Every Stamp Tells a Story
This week: Grimilix Stamp
NEOPIAN POST OFFICE KIOSK - Hello and welcome back, all fellow philatelists.
I was incredibly surprised and pleased when I opened up my issue of the Neopian
Times last week, to find my
article had made it into publication. Given the warm reception my article
received (many thanks to those who sent me fan mail), I'm back with the story
behind another stamp. This week, I'm here to tell you about the inspiration
for this, the Grimilix stamp:
Now, those of you who are new to Neopets will possibly have no idea who Grimilix
is, but those who have been here longer will remember him as one of the programmers
of Neopet Version 2 (NPv2). For the benefit of newcomers to Neopia (or for those
who simply found the NPv2 puzzle too hard to struggle through, such as myself),
I thought it might be good to briefly outline what Neopet Version 2 was.
Basically, NPv2 was a program created at the request of Dr. Sloth (you all
know who he is, right?) by his four top programmers - Blarthrox, Zyrolon, Tazzalor,
and Grimilix. It remained dormant within the computers of the Virtupets space
station after the Space Faerie and the residents of Neopia defeated Dr. Sloth
(for more information on the battle which removed Sloth from power on the space
station, see here).
However, one day during the month of Storing, this program reactivated itself,
and, taking control of the space stations systems, this lonely virtual pet trapped
four children in an elevator, intending to keep them forever as its 'friends'.
Unfortunately, the children were quickly running out of air. Several brave and
intelligent citizens of Neopia set about finding the programmers of NPv2 to
uncover the numerical code that would shut down the program. They succeeded
in the nick of time, freeing the children, who were welcomed back to the space
station as brave heroes. (As I said, this is a brief recap - if you are interested
in a more complete version of events, you can find them here).
There was a great deal of debate by the board of directors of the Neopian
Post Office as to whether or not Grimilix should have a stamp. The secretive
life of this Grundo has led to both speculation that he is an unsung hero, and
belief that he is actually a criminal mastermind. It is very difficult to separate
fact from fiction regarding Grimilix, but there are some things that are known
Grimilix's early life certainly was an unhappy one. As a young Grundo on the
Grundo home world (pre-Dr. Sloth), Grimilix was shunned by his peers due to
his amazing intelligence. As with most creatures, and even many Neopets and
Neopet owners today, the other Grundos feared what they couldn't understand.
Grimilix was nothing short of a genius, able to learn foreign languages easily,
constantly experimenting and learning about the world around him, and this made
the other Grundos incredibly uncomfortable. They avoided him entirely, refusing
to allow him to join them in recreational activities, or even their everyday
lives. To stave off his loneliness, Grimilix threw himself even more wholeheartedly
into his work. Ever curious, he was not content to simply watch the stars go
by like the other Grundos (even if they would have let him sit near them), but
had to know why the stars moved, what the stars were, and the answers to a million
other questions. He set about learning all he could about the world around him.
When Dr. Sloth arrived on the Grundo home world, Grimilix was one of the few
Grundos who actually did understand what was happening. However, bitter about
how he had been treated by the other Grundos, Grimilix did nothing to warn them
about their eventual mutation into soldiers and enslavement. Rather, he immediately
set up a hidden makeshift workshop, and worked feverishly to find some personal
protection from Dr. Sloth's mutation ray.
Here is where truth becomes difficult to separate from fiction. Some say that
Grimilix succeeded in finding a way to counteract the mutation ray's effectiveness.
When Dr. Sloth found the hidden workshop and attempted to fire his mutation
gun at Grimilix, it failed, and Sloth realised that the protective device developed
by the Grundo could destroy his plans to enslave all of Neopia. So Frank Sloth
made a deal with Grimilix - in exchange for the protective shield (so it would
not fall into anyone else's hands, or paws as the case may be) and Grimilix's
loyalty, the Grundo genius would have access to all the technology and intelligence
found on the Virtupets Space Station. This was an offer which the naturally
curious Grimilix, who due to his poor treatment by his peers had very little
compassion for them, could not refuse. Others claim that Grimilix did not succeed
forming such a device, but Dr. Sloth saw his attempts and recognised his intelligence
as something that could be very useful, so spared him from suffering the mutation
gun's effects lest it damage that brilliance in some way. Whatever happened,
the end result was the same...Grimilix became the only member of the NPv2 programming
team that avoided suffering the same transformation as Blarthrox, Zyrolon, and
Tazzalor, and remained an unmutated Grundo.
Rumours abound about what Grimilix has been doing since the shutdown of the
NPv2 program. When he was last spoken to, he claimed to be preparing for war,
but as he did not specify further, it is not known if he still believes Dr.
Sloth's fight against the Neopets on the planet below continues (as the trading
card featuring Grimilix implies), or if he was speaking of some new conflict.
While it is known that he still resides somewhere within the bowels of the Virtupets
space station, any attempts to find him have ultimately failed, for none know
the maintenance tunnels as well as Grimilix himself.
Many believe that Grimilix, having been on the station during Dr. Sloth's
reign of terror, and witnessing firsthand the pain and fear that many Neopets
and their owners suffered at the villain's hands, has come to have a change
of heart. They think that secretly, Grimilix worked to sabotage many of Sloth's
efforts...weakening the blast of the mutation ray so that the Space Faerie could
withstand it, converting the NPv2 program into a much gentler creation that
only wanted to find friends and play games (as opposed to what many believe
was its original purpose...to fight and destroy all others). Many who favour
this theory of Grimilix as a hero forgotten think he still works in the tunnels
of the space station, fixing and repairing all the little traps and viruses
that Sloth left in the computer systems there. There has even been speculation
that it was Grimilix who fashioned a machine to open a small tear in the space-time
continuum on the planet below, opening Meridell up for all of us to explore,
and that the war he spoke of, which may very well be a side-effect of the creation
of this portal, he is now working desperately to prevent.
On the other hand, there are whispered rumours that Grimilix himself intends
to take over Neopia. After all, why would one of such great intelligence 'forget'
his portion of the Neopet Version 2 deactivation code? It is known that, assuming
his creation of a shield from the effects of the mutation ray was successful,
technology of his creation can even outwit the villainous Dr. Sloth. Some even
speculate that he may have even had a part in the destruction of Maraqua...that
he created some type of ray which, when fired from the station into the skies
above the underwater city, brought the storm that wreaked its destruction. Perhaps
the war Grimilix is preparing for his actually his own campaign to conquer the
The truth may never be known, but the controversy surrounding Grimilix's secretive
life led to a long and heated debate with the Neopian Post Office Board Room
about whether or not to feature Grimilix on a stamp. Eventually, it was decided
upon by the board members to produce the stamp with the caption "Everybody's
favourite Grundo-programmer-stuck-in-a-space-station". It is hoped that perhaps
if Grimilix sees the stamp, with the implied caring that the word 'favourite'
provides, that it will suffice in some measure as an apology for the years of
taunting and distrust he suffered on his home world, and in some way, relieve
a little (if any) of the bitterness he has towards other Neopets. If Grimilix
truly is an unsung hero, than he deserves our highest praise and gratitude.
And if he is plotting some evil conquest...then maybe it might be a good idea
to drop a peace offering of one or two of these stamps down maintenance hatch
7B on your next visit to the Virtupets Space Station...
Until next time, I wish you happy stamp collecting!