Of Robots and Chocolate Milkshakes
Also by pyrosquirrelx
"For a day shall come when the servants of evil will rise from the ground, and the earth shall tremble, and the sweetness of the land shall be no more."
'Twas an ordinary day in Neopia. The birds were singing, the Neopians were idly chatting (as is their custom), and the noobs (inconceivable!) were trading dung and rotten shoes. Inflation was still at 2.31%, Mika and Carassa were still chucking stuff out of their humongous igloo, the Esophagor was still hungry, and the Lost Desert was still lost. (Oh yes, and some crazy wackos were still writing conspiracy theories about Asparagus and Chias. But we don't associate ourselves with those types of people. *cough*)
Meanwhile, in a secret Virtupets lab which we cannot mention the location of, a harried-looking employee was running back and forth between several machines, trying to simultaneously carry large books, papers, and a chocolate milkshake. Unfortunately, the yellow Techo had never read Secret Lab Safety for Foolish Assistants, and therefore was unaware that you shouldn't have liquid near machinery.
Now, it just so happened that the aforementioned Secret Lab Safety for Foolish Assistants was one of the books Bob was carrying. He decided that perhaps now would be a good time to read it, before he caused any disasters. Deftly (more or less) he set down his chocolate milkshake and books on a big technical-thingy which he knew nothing about. He accidentally knocked over his milkshake, but no matter. He could wipe it up later.
Bob then opened the Manual and began to read: "Rule #1: DO NOT spill a chocolate milkshake on big technical-thingies which you know nothing about. However, if you wipe it up within five seconds, everything will be all right. If you neglect to clean up after yourself, then you are a moron." Eyes widened, he closed the book and watched the big technical-thingy. When nothing had happened after a few seconds, he relaxed. "Ha ha... I bet that was just some elaborate joke or something... ah well. No one will ever know. It's not like I just completely reprogrammed our new batch of evil minions and set them loose or anything."
Bob, now deeply engrossed in his book, failed to notice the whirrs, clicks, buzzes, and sounds of shifting gears from the next room. Inside, hundreds of pairs of eyes opened and glowed. Robotic Neopets, each with a Virtupets logo stamped on them, began to move.
"I see a great vision," one of them, a Robot Cybunny, squeaked out in a metallic-sounding voice.
ME TOO flashed on the Robot Lupe's chest screen, headlight pulsing and glowing. OF SWEETNESS UNLIKE ANY OTHER.
"It is called chocolate," the Robot Lenny said, after a millisecond of searching through internal dictionaries. One by one, the Robots took up the cry. "Chocolate... chocolate... CHOCOLATE!" Back in the control room, Bob looked up, wondering if he had heard anything, and shrugged. Unfortunately for the Techo, the delicious scent of his (albeit spilled) chocolate milkshake had wafted into the robot containment room.
"Lunch break!" a voice practically shouted over the loudspeaker. Bob rushed away, leaving his book wide open to rule #243.57 (repeating): Never leave chocolate unattended when chocolate-craving robot minions are on the loose. This will spell certain doom for the universe.
How true. How inescapably true.
"It's... it's staring at me," a trembling blue Aisha squeaked. Nearby, a fellow factory worker, in a hat emblazoned 'Chocolate Factory', rolled her eyes.
"If you're getting freaked out by the White Chocolate Peophins again," the Spotted Xweetok snapped, whirling on the rookie, "how many times do I have to tell you, it's just chocolate!"
"I'm not talking about that," the blue Aisha said, fear forgotten in indignation for a moment. "I'm not that much of a scaredy-pet. I was talking about that." She pointed at a small shape half-hidden behind one of the legs of a nearby conveyor belt. Frowning, the Xweetok crouched down near the table. Meep.
"Please tell me that was you, squealing in terror," the Xweetok said, squinting into the gloom to try to get a closer look. When was the last time this place had been dusted, anyway? If that was ANOTHER rabid dustbunny, she was quitting.
"I don't squeal in terror," the other protested. "Man, are you blind or something? It's a Meepit!" As soon as the words were out, the spotted pet saw the shape, and the huge, round eyes staring unblinkingly at her.
"Oh dear," was all she could gasp out, rather faintly, as a red light began to flash overhead.
To a casual spectator, it would seem that all was well in the fair lands of Chocolate-Factorytopia. A less casual observer, however, might notice the meepit flag flying over the factory. Another minute of intense scrutiny would reveal the horde of terrified factory workers fleeing in every direction.
The meepits score.
Meanwhile, Bob (you know, the yellow Techo whose role in this tale appeared to be over), in a surprising act of what can only be described as creative brilliance on my behalf, was still in this story! Clever, huh? Anyway, Bob had been sent by his anonymous boss to track down the robots and bring them back to the labs. Under fear of getting fired, Bob decided to take the venture away from the secret lab and into the frightening world known as 'the rest of Neopia, which is inhabited by other people and which is therefore terrifying, and which happens to have been overrun by both Meepits and chocolate-obsessed robots'. Bob, being clever and resourceful (if a little clumsy with drinks) immediately started tracking down the robots. Unfortunately, it wasn't going to be as easy as all that.
"Hey, have you seen these big metal Robot Neopets running amok shouting about chocolate?"
"Yeah, they went thataway after smashing through my barn."
...okay, so maybe it WAS as easy as all that. Following the large trail of destruction and chaos that the Robots had left behind, Bob made his way to Neopia Central. On the roof of the chocolate factory, two meepits were closely examining the Techo that was advancing towards their hideout.
"Charles, do mine eyes deceive their master?"
"Prithee disclose the nature of deceit.
Young Will, thine eyes are keener than mine own,
But I'll wager thy imagination rivals. No need
To rouse the others with your over-hasty mouth,
What seest thou?"
"A solitary creature, coward Poogle I 'low."
"My, but art thou callow! I have sighted
The object of your excitement. And while,
Thou hast seen him first, I see the clearer:
'Tis a Techo or 'tis nothing."
"Then 'tis nothing, thou art brave to war."
"Against thy stupidity: Vidi, vici.
Watch him approach: What say you now?"
"I am of a conclusion: Thou art the wiser,
And the clearer-eyed. I envy thee."
"Get thou gone from here, and see this intruder fly."
Will vanished into a trapdoor to arrange a welcoming committee.
Bob whistled casually as he walked up to the Chocolate Factory. If it had been overrun by some malicious robots, he didn't want them to think he was there to try and stop them or anything. He was simply taking a quiet stroll--he glanced around suspiciously (but casually)--through the gates of the factory and down the path toward the door. Bob grinned as he made his way up to the doors. Piece of cake.
Bob (also casually) tripped over a rock, smacking through the doors and hearing them bang shut behind him as he skidded painfully down a long hallway. Finally, this process was stopped by a wall.
"Ow," Bob moaned, standing and rubbing his head. The Yellow Techo peered around once he stopped seeing stars. It was very quiet--much too quiet, especially for a bustling factory. "Is anyone here?" Bob called softly, forgetting the second rule of stealth--never let your opponents know you have entered their hideout. (The first is don't wear high heeled shoes, but that one doesn't quite apply to Bob.)
"ATTACK!" The battle cry streamed from the ceilings, and Bob's world turned pink and fluffy as a horde of Meepits descended upon him. He gasped as he tried to run, but ended up smacking into the same wall as before. His cry of 'who put that wall there?' was lost under the squeaks of the Meepits.
"Be out with thee, foul intruder
And do not let thy yellow hide
Cross our hard-won gates again!" a Meepit yelled.
Needless to say, once Bob had taken shelter behind a bush a good distance from the factory, he made an executive decision to try plan B. In the distance, he could see a cloud of smoke and chaos (and the occasional flying hot dog) that marked the mechanical army's path. He knew that, sooner or later, their sensors would lead them to the chocolate capital of Neopia.
However, the robots were advancing very slowly (somewhere between stopped and backwards), so Bob assumed that it would be later. Where in Neopia did the Meepits learn to talk like that? he wondered. On second thought, since when could Meepits even talk? Just then, he remembered his VirtuPetpetTranslator 3000.428 in the back pocket of his lab coat. He
smiled. "Rather convenient!" Slinking under cover of shadows up to the Chocolate Factory windows, and standing on tiptoe, Bob
tilted the VirtuPetpetTranslator toward the glass. He could faintly hear the Meepits speaking, and he watched the screen
carefully for translation.
"Charles, the intruder has turned tail
And like a cowardly dog hath fled
From within, but pray, I bid you care
Lest he return with more power
Than we have means to end."
(VPPT3000.423 Translation: The intruder is gone, but we have to be careful unless he comes back with friends.)
"Will, thy fears art greatly sharper than thy sight;
I am loathe to call thee coward, yet
You bring a shame to our good race.
I fain to fight with these our foes
And shall not turn my tail.
Or shall we give up our hard-won prize
With naught but sigh of sorrow?"
(Translation: Will, you're being a coward. We will not give up the place we won without a fight.)
Bob gasped. The Meepits had overrun the factory! In his silent panic, he didn't realize that a new message was flashing onto the screen, and the muted sound of Meepit speech had begun again.
"But pray, Charles, dismiss my eyes as dull
If you will, yet do not reject my hearing
For in the distance, ‘less I’m much mistook
There comes an enemy, hard of heart of steel
And arms of bolts and energy glowed.
And thou shalt soon get thy chance to fight.”
(Translation: Don’t insult my hearing. An enemy is coming. ROBOTS!)
Meanwhile, the robots were not finding too much chocolate. They had pretty much robbed/looted/otherwise gained through ill means all the chocolate in the immediate area, when a robot Xweetok pointed up to the top of a nearby hill. "I... smell... an incalculably large amount of CHOCOLATE!!!" The chocolate-craving automatons shifted targets and made their way towards the factory. Upon seeing the pink flag flying over the battlements (the Meepits made some slight modifications, you see), a robot Lenny announced that the Meepits controlled the factory. A Grarrl snarled, (say that ten times fast) "All obstacles must be removed! Nothing can stand between us and our target!!!!"
The Meepits formed a battle line, watching nervously as the robots approached and did the same. Wallace, their valiant leader (despite the fact that he spoke a little differently than the rest of them), paced back and forth in front of his army. He looked each Meepit in the eye, observing their fear. Here was his one chance to inspire courage in his ranks, to motivate them to greatness. He paused for a second, and took a deep breath. "SPEARS SHALL BE SHAKEN!!! Okay, I'm done."
(Insert picture of that creepy Tyrannian Kacheek wielding a spear)
Bob, from his vantage point behind the bush, watched the foes face each other, each staring intensely at the other. He wondered what was happening, until the robots activated their laser vision, sending the Meepits scurrying inside their fortress. While the robots followed the Meepits, he cautiously followed them. Bob crept through the halls of the chocolate factory, trying to be quiet. Suddenly, as a robot rolled through the nearby door, he let out an undignified squeak and dove into a nearby conveniently located janitor's closet. Finally gaining the answer to why his chocolate sometimes tasted like magical cleaning fluid (they had bottles and bottles of the stuff), he peered through the keyhole in time to watch a robot fall to the ground under a mass of pink Meepits, chittering their fearsome battle cry.
Bob would've trembled in his boots if he were wearing any, and he knew he had to make a split-second decision. If he helped the Meepits, they'd probably do something devious to him later. If he helped the robots, maybe he could reprogram them and not lose his Virtupets job. If he ran away, this story would have no point, so that is a silly choice. Bob decided to... help the robots.
Grabbing a mop and wielding it bravely, he kicked the door open and ran out.
He scrambled up, blushing after tripping over the bucket on his foot. Muttering, he kicked it off at the nearest Meepit.
He dove into a crowd of Meepits, sending them flying in all directions, but mostly they all bounced off the walls and came back and hit him. After stumbling around whacking at the birdies flying around his head, he saw a group of Meepits guarding what looked like a top-secret storeroom of doom. He worked his way towards that, not quite sure of his plan, but thinking that something magical might happen over there. Suddenly, a giant bucket landed on his head, so that he couldn't see. A Meepit had thrown it at him, but that's not really important. He twirled his broom deftly and knocked himself down. He felt something kicking him, and he was flying through the air. A wall put an end to that little process.
Suddenly, Bob landed in ooze. Yanking the bucket off of his head, he saw that he was sitting in a vat of chocolate high above the battlefield. Completely covered in chocolate, he swam toward the edge of the vat (fighting the urge to eat the contents of the vat, because then he would be stuck at the bottom). The robots and Meepits were still fighting, and neither seemed to be gaining ground. Suddenly, something happened which we're not quite sure of and he fell out of the vat, landing with a squelch right in the middle of the battle.
The fight immediately stopped still, with everybody frozen in position staring at him, until a headstanding Meepit fell over. Bob tried to back away, but then he realized that he was surrounded. "Uh... oh..."
Both robots and Meepits forgot their quarrel, and focused on their new target: this chocolate monster from the fifth dimension!!! It was common sense that whoever defeated him would be warped to a land of never-ending chocolate. One robot charged, and then the rest threw themselves at the beast.
Bob did the only thing he could at a time like this: He pressed a button on his utility belt, and froze time in the area. He wasn't quite sure why, but that was kind of his last option.
Over in Neopia Central, a Mootix sat in a tree. He wasn't really doing anything, just sitting. He was a lazy Mootix. His friends called him Lazio. Today, Lazio decided to open his eyes. He saw the Chocolate Factory going crazy, jiggling and wiggling and everything else that rhymes with 'iggling'. He thought that maybe they were giving away free chocolate. Getting off the tree, he started the long trek towards the Factory.
* * * Two Days Later * * *
Lazio was very, very happy to find, upon his arrival to the Chocolate Factory, that there was a large amount of chocolate lying around! This was better than his wildest dreams--okay, well, not that one dream where he could just sleep all day. But this was better than most of his wildest dreams! Taking out a miniature fork and knife, then realizing that trying to eat chocolate with utensils is just weird, Lazio started feasting on the chocolate that was stuck mid-drip off Bob's frozen figure.
***Another day later***
Due to faulty Virtupets technology, Bob's utility belt didn't automatically turn off the time-stop like it was supposed to if the wearer didn't react within an hour. Instead, Lazio had a full day and a half to eat the chocolate that Bob was coated in, and, being finished, he sluggishly climbed up a Robot Usul and fell asleep between the two metal ears. Eating like that could really wear a Mootix down.
Unfortunately, that was just about half an hour before the time stop wore off, and even more unfortunately, the Robot Usul Lazio had chosen as his makeshift bed had been in the act of firing a weapon right before the time-stop.
***30 minutes later***
So now you know what happened... but wait! What's that you say? You have no clue what happened? Ah, perhaps we should watch the battle in slow-motion...
The following takes place in 2 seconds
The Robot Usul aimed and almost fired, but at that moment some random Mootix had magically appeared on its head. With one hand the robot was still preparing to fire, but with the other hand it reached up to scratch its head.
Lazio did not like this turn of events very much, so he bit the big metal hand coming towards him. You'd think that the Robot Usul would not be affected by this, but that is 100% errant (and/or incorrect). In fact, the bite was:
(choose one of the following)
B) Jelly World is real!
C) Blacebrander is strange!
If you guessed A, you're correct! Otherwise, don't worry, there are plenty of good therapists out there.
Anyway, upon being incised by the incomprehensibly indomitable incisors of the indolent insect, the Robot Usul jumped and misfired, the laser hitting a wall, ricocheting, and blasting an important circuit box (the Chocolate Factory got tricked out by Virtupets). This, in turn, made the lights go out. In the dim confusion that followed, nobody knew who was who. Bob took the opportunity to duck and crawl through the melee. He found himself standing up next to the destroyed circuit box. Upon inspection, he found that only a piece of wire had been damaged. Suddenly, a brilliant idea occurred to him. He pulled a magnet and a piece of wire from his coat pocket. Wrapping the wire around the magnet, he turned off the power switch, and put his contraption where the wire had been blasted. He then turned on the power. Now, in case you were unaware, that is the top-secret formula for an electromagnet, invented in top-secret Virtupets research facilities.
In a physics-defying act of electromagnetism, the robots were pulled towards the magnet, and got stuck.
***End of Slow Motion Playback***
Bob, unfortunately, had forgotten to take off his lab coat full of metallic devices and was at the bottom of the pile. However, the magnet had sufficiently scrambled the robots' sensors, and so he turned the power back off, wondering how he would get the robots back to Virtupets.
The Meepits were quite glad to be of service.
Bob found that being hurled by a Meepit-controlled catapult is not a pleasant experience.
And the Robots had scrambled sensors, so they couldn't think or say anything. Do your scrambled eggs get up and talk during breakfast? No, of course not.
Once the Robots were safely back in a room in the Virtupets lab, doors quadruple-locked and anti-Robot-ed, and the Yellow Techo had alerted the Defenders of Neopia to the Meepits running the Chocolate Factory, Bob could finally relax, looking forward to reading the rest of his book in peace. Carefully removing the earplugs he’d worn when his supervisor noticed the malfunctioning Robots, he picked up the heavy copy of Secret Lab Safety for Foolish Assistants. When the Robots had been examined, or so his supervisor had said, it was found that they were no longer obsessed with chocolate because of their impromptu brain frying.
For Bob, life was good.
He didn’t notice the vanilla milkshake he’d purchased tilting precariously on the edge of his desk.
We think Bob needs a new job.