How The Buzzler Got Its Light
“Oh, not again,” grumbled Gargarox as he peered through the billowing smoke into his oven. “Blasted wires have probably blown again below the deck. Fourth time this week. Those maintenance workers are too busy playing with Fuzzles to properly fix my appliances.”
Gargarox shut the oven door and flicked the ‘Closed’ switch near the café’s entrance. He would have to deal with the malfunction before he could continue serving the space station’s workers. Mumbling under his breath all the way to his office about ‘servos’ and ‘walker bots’, Gargarox knew his headache was about to worsen. He had no idea.
He walked into his office (the café’s supply closet) and sat down behind his desk, which was a simple crate from the warehouse below. On the wall in between the boxes of blunkabeans was an intercom button. Gargarox sighed inwardly and pressed it.
After a few seconds delay, a robotic voice came through the speakers.
“You have reached *bzzt* the Virtupets Space Station Maintenance Line. How may I help you?”
“This is Gargarox, owner, manager, and sole employee of Grundos Café. My oven is busted,” he replied into the wall. On the other side of the line there was silence. Gargarox drummed his fingers impatiently on his crate - err, desk. Another long minute passed before there was a reply.
“Sir, you have made this same request *bzzt* four times the past week. Are you attempting to *bzzt* tie up the lines in case of a real problem?”
“NO!” Gargarox shouted angrily. “Quit sending inferior help and this won’t happen!”
The voice faltered. “Your request has been *bzzt* processed and we will send someone immediately to *bzzt* repair your oven.”
Gargarox rubbed his forehead and waited. And waited. And waited. Babaas were beginning to float in front of his eyes and his antennae were drooping with drowsiness. Just as he was about to drift off, the door to his office creaked open. Gargarox jerked up and blinked rapidly to clear the sleep from his eyes. Confused, he looked around at the empty room. Was he dreaming?
“Hello?” he called. There was no reply, save a faint humming sound that was emanating from the front of the desk. He leaned forward to see over it. He hung his head as he muttered “You’ve got to be kidding me. They sent a Buzzler?”
Indeed, in the floor was a squat Petpet with a metal shell. The Buzzler twitched its tail, a long black cord that ended in a socket. It looked up expectantly at Gargarox, as if saying ‘I don’t like this more than you do, pal.’ Gargarox groaned and picked up the Petpet. He carried it to the kitchen, knowing how painfully slow a Buzzler was. He stopped in front of the oven.
“Well, here’s the problem. Good luck fixing it,” Gargarox remarked, setting the Buzzler inside. Smoke was still pouring from the pipe, obscuring the loose wires. The Petpet took one slow step forward after the other, to the entrance of the pipe. The Buzzler stood still for so long that Gargarox thought it had shut down. He reached a finger in and poked the Petpet’s shell. It turned to face Gargarox, and sat down. Its usual humming had a lower pitch, as if it were angry.
“What?” Gargarox said, exasperated. “I don’t have time for this; there are hungry customers outside waiting. Can you not see down there? Don’t you have built in lights or something useful?” The Buzzler’s humming grew louder. Its tail swished side to side.
“Okay, okay. I’ll try to find you a light.” Gargarox massaged his antennae in frustration and looked around the café. The lights above the tables were too big for the small Buzzler to take into the pipe. His eyes traveled across every appliance in his eatery, desperately searching for a light source. Finding none, he went into the supply closet to check for a possible solution.
Gargarox grunted as he lifted boxes of Squashed Salisbury Steaks and Space Rocks off a container he used to store spare parts. He rummaged through the metal plates, hover chips, and other miscellaneous items until he found what he was looking for; A dusty old box of light bulbs.
He carried them into the kitchen where the Buzzler was patiently waiting. Gargarox sat the box down on a table and wiped his hands on his apron.
“Let’s try these on you.”
The first one he pulled out was a spiral shaped bulb as big as his hand. He showed it to the Buzzler. It shook its head. Gargarox sighed and put it back. The next one was a tiny blue bulb, smaller than the smallest Petpetpet. Once again the Buzzler rejected it.
“Fine, I’ll let you pick,” Gargarox rumbled as he dumped them all out on the table. He picked up the Buzzler once again and sat it down next to the pile.
The Petpet shuffled around the edges of the light bulbs, studying each one carefully. However, none of them seemed to fit his tail socket or his tastes. The Buzzler faced Gargarox and slowly blinked its eyes dejectedly.
He folded his arms and laid his head on the table. An impossible task, it seemed. There was a small crowd of Grundo workers and tourists on the other side of the front door, puzzled as to why the café was closed at the lunch hour. Gargarox got up to address the patrons and attempt to placate them.
The Buzzler, unsatisfied, gazed around. Its tail was still, and longed to have a purpose other than to provide a small roof over its head. It craned its neck and studied the café. There was the oven it was here to fix, a sink piled high with dirty dishes, and a dingy old refrigerator to store the items that needed to be cold.
The Petpet stared at the refrigerator, thinking as hard as the motherboard in its brain allowed it to. Why did it interest the Buzzler? It concentrated deeply as Gargarox plodded back into the kitchen to see if the Petpet had made a decision. He saw the Petpet looking at the refrigerator with such intensity as to burn a hole into it with its eyes. He looked at the Buzzler, and back at the refrigerator. Suddenly, he had an idea.
Gargarox opened the door to the refrigerator, and smiled. His idea was right! There was a small green bulb inside, used to illuminate the contents. He reached in and unscrewed it. Turning back to the Buzzler, he showed it to the Petpet. It hummed loudly with excitement. Gargarox put the bulb in the Petpet’s tail socket. It glowed with a cheery light. The Buzzler hummed happily, and stood up. Gargarox placed back into the oven, and it returned to the pipe.
Gargarox watched as its light disappeared into the pipe. A few minutes passed before the smoke ceased. Gargarox looked into the oven and saw the green glow of the Buzzler approaching. It clambered out of the oven and playfully flicked its tail, satisfied with its work.
“You did a fine job, Buzzler. You can keep the light,” Gargarox said as he patted its gleaming shell. He placed the Petpet on the floor.
“Would you like to stay for some food? I can finally start serving customers again now that you fixed my oven,” he offered. The Buzzler hummed slowly, as if saying ‘I’d love to, but there’s work to be done.’
The Buzzler shook his head and hummed a farewell before slowly crawling out the door to return to its duties. Gargarox turned the ‘Closed’ sign off as Neopets poured inside, eager for food. He lingered near the entrance and watched the glow of the Buzzler’s new tail fade into the workings of the Station.