Hope Against Hope

Hope was ready to leave and head home with her husband and son… But Chip, her father, was nowhere to be seen! She gathered everyone to the docks to await for him, when they saw a tremendous airship gently hover into port. There was a lot of noise from within, and the metallic sound of rapid footsteps as the ship landed…

Chip leapt from the door of the airship seconds before it spontaneously exploded! In his arms, he carried an unconscious man with one eye and a large, serious number of bruises and cuts. Chip placed the unconscious man on the small lifeboat and kicked it off, into the sea, where it began to drift away.

“Pack your things,” he told the trio, with a hint of sadness in his voice, “we’re leaving.”

Hope and Modo made a number of attempts to get the story of what happened in the airship, but Chip kept silent, packing away everything he had brought. It was clear he was affected greatly by whatever it was. Later that night, Modo found Chip on the deck of the boat, staring off into the moonlight. As she approached, he climbed onto the side and jumped off into the sea, swimming off into the distance. Modo heard the splashing and came out to see what it was.

“Hope?” he asked, “Where… Where’s Papa Chip going?”

“Chip… Needs to be alone right now, I think,” replied his wife, “he’s had some very hard choices to make, and he didn’t always make the right ones. So, he’s… He’s going away. He needs time.”

“Do you think we’ll ever see him again?” asked Modo, mournfully.

“I think we might. Depends on how much pain he’s in…”

Chip, meanwhile, was in deep thought as he swam. It pained him to leave his family, but he needed to keep them safe. How much safer can you be if your mad scientist father was far away? Chip swam for hours before he came across an abandoned sea-fort to rest in. It had a lab. It was surprisingly clean. Yes… This place would do.

And then something snapped, deep within him. A pounding from the inside of Chip’s head. The combined stress of every attempt he made to do good had finally caved in. A hollow chuckle escaped the mad scientist’s lips as he stared into a cracked mirror.

“No good deed goes unpunished…” he smirked to himself.

Chip worked all through night and day for the next few weeks. He was building something, something big…

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