Ned Whalen and the Mystery of StrangerVille, Part 3

Ned and Dr. Augustine discovered interesting plant specimens both inside and outside of the lab. When they left that evening, the sky was turning unusual shades of purples and pinks. The weather was beginning to shift from a crisp early winter’s day to hot, then cold, then hot again.

At this point, Ned wasn’t quite sure whom to believe. He had a suspicion that Dr. Augustine was hiding something. After a local named Kate introduced herself to him, she whispered, “They may be watching, but we’re listening.” This town was getting stranger by the hour.

Upon seeing Dr. Augustine talking with a strange man in black, he met up with Kate and her friend, Dave. They told him to meet them in an underground listening station. Dr. Augustine was definitely part of the conversation Ned overheard. She appeared to be confused and in possible danger.

Ned visited her house. No one was there. He sneaked into her office and search her laptop. There he discovered a cryptic message for him. Ned rushed back to the lab, making sure to put on the hazmat suit as Dr. Augustine had directed.

He discovered a secret lab. Searching for clues, he realized some kind of experiment had been going on. And his research on cow plants was part of it! The mysterious Dr. Seymour had been attempting to create a vaccine before disappearing. Ned looked around, noticing for the first time that the plants had escaped their containment pods. The hallway was covered in vines. Meanwhile, outside, spores were swirling around, infecting the townsfolk. An epidemic was beginning.

Ned met up with Dr. Augustine and Dr. Seymour. They were attempting to communicate with an enormous creature nicknamed “The Mother.” After a futile attempt to take the data back to the Mayor, who was obviously infected, Ned returned to the secret lab.

A boss battle ensued. The Mother would not listen to reason. She was enraged. Centuries ago, she and fellow travelers had been on board a Space-Uber that had crashed. The crew and most of the passengers perished, and the large crater had formed from the impact. The Mother had lain dormant for hundreds of years.

Until the construction of the lab awakened her. She sent out spores as messages, hoping to receive help. However, when breathed in by the scientists, the spores altered their chemistry. The scientists became stronger. They had less need for food or sleep. A scientist named J Turner realized “super sims” were possible and a secret program was created in cooperation with the military.

Unfortunately, these super-sim effects were short lived. The spores appeared to have mutated. The scientists wondered if they could take genetic material from the alien cow plants and splice them onto genes from the bizarre plants they had discovered growing around the lab. They carefully cultivated plants in containment pods and began their experiments.

However, Director Skynner was not quite certain about the safety of the experiments. Most of the scientists and military personnel were unaware of Simnation’s diplomatic relations with the Galactic Union of Local Planets, but Director Skynner was. He contacted a union representative and explained matters. The union agreed to send a scientist, Dr. Seymour, who was an expert on flora-fauna relations.

Research appeared promising until one early autumn morning. A large explosion from below the secret lab caused the labs to be evacuated.

The Mother could not be pacified. She was telepathically connected to the bizarre fruit, which after the genetic modifications, had become more aggressive. Seeing no option and trapped in the secret lab after the explosion, Dr. Seymour began working on a vaccine. Dr. Augustine and Ned arrived in time to help the off-world scientists, and an epic battle began.

With the Mother plant subdued, the Ravu arranged to transport her and the surviving bizarre fruit back to their home world. Dr. Seymour would accompany them.

Ned was now a “Hometown Hero,” but he only wanted to return to a normal life and return to work at FSL.

(I must not have taken screenshots from this part. If you want to see the boss battle, check out my YouTube video. https://youtu.be/cJnAYrzHklA

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