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Secret Origins of the Factory

by surging


Many have heard of the fabled Grundo known as “The Grundo Thief” – as if he does not have a name.

     Brax is his name. And he was a loyal Dr. Sloth minion during the years leading up to the great Grundo independence.

     Brax wondered how Grundos were supposed to survive without the protection of Dr. Sloth as soon as he initially heard the rumblings of independence. He continued to ponder this for days, even weeks. After much consideration, he decided he would not partake in the quest for independence. He kept his head down and did his work as instructed by his superiors. In the quest for dominance, Dr. Sloth was far and above the best. He was an inspiration. Brax would do whatever it would take to ensure Dr. Sloth and his closest confidants would know him and know the effort he put into the cause. Brax had spent so much of his life idolizing Dr. Sloth and wanted so badly to be among his inner circle. He even lied about his age when he was young just to get a work assignment sooner. He was so eager to work. It was all he ever dreamt about; it was all he ever knew. This always felt like this was his purpose. Independence made no sense and it was foolish to even consider it.

     While other Grundos were going to secret meetings, training in secret, and preparing for battle for independence Brax was alone. He did not want to participate so naturally his friends drifted further and further away from him until he had no one. That was okay with Brax – he knew eventually he would be rewarded with attention from the great doctor. He kept his head down and stayed away from any known troublemakers, lest he get swept up by accident by confused fellow loyalists.

     One warm Friday evening in the Month of Eating Brax was given his assignment for the upcoming week. It was at a new laboratory he had never heard of: Freaky Factory.

     “What a curious name for a factory,” Brax muttered to himself as he read over the details. “Is it a factory that produces freaks? Is it a freak that owns the factory? Is it a factory that is scary? Is it a school for learning to become a freak?”

     He started to chuckle at his own jokes.As he read on it started to become confusing. Freaky Factory is a new factory producing plushies and it is by the company Krelufun Industries, which Brax was familiar with due to its connection to Dr. Sloth. He was a regular when it came to purchasing their products.

     “Why would I need to break in and steal from a facility we are connected to?” he asked the folder, as if paper could talk.

     He read on.

     The plushies produced are made out of kreludite which is a mineral mined from Kreludor which is used in mutation experiments. Brax knew this and reasoned it would be a good idea to make plushies out of it. It would make it much easier during production and save Dr. Sloth money by using it.

     “Your mission,” he read aloud slowly hoping it would provide clarity, “is to steal the kreludite-infused plushies. Do not let them leave the factory. Get as many as you can.”

     Brax flipped the paper over. It was blank.

     He looked for more papers in the folder. There were none.

     “Why am I stealing from us?” He sighed and looked around his room begging for answers. His mopey reflection stared back at himself through the monitor.

     This is the first time Brax had ever questioned orders. He was afraid of even questioning Dr. Sloth. Was it a test of loyalty? Was it a mistake and two different things became crossed in transmission? Was it a larger scheme that would expand Dr. Sloth’s rule?

     Perhaps answers would come in time. Brax wondered if he should help the answers present themselves but he was afraid he would be seen as one of the traitors seeking independence for daring the question. He was stuck. He had to follow orders if he wanted his comfortable lifestyle to continue.

     He sighed again as he put the papers back in the folder and plopped it on the chair. He went through the motions of getting ready to sleep but he knew he wouldn’t be able to sleep. This would be on his mind for a while.

     And he was right. He tossed and turned all night. He occasionally got up to reread the folder just in case the words changed. Much to his disappointment they never changed.

     The assignment did not start until Monday so Brax had a few days to attempt to gather intel on this assignment. He was trying to not act suspicious but kept waiting for his supervisor at a beverage spot she liked to frequent.

     She spotted him first.

     “Brax? What are you doing here?” She looked at him with suspicious eyes.

     “Oh, uh, hi Mara. I just happened to be in the area. You know. Getting ready for the new assignment. Just taking everything in for now. What about you? How are you? What do you think of the new assignment I got? Pretty cool right? Anyway. How are you?”

     Mara looked at him even more suspiciously. Brax realised he did not play this cool at all.

     “I’m fine. Listen, are you worried about this assignment? Because we can have you reassigned–”

     “NO!!! I am totally on board.”

     “Alright. Well. Anything else?” Mara sounded irritated. This worried Brax. This was a bad idea.


     “Are you wondering about the semi-secret connection we have to the factory?”

     This felt like a trap to Brax. He didn’t say anything. He tried to remain neutral with his expression. But the more he stood there with a blank expression the more suspicious he would seem. He had to say something.

     “Nice weather, huh?”

     “I’ll let you in on a little secret. We’re running a scam. See, the more plushies you steal the larger the insurance payout will be. Kreludite is an expensive precious resource due to its well-known powers. So it would be easy for, say, an unknown individual to steal plushies. All we are going to do with the ones you bring back is put them right back in the queue for the poor fool we trick into taking the plushie-making job. They will never be done making plushies because we will always have orders mysteriously coming in. We will be saving mad money on supplies and making money from insurance claiming the losses. And, best of all, we can charge a fortune selling any plushies we choose.” Mara laughed in such a way that simultaneously somehow put Brax at ease and made him even more nervous. He decided it was safer to chuckle along with her anyway.

     “That is so smart Mara, you’re so smart.”

     Mara stood a little taller and puffed out her chest. As she put her hands on her hips in a power pose position she smiled and said dryly, “I know.”

     They stood like this for a minute.

     Mara turned to head inside. “Oh, Brax?”

     “Yes, ma’am?”

     “Maybe buy a new wardrobe. One that would obscure your face. Don’t get caught as one of us.”

     “Yes, ma’am.”

     With that Mara head inside and Brax was once again alone with his thoughts. He decided to take her advice and go shopping for a new wardrobe for the new assignment. He was surprised she was so forthcoming since none of this was written in the file. He was even more surprised that a new wardrobe became part of the deal.

     Brax settled on a hat, mask, and turtleneck so only his eyes, arms, and legs would show. This would probably do.

     By Sunday afternoon he was ready to head out. He did not know how long this was going to go on, so he was sure to rent a place closer to the factory as is customary on most assignments. He never had much stuff anyway so it was easy to pack and head out to his new digs.

     He was unpacked in just ten minutes. He started going over the assignment again, this time detailing the blueprints of the factory. He needed to know the exits, secure doors, best hiding spots, and secret passageways. This would ensure the maximum plushie yoinkage and the minimum chance of getting caught. He studied until he could see the map with his eyes closed, then studied some more. When he was satisfied with his memory work he went to bed.

     The next morning was a blur. Brax barely knew what happened between the time he woke up and the time he got to the factory. He was so nervous. He would rarely get nervous before a new job. He tried to shake the nerves as he climbed through the air ducts and shimmied through the secret passageways in the walls that were built for him. He got into position under the floor at the factory belt and waited. He was still nervous and confused. But he couldn’t let that prevent him from doing what he set out to do.

     Everything became clear once he heard the factory worker come in. He heard them shuffle around the room, open a few doors, put their things away in the locker, then head back out to the factory floor. Brax could hear the worker talking but was unable to make out what he said. But Brax knew what was about to happen and knew what had to be done. There was one goal and one goal only: get. them. Plushies. For Sloth!

     Then suddenly everything clicked on. It was so loud. The flying kreludite, the kreludite dropping to the floor, the different mechanisms moving plushies and kreludite, the boxes the plushies went into, everything could be heard at once. It was awful. Brax could hardly focus. Tried as he might, he couldn’t quite tell what was happening to effectively get any plushies. He could barely leave the floor.

     After what felt like an eternity, the worker turned everything off and went home.

     “Oh no,” Brax thought to himself. “I botched my first day.”

     That night Mara called. He didn’t pick up. He refused to listen to the message. He wanted to hide in shame. Instead, he got creative. He fashioned up earplugs to help him focus. He went back to the factory and turned each machine on individually so he could learn their different sounds to better inform his movements. He studied the movement patterns of the conveyor belts and practised jumping from the floor to yoink a plushie as fast as he could.

     “Tomorrow will be better!” Brax confidently shouted inside the empty factory.

     And it was.

     Brax successfully got 10 plushies on his second day. It wasn’t as much as he had hoped, but that worker was actually pretty fast-moving. He managed to call the authorities a few times but naturally, they could never find Brax despite being right underneath them.

     This little routine between Brax, the worker, and the authorities continued for another week. Eventually, the authorities stopped coming to the worker’s calls and called the worker a nuisance. But that is when the worker got creative. He started dropping kreludite on Brax or just smacking him in the head. It hurt, but not terribly. Brax was a warrior so he could take it. It mostly just made him dizzy for a few minutes and he had to reset before another yoink.

     After a few months of this Grundos won their independence from Dr. Sloth. Because Brax was a loyalist no one ever told him. Not the other Grundos who had no loyalty to him at this point and hadn’t actually seen him in months. Not anyone was affiliated with Dr. Sloth because Brax was so dedicated to his assignment that they didn’t want to lose the free labour. So Brax continued at the factory.

     Brax never knew his assignment was to be over all those years ago. He thought he was just so good at this assignment and it made Dr. Sloth happy so he was fine to keep it up. No matter how many years it may take, Brax was determined to see this assignment through to the end.

     Whenever that is.

     The End.

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