Chapter 4: Queen's Gambit Accepted
"Good morning and welcome to 'Across the Cosmos'! I'm your host for this morning, Clampart Christopher, bringing you the latest news across the Galactic Federation! Starting with today's headlines — yesterday night, the Galactic Council assembled together for its first intergalactic trial this year. The accused, Kweltikwan scientist Jumba Jookiba, was charged with illegal genetic experimentation—"
"Ha!" a delighted voice interrupted. "I made it on headline news! Lucky me, Across the Cosmos is one of the most listened radio shows in all of galaxy! I am being famous now!"
The driver in the front groaned. He'd drawn lots with his friends as to which of them would ferry Jumba to Galaxy Defence Industries, and of course he'd drawn the short straw.
"As this trial is held by the Galactic Council and still ongoing, little information is currently known about the proceedings." The reporter's voice then had an added edge of excitement as he continued, "However, there have been rumours that the accused had actually managed to create intelligent artificial life. If the rumour is true, then this could be a revolutionary breakthrough in genetic science! As of now, no long-term artificial lifeforms have managed to be created by the universe's top scientists. Could this scientist have done the impossible? When we pursued the issue, the Grand Councilwoman did not make any comment. The case against Dr. Jumba is continuing and will resume next—"
The voice from the radio suddenly diminished until it was inaudible.
"Hey, I was listening to that," Jumba complained. "Be putting it back on!"
The driver only laughed seeing Jumba's frown from his rear view mirror. "Serves him right," he thought, removing his hand from the radio's volume dial. He was irritated enough about being unlucky enough to have to ferry Jumba down in the midnight hours, but to listen about the scientist's accomplishments bragged on intergalactic news was the last straw.
Thankfully, the driver's reprieve finally came. He saw his destination fast approaching. The lone police cruiser approached a dark red ship parked on an asteroid. The driver of the cruiser finally allowed himself a yawn. Finally, this stupid trip was over.
"Now remember, Dr. Jumba," he barked, "custody of that delicious food making experiment six-two-five will be forfeited to the Galactic Federation if you do not follow these terms."
"Bah, I know." Jumba interrupted. Looking at the driver innocently, he started listing out all the rules he knew. "Not to be exiting quadrant of workarea Galaxy Defence Industries, no possession of firearms, and other stuff."
"Good. Now get lost," the driver shot back. He took out a bunch of keys and turned back to unfasten Jumba's handcuffs. Immediately after, he opened the side door and all but practically kicked the scientist off. The microsecond Jumba was on his home turf, the cruiser zoomed off.
Jumba gazed at the cruiser zooming away, heading back to Planet Turo. Once the cruiser was a mere speck in the sky, his clueless expression turned to one of triumph. "Ahhaha! I am true evil genius! I managed to make it out of Galactic Federation stronghold. You have done your job well, six-two-five! And soon, all of galaxy will fear me!" he yelled out to the countless stars in the sky.
Having cooled off, he strolled inside the building, the door shutting behind him automatically. Jumba looked carefully at his lab. Surprisingly there was no yellow tape or any areas cordoned off, everything was left as it was.
Those cocky Council ambassadors probably thought that they had everything.
"How wrong they are," Jumba laughed inwardly to himself, glancing at a spherical metallic container tucked neatly behind the corner. Just like he had thought, they left this behind. Who would suspect what looked like a gumball machine?
Walking to his desk, Jumba tilted his head when he suddenly noticed something out of place. "Ahhh, what's this," he observed. A tiny silver device was next to his desk.
"Only one voice recorder?" he thought. Jumba felt severely underwhelmed. How very careless of them! Then again, nobody had expected him to walk free again, so this was probably not even meant to be listening to him in the first place.
"Heheheh, foolish Council thought they could bug Jumba's lab with primitive listening device?" he thought. "Perhaps I should use six-one-three's noisemaker function to blast their eardrums with sonic blast. Or better yet, I can use two-five-eight's sonic annoyance ability and use irritating beat to drive them all crazy throughout their spying, eheheheheh... oh wait," Jumba's excited face turned grim when he suddenly remembered, "Is no use. Good idea, but both two-five-eight and six-one-three are now dehydrated, would be too much effort to rehydrate them just for this one purpose. And they also must not be caught! Right now Council is thinking I made only one genetic experiment. Let them continue to be thinking that. I can't risk them realising I made six hundred and twenty five!"
"And soon to be six hundred and twenty six..." he whispered to himself.
No, he wouldn't risk that.
He reached for a yellow button on his desk and jabbed it down. He eased up a little, knowing he no longer had to worry about any snooping from the Council since all they would hear now is static from a white noise generator. Upon confirming that no one was spying on him, he opened an empty drawer in his desk. Pushing his palm down on the bottom, the entire thing tilted to reveal a false bottom.
Sometimes the simplest solutions were the most obvious ones.
He took a remote control out of the hidden compartment. Eyeing the big red button on it hungrily, he pressed it down slowly. Sirens begun to flash as a hidden container filled with an orange mixture with several monitors attached to it rose out of the ground. Jumba flexed his hands in anticipation as he walked towards the middle of the lab. They hadn't found his secret weapon after all!
He turned his eyes towards a large loading bar on one of the screens. 'Molecule Charging Process is 98% complete. Estimated completion time — 20 minutes,' it read.
"Twenty minutes left," he thought. "Just a mere twelve hundred seconds to go! I can't believe that it worked! All I had to do was trick them into thinking six-two-five was my only experiment, and they got careless with evidence bagging."
"Experiment six-two-five…? Ohh, that reminds me!" he exclaimed. "Since I have time now, I need to be updating the information database for experiment six-two-five!" He walked away from the middle of the room sat down at his computer, preparing to update his database with the newest log. The database was an encyclopedia of information on every single experiment he had ever created.
Updating the experiment database was one of Jumba's favourite hobbies. He loved to write the experiment logs. Despite being their creator, there were always some things he could never anticipate from his creations. Perhaps it was his scientific brain, but he practically squealed whenever he had the chance to document minute details of the experiments. Jumba felt that with every successive log he wrote, he learnt more and more about the little monstrosities he had created. His experiments were all he had left anyway, ever since his ex-wife left him.
"Log Number 4," he began typing under the section for Experiment 625, "All my suspicions were right. Ha, it pays to be cautious! I have returned from Planet Turo, and those fools now have nothing on me! 625 has convinced the jury that he is a sandwich maker experiment. I must be saying, despite being added last minute..."
Almost subconsciously, as he typed, Jumba's mind drifted back to the day before.
Jumba stared intently at what would soon be his newest experiment. Oh, he had high hopes for this one. This could be the one, the experiment to end all experiments! After many long years of perfecting prototypes, could this finally be it?
"Almost being done with you..." he whispered.
"Huh? What is it?" he looked down to see an experiment putting its hands on its lips, trying to get its creator's attention. "Do not be disturbing me, experiment two-three-four, I'm busy."
"Two-three-four, I said..." Jumba trailed off seeing the insistence in 234's eyes. Growing concerned, he kneeled down towards the experiment. Seeing it had Jumba's attention, 234 turned its tail towards its creator. New voices suddenly came through the speaker on its tail.
"Heheh, that idiot scientist will never know what hit 'im."
All four of Jumba's eyes widened. Two-three-four was designed for eavesdropping, so it must be picking up this conversation from nearby. Which meant that the idiot scientist they were talking about was... him. He leaned even closer, grabbing the tail like a lifeline, and continued listening attentively.
"So, when do we strike, Captain Gantu?"
"Immediately. Surround the lab!"
"Bah! No, no, no! Not now!" Jumba slammed his fist down on the ground. "Not when I'm this close to perfecting my latest experiment!"
This was the worst possible time or there to be a sudden investigation on him. There was no way he could possibly hide everything he had. Not unless there was nothing in the entire laboratory.
"Wait, nothing in the lab? Bah, I am being stupid!" He grabbed his intercom immediately. "Experiment six-oh-four, be reporting to Jumba at once!"
A few seconds after his voice blared through the builtin PA system, a shivering white rabbit hopped towards Jumba. However, the moment Jumba lay his gaze on him, he started hyperventilating and covered his eyes with his floppy ears, fearing the worst.
"No, you are not in trouble, be calming down." Once Jumba saw 604's trembling slow down, he carried on. "Six-oh-four, this is being very important. I want you to turn everything in my lab invisible! All the experiments, machines, computer... everything must be invisible! Not even a single test tube can remain!" Jumba ordered. "And don't forget to be turning you and me invisible, of course!" he added as an afterthought.
Experiment 604 continued to shake in fright, unable to process what was happening. Jumba shook his head seeing 604's response. He didn't want to do this, but it was the only way with the scaredy experiment.
"Six-oh-four, if they catch anything here," he continued, face turned menacing, "Then you would be captured! And your captors will make you eat your most hated food, carrots!"
One scream and Experiment 604 began dashing in a panic, blinking his eyes constantly to turn virtually everything invisible.
Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding! Ding!
Jumba let out a breath he didn't realise he had been holding as all the evidence of an evil scientist being here was seemingly wiped out.
And not a moment too soon.
"Open up! This is the Galactic Armada!"
"Hurry, six-oh-four!" Jumba frantically turned to the rabbit experiment. "Turn us both invisible!"
604 immediately obliged, blinking his eyes twice. Ding! Ding!
"I said open up! I know you're in there!"
Everyone kept quiet as the one outside yelled again.
"They can't see us, but they can be hearing us. So no one to be making a sound," a now invisible Jumba hissed. "Yes, I'm talking about you two, experiments one-one-oh and two-five-eight!"
The two guilty experiments felt everyone's eyes glaring upon them. How everyone happened to know where those two were despite the fact that they were all invisible was irrelevant.
"I know that you two were designed to be annoying others with your talking and beat rhythm respectively, but for the sake of all of us, do be keeping quiet!"
"What about six-one-three, huh?" came a new voice. "I heard that his primary function was to be a noisemaker."
Jumba wanted to hit the wall once he heard Experiment 199 butt into the conversation. What part of keeping quiet did he not understand? "Six-one-three has better self-control than the other two, one-nine-nine," he whispered, "At least he wouldn't generate loud sonic booms at random!"
613, hearing his creator's praise, gave an affectionate toot in response. He then realised his mistake when he felt several invisible experiments glare at the area where his honk had come from.
Jumba literally facepalmed. "Never mind, I take back what I said about six-one-three. Now everyone, be shutting u—"
He never finished his sentence. A plasma blast suddenly blasted the lab door open with a loud bang, sending shrapnel everywhere.
Small whimpers came from scared experiments that quickly subsided once they realised the gravity of the situation if they continued making noise. As the smoke cleared, Jumba clutched 604 closer to him. He didn't dare chance 604 freaking out and turning everything visible.
A large whale-like alien comfortably strolled into the lab as though it was his home and he didn't just blast a twenty-foot size hole into what used to be a door.
His smug smile quickly turned to one of shock, "What the... there's nothing here! The tip-off said that he would be here!"
"Perhaps they were mistaken, Captain Gantu?" one of the guards around him commented. "I mean, illegal genetic experimentation sounds kinda unbelievable, huh?"
Jumba's head turned with fear. Did he just say…?
"No, I smell a trog," Gantu replied, "We best tell our informant that he's mistaken. No one wastes the Galactic Armada's time, and more importantly, my time!"
Gantu stormed back out of the empty lab, his guards following him. The subsequent loud whir and blast told everyone that he had taken off and warped to another galaxy via hyperspace to report to his bosses.
Minutes after it was confirmed they left, everything in the lab became visible again, courtesy of 604. Every experiment was chattering with another about the events that had just occurred.
Meanwhile, Jumba sat himself down on a chair with despair in his face.
The Galactic Armada Captain, the one called Gantu, had mentioned a tip-off, and one of his guards mentioned genetic experimentation. Putting together the pieces in his head, Jumba did not like the outcome at all.
They had known that he was making illegal genetic experiments. That meant that the one who tipped them off had to know about his experiments.
Besides his ex-wife, there was only one person in the entire universe that knew about his experiments — his old acquaintance, Dr. Jacques von Hamsterviel.
"Yaaarggghhh!" He flung his hand at a stack of papers on his desk, scattering them all throughout the room in his rage.
He should have never trusted Hamsterviel.
Now thanks to him, the eyes of the Galactic Federation were on Jumba. The Armada weren't just like local police that anyone could summon. They were only deployed against legitimate threats. To summon them would require the approval of the Council.
He was actually honoured that the Galactic Council was after him, the thought made Jumba's grin grow wide. "Would end badly for Federation, in fact. Very badly," he laughed to himself. They most definitely underestimated just what he could do to them. He had only just started working on his 600-series of experiments, the ones explicitly designed for doomsday purposes. If it came down to a fight between the Council and him, Jumba was confident in his ability to put up a war.
A mad scientist, taunted and jeered by all of intergalactic society, would soon be the one to be wiping the smirks off of all of their faces.
"All my life..." he started, "I've been called an idiot scientist all my life!" Some of the experiments began looking at their creator as he started talking in what only could be described as a tone of pure, simmering rage. "I've never been accepted by anyone, anyone! They've all laughed, sneered, jeered, even those at Evil Genius University! But now, I will show them all! Each and every one of you experiments is proof of my evil geniusness!"
Many cheers came from all the experiments around, ready to cause mischief. Jumba smiled, seeing the support from all of his creations. He could see it now — his experiments, one on a planet, all waging havoc. And when they all begged for mercy, proving that he was in fact an evil genius, he would move on to the next six hundred planets.
And the next. And the next. And the next, all until the entire United Galactic Federation fell to its knees and knew his absolute greatness.
But now came the big dilemma.
In spite of perfectly being capable and willing to start an intergalactic war in retaliation for his lab door being blown to bits, Jumba wanted to wait, just a little more. He was so close, so close to creating his perfect little weapon — an indestructible fighting machine, one that was completely unstoppable. Despite having six hundred and twenty four other experiments, he was not going to start this battle before he created his ultimate weapon. Once his ultimate weapon was created, he was going to make that petty intergalactic war that happened in the last century look like small fry.
Jumba shook his head rigorously to clear his mind from thoughts of the universe fearing him. He was going off topic. Right now he had to think about what to do next. If it had been an ordinary tip-off, 604's invisibility trick would have grounded the entire investigation. An empty lab would surely mean to any observer that he had escaped, a certain dead-end. Unfortunately for Jumba, Hamsterviel knew everything about his experiments. When Gantu reported back that the lab was empty, he would most certainly guess that it was a trick and send the Federation back at Jumba. He would never be rid of the police all because of Hamsterviel.
And he was so close too!
He looked at the blob of molecules trapped in the orange filled glass in pity. Jumba had literally no clue what to do. He did not know when Gantu and his men would return. His greatest creation was almost complete and yet, Jumba could never risk working on him when there was a chance that they could return and interrupt the molecule charging process, the final and most vital phase of making an experiment.
It was such a cruel choice. He could either immediately unleash all of his experiments, or take a gamble and risk losing everything by trying to finish his greatest creation before the Federation returned.
The problem was that he couldn't have it both ways. He had to choose.
An idea suddenly struck Jumba as he glanced at one of his experiments. The brilliant idea caused him to jump in celebration, whooping in ecstasy.
Could it be that simple?
Of course not, there was still one teeny-tiny problem with this new solution, but at least the risks involved were much less compared to interrupted molecular charges. The one problem was that…
Wait, it didn't matter at all, Jumba realised with glee. He'd programmed each and every one of them themselves. Their joy, mischief, anger, deviousness were all imitations of the actual emotion!
His experiments had no actual feelings.
He would have hesitated if they had, but he'd all but made up his mind once he remembered that they didn't. Jumba turned on the intercom, addressing everyone again. "Attention to all my experiments! This is Jumba speaking. Since we have been discovered by Galactic Federation, all activated experiments are to be proceeding to lab for immediate dehydration! This is not a drill, repeat, not a drill!"
The experiments all stared at Jumba, confused. Weren't they preparing for war? Why did they all need to be dehydrated? Did he change his mind?
Ignoring the bickering that started once the experiments realised their thirst of havoc wasn't going to be sated, Jumba started working on his new invention immediately.
"Yes, I can kill two birds in one stone," his face turned dark at the thought. No tip-off from Hamsterviel was going to ruin his plans.
He would beat the Galactic Armada raid and he would also have his beautiful, delightful, indestructible experiment. As a bonus, if this worked, he could trick the Federation into thinking he was innocent, then laugh in their faces once he returned with all six hundred and twenty five-no, six hundred and twenty six of his experiments!
And indeed, it had all gone just like Jumba had planned.
It was almost too perfect. Gantu had indeed come back, and this time they found Jumba and 625 at the scene. Once he was called to the stand at Turo, like he thought, Hamsterviel didn't show since the Council did not know that he was a villain. Without Hamsterviel, the jury had nothing on Jumba once he spun the tale on 625.
All he needed was to get the court delayed to the point where it must be adjourned. The lengthy scientific speeches to delay the trial were a brilliant improvisation on his part, and the challenge from the Grand Councilwoman had been the icing on the cake. He'd been banking on the Council getting cocky, and boy did it pay off.
Experiment 625 had also done his job perfectly. That was to be expected, Jumba'd left nothing to chance. Although what happened to 625 after the trial was indeed a shame, since he had to barter the experiment to the Council to guarantee his bail. Alas, without 625, he had one less experiment on their intergalactic raid. "Oh well," Jumba shrugged. "Considering his primary function now, he would be near useless in battle."
Speaking of Experiment 625, he'd let his thoughts run wild again. That was a lengthy log he had just typed for the experiment into the database.
"—I still do wish that they never discovered my lab, as I would not have been forced to resort to this. Perhaps it is for the better that 625 is not with me. I don't know how I will ever explain this to him," he finished up the last sentence of his record log and saved it, signing his name on the completed entry.
"Now that I am done with log for experiment six-two-five, perhaps I should be checking on my other..." Jumba suddenly paused as he heard the tapping noise of footsteps. Turning around, he saw a very familiar face.
"Jumba!" said an overenthusiastic high-pitched voice. A diminutive hamster took a step forward from the shadows, a cruel grin prominent on his face. "So very nice to see you again!"
"Dr. Hamsterviel!" Jumba clenched his jaw, not even bothering to disguise his anger. "You've got some nerve to be showing up here!"
"Why the cold reaction?" Hamsterviel asked, putting up a fake concerned tone.
"Do not be acting like you don't know!" Jumba wasn't in the mood to beat around the bush, "You sold me out to Galactic Federation!"
Hamsterviel dropped his ignorance, knowing to quit when he was ahead. "Ah, so the Council told you? I should have never relied—"
"The Council never said a thing! I be figuring it out by myself!" he replied. His face turned grim, "Why did you do it, Hamsterviel?" he prodded, hoping to coax an answer from the hamster. "We ar-were partners! You've funded my experiments from the very start, every single experiment owe their creation to you! Why then, Hamsterviel? You know that the Council would be putting them down, so why would you turn on us?!"
"You are asking me why?" Hamsterviel repeated Jumba's question, as if the answer was the most obvious thing in the world. "It's because those experiments rightfully belong to ME!"
"Excuse me?" Jumba clenched his fist. "How dare you, Hamsterviel? I created all of them, they rightfully belong to me!"
"And I funded all of them, so I own them too!" Hamsterviel yelled back. "You think your little experiments come cheap, Jumba? Of course not! I invested millions into you, expecting results! But it took you over six hundred plus experiments, and not once in two decades have I seen you succeed at anything truly catastrophic! It is clearly obvious to my oh-so-brilliant mind that you are nothing more than an incompetent idiot!"
Jumba looked down at Hamsterviel with a blank face. How dare he insult him like that! As the caped hamster continued to monologue, Jumba slowly backed away towards the centre of the lab, hoping Hamsterviel would not notice.
"I sold you out, so what? It's because I'm evil, ahahaha! You've become nothing more than a burden, so I decided that henceforth I will be taking matters into my own hands!"
"So you just sold me out to be getting Jumba out of way!"
"Not exactly, Jumba. I know that your experiments can be dehydrated into a tiny three-inch orb for transport. I also knew the Council would never suspect that, and hence they would not get all of your experiments."
A bead of sweat rolled down Jumba's face. That sneaky little... that was why he made the tip-off! He'd played right into Hamsterviel's paw!
Hamsterviel howled in laughter seeing Jumba's dawning realisation. "Yes, you are so very predictable, Jumba. You'd always dehydrated some of your experiments for storage. So I simply deduced that when you are gone, most of the experiments will be dehydrated and mine for the taking! And those experiments would have been mine if you were sitting in a cell right now." He took a step towards Jumba, taking a mock bow as if daring him to applaud his grandiose plan. "But as you can see, my plans have gone awry because you're here. So then, let's do this the easy way, shall we? Hand me the experiment container, and you shall be my personal servant once I rule the universe."
"Never," Jumba stared at Hamsterviel. "I would never let you control my experiments! They shall listen to me, and only me!"
"Fine then! We shall do this the hard way!"
"Threatening me?" Jumba rolled his eyes. "You don't even have a weapon."
"I am Dr. Jacques von Hamsterviel! I do not need a mere weapon—"
"Sure," Jumba interrupted, "whatever you say, Hamsterwheel."
"It is Hamsterviel, HamsterVIEL! You of all people should know how to pronounce my name, Jumba!"
"Peh, whatever," Jumba took the chance to continue inching closer to the controls when Hamsterviel was screeching. Mispronouncing Hamsterviel's name was such a brilliant—and predictable—distraction for him. He just needed a little bit more…
"Besides, my friend, you are currently on bail. Bail laws means that you cannot have possession of firearms! Nyahahah! You're checkmated, Jumba! If you try to hurt me, you'll wind up in prison and this time you'll stay there! There's no way you can stop me from taking every last one of your experiments now," Hamsterviel broke out into a dizzy grin at the thought of so much power in his paws, "and with them, I will finally take over the United Galactic Federation! Every stinking last planet in the galaxy will all bow down to me, Dr. Jacques von..." he trailed off, finally noticing Jumba's hands curled around a lever. "Hey, what are you doing?!" he cried out.
Jumba thrust the level down. "Who said that I would be the one to be doing the hurting, Hamsterviel?"
Immediately after he pulled it, sirens blared throughout the lab as a white light from a ray zapped the glass container in the middle of the room. Smoke began to seep out from the container due to the intense reaction. Because of his tiny size, Hamsterviel was caught in most of it, smoke inhalation disorientating him. "Pack-ack!" he coughed, swinging his arms wildly in an attempt to breathe. That stupid Jumba had tricked him! As the smoke started to clear, he began to look for Jumba at the middle of the room. Crawling to the middle, he began to try to take back control of the situation. "Jumba, you little runt! I have a good mind to..." he stopped speaking and gasped upon seeing that he and Jumba were no longer the only two in the room.
"Behold!" Jumba gestured to the curled up blue sphere that was newly formed in the glass. He grinned with sheer delight upon seeing Hamsterviel's livid face.
"My greatest creation, experiment six-two-six, has been activated!"
For want of a nail indeed.
I know Jumba may seem a little OOC here, but I feel it's justified. After all, he hasn't changed yet at this point in time. And he did create all those experiments to wreak havoc. He just never had the chance to ask them to do so in canon.
Just for reference, Experiment 110 is Squeak, 199 is Nosy, 234 is Shush, 258 is Sample, 604 is Houdini, and 613 is Yaarp. Even though you probably already knew all that, I'm just listing this down for those who only remember the experiment names and not their numbers.
Yes, some of Jumba's other experiments will play a factor in this story, rejoice! Even though this is a Canon-divergent AU fic, one thing I can't bring myself to change is any of the experiment names. Those names are part of those characters and they will stay, dammit! For example, if Experiment 613 reappears later on—not saying he will—his name when they name him will stay Yaarp. Not to worry, I will find some alternate way to make sure the experiments wind up with their canon name, as long as the explanation doesn't end up being too silly.