Friday, May 27, 2016

2. EARTHLINGS IN NOOTRA

2. EARTHLINGS IN NOOTRA

Zach, Ryan, Alan and Noah secretly embarked on a risky journey aboard the shuttle RM XIX that left Earth and their home city Aven and took them to space. They were glad to live one of their biggest dreams as they found themselves out of Earth’s gravitational force field. But an accident occurred on the way, throwing out of the shuttle into outer space. Supernaturally, they were transported to a world where they met Denver, the Last Dinosaur, and his companions, Wally, Shades, Jeremy and Mario. These lived in a city called Nootra.

After accepting to help them, Denver and his friends were in a strait. They didn’t know how to get the Earthlings into the city without a certain bat uncovering them as extra-Nootrans. Wally suggested that the Earthlings be disguised as four teenaged football players of Nootra. Noah thus camouflaged as Benjamin, Zach as Cesare, Alan as Yann and Ryan as Papan.


The four Earthlings, led by Denver, Mario, Wally, Shades and Jeremy advanced towards the west gates of Nootra. As they approached the city, they sighted the shadow of the Dark Knight who, surprisingly, was guarding the city during the day. The Earthlings couldn’t contain their excitement when they recognized Batman from afar. He looked serious, quiet and meditative.

Zach: “So the bat you were referring to was actually Batman? Guys, this is really the world of cartoons.”

Ryan: “If only his designers could see this! They didn’t know they were giving life to someone when they conceived him.”

Noah: “He’s big and sturdy. The real Batman is way more imperial than he’s presented on Earth.”

Alan: “It appears he still has that flaw of his. I had hoped he’d be less sinister in another world.”

Ryan: “Always as cold and distant as we know him.”

Zach: “Not as we know him Ryan. What’s he doing here in broad daylight at the sight of everyone? Batman used to appear only at night like all bats do.”

Wally: “Hey, the Dark Knight is making a lot of efforts there. He’s trying to win the people’s trust. They used to doubt him because of his ways some call ‘weird’. He chose to work during the day to socialize with citizens. People can now talk to him without fear.”

Jeremy: “He’ll need time to get accustomed to this new life. He still remains mysterious to many though he’s doing his best to please everybody.”

Alan: “Tell me about it. I can feel a coldness coming from him even from this distance. If I had the chance, I would tell him one or two things that would erase that proud look from his face. That guy thinks he knows everything and doesn’t want to fellowship with his friends.”

Shades: “Calm down dude. What’s the big deal? Why are you so agitated because of him?”

Mario: “Ha, ha, ha. Like the other big guy, you too have a bone to pick with him, right?”

Zach: “Batman is a favourite of Alan but he can’t stand his ways.”

Alan: “Zach, number one, he isn’t my favourite and number two, you didn’t have to say that in front of everybody.”

Mario: “Now we’re getting close. Try not to look at him.”

Noah: “I meet Batman and you tell me not to look at him? Im-pos-si-ble.”

Jeremy: “Try to behave like the people you’re wearing. Some have nothing you can call ‘tender’ in them. If you act otherwise, Batman will unmask you and arrest you.”

Shades: “Nice work Jeremy. Of all the people in Nootra, you had to choose the images of those hot-tempered guys to camouflage the aliens with.”

Jeremy: “It’s because they’re the only ones out of town at this hour, and these guys have the same shape and height like them. I wanted to do something convincing, not just anything the Dark Knight would uncover from afar. Remember, he’s a detective.”

Wally: “It’ll work Shades. Earthlings, just try to be normal if you can’t imitate the players. I think they’ll be no problem since Batman himself wants no clash with citizens.”

Batman was standing on top of the gates with his arms folded and he looked at the nine children as they approached. Fixing them with a gaze, he lifted up a hand and waved at them from afar. He opened the gates and raised his white eyes to the sky. He was admiring some birds that had first rested on his shoulders that also flew away when he shook.

Noah: “He’s awesome, majestic; O my, he’s...”

Mario: “Too common. Come on; it’s only Batman. He’s posted here every day doing nothing.”

Zach: “Only Batman? Man, Batman is the beloved superhero of all-time.”

When Zach, Noah, Alan and Ryan were in proximity to the hero, they didn’t stop looking at him. Noah almost went out of control on crossing him but Denver warned her to keep her cool. The Earthlings were terribly excited about Batman and their attitude surprised the Nootrans. These whispered their doubts to each other on noticing the unrestrained keenness of their new friends for the caped hero.

Shades: “They’ll cause everything to fail.”

Wally (whispering to the Earthlings): “Snap out of it guys. Batman is no amateur.”

They had scarcely passed the gates when Batman, who had remained silent throughout, made a remark while keeping his eyes on the birds.

Batman: “What in Nootra have Benjamin and his teammates got to do with the Green Dino’s Band?”

The children panicked and opened their mouths and eyes wide, looking at each other. They quickly covered their mouths with their hands lest any suspicious sound should come out and betray them. Shades didn’t waste time to find some devious answer for the hero.

Shades: “We’re in the final so we’ve taken a liking for football lately. Our champions here were kind enough to give us some lessons. Bats, can’t you see our football? Denver, make a demonstration for our hero.”

Denver played with the ball and they all laughed as if what he was doing was funny. As they continued on their way, Batman, who now had his eyes on them, wondered aloud.

Batman: “This is also strange. How can Cesare be so nice? I don’t remember ever seeing you smile except after scoring a goal.”

Now that his eyes were on them, their hearts trembled. This time, it was Mario’s turn to trick the Dark Knight. He gave a series of mild slaps on the back of the pseudo-Cesare as he answered the inquisitor.

Mario: “Well, what do you know? Cesare finally understood that friendship was worth more than anything, isn’t it buddy?”

Zach didn’t like Mario’s ways so he stopped him before he did anything silly.

Zach: “Keep your hand to yourself.”

When they thought they were done with him, Batman called out.

Batman: “And how is it possible for Papan to be quiet? Who ever thought you would keep that mouth shut someday?”

Ryan didn’t panic but he found some words the true Papan would likely use to respond to what was said concerning his personality.

Ryan: “Well Mister, don’t think you know everything about people. I might talk a lot but I know how to keep quiet when I should. You’re the one who talk too much today batty.”

The Earthlings and their new friends outwitted Batman and crossed the city gates. They all breathed a sigh of relief once they accessed the city. Being far away from Batman’s sight and hearing, they could now unveil their indignation to one another. Mario, in particular, was furious at the way Zach reacted when he was doing his trick.

Mario: “What’s your problem arrogant punk? You nearly caused our plan to fail.”

Zach: “Sorry Mario but you shouldn’t have gone too far.”

Mario: “What do you mean by ‘gone too far’?”

Shades: “Batman would have unmasked us if it wasn’t for sheer luck. He’s a professional.”

Zach: “Professional? The whole thing stank and you call him a professional? This Batman of yours is nothing of the one I know.”

Alan: “He’s imposing alright but definitely as blind as a bat.”

Noah too was displeased with Ryan’s address to Batman. According to her, those were not the words to use in their first encounter with him.

Noah: “Batty? For heaven’s sake Ryan, what was that? I can’t believe you answered Batman so rudely. Did you forget he’s one of my favourites and Alan’s as well?”

Alan: “Keep me out of it. I enjoyed seeing us outsmart him. Who said he was the smartest brain in the world?”

Ryan: “I had to play the game Noah. Papan would be anything except polite.”

Noah: “What do you know about that? They may not be the same as in the cartoons.”

Jeremy: “What is this whole issue of cartoons? Who are these cartoons?”

Alan: “Cartoons and comics are series of drawings people use to make stories. We know all of you on Earth because people draw your images and give you your traits and peculiarities. We know that Jeremy is smart, that Wally loves animals, that Mario holds himself in high esteem and that Shades, well, Shades is just Shades.”

Mario: “Hey, that’s not true. Your cartoonists know nothing about me.”

Shades: “I’m just me and that suits me perfectly. Earth has represented me faithfully.”

Wally: “Unbelievable! You mean they know us on Earth and we’re famous? That I am a star there?”

Alan: “You can say so. You five are the protagonists of an animated show, Denver, the Last Dinosaur.”

Wally: “Why is Denver the last dinosaur? What was the motivation for giving the show such a name?”

Zach: “Dinosaurs are extinct on Earth. Wait a minute; do you mean dinosaurs are here?”

Jeremy: “If Denver is here, it goes without saying dinosaurs are here. Dinosaurs have their habitat in South Nootra.”

Noah: “How do you live with them? They’re supposed to be dangerous.”

Jeremy: “Not all dinosaurs are dangerous. You only have to look at Denver to know that. I wonder what happened on Earth for a species to get extinct.”

Noah: “Dinosaurs were extinct even before a man lived on Earth. But Earth isn’t worried about extinct species. We’re doing everything to preserve some endangered ones.”

Wally: “It would be horrible if a species disappeared. I hope you succeed in preserving your wildlife. They’re essential for the wellbeing of the natural environment.”

Shades: “Let’s leave wildlife aside and come back to this story of cartoons. One thing I don’t understand. How can your writers know things about us when they’ve never met us?”

Jeremy: “Can there be some sort of psychic connection between your world and ours so that people there conceive us exactly as we are?”

Ryan: “That would be intriguing. Well, even though many people know you on Earth, they doubt you exist for real.”

Mario: “Now listen to their tall story; taking us for drawings, comics; people giving us our qualities and personalities, and what else? We had better handed them over to Batman and the city forces.”

Shades: “Yea; their story sounds like a pack of lies.”

These comments from his companions angered Denver the dinosaur and he roared against Mario and Shades who quickly apologized.

Mario: “Sorry, sorry. Forget everything we just said.”

As the young Nootrans and their new friends advanced further into the city, they faced another difficulty on the way.

Alan: “Hey guys look; it’s Hawkeye.[1] Boy, this world is beyond all reasoning.”

Ryan: “I see empiricists who must renounce their concept.”

Wally: “Disaster number two. Hawkeye is an agent of NSF and his daughter Rain is a fan of Benjamin.”

Shades: “Listen now Earthies, don’t act overexcited as with Batman earlier. Noah, it’s time you put on Benjamin’s character.”

Hawkeye was on leave. He was spending the day with his little daughter who was disguised as Rain. Rain was fond of Nootra’s Wings football team and sighting Benjamin, she ran to him and asked for an autograph. Hawkeye also came near and greeted the children.

Hawkeye: “Hello champions. My daughter and I were in the stadium last night to see the match. You were fantastic.”

Noah (whispering to Jeremy): “What’s he talking about?”

Jeremy (whispering to Noah): “Yesterday were the semi-finals of the Nootra Tournament. The team of Benjamin, Nootra’s Wings, won and Benjamin scored two goals.”

Based on the information she received, Noah answered Hawkeye confidently.

Noah: “Thanks archer. It was no big deal. You know, I’m Benjamin and I score goals. Yes, yesterday I scored two. That was pretty cool, huh?”

Rain took out a picture of Benjamin from her sack and asked Noah to sign it. Noah first panicked but she quickly pulled herself together. She signed something and gave back to Rain her belongings.

Rain: “‘Blessed with all blessings in Him, Benjamin’? This is not your signature. I have several pictures you’ve signed. What’s this autograph?”

Noah: “I changed my signature yesterday night. You must be flexible kid. Don’t dwell on one thing. We’re going to win the final, right?”

Rain: “What happened to your voice Benjamin?”

Noah: “Papan forced me to drink some unhealthy juice this morning and it affected my voice.”

Rain started playing with the ball she had in her hands. Noah, who knew nothing about controlling a football, sensed a sweat drop from her face.

Rain: “Heh, heh, heh. Your second goal was terrific Benjamin. Can you show me how you did it?”

Noah: “By no means little girl. It’s my secret shot and nobody should copy it.”

Rain: “Then let’s play together for a while.”

Noah: “I’m tired. I’m just from training, you know. Why don’t you go get yourself an ice-cream over there?”

Rain: “Are you sure you’re Benjamin? Benjamin never turns down a football round. You’re a counterfeit. Dad, this is not Benjamin. He doesn’t have his signature, he won’t play with me and his voice is weird.”

Rain had trampled hard on Noah’s foot before going to cry to her dad. The children feared they were discovered but Hawkeye took his daughter’s remarks as a child’s tantrum.

Hawkeye: “Rain, Benjamin is really tired here. Understand he can’t play with you today. He’ll do so after the final. Ben, sorry for my daughter’s naughtiness. Well champions, good luck for the final.”

Hawkeye left with his daughter and the children were happy they escaped it, though narrowly. They continued on their walk through the city and as they penetrated the town from the West, the Earthlings were seized at each point by the incomparable beauty of Nootra.

Noah: “The city of Nootra is as beautiful as those beautiful places you only see in cartoons. This is the place I’ve always wanted to be.”

Wally: “It’s true this city is unique in several aspects. Nootra is a land where the city and the village converge; where the calm and the lively go together. It’s a melting pot of different structures. Everyone would find their taste here.”

Jeremy: “Nootra has a large number of neighbourhoods, each with its own features and characteristics. Some are highly advanced, others are mere villages with fields and farms; some are peaceful and quiet, others are noisy and heated. Each neighbourhood is open to all citizens.”

Shades: “I’m proud to belong here. This is the best place in the world.”

Alan: “Yea Shades; Nootra is literally a dreamland.”

Unfortunately, the Earthlings couldn’t contemplate the city any longer for they faced another problem. As they were moving along the road, they bumped into the true Cesare and Yann.

Mario: “Disaster number three. There’s a storm brewing.”

Cesare and Yann turned furious at the sight of their clones coming in the opposite direction. They stopped them on the spot and asked for an explanation.

Yann: “What’s going on here Wally? Who are these people, and why did you disguise them as us?”

Cesare was in no mood to wait for any explaining. He walked straight to Zach, the pseudo-Cesare, to fight him.

Cesare: “I don’t care who they are and if there’s one thing I can’t tolerate, it’s people playing ridiculous with my image.”

Wally: “Wait Cesare; it isn’t what you think. We have a good reason for doing this.”

Cesare: “Keep your good reason to yourselves Wally and his sorry band. It won’t work with me.”

Zach: “That’s also fine with me. I’ve always wanted to get that arrogance out of you. When you taste my fists, then you’ll learn a lesson pal.”

Cesare: “I’m not your pal. I’m the best football player in this city. Eric[2] will have to admit that sooner or later for I will score the winning goal in the final. But before that, I would have dealt with you impostor.”

Denver tried to rescue Zach from Cesare’s wrath but he had to stand back because of the fierce threats of the football player.

Cesare: “Stay out of this Denver if you don’t want any trouble. Otherwise, you’re the one who will suffer my rage. I’m not at all impressed that you’re a dinosaur. You don’t know what I’m capable of. I might tell Wally’s parents that he’s still keeping you.”

Jeremy: “No, you won’t do that Cesare. I forbid you from doing such a thing.”

Cesare: “So you’re the instigator of all this Jeremy? It serves you right.”

Mario tried to hold back Cesare and to dissuade him from executing the horrible threats he made.

Mario: “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Why are you always so angry? Do you have to take everything so seriously? We aren’t in a football match as far as I know. Yann, get him to listen to reason.”

Yann: “Not this time Mario; you guys have gone too far. There’s no reason using us for your silly jokes. It’s not because you can transform people into others that you’ll use our images for that.”

Shades: “Stand down men. What’s the issue? You can settle scores with your clones another day. We’re here on a secret mission from Captain Nootra himself. You won’t stand in his way, will you?”

Cesare: “Your lies are as hopeless as the players of the East Side whom we thrashed yesterday. Even if it did come from your Captain, he should know better than using me for his ridiculous caricature. This minion here will pay for his insolence.”

Zach: “I would apologize if I were you Cesare. Zach will take in no more insults from your pathetic self devoid of honour.”

Cesare: “So little Zachary has vocabulary. Let’s settle this here and now.”

Zach: “My pleasure. If I beat you, you leave Denver and his friends alone. Have you got me?”

Cesare: “You’ll have to beat me first and I doubt you can. And you’re not the one to set the rules in the first place but I’ll abide by them ’cause you’re going to lose.”

Zach: “It’s you who say so Cesare, but I’ll prove you the contrary.”

As Cesare and Zach were preparing to fight each other, Yann walked to Alan, the pseudo-Yann, to sort him out.

Alan: “Cool down dude. I can’t fight you back.”

Yann: “You should have thought about that when masking as me. Now it’s too late.”

Alan: “I’m not trying to avoid fighting you Yann; you’ll have an opponent. I ask my champion to fight in my place.”

Ryan stepped in as the substitute of Alan.

Yann: “It’s him your champion? You should have chosen someone heftier.”

Ryan: “Yann, I used to think you smarter but I see hanging around with Cesare made you as mean as him. If you want to fight, I’m your man.”

Without saying any more words, Yann released his grip on Alan and went for Ryan. Noah, who had been passively watching the scene, deplored the unfolding of things. She cried to her companions to stop them from fighting her favourite football players.

Noah: “What are you doing? You’ll only get us into more trouble. Stop them Alan.”

Alan: “Why would I do such a thing? You can’t come to cartoon world and not fight. I’m excited to see those two take a hammering from my pals. Noah, you’ll see it wasn’t for nothing they spent their time training.”

Noah: “Alan...? Zach, Ryan: don’t hurt Cesare and Yann.”

Jeremy: “Hurt Cesare and Yann? Was that some kind of irony? Cesare and Yann may be footballers but they’re very strong. Even Saiyans[3] are afraid of them.”

Noah: “What? Did you just say Saiyans?”



[1] Hawkeye (Clint Barton) is a character in publications by Marvel Comics. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Don Heck, the character first appeared as a villain in Tales of Suspense #57 (Sept. 1964) and later joined the Avengers in Avengers #16 (May 1965).

[2]Eric is a character appearing in l’Ecole des Champions.

[3] Saiyans are a race of warriors in the Dragon Ball franchise. Dragon Ball is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Akira Toriyama. It was originally serialized in Weekly Shōnen Jump from 1984 to 1995, with the 519 individual chapters published into 42 tankōbon volumes by Shueisha.

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