The Return of Winifred

By Jareth

Chapter Twenty: Purple Power

“Right this way!” Professor Nimnul commanded as he led the Rangers though the tangle of spider webs and dust inside his “Backup laboratory”.

“Okay Nimnul, we’re— *cough cough inside now,” Chip coughed as he brushed some spider webs aside, “so tell us what your plan is!”

“NO!” Professor Nimnul snapped without slowing down. “As I said before, I’ll tell you once we’re inside.”

“We are!” Everyone shouted in unison.

Professor Nimnul stopped and turned around. “My lab is in back! I’ll tell you the plan when we get there!” He snapped, sounding a bit frustrated. Professor Nimnul then continued his hurried walk towards the back of the factory.

Sparky looked around skeptically at the dusty jungle of conveyer belts and mechanical arms. “Fifty dollars says he has no plan, and he’s going to kill us.” He whispered to Gadget as they resumed walking.”

“I don’t know Sparky,” Began Gadget “Professor Nimnul may be a bit insane, but think about it. Is killing us really in his favor right now!?”

“That depends,” Answered Sparky “Is committing acts of evil in anyone’s favor right now?”

Gadget didn’t respond as a semi-worried look began to creep across her face.

Sparky noticed this and quickly (but unsuccessfully) tried to alter the conversation. “By the way,” He continued, “I think that calling Professor Nimnul a bit insane is a severe understatement.”

“A bit insane?!” Bellowed Monty. “He’s a bloomen lunatic.”

Sparky was about to add something to Monty’s comment, but was interrupted by Professor Nimnul. “Here we are!” Professor Nimnul shouted, stopping and raising his hands above his head. “My backup laboratory!”

Sparky and the Rangers looked around at the sight that lay before them. They had all expected a bunch of test tubes balanced on the old factory equipment; laboratory equipment built into the old factory equipment at most, but in fact, it was noting like the rest of the factory at all. It was almost as if this section of the factory had been gutted and rebuilt. At the far wall, stood an enormous mass of wires, connected to what appeared to be a giant vertical rubber pad. To the left, was the quintessential mass of tubes, Bunsen burners, and beakers. To the right, stood a long, tall, row of supply cabinets, completely covering the walls. Next to those, was a giant sheet that was obviously shrouding something big.

“Well?” Professor Nimnul asked proudly, sticking out his chest. “What do you think? Too much?”

“MIT was far superior to this atrocity.” Sparky commented just loudly enough for Professor Nimnul to hear. Sparky knew very well from Professor Nimnul’s ramblings that MIT was one of the first universities to laugh at his work.

“What!?” Professor Nimnul shouted angrily, turning is attention to Sparky. “How dare you insult—”

“HEY!” Shouted Chip. “We don’t have time for this! We’re finally here, so can you just tell us what your plan is… that is, if you have one?”

“Ah yes, that. Wait here a moment, will you?” Professor Nimnul said hastily as he ran over to the cabinets at the far right of the lab. With that, he flung open a cabinet and began rummaging through it. After around three minutes, he finally reemerged, holding a small turquoise bottle with a faded red label. “YES!” he shouted, triumphantly holding up the small bottle as he ran the bottle back over to the Rangers.

“Well?” Chip asked impatiently.

“This,” Professor Nimnul said proudly “with the exception of the Human Hunter 8000, is my greatest creation to date.” He bent down, proudly flashing the small bottle for all to see.

“What is it?” Dale asked curiously.

“AH!” Professor Nimnul shouted excitedly. “I thought you’d never ask! Watch closely now, heh heh.” Professor Nimnul began to walk to the very back of the lab, next to the large rubber pad. “This,” He began, when he reached the pad, “is a strength tester.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “It measures one’s strength.”

“We’re not stupid you know.” Sparky mumbled bitterly.

“Ah, yes…” Professor Nimnul stammered. “Of course, heh heh. Anyhow, the average human being would score a fifty on this thing. Observe.” With that, Professor Nimnul proceeded the punch the pad, making a soft tapping noise and causing the digital readout next to it to cycle for a moment before stopping at the number, 10.

Everyone (with the exception of Professor Nimnul) doubled over with laughter at the professor’s incredibly low score. “Ha ha, I thought ol’ Normie would get at least a twenty, but a ten?!” Dale cried in between laughs.

“Too right!” Monty choked in between laughs. “But I was guess’n around five!”

Even Zipper was laughing at him!

“S-stop laughing at me!” Professor Nimnul shouted angrily, but to no avail. It was like his high school gym class all over again, only without the towel whippings. “I’ll… I’ll make you stop laughing! Watch this!!!” With that, Professor Nimnul popped the lid off of the small bottle and emptied the contents (a single clear purple pill) into his hand. He then flipped the pill into the air and swallowed it. “Hey you stupid little rodents!” He shouted, winding up a fist. “Watch this!” With all his might, Professor Nimnul struck the pad a second time, sending a deafening pounding noise echoing throughout the entire factory. However, this time, the readout was not a pathetic 10, but an astounding 12,500,000!

Everyone immediately stopped laughing, and starred at the readout in shock as the echo faded.

“That shut you up.” Professor Nimnul said firmly. He paused for a moment to memorize the unforgettable look of shock on everyone’s face. “Twelve point five million is a lot stronger than most battering tanks. Actually, it’s a lot stronger than anything, living or mechanical!” He said proudly

“Wh… What was that stuff.” Chip stammered, still in disbelief.

“That,” Professor Nimnul announced proudly “is a little substance I like to call: Strong Tendon Enhancing Nitro Carbon Hydrolyser.”

“STENCH?” Foxglove asked, giggling.

“Yes, well… uh……… um…” Professor Nimnul trailed off. “Lets just call them Power Pills instead.”

“Hee hee,” Snickered Dale “P P.”

“Oh, would you grow up!?” Professor Nimnul shouted angrily. “Fine, they’re called Purple Power Pills! Let’s see you make an acronym out of that!” He challenged with a crazy look in his eyes, Glaring from Dale to Foxglove.

“It was just a joke.” Foxglove said softly in a nervous tone.

“Fine,” Dale said in their defense “no more acro… uh… Whatevers!

“Acronyms.” Chip corrected, putting his hand over his eyes and shaking his head.

“Yeah, those.” Continued Dale. “Just tell us how we’re gonna stop Freddie.”

“Very well.” Professor Nimnul said, still sounding agitated. “But if even one of you so much as snickers at me again, I’ll crush you all! Now,” Professor Nimnul continued, suddenly calming down, “These pills are made of a combination of very hard to find substances, many of which are illegal. Mainly, because they’re drugs”

“Why am I not surprised?” Mumbled Sparky.

“The exact combination of drugs is a secret, but when mixed correctly, they produce pure adrenaline!”

“So that’s how that pill made you so strong,” Said Gadget, now realizing exactly how the pills worked, “it pumped you full of adrenaline.”

“Yes,” Added Professor Nimnul “so full in fact, that your strength is increased over a million fold. One point twenty five million fold to be precise.”

“How many rats did you kill trying to get that formula right?” Sparky asked with a hint of anger.

“Around forty.” Professor Nimnul answered casually.

Sparky began to shake with anger. So much so, that Gadget had to put a reassuring hand on his shoulder to calm him down.

“However,” Continued Professor Nimnul, “There are draw backs to taking these.”

“Like what?” Asked Chip.

“Well for example,” Answered Professor Nimnul “The strength boost lasts only twenty minutes. Also, because the body can only take so much adrenaline at once, after the twenty minutes, the user becomes extremely exhausted, like you’ve run around the world five times. After that, the user can’t take another Pill for three days.”

“What happens if they do?” Asked Monty.

Professor Nimnul paused before answering. “They die.” He said more than seriously.

“Die?” Foxglove asked, horrified.

“Yes,” answered Professor Nimnul “die. That’s why I needed you for his. A tower that size would take far more than twenty minutes to reach the top, and there’s sure to be obstacles on the way up that would require immense strength to over come. Especially little Freddie’s pets, Jamba and Darien.”

“But they’re just a bat and a fox. Why would you need Purple Power Pills to get by them?” Dale asked quizzically.

“Didn’t you hear what Freddie said?” Asked Professor Nimnul. “While nowhere near her in strength, their power is still considerable? I’m willing to bet that Freddie transferred some of her powers to them.”

“Wait.” Interjected Gadget. “The last time we went up against Darien, we knocked him out cold.”

“Yeah,” Added Monty “E’ didn’t seem so tough.”

“We got him by surprise.” Sparky said seriously. “Who knows what he could’ve done if we had given him a chance to fight back.”

Everyone remained silent for a moment.

“How do we take those things?” Foxglove asked, breaking the silence.

“Yeah,” added Dale “they’re huge!”

“I’ll get into that later,” Professor Nimnul said abruptly “because right now, I’m all out.” He said, shaking the empty bottle.

“So, just make more.” Chip suggested.

“Well,” Professor Nimnul said slowly. “You see… I’m all out of the ingredients.”

“You’re what?” Everyone shouted in unison.

“All out.” Professor Nimnul repeated. “Not only that, but the equipment to make them is lost somewhere in there.” He said, pointing to the row of towering cabinets to the far right of the room. “My crystal grinder, my funnels, my electro mixer, all hidden amongst the thousands of tools in there.”

“Oh no!” Dale Shouted. “What are we gonna do?”

“Well…” Professor Nimnul said slyly, as if he had known that this would happen, “Six of you will have to go into the city to get the ingredients, while one of you stays behind to help me find my tools. I’d go myself, but because I took the pill, in fifteen more minutes, I’ll be too tired to move.”

“What!” Chip shouted with alarm and surprise. “Into that madness!? We’d all be killed!”

“But Chip,” Gadget protested, “If we don’t, billions will die.”

“Gadget’s right Chip.” Added Sparky. “If we don’t get the ingredients, our city will eventually be pulled and we’ll all die anyways.”

“I’m not disagreeing with her!” Chip said in protest. “I’m just saying that it’s going to be dangerous!”

“Well count me in!” Bellowed Monty.

“Me too!” Dale said firmly

“Me three!” Foxglove said, to her (and everyone else’s) surprise.

“Are ya sure Foxy?” Dale asked concernedly. “It could get pretty nasty.”

“Yes.” Foxglove said with certainty. “I can’t just hang upside-down while the world blows up. Plus, if anything were to happen to you…”

“Wowie,” Exclaimed Dale “you sure are brave.”

“Not as brave as you cutie.” Foxglove answered coyly.

“Well,” Said Chip “if Foxglove is going, who’s going to stay behind?” Foxglove volunteering to go into the madness had really taken Chip by surprise. He was expecting her to be the one staying behind.

Zipper made an “I’ll do it!” noise

“It’s settled then.” Said Chip, repeating the plan for clarity. “Sparky, Foxglove, Monterey, Dale, Gadget, and I are going into the city, and Zipper’s going to stay behind and help Nimnul find his tools.”

“Excellent!” Said Professor Nimnul. “ With his size, he can climb through the piles of tools and locate the right ones.”

“Sounds like a plan.” Monty said unsurely. He then leaned over to Chip. “You sure Zippa’s gonna be alright with that nut?”

“I don’t think he’s going to try anything. It’s just not in his favor right now.” Chip answered confidently.

“Well, if you say so mate.” Monty replied uneasily.

“So what are we looking for, and where do we find it?” Chip asked, looking up at Professor Nimnul.

“Luckily,” Answered Professor Nimnul “all the ingredients are in one place. The area behind the Happy Tom Cat Food factory.”

“Great.” They all mumbled (with the exception of Foxglove and Sparky).

“I take it you dislike cats?” Asked Professor Nimnul.

“Just one.” Answered Chip.

“Right, anyways,” Continued Professor Nimnul, here’s the list of items.” He handed the large receipt sized list to Chip, who had to spread his arms out to hold it. “There should be a Chinese guy with a goatee behind the factory. Tell him, Norman sent you.”

Chip looked over the list and smiled.

“What’s so funny Chip?” Asked Gadget

Chip laughed a little before answering. “Nothing, it’s just that the very drugs the government’s been trying to get rid of for years are the same ones that might save the entire world. It’s just kind of ironic.”

Gadget smiled. “I guess that is pretty ironic.” She said, slightly laughing.

“Come on mates!” Monty called, motioning to the exit. “No time to waste!”

Next chapter

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