There they stood, Violet Mahoney and Shawty, the pillowbeak, in the middle of the Toloc Desert. Violet closed her eyes and exhaled deeply. She was on the verge of tears. She had covered a lot of ground for the past few days, literally. She was in another world, she had lost Sven, and now she was in the middle of a desert with a strange little animal. Where to heck were they? Where were Dr. Octopi's lab and Sven? Since her parents' death Violet had thought that she would feel relieved if she forget about Sven and make a life for herself without him, but now Violet realized that she would give anything to be with Sven right now. She whipped around, about to complain to Shawty, but as soon as she opened her mouth he stuck a furry hand over it.
"Shh! Look," he said matter-of-factly and pointed into the sand.
Violet spit out some pillowbeak fur that lingering on her lips and waited. Nothing. She looked harder into the brown and orange sand but the only thing that happened was that her eyes started watering from the dustiness. Violet eyed the vehicle they had driven into the desert and was thinking seriously of jumping into it and leaving when she heard a noise that sounded like the wind blowing through the grass. She looked back into the sand and in time to see millions of grains of sand rising from the earth to form the outline of a door.
"Ahh, there it is," said Shawty. He opened his arm up toward the sand door. "What are you waiting for? Let's go." Violet didn't move. "Just one of Dr. Octopi's many doors into his lab. Come on now, you wouldn't expect anything less than a magical door from a mad scientist now, would you?" He gave Violet no time to answer; instead, he grabbed her arm and led the way through the door.
Everything went white and the only sound was the soft whirling of wind. Then Violet blinked and found herself standing next to Shawty by a big, metallic wall.
"We are now outside of Dr. Octopi's lab. We must be very quiet or the other pillowbeaks, my co-workers on this side, will hear us. Your brother is sure to be somewhere inside." Shawty explained. Then he stood up and walked a few paces to the right and slowly peered into a window. A few seconds later, Shawty looked back at Violet and motioned for her to join him. Violet leaned over and looked into the window with one eye. She saw Sven and her heart pounded. She wanted to bang on the window but restrained herself. Beside Sven was another man. He had only one hand so Violet assumed it was Sven’s friend Dr. Robert Nichols. They were talking to each other and staring at a large machine.
“What are you waiting for, Violet?” Shawty whispered. “At this close range Sven should be able to hear you better than ever.”
“But can’t we just break in somehow and talk to Sven face to face now that we’re here? Why fool with all this telepathy junk?” Violet asked.
“Ha! My dear librarian, one does not simply break in to Dr. Octopi’s lab. The last one to try was a boisterous pillowbeak who was immediately liquefied into fuel for Dr. Octopi’s generators. No, telepathy is certainly the way to go.”
So Violet peered through the window and stared at the back of Sven’s head. She concentrated on him so much that she thought her eyes might drill a whole into his skull.
“Sven? Sven, can you hear me? Sven!”
Immediately, Sven’s head jerked up.
“Violet? I can hear you. Can you hear me?” Sven’s eyes were closed and his lips were moving but no sound was coming out.
“What the heck are you doing, Sven?” Nichols asked.
“Hush, I’m talking to Violet. I need to concentrate.
“Oh no. Not this telepathy stuff again!” moaned Nichols and walked away to inspect the collider.
“Yes! Sven, I’m standing outside Dr. Octopi’s lab.” Sven could hear Violet’s voice loud and clear. He whipped around and saw four eyes peering over the windowsill.
“How did you get here, Violet? Who are you with? I thought I’d never see you again when the wave patrol separated us.”
“Me too. I’m with a pillowbeak- you know, one of those funny monkey creatures we saw- named Shawty.” At this comment Shawty rolled his eyes. “He’s showed me how to find this place,” Violet continued. “He is a double agent. He pretends to be loyal to Dr. Octopi, but he really is working with some good pillowbeaks and another guy I’ve met, the Clearing Man, to stop Dr. Octopi from destroying the world!”
Maybe it was because Violet and Sven were so close together or maybe it was because Violet’s voice had risen to a scream as she explained things to him but this was the first time that Sven fully understood what Violet was saying.
“Violet, calm down. How sure are you about all this? I mean I know Dr. Octopi is a little strange, but that doesn’t make his necessarily evil. “
“No Sven! Listen you have to destroy the collider. If you don’t this world and our own will be destroyed! Please, believe me.”
“Violet, you don’t know what you are saying. What do you know about these things? How do you know Shawty and this Clearing Man are telling the truth?”
“I just do, Sven. I can’t explain it. But it makes sense, doesn’t it? An obsessed scientist wants to make discoveries at the expense of anyone and everyone just to gain knowledge and to “advance science to places no man has gone before.” Dr. Octopi plans to create a universe for himself where he will be safe when he tests the Hadron Collider. If you fix it he will use it against Earth.”
Sven didn’t say anything. He knew Violet was talking about Dr. Octopi, but inside he felt as if she could be talking about him. Wasn’t advancing science important? Didn’t he, as a scientist, have the responsibility to experiment and take risks?
“Not at the expense of innocent people, Sven.” Sven forgot that Violet could hear all his thoughts, not just the ones he directed towards her. “And I’m not talking about you at all, Sven,” Violet spoke softly. “You are different from Dr. Octopi. You wouldn’t sacrifice others for science.”
“Do you mean that, Violet? What about missing Mom and Dad’s crash and not getting to the hospital on time?” Sven’s voice started to sound strained. “I mean, maybe I am that crazy scientist who only cares about his work. I wasn’t even going to take time to visit Mom and Dad because I was busy with research. It’s all my fault, I-“
“Stop it, Sven. I know you better than that. Remember that one time when Mom and Dad weren’t home and there was a bad thunderstorm and I was scared? You came and sat by my bed and talked to me until I fell asleep. You stayed for hours even though you had that big science project the next day. Remember? This is your chance to do that again, not just for me but also for the whole world! You’ll be remembered for saving the planet!”
Just then a door opened and an older man wearing a white lab coat and spectacles walked into the room. His posture was impeccable, his gait was steady, and his head was tilted up at an angle that made it hard to know whether his eyes were open or closed. Shawty and Violet ducked out of sight.
“Gentlemen,” Dr, Octopi started, “I see that you have already disobeyed my orders. Did I or did I not command you to start immediately on the collider? I am disappointed in you. I expected such renowned scientists to be smarter than this.”
“Sorry, Sir,” chimed Nichols. “I was just about to start. You are right. The collider should be finish as soon as possible. For science!”
“Very well Nichols. And you, Sven, what have you decided?”
“No? Just no? I have never been told “no” in my 40 years as a scientist. Is simply isn’t said. How dare you! Do you know you are throwing your chance away at greatness?”
“Well said, Sven! You are doing the right thing. You have to trust me on this one,” came Violet’s voice into Sven pounding head.
“No, sir,” Sven continued, now speaking even louder. “I don’t know what you consider greatness, sir, but destroying the world isn’t my idea of it.’
Dr. Octopi stood, motionlessly staring at Sven. Robert Nichol’s mouth hung open.
“So you think you’re smart do you?” Dr. Octopi cracked. “I see you have been talking to the wrong people, Sven. I am disappointed in you. If you won’t help me, then I have no choice but to consider you an enemy of science.” With that, Dr. Octopi clapped his hands and two large pillowbeaks came into the room. They grabbed Sven’s wrists, pulled them behind him and shoved him out of the room.
“Now, it’s all yours, Nichols. Make me proud.” Dr.Octopi placed a hand on Richard Nichol’s shoulder, but Richard just looked past him, out into the hallway where Sven was being dragged away.
The pillowbeaks took Sven into a metallic cell and chained his hands to a wall. In all the excitement Sven had stopped concentrating on Violet and had lost the telepathic connection. Only after the pillowbeaks had left him arms in the air and bound to the cold metal could he calm himself down enough to think again.
“Violet. Can you hear me? Violet?” There were a few minutes of silence, but finally Sven heard Violet’s voice.
“Sven, I’m so proud of you! You did it! You told Dr. octopi off.”
“Thanks, but we haven’t done anything yet. That collider is still deadly. I hope Nichols doesn’t fix it somehow. I can’t do anything in these chains. You are going to have to do exactly as I tell you Violet or all hope will be lost. You ready?”
Violet hesitated. “Sven, you know I’m no good as science. I’ll mess it up. We have to get you out of those chains. I can’t do it!”
“There’s no time, Vi. We have to act now! You can do it. I believe in you.”
These words nearly brought tears to Violet’s eyes. “Okay, Sven. If you think I can do it I’ll try.”
“That’s what I’m talking about! Let’s destroy that son-of-a-bitch!”