Plumbers, Under Construction (Part 2)
"Here it is, princess" says Toad.
Princess Peach stands before the large pipe the Koopa Troop was looking at. Captain Toad, General Toad, and Toadsworth stand on either side of her. The morning sunlight just barely sheds some light into the quiet valley. The metal contraptions the Koopa Troop collected the other day are set to the side, covered by tarps.
"So this is the Special Pipe?" says Peach in slight awe.
"I thought it could never be found." says General Toad.
"Oh, it can be found," Peach corrects, "but normally it doesn't stay in one place for too long."
"Maybe Bowser did something to it?" says Captain Toad.
"I don't think so," says Toadsworth. "You can't change the nature of where the Special Pipe goes or not…"
"But…" starts Peach. "You can block the pipe, with enough powerful magic…"
"W-wait!" exclaims Toadsworth. "I never said it was impossible to tamper with the Special Pipe's location! If the Koopa King is that powerful, who knows if he created some sort of booby-trap in case someone else tries to tamper with it, too?"
"Well, we don't, Toadsworth. And besides, I've been honing my skills for years, and this will be a good first test of my power."
Toadsworth sighs, "Alright, princess. Be careful of your limits."
"Right. General and captain? I want you to analyze those objects the Koopa Troop retrieved, and then sabotage them."
The two Toads stand straight and salute. "Yes, mam!" they shout simultaneously, and then run toward the covered objects.
"Toadsworth, keep your eyes and ears out in case the Koopa Troop returns. This will take a while."
"I'll never let anything go unseen or unheard!" he says enthusiastically.
Princess Peach takes a few steps forward toward the Special Pipe. She takes a deep breath, closes her eyes, bows her head a bit, and clasps her hands together. A pink glow develops around her gloved hands, and a pink aura grows at the entrance to the Special Pipe.
"I hope this goes well…" worries Toadsworth.
The next morning, Mario and Luigi walk side by side to the construction site. They each wear their own construction uniforms, with hard hats on, and a hammer in their belt. The one exception to their outfits compared to the other workers is their white gloves they use for plumbing. After walking through the entrance, all the workers file in line toward the employee time clock to punch in.
"I'm so happy you're joining me at work, bro!" says Luigi.
"No problem! Gotta keep an eye on my bro" chuckles Mario.
Luigi punches his time card in first. "I hope we get to work together. Not many of the others are up for even small talk."
Mario punches in next. "Well, at least there will be a lunch break."
"Ha ha, of course you'd think of that!"
All the construction workers gather together in an open area. "So what's-a happening now?" Mario asks Luigi.
"ATTENTIOOOOOOOOOON!" bellows a booming voice over a megaphone. Mario and a few others cover their ears as they all look up toward a metal tower. Leaning over the office balcony on the top level of the tower is a burly man. He is wearing a burnt orange construction vest, which clashes visually with his yellow hard hat and purple shirt. "All right, men, now listen up! We just barely kept on schedule yesterday, and I want the structure of all the new buildings done by tonight! So get your hands dirty and your elbows greasy!" And with that, the man turns back into his office.
"And that's Foreman Spike for you." Luigi cringes.
"Is-a it too late to take a plumbing order?" Mario half-smirks.
"Don't worry. In a few weeks, we'll both be back to plumbing together."
"I'd like that."
Meanwhile, in Spike's office, the phone rings on his desk. Spike grudgingly picks it up.
"Wrecking Crew, Corporation; we build you up by tearing you down. What's your deal, now?"
"Geez, man, don't have to be so loud" says a voice on the other end, "You forget my ears already?"
"I can shout whenever I want! And 'less you forget who's in charge here!"
I bit of a sneer comes through the other line. "Okay, boss. Just thought I'd let you know a bit of trouble."
"Trouble? What's the matter with the explosives now?"
"Oh, everything is going according to plan…for now."
"Now keep your hard hat on! Anyway, the Cubrick keeps track of all our minions, on top of creating some, and for some reason, it's picked up some extra signals.
"Well what the hell does that mean?"
"Well, since the Cubrick is like a field generator that can bend the physics of this world into the physics of my world, and it's positioned under your construction site, it must mean that someone around your site can also gain access to this same power source."
Spike angrily pounds his fist on his desk. "Blast it all!" He leans his standing weight on the back of his chair, tightly gipping the back. "You better figure out what that blip thing is, or I'm holding you back on your promise."
"Hey! First off, remember who gave you this opportunity. Second, I'm still planting explosives all under New York City. Unless you want a further delay…"
"Enough!" Spike looks down at his chair and notices that the chair he has been holding is now bent and twisted.
"Look, you're a foreman, right? A reputable leader? Well, how about you do some scouting and be 'on point'?"
Spike mulls it over for a second, and then a huge grin spreads beneath his beard. "Maybe I will." He looks over to a huge mallet he has leaning against a wall. "I'll send some of the minions snooping, and maybe knock some sense into my crew!"
The next few hours ends up being one misfortune after another. It first starts off with Mario and Luigi being assigned to separate tasks. Mario's first task is to help in the "basement" sections of the buildings.
"These structures don't look right" Mario grumbles as he begins moving materials around. "If there was-a plumbing system installed, how the heck will it fit without ending up all twisted, and just asking for complications down the line? Hmph! At least it will be-a some potential business for me here outside of construction…"
Suddenly, a clanging sound is heard behind him. He quickly turns his head, but nothing is there.
He shrugs, "Ah, nothing. It's-a construction site, I suppose."
Then a loud bang is heard, making Mario jump. In fact, he jumps a little bit higher than he last remembered he could. He looks in the direction of the bang, and just barely sees a shadowed, oval-like shape dart behind a steel beam up a floor.
"Why you…" Mario looks to see if anyone was watching him. All the other construction workers are busy working on their assigned jobs, paying no attention to the sounds Mario heard. Then Mario carefully climbs his way up to the next floor using a ladder. "Geez, these loud noises. Never gets this loud when I'm-a plumbing. And there'd be echoes, too."
When he reaches the spot where he saw the shadow, he doesn't see anything, but a worker spots him, and he gets scolded at for straying off. So Mario gets assigned to some upper floors, where workers are making the final touches to the structure.
"Maybe I'm-a just a little unsettled with the activity of the construction site," Mario says under his breath as he clinks his hammer on a beam to get it into place. Then he spots something jump around in one of the nearby construction buildings. He turns his head again, but then loses sight of it. Then the same jumpy shadow darts just beneath him. He looks down, but even though he swears he could have seen a mini-dinosaur…a co-worker begins to berate him for slacking off.
So now Mario gets sent to the middle floors. Fortunately, he can see Luigi helping with cement in a nearby clearing. Unfortunately, another clang interrupts Mario's concentration. "Oh now wha…" Before Mario can turn, a slew of steel rods and bolts fall from above like a sudden downpour. The slew of steel pelts some ladders and doors, and some of the construction workers nearby Mario get hit as well. Without even thinking, Mario jumps out of the way, and hits his head on a steel beam above when he jumps higher than he expected. Strangely enough, this barely fazes him, and he slides down the side of another beam, before landing relatively unharmed a few floors down. However, a few bolts fall his way. He thrusts his hammer out of his belt, and keeps it over his head, shielding him from the falling debris.
When it's all over, Mario looks around him. A few ladders and doors are completely smashed, and about a dozen co-workers gets injured from the raining debris. Mario jumps and climbs down to ground level to check on his brother. He quickly finds Luigi trying to look through a circle of construction workers standing around a fallen co-worker.
"Mario!" cries Luigi as he turns to see his brother. "Thank goodness you're alright! I saw you working up there just a moment ago, and I was worried you were one of the unlucky ones!"
"Well, let me tell you about unlucky…" starts Mario, wagging his finger in frustration.
"Hey, you, with the white gloves!" booms a familiar voice. The two brothers turn to the side to see Foreman Spike approaching them.
"Which one of us?" Luigi almost stammers.
"The shorter one!" Spike stands almost directly over Mario. Although he isn't the tallest man on the construction site, his bulky frame makes up for it and gives off the feeling like being towered over by a mother bear.
"Yes, foreman?" says Mario, a bit crossed.
"My construction project is getting stalled because some of my workers here get injured from falling debris, and I see you coming down, unscathed, from where the debris fell." While Spike is berating him, Mario sizes the foreman up to himself. While Spike is not as tall as Mario, his arms seem thicker than his legs to give the impression of an even bigger size. His eyes are covered by both his dark sunglasses and the shadow created by his hard hat. His nose is very pointed and rosy, and protrudes right over his overgrown beard and mustache.
"Explain yourself!" bellows Spike, jabbing one of his meaty fingers at Mario's chest.
At this point, Mario notices how grimy and dusty his fingers are. But he quickly looks back up to Spike's searing face, and replies, "You know who I am, right? Mario? Top plumber of New York? I may not be a rough cut like you construction guys got to be, but being limber is part of being a plumber. And as for the incident just now, I didn't see where those materials rained from, but I think there are some loose screws up there."
"Are you suggesting my crew doesn't do a good job?" yells Spike.
"No, but you might…"
"Excuse me?!" Spike yells. He then turns to Luigi. "Hey, you! Is your brother telling me I'm not doing my job right?"
"What? No sir! Not at all sir!" Luigi says quickly.
"Hmph!" Spike turns back to Mario, and lowers his glasses a bit, staring him down with his dark brown eyes. "Well, I got my eyes on you. I better not see your face again when something goes wrong!" And with that, he storms back to his office.
Later, at lunch break, Luigi gets ready to unpack his food. Then he notices Mario walking toward the foreman's office tower. "Oh no" he mutters as he runs after his brother. "Hey, Mario! What are you doing?"
"Oh, hey bro" says Mario. "I'm-a just thinking."
"I hope that's all. We don't want to annoy the foreman again."
"That's just what I'm-a thinking about. Has anyone seen what the foreman does around the site?"
"No, but everyone's so busy, who has time to see what others are doing?"
Mario gives him an annoyed look. "Then what about all these mishaps that have happened? Why hasn't the conditions been improved by the foreman since it began?"
Luigi stops to think for a moment. "That is the strangest thing around here. But I'm no foreman, and I don't know what all his responsibilities are. How can we prove Spike is knocking off the job?"
"We go talk to him. Now." Mario starts to walk again toward the office. At the base of the tower, Luigi grabs hold of Mario's arm.
"Wait a minute! You can't talk to him; not after he warned you that he doesn't what to see your face again…"
"When something goes wrong. And that's what's bothering me right now. Why would he say "when", when "if" makes more sense to say when you're supposed to be unsure what's going on?
Luigi lets go of his arm. "Wait, he said that?"
Mario nods, "So that must mean something bad will happen again…"
Suddenly, a pile of barrels nearby knock over, and some weird, oversized eggplants come walking behind them. They look a bit dazed and confused, but then focus their attention on Mario and Luigi.
"Mamma-mia!" the two brothers cry.
It is slightly past mid-day, and Toadsworth stands guard by the ground entrance to the valley when the two other Toads walk up to him.
"We've finished dismantling all those hidden contraption thingies!" says Captain Toad happily.
General Toad looks down at his pocket watch, and then toward Princess Peach, who is still standing in front of the Special Pipe. "Will she be finished soon?"
"She should be done at any minute now" assures Toadsworth. "She has been holding up quite well for a first-run."
Suddenly, all three of them hear faint flapping sounds coming from over the valley.
"Oh no! The Koopa Troop must be coming now!"
All three of them run toward Peach, with Toadsworth sprinting the quickest. "Princess! Princess! There's little time left! We must make haste!"
At that moment, Peach's hands and the Special Pipe stop glowing pink, and she falters back a bit. "Sorry it took a while, but I think it's done. Nobody should be able to go through this pipe for a while."
"You did great princess," rushes Toadsworth, "but that'll have to do for now. Now, we must flee before the Koopa Troop catches us!"
The four of them race to the valley passage, and just make it out of sight before dozens of Amazin' Flyin' Hammer Bros fly directly above the valley. Peach stops running for a moment and peaks around the corner to take a look at the Koopa Troop. The three Toads stop and turn back to the princess.
"What are you waiting for, your highness? We can't be seen by them!" whispers Toadsworth.
"And we won't," assures Peach, "but we must make sure we did not come here in vain."
Peach continues watching the Koopa Troop as they land. Bowser's platform is the first to land. A confident grin grows on the Koopa King. "Alright, my baddies, let's pack up what materials we got and check up on our Sidestepper squad!"
Some Goombas and Koopa Troopas walk up to the tarps, while a few others walk to the Special Pipe. Peach holds her breath. Then, in a matter of seconds, confusion spreads.
"Lord Bowser!" shouts one Koopa, "All our special supplies we gathered from the other world have been trashed!"
"Lord Bowser!" cries a Goomba, "We can't get into the Special Pipe! Some force is keeping us out!"
"WHAT?!" bellows Bowser. He stomps up to the tarps, and pulls them off. The contraptions they collected now look like a junkyard haystack full of metal shrapnel. He thrashes a few metal pieces as he turns around toward the Special Pipe. Peach smirks and beams to herself. Bowser reaches a hand out into the pipe, but a pink, swirling force field suddenly materializes like a window screen, and propels him back a bit.
"Yes!" Peach cheers quietly, while fist pumping.
"How…?" The Koopa King scowls, then his fists clench. "That princess…" A deep growl echoes out of his throat. Then flickers of orange glow at the back of his throat as he opens his mouth and stands a bit more upright. "GRAAAAAAAAAAAH!" Bowser roars as he bends forward. A huge jet of flame bursts from his mouth directly into the Special Pipe. For a good solid minute, the heat sears across the valley. Even Peach can barely stand it. When he finally finishes his outburst, the Special Pipe still lays there unharmed.
"That princess! She has grown stronger and sooner than I expected!"
"Not as strong as you, my king!" stammers a Koopa Paratroopa quietly next to him.
"You!" Bowser points directly at the yelping Paratroopa. "Get over to the Brockland Kingdom, and make sure they quicken our diplomatic progress. Our time table has moved now." He hulks back over to his platform, when a Goomba steps in his way.
"But…what about our forces already through the Special Pipe?" says the Goomba. "What's going to happen to them!"
"Them?" huffs Bowser, "They're stuck there now. Because of that barrier, there's no way to go in…and there's no way to come back!" And with that, he steps back onto the platform. The rest of his troops follow his example, and they all fly away.
Captain Toad taps on Peach's side. "Are we done, now?"
Peach sighs, "We're done here, yes. But we have much bigger problems to prepare for. Let's head back to the castle; I'm exhausted."