The Legend of Toontown

Gears

Chapter 9

A Whole New World

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	"That was a close one." Evina gasped, feeling entirely out of breath. They pried the lids off of several yellow barrels and started loading up on the gags that the cogs accidentally brought with them to Cog Nation. It was sad to think of the toons that these had belonged to who had gone sad. They filled up their laff and gag bags, and then filled their stomachs with throw gags. They felt so much better now. Rocky also got feeling better; his color returned, and remembering he had stolen a burrito from Ms. Chip's house, he took it of his pocket.
	There were some policemen pacing outside, talking to other cogs. "Have you seen any toons?" they asked the others. 
	Most of them laughed and said things like, "Toons in Cog Nation?" and "Why would I ever see a toon?"
	Then the Policemen replied, "They're in disguise."
	Everyone felt a little worried that they might be caught. There was something unusual, though. Even though they were full on everything, there was one barrel that had not been opened. It was labeled with a sign:

DANGER! DO NOT OPEN!

	Evina reluctantly walked over and then he pulled the lid off.
	The first thing everyone experienced was an appalling stench. The barrel glowed with neon green fluid that seemed to flow in large, slow moving ripples. The whole room was illuminated with the eerie green light.
	"Don't... move... at all." Harry urged them.
	Everyone froze; they could feel their hearts beating faster and faster. They had tried to deny it, but they could not lie to themselves what was before their very eyes.
	"Just one drop," Harry whispered, "and you're gone!"
	Evina reached slowly for the lid. He took great caution trying not to touch any of the lethal fluid. The eerie light was gone once he shut it on tight, and everyone sighed with relief.
	"I'm scared we might be dipped!" Bebop shuddered. "We can't stay in Cog Nation!"
	Just at that moment, there was a sharp rapping at the door. "This is the police! Open up at once!" a voice commanded. Catman opened the door to see several Policemen glaring down at them. Their eyes were covered with dark glasses but they seemed like they were very impatient. "What are you doing in here?" one of them demanded of Catman.
	"I uh... was checking the barrels. It seems like nothing is wrong with them.
	"And why are there Bossbots and a Sellbot in here?" Everyone looked around at each other, hoping someone would answer.
	"Oh, just forget it," Another policeman interrupted, "Just hand me that barrel of dip." Catman and Paddlewhip picked it up and handed it to him.
	The policemen opened it and pumped its contents into thousands of little glass tubes. Then they collected the tubes in a bag that ominously glowed green. They handed one tube out to all cogs walking nearby.
	"If you see a toon, throw this at them. It will break and destroy them instantly." They stated. When they were done passing them out, they looked back at the toons in disguise, standing with blank expressions in the gag room.
	"Oh, you should have some too." a Policeman said, reaching in his bag and pulling out the last few tubes. He quickly handed it to them and ran away. Zany looked down at the glowing tube in her hand. It pained her mind with fear just by looking at it.
	"I'll take those." Harry said quietly as the policeman walked away. He took everyone's dip tubes and dropped them in the trash can.
	They were shocked from their close encounter with dip, but also glad to still be alive. Luckily, their suits seemed to be working excellently. It was a mysterious miracle that cogs could never detect a toon that was wearing a suit.
	They walked across the large entrance room to the ticket counter. A Two-Face behind the counter was examining his dip tube with interest as they came up to the counter. When they arrived he dropped it in his suit pocket. "Hello there, how may I help you?" He asked.
	Everyone forgot that they didn't have a clue as to where they were going. "Uh," Dynoboom began as he gazed up at the board above the desk, "Where is a place where lots of important cogs are?"
	The Two-Face looked like he was going to literally explode with laughter. Do you mean the capital of Cog Nation? They each nodded. "There are nine of you, correct?" Everyone nodded again. He still chuckled to himself as he printed their tickets. "Are you new to Cog Nation?" Everyone nodded a third time.
	"Well it's about time you learn your cities and capitals. That will be 20,000 Cogbucks."
	They were extremely surprised by the cost and their mouths dropped open.
	"It's a long way away." The Two-Face said, taking out his glowing tube again. He twirled it around in his fingers dangerously. "You can't expect it to be cheap."
	The group collected all the Cogbucks they had and combined them. "There go our Cashbot HQ promotions." The twins said sadly.
	The Two-Face handed them their tickets "Have a nice flight! Oh my, it seems like they're raising security. Apparently there was some stupid report about toons in Sparksville. Personally, I think those reporters are malfunctioning." The toons walked away and they pushed through the crowds comprised mostly of Policemen. One of them tapped Catman on the shoulder.
	"Do you not remember? All Servicebots are required to carry a sadness blaster. I have a spare one you can use."
	"Uh thanks," Catman replied weakly. He took the very familiar looking weapon and slipped it into its case on his belt.
	They walked with many cogs through a long hallway. Some of them seemed to be in a rush, some of them were finishing lunch. One of them, a Mr. Hollywood, was shouting at the crowds trying to get them to buy his bestselling book, The Toons' True Secret. There appeared to be no end to the hallway. After what felt like ages of walking, they were stopped at a security checkpoint.
	"There are reports of toons in the area." several Servicebots announced. A Security-guard Servicebot approached them and said, "Time for the toon test."
	The cogs passing through were pulling up their sleeves. The Security-guard Servicebots were putting a glowing green patch on them for a second before letting them pass.
	"What do we have to do?" Princesspinkcat asked.
	"Oh, we just have to check to see if you are a toon or not. Just let me see your arm as I apply some dip."
	Catman quickly jumped forward. "They're with me." He interrupted.
	The Security-guard stared at him incredulously. "Oh really?"
	"Uh yeah, they've been... tested already." he lied sheepishly.
	"Then you're free to go." The cog said.
	The toons let out a sigh of relief. They passed the security checkpoint and entered the concourse. They were in a large room with glass windows. Airplanes could be seen all around outside. They ran over to their gate and boarded the larger-than-normal airplane. After cramming into their seats with hundreds of other cogs around them, a Mover & Shaker walked up to their row.
	"Would you like some help with your baggage?" He asked them.
	"Uh, no," Lizzy responded, "We travel really, really light." The Mover & Shaker gave them a perplexed look before walking away down the aisle.
	A few minutes of resting passed and the explorers were feeling much better about their journey and excited about their trip to the capital of Cog Nation. Still, they couldn't pretend that they weren't disturbed about being locked up in a tight area with hundreds of powerful cogs. The doors of the airplane slammed shut and the plane began to move slowly out to the runway. It was getting very dark outside and the tall, grey buildings of Sparksville appeared to be nothing but shadows. Has the day really gone by that fast? Evina wondered.
	A Name Dropper slid into the aisle and pulled her microphone down from the ceiling. Her voice was heard all throughout the huge airplane. "Hello everyone, I am Kelly, and I will be your flight attendant for this flight. I hope I get to know you all during our flight to Cogtropolis. We should arrive there tomorrow morning."
	The toons' jaws nearly dropped to the floor. They had not considered they would be trapped in the plane that long. They wondered how they were going to survive. A Robber Baron adjacent to them was eying them suspiciously. They couldn't see his eyes behind the glasses, but they knew he was watching them.
	The toons braced themselves for takeoff. The lights went off, they were pushed back against their seats, and the plane went up. It rose above the dark clouds and the sun could be seen again. 
	"I feel like I'm flying!" Paddlewhip whispered excitedly, "I never knew it would be this fun." Evina and Zany looked at him with amused expressions.
	"Flying isn't anything that special." Zany said with dignity, "It's just an art that we've gotten used to using."
	Some of the other toons gave them looks of jealousy. "When have you ever seen a toon fly?" Paddlewhip said rolling his eyes. Evina turned to him, smiled, and shrugged.
	The other cogs on the plane didn't appear to notice the talking toons. Most of them plugged themselves into a power outlet and dozed off. For a few hours, there wasn't very much noise.
	After thinking in silence for a long time, Evina glanced out his window. There was a vast grey wasteland below and a lake of water was sparkling in stark contrast.
	The Name Dropper pulled out her microphone. "I need your attention, everyone. Besides the fact that I will be serving lunch soon, I would like to provide you with a word of warning. We are flying over a large body of water, Lake Rusty. In the rare case of a crash, please tighten your center control cover plate. You wouldn't want any water to seep in there.
	"Imagine a squirt gag that big." Lizzy remarked. After a few minutes the Name Dropper came over to them.
	"I wouldn't expect everyone, especially cogs of your rank to have the digestive system installed. Would you like some ethanol?" Nobody moved, and they wondered if she had just insulted them. "How about an oil change or some coolant?" Only Harry had the courage to speak now. "We uh, can digest food. We don't need ethanol."
	Everyone took their orders and sat back again.
	Harry was disappointed, "You freeze up whenever a cog talks to you. If we keep acting like this, the cogs are going to keep getting suspicious."
	"It's not as easy as you make it seem." Bebop said. "We happen to be a little more scared of cogs now that we're in Cog Nation, and we know dip exists, and there is a one hundred percent cog population!"
	Harry racked his brain for something comforting he could say, "Well, you could just pretend that you're talking to a toon. Just remember that you need to be cogish. No talking about defeating cogs, getting gags, doodles or anything like it."
	Despite their very quiet whispering, a Corporate Raider seated behind them was listening in on their conversation. "What was that about toons?" he asked.
	Nobody replied, so the Bossbot sighed and went back into sleep mode. At that moment the Name Dropper came by with their food.
	The plane tilted to the left and the lake beneath them reflected a dazzling blue light. There seemed to be a little island in the center of it with palm trees swaying in the breeze. Later the plane was flying over land with more and more cog buildings. Evina wondered how much of this world was controlled by the cogs. Some of the buildings had weird shapes, and the farther the plane went, the bigger they got.
	"Harry, why are the buildings weird shapes?" Bebop asked.
	Harry's expression became solemn, "I knew you would ask that sooner or later. I first noticed this with those blue suited Servicebots. There are many more than just four types of cogs. There are the common business cogs as well as simpler labor cogs. There might be hundreds of different ones for all I know."
	Evina seemed excited at the idea. "Imagine if there were toontasks to defeat all the different cogs." He chuckled. "We could get so many laff points."
	"You know Evina," Harry said with an unusual smile, "I think there might be more than twelve levels too."
	The other toons heard this and nearly choked on their food. They imagined cogs with nearly unlimited strength.
	Harry continued in this unusual tone. "I don't think they promote cogs to level fifty for nothing."
	The others looked down at their food, hoping it wasn't their last meal. Their mood had suddenly changed. They wondered what this cruel, newly discovered world had in store for them.
	Soon enough it began getting late. The sky became darker. In the evening they ordered their dinner and ate. All the toons began to drift off to sleep. But Evina caught a glimpse of something out the window. He was astounded and sat completely still, struck with amazement.
	He nudged the other toons impatiently. "Wake up, wake up! You have got to see this!" The other toons did not seem to be happy to be shaken awake but they turned to look at him anyway.
	"What's this all about, Evina." Rocky asked.
	Evina pointed out the window. "Do you see that?"
	All the toons peered out his window to see a cascade of stars. The sky was completely black and there was a gigantic partially gray, partially green sphere below them that was surrounded by a thin layer of light.
	"What is that thing down there?" Lizzy asked with awe. "It looks like we're floating above it."
	Harry just slowly gasped, "This proves my theory that this is a planet!"
	Paddlewhip turned to face him "and just what exactly is a planet?"
	"It is a mass of matter compressed into a sphere. It floats in outer space. Most of the time it orbits a star." Everyone returned confused expressions. "It means the world is round, and there are most likely a lot more out there."
	Paddlewhip laughed, "And all this time I thought the world was flat!" A few cogs turned uneasily in their sleep.
	"You're not the only one, Paddlewhip. I almost didn't believe it myself." Harry gazed out the window again. "It would be my dream to explore all the other worlds in the tooniverse." He continued sleepily.
	"Yeah, but we need to finish this adventure that we've already started." Princesspinkcat finished before falling asleep. Evina gave a quick glance at Harry's pocket watch, sitting on the floor. It was about 11:00 at night. They all fell asleep again, dreaming of the whole new world that they never knew about.

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