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Nexus Tower stood sharply against the jagged horizon of Crux Prime. It was night and most all minifigures were asleep as night closed it's fingers over the day. The Maelstrom worked uncessantly to over throw Imagination. Minifigures worked day and night to battle it back. At the Nexus Tower, all the lights were out as it's inhibitants lay in slumber. Dr. Overbuild in sleep with dreams of a better future for the Nexus Force, Duke Exeter, lay awake with sword at hand for emergencies. Hael Strom, however was snoring uproariously in his quarters in the Venture League wing o the tower. Vanda was turning fitfully with piercing images of the past that still haunted her. She turned as an image of her father in chains came to mind. Her home, in flames, lay in ruins. She blinked as lights came on simultaneously. Doxan, her alien pet, lifted it's head in defence to the bright light. Her door opened and a female minifigure poked her head through the doorway," What is wrong Vanda?" The Paradox leader glanced at her with an abnormally fearful face then shook her head. "Nothing Soara, I'm all right." Just then Dr. Overbuild, Duke Exeter and Hael Strom were in the doorway. All of them were in their nightwear and Hael and his parrot were wearing nighties and nightcaps. Overbuild said softly," Are you sure? You screamed. Loud. Loud enough to wake this whale of a snorer." He pointed at Hael. Strom looked indignant,"Huh?! I don't snore! Whatever you heard was Polly!" He jabbed the parrot in its stomach which the latter promptly pecked his hand. He pulled his hand back sharply," Ooo you wanna fight dontcha? Well it's about time I putcha down." He raised his hand in a wacky boxer's pose and swayed his hands wildly. Exeter knocked him one over the side of the head. "Hael! Come on! We have a problem here!" He looked at Vanda and said,"You going to be okay the rest of the night?" She nodded and he turned and strode down the hall,"Everyone back in bed! Everything is fine now! Go to sleep!"
The other minifigures left the room, Overbuild being last, asked quietly,"Come and meet me in the Assembly wing please, Vanda? I think we need to talk." She nodded and lay back into the covers as he shut the door quietly behind him. She then fell into a dreamless sleep the rest of the night.
The sun shone brightly on the dark and gloomy battlefiend on Crux. The Nexus Tower was the only bright thing on the surface other than the meteors that soared above the largest fragment that had once been planet Crux. The minifigures were up and about doing their duties of smashing the Malestrom or helping those who could. Vanda was in the secret wing meant only for her of the Paradox wing. She meditated, attempting to clear her thoughts of the previous nights events. Her door buzzed and in a low voice she sighed. "Come in." An older ninja, Wisp Lee, her advisor came in. He strode up to her and placed his hand on her shoulder. Being an experienced master of the arts of acupuncture, he rubbed his hands on choice parts of her shoulder and back. "You should be relaxing after what happened last night." She shook her head,"No, as a true ninja, one must elude herself from the dangers of the mind, not leaving it relaxed and unprotected." Wisp Lee sighed as he walked around the room. He placed his hand on a new weapon that had not come out yet for the third subfaction of the Paradox. " What is this?" She turned then stood up,"That is my new set of gear, the Shinobi Ninja." He nodded his head approvingly. "Its all well within itself but still, you should be relaxing."
"Out of respect for my former teacher, I will tell you until this menace is destroyed or recreated I will not relax. I thank you for your advice. But I will not rest. I can't." "Very well then," replied Wisp, "I can't stop you but I hope this helps you not only mentally but physically as well." She nodded and Lee stepped out of the door. She walked to her weapons rack. On it held her famous malestrom infused katanas, her life savers on several occasions, given to her by an old friend of her father's. She wondered if he was still around, after his capture on Gallant 5. She missed her father so much, for all his stories and advice, love and compassion. She bowed her head to his memory and stood up. She walked to the full body mirror and looked at the reflection the stood in it. She saw young woman In her famous red ninja jumpsuit of stealth, her hair, shadow black with a lone malestrom pink streak in the front. She was the stroking image of her mother with her fathers sharp features. She slumped to her knees and let her shoulders rack with sobs and let her grief run it's full course. Tears streamed down her face and onto her hands, onto her clothes and onto the floor. She looked up at the sounds of footsteps outside the room and brushed her face with her sleeve when someone knocked. It was Exeter and he sounded worried,"Vanda, are you all right? We have been looking all over for you. " The door opened and he stepped in. Exeter looked at her red-rimmed eyes and wet face. "Whats the matter, Vanda? You know you can tell me." She shook her head and said," No, I'm fine just a little upset, that's all." he walked up to her and placed his arm around her shoulders," you and both know that that's not true. You rarely ever cry much more have the waterworks running." She placed her head on his shoulder and started sobbing once again. He placed his hand on her head and hugged her," Its okay Vanda, if you don't want anyone to know, it's all right with me. By the way, I can tell Dr. Overbuild that you can't make his meeting toda--" She looked up quickly, surprise registering on her soft features,"Oh the meeting! I forgot! No I'll go. Don't worry about me, Exeter, I'll be fine." She walked quickly out the door and down the hall. Exeter stared after shaking his with doubt,"Thats what I'm worried about."
The lights were bright on the new day as vendors and minifigures were preparing for another day. Vanda ran through the Paradox wing and on to the Assembly section of the Tower. She strode up to the door and knocked quietly. The door opened and a face with spectacles and a smiling face appeared. "Ah yes, Vanda, please come in." He opened the door wider and Vanda stepped in. He closed it then walked up to an animal on a cushion. It was one of the Assembly faction pets, the sabertooth tiger. He pulled out a chair and motioned her to sit in it. She complied and pulled off her mouth covering and the band in her hair. It fell to her neck and Overbuild shook his head. "How you never became married surprises me." She replied calmly," Doctor, you have been like my second father ever since, well, you know, the Baron disappeared. It's time I told you that why I am here is not to find a partner. I have more important things to do." Once again Overbuild shook his head. "You have been too serious, you need to relax, forget the stress and jus--." Vanda stood up, her hair in a hurricane like the logo she represented. "Please. Exeter already told me this. I think people need to stop worrying about stuff like getting married."
"Whos getting married?" Hael stepped in the door, a burrito in hand. Dr. Overbuild retched, and Vanda asked,"A BURRITO?! You have GOT to be joking." Hael looked surprised,"I don't know what your talkin' about. This is GOOD stuff right here. Mmmmfff yum scruuuunchhh ahhhhh yesss. That's the spot." Vanda walked towards the door but then came Exeter who pushed her back. "I just had an amazing idea. Who here thinks Vanda has been overworking herself?" Overbuild and Exeter raised their hands but Hael stayed his. "Hael?" asked Overbuild. Hael shrugged,"Nah, she needs to work harder." Exeter slapped his face and Overbuild looked shocked. Vanda grinned ruefully,"Thanks for the support." Hael leaned over,"Hey. Anytime." He took another bite out of his burrito and with his mouth full he said,"Keep going Exeter, you were saying?" Exeter glared at him then continued on,"As I was sayin--." "Scrunchhh mummmffff--." "--g that Vanda should hav--." "Vruuuunchhh smackk--." "--e a vacat--." "Buuuuurrpppp!" "--ion. Thanks Hael." "For what?" "The fill-ins." "Oh. No problem. " He stood up and looked at Overbuild,"Um where is Vanda?" The Assembly leader looed around wildly,"She was just here! Everyone fan out and find her before she leaves!" Exeter and Overbuild left the room, leaving Hael in the room
with his chili burrito. He stroked it fondly and took another bite,"We are a nice pair together aren't we?"
Vanda ran through the halls, past other minifigures and stopped with her back to a wall. They are probably going to try and block the launchpads. Then the loudspeakers boomed, confirming her thoughts,"Lock all launchpads and delay anyone trying to leave the tower. This is Duke Exeter speaking. Do not let anyone leave, I repeat let no one leave. Thank you." Vanda shrugged, she was a ninja wasn't she? She ran outside the door and ran down the ramp that lead to the launchpads. Epsilon Starcracker then just landed on the pad and she leapt for the pad... Only to be brought down from behind. She turned and it was Exeter. He approached carefully, not wanting to cause any unexpected emotions. "Its ok Vanda, I just want to help. Why don't you want a vacation?" "I do." "Then why are you running and where to anyway?" "I want to be alon on Forbidden Valley to meditate. ALONE." "But that's swarming with Maelstrom. Why there? Don't you want peace and quiet?" "Yes. But it's not possible." "How come?" "Nameme a place where there is no Maelstrom, people and it's quiet." "Oh. You got me. I don't know anywhere--Pet Cove!" "What? I can't go there." "Why not?" She paced the ground uneasily, troubled obviously through her actions,"Anyways, who will take care of the Paradox faction while I'm gone?" Exeter smiled and pointed at himself,"Me. I'll do it while your gone and you can have no worries. Let's go make plans. Come on. Letsgo inside." He placed his arm around her shoulder and lead her inside. At that moment Dr. Overbuild ran up. "Is she okay?" Exeter nodded,"Shes fine and what's more she has agreed to take a little trip to Pet Cove where Coalessa will take care of her." Overbuild nodded approvingly,"No quieter place anywhere. Well go pack up and we'll take you there in a few minutes." As she walked off, Overbuild stepped up to Exeter," I think she likes you." Exeter looked shocked,"What would make you say that?" Overbuild shrugged,"Just look at how she reacts to your presence. She's calmer and I couldn't make her go to Pet Cove for anything." Exeter stared after the young woman, confusion regestering on his otherwise smiling features. Why?
Vanda placed her few belongings into her backpack. She stared around the room and stroked sleeping Doxan. She walked out and stepped out onto the platform. Down on the ground were Overbuild and Hael arguing about something else. She stepped up to the railing and jumped. She landed on the ship and crawled into the ship. She looked out the window and saw Duke come out of the Tower and motion to the other faction leaders. They all stepped inside and sat in the seats. "Pilot, Pet Cove."
The flight to Pet Cove was uneventful, that is, to say no Maelstrom hurricanes or whirlwinds decided to show up. Vanda paced the cabin until finally Hael spoke up,"Vanda, quit doing that. Your making my eyeballs spin out of control." Vanda turned on him with a sharp retort,"Your eyeballs are spinning out of control? My life is spinning out of control! Do you get that? Wait, no, you wouldn't, all you understand is what tastes good. Am I right?" She stormed off to the rear cabins. Hael looked blankly in front of him and glanced at Exeter,"Was it what I said?" The Duke shrugged and leaned over to Overbuild,"I think I need to talk to her. Again."
The Doctor nodded and Exeter stood up and strode to the rear of the ship. Hael stood up and winked at Overbuild,"I wonder where the food is. I'm hungry." Dr. Overbuild sniffed,"Vanda was right. All you care about is food, isn't it?" Strom looked aghast,"Hey I need food. Alot of it to mention it. So don't get on my case about that. Do me greatly. Thank ye." he walked towards the front and Overbuild was alone in the passenger cabin. "Oh dear," was all he said.
Exeter walked through the hall that adjoined to all the rear cabins. He listened in each of them until he found what he was looking for, the restless stirring of the depressed. He knocked quietly and the familiar voice now cracked with the feeling of a hundred hurricanes in one area came with her voice. He opened the door and stepped inside, looked at the still figure on the bed with its hack toward him and the world. He sighed as he remembered the days when he had tried to shun the world. It wasn't as easy as it looked at the time. He sat down on the bedside and looked at her, so young and having to put up with this. No one really knew what the past had done to her or what the future had in store either. He stroked her back and looked at the Paradox emblem on her shoulder band. The eye of the tiger in the midst of a red hurricane. She looked so peaceful and serene just laying there. He spoke quietly but distinctly to put emphasis into his words. "I remember the time the world slammed it's door in my face. I can tell you that it wasn't so great. I avoided it for as long as possible before I realized one key point that the whole time I had been shunning the world, the world was doing me a favor, teaching me a great lesson." She turned over and looked at him, with those pink eyes that he just could look at forever but were the fragile windows to her uttermost secrets. When she spoke it was in a low, tired tone of one who wants to know the truth, to find, to be done searching. "And what was that lesson?" Exeter chuckled dryly," Being a ninja with the most hardest tasks to perform, I would guess you would know it very well. It is when the world k ocks you over, you de IDE whether or not to get up. When you get up you have passed the test and are ready for harder one. When you hide and try to avoid the world, the task is never achieved and you can't learn new powers until you have mastered an easier one." She looked at him with those almond-shaped eyes of hers that looked like they could penetrate to your deepest thoughts and desires. She sat up, looking at her hands," And you are suggesting what?" Exeter looked her,"I didn't suggest anything, I'm just saying when you decide, make sure it's for the long run, what makes you better, not what feels good necessarily but the right decision," he smiled,"Now do you understand?" She stared at him, then smiled, the beautiful most wonderful thing that he ever saw. Something that could be given yet treasured forever. She leaned over and hugged him,"Thank you, Exeter. " He smiled,"Your welcome." He got up and walkedbehind her to the passenger cabins. He walked in and sat beside Overbuild. Vanda sat next to Hael then realized he was eating something unusual. "What is th--?" Overbuild interrupted," Don't even ask." Hael looked hurt,"Honey, this is a--." Just then the pilot's voice came over the loudspeaker,"Pulling into Pet Cove, leaders." The ship landed and the loading bay door opened featuring steps into the floor down to the ground. The four leaders stepped onto the bright and cheery sunlight of Pet Cove. A minifigure ran up greet them and Vanda noticed that she had red hair and things in her hair, probably just decoration or something, she thought then looked closer. Those "things" were cat ears! Now what the—then she was speaking,"Hello great leaders,"she paused,"I am greatly honored by your arrival. Now what brings me the pleasure of bringing you here to Pet Cove?" Overbuild stepped forward, motioning Vanda to do the same. "Coalessa." So that's what her name is. I remember her now, she trains all of my fellow minifigures how to tame pets and cool stuff like that. Overbuild continued,"We want to know if it would be okay if you watched over Vanda for a few days?" Vanda looked at the Pet Master who now held a countenance of surprise and shock. Here it comes, thought Vanda, she's surely going to say no.
The Pet Cove guardians face lit up like a sun and she smiled at Vanda warmly,"Why, of course she can stay! I would be honored to place myself at your service!" Vanda smiled tightly, her face showing relief at being released from her burden of Faction Leader, and registering disappointment at not protecting the Universe. She picked up her few belongings from the ship and followed Coalessa to thdown the bridge towards the lighthouse that was the centerpiece of Pet Cove. Dr. Overbuild came to Vanda,"Do not worry, we can held things back at the Nexus. Just relax and enjoy a minor vacation." She smiled then watched as The Duke strode over to her, a smile challenging him to keep at bay," Hael is in the cabin crying his heart out." Vanda laughed, relieving a bit of the stress at leaving important duties behind. Duke hugged her," You take care, OK?" She nodded then turned to follow the Pet Master to her new home for the next few days. She watched as some minifigures tamed their first pets and smiled as they named each one and become partners. She remembered the day she tamed her first pet. Now that seemed a long way off. Oh well, she thought, better make the most of this'vacation'. Coalessa chattered to her about the lighthouse but Vanda hardly listened; she stood watching the horizon as the Universe cargo ship flew away, becoming a distant speck on the murky blue skies of Lego Universe. Vanda sighed as she finally walked into the lighthouse and glanced at the decor as she was led to her room. "And here we are!" She pointed to the room that was underneath the balcony of the lighthouse. She nodded to Coalessa then threw her duffle bags onto the bed. "Let me know if you need anything. I will give you some thing that will attend to your needs." Vanda tipped her head in reply then watched as the Pet Guardian closed the door softly behind her.
A brief half hour later found Vanda walking the banks of the small world, gazing at the new pets that were being tamed. She smiled as she watched the more boisterous minifigures ran with their new friends. Then she sighed again, once more reliving old memories. She turned toward the edge of the world, looking down at the water deep below then she noticed something peculiar that protruded abrupty from the side of the actual rock. She stared down at it,trying to fathom what it might be, then her curiosity could no longer be withstanded. She must ask Coalessa if she could borrow some rock climbing gear.
She burst in to the door of Coalessa's study and found her playing with a...lion?!. She gasped in shock as the king of beasts glanced playfully at her. The she watched in horror as it bounded to her and tackled her. Coalessa stood up sharply and stared in absolute disbelief and finally recovered her senses,"Down Naney! Down! Right now!" The beast leapt away from Vanda obediently and trotted back to her master's side. Vanda stood up wiping her face then said,"Ughh...yuckyuck, beast slobbered on my face; Oh! Do you have any rock climbing gear I could borrow?" "Yes but--" She started. I need you to help me with something I found in the side of Pet Cove. Do you think you could manage?" "Why of course I can but what--" She began again but Vanda was already out the door. She followed, muttering to herself,"This is going to be a long few days if she keeps interrupting people then running off all of a sudden."