“This is Crissa Kentavr reporting live from the cruise terminal at Jarven city where the S.S. Omnia has just been towed into dock”
The short pony said into the camera as behind her three tugboats pulled the gigantic cruise ship into the harbour. The camera pulled away from the pony to pan along the length of the ship. It certainly didn’t look like a regular cruise liner, it had a gigantic smiling face painted on the prow, the three smoke stacks bobbed gently and belched prismatic bubbles into the early morning sky. The sides of the ship bulged out in yellow ridges that were reminiscent of a beehive whilst the superstructure was a riot of clashing architectural styles all blended together.
“As we reported earlier, what should have been a Halloween cruise for the Omnia turned into a full on toon cascade.” Crissa said earnestly into the camera as it switched back to her.
“Early reports indicate that an illicit cargo of toonpaint hidden aboard the ship got loose and swiftly engulfed both passengers and crew,” Crissa started to walk along the dock, her shoes clicking on the stones. This permitted her cameraman to keep the drastically transformed cruise liner in shot as it slide toward a beart.
“Only through the valiant actions of Captain Boon was the ship’s crew able to hold itself together until help could be reached,” turning to look intently into the camera Criss smiled, “Experts from the Ministry of Disaster Recovery are now aboard the vessel and we are informed the crew and passengers, albeit still infected with the insidious toonpaint are safe and will be decontaminated as they are brought ashore.”
Stopping at the end of the pier she was on Crissa gestured toward the ship, “As we are all aware, Toonpaint when regulated, diluted and applied safely is a fun, transformative substance for parties and costumes. Our sources indicate however that the paint released about the Omnia was pure, undiluted paint and has caused the worst toon cascade seen for years.”
The camera focussed on the Omnia as dark black musical notes started to bounce their way into the sky from the domed roof covering the centre of the superstructure. Crissa’s voice acted as a soothing overlay to the dramatic, brightly coloured madness that had engulfed the ship.
“The MDR won’t allow us access to the main docks where decontamination is going to happen. But they are granting us access to the cameras monitoring the decontamination area and this station will be giving continuous coverage throughout the morning as this rescue operation unfolds! Whilst we wait for the first victims to be brought ashore Melissa in the studio will be talking with Professor R. Nostor about the history and dangers of unregulated toonpaint.”
“Thank you for that informative report Melissa, Professor Nostor,” Crissa said enthusiastically into the camera as the studio faded back to the young pony on the docks, “I have just received word that the MDR have given us access to the cameras and we will be changing the feed now as the first victims are brought ashore.”
The image changed, showing a dockside view of the Omnia, a covered gangplank had been attached to the ship. The exit on the quayside forced people leaving the ship to pass between a series of large show jets. These jets were connected by long pipes that were in turn attached to a huge tanker with the Ministry of Disaster Recover logo stencilled across the side.
Waiting beyond the shower cubicle where MDR officers in bright yellow and orange environment suits. They had towels and were on hand to direct recovered people into a variety of tents for processing and recovery.
“Ah here come the first group now, oh gosh…” Crissa trailed off as a crowd of what looked like honeybees in overalls and flat caps carrying a variety of novelty, oversized tools came charging and in some cases flying down the gangplank. They were all brightly coloured, with toonish, rounded, simple features, stubby fingers and madly buzzing wings. As soon as they passed through the jets of water however the illusion of fantastical creatures shattered.
What had moments before looked like real bees melted, a cascade of diluted water poured off the gang of worker bees and was funnelled through a complex series of drains into a waiting pumping system and another tanker. As the toonish bees washed away people in the clothing of engineers, ships stewards, security guards were revealed. They blindingly and confusedly stumbled forwards into the waiting arms of the MDR officers who engulfed them in towels and herded the confused crowd toward different tents. The camera zoomed in for some close ups as people emerged from the crowd. A copper and black dragon dressed as an engineer, two security guards, a wolf and a very large rabbit, a very confused looking human dressed as a steward.
“We are being told,” Crissa murmurs, “That the lower decks of the Omnia were infected with a bee hive cascade. A common occurrence when a toon cascade happens in a working environment,” she paused to allow the cameras to show another group of bees having their energetically toonish transformations washed away, “Busy bees, worker ants, rat colonies can occur when the working environment and toonpaint latch onto each other to create a stable toon location. Often people will be drawn into these stable toon environments and lose themselves to the debilitating infectious nature of the paint and willingly join in the theme surrounding them.”
The camera image flickered, switching to another covered gangplank, the shower revealed a very large polar bear in a dishevelled uniform stumbling out of the water. Beside him was a blue dinosaur with a crest of dishevelled black feathers atop his head.
“Ah we are receiving word that this is Captain Boon, hero of the hour as he was able to withstand succumbing to the toon cascade long enough to call for help.”
The camera watched the polar bear stop to talk to a suited member of the MDR before he was led off into a smaller side tent, “Standing with him is the ship's security chief Kyrio. He was also instrumental in helping to hold back the cascade from the command crew.”
“The officers of the Ministry are combing the ship as we speak, dressed in the environmental suits you can see them wearing. The suits are designed to repel toonpaint and they are carrying high pressure hoses which allow them to herd infected members of the public to one of the exit points set up.”
The camera view changed again to show a group of of dishevelled, very wet folks emerging from the bee enclosure. The last of their toony bee gets ups washing away to reveal a Wolf, a blue fox and an avali. They looked surly and grumpy as the MDR cuffed them and led them away.
“That everyone was Aira, the notorious mastermind behind the thief Furtivo and yes… yes I am receiving word live, coming down the gangplank is Furtivo himself!”
The camera zoomed in, revealing a tall, lanky toon wrapped in flowing black cloth. He was being prodded forward by two members of the MDR alongside a strange feral creature with three heads, a stocky build and a lot of growling. Both toons were pushed him into the streaming jet of paint dissolving water. His costume exploded, washing away revealing a very tall, lanky toon. He had red fur, long, floppy ears that were almost bunny like but his build was clearly that of a weasel.
The three headed creature melted away, splitting apart into three distinct creatures. Two of them were slate paws, easily identifiable by their horns and weasel like bodies, dressed in somewhat ragged clothing. The third creature was an imp, soft blue-white fur, glowing blue eyes and a tendency to defy gravity as he floated in the middle of the stream. Both the imp and the weasel however stayed very much toons. Rounded, cute muzzles, short stubby fingers and bright, cartoonishly adorable bodies.
The slatepaws were back to normal, rough fur, ragged clothing, dazed and confused looking but the imp and weasel grinned at each other and before the MDR could react reached out to grasp hands. The slatepaws scrambled to their feet and tried to leap at the toon imp. Hands outstretched they almost had them but with perfect, slapstick timing a pipe that had been jammed let loose a torrential stream of water that washed the pair of weasel like kobold creatures backwards, away from the pair of toons.
“Furtivo is a toon! A full toon,” Crissa shouted into the homes of hundreds of people watching the live broadcast, “The paint is having no effect on him or that creature he’s with. The MDR are totally not prepared for…. Oh gosh look at them go!”
The imp glowed blue, the jets of water turned to ice around him and Furtivo and then the pair of them vanished in a flash of smoke and were gone. The MDR officers panicked and started moving from side to side but the pair of toons had escaped.
“Well it sounds like the MDR are halting extraction operations for now. Furtivo being a full toon has caught them with their guard down.”
The camera switched back to showing Crissa on the dock, the pony looked serious as she stared into the camera, “It is quite disturbing, to think that the master thief is a toon who cannot be restored to what they once were. It happens sometimes but is a very rare event, so a lot of people will be asking questions about this incident.”
The pony paused, pressing a hand to her ear, “Ok news is coming through that the MDR has found toon zero. A crewman named Hans is currently in secondary decontamination the toonpaint cannot be completely removed from him,” she paused for a moment then nodded her head, “Sadly we cannot show you this, but Hans will receive the best of care at the MDR, but chronic toonism is a slowly spreading ailment in society.”
She turned to gesture toward the ship, “The spread of toonpaint and the dangers it poses is a growing concern. Chronic Toonism is contracted by people who have suffered dangerous levels of exposure to toonpaint. We will be lucky if this unfortunate soul Hans is the only person to contract it tonight. It will however certainly be a Halloween no one aboard the Omnia will soon forget.”
Nodding to the camera the pony smiled, “Now, whilst we wait for developments here we’ll be switching back to Melissa and Professor Nostor in the studio who have more information for us about chronic toonism.”
Well we made it gang! Here we are at the final Epilogue of this years Halloween story!
And a huge thanks to everyone who let me use their characters this year!
If you would like the full picture of everyone who appeared this year see: