Disclaimer: I don't own Happy feet or any of their characters.
Seifer awoke listlessly to another dull day. He didn't have much of a good night, as his stomach's been complaining about something or another. Either it was hungry or it just wanted to annoy him. Hopefully, he'll find breakfast this time...and that should maybe calm his digestive system down enough to give him some peace. Ready to get on with his day, he stood up and shook the frost off his feathers. However a thin coat of ice remained on his chest. He shook vigorously. Still there.
"Stupid ice. Get off me!" he yelled at it, as if it would somehow obey. He took the unwanted thing in his beak and pulled. It was quite easily ripped off, but apparently, it found it was in its rights to take a few of his feathers with it. He cringed at the brief pain before spitting the ice out and calming down. An empty tummy always makes him a bit irritable. He warmed up, spreading one wing, then another. Then flapped, rather sluggishly at first. He was lacking energy, but he felt he still had enough for flight. He'll glide if neccesary.
He ran off the cliff he was resting on and took to the air towards the open ocean. Scanning the sea below, he caught a glimmer of silver and dove. He grabbed the fish and floated to the surface, kicking his webbed feet to speed the ascent. One swallow and the scaly creature's gone. He looked into the water for more, as one fish usually means many. However, there was none. With a sigh, he beat his wings enough to allow him to scurry across the water's surface before he took off once more.
"Is it just me or is da fish gettin harder to find each day?" he muttered to himself. Yet he knew the answer and could quite easily predict how his day would go. It'll be the same as the previous ones...Which means sleeping on low fuel.
Throughout the whole morning, he only had three fish, hardly a good meal...not even a snack...It made snacks look like feasts! Feeling his energy grid lowering once more, he gained altitude, stiffened his wings, and glided, using the few free minutes to catch a short nap. However, that barely helped and he knew he would have to land to better get the rest he needs. Finding ice, he descended. He could tell it was thin, but it should hold his weight.
Skidding on the wet surface of the frozen water, he slowed, wings and tail spread and ready to take off should his landing platform splinter. Coming to a complete stop, he lowered his body gingerly, folding his wings and ruffling the flight feathers into a comfortable position along his sides. Doing what birds do in preparation for heavy sleep, he tucked his beak under the warmth of his wings...
The skua startled awake. He must've been sleeping for a couple of hours and it wasn't restlessness that woke him. It was a sound, like a huff...an exhalation of a large animal. It was definitely not a penguin...It sounded much, much bigger. There was a soft splash behind him and he jerked his head to the side to better see the source. The water was rippling...
Alarmed enough, Seifer scrambled to his feet, staring at the water as if it was the one threatening him and not some unknown creature. It was then that he caught sight of a large shadow speeding towards him from beneath and he jerked upwards by reflex. The ice below him burst and Seifer fluttered to the safety of thicker ice.
A leopard seal hauled himself onto the harder, stronger ice as well and glared at the skua. Apparently, his method for catching penguins didn't work for Flying Birds. Seifer stared, stunned, his limbs for flight frozen against his body. He never had to face this situation before. His legs, however, was not as easily fear-stricken as his wings and they propelled their owner back as the giant seal lunged with open jaws.
Seifer has heard of leopard seals attacking skuas when the said birds pecked at them for fun while the large pinnipeds slept, but he didn't do such a thing yet...Such a game was suicidal in his opinion.
Again the seal lunged and Seifer once more jumped back, his talons digging in the ice to prevent himself from slipping. Such a mistake could end his life and he was not ready to die...not yet! He tried his traditional defense of appealing to the predator's better nature. "Hey! Don't eat me! I'm too young to go down!" he pleaded. The giant seal snorted and pulled himself closer. "Please, please, I'll do anytin for yas."
At this, the seal grinned menacingly. "Good. Stay still." He chuckled darkly. "This won't hurt a bit." He lunged again, and Seifer, having no intention of giving up so easily, scooted back. He wanted to fly, but first he wanted to know why this was happening.
"What's wrong wit youse?" he asked, not turning his wide-eyed gaze from the larger predator. The seal paused before giving another huff.
"The shortage of fish is ruining my day." he answered with a frustrated growl. "I can't have fish and neither can anyone else, so now they're after my second favorite food. Krill. Now there isn't enough for me, so I'll have to satisfy my hunger with penguins..." All of a sudden, his gaze got all the more ominous. "...And other seabirds."
Seifer immediately took off before he could get caught. He flew back to land, flapping hard, and rested on a rock. He sighed heavily and forced the terrorizing accident out of his mind. He made a mental note to be more wary in the future. Looking around, he found himself alone. Good. He was too hungry, and thus too irritable, to interact with the other skuas.
"Why is da fish disappearin? What will I eat when dere's no more left?" He gave another sigh. "Dere's no Flipper Boids nearby..." he mumbled. Fish was everything around here. Before, he was never once attacked by a leopard seal who was intent on eating him and neither was any other skua he knew. This shortage must be worst than he thought...and he thought it was bad to begin with!
Maybe things would get better soon. Maybe the fish will return in no time and everything will be back to normal...But that's just his hopeful side speaking, and its voice wasn't very strong.
He didn't notice the figures approaching slowly behind him until it was too late.
Something strange grabbed his beak, holding it shut. The skua gave a muffled cry of alarm. What the heck?! He tried to fly away, but another thing kept his wings from moving or even opening. Seifer thrashed and struggled as hard as he could, trying to yank his beak out of the thing's grasp so he can fight back properly. While he did so, he stared hard at his captor with narrowed eyes, which widened at the sight of the creature.
It was completely and utterly alien to him, so that's what he thought it was: An alien. It was big, ugly, and reminded him somewhat of a penguin. Despite that, it had no feathers or a beak. But it had no seal-like muzzle either. Its face was flat...disgustingly flat. What he'd give to look at an elephant seal right now. Anything would be better than this creature that defied all senses. It had forward pointing eyes, something he's barely seen before, eyes that seemed blank to the seabird.
It couldn't possibly come from this world. It were too disturbingly...foreign, for the lack of a better word.
He could've stared longer if some kind of soft thing hadn't all of a sudden covered his eyes. He's blind! What was happening?! What kind of hunting technique was this? An effective one, apparently, as he stopped his thrashes now that he couldn't see anything. Giving up hope, he felt himself moving without effort...no, wait, the alien was taking him somewhere.
He was going to be experimented on or something horrific of that nature. And his thoughts were only confirmed when he felt himself being held onto a hard cold surface like ice, but it wasn't ice. It wasn't wet and it wasn't melting into his feathers. What was it? What's happening? After laying motionless for a few minutes, Seifer felt the alien letting go of his beak. He tried to make contact immediatly, again trying his biggest defense against predators.
"Don't hurt me. I swear, I'll do whatever you say!" he pleaded. The next thing he knew, the thing covering his eyes was removed. A bright light was hovering over him and he squinted. The light was worse than a mid-summer sun! He saw another alien coming to join the others. He struggled again, not liking that the number of his captors was multiplying, but was soon restrained again. Straps of some kind were drawn across his outstretched wings and over his body. Helplessly, he watched as the aliens conversated in some weird language.
When they turned their full attention back to him, Seifer tried again at his begging, hoping to strike a cord this time. "C'mon. Let me go! You're not honestly plannin to hurt me, are you?"
Yet another alien entered the scene and Seifer was getting more and more frightened. More aliens! Why was he being tormented like this? Well, he was going to die, he was sure of it. He was going to die in some way or other. He just hoped it won't be painful. Anything but painful!
An alien placed its weird appendage around his beak and rather gently pried it open. Seifer cooperated, trying not to make the aliens mad, in case they were hostile. That is, if what they're doing wasn't already considered hostile...The alien leaned close and stared into his mouth as if searching for something. The skua wondered vaguely what might be so interesting in his mouth. But the creature seemed satisfied and let go of his beak, which was gratefully clamped shut as Seifer licked the inside to moisten it.
Suddenly, a light was flashed into his eyes and his pupils shrank before he clamped them shut. Were they TRYING to blind him?! Well, he needed his eyesight pretty badly, and he wasn't going to just give it up. However, one of the aliens touched his eyelids and forced them open. Seifer grunted, as the light was still flashing. After a few seconds, it let go and Seifer blinked before the same process was done to his second eye. What's the purpose of this?
He felt some other alien touch him on the feet and he lifted his head to watch as it started to spread out the webbing. The skua had the burning urge to kick it right then and there, but he was certain it would've ended badly. You don't start fights with predators bigger than you! They looked over his wings, spreading each to their full extent, before finishing their probing. Seifer sighed as they turned their backs on him.
Okay, he'll admit, this wasn't too bad. Nothing hurts so far. He was actually starting to think nothing horrible was going to happen to him. Maybe they were a king alien race that just wanted to look him over. He wondered how he looked to them...Was he as ugly to them as they were to him? Well, ugly or not, they seemed pretty nice.
That was, until he saw the large pointy thing when the aliens turned back to him. What the freak?! He could already guess what they were planning to do. And he didn't like that concept one bit. No way were they going to stick that into his skin!
"Oh, no. No! Don't do dis to me! I beg to ya! Don't do-"
His talk of appealment was interrupted with a loud squawk of pain. It was so foreign and unexpected, that it took Seifer a minute to realize that it was him who was making the disturbing noise. The aliens had stuck the pointy thing into his left wing. Something was painfully injected into him before it was removed carefully.
"Whacha do to me? What was dat for?" he demanded, afraid he'd been poison or something. The creatures just stood there, waiting. What were they waiting for? Were they waiting for the mystery injecton to take effect. What's the matter with them? Didn't they have the slightest bit of concern? What did he ever do to them?
Suddenly, Seifer saw each alien double in his vision. He desperately shook his head, trying to clear it. Everything was getting dark, very dark. And he felt light weight, a sensation that felt like something in between flying and floating in water. He was so tired and when he closed his eyes, he thought he was dying. It wasn't so bad...much better than he thought it would be...
Seifer woke to a clear blue sky, the sun beating down on him. He wasn't sure where he was, how he got here. Did something happen? Did he die? Well, in that case, he was convinced that he was in Skua Heaven or something like that. Strange, it wasn't like he imagined. It looked a lot like home. Was it supposed to look like home? An Adelie penguin walked over into his field of vision, paused, and stared at him for a moment.
"Hey, hombre. You okay?" he asked, tilting his head curiously. "I never seen a skua on his back before."
At this, Seifer was utterly confused and groggy for a bit. If this was Skua Heaven, then why was there a penguin here? Maybe, he still needs to eat in Skua Heaven, and the penguins were here to supply him with eggs and chicks. The idea was appealing, but why didn't the place just have the food and not the adults around to protect that food? That'll just make things a lot harder than it needs to be. Finally, he asked the question that definitely needed answering.
"Am I dead, Flipper Boid?" he asked. The penguin paused, wide-eyed in surprise at this unexpected question, before shaking his head. Seifer wasn't sure if he was happy or not with the response.
"No, but I thought you were at first." The other bird shrugged. "But then you woke up." Then, somewhere in the distance, somebody called out a name. It must be the penguin's because his head shot up. Hastily, he looked back at the skua. "Now, excuse me, mi amigo, I have somewhere I need to be." Without hesitation, the penguin walked off quickly. Seifer stayed still, not even twitching a feather, trying to rethink everything that has happened to him. Slowly, things began to flash in his brain.
He was abducted by aliens. That can't be right. It seemed so unreal that it had to be some kind of dream. It had to be. There was no such thing as aliens. It's crazy to believe otherwise...wasn't it? Well, that's what his mind told him rather sternly. Whatever. It's all in the past. Might as well just get up and go in life. He had just managed to stand up when he felt something on his leg. When he looked, he was horrified.
A yellow band...from the aliens. The whole thing was real!
"I've been marked." he whispered in disbelief. He had to take it off! If he didn't, who knows what will happen! For all he knows, it might blow up or something! Removing it shouldn't be too hard. It's just like that ice that stuck to him this morning. Bending down, he grabbed the thing with his beak and pulled and yanked, but it held firm. The skua bit tighter, hoping it'll be sliced off and when that didn't work, he shook his head violently, like he might do to a young chick he was intent on killing. Again, nothing resulted from it.
Seifer sighed dejectedly, giving up. There was no taking it off, so why bother trying anymore. It's just going to waste his time. Maybe he should go home, ask his friends and family for help. Clumsily, he took off into the air and circled a bit, trying to find out where he was. He wasn't far from nesting colony. He'll get there in no time at all. With that in mind, he flapped determinely straight for it.
Along the way, he found a fellow skua resting on a rock. Isn't this his luck! This one he considers a friend ever since they were both fledglings. If anyone could help him take this band off, it was this skua. No doubt about it! He swooped in closer and called out before landing. His pal looked at him and smiled.
"Hey, Seifer. What's happenin..." Without warning, his friend trailed off on the greeting, staring at the thing on Seifer's leg. Cocking his head, he leaned in and squinted before giving it an experimental peck. Seeing it wasn't edible, he couldn't help but ask about this strange object that his fellow skua found. "What is dat? And where'd ya get it?"
The other skua sighed, but he's been planning his speech from the get-go and was ready to explain. "Dis might sound crazy, but I was abducted by dese aliens today! And they did dese freaky dings to me, one of them being very painful. Dey knocked me out and when I woke up, I found out dat dey gave dis to me. But I don't want it. I've been tryin to take it off, but nuttin I do works..." Seifer explained.
The reaction was not one he expected...And not something he liked. He never lied to his friend about anything before, so he was expecting the other skua to take him seriously and help him out. Instead, his friend backed away slowly and cautiously, staring at Seifer the way one would stare at a crazy person.
"Okay...yeah...sure..." He looked around franctically, as if hoping some external force would give him an excuse to leave. He barely glanced at Seifer. "Sorry, but I got to be somewhere, anywhere..." Again, he took a desperate survey of his surroundings. "...Just not here wit you." With that, the other skua flew off in a haste, as if a murderous Giant Petrel was at his tail. One thing's for sure, Seifer couldn't believe what just happened. His life-long friend ditched him. How could that happen? It was impossible! But he was still hoping one thing:
"We can still be friends, right? I mean, it's just a band da aliens gave me! You have to believe me!" he yelled. The other skua didn't stop. If anything, he went faster.
"No! Don't even come near me!" was the only verbal response he got as his best bud disappeared from sight. Not knowing what else to do, Seifer stayed on the spot for a very long hour. He was still hoping his pal would rethink everything, return, and tell him that everything was okay and that he was just joking. But, the skua knew that hoping won't get him anywhere, won't get things done. And as such, nothing came back.
Seifer sighed shakily and lowered his gaze to the ground. This is just great. He's been kidnapped against his will, had something foreign stubbornly attached to his body, and lost his best friend who started to treat him like a maniac. Can things get any worse? Giving up, the young skua started walking back to his resting spot, his wings dragging on the snow in dismay.
As the days went by, things did indeed get worse. Not only was the fish getting harder and harder to find and that leopard seal attacks were on the uprising, but Seifer was now the honorary laughing stock of the entire skua flock. This alien band was making his life a completely miserable torture. The kind of torture with no end. Even worse, since this band, the girl skuas didn't even give him second thoughts. He was as good as invisible to them, and when he did get their attention, they treated him like he had some horrible disease.
There were only two skuas that stuck by his side, his mother and father. For this, Seifer was grateful, but this feeling didn't last very long. Like Seifer, his parents made a resting stop on the ice and almost immediately, a leopard seal surged out of the water, took them both in his jaws and disappeared into the depths. At least that's what a passing sheathbill told him before the skua chased him off the carcass of a beached killer whale.
One day, Seifer decided that he couldn't take it anymore. He's so sick of everybody treating him like dirt and calling him demeaning names. There was only one thing for him to do and that was to get out of here. Start anew somewhere else, somewhere where skuas don't exist...If that's possible. Well, he'll make it possible. He flew away from the group, heading out to sea in the hopes of finding some distant land. As he grumbled in discontent, he vowed to himself that he would never come back. He had no more friends. They all started dissing on him...all because of the band. What's the point of sticking around? Won't do the slightest bit of good.
Finally losing sight of land, Seifer settled on the water's surface, wings aching not so much from the distance, but from the lack of food. Screw food. Who needed it...Apparently, everybody did, including him...and predators. But he didn't care if a leopard seal took notice of him. He would actually welcome it with open wings. At least, it'll put an end to his suffering. However, a seal was far from what he got.
Three different colored skuas called out to him before coming in to land and splashing on the surface a short distance away. The trio looked over at him and swam closer before settling around him, smiling in a friendly manner. Great...more skuas, no doubt here to mock him. Must have followed him here from the colony just for that purpose. Seifer looked away, ready for the insults.
"Whaddup. I'm Vinni." said the golden colored one and it was then that Seifer realized that these skuas weren't part of his flock. Looks like he could start anew afterall. That is, as long as they didn't notice the band. Seifer frowned, knowing that hiding it would be near impossible. He almost didn't notice that Vinni pointed to the pale, almost whitish skua with black wings. "Dat's Frankie."
"And I'm Dino." the dark colored one finished, apparently wanting to introduce himself.
"What's da matter wit youse?" Frankie asked curiously.
Seifer sighed, knowing that now was as good a time as any. Afterall, if these skuas were to be friends, then they had to know the truth, right? But telling the truth might turn them against him and he would've just added three new members to the 'joke-on-Seifer' list. Well, he'll take the chance. He didn't have much to lose, except his dignity...or what's left of it. Carefully, Seifer tilted upright and lifted his band out of the water. The skuas looked at it intently, obviously never seeing anything like it before.
"What's it?" Dino asked.
Seifer once again sighed and told them the whole story, from the morning of the tragic day to how he slowly lost everyone he knew to how he flew away from his flock. They listened carefully with interest, never once interrupting him. Whether their interest was kindly or not, Seifer wasn't sure. But once done with the last sentence of his story, he flew off. He thought that he might as well beat them to it, since he was sure that they thought he was crazy...just like everybody else.
"Where ya goin?" Vinni asked, all three of them rushing to catch up with him. They had no trouble flying up alongside him and keeping up. Seifer stared at them, more than a little surprised. They weren't laughing at him! In fact, their friendliness never faded at all. For once in a long time, he was happier than he could ever remember. Finally, skuas who accepted him for his difference and not poked fun about it. He felt something he hadn't since the aliens took him. He felt like he belonged.
"Apparently, I'm off to find a new place to start a new life wit a whole new set of pals." he said with a smile on his face.
"Well, be sure to count us in. Sounds like fun!" his new friends exclaimed. Seifer felt like he was a whole new skua, and he wouldn't have it any other way.
Finally, I got done editing this thing! It took me forever! Please don't let this editing be in vain and review! :sighs and collapses in exhaustion: