The True Naughty Listers
Nostrel sat in a small conference room at the local headquarters of his new job. He was now working for Hugh, a 30 year old man from another world that had been working to cleanse the Earth from evil since he was 16 years old (Hugh’s original adventure can be read here: https://theprose.com/post/389825/the-pit ). Once he turned 30, Hugh created a network of heroes all over the Earth, bound by crime fighting technology. Agents working for Hugh were equipped with technology that Hugh himself had used to fight evil: a special dark helmet that provided its wearer with full armor, enhanced strength, and access to various weapons with a quick thought. Due to side effects from a clinical trial for an ears, nose and throat medicine, Nostrel had powers of his own that he could likely utilize instead of Hugh’s technology. Nostrel observed the screen in the conference room light up, with none other than Hugh himself looking his way. Although he was from another planet, Hugh appeared quite human, and he didn’t look any older than 25.
“Greetings, you must be Nostrel.” Hugh said enthusiastically. “I understand you have joined us based on interactions with my associate Jirk.”
“That’s right.” Nostrel said, feeling slightly uncomfortable. Nostrel met Jirk because Jirk was sent to stop him while he was destroying the city that housed the pharmaceutical company responsible for the drug that gave him his side effect powers. Thanks to Jirk’s skills and a trip to an alternate world created by Hugh called the Reflection Dimension, Nostrel was reformed and cleared of all crimes. Nostrel’s discomfort faded when he remembered that working for Hugh was his chance to turn over a new leaf (Nostrel’s encounter with Jirk and his time in the Reflection Dimension can be read about here: https://theprose.com/post/382631/redemption-in-another-dimension ).
“As Jirk told you already, we have connections with scientists that could look into a cure for the side effects from the medicine you previously took in the clinical trial.” Hugh said. “But per your conversation with Jirk and your application, I understand you want to try your powers in the field instead of our standard issue helmets?”
“Yes please.” Nostrel replied politely. “I would like to use these powers for a better cause then destruction. If they don’t prove useful to your organization, then I could certainly take you up on looking into a cure.”
“I can appreciate that, and I am open to seeing how it goes!” Hugh said excitedly. “Get some winter clothes together Nostrel, your first assignment with us will be helping Santa in the North Pole!”
“Ha ha ha ha, that’s funny!” Nostrel laughed. He stopped laughing when he noticed Hugh’s serious expression.
“It is no joke, Saint Nick himself sent us a distress call.” Hugh responded. “Apparently, one of Santa’s most loyal and talented elves, a fellow that goes by Hilseph, has gone rogue and is trying to destroy Santa’s workshop, and the Christmas village that houses it. A small part of the village was destroyed, but the rest of the village and the workshop are currently being protected by force fields. Santa is not sure how long the force fields will hold up, and if this isn’t taken care of quickly, it could reach the media and cause panic with the children of the world.”
“I understand Hugh, and I will take care of it.” Nostrel said. “I will go in the field with my own powers, but there is one piece of tech I would like to take with me if that’s ok.”
Nostrel arrived at the North Pole, and it didn’t take him long to locate the problem. A giant Santa robot was in front of Santa’s Workshop, pummeling the force field with its fists. Nostrel was still surprised that Santa used force fields, wondering how many other naughty folks attack the North Pole.
“SANTA DOESN’T APPRECIATE THE ELVES, AND HE DIDN’T LIKE THEIR SONG!” An angry voice screamed over an intercom coming from the Santa robot. “HE GAVE RUDOLPH A HARD TIME OVER HIS NOSE TOO! WELL I AM DONE BUILDING TOYS FOR HIM! I BUILT THIS ROBOT IN A DAY, AND I WILL DESTROY HIS LIFE’S WORK IN LESS THAN THAT!”
Nostrel wasn’t sure what this was all about, but he took a wild guess that Hilseph was within the towering robot. He raced over to it and began using his powers to try and take out the machine. He started with firing lasers out of his nostrils at the robot’s legs. The lasers deflected away without fail. Next Nostrel pulled off his ears and threw them at the robot. The impact from his ears would be the equivalent of being hit by a wrecking ball, but these also put no dent in the robot. Nostrel’s ears flew back to him, and he decided to try his last ability. He summoned T-Shirts from the ground in an attempt to bind the robot, and much like his first attacks, the robot was unfazed, tearing itself away from the T-Shirt binding. Nostrel regretted not utilizing more of Hugh’s tech. He had one piece of equipment from Hugh, but it would only work if Hilseph emerged from his giant Santa bot. As he listened to Hilseph hurl more accusations against Santa, he had an idea. The robot itself was impenetrable thus far, but the ground around it wasn’t. If he could knock the robot down and immobilize it, maybe he could get Hilseph to show himself....
Nostrel drew his destructive ears once more, and threw them at the ground where the Santa bot’s legs stood. Two craters formed where the ears hit, and the Santa bot lost its balance and fell backward. The robot laid on the ground on its back, and Nostrel climbed onto it and approached its head, finally firing a laser from his nostril at its face. A hole appeared where the laser hit, and Hilseph and Nostrel were finally face to face.
“You hate Santa that much that you made your Santa robot’s face vulnerable?” Nostrel asked, somewhat surprised that his gambit worked.
“YES, YOU SHOULD HAVE SEEN WHAT I SAW IN THE RUDOLPH MOVIE!” Hilseph hollered, a rabid look in his eyes. “SANTA TOLD THE ELVES THAT THEIR SONG NEEDED WORK! HE TOLD RUDOLPH’S DAD THAT HE HOPED HIS RED NOSE WOULD GO AWAY! SANTA IS NOT A NICE MAN, THE MOVIE IS EVIDENCE OF THAT! I WILL RUIN HIM!”
“Dude, that was just an old movie, stop motion animated to boot!” Nostrel responded in disbelief. “It doesn’t represent reality! I thought you were one of his best elves! Would you really have been that loyal if Santa was actually like that? What is really going on?”
“STAY OUT OF MY WAY, I KNOW WHAT I SAW! THE ORC ENLIGHTENED ME! LET ME FINISH MY WORK!”
“I can’t let you do that, believe me.” Nostrel retorted. Hilseph’s statement about an Orc enlightening him gave Nostrel an idea of what was really happening. The time had come to play his ace in the hole. Nostrel drew the gun entrusted to him by Hugh, and he fired a clean laser shot at Hilseph. Hilseph disintegrated upon impact.
Nostrel climbed down from the giant robot and found an audience before him of Santa, Mrs. Claus and several elves. All of them looked panicked over the laser gun in Nostrel’s hand, still smoking.
“Where is Hilseph?” Santa asked worriedly.
“Don’t worry, he’s fine.” Nostrel responded gently. “This gun transported him to the Reflection Dimension. It is an alternative to prison. Food, shelter, digital entertainment, and lodgings are provided to its residents. Residents there are also given a chance to take a test to see if they have changed, and if they have they will be sent back here. Personally, I think Hilseph was brainwashed and pit against you all, and his trip to the Reflection Dimension will remove the brainwashing. In fact, he should be reappearing right about....”
Hilseph then appeared before everyone. He no longer looked angry, just sad.
“I am so sorry!” Hilseph sobbed. “A monster kidnapped me while I was seeking new materials in the wild for toys, and he made me watch the Rudolph movie. He hypnotized me into believing that the parts where the movie version of Santa acted misguided were representative of Santa’s true nature!”
“Ho Ho Ho, no need to apologize my friend!” Santa said in a jolly tone, hugging and comforting Hilseph. “Based on Nostrel’s actions and your confirmation, none of this is your fault! And for the record, I love your elf songs! Ho Ho Ho!”
“I am glad you are back to normal.” Nostrel said kindly to Hilseph. “I want to catch who did this to you. Can you tell me more about the monster?”
“Yes, absolutely!” Hilseph quickly responded. “He was a giant goblin that called himself Hypnorc. He put me under his control in a cave not far from here. I think I remember him saying he had to be close by for his hypnotism to work. He might still be near!”
“Thank you Hilseph!” Nostrel said quickly, dashing off to search the surrounding area for Hypnorc. “Rest easy, I will catch him and stop him from doing this to anyone else!”
Hypnorc sat in the seat of the airborne jet, looking out the window. Despite the goblin’s massive size, he had plenty of room in the jet. He looked out the window, and in the distance down below, he saw the one responsible for taking down the Santa robot now entering his cave. Hypnorc felt relieved that he was not currently there. He then looked straight ahead at his new acquaintance that had given him this last minute escape. His rescuer was nothing more than a featureless, dark silhouette.
“I see your plan to destroy Santa’s portion of the North Pole failed.” The silhouette figure said in a voice that could belong to nobility, but the voice also carried a sinister tone to it. “No matter though, your skills impress me. I could use someone like you for my cause.”
“I appreciate the save, but what is your cause?” Hypnorc asked.
“The end of the same organization that just foiled your plans.” The figure responded. “They are trying to make the world a better place, but if they were really doing that then I wouldn’t look like this, a literal shadow of my former self. So I want to dismantle them, and make the world a better place in our own way. I think you would be an asset to our growing network. And once Hugh and his group are gone, you can attempt your North Pole takeover again. Or better yet, aim even higher.”
“I’m game.” Hypnorc responded, an evil smile crossing his face. “Under one condition. Tell me who it is I am working for, mystery man!”
“You can call me Leftover.” The silhouette figure replied. “After Hugh’s associate failed, this was all that was left of me. But when I am done with them, there will be nothing left at all.”
The adventures of Hugh, Leftover, and their teams will continue....