Chapter 3

 

Meanwhile, Tapper noticed that Dreamy was sitting quietly in his tavern sulking.  "Great Smurfiny Crickets, my fellow Dreamy, why do you look so down in the smurfs today?" he asked as he served his friend a glass of smurfberry seltzer.

"The same impossible dream I have been dreaming since my 150th smurfday, Tapper," Dreamy answered, still looking out a window rather than at his friend.  "The same unsmurfy realization that my smurfday wish never came true.  Why is it that I can't smurf off into the stars?"

"Ah, the spirit of wanderlust has smurfed you again," Tapper surmised. "Well, smurf your chin up, Dreamy...your smurfday wish back then may be fulfilled sooner than you smurf."

"What makes you smurf that I'm ever going to smurf off to another planet, Tapper?" Dreamy snapped. "You're just as much to blame as any other Smurf for smurfing this fantasy of me smurfing in the land of the Swoofs!"

"I may smurf part of the blame for smurfing along with it like every other Smurf except for Empath at the time, Dreamy, but it was still Papa Smurf's idea to begin with," Tapper mentioned. "Besides, did it ever occur to you that since you've been smurfing about this idea of traveling to the stars again, that destiny may in fact be smurfing out to you?  I remember one time you used to be so in smurf with your own dreams, smurfing you things that no other Smurf has yet to see, and now you smurf so blinded in your anger and shame that you dissmurf those same dreams as being nothing more than illusions.  I used to believe that one adult Smurf alone like Papa Smurf could never guide nearly a hundred young Smurfs like oursmurfs into smurfing an entire village like we were adults. But once I smurfed my faith in believing in a higher power that smurfed more about our future than even Empath could smurf, I could smurf that anything was possible...and now this village has been up and smurfing for a little over a century, smurfed by young adult Smurfs who trust everything that Papa Smurf does for us."

Dreamy was about to say something back to Tapper regarding his beliefs when he saw something bigger than three mushroom houses put together moving behind a row of houses outside the tavern's window.  It looked like a giant spaceship. "Great Smurfs!" Dreamy exclaimed. "Now where do you suppose that came from?"

"I honestly don't know, my good Dreamy," Tapper answered, awestruck by the sight of the object itself, "but I'd smurf anything that it may have smurfthing to do with your destiny."

 

Smurfette was busy working with Tailor, sewing up the mainsails for the S.S. Smurf II, when she noticed Empath and several other Smurfs carrying the spaceship into the village.  She quickly dropped what she was doing, as did Duncan McSmurf with his own work on the ship, and went over to where the spaceship was placed for repairs. Brainy and the Smurflings were already gathered over there, looking in wonder at the mystery vessel.

"Empath, what is that thing you smurfed into the village?" Smurfette asked.

"Well, Smurfette, it obviously smurfs to me that this thing is a spaceship," Brainy replied before Empath had a chance to say anything. "What I don't undersmurf is where the spaceship smurfed from or what it's smurfing out here in the Smurf forest."

"Maybe there were alien beings on board that ship, Brainy, who decided to smurf overboard before you had a chance to bore them to smurf," Snappy jested.

"Yeah, they'd probably smurf that there's no intelligent life down here," Slouchy added, enjoying the sight of Brainy's face reacting to Snappy's comment.

"Actually, Smurfette, this spaceship has crash-landed in the forest at the exact same location that Gargamel's hovel once stood," Empath answered, paying no attention to Snappy or Slouchy. "It seems to be controlled by a machine with an intelligence similar to that of a living being."

"A machine with a mind of its own?" Brainy wondered. "That's amazing."

"Anything with more intelligence than Brainy has would have to be amazing," Snappy jeered, again laughing at Brainy's disgusted look.

"Don't smurf now, Brainy, but there's a metal bug smurfing in your direction," Nat mentioned.

"Jumping junebugs," Sassette exclaimed, "that shiny metal insect smurfs bigger than anything I ever smurfed before!"

Brainy, Duncan, and Smurfette saw the "metal insect" approaching them. Brainy found himself more intimidated by its appearance than Smurfette was, though she also felt a bit scared, and Duncan looked like he was ready to pull out a sword and slice the thing in half.

"Yeow!" Brainy yelped, trembling in fear and jumping into Smurfette's arms. "Help, Empath, that metal bug's going to smurf us!"

"Michty me, what in the blue blazes is that thing?" Duncan asked.

"You and Duncan can both relax, Brainy," Empath calmy responded. "That is only Flyro, the spaceship's computer who uses this portable robot unit to explore other worlds like this.  Flyro, these are this smurf's fellow Smurfs known as Brainy, Duncan, Smurfette, Sassette, Nat, Snappy, and Slouchy."

"I am honored to be in your presence, fellow Smurf beings," Flyro greeted, sounding very sincere for a computer.  "There is no need to fear this appearance.  I only wish to learn more about this world of yours and about your own people while my spaceship is being repaired."

"Oh, well, we'd be more than happy to smurf you around the village and through the whole forest, Flyro," Smurfette responded as she dropped Brainy, already confident in trusting Flyro.

"Aye, as long as that metal thing is harmless, I don't smurf a problem of making it feel at home with us," Duncan said.

Brainy laughed sheepishly as he recovered from the shock of seeing Flyro for the first time.  "See, Smurflings, there's absosmurfly nothing to be afraid of," he reassured his young listeners. "I knew all along that this flying robot wouldn't smurf anything dangerous to a living Smurf."

"Yeah, sure, Brainy, whatever you say," Slouchy calmly said, snickering with his fellow Smurflings afterward about what they really thought of Brainy's comment.

Just then, Papa Smurf approached the group of Smurfs slowly gathering around the spaceship.  "All right, my little Smurfs, we still have work on resmurfing the S.S. Smurf II," he reminded them, "so let's smurf ourselves back to our duties." He then turned to Empath. "I'm going to smurf you and Handy in charge of helping Flyro with his spaceship, also making sure that no one else smurfs on board that ship without Flyro's permission.  Do you undersmurf?"

"This smurf acknowledges this smurf's duty, Papa Smurf," Empath answered.

"In the meantime, this one will offer his supervision and assistance on the refitting of the S.S. Smurf II, and will ask Dreamy for his much-needed assistance as well," Polaris offered.

"One of these days, Polaris, we're going to have you smurfing that ship like you're one of the laddies," Duncan said. "You'll see how fun it is when we smurf her out onto the open seas again."

"This one would seriously question the idea of traveling the seas for accomplishing important village tasks to be 'fun', fellow Duncan," Polaris said.

"Oh, great, and what do I get to smurf here?" Brainy whined, sounding like Papa Smurf was totally ignoring him in assigning anything of major importance.

"You can continue to supervise the Smurflings, Brainy, just so that they don't smurf in harm's way here," Papa Smurf answered.

Both Brainy and the Smurflings groaned in agony over that.  The five of them felt that they would rather be doing something other than being stuck with each other again.  But the Smurflings needed their education, and Brainy needed to do something useful besides annoying his fellow Smurfs with his endless ramblings.  They just sighed and left the scene.

Dreamy had gotten closer to the vessel that he saw outside Tapper's window and was awestruck by the sight of it.  Somehow he couldn't help feeling what his bartender friend had told him that destiny had somehow brought this marvelous invention from another world here at a time when he was thinking of traveling to another world again.  It couldn't just be a coincidence.

He was truly meant to travel the stars right here and now.

Now if only he could step on board this vessel.

 

Empath borrowed Papa Smurf's microscope in his laboratory to examine something they found on board the spaceship an object no bigger than a snowflake, and yet underneath the magnifying lenses revealed hundreds of microscopic switches, more complex than any engine or machine Handy could build.  Empath allowed Handy and Papa Smurf to alternately take turns looking at the object through the microscope, and just like Empath, they were pretty much awestruck by what they saw.

"What exactly do they smurf this thing?" Papa Smurf asked, stumped by this mystery object.

"Flyro calls it a microchip, Papa Smurf," Empath answered. "It's basically used for processing millions of bits of information through it, much like the brain does, except that it takes up less space."

"That's incredible," Handy remarked, "that something this small could smurf up a whole lot of trouble for a machine."

"Sometimes, Handy, the thing that does smurf the greatest difficulty is the smallest and hardest thing to smurf," Papa Smurf reminded him.  He carefully removed the object from under the microscope with a pair of tweezers after they had both finished looking at it, delicately placing it in Empath's hand.  "Are you smurftain that you can fix whatever's wrong with this 'microchip', Empath?"

"It may require some fine tuning of this smurf's telekinetic abilities, since this smurf is dealing with a very small piece of machinery, Papa Smurf," Empath answered with some honest feeling of uncertainty, "but this smurf will do the best job possible with trying to fix it."

"Meanwhile, I'm going to need your help trying to repair some of the mechanical parts of the smurfship, Empath," Handy requested. "Most of how they are smurfed together is well beyond my capability to undersmurf, including using the tools for smurfing those parts back together."

Empath realized that Handy needed the knowledge that Empath had already absorbed from the spaceship through his touch-telepathy.  "No problem, Handy.  Just let this smurf take a moment with you!"

Handy stood there as Empath placed his free hand on Handy's forehead, holding his thumb firmly on the ridge between the mechanic Smurf's eyes.  Empath's star mark glowed for a brief instant, and then Handy blinked his eyes with the sudden realization of instant knowledge he never had before.

"Gee, Empath, I feel like I know the entire smurfship inside and out now," Handy exhaled. "I don't know how you smurf it, but thanks for helping me!"

Empath smiled as he accepted the gratitude. "This smurf is honored to help you, Handy."

Papa Smurf looked on with a bit of wonder as Handy left his laboratory to work on the spaceship. "Sometimes, Empath, your abilities really amaze the smurf out of me!" he remarked.