Voice of the Neopian Pound Circulation: 197,091,448 Issue: 962 | 17th day of Relaxing, Y24
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Dr. Labray - Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And...

by temporaltraveler


Dr. Labray - Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Had My Gender Confirmed


     Nervously twirling their tail between two fingers, the red Kougra sat hunched over in the waiting room of the “Secret Laboratory”. They looked down at their black shoes, their light brown eyes trailing up their outfit. Their hair, while long, was pulled and tucked neatly in a doubled-over ponytail in an attempt to make it look shorter. True to form, they had attempted to dress as ‘tomboyish’ as they could. Their heart pounded, and for a moment they were convinced some of the other Neopets in the queue could hear it.

     “First time?” a rather rotund Skeith snorted, his eyes never leaving his book. His voice was gentle with a slight rasp, almost as if he had just gotten over a bad case of the Sneezles. Pushing his glasses up with a claw, he would cast a slight glance to them. “I seenya twiddling and twirlin’ your tail, keep pokin’ at it and you’re gonna shed it to the skin.” A warm smile crossed his face as the Kougra nodded. His attention focused on them as they whimpered out.

     “D…does it hurt?”

     “Hurt? Naw. Hm. I’d say this is probably my…oh hm… let’s see…my owner got the map completed prior to this place bein’ more open access…Probably thousandth? Ya stop countin’ after a while. By the way, the name’s Grubbs.”

     Their voice squeaked out, and they quickly cleared their throat. “M-my name is …” they paused a bit as they looked down in contemplation. The Skeith cast a downwards, knowing glance.

     “Uh huh. Ya know…that’s the funny thing about names.” His thumb pressed into the page, his claw barely indenting it. “In the end…they’re just a buncha letters arranged, kinda like this ‘ere book. An just like books, sometimes ya might get halfway through readin’ and think ‘nah. This aint my style’ and stop readin’. Pick a different book. Keep goin’ until ya find the right one, ya know?” he smiled a small, toothy grin, and the Kougra noticed one of his teeth missing. “But when ya find it.” He’d snap his book closed, sitting up. “Y’all know it.”

     They nodded quietly as they took a deep breath, trying to steady their nerves. They had never said it before out loud, but it was something they felt deep within themselves.

     “I…is it true that the ray can change your gender?” they stammered out, picking at a stray string in the seam of the pants leg. “I-I mean…”

     He hoisted to his feet as he looked back to them. “Think they’re about ta call my number. Ta answer ya question kid, yah, it can.” As he adjusted his shirt, he gave one more toothy grin before reaching into his pocket, flicking a gold Cosmic Cheese Star Coin to them. Catching it between their paws, a soft ‘pthap’ echoed out. Strands of brown hair fell in front of their face as they looked up.

     “Grubbs?” the scientist called. “Iz dare a Mista Grubbs here?!”

     “Fer goodluck, kiddo. Hope the ray gets ya what ya want.” As he made his way in, he paused, looking back to them before the door closed.

     Sitting alone with their thoughts in the lobby, the Kougra propped an elbow up on one knee, mulling over what Grubbs had said.

     “Names are just letters arranged. So what assortment would suit me? Am I more of a Marcus, or an Xavier? Maybe I could take a spelling of a name and put my own spin on it?” Their mind went deeper and deeper into thought, so much that they didn’t even notice the scientist standing in front of them.

     “Ah. Ja. You were ze one Grubbs mentioned.” The yellow Scorchio cleared his throat as he smiled. “Come come. I assume ze name we have you in ze system should be changed, ja?” He offered his draconian hand to them, his eyes kind behind the goggles. “Don’t worry. I dink I understand what chu are looking for.” They gently took his hand and followed quietly. As they reached the chamber with the laboratory ray, their eyes scanned the walls. Doctorates and diplomas littered the walls of the place.

     For all intents and purposes, the room looked no different than any room in the NeoHospital, save for the gigantic, vaguely threatening machine in the middle of it, and the bullseye painted haphazardly on both the floor and the wall. The Scorchio lead them into position, lifting their chin ever so slightly and positioning their arms and legs this way and that.

     “Ah. Dare we go. Now. I will fire ze laser, ze laser will hit you, poof! Problem solved.” He smiled, patting their head as they shifted, eyes wide. “Oh, du dink you’re ze first to come in with zat request? No no no mien freund, quite ze opposite! Now. Usually ze laser is random, but! I have figured a way to get it to at least do ze gender zap consistently. Vhy are du so tense? Dis won’t hurt a bit!” he smiled as he dialed in a few keystrokes.

     “Now. I need du to do me za favour, take za deep breath on three. One…zwei…THREE!”

     Their lungs filled with air as the ray spun up, a whirring echoing through the room as they closed their eyes tight, a bright flash filling the room. As the dust cleared, the smell of ionic resonance hung heavy in the air as they blinked, looking down at their now cream-coloured paws. As they did so, the deep brown mane poked up, causing them to stumble back on their cape in shock. A thud echoed out as they landed square on their bum, followed by the ever-so-softest ‘tink tink tink’ from their crown.

     “JAWOL! I did eet!” Giving a flap of his wings, the Scorchio soared next to them, helping them up.

     “Did…did it work?” their voice echoed out deep and rumbly as they put a paw over their muzzle in shock. The Scorchio placed the crown back on their head as they patted the now RoyalBoy Kougra on the back.

     “Eet did better zan just verk – LOOK!” holding up a mirror, the Kougra gasped and stared at themselves in awe.

     “I’m…I’m finally me…I’m finally the me I see in the mirror!” they jumped up and down excitedly, rubbing their mane. “After all this time, I’m finally masculine-presenting - I…I’m finally a boy!” tears of joy and happiness streamed down his face as he continued hopping. The Scorchio’s expression changing immediately to concern.

     “BE CAREFUL WITH ZE CAPE!” quickly grabbing it from under his hind paws, letting it go once the Kougra had regained composure. Fetching a clipboard with a piece of paper, the Scorchio handed it off.

     “Now…Here iz ze name change form. Go on and circle your pronouns first, zen write in your new name.”

     “Hmm…” the Kougra scratched his chin, circling “He/Him” and “They/Them”, pondering quietly. “Names are just letters arranged…How long do I have to pick?”

     “However long you like!” the Scorchio smiled. “But ve ask zat you try to do it by ze end of business day.”

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