How To Interview A Superhero
Welcome, wonderful readers of the Neopian Times! I'm sure you're all simply ecstatic to see that I have finally taken up writing. That's right... the one, the only, Storm_Sparks! I may have only discovered my passion for reporting a mere week ago, but I am quite certain it is a natural talent.
(Good. We're doing fine so far. Ruby, you are recording everything I'm saying, right? Wait, no. Not right now! When I wink, you can stop, alright? If I didn't know any better I'd think you were being this thick on purpose. Oh, quit smirking!)
Today I will be recounting my interviewing sessions with Judge Hog. The esteemed leader of the famous Defenders of Neopia is an interesting and mysterious Moehog. According to several documents I... borrowed from an anonymous source, his powers-while super- are actually the most common and often go unrecognized as extraordinary. However, his charisma and intelligence make the blue Moehog an ideal director of the league.
Despite his unwillingness to share details of his history, the general picture is easy to comprehend. The Moehog has always been an outstanding citizen from his very youth. Not all of his family follows this same pattern. Numerous Neopians have rumored that one of his older brothers had been involved with sketchy characters. Members of DoN have never released an official statement addressing this.
The Neopian Plaza: Defenders HQ
I began my quest for knowledge at the public headquarters of DoN.
Storm: "Excuse me, miss? I came to speak with Judge Hog."
Secretary: "Do you have an appointment?"
Storm: "No. But-"
Secretary: "Listen boy; no appointment, no meeting."
Storm: "Oh, I see. What bookshelf is it? Or maybe it's a special code in the elevator? The crokabek flies at midnight."
Storm: "Typical secret code stuff, dude! Obviously they can't let everyone into their real HQ."
Secretary: "If you don't leave, I'm calling security."
Storm: "You can't kick us out! I'm Storm_Sparks! Searching for the truth! Getting all the facts! Giving the people what they want! I-"
Secretary: "Security, please report immediately to the front lobby."
Storm: "Whoa! Hold on. You can't just- Hey! Fine. I get the point. No reason to shove. We'll leave."
As expected, we ran into a slight problem; but never fear readers. Storm_Sparks doesn't quit that easy!
(Ruby, what are you talking about? No, I'm not being creepy.)
Secretary: "Oh, hello, Mammoth! It's nice to see you here. You wouldn't believe the crazy Neopets that came in here today."
You'd be surprised what you can do with mountains of yarn, a hazmat suit and a vacuum hose.
Ruby: "Storm, your foot is in my face!"
Storm: "Shush! The disguise is working. Keep walking forwards."
As expected, my clever trick worked. We were then free to make our way to Judge Hog's office. We had to ditch the costume very soon after exiting the elevator. Parts of it had become stuck on the doors. I imagine the next occupant in that elevator was a bit alarmed.
Storm: "There you are, Judge Hog! I have been looking forward to meeting with you all day!"
He must have had a rough day fighting villains because he appeared very displeased at our arrival.
Judge Hog: "Are you authorized to be here?"
Storm: "Certainly. See, we have badges."
JH: "Wait, I can't read it when you whip it around-"
Storm: "Sir, I'm Storm and this is my brother Ruby. Say hi, Ruby."
Ruby: "Hi Ruby."
Storm: "Really? Yeah, ha ha aren't you funny."
JH: "Who are you supposed to be?"
Storm: "I'm here to ask you the tough questions they want the answers to!"
JH: "Who's 'they?'"
Storm: "...Listen, I just want to talk to you for a little bit. Can you handle that, Mr. Hero?"
JH: "Fine. Only for a few minutes."
I could've sworn he muttered something about irritating, nosey Neopets. I guess some amateurs slunk in here to steal my lead. I wasn't too worried; I had discretion, tact and above all else professionalism.
Storm: "Do you have anything comment about your so-called safety catch phrase to children?"
Storm: "You have said-and I quote: 'Remember, kids, don't go into dark, scary places on your own!' This is from your own approved Neopedia article. How can you imply that 'dark, scary places' are acceptable to explore as long as they have their friends? If their friends are suggesting these kinds of hangouts, shouldn't we be concerned? What message are you trying to send here-"
JH: "You can't be serious."
I observed he was rather exasperated so I tried moving our discussion in a different direction.
Storm: "Also, where is your personal mansion located? Or do you have several? Did Torchio get banned from the Chocolate Factory for melting all the products? How many cool hideouts do you have? What-"
Unfortunately, he refused to participate in my engaging questions.
Security: "Sorry about these guys, boss. We kicked them out before, but they snuck back. Come on you two!"
Storm: "I have a badge! See!"
JH: "This is written in yellow crayon."
Ruby: "That's sunset yellow, sir."
JH: "Escort them out. Right now, please."
Neopia Central: Post Office
We were casually hanging out behind the scratchy bushes near the Post Office while out doing... stuff. I happened to notice that coincidentally our route kept within ten feet of Judge Hog the entire day. Well, one might say it was more of a forced coincidence. If you wanted to get technical, you might claim we were spying on him- which we weren't. Not really.
I kind of expected being a reporter would be more exciting when spying on- following around a superhero. It turns out that Judge Hog's day "running errands" wasn't what I imagined it to mean. In the past three hours, he had placed an order at Pizzaroo, visited the Money Tree, haggled at the Magic Shop and stopped by the Post Office. Naturally, I excelled at keeping incognito and we could have kept trailing him for many days.
Storm: "AH! Something's on my tail! Get it off! Oh. Heh. I just stepped on it."
JH: "Not you again. You've been spying on me all day, haven't you?"
Storm: "Well, we would have left you alone if you finished the interview. That was rather rude of you."
JH: "You weren't even allowed on that floor. Besides, you were wasting my time."
Storm: "Ruby, give him the puppyblew eyes."
JH: "Ah... so... impossibly... adorable!"
JH: "I'll only talk if you can ask real questions."
Storm: "I can do that! I'm an expert at everything questionable!"
JH: "I don't doubt that."
Storm: "Oh, shush, Ruby! I didn't mean it like that. Let's get on with the interview already. Who is your inspiration? What made you want to become a hero?"
JH: "My grandfather was a wealthy gentleman, who earned an impeccable reputation. He might not have had "super powers" in the same sense as me, yet he always found time to aid the community. He desired his family to understand responsibility. Whether we were rich or poor, we were to employ our talents to our best ability. After discovering my particular skills, I wished to act in ways that would have made him proud."
Storm: "Oooh, that sounds noble! So how did you become leader of DoN?"
JH: "Before Defenders of Neopia was a formal organization, Neopets with those different 'supernatural' abilities often stuck together. They kept fairly quiet and didn't have the resources to go global."
Storm: "But that changed?"
JH: "Yes. The public had grown familiar with local 'supers.' They were not prepared when more Neopets encountered their powers. Untrained potential heroes did have the temptation of abusing their gift without any peers or mentors to dissuade them. I had heard accounts of attempts of beginning a group; however, the timing never seemed correct."
Storm: "What brought it together?"
JH: "A terrible betrayal of one of our own irrevocably pushed us in that direction. The elder heroes formed a team and offered to train anyone willing to pledge his or her life in service to others."
Storm: "So you weren't the original founder of DoN?"
JH: "It's a bit complicated. That team was one of many, but I used their connections as a starting point for Defenders. If you don't mind, could we wrap this up soon? I have some things I need to take care of."
Storm: "Is there some new bad guy on the loose? Or your secret space station is under attack? Or-"
JH: "Er, well no. I have some paperwork to fill out."
Personally, I thought it was strange he would be so eager to rush back to do that.
JH: "Excuse me for one moment. I have an incoming call."
His communicator must have been on silent or something because I hadn't heard it ring.
Storm: "Isn't this awesome, bro? And Lucky said he would just throw us in jail if we kept stalking him."
Ruby: "Yeah, it's not like we should respect his personal space or anything."
Storm: "....You're being awfully sarcastic these days, huh?"
JH: "As much as I'd like to continue this conversation, I have to return to HQ. This has been.... interesting."
Storm: "No problem, go do your fancy superhero stuff. We'll come visit you again soon."
JH: "Why don't you make an appointment like everyone else? And stay in the lobby."
From Ruby's Personal Notebook
Day One: Storm has a new obsession. I guess I should be worried, but it does sound like fun. He says we'll be meeting lots of famous Neopets.
Day Two: What was I thinking?
Day Three: Of course I am pushed into the sidekick role. While I don't mind spending time with my brother, does everything always have to focus on him?
Day Four: I probably shouldn't have found breaking into top secret areas as exciting as I did. Probably.
Day Five: Should I worry about Storm referring to himself in third person?
Six: Judge Hog is getting very paranoid. I suppose I would be too if I had Neopets shadowing me constantly. And I'm starting to think he suspects more....
Day Seven: Finally done with all the edits. For some reason Mom insisted on attaching a note at the bottom.
Overall I considered my search for answers successful. Clearly, I cannot squander my amazing magnetism and aptitude for hunting down the truth. In fact, I believe I may try my hand at interviews again. The idea of becoming a famous author is appealing. I could also have a catch phrase like.... Storm_Sparks: He hungers for the facts. Storm_Sparks: All shall be revealed. Storm_Sparks: The Ogrin, the legend.
Disclaimer: This Neopets user does not support breaking and entering, impersonation of public officials, forging Neopian Reporter badges, the stalking and badgering of persons, overuse of italics and any other misdemeanor mentioned. Special thanks to Carolyn (parody_ham), Geo (black_skull725) and my lovely cousin (kca_98) for incredibly helpful reviews. Happy Heroes' Issue, everyone!