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Empire on Ice #30: The Empire on Ice Skaters: The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 5

Last time, on The Empire on Ice Skaters: Valentine's Day stands on the brink! Evil mastermind Doctor Silence von Kablooey has unveiled the dreadful Multitronic Mangling Machine. Her plan is nothing less than to quash the Empire on Ice Skaters with brute force! Has civil society come to an end? And now, the exciting conclusion! It's…"The Cocoa No-No Caper, Part 5"!

[The Multitronic Mangling Machine lumbers menacingly toward the Empire on Ice Skaters, who look at each other in a mixture of horror and confusion.]

Galavar: Where did you get such a ghoulish machine? Even you wouldn't build something so cruel.

Silence: True enough. I went to the most reliable source of evil on the planet: lawyers! They directed me to a surplus legal warehouse, and that's where I found this old intellectual property enforcement unit.

Jemis: You can't do this, Silence! If people tried to resolve through problems through violence rather than figure skating, I shudder to think what would come of the world.

Celeste: It's just not very nice, either!

Galavar: [Sotto voce to Gregor.] Lawyers! That's it!

[He walks closer to Silence.]

Galavar: I have to say, Doctor von Kablooey, it looks like you've finally won.

Silence: No, it's no use trying to—wait, what?

DeLatia: Galavar! What are you doing?

Galavar: [Waving DeLatia aside.] But are you really going to eat all of these chocolates? You're making disturbingly good progress, we'll all agree, but let's be realistic. You're still just one person. Surely there're a few flavors and whatnot that you don't like.

Silence: True enough.

Jemis: You can't be serious, lad! We can't let her win!

Galavar: You could sell the chocolates you don't want. Turn a tidy profit. Buy yourself a nice steak, maybe? Mad doctors cannot live on cocoa alone, after all.

Silence: This might be the first time you've ever talked sensibly! Did something fall on your head? Are you sick with mercury poisoning?

Galavar: I'm just being realistic.

[Gregor begins to smile knowingly.]

Galavar: Now, what you need to make it all work is a really good marketing slogan.

Gregor: Exactly! You know, this could be just the beginning for you, Doctor von Kablooey. You're always trying to change the world in a bunch of controversial ways. This could be your big chance to popularize the fuller figure in the eyes of a thin-obsessed society.

[The Mangling Machine lumbers closer to the Empire on Ice Skaters. It's nearly in range.]

Silence: Chocolate is certainly good for the figure, that's true. And people already love chocolate.

Gregor: You could play up its plumping effects. Make it a desirable thing. People would buy more of a thing they love, to look more like the ideal they crave. Like you! Think of all the money you'd earn.

[Silence is astonished. DeLatia and Jemis look at Gregor as if he's lost his mind.]

Jemis: [To Gregor and Galavar.] What's the matter with you?

Silence: I second that. Are these the Empire on Ice Skaters I'm hearing?

Gregor: You could even be the spokesperson for your own commercials.

Galavar: Go on, show us what you've got!

[He gestures for her to stand up and show off her curves. Silence begins struggling to rise to her feet, and starts huffing and puffing, then wheezing. However, an overabundance of stolen chocolates have rendered her rather bulky. At last, defeated, she collapses back in her throne, sweating and gasping for air.]

Silence: I think—*huff*—I'll take my—*cough*—beauty shots—*gasp*—sitting right here.

Galavar: Truly a role model for us all to follow with envy.

[Galavar scribbles something onto a piece of scrap paper.]

Galavar: I think I have the perfect slogan for your advertisements. [He hands her the paper.] Read that out loud and tell us how you think it sounds.

[Silence, collecting herself, reads it silently and smiles. First it's a small, simple smile of agreement, but then it mutates into an avaricious, boastful smirk of unadulterated glee.]

Silence: I've really won. I've finally beat you. I've brought eternal winter on Joshalonia, won the chocolates, and humbled the Empire on Ice Skaters!

Galavar: Go ahead, read it to the rest of us.

Silence: "Buy Doctor Silence von Kablooey's chocolate confections and grow curves that know no limits. You're going to like the way you look. I guarantee it!"

[Suddenly, the Multitronic Mangling Machine goes wild. It immediately turns its attention away from the Empire on Ice Skaters and onto Silence. Its sirens start blaring, and the machine begins swiveling around frantically.]

Mangling Machine: Trademark infringement detected! Trademark infringement detected!

Silence: What?!

DeLatia: HA HA HA!

Mangling Machine: Infringer identified. Initiating enforcement strategies.

Silence: What the hell is it doing?!

Gregor: You said you got it from a bunch of lawyers.

Galavar: And that it used to be an intellectual property enforcement unit.

Silence: So?

Galavar: So, they—and obviously you—didn't wipe the old commands from its memory banks.

Silence: But I didn't infringe on anything!

Galavar: I think you just did.

[Silence looks down at the paper.]

Silence: You did this! You Empire on Ice Blunderbusses! Now it's going haywire.

[She looks at the machine, which is gradually lumbering toward her, and points at Galavar.]

Silence: He did it! He wrote down your stupid trademark on this paper here.

Mangling Machine: Physical evidence of infringement identified. Probability of guilt: 97 percent.

Silence: What?! No! [She drops the paper.]

Jemis: Never trust the creations of lawyers.

[The Multitronic Mangling Machine has a number of fiendish looking instruments, drills and screws and graters and all manner of sharp and pointy things. Gradually it comes to bear down on Silence. The crow Ebenezer flies from her shoulder. Silence struggles valiantly to rise from her opulent throne, but strains a muscle and falls back into her seat.]

DeLatia: Careful. Someone your size shouldn't get too excited. That bad diet of yours has some dangerous consequences.

Silence: Why, you—

Mangling Machine: Charging ray of litigation.

Silence: I can't believe you've defeated me again! Aarrrrrgh!!!

Galavar: If I were you, Doctor, I'd run.

[She takes a moment to glower at him furiously. Then, with the adrenaline flowing through her, Silence finally lumbers to her feet and begins staggering away at a jagged pace. It's clear she hasn't done any moving around at this size. In between her lurid gasps for air, she hurls her best epithets at the Empire on Ice Skaters, but they all sound like incomprehensible spasms.]

[The machine slowly gains on her, and in a desperate last move she accidentally tumbles into the tallest mountain of chocolates. Off her feet, and nearly passed out from exhaustion, Silence has no hope of getting up in time. But then, suddenly, the Machine stops, dead in its tracks. All its hideous noises come to a halt.]

DeLatia: What?! Why did it stop?

Jemis: We were just getting to the cream filling!

Gregor: [To himself.] I swear, after today—no more puns again, ever.

[From behind the Mangling Machine emerges Celeste.]

Galavar: Celeste! What happened?

Celeste: I turned it off.

Galavar: But why?

Celeste: Violence is no way to solve problems. I think Doctor Kablooey has learned her lesson, and we can leave it at that.

Galavar: She stole 37 billion dollars of chocolate—and my personalized Junior Merit Scout Wall Calendars!

Celeste: Maybe she would do some community service.

Gregor: If she's not going to be whipped into mousse then at least she belongs in jail.

Celeste: Maybe if we stopped sending her to jail every week she's stop thinking of new ways to break the law.

Silence: [Still lying at the foot of the chocolate mountain, panting.] Not a chance. I live to commit crime! And eat chocolates!

Galavar: You see?

Celeste: Surely there's a better solution.

[Just then a loud rumble emanates from the mountain of assorted chocolates. Silence's impact with its base has destabilized it. The whole room begins to shake.]

DeLatia: Like that, maybe!

Silence: Oh, fudge 'ems.

[Suddenly the entire mountain comes crashing down in a gigantic avalanche of chocolate pieces. The Empire on Ice Skaters scramble for cover.]

[When all the commotion is through, the Multitronic Mangling Machine is lying on its side, dead for good, its servos seized up with melted chocolate. The Empire on Ice Skaters are okay, although Gregor has a toffee laceration, but Silence is missing completely, with a gigantic new mountain of chocolates standing where she had previously been.]

Jemis: Do you figure she lived?

Galavar: Supervillains usually do.

Gregor: Imagine, trying to make the winter last forever.

Celeste: I can almost sympathize with her. I don't like the summer heat either, and I love chocolates.

DeLatia: And how do you deal with that?

Celeste: I use my air conditioner…and I buy a candy bar every now and then.

Gregor: Speaking of which, we have to get all these chocolates back.

Jemis: That's impossible. They're all out of their boxes, and probably unhygienic. Plus, Doctor von Kablooey is still in there.

Galavar: Yes, let's leave the chocolates as they are. I think the time it'll take her to eat her way out of there is just about equal to the prison sentence she'd receive for her crimes.

Gregor: Not even close. She's looking at twenty years. I bet you she eats her way out of that hill in twenty days.

Galavar: Don't worry. If she does that, I don't think she'll be moving around very much for at least twenty years.

[The Empire on Ice Skaters turn to leave, but then Jemis stops.]

Jemis: Hrm.

Galavar: What is it?

Jemis: I just realized. Doctor von Kablooey tried to destroy Valentine's Day…but in the end she got her—

Gregor: Don't do it.

Jemis: —her "just desserts."

Gregor: Ugh!

Celeste: How are we going to replace the chocolates and save Valentine's Day, anyway?

Galavar: Let's just bring out the Easter chocolates early and leave them up for sale a little longer this year. I don't think anybody will notice.

DeLatia: That's brilliant.


[In a small studio office, a regular-sized Silence sits at a drafting desk filled with papers and sketches. Galavar walks in, eating a chocolate bar.]

Galavar: Have you got the latest issue of Empire on Ice Skaters ready yet?

Silence: Yep! All done.

[She hands Galavar the rough draft and he skims through it, while Silence furtively steals his chocolate bar and begins to eat it.]

Galavar: Why do you write fanfiction where you're the villain—and lose anyway?

Silence: I don't call be buried in a mountain of assorted chocolates "losing"!

Galavar: Suits me. Let's get it inked and off to color. … Say, where'd my candy bar go?

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!