Chapter 1: The Professor's Problem Edit
Professor Typhonus stared blankly at the apple placed on his desk as the last students scrambled out of the classroom. He leaned back heavily into his leather-back swivel chair, without breaking his intense stare at the middle distance somewhere beyond the apple. It had been a long day at the university, and his mind was swirling in attempt to empty itself of the day's experiences, only to begin anew the next. The chatter of a passing group in the hall outside broke the silence, snapping him out of his stare. He jolted his gaze to the frosted glass window in the door and stood up. He stretched, yawned, and took his black top hat off to scratch his bald head. Placing his hat back on his head, he threw his overcoat over his shoulder and strode out of the room.
It was a difficult time for LEGO City. Technological advancement was lacking. Architecture had not changed much since many years before. Time and tide had reached a stalemate, and though not everyone realized it yet, it was beginning to dawn on them. But the difficult part was that no one had the inspiration to move forward. Few wanted to advance, they were just content with the same old thing. Not the Professor. Professor Baron Typhonus recognized the doldrums in the sea of progress, and was always thinking about how to solve the problem.
Baron strode down the hall to the university's front desk.
"Has Doctor Albert Overbuild signed out of the building yet?" he questioned the man sitting behind it.
The man looked at Baron over his glasses, then down at the teacher log. He flipped through a few pages then back to the page on top.
"No sir, I believe you can find him in the laboratory," he replied, in a matter-of-fact kind of tone.
"Thank you," Baron spoke as he spun around and headed down the hall to the math and science department. A few other professors were running around their classrooms and the halls, tidying up from their classes. A few inevitable "pardon me's" and "excuse me's" were exchanged from the brisk pace of the professors. Baron made a sharp turn down a narrow hallway and approached a lone, heavy door at the end of it. There was a red light to the upper right corner of the door, and a strip of yellow tape across the door with heavy black letters reading "LABORATORY: ENTER WITH CAUTION". The red light was not lit and the door was unlocked, so Baron stepped in. He noted the bright flashes from whatever was being worked on as he charged down the metal lattice stairs.
"Hello, Baron," came a voice from behind the robotic metal arms strapped to the inventor's vest. It was an unusually high-pitched voice for a man, with a comforting ring to it. He didn't turn around. "I'll be with you in just a moment..." He muttered several ambiguous mathematical terms under his breath. Doctor Albert Overbuild was a highly recognized inventor and mathematician at the LEGO University. However, he wasn't always recognized in a positive regard. His eccentric behavior and seemingly endless ideas for peculiar inventions earned him cruel nicknames among his peers. He too, like Baron, recognized the problem in LEGO City's society and was gravely troubled by it. They had together spent many long hours trying to find a remedy for the situation, as the politicians didn't seem to get anything done. However, their efforts were in vain, as nothing proved workable.
A few more sparks flew from the project hidden from view by the inventor's figure, then the tools turned off. The doctor turned around to face his friend and pressed a button on his vest to lift his safety goggles. Baron was standing near the foot of the stairs, waiting for his old friend to complete his task. The two stared at each other in silence for a brief, but awkward, moment.
"If you've come to speak to me about the progress of society problem, I'd like to make it clear to you once more that I am FINISHED thinking and talking about that," the doctor spoke intelligently. The thoughtless expression on Baron's face transformed into a frustrated frown.
"The problem isn't going to solve itself!" he replied, with a hint of anger in his tone, and followed the outburst muttering, "And neither are the politicians."
"There is nothing more we can do about it! We've tried all we could, but it's out of our hands!" The doctor rubbed his chin. "I propose we take a break from the matter. I'm sure relaxing a little bit will ease our minds, as we both know we need that..."
"Yes, I suppose a break is much-needed..." Baron stared blankly into the space in front of him and sat down on the bench behind him without modifying his fixed gaze.
"Baron, I've known you for a long time. We've been the best of friends through even the toughest of times, yet I've never seen you so troubled." Baron looked down at the floor. "Tomorrow's Friday night, let's have dinner together out at the diner. It's been too long."
"Yes, yes, I suppose I can manage that. Six o'clock?"
"Six o'clock sharp. I'll see you tomorrow night." The doctor managed a faint smile, and he shook hands with Baron. Baron smiled back slightly, then put on his overcoat and headed back up the stairs toward the exit. Doctor Overbuild sighed.
Chapter 2: Uncovering a Myth Edit
Doctor Albert Overbuild looked at his watch for the millionth time with a worried look on his face. Baron was always so prompt... The professor had called into the university's main office sick earlier that morning. The doctor peered at the parking lot through the glass paneling of the diner windows. Rain trickled down the outside of the glass, and beyond that, rain poured down in torrents from the crackling thunder. At that moment, a dark figure with a black overcoat over his head rushed through the door to get out of the drenching downpour. He was out of breath.
"Baron! What's happened!?" the doctor exclaimed, reading the professor's ecstatic expression.
"I found it! Yes, yes, I found it!" he replied with a hint of stuttering.
"Found what? A solution!?" Baron put his arm on the back of the wall seat and leaned on it, then closed his eyes and nodded. The doctor stood up, in shock. He stared at the professor in bewilderment.
"Sit, sit down, please explain what you found!" The professor sat down at the doctor's table, and began to explain.
"This morning, I awoke with a massive headache, and thought it best to stay home for once." The doctor nodded. "So, I began thinking once again about our problem. I can't seem to get it off my mind these days. I went into my library to see if I could perhaps find something that would help, something entirely unrelated to occupy my mind, but instead found this." The professor pulled a thick book out from under his overcoat and placed it on the table facing the doctor, who frowned.
"This? 'The First Builders and Other Urban Legends'? How does this pertain to the problem, let alone a solution!?"
"Go on..." The professor motioned for him to open the book, with a faint smile on his face. The doctor cocked his head and looked at the professor strangely, yet proceeded to open the book. After it was opened, he looked down at the faded page.
"The only thing that you could be talking about is the Nexus of Imagination..." he spoke after viewing the table of contents. The professor lowered his head slightly to the side and raised his eyebrows at the doctor. The doctor glanced back.
"Well, go on..." the professor repeated. The doctor returned his interest to the book. After flipping through most of the book, he turned a few pages and stopped.
"Chapter Nineteen," he read aloud, "the Nexus of Imagination." He glanced at the professor once more. Before his counterpart could return a look, the doctor cleared his throat and continued. "Long ago, the First Builders had the insight to create a source of pure imagination for minifigures to express their creativity almost endlessly. They made one rule: that the imagination be used for positive creativity and to further minifigure-kind. To enforce this rule, guardians known as Mythrans were set up in the Temple of the Builders, which surrounded the source. Several years later, one ambitious minifigure wasn't careful in his use of a shard of the pure imagination, and created a creature of evil. He was smashed by this creature, which was in turn destroyed by the Mythrans. Resulting from the event, one negative characteristic of the source was discovered. Dark thoughts in close proximity of the imagination would reverse its effects and transform it into a destructive force, deep purple in color and corrupting anything it touched. This was immediately extinguished by the Mythrans, who then determined that the source was not safe for use by everyone. They created a map out of the substance imaginatium, divided it into three parts, and spread them out across the Universe. The Nexus would cease to exist until the map pieces were brought together near the temple. Then and only then would the beam appear once more. Since then, the invention of the imaginatium meter has resurrected efforts to find the lost temple, though these efforts were quickly proved to be folly. To this day, no one knows where the temple is located, if it actually existed." The doctor slowed down. "It remains one of the greatest mysteries of the common age." The two sat for several moments in deep thought.
"It's a legend! They call them that because no one has found them for thousands and thousands of year! How do you expect to-" The professor interrupted him by pulling a flat piece of a seemingly ancient material carefully from his coat pocket. "The... the... imaginatium map!?"
"Yes, yes, just a piece, but quiet your tone a bit. This is very valuable, especially to our cause." The doctor looked around. A dark figure cloaked his face across the diner when the doctor peered his way.
"I see what you mean." There was a short pause.
"So," the professor tightened his lips, then clapped his hands together and rubbed them, "want to go treasure hunting?" A smile spread across his face.
Chapter 3: Chasing a Legend Edit
A LEGO Rolls-Royce pulled along up the hill towards Baron's estate. The professor and the doctor stepped out under the portico, the latter of whom turned around and thanked the chauffeur quaintly before closing the door. The professor unlocked the front door, opened it, and stepped in. The doctor stepped in behind him, looking about cautiously. It was a huge foyer, with symmetrical staircases leading up to the next floor and a crystal chandelier directly overhead.
"Where's Vanda?" the doctor inquired.
"She said she would be in the cellar, practicing on that sparbot you made for her," the professor replied. The doctor eased his tension.
"Oh, good. I was anticipating another ambush..." Both minifigures chuckled in good nature.
'Vanda' was an orphaned girl, of about 17, who Baron had taken in from a many years earlier. She was very strong-willed, supposedly had roots in a family of ninjas, and possessed a lot of destructive enthusiasm. The professor wasn't quite sure how to channel her energy, so the doctor had made a robot for her sparring activities. She spent all her spare time training herself in martial arts.
"What precisely does she plan to do with her skills?"
"Albert," the doctor's first name was rarely used outside of the two minifigures' friendship. "I would certainly tell you if I knew." The two laughed again. A loud splitting sound ripped through the air from behind the basement door.
"Oh heavens, maybe I should check up on her," Baron suggested worriedly.
"No, no, it's supposed to do that," was the doctor's reply in a slightly calmer tone. Baron relaxed again, then began to recede further into the interior of his expansive estate.
"Want a drink? Edgar was supposed to leave the kettle on over low heat for tea. I believe there's also some brew left in the coffee machine from earlier, it should be still hot."
"I'll take a cup off coffee, thanks." The duo sat and chatted at the edge of the table in the dining hall. Later, they climbed a flight of stairs to the library on the second floor. Baron opened the door for the doctor, who stepped into the room first. At that moment, a training shuriken whizzed just past his head. He immediately pulled a small device out of his pocket and pressed the button on it. It ejected a sheet of blue light. Baron, somewhat used to the doctor's exotic creations, resisted the urge to marvel at it and instead proceeded to scold his young protégé for her reckless behavior before guests. After the brief confrontation, she was sent away without a word.
"I'm very sorry about that, she hasn't been able to contr-"
"Oh, don't worry about it, it's not your fault," the doctor interrupted him.
"And what wa-"
As if reading Baron's mind, the doctor said, "It's a type of shield I invented in my spare time. Blocks any matter hurled at you. Anything that encounters its flat face will be deflected as if the object hit a brick wall. And a bit more portable than a standard shield, if I do say so myself..."
"Quite..." replied the Baron, intrigued at the . "In any matter, let us carry on."
The two sat down at the coffee table in the center of the room and studied Baron's map piece.
"It's truly mystifying, there seems to be a kind of ancient, curious air about it..."
"Well, according to the legend, this is one of three pieces. We need to find the other two. Why don't we each grab several book off of the shelf and see if we can find anything, shall we?" Each got up and grabbed several books associated with their topic off of the shelf, all the while exchanging friendly conversation. Once they were seated again, the room was silent except for the occasional page flip. By the time the doctor had reached midway through his forth book, he finally spoke up.
"I found one! Baron, look, look at this!" he spoke, his voice shaking with excitement. The Baron flew from his seat across the table, and dashed to the doctor's side. The doctor's unsteady finger pointed to the words as he read them.
"...Yet this fabled warrior is told to carry something even more valuable, an imaginatium map piece. This is one of three allegedly used to locate the Nexus of Imagination, the only source of pure imagination that ever existed.
The doctor slammed the book shut, smacked it down onto the table, jumped up, and exclaimed, "That's it!" Baron clasped his arm over the doctor's shoulder with glee.
"One step closer! Now, who is this warrior? Where can we find him?"
"It said his name was Duke Exeter, are you familiar with that name?" the doctor replied with a puzzled look across his face. Baron's became filled with disappointment. Reading his face, the doctor said, "Why? Who is he?"
"A knight; he's supposed to be a very good one." Baron turned in the opposite direction and began to slowly pace the room. "They say he's impossible to find. He's always traveling, trying to defend some poor helpless village against the forces of evil and so on and so forth, and he is also a master of disguises. To protect his identity, he must wear different outfits wherever he goes. This will make him extremely difficult to find, if not impossible."
"Ah, but the book mentioned how he could be found; he has unintentional and mostly regretted relations with a space pirate named Hae-"
"Hael Storm! That's it, it makes perfect sense! They say that he is the only one who can recognize this knight character through his disguises, and knows the location of his base. I think it was because a rival band of space pirates attacked someplace Duke Exeter was defending or something or other."
"Sounds a bit vague, but we're seeking a legend, are we not?" A smile spread across each of their faces. "So... we find Hael Storm?" the doctor inquired.
"We find Hael Storm."
Chapter 4: Preparations for the Journey Edit
The LEGO City Space Dock was one of the largest structures in the galaxy, with state-of-the-art technology and an aesthetically appealing design inside and out. A gigantic multilevel control tower was flanked on either side by two semicircular hangars with dome-shaped roofs under which lay private and passenger vessels alike. Daily, traffic to and from plastic worlds all across the galaxy began and ended here. Being the largest structure in the city based on amount of land covered, it was the source of a decent amount of the city's activity and revenue.
The Baron, who was most always dressed rather extravagantly, was wearing his traveling suit and top hat, with his diamond scepter. The doctor, who preferred to dress much more casually, wore a black sweatshirt and sweatpants. Having never actually flown beyond the atmosphere before, he was not accustomed to procedures outside the grasp of gravity nor the proper apparel. Based on the Baron's appearance, he guessed it didn't matter. The Baron's luggage was relatively light, but the doctor carried several briefcases full of gadgets and parts. Neither of them knew why they were coming. The two of them rode a tram from the high-security parking garage to Hangar A, which primarily housed the private vessels.
Cautiously, the doctor looked over his shoulders.
"Did you feel like you were being followed at all on the way down here?" he inquired with a hint of uncertainty in his voice.
"Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I didn't want to say it aloud, but I caught a glimpse of our follower." The doctor raised his eyebrow. Without stopping, the Baron continued. "Err, his vehicle at least. He followed us all the way from the trans-city highway. Small black car, not much unlike Edgar's..."
"You don't suppose he would be following us, do you?"
"No, today is his day off. A friend of his picked him up today, so he left his car at my estate. Couldn't have been him."
"You know, that shady math professor, who doesn't make eye contact with anyone... Harold something, never caught his name. He owns car like that as well." The Baron snapped his fingers.
"You know what!? He was in the laboratory the other night when we were talking! He could have followed us to the diner to keep tabs on what we were up to!"
"I don't suppose he would be doing it to find a reason to get one of us fired. After all, it would mean he would get that huge promotion everyone's been trying to get. I gave the university a notice of our absence for several weeks, they've already put substitutes in order. Therefore he can't pin anything on us while we're gone."
"Or he could be trying to freeload on our work..." the Baron speculated.
The tram screeched to a halt in front of the Baron's own spacecraft. It was a small ship, which he hadn't used for much more than ferrying across space trade routes back in his days of commerce. It was painted jet black, had gently sloping side panels, and several space-proof windows adorned the front of the vessel. Attached to the bottom of the rear were two landing pods used for quick descent and return to the ship when docked in space. It was powered by a single ion engine, capable mildly quick intergalactic travel.
"And she's fueled?" Baron asked the attendant. He replied with a nod, so the two professors boarded the vessel.
The inside was also small, consisting of the engine room, the main bay, the tiny living quarters, and the control area. A tinge of nervousness and excitement enveloped the doctor.
"Actually traveling in space! I never dreamt-"
"Well start dreaming," the Baron chuckled. He seized the controls of his craft and requested permission from the tower to lift off.
A voice came over the radio, "Celestial Treasure, launch approved. Commence takeoff."
The baron raised his eyebrows and jogged his head a little, as if used to the procedure. The doctor sat in his chair stiffly, waiting until the shakiness of the ascending ship was neutralized. They rose beyond the roof of the hangar, and into the open sky. The gigantic tower of the LEGO City Space Dock began to fade into the distance. All of LEGO City began to fall further and further out of view. Within minutes, the city was but a speck and the atmosphere had thinned to nothing. The engine's noise suddenly dropped to a low hum.
"We're clear," cheered the Baron. The doctor stood up and stretched.
"NOW," the doctor exclaimed. "Let's find us a space pirate!"
Chapter 5: The Journey Begins Edit
The Baron re-emerged from the recesses of the ship into which he had vanished several minutes earlier in search of something he had not yet revealed. He was cradling a large stack of books as he approached the doctor's position. He set them down on a nearby table with a loud *thud*.
"So, where do we start?" the doctor inquired.
"Well, I read up a bit prior to our launch, and most sources say he tends to hang out around the Andorean system. It is the center of a major trade route, after all... Used to travel there often, back in the day."
"And he raids the shipping lanes," the doctor half-asked, half-stated.
"Correct. So it will probably be more of a problem to acquire his services than to find him."
"Well, that puts us in a bit of a position, then, doesn't it? This is an old trading vessel. We'd be a target, and then look like bumbling old fools trying to make excuses when we explain our quest."
The Baron reclined in his chair and stared pensively at the ceiling. He said nothing for a few moments, and then started slowly, "Well, we could... set up a scenario he couldn't resist to confront."
"Like a trap."
"Kind of. We could set up the vessel as a dummy, then wait for him to show up."
"We'd need weapons. Powerful weapons. I think this is too risky."
"We're trying to enlist the help of a notorious criminal; did you think this would be easy?"
"Okay, you win. Suppose that we do manage to put his back to the wall and convince him to join us. How could we be assured that he wouldn't double-cross us, dispose of us, and go after the Nexus himself?"
"Well, my idea is to let him know of our intentions, get him hooked on the Nexus, and convince him that each of us has a piece of crucial information needed to find the Nexus."
"Again, it's a rather high-risk plan. I don't think-"
The Baron slammed his fist on the table. "Well it's a risk we have to take. If you think that you're not cut out for this kind of endeavor, then by all means, tell me now so I can turn around and leave you back in that laboratory, inventing things that will never have any practical use in the world, and you can go back and live day in and day out in that little world where nothing. Ever. Changes."
The doctor said nothing for a long time, tapping his fingers on the table randomly. Finally, he sighed and said, "You're right. You're absolutely right. I've spent my life in the laboratory, I don't know what it's like to be taking risks. Real risks. I guess this is adventure, then. Something huge you're trying to achieve, your life hanging in the balance. So fragile, so delicate. So... small."
The Baron nodded ever so slightly in agreement, having calmed down a bit from his outburst a minute before. "So it's settled then. If you're in, then we make a stop at the nearest planet in the Andorean system, pick up some kind of weapon we can use, see if we can get any tips on his crew's whereabouts, put the ship down, send out a distress signal, and wait."
"Doesn't sound like there's much else we can do. But on a completely different note, what do you make of our shadow?"
"I really can't make anything of him just yet. It's not like we have anything of value. And to anyone else, I can't imagine we'd look like we're up to something."
"You mean aside from taking three months off of work, and then going on an adventure through space in a tiny commerce vessel, no, nothing conspicuous about that at all," the doctor replied with a tinge of sarcasm in his voice."
The Baron chuckled. "Well, let's just hope he's not a trans-galactic assassin." The doctor smiled in return, but the tone of the conversation changed when, at that moment, a harsh beeping went off in the control room.
"Oh no, what now..." the Baron groaned as he arose from his chair. "Oh studs. The asteroid field, I forgot the asteroid field."
"Is it a big problem? I mean, you wouldn't think so if it was in the middle of a massive trade route."
"Well, normally it isn't, you can use the AutoNav. But it needs to calibrate beforehand. I'll you need you to help out," the Baron spoke as he seized the controls.
"What's that?" the doctor queried, pointing at a screen with a flashing green dot on it.
"The energy sensors. We're being followed."
Chapter 6: The Race to Andorea Edit
"Well, this will be fun!" A smile crept across Baron's face. "No, no, turn that dial the other way. It should be set to 6 studs during the second stage of calibration." The doctor jumped back a bit.
"I am most definitely not cut out for this kind of thing," he proclaimed, with his hands spread out in front of him.
"You sit back down here, we're just getting into the fun part!" Baron pulled the steerage controls out of the dashboard to trigger manual flight. The doctor scanned the empty void spread out like an infinite black canvas before him. Small, slowly-moving gray dots began to ease into view. The green dot on the energy sensor's panel was still flashing. Baron followed the doctor's eyes, and met his gaze on the panel. "Studs, he's getting closer." He glanced towards a viewing screen in the upper-left register of the cockpit area. "Albert, read me those numbers." He nodded at the energy sensor's panel again.
"Three five zero one three?" the doctor replied, hesitantly.
Baron ignored the inflection. In a monotone voice, he spoke, "Target system: track object three five zero one three." Nothing happened. He spoke again, louder: "Target system: track object three five zero one three." Two tiny red brackets appeared on the small viewing screen, and Baron raised his eyebrows. "Wow, it still works... Target system: magnify active object." The screen zoomed in to the object in the brackets. The doctor strained to see the image. It was difficult to identify the identity of the spacecraft, but Baron knew enough. "She's loaded. Those missiles won't leave a trace of use..."
"Missiles!? You mean someone is out to kill us already!?"
"Let's lose him in the asteroids." Baron accelerated the craft, and the tiny dots spread before them grew larger and larger until their true size was revealed. The doctor marveled at one that drifted distantly past the window and out of view.
"That one was the size of the Space Dock itself!"
"That one was quite large... Although, I have seen a few that were so big, they-" Baron was interrupted by a violent jolt. "Whoops." He flicked a lever on the far reach of the dashboard. "Okay, now we're ready. Let's give this nameless assassin a run for his money!" Baron accelerated the craft once more, navigating skillfully around the asteroids. The dot on the energy reading screen began to creep slowly to the bottom, until it vanished. "Ha, we lost him!"
The doctor sighed deeply and leaned back into his seat. "Had me on the edge of my seat..." he exhaled, relieved.
"Now, back on track to the Andorean System, full speed ahead!"
The doctor was awakened by a gentle shake.
"Get ready, we're going to disembark within the half hour!" the Baron spoke. The doctor shot up, and scurried around, gathering his things. When he had finished, he returned to his spot beside Baron in the cockpit. A wide smile was spread across Baron's face. "You see, just down there is... where..." His voice trailed off. The doctor looked at his face, puzzled. Baron's gaze was fixed. "It's him," he said, weakly. The doctor looked up. A small, but sleek, black ship with large missiles strapped to its underside was right there. Waiting for them.