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Neopia's Fill in the Blank News Source | 28th day of Hunting, Yr 24
The Neopian Times Week 62 > Short Stories > Utility Fish to the Rescue

Utility Fish to the Rescue

by smudgeoffudge

The dark murky waters continued to swirl even after all this time. But the current had gotten weaker. Far below, the blue fin-like turrets of the city of Maraqua lay scattered about on the sea floor. Even from above, it was easy to see that if Maraqua were ever going to be rebuilt, it would take the effort of a massive cleanup crew putting in many hours. The darkness and still swirling waters cast an ominous shadow over the scene. Even the Koi, the once proud citizens of Maraqua, were afraid to return.

     Mrkrawk looked at the safety deposit box. He had played with most of the toys, and thought he was too mature for most of them. He was going to be two years old in a few months, and even though he secretly still played with plushies, he didn't want anyone to know. Lately he had been depressed, so that even his owner had noticed.

     "What is wrong, why do you seem so depressed lately?" she had asked him one day.

     "It's hard to explain, but I think I need a vacation."

     So this lead Mrkrawk to look at the safety deposit box. After all, if he was going anywhere, he'd need supplies. Looking over the few things they owned, something caught his eye. It was a Lampfish, one of many retired Utility Fish. He watched for a few seconds as it moved. It seemed to gasp for air, never dying, just suffering. Why would anyone want something like that?

     "Mom, what is this Lampfish for?" he asked.

     "Oh that, it's just a Lampfish. They are retired. They don't do anything. They just sit there."

     "Really? Why can't we use it for something?"

     "I don't know, you just can't. I don't even know why we have it, to tell you the truth."

     Mrkrawk studied the Lampfish a little longer and a sudden idea came to him. People judged the Lampfish. They already thought it was useless. But maybe there was more to it. He knew that people often developed stereotypes. People had Stereotypes about Krawks. Some people said that all Krawks were snobs. But although some Krawks might be, that didn't mean they all were. It is unfair to judge every Krawk just because one was snobby.

     "Mom, I think people judge the Lampfish like they judge Krawks They think that they are useless. I am sure that we could put it to use though, if we tried. We just need to give it a chance."

     "Hey that is a great idea. It can be like a project for you to do. I am sure that would be very educational."

     "Come on Lampfish, you and I are going on a trip!" Mrkrawk told the Lampfish. It just gasped for air and made googly eyes at him, but he thought the Lampfish understood. Mrkrawk walked happily down Main Street in Neopia, all the way to the market. In the distance he could see the pointed blue tent with the stars and moons on it. That was the Shop Wizard. The Shop Wizard would help him, he thought. After waiting his turn, he asked the Shop Wizard for the names of other utility fish. Some of the utility fish were unbuyable, however. He checked the money tree, but didn't see any. So he bought a few that he could.

     "Aww... I can't afford them all," he thought as he left the last store, a Utility Fish gallery. But the owner noticed and began talking to him. The owner was a yellow Jubjub and looked oddly familiar. He told the strange Jubjub that he was trying to do a project, to find out if utility fish could be useful.

     "If you can find a use for them, then the prices would go up. I could make some money then, instead of having them collect dust in my gallery. Hmm... this might be worthwhile. What do you say if I give you one of each?"

     "Oh great! Thanks!" so Mrkrawk now had all the utility fish. He looked over them for a while, just trying to take it all in. There were so many! He picked up one called a toyfish. When he first looked at it, it looked like a crab, but a second later it looked like a bird. That one was really funny. He found himself laughing out loud and had to put his hand over his mouth. Luckily he looked around in time to see no one had noticed. Then he tried on a mantahatfish. He felt suckers sticking to his head. It did seem to keep his head warm though.

     "Hey get this thing off of me!" he ran around screaming when it didn't let go of his head. "Let go!" he yelled and it finally did.

     "Phew... I'll never do that again!" Mrkrawk said.

     After testing all the Utility Fish out, he still couldn't see what was so good about them. The hammerfish seemed too rubbery to really do a good job with hammering. The codcombfish could comb your hair, but would also leave a fish smell behind. And he didn't even want to try to brush his teeth with a squidtoothbrushfish.

     "You guys, I hate to say this, but I don't see anything good about you at all."

     The fish all looked at him, sadly he thought.

     "How can you be looking at me like that? You probably don't even understand what I am saying. You are nothing but fish anyway, so why do I care?" but the fish just kept giving him the same sad look.

     "Well I guess I do care then, but what can I do about it?" he asked "Listen to me, I am talking to fish! I really do need a vacation!"

     Then he looked at the Lampfish again. The same old Lampfish he always had. It was still doing that strange gasping.

     "Poor fish, I bet you want to go home, don't you? But Maraqua isn't there anymore. No one is even trying to rebuild it." He sighed, then he thought about what he had just said. "No one is even trying to rebuild...."

     He glanced down at the fish again. "Toolboxfish... Hammerfish... Sawfish... Plierfish... Knifefish... Clampfish," he said to himself. "Why, That's it! That is what you guys are for isn't it?! You are here to rebuild Maraqua!"

     The Utility fish seemed to perk up at the mention of their home. Maybe they did understand him, Mrkrawk thought. But how was he going to get them to Maraqua? Then he remembered Dorak owned a small rowboat. Maybe he would let him borrow it.

     "Um, I don't know," Dorak said. "Those guys from the Black Pawkeet are still out looking for me. And if they spot you, you could really be in for it. Believe me, I've had practice getting away from them, and even then it isn't easy. The row boat isn't the easiest thing to steer either."

     "Please Dorak, Maraqua needs to be rebuilt and I think I have figured out a way."

     "Oh those pirates are going to be mad if they find out I was involved. You'll have to risk it alone. Good luck."

     So Mrkrawk loaded the Utility Fish into the rowboat while Dorak helped him secure everything and explained how to operate it.

     "And be sure not to go too fast or you'll lose control. And be sure to watch the horizon carefully for signs of approaching storms and pirate ships. Also watch out for rocks and even glaciers, those things can appear out of nowhere. Oh please be careful," Dorak said while biting his nails. "Oh my beautiful boat."

     Mrkrawk nodded, but really wasn't paying attention. The day was fair and everything seemed so peaceful. It was hard to think that anything bad could happen. So away he went, headed for Maraqua. The first few minutes were really exciting, but after a while boredom set in. It was hard to tell he was even moving when there was an endless expanse of blue water all around. There was no point of reference, nothing to judge how far they had gone. He checked the gauge on the boat and saw that they were only a few miles out.

     "Stupid gauge is probably broken..." he muttered to himself "I am sure we are farther out than that. I'll have to speed things up a little bit." So, in spite of what Dorak had said, he sped up.

     "Yay, I am really making some progress now," he thought as the boat gained speed. But suddenly, he saw something, a rock jutting out of the water and he was headed for it! He turned sharply to avoid the rock, but overcorrected and spun out. The boat spun and spun and almost tipped over. It began to take on water, so he used the spoonfish to help bail it out. But there is only so much a spoonfish can hold. The boat was in danger of sinking! To make matters worse, Mrkrawk was now disoriented. He didn't know which way to go. When they had spun out he had lost his since of direction, and now he wasn't sure which way was North.

     "I know, I'll look at the sun. But, he hadn't been paying attention to the weather like Dorak had warned, and now a cloud was overhead, obscuring his view.

     "Arrgh... how much worse could it get?" he asked. Then he looked up to see the Black Pawkeet approaching in the distance. He slapped his forehead in disgust. 'I just had to ask didn't I?"

     Mrkrawk tried to act casual as the ship came closer and closer.

     "My Grarrl... my Grarrl... talking about myyyy Grarrl... my Grarrl my Grarrl... oooohh..." he sang while trying to act like it was perfectly natural for him to be out in the middle of the ocean. But as the boat got closer he could see the skeleton Kiko pirate, Captain Dread looking down at him.

     "Arr... what have we have here? What kind of land loving bilge rat be ye?" he said as he pointed his sword.

     Mrkrawk just grinned sheepishly and said, "I am a Krawk, not a rat. Um, nice weather were having today."

     "Har Har Har... it's coming a regular gullywasher. Hear that boys, nice weather... har... har!" Captain Dread laughed and poked the other pirates in the ribs while slapping at where his knee would be. Well, he didn't have any knees because he was a Kiko, so he just slapped at the air.

     "Say... let's make him walk the plank!" said one of the other pirates

     "How about you just leave me here? It is pretty useless to make me walk the plank when I am already down here in the water and my boat is slowly filling with water," Mrkrawk said sarcastically.

     "Arrgh... you are confusing me!" said Captain Dread. "Just for that we will make you walk the plank twice!"

     "Let's fire a cannon at him first!"

     Mrkrawk watched in horror as the cannon pointed right at him. The fuse was lit and there was nowhere he could go. He ducked, even though he knew that wouldn't help. Suddenly, something weird happened. The discballfish jumped up, jamming itself in the cannon just as it fired. There was a muffled sound as the cannon tried to fire but didn't. The pirates became enraged and started to make their way over, when a sawfish swam out and sawed a hole in their boat! A knifefish jumped this way and that threatening to cut any pirate in it's path. A fountianpenfish squirted ink at the pirates.

     "Arrgh! I don't want to be called Blue Beard!" said the pirate while trying to get the ink out of his beard.

     The mantahatfish latched on to Captain Dread's head and wouldn't let go. A golfclubfish gave them a good whacking and an Anchorfish anchored their boat down so they couldn't escape. Pirates were running this way and that as pillowfish, futonfish, and starchairfish flew at them. Mrkrawk watched in amazement as the "so-called" useless Utility Fish were doing what no one else had been able to do. They were defeating the pirates!

     "Go Go Go!" he shouted and cheered. 'That'll show 'em! Give 'em a left and a right! Woo hoo!" In mere minutes the pirate ship was looking pretty tattered and the pirates were laying motionless with little Xs for eyes. They would recover in time, but everything was safe for now.

     "Utility Fish to the Rescue!" Mrkrawk shouted and the Utility Fish all hopped back into the rowboat.

     "Which way to Maraqua?" Mrkrawk asked and the Lampfish jumped out and swam ahead, showing the way. It was storming by now, but Mrkrawk felt safe with the Utility fish around. They crowded around him, sheltering him from the rain. Once they were over the swirling waters that marked where Maraqua was, it was time to say "Goodbye" to the Utility Fish. MrKrawk watched as the Lampfish descended farther and farther into the deep, followed by a Sharklight.

     The toolboxfish jumped in next, followed by the Hammerfish, Sawfish, Plierfish, Clampfish and Wrenchfish. Far below, Mrkrawk knew they would each be doing whatever they could to repair Maraqua. All the fish finally disappeared below. He smiled, knowing that they didn't need him anymore. He began to paddle for home, thinking to himself how good it would be to go home. "Goodbye Lampfish! Goodbye!" he said And far below the Lampfish glowed warm and happy for it to was going home.

The End

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