Galahad’s eyes flung open as he gasped back to life. He rolled onto his side, choking on the thick oxygen that burned his dormant lungs. Blearily, he looked around the room. Repair Wing 120 was painted in big, red letters above the door.
“Where am I?”
A nurse droid quickly wheeled across the room.
“Just relax now. You’re safe,” it said, nudging him back into bed with silicone tipped fingers. “What is the last thing that you remember?”
Galahad put a hand to his forehead. He rubbed his eyes, the fogginess beginning to lift.
“There was an explosion… I was getting off my shift at the osmium mine on Carpasia.”
“And what year was that?”
“What year?” Galahad said incredulously.
Galahad stared into the robot’s dead mechanical eyes.
“416.” The droid seemed to be waiting for more information. “A.E…”
“Tula! Thank goodness. Give me a hand,” Triff said.
Rows of water tanks filled the hydroponics lab. A system of heated pipes fed warm water and nutrients from above, misting a veritable jungle of plants.
Crest loosened his collar, trying to acclimate to the sudden shift from the cold sterile hallway to the humid laboratory. Triff hurried toward a shallow tank, unwrapping the creature. An arm fell limply from the folds of the lab coat. Something dropped from its hand and skittered across the floor.
“I hope it isn’t too late…” Triff said. She gently placed the flower in the water, propping it up against a thick pad of water hyacinth.
Tula examined the giant flower.
“Incredible! He is by far the largest example of Passiflora Incarnata I’ve ever seen!”
“It has stamen only,” Tula said, pointing to the flower. “The root structure is unlike anything… wah?!”
“You just need to practice and level-up your skill. Then you can catch bigger fish. It was pretty neat how you made that net though.”
Nitro nodded resolutely. He was determined to do just that.
“I WILL be a Master Fisherfrog!” he declared and leapt into the ocean for more bait.
Gloria, Dexter, Penelope, and Lance perched on the limbs of a giant, twisty, driftwood log, the remains of a massive mango tree. Nitro continued fishing vigorously as they discussed which skills they would choose.
Congratulations! FISHING is now level 2!
Everyone looked up as Nitro approached with a huge froggy grin on his face and a sea urchin in his hands.
“Thank you, thank you,” Nitro said, bowing.
“Good job, Nitro!” Gloria exclaimed. “I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! OH MY GOODNESS! IS THAT A SEA URCHIN?!”
Nitro drew back a bit. Gloria tapped on the touchscreen of her RIBBETS.
Gloria uses COOKING!
There was a static buzz as a campfire appeared on the sand followed by a metal rack and stand. Nitro leaned forward to inspect it.
There was another buzz as a heavy iron cooking pot materialized over his head. Bonk! Nitro rubbed the lump growing on the back of his head.
“Sorry, Nitro. I should’ve warned you,” Gloria apologized. “Let me have that urchin.”
Gloria dropped the urchin into the pot. Everyone watched as the pot bubbled. Suddenly, a cloud of steam puffed up around the pot. When the steam cleared, a single bowl of soup sat on the sand where the fire and pot had been.
Obtained Urchin Soup!
“Wow, it worked!” Gloria exclaimed. “I LOVE COOKING!”
Nitro bent down and picked up the bowl.
“Mmmmm! Gloria, this smells delici… Ahh, that’s hot!”
Nitro squealed and tossed the bowl into the air. Everyone watched in silence as it sailed through the sky.
A little way down the beach, a small fiddler crab looked up at the bowl as it flew towards him. He tucked his eye stalks in and pulled one large claw over his head. The bowl landed upside down with a boiling splash over the unfortunate crab. The frogs looked on in horror. Nitro finally broke the silence.
“I’d hate to be that guy. Know what I’m sayin’?”
Suddenly, the ground began to shake! The bowl exploded, and a cloud of sand was launched into the air. An ominous whooshing and battle music came from the RIBBETSs.
“I don’t like the sound of that,” Dexter squeaked.
The day is new, Cool, wet, and Ancient. Nostalgia Weighs heavy Upon my breast. I feel loss And a sense of Currentness, As if no Past or Future Exists. I know, Inexorably, That this, Like the dawn, Will pass with Time. Though time itself Seems nonexistent, I’m keenly aware That my experience Does not alter Reality.
Archibald Portobello, acting CEO of DeCOM Enterprises, popped another cashew into his mouth as the turtle taxi lumbered slowly beneath him. He reached into his coat pocket to retrieve a buzzing cell and shouted to the cabbie before answering it.
“Can you pick up the pace! I have a board meeting at the Log in twenty minutes.”
He flipped open the phone.
“Talk. What? No! Sell! Now!” He slapped the phone shut. “Pfft, analysts.” Then to the turtle, “Can’t this thing go any faster?”
Archibald Portobello, acting CEO of DeCOM Enterprises, sighed and popped another cashew into his mouth.
On a little island in a big ocean, there lived a family of brown mice. There was a papa mouse, a mama mouse, six little mice, and… Matteo. Matteo always felt a little out of place. For one thing, he didn’t look like other mice. He had dark spots around his eyes, his hair was blondish brown, his toes were too grabby, his tail was too wrappy, his snout was too big, and his nose was too pink. Well, there’s a good reason for that. Matteo wasn’t a mouse. He was a mouse opossum. But he didn’t know that.