‘Behind Enemy Lines: Flicker’s Discoveries’
An official post-expedition correspondence with the King of the Bleekos …
The Meekos territory expedition was an enormous success. Eighteen specimens of wild stinging and non-stinging fairy were collected and documented for the first time in their egg, larva, chrysalis and adult-life stages. I also gathered four interesting species of spiked scuttlers that I anticipate will interbreed well with our indigenous species in the laboratory (ref. attached sketches).
I hypothesized previous to this expedition that further research would result in stronger fighting fairies with venomous stings, but deep in the Meekos jungle I made a fascinating discovery: a radioactive crystal substance that causes unique metamorphoses in the local flora and fauna. Since the last expedition three years ago, the plant life has grown at an astounding rate, far faster than possible according to the laws of evolution, and more dangerous. The Meekos have used this powerful crystal to their militaristic advantage, growing an arsenal of poisonous spikes, sticky tanglers and exploding bulbs. It took one hundred generations to breed our giant beetle cavalry, but the uneducated Meekos have managed in a few short years to create plants sentient enough to serve as ludicrous bouncing vehicles. The fairies have taken to it as well, using crystal splinters and gems as decoration; their ongoing exposure to this substance and its radiation has affected the fairies in coloration, bioluminescence and increasing size. Further study and dissection may yet reveal many more variations.
The possibilities of this mysterious crystal are immeasurable. I’m afraid I quite overburdened my expedition with samples of it. With your highness’ permission (and generous funding), I shall proceed forthwith to my laboratory for intense experimentation for the practical application of this crystal. I believe another expedition shall soon be in order for the purposes of biomonitoring and mapping the limits of the expanding Meekos territory.
We lost several soldiers in minor scuffles with the Meekos savages, but we can all agree that is a small price to pay for science, yes?
My thanks for your continued patronage, my king.
Signed, your loyal subject,
Flitwick “Flicker” Stingsplatter IV, Doctor of Entomology
In a laboratory not so far from the Halcyon Fold, Dr. Flitwick Stingsplatter IV prepares weapons for war …
Out of the ear flew a fairy. “I like it in there,” she whined. “It’s warm. Plus I’m not an ingrate. I have a spine. That’s some science you taught me.”
“Ingrate, I said, not invertebrate,” explained Flicker as he held a second fairy down on an examination table. “Ingrate means ungrateful, which you are, and if you do not stop your incessant ear tickling I shall lock you up with the others, or pin you to the board.” Flicker nodded his snout toward the shelves of stoppered jars. In the fairy laboratory were jarred fairies of all kinds: Majestic Violet Bottlewhispers and Heart-faced Bandyhoos glared at one another through the curved glass while a Spotted Dandywing napped with her toes in her mouth. Furious at her captivity, a Crystal-eyed Wiggler bonked her pink head against the cork stopper, her belly blinking green and gold light. A larger terrarium housed an air sprite named Loo who spent her days finger-combing her long hair and gazing at her reflection. Many more were posed and pinned to boards on the walls, sorted taxonomically, named and labeled with care by Flicker himself. There was another laboratory dedicated to termite mounds and a soundproof chamber where the noisiest crickets were stored; running along all the ceilings was a flat glass-walled ant farm; a sandy lab was full of burrowing scorpions; and smoke could be piped into the beehive yard to put them to sleep during comb examinations.
All available wall space was covered with Flicker’s drawings, notes and blueprints.
Ethel, a Bulbous-bottomed Gigglefly, stuck her tongue out at the captive fairies and floated to the beetles and scuttles, her fangs dug deep into a mealworm, her oversized golden wings battering the air with a buzz. Her bum squished down onto the hard back of a small beetle; it spun in circles with annoyance. Dozens more, displaying a rainbow of colors and sizes all the way up to the Bleekos’ mount size, scuttled around wire cages. Ethel petted her ride’s spikes and horns until its course straightened. “The new beetle eggs are way bigger than the old ones,” she said.
“An astute observation,” said Flicker. He bent over the Striped Whistler fairy, spread one of its wings out wide with a tweezer and swept a tiny brush across it. “I must breed mounts big enough for the new weaponry I’ve devised. With this crystalline material I discovered in the Meekos territory, years of breeding can be accomplished in a matter of days. Days, Ethel!”
Ethel rode her little beetle up a wall and along a blueprint, peering at it while crunching down on her worm. “What’s this gumball machine for?”
“That is not a gumball machine. It is a fairy launcher.” Fairy dust swirled away from Flicker’s brush, then burst into flame with a puhhh sound, singeing the scientist’s cheek fur. He cursed and the fairy sneered at him. “You… you… Lucy, darling, you must stay still while I collect the dust and stop igniting it, or the Bleekos army shall not have the weaponry it needs for the border wars.”
“Why would you launch fairies?” cried Ethel.
“Fairies are quite useful weapons,” muttered Flicker. “The stinging, the choking dust and the hypnotic effect of the light patterns have destroyed many a malevolent Meekos.”
Ethel dismounted and flew back into Flicker’s ear, having forgotten all about his earlier threat. “Why are the Bleekos at war with the Meekos anyway?”
Flicker continued, with great concentration, to sweep Lucy’s wing dust into a test tube. “The Meekos are an abhorrent race of nefarious plant life. Creepy daytime creatures who use photosynthesis to abuse civilized, educated nocturnal life. Get out of my ear.”
Ethel ignored him, pulling the sides of his ear around her like a cozy blanket. “But who started it?” she yawned.
“I don’t… Nobody knows really… What would you know of the intricacies of interspecies politics? We are at war because we have always been at war, as the moon wars with the sun.”
But Ethel did not answer, and her snoring resounded around Flicker’s brain.
“Another expedition is what I need,” whispered Flicker, so as not to wake her. “I must have more crystal. Then the moonlight shall prevail.”
Related Lore: Petal
Petal detonates her friends …
Petal’s little fists smash together, mimicking the monster heads. The munions watch with wide eyes, mouths gaping, as her fingers wiggle like monster legs.
Petal plucks at the wayward tendril of a rattan plant so tall that they call them Ent’s Walking sticks. She winds it around a nearby smilax vine, so it will get more sun. “The monsters out there are big. Bigger than all of you on toppa one another. Can’t kill ‘em with just a few sun blasts.”
The arsenal is abloom. Bugs sing in the shadows; fat palms unfold atop the rattan. Super poisonous bleeding heart flowers burst out of thorny stems. Stinging Bushes, their leaves hairy with glass-like spikes, bump up next to the Sleepies and the Sneeze Weed and Wait-a-Whiles. This is Petal’s favorite garden, a free-for-all of spines, spikes, and prickles. In the distance is the rhythmic sound of a guardian ent circling the Meekos village. Three munions follow Petal about, bouncing and orbiting her, as always.
“We will eat them up if you take us! You could enchant us up out of the bramblethorn seeds!”
“You know what happened last time.” Petal sighs and looks at her feet, her sprout drooping in shame. “Nothing.”
“Maybe if you try harder!”
“Yes, just concentrate super-duper hard!”
She plops down and closes her eyes. Her forehead bunches up. She gathers all the sunbeams, just like before. Heat builds up in her hands, and the munions cheer and spin in frantic circles. Finally, it’s too hot to bear; she lets it go with a shriek. Purple Solanum petals explode into the air, and then…
When all is calm, she is standing alone in a rain of purple blooms and dew bubbles, three little bramblethorn seeds where the munions had once been.
“Oh no! I’m so sorry!” Then she wonders…
Maybe if she has explosives, she can beat up any of those jungle baddies. They’ll send her to scout all the wells! She’ll be a hero!
With a shout, she blasts a sunbeam into the still-smoking bramblethorn seeds, and:
Out comes the three munions, good as new. “What happened!” “You farted!” “I did not, I went kablooie!” “That’s what I meant!” “That’s stupid!” “No, you’re stupid!”
Petal whistles, and her lotus flower bounds back to her. “Come on, munnies,” she says in a brand-new, commanding voice. “We are going outside.”
‘The Munions’ Tale’
Petal’s munions brag about going boom …
You never saw the far outside place. There are not so many seeds and sprouts. Things don’t all grow from the ground. There are creatures that make shiny magic and there are glow-glow crystals that we bring back and plant in the earth. It helps grow new brothers for you!
And there are baddies! Baddies are favorite.
Yes! Favorite! Petal says we can eat the baddies. Chomp! Chomp! We take big bites from the baddies. We eat and they fall down and then when we are very full we get to nap in the bramblethorn. Also Petal throws the sun at the baddies. Sparkle, pow!
What’s that? You say Petal can’t throw the sun?! …that the sun is way up high, maybe three ents higher than you? She does throw the sun, and then the baddies run. Don’t call me stupid! You’re stupid! Ents are stupid! Yes, ents are the stupidest.
Sometimes we go boom. Can you go boom, mister ent? Didn’t think so.
All three of us. Boom! Boom! Boom! Even more roasted baddies. Then Petal grows us back again.
She is the best Meekos scout ever. One day she will grow more things. Maybe big, dumb ents.
You stay here, big dumb ent. You protect the village, and we will go chomp!