The Ida Story was originally designed for the official AJ blog, the Daily Explorer. It’s sort of “Beta Testing” for my ideas, so I would appreciate any comments you may have.
The cast of characters
Okay… Today… was crazy. I jumped off a waterfall, fought ten Phantoms at once, and I missed lunch on top of that!
I, being me: Ida. Well, Infinity Daisyanimal, but it’s Ida for short. Maybe you’ve seen me around Jamaa; I wear Rare Ram Horns, carry a Rare Longbow and I’m magenta with a darker underbelly and light pink leopard print. And… oh, right! I’m a Snow Leopard. 😛
I live in Jamaa Township with Explorer Firstmoon. “Who is he?” I here you asking. Well, he’s my dad. ‘Cept he’s an Artic Wolf. I think it’s kinda obvious now that I’m adopted. 😛
He found me about two years ago. I had no memory of anything that had happened to me before and was scared out of my spots! It’s a long story. Suffice it to say, Bigfoot was involved.
Nobody could really figure out what to do with me, so in the meantime I became a bit of an apprentice to him. It took time, like most things do. After many adventures together, we realized that we were family and always would be. Life’s been pretty great since. 😀
We are special agents. The Alphas call him when there’s trouble. Needless to say, we spend a lot of time fighting Phantoms. Chapter two will be about a particular time… I remember it like it was yesterday… mostly because it was today!
It was this morning when I woke up to the smell of breakfast. I wasn’t in my room. Where was I? Oh yeah. The middle of nowhere in the woods. Explorer was making breakfast over a campfire.
I haven’t really described him, have I? He’s two shades of caramel, and he wears Rare Dual Samurai Swords. It’s hard to describe his personality in words. He’s brave and tough, but not cold or hard. He’s kind and gentle, but still so strong. I guess that’s what it means when they say someone has a heart of gold. 🙂 He has a smile that makes you want to laugh, and he gives the best hugs in the universe. I love him more than anything in Jamaa. Is it any wonder? 😛
Well, back to breakfast. I stretched and yawned. “Morning.”
As we ate, we discussed our plans to locate the Phantom Compass, the object that combines with the Phantom Beacon to show the Phantom Fortress’ exact location. Just when we had finished, guess what came through the bushes? Yup. Phantoms.
We put up a fight, but there were many. I heard a grunt, and my heart skipped a beat as I saw Explorer fall, shocked from behind. ZAP!! That was the last thing I heard. Then everything went black.
“I’ll find you. I promise you. I’ll find you.”
My legs were powerful, but my attacker’s were agile. Her lithe body flipped and bounded off rocks with skill surprising in one so young. Not that she was that much younger than me, but I had years of field training. Impressive.
*Slash* I evaded her blade several times. A Rare Longbow was little help in close combat, but I couldn’t spare the time to change. *Snick* I lost a bit of fur off my tail! That did it!
Meanwhile… The Phantoms moved on down the passageway.
Explorer and Swimming came out of hiding and looked at each other curiously.
Phantoms go bowling? Bet that would be news to Greely.
Quickly, they hurried down the dark, creepy hallway, searching for both other Jammers held captive and for a way out of the prison.
Opening doors, they found a storeroom…
A gigantic generator…
A secretary’s office? The Phantom at the desk looked up from typing and squinted at them through her glasses. Explorer slammed the door before she had a chance to focus.
Swimming sighed in relief, then coughed. He still wasn’t over breathing the dust of defeated Phantoms.
“Close one,” Explorer said, and they walked on.
The next door they peeped through led to an enormous room. Trays and trays of purple powder lined long tables as far as he eye could see.
Every so often, a tray would start to shake. Harder and harder, then suddenly; *ShbloopPOP!*
With a weird noise, the dust re-formed into a Phantom! It made its way – *squish* *squish* – to some vacuum tubes in the wall, and was sucked away to parts unknown.
The amazed duo moved on, wondering: What else about Phantoms do we not know?
We stood there for a while looking at the smashed shards of the Phantom Crystal, our only link to my father. I leaned down slowly and picked up a few pieces.
“Okaaay… new plan.” It was time to get creative.
I put on my Mech Angel Wings again and plucked a feather out, then went back into my inventory and grabbed my white Ribbon Scarf. I had a ‘pen’ and ‘paper’, but was stuck for ink.
My eyes landed on the blackberry Pi Hat. Aha! I dipped the tip of the feather into the dripping, dark juice. Crude, but acceptable.
I scribbled a hasty note on the scarf and handed it to Crashing.
“Fly to Alpha HQ and ask for a Phantom Crystal from their storeroom. If they ask for identification, show them this. Daring and I will wait here for your return.”
Crashing gave me an incredulous look as he took the note. “You want me to walk up to the Alphas and ask for one of their crystals? That’s the most superfluous thing I’ve ever heard!”
“Redic– Crashing!! Just… trust me on this. Okay? Please hurry.”
“Ohh, okay….” He took off.
Daring looked at me like ‘Who do you think you are?’
We sat down to wait.
Meanwhile… *squish squish* *squish squish* Not again!
Explorer and Swimming hid behind more conveniently placed Phantom Pods. One Phantom came through the hallway, murmuring to itself,
“Could sleep through a hurricane, huh? Well, you weren’t there, were you, Phil?”
It was Harry, who was going to help with ‘The Plan’! And he was headed in the exact opposite direction from the one that the find-the-Phantoms team took!
What was there to do? Either ‘The Plan’ and the exit were in the same direction, or the other team would eventually find a way out in the direction they had taken.
Their opportunity could not be lost.
Sneakily… quietly… they followed Harry… following twisted corridors, passing many doors, until they finally reached one marked “LABORATORY”.
Harry opened it, and the duo saw many machines with blinking sensors, menacing lasers, and evil-looking pointy parts.
A Phantom in a welding mask was bending over a small object it was ‘zapping’.
Harry entered. “Hey, we made any progress wrecking that thing?”
The other pushed up its mask and responded, “Kinda. This is starting to scratch it.”
The laser was raised, revealing the object to be the Phantom Compass.
Crashing Wingedbird was a Falcon. Faster than fast, quicker than quick!
Except in a strong headwind. Flying got to be hard work then! Hard as nails, he said later. Was I going to waste my breath telling him that meant a different kind of hard? Nope.
After a good cardio workout, he saw Alpha HQ, and came in for a landing. He moved around the courtyard, calling’
“Um, hello? Anyone there?”
All was empty, with the wind blowing.
Out of nowhere, Greely leaped on Crashing! Easily five times smaller, Crashing was pinned to the ground effortlessly by the terrifying Wolf Alpha!
“What are you doing here?” he growled in a horrible voice.
“Let him go, Greely,” a cheerful female voice piped up. “It’s probably the pizza I ordered!”
“Then where’s the pizza?” A much deeper voice cut in as Sir Gilbert and all the Alphas came on to the scene.
“Ph-Ph-Phantom Crystal!” Crashing stammered out. “We need one! From the storeroom!”
“Phantom Crystal?” Cosmo said.
“Can he be serious?” Greely asked scornfully, as he took the crumpled scarf from Crashing’s talon.
Liza looked over and read the crude scrawl aloud: “Yes, Greely, I’m serious. – Ida.”
Meanwhile… Explorer Firstmoon saw the Phantom Compass, the object he and Ida were searching for before their capture.
“What is it?” Swimming Arcticmajor asked.
“Something we have got to get,” Explorer said as he crept closer and hid beside the door.
*BUZZZZZZ!* The Phantoms seemed happy to hear the discordant sound.
“C’mon, Harry,” the Phantom with the laser said. “Coffee’s on me. We’re gonna need it. Long night ahead of us….” Their voices trailed off down the corridor. Explorer peeped in the laboratory. The coast was clear.
Not long afterwards, the duo was hurrying down the hallway with the Compass securely stashed in Explorer’s inventory. Quickly and quietly, they sped on their way back to the prisoners. They needed to report to Hudson.
Rounding a corner, they came face-to-face with the warriors in charge of finding out the Phantoms plans! Initially, both groups were startled at the others sudden appearance. The still-unidentified prison was like a maze.
Breathing heavily, the Llama in charge said, “We found a portal.”
“And we found a project,” replied Explorer.
“They’re not going to be finishing it anytime soon, right, Explorer?” Swimming cut in.
“What?!” hissed the Llama. “That was not your mission! Recon! Non-interference!” She was pretty ticked for someone who hadn’t completed her mission, either. “Come on. We’re going to find Hudson.”
Explorer, Swimming and a Lnyx all made their way after her down the passage.
Daring and I waited for Crashing’s return, my Otter friend still dubious of any influence I had with the Alphas. To be honest, so was I.
I do spend a fair amount of time around them, but would they listen to me – pay attention to a scribble on a scarf from the apprentice/daughter of one of their agents? Admittedly, their best agent, but I was still worried.
No, worried wasn’t the word. I was tense? No. Stressed? Better… I was jump-out-of-my-skin antsy. Yeah, that’s about it. I had to move, move now, or – well, there just wasn’t another option.
As I paced madly, my paws ground the Phantom dust scattered in piles across a large expanse of grass. My tail twitched and waved like a flag as I countered my own thoughts.
I knew some of the Alphas pretty well; Barrett the Polar Bear Alpha, for one. I knew enough of Greely to write the message that I did, but what if he wasn’t prowling around on guard right then? Or worse, what if he did get the message but hadn’t respond as I expected? That would really hurt its credibility.
“Would you chill out?” Daring.
Normally I would have jumped at a sudden voice, but my own thoughts were loud enough. I didn’t say anything.
The Phantom dust ground beneath my feet and between my toes. Wildly, I flicked it off, having had enough.
I went to a nearby tree with large leaves and took one. Using it as a dustpan, I scraped the dust into it and carried it a long distance away, clearing the field. Or at least I started. I had a lot of work to do.
Meanwhile… Explorer Firstmoon and Swimming Arcticmajor (along with an unnamed Lynx) followed an equally anonymous Llama warrior back to the group of prisoners, to tell them the good news about the escape route.
They found Hudson still keeping order among the large crowd of captives.
“A portal? Good. We have to move soon, the Phantoms could be back at any time.”
They formed the escapees into a loose kind of platoon, placing four warriors each in front and in the rear.
Every passageway looked the same. Swimming whispered,
“Can I see the compass?”
Explorer handed it to him. “Weird.” Swimming shook it. “It doesn’t seem to be working.”
Amazingly, the group reached their goal unseen by Phantom eyes. The portal stood in the middle of the room.
“What?! It was functioning when I left it,” spat the Llama, incredulous.
Every Jammer crowded inside as whispers raced around like electricity.
“What do we do?”
“The Phantoms are gonna catch us!”
“The portal’s dead!”
A screeching alarm startled everyone, and a voice blared from unseen loudspeakers.
“Attention all Phantoms; Red Alert! Security breach, prisoner escape in quadrant B! Attention all Phantoms; Red Alert! Security breach, prisoner…”
The tension in the crowd turned to outright panic. Over the noise, Hudson shouted,
“Explorer, get to the portal! See what you can do!”
Explorer’s reputation for inventiveness sometimes led to big expectations. Still, you never know till you try.
Suddenly, shouts of alarm came from the warriors at the back of the group.
The Phantoms had arrived.
All the Phantom dust was clear, and I felt a little better. I was too tired to pace, anyways.
“Come on, Crashing! Where are you?”
Now Daring seemed to be getting impatient. I dropped down on my stomach and waited, my tail swishing in time to an unheard
“There he is!”
At Daring’s call, I bolted upright and scanned the horizon. Sure enough, Crashing came into view, and several other flying animals with him!
“Has he got it?” I asked.
“I can’t see,” Daring responded.
As the troop of flyers landed on the now-clean field, I identified several faces that I couldn’t place names with, and Valentina the Eagle Alpha.
She was easy enough to remember with her black and hot pink feathers, Spiked Mohawk, and pierced beak.
“Awright, Jammers!” Her screech cut through the air. “You know the drill! Secure the area, clear all poison dust!”
I half-raised my paw. “Ah, done.”
Her face lit in recognition. “Ida! Long time no see!” Her volume stayed raised, like she was talking from a concert stage. She flew over my head and grazed my ear with closed talons.
“Rockin’ message you sent to Greely. You nailed ‘im!”
“Heard you needed a Phantom Crystal,” she gestured to Crashing, who held one. He was clearly proud of his accomplishments, and held it like a trophy.
All thoughts faded except for my mission. I glanced at the sun. It was starting to sink through the trees. A whole day gone… No more time could be lost.
“Crashing!” I pointed to the crystal-shaped hole at the top of the portal. “Can you put it in!”
The words were a request, but the urgency of my tone made it more of a command.
Crashing flew to the top of the portal. As he inserted the purple activator, I held my breath and steeled myself for whatever lay on the other side.
Hudson raced off to join the defending forces, shouting over his shoulder, “Portal! Now!”
Reluctantly, Explorer turned away from the battle and moved to the portal. He knew that there was precious little time that could be bought for him.
In a moment, Swimming was at his side. “Excuse me, sir!” His words were tinged with a military tone, so that you almost expected him to salute. “I have some experience with portals!”
Which was more than Explorer had. His large caramel paw pushed Swimming forward. “Go for it.”
Swimming led the way to a panel at the base of the structure and took off the lid. They both stared down at the complex tangle of wires and switches.
“Uh-oh,” Swimming groaned.
“Uh-oh?” Explorer echoed.
“Apparently, Phantom portals are different.”
Explorer exhaled, then spoke calmly. “Okay. They can’t be entirely different. Concentrate on the parts that look the same.”
“Nothing looks the same!”
Explorer analyzed the machinery. “This looks like a fuse….” He put his paw on it. But before he could do anything, the the portal suddenly started functioning!
“Hey! You fixed it!”
“I didn’t….” Explorer shook his head, then sprang into action. “Get everyone through the portal.”
As Swimming began to herd civilians to safety, explorer headed towards Hudson and joined the fray.
Crashing inserted the Phantom Crystal into the portal. The tension mounted as Daring, Valentina and the rest of the backup squad sent by the Alphas all gathered around.
As if pulled by by a magnetic force, the crystal slipped into place. As it bonded with the giant machine, a halo of glowing light appeared around it.
The portal leaped to life, shimmering swirls obscuring our destination on the other side. Suddenly, A Bunny came rocketing through the portal!
He bounded right past me, and was followed by countless others, all pouring through in waves. I stood with my mouth open, probably looking really dumb. At any rate, I was dumbfounded. Where did all these Jammers come from?
Pushed back by the flow of the crowd, I gazed around in wonder. My eyes caught a flash of golden Samurai Swords against brown fur.
He saw me. “Ida!”
I ran and jumped on him. He wrapped me in one of his huge hugs, practically smothering me. Not that I cared. I could have stayed there forever.
“Where were you?” I was gonna ask him the same thing, but it was hard with a snoutful of sword-belt buckle.
“Precious!” A voice from behind Explorer rang out over the commotion.
“Daddy!” I jerked my head up in time to see Precious Daringotter fling herself into Hudson’s outstretched paws.
“Daddy??” I looked at Explorer blankly. Well, that explains a few things….”
I am sitting here by a fire to write this report. We have decided to make camp by the portal (now deactivated) so that all the liberated prisoners can rest before making the journey back to Jamaa’s towns.
As it turns out, Precious Daringotter is the youngest daughter of the Otter Alpha, Hudson. She neglected to mention this fact because she wished to complete a warrior’s quest in her own right. (And just like her, too.)
There is the explanation of her exceptional fighting skill; her father’s training, plus her own natural tenacity.
Oh, and I’ve just overheard the name of the Llama warrior! It’s Baroness Hikingllama.
Explorer has told Hudson about the Phantom Compass (there wasn’t time before) and Valentina is taking a full report back to Alpha HQ.
I expect that we will soon be part if a new mission, the location of the Phantom Fortress. 😀 I’m really excited!
Swimming Arcticmajor and I have become friends. He has decided to go by his initials as well. S.A.M. has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?
I gotta go. Crashing is telling our side of the story all wrong. XD Once I set the record straight, this goes to Alpha HQ with Valentina.
Until next time,