And now we come to the end of the Zombie Penguin Apocalypse with four drabbles instead of three.
A whiny scream echoed through the facility.
I smiled. “Gotcha, Oswald.”
“How? How did you know?”
“That you perfected and used your RWV interface program? It was the Ninja Bear’s sword. Only that program could allow real world objects to be used by virtual characters. I took a chance you kept the failsafe intact.” I grinned. “But you are sort of lazy like that.”
“Impossible! I only mentioned that failsafe in one interview!”
“I told you I was a fan.”
“You haven’t won! I will—wait how did… What are you doing? Help! Help me!”
Static sparked through the intercom.
This is the Thunder Penguin
“I am the Thunder Penguin!” The voice rumbled throughout the compound.
“Oh, shit.” I raced to the command console and checked the heat sensors. “There, the auxiliary generator room.”
I raced off, moments later bursting through the room’s doors. The Thunder Penguin was slapping Oswald repeatedly.
“Get your flippers off Le Pingouin Noir, you villain!”
The Thunder Penguin turned. “Am I a villain?” He twitched, his matrix glitching and glowing. “Villain, villain. I am a villain. I’m not a villain.”
Then the room exploded in a glorious burst of electric energy.
I woke to see Frankie’s face grinning at me.
I sat up and looked around. As well as Frankie, I saw the anxious faces of the cows and the pets. “What happened?”
“The Thunder Penguin experienced a spectacular internal program paradox and reset. It’s harmless, back in the system.”
“What about the others? Where’s Oswald?”
“I sent everyone back into the system from the control room. They weren’t really a threat after you shut them down but better safe than sorry. We still have to dismantle all of Le Pingouin Noir’s hacks, though, before everything’s back to normal.”
Frankie shrugged. “He’s gone. Sort of vanished.”
The Day After the Penguins
“You know corporate is going to throw a fit over the power bill. Those remote VR generators take up a lot of juice.”
Frankie shrugged “Tell them to bill Oswald.”
“If they can find him. I can’t believe he escaped.”
“Um…” Frankie stared at his keyboard
“What do you know?”
“I think he accessed the dimensional portal and fled to the flying monkey world.”
I stared, my mouth hanging open. “Oswald’s in the flying monkey world?”
“I’m not sure, but I warned Zippy to be safe. He and Zelda say hi, by the way.”
I felt a headache coming on.
So we come to the second to last chapter in the Zombie Penguin Apocalypse. The lead up to next week’s climax. Enjoy.
The Concluding Countdown
“The cows aren’t zombies again!”
Frankie grinned as he dashed into the control room and hugged the nearest bovine. They mooed happily.
“Nah.” I grinned. “I need you to give him control of the cameras.”
“And you chaps escaped the closet, well done.” Doctor Quakenboss gave us a nod. “But that nasty Le Pingouin Noir fellow is still in charge of the facility. Fluffy and I attempted to thwart him, but no luck. Should we send out for reinforcements?”
“But that will alert the penguins to your whereabouts. They will converge on the control room.”
“Exactly what I’m counting on.”
These Final Penguins
“Are you sure about this?” Frankie glanced at the control panels. “Fluffy’s ready to hit the button, but if you’re wrong…” He bit his lip.
“That’s why you, the cat, and the cows are heading to the emergency exit before Fluffy does his thing. And he’ll be right behind you.”
No, buts. I know I’m right. And if I’m not, you go for help. Now scoot.”
Frankie and the cows left and I turned to Fluffy. “Hit the intercoms and the cameras.”
Fluffy squeaked at me, hit the button and scurried away.
“Hey Ninja Bear, I’ve got your sword!”
Last Stand of the Penguins
Over the intercom speakers, I heard a growling scream and a chorus of moaning voices chant, “Fish brains.”
They were coming.
I brandished the katana and yelled, “Come and get me, zombie penguins! You too, you dumb Ninja Bear.”
It took fifteen minutes for them to trickle in and wander aimlessly around the room. I was protected within the exclusivity zone, but still, it was pretty pathetic for a zombie invasion.
“Give me back my sword!”
Finally, the stupid bear was here. I wanted to see her face when it happened.
I shrieked, “Pomegranate!”
Every zombie in the room collapsed.
The next installment of the Virtual Zombie Penguin Apocalypse.
“Oh, I say, they are everywhere. This doesn’t look good chaps.” Doctor Quakenboss studied the monitor with a frown. “We are involved in a full scale zombie penguin invasion. Our resident villain hijacked the remote VR projectors.”
Fluffy scooted across the desk to look. “You’re right. So why is the control room zombie free? And where are Frankie and Joni?”
“Why the control room is not infested, I have no idea, but our Frankie and Join are hiding in a utility closet and those rather mindless zombies can’t find them.”
“Maybe that’s why the zombie penguins want to eat brains.”
Going to Plan?
Le Pingouin Noir rubbed his hands together and laughed. “Success! Soon I will have control of the VR world and my zombie penguins will rule!”
“So why haven’t you taken over the control room?” The Frost Ninja Bear tapped her paw impatiently against her empty scabbard. “Why can’t you find those two bumbling programmers?”
Le Pingouin Noir glared at her. She rolled her eyes.
“I’m working on it. Hacking the heat sensors and camera feeds have proved troublesome and that darned cow triggered some exclusivity zone in the control room when I tried to turn the other cows.”
In the Closet
“Why haven’t they found us?” I shivered, waiting for zombie penguin hordes.
“Don’t know.” Frankie shrugged, shifting his weight. The Ninja Bear’s sword dug into my hip.
“Why do you still have that thing? Wait, how do you have it? There are no remote projectors in the closet.”
“It’s real, not VR.”
“What? A VR character had a real sword?” I was puzzled, then it hit me. “Oh my, he did it! I know how to stop him. Frankie, can you trick the penguins and get us out of here?”
“Already on it. It should be safe to leave now.”
The next episodes of the Virtual Zombie Penguin Apocalypse.
“You fools! You fell right into my trap. Le Pingouin Noir has triumphed.”
The jammer vibrated, emitting a strange hum and sparks. The lights dimmed and the walls glowed a vibrant green.
“What’s happening? I grabbed Frankie’s arm.
“I don’t know. Wait.” He peered at the junction relay. “Oh no! Someone reversed the polarity! The jammer’s giving access to the VR matrix not disrupting it.” He stared at me. “That means…”
“Yes, we are working with Le Pingouin Noir.”
We turned to see the Frost Ninja Bear and the Thunder Penguin. Behind them, hoards of zombie penguins.
I screamed, “Run!”
The Nature of Evil
“I can’t believe the Weather Warriors turned evil.” Frankie wailed. “Are there no bastions of justice left?”
Huddled in a cramped utility closet, hiding from zombie penguins snapped my patience, and I hissed, “They’re bloody programs! They’re not real! Oswald probably altered their base code, you ninny.”
“I know, but… oh shit, what about the cows?”
I shivered. “Do you think Oswald got to them? If Doctor Quakenboss has turned evil again, we’re doomed.”
“I thought they were just programs?” Frankie smirked.
“Oh shut up. This is serious. We left the pets with the cows, remember?”
“Oh. The poor cows.”
What Happened to the Cows
The lights dimmed; Arabella, Jake, Winston, Fred, and Doctor Quakenboss heard a voice in their heads.
“Join me and rule the world. Join Le Pingouin Noir.”
Four of the cows mooed, their internal code shifting their allegiance, but Doctor Quakenboss growled, “That’s not cricket. Fluffy, old bean, please enact protocol 42.”
With a soft cackle, the guinea pig typed his little paws across a keyboard. Then he hit a small blue console button.
“It’s done. Mwahahaha!”
As the cows regained their free will, Doctor Quakenboss turned to Fluffy, “Should we be worried?”
“Nah, I just always wanted to do that.”
Another trip to the land of Frankie and Joni today, with three more installments of the Virtual Zombie Apocalypse.
Back To The Crisis
As everyone crowded into the lift, I asked, “Wait, what about the cows?”
“They can come too.” Frankie replied. “ I’ve turned on the complex’s remote VR projectors.”
The door slid shut and when it opened we were back in the control room. We all piled out separating into our own spots.
Frankie frowned. “He’s not here. I thought for sure he’d be here.” He went to the main console and pushed some buttons. “Drat! he locked us out.”
Dr. Quackenboss leaned over Frankie’s shoulder. “Any chance of hacking the thing, old bean?”
A hologram suddenly appeared.
“It’s the Ninja Bear!”
The Only Hope
The image of the pink suited bear crackled. “Help us, Frankie and Joni, you’re our only—” She turned to someone off screen, snarling, “I can’t say it. If these two are our only hope, then we’re doomed.”
An indistinct voice muttered something and she turned back, glaring. “Okay, you idiots are the ones available to help. The Thunder Penguin says you need to go to the L2 relay polarity junction and splice in something called a matrix jammer. Then he’ll take it from there.”
The hologram fritzed and disappeared, as Frankie exclaimed, “Of course! That makes perfect sense.”
Jamming the Matrix
“Of course it does. That will disrupt the entire interior stabilization and trip the isolation circuit.
That last part I understood. “Oh. You’re cutting off his access to the outside VR network.”
“Exactly, come on! I need your help.” He rushed over to a cabinet and pulled out a silver doohickey. “Everyone else can stay here. Dr Quackenboss is in charge.” He turned to the cow. “Moo if Le Pingouin Noir shows up.”
The cow nodded and Frankie and I took off down a side corridor.
Two minutes later we plugged in the jammer.
Then a maniacal laugh rang out.
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