Lilo & Stitch's Star Trek v1
Lilo & Stitch Go To Japan version 1
Chapter 11: Donut Conversation

After wrestling various doughnuts away from the security guard, 426 rejoined the gang, who were grouped around a particularly tall palm tree.

“OK, is everyone here?” enquired Pleakley as he preformed a head count.

“Yes, Pleakley,” muttered Nani impatiently.

“Good, ‘cause it’s nearly time for our train!”

“What?”

“We have to move,” said Pleakley, “or we’ll miss it! And that’s not very good, it’s the opposite of very good, it’s very…”

“Where’s the platforms?” asked Nani anxiously.

“Er… according to the guide book, the railway runs directly through the middle of the station, so we need to go west to get to the trains.”

“Are you sure?” enquired Nani.

“Well, if we go back, we’ll hit Koshu Kaido No. 20…”

“Eh?” quizzed 426.

“The street we had to cross to get here.”

“Ah.”

Stitch looked at the timetable. Then he looked at the map.

“Maka maka, sasa!” he yelled, rushing off.

Everyone looked to Jumba for an explanation.

“Er… Stitch is wanting us to follow, I believe he has found shortcut.”

“So, what are we waiting for?” asked Lilo enthusiastically.

 

They arrived at the terminal just in time; due to a complication with the train tickets they had only just stepped onto the cho-tokku before the doors clamped shut.

Jumba spotted the young lad he was chatting to earlier and sat down beside him. Lilo and the experiments found two seats facing each other. Pleakley was seated behind them, watching the scenery that was now passing them at high speed. Nani sighed and sat beside him.

“So… Pleakley, why do they call this a bullet train?”

Pleakley turned around and opened his mouth to talk. Nani already regretted asking him.

“Because of the incredible speed. I think… normal cruising velocity is one-hundred and twenty-five miles an hour!”

“Isn’t that a bit… unsafe?” asked Nani uncertainly. “What if one derailed?”

“Pish posh!” replied Pleakley, waving a hand nonchalantly. “In the history of the bullet train, only one has ever derailed… during an earthquake, I think it was, and no-one was hurt beyond being bruised a bit.”

Hearing this, Jumba excused himself and leaned over the aisle.

“Ah, yes, but… what if I were to, how you say… play around with the gyroscopic stabilisers?”

“Nothing short of, oh, I dunno, utter chaos!”

Pleakley gave Jumba a suspicious look.

“You wouldn’t…”

“What, me? No!” said Jumba unconvincingly.

 

A few minutes into the trip and everything was going more or less smoothly. Lilo was in animated conversation with 419, 426 was misinterpreting almost everything Stitch said, Jumba was arguing with his friend about whether Fedora Core Stenz will be better than Heidelburg and whether Berry Linux had any merit, Pleakley was taking notes, and Nani was sitting beside him, terribly bored and wondering why she didn’t invite David.

Moments like this called for a good book, so Nani retrieved a copy of The Ersatz Elevator, flipped to where she had placed a bookmark, and began to read.

No-one noticed the door had opened; only a few looked up when it closed. Those who did quickly went back to what they were doing; it was just another person heading off to work.

This person, a young woman in her mid-twenties, silently glanced around the cabin, presumably to find a free seat; having spotted one, she sat down, pulled out a newspaper and started browsing through the Letters to the Editor.

 

“So… how’re you and 426 doing?” asked Lilo.

“Oh, OK,” replied 419, “we’re doing a fair job with the whole ‘fitting in…’”

Here, 419 paused; 426 and 626’s conversation filled the void.

“Ika ganeba?”

“For the last time, I do not want a banana!”

“Er… well, at least, I am,” corrected 419. “Some of the experiments seem to remember me from days of old – I sometimes helped Jumba out with various things - and most remember 426, for… er, an assortment of reasons; so we’ve got along well with those friendly faces.”

“What about Jumba’s little project?”

“He’s still working on it, but he’s saying he’ll finish it… I think he said 22 May 2005.”

“Two months, huh?” Lilo rested her head on her hand. “I suppose… er, never mind.”

“What?”

“’Sokay, doesn’t matter,” replied Lilo, sitting back in her chair. “Say… why do you always put the year at the end of dates?”

“Aren’t you supposed to?” asked 419, perturbed.

“Well, yeah… for schoolwork and projects and diaries and stuff… and there’s if you’re not talking about this year… but if it is this year, you don’t have to.”

“I… suppose that makes sense… so, how’s your life been?”

“The usual,” sighed Lilo. “School, homework, chores, hula practice, Mertle…”

“I thought Mertle was being nicer towards you.”

“In her own special way… but she hasn’t shed her shell yet. Yuki and Teresa have been better, but still…”

“What about that kid with the hyphenated name? Jay-Stone or something…”

“Victoria? Didn’t you know, she was already my friend.”

“Ah, the girl with freckles, red hair and experiment 277!”

“Yeah, her.”

419 leaned back in her chair. “Y’know, I never get to talk about girl things. 426’s always animé this and football that, and Jumba’s always blowing stuff up! Not that I mind an explosion or two,” she added, “but once in a while, I’d just like to…”

“I’m having a sleepover when we get back,” Lilo told her. “You can join in if you’d like.”

419 nodded.

“That’d be nice.”

 


Author's Comment

Name that chapter title! This chapter was written around the time that I was reading the Max Remy books (about a seven-year-old super spy - better than it sounds, trust me. :D ) Why is that relevant to the chapter title? Well, these books have a rather idiosyncratic chapter naming style - each chapter is named "ITEM A and ITEM B", where both are items that appear with some significance in that chapter. I thought it was a cool idea, so I used it in some chapter titles.

To say the least, I wasn't always good at it (for example, this chapter), and I eventually decided it didn't make much sense if it's just a one-off, or if it comes out of the blue, so I abandoned it. (Because of my... unreliable update schedule at the time, Japan wasn't hit as hard as Lilo & Stitch's Star Trek - by my count, there are no less than six chapters in that story with that name scheme.)

This chapter is named for the donuts that 426 stole, and for 419's talk with Lilo. With the benefit of hindsight, I can now say that 'Donuts and Conversations' would have been better, and would have fit the scheme better as well! (Or even just 'Conversations'). Although, if I'd named the chapter today, I probably would've called it 'Boarding the Train' or something descriptive like that.

"Only one has ever derailed": The earthquake Pleakley is referring to is the 2004 Chuetsu earthquake, which occurred about four to five months before the events of this story.

Originally, when I wrote the story, I only vaguely remembered a bullet train derailing with no casualties, so I decided to research it to make sure it actually happened. ^^;

Gyroscopic stabilisers: To be honest, I had no idea if a bullet train has 'gyroscopic stabilisers' - it just made sense, for some reason, that it would. Now, I have no idea what that 'sense' was - bullet trains aren't generally in situations where a gyroscope would be useful (generally, anything that involves moving freely in 3D space.)

Security measures: Originally, at the point where they go to get their tickets, I was going to reference, in a roundabout way, security measures related to certain events that occured in Spain in 2004 (the year before this was set). I decided to scrap it - I didn't think it would be in the best taste, even if it was indirect.

All the different kinds of Linux: Fedora Core is a distribution (or 'flavour', I guess) of Linux, an open-source operating system, and 'Stenz' and 'Heidelberg' are codenames for different versions (like Android with 'Froyo' and 'Ice Cream Sandwich). Berry Linux is another distribution.

I always figured that Jumba would keep up with the technological process of humans, and thus be knowledgeable about Linux (even if he did think it "primitive Earth technology").

Sakura's deleted scene: One of the things I wanted to do was write Sakura into this chapter, fighting a clow card off in the distance of the train. However, I got stuck on writing it, so I postponed the scene to chapter 13.

Meanwhile, while I was writing chapter 12, I got the idea that Eli would be perfect for this story, so I wrote him in there. Eventually, I had to scrap Sakura's scene here - I couldn't think of a way to make it work, especially since I'd reset the story to occur after the Final Judgement.

The Ersatz Elevator: I've mentioned before that I'm a big fan of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, which follows three orphans as they are moved from foster home to foster home, all the while being pursued by their Uncle Olaf, who wants their inheritance (also much better than it sounds). The Ersatz Elevator is the seventh book in the series, the climax of which features, well, an ersatz (that is, fake) elevator.

(While I wish I could credit the book for my knowledge of the word 'ersatz', I had, by chance, read the word in another book, and had looked it up after that.)

The young woman: She's going to be cropping up later in the story. Let's just say, if you've seen Cardcaptors before and are getting a funny feeling about who she is, you're probably right.

(Unless your answer is 'Ruby Moon' - remember, I'd still had the story set in Season 1 at this point.)

“For the last time, I do not want a banana!” 426 thinks he knows Tantalog (the language Stitch speaks). Suffice to say, he doesn't. At all. To be honest, I'm not too sure what process he's even using to translate these phrases!

Jumba’s little project: This particular storyline thread has since been scrapped, so I have no problems in telling you guys what it was: a holographic 'suit' for 419 and 426, which would have allowed them to blend in with humans. This was going to be for two stories - 'School Experiment', where they go to school together, and 'Adventures in Babysitting', where 419 would try to earn some money, well, babysitting.

The problem was that apart from the concept, I didn't have any ideas on how to proceed with the stories, so I stalled and, eventually, gave up on them.

On saying the full date: Much like how she called Jumba "Jumba Jookiba" all the time in Alpha and Omega, this was one of the verbal tics 419 had retained from her days at Jumba's lab in Galactic Defence Agency. Since there was not much planning beyond the next month, 419 had formed her own idea on how to say the date, based on the way the radio said it; since the need to say the date beyond 'next Tuesday' never really came up, she was never really corrected on this.

The girl with the hyphenated name: This is actually a slight reference to Lilo & Stitch's Star Trek, albeit to a point which hasn't been quite reached yet. How so? Well, let's just say 419's wrong - Victoria's last name isn't hyphenated, and isn't Jaystone - but Lilo guessed who she was talking about because it sounds similar. And I'll leave it at that.

--MarkKB

Copyright © 2013 Mark Kéy-Balchin.