Meanwhile, Hefty was floating disembodied through a strange void full of unusual shapes and colors, feeling like he was being pulled to some unknown place. He couldn't feel anything about himself at that point. It was like being in some strange dream that he couldn't wake himself from, almost if he had been smoking smurfnip or eaten some really strange mushrooms that made Smurfs see unusual things. Then he saw a world with some strange blocky clouds floating over it, with light beams coming from its surface. He was drawn towards that world, floating high over its surface which was made up of hills, seas, and towers until he made contact with one of the beams of light. He soon found himself being pulled down through the light, seeing strange kaleidoscopic shapes as he went down this tunnel of light.
And then the tunnel of light ended, and Hefty found himself standing in a dark room lit up by lines of light forming circuit patterns. He looked at himself and noticed that he was now dressed in light tight-skin body armor that had glowing blue circuit lines all over.
"Oh no, this can't be happening," Hefty said to himself. "I'm only thinking that it's happening. I must have been smurfed to sleep inside Tapper's Tavern by the Game Wand, and I'm in this weird dream. That must be the case."
Then a door opened, and three large beings wearing bulky armor with glowing red lines entered in, each carrying a staff that seemed to glow with energy. "Welcome to Gametron, rookie," one of the beings spoke in an ominous voice. "It's time for you to join your friends in the Cell Grid."
"Cell Grid?" Hefty asked. "What are you smurfing about? Where am I?"
"Move, rookie, or we will force you to move from the transport platform," another of the beings spoke.
When Hefty still didn't move, one of the armored beings struck Hefty with a staff he was carrying, causing such a painful discharge of energy to strike Hefty's left shoulder. "OUCH!" Hefty cried out. "Hey, smurf it easy, you creeps, before I smurf you something you're going to regret!"
But seeing how dangerous these three beings with the staffs were as they raised them up toward him to get him to leave the room, Hefty nonetheless complied. As he walked out of the room, being directed toward what they called the Cell Grid, Hefty saw that he was in what appeared to be a futuristic-looking world where people were dressed in clothes that had glowing circuit lines.
"Well, this place sure looks inviting to smurf in," Hefty said to himself as he looked around at everything in the world he is in.
Soon they reached what they called the Cell Grid, where Hefty could see beings like the ones he had seen in the world put into small cramped cells. "This is your cell, rookie," one of the armored beings said as they stopped near one that was one.
"Who are you calling a rookie, you big smurf?" Hefty said before the armored being just pushed him into the cell very roughly.
"I'd say welcome, friend, but not here, and certainly not like this," a being sitting in the cell next to him said, trying to sound as friendly as possible.
"Okay, just so I can smurf my friends what this dream is all about, where am I?" Hefty asked.
The being in the next cell looked at Hefty with puzzlement, wondering where he came from and why he seemed to talk so strangely. "This is the Cell Grid of Gametron, where Master Sarkamel captures and holds Game Warriors who believe in freedom to unite with their Creators," the being answered.
"The Creators?" Hefty asked, wondering what that meant.
"Each Game Warrior has a Creator that he or she communicates with," the being answered. "Do you not have one of your own before you came here?"
"You wouldn't understand how I got here if I smurfed you, but one thing I know that the first moment I was smurfing a game and then the next thing, I was here being smurfed into this cell," Hefty answered.
"Sarkamel captures all the Game Warriors in the world in the hopes that he can use them for his evil purpose, to take over Gametron and be its master," the being said. "You'll either be part of his Warrior Elite or you'll play his games to get the bits blasted out of you."
"Play his games?" Hefty said. "Well, I'm very good at playing games. I'm a champion at them where I smurf from. What's your name?"
"I am called Zeron," the being answered. "If you've got the skill to play games, you'll survive, but only long enough to keep playing until you're defeated. What do they call you?"
Zeron pondered on the answer he was given. "Hefty. Never heard of that kind of name before. I'll be sure to let Auron know about you the next time I meet him."
"Who's Auron?" Hefty asked.
"Only the greatest of the Light Warriors, Hefty," Zeron answered. "His skill is so great that nobody has been able to defeat him in the games...at least none so far that I personally know of. You survive long enough, you'll get to meet him."
Then above the cell, one of the armored beings tapped on the glass roof of Hefty's cell, getting the occupant's attention. "You, rookie, join the others as you will be brought to processing and initiation by Commander Razor," the armored being said as two others arrived at the cell to take Hefty away.
"Commander Razor?" Hefty asked. "He's supposed to run the whole place here?"
"Razor is Sarkamel's best warrior of the Elite, Hefty," Zeron answered. "You don't want to mess with him if you know what's good for you."
Hefty was then joined by a dozen others that looked similar to him, all wearing armor with glowing blue circuit lines. Each of them looked like this was the last place they would ever want to be in. Some even looked rather fearful, as if they knew they were not going to last long in whatever "games" Sarkamel would have them play.
Hefty and his group were brought to an open space where the armored beings had them stop. "Look operative, rookies," the being ordered. "Here comes Commander Razor in his Carrier. He will give you further instructions."
The Carrier lowered itself down until it was about only seven Smurfs high from the ground. A being wearing armor with glowing orange circuit lines appeared. "Greetings," he announced in a sarcastic tone. "Master Sarkamel has chosen you to serve your System in the Arena. Those of you who continue to put your faith in these Creators of yours will be given the standard substandard training for the games, which will result in your eventual elimination. However, those of you who wish to give up this hysterical and superstitious belief will be eligible to join the Warrior Elite of our great Master Sarkamel."
Warrior Elite, huh? Hefty wondered. This Razor really thinks he owns the whole place with this master Sarkamel smurfing from on high.
"Each of you will receive an identity disc," Razor continued, holding up a disc resembling a ring that he was carrying on his back. "Everything you do or learn will be imprinted on it. If you lose your disc or fail to follow commands, you will be subject to immediate control-alt-deletion. That will be all."
"All right, all of you, move out," one of the armored beings said as the Carrier rose high above the ground into the air.
Hefty and his group were then led to a processing room where each of them, including Hefty, were given their own identity discs to wear and to be armed with at all times. They were attended by a group of four similarly-dressed females who inserted the disk into a holding space on the back of each warrior.
"This one is different," one female said to another when Hefty was the next to receive his disk.
Hefty had the strange sensation as if everything about him and his life got transferred onto his disk the moment it got inserted onto his back.
"Mirroring complete. Disk activated and synchronized," one of the females said to each of the warriors. "Proceed to games."
As they exited the processing room, Hefty and his group then saw a battle in progress. Hefty realized that it must be a Frizbattle game in session, as he saw the lone blue warrior fighting against four orange warriors, each of them armed with a disc which they used to throw at each other. The blue warrior dodged each throw of his opponent's discs as they came toward them, then launched an attack of his own. One of the four orange warriors was caught by surprise and was destroyed in a flash of light by the blue warrior's disc.
"Now who is that?" Hefty asked, wondering about the lone blue warrior in the arena.
"His name is Auron," one of the blue warrior beings answered. "He fights for those who believe in the Creators."
"Auron?" Hefty wondered, remembering the name that Zeron spoke when they were in the Cell Grid. Somebody pushed his shoulder to get him to continue walking. Hefty complied and continued walking, but his eyes were still focused on the lone blue warrior in the arena fighting against the three remaining orange warriors.
Auron dodged another disc attack and then launched his disc at one of the remaining warriors, who then disappeared in a flash of light upon contact. That left him with only two orange warriors to deal with. They both launched their discs toward him at the same time, but Auron dodged this way and that to avoid them and then launched his disc toward one of the remaining two warriors. The disc sliced through that warrior, causing him to disappear as well.
The lone orange warrior now saw that it was down to him and Auron in the arena. He fought as hard as he could to take out Auron, but Auron was just too skilled for the orange warrior to beat. Eventually Auron wore his opponent down and caught him off guard, defeating him as the disc sliced through his body, also causing him to disappear.
Auron caught his disc as it returned to him and held it high in the air with both hands, signaling that the match was over.
Empath, Polaris, and Papa Smurf were awakened from their sleep when they heard from Tapper what had happened. The three of them entered the tavern to investigate the scene, with Empath and Polaris using their minds-eyes to scan for any trace of Hefty that was left in the tavern at the time he supposedly disappeared.
"This smurf and Polaris have both detected that Hefty was in here when the tavern was closed, Papa Smurf," Empath reported. "He was playing the Game Wand for a few hours, which afterward was when he disappeared."
"But who or what has taken Hefty, and for what purpose?" Papa Smurf asked.
"We are uncertain as to who or what would be behind this, Papa Smurf," Polaris answered. "Given that his vanishing occured within a few hours when he was playing the Gametron game, it is likely that something in the game itself could have caused Hefty to disappear."
"That's the thing that I was feeling in my spirit was going to happen, my friends," Tapper said somberly. "That game should not have been smurfed into the Game Wand in the first place."
"We'll find a way to remove the game, Tapper, but for now we must try to find out what was in the game that made Hefty disappear, and if there is a way that we can smurf him back," Papa Smurf said.
"From what this one was sensing of him, Hefty seemed determined to reach the end of the game so he could be the first to brag about his accomplishment to his fellow Smurfs," Polaris said.
"Then perhaps one of us should play the game to its conclusion, Polaris, to find out what exactly happened, if by any means we may find a way to bring Hefty back from where he was taken to," Empath said.
"I fear that that idea smurfs dangerous, my friends," Tapper said. "There is a great chance that whatever has smurfed Hefty away may also smurf you."
"I would have to agree with Tapper, Empath," Papa Smurf said. "We should try to find out who smurfed us this game in the first place. Perhaps then we might find out from him how we can smurf Hefty back."
Empath sighed. "This smurf acknowledges and understands, Papa Smurf."
"We will do our best to help discover the solution to our current dilemma, Papa Smurf," Polaris said. "For now, we should prevent others from playing this game so that they do not fall victim to the same fate."
Tapper nodded. "I will smurf a talk with Handy in the morning about what has smurfed on in here with the Game Wand."
"This smurf will do the honors, Tapper," Empath said. "You might want to call upon the Almighty for His help if there's a chance that He can do anything on your behalf for our friend."
"Aye, Empath, that is what I will do," Tapper said, nodding with agreement.
"That is a very unusual request that you ask of Tapper, Empath, given how you feel about devoting yourself to his type of religion," Polaris said.
"I don't see any harm in asking a fellow Smurf for that kind of spiritual help, Polaris," Papa Smurf said. "This may be a matter that's best left smurfed in the hands of something higher than ourselves for a change."
Polaris nodded. "This one acknowledges and understands, Papa Smurf."
Back in the Cell Grid on Gametron, Hefty was sitting in his cell next to Zeron, trying to find out more about the world he was thrust into. "So what exactly was Gametron like...you know, before this Sarkamel smurfed over everything?" Hefty asked.
"It was a peaceful world where people shared information with each other on how to make Gametron a better world than it was when it was first created," Zeron answered. "The games we played here weren't so brutal, and we only played for entertainment sake, because we enjoyed competing against each other and making friends after each game."
"Sounds like where I smurfed from...only my world doesn't smurf anything like this, Zeron," Hefty said. "In my world we had trees, plants, flowers, food that we smurf from the ground."
"That sounds like the world that the Creators come from, Hefty," Zeron said. "We have heard of legends of that world, that it is a paradise beyond our imagining, that someday when we pass from this world, we will be with our Creators in that place of eternal light."
"You sound like Tapper, who believes that he's going to smurf off into heaven when he passes away," Hefty said.
"You do not believe in the Creators, or whatever they happen to be for you in your world?" Zeron asked.
"I have smurfed that Mother Nature and Father Time created my world, Zeron, but I have never believed that they were gods like what my friend Tapper believes in," Hefty said. "If they were, they wouldn't be smurfing among us like regular living beings."
"I feel sad for you, that you live among your Creators and yet you do not even acknowledge them as such," Zeron said with some honest feeling.
"That's just how I feel, and I don't really want to smurf much about it, if you don't mind," Hefty said. "I just want to find a way to return to my world."
"Auron might help you, if we can find a way to escape the Arena," Zeron said.
Before Hefty could ask anything, one of the armored beings tapped the glass above his cell with this staff. "You are going to be sent to the Ring Ball Duel as per Commander Razor's orders, rookie," the being said.
"Good luck, Hefty, and may the Creators be with you," Zeron said as the guards came to take both Hefty and Zeron to their appointed games.
Hefty found himself being led to an arena that looked like the Ring Ball Duel in the Gametron game, complete with two separate platforms suspended in the air, each of them made of several concentric rings. He and his opponent, which turned out to be a blue warrior, were both given scoops similar to cestas that were used in the sport of jai-alai before they took their places on their seperate platforms.
A mechanical arm moved from overhead and dropped a glowing white energy ball into the cesta of Hefty's opponent. "Ring Ball Duel will commence," a female voice announced. "Mezon has the first serve."
"So you think you're going to defeat me, huh?" Mezon said, sounding more nervous than confident.
"No, I...," Hefty began to say.
But Mezon didn't let Hefty finish, for he swung his cesta to fling the ball toward a flat reflective ring that hung above their heads between the platforms. The ball bounced off and headed for one of Hefty's rings. Hefty tried to intercept it, but the ball struck the outermost ring and caused it to disappear.
Mezon laughed. "Only one of us is going to walk away from this match, rookie. If you think your Creator is going to help you win, you'd better pray to him now."
Hefty gulped as he found himself almost teetering over the edge, trying to regain his footing. He didn't know how far the drop was, but he wasn't willing to find out for himself.
The ball returned to Mezon, who then served it by flinging it toward the reflective ring overhead. This time, though, Hefty caught the ball as it came toward him and served it back toward his opponent. Mezon tried to catch it but missed as the ball struck one of the inner rings of his platform, causing it to vanish.
"Okay, that should even things up," Hefty said as the ball returned to him.
And so the game continued between Hefty and Mezon, with Hefty losing a few rings and Mezon losing a few rings along the way. Hefty felt a bit more comfortable playing the game for real, while Mezon continued to look rather nervous and fearful, as if some terrible fate was waiting for him if he lost.
"You're pretty good at this," Hefty complimented after he caught a rather fancy shot his opponent served him. "Here's an easy one."
Hefty served a shot back at his opponent, which he tried to intercept by leaping toward the center ring, but instead found himself missing and holding onto the center ring for dear life. After receiving the ball, Hefty just stood and waited for Mezon to climb back onto the ring to continue playing, but it seemed like Mezon was struggling just to accomplish that.
Commander Razor, who was watching the whole event from his carrier, got upset at the delay, and pressed a button on his control panel. "FINISH THE GAME!" he shouted.
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" Hefty shouted back, refusing to do anything.
"Kill him, or you will be killed along with him," Razor said.
Hefty took a look at the ball inside his cesta and pondered the situation. He realized that no matter what world he was in, he was still a Smurf and he wasn't going to do anything that was against being a Smurf.
"No," Hefty said, as he raised up his cesta and then caused the ball to drop into the abyss.
"You'll pay for this," Razor said, as he pressed the button. Hefty then watched as the center ring Mezon was holding onto vanished, and Mezon fell until he vanished in a flash of light. Hefty gulped as he realized that this whole battle thing in the world of Gametron was for real and that he was in this real deep.
Razor was at the controls pondering doing the same to Hefty by pressing the button that would cause the ring he was standing on to vanish, but then Sarkamel's voice interrupted what he was going to do. "I want him in the games until he dies playing," Sarkamel's voice said.
Razor then pressed another button to signal the end of the game. The guards came and took Hefty away from the Ring Ball Duel game, but instead of taking him back to the Cell Grid, they were now taking him elsewhere. Hefty felt as if things were going to get worse from there.
Smurf to Part 4