.

In case you don’t know, Maximinimals are another type of shape-changing aliens, but they fight dirty, and luckily for me, they were pretty stupid, but still… I didn't have time to think. I ducked as one Maximinimal rammed into me, but the second one nearly hit me as I swung a punch of my own, which luckily hit the Maximinimal's nose, letting out a lot of mustard-colored blood (ewww). I reached for my grappling hook, which was attached to my utility belt, and swung at one head, knocking one Maximinimal out.

The other Maximinimal had shrunk to the size of a frog (an earth animal) and began attacking me with poisonous darts. I clobbered him with the grappling hook and ran for my life. I knew that if I waited around there long enough reinforcements would be coming.

As I was running away, a piece of paper attached to a small package sailed past my head. I caught it just in time.

I opened up the message which said:

Meet me at 5:00pm by radio. Frequency, 292 kHz. We will discuss the plan there.

Inside the package was a radio jammer, used for listening for messages in various frequencies. I took both and stored them in my school bag.


******


I rushed to school, getting there later than usual, because of the Maximinimal encounter. Emma was waiting for me. “What took you so long, Diana?” she asked. I quickly told her about the black hologram recorder, the fight, and the message. I showed her the list I had typed up.

“If you ask me, they’ll be sending Rottunji to attack you next,” said a shocked Emma, who shuddered at the thought of the cruel animals.

“Wait, I need to use the library,” I said, and dashed off. I came back with a thick book and flipped to the page where it showed The Great Galaxy War and Valentin Tersky, an evil exiled warlord, currently on planet Zypanofsky.

Emma and I devised a plan of attack and then walked into the classroom. I sensed Valentin was the culprit. I had the jitters the whole day.

Emma came home with me. This time, we rode a hoverbus home and turned on my Holo radio and adjusted the frequency. Nothing! Then I remembered the jammer. I quickly fit the jammer into a hole and waited. Emma, impatiently, grabbed the radio and gave it a few hits to get it going.

Suddenly we heard two men talking.

“Officer Mavrik! You have failed to stop these pesky kids from knowing our secrets. You will meet me at our Terega base to discuss this in person, for I have a feeling that this connection isn't secure and people are listening in,” boomed a malicious and frightening voice.

“Yes, sir,” came a terrified voice coming from the other line.

Emma and I discussed our plan. I was going to sneak into Valentine's headquarters disguised as Officer Mavrik, and Emma would be another guard.

“Where are we going to find a star ship that will take us to Zypanofsky?” she asked.

“Oh. Let’s see. How about we find a ship already going there, smuggle ourselves in boxes and break all the cameras so that no one will know who we are?" I said. I knew my dad had a list of star ships flying to and from the planet as he worked at a nearby star ship port.

“Sounds good to me”! she said. We hurriedly headed home to pack things we thought we would need for this mission.

One hour later we were on a star ship, ready to go. I had changed my face up to look like some middle-age man and Emma wore some hard armor robes and a high-cap to prevent anyone from recognizing her.

The trip took a while, but when we finally landed, there was a man outside ready to escort Office Mavrik to Valentin. We quietly left the boxes where were hiding in.

Zypanofsky. It was a scary place. There was not much light and thick smog loomed over everything, making it darker still, and there were no trees in the barren landscape, just a few purplish rocks here and there.

The man who was there to escort us suddenly said, “Officer Mavrik, have you changed your look? Your beard seems to be a lot longer, and your eyebrows are very shaggy, compared to the last time we saw each other.

“Ah, well, ummm, you should try using long hair lotion!” I said hurriedly. The man raised his eyebrows and nodded.

When we arrived at the base, we walked down the steps leading underground and walked into a black electrical room. I quickly turned around and knocked the escort out with a simple trick -- tripping him up. I quickly turned back into a human and Emma threw off her hat. We turned around a corner and entered a room.

Inside, we saw a tall, thin man. He sneered at us and said mockingly, “Well well, look who it is, the girls who think they can try to defeat me.”

“Why are you doing this, Valentin Tersky?! You're supposed to be in exile!” I burst out.

“Well, I need the dragons to build a massive army to take over the galaxy. This is just revenge for what they did to me.” he snarled.

“We‘ll tell.” Emma spat out.

“We’ll see about that. GUARDS!” he hollered.

“Emma, you fight off the guards. I'll keep him occupied as much as possible until reinforcements come.” I said

“Luckily, I have a degree in martial arts.” she said, and she ran off.

For a moment Valentin and I circled each other, glaring at one another. Then I ran at him and leaped onto his head. He swiped at me, but I managed to duck quickly. I lunged again, nearly hitting him, but he swerved. I pressed on my Holopad and hit 9-9-9. I leaped and let out a ball of magic rope up to tie him up. I hurriedly threw one of the objects in my bag, a stink gas bomb, which distracted him. I used the distraction to pounce and quickly tied up his hands and feet. He tried to get away, but the rope was able to hold him.

About 5 minutes, the authorities responded to my call and arrived. They thanked me and Emma, who got a gigantic bruise on her shoulder fighting the guards.

We left for home on another star ship. When we docked on the port, there was a HUGE crowd waiting for us—our families, professors and classmates were there, cheering us on.

We were paraded down the street, and using the Holorecorder I picked up, the planet police soon recovered our Robo Dragons soon after that, trapped in a large warehouse in one of the planet's many caves.

And the great Valentin was thrown in laser jail for the rest of his life, cleaning out cells without technology.


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