The Absurd Mission/Chapter 6
 Chapter Six: I've Got The Files, Now What?
Austin thought. Well, he had the files now. But what was he going to do now? He had at least 2 more weeks until SN sent backup. And it was unlikely that he would capture them all himself.
|The Absurd Mission|
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Austin walked through the town to the Coffee "parlor". In there, there was... Well, coffee. Austin walked along to the stairs. Then he noticed a sign.
"Play Bean Counters!"
He thought, then he walked into it. The teleporter activated, and he was whizzed to the back of the building. In there were several trucks, waiting to unload. Other penguins were already unloading. He walked up to one.
A coffee bag flew out of it. He caught it. He put it in a pile. The same thing happened again.
Well, this was a boring job. Then two flew out at once. Then three! Austin panicked and managed to grab five. Ack, that was heavy. He smashed it on the pile. He kept up this madcap struggle against the guy throwing out coffee bags until the truck was unloaded. Another truck took it's place. Suddenly, an anvil was hurled out.
Austin ran to it and caught it. Then, he set it down. He thought to himself "This is an ANVIL truck? What do they need those for?". Suddenly, a coffee bag flew out. Austin ignored it, and it exploded on the ground. Another anvil came down.
He caught it. Oof. That hurt. Several more coffee bags splatted on the floor. Austin caught several more anvils until the truck left. He decided he wasn't going to do this for longer. Catching anvils really wasn't a great job occupation.
"You have earned 30 coins." said a bemused EBUL Agent. "You know you're supposed to catch the coffee, right?"
 Later That Day
The SN Antibody had finally found it's way to the "coffee parlor".
"'GIMME SOME COFFEE."
The barrister grunted. "'Fraid not. Somebody caught a bunch of anvils instead... Heh, first time. So we're selling anvils until the next truck comes in."
"How dare you deny me?!? I shall punish you!
It then knocked out the worker and left the Coffee Shop in a storm of rage.
It was soon after that when a dapper penguin wearing a top hat and a monacle entered.
"I DEMAND THOSE ANVILS I ORDERED THREE YEARS AG-" the penguin stopped as he saw the beautiful stacks of anvils in the corner. Tears welled into his eyes.
"AT LAST. AT LAST!!"
The dapper penguin ran to the anvils and sat down, embracing the cold, solid iron. He began petting the anvils, kissing the anvils, talking to the anvils...
"Oh my sweet anvils... at long last we are together... come, let's go and make wonderful steel together!"
The barrister slowly lowered himself by the counter as Austin came out of the back room.
"Oh... That was VERY painful... Catching all those anvils."
The Dapper penguin perked up and ran to Austin.
"YOU? YOU CAUGHT ALL OF THE ANVILS?!"
Austin braced himself, but was astonished when the dapper penguin picked him up and squeezed him in a mighty embrace.
"KID, I HAVE BEEN WAITING FOR THESE ANVILS FOR THREE DARN YEARS. YOU HAVE MADE ALL MY DREAMS COME TRUE."
Austin said nothing as the penguin put him down.
"Bless you, kid, bless you. I simply must show my gratitude."
The dapper penguin reached into his inventory and pulled out a bag. He dropped it onto the floor with a loud THUD. Austin untied the string on the sack and nearly lost his balance. There, in the sack, was thirty thousand coins.
"It's not much, but it'll do for you, right, kid?"
Austin took the money and ran out of the Coffee Shop. The dapper penguin returned to his anvils. He re-entered the Night Club and ascended its staircase to the lounge. He had fled that far just in case it was some sort of trap. It wasn't. He was still speechless. Austin hugged the coins, and put them into his inventory. Then he looked around. There was merely a nerdy Dorkugese playing the Astro Barrier game, and another guy with a crown playing Thin Ice.
Wait a second. That guy had a crown! ...-And not a cheap catalog crown, either. This was a genuine monarch's crown, and a big one at that; it obviously indicated power. Austin remembered distinctly a tip of advice his father gave him.
"Suck up to guys with crowns. Believe me. It works well."
However, Austin looked back to the penguin with the crown. Huh. On second thought, he wasn't sure if this was the right type of guy. He was FUMING at the game.
"GUANTANAMO!" he shouted. "I LOST AGAIN!"
There was a pause as the penguin smashed the restart button with his flipper.
"I WILL BEAT YOU YET, LEVEL FOURTEEN!"
The crowned penguin leaned over at the screen and feverishly meddled with the joystick. The machine rocked a bit as the penguin manuvered the puffle by titlting the control far too hard. Soon, he was trapped again.
More resetting and more yelling. The kingly penguin continued screaming at the console and grunting as he lost again and again. That nerd went over to the penguin with the crown and talked to him. Only then did Austin realize how tall this guy was. A few exchanges of quiet dialog, and the nerd was at the helm. Within minutes, Austin heard the victory tune from the game as the crowned penguin glared ferociously.
"It's easy..." the nerd said meekly. The king didn't comment, but hastily hit the "QUIT" button as he was paid a good sum of coins. He placed them in his inventory and stomped over to a table, just glaring at nothing in particular. Slowly, Austin got up from a lounge table and silently approached the crowned penguin.
Austin knew that the best way to the top was to kiss a lot of bottom. His grandfather may have done a lot of foolish things, but that lesson was immortal. Slowly, he made his wayto the obviously majestic penguin... -But how was he to break the ice? This penguin seemed to have a fiery temper, and angry kings are the worst kind.
In fact, getting a better look at this penguin, now that he had calmed, Austin realized just how big a score he could have. That was a triple-tiered crown. Not even old Swissy wore a crown that fancy; this guy must really have power if he had a crown that big and that shiny. Was that actual gold?
Then there was the rest of the appearence. The penguin wore a buttoned suit with a bowtie, and had a purple sash from what would count as his shoulder down to what would be his waist. He had a Ninja mask on and a serious look in his black eyes. Austin was very good at reading body language. The way this penguin sat and looked, he was regal at the least and a ruler for sure. Austin was a Khanz penguin, so his intimidating stare didn't get to him. The crowned penguin had a look that asserted power and control. This was a jackpot for the bounty hunter.
By now, though, those same eyes had locked on to Austin.
"Hello there." the penguin said with a suprisingly deep and slightly accented voice. Austin didn't expect a voice as deep as he had heard, but he carried on.
"How can I help you, sir?" the king penguin said.
"How... can you help me?" Austin replied, a bit surprised.
"Indeed. You wouldn't have approached me as a stranger if you didn't need something."
Austin saw his chance.
"Actually, I'd like a job."
The crowned penguin exhibited a look of intrigue.
"Employment, huh? Well, I'd be honored to hire a penguin in need..." the intrigue turned to mischief. "If you can meet certain requirements."
The penguin rose up to full height, and he seemed to be at least eight inches above the Khanz penguin. For the first time in years, Austin felt little before him.
"Come. I wish to learn more about you."
The penguin took out his player card and clicked up Austin's. Viewing his card, he nodded a bit.
"Austin8310." the penguin said. He bowed very slightly. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
The crowned penguin extended his flipper.
"My name is TurtleShroom Penguin Jones. You may call me TurtleShroom."
Austin shook TurtleShroom's flipper.
"It's an honor, Your Majesty."
TurtleShroom smiled slightly.
"You adressed me by title, Mister Austin." TurtleShroom said quietly. "I haven't gotten that in a good while. Thank you."
"Now," he said warmly, "Let's go to some place more comfortable for discussion."
TurtleShroom whipped out his player card and sat it on the floor. Not saying a word, the dictator took hold of Austin's flipper as he looked on, startling him both because of his powerful grip and in the shock of the moment. He pressed one of his shiny shoes on the "HOME" button, and the two vanished.
They found themselves on a ship. This was TurtleShroom's CP vacation igloo, and it was bare, except for a portal to the Box Dimension on the deck.
"I don't usually decorate this place." TurtleShroom explained.
He pulled open the Decorate Igloo console and called forth a basic table and two Santa Thrones from the 2009 Christmas Party. The boxes materialized and sat themselves in place. TurtleShroom gestured for Austin to sit at the head of the rectangular table, as he took the seat on the other end.
"Now, I would be honored to help a penguin in need of employment." TurtleShroom said. "...-But I must establish your character."
"I must know you. I can't just hire willy-nilly. I've been tricked way too many times. one time, I promoted a girl to an extremely mighty position in the governance of a realm far from this place." TurtleShroom rubbed the back of his neck with his left flipper. "It turned out that 'she' wasn't a girl... 'She' was TheRealBen, a notorious outlaw... Dressed as a humble female penguin."
"Exactly. I hired her because she swore an oath- and lied -and knew how to use me."
TurtleShroom flashed an angry look at Austin.
"I don't like being used." he said harshly. Then, he sighed.
"I'm extremely gullible, Mister Austin. I know that your species is crafty. I fear that you may do something terrible to me. I've lost more than you probably have ever earned because someone 'buttered me up', tugged at my emotions, or appealed to my morals to get their way."
If Austin wore a shirt, he'd be tugging at its collar. He wasn't going to mention Swiss Ninja or how he was loaded with cash.
"Now, I can not say that you are a crafty penguin. After all, you're humbly dressed and came to me for a job. I know not as to whether you have heard of me..."
"Ah. All right then."
There was a pause.
"Austin, please tell me about your moral standing."
"Corruption. Violence. Coercion. Villainy. Weapons. Interrogation. Do you perform such acts or use such techniques? ...-And if you do, do you do so for your gain? Or do you do such for the advancement of society and justice?"
Austin thought for a moment. Should he lie? This penguin didn't seem to understand "brown nosing", so he could get away with it... -But one thing he learned from Swiss Ninja is that every king has a means of punishing bad employees and liars. He looked upstairs and saw several penguins, all in black robes and wearing sunglasses, peak over the rails. These were obviously some sort of bodyguards, and they were eying him. Yep, this king should get the truth... For his own sake.
"Well.. I..." Austin paused to consider his wording. "Yes, I do use weapons and coercion."
"Well, I still have a job. I work for a distant land to preserve order and stop villains."
Austin smiled weakly. That was a good way to say it. Suprisingly, TurtleShroom perked up and nodded.
"Well, it's not really important."
"Oh. Now, you said you stopped villains. Explain."
"There's a group of penguins, the Hochstadt Gang, that I'm after as we speak. I wanted a second job while I do this mission and maybe another penguin to work for. I'm here to locate them, but I don't have any time limit."
"Ah, I see. I appreciate you telling the truth. Many a penguin has lied and feigned unemployment to get me to help them." the penguin said matter-of-factly, as if it happened all the time. Austin sighed with relief and thanked the sky programmers and that weird Window that he said the truth.
"I like those who speak truth and never bear false witness. You have peaked my interest. Now, tell me, what does this 'gang' do, and how is your use of violence and weaponry a manner of advancing the greater good?"
Austin decided to twist things. He wasn't going to lie, but he wasn't going to say the whole truth. TS didn't need to know that SN was a Hochstadt.
"Do you know who Swiss Ninja is?"
"I've heard the name. His ego has taught me not to brag. Extravagance, in me, is limited to my own life, my own wallet, and to what I've earned. That penguin is the most arrogant ebing I've ever met. I met him one time..."
"Well, my job is to protect him. The leader of the Hochstadt Gang is named Fisch, and Swiss Ninja wants him destroyed-"
"Ah, so you protect the rightful regime of Snowzerland?"
"... Yeah. EXACTLY!"
"Well, as much as I despise Swissy- heh, that's what I call him as a pejorative term -he is, sadly, the lawful sovereign of his country. It is my belief that all protests, coups, uprisings, and civil disobediance is evil and must be crushed. I even hold this belief in regards to my own, horribly corrupt brother, who took out a government to the west of here in a military coup."
Austin made a mental note of that.
"The only right way to change a regime is to do it by the legitimate, established practices. Your protection of Swiss Ninja is indeed a proper and justified goal... Even if Swissy is a jerk."
Austin smiled. TurtleShroom was practically doing the work for him.
"Now, the question is, how can I help you? If I hire you, what service can you do for me? I already have bodyguards," the penguin said, gesturing to the bodyguard penguins that were staring at him, "...-And I don't really believe in house servants, nor do I have a need for a mercenary. I... Heh, well, I already have means of taking out things unholy."
Austin frowned. This penguin already hired bounty hunters?
"I respect you, Mister Austin." TS called his bodygaurds closer.
"It is because I respect you, and because the Khanz mirror my family's views of honor, I will tell you this."
Austin nodded. Honor was huge to him.
"On your honor, do you vow to make what is said here unknown to any being outside these walls?"
"I promise to keep my mouth shut."
"So be it. I trust you keep your word." he paused. "...-Because if you don't, I WILL find you."
"Now..." TS lowered himself to a whisper.
"Have you ever seen a black helicopter?"
"A black helicopter? All the time."
"No Mister Austin, I mean a black military helicopter, in a place where you wouldn't think one should be."
Austin's eyes widened. This penguin had connections to some sort of conspiracy?
"Those are mine."
"Indeed. I am the head of a noble crusade against the darkest of villainy."
"Really? Wow. That's amazing." Phasers set to buttkissing, Austin began flattering.
"It's called the Inquisition."
Austin gasped audibly. He met those guys in the Forest! THIS WAS THEIR LEADER!
"No way! You work with those cree- those guys?"
"Yes. You've seen them?"
"Uh... Yeah. I came across them in the Forest."
"They attacked a black market store because it had Un-CP stuff. That's what they said."
"Good, that's their job. Their job is to remove the Un-CP from this continent. Why were you there?"
"My mission." Austin wasn't lying, but he wouldn't tell the part about the arms dealing. No need to get himself in trouble with this guy.
"Oh. So the Hochstadt gang deals with Un-CP junk?"
"No, but I found those guys looking."
"I see. Well, did you participate in the black market? I recall they sell illegal weapons and things no legitimate being would get, including arms sotlen from my own brother."
"No." Austin lied. Man oh man did he lie right there.
"Good. I'm glad your shady job hasn't hurt you. Mister Austin, I think I have a place for you in my organization, a one-time salary deal, and I'd be honored if you did so."
"That'd be great, Your Majesty." Austin said, flattering. "One thing, though. Would you mind if I have a place to sleep for the night? I've been out here for days."
"Not at all, friend, not at all! Hospitality is a command I strongly believe in. Giving those in need sanctuary is a noble and neccesary goal. I'm heading to my hometown and its location for my re-instatement onto the council. You may accompany me."
"Where are we going?"
 You're Riding in THAT
"Home, Mister Austin, home. I hail from Mattress Village."
"Never heard of it."
"Most haven't. It's still a small town and it tends to... Uh, folks don't visit us much."
"No reason in particular."
"Is it remote?"
"Now, while I could summon a helicopter, I've been informed that I couldn't make it past five hundred miles. Matress Vilage is a great ways north of South Pole City. I don't believe in private jets... -But my family persisted that I 'needed' one. Like I really need my own plane. I don't, but in times like this, I'm glad I do."
"You have a private jet?!"
"It's not a jet."
"You said you owned a-"
"A plane, Mister Austin. I didn't say it was a jet. Most people just assume 'jet'. No, what I have is different. Now, please come to the airport. The plane's arriving."
"I don't see your private jet, TurtleShroom."
It was then that a buzzing roar echoed through the air. A huge, shiny metallic plane, with four rickety propellors, fat wings, and way too many years on it hit the tarmac with an unsettlingly shaky thud. It scooted to a halt and made a ton of noise as its propellors ceased. On its tail was the Holyberden logo.
"We're riding in THAT?!"
"Yes. According to the guy that sold it to me, it's a Snowing-1947-377 airplane. It's heh, get this... It's over sixty years old and has only been repaired once, back in 1985."
"Who flies it?"
"My pilot. What, did you think I could fly an aircraft?!"
"No, no I didn't."
"All right, get in."
The duo boarded the old bird and sat down. Inside, it looked like a passenger airplane, except the seats were gutted spare about twenty, and the carpet was red. It smelled like an old vehicle, and there were nothing but the windows and some portraits taped to the wall. No electronics, no luxeries (except a working toilet), and no crew but the pilot and co-pilot.
"Hey! Where's the snacks?"
"There aren't any."
"The personal flight attendants?"
"Nothing but pilots."
"You didn't bring any?"
"Uhh... The plane's got a working toilet and the carpet is thick and very soft. Your seat has a cupholder, and the plane has a working heater."
"......WHAT KIND OF KING ARE YOU?!"
"I told you... I don't NEED a private jet! I was practically forced to buy one by my own company. They said it was the only way to get me places fast enough. I was, well, let's say that I was cheap."
"I'LL SAY!" Austin said, almost angry that TurtleShroom didn't have a "proper" private jet.
"TurtleShroom, we're about to take off. Is there anything you left behind, forgot, or need?"
"Club Penguin Tower, this is Holyberden-1 prepared for departure, Gate 7."
"Holyberden One, taxi to and hold short of Runway 3, right traffic."
"Copy that, Holyberden One."
"Club Penguin Tower, this is Holyberden One, ready at Runway 3, right traffic."
"Holyberden One, you are cleared for takeoff. Read back, Club Penguin Tower."
"All right. To any guests, I would advise that you cover your hearing. This plane is LOUD."
Austin scowled and covered his hearing. He was glad he did, as the propellors began spinning and making a racket that rattled the entire aircraft. The plane began its movement down the runway, and soon, it was in the air and across the ocean.
Time went on. Austin fiddled about in his seat as TurtleShroom slept.
"Stupid geezer plane. Stupid no luxeries. Stupid spring in the seat that's poking me. Stupid propellors." he whined.
TurtleShroom yawned and continued sleeping.
"I'M SO BORED." Austin moaned to himself.
Austin continued whining to himself, especially about how much better the Snoss plane was, for the rest of the trip.
At last, the co-pilot's voice crackled over the old PA.
"Passengers, we will be arriving in Dan Beronews Regional Airport within ten minutes. Please make sure that your seatbelts are securly fastened for landing. Thank you for flying with us, and thank you, TurtleShroom, for hiring us!
The plane began its descent on the old airport. There was not a control tower, so air traffic controllers from around the area guided them in.
Austin screamed when the plane slammed onto the dirt runway and rattled with it. TurtleShroom stretched as if this was normal and looked to Austin, who was peeved, to say the least.
"Mister Austin, did you enjoy the flight?"