--Chapter Four: The Kingdom
Krug prepared more of the recipe, until there were no more ingredients left with which to make the furry monsters. In the end, there were fifty-seven of them, plus Krug. For the next two weeks, this army developed and grew.
The laboratory cage Krug grew up in was far too small for all of the monsters, so they moved the vats into a storage area one room over and used the Creation Room, as it was now called, to eat, sleep, and train.
Dr. Doe had constructed the room so that the computer could automatically morph the place to activate different “training simulations.” The whole setup really was impressive; with one press of a button, gears would whir and props would rotate and descend from the ceiling until the entire room resembled a certain environment the army might come across in their travels.
At the moment, the Urban Simulation was implemented, and all fifty-seven monsters were crammed on a monorail tour through would-be streets and alleys while a tape recording played in the background.
Said the computer’s voice on the playback, “And to your right, you will see what’s called a ‘parking lot.’ It is best to avoid attacking here, because it is a wide, open space where you will not be well protected.”
The creatures let out a chorus of “Ooh’s” and “Aah’s.” One of them even took a flash photograph. Then the monorail continued forward on the street and eventually rounded a corner. It stopped next to a sleeping hobo with a paper bag on his head and a flask of whiskey in one hand.
“This is a homeless bum,” said the recording. The hobo woke up and looked straight at the monsters. “These are a terrible source of food, but the good news is, they won’t fight back unless you try to take their drink.”
The monster wielding the camera took a photo of the hobo, just as the bearded man stood up and wondered aloud, “Wha’s goin’ on? Have-eh Martians come fer mah booze?”
Every member of the army shook its head emphatically, not wanting to scare the hobo into fighting.
“Oh, okay. Carry on, then.” He laid back down and went to sleep, snoring loudly as the monorail continued.
Above them, Dr. Van Kruglor stood in full laboratory uniform, watching their daily exercises as he talked with the computer.
“Where did that one get the camera?” the machine asked when another flashbulb went off.
“Krug give to him so they can study pictures later.”
The monorail cart pulled up on a human who was tied to a pole, hands behind his back and head in a burlap sack.
“This is Billy Everyteen,” said the recorded tour guide.
The entire cart full of Krugs waved and said, “Hi, Billy.”
From beneath the sack, they heard a muffled, “Where am I? What’s going on?”
Said the recording, “Billy has a problem right now. He’s tied up, or in-ca-pa-ci-ta-ted.” The recording paused while the monsters took out their notepads and simultaneously wrote their own misspelled versions of the word, “incapacitated.”
“Isn’t that right, Billy?” asked the tape.
A green monster at the front of the cart pointed at Billy and announced, “You have taken big first step and admit you have problem.”
Then the tape continued. “Fleshy Ones are best eaten when they are incapacitated like Billy, here. So if you see a Fleshy One and want to eat him or her, first try to tie them up, knock them out cold, or otherwise make them unable to fight back.
“Now, who wants to be our first volunteer to eat Fleshy One incapacitated?”
Every monster raised his hand, jumped up and down, and shouted in chorus, “Ooh, me! Me! Me!”
Krug turned to face the computer and said, “They very good students. Chip off the ol’ Krug, in fact.”
Computer: You mean, “Chip off the ol’ Van Kruglor,” Doctor.
Van Kruglor: Yes, yes. Of course.
(In the background, a door on the side of the monorail cart opens, and the monsters spill out of it in a rush toward Billy on the pole. There is much screaming, but the computer and Van Kruglor continue their conversation as though nothing is happening.)
Computer: It is important you remember your role in this, you know... If you want to succeed, that is.
Van Kruglor: But Krug thought Shiny Computer thought scheme was crazy...
Computer: Y’know, I did. But then again, I’m looking at these little guys and thinking about the only “human” I’ve ever known, and I have to think, a little bit of destruction and chaos might be necessary. Besides, even though my eyesight is limited to the security camera input, I think these li’l fellas are kinda cute.
(Below, one of the yellow monsters gets out from under the pile of fur and runs off carrying something with both hands, screaming “I’ve got an arm! I’ve got an arm!”)
Van Kruglor: (beaming with pride) Yeah, they’re adorable, aren’t they?
Computer: So have you thought ahead to how you’re going to take over the entire world with only fifty-seven soldiers?
Van Kruglor: Krug only not make more because Krug run out of ingredients. So when Krug take over Toronto, Krug find more ingredients, and army become bigger.
Computer: You know, you could just make some female monsters. Did that ever occur to you?
Van Kruglor: But there no directions for how to make female Krug in recipe book.
Computer: Theoretically, you should be able to do it; just add one X chromosome, take out one Y, and that’s it.
Van Kruglor: Okay, when Krug get more ingredients, Krug try that.
Computer: So do you think these guys are ready to handle downtown Toronto?
Van Kruglor: Krug not see why not. All they have to learn is how to beat police, who have guns.
Computer: More easily said than done, probably.
Van Kruglor: That why Krug attack police station as first target. Big surprise! They never suspect a thing!
Computer: Good. And with the police out of your way, is there anyone who could stop you?
Krug squinted in anger and tensed his entire body as he said, “Pants Man would be only one left. Last time, Pants Man prove even match for Krug, but this time...”
The computer waited in anticipation. “Yes? This time?”
“This time, Krug know where Pants Man lives!” He smiled evilly, his fangs protruding over his lower lip.
Asked the computer, “Do you plan on taking your army there after you see the police, then?”
“No... This... This is personal. Krug go today to teach Pants Man lesson. Krug drive over at nightfall—”
“It’s almost nightfall now.”
“Good. Krug going to drive over, then. Meantime, Shiny Computer keep little ones occupied.”
The simulation changed to a forest setting on the floor below, and new props dropped in to replace the old ones. Only the monorail stayed in place, once again refilled with the monsters, each waiting eagerly for the next lesson.
Leo and Aeris looked out the bedroom window in shock. They saw the car doing circles in the grass, and both by now had recognized the driver.
“Why... is Krug wearing a lab coat?” ventured Aeris.
“I... have no clue...”
The voice from below cried out, “WOO! KRUG DO PROPERTY DAMAGE! KRUG REALLY TEACH FLESHY ONES LESSON NOW!”
Then, just as suddenly as Krug had appeared, he left.
“I got the license plate letters,” said Leo.
“So did I. ‘KRGSKNG.’ But what could this all mean?”
Scott came home and walked straight up to the circle, noticing a partly crumpled post-it note that had been left on the scene.
He was just thinking about how two weeks had passed with no sign of Krug, and how the search would continue regardless, and how Toronto nightclubs had really gotten better lately...
But then he picked up the note.
“KRUG KEEL FLESHY ONES (that means j00.)”
Scott blinked and thought aloud as he entered the apartment and was greeted by two very confused cats at his feet.
“This can’t be good,” he said.
Meanwhile, back at the lab...
Computer: You did car circles in the apartment lawn?
Van Kruglor: Yep. Krug see that on Simpson’s episode. It very funny and cruel at same time.
Computer: So wait, wait, wait. You didn’t kill him and eat him?
Van Kruglor: Nope. That not good supervillain form. (Holds up Dr. Doe’s book) Here is whole lesson: supervillain must foolishly announce plan to hero and give him chance to fight. Otherwise, things get boring.
Computer: But that’s just Dr. Doe’s directions; Doe was an idiot!
Van Kruglor: Please do not insult Master...
Computer: Feh. Trust me on this, Doctor: if you want to win, you have to be ruthless. You have to be a monster.
Van Kruglor: So should Krug go back and eat Fleshy One?
Computer: Not now, no. He’s probably hiding somewhere or at least has a defense system set up. You won’t get a second chance of attacking him at his home.
Van Kruglor: (nods) We attack the police tomorrow. If Pants Man show up, then I be ruthless.