Taglumo tries to entertain himself in a post-apocalyptic world.
A gray hedgehog sat on a makeshift bed, scribbling something into a diary with a pen. His tongue stuck slightly out of the left side of his mouth in a silly grin as he wrote:
Day 0: Today we landed in the midst of an apocalypse. War—I mean nuclear—I mean—er—never mind, there's lots of bad stuff going on here, and now we must struggle for survival as we
The hedgehog abruptly shut his diary as a silver pink hedgehog entered the room.
"Taglumo, what are you doing?" she said.
"Um…nothing," said Taglumo. "Vereco, what are you doing here?"
"Just checking in on you to make sure that you weren't writing more of that 'Day 0' stuff," said Vereco. "You were doing that, weren't you. Let me see that." Vereco gently but firmly picked up the diary and opened it.
"Hey, that's my private diary!" complained Taglumo.
"Tag, this is just what you wrote on the message board two weeks ago before it got taken down because it was getting in the way," said Vereco. "Uh-huh. Day 0. Every single day. Doesn't this get boring?" Vereco shut the diary with a snap and put it down on a nearby box.
"No…I mean yes…I mean…" Taglumo stuttered. "It, uh, never mind. Isn't it time to go searching again?"
"Well, yes, that's the main reason why I came here," said Vereco. "We may not be in the middle of your apocalypse, but we do have a lot of work to do if we want to get home."
Taglumo slung his backpack over his shoulders. He found the backpack to be very annoying, but the moment that they'd found a spare backpack on their first day here, Vereco had insisted that he take it, so he did. Looking back on it, he wouldn't have toppled over backwards nearly as many times without it, but he would have far rather kept it than had Vereco repeatedly nag him about not having it.
"So…mission briefing?" prompted Vereco. "Who's doing that this time? I think it's usually Niki…"
"I thought it was usually you, Vereco," said a green porcupine in the corner.
"I concur, Jack," said the polar bear, Niki.
"Yes, but I thought that you were getting bored of me always doing this," said Vereco. "Oh fine, I'll do it again…"
Taglumo stared into space, largely ignoring his sister. The words "We've been here for two weeks" and "trying to find a way back home" floated past him as he stared out the window. After that, he noticed precisely none of Vereco's speech until she concluded, "and Taglumo, why have you been staring out the window this whole time?"
Taglumo jumped. "I, uh, wasn't staring out the window," he said. "I mean, I was, but I wasn't ignoring you. I was looking for…I mean…I saw a sparkly thing…where was it?" Taglumo looked around outside the window for the imaginary sparkly thing.
Vereco facepalmed. "Whatever," she said. "Let's just go."
Taglumo walked behind everyone else, feeling exhausted and trying to pretend that he hadn't been paying zero attention when Vereco had explained, about a week earlier, how to maximize energy and avoid getting exhausted in the middle of a trip. Looking at Jack and Niki, he didn't think that they needed the pep talk in the first place, as they looked like they were big enough to store up a lot of energy, which was what made him realize that Vereco's pep talk had been completely aimed at him and thus had been utterly pointless. Taglumo sighed upon recalling this. He really didn't mean to be useless, but being stuck out in the middle of nowhere in an empty world for two weeks was incredibly boring.
Suddenly, Taglumo saw something in his peripheral vision. "Oh look!" he said. "A city!"
"That's not a city," growled Jack.
"It's got buildings," said Taglumo defiantly. "It's a city."
"Even towns have buildings," said Vereco.
"Maybe it's a mountain range that really looks like a city," suggested Niki.
Vereco facepalmed. "Mountain range," she muttered.
"No, I'm serious!" said Niki. "Mountains sometimes look like buildings."
"Whatever, let's just go there," said Vereco. "Maybe there'll be some good supplies there."
Taglumo, feeling very pleased that his discovery had, in fact, been a city, stood in a random building putting circular objects into a gumball machine and seeing which ones would trick it into giving him gumballs.
"Don't you have anything better to do than get a machine to give you stale gumballs?" said Vereco. "We're in a city—the city that our mother came from, no less—and you just stand here trying to trick a machine into giving you useless junk instead of trying to make yourself useful? Aren't you even interested in seeing the sights?"
A gumball came out of the machine. Taglumo's eyes lit up. "Finally, a blue one!" he said, completely ignoring Vereco. "I haven't gotten one of those before."
"What's even so special about a blue gumball?" said Vereco.
"It's blue," said Taglumo.
"Well, you still can't eat it," said Vereco. "No, don't touch it. It's probably sticky."
"Next you'll tell me that I can't even look at it," said Taglumo. "What are Jack and Niki even doing, anyway?"
Vereco looked up. "Oh, yeah, we should probably check on them," she said, going off to look for them. The moment that her back was turned, Taglumo took the blue gumball and carefully stuck it in the side pocket of his backpack, then followed her.
When Taglumo finally caught up with Vereco, she had located Jack and Niki, who appeared to be deep in conversation.
"You said there was an earthquake?" said Vereco.
"Not a big one, just a little one," said Niki. "Jack didn't even feel it. No, wait, here's another one. Do you guys feel that?"
"Sort of, but—" Jack started to speak, but was interrupted by a giant earthquake that knocked over everyone involved.
Boy am I glad that I have a backpack now, thought Taglumo as he got up off his back. That would have been really painful otherwise.
"So…what do we do now?" said Taglumo. "I guess we wait for something dramatic to occur?"
The side of the building was abruptly blown off by a giant explosion.
"I knew it!" said Taglumo as he was hurled across the room. "I was right, I was right, I—OW, did there have to be a wall next to my head?"
Taglumo got up, rubbing his head. "Was there a panther busy blasting everything in the room before the wall got broken down?" he said.
Vereco jumped in surprise. "TAG THAT'S RINNAHSSIAH THE DESTROYER OF THIS WORLD WHO'S THE REASON WHY MOM HAD TO LEAVE HERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!" she said all in one breath.
"What?" said Taglumo, Jack, and Niki in unison.
"Rinnahssiah!" said Vereco, simultaneously pulling out a pair of grappling hooks. "She's responsible for making this world how it is! If it hadn't been for her, we would have been able to stay here! Tag, you wouldn't remember, because you were one, but I was four, so I remember this! Anyway, she's incredibly dangerous and we need to get out of here!"
"Thanks for the exposition," said Jack. "Are you going to use those grappling hooks to get us out?"
"…Yes," said Vereco. "Sorry, I was just a bit overwhelmed. Hang on!" Vereco latched her grappling hooks onto a nearby streetlamp (now exposed from the wall being broken down) and pulled them all out into the street. Unfortunately for them, this caught Rinnahssiah's attention. Growling, she turned towards them and started blasting electricity at them.
Jack grinned determinedly. "I've been waiting to do this for a long time," he said, pulling out a bō and putting it in the path of the electricity, letting the current flow down to the end which he'd planted on the ground and disperse harmlessly. "You guys, get back. I've got—" The ground started breaking up under Jack's feet, causing him to stagger, only to be pulled to the side by Niki.
"Are you all right?" said Niki, helping Jack up.
"Yeah, I just didn't expect the world to start breaking up," said Jack. "Tag, can you help?"
Taglumo, who had been standing to the side watching with his mouth hanging open, said, "Um, yeah, sure. I think the ground's about to break up again right by you. Actually, there's a whole wave coming from in front of you."
Jack jumped back. "How are we supposed to stay here if the ground keeps breaking up like this?" he said.
"Well, the entire world a few meters behind that is being destroyed, too," said Taglumo helpfully.
"The world is—" Jack stopped speaking, looking aghast. Taglumo looked around for his other teammates' reactions, but the first person who he saw was Rinnahssiah, who had ceased firing a minute or so earlier. Now he saw why; the world was being destroyed right by her too, and it wasn't going any faster purely because she was firing blasts of electricity at the cracks to hold back the destruction.
"Hey, guys?" said Taglumo. "Rinnahssiah over there is holding off the world's destruction, so why don't we try to leave while—"
"INCOMING!" yelled Vereco, slightly too late as a bit of the world under herself, Taglumo, Jack, and Niki suddenly launched into the air, sending the four flying through the air and into a tree.
"Well, this is just great," said Niki. "We'll never get out of this tree."
"Thank you, Captain Optimist," said Vereco. "Any ideas?"
Taglumo suddenly noticed how fascinating the bits of the world breaking up looked. "Hold on, guys!" he said, whipping out his smartphone. "I gotta videotape this."
"At a time like THIS?" yelled Vereco.
"Whatever," said Jack, as Taglumo turned on his video camera and started recording. "We need to find a way out of here, and fast, or else we'll get consumed by the—" Jack suddenly fell silent.
"Are you okay, Jack?" said Niki concernedly.
"I'm fine," said Jack, suddenly smiling. "I just came up with a plan." Turning to Rinnahssiah, he yelled, "Hey, Rinnahssiah, can you hear me?"
"That is an incredibly stupid idea," hissed Vereco as Rinnahssiah turned to look at them. "She'll just blast us, and…"
"He knows what he's doing," whispered Niki. "Trust me, Jack and I encountered her before we joined you and Taglumo, and she definitely has potential to help. She's not likely to do so, but she might, under the right circumstances."
"Rinnahssiah, you see what's going on?" called down Jack. "The world's going to be destroyed shortly, with you in it. Don't you want to go somewhere else? Find a place that's not about to blow up, like the place we're from? Maybe you can make a portal there or something?"
"Jack, are you INSANE?" yelled Vereco.
"Shh, this is working," said Jack. Before Vereco could respond, Rinnahssiah diverted her energy to shooting electricity at a spot between them in mid-air, distorting the air until a rift appeared in mid-air.
"Now!" yelled Jack. "Everyone out of the tree!"
"What? How?" said Vereco.
"I have a hand-axe, so I could cut off the tree around us, but we'd need to stop Rinnahssiah from entering the portal as well…" said Niki, pulling out an axe.
"Doesn't anyone have anything useful for that?" said Jack, as Rinnahssiah floated towards the portal and the wall of destruction shot towards her. "Anyone?"
A lightbulb appeared in Taglumo's mind. Propping up his phone in the tree to continue videotaping the world's destruction, he reached his hand into his backpack, pulled out the gumball, and hurled it at Rinnahssiah's head. Since she wasn't paying attention to it, it hit, confusing her to the point where she fell back to the ground. At that instant, Niki cut the entangling tree branches off of the four who were stuck there, and all of them fell out of the tree towards the rift. Taglumo barely managed to grab his phone as they all fell through, landing safely in another place.
"Oh look, we're back in Westopolis!" exclaimed Vereco. "Woohoo, we're home! Let's go tell our parents—"
"Not today!" exclaimed Taglumo. "The rift is still open!" Thrusting his phone through it, he began videotaping what was on the other side.
"NO!" yelled Vereco. "What do you think you're doing?"
"Recording this for posterity and greatness!" replied Taglumo. "Oh look, what's happening?"
Rinnahssiah had tried to fly back to the portal. As she was about to enter it, the wall of destruction hit her. She shuddered, then, before Taglumo's eyes, she split into five separate beings, each of whom looked at least remotely like her. A rift then appeared in front of each of these beings, who were then sucked through their respective rifts. Just as this occurred, the wall of destruction then seemed to speed up, causing a very loud explosive sound as it collided with a similar one. Taglumo hastily pulled out his arm and phone as the rift snapped closed, showing a now-empty void on the other side for a split second before it shut with Taglumo and his friends safely secured near Westopolis.
"Welp, that's the end of the other dimension," said Taglumo calmly.
"…What?" said Vereco.
"Story sense," said Taglumo. "Now we can go tell our parents we're home."
"…Sure," said Vereco. "Oh, I see that Jack and Niki went off to do their own things. Come on, let's go home—"
"While I post this video to the internet!" exclaimed Taglumo, pushing a button on his phone and causing Vereco to once again facepalm.
In a high-tech base in the middle of outer space, a wolf stared at a computer screen.
"I can't believe it…" he said. "ρς-φξς just exploded, and we have video proof…not only that, but that there are others out there like Rinnahssiah…"
An alarm went off nearby.
"…and one of them has just landed within ςρ-χξε!" exclaimed the wolf. Then, turning to a purple hedgehog nearby, he said, "Bopha, gather anyone who you can find to eliminate this threat. ςρ-χξε must not be left to suffer the same fate that ρς-φξς suffered and that να-τιδ would have suffered, had it not been for this Taglumo's ingenuity."
Bopha saluted. "Consider it done, Mr. Jones," he said, heading for the door. Then, grinning, he said under his breath, "Time for another adventure."
- Taglumo the Hedgehog
- Vereco the Hedgehog
- Jack the Porcupine
- Niki the Polar Bear
- Rinnahssiah the Panther
- Duncan Jones the Wolf
- Bopha the Hedgehog
Due to the plethora of references in this story, a table of references has been compiled below:
||Julian Smith - Car Phone|
||LEGO Dimensions: Sonic Level Pack|
||Ninjago: Episode 49|
||This is Spinal Tap: It Goes To 11 Clip|
||BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn|
||Federation of Fear: Chapter 8|
||A Different Kind of Normal: Chapter 15|
||BTS - Not Today|
||Discord's message when something is pinned|
||SFW Forces: Chapter 2|