There’s a good chance that by the time this post comes out, the shiny new Marlin & Percy novel, Beginnings, will be out in the world for your reading pleasure. If not: I’m so sorry. But just in case my sneaking suspicions are correct, and in case any of you haven’t had a chance to read the book yet…allow me to convince you. You’ve all read my teases and tales of the creation of the novel and the exciting bits of fun that are peppered throughout it, but on the off chance that my words weren’t enough to convince you that this is a book you need right now – right…now – then have another look-see.
It’s like a trailer, but better, because you get to really use your imagination.
You might remember back in issue 3, when our heroes were making a return trip back to their former island home, that we learned a little bit about Percy’s past and how he came to be the fast-talking, super-heroin’ ape that we all know and love. It was a very brief flashback, so I took this opportunity to flesh things out a little bit, so you could get a better picture of Percy’s background. Well then, let me present to you, a closer look at that scene, from the first Marlin & Percy Novel. Young Percy, shortly after meeting Marlin for the first time, has gone wandering through the jungle, disobeying his parents orders and straying a little too close to the strange creature known as man. Naturally, as often happens when you disobey your parents, this plan didn’t work out too well for Percy, and he has found himself the prisoner of a pair of scientists.
And now…imagine this:
Percy sat up slowly, disoriented in more ways than he could count. He couldn’t remember where he was, how he got there, who he was with, or why there were strange vines – at least, they felt like vines, and yet totally different – strapped around his arms and forehead.
Oh yeah! The temple.
He racked his brain for more information. Last thing he remembered he had taken a drink of something that clearly wasn’t intended for him and then next thing he knew…
Next thing he knew…
“Check his readings,” said an excited voice. “He seems to be moving normally, if a little groggily, though that’s to be expected after the procedure.”
“Dad?” asked Percy, scratching his head. What was that thing around his forehead?
“Did you hear that??”
“First words. He called me Dad!”
“You’re being ridiculous.”
Two men in white – the men who had the nerve to kidnap him, now that he thought about it – crowded around Percy. They were nearly quivering with excitement, and he wasn’t entirely sure what to do with them. They didn’t seem to pose any immediate threat to him, but they were definitely crowding him.
“Do you two mind scooting back a little bit?” asked Percy, leaning back away from their intense gazes. “You’re kind of up in my personal space, and this monkey likes his bubble to himself.”
“Oh wow, this is huge,” said one of them, patting the other on the back.
The men in white shook hands enthusiastically.
“Well, we’re not sure yet,” said one of them, the taller one. He was wearing some sort of device on his face that made his eyes slightly magnified, like some sort of strange jungle bug. “Do you think he can understand us? That’s the real question. I mean, it goes both ways. It doesn’t really count if only we can tell what he’s saying, ‘cause then maybe something happened to us and-”
“Oh wow, you’re absolutely rambling,” said the other man. “Has anyone ever told you that you ramble when you’re-”
“When I’m what? On the verge of a life-changing scientific breakthrough? Don’t act like I’m crazy. I think we’re a good ways past that at this point.”
“You’re crazy. Of course he understands us.”
“Right? I don’t know, do his pupils look a little dilated to you? Maybe it’s just the light in here.”
Percy looked down at his arms, and without giving it much thought, undid the straps that held him in place. For some reason it suddenly seemed clear to him how to release himself.
“You guys really need to settle down,” said Percy. “Of course I can understand you. Loud and clear. Why wouldn’t I be able to-?”
His voice trailed off as he realized what he was saying.
He hadn’t been able to understand them before. They were people, after all. He wasn’t supposed to be able to understand them.
But he could now. As easy as if they were speaking his own language. In fact, that was the first instinct he had had, perhaps without even realizing it. How else would he be able to understand them? But that idea seemed even sillier now that he gave it a second thought. Of course they weren’t speaking Animal Speak. They were men, and men didn’t suddenly develop the ability to-
And yet…he could understand them. He, Percy, had suddenly developed the ability to understand them.
“What did you do to me?!?” he asked.
“Do you think we should have restrained him further-?”
“No, it’s fine, it’s-”
“What did you do to me?” asked Percy. “And why are you ignoring me when I’m right here in front of you?!?”
He stood up and looked around him, up at the humming machine that he had been strapped to. It was some mass of wires and dials, all connected to some headset that had been strapped to his forehead. Being an ape, and not a scientist, Percy wasn’t entirely sure what to make of it, even with his suddenly increased intellectual capacity. But he knew, somehow, that this thing was responsible for his condition.
“WHAT DID YOU DO TO ME?” asked Percy. He let out a shriek and beat at his chest, starting to get agitated.
“Uh oh,” said the shorter man, taking a step back. “He looks like he’s going to get aggressive. We should have double checked the restraints before-”
“How about a snack?!?” said the man in glasses.
Percy paused immediately.
They nodded, enthusiastically.
“Go on,” said Percy. “You have my attention.”