A Different World
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Gyro watched nervously as Evina used the pencil to trace a figure on the cement floor. He formed the ears and the head. Then he drew the body, feet, and clothes. He designed it as accurately as he could remember. When he was completely content with it, he stood back and examined his work. It was a drawing of a rabbit toon.
Evina cleared his throat and spoke with a soft and hopeful voice, "Harry Oldman," he said.
He waited a minute, but unfortunately, nothing happened. Evina's hopes plummeted, and he couldn't hold the tears back anymore. "There really is no happy ending," he sobbed. "Harry was my best friend! He helped us so much. Why did he have to go?" The warm wind blew the tears off his face, and they dripped down on the pathetic, dusty, lifeless drawing of the rabbit.
Gyro put his hand on Evina's back and whispered, "Nothing is impossible... remember?"
Evina looked down at the picture with surprise. It was beginning to develop color. The details became clearer, and the image became more and more lifelike. Within seconds, the rabbit was a three-dimensional form. Harry lifted himself off the ground, staring at Evina in awe. He didn't look old anymore. He looked like a whole new toon. Perhaps it wasn't the original Harry.
"Evina?" he asked, "Is that you?"
"YES!" Evina shouted enthusiastically, dropping the pencil. They looked like they hadn't seen each other in years.
"Wait a moment," Harry exclaimed, looking at the chicken, "is that who I... no, it couldn't be!" he gasped in disbelief.
"I'll explain everything as soon as I can," Evina promised, "but first, we have some work to do."
Harry and Gyro watched as Evina drew the other toons. He created the figures of all of them who were dipped. Last of all, he completed Scrooge McDuck. Everyone stood there staring at Evina with confused expressions. Catman was examining his perfect arm that was no longer robotic.
Finally, Evina began to recount to everyone his story of what had happened from the time Scrooge was dipped to the present moment. He explained the dreams he had had. Then he told them that his father, the man who created the cogs, was standing right next to him.
When the toons heard this, they instinctively became angry. It took a very long time to get everything explained, but Evina finally managed to get them to understand.
"So," Ricky said, "both of you are neither toons nor cogs now?"
"That is correct," Evina said. "It's just like... a glitch that happened to him fifteen years ago. And it happened to me a few hours ago."
"Yes, I regret starting the C.O.G.," Gyro admitted, "but I'm glad my plan still worked. Things are still much better now than they were before."
"How do you know that?" Harry questioned him. "We're not in Toontown now. How do we know everything is alright?"
Gyro nervously looked around for an answer. "I think it's time we find out. Everyone get in the ship because we're going home!"
The toons felt a rush of pure excitement for the first time in what felt like ages. They clambered into the spaceship and strapped on their seatbelts.
The little squeaky robot walked around and made sure that everything was going alright. Then it climbed into the copilot's seat, and the ship lifted off the ground.
The ship's hull began to creak, and the engine was humming as they slowly ascended above the extinct city of Cogtropolis.
"I'll have to warn you," Gyro said, "this ship is really old. It might be a little bumpy."
The ship tilted up toward the sky and blasted forward with amazing speed. They penetrated the beautiful clouds, glowing orange in the brilliant sunset. And they continued to fly even higher. Eventually, the pressure eased, and they felt like they were falling. The sky outside was black, and the sphere of their planet was seen below.
"You may experience some nausea if you haven't been in space before," Gyro warned.
Some of the toons looked like they were about to faint. The little robot hopped out of its seat and floated over to a large switch on the wall. It activated the artificial gravity.
Everybody's weight returned, and they rested on their seats again. Since they were orbiting the planet, it would only be a few minutes before they reached Toontown.
"So, about that thing I saw in your head," Evina spoke. "I saw you say that you went to Earth. What did you actually do there?"
Gyro turned around and looked into his son's eyes nervously. "Um, that's a story for another time. We really shouldn't worry about it now."
"Worry? Is there a problem?"
"No, it's really nothing. I just don't want to talk about it here."
Evina tried to forget all about it, for now. He leaned back in his seat and rested, recounting in his mind the wild day's events. It was dark, and he eventually fell asleep from exhaustion.
Evina opened his eyes. He was standing all alone in a blank, white room. He knew that it must've been another dream because it felt very unreal. He tried to wake himself up, but he couldn't. Up, down, and all around he looked, but the room was completely empty. There were no walls or ceiling. All he saw was white in every direction.
Then he heard footsteps behind him, so he turned around. The chairman was standing there.
"Hello, Mr. Gearloose," the chairman addressed him.
"Hi," Evina said.
"I know I am probably the last thing you'd ever want to see. But I wanted to offer my sincerest apology. I'm sorry for everything that happened to you. I didn't know that you were my master's son. I suppose I... underestimated the toons. I summoned your mind here because I need to say something."
"Uh... what is this place?" Evina interrupted.
"That is not for the living to know," the chairman replied. "You know that it is impossible for a machine to have a soul. Something happened to us. I don't know how or why, but I think our master gave us more of his life than he realized. I can only wonder what remains of him now."
"He is a nervous, sad, and miserable man," Evina said. "I really feel bad for him."
"As do I," the chairman sighed.
There was a long pause, but Evina had something on his mind that he had to ask. "Why did we all see that vision of you in our room the night we were poisoned? I suspected it wasn't just a dream. Nothing was."
"You picked up my thoughts and feelings," the cog explained. "It is similar to the connection with your father. That same thing in you also lives within us. The other toons were weak from the toxic gasses, so their minds were open to your vision as well."
"It's beginning to make sense now. I can pick up signals like a radio, right?"
"That's one way to put it. What I really wanted to say was that I'm not evil anymore. I only wanted to take over Toontown because I was programmed to do so. Don't think badly of me. Anybody is capable of change, you know. You taught me that valuable lesson."
Evina smiled. "Thanks."
"And I would take a look behind you if I were you."
Evina turned around to see the president, but it didn't scare him. Although he stood like a giant above him, he seemed to have a friendly and humble nature now.
The president was struggling with words. "I always knew that you would defeat me," he admitted. "I know that my only purpose was to cause the toons trouble. Please tell our master that we are more alive than he thinks. I've wanted to be able to rule my own world. After all, I was programmed to rule Toontown, and I still want to rule something."
"I don't know if that's possible," Evina said.
"I'm sure you'll figure out something soon," the president continued, "and by the way, you forgot something."
"What it is?"
"There are some who would prefer to not be left behind. They sort of... admire you. They want to be like you."
Evina looked at him awkwardly. "Sorry, I still don't get it."
"You will understand soon," the robot assured him.
Evina beamed and turned back to the chairman. This place was so calming.
The chairman's silver eyes were opened, and a smile stretched across his face. "I've seen the difficult things that you've had to do to get here. We wanted to deny it, but still, we knew that your coming meant our end was nearing. I first received that molder's camera pictures with dread, and I sent those Big Cheeses to Pete's Palace to try and stop you. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fight the truth any longer. The time had come for us to leave. The master planned it all to be this way." He sighed and looked away. "I don't want to be a toon, but I wish you the best of luck with your future. Who knows? We may meet again someday." He extended his hand to Evina.
Evina shook it proudly. The one whom he once hated and feared the most now felt like a very close friend. "I told you feeling laughter was great," he said.
"I know," the chairman smiled. "Now go. You still have much work to do."
The scene faded away into a bright light, and Evina felt himself returning to reality.
He woke up. Zany was tapping him on the shoulder. "We're about to land!" she exclaimed.
The little helper ran back to the switch and turned off the artificial gravity. The ship was descending lower to the ground, and Toontown's bright and cheerful colors radiated up to their eyes.
"We're going to land right in the middle of Toontown Central Park!" Gyro shouted.
"Uh, it's actually called a playground ever since the cogs came," Evina said, even though his father wasn't listening. He was so excited to see Toontown after all the time he had been gone.
The details on the land were seen. The spaceship slowed down and bumped to a landing on the grass in front of Toon Hall. Evina was the first to jump up out of his seat. He couldn't wait to see what his home looked like now.
The hatch opened, and he leaped out. At first, he was stunned by the brightness. It was night on the other side of the world, but it was dawn here in Toontown. Still, it felt unusually bright. It was really happy and cheerful and quiet. He had not heard something this quiet for a long time. Looking around at the park, he couldn't figure out what was wrong. Everything seemed so strange. It just looked plain silly. There stood the short fences, and on the ground, there was the perfectly trimmed grass. The gazebo was short and tilted. Maybe, he thought, he was just so used to the architecture of Cog Nation. Everything looked abnormal here. Everything was really small. But sadly, everything was exactly the same as it had been before.
Evina was humiliated. He was standing in a completely different world. He couldn't believe he had actually enjoyed living here. The famous question, 'Are you toon enough?' popped up in his head, and he knew the answer. He knew that he was certainly not toon enough, not anymore.
"What's wrong, Evina?" Harry asked in response to his frown.
"I wish I knew. This place looks terrible. I think we have to admit the fact that I'm not a toon anymore. I never was completely a toon. I'm a... thing. I'm a Gearloose. I belong back in Cogtropolis."
Harry looked shocked. "What? You mean you want to go back there and live all by yourself?"
"No," Evina continued, "I'll be with Gyro, but I don't feel like I belong in a place like this."
"Don't belong here?" Harry shouted in disbelief. "If there is any time you belong here, it is now! You are the hero of Toontown, and you need to face the people that you saved! I should've told you this a long time ago, but late is better than never. I think your parents were fluent in the ancient toon language. Your name has a very special meaning. 'Evina' means 'the great hero'."
"Oh, is that true?" Evina asked. He turned around just as he was about to step inside the spaceship.
"Yes," Harry assured him sincerely, "we couldn't have done any of this without you! It was your destiny. It doesn't matter if you are a toon or not! You belong here because you saved us all!"
"Well," Evina admitted, "then I guess I have to stay."
"You haven't lived as long as I have," Harry said. "Now that there are no more cogs, there is so much that Toontown has to offer that hasn't been open to you in over fifteen years!"
At that very moment, Flippy waltzed out of Toon Hall in his pajamas, holding a teddy bear against his side. His eyes nearly burst out of his head when he saw the ship sitting in the park. "It's uh... it can't be you!"
"It sure is, my old friend," Scrooge smiled.
"Is it just my imagination or did all of you just get... younger?"
"We stopped the cogs!" Harry shouted.
"You mean... they're not coming back? You mean... we're rid of them forever?" Flippy appeared to have lost his mind. He giggled and bounced around like a bunny. Then he scurried back into Toon Hall, flailing his arms.
"We should tell him the whole story," Pink told Harry.
"That's Mr. Gearloose's job," Harry said. "It was he, after all, who planned this invasion of Toontown."
Gyro looked like he might run away but he didn't. He stood there determined to tell the truth and face the consequences of his actions. His courage, however, diminished away to nothing at the sight of Mickey Mouse.
"Gyro Gearloose?" Mickey exclaimed. "Scrooge McDuck? Harry Oldman? You're back!"
Gyro cleared his throat and stepped up closer to Mickey. "I uh... have something to tell you," he started, looking down at his feet. "I don't want you to get angry or be surprised or get sad. Just listen to the whole story."
Gyro did a very good job telling Mickey in detail what had happened. Mickey listened intently with the utmost interest while Flippy looked like he was about to erupt like a volcano. After his story was finished, the toons took turns telling their stories and personal experiences. It was about an hour later after everyone finished talking when Mickey decided to speak.
"Wow, this is so much to think about," Mickey admitted, "but you're standing right in front of me, so I think it must be true."
Flippy ran back into Toon Hall as quickly as he could. He looked angry and worried.
"This is cause for a celebration," Mickey continued. "Soon, we will commemorate your service to Toontown. Each of you will be remembered for your contribution to our safety and wellbeing."
The sky began to grow brighter. Everyone was patiently waiting for the ceremony. On the other hand, the only thing that Scrooge could think about was the condition of his old mansion. "The moment I get back to Duckburg, I'm locking myself in my room forever! You won't see me being abducted by robots again!"
"Duckburg?" Evina asked. "I've lived in Toontown Central all my life, but I've never been to or heard of Duckburg."
"My boy, it's the place you were born! How could you not know of it?"
Harry had the answer. "The Toon Council blocked off the highway because of all the powerful cogs out there. They didn't want to let them into Toontown Central and some other places like Pete's Palace. There was no point in putting it on the new maps after it was quarantined."
"So... what are we waiting for?" Evina asked. "I want to go there!"
"No, not yet," Scrooge said. "As much as I want to see it again, I don't think we have the time. Our special ceremony is going to start soon!"
"That's right," Harry said, "and you should go home and change into something cleaner."
Evina suddenly realized that while all the others looked great, young, and clean after their rebirth, he was still dirty and wearing his black suit. He sprinted through the streets as quickly as his feet could take him. People looked out their windows in their pajamas to see what was happening. He made his way to his estate, unlocked it, and went inside.
It was a little dusty. His doodle had been sitting in there for nearly a month, and he looked extremely sad. When he saw Evina, he looked bewildered and angry.
Evina ran into his room and threw on some clean clothes. He did everything that he could think of to prepare for the ceremony. As he exited his house, his doodle sat there in front of him, waiting for an explanation. Although Evina could already hear the crowds gathering in the park far away, he had to let the doodle know the truth. "What's wrong?" Evina asked him.
The doodle growled and barked at him.
"It's me," Evina said.
The doodle knew he looked like Evina but still didn't understand why he was so different.
Evina crouched near him and scratched his floppy ears. "I've changed," he said. "I'm not a toon anymore." It was very hard for him to say those words.
The doodle continued to look up into Evina's eyes with a puzzled expression. They were sad and gray now.
"I know it's hard to understand, especially for a doodle that could smell a cog from a mile away. Even I don't completely understand it, but I have to accept it. Nothing can change that now. I'm a Gearloose, and the cogs will always be a part of me."
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