When I, a Yellow Vandagyre, moved from the mountains of Shenkuu to Neopia Central, I was not sure what to expect, but I knew that there was a big surprise for me in store. Like the rest of my known friends that were heading out, I wanted to explore the world and make a difference in some way after decades of isolation.
As expected, upon arrival, I was viewed with suspicion by Neopians, but it was a minority, contrary to the ‘horror’ stories previous Vandagyres had mentioned in passing upon returning. In fact, the majority were willing to help me out start my new life, whether it was the Skeith Bank Manager or the local shopkeepers. That did not mean that it was easy, especially when it came to jobs. I took a part time gig as a Neopian Times deliverer, but felt that my talents were wasted. However, I still soldiered on, knowing that the perfect opportunity was out there, waiting for me.
As it turned out, my job actually ended up finding me that opportunity, but it was not something I had expected in the first place. While I was delivering the Times, I would read it just so that I would be up to date. More often than not, I would read about a case being solved by various detective agencies such as the Lupe Pack Detectives and the Bookworms. From what I could gather from the bits and pieces, even though they were completely independent from the Defenders of Neopia, they still reported to them.
I was intrigued by this prospect of joining the Defenders as a freelancer, similar to the various Neopian Times reporters scattered all over the world, so I decided to gather some more information first before making a decision. After all, this was one where my life would change entirely and I wanted to be certain that this was the right decision for me.
Upon seeing the Defenders Headquarters, I was intimidated by the size of the building, but I gathered up my courage and headed inside. Inside, I felt a sense of familiarity as the layout was similar to what I was used to back home with our ‘peacekeeping force’. An Orange Zafara looked up from her spot at the desk as if she had been expecting me.
“I’d, umm, like to know more information about becoming a detective,” I told her nervously. She got up from her seat and motioned me to follow her.
We arrived at a certain room, where the Zafara told me that this was the registration officer. I thanked her for the help and went inside, knowing that I would get the information needed to make my decision. A Robot Grundo stood in the middle of the nearly empty room.
“Greetings, civilian. I am Watson, your specialist in detectives. How may I assist you today?” it said after I closed the door, its antenna lighting up in unison with each word.
“I’m currently inquiring, but how does one become a detective?” I asked. A few seconds later, I could hear some clicking before it responded. I assumed that it was processing what I had just told it.
“Unless one has a criminal record, any Neopian can register to become a detective. You will also have to pass a series of tests and take an oath in order to be registered. As well, the tests must be retaken after a couple of years.”
“So, do I have to form a team?”
“Negative. Although most of the successful detectives consist of teams, there have been a few who were individuals. The most notable one is a retired one by the moniker of the ‘Bubble Detective’.”
“In other words, it depends on the skill levels of the detectives themselves and their confidence in them, correct?”
“Affirmative. All detectives, past and present, have unique ways to distinguish themselves from the others.”
“What about the name/moniker? Are there any restrictions that I should be aware of?”
“I will not allow the usage of the word ‘new’, ‘newcomer’ or any variations of those as they will not make any sense later on. Although I will make mistakes from time to time, anything deemed offensive or inappropriate will be rejected on the spot, so please, be careful when choosing the moniker.” It had placed some emphasis on a couple of words just so that I understood.
After hearing the answers I was looking for, I was starting to feel that this was indeed the right choice to make, I just needed more time and research. The Grundo must have sensed that little hesitation before replying.
“I can detect that you are ready to proceed with the registration, but need more time to consider. If you want, I can send you the application forms to your Neohome. You would just have to worry about the tests and the oath should you return here with them.” I was grateful for the offer, so I accepted it by typing my address onto the keyboard that had appeared from his body. That way, after receiving them, I could toss the forms out if I did not want to proceed.
My next stop was the home of the Lupe Pack Detectives, seeing as they had been one of the more prominent ones that I had read about. I wanted to know a little bit more about their lives on a bit of a personal level. Much to my surprise, when I arrived, I found the path to their office empty as I had expected it to be busy, considering their reputation. I walked up to the front door and knocked, wondering what was going to be in store for me.
I had thought I would be rejected on the spot after explaining the situation to one of the Lupe Pack Detectives, Aura the Starry Lupe, but instead, she allowed me in and lead me to their living room, where the rest of the team was. A Blue Lupe got up from her seat as soon as we entered.
“I’m Blizzard, the head. May I ask for your name?” she asked as we shook hands. I told her my name.
“Okay, Owen, please take a seat. There’s no need to repeat the same question as I overheard. Also, you don’t need to be nervous around my siblings or me. We’re not going to bite, well, not unless you’re a Chia.” I could see the rest of her family smiling at the little comment/joke that she had made, although if it was a joke, it literally flew over my head. I did as I was told and calmed myself down before asking the first question that popped into my head.
“I didn’t even realize that you were a family. Are all teams like this?”
“The short answer is no. Almost all of the teams act like family members, but we’re one of the few that actually is. It goes to show how much we trust each other.”
“So what made you become detectives in the first place? As far as I know, you probably held a job previously.”
“We did, but our jobs essentially broke the family up due to the various times that we worked, especially for Aura, who was a Petpet Protection League member at the time,” the Striped Lupe, who I later knew as Opren, replied.
“Of course, we still wanted to serve the community, but we wanted to do it in a way that brought us together. Becoming a detective was a no-brainer for us, especially with the skills that we had acquired with our previous jobs,” Aura added.
“One last question. Why do you think you are so successful in what you do?”
“Hmm, that’s a good question. I’d say that it’s the relationship bonds that we end up fostering, whether it’s our clients or our fellow detectives,” the Fire Lupe, aka Solar Flare, responded. “In other words, the Golden Rule.”
“Take our first case for example. We weren’t ready to open, but our client gave us some positive word of mouth because of the fact that we took the time out from our Neohome renovation to solve the case,” Blizzard added.
Since I had no more questions that I could think of to ask them, I thanked them for their time and returned to my Neohome. By the time I reached it, I had made my decision and knew what to do. This was something I definitely was not going to regret.
I could see a large brown envelope sticking out of my mailbox when I arrived, so I took it out and opened it, even though I knew it was the application forms mentioned previously by Watson. Before filling out the application forms, I took a quick peek around my Neohome to see what I needed to do before opening. There was going to be some significant renovations, plus the furniture needed to set up my office.
As I was filling the forms out, there were a couple of areas that I had left blank as I was not sure how to answer them. I figured that when I returned to the DoN, Watson would be able to help me with them.
When I returned to the DoN, I submitted the somewhat incomplete forms to Watson. Almost immediately, he processed them.
“Ah, I see that you have not come up with a moniker yet. Not to worry, this will not affect the testing or the oath and you can come back at a later time to register that moniker. Ready to proceed with the testing?” I nodded.
The first part of the test was to determine which Neopian was guilty of a crime committed based on their statements and the clues gathered from the scene. Fortunately, it was not a speed test, so I took the time necessary before making a decision. That portion of the test I passed with flying colours
It was during the second part of the test, an analysis of a crime scene, that I came up with one. It was something that made a lot of sense, for my species anyways, considering my colour. I came up with it just as I had instinctively placed my hands over my body and stayed still for quite a long time as I studied the scene, not even blinking once despite the fact that it was a speed test. Like the first one, I was able to pass, although not with flying colours as I had expected due to the fact that I had missed a few minor clues.
“Not bad at all, however, there were some clues that you did miss, which could be costly. On the other hand, you did surprise me with your analysis style. You’re probably the first Neopian that I know who is able to study a scene carefully from a single perspective.” Watson told me as soon as the test was finished. I thanked him for the complement.
The last thing that was left was the oath. Once the book used for the oath popped out, I placed my right hand on it and waited for Watson to issue the oath.
“I, Owen the Yellow Vandagyre, solemnly swear that I will uphold the honour, integrity, and respect entrusted to me by the Defenders of Neopia when performing my duties as a detective. Fyora help me, ” I replied, repeating what the Grundo wanted me to recite.
“And you’re finished. Welcome to the DoN, Detective Owen,” he said as a badge popped out from one of his hands.
“Actually, I want to be known as the Beacon Detective. I want to inspire other Vandagyres to pursue their dreams, no matter how tough it may be out here, as well as other Neopians, mainly hope, knowing that I’m here to help them.” Watson duly noted the moniker and accepted it.
As soon as I left the DoN Headquarters, I knew that it was going to be a long road for me before I could even match the level provided by the well known ones out there but I also knew that I would try my best to make myself known. After all, I had a lot of confidence in my abilities.