Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from a Planet Near Mars

January 21, 2009
By Tanner Tomesh, Cameron, WI

Attack of the Radioactive Hamsters from a Planet Near Mars

Multiple explosions erupted in the fields on the outside of Platin, Florida. The small, rural city was under attack, but at this point no one knew from what. The attack had started near the house of Synn Skylar. He was an average, 18-year-old senior who was easily one of the most athletic kids of his school, and he loved to play basketball

Looking out the window, he watched as his curious parents walked outside to see what was going on. Wedged into the cornfield on their small country farm was what appeared to be a large, mechanical sphere. As his parents closed in on the device, they heard a soft click and then the sound of rushing air as a door opened on the sphere as it depressurized. The sphere was clouded with fog, showing the silhouettes of two small, furry creatures about three feet tall.

Walking out of the fog, the silhouettes revealed their true form. They were large hamsters that had fluorescent green goo on them. They looked at one another, communicated back and forth with sharp squeaking sounds, and then chased after Synn’s parents. Shocked by the sight, Synn stared from the window as his parents tried to escape. The hamsters weren’t as fast as human, and Synn knew that his parents would make it back to the house and into safety. Falling behind their prey drastically with each step, the hamsters then stopped. Each took a small ball off of their waist bands and threw them to the ground. The balls bounced and then expanded into giant hamster balls. Each hamster entered one and continued their pursuit for Synn’s fleeing parents.

Synn’s stomach then dropped. His hope for his parents’ escape was shattered, and he knew he had to react fast to save them. He ran up to his room and grabbed the first weapon he found, a bat. Without hesitation, he ran back downstairs, crashed out through the front door, and headed toward his parents in the field.

Seeing Synn going straight into danger, his parents shouted loudly for him to turn around and go back into the house. It didn’t matter what they thought though. He had to save his parents. He couldn’t risk losing them to a couple of radioactive hamsters. Running past his parents, he stopped and got into a typical batter’s stance, waiting for the lead hamster to get in range. When it was close enough, he wound up and swung the bat as hard as he could. The approaching hamster shifted its weight inside the ball causing it to curve right around Synn and continue going toward his parents.

Watching in horror, Synn saw the two hamster balls crash into his parents and knock them to the ground. He started to run toward them in an attempt to help, but was knocked over himself by a third hamster that he had not seen before. With his bat, he was able to fight it off, but it was too late. The other two had his parents captured and placed inside the sphere already. The hamster that had engaged him retreated back to it. The door shut behind it, and the sphere shot off into space.

The next morning Synn never showed up at school, and his friends were worried when they heard that the office called his house and that no one had answered. They went over to his house and saw the door wide open.

“Synn . . . Synn,” his friend Zach shouted. “You left the door wide open.”

When he didn’t hear a reply, he walked upstairs to Synn’s room and noticed that it was shut.

“Synn, are you in there? It’s us Zach and Trent,” he said, waiting for a reply.

They both heard breathing from inside the room and knew someone was in there. Backing off to the sides of the door, Zach and Trent opened the door slowly and peeked through. At first glance, all they saw were papers strewn about the floor, but they didn’t see Synn until they had fully opened the door. He was sitting in the corner curled up in a ball and not moving. They went into the room in a hurry, noticing something was wrong with Synn.

“Synn, what are you doing?” Trent said, picking up some of the papers. “What are these drawings all about? A bunch of hamsters attacking people? Synn, what’s going on?”

“They took them,” he said. “They took my parents.”

“Who took your parents?” Zach asked.

“The radioactive hamsters took my parents away. Didn’t you hear the explosion?”

“Synn, that was nothing but a small meteor shower,” Trent said. “Didn’t you hear the news?”

“I have to save them,” he said. “They need my help. I can’t let them down.”
Synn then got really quiet and stared off into space. He looked like his soul had been removed from his body. Not knowing what to do, Zach and Trent left him in his room to have some time to himself. Whatever had happened to him, he had to get over it by himself.
When the front door slammed shut, Synn snapped out of his trance, and right away knew he had to prepare to save his parents. He grabbed a backpack and filled it with supplies that he thought he needed, things like food, his bat, a small mirror, and warm clothing. He then walked outside into the front lawn, turned around, and took one last look at the house. “Goodbye,” he said.
He hiked his backpack up onto his shoulders and started running . . . running through the fields . . . running through the woods . . . just running. He didn’t know where he was going, but
he didn’t know what else to do. Synn ran until he could no longer. He was so out of breath that he had to lean up against a tree in the woods to keep from collapsing onto the damp, mossy earth below. When he placed his hands on the tree, he didn’t feel the rough bark of the tree. Instead his hands sunk into fluorescent-green goo. He frantically brushed it off before it affected his hands.
“The hamsters must be somewhere close,” he thought.
Synn began looking around, and soon enough he found another sphere that looked exactly like the one that had crashed into the field outside his house. Scanning the area, he didn’t see any hamsters, so he approached the ship to take a look inside. Crouching by the door, he pulled the mirror out of his backpack and held it up so he could see what was inside without poking his head in. The ship appeared to be empty, so he crawled inside.

The ship looked a lot larger from the inside because it was very roomy. The only things that were in it were a central control station full of screens, buttons, and levers, and a few sleeping chambers for long space travel.

Synn’s first intentions were to fly to wherever his parents would be. He had no idea where the hamsters lived, so he scanned the controls for any kind of auto-piloting system. It was like a completely different language to him.

“I’m a jock. These are something those nerds at school would be able to figure out,” he thought. “Forget this. I can wing it.”

He pushed a red button and waited to see what would happen. The ship’s engines whined, but it didn’t move. He then heard a multiple large screeches from what seemed to be in every direction. The sound of the engines must have gotten the hamsters’ attention, and now they were on their way to pursue Synn inside the ship.

Cursing, Synn looked around for a place to hide, but the ship was too open; fortunately, there was a very small chance that they wouldn’t see him. He had an idea! He walked over to one of the chambers and tore off one of the wall panels. Synn then jumped, grabbing a bar on the ceiling, pulled himself up, and used the panel to cover himself. He was hoping the hamsters wouldn’t observe the ceiling long enough to notice that he was hiding on top of the panel.

The hamsters soon came rolling up to the ship in their hamster balls and got out to search the area for Synn. There were once again three hamsters as there had been in the other ship. Two of them walked inside to scope out the ship while one stayed guard at the door and glanced around the woods, looking for any sign of life. Luckily for Synn, the hamsters didn’t find anything, so they boarded the ship and took off. All he had to do was stay quiet enough to make it to wherever his parents would be without being detected.

When the hamsters landed, they were on an unknown planet near Mars. When they left the ship, Synn crashed down to the floor. Every muscle in his body ached from holding himself against the ceiling and holding the wall panel for an extended period of time.

Synn strolled out of the ship and froze at the sight before him. There were a vast number of structures that stretched across most of the surface of the planet. These structures consisted of buildings that were shaped like hamster balls, giant factories that were powered by large spinning hamster wheels, and a large network of tubes that connected all of the structures together. The planet was also covered in radioactive waste.

Synn was already standing inside one of the tubes and couldn’t see any hamsters outside, so he assumed there wasn’t any oxygen outside. He reached over his head with his right arm and unsheathed the bat that was sticking out of his backpack. He then turned and jogged down the length of the tube until he reached a large metal door. Seeing a keypad on the side of the door, he
took a step back, lifted the bat over his shoulders, and let out a powerful swing that shattered the pad into tiny metal and plastic fragments on the floor.

The door then opened, and Synn was standing directly in front of a hamster who was wearing shop goggles that magnified his eyes, making them look five times their size.

“Waaah hah hah!” it screamed hyperactively.

Synn then swung the bat at him, but the hamster jumped out of the way. Spinning in circles, he continued to swing the bat, but the hamster was too fast. It continued to scream every time it jumped, which made Synn really mad. It was like the hamster was mocking him.

“You are wasting your time,” a voice said.

Synn stopped swinging the bat and looked toward the door where the voice had came from. It was another hamster who was smoking a pipe.

“You can talk?” Synn asked confused.

“Of course I can talk,” it said. “Just because I’m not human doesn’t mean I can’t speak like one.”

“Where are my parents?” Synn demanded.

“The king has them locked up until he decides their fate. He is a rather cruel king. We don’t take to kindly to him, but really we have no choice, for he is our ruler.”

“You will take me to him immediately,” Synn said as he pointed his bat at the hamster’s head.

“You humans are so bossy,” it said. “Alright then, follow me, ol’ chap.” It signaled for the other hamster to follow and began to walk down the tube. Synn stayed behind them both so that he could keep an eye on them.

“So . . . human . . . what will we be calling you by?” the hamster asked.

“My name is Synn,” he answered.

“Ah ‘tis a fine name. My name is Abbit, and this is my fellow companion Wretch,” the well-spoken hamster added, nodding his smoke-wreathed head towards the hyperactive fur ball.

“Wooooo!” Wretch screamed and started bouncing off the walls.

“Alright, Wretch, calm down,” Abbit said. “Sorry, he is a bit frantic. You’ll just have to deal with it,”

Synn just laughed, and they continued walking. To him, it felt as if he had been shrunken and placed inside a giant room full of hamster tubes. The transparent-orange tubes twisted in every direction, and at each intersection they had a steel door with a keypad.
As creepy as it was, Synn thought he could get used to the idea of staying on the planet. He was already becoming friends with the two hamsters as they walked all the way across their city to where the king’s throne was. It seemed like such a dream to Synn. The hamsters seemed so much like the normal ones on earth only bigger and much more sophisticated. They ran on all fours, ate the same kind of pellet-shaped food, and had tubes and wheels, yet they could communicate and be civilized. Abbit was very intelligent, which made conversations between him and Synn easier and more interesting, and Synn always enjoyed Wretch’s antics.

“So, Wretch, what do you like do for fun around here?” Synn asked.

“Ay ay ay!” Wretch shrieked back. He ran toward the edge of the tube, up the wall, across the ceiling, and down the other side. His claws made a sharp scratching sound against the plastic of the tube as he did a loop.

“Wretch doesn’t speak English very well,” Abbit said. “You have to get used to his random sounds and gestures. After awhile you can pretty much figure out what he’s trying to say.”
When they reached the large stairs that led to the king’s quarters, they stopped, and Abbit talked to the guards, explaining why they wanted to see the king. The guards stepped aside and let them walk up the stairs and into his room.
From the doorway there was a red carpet rolled up to the throne with hamster guards lining both sides of it. The king was on his throne wearing a large red cape with a golden outline and a crown. He was larger than the other hamsters, about the size of Synn.
“What is this, another human?” asked the king. “How did you get onto our planet, boy?”
“Give me back my parents, you rodent!” Synn shouted as he hit the head of the bat into the palm of his hand.

“Like that pathetic weapon is going to do you any good,” the king laughed. “Everyone here knows that if you want something, you have to race for it.”

“What do you mean race?” Synn asked confused.

“The Great Hamster Ball Race,” the king replied. “How about this? If you win, I will give up my rule as king to you and set your parents free, but don’t get your hopes up too much, boy, I’ve never lost. We shall race in two days. Guards, escort this boy from the premises.”

“That won’t be necessary, your Highness,” Abbit said. “We will leave on our own.”

The guards stopped and allowed the three to pass willingly. Once Synn, Abbit, and Wretch got outside the doors, they ran away from the king’s quarters and back into the tubes where they had first met up.

“What did he mean by The Great Hamster Ball Race?” asked Synn.

“On the other side of the city there is a race track where hamsters race inside of their hamster balls. To gain reputation here, you have to be good at the race. I’ve never been too fond of the racing, and Wretch is too darn hyper to follow the course. He’d be the best one here if he’d pull himself together,” Abbit explained. “If you’re going to have any luck at beating the king, we must start training you now. Let’s go!”

Working their way through the network of tunnels, Synn was able to see more of the city. There were a lot of hamsters out and about training, working on their houses, or conversing between one another. They all had their own hemispherical shaped houses, which all had a dome around them and a tube connected to them. Outside of the tube systems was all of the radioactive goo. Inside the tubes the hamsters were safe from mutation. As long as Synn stayed inside of the tubes, he would not be affected by the green goo.

They stepped inside the large dome of the race track, and Synn finally got to see what he was up against. The track was suspended in mid-air, and it didn’t have any sides. He could see why it was so hard to race on. If you fell off, you had to start all over.

“The king must win all the races because he knocks everyone off the track. I can’t let that happen,” Synn thought.

Abbit led him to the side of the dome where there was a small structure that dispensed practice balls. Synn grabbed one that was large enough for him to stand in and stepped inside. He first started off small by trying to run in it. That part he found very easy. Synn was incredibly fast inside his hamster ball.

“Very good,” Abbit complimented, “Now let’s work on turning.”

This was the part Synn found to be very hard. He couldn't figure out how those hamsters that had taken his parents had been able to change their trajectory fast enough to dodge the swing of his bat. He was determined to figure out how to do it though. He had to if he was ever going to see his parents. Synn could never let anyone down, and to let his dad know he had failed him would be worse than death itself.

For hours, Synn worked on turning hard. With every attempt, his turns became tighter and tighter, but he still couldn’t make the kind of sharp turns that he needed according to Abbit.

“Come on, chap, get those feet spinnin’, those arms movin’. You can do it!” Abbit kept shouting.

“This isn’t going to help,” Synn thought. “Who cares if I can’t turn if the king is just going to knock me off anyway? I need someone else to race against.”

“Hey, Abbit,” he said, “why don’t I have Wretch race me? I can get some practice against someone else then.”

“That’s a lovely idea, boy. Wretch, suit up. It’s racing time!”

Wretch let out a bunch of his usual hyperactive yelps and did a few back flips. He loved racing because it meant he could move around. He stepped inside of his hamster ball and took off straight for Synn.

“Alright, Wretch, ramming speed now! Synn, try to keep Wretch from knocking you back,” Abbit said.

Synn’s eyes became incredibly wide. Wretch was rolling toward him with such speed that he created his own wake in the dirt underneath him. Wretch’s eyes were locked right on Synn, and his big eyes had a gleam in them that Synn didn’t like. He had to knock Wretch back though. It was now or never. If he couldn’t stop him, there was no way he could stop the king from winning his parents over.

Synn then got an idea. When Wretch got within ten feet of colliding with him, he shifted his weight back, making the ball rock backward, and then at the last second threw his entire body into the front of the ball. This was enough to make Wretch’s ball bounce up into the air and land a few feet back. Wretch found it amusing, but it did a number on Synn. The force of the impact was too much, and it knocked Synn out cold. When his eyes opened, he was lying on his back next to his hamster ball. Wretch screamed directly into his face to wake him up.

“Well, Synn, that was some impressive work. Sorry for not having Wretch race you. I figured you needed a situation that required you to think on your feet. I think we’re done for today. You’ll need plenty of rest after that hit, but tomorrow we’ll have a full day to train,” Abbit said.

The next day they walked back to the race track and began training again. Abbit’s plan was to continue to teach Synn how to bump and turn. They first started out with Synn and Wretch inside a small circle drawn in the sand. It would be like a sumo wrestling match. Whoever got bumped out of the circle lost. During the first few rounds, Synn was unsuccessful in knocking Wretch out of the circle, but in time he got the footing down and was able to shift his weight correctly to bump and counter-bump Wretch until he could win every time.

Abbit got a large grin on his face and cheered, “Nice work, Synn. You’re catching on quick to this game. I think many of the hamsters here will envy you even if you do lose to the king. You’ve been able to pull off what takes most of us years of practice to learn.”

Synn replied back, “I don’t really have a choice, Abbit. If I am to save my parents, I need to beat the king. You must never give up on the people you care for, Abbit. There is no other way.”

“I love your courage, boy. You will reach heights like no other with that kind of determination. If you are to beat the king, however, you must learn how to turn!”

“Let me practice on the race track,” Synn said. “If I actually practice on the turns that I will be making tomorrow, maybe I’ll get it down.”

He rolled his way up onto the race track and began to go down the path. It was very narrow. It had about enough room to fit three hamster balls edge to edge. There were many ups and downs that added to the strategy of winning. He needed momentum to make it uphill, but he didn’t want to go down the other side too fast, or he could be thrown off the course easily. As far as the turns went, he could make it around all but one. It was a fifty-five degree turn, the sharpest turn on the track. He could take it slow around the corner, but he knew that the king would be able to cruise around it.

He practiced going around the turn for the rest of the day, but each time he found himself falling off and having to start over. Every time he fell, the sand on the ground would cushion his fall, but it was still frustrating for him to keep falling and making more craters in the ground. It started getting far too late to continue practice, and he had to call it a day. The only hope for Synn would be to knock the king off the course and not get knocked off in return.

The next day came very fast, and Synn was right where he had trained to be. He was standing inside his hamster ball on the starting line right next to the king. There were thousands of hamsters there to watch. Most had to stay on the ground and either watch the track or a big screen at the starting line that was displaying the race. The luckier hamsters were able to stand on platforms that jutted out from the starting line. They easily had the best view, but it was a risky spot to sit because they could easily get run over. When the announcer made it to the track, everyone went silent.

“The Great Hamster Ball race is about to begin. Racers will make two full laps around the track, and the first one to cross is the winner. No rules apply except staying inside of your ball. If you get knocked off or fall off, you must restart the lap,” the announcer explained. “Racers, to your marks.”

The two rolled up to the starting gate and watched the light turn from red, to orange, and then to green. The racers bolted out down the track, and immediately Synn was bumped by the king. He had known it was going to happen, but he hadn’t thought that the king would play dirty so soon. He countered the hit and continued down the track, trying to bump the king and keep himself on the track at the same time. They stayed side by side, trying to fight for position. Synn and the king would go up and down each hill, shifting their feet to compensate for their speed and direction. The balls made a low humming sound as they rolled down the track, and there was a loud crack every time the two collided. When the corner came up, Synn didn’t want to risk getting knocked off. He slowed down and let the king pass. The king rolled around the corner at amazing speeds, and Synn thought for sure he had lost. He decided to take the turn slow and catch the king later.

Halfway through the second lap, Synn finally caught up to the king. Every muscle in his body was screaming from exhaustion. He pushed himself to the breaking point, trying to catch up to the king. His adrenaline came mostly from playing basketball, but Synn also refused to ever give up, no matter what the cost. He rolled up and smacked his ball right into the back of the other as hard as he could. The king’s ball bounced and then wobbled back and forth as he tried to regain control, but the king didn’t lose pace at all and remained in front of Synn.

I can’t do it. I can’t beat him. This guy is way too good at this race. I have failed my parents.

He started having flashbacks of his past life, of his friends, of his parents, and then he started having flashbacks of his training. He immediately got an idea.

When they approached the corner once again, Synn got right up next to the king on the inside. Everybody was yelling at Synn to slow down and back off. The king was going to knock him right off the track, and he would never be able to recover fast enough to win. Synn stuck to his position, ignoring the cries from the spectators, and waited for the right timing. When the king rolled over to knock Synn off the track, Synn threw his body against the top of the ball. It lifted off of the ground just enough so that when the king’s ball collided with his, it launched his ball over the gap in the middle of the corner, and he landed on the other side. He shifted his feet around to steer himself back on course and was now ahead of the king, heading for the home stretch!

“He jumped the corner! He jumped the corner!” Abbit shouted with glee. “He's going to win, Wretch. Somebody’s going to beat the king!”

“Yee hah, yee hah!” Wretch screamed as he did a few more of his back flips.

Synn ran as fast as he could, pushing the ball along the home stretch of the track to the finish line. His heart was racing, and his vision was beginning to blur, but this didn’t matter to him. He was about to save his parents and make them proud.

“GO! GO! GO! GO! GO!” he thought, trying to keep focused on his goal.

The king roared from inside of his ball as he honed-in on Synn. He was fed up with the human and wasn’t going to lose. Rocketing toward Synn, the king planned to ram him full speed and knock both of them off the track where he could have another chance to win.

Synn’s focus on the final small corner was drawn away by motion on the ground. He saw both Abbit and Wretch jumping and pointing behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and saw the king moving in fast.

What do I do? I can try to make it around the corner and hope he misses, but if I don’t make It, I’m done for . . . Wait I’ve got it!

Synn back-pedaled to stop the ball. He spun it 180 degrees and looked directly into the eyes of the enraged king. He saw the oversized hamster smile under its whiskers, his intent clearly stated with fiery, red eyes.

Abbit then smiled. “What’s he going to do, Wretch?” he asked.

“Wah hoo . . . BAM!” Wretch said while he punched himself in the chest and fell over.

“Exactly!” he replied.

When the king got within ten feet of Synn, Synn rocked the ball back exactly like he had done with Wretch and then threw his body into the front of it. The two collided, and the king’s momentum gave him a massive back-spin, causing him to careen off the track. The hit caused Synn to black-out, and his head was bleeding.

Coming back into reality, it took Synn a few seconds to remember where he was. His body simply had no energy left. He couldn’t stop now though. He had come too far. He looked around and saw that the king had already made it back onto the track and was halfway done. Synn tried to stand but could not, so instead he crawled. He crawled with only his mental strength pushing him along. His body’s strength was gone. With every move, pain shot through his spine and sent flashes through his head, revealing his past life again. It made him crawl harder and faster.

When he got closer to the finish line, he heard a loud chant. He lifted his head and saw that every hamster was cheering for him, fueling him even more. He was able to make it up to his feet and started jogging, then running, then sprinting toward the finish. He ground his teeth and kept moving. He approached the finish line and was now only five feet away. He let himself go limp and knew that the ball would keep rolling across the finish line.

His body hit the bottom of the ball, and then he was all of the sudden tossed against the front wall extremely hard. He felt cracking inside of his chest. The king had caught up to him and had rammed right into the back, left side of him! Synn’s ball rolled off the course and fell to the ground as the king crossed the finish line.

Synn lay limp on the ground, not moving, and no one said a word. The king exited his ball, and with a satisfying pump of his fist, he indicated that he had won. Wretch grabbed onto Abbit and started to cry.

“Guards, retrieve the boy. He is mine now!” the king said.

“Hold on, you Highness,” one of the judges said.

Up on a giant screen, the finish of the race was being played in slow-motion. Everyone had winced when Synn had gotten hit, but what they hadn't known was that the front edge of his ball had crossed the line before he had been knocked off!

“He won!” a hamster hollered.

The entire room went up in a loud roar as everyone cheered for the victory of Synn. The king had finally lost, ending his reign as ruler. Synn could now be crowned, and a new life could begin for them.

The next day when Synn recovered, Abbit announced what had happened. The king was true to his word and handed over his rule to Synn.

“I don’t want it, sir. It belongs to Abbit. I just want to go home.”

Stuttering, Abbit said, “I . . . I don’t understand.”

“You deserve it, Abbit. . . I mean, your Highness. You’re the smartest hamster here. I know you’ll do great things as king. Besides without your training I would have never beaten the king.”

Abbit started to cry and gave Synn a giant hug. He was crowned king, and his first order of business was to have Synn’s parents set free and for them to be sent home safely. The experiences Synn faced would change his life forever on earth, and he was glad he had gotten a chance to experience the life of radioactive hamsters from a planet near Mars.

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