A/N: This is the first time I've written a story well planned out beforehand so I should get this done in a fair amount of time for once; this'll be practice for my Sonic United remake. Notice that each segment will be named for a musical piece used in the SpongeBob SquarePants series.
I hereby dedicate this fanfic to my cat Smokey (1998 – 2012) whom I hope to see again someday.
Prologue: The Nightmare Begins
"Are we there yet?"
"…Actually, we are, Plankton."
"What?" The tiny green organism gazed around at the starry sky. "I don't see the Chum Bucket. You said it was flying!"
The computer monitor on which Plankton was standing sighed exasperatedly. "I also said that it was invisible. Hold on a nanosecond."
From out of nowhere, two double doors inwardly swung open, revealing what looked like a building interior floating in midair. This startled Plankton so much that he almost jumped into the overhead whirling helicopter blades that were attached to Karen's top.
Once Plankton got over the shock of the situation, his eye shone with a tear. "Wow! It's beautiful! It's almost like it was never demolished!"
The doors closed behind Plankton and Karen as they entered. The former gazed around gleefully at the familiar, metallically shiny floor, walls and ceiling of the cafeteria; the latter sprouted a four-wheeled pedestal on her bottom and landed, retracting the helicopter blades on her top. Another set of doors at the end of the restaurant opened. Wheeling through these, Karen and Plankton found themselves in the just-as-shiny laboratory.
Plankton sighed blissfully. "Bucket sweet bucket at last…"
"Now do you see why it took me so long to break you out of that prison? This place needed a good tidying-up."
Instantaneously, the plankter's mood changed. His smile turned upside-down as he leaped off of Karen and landed on the squeaky-clean floor, growling, "And I wouldn't have ended up there to begin with if it hadn't been for that stupid kid!"
An image of eyes being rolled briefly appeared on Karen's little screen before she plugged herself in and uploaded to a much bigger monitor set in the wall.
"Thanks to Plan Z, I had successfully framed Krabs for grand theft crown, stolen the Krabby Patty secret formula and enslaved almost everyone in Bikini Bottom. But then SpongeBob had to go and save the day; bringing Neptune's crown back, freeing my slaves and getting me sent to the Institution for the Criminally Tiny!"
Plankton screamed in frustration, stomping about and waving his fists around. "How in the world did he do it? That's what I want to know!"
He kicked a nearby bookcase.
Somehow this action was enough to dislodge a heavy, leather-bound, green book on the top shelf, sending it tumbling down onto the unfortunate male in an open position.
Karen tutted. "And I had swept that floor right before I left to free you."
Her husband didn't respond.
As Karen stuck a mechanical arm out of the wall and made to grab the tome (which was entitled, '20,000 Legends Under The Sea'), Plankton's voice was finally heard from beneath it. "Wait a minute, what's this?"
"What's what?" asked Karen as she lifted the book off of the floor, revealing her squashed sweetheart.
He hurriedly puffed himself back up and desperately shouted, "Don't close that book, Karen; look at it, look!"
Carefully setting it down on a metal table so that it stayed on the same pages that had flattened Plankton and faced her screen, Karen looked at the volume and felt her semiconductors surge in surprise.
There, printed on the open pages, were illustrations of people in outfits remarkably similar to the one SpongeBob SquarePants wore when he freed Plankton's slaves: capes, conical hats and strange boots. The patterns on their clothing, the colours and the object they were wielding were all different though. Still, the likeness to SpongeBob's was enough to give Karen and Plankton (who had hopped up onto the table) pause.
"How can this be?" wondered Plankton aloud in astonishment as he walked over the yellowed pages and stared at the pictures. "How can…?"
Then he saw the section's title. "…'Power of the Pure Heart'?"
He began reading. "'Since time immemorial, there have been many kinds of powers…but none are as wondrous or miraculous as the power utilized by those who are pure of heart. When a pure-hearted individual has an epiphany or finds themselves and their loved ones in grave danger, they may unlock the Power of the Pure Heart, gaining many beneficial abilities that enable the utilizers to defend those they care about.
'The abilities that wielders can use vary from each person to the next but they generally include: flight, beams of energy that can destroy nearly anything but living beings and shielding. More abilities tend to be developed over time.
'Throughout history, people with the Power of the Pure Heart have safeguarded the general populace from all kinds of threats, from destructive monsters to would-be world conquerors. In short, to be a friend to a pure-hearted person who has the power is to be guaranteed safety from harm while to be a foe is to be guaranteed failure to harm.'"
Plankton was trembling when he stopped reading and looked at his wife. "Karen, do you know what this means?"
"That any and all future schemes of world domination are doomed to failure?"
"The exact opposite, my dear," answered Plankton as he rubbed his hands excitedly. "All I have to do is find some way to control that heroic boob and I'll have power beyond my wildest dreams! Hmm, should I use a tougher bucket helmet? Maybe some mind control shampoo? Oh, wait; he doesn't have hair, scratch that. Implant something directly in his brain…?"
Karen, who had been reading the rest of the article, sighed in vexation and said, "Once again, my husband, you fail to read the fine print."
"What does that mean?"
The computer pointed to a specific spot on the pages. "If you had read the rest of this, you would have also found out that you aren't the first to come up with that old idea. Some villains have tried brainwashing users of the Power of the Pure Heart but, whenever they did, the power was taken away until the users were free from control. Nobody knows for sure how; apparently, it's some sort of defense mechanism in their brain and heart. And before you think up that idea, stealing the power won't work either as it only belongs to, well, pure-hearted people. And you're anything but pure of heart."
"Curses!" yelled Plankton angrily. "What good is a power like that if it can be exploited only by goody-two-shoes like SpongeBob? It's bad enough I have to deal with him whenever I do evil but with that new power, he'll stop me easily unless I get rid of him somehow!"
"Actually, I don't think SpongeBob knows he has it."
Plankton blinked in surprise and turned to face Karen. "Huh?"
"SpongeBob hasn't used the Power of the Pure Heart at all since your incarceration," explained the computer W.I.F.E. "I don't think he or any of his friends know what it is or that he very likely still possesses it. In fact, according to this book, the Power of the Pure Heart hasn't been used in centuries. Practically everyone in this hi-tech day and age has forgotten about this…magic."
"…hi-tech…" whispered Plankton blankly.
Now, while it was true that Sheldon J. Plankton often didn't think of the best schemes – heck, a couple of times, he hadn't thought a plan all the way through simply because he didn't think he'd get so far – once in a while, he would strike gold in the plot department.
And, in this case, he had struck platinum.
A devious grin spread across the whole of the invertebrate's tiny head as he reflected on what he had just come up with. "Karen… I have an idea."
"Is it a good one?" enquired Karen sardonically.
"'Good'?" Plankton repeated with a laugh. "This plan is the best! Why, it's even better than Plan Z! I'll call it… 'Plan Alpha Beta', after the two Greek letters that form the English word 'alphabet'!"
That night, a lot of folks who were still awake were rather puzzled to hear what sounded like evil laughter followed by coughing and spluttering coming from somewhere above their heads.
N. Harmonik presents:
Power of the Pure Heart