Papa Smurf felt that his day was going from bad to worse. He was still looking through his medical books trying to find the cause of several of his little Smurf's mutations, Empath's and Smurfette's over-affectionate behavior toward each other, and his flaring temper and headaches. He closed yet another book, apparently not finding anything and growing more frustrated, when he heard knocking on his door. "Enter!" he shouted.
It was Polaris Psyche. "This one wishes to speak with you, Papa Smurf!"
"Well, doesn't everybody in this village?" Papa Smurf snapped. "What do you want?"
"So far we've had 15 more cases of Smurfs mutating or developing serious problems, Papa Smurf," Polaris answered, unruffled by Papa Smurf's shouting. "At the rate it is spreading, the entire village could be fully infected by the end of the day."
"You've got any good news to smurf along with that?" Papa Smurf asked, continuing to speak in a raised impatient tone.
"We are still unable to find out the connection between those little red dots inside every Smurf and this outbreak of mutations and strange behaviors," Polaris noted.
Papa Smurf rolled his eyes. That wasn't very good to hear at all.
"Well, whoever hasn't been mutated yet, or has only partially mutated like Brainy, I want them down by the river smurfing on the bridge right now," he instructed Polaris. "I don't care how long it takes or how many Smurfs we have smurfing it, I just want that task done."
"This one will get some volunteers on it at once," Polaris acknowledged.
"And another thing, Polaris," Papa Smurf added. "Apparently it smurfs that respect for my authority has been lacking among my little Smurfs lately. Too many Smurfs are either late for their duties or slacking off completely, and it seems that they've been smurfing more time in the Imaginarium than they are smurfing important village tasks. Even more appalling is the fact that Empath and Smurfette have been too busy smurfing attention to each other like love-smurfed fools. As a friend of Empath, and as the village's chief expert in security details, I want you to get things with the Smurfs straightened out at once, however way you smurf fit to do so!"
"This one understands," Polaris replied. "Do you wish this one to flog them as well?"
Papa Smurf looked at Polaris like he had just read his mind. Apparently, he realized that his own demands for orderly conduct were becoming increasingly stringent. He really had to think of what to say next before he said something even more flippant.
"By now you're probably thinking I'm becoming too much like a savage being or like the Psyche Master," Papa Smurf finally said, trying to calm himself down.
"Whatever this one thought about you long ago isn't what this one thinks of you now, Papa Smurf," Polaris admitted, "though this one is concerned for you, that your volatile behavior is affecting your better judgment as the leader of this village."
"That's an undersmurfment," Papa Smurf muttered. "I feel more like somebody's been smurfing my buttons and I don't even know why or who is smurfing it. The last few days have been exhausting, and yet nothing happens until today to smurf me off like this. The bridge being broken, Empath and Smurfette smurfing around, Hefty being smurfed into a weakling, and all these mutations on top of it!"
Polaris could feel some level of empathy for what Papa Smurf must be going through, having himself being constantly tampered by these invisible monkey beings. But he needed to get Papa Smurf away from his worktable so that Clockwork Smurf could come in and start working on his anti-invisibility formula.
"What you need is a break, Papa Smurf," Polaris suggested. "Your work as a leader will still be here for you to resume, but for now this one wishes to relieve you of your duty so that you can focus on regaining control of your emotions."
"You're not going to smurf me with that message therapy of yours again, Polaris, or are you?" Papa Smurf asked, feeling a bit reluctant to go along with the suggestion.
"We will not do anything physically strenuous, Papa Smurf," Polaris replied. "We will only concentrate on clearing your mind of any thoughts of today and focus on breathing. That will help you to learn how to relax and to regain your composure."
Papa Smurf considered it for a moment. He couldn't tell what Polaris was up to with this suggestion, but right now he needed something to help him get a grip on himself before he made any brash decisions as a village leader.
"So what do I need to smurf now, Polaris?" he asked, accepting his suggestion.
"Just come along with me to the other side of the room," Polaris instructed. "We need to put some distance between yourself and your workspace for the time being."
Papa Smurf nodded as he went along with Polaris. As the two of them sat down on a pair of stools away from the worktables, the books, and the chemicals, Polaris immediately shielded Papa Smurf with his minds-eye so that he wouldn't be able to hear Clockwork Smurf entering the lab uninvited and begin searching for the chemicals that Polaris directed him to find and swallow.
"Okay, now close your eyes, empty your mind of all thoughts, and just try to visualize yourself floating around in this room, examining everything there is inside it," Polaris told Papa Smurf.
Papa Smurf closed his eyes, took a deep breath, and then slowly let it out as he focused on clearing his mind and visualizing what Polaris wanted him to. He could feel the strain building up as he tried to make his mind a blank slate, listening to Polaris telling him to slowly breathe in and out while doing so. Finally, he exhaled and opened his eyes in frustration.
"It's just not working, Polaris," he groused. "My mind feels too full to completely empty all at once!"
"You need to be patient, Papa Smurf," Polaris reminded him. "Clarity will not come to you in an instant…it needs to be finely concentrated on so that you will feel all your worries slip away."
"Right now, I need more than just breathing exercises to smurf my…" Papa Smurf began to say when he turned his eyes away from Polaris and saw Clockwork Smurf in his laboratory, swallowing some of his chemicals. "What's Clockwork smurfing in my lab with those chemicals?" he asked, sounding suspicious.
Polaris realized that his plan was starting to unravel. He needed to direct Papa Smurf's attention away from Clockwork or else everything will be for naught.
"Maybe Handy is trying out Clockwork's new feature on Farmer's crops with a new type of insect repellent he came up with," he finally said, trying to sound convincing enough. "We should leave Clockwork to his task at hand and get back to…"
"Those chemicals could be dangerous if they are smurfed in the wrong order!" Papa Smurf shouted. He got up to try stopping Clockwork when he noticed that the mechanical Smurf's face was turning beet red, and steam was coming out of his ears. "Great Smurfs of Fire!" he exclaimed. "He's going to blow up the lab!"
Suddenly Polaris sensed something happening that was on Papa Smurf's back. It was going to do something, and there was very little time to react.
"Papa Smurf! Get down!" Polaris called out sharply.
At that same instant, Clockwork lunged his head toward Papa Smurf's direction and sprayed the chemical mixture from the top portion of his hat. Papa Smurf immediately dropped to the floor as the chemical mixture missed him by a hairs-breadth, though it struck a small primate-type creature that appeared out of nowhere, dousing him in the mixture and knocking him off Papa Smurf's back. He could feel a small charge of static electricity as the primate popped into view.
The next thing Papa Smurf saw when he picked himself off the floor were a couple of thin metal rods that had broken off from something. He felt his forehead and realized that the headaches he was getting were from a series of these rods pierced through his skull around his forehead and temples like acupuncture needles. Just touching one of those rods made Papa Smurf wince in pain.
Polaris looked at Papa Smurf as he picked himself up. "Are you all right, Papa Smurf?" he asked.
"No, I am not all right, Polaris, thanks to you and Clockwork," he shouted. "Why didn't you smurf me that these…monkeys…were on every Smurf's back?" He looked to the floor where the primate was struggling to regain consciousness.
"We had to do this without raising suspicion, for Clockwork was shut down by these primates when he noticed them," Polaris explained.
"Well, is he harmed by that little consmurftion of yours?" Papa Smurf asked insistently.
Polaris briefly scanned him. "The chemicals did nothing more than disrupt his cloaking ability. Some of his other devices were similarly affected as well, which explains why you are now feeling the metal rods in your head."
The monkey being opened his eyes and looked at the both of them. "You have found out about us," he stated. "Now what are you going to do about it?"
Papa Smurf said nothing to the monkey being. "Polaris, take Clockwork Smurf around the village and have him spray every single monkey being he smurfs," he ordered.
"This one acknowledges, Papa Smurf," Polaris affirmed.
When all the monkey beings in the village have been exposed by Clockwork's chemical mixture along with their scientific equipment, they were gathered up and put into a large cage that Handy had designed for trapping Azrael should the cat ever find its way to the village. Papa Smurf approached them and stared angrily at them. Polaris managed to remove the metal rods in his head, leaving only minor scars, but he was still furious. "Who are you...and what are you doing in my village?" he demanded.
"Please let me explain," one of the monkey beings with graying hair spoke out. "We are a race of beings from the world of Chimpanzia. We visit other worlds hoping to study various life forms other than ourselves and gather information from the tests we do on them. We try to do as little harm as possible and make the process benign, though accidents do happen from time to time."
"You call what you did to my little Smurfs accidents?" Papa Smurf roared. "What I call that is torture! And what I have been smurfing through is far from benign...smurfing your needles into my skull, trying to keep me smurfing at all hours."
"Please look at this from our point of view, Papa Smurf," the Chimpanzian leader pleaded. "We are scientists just like you…we examine things and use what we find for a greater cause. The information we could gather from studying you and your other Smurfs could help find cures for many kinds of diseases and health problems. If you were in the same position as we are, you would understand our purpose, and we would be more than happy to share our information with you."
"I am a Smurf, and I would never smurf this kind of study on any living creature, even on my little Smurfs," Papa Smurf protested. "We are not anyone's test subjects, and we will not smurf to be further exploited in this fashion anymore. You will smurfly restore every Smurf that you mutated back to normal and you will smurf back to your own world immediately."
"You are not in any position to control us, Papa Smurf," the Chimpanzian leader boldly stated. "We are still in control of you through those probes we injected into each of you. If any of you do anything to force us to leave, we will activate all the probes to terminate every living being in this village. It's your choice. For the sake of the lives of all the Smurfs that you lead, I would suggest you to let us continue our research and be on our way."
"Well," Papa Smurf snorted, "if that's how you want it…!"
All the Smurfs and the Chimpanzians watched as Papa Smurf threw something on the ground that exploded like one of Jokey's surprise packages, except that it started a tremor in the ground that shook the entire village and every being standing in it.
"What are you doing?" the Chimpanzian leader asked, startled.
"That spell I just cast has smurfed off a chain reaction that cannot be reversed unless I smurf so," Papa Smurf answered. "Beneath us are dozens of similar packages, each with explosives that are more powerful than the one I just smurfed on the ground to activate them. In about a minute, those packages will smurfonate and destroy every single thing in the village, including us and you!"
Most of the Smurfs gasped when they heard that. Surely Papa Smurf would not be so foolish to destroy all his little Smurfs just to save them from the Chimpanzians…or would he?
"You're not thinking very rational, Papa Smurf," the Chimpanzian leader cautioned.
"That's what you wanted all along from me, is it?" Papa Smurf ranted. "Smurfing me with those needles in my head, trying to smurf me awake and on edge, all in the name of your scientific studies, is it?!? Well, this is the result of your work…and since I also smurfed a spell that prevents you from escaping, you are going to be here smurf the final data!"
"Oranghuta, activate the probes," the Chimpanzian leader shouted. "We need to teach these test subjects a lesson!"
His assistant, Oranghuta, frantically pressed some buttons on his control device, but to no avail. "The probe controls are not working, Gorillian. Something is blocking the signal!"
"What's the matter…smurfing a little trouble controlling your subjects?" Papa Smurf sneered, sounding like he was enjoying this moment immensely, despite the growing fear of his little Smurfs and the Chimpanzians. "That spell also prevents you from smurfing us with your control devices, so you are not in control of this experiment anymore!"
"You're bluffing, Papa Smurf!" Gorillian exclaimed, trying to remain rational even though he was now overwhelmed with fear. "There are no explosive devices of any kind underneath us. You're just scaring us into doing what you want us to do!"
Papa Smurf seemed totally disinterested. "Me and my little Smurfs are willing to smurf that chance, Gorillian, to smurf to you that I am not fooling you," he boasted. "The question is…are you and your Chimpanzians willing to smurf down with us to smurf otherwise?"
"Ten seconds to total destruction, Papa Smurf," Brainy cried out as the rumbling got even worse. Most of the other Smurfs could barely stand on their feet as Brainy counted the final seconds to their doom. "Nine…eight…seven…six…five…!"
"Stop the countdown!" Gorillian shouted. "We promise to restore all your Smurfs to normal and leave your village as soon as we're done!"
"Then smurf me your control device and I will have Empath smurf you out of there," Papa Smurf commanded.
Gorillian took the control device from Oranghuta and handed it to Papa Smurf, who then spoke out another spell in an arcane language barely any Smurf understood. The rumbling started to quiet down until it eventually stopped entirely. Every Smurf sighed in relief, knowing that they were no longer in danger of being killed along with the Chimpanzians.
Empath approached the cage, apparently knowing what Papa Smurf wanted, and unlocked it, allowing the Chimpanzian leader out first. "This smurf apologizes for the behavior of this smurf's leader, Gorillian," he explained. "He has been known for making such reckless decisions on occasion, even before you implanted those probes into us."
Gorillian looked somewhat upset. "Well, once we are done, we will leave you to deal with your reckless leader. You people are not fit to be suitable test subjects!"
"Trust this smurf to know that there are better ways to learn all there is about all living things without causing them unnecessary suffering," Empath stated.
As Polaris escorted the Chimpanzians to the infirmary to begin the recovery process, Empath talked to Papa Smurf the minute the monkey beings were out of earshot. "This smurf found your plan to be very interesting, Papa Smurf, and it was fortunate not only that it worked, but that we also stopped the fault line that ran underneath this village from collapsing entirely when this smurf and Polaris used our minds-eyes to create a miniature controlled earthquake. We were also able to block the signal of the Chimpanzian's control device."
Papa Smurf seemed slightly arrogant, as if he knew his plan would work all along.
"Yes, well, I'm glad you and Polaris were able to smurf my mind to know what I wanted to smurf," he said shamelessly. "And you honestly smurfed that I was being reckless, now did you?"
Empath felt himself taken aback by that. "A minor understatement, Papa Smurf!"
That only made Papa Smurf smile.