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An Orbital Tour Of Neopia: Don't Hold Your Breath

by pk_fire14


VIRTUPETS--Earlier this year I wrote a travel article for the Times, detailing the exciting events (or rather lack thereof) in Meridell. Sorting through the onslaught of neomail I received following this, (Sample Letter: I LUUUVVVED YER ARTICLE! Send me $mony$, k?), I found two letters which promised to be a little more interesting. The first, which contained Bubonic NeoPlague germs, I took to be a thank you from Skarl for all we had done to promote Meridell’s tourism. But after a visit to the pharmacy and the swellings finally went down, I was able to open the second letter, which was from, for some unknown reason, Dr. Sloth.

Dear puny human, the letter began,

I thank you for your article in the puny human’s newspaper, The Neopian Times. Indirectly, you have promoted my expensive Virtupets/Kreludor package tour to the #1 position in the tourism industry. You are now worthy of using my avatar. Take it and be grateful, puny human.


Dr. Sloth

A normal reaction would be something like ‘WooHoo!’ But it got me thinking that if the Virtupets/Kreludor tour is generating so much money for Sloth, then maybe he was using it for sinister purposes... purposes that an inexperienced travel writer should go investigate ASAP! (I realize it wouldn’t be nice to reduce traffic to the station of the evil doctor who just gave me a coveted avatar. But I had to weigh that against the fact that I really, really wanted another shiny Neopian Times trophy.) So I packed my bag and set out in search of adventure and a cheap lunch. Too bad I only found one.

It wasn’t adventure.

The first thing that happened when I got on the station was that I noticed the wall inscription that told me how this was Orbital Space Station #4. That got me worried, thinking what had happened to the first 3 Space Stations. Did they lose their atmospheric thrust and crash into the surface of Neopia in a fiery debris storm? Because that sort of thing can really cramp your visit.

Looking for adventure, I sought out the games aboard the station. Specifically, I ended up seeking out Splat-A-Sloth, a game where two very disloyal Grundos whack a sock that looks vaguely like Sloth. He does own this station, right? He must not have good people skills. (Sample Sloth Business meeting: I WILL CRUSH YOU ALL, PUNY HUMANS!!)

And I wasn’t impressed from Evil Fuzzles From Beyond The Stars. Specifically, as the stars are approximately 93 billion miles away, the Evil Fuzzles must travel pretty fast to be able to make it to Virtupets on time, where they’re promptly blasted to bits by a heroic maintenance worker. I pointed this out to the Usul running the game and she just sort of stared at me before calling security.

After outrunning the TX-2 DestructoBots, I found myself in a flowery field (Wait... there’s a field in the middle of a Space Station?) where Neopets were throwing a ‘Gorm’ball at each other that periodically exploded, then instantly reformed. This is actually considered a sport? Riiiigggghhtt.... I had better luck playing ‘Frum’ball, where you fire a ball at big chunks of the station, hoping to destroy them, so you can move on and destroy some more. Actually, maybe this is what happened to the first 3 stations; the National Frumball championships kinda dismantled them. (Don’t ask about Zurroball. I’m kind of opposed to any game that involves flipping a ball of Snot around the room. It’s a cultural thing.)

But enough about sports. Virtupets has some great shopping experiences. You can visit Grundo’s Cafe (Motto: Our food tastes just like Kreludor Cafe!) or pick up some machinery at Virtupets Weaponry, Virtupets Armor, or Virtupets Petpets. Upon closer inspection, I saw that all three of the previous stores assemble their wares from the same parts and pieces. So, if you knew how, you could dismantle your cute little Combobot and build an OmniMatic Death Bazooka.

And then there’s Adopt-A-Grundo, which is giving away Dr. Sloth’s loyal servants by the hundreds. (Are you REALLY sure he owns this station?) They come in seven colors, like Cosmic Red, Moon Rock-Brown (even though Kreludor is Black) and Empty Expanse Of Space Purple. But they didn’t have Oxygen-Deficiency Orange, even though 99% of the tourists there wanted an Orange Grundo to love and cuddle and steal an Avatar from, and after they’d promptly ditch it because they HATE Grundos.

Something occurred to me: the agency is able to instantly provide a Grundo, in either gender and seven exciting flavors, to hundreds of visitors a day. So where are they keeping them all? This is a Space Station, after all, which means that certain things like food or air or room to move are going to be a little limited. So I asked the Shoyru at the desk where they were keeping these millions of back-up Grundos and just she sort of stared at me before calling security. (My new motto is it’s not a complete trip unless you get chased by the local police at least twice.) While running, I came upon the first useful game all day: Escape To Kreludor. I did so.

I quickly regretted it. Kreludor is just sort of... what’s the word... empty? There’s almost nothing here. I bounced to the information center and met a friendly Welcome Wocky who asked if I had any questions. I asked her why Kreludor, the only moon in Neopia, is jet black on the Explore page, but pure white when viewed from the Deserted Fairground or Darigan’s Citadel.

“Um, well...,” she said, “The refraction of light...albedo...hyperkinetic sunspots...Shut up.”

That pretty much set the tone for the rest of the trip. Kreludan Homes, for example, has some beautiful real estate. The only trouble is the commute back to the surface each morning. That must get tiring. Maybe they hitch a ride on Evil Fuzzles; they’re fast enough.

The shopping on Kreludor is out of this world! Literally. Not in the good way. You have the Kreludor Cafe, (Motto: Our food tastes just like Grundo’s Cafe!) and you also have BOOKTASTIC! Books. I still don’t understand what makes a book BOOKTASTIC!...It’s probably something to do with the -TASTIC! part.

I was semi-excited about the Kreludor mine, where I imagine they dig up valuable elements like Neopium and Faeryllium and Slothite in large quantities for Chemistry For Beginners. (Warning: Do not keep Slothite in large quantities, as it blows up.) Unfortunately I was stopped from this potentially exciting tourist hotspot by an angry security robot. Thinking quickly, I overturned a big vat of Slothite into another big vat of Slothite, causing unstable explosions and enough smoke to cover my escape.

Oddest of all is a giant Neocola machine that no one know what it’s there for. Well that’s obvious: it produces Neocola (Motto: Icy cold as the depths of space!) Why it’s on the dark side of the moon is another question. My theory is that several years ago there was a big mix-up at Grundo Warehouses, and all these Alien Aishas on the moon received a Neocola machine. Meanwhile, in Neopia Central, the Food Store owner wound up with an Alien Aisha Vending Machine with enough juice in it to destroy the entire planed. (Good thing no one’s ever put in a Blow-Up-The-Planet Nerkmid.)

Kreludor is apparently famous for it’s Orange Grundos. I asked them why they’re so famous. They said it’s because they have their own totally original avatar. When I showed them how their avatar can be easily produced by melding the Faerie Grundo and Mad About Orange avatars, they sort of gave me a funny look I’d seen way too often on this trip.

So I made it back to the shuttleport and escaped death again, waving goodbye to my screaming newfound friends: 2,000,000 angry Orange Grundos (which are not for adoption, don’t even try.) The only other passenger on the shuttle was a rather large and imposing Commander Garoo. When he found out who I was and what I was doing here, he heartily slapped me on the back and told me he hoped I had good things to say about Virtupets. Wait... it was less of a ‘heartily slap’ and more of a ‘bonecrushing blow and invitation to death at the Battledome if I don’t say nice things.’ I don’t remember the exact wording. I was still trying to figure out if my back was still attached to my body.

And that’s one puny human's recount of a trip through the surprisingly oxygen-rich upper atmosphere of Neopia. I would have said only nice things about Virtupets, but I know that Garoo will be a Defenders of Neopia challenger sooner or later, and he might as wall have a reason to want to kill me. So, attention everybody. If anything in the preceding article made you want to go on the Virtupets/Kreludor package tour, I suggest you seek immediate medical help. Otherwise, save your money for more worthwhile pursuits, like throwing it into the ocean, throwing it over a cliff, or playing Dice-A-Roo. And please, don’t send me too much Neomail. I have enough at the moment, what with the legal suing paperwork from Kreludan Mining for 3.5 mil in emotional/Slothite-based damages, and ooh! A big package from Dr. Sloth with shiny biohazard stickers all over it. Let me just get the lid off...

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