The 'Shroom:Issue 194/Palette Swap
What's up, y'all? It's the May issue of The 'Shroom!
Like many of you, I am currently hard at work on The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom. It was a slow start, for sure, but now that I've gotten out of the tutorial part and refreshed myself on the combat, I'm having a blast. Surprisingly, I was also able to finish Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Future Redeemed as well, which... introduced a lot more questions than it answered. Honestly, I felt like this game was strangely... spiteful to players? I struggled pretty hard with most of the bosses, and while I can remember struggling with a couple of the bosses in the base game, once I had hit chapter 5 I was pretty much good to go for the rest of the game. Future Redeemed was pretty difficult and there were also multiple points where I though the game designers had taken some points from old NES and SNES games, you know the type, being cruel to the player to extend the playtime. That's just my opinion, I was able to finish it and overall had a pretty fun time.
This month, Shoey (talk) has contributed two volunteer-based sections- the always entertaining Random Image of the Month and the slapstick The Devious Workings of Phineas J. Shoe. Thank you once again for volunteering, Shoey!
Section of the Month
Section of the Month is here! We have a tie for first this time- the Shmaluigi, Private Investigator collab of Waluigi Time (talk) and Hooded Pitohui (talk) at ten votes against Waluigi Time (talk)'s own Waluigi Time Comic. Following up is our volunteer Random Image of the Month section by Shoey (talk)! Thank you to everyone who voted, we had a really great turnout this month! Please keep it up for this issue as well!
|PALETTE SWAP SECTION OF THE MONTH|
|1st||Shmaluigi, Private Investigator||10||25.00%||Waluigi Time (talk) and Hooded Pitohui (talk)|
|1st||Waluigi Time Comic||10||25.00%||Waluigi Time (talk)|
|3rd||Random Image of the Month||8||20.00%||Shoey (talk)|
Written by: Meta Knight (talk)
The following poem you're about to read was created during Roserade's (talk) Poemtober 2022. For those unaware, during the month of October, every day you feel like, you create a poem! Each day had a prompt that was a singular word and you could write about however you interpreted it. This poem was written for the theme Painted. If you wish to know more about the creative process, or anything like that, you're welcome to read my commentary as well.
Roses assorted particularly along prickly bushes,
Arid sunsets beyond a luminous horizon.
Incubated eggs crack to birth bright chicks,
Nature towers into the air creating a forest fortress.
Beautiful waters grace the creatures with life,
Opulent dusks preparing a chilly night,
Wide caverns hiding sparkling amethyst among its crystal chasms.
Random Image of the Month
Welcome back to Random Image of the Month, a technically-volunteer-based section where we take a look at some, well, random images from the depths of the Mario series. Last month, we took a look at a spooky image from the Mario Party series. This month, we look at an even spookier (depending on your perspective) image from the Mario Party series as we take a look at the futility of war by examining an image from gaming's greatest war series.
So, first, this is one of the most epic artworks the Mario series has ever produced. I mean, look at this! Our heroes, locked in the heat of a war between the Bob-ombs and the Bob-omb Buddies! Banners fly as both sides are locked in heated combat throughout the canyon. I'm not sure which side these banners represent, because they're half-red and half-black. Then you have our heroes protecting the high ground from what's clearly a frontal assault by the Bob-omb army. Like I said, I think it might be the coolest artwork the series has produced, and it's because it makes Mario and gang look like Spartan warriors in the thick of battle, fighting on the front lines against an entire army to protect the high ground. I'm not entirely sure if the gang is working with the Bob-omb Buddies or if they're fighting both sides, but, based on a few context clues like Mario hitting a Bob-omb, Donkey Kong staring one down, and Wario almost looking like he's directing the single Bob-omb Buddy in front of him, I think it's safe to say they're on the same side. And if they aren't? Shut up, then! None of this is real!
To give a little more detail, I love how badass this makes Mario and company look. I mean, sure, it looks like Yoshi has lost his nerve in the heat of battle and is in the middle of a breakdown, but look at everyone else. You have Princess Peach praying for her friends as (what appear to be) Bob-omb Buddy reinforcements arrive to render aid. There's no doubt that, following her prayer, the princess is about to beat ass. You've got Wario, who appears to be directing the movements of the Bob-omb Buddy before him, using both his strategic mind and his large muscles to help with the battle. Donkey Kong looks like he's about to plant the flag of Wario in the dirt before jumping into the fray to give these bombs a right thrashing. Mario, being the hero he is, looks struck for blood and has sent the first of the enemy infantry flying with a solid punch. Now, Luigi, I think is a little deceptive, because at first glance he looks shocked, if not a little scared, at the sheer amount of Bob-ombs before him. But look at his legs! They're in a kicking formation. I suspect that, rather than being scared, Luigi had really kicked one of the Bob-ombs away, sending the poor Bob-omb down the canyon into his own friends, where he then exploded, wiping out a whole unit. I think rather than fear, Luigi is in a state of shock over what war has forced him to do. There's no doubt that, after collecting himself, Luigi will continue fighting for the safety of his friends (and Wario).
There's just something oddly appealing about a depiction of an actual war in the squeaky clean Mario series. Like, yes, the war between the Bob-ombs is alluded to in both Super Mario 64 and Mario Party, but you don't really see it. You just see the two sides kind of firing cannons at each other. But here it's an actual battle, with either Mario and company hopelessly outnumbered by the two Bob-omb armies, who have apparently managed a peace accord, or it's (my preferred theory) Mario and company fighting under the banner of Wario to render aid to the Bob-omb Buddy cause. Either way, this is an excellent image, and probably my favorite of the original Mario Party map images.
Written by: Casual Koopa (talk)
It's-a-Mii returns! Today we're shrinking in scope a little - we're looking at various minis from the Mario Vs. Donkey Kong series! Minis March Again may well have been the very first game I ever played, so I've been with this series for a while - plus, I'm one of those heretics who likes amiibo Challenge. Who doesn't love little chibis, you know? Well, I hope *you* do, reader, because that's what we've got today!
'Mii-nis on the move
This batch gets to be larger than usual as a consequence of being simpler; you can spot in the top right that these are all really conservative parts-wise. Mini Mario and Luigi hit higher numbers by virtue of fine-tuning their hats; curves can be tough to get right! Toad Also has large curved shapes on his parts, but that's All he has, so he's still in the low 20 range. You'll notice some striking use of the ever-handy glasses layer: the earrings on Peach and Pauline are natural choices, but they also form the entirety of DK's mouth! Mario and Luigi's noses do a specific technique I'm fond of - with the glasses layer, I could easily have hidden their base Mii noses entirely, but I instead picked one that would poke over top of the glasses, giving the nose a nice 3D look and making it more consistent from the sides. It looks a *little* funny from the front, but I think it adds character. And for as simple as these designs are, you certainly can't say they lack character!
That's all for this month! Next month is the Movie issue, and I've already got some new Miis cooking. We might even see our first non-Mario Miis in the section... what do you mean im just using an excuse to shill my favorite movie no im being perfectly unbiased dont even worry about it its fine its fiiiiiii-
Ahem. As I was saying, we've got a special issue next time, so look forward to it! I hope I'll see you then!
Waluigi Time Comic
Drawn by: Waluigi Time (talk)
Shmaluigi, Private Investigator
Written by: Waluigi Time (talk) and Hooded Pitohui (talk)
Cruise Control: Part 2
So there I was. What had seemed to be a fairly unassuming case for one of my clients turned out to be the beginnings of yet another one of those dreaded Killing Games. I'd gotten myself tangled up in one before - or at least I thought I did, anyway. There was no denying what I'd experienced, but I couldn't reconcile that with how, by all appearances, none of it seemed to be real. I had tried to look into it, but my investigations all came up fruitless...
Regardless if it was real, imagined, simulated, or whatever else, it made me vow to do everything in my power to stop another one of these from happening. My new mission was to head this thing off before the cruise set sail, and the clock was ticking.
To complicate matters further, Lana Skye was still out there somewhere, and hot on the trail. I wasn't sure what her motives were, but I knew for sure she wasn't keen on cooperation. She already nabbed my client's cruise ticket under false pretenses, so I'd have to be prepared for more potential interference from her.
If I wanted to stop this, my next move was probably to figure out who the mastermind here was. They had to have left a trail somewhere, and right now, the most obvious place seemed to be whoever they ordered the tickets from. There can't be too many ticket manufacturers in New Wikisburg, so it should just be a simple process of elimination to find the source and ask them questions. I'd have to do some digging, though. It's not like I'm hosting elaborate awards ceremonies or anything, so I don't really have a reason to be familiar with these companies.
I arrived back home to find my brother Shmwario rummaging around the office.
"Shmwario, what are you doing?" I asked.
"Oh, hey bro! I just came over to see if ya got any batteries. My TV remote's gone kaput and I'm all out of 'em," he replied.
"There's a new pack in my bedroom nightstand."
Shmwario disappeared up the stairs as I sat down at my desk. I pulled up Tiptro! to look up ticket manufacturers in the area, and there seemed to be only two that kept popping up, Bassarao Tickets and PDT Tickets. Well, that certainly narrowed down the search. It wouldn't take long to find where Scarlet Rose ordered their tickets from at this rate.
I noticed a news article on PDT Tickets in the search results and clicked on it. To make things even easier for me, it turns out that they'd closed down a few months ago, citing the current economic conditions making it not viable to have two ticket manufacturers in the city. For once, things go my way! Off to pay a little visit to Bassarao.
"Hey bro, I had a little trouble gettin' the package opened so they spilled all over the floor. Sorry about that! Try not to trip over 'em."
I must have gotten engrossed in my reading, considering I hadn't heard Shmwario come down the stairs or the clattering of an entire pack's worth of batteries hitting hardwood.
"It's fine, I'm used to cleaning up your messes," I mumbled.
"Hey! You're lookin' at PSwitch?" he asked, looking over my shoulder. "Can you go to the main page? I picked up some Waluigi Time Cereal stock after that case with 'em and I wanna see how the markets are doin'!"
"As if you know enough about economics to know how anything that happens would affect stocks?" I quipped.
"Oh, shut up."
I clicked over to the main page and scrolled through the financial news. "Krem Brûlée Katering expands to third location amid turbulence... CEO of embattled Squeaky Cleaners announces retirement, stock plunges... Downturn hits Hot and Cold Records, layoffs ensue... M-corporated announces press conference to unveil new products... Ah, here they are, Waluigi Time Cereal shareholders concerned after plans leak for scented bedsheets. Wait, what?"
"Hey, I'd probably buy 'em."
"That's just weird."
Well, no time to ponder the market viability of bedsheets that smell like onions, ketchup, and mayo. I had to go find out what Bassarao Tickets could tell me about this whole thing.
"I have to go work on a case now, I'll see you around."
"Alright, I'll be at home watchin' TV now that I got these batteries!"
I pulled up outside of the Bassarao Tickets building. It was a relatively small, unassuming building on the corner of the block. Pretty much all you'd need when your only product is little pieces of paper. The hustle and bustle of the city just seemed to pass by and pay it no mind.
I got out of my car and went inside, finding an even smaller room with a Deep Cheep manning the desk. How these guys can survive out of water so long, I'll probably never understand. A door on the back wall led to, I presume, where all the actual printing was done, most likely to separate clients from the noise of the machines.
"Good afternoon, how can I help you?" the Deep Cheep asked.
"Shmaluigi, private investigator. Have you happened to have any recent orders from Scarlet Rose Cruises or the Place Holdings Company? Or any suspicious requests for a small number of custom tickets in general, perhaps?"
"Hm, yes, as a matter of fact, we did have an order from Place Holdings. I don't know all the details off-fin, but the good news is that we have that information stored in our database. Come, follow me."
He ushered me behind the desk and through the door in back. I was right, this was where they kept all their printing equipment. We didn't stay in here long though, as I followed him through another door leading into a winding concrete stairwell.
"You know, you're the second person today to ask about this," he said as he flopped up the stairs. I wasn't too surprised that Lana had managed to get here before me. "Is there something going on?"
"Well, not anything that you need to be concerned with," I replied. No sense getting the general public panicked over this, I figured.
We reached the second floor and entered yet another door at the top of the stairs. This was where Bassarao kept their offices, filled with cubicles, fluorescent lighting, and ugly brown carpet. Not a place worth spending more time in than necessary, in my opinion.
The Deep Cheep led me to an unoccupied computer. "You can look up any of our orders here," he said.
I sat down and searched for orders placed by Place Holdings. No results, which seemed odd. He specifically mentioned them by name, after all... I tried searching for Scarlet Rose, and still got nothing. As a last resort, I tried both again, making sure to pay close attention to my spelling. No luck.
"Um, is Shmaluigi doing this right?" I asked. "Nothing's coming up."
"Hm? Let me try," he said, then tapped away at the keys with his fins. He didn't seem to do anything differently, and sure enough, nothing came up for him either.
Suddenly, I had a realization. "The other investigator that was here earlier... Were you with them the whole time?"
"Well, no. I brought her up here, but there was a customer behind her so I had to head back to the front."
Of course, Lana must have deleted the records after she was here to keep me from finding them. Cheater... There had to be some other way to get that information.
"Hm... What delivery method do you use for your shipments?" I asked.
"Just the standard Mushroom Kingdom Postal Service."
That could very well be the answer. Time was of the essence here, and Lana knew that as well as I did. Surely she wouldn't go out of her way to destroy any evidence trail possible when her own investigation hadn't wrapped up yet.
"Well, thank you for your time, this should be quite helpful regardless."
Luckily, the New Wikisburg Post Office wasn't too far of a drive from here. I parked my car and ran inside, hoping to make up for some lost time. Luckily, it was dead in here at the time. I'm not sure how I would've dealt with a line of customers.
In fact, it was dead to the point where the Clubba manning the desk had fallen asleep. I rang the little bell sitting on the counter.
"AHH!" the Clubba jolted awake and fell backwards in his seat, making a loud thud on the floor. I peered over the counter to see him flat on his back. "Ugh... Five more minutes..."
"Sorry for the rude awakening, but Shmaluigi needs to look at recent deliveries between Bassarao Tickets and the Place Holdings Company."
He laid there for about half a minute before finally managing to peel himself up off the floor. He walked over to the computer, still half-asleep - and forgot to invite me behind the counter, so I just let myself in - and started typing. His eyes were half-closed, but he didn't seem to be making any typos, at least.
"Uh huh... Here it... is..."
Bingo. A shipment from Bassarao to the Place Holdings Company just a few weeks ago, complete with a shipping address. 2120 Whomp Works Way.
"Perfect! Thank you for your-" I paused, noticing that the Clubba had slumped onto the floor and already fallen asleep again. "-time..."
I drove straight there, finding the most generic corporate headquarters possible. Seriously, if you did a Tiptro! image search for "corporate building", this place would be in the first row, or at least a version of it that had been maintained better. Either they were trying to be as inconspicuous as they could - of course, never a very successful endeavor - or just trying to go for that painfully bland look. My money's on the former.
As I walked closer to the building's entrance, who else did I see but Lana exiting. She had a dark look on her face, as serious as ever, but looked almost... empty inside. Her eyes were devoid of light, any kind of that spark of the living. She stopped, turning her attention to me as she noticed me coming. She took a deep breath when I got close enough for us to talk.
"Detective," she greeted me, apparently less than enthused to see me if the wavering of her voice was any indication. "I have to commend you. You're even more capable than I've come to understand, judging by your presence here. It stands to reason that you faced... unique challenges in this investigation."
She paused, clearing her throat. "We're both required to do what must be done in the name of justice, Detective. I gather you're here to speak with someone beyond that door?"
"Yes, of course," I responded curtly. I had to admit, such a flippant reference to the interference with my case that she herself had caused got under my skin.
"Were our circumstances different, Detective, I could think of nobody else I would first recruit as a partner on an investigation, in light of the tenacity and ingenuity you possess."
She briefly bowed her head, reaching for something inside her coat. I could see whatever it was gleam - a weapon of some kind? Surely she wouldn't resort to this sort of violence just to keep this case to herself?!
The next thing I know, she grabbed my wrist, turned my hand over, and placed something in my palm. When she removed her hand, I could see that it was an attorney's badge with her name inscribed.
She raised her head. "It won't grant you any authority to practice law, I'm afraid. I won't hear any objections to you accepting this as a memento from this meeting, do you understand?"
I looked back down at the badge. Surely this had some deeper meaning, but I wasn't quite sure what it was... and I didn't really have the time to find out right now.
"Well... Whatever you say," I replied.
"Excellent," she said. There was that commanding attitude again. Her voice had leveled out. She was sounding more like the woman I had met in that office.
"I've completed the information-gathering portion of my investigation, Detective Shmaluigi. Once again, I assure you that this case is handled. I don't believe any additional roadblocks will deter you, but I hope you will listen to reasoned advice. If you enter that door, Detective, and you ask the questions you intend to ask, you will cross a threshold from which you cannot return.
The identity of the Mastermind was not difficult to ascertain after collecting all of the relevant evidence. It will be trivial for you as well if you proceed. With their identity, the location of the Killing Game, and knowledge of what they're after, there's only one possible course of action that remains.
I trust you understand it, Detective, and I trust you will make the wise decision and turn around without returning here."
"You can say whatever you want, but we both probably know what's going to happen next," I told her. "Shmaluigi's seeing this one through to the end."
She suppressed a sigh. "Then even an advantage of a few minutes will be decisive. Do as you will, Detective, but know that I made every effort to warn you - and to protect he-
Protect you," she corrected herself hastily.
"When we next see one another, be prepared to defend yourself. Extending any mercy is out of the question. Do we understand each other, Detective? Do you have any final question before it comes to such circumstances?"
She clearly had no insight into my own motives. It was obvious that she referred to us meeting in the confines of this twisted game, but I had no plans of being on board yet another doomed cruise. It was either stopping this before it could begin, or... well, failure wasn't an option, really. I wondered if the thought of doing so had even crossed her mind. "You... you have no intention of stopping this, do you?"
The corners of her lips twitched, as if she were trying to suppress a grin - or maybe more like she wasn't capable of grinning anymore, and this was the best she could do. "I will do what must be done, Detective. I pledged to deliver justice in the course of my career. I am doing just that.
There is no chance of getting close to the Mastermind without participating in their game, and that task cannot be left to anyone who might fail to...
...the death of the game's Mastermind will send a message to all the would-be imitators, a message that someone with the conviction to do what must be done is observing them, and has the power to stand against them. The only way to create that figure is for one individual to surpass their competition and to stand alone by the Mastermind's side. This figure will have blood-stained hands by necessity. For all intents and purposes, they must be able to accept that they will become dead to any and all around them, a fitting punishment for any figure willing to accept responsibility for the slaughtering that is a Killing Game."
Evidently, we had wildly contrasting viewpoints on the matter. I wasn't about to try and convince her otherwise, I could tell that nothing I said would matter. She's one stubborn investigator...
"Then it would seem this is where we part ways. Whatever happens... best of luck to you, Ms. Skye."
"May you maintain the resolve that has carried you this far, Detective," she said, carrying on and departing, leaving me behind.
I looked down at the badge she had given me again. She wasn't planning on coming back, either literally or metaphorically, depending on the circumstances...
It probably wasn't a good time to ponder these things. The clock was ticking. I tucked the badge away into my trenchcoat, and went inside to deal with the big boss.
I stormed into the top office, which was about as generic as the rest of this place. Very gray, with a Waddlewing sitting in a big black chair behind a desk. A nameplate displaying "Wade Wingert, CEO" sat on top of it.
Now, I'm not dense. The odds that the public-facing CEO of the company organizing all of this - which was information that was fairly easy to find - was the one pulling the strings were very slim. Either that or this was the dumbest Killing Game mastermind ever. But he had to know something.
"Oh no, not another one..."
"Alright, Shmaluigi knows everything about your company planning a Killing Game. What's the big idea? Who are you working for?!" I said, getting up in his face. Normally I didn't care much for being the bad cop, but these were special circumstances.
The expression on Mr. Wingert's face was a mixture of fear and confusion. He was shaking quite a bit, and his eyes were open so wide you'd wonder if he even had eyelids. Okay, maybe more fear than confusion...
"Don't try to play dumb! The cruise, the invitations, the AI! It all points to a Killing Game and your company is setting up the whole thing!"
"L-look sir, I don't know, I-I don't know! Gosh, you're almost as scary as that lady who was just in here," he said as he wiped the sweat off his forehead with his paw. "I'm just, I'm just following orders, okay? I don't know who put me here, I don't know what all this means, I just don't know! Please, you have to believe me..."
The longer you're in my line of work, the better you get at recognizing when someone's trying to pull the wool over your eyes. I didn't get the sense that Mr. Wingert was putting on an act, and if that was true, then he definitely didn't have the nerves to be a criminal mastermind.
"Here, I-I showed this to the lady who came in before you," he said, pulling a piece of paper from a desk drawer. "I got this strange piece of mail here in the office once. I, um, I thought maybe it was just addressed to the wrong place? P-please tell me this is what you're looking for..."
He slid the piece of paper across the desk. It was a letter, nothing unusual about its contents, but it carried the official letterhead of Squeaky Cleaners. Now that made sense.
The name "Squeaky Cleaners" was rather ironic, because there was nothing clean about this company. Its CEO was one Mowzimilian, and I'd long suspected he was up to shady business, but this guy was frustratingly good at keeping his hands clean - no pun intended. I had tried to connect him to dealings with my arch-nemesis Monty Brando before, multiple times in fact, but I was never able to gather the evidence to make it stick. And now it was all culminating in this...
It's funny, I thought I'd just seen that name... Where was it?
The financial news! There was a story about Mowzimilian going into retirement as the company continued to struggle financially. Maybe that was his motivation? Retiring from a sinking ship - again, no pun intended - probably wouldn't leave anyone very well off. So to fund his retirement, he'd start a Killing Game and invite a bunch of rich people, leaving a bunch of valuables behind once the carnage was over that he could sell off and ride into the sunset...
Well, I had my mastermind and probably a motive. Now it was time to stop him before things got any farther.
"Yep, this is it, alright," I said, handing the letter back to Mr. Wingert. "Thank you for your cooperation, Shmaluigi will be making his leave now."
I drove away, ready to pursue my next, and hopefully final, lead on the case. But something wasn't sitting quite right with me, and I couldn't put my finger on it...
Brando... That's what it was...
I couldn't understand why Mowzimilian would betray Brando like this, sending him a personal invitation. He was shady, but would he have a reason to? And what I really couldn't understand was why Brando would walk straight into it. He has eyes and ears all over the place. I wouldn't say uncovering all of this was the easiest case ever, but neither Lana nor myself had too difficult of a time getting here, relatively speaking. Surely he would've known what Mowzimilian was planning, or at least had an inkling that funny business was going on?
But if Mowzimilian is retiring, then Brando might just have a reason to betray him... An old pawn no longer of any use...
And it wouldn't be the first time that Brando tried to trap me with a fake Killing Game... Perhaps this was a way to kill however many birds with one stone. Lure me in with the Killing Game angle, and then get rid of me, an old business associate, and maybe others in one fell swoop. Knowing from firsthand experience what can happen when a ship is out at sea and all communication gets cut off, it would be incredibly easy for the whole thing to just "disappear", game or no game. And anyone on the outside would be none the wiser.
This was no Killing Game. This was an elaborate trap waiting to be sprung.
For once, I actually felt like I had an advantage against Brando. The business on the S.S. Circinus wasn't public knowledge - for all they knew, there was never even such a ship - and I certainly hadn't told anyone besides Shmwario. As far as Brando was concerned, I was still itching to rush in and investigate a Killing Game, but now that my goal was to stop one from happening in the first place, I was on the outside looking in, allowing me to think through all of this.
But I was the lucky one. Lana was still walking straight into that trap.
New goal. Find her, and thwart this mole's latest scheme. No mess-ups now.
To be continued...
Thanks for reading part 2 of Cruise Control! We're cruising right along (get it) through all these twists and turns. Special thanks once again to my co-writer and Lana-Skye-dialogue-writer Hooded Pitohui! We've been having a lot of fun with this arc so I hope you're all enjoying it. See you next time!
The Devious Workings of Phineas J. Shoe
WHEN WE LAST LEFT OFF, THAT RAVISHING ROGUE, DR. PHINEAS J. SHOE, ALONG WITH HIS QUICK-WITTED ASSISTANT, ROSE, ALONG WITH THEIR ANIMAL MASCOT, THE ONE-OF-A-KIND-BLOUPER, RETURNED AFTER A LONG ABSENCE TO THEIR DIABOLICAL WAYS OF PROVIDING WEAPONRY FOR VILLAINS, SCHEMERS, AND PLOTTERS ALL THROUGHOUT THE MUSHROOM WORLD! WHO WILL THEIR NEXT CUSTOMER BE? WHAT UNSPEAKABLE EVIL WILL DR. PHINEAS J SHOE UNLEASH? WILL PHINEAS EVER SUCCESSFULLY GAIN PAYMENT FOR HIS DEEDS?
FIND OUT ALL THIS AND MORE IN THIS MONTH'S EPISODE: A BIRD IN THE HAND'S WORTH A CRYSTAL OF DOOM!
We pan in to Dr. Phineas J. Shoe’s study, located somewhere deep within the underground compound of Dr. Phineas J. Shoe, where that vile villain and his pet, the rare beast of the sea, the Blouper, enjoy some nice 1920s big band music as the fireplace roars in the background.
"Come on, little Blouper, jump through the hoop for daddy," Phineas says, futilely attempting to teach the Blouper aquatic games. Suddenly, from one of the many hallways comes Rose, who appears to be carrying a PDA.
"Sir, it seems we've gotten a transmission from somebody named KAOS? Do you want me to play it?" He asks.
Phineas gets up and puts another log on the fire as he ponders such a question "Hmmm, KAOS, eh? I like the cut of his jib," he says when, suddenly, as if controlled by the hands of fate, the transmission begins to play itself.
BZZZT! DEAR PUNY DOCTOR!
I, KAOS, NEW LEADER OF THE KREMLING KREW
MUST DEFEAT KONGS
WILL CONQUER NORTHERN KREMISPHERE
BANANA BIRDS CAPTURED
REQUIRE BIRD PRISON!
BZZZT! REWARD WILL BE
THE CROWN OF THE BANANA QUEEN!
"That appears to be it, sir," Rose says as the transmission ends.
Phineas stands before the fire as it burns low "Birds! Mankind's greatest foe," he says under his breath.
"What did you say, sir?" asks Rose.
Suddenly, the fire roars large and bright as Phineas turns around dramatically! "DON'T YOU SEE, ROSE!? THIS IS OUR CHANCE TO STRIKE AT OUR ETERNAL FOE! BIRDS, THE CAUSE OF ALL MAN'S STRIFE, FLYING THROUGH THE AIR, MOCKING US. BUT NOW, ROSE, WE SHALL TAKE A STAND AGAINST THOSE FLYING MENACES. E-MAIL KAOS BACK! TELL HIM THAT, IN ONE WEEK'S TIME, I'LL HAVE THE GREATEST BIRD PRISON HE'S EVER SEEN! THEN, WHEN YOU'RE DONE, GO TOWN TOWN AND PICK UP A SIMON SAYS GAME, AN ELECTRONIC FLOOD LIGHT, AND SOME OF THOSE MOOD CRYSTALS," Phineas commands as he makes hastes to the lab to draw up plans.
ONE WEEK LATER
Fueled by his hatred for birds, that raving madman Dr. Phineas J. Shoe works at a pace never before seen. Working through the long sleepless nights, Dr. Phineas J. Shoe is just putting the finishing touches on his perfect prison when he and Rose hear the sounds of a powerful thrusting engine, followed by the entrance of the mechanical tyrant KAOS.
"Bzzzt! Here for bird prison!" KAOS computes.
"Hello, Lord KAOS! You're just in time for the unveiling of my greatest invention yet, the PHINEAS J. SHOE BIRD CONTAINMENT UNIT MACH 1,000!" Phineas exclaims as Rose pulls down a curtain, revealing a large cave-like setup with multiple sets of different colored crystals.
KAOS scans the crystals. "BZZZT! SCAN COMPLETE! WHO DO YOU THINK YOU'RE FOOLING, LITTLE MAN? BIRD PRISON NOT ACCEPTABLE," he emits before zapping a laser at Phineas' feet.
"No-now, hold on, Lord KAOS! Let me explain," stammers out a fearful Phineas.
"This may look like just a lot of pretty crystals, but it's really a state-of-the-art security system! You see, each of these crystals has an access button on them which, when pressed, will cause the corresponding crystal to light up. I, through my genius, have set up a system where we can program up to ten inputs for each password. Then, the way it works is, as soon as the Kongs or any intruder, enters the crystals will play the password out in full. Then the intruder must perfectly replicate the password. Failure, either through not hitting the inputs fast enough or by hitting the wrong input, will cause a barrier to activate, forcefully removing the intruder. Then, the system is programed to scramble the password, creating a new one. Think of the psychological damage this will inflict when those Kongs see just how close they are to freeing one of these poor innocent birds! YET THEY WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO! IT'S BRILLIANTLY DEVIOUS, HAHAHAHAHA," Phineas explains as he starts laughing manically, Rose looking on in confusion.
After hearing the long-winded explanation, KAOS re-scans the "security" system. "BZZZT! SCANNING COMPLETE. SECURITY SYSTEM IS ACCEPTABLE. PAYMENT SHALL BE GIVEN," it says as, from a compartment, out comes a beautiful crown adorned with banana-shaped jewels. "WITH THESE, THE KONGS DESTRUCTION IS ASSURED. VICTORY WILL BE MINE! HA HA HA," the machine mechanically laughs as it leaves with not only the first crystal security system, but the blueprints to build more.
Phineas, overjoyed by both his excellent salesmanship and his new treasure, happily stares into the jeweled crown as a concerned Rose approaches him. "Sir, don't you think it's dangerous to give the Kongs the ability to see the password? I mean, what if they actually manage to input it correctly?" he asks.
"Oh sweet foolish Rose, you entertain me. The Kongs are nothing but a bunch of pea-brained apes. There's no way they'll be able to crack a security system of my own brilliant design. Now, come Rose, we must find a place to display this immaculate crown until we can get an assessor out here to assess the value of this piece!" Phineas joyfully explains as a sighing Rose dutifully handles the crown.
ONE WEEK LATER
We cut back into the study, where once again that maniacal fiend Dr. Phineas J. Shoe futilely attempts to get that miraculous sea creature, the Blouper, to jump through a hoop. Suddenly, in runs Rose. "Boss! Did you see the lead article in this month's Fake News?" He slams the paper on the table.
Phineas stares down at the paper, reading the headline.
"BANANA QUEEN RESTORED AS KREMLINGS CHASED OUT OF NORTHERN KREMISPHERE," it reads.
The mood darkens immediately as Phineas clutches the paper. "So the birds have escaped their doom yet again, eh? No matter! This is but a small setback in a long war, my dear Rose, and, besides, I still have their queen's greatest treasure! HAHAHAHAHAHAHA," he exclaims, laughing manically in triumph. Suddenly, the sounds of fluttering wings fill the air, drowning out all other sounds. Dozens of Banana Birds fly into the room, taking their queen's crown and flying away with it!
A stunned Rose and Phineas can only look on in horror as the birds abscond with their treasure. In a vengeful despair, Phineas falls to his knees. "CURSE YOU BIRDSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!" he shouts at the fluttering horde as we fade to black.
|The 'Shroom: Issue 194|
|Staff sections||Staff Notes • The 'Shroom Spotlight|
|Features||Fake News • Fun Stuff • Palette Swap • Pipe Plaza • Critic Corner • Strategy Wing|