Operation Snowstorm, Chapter Three: Showdown at the Cove

ALASKA, CP Army Hub Headquarters, Original Stories Office
–  The Army Hub presents to you the third chapter of the original story written by Scorpion Demon: Operation Snowstorm.

Chapter Three: Showdown at the Cove

The eastern part of the island was home to a wonderful place that was frequently visited by large groups of penguins. It was popularly known as the Cove, owing to the presence of a small inlet to the blue sea. This was a surfer’s haven, and at all times of the day, you could see them showing off their skills on the large waves that hit the coast at some distance from the cove, or repairing and buying boards at the shack. Other than the surfers, there were also groups of friends that visited the campfire that was always burning at the edge of the small beach. There were logs arranged for them around the fire to sit such that they could see each other without much effort. It was one of the best places to make new friends and relive memories with old ones.

Ria stood at the top of the stairs that descended to this place, staring into the emptiness which now engulfed the cove. She was dressed in a grey bodysuit, and had put on black boots to keep the cold away from her feet. The jet-packs that used to tow the surfers were long gone, leaving behind only the sun-bleached boat that hadn’t been used in years. There was no one to be seen anywhere. The waves crashed against the large rocks along the coast, oblivious to the absence of any sign of life. Nature had made a small attempt to fill the void, with some small bushes and young trees scattered around the place.

Ria sighed and lead her patrol down the stairs. ‘This place has never been so empty. This is all Blaine’s fault,’ she thought. The patrol assigned under her was quite large but none of them were even remotely interested in making small talk. All of them wore similar grey clothes. They had all been hypnotized long before, and would now do anything that Blaine or Ria told them to. She absolutely hated doing it though. The only reason she hadn’t tried to escape was her brothers, who had decided to support that tyrant to fulfill their own hunger for power. She knew that if she left, they would be punished once Blaine had received what he needed from them, and she could never do that to them. But as she walked down the path to the Cove, she wondered if it was worth the pain. Her eye-piece made part of her vision tinted blue, which had taken quite some time to get used to.

‘If only I could successfully capture those rebels, he’d let me go, for sure…’ she thought. Making up her mind to focus on her job, she gave a command to increase speed, and paced towards the center of the cove. There was no one in sight, and she reported back to Blaine through the phone she had been given beforehand that the cove was clear. Then she glanced up and muttered, ‘If only, once again, everything could be back to normal. I’d be glad even if one penguin showed up who is not hypnotized.’

Her wish came true. A bass horn blew in the distance, and at the same time, the trees and the bushes began rustling. Suddenly, it started snowing- but it was snowballs, not snowflakes, that began hitting her and the troops she had brought. At the same time, penguins began emerging from seemingly nowhere. They began grouping together even as the snowballs were making the penguins she was leading fall down, landing hard on the snow. Just as abruptly as it had begun, the snow stopped, finally giving her a chance to register what was going on.

Magnus glared at the blue penguin in front of him, a girl in grey clothes and brown hair. “Surrender now, whoever you are. As you can see, we have surrounded you, and you have absolutely no chance of winning this one.” “In your dreams, agent.” Ria replied, impressed by the audacity of this penguin. “This leaves nothing but, ATTACK!” All of them began picking up snowballs and aiming them to sail straight towards the faces of their enemies. Ria screamed, “Don’t let them hit you! Run straight towards the stairs to escape!” This resulted in some penguins running straight towards Magnus’s group, and ended up getting hit twice, falling hard into the snow, overwhelmed by the attack. But a small group still managed to slip through the gaps.

Ria yelled in triumph as she thought the plan was working. Her spirits were crushed when one of the penguins got up and said, “What was that? Where am I? What’s going on!!!” Too late, she realized that the snowballs were making them break through the hypnosis. Yelling in defiance, she ran over to a penguin who had fallen, and used her eye-piece on him. Then she said, “Cover me!!”, and moved from one to another, slowly getting more and more penguins back to her command. Ian realized what was happening and yelled, “We need to shoot faster!” Bruce had hit two penguins at once, but failed to cover the penguins who had escaped. “They’ll be bringing more of them soon, Magnus.” Magnus gritted his teeth as he continued throwing snowballs, but Ria had already gotten most of their successful hits back. She glanced at the boat lying unprotected in the water.

Zebra realized what was going to happen. “The boat! They’re gonna try to escape through it”, she screamed. But Ria and her troops were already moving. Magnus glanced on helplessly as they charged the thin, dispersed line around the boat. The penguins in the way had to scramble to avoid the stampede, as they took seconds to get into the craft. Ria gunned the engine, laughing in realization of victory. Then the engine spluttered, and came to a halt. Perplexed, she looked and saw that the fuel gauge showed “Empty”. A voice laughed behind her and she spun around, to see another blue penguin peering at her through humorous eyes. “Looking for something?” he mocked, waving a can of fuel at her. Magnus laughed and said, “Time to finish this.” The last thing Ria saw was a snowball sail too fast for her to dodge, hit her eye-piece and then she blacked out.

The moon lay heartbroken as his shine was blurred out by clouds spanning the sky. A crushing silence hung in the air. An uncomfortable thought entered Zebra’s mind, ‘ The quiet before the storm.’ She hastily put it away and focused on her job. Peering through the trees, she could see two silhouettes in the dark, facing away from the dumpy-looking building. She wondered how she had gotten herself into that situation. The answer, of course, lay in her own impulsiveness that had lead her to volunteer to spy on the Everyday Phoning Facility building.

Early that morning, she had been woken up by the sound of muffled footsteps outside the tent she was sleeping in. She picked up a torch and crept outside, careful not to alert anyone who might be listening. She had hardly stepped some paces when a flipper tapped her shoulder. She spun wildly, ready to slam the torch into the head of whoever it was, but some hint of recognition made her stop. It was Magnus, cowering to avoid her swing with the torch. “What the heck do you think you are doing?” she whispered fiercely. “I could ask you the same question, but I’m sure you were also awakened by those footsteps.” That brought the original motive of her excursion back into her mind. “Yeah, let’s follow whoever it was before they get away.”

They both had walked together to the edge of the clearing they were in, to find a familiar dark blue penguin staring into the forest. “Bruce, what are you doing here?” Magnus asked, surprised. “Oh!” he exclaimed, jumping in what seemed to be fear, which was weird, because he was never afraid. Zebra noticed a tone of worry in his voice as he talked. “I couldn’t sleep, so I came out here to watch the sunrise.” “Bruce, is anything bothering you?” she asked him. “You should tell us, brother.” Magnus added. Bruce, hesitant at first, told them about a dream he had about Gary, Dot, and Blaine. Zebra felt that he hadn’t told them the whole of what he had seen, but he was looking so disturbed that she decided to leave it alone. On their way back to the camp Magnus tried to convince him that they would be fine, but to no avail.

On entering her tent, she at once had realized that it had been intruded by someone. A large yellow paper was lying stuck to her notepad and when she picked it up, the writing on it was so bad that she almost couldn’t make out what was written. It was some sort of message telling her to be alert and safe, and a circular object- a contact lens- had been holding the paper down. It had a blue tint, so she decided to show it to Magnus first. They tried it on, and except making their pupils look blue, it did nothing. Zebra decided to keep it.

Before their skirmish at the Cove, they had held a meeting to decide who would be doing what. In the conversation, Magnus had discussed a plan to infiltrate the Elite Penguin Force so they could recover their equipment and free the agents who had been caught. But he needed someone to scout the battlefield first. Bruce was in no condition to be left alone, while Ian and the others would be busy with handling any officers of Blaine they managed to confront. Just as he had been about to trash the idea itself, Zebra had volunteered to do the job, despite protests from everyone.

Now she found herself staring at the building, scanning for security, and perhaps some clue of Blaine or any Elite Penguin Force agent being there. But besides the two guards, there was nothing. Feeling uncomfortable by the eerie atmosphere, she decided to end her observation there and make her way back to the camp.

Come back next week for Chapter Four.

What did YOU think of Chapter Three? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below!

Scorpion Demon

CP Army Hub Story Writer

One Response

  1. love it


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