TITLE: The Insane Quartet (part I)
By Jacob Gibson
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THE INCREDIBLE, RIDICULOUS ADVENTURES OF THE INSANE QUARTET!
episode 227: Taking Down the Team!
[part I: Mission Tricked-out!]
It was a dark and stormy night... well, actually it wasn't really raining and it wasn't that dark. But it was still night. A dark and cold night, during the beginning of March. We were out of town, staying at a hotel to wait for our championship basketball game tomorrow. Tonight the girl's played their championship volley ball which they had unfortunately lost. Now, to get over their hurt feelings, they were dancing around in front of our motel and singing the most annoying song in the world. Ugh, that song is so annoying. But this story isn't about the girls (well, not exactly). It's all about me, superhero team leader Dustin, and my faithful but floundering partners, speedy Mike, master marksman Ross, and powerful but mysterious Jim. Together we are... the Insane Quartet! Buh-duh!
Now, you may be thinking that we're just a bunch of goofy singers that defeat villains by smashing them with instruments and singing badly. We're not like that at all (except for that one time in episode 92: The Stinging, Flinging, Stinky Singers). We're actually a team of crime-fighting teenagers just trying to live a half-way normal life. Our boss, Nate, makes sure that everything stays safe and protected in our town, and that no one discovers our true identities (which would be terrible because our parents would force us to do tons of difficult, superhero-sized chores. Just thinking about that scares me to death! Can you imagine... uh, well never mind). We couldn't survive without him. And we can't survive with him.
But anyway back to the story. It was a dark and... eh, cold night during the beginning of March and near the end... I mean, it was a dark and stor-- dark and st-- oh no... oh no I'm repeating myself! I can't stop! Eh! Dark and stormy... eh... girls singing... I can't sing a lick... eh... eh.... ehhhhhh... okay I'm better now. Where was I? Oh yes. Dark and stormy... oh man. Ugh! Okay, I remember now. It was a...uhm... uh.... I was sleeping. Sleeping in my room in Innsomnia hotel with the other members of my team (who had been miraculously sent to same room as I, which was both good and bad). Anyway, we were sound asleep. I was having the weirdest dream about the girls from our school... they were wearing Halo suits and playing basketball against aliens, and in the background I could hear a rock-version of the Globe Trotter's theme playing. It was so cool... even though it didn't make any sense... ehhhhh!
So just as I was about to get to the best part of the dream my IQ phone went off in my shorts pocket and vibrated against my side. Suddenly the view in my head changed to that of a giant, poisonous skinny black snake biting me and I screamed in terror and fell out of bed. I realized I must have waken up my roomies when I heard Ross's slurred, irritated voice that said "Eh, Dustin, shut up! I'm trying to sleep. Gosh, you're so stupid!" I told him to go fall of the balcony and then went to the bathroom to talk to whoever had wrecked my sleep.
I sat down on the toilet and pushed the big red button. The face of Master Nate popped up on the screen and looked at me seriously. "Hello, Dustin. I have another job for you."
As I turned the volume down and adjusted the picture I whispered "That's what I thought. Man, do you know what time it is? I was dreaming about Halo basketball and skinny black snakes. And why are you outside?! I thought you were in here with us!"
"Sorry, Kerrr, but it's my job to wake you up at bad times. Because that’s when EVIL comes out and does EVIL things! And you did...uh... hey, wait a second... are you on the toilet? What are you doing?!?!"
"No, I'm not using it! Man, how stupid do you think I am?"
Nate paused for a second and finally said, "Uhm... anyway, I left the room because I couldn't stand you guys’ terrible snoring."
"Oh. I see." Then I moved the ear piece down to my nose and made a loud snorting sound.
"Ow! Yeah, that's what you guys sound like! But, speaking of the other guys, how come your team isn't listening to this too? Don't they want to get in on this?"
"Yeah, well I... decided to let them sleep for a little more."
"Ha, whatever! You just didn't want them to bug you while I talked, right?"
"No that's not... okay whatever. I'm just too tired to think!"
"Okay I'll get back to the point."
"Good. So what is it?"
"I'm afraid it's another enemy."
"Oh great. Yay. So who's the enemy this time? Aliens... mutants... robots...? Did my litttle sister have too much sugar again?"
"I'm not exactly sure... but whatever it is it can't be good."
"Hey, none of that! Anyway, here's what we got so far: the IQ Hover Cam I set up on this building's roof showed some boys leaving their rooms and driving away in two vehicles on the screens of my phone. I believe it was a truck and car."
"That's not everything. They drove off without their lights on and, unless the camera was screwed up, the cars made no noise either and the truck seemed to float above the ground."
"Whaaaaaaat?!?! Is that even possible?!"
Another voice suddenly shouted through the room, "Eh, Dustin, shut up! I'm trying to sleep. Can't you use the bathroom without screaming? Gosh, you're so stupid!"
I told Mike to stick his head in the garbage can and then continued my overrated discussion. "So, a car drives off silently without a sound and a truck flies though the air. Are we going to be fighting ghost cars?"
"Not exactly. When they reached the highway they came back to life. Then they drove off towards the campus. I followed them with the camera until they stopped at the basketball gym and got out. Then someone must have seen the camera in the air because they shot it down with a gun."
"Interesting. Maybe it was just some insomniacs going to practice for the big game tomorrow... with shot guns... eh..."
"Fat chance. This is very weird. "
"Yeah, I'll say. When was all of this...?"
"Thirteen minutes ago. What? I was watching TV on my phone. It was a really great show! C'mon, you would have done it too!"
"No I wouldn't of... unless it was, like, a really great show! Man, you're the worst coach/leader ever! Eh."
"Hey! Don't talk to me like that or I'll make you run 50 laps around the motel in your underpants... while singing 'Feel Like a Woman' at the top of your lungs!" Nate looked serious but stifled a laugh.
"Ha, the joke's on you! I already did that at my house last year. Plus I just listened to the worst song in the world all night. You can't possibly embarrass me!"
"I could make it worse. But let's not talk about that now. You need to get going now."
"All right, all right we're going. See you tomorrow. We'll get those ghost-car riding insomniacs and they will pay. Ha ha ha ha!"
Before Nate could wish him luck yet another annoying voice came again and yelled "Dusti-i-i-i-n!"
"Arrrghhhh! Shut UP!!! All right, we're really going now. Uh... you're coming with us right?"
"Nope, sorry. The captain never comes along... it's part of the unwritten code of superheros. And besides, my show is still on."
"Fine, we'll live without you. I'll get the boys together and we'll search the campus and let you know what's up. And, by the way, can we take you red camero?"
"No way! I’m not letting you take my baby and scratch it to pieces. Take your super scooters instead. And may I remind you that it's not red! It more of a silvery..."
"I know! I was just kidding. See you later."
I turned off the screen, and left the bathroom to tell everyone the situation. "It's time for action, boys! Lez do it!" I announced. Back outside Nate looked at his cell phone, which was now on mini-TV mode, and thought, "Time for Best Basketball Bloopers on GSPN! Buh duh duh DA DA duh DA DA, DA DA! "
Song is sung by all of the members of IQ. The first line of each verse is sung by Jim, the second; Ross, the third; Mike, and the fourth; Dustin. Everyone sings in the chorus.
Dustin: Eh... eh... ehhhhhhhhhh.....!
(chorus) Eh eh eh, eh eh eh... insane! Eh eh eh, eh eh eh... insane! Eh eh eh, eh eh eh... insane! In-sane Quar-tet!
Four regular boys in a regular town,
Where weird and crazy things are always going down.
Realy bad dudes and... evil clowns?
Better call the guys who are always around!
Insane Quartet! (Chorus)
It all began a while back in June,
At a camping trip under a full moon,
Where they were all bit my a mutated green raccoon
Now they're really powerful and act like buffoons!
Insane Quartet! (Chorus)
Now every single day brings a new situation,
No time to relax, or take a vacation
Gotta save the world from certain devastation,
You can't miss this awesome show with bad animation!
Ehhhhhhh... ehhhhhhh... insane! Ehhhhhhh.... ehhhhhh.... Insane!
Ehhhh... ehhh...ehhh... insane! In-sane Quartet!
Jim: EH YEAH!
Dustin: It’s “Ih” not “Eh”! Gosh!
A few seconds later we had all changed into our crime-fighting uniforms and had quietly left our room with scooters in hand. I had a white robe and pants with a black belt around my waist, Ross was in his camo and armed with his paintball gun, Mike was wearing his track outfit complete with spiked shoes, and Jim was in his pajamas (not his usual clothes, but he was too tired to change). As we tip-toed across the balcony and made our way down the metal stairs Jim made a comment.
"Boy it sure is quiet out here. Too quiet. Something must be up."
I didn't answer to that obvious remark but Mike quickly answered, "Duh! Everyone is asleep. Why else would it be so quiet? Man you're so stupid!"
"What?! Come on. Anyone could have made that mistake. You're so mean!"
"Okay, guys," I said, "Let's not talk anymore until we're far away from the building." Soon we had reached the ground and walked to the back parking lot. As we quickly unfolded the scooters (which looked like metal bars at fist until fully assembled) I said to the team, "Okay, here's a mission from Nate. Some weirdoes silently drove their flying cars from the motel and went all the way to the gym where we're playing tomorrow. Then they shot down the camera. That's all we know."
My friends stared at me like I was... insane. Finally Ross said, "What?! That's so stupid!"
Jim whined, "You got me out of bed just for that? I dreamt that I was playing with Iowa State and I had just made the winning shot. Then the cheerleaders were about to dogpile on me and--"
"I know, don't tell me! I'm just as upset about this as you. But this isn't the time to whine. We'll save that for the game tomorrow when the refs give bad calls.”
“Hey wait,” said Mike suddenly realising something. “Why didn’t you let Nate talk to us too? I bet this whole thing is a joke and you want to make us look stupid!” Everyone suddenly agreed with him and began to give me some stupid looks.
“I thought you guys hated listening to mission briefs! Come on, I let you sleep a little longer! This isn’t a joke, I promise. Talk to Nate yourself if you don’t believe me.”
“Uh… that’s okay. We believe you,” they all said at once.
“Don’t worry about this. I’m sure it will turn out to be nothing. And besides we'll have a good excuse for sleeping in tomorrow!"
Everyone agreed with several hearty "ish-yeahs" and finished opening the scooters. At their full size they formed three-foot long skinny bars with handles and an anti-gravity base. Each scooter was a different color for all of us. I had a retro black one, Mike had a red one, Ross blue, and Jim white. All of the scooters had lights on the front but we left them off so no one would see us. I finished up the talk and said, "Okay, we're all ready. If there's anyone too tired... well... I don't care. That's your problem. Let's go!"
We jumped onto our tricked-out floating scooters, twisted the handles, and shot to the gym. All the way we floated a foot off the ground and traveled at blinding speed—up to 20 mph. Yeah, they don't move very fast but they're still a blast to drive... and at least you don't have to walk.
So, on we floated silently over the grassy plains through the peaceful night. Peaceful, that is, until someone made another stupid comment. "Eh, this is so slow!" said Mike impatiently. "We could go so much faster in a yellow submarine! Gosh! We all live in a ye-llow submarine!"
"Eh," I responded. "Submarines only work underground! It's so obvious!" I felt pretty smart telling Mike that.
"What?!" screamed Ross. "I don't get it. I thought they flew through the sky. Is nothing intelligent anymore?"
Jim sighed and said, "No, I guess not. Nothing ever makes sense anymore. I love that. Eh..."
I ignored these comments and softly responded, "You guys, shut up! You're driving me insane!"
"Dustin! Shut up!" yelled Mike. "You're being too loud! Everyone will hear you, and then they'll come outside, they'll see us, and then do you know what they'll do...? They'll say, 'Eh! Four kids on floating scooters! That's not even possible!'"
As I was about to calmly respond again I was interrupted by Ross suddenly shouting, "Oh, look! Is that a squirrel?! Eh!" Ross separated from the group and Jim and Mike quickly followed. I called for the morons to come back but they kept chasing the squirrel, and with their lights still off. I just kept going and waited for them to come back. The last thing I heard from them was, "Oh, he's got a big tail!"
For awhile I was left alone in peaceful solitude. In a few seconds I saw the three shadowy figures that were my teammates coming in behind me. When they got close I could hear them yelling some not very nice remarks. "Ross! You moron! How could you make us ALL crash into a tree?"
"What? How was I supposed to know he would jump into a tree right in front of us?"
Jim said, "Becauuuuuuuuse, squirrels eat trees! I thought everyone knew that."
"No, Jim!" corrected Mike, "Only flying beavers eat entire trees. Duh! How many times do I have to correct you guys on these things? Like a shmillion kadrillion times!"
"HEY!" I yelled. "Just be QUIET and follow ME! You're SHENANIGANS are slowing us DOWN and making me lose SLEEP! And you KNOW that if I don’t get at LEAST 12 hours of SLEEEEEEP!!!--"
"Okay, sorry Dustin. Let's just get going already."
After one hour of riding around we finally arrived at the gym (we could have got there sooner if my friends would've remembered the way). We parked our rides by a tree close by and walked to the big yellow gym. Strange enough, there was no cars to be seen and the place looked just like us... dead.
"Eh! Where's the cars and the rifle-wielding ghosts you talked about, Dustin?" question Ross.
"Yeah, this is dumb. What gives?"
"I'm not sure. Let me call Nate on this one." I speed-dialed the number to Nate's room and he soon picked up after ten rings, but his face didn't show up on the screen.
"Hello? Oh hey, Dustin. What's up?" Just as I was about to complain Nate started laughing hysterically and I had to pull the phone away. He must have been watching TV at the same time.
"Nate, we have a problem. And for goodness sake please turn your visual on!"
"Oops, sorry." The screen flashed on and Nate's mug appeared and it seemed that he was now in our room.
"Good, okay, so... ack, I changed my mind! You look horrible! Like a zombie who hasn't slept forever. Turn it off!"
"Uh… never mind that. But speaking of zombies, where are the mime cars that you talked about? Was this all a trick just to get me out of bed?"
"No, off course not! I only did that to you once. Can't you forget about that?"
"No, but anyway...?"
"Are you at the right gym? The yellow one (that doesn’t have a name)."
"You checked the whole area?"
"Including the parking lot?" At that statement I quickly ran around the building and saw the parked cars.
"Uh.. huff... puff... *swallow*... uh-huh!"
"I take it you found them. Better get going. No time to...uh... oof..." Nate never finished his sentence. Because in that instant his eyes rolled back and he collapsed on the floor in pure brain-dead exhaustion.
"Nate? How do we get in the building? Nate? Oh great." I turned to my friends who had finally caught up. "All right, Nate said this was the right building... right before his brain shut down. Now we just need to figure out how to get inside."
"How about we see if they left the front door unlocked?" suggested Jim.
"No, I doubt that our freaky flying friends are that foolish. Let's try throwing a brick through the window!"
"Dustin!" said Ross. "That's not right! Do you know how expensive bricks are? We can't just waste them. And besides… we didn't bring any."
"Rats. Oh well. Maybe we can... tunnel in underneath. Nah. How about we climb in through a ventilation shaft? Oh, wait, we didn't bring our pointy-ended ropes to climb the building. Maybe we could..."
While I discussed my ideas with everyone I didn't notice Jim walking away towards the front door. And as I continued to think of brilliant break-in plans Ross and Mike walked away too and followed Jim to the door. After a minute or so I realized that no one was listening to me, not even that stray dog who was watering my shoes. So, feeling a certain awkwardness I walked to the door with them, still talking just to feel important.
By the time I got there everyone was already inside, gawking at me through a nearby window. I didn't know how everyone got inside without me but I didn't stop to ask questions. Ross ran to the door and opened it for me. Once I stepped inside Jim announced proudly, "Eh! Guess what Dustin? The door was unlocked!"
"Really?" I asked intelligently. "I was just about to try that. Glad you figured it out by yourselves. I was just testing you to make sure you knew what to do. Good job. That's how the Quartet does it!"
"Yeah, whatever." said Mike impatiently. "Let's just get going."
So on we walked through the never-ending dark and creepy halls of the building. All was quiet, and the only thing you could hear was our footsteps echoing through the building. It was so dark I wish I had brought a flashlight with me. Just as we rounded the last corner (which I think we had passed several times) and were in reach of the door to the basketball court... a shadowy figure appeared before us. The sudden appearance of this person surprised me but I did not get all freaked out. I remained calmed and was determined to face this mysterious person no matter how dangerous he was. I would not lose my cool. I would not be afraid.
After a moment or so I woke up and found myself sitting inside a large dark room which must have been the court and I had the worst bump on the back of my head. We must have fought that guy pretty hard since I couldn't remember what had happened. Nothing made sense now. How did we get in here? Why did I fall asleep? How do people get the cream filling in the donuts? What's the square root of eight? I tried to move but I couldn't. It felt like I was tied to three lumpy objects. But soon I heard the wonderful sound of my friend's concerned voices.
"Dustin!" shouted Mike "Finally you woke up! I can't believe you! At the first sight of a robot you scream like a school girl and faint! Unbelievable!"
"Yeah," said Ross, "I think I nearly went deaf from that scream. My ears are still ringing like a firetruck! Ree-ooo ree-ooo ree-ooo!"
Jim added, "We had to fight that robot all by ourselves and we get beaten up, tied-together, and thrown in here!"
"Wait," I said confused. "That was a robot? You guys, I mean we, had to fight a robot?"
"That's right!" shouted a deep voice from behind me. "You were pretty easy to beat. I hope your basketball team plays better than you fight!"
"Ugh. I guess we have to repeat this whole story to you all over again!"
My friends moaned in frustration but I was interested. "What story?" Someone walked over to me and stood a foot away. "I'll tell you everything. But first... lights!!!"
The room exploded with light and nearly blew my eyes. I couldn't see anything for a second but eventually my eyes adjusted. I recognize the area and noted that we were in the court. From where I was sitting I could see a line of chairs set up with people sitting in them that must have extended beside the court. All of them stared at me, most with dark and piercing eyes but a few just looked around nervously like they didn't want to be there. The man said, "That better? Good. Now, about this story. I think I'll tell you everything just because your friends didn't believe my lies I told at first." My three teammates shouted again.
"Quiet! Anyway, this whole sneaking into the court at night was not done unintentionally. You see, we are the Plowers, the team you will compete against tomorrow, and I am their team leader. We have come here tonight to practice one last time before the big game. But this practice is not like the others in one aspect, and that is... we are training our secret weapon! Our robots!"
"Wha-A-at?!" I squeaked. Everyone laughed but the person just stared at me, unmoving.
"These robots, the B-bots, are our key in beating the tar out of you Lazers (team name). We only brought seven of them, but I think that's all we'll need. They are strong, agile, half-way intelligent, and faster than any human alive. And best of all... they look just like our team mates!" He took a second to laugh uncontrollably and then started again.
"But that isn't the best of all. The absolute greatest thing about these super machines is that they can transform to look exactly like tons of highly athletic people, male or female, young or old, and take on their exact same abilities if they know them." He motioned for one of the robots to step forward and it did. It walked to the middle of the court right on the picture of the moo cow's head and faced us. Then the leader shouted out a command and the robot quickly changed into several people, including Michael Jordan, the entire team of the Bulls, and other great people that I (Jacob Gibson) don't know. Then he uttered another command and it immediately changed it's entire body to look like a strong athletic girl... none other than my older sister! I was horrified at the image until I realized that it was only my sister... then I was really horrified and screamed. Jim gasped out loud, his jaw hanging open like... something that hangs open really far. He got real excited and said, "Wow, that is so kewl! How much do you want for it?"
"They aren't for sale. At least, not yet."
"Hold on!" I demanded. "First, who made these robots? Second, how do you think you can beat us with some wimpy human-looking machines? And third, that gender-switching thing just doesn't look right! Especially when you turn it into my sister."
"You're right. It doesn't. And I had no idea that was your sister. She's so hot! Eh! But that's not important. And in answer to your questions, I made the robots all by myself." His friends laughed at him for that statement. "What? Okay, well actually I didn't make them, my mom did. But she makes the best robots! Eh! Oh, uh... for your second question I think we can beat you with these. We only use a few of them for the big games but they really do the trick. I believe it was your fellow volley folley girls that we defeated with just four of our girl bots. After they beat us in the first game I thought we needed some backup so we pulled out a few Aces for the championship and we won the round! As I see it, as long as our coach never finds out we can beat you in everything! Too bad that other team wasn't here to lose horribly!"
"That's cheating!" I yelled. "And brilliant! We should have tried that last year on you."
"You wouldn't have won anyway," said the leader with a laugh. "These bots are top of the line and top of their game. They could beat you any day at any place at any time at any temperature at any state at any... uh... never mind. I'd just love to see how your pathetic team can play against them right now. I say it's time for some four-on-four B-ball."
Jim thought for a moment and said, "So, would that be like me and Mike and two robots, verses Ross and Dustin and two robots? Eh?"
"Oh man are you stupid!" shouted Mike. "It's obviously you and three robots verses me, Dustin, Ross, and one robot. You make me get so frustrated!”
"Silence, you bumbling idiots!" the captain demanded. "It will be four robots verses you losers. You will only have sixteen minutes to beat these guys. If you win, we'll hand over two of our robots to you, for basketball and loads of fun. However, if you don't win we'll force you to give up your so-called super powers and give them to us, no matter what we have to do. If you miraculously manage to win... then we'll let you go with powers and all." Then the captain motioned for some of the guys to untie us.
"That's stupid!" I declared. "Even if we did win, I bet you still wouldn't let us go." But my friends didn't think so.
"A basketball game? Sweet!" said Mike. "Now we can beat you twice in one week! Even if the time limit is rediculously short."
"Eh, yeah, basketball, yeah!" cheered Ross.
"A robot that can turn into a girl! Eh, I think I'm in love!" said Jim in his own little world.
So that was that. I couldn't change their minds so we had to play the game. But I still wondered about some things. Like, how we could actually win against robots, and how people outside wouldn't hear us. I got one of my questions answered soon after that. While we the boys were almost done untying us Ross asked, "How can we have a game in here? We'll make too much noise and might draw a crowd."
"Ross!" I said in shock. "Don't tell them--"
"Tell them what?" said the leader in a mocking tone. "Ha, you really are soft in the head. Do you think we didn't prepare for that? We set up sound-proof panels over all the windows and doors of this room and halls so almost all of the noise and light would stay in here, and no where else. We also shut the lights off when we heard you guys walking around, so you wouldn't suspect a thing. Instead of locking the doors we let you come in and fall into our trap."
The boys finally finished untying us. I wasted no time and leapt straight at them. My friends yelled at me to stop but it was too late. Instantly I felt a sharp pain in my arm. I shouted in pain and looked down to see a large black metal band tied around my wrist. It was on really tight and had no buttons or switches that would removed it.
"It's a shock band," said the leader with a smirk. "We used to use them on the bots for training. Now we attached them to all of your arms, just in case you try anything stupid… I mean, more stupid. Which you wouldn't be able to anyway. All right, no more explanations. Game on!"
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