What "Gro"s Around Comes Around is the second episode of the first series of The Zany Adventures of Ho-Ip, written by The Boy Who Cried Godzilla . It showcases the first meeting of Ho-Ip and the Assassins.
After being abandoned in the forests, Ho-Ip is found by a trio of assassins who take pity on him.
Through the trees he knew could see the light let out by his lamp. He let out one chirp, two came back: they were ready to go. He hopped silently through the treetops. If he didn’t know better, he wouldn’t have known he was there. The radar helmet he had stolen allowed him to know what he wouldn’t have otherwise known about the world around him: the things he could not sense. But what he knew now was that there was no point in trying to row away. The tricky passages of the mangrove swamps had protected him for as long as they could, but it was time to pay the piper. He switched off the helmet and threw it overboard. Better not to know when his time came. He then sat back, closed his eyes, and never felt a thing. The boat then seemed to sink silently into the water, leaving only a ripple to prove that anything had been there at all.
The assassin in the tree spat the bit of brain from his mouth and watched as it hit the murky swamp water and sank out of sight. It took a bit of time for his partners to surface. They must be taking time with their masterpiece. Some bubbles appeared and the two heads popped out of the water.
“All clear?”, asked the falcon-like Ohpinian to his companions in the water. “All clear.” answered the dolphin. “Alright.” replied the falcon, “See you two later.”
The Ohpinians then parted ways. They were each headed to the same destination, but never went the same way. Not for fear of being followed, but rather because they were ordered to do so. They knew precious little about one another, as they had been told it was better not to get attached to one another in case of workplace tragedy. Gro-Che, the falcon, had never had a problem with this practice. It was all he’d known. He made his way back through the treetops, with one goal in his mind. One objective at a time. Get the job done, and his job at this point was to return to the Order and receive the next one. Everything was clean and clinical to the three assassins, and none took any notice as they had been conditioned to be just so since their birth, which had not been very long ago. Despite their animalian appendages, the group was far too young to have developed them naturally. At their age, the most variation seen in Ohpinians was in their color. They were mutants, harvested from DNA deemed ideal for the program based on records taken by the Order, and forced together in test tubes with DNA from animals on distant planets harvested by early Ohpinian space probes in order to resemble characters from various mythologies, Ohpinian and Alien. Gro-Che was told that he was meant to represent something called Horus, and as such it was necessary to remove his right eye. He never quite followed their train of thought, but, as he had been taught, he didn’t need to.
They all slept well that night, but were rather surprised to see that the very next morning they already had another assignment. Ho-Ip had wandered through the wilderness the entire night. Predatory animals left him alone because they could not discern if he was food or a threat. Some simply took pity. He took in a rattling breath and caught scent of something. He slowly shifted his weight in the proper direction and found himself hobbling to it. He found the source to be a large cannister that was laying on its side. Ho-Ip gorged his screaming belly on the feast laid out therein.
“Do-Ban! Do-Ban wake up! There’s something outside!” Do-Zed shook her brother awake. “Go back to bed, Zedo.” he groaned, “It’s just the wind.” “Does this look like wind to you?” she held up a circular device with a screen on it that showed a video recording on some strange animal eating their garbage. Do-Ban started with surprise. “What is that thing?” “Keep it down Banzo! Mum and Dad’ll hear you! And if I knew what it was, why would I describe it as ‘something’?” “Why do we need to keep this a secret from Mum and Dad exactly?” asked Do-Ban, rubbing his eyes and eying his sister exasperatedly.
Their quarrel was interrupted by the clattering of their garbage receptacles outside. They crept down the stairs and out through the kitchen door. Do-Zed flashed her camera’s flashlight at the bins.
“What… is it? Some kind of...animal?” Asked Do-Ban in utter disbelief, as Ho-Ip turned himself around to see the interlopers. “I think it’s… a… a kid!” “No way! Hey, hey kid! What’s your name?”
Ho-Ip stared blankly back with refuse dribbling down the sides of his stuffed mouth.
“It’s disgusting!” exclaimed Do-Ban in quiet disbelief. He threw a small rock at it, but it didn’t seem to register the pain. “Get away! Run!”, he cried, but the monstrosity sat still, occasionally chewing the garbage in its mouth. Just then the flashlight lens shattered as Do-Zed held it toward Ho-Ip. They rushed inside to shelter from the horrid beast, but when they saw it the next morning, there was no evidence to support any sort of disruption.
What happened was that Ko-Tok the dolphin member of Gro-Che’s team had sent a micro-dart into the light source so that they could work in private. They had only been given the briefest description of their target. He was a mutant like them, but was not a part of The Order. Ko-Tok thought this strange because he had been under the impression that he and his colleagues Ta-Kon and Gro-Che were the only mutants in the world, as they had been spliced by The Order, or rather, that was his guess at their origins. He was intrigued by the prospect of a new face, but a target was a target. Now that the dart had hit home his colleagues would be working their magic, and they’d be back home and in bed. Something was wrong. Ko-Tok hadn’t given the signal. Ta-Kon whistled out the agreed call to signify a query as to if everyone was in their places, but he just heard Ta-Kon say “Come on out, Ko-Tok. You’re gonna want to have a look at this.”. This was heavily out of the ordinary.
“Umm. what’s going on?”, asked the heavily bewildered Ta-Kon. “Just look at this thing!” laughed Gro-Che.
As Ta-Kon approached he saw the “thing” in question: It looked like a Mutant, an Ohpinian and some kind of livestock… a cow maybe? But it was nothing like them. It’s eyes of two different sizes had a certain cloudy quality, and it was eating… garbage. By the looks of it not even fruit rinds or peels, but actual disposable cans and containers. Ta-Kon couldn’t help but crack a smile. “This thing is hilarious!” laughed Ko-Tok. “What’s your name, little fella?”, asked Ta-Kon
Ho-Ip just continued to chew. By that time he had finished the contents of the bin, and was beginning to vomit it back up.
Gro-Che was disgusted, but also highly amused. “How is this a threat to The Order? It doesn’t even understand what food is! Sorry little guy, there’s no can of macronutrient pellets out here!”, he chided, turning a sympathetic head to the miniscule goat-thing.
His colleagues laughed. This was really the first time they’d shared an experience like this. It was odd for them, but not awkward. It felt natural to find humor in a situation. Ko-Tok glanced around.
“I call for a vote”, he said with sudden seriousness, “What’s say we relocate lil’ fella here, to somewhere The Order won’t find him.” Ta-Kon looked skeptical, “Is there anywhere The Order won’t find him? I understand he’s harmless, but if The Order wants him gone…” he trailed off with an obvious implication of his next words. “No. There is nowhere they couldn’t find him, but we can put him somewhere they wouldn’t find him. They can see us everywhere, but there are some places they wouldn’t look.” chimed Gro-Che.
Ta-Kon, while he did find their new friend hilarious, was hesitant to question the will of The Order. The Order, was just that: order. The only order any of them had ever known. They had never failed a mission before, but in those they had been given a detailed briefing of who their target was, what they had done, and how they had betrayed The Order in doing it. They were given the answers, so they asked no questions. This one however, came as soon as they had returned from their last mission, and had been told that their target was a mutant, and would inspire sympathy, but he was not like them and needed to be eliminated.
“They told us it would inspire sympathy”, Ta-Kon reminded them quietly, “Maybe this is what they warned us about.” “They didn’t warn us about anything, and based on how little they told us I think that at this point we know more about this thing than The Order does.”, Replied Ko-Tok matter-of-factly. “True, but Ta-Kon is right. They told us it would inspire sympathy, but it’s a threat to The Order, so I think we should do what we came for” said Gro-Che, looking down at the weird thing trapped between the three of them. “Well, if you were to get technical, they warned us that we might try to spare it because it would inspire sympathy as a fellow mutant, and I for one, just think it’s ludicrous to set up a hit on an animal. Agreed?”, interjected Ta-Kon, effectively creating an ultimatum. A brief silence ensued before Ko-Tok replied with “Agreed. We just don’t think it’s worth the resources.”
Gro-Che’s head was spinning. He had never really thought critically like this before, or rather when he had he hadn’t been thinking about betraying The Order. But it really wasn’t a betrayal. They had been given specific circumstances under which to eliminate the target, but those were not met in that he was not inspiring sympathy for the reasons they claimed he would. It made perfect sense to Gro-Che. He had always done what The Order had asked. No more, no less, “Agreed.”
They picked up the trash can and covered Ho-Ip with it. He never struggled, but did run into the sides a few times and they took him to a range of forested mountains. They found him a nice cave, but couldn’t quite bring themselves to leave him behind on his first night of freedom. The Order wouldn’t miss them, thought Gro-Che. They could explain themselves in the morning. As he slipped off into the dreamscape, Gro-Che thought of how nice it had been to talk with his teammates today. Perhaps they could do it again sometime. Amidst these thoughts a multi-colored mist seemed to envelop him as if a great crystal were refracting light into dense fog. Through it all, an Ohpinian like none he had ever seen came forth. His eyes were white and pupil-less, his skin was a sickly green that contrasted oddly against his defined muscles. He seemed to have cloven hooves on the ends of his front legs, but he couldn’t quite see through the fog. Without moving his lips, the odd new presence asked him “What manner of man are you, with a heart so kind in such a line of work?” Gro-Che awoke in a thick sweat. The newcomer was nowhere to be seen. Their little friend had fallen backwards and seemed to be sleeping though one of his eyes looked like it would soon dry out as it had been left open all night. Gro-Che took the liberty of closing for him before waking his teammates and leaving together.
“You What?” inquired the inquisitor angrily. “We deemed that it was not a threat to The Order, and that sparing it was not in conflict with our orders, and thus let it go.” replied Ko-Tok “Oh really? Tell me, boy, where in the briefing did it tell you that that was an option?” “Well, nowhere sir, we simply deemed it beneficial to The Order to-” “And when did it become accustomed for pawns such as yourself to determine the divine will of”
The Inquisitor was interrupted by a dragon-like Ohpinian with sagging bluish skin, “And when did it become accustomed for pawns such as yourself to presume the divine will of The Order?” “Gr-Grandmaster!” he stuttered, getting to his feet. “Leave us inquisitor, I wish to speak with Ko-Tok by myself.”
Ko-Tok supposed that at one point in his long life, the wizened Grand Master must have been horribly intimidating, and to some extent he still was, but right now he was exhibiting a grandfatherly quality that made Ko-Tok feel secure, or rather it would have if he was not being interrogation and his life could be on the line.
“So tell me about the mutant you found.”