Spaz landed carelessly on a cold sheet of metal plating, jumping up again with a yell after the frigid feeling penetrated to his mind. Looking around, he whistled tunelessly. They were in an enormous underground cavern, the walls dyed a peculiar shade of purple by some nameless chemical, and the ground paved over with the cold metal. Spaz was instantly thankful for his insulating boots, and turned to Jazz for further instructions. Jazz was perched upon what appeared to be a high, transparent tube of some sort, with the top plugged up to prevent things from falling in, staring mistrustfully at the ground. The tube bulged out in several places before vanishing into the metal plates and purple dirt, though Spaz couldn't see anything actually inside of it.
"What's wrong, bro?" asked Spaz, leaning on a sign which pointed towards a nearby hole in the ground.
"So cold..." groaned the green rabbit, glaring at the brown metal Spaz stood upon. "It's like it's being intentionally frozen... I can't stand on that!"
Spaz nodded, understanding creeping into his head. Jazz was not wearing shoes, so his feet got cold. Spaz was wearing shoes, but other parts were not wearing shoes, and those parts were cold when they touched the metal. Spaz surmised he should probably get shoes for the rest of his body, but Jazz was a higher priority.
"Wait right there!" he cried, walking happily towards the hole in the ground, "I'll go get you something to wear on your shoes! Or your feet! Unless you walk on your hands, because then you'd want to have the shoes on your hands, and that might be..."
"Just GO!" growled Jazz, suddenly losing patience with Spaz's ramblings. Spaz's eyes went big, but he obeyed, jumping into the pit with all the ease of trying to land on the ground and missing. Closing his eyes, the younger rabbit prepared for a cold, solid impact... which did not come. Instead, the surface he landed on felt quite warm, if solid, and certainly not metal. Spaz ran his boot experimentally up and down his landing spot for a few seconds before remembering that it might be more practical to open his eyes.
Spaz had apparently landed directly on a crate, which was sitting on metal plating, but not actually cold. The crate was made out of several long pieces of wood, somewhat flexible, and somewhat bigger than his palm. Spaz stared at the crate, and the beginnings of an idea began to creep into his subconscious.
However, all thoughts of wood and sizes were cut short when Spaz was suddenly bowled over from behind, falling off of the crate and landing on the metal. Yelping in pain, Spaz thrust his attacker from him and jumped to his feet, spinning around to get a better view of the projectile. The projectile was, as it turned out, an enormous rat, mutated until it was at least as big as Spaz, and displaying enormous teeth. Snarling, the rat latched onto Spaz's arm, teeth digging deeply into the exposed fur and, beneath that, the skin. Spaz yelped again and jerked his arm around in circles, attempting to shake off the attacker, but the rat held on fast.
"Spaz! What's going on down there?" came Jazz's worried voice from above, made quieter by the distance.
"I'm only being attacked by a giant rat!" Spaz cried, aiming a kick at his assailant but being knocked over again by the rat's long tail. The rat, meanwhile, had moved its teeth further down the arm, and were now biting into his wrist.
"Well, shoot it!" yelled Jazz, and Spaz's eyes widened in understanding. His gun! Of course! Grinning, Spaz leveled the blaster at the rodent's enormous head, and was about to fire a searing blast of blue rubber when the tail came around for another swing, knocking the gun downwards. Spaz's shot went wild, hitting the crate, which promptly fell apart. Spaz glanced briefly at the contents of the crate, and suddenly everything became clear.
Spaz threw all his strength against the rat, knocking it backwards onto the wreckage of the crate. Triggered by the impact, the enclosed bomb exploded messily, sending pieces of the rat flying in all directions. Spaz sighed wearily as he felt the teeth let go of his arm, while the remains of the rat fell lifelessly to the ground.
"The gun worked!" he cried upwards, getting quickly upright. The metal was not quite so unbearable after spending a while wrestling on top of it, but it was still preferable to have the only contact be with his shoes... oh, right. Shoes. Feet. Jazz. Spaz looked around in all directions for something wearable, and his eyes fell on some remaining fragments of the broken bomb crate. "Coming up!" he added, gathering the wooden shards up in a bundle and staring up the hole he had come from. There was a ledge about halfway up, but how was he supposed to reach it?
Frowning, Spaz climbed up onto another platform, slightly higher up. A cache of cheese stood neglected in the corner, apparently no longer guarded by the giant rat, and was quickly eaten. Spaz looked up at the hole in the ceiling once more, rubbing his stomach contentedly. It looked much higher than he could ever jump, but Spaz had heard somewhere that objects in rear view may be closer than they appeared... he had come from the hole in the first place, so it was probably a rear view! Clutching the wood tightly to his chest, Spaz pressed his boot clad feet against the metal and and released, leaping into the air and up into the hole. He was not, however, high enough to reach the ledge at the peak of his jump.
So close, however! Straining, Spaz began to twist his body around in midair, pushing his legs downwards as if he was swimming... and was surprised as his body launched once more into the air as if he had jumped off of actual ground, and not just air. Priorities more or less in order, Spaz landed solidly on the ledge before beginning to wonder exactly what he had just done.
Apparently he had jumped off the air, which must mean that the air was solid. Spaz put out a probing finger and moved it around. No, the air wasn't solid. Maybe the air had become solid, because the air liked him? That was plausible, as Spaz had once kept a small tree as a pet, until the neighbors complained it was preventing any sun from coming in their sunlight. Trees made the air like you, and apparently it was paying him back by turning solid at useful moments. Curiously, Spaz leaped into the air once more, and began to twist around. It worked, and he was back on the floor he had first landed on upon entering the cavern. That reminded him again what he was doing up here.
"Hi, bro!" Spaz called, looking up at the tube, where Jazz was sitting, obviously prepared for a long wait. The green rabbit started and looked down, and Spaz proudly held up his pieces of wood. "See? You can wear these on your hands, or feet, or whatever!"
There was a long pause before Jazz nodded slowly, during which Spaz felt no discomfort at all. "All right," Jazz said mutely, "bring them up here."
A few minutes later, Jazz Jackrabbit, hero of the galaxy, almost-prince of the planet Carrotus, looked down on his feet, which were tied to some probably splinter-full pieces of a box by some rope he had stored in his backpack. "I look like a fool," he moaned, shaking his head at the bizarre footwear.
Next to him, Spaz grinned. "No you don't, bro! You look like a hero who's tied wood to his feet because the floor is cold!"
Jazz glared, and stalked towards the hole Spaz had found the wood inside. Though weird, the wooden "shoes" certainly protected his feet from the extreme cold of the metal plating, and that was something to be thankful for. "So, this is the quickest way to Devan, I guess."
"Sure looks it!" enthused Spaz, bouncing back down into the hole without any warning. "Spaz!" cried Jazz, and sighing, leaped down after him
Panting, Corporal Lori leaned against the door-frame for several seconds before knocking on the door. Moments later, the door was opened by a tall green rabbit, who showed appropriate surprise at opening the door to an exhausted female in exercise garments. Surprise was quickly replaced by compassion, as the green rabbit helped Lori inside onto a couch, which she fell onto gratefully.
"Now, I'll get you a drink, and you can tell me what you're doing here," he said, crossing over to a strangely advanced-looking refrigeration unit. "By the way, I'm -"
"Acid, I know," finished Lori, rolling over to better observe the proceedings.
"How did you...? ...oh." Acid returned with a foaming glass of an unidentified liquid, but this time he was scowling. "You're from R.A.B.T, aren't you?" Lori nodded, and he stared moodily at the wall. There was a long pause, until just as Lori was about to say something, her host spoke again.
"I haven't heard that name for a long time, you know," began Acid, still not looking at her. "I thought I was well shot of your organization. I have a job as a scientist now, you know... I make weapons."
Lori saw no movement triggering the instance, but a sleek, gray blaster appeared noiselessly in Acid's paw, not aimed in any real direction, but deadly solely by its existence. "I have a steady source of income... I have friends... I have family. What reason could I possibly have for going back to R.A.B.T? That is what you're here about, isn't it?"
Lori nodded, but it was a useless gesture, as her object still faced away from her. Casting around uselessly for something to say, she hazarded, "and are you still a master of the transportational technologies?"
Acid laughed, and suddenly he was sitting on the couch next to her - a moment later, by the window, leaning against the wall. "Oh, yes," he said, glancing sideways slightly for some unknown reason. "Don't think you can trap me here, or anywhere. Although I don't trust you not to have some secret squadron on the other side of that window... so!" There was an intake of air, and Lori suddenly found herself in a swamp, foot stuck in the slime. Startled, she pulled it out, but polled a bit too hard and fell down onto the ground. Looking up, she saw Acid staring down at her. He put out a paw, and she grasped it, willingly being pulled upright.
"Welcome to the planet Muckamok, milady," proclaimed Acid, encompassing the planet around them with a single gesture. "I come here when I want to practice my devices without hurting anything - as you can see, there's nothing here to hurt, except for a few Froogs on occasion."
"I think you may have left a device here at one point..." muttered Lori, remembering the story of a dejected bounty hunter she had once known. Zornik? Something like that.
"Well, perhaps," was the response, as a large rock came zooming up to Acid, who sat down on it. "I've probably impressed you enough by now. What do you want with me? Be honest."
Surprised by his sudden friendliness, Lori began to explain the problem. "You've heard of Devan Shell?"
"Well, he sent a minion to Carrotus Castle, who crashed Jazz Jackrabbit's wedding to Princess Eva Earlong. The minion also stole her wedding diamond and returned with it to Devan Shell, who is going to take over the world. Eva has sent Spaz Jackrabbit to rescue Jazz, and the two of them are supposed to save everything, but we don't know if they can do it alone"
Acid was lost in thought for several seconds before he asked his question. "This diamond... it wasn't a power gem, was it?"
Acid threw up his hands in despairingly, and his precise location began to grow uncertain from his agitation. "Power gems... whatever Devan is building is going to be something big! These Jackrabbit brothers don't have a prayer without my backup. Well, milady, it looks like you've gotten me out of retirement this once, and I don't even know your name. R.A.B.T. rules, I suppose."
Lori nodded, and Acid sighed dramatically. "Ah, well. I'd best be on my way, then... no telling yet how much time I have. Good luck with your part of this!"
My part of this? Lori wondered, before another intake of air hit her. When everything cleared, she was back on Carrotus, on top of a hill, though the hill was no part of Carrotus that she recognized. Large, painted eggs grew out of the ground, and nearby, a large chocolate rabbit stared blankly, paws in a begging position, obviously offering no instruction for why she was here.
"Acid... I'll get you for this," Lori muttered, looking around. She was far too tired just now for another long trip... before she could make a decision, however, there was a loud thud behind her. Wary, the yellow rabbit turned around to see what had just interrupted the tranquility of the hilltop.