Part 5

Hefty, Auron, and Zeron were speeding away along the roads of the canyons leading to Digitopolis. So far they haven't seen a sign of Commander Razor's Game Tanks, so apparently luck -- or the Creators, as Auron and Zeron might say -- was on their side.
They were heading towards a bridge crossing over a deep ravine, however, when a Game Tank did appear from behind them. It slowly moved its turret toward the bridge and took aim just as Auron was crossing over it and Hefty and Zeron were about to turn onto it.
The cannon blast destroyed the bridge, knocking Hefty and Zeron off their Beamcycles. Auron's Beamcycle managed to leap the rest of the way to the other side, where he turned around and saw that the bridge was destroyed.
"Hefty! Zeron! Are you there? Talk to me!" Auron called out through his communicator.
Then he heard over the communicator: "This is Game Tank Leader One to Commander Razor. We've deleted two of the escaped Game Warriors and are now in pursuit of the third."
"NO!" Auron shouted, sounding anguished. He saw the Game Tanks on the other side of the ravine firing shots toward him. He turned the Beamcycle around and headed straight down the narrow passageway toward Digitopolis. There was just nothing he could do for them now except to contact Pixel and his Creator.
Meanwhile, Hefty picked himself up from amidst the wreckage of the bridge and saw that Zeron was unconscious. He also saw that the Game Tanks were coming towards them and so dragged Zeron into a very tight passageway in the hopes of escaping the Game Tanks as they passed by.
"Hang on, buddy, we'll smurf you some help," Hefty said as he carried Zeron through the passageway and toward what looked like a junkyard. On top of that pile of junk, Hefty saw a small building that they could use as a hideout. Hefty carried Zeron into the building and laid him to rest before he laid himself down in exhaustion. "And I thought this was supposed to be easy," Hefty muttered to himself as he tried to close his eyes and rest.
A minute or so later, though, Hefty could hear noises in the small building, as if something has been turned on. He woke up and saw that he was actually inside the control room of a vehicle, which now shone brightly with energy.
Zeron woke up when he heard the machine noises. "You shouldn't be able to do that, Hefty," he said, sounding puzzled.
"Shouldn't be able to do what?" Hefty asked. "I didn't do anything. I just smurfed in here and everything in here just smurfed on like that."
"This is a Patrolbot, Hefty," Zeron explained, sounding very weak. "Only Sarkamel is able to control these things and bring them to life."
"Patrolbot?" Hefty asked, sounding curious. He watched as more parts of the vehicle formed around the control room section until it became whole, except for one of its feet which fell off because it was too damaged.
He then took a look at the controls. "This must be what smurfs this whole thing around," he pondered as he briefly handled the controls. He pushed the handle on top, and soon the Patrolbot moved forward, drifting this way and that as it moved down the passageway it was traveling.
"How could you do this?" Zeron asked. "You shouldn't be able to steal a Patrolbot."
Hefty looked at his friend still lying there. "Hey, are you okay? We'll smurf you somewhere to get you fixed up."
"Come over here," Zeron said, his voice sounding pained.
Hefty brought the Patrolbot to a complete stop, then came over to where Zeron was laying. He looked like he was very close to death, at least from what Hefty could tell. His circuit lines were becoming faint and dim.
"Oh, my Creator," Zeron groaned, wincing in pain as he could feel his spirit slipping away. He opened his eyes to see Hefty looking at him. "You wouldn't happen to be a Creator, would you?"
"I'm just a Smurf, not a god, Zeron," Hefty answered.
"You came from the world of eternal light...that makes you a Creator to me," Zeron said. "Hefty...please help Auron...you are...our only hope...now."
"Zeron!" Hefty cried out as he watched Zeron close his eyes and breathe his last, before his body just disintegrated into sparkles of light and then vanished.

After breakfast, the Smurflings went to look for Empath, who was already gone from the breakfast table. Polaris Psyche found the Smurflings just as they were approaching Empath's house. "Salutations, my fellow Smurflings," Polaris greeted. "Who is it that you're seeking after in the village?"
"We just want to know where Empath is, Polaris," Sassette answered.
"Yeah, and what's he smurfing this morning that's just so important," Snappy added.
"Empath is currently in his residence engaging in private meditation, my fellow Smurflings, and does not wish to be disturbed," Polaris reported.
"Private meditation?" Nat said. "I wonder why he needs to smurf that."
"Who knows, Nat?" Slouchy said. "Maybe some Smurf is missing in the village and he needs to find out where that Smurf is."
"Well, we haven't seen Hefty smurf us at the breakfast table, so maybe it's him that is missing," Nat said.
"Polaris, do you know where Hefty is right now?" Sassette asked.
"Hefty's current whereabouts is at present unknown, Sassette, but we are trying to find out the answer so that we can bring him back home to the village," Polaris answered.
"Back home?" Snappy said. "You mean somebody just smurfnapped Hefty in his sleep or something?"
"We honestly do not know who or what is responsible, Snappy," Polaris replied. "It would be best for you to go about your own daily activities and not concern yourself with Hefty's whereabouts to the point of interfering with our efforts."
"Yes, Polaris," all four Smurflings said together before they moved on.
As they were walking together, Nat asked, "Do you think it has anything to smurf with that new game that Hefty and the grown-up Smurfs were playing recently?"
"I don't know, Nat," Slouchy said. "Why would a game just smurf any of us away from the village like that, and where would it smurf from if it did?"
"Babbling bluebirds, who would want to smurf us away from the village through playing a game?" Sassette asked. "It couldn't be Gargamel still smurfing after us now that he's gone from the forest now, could it?"
"It could be that nasty Game Master who smurfed us as part of his Wizard Takes All board game that he forced us to play," Snappy said.
"The Game Master?" Nat said, also remembering that name.
"But how would anyone be able to find him?" Slouchy asked.
"Well, maybe Handy knows," Sassette said. "He does smurf access to the Mirror Net. He should know where that Gametron game had smurfed from if the Game Master was able to use that to transmit the game."
"It won't hurt if we can ask him for our help, Sassy," Snappy said. "Let's go."

Auron made it to the outskirts of Digitopolis. He ditched his Beamcycle baton and sneaked his way into the city, avoiding Sarkamel's guards wherever they may appear. For the most part, though, the city seemed to be populated more with random Gametronians that looked like zombies, going about their daily functions without noticing Auron being there.
Auron came to the place where the Builders worked, with his girlfriend Pixel being one of them. Pixel liked building things for Gametronians to use and would often talk about them to Auron when they were alone together. Now it seemed as if the Builders were just listless slaves working for Sarkamel, building things that would increase his control over the entire world through force.
As Auron entered the building and watched from a secluded spot, he saw that Pixel and her fellow Builders were working on a vehicle called the Skimmer, a sailcraft that rode on beams of light that connected the various cities of Gametron together in a network. Auron heard that the Skimmers would be used to transport cargo as well as passengers from one city to another. He hoped to someday see these vessels be put to good use once Sarkamel is gone.
One of Sarkamel's guards approached Pixel as she walked away from the control panel she was working at. "What's the progress on this simulation?" the guard asked.
"Thirty, 56. Ninety-nine are correct," Pixel answered in a monotone voice. "Limited four and eight are missing."
She then turned away from the guard when he also walked away, seemingly satisfied with the report. As she turned a corner, Auron grabbed her and pulled her aside out of everyone's view. "Don't scream," Auron said quietly as he grabbed her. He looked closely at her face, seeing that she was under Sarkamel's control and that he needed to break that control. "Pixel."
"Thirty, 56. Ninety-nine are correct," Pixel repeated. "Limited four and eight are missing."
Auron placed his hand on the back of Pixel's head, to transfer his energy to her. "Remember," Auron said as he felt the transfer taking place.
Pixel's eyes became animated as she finally saw who it was she was now with. "Auron?" she said, sounding excited. "Oh, Auron, you've escaped. I knew that Sarkamel couldn't keep you trapped in the Arena forever."
"I need help to communicate with my Creator, Pixel," Auron said. "One of my friends who helped me escape was gunned down by the Game Tanks, and I don't know if he's still alive. Only my Creator would know for sure."
"That's dangerous, given that Sarkamel's controlling access to all the Input/Output Towers in this world," Pixel said. "But I can help you gain access to one, if only for a brief moment. Dyson should be able to help us."
"Dyson?" Auron said. "He's been a Tower Guardian long before we came into existence. Are you sure we'll be able to trust him?"
"If he can't help us, Auron, then nobody can," Pixel replied. "Come, quickly...this way." She quietly led Auron to a back door exit where they both escaped without any of the Builders or guards taking notice.

Meanwhile, Hefty was having a hard time steering the Patrolbot that he was in control of. It veered off in every direction imaginable, bouncing off the walls, occasionally hitting the floor, and just seeming to have a mind of its own.
"Smurf this Patrolbot! Why can't it just smurf straight?" Hefty growled.
Then a small diamond-shaped object floated into Hefty's view. Hefty tried to avoid it, but the object kept itself in view right in front of Hefty for as long as possible. "Hold it right there!" Hefty told the object.
The object remained stationary and then said "Yes!" while turning into a green star.
"Yes? What do you mean, yes?" Hefty asked.
"Yes!" the object repeated itself.
"Is that all you can say?" Hefty asked.
"No!" the object said, briefly turning into a red star.
"Is there anything else?" Hefty asked.
"Yes!" the object said, distracting Hefty to the point where he forgot that the Patrolbot was drifting again.
"Only yes and no," Hefty wondered before he remembered that he saw that same object in the Gametron game he was playing. "Wait a minute...you're a Bit."
"Yes!" the object answered.
"Well, where's your Game Warrior?" Hefty asked. "Won't it miss you?"
"No!" the Bit answered, sounding curiously confused.
"Then I'm your Game Warrior?" Hefty asked.
"Yes!" the Bit answered, sounding enthusiastic.
Hefty rolled his eyes. "Oh great, another mouth to feed." He concentrated his attention toward steering the Patrolbot, but it was again going in every which direction except where he wanted it to go. "I've got to stop this thing."
"Yes!" the Bit said.
"Well, I'm glad somebody agrees with me," Hefty said as the Patrolbot just spun around like crazy before it collided into a series of rising walls, clipping off pieces of it until only its head continued onward, out of control.
Finally it came to a stop, and Hefty was thrown out of what was left of the vehicle. He looked around to see where he was, only to find himself in a city full of beings like himself, going about their business while paying him no attention whatsoever.
"This village certainly has some live ones in it," Hefty said as he entered into the city.
Along the way he came across an attractive female lurking on a street corner. "Looking for a good time, are you?" the female said seductively as she approached Hefty and caressed him. "Come to my gamepad and I'll show you a game or two that we can play together, just the two of us. I'll even you let you be the winner if you're good enough. So what do you say?"
"Uh, maybe some other time, thank you," Hefty said, casually brushing her aside as he proceeded on his way. The female just stared at him with slight disappointment on her face.
"Some things in games should never be smurfed by any Smurflings," Hefty said.

Handy was still busy in his workshop, looking for a way to get Hefty out of the Game Wand's memory, when he heard a knock on his door. He went to open the door, and found the Smurflings waiting for him to answer. "What can I smurf you for?" he asked politely.
"We just want to help find a way to smurf Hefty back from the game that he was smurfed into, Handy," Nat answered.
"And we think we know who it is that has smurfed us the game," Slouchy added.
"All we're asking is if we can smurf onto the Mirror Net so we can help smurf out where that game smurfed from," Snappy said.
"We promise that we won't smurf in your way, Handy," Sassette said. "Please!"
Handy sighed. "Oh, all right, my little Smurflings, my Mirror Net terminal's yours. Just don't smurf anything that's going to mess up what I'm trying to smurf with the Game Wand."
"Smurfabunga!" the four Smurflings said together as they entered the workshop.
"Let me smurf at it first," Snappy said. "I know how to smurf my way through the Mirror Net better than anyone."
"Okay, boy genius, if you think you can handle it," Sassette said as she watched Snappy sit before the Mirror Net terminal, cracking his knuckles.
"Like the Smurf says, there's no problems, only solutions," Snappy said with a boastful attitude. He started typing a few command lines into the terminal, which then gave him access to the Mirror Net.
"Holy hickory nuts, look at all the people connected to it," Nat said as he saw a bunch of icons appearing on the screen, which Snappy scrolled through.
"But how are we going to find the Game Master through it?" Slouchy asked.
"Hey, that picture sure smurfs familiar," Snappy said, noticing an icon with the image of somebody they recognized from their past. He clicked on that icon and it drew him to a page that said ATARIENDO, THE GAME MASTER.
"Whistling whipporwills, that's him," Sassette said, recognizing the image.
"It says that one of the games he's played recently is the one called Gametron," Nat said as he read what appeared on the screen.
"That's the same game that appeared on our Game Wand, all right," Slouchy calmly said.
"So how do we contact him if we want to smurf his attention?" Sassette asked.
"This button on the page says SEND A MESSAGE, Sassy," Snappy said.
"You think it would be wise to smurf this kid a message, considering what he smurfed to us the last time we faced him?" Nat asked, sounding cautious.
"I think we deserve a rematch, so let's smurf him a taste of his own medicine," Snappy answered.
"I don't know about this," Slouchy said with some foreboding, watching as Snappy pressed the onscreen button and typed his message to send to the Game Master.

Meanwhile, the Game Master was busy on his Mirror Net terminal, playing a different game with somebody else. "Ha! Take that, you would-be champion! You'll never get the better of the Game Master!" he gloated.
"Atariendo, come and eat your breakfast...it's getting cold," his mother called out.
"I will, Mother, in a minute," the Game Master shouted, sounding very impatient. He didn't like his multiplayer gaming sessions being interrupted by even necessary things such as having his meals with his family. "Arrrhhh, I can't stand these annoyances when I'm busy playing a game with somebody. If only I could live with myself without having to answer to anybody else for what I do."
YOU HAVE A MESSAGE then flashed on his screen.
"A message, eh?" the Game Master, clicking on an onscreen button. "I wonder if it's the loser wanting to have a rematch with me."
The message read: Hey, Game Master, remember us from years ago when you played Wizard Takes All? Still suffering from the loss that Grouchy smurfed you?
"The Smurfs? So they found out who sent them the new game," the Game Master said. He typed: I hope you enjoyed the new game you're now playing. I hope somebody didn't accidentally win the game and got taken somewhere.
We enjoyed the game, but now we want to smurf a game with you on whatever you're smurfing your games on, came the response.
"You want to play a game with me? You're going to wish you haven't, you little blue pipsqueaks!" the Game Master said. How about we play multiplayer against each other on Gametron, to see who's the better player? he typed.
A minute or so passed, and then came the response: You're not going to cry if we smurfed your tail by defeating you again, are you?
"Oh, a little blue smart aleck we have here," the Game Master said. He typed: Just get your Game Wand ready. I'll let you know when I'm ready to play.
Make sure to smurf a mop and a bucket with you, because you're going to need it for all the tears you'll smurf when you lose, buddy, the response read.
Done. You'll regret playing against me, the Game Master closed out his conversation by typing.