AATAFOVS / Mojave Blues

Season 2, Episode 11. Preceded by Friday Lite Brites, followed by The Days Of Knight.

The Vamp Benders pop out of a Storygate, landing in the middle of the Mojave Desert. The professor's message...is...still...fresh...
Nerdly: What was the message?
Avatar: I don't know, I forgot. Something about the Mojave.
Nerdly: The Mojave Desert? Is that where we are?
Avatar: That's where I opened the Storygate to.
Sue: The storygate didn't open itself the way it does when we know exactly where we're going? Isn't that odd?
Avatar: It never occurred to me... I just typed in "Mojave Desert." Seemed right...
Sue: Give me that, we're going back until we remember what the message was. Right now.
Avatar (surprised): But... we never do that...we only return when...
Sue: Give.

Avatar tosses Sue the remote. Time slows as it arcs towrds the ground just short of Sue's reach, and hits the sand. Benders stare in horror for several seconds, before Avatar picks the remote up again. He dusts it off.

Avatar: No problem, see? He presses the On button. (Nothing happens, and we see for the first time that the digital screen is off).

Avatar becomes obsessed with fixing the storygate remote, which must have gotten sand inside the circuitry. He fashions first a micro-filament brush from a strand of dry grass, followed by a vacuum cleaner made from some roots and a bone. Neither helps.

At this point, the others realize that they are stranded in the Mojave desert without any food or water. Cleo turns down a dead mouse caught by Fluffykins in snake-form, and begin to trek across the dry, empty (well, except for all the thorny shrubs) desert in search of civilization.
After an advertisement for a tanning salon, we are back to find that several hours in the desert has already made the gang look as if they spent that time in the advertised business. Everyone is complaining about something that they do not have, i.e. food, water, shelter, beer (Solo), or a skirt that doesn't get torn on the bushes they pass by (Cleo). Fluffykins remains a snake, and seems to be the only...person? Mammal? Reptile?...the only one enjoying the experience at all.

After about five minutes of walking (and Avatar's invention of a sand-annihilating nanobot that he releases into the remote, without effect), the group comes upon a small cluster of buildings dug into the ground, surrounded by cacti. The residents (Local tribes people, they decide) are quite generous, offering the Benders water from their natural well. The Benders try to find out more about the surrounding lands, but there's a problem: Unlike almost everyone else they ever met, the natives do not speak English! Solo becomes convinced that there is a hallucinogenic ritual drink hidden somewhere nearby, and begins searching the compound. The others do the same, but looking for something that might give them a clue as to their mission.

Eventually, Solo drinks every liquid in the area, and asks a village elder for drugs (which inconveniently sounds like a deadly insult in the native's language.). The Benders find themselves chased by a small crowd of angry desert people, at the bottom of a tall mesa.

Nerdly: Can't we just try to apologize?
Avatar: When have we ever done that?

They climb to the top (nobody noticing that the cat-snake has grown wings), where it is painfully dry, and gets dryer still as they get closer to an altar in the middle. On it, there is a clay goblet emitting a feeling of thirst and agony.

Cleo: So...thirsty...
Nerdly: This looks like a Dark Altar, like the ones near the lair...of that...Thing in the Dark Citadel... Avatar, toss me that goblet.

Avatar does so, and once again messes up the shot. The goblet shatters on the ground, and suddenly the air becomes more tolerable.

Nerdly: Well, looks like it's wrecked. It was probably evil, though, sitting there on that altar. We've probably done this place a favor...(it starts to rain)...whatever the mission was.

At this point, Avatar starts slapping himself on the forehead, and does so for a full fifteen seconds. He then opens up the back of the remote, takes the battery out, and puts it back in. The storygate opens without a hitch.

Avatar: Should have remembered: I sand- and water-proofed this thing weeks ago. The battery must have got bumped when the remote hit the ground. It just goes to show: We leave when we're done, and no sooner.

The Veebs return home, too exhausted to argue.

Cut to the Dark Citadel, where a meeting of the Dark Council is in session. A new shadowy figure stands in the center.

Dark Presence: They destroyed the Cup of Thirst! By accident, judging by the remains! And you didn't even know about their designs on the Dark Relic until the Mojave Desert started to flower! Joe is displeased at this incompetence, and the loss of the Desert-Maker. He expects you to act soon against the Fellowship, before he takes matters into his own hands. He has given a few of you the ability to follow any storygate they create. You know who you are. Do Not. Fail. Joe!

Fans were surprised at the increased involvement of individual members of the group, and shallow attempts at character development by the writer's. There were several complaints about the lack of an antagonist, and demands for more action involving Fluffykins.