Empath's personal journal, supplemental.
With Polaris Psyche recalled to the village, we began to search for the cause of all these transformations. Why Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Polaris, and this smurf in addtion to most of the other Smurfs were spared this was a question about as puzzling as the randomness of these transformations. Strangely, the one thing we did find was that the little red dot was inside all of us -- including Papa Smurf, Smurfette, Polaris, and this smurf. Was this what triggered these mutations? Could every Smurf as well as a Psyche be fully affected by these things floating inside us? And how could we possibly remove them and return every Smurf back to normal if they are capable of sensing this smurf's ability to telekinetically move objects? The search for those answers continues.
Papa Smurf had all the mutated Smurfs and any that started to show signs of a mutation be relocated to the village infirmary, where Dabbler, who operates as the village medic when he isn't distracted by everything else that goes on in the village, found himself swamped with patients. He honestly had no idea whether he was running an infirmary or a circus, with all the various forms of mutations he saw.
Papa Smurf decided to leave tending to the mutated Smurfs in Dabbler's and Empath's hands while Empath and Polaris also continued the search for the cause of the mutations. Meanwhile, Papa Smurf will be conducting his own search in his medical books to see what he could come up with. Polaris suggested to Papa Smurf that he should relax and allow them to take care of the tasks in the village, but Papa Smurf boldly told Polaris that he didn't need a babysitter and that he is more than capable of running things even in his condition.
Throughout Empath's tending to the mutated, he noticed that Jokey was entertaining himself, throwing some of Greedy's doughnuts toward Grouchy, trying to play a form of ring-toss by scoring one onto either of Grouchy's horns. Tracker, who had turned into a bird, was busy sniffing the ground trying to find some ripe worms. Harmony was transformed into an elephant-type creature and was creating tuba-like noises through his trunk-like nose, much to the chagrin of the other Smurfs. And Tailor was finding it hard to work on sewing up Clumsy's ripped pants because his two extra arms kept getting in the way. Interestingly, Sickly seemed to be very healthy today, though Empath could sense a little red dot inside of him.
Tapper came in with Smurfette, carrying Baby Smurf with her. He had now turned blue-gray with fishlike eyes as well as webbed hands and feet, and looked like he was asleep. "Empath, Baby has started smurfing real sickly," she told him, sounding worried. "It's like he's barely breathing and his skin's drying out."
"Smurfette found him in the crib like this, Empath," Tapper added. "We're not sure what has happened to him, but I think it's something very unsmurfy that needs our attention."
Empath took Baby Smurf into his arms and briefly scanned him. "He's been mutated into a fish-type Smurf, Smurfette," he responded. "He's grown gills on the sides of his head, and he seems to be constantly lacking sodium. Otherwise, he's still alive. We need to put him in a salt bath with plenty of air to revive him immediately."
"Handy's smurferator tub that he smurfed for Marina," Smurfette remembered. "We can get it filled up with water and smurf some salts into it to revive Baby Smurf."
"Exactly what this smurf was thinking as well, Smurfette," Empath grinned. He was more and more impressed by Smurfette with each passing day, showing him something of her that he never thought would be possible of her to do.
Smurfette smiled back. "Well, I'll get smurfing over to Handy's with Baby Smurf. I just hope when this transmurfation problem is over with, Empath, that we can smurf some time alone together." She kissed him as he passed Baby Smurf back to her.
Polaris walked into the infirmary as Smurfette left with Baby Smurf. He noticed Empath was staring at Smurfette for a bit too long, forgetting that he has several other patients to attend to. He decided now wasn't the time to bother Empath about his possible relationship with Smurfette and instead he would inform him about something else.
"There's something of interest that you should know, Empath," Polaris stated as he came over to talk to him. "This one has examined almost every Smurf, even those who have not yet been mutated, and found out that those little red dots are inside each and every Smurf in the village -- including you, this one, Papa Smurf, and Smurfette."
"But if that's true, then how come us three and yourself haven't mutated yet?" Empath asked.
"There's something else, Empath," Polaris continued. "These little red dots seem to be creating an energy pulse that's directed at the brain, specifically where metabolic functions are controlled. In the case of the mutated Smurfs, it seems to have activated some mutagenic properties in a Smurf's body. In the case of yourself and Smurfette, it has activated your hormones, making you both constantly attracted to each other. And in the case of Papa Smurf,…"
"…it has stimulated his adrenaline levels, which is why he has been acting so testy lately," Empath finished, knowing where Polaris was going with all of this. "So apparently, these dots inside us have different effects on all the Smurfs. But it still doesn't answer the question of where these little red dots come from."
"Well, we haven't sensed any strangers coming in or out of the village over the past few days," Polaris noted, "which is when Papa Smurf started getting these headaches. But if that was so, then how come we never sensed these things inside us until now?"
"Probably something that happened within the vicinity of the village, Polaris," Empath guessed. Even he was stumped for an answer at this point.
"I'd hate to think that this could be the work of something spiritual going on, Empath, but I smurf the feeling that we're not entirely alone here," Tapper said.
"Are you suggesting that this could be the work of demons that your holy book keeps talking about?" Empath asked.
"Honestly, I can't imagine what kind of demons would be smurfing these transformations on the Smurfs, but I'm going to be praying for our safety nonetheless," Tapper answered.
Just then, Smurfette came back into the infirmary with Baby Smurf, looking shocked. "Empath, Polaris, there's a monkey smurfing Handy's clothes in his workshop, and he's smurfing around with Clockwork in there," she cried out.
Empath and Polaris looked at each other, realizing that Handy had just been mutated. But what was Clockwork doing in the workshop with Handy in this state?
"This one will investigate, Smurfette," Polaris informed her. "Empath can help you take care of Baby Smurf in the meantime."
"I'll stay here with Smurfette and help smurf care of those who are suffering from these strange transformations, Polaris," Tapper called out as he watched his friend leave the infirmary.
Upon entering his workshop, Polaris noticed that Handy's transformation made him look like a primate he remembered hearing about from his studies in Psychelia -- the very creatures he feared that the Psyches had descended from. His body was all hairy and he had a long tail that constantly curled itself around something in his workshop. Handy was uncontrollably jumping around and scratching himself all over when Polaris paid him a visit.
Polaris now noticed Clockwork Smurf, looking like he had been deactivated again. "What had happened to Clockwork, Handy?" he calmly asked.
"I don't know, Polaris," Handy answered, irritated by his having to constantly scratch himself. "I was just smurfing to test his new visual abilities, and then he was trying to tell me he smurfed something in the village when he was suddenly smurfed off. I tried to smurf him back on, but then I started smurfing into this. I barely got mysmurf and Clockwork back in my workshop before I fully succumbed to this state."
Polaris could guess from Handy's description of the events, however muddled his speech was to a Psyche, that Clockwork had spotted something with his new visual abilities that no normal Smurf could see -- something that didn't belong in the village, and could possibly be the cause of their problems.
"This one will examine Clockwork for the cause of his malfunction, Handy," Polaris stated, not wishing to let Handy or anybody else in on his suspicions.
"Go ahead, Polaris," Handy invited. "I'm already hopping smurf as it is!"
Polaris went over to where Clockwork Smurf is and simply touched him. He allowed his own 'minds-eye' to examine Handy's creation and see what it is he saw before he was suddenly shut off.
It was an amazing journey through what served as a brain for Clockwork, for Polaris had seen everything this mechanical Smurf had seen throughout his existence -- up until the power overload in his "heart" that destroyed his previous form and then when he was reawakened in his new form, greeting Handy and Empath. Apparently, Handy had somehow designed the perfect mechanical brain for Clockwork, so perfect that it was even able to express feelings and emotion. It was a creation that would rival anything the Psyche Master would develop from his vast intellect.
Polaris then saw the point where Handy was testing out Clockwork's new visual abilities. At the moment Clockwork switched them on, the village and everything in it had turned into a series of transparent images overlapping each other. The Smurfs themselves were a series of walking skeletons with no external form whatsoever.
But then Polaris also noticed another series of smaller skeletons riding on the backs of the bigger skeletons -- skeletons in the form of the primate that Handy had turned into. They seemed to be doing something to the Smurfs, though what exactly is anyone's guess.
The image switched again, and this time everything appeared in ultraviolet images. Polaris could now see the forms of the skeletons riding the backs of the Smurfs, and they appeared to be primates with various forms of scientific equipment. They were…studying the Smurfs?
The image suddenly went black. Polaris could sense this was the point where Clockwork was shut off. But then he had a feeling that what they were dealing with wasn't so much of a strange epidemic as it was also an invasion. Suddenly he could sense that these same beings that were mutating a good deal of the Smurfs into those various forms and altering the behavior of others could be watching his every move even in Handy's workshop at this moment.
Polaris decided he would do nothing to arouse any of these creatures to the point of suddenly being mutated himself. He would act as if he was still trying to find what caused Clockwork's malfunction, but he would also let Empath know through telepathy.
Empath and Smurfette smiled as they saw Baby Smurf reawaken in the washtub he had filled with some water from the village well and some epsom salts in the infirmary. The infant coughed as he regained his normal breathing, though now he would have to get used to breathing like a fish for the time being -- or hopefully until he can find a way to restore him and all the mutated Smurfs back to normal again. Empath had to dress him down to his didey in order for Baby's body to absorb the salts directly. But he still seemed to act more like a fish, unaware of anything except his own existence in the water.
Empath Smurf, he heard Polaris talking to him in his thoughts. You must act as if you are not listening to this one right now. This one does not know if these monkey beings who are controlling the Smurfs can sense our communicating like this, so do not make any movements that would indicate to them what we are doing.
Empath hesitated only briefly, understanding. He went ahead to keeping Baby Smurf company, monitoring his condition as he crawled through the shallow salty water, but he continued to talk to Polaris without giving any indication of doing so.
Monkey beings? Empath asked. What exactly are they doing to us? And how are they able to avoid our sensing them?
They must have the means of making themselves invisible and intangible to everyone here…everyone except for Clockwork Smurf, whose new visual abilities have picked up their presence, Polaris answered. Apparently, they have shut down Clockwork when he had seen them and turned Handy into a primate to prevent him from turning him back on. This one may be able to come up with a plan to expose these monkey beings.
However you are able to do that, be careful to watch your back, Polaris, Empath warned. If they are on to us, they'll do anything to stop us from exposing them.
Polaris ended his communication with Empath and concentrated solely on reactivating Clockwork Smurf. He needed to turn him back on so he could be part of his plan.
Suddenly Clockwork stirred. "Hello, Master Polaris,…" he began to say.
Polaris didn't respond verbally to Clockwork. Instead, he only communicated to him through his touch-telepathy while Clockwork remained silent. Clockwork, you must go into Papa Smurf's laboratory and mix the following chemicals in this order and then reactivate your new visual ability to target these monkey beings you saw and spray them. After Polaris had listed all the chemicals and how to mix them together, he continued on. Until then, pretend that you do not know these invisible beings even exist. This one will distract Papa Smurf long enough for you to enter his laboratory undetected and begin mixing the chemicals. Do you understand?
Yes, Master Polaris, Clockwork answered, speaking back to him only through a thought generated by his mechanical brain.
When this one lets go of you, you will not remember this conversation…only what you will need to do, Polaris finished.
When Polaris did let go, Clockwork repeated what he began to say when he was reactivated. "Hello, Master Polaris. How may I be able to smurf you today?"
"With your permission, Handy," Polaris requested, "this one would like to take Clockwork back to the bridge to resume the repair work that was in progress. This one has fixed the malfunction that had shut him down earlier."
"He's all yours, Polaris," Handy replied as he found himself swinging around on the rafters of his workshop. "Just don't have him monkeying around like I am!"
Polaris paid no attention to Handy's humorous comment. He allowed Clockwork to depart from the workshop and be on his way while Polaris headed to Papa Smurf's house.
Smurf to Part 5