Chronicles of Nazzu Torba
The life adventures of Nazzu Torba!
Updated: 10 hours 8 min ago
Taking a sigh of relief, Nazzu fell down on his bed and stared out through his virtual-glass walls, taking in the neon pulses emanating from the city. Nazzu didn’t know someone could be this exhausted. “Only a couple more weeks till my punishments are over,” he thought.
Mr. Torba had not been content with just the judge’s orders as punishment for his son’s unlawful actions. Not only did Nazzu have to do community service for Fly Away, but he also had to volunteer his weekends to Mr. Moody as a personal apology to him. Felix Moody was a good man. In fact, Nazzu was very thankful that he did not press charges against him and Kett. But when it came to putting a boy to work, Nazzu thought he verged on being a slave driver.
As Nazzu lay collapsed on his bed, Mr. Torba entered the room and sat down next to his son.
“Tough day at Felix’s, huh?”
Propping his arms up underneath him, Nazzu replied, “Yeah, I had to clean every glass surface and window at his house till it shined! That man has way too many windows and glass tables.”
Mr. Torba chuckled and tussled his boy’s blonde hair. “You know, little man, I am very proud of you. Not only have you been faithful in working both at Felix’s and the Fly Away Janitorial department, but you’ve done so with an excellent attitude.” Nazzu turned his head toward his dad, wondering what was coming next. Mr. Torba continued, “So I’ve decided to lift your hoverboard and videophone restrictions. Starting tonight you can call your friends and ride your hoverboard again.”
Despite his exhaustion from the day’s work, Nazzu found the energy to lunge towards his dad and give him a hug. “Thanks Dad! This is so lunar!”
“Your welcome. But this doesn’t mean you are completely off the hook. You still have to finish your work commitments to both Felix and Fly Away,” Mr. Torba said with a stern smile.
“Yes sir, I know,” replied Nazzu. As his dad stood up to leave the room, Nazzu quickly asked for permission to call Mando. Nazzu hadn’t spoken to Mando since the accident happened a few weeks ago. Mando was avoiding him at school and at the believers’ meetings. He seemed angry with Nazzu, but Nazzu couldn’t figure out why.
Mr. Torba replied, “That’s fine. Just don’t talk too long, we have the believers’ meeting in the morning.”
“Okay, Dad. Thanks!”
Henry, the family STBR 360, came out of Mando’s room and into the living room where Mando was anxiously awaiting. “Is he gone? Is he off the videophone?” asked Mando. “Yes, Mr. Mando. Just as you requested.” Star, who was over visiting Mando, was not happy. “I can’t believe you’re treating Nazzu so horribly! You haven’t even spoken one word to him since the accident.”
“Well, he deserves it! My only regret is that he only broke one arm and not two!”
“Mando!” exclaimed Star, “I can’t believe you just said that!”
“Look, I don’t expect you to understand. But when Mr. Torba called here to check on Naz the day of the accident, my dad thought that I had something to do with that puggo’s stealing spree. Star, he lied to his dad about me and I got the worst spanking and grounding ever! And I didn’t do anything! My dad didn’t believe me when I told him that I didn’t know where Nazzu was. What kind of a ‘friend’ is Naz if he’s willing to throw me under the shuttle pod like that. I never want to talk to that moonworm again!”
“But Mando,” pleaded Star, “how can you be so hateful toward Naz? Don’t you remember what Bishop McNelty has been teaching us at the children’s gatherings? She told us about the story where a man owed a king close to four billion dollars. The man asked the king to forgive him the debt because he couldn’t repay him. The king, out of MERCY, that’s M – E – R – C – Y, forgave the man his debt.”
“Yeah, yeah,” shot back Mando. “Whatever. Look, I’m tired. I’m going to bed. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.”
“But Mando …”
“Good night, Star.”
With that, Mando went to his room to try and escape from the anger and pain that was welling up inside of him. “Who does Star think she is anyway? My mother? She would feel the way I do if she were in my shoes! How would she like being wrongly accused and punished for something she didn’t do!” These thoughts continued to run through Mando’s mind as he slowly drifted off to sleep.
The next day, Mando walked into his classroom at school for his math class. Instead of his teacher, Mr. Jordan, three NCPD robot units were waiting. When Mando entered the room, the three robots surrounded him and placed him in a criminal hold force field. Mando didn’t know what was going on. “What are you doing? I haven’t done anything wrong!”
“Take that up with the King!” replied one of the police robots.
“Neon City doesn’t have a king!” exclaimed Mando. “These droids must have their wires crossed,” thought Mando as the robots took him down the school corridor. They came to a large brightly lit room at the end of the hallway. The NCPD robots took him in and left him standing behind a small podium. It took a few seconds for Mando’s eyes to adjust to the brightness of the room, but once they did, Mando was amazed at what he saw. Sitting before him on a crystal throne surrounded by water was a powerful, masculine king clothed in deep purple robes. The king was staring at Mando with a stern look that invoked an overwhelming sense of dread. “What is happening?” thought the frightened twelve-year old.
After a while, Bishop McNelty, Star, and her mother left to go back home. Mrs. McNelty took Chloe home with her so that she could get some dinner while Mr. Torba stayed with Nazzu. Nazzu and his dad were watching a new movie in the Virtual Reality Box when a Neon City Police Department Robot Unit came through the door. His name was Officer PD389. He had a tall, but square, upper body shell and a cylindrical lower body shell. The lower shell was powered by Fly Away’s new anti-gravity technology. It was rather strange for both Nazzu and Mr. Torba to see the floating robot since the city only had a few models in operation.
Officer PD390 levitated across the hospital room to where the father and son were seated. “Good evening, Mr. Torba. I am here on account of a crime committed by your son, Nazzu Torba, against Fly Away Enterprise.”
“Very well, officer. Would you mind informing my son of what his crime is and what his sentence will be?”
“Yes sir,” replied the Robot Unit. “The honorable Judge Gillan reviewed the surveillance videos from the warehouse repair floor and the African combo park. He has charged Nazzu with being an accessory to the theft of a damaged Def-Grav 100 from the Fly Away Enterprise Repair Warehouse and for destruction of said Def-Grav 100, property of Mr. Felix Moody.”
Nazzu’s face twisted with horror at the thoughts of what the robot officer was about to say next. Was he going to have to go to jail? Nazzu looked at his dad, who simply nodded his head back toward the officer.
Officer PD389 continued, “Fly Away enterprises has agreed not to press charges against Nazzu Torba or Kett Comer. Instead, the company has agreed to give Mr. Moody a brand new hoverboard, free of cost, under the condition that each of the aforementioned boys works forty hours of community service under the supervision of Fly Away Enterprise’s Janitorial Division.”
Nazzu couldn’t believe it! He let out a sigh of relief as he realized that he wasn’t going to jail. However, the look on his father’s face gave way to the realization that he was not going to get out of this one that easily. Mr. Torba turned toward the Officer Unit and asked, “When are the boys expected to start their community service?”
“In one week. The judge wanted to allow Nazzu Torba a few days to recover from his injuries prior to requiring said perpetrator to report for service. Kett Comer will also be participating in said community service along with Nazzu Torba next week.”
“Thank you, officer. Nazzu will be at the Janitorial Office ready to work next week,” replied Mr. Torba.
The officer unit did an about face and left the room as smoothly as he had entered. Mr. Torba turned toward his son with a scowl on his face. Nazzu was really afraid of what his dad was going to say.
“Nazzu, I am going down to the hospital’s cafeteria for some coffee. While I’m away, you are going to figure out what you think is an appropriate punishment for yourself. When I come back, we’ll talk and I’ll decide what your punishment will be.”
Nazzu could barely make it out, but he could have sworn he heard the voice of his father. But where was he? All he could see was darkness in every direction. Then, as his father’s voice grew stronger, there appeared to be a glimmer of light in the distance. As Nazzu headed toward the light, his blue eyes began to open as he regained consciousness. Suddenly, like a flood of rushing water, the sunlight from hospital room window began to overwhelm his senses. The dazed young boy went to cover his eyes and realized that he couldn’t. For some reason he couldn’t move his left arm. Nazzu didn’t have much time to figure out what was happening before being suddenly embraced by his sister and startled by a loud uproar of “Praise God,” and “Thank you, Jesus!” from a room full of familiar faces.
After a couple of minutes, Nazzu began to get his bearings. His dad, Chloe, his friend Star, Star’s mother, and Mrs. McNelty, the Children’s Bishop, were all there with him in a stark, white hospital room. Mr. Torba, seeing fear and panic washing over Nazzu’s face , began to reassure him that he was going to be fine. He informed his incapacitated son as to why he couldn’t move his left arm. He had broken his arm when he fell from the Def-Grav 100. The doctors had to put his arm in a medical force field to allow it to heal. It was a strange feeling seeing his arm but not being able to move or touch it.
“You are a very fortunate young man,” Mr. Torba said.
Nazzu looked up at his dad and asked, “What happened to me?” Then, as if reliving a bad dream, Nazzu remembered that Kett and he had stolen the Def-Grav 100 from his dad’s shop and taken it to the park to try it out. Nazzu’s countenance went from one of confusion to horror as bits and pieces of that fateful day slowly began to replay in his head.
“Well,” his dad began, “You and Kett were out joy-ratching on a faulty Def-Grav and it exploded while you were riding it through the termite mounds. Fortunately for you, the explosion threw you sideways into one of the mounds and broke your fall. You could have been seriously injured or even killed! Thank God for keeping you safe. Aside from being unconscious for the past two days, you only broke two bones in the middle of your left arm.”
“I’ve been asleep for two days?!” exclaimed Nazzu. Nazzu was thrilled to find out that he had been knocked out for such a long time. “It’s like I am one of those characters in the movies,” he thought as he began to stare off in the distance and smile. However, glimpsing the rigid, menacing stare of his father, quickly brought Nazzu back to his senses. Looking down at his bed covers, Nazzu asked his dad, “Did Kett get hurt too?”
Mr. Torba shook his head, “No, but he is the one who brought the Midtown medics to you after you blacked out. We’ll talk more about Kett a little later, once your visitors have gone home. Kett also told the medics who you were so that they could reach me and let me know what had happened. You gave us all a big scare! I hope, for your sake, that what you did was worth it, because you’ve got a hefty price to pay for what you’ve done.”
“Yes sir,” whispered Nazzu as he hung his head in shame. He felt terrible for lying to his dad, stealing the Def-Grav, and scaring his family and friends.
Mr. Torba bent over Nazzu’s hospital bed and gently raised his chin up to where their eyes met. Nazzu stared into his dad’s hazel eyes. “Son, I love you. And I forgive you for lying to me. There is nothing you can do to make me stop loving you. But there are consequences for the decisions you made the other day. I want you to know that all of us in this room are here to support you and help you through what you are about to go through. Okay?”
As Nazzu looked around the room, he felt the love of God coming from each person. However, in spite of all his friends’ and family’s support, the foreboding words of his dad began to sink in. “What does he mean ‘what you are about to go through’?” Nazzu pondered.
Neon City had developed it’s own unique transportation system that was separate from the shuttle-pod network. Being a city where every building was two hundred stories tall, the city engineers created the SkyVacc Interbuilding Transportation System, or S.V.I.T.S., on the fiftieth, hundreth and hundred-fiftieth story of each building to meet the unique transportation needs of Neon City.
S.V.I.T.S. centers were continuously transporting commuters in silver transport pods from one mega building to another. From the ground, one could see them constantly zipping back and forth through the clear plexi-glass tubes that connected each building. However, what drew people from all over the world to Neon City was the technology used to power the system.
For you see, S.V.I.T.S. was powered by neon-pulse energy. This novel power source had been developed and patented by Fly Away Enterprises. Neon-pulse energy produced pulsating waves of bright neon colors that constantly changed as the pulse traveled from one end of the pod to the other. The combined effect of all the S.V.I.T.S. pods shuttling back and forth within Neon City produced a strikingly brilliant visual display. From a distance, the entire city appeared to be engulfed by pulsating neon rainbows. A beacon of color for the whole world. This technological beauty was not lost on the two twelve-year-old boys.
Nazzu always enjoyed looking up from the street level to see the moving display of neon colors. But right now, Nazzu was too excited about riding the new Def-Grav 100 to pay the S.V.I.T.S. pods any attention. The boys excitement continued to escalate till they finally arrived at the Midtown Combo Park.
The park complex was located in the center of the city and contained twenty uniquely themed combo parks. Each park was ten stories tall and housed atmospheres, vegetation, and wildlife appropriate for each theme. Of all the parks, Kett’s favorite was the African Savannah Park, so the two adventurers took the elevator pod to the park entrance on the one hundred forty-first floor.
Once there, the two boys found a secluded area of the park to try out the borrowed Def-Grav. Kett insisted on taking the first flight. It took him a couple of tries to figure out the new controls, but after a few minutes he was flying through the hot, dry savannah air doing 360s and flying upside-down, commonly called ratching.
After watching Kett ratch through a stand of baobab trees and harass some unsuspecting gazelles, Nazzu hollered, “Hey, let me have a turn!”
Kett pretended not to hear, and continued riding for a while longer. Finally Nazzu yelled, “Stop being an air hog, Kett!”
“Okay! Okay!” replied Kett as he flew back to where Nazzu had been watching. Kett handed the Def-Grav to Nazzu and Nazzu took off!
“Zoids! This is awesome!” thought the blonde-haired boy as he felt the warm air blowing across his face and blood rushing to his head as he ratched and rolled through the air. ”This is a lot funner than riding my PZ938! I have to work on Dad to get me a Def 100 for my birthday.”
Nazzu took to the anti-gravity technology like a natural. Kett was impressed by the speed and skill of his new found friend. Nazzu had found a number of termite mounds, some topping out at around twenty feet tall. He was zigging and zagging between them so fast that several times Kett thought Nazzu was going to hit them. After a few runs, Kett realized how late it was and called out, “Hey Naz! We need to head back to your dad’s shop before he realizes that one of the Def-Gravs is missing.”
Nazzu wanted to make just one more pass at ratching through the maze of termite mounds before they left. He was getting the hang of navigating upside-down, so he decided to push his speed on this last run.
As he was almost through the run, Nazzu looked up at the board as he heard a loud clicking sound come from the Def Grav’s engine. Nazzu caught a glimpse of a large blinding flash against the blue-sky background just before everything turned dark.
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The plan was solid. Nazzu would distract his dad while Kett snuck in and got a Def 100 off the repair line. Simple right? But Nazzu had never been as frightened as he was right now. And it wasn’t about riding one of the new Def-Gravs. Nazzu always had respected his father. He was a good man and a good dad to both him and Chloe. Something just seemed wrong about lying to him.
Nazzu looked over at Kett. He was giving the nod that he was in place and ready to go. Nazzu thought to himself, “Okay, Naz. You can do this. It’s just a little white lie. What’s it going to hurt? I mean, it’s not like you’re the one borrowing the hoverboard, Kett is. Just get over it. You’re about to go ride a Def 100 with Kett Frazier!” And with that, Nazzu straightened up, composed himself and entered the shop with a renewed resolve.
As he walked past Mrs. Krugle, the receptionist, he noticed something new on the door to the repair hangar. It was a red-glowing warning sign. You know, one of those large triangles with an exclamation mark inside of it. Nazzu paused and asked Mrs. Krugle, “What’s the new sign for?”
Mrs. Krugle turned toward him and answered in a hushed tone, so other customers couldn’t hear, “Hasn’t your father told you? Some of the returned Def-Gravs are more unstable than we thought. So we’ve had to take some extra precautions. No one except staff is allowed in the hangar, now.” With a smile and a wink she added, “But you can go on back to see your dad. Just stay clear of the repair line. Okay?”
“You got it, Mrs. Krugle! Thanks.”
As soon as Nazzu entered the hangar, he saw his dad over in the office. Nazzu ran over to greet his dad and was received with a large, strong hug from the six-foot tall man. Mr. Torba had a rugged, worn appearance to him, but when you looked into his face, most people were amazed to see loving warmth exude from his hazel-green eyes. It was this same warmth that absolutely prohibited Nazzu from looking him in the face today.
“Hey Naz, how was school today?”
“It was alright,” as Nazzu drew circles on the floor with his foot. “Hey Dad, I was wondering if I could go over to Mando’s for a few hours.”
“So you want to go over to Mando’s this afternoon? Do Mando’s parents know about this?” Mr. Torba asked Nazzu.
He replied, “Yes sir, we asked them and they said it was fine if it was alright with you. It will only be for a little while and then I’ll stop back by here on my way home.”
Mr. Torba thought it strange that Nazzu kept looking down at the ground but figured he must have had a rough day and needed to go talk with a friend. With a smile on his face, Mr Torba told his son, “Sounds good, little man. Have fun with Mando, and say hey to his parents for me.”
“Really? Umm…okay…thanks Dad. I’ll tell them you say hey.” Nazzu gave his dad another hug and turned to leave. He noticed that his palms were sweaty as he quickly glanced over to the repair line. He wanted to make sure Kett wasn’t standing there in plain sight. Fortunately he was nowhere to be found.
Suddenly Nazzu’s heart stopped beating and his body froze as he heard his dad call out, “Nazzu!”
“Roids!” Nazzu thought, “He knows!” Nazzu stopped and turned around, petrified as to what his dad would say next.
“Did Chloe come with you?” his dad wanted to know.
With a huge sigh of relief, Nazzu informed Mr. Torba that Chloe had stayed at school to finish up a project for her teacher. Once Dad seemed satisfied, Nazzu hurried outside and met up with his accomplice. Kett stood outside the shop waiting. “Did you find one?” asked Nazzu, relieved that the ordeal was over.
“Yeah! I found this Def-Grav 100 on the repair line just like you said. Let’s go over to the Midtown Combo Park and have some fun!”
A thrill of excitement overcame the two boys as they rode the shuttle-pod to the nearby combo park. They both knew that this would be the ride of a lifetime!
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He could not believe how his afternoon was turning out! Nazzu and his friend, Kett, were on their way over to the Fly Away Enterprises campus, just inside the city limits of Neon City. Fly Away was one of the country’s leading manufacturers of shuttlecraft and hoverboards. The research performed at this location was on the cutting edge of anti-gravitational technology. Hence, the company took great care to guard their secrets behind the new research. In fact, the factory looked more like a military base than a manufacturing center. Armed guards monitored who could come in and out. Only people who worked there were allowed on campus.
Fortunately for Nazzu, his father wasn’t one of those highfalutin researchers or engineers. He was a certified F.A.E. hoverboard repairman and was the head technician of the hoverboard repair department. The security was more lax at the repair shop since it was open to Fly Away customers who needed to drop off their hoverboards, so the shop was separate from the research facilities. This was quite wonderful for Nazzu and his little sister Chloe. This meant they could stop by to see their dad on their way home from school. Mr. Torba always enjoyed their brief afternoon visits. They were typically the highlight of his workday.
Recently, Mr. Torba’s workload had increased significantly as Fly Away had recently developed a new line of hoverboards called the Def-Grav series. These boards had a gravity producing force field that would hold a rider’s feet to the board whenever they flipped upside-down during mid-flight. However, there were still some technical glitches that were being discovered, hence providing Mr. Torba and his crew with many hours of hard work over the past few weeks.
Nazzu, on the other hand, was completely obsessed with the new Def-Gravs. After seeing the theatrics and feats that the stunt men could perform on the Def 100s, you could not but be in awe and amazement of the newest Fly Away hoverboard. Everyone who hoverboarded dreamed of buying one of the Def-Grav 100s. They were all the rage at school, but they were very expensive, so usually only the kids from wealthy families could afford them.
Nazzu had drifted off into a daydream when Kett nudged him to let him know that their shuttle-pod stop was coming up. Kett was one of Nazzu’s classmates. He was only twelve years old, but Kett looked like he was a regular fifteen-year-old boy with black wavy hair. Fortunately for Kett, being taller than his classmates brought a bit of respect from his shorter counterparts. In fact, Nazzu thought Kett was one of the coolest kids in his grade. But Kett had never seemed interested in being buddies until lately.
Over the past couple of weeks, Kett had started spending more time with him: hanging out together after school and even inviting Nazzu to his birthday party last week. Nazzu was thrilled! He had always wanted to be friends with Kett and now out of the blue, he and Kett were buds. They talked about a few things, but Kett really seemed interested in his dad’s job. In fact, today Kett kept bugging Nazzu to take him to go see where Mr. Torba worked. Not wanting to disappoint his new friend, Nazzu agreed. He and Kett hopped on the city shuttle-pod and headed over to Fly Away’s factory repair shop after school was out.
The two boys were almost at their stop when Kett leaned over to ask Nazzu, “So Naz, do you think your dad will have any of those new Def 100s at the shop? “
Nazzu replied, “Yeah, he’s been real busy working on them. Since some of the Def-Grav force fields are glitching, he’s having to recalibrate a lot of them for his customers. I can show you one of the new ones if you want.”
Kett looked at Nazzu with his light brown eyes and flashed a devious smile. “Have you ever ridden one?”
Nazzu shook his head, staring at the floor. “No. Dad won’t let me. He says they’re too dangerous right now. Maybe later when Fly Away comes out with a more stable model.”
“Aw, moonroids! That’s crazy! Have you seen the commercials? Those guys are doing lunar crazy tricks and they’re totally fine.” Kett leaned closer as he whispered, “How about we take one for a ride?”
Nazzu turned his head suddenly, “What?! Do you have one? That would be so lunar!”
Kett shook his head, “Naw man, I don’t have one. But your dad has a lot of them just laying around the shop, right? I’m sure he wouldn’t mind us borrowing one for just a short ride.”
With a look of disbelief, Nazzu answered, “Oh, he’ll never agree to that.”
“Who said anything about asking?” Kett replied. “We’ll just sneak one out the back door and have it back before he ever misses it. Come on, Naz. Don’t you want to see how it feels to hoverboard upside-down?”
Nazzu reluctantly answered, “I don’t know, if my dad finds out, I’ll…”
Kett cut him off, “What?! You’re not chicken are you?”
“No, no!” Nazzu quickly replied. “I’ve been wanting forever to ride a Def 100…just as long as we bring it back before Dad finds out.”
Kett smiled, “We’re just gonna borrow one for a couple of hours. We’ll have it back before your dad knows it’s gone. Promise.”
“Alright then, let’s do this!” Nazzu said as the Neon City shuttle pod came to a stop at the Fly Away Enterprise platform.
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