Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Flint & Steve's Amazing Transit for Penguins by Ian

Below is a creative writing piece that Ian has been working on for a few weeks. Ian enjoyed writing the story so much that he has promised to produce another Flint and Steve adventure in the near future. Stay tuned.....

Flint the inventor and Steve the monkey are best friends. They live on Chew and Swallow, a small island off the coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. Steve helps Flint with his inventions. He is an 18-inch tall monkey. He is brown and his most prized possession is his monkey thought translator, which was invented by Flint. Steve’s favorite food is gummy bears. He loves helping Flint with his inventions.

Flint is an inventor. Steve is Flint's best friend and trusting colleague. He likes to tinker in his garage and come up with machines he thinks will be useful to people. His past inventions include the Flesimdepher, a portable food machine that runs on water and solar power. Flint’s favorite food is cheeseburgers.

In this story, Steve and Flint are are working on their newest invention, a submarine which takes penguins hunting and protects them from predators such as leopard seals….

Flint started work on the Amazing Transport for Penguins or ATP after watching a documentary about penguins in the Antarctic and how difficult it is for them to get food. He learned that penguins sometimes have to walk many miles to get to the ocean in search of fish or krill. Even then they are often threatened by leopard seals, which patrol the shorelines and dine on penguins whenever they can.

Flint devised the ATP to help penguins by taking them to their feeding grounds in the comfort and safety of a temperature-controlled compartment. Depending upon the size of the penguin, the Transport can carry up to 300 penguins to the water on built-in legs. At the push of a button, the sub immediately enters the water. It has four 250 horsepower engines and can go to a depth of twenty meters or 66 feet. It has a special room for the penguins that is set at the same temperature and water pressure as outside. It is 40 feet long and 15 feet wide. It took 3 years to finish and it is now finally ready for testing.

Steve was very excited. You could tell because he kept jumping up and down saying, “EXCITED! EXCITED!” They had finally finished the invention. It had taken 3 years and many sleepless nights but it was finally done!!!

Not wanting to waste another minute in the lab, that night, Flint and Steve packed up their bags. The next morning, they were heading to Antarctica to test the invention. They traveled in Flint’s flying car, the FFC, which he had built 4 years before. The ATP was too big to travel in the car so they sent it separately by sea. Even though they were traveling to Antarctica during the summer months, Flint and Steve knew it would be cold and windy so they packed the FFC with all sorts of coats, hats and other warm clothing.

The flight was smooth and uneventful. Flint and Steve watched Finding Nemo five times until they fell asleep -- well, at least Steve fell asleep as Flint needed to stay awake to drive. After fifteen hours, they landed smoothly on the ice of the new continent. The weather was sunny but the temperature was very cold, about twenty degrees below zero Farenheit. Flint and Steve stayed warm by bundling up in warm clothes and drinking hot tea with lots of sugar in it.

The icebreaker carrying the Amazing Penguin Transporter was scheduled to arrive an hour later. So Steve and Flint went to check in at the Motel 8, the place where they were staying at McMurdo Research Station. They unpacked in the warmth of their room and played games until the ATP arrived.

Word finally came that workers had unloaded the ATP off the icebreaker. Flint and Steve retrieved the sub and put it in storage in the hotel parking lot so they could prepare for the next morning’s activities. The plan was to take the ATP out on the ice in search of a colony of chinstrap penguins. At about a foot and a half tall, chinstraps would be the perfect size for the vehicle. Flint and Steve were hoping to somehow convince some of the penguins to climb aboard and give the ATP a try. Would it help them get fish and protect them from the dreaded leopard seal? They’d come all this way to find out.

That night, Flint and Steve went to the McMurdo Station Burger King. Flint got a triple cheeseburger. Steve went to the station’s 7-11 and bought ice cream and some gummy bears for the next day’s journey.

The next morning, Flint and Steve woke up early. They got out the sub and went looking for the penguins. The first colony they found was a group of fairy penguins. They were too small. Then they happened upon a colony of emperor penguins, but they were too big. The inventor and his pal began to worry that they wouldn’t find their target species.

Just as they were about to call it a day and go back to the hotel, they spotted one more colony off in the distance. As they got closer, they saw it was a large colony of chinstrap penguins. They appeared to be headed to the ocean, perhaps to catch some fish. Their luck had changed.

Flint and Steve emerged from the sub and looked around. How were they going to communicate with these penguins that they were hoping to help? Then a voice from behind them said, “Good evening, strangers!”

They whirled around and saw a chinstrap looking right at them! That is how Flint and Steve came to know Bop.

Bop is about the same size as Steve, eighteen inches or so. He is a chinstrap penguin and his favorite food is sardines. Flint and Steve were so taken aback by Bop’s sudden utterance that they were speechless for a few seconds. Flint then asked, “Was that you talking?”

“Yes indeed, it was me talking,” answered Bop.

“What is your name?”


“Hello, Bop. I am Flint and this is my monkey friend, Steve. We are inventors.”

“INVENTORS! INVENTORS!” Steve butted in.

Flint glared at Steve. “Ahem!” he said. Steve looked down at the ice and decided not to say anything more.

“Sorry for Steve’s rude interruption,” said Flint.

“Not a problem,” said Bop.

“How did you learn to speak English, Bop?” continued Flint.

“I had a tutor. He was a scientist studying penguins. He wanted to try and raise a penguin chick to communicate with humans. I worked with him until I was three and I was his best student. Unfortunately, the money ran out on his grant so he had to go home without finishing his research.”

“Oh, that’s too bad,” said Flint.

Then Flint had an idea.

“Well Bop,” he said, “How would you like to test out an invention we made just for penguins?”

“Ohhh!! I would love to! What is it designed to do?” said Bop.

“This is Flint & Steve’s Amazing Transport for Penguins. We call it the ATP for short. I designed it to help penguins such as yourself get food and protection from predators such as the leopard seal. Steve and I finished work on it a few days ago and I am anxious to see if it works.”

“Wow, that’s cool!” said Bop. “I can’t wait to try it.”

“Okay. We’ll bring you into the special Penguin Room,” said Flint, as he directed Bop to the rear of the submarine. The chamber was designed just for penguins, with little penguin seats, a holding tank for swimming and storing the day’s catch and little hills the penguins could slide down if they got bored. Flint and Steve had looked at pictures of the Antarctic and painted the walls to look like those areas.

Bop loved the room. He thought it was very realistic, a smaller version of the Antarctic tundra that he and his colony mates called home. He climbed in and made himself comfortable.

Once Bop was settled into the sub, the three testers started moving towards the ocean. It took 5 hours to get there on the sturdy legs of the sub, which were designed to climb the ice chunks with ease. Steve soon fell fast asleep in the bedroom. Bop was having fun sliding down into the swim tank in the penguin room. Once at the water, Flint pressed a blue button and the over land legs disappeared and the sub lurched into the ocean.

When they got down to 18 meters, Flint and Steve let Bop out of the penguin room. The room was designed to mimic the surrounding water pressure with an attached watertight compartment that the occupants could climb into, seal off and then exit into the water. The inventors had installed an audio-visual communications system so they could know when to open and close the doors. With a little direction from the cockpit, Bop slid into the water in search of food. Bop fished for an hour, returning to the watertight compartment from time to time to get a breath of fresh air.

After Bop had eaten his fill of fish and krill, he climbed back aboard the ATP and re-entered the penguin room. Steve and Flint drove the sub back up to the surface and headed back to the colony. Bop applauded the invention. The ATP allowed him to fish at great depths, taking advantage of the large numbers of small fish that resided there. Not having to return to the surface for air meant that he was able to avoid run ins with the dreaded leopard seal, which hangs out on the surface. In short, Bop gave the invention a five-star rating.

Back at the colony, the three friends said their goodbyes. Steve and Flint were just about to leave when Bop said, “Will you come see me tomorrow? I will get more of my friends to test your sub. In fact, if it is as big a success as I think it will be, perhaps you could you come every other day so we can use it on a regular basis?”

“Definitely Bop. See you tomorrow,” said Flint.


And with that, Flint and Steve got in the sub and went back to their hotel.

The next morning Flint and Steve had breakfast of another triple stack cheeseburger for Flint and gummy bears for Steve. They climbed back into their tundra suits and went out to the sub. When they got to Bop’s colony, they were shocked because the whole colony was out waiting with Bop. Apparently, Bop had told his friends that the day before he had gone fishing. It had taken just 11 hours and he did not see one leopard seal. It usually took the colony 5 days of travel just to get to the ocean to fish. Once there, they often suffered a lot of losses from leopard seals and whales. Bop’s fishing trip was thus nothing short of amazing.

The colony members had asked Bop how he had achieved this and he told them about Flint and Steve. He related how the sub could take them to the ocean very fast in great comfort. It could dive very deep and let you out to fish far away from where most leopard seals hang out. It would then return you home when you had eaten your fill. It was very fun, Bop said.

After such a great description, Bop’s colony mates wanted to give the ATP a try for themselves. With Bop as translator, Flint and Steve could understand what the penguins were saying and could get even more feedback about the device and any suggested improvements. So, in groups of 4 or 5 at a time, most of the colony went into the penguin room. With the added weight of 300 penguins, it took more fuel and more time to get to the ocean. Once they got there, Flint once again pressed the blue button and slipped below the waves. All the penguins were let out and went hunting. They had a lot of fun that day, eating their fill of fish and avoiding predators. They loved the pool and slides in the penguin room. It was like a portable arcade that took them to and from the ocean.

That night, Flint and Steve decided to give the sub to Bop and his colony. They spent the rest of the evening preparing to hand it over. They shut off the heaters to make all the sub’s compartments the same temperature as outside so the penguins could have run of the entire ship. Remembering that Bop also knew how to read, Flint and Steve wrote a manual explaining how the sub worked and how to use all the special tools on board.

After a long night of work, the friends headed back out for the colony first thing the next morning. To get there they took Flint’s Flying Car, which had been specially equipped with skis and a tow package. Towing the sub behind them, they drove over the tundra.

Bop and his friends were thrilled to have the sub to call their own. To thank the inventors for all their hard work, they hosted a huge party for Flint and Steve, using some of the previous day’s catch for food. Unfortunately, neither Flint nor Steve liked fish but they had brought a large supply of cheeseburgers and gummy bears to share.

After a fun party, it was time to go home. Flint and his monkey friend said goodbye to Bop and his friends for the last time and went home. They packed their bags and bade goodbye to the residents of McMurdo Research Station and flew for 24 hours until they landed back on Chew & Swallow.

Flint and Steve would never forget the adventures they had with Bop and the penguins. Bop would never forget the inventor and his buddy that came to visit and help his colony. Flint and Steve returned only once to retrofit the sub with a highly efficient motor that ran on a krill-based fuel. With an inexhaustible fuel source, the sub continued to work for years, keeping the penguins well fed, entertained and safe from harm.

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