Friday, April 9, 2010

Chapter 16: A Decision

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!”


  1. Awesome April! You did a fantastic job at providing some inner conflict! I felt like we really got a sense of Violet's insecurity when she's unsure whether or not she can fix the collider. Also, the story about Sven sitting by her bed was a nice touch to developing their relationship. I loved the door materializing out of sand... it reminded me of Narnia in a way! I think the best thing you did was to provide a little doubt on Sven's part as to whether or not Dr. Octopi is evil:

    “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?”

    That part was very crucial, I think. Maybe this doubt can resurfact while he's in the cell?

    A few questions for the following chapters:
    1. Are we revisiting Dr. Vanderslice?
    2. Where does Billy fit in? (I'm writing again on Sunday, so if whoever's writing tomorrow does not want to address him, I'd love to do so in my chapter!)

  2. April, I thought you did a good job here. Very well-executed sibling rivalry. I do think that are some cheesy moments, but I think it had to be done as is. :)

    Really loved the parallel you drew with Sven and Octopi. Very effective, and nicely done. Again, very happy with the work you've done here. Keep it up, guys!


  3. I love the way you took this chapter, April! You really did a great job at addressing the relationship between Sven and Violet. I also really enjoyed how Violet and Shawty got into the lab, and I love that Shawty's a secret agent. I'm writing the chapter for tomorrow, so I'll do my best to carry on.

    One thing. I think it's Robert Nickel not Richard Nichols, unless that was intentional and we have another doppelganger. (That would be some need to know information for me, though :)

  4. Great Job! You did very well with the rivalry, doubts, and developing the setting as well as the characters. I like the idea of revisiting the doubt while Sven is in the cell too.

  5. Thanks!

    Lauren- I think bringing Dr. V and Billy back in would be a great idea.

    Scott-Yes, cheesy was about my only option haha! I wanted to make it clear what Violet and Sven were struggling with internally, but I agree, I brought in the cheese.

    Chelsea- Oh no! I meant Robert! Dang, I hope that didn't mess things up. Sorry.

    Melissa- I agree. Having Sven keep doubting himself woul dbring depth to the story. Also, I hope that Violet will continue to struggle with her ability to do science.

    Here's where I was going:
    I was hoping that Sven's main struggle would be over whether to choose science over people. Violet helps him see his ability to be a great scientist while keeping his priorities straight. Violet's main struggle is her insecurity over her abilities to be smart and sciency. Sven helps her overcome this and guides her in destroying the collider through telepathy. They help each other thus developing a real relationship while saving the world.

    Also, I hope I left some room for Robert Nichols to turn out good or bad. He's not evil, but he may be too weak to overcome Octopi's manipulation. We can even have Violet and Sven rescue him at the end.

  6. Great job April! You moved the plot forward while bringing us back to the "literary" side of things. The door out of sand, the details of pilowbeak fur= awesome!

    the next chapter or so really aught to bring in Billy. Maybe Dr.O could be disappointed with Nickle's ability and try to persuade Sven to rejoin, perhaps saying Billy "misunderstood" something Dr. O was doing? I don't know, but there are good possibilities to at least hint at Billy again.

    Shawty is probably my favorite pillowbeak...
    "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.”

  7. Great chapter April! I loved seeing a nicer side of Shawty and his and Violet's banter was nicely crafted. I also liked the angle that may be Robert Nickel starts to pull for Doc Oc.

    Although I was a little confused as well when Robert Nickel became Richard Nichols haha.

    Now we have a solid direction toward the conclusion too! So exciting! Keep it up everyone;)

  8. Sweet discussion in this chapter with Violet & Shawty.

    This was an exciting chapter that kept me reading for more.

    Looking forward to what's going to go down in the next few chapters.

  9. I too enjoyed Shawty's nicer side. I'm not sure when he became good, but I think it's helpful to have an inside man-er, pillowbeak. I think you did a nice job setting up for a reconciliation between Violet and Sven. I'm nervous about how this will end!

  10. Yeah, I'm trying to get ready to write the next chapter (sorry if I'm holding someone up... Ack!) I liked the literary details, but I'm still a little concerned that we might be bottlenecking a little too much of the action.

    Loved the pillowbeak fur and the images of the lab, although I was hoping Tocloc Desert and the self-munching worm would have some relevance. I might bring them back in my chapter!

  11. Great chapter April- I really liked your idea of the lab being created from sand, it was very fantastical! I thought that this chapter was a bit non-eventful but did move the story a long somewhat. I love the part of Sven and Violet being able to communicate telepathically so clearly and that they sort of had an emotional break through. Very sweet. all in all it was well written and moved the plot along closer to the climax hopefully!