Of ribbeting rain and drops

There was a lot of muffled noises, everything from soft cursing to banging on metal. Captain IronAngel had been trying to use his powers off and on. So far, they were having decent luck, though it didn’t always go so smoothly. Commander Rue.Tyler was offering advice every now and then but the two of them still did not achieve the desired results. And when she accidentally shocked IronAngel with her new ability, the Captain of the MLS D. Shovel growled at her.

Some cadets were offering their help but not everyone had gotten such useful powers (under the circumstances anyway) as IronAngel. Most weren’t dangerous like sneezing fire, thankfully. Some were unfortunately just downright unhelpful. Others seemed like they could be, but with no control, they were a crap-shoot at best.

For instance, Commander Wolfy had been hoping to help with the repairs by conjuring the materials they needed. Everything but that had happened. There had been no booze this time, but there had been a pink fuzzy toy of some sort. No one was sure what it was, really. Then there had been the jar of mayo. A cadet had been only too happy to take that. They thought it best not to ask. And there had been the big red can, still sitting in IronAngel’s vicinity as no one had really dared touch it. It appeared empty and it read “Pain” on the side. Some references to a derrière may have been involved in that one showing up.

Each subsequent object only infuriated Commander Wolfy more. Normally quiet and reserved, or at least, not quite so– insane, she had been stalking around, her eyes wild and her normally well-groomed short hair stuck up at odd angles; she’d been yanking at it fairly regularly. It was a miracle she hadn’t yanked hanks of it out yet.

Since she hadn’t exactly been overly helpful (and because she had inadvertently made a few necessary things disappear in her zeal to help), Wolfy was off to the side, watching. She sat on a piece of upturned earth, her elbow resting on her knee and her chin in her hand. She just didn’t understand it! She had tried everything. She had even tried to meditate, something that didn’t come easily to her. It had only resulted in a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich appearing. That had been the last straw.

Even as she thought about it, what she thought was a cloud appeared over her head. She looked up, frowning. And then she shrieked. She would deny it with her dying breath, but it was definitely a shriek. Then again, just about anyone would shriek if the sky was suddenly filled with a rain of frogs! That’s right, frogs seemed to rain from the sky, plopping wetly onto the ground, onto people’s heads, onto the ships. The frogs were everywhere.

Captain Elyndra stood there, her mouth in the shape of an ‘O’. A frog sat on her shoulder, giving a loud croak. She slowly turned her head, then shut her eyes as she flicked the creature off. She watched as Wolfy whipped back and forth, trembling with agitation. As she did, the rain of frogs seemed to grow worse. “Wolfy!” Elyndra ran over to her Second-in-Command. “You need to calm down!”

“Calm down? Calm down?! How am I supposed to calm down?”

Elyndra put a hand on her shoulder. “Close your eyes.” Wolfy did as ordered, though she still vibrated beneath her Captain’s hand. “Ok, now picture Ensign Lauren fighting with Alphonse and the evil bunny running off into the library again, making a mess of Ros’ order of things. Now picture the two of them hunting the bunny through the stacks making funny herding noises while trying not to increase the chaos. You just know that Ros is going to have misplaced at least three items after it has all been cleaned up again. Meanwhile cgirl strides in with a cup of coffee in hand and merely by offering it to the black bunny will she have herded him back to the pen within the blink of an eye, much to the disgruntlement of the other two. And Alphonse is probably already planning his next nefarious deed. Who knows what that will be.”

It had Wolfy grinning as she opened her eyes. “Ok, ok. Thanks.” The rain of frogs had stopped. But the frogs themselves were still hopping around. In fact, trying to walk was proving to be perilous. It was a minefield of amphibians! Of course, they weren’t just staying still. Many of them were beginning to disperse, hopping off through the clearing.

A thought struck Elyndra. “Wait! Wait, they aren’t native to this place! We can’t let them escape!” With visions of a destroyed ecosystem, the Captain of the Bunny met with her own crew and that of the Shovel. She assigned teams. It was time to use their plot-bunny wrangling skills to catch these frogs!

*****

As the teams spread out, Hedgymama looked back at the collection of cadets. She and RueTylar were leading a small group on the outskirts of the clearing, making sure any stray frogs hadn’t managed to get that far.

While they walked and kept their eyes peeled, Hedgymama pursed her lips. “Is it always this exciting?”

When Rue didn’t say anything, Hedgy looked over at her and had to stifle a giggle. Rue was holding her forefingers a few inches apart. A little spark seemed to flow between them. When it did, she grimaced and shook her hands as if there had been a bit of pain. Then she started anew, again and again, each time flexing her fingers or shaking her hands.

“What are you doing?”

“Practicing.”

Hedgymama nodded. “Makes sense. Hm… I wonder if I will get powers.”

Hedgy was a bit newer to the Academy. Perhaps if she had been there as long as the others, she would have known better than to speak such things out loud. As she continued walking, each of her footsteps seemed to come down much heavier until the ground began to quake at each step. She stopped, confused over this development and when her foot came down, the ground opened up below her!

The Lt Jr. Grade had enough time to let out a squeak before she fell into darkness. Before Rue and the cadets could get away, they too were swallowed up.

****

“Ugh.” Rue blinked and sat up. Her head ached. “Hedgy? Anyone? Cadets, sound off!” She stood up, hearing nothing for a moment. The dust was still settling. There was some grit in her eyes from the dirt still swirling in the air. She wiped the back of her hand over her eyes. And then she gaped. As it settled, the pitch darkness was broken up by a soft purple glow. The glow was coming from what could only be described as giant glowing mushrooms.

They towered over Rue and seemed to line the walls and floor of- well, as she looked around, she realized they were in a cave of some sort.

“Rue?”

She turned towards Hedgy’s voice. The Lt Jr. Grade had managed to corral their cadets and they all huddled together, various expressions of shock and awe on their faces. “Everyone ok?” the Commander of the MLS D. Shovel asked.

At their nods, she gave one back and then fisted her hands on her hips. The hole they had fallen through loomed up above their heads. Far above their heads. Not even with their trusty shovels could they hope to get up there. Rue looked at Hedgy. “Well then. Let’s see if we can find a way out of here, huh? Cadets, stay close. Use your heads.” She looked at Hedgy, who shrugged with a sheepish look on her face. “Um, try to walk softly, would ya?”

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