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Pocket Change

by airickuh


      "Thanks for coming in to discuss this," Grimilix said to his employees, Castrix and Novix.

      "No problem, boss," Castrix replied. "You're in charge, after all."

      "That's true. Well, the Space Station management has given us a job, and I think you two would be well-equipped to handle it... and since you're the only pair of workers not busy this week, that works out nicely."

      Novix said, "Well, let's hear it."

      "They want to put a lever into the wall of the Supply Deck."

      "Okay..." Castrix was silent for a moment. "A lever for what?"

      "Well, it's a weird request. They say they want a mechanical hand to come out when someone pulls the lever, and take Neopoints from the person who pulled it."

      "Uh... what?"

      "Yeah, like I said, it's weird. A way to make some money, I guess... Though it seems more like something Dr. Sloth would do. Oh well, we just do what we're told, right?"

      "Right. Well, we'll find the supplies and get to work."

      "All right. Thanks, you two," Grimilix dismissed.

      Castrix and Novix made their way down to the Supply Deck, where they could find... supplies. (Funny how that works.)

      When they arrived at the Grundo Warehouse, the receptionist asked, in a bored tone, "Code?"

      "DBTUSJY-1278," Castrix recited.

      The receptionist typed the code into their module. "I see, you're staff members. Come on in." The two Green Grundos walked into the enormous warehouse. "If you need help finding something, I can help."

      "You know, I'm always amazed by how so much stuff can fit into this one space station," Novix told his partner as they walked further in. "I mean, look at this! Aisles and aisles, as far as you can see, does it ever end? Nobody knows."

      "They say someone once went out to find if the warehouse had an end," Castrix joked. "They never heard from him again."

      "But you know, I might actually believe that if the station monitors didn't keep perfect records."

      "Yeah." Castrix reached for a box on a shelf. "Here's a mechanical hand. And here's a shiny lever," he continued, finding another box.

      "All right, so now we need some circuits, some... Does that lever come with a panel?"

      Castrix checked the box. "Yup, here's a panel."

      "All right, then. Circuits and a motherboard. That shouldn't be too hard to find."

      "We just need to find the circuit aisle."

      It didn't take long to find the last few parts, and the pair of workers went to find the programming department within the warehouse.

      "Hey, Kharlix," Novix said when they finally found the right place. "We need to get some of this stuff working the way management wants it to."

      "All right, just tell me what you need," Kharlix said. He was the programmer with the most experience out of the whole department. If there were any other space stations, their programmers would be jealous of Virtupets because of Kharlix.

      "You're the best, Kharlix. All right, so when this lever is pulled, we need this hand to come out of the panel, and they want it to grab some Neopoints off of the person in front of it."

      "Really? That's what management wants?" Kharlix asked, confused.

      "Yup, that's what we were told to get."

      "Well, I think I can manage that. How many Neopoints is it supposed to grab?"

      Castrix and Novix looked at each other. "I... don't think Grimilix told us that," Novix said after a moment.

      "Well, you guys can go find out, and I'll just leave that out of it until you get back to me."

      "Thanks, Kharlix." The pair of Grundos walked out of the programming department and made their way out of the warehouse.

      "Hey, Grimilix," Novix said when they arrived at his office on the Maintenance Deck, "we've got a question."

      "All right."

      "How many Neopoints is the hand supposed to take when the lever gets pulled?"

      Grimilix thought for a moment. "Management never told me that. But, let's go with... a hundred. One hundred Neopoints."

      "All right, we'll go tell Kharlix. Thanks, boss," Castrix said.

      "No problem, and tell Kharlix I send my regards."

      "Will do." When the office door closed, Novix remarked, "This feels like a game of back and forth. Up to Maintenance, down to the warehouse. Up to Maintenance, down to the warehouse."

      "Yeah, but this whole thing is going really quickly. Most projects take a few days to finish, right? And we'll have this done in a few hours."

      "That's true. We're just lucky Kharlix was available today, he's the fastest programmer in the warehouse. What do you want to bet he's all but done when we get back?"

      "I won't take that bet, I'm sure that he's done."

      The elevator doors opened, and Castrix and Novix arrived at the Supply Deck. Castrix walked up to the warehouse receptionist.

      "Code?" the receptionist asked.

      "We were here fifteen minutes ago, can't you just let us back in?" Castrix asked.

      "Sorry, we have to follow regulation."

      Castrix sighed. "DBTUSJY-1278."

      The receptionist typed it in. "Oh, you're staff.." (At this point, Castrix raised his arms in frustration. "Come on in."

      The workers walked into the warehouse for the second time and made their way to the programming department.

      "Oh, good, you're back," Kharlix said when he saw that they had walked into the office. "Your lever is almost done; I just need to know how many Neopoints to take."

      Novix said, "Grimilix said it should take a hundred Neopoints."

      "A hundred? All right." He fiddled with the device. "All right, it's done. Here you go."

      "Thanks a ton," Novix told the programmer. "You programmers are amazing."

      "We know." Kharlix grinned. "Now, go install that."

      Castrix and Novix exited the department, made their way out of the warehouse, and started looking for a prime place to put the lever.

      A few weeks later...

      "You asked to see me?" Grimilix asked the obviously frustrated tourist.

      "Yes, as a matter of fact, I did. You've got a mechanical hand on the Supply Deck, stealing people's Neopoints!" the tourist exclaimed angrily.

      Grimilix forced himself not to sigh. "Well, it does tell you not to pull the lever..."

      "Well, you people should know that if you tell someone not to do something, they'll want to do it!"

      "Unfortunately, if someone wants to pull that lever, then that's their choice. We can't force people not to do it."

      The tourist let out their breath in frustration. "Fine, if you won't do anything about it, then there's no sense in me talking to you." He left the office.

      Grimilix was finally able to let out a sigh. He brought his communication device up to his face. "Castrix, Novix, come up to the office, please."

      "Thanks for coming in," Grimilix said to his employees when they arrived.

      "No problem, boss. What's up?"

      Grimilix sighed. "You know how tourists have been complaining about the lever, and we asked the management to consider removing it?"

      "Yeah. Let me guess, they rejected it."

      "Yep, returned with a rejection stamp." Grimilix began shaking his head. "I got two more complaints just this morning. This lever is going to give us a bad reputation, but I guess management just wants some spare change."

      "Well, you have to admit, it has earned lots of Neopoints," Novix pointed out.

      "Yeah... I guess we'll have to suffer." A grin came over Grimilix's face. "Just remember, don't pull the lever."

      The End.

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