The CAP: The Trouble With Penguins

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The CAP: The Trouble With Penguins
by Mania


Mania, clutching her penguin-catching net in one hand and Lambda’s wrist in the other, dragged the protesting deb toward a dilapidated outbuilding behind the archery range. Lambda, envisioning sharp and rusty gardening tools ideal for dismembering within, quickly broke free.

“Hold it!” Lambda squeaked as she snatched her hand away from Mania, who was eager to complete her first assignment as Keleos's assistant. “Why are we going into that shack? We’re supposed to be catching penguins. Shouldn’t we be out in the woods, or on the beach, or at the zoo, for Gods’ sake?”

Mania nodded vigorously. “We WILL catch the penguins! But we have a long journey ahead of us.” The insane CAA reached into the folds of her toga and drew out a crinkled sheet of parchment.

“What’s that?” Lambda demanded. “Don’t tell me you have the secret map to the Kingdom of the Penguins,” the dubious deb added sarcastically.

“There’s a map? Gee, wish I did.” Mania shoved the penguin net crutch-like under her armpit and unwrinkled the parchment. “This is our invoice for the penguins. All we have to do is pick them up at the penguin warehouse.”

Lambda stared blankly. “You ordered them from a penguin warehouse?”

“Sure. Caesar told me about these penguins on his northern border that were causing him all kinds of trouble, disrupting his control of Roman subjects, running illegal gambling operations . . .”


“Yeah, apparently penguins live together in warehouses called . . .”

Mania, can I see that paper please?” Lambda requested calmly. Mania tossed the parchment to Lambda and yanked open the door to the shed. Inside, a large something was covered with a blanket.

“Whaddya know,” Lambda mused, studying the paper. “It really is an invoice for two penguins. ‘Customer to choose from current inventory.’ Signed by Caesar himself!”

As Lambda studied the invoice, Mania tore the covering from the large piece of equipment in the shack. It was one of the mechanized chariots from the Race of Doom! Mania pumped life into the vehicle by thumping buttons and yanking on levers. Its motor roared to life, startling Lambda.

“Hop in! Keleos wants those penguins by tomorrow morning,” Mania reminded.

“I don’t think I want to go. No, strike that. I know I don’t want to go,” Lambda asserted, backing slowly away. Mania revved the chariot’s engine. Lambda panicked and took off running across the archery field. Mania hoisted her net and pursued.

Having suffered the supreme indignity of being netted at high-speed in front of half the Deb U campus, many of whom assumed they were watching a new athletic event, Lambda was having serious doubts about this penguin scenario bringing her any closer to her own goals. In fact, had there been any opportunity to escape, it would have been gladly seized. However, the choice was to careen along with Mania to parts unknown, or leap from the chariot and risk untold dangers finding the way back to Deb U alone. Lambda only hoped the torturous journey would end soon enough.

The chariot chugged steadily up the winding mountain road toward what looked to be a fortress. As they rolled closer, Lambda was able to read, “St. Francis Academy, Bingo Saturday Night” on a sign lying on the side of the road. It looked like it had been hacked from its post by one of the many Roman soldiers loitering along the highway. Eventually they reached the large, stone building and were halted by Caesar’s sentries.

“I’m here for the penguins!” Mania decreed, handing over the imperial invoice. The soldier glanced at it and motioned them on.

“Very well. They’re inside the convent.” He gestured toward the heavily guarded front door. “Pick any two you like.”

“Convent!” Lambda gasped, eyeing Mania with disbelief. “I think you’ve got the wrong kind of penguins!”

[to be continued!]

Posted on Aug 29 1999, 09:23 PM

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