The laughter could be heard throughout the station as Cooper and Andy were walking down the hallway of Farpoint.
"What the heck was that?" Cooper said, "You did hear that right?"
"Yeah, it was kind of jovial, and sadistic, all at the same time. I wonder who was laughing?" Andy replied.
"And what was so friggin funny?" Cooper asked quizzically.
As they walked through the slowly gathering crowd of people heading the same direction that they were Cooper decided to ask another person a question, "Did you hear it too?"
"Didn't we all.", was the only thing the trooper could say in return as he continued to walk towards the source of the strange laughter.
Finally Cooper figured out where they were heading, "It's the auditorium." Cooper said to Andy.
"Yeah, I bet we are very close to figuring out what that noise is, or was."
The crowd began to thicken, the halls seemed jammed with people, until finally Cooper broke through and saw it, or them, standing in the middle of the auditorium.
"Cool, clowns are fun." Cooper said.
"Clowns?" Andy asked, "What is a clown?"
Cooper answered, "A clown is a kind of humorous street performer. An earth staple at Birthday parties along with cake and spankings."
Andy's ears perked up at the last word, "Spankings?"
"Don't get any ideas, no matter what you do, Melki will not allow you on her lap or over her knee." Cooper said with a sly grin on his face.
Slowly, the hundreds of staff, support staff, and soldiers and administrators and all others were seated. The lights went low and the act was about to begin.
First, a clown came tumbling down the aisle, and ended up on the elevated stage juggling oranges. Then he swapped out the oranges with water balloons which rained down on the head of Admiral Fel, with much laughter and applause from the gallery.
A man Cooper knew to be Dorn Velvok was forced onto the stage by two men from his Squad when a volunteer was needed for the next act. He stood, as directed, in the middle of the stage as a hanky was removed from the clown's sleeve, a process that took over five minutes to complete. The hanky was slowly tied around Dorn's eyes. To test his field of vision the clowns threw a pie at him, which he didn't see. The effect was another mass laughter from the crowd as a crusty Dorn tried in vain to lick the pie off of his face.
Nick was soaking wet and looked to Viper and Mike Burn and asked, "Alright, who hired these guys?"
They both looked back at him, and then at each other, Viper spoke first "I thought you did," he said.
Mike Burn spoke next, "Yeah, it wasn't me so I assumed it was you."
"Well if we didn't arrange the show, or approve it where did these things come from?"
Cooper looked as the clown in the middle of the stage, about a meter away from Dorn began acting like it was having a convulsion, suddenly it stopped shaking and walked towards Dorn, who could see nothing. The clown faced the audience and smiled, showing razor sharp teeth, the crowd was shocked into silence and could do nothing when the clown jumped on Dorn and began eating his face; his screams of agonizing pain made even more ghastly as two more clowns jumped on him and began eating. The scream was all it took for everyone to be up and out of their seats heading for the doors as more than thirty clowns descended on the helpless, unarmed members of Rogue Squadron.
One, wearing a green afro wig and a blue nose took Nick out at the leg, and started eating there. Where he would stop no one dared watch.
Several members of the infantry had already been rewarded for their brave action of taking the clowns on in hand to hand or hand to vibroblade combat by being slowly eaten alive.
Cooper and Andy managed to get out the door and made a break at full sprint towards the nearest weapons locker.
"What just happened?" Andy asked
"I guess they'll let just about anyone into clown college these days." Cooper said, trying to relax some stress. It didn't work and he felt as if his hands would shake the world off of its axis.
"We need to get back in there and rescue anyone still alive. They…" Andy's voice was covered by the sound of screaming as someone from Wraith Squadron was hit full on in the back by what seemed to be an acid filled pie. Cooper and Andy watched in horror as the pilot fell to his knees, a look of pained resignation on his face then his chest dissolved away, allowing Cooper to see the clown who was responsible about four meters behind him, smiling.
As the man's body slumped forward, Cooper saw the clown reach into one of dozens of pockets and pull out what seemed to be a balloon.
"What's he doing?" Andy asked.
"We need to get out of this hallway." Cooper urged, and they turned and began to run, but Andy lost his footing on the chestless carcass and hit the floor. Cooper tried to slow the clown with blaster shots as it calmly walked their direction, blowing up the balloon until it was the size of a soccer ball. He then tied it off and threw it down the hallway, it landed a meter from Cooper and a now standing Andy. The force of the explosion propelled them at a high velocity towards the opposite wall, and Cooper felt several teeth crumble into shards.
Dazed, both men stood up and began to run. Cooper turned to check on their escape, he noted that the clown had removed its nose and threw it towards them. Cooper, not thinking, caught it in his hand and screamed in pain as it started to eat away the flesh of his hand. He threw it back at the clown and missed.
As they ran towards anything not covered in makeup, they heard the alarm sound and the order give to evacuate Farpoint.
"It can't be going that bad can it?" Cooper said out loud, already breathless from pain and running.
"Sounds bad." was all Andy could say.
The chase led them to one of the hangars. Cooper and Andy boarded a shuttle, hurriedly getting the ship powered on and launched. Cooper began scanning, gathering all the intel they could.
"Andy, land us over that ridge, we need to pick up any survivors and I am picking up a dozen that have made it out of the base."
At the end of the day only fourteen people were saved, and some of them were missing parts of themselves.
"Where to?" Cooper asked.
"Back to New Republic space, we need to tell the galaxy about the threat these clowns pose to us all."
"I hope we make it." Cooper replied as he stifled a scream of pain. His hand would need to be amputated, he was sure.
As the ship prepared for a hyperspace jump, another ship could be seen, trailing it at extreme distance, a ship whose main section resembled a large tent with several colors making up its scheme. Inside the ship, which was tracking Cooper and Andy's ship the clowns were getting ready, getting ready to make the universe laugh again one victim at a time.