Garoo Elite Soldiers: Who are they?
SPACE STATION - Hello, fellow Neopians!
Like many of you, I've been involved in the attempt to thwart Dr. Sloth's umpteenth attempt to conquer Neopia: I wracked my brains, squinting for hours at the screen, deciphering and looking for Garoo's message to Sloth. I've also fought the Garoo Elite Soldiers in the Battledome and I still bear the footprints of Riilan's boots on my face.
But, since they invaded Space Station, something was nagging at me...
Well, I don't know about you, but I knew Blumaroos as kind, cheerful and optimistic people... If you omit Count Von Roo, that is. And if you choose to ignore their slightly annoying habit of interlacing the long sessions of Dice-A-Roo with their... er, "pieces of Blumaroo wisdom".
So, if Blumaroos are usually cheerful, kind, optimistic people... Who are Garoo and his Elite Squad? Are they really Blumaroos? And why would they choose to work for Dr Sloth? What do they gain from these choices?
Is King Roo somehow involved in this plot? Has Dr. Sloth mutated some Blumaroos with a secret weapon, turning them into evil mirror images of their former selves? Or did they simply choose willingly to work for Dr. Sloth?
Yeah, that's what intrigued me.
So, when I got two free days from my usual Neopian activities, I decided to spend them by going back to the Space Station and seeking some answers to these questions.
I bought a Blumaroo costume and a can of dark gray dye. Much more cheaper and less permanent than drinking a Blumaroo morphing potion and using a Shadow paint brush. But, wow, this costume is SO stuffy!
After a long and very indirect travel (as a stowaway, mostly), I finally set foot again on the Space Station... and had to quickly duck and run for cover before a blast would set my costume on fire. Well, the battle is still raging on.
After some hours of dodging and running, I finally got to a quieter area and very close to a small squadron of Junior Elite Soldiers, repairing broken armor and weapons. I approached them, notebook and pen in hand, hoping they wouldn't recognize my voice from the Battledome experience...
I: "Excuse me, may I ask you some questions?"
Blumaroos: "Yeah, why not-- Hey! shouldn't you be ANSWERING questions, civilian?"
I: "Uh, sorry... Actually, it is an interview..."
B: "No way, civvie! We're not authorized to say anything about our activities!"
I: "I've been sent by Dr. Sloth as junior historian and propagandist; I already know about what you do."
B: "So why are you still there? Go back and report to him."
I: "I know WHAT you do. I still need to know WHO you are."
B: "Are you blind? Don't you see it by yourself? C'mon, fellas, this civvy newbie doesn't know us!"
They stopped their work, scowled at me, formed a line and, in a proudly booming voice, told me that:
"WE ARE THE GAROO ELITE SOLDIERS, WE ARE INVINCIBLE, WE ARE EVERYWHERE, WE ARE POWERFUL!"
I winced at the loudness of their statement.
I: "Ye-eah, this is well known by anyone laying eyes on your insignias. What is not known is your background."
B: "Our backgrounds? Ohhh, yes, they're charming, aren't they? We grabbed them at the Thrift Shoppe!"
And so they started showing me their fire, cheesy, split, faerie, and starry backgrounds, beaming with pride...
I know, I should have tried interviewing Commander Garoo, first... yeah, as if he'd be happy to let me go back home, after.
"Er, thank you very much, they're all nice backgrounds... but what I really wanted to know is: where were you born, what did you do before becoming soldiers and what made you join Garoo's Elite Army?"
That made them very nervous and twitchy. One even placed a hand over my mouth, whispering: "Civvie, if Commander Garoo ever gets a whiff of this interview... we will all be demoted to Plain Useless Garoo Elite Janitors in an eyeblink!"
"I promise to not reveal your names and will not describe you physically in any way! If this is okay with you, can we start?"
Interview #1 (the youngest of the squad):
"I was born on Roo Island, from Rainbow Blumaroos. Went to neoschool. Nothing exceptional, it was just sooo... boring! I've worked for a while as a bingo ball on summers, when neoschool was closed. But I didn't really like that job. It was too cramped and bouncy. So I tried working for King Roo as Official Botherer during Dice-A-Roo sessions. This had been fun for a bit. But all that cheerfulness, all that bouncing, all this telling we like nachos were beginning to wear me down."
"Wear you down? But--"
"Dude, don't you get it!? It was all so forced, so constrained! I wanted to have some down time, I wanted to feel sad, I wanted to feel angry! And I couldn't! I wanted to show for real how my tail really hurt, but nooo, our beloved King Roo doesn't approve Battledome-like violence outside of the arenas! So I quit the job and left Roo Island, to seek another place where I could be myself. Where I could say that I totally disliked nachos, where I could finally swing that tail for real! I stayed for a while at Darigan Citadel. But it wasn't the place for me..."
"Why not? Lord Darigan seems a good enough ruler..."
"Duuude, you thick or what? These guys were soo dark, soo gloomy, and way too deadpan serious, so I bade them farewell and restarted my wandering. I wanted some balance. Then, somewhere in Tyrannia, I got approached by him (points at the eldest of the squadron). I was so surprised in seeing another un-smiling Blumaroo, I actually listened to his reasonings and enrolled in the Garoo Elite Squad!"
"I suppose you get also a hefty payroll, with all these field-risk bonuses and medical care... what do you do with all this money?"
"Ehhhh... it ain't that hefty, but I keep some for myself; the rest goes into a bank account for my younger brother and sister, so that they wouldn't be forced to work as bingo balls or at the Dice-A-Roo. And I can be myself, at least outside of the battlefield."
Interview #2 (The eldest of the squad):
"I grew up in Haunted Woods for most of my childhood. And liked it. A lot. I liked the atmosphere. The gloominess. The doominess. I always wore black. At the neoschool I was in the goth emo clique and I enjoyed being in it. Then my family decided to move back to Roo Island. Argh! That was the most horrible period of my life: I disliked all that continuous cheerfulness, not to mention the continuous bouncing happiness! What I hated most, though, was when they prodded me continuously to smile and to... keep smiling! Bah humbug! Smiling is for Kacheeks! Do I look like a Kacheek to you?"
"Bah, thanks! Sooo, after something like four years of this miserable life, I managed to escape from that despicable island and went back to Haunted Woods. But these pesky, meddling and know-nothing Defenders of Neopia found me and brought me back to my family... Bahhh! Seeing that escape wasn't a viable solution, I grew up becoming the most rebellious and annoying Blumaroo known on Neopia: even the Monocerous would stay very much afar from me.... Finally, the freedom came one day, when I managed to annoy Count Von Roo and King Roo at the same time and got secretly exiled from that Island!"
"What did you do? And a secret exile? Never ever heard of that!"
"We-ell, it's been a loooong time ago. Bah, I managed to drag Von Roo's coffin into His Highness's bedroom, then on the bed near King Roo. I even laced the room with Eau de Garlic, as a finishing touch, then knocked on the coffin... oh, how they shrieked!... heh he he heh..." (dreamy gaze)
"Oh! Sorry, I was reminiscing that satisfying night. You wanted to know the reason behind the secrecy of my exile? Bah! It was mostly to protect Roo Island's reputation. They even went to the point of removing any and all references to my "misdeeds" from neopedias and newspapers. What would the rest of Neopia think of a Roo Island with at least one Blumaroo bent on being totally un-Blumarooish? They would lose trust in them and stop playing dice, adopting Blumaroos, buying nachos and so on, for fear of meeting another of these mischievous misfits! As if I would ever wish to come back! Pshaw!"
"This makes sense... How did you end up working for Garoo?"
"As soon as I landed in Neopia Central, that Mutant Grundo Chief (after stealing some of my spare food) handed me a brochure containing all the details of this job... the more I read it, the more I liked this idea. And, hey, it was still better than subbing for Rohane. So here I am. At that time there wasn't any Darigan Citadel yet. Bah! Might have liked it."
"Uh? Rohane? But--"
"Baahhh, you're way better not knowing, trust me."
Interview #3 (Random soldiers):
- (shrugging) "Always liked blowing things up. But my family didn't enjoy rebuilding the neohome every week. So here I am."
- (smiling sheepishly) "I'm in because of: space, adventure, stars, action, conquests, combats... Mom always complained I read too much science fiction, but I'm happy that way."
- (looking everywhere, gun drawn) "Was rainbow, got zapped by Boochi, then got painted Grey, got re-zapped by Boochi, this time got painted Shadow, then got hit by a mysterious ray out of nowhere... thankfully, it wasn't Boochi's, but now I've got this persistent urge to do anything to please Commander Garoo or Dr. Sloth. Overall, not a bad life. Oh, I almost forgot! Please, could you tell my ex-owner that I'm quite very happy now? Boochi can't zap me here. He won't have the time to take aim, at least."
Loud and heavy-armored footsteps from a nearby corridor ended prematurely this fascinating interview: it was the infamous Garoo Elite Specialist Riilan, coming to inspect their repair work. The Garoo Elite Junior soldiers quickly rushed back to their positions and I quietly slipped away in the shadows: I did not really want another footprint on my face from him... or her.
And so here you are. I found out that Blumaroos aren't always the cheerful, optimistic or peaceful people as we believed they were. Though King Roo doesn't seem to be involved in all this. Certainly he isn't sending soldiers to sustain Sloth. But is forced cheerfulness a good thing?
Now that you're over reading this, I have a small courtesy to ask of you readers: next time you go in the Battledome, if you find Riilan in it, please leave on his/her face some footprints of yours. Well, s/he wouldn't be happy of that. But you'd make me pretty very much happy. Thank you very much.
Oh, I almost forgot! Please, don't ask me to interview Riilan or Cmdr. Garoo next time: I gladly leave this task to someone more courageous than me and less allergic to that stuffy Blumaroo costume.
Constructive and useful neomails are welcome. :)
A big thanks goes to my guildmates for supporting my idea of interviewing those soldiers. :)