Chapter 2: Sneaking
Beep. Beep. Beep. Beep.
Experiment 419 slowly opened her eyes. It was still dark. Why was it still dark?
She groped around for the light button on the console above her, which flickered several times before it locked into the on position.
She glanced at the clock beside her. The numerals “5:01” in bold, bright red stared back. It wasn’t supposed to be five o’clock - her alarm normally went off at seven.
She yawned and stretched.
And then, she remembered why she had altered the alarm.
She got up quickly, grabbed her glasses (which were sitting by the box she slept in), tidied up her bed, ran up to the door to Jumba’s ship, and entered the access code so it would let her our.
Silently praying to whatever deities experiments pray to that Jumba had not heard a thing, she ran down the ramp and pressed a button at its foot.
Why on Turo did the ramp mechanism have to be so loud?
The moon was (thankfully) out and about, looking down from the midnight sky above and bathing the ground with an eerie, ghostly glow. Every now and again, a crackle could be heard, as if the monsters of the night were preparing to pounce.
419 hurried quickly down the meandering path that led from the clearing to the back of the Pelekai residence. If there was one thing she didn’t want while she could have any say in it, it was to be eaten by a geckolicki or somesuch, even if such a creature had never been proven to exist.
Thankfully, the trail was short, and soon enough she had arrived at the Pelekai residence.
Quickly, she bounded up the stairs and slowly opened the door, wincing at every creak.
She pulled it shut behind her, freezing as the clunk echoed through the domicile.
Nothing stirred, and the house remained silent.
419 breathed a sigh of relief, and continued to creep through the house. Most of the doors were open, for whatever reason, so the only things the experiment had to worry about were creaking floorboards.
It wasn’t long before she came across a small door positioned about a half-metre above the floor. This door led to a closet, which normally contained things like fancy shirts and woollen jumpers. But for the last few months, it had been the home to something else as well.
As soft as she could, 419 knocked on the door and whispered:
“426! Are you awake?”
A loud snore answered her question. 419 frowned, and knocked a little louder.
“426, wake up! We’ve got to get to the luggage now!”
“That is a fascinating proposition, Father of Mine,” muttered the voice of 426, trailing off at the end before giving another snore.
“Don’t do this,” groaned 419, leaning against the door. But 426 showed no signs of waking up.
“Alright, then, looks like we’ll have to do this the hard way.”
She crept back down the hallway and into the kitchen. There, on the windowsill, was a radio with a CD player built into the top. Below it, dangling down from the benchtop, was a pair of earbuds.
Struggling for a few moments, she pulled herself up onto the benchtop, lifted the CD player from its place, and, hooking the sink faucet with her legs, tried to carefully lower it down.
Crumbs, arms aren’t long enough! she thought as she lay on her stomach, attempting to stay on the bench (and thus not fall to the floor) while extending her arm as far as it would reach. Ah, well, what noise could it make from this height? Probably just a bump.
She slid her fingers from under the handle, and the CD player plunged to the ground – far faster than she had expected.
But to 419’s great relief, nothing stirred, moved, or seemed to respond at all to the sound. Only the whistling wind through the leaves of palm trees greeted the clatter that had resulted from the music box’s perilous fall.
Obviously, either Nani was asleep or she was some kind of ninja.
She threaded the earbuds around her neck, jumped down from the bench, and lifted the CD player with her right paw. After giving it a quick once-over to make sure there was no visible damage in the little light that was available, she preceded to carefully creep back to the door in the wall behind which her brother lay.
This particular door was not completely flush with the wall – there was a small gap between the edge of the door and the sill that surrounded the doorway, about wide enough to fit a human pinkie finger. 419 slid the earbuds through the slit, feeding the cord through until she could feel it curl upwards against the wall, and until it was where she wanted it to be.
She then reached under her long purple hair and procured from it a device that had the shape and thinness of a clipboard but with a screen instead of a notepad, complete with a pen-like object sticking out from an inkwell at the top.
“Alright, let’s do this,” she muttered to herself, swiping the screen so she could get to the part she desired.
“Ah, here we go – US Army.”
She then took another, very thin disc-shaped object, although black in colour and not shiny at all, as you’d expect a music disc - another one of Jumba’s inventions, to facilitate playing music from his own computers to ‘primitive optical storage technology’ wirelessly - and put it into the player.
She then pushed the play button on the CD player, and hit the Play icon with her finger.
“Reveille – United States Army Band,” the computer droned in monotone, barely audible through the combination of door and headphones.
“Yes, the Time Lord is an imposter, Sister of Mine,” replied 426 in a rather distracted voice.
And then it happened.
On and on the bugle of the Sunrise Call blared through the small cupboard, reverberating off walls and eventually sounding very much unlike itself. Being outside the cupboard, and thus being treated to a much softer version, 419 listened eagerly for signs of life, which occurred almost instantly - a loud thump, followed by the crash of falling wood and fwoof of clothing landing on top of something.
The door opened, and 419 couldn’t help but giggle – 426 was covered by no less than three cotton jerseys as well as a pair of suit leggings, and was rubbing with one hand the area where the rail that held them up had evidently given way under the weight of 426 almost jumping out of his skin.
The one eye visible – poking through a neck hole in one of the jumpers – narrowed significantly.
“You’re lucky you’re my sister,” he whispered harshly, hurriedly throwing the clothes off him before jumping down from the cupboard.
“Well, it was either that or waste several hours of time that we don’t have waiting for you to wake up,” she replied pointedly while 426 closed the door behind him. “Why didn’t you set an alarm?”
“Alarm? Why would I… oh.” 419 brought her palm to her face as realisation dawned in her brother’s eyes. “I, um, forgot.”
“Of course you did,” she muttered. “Never mind, let’s go.”
Oddly enough for a place where lived no less than three genetic experiments built for destruction, the scientist creator of those experiments, a little girl interested in voodoo and all manner of creatures of the undead, and the alien equivalent of a walking disaster, Nani usually slept well at nights. It was night when the experiments and aliens and Lilo were usually asleep, tired out from a full days worth of mayhem, madness and whatever else experiments and aliens and Lilo did; night where the only sounds were owls hooting softly, cars passing in the distance, and the occasional snore.
So it was with some surprise that Nani found herself awake at some inhuman hour of the morning to what she could have sworn was a loud crashing sound.
She sat up in her bed and listened for a few minutes. Nothing but the call of the morning birds greeted her ears.
Oh well, she thought, twisting to her side and placing her head back on the soft warm pillow that would beckon her back to sleep. It was probably just a dream-
THUMP. CRASH. Foof.
Tonight, of all nights… she thought, wearily propping herself up against the back of the bed. I don’t need this…
She turned her head to face the clock on her bedstand.
It was only a few hours from when their plane was scheduled to depart. Couldn’t whoever-it-was wait until they had left to start destroying the house?
She wearily slugged through the house, flipping on each light switch as she went. But room by room, nothing seemed out of the ordinary at all.
Perhaps it had been a dog outside?
It was only when she was returning through the lounge that she noticed that a few of the suitcases were askew slightly. Nani felt a wave of relief come over her - it’d probably been Pleakley sneaking whatever Earth implement had caught his fancy that day, or Jumba sneaking another experiment for him to work on or something. Yes, that was it.
And so, Nani returned to bed, resolutely thinking to herself that she’d dream of a world with no Jumba or Pleakley in it.