Enslaved to Saved: One Grundo's Life under Dr. Sloth
Almost every Neopet can tell the story of how Dr. Sloth almost managed to enslave Neopia. Many Grundos suffered at his hands, forced to work long hours in the bowels of the space station. The choice was simple – help Dr. Sloth achieve his evil ends or become a victim of his mysterious experiments.
I was one of the Grundos who Dr. Sloth enslaved. Nowadays, my name is Lamertera. I was adopted by a loving owner not long ago. But back in the days of Dr. Sloth I was simply called Worker No. 08031. For so long, I was too traumatized by my youth to speak out. But I believe that this part of Neopian history must be fully understood. I’m only one Grundo, but if my story gives Neopians a better appreciation of that era, then my account is worth telling.
My story began on Kreludor, a fair amount of time before most Neopians even knew that the Neopian moon existed. I had a big family, but I don’t remember them well. My parents didn’t have much money and couldn’t really take care of me. So when I was very young they sent me to the Neopian Pound. That was my first bad experience with doctors, you might say. Despite my age, Dr. Death left me in a crowded cell and barely ever fed me. I was hungry, cold, and miserable.
So you can imagine my relief, when one day I was told that I had been adopted. My new owner was anonymous. Dr. Death had been told to send me to the Haunted Woods and I would be picked up there. I was so excited! When I arrived at the Brain Tree, a large, cloaked figure approached me. Dr. Sloth lowered his hood for only a moment. His flesh was the color of stone. His eyes were as thin as needles. I was quite afraid, but after Dr. Sloth pulled his hood back up, he said words of comfort that I’ll never forget:
“My name is Dr. Frank Sloth. I am going to take you to a new home. There’ll be many things for you to do there. You’ll be a part of something that changes Neopia forever!”
Then he cackled and led me deep into the woods. I was delighted, actually. I’d never thought that I could be important. Finally we arrived at Dr. Sloth’s silver spaceship. There were several other Grundos there. They were all different colors and ages. We flew in space for several days before arriving at the Virtupets Space Station. That journey was the first time I had been fed every day!
But once we landed inside the metallic superstructure, the good times ended. I was put in a long line of Grundos. Dr. Sloth was nowhere to be seen. The line moved slowly. It winded through corridors and into a giant factory. We were assigned numbers by a red Scorchio and sent to different duties.
For more days than I can count, I worked in the factory. If I misbehaved, I was not allowed food or rest. I was always exhausted. I saw dozens of would-be defectors led into Dr. Sloth’s laboratory. Only a handful ever returned. None of us knew what happened to them until Dr. Sloth was defeated.
All of us workers would sleep in bunks. Our diets consisted of dehydrated omelettes and moon pies. Day in and day out we would pull levers, press buttons, and turn knobs. We had no idea what we were creating. All we knew was that it was mind-numbing and failure meant punishment.
I remember one time, I arrived to work 3.2 minutes late (or so said the Mynci in charge) and I was sent to the tickle chamber. I was tickled with feathers by mechanical arms for hours.
Another time I broke a piece of equipment. I spent a week on Fuzzle-repellant duty. It was the worst job on the space station. It consisted of spraying everything in sight with Dr. Sloth’s special “anti-evil-Fuzzle” formula. The spray smelled horrible – like a mix of Dung Jelly and Squishy Brain Wrap. Anytime I complained, the foreman would threaten me with a trip to Dr. Sloth’s lab.
I was lonely all the time. I wondered why Dr. Sloth had adopted me but then never spoke to me. I was still very young and naïve. I didn't know I had been kidnapped for the sole purpose of helping Dr. Sloth enslave Neopia. I thought that there must have been some terrible mistake.
So one day I decided to take action. I snuck off during work hours, knowing that the consequences would be severe if I was caught. I crept down the corridors and opened the door to Dr. Sloth’s lab. My heart was pounding, but I wanted to see my owner. I still thought he cared for me. I believed we had been accidentally separated. What I saw through that door... *tear stain* It was too terrible to write. All I can say is that I ran away and curled up in my tiny bunk. I did not move for days, I think. No one came looking for me.
I was not disappointed by this, of course. None of the factory managers were good-hearted. And I had no friends, since we Grundos were not allowed to speak to each other. (Now I know that Dr. Sloth was worried that if we could talk, we might join together and revolt.)
And so the cycle continued on for a lifetime, it seemed. I woke in the morning, went to work in the factory, ate at midday, went back to work, and then slept. Occasionally I would be punished for a mistake.
The day that Virtupets Space Station was finally revealed for what it was, was surprisingly morose for me. I mean, my schedule was so set in my brain that I was a robot even though I’d never been turned into a Virtupet. We Grundos were told we were free, but we had nothing to go home to. We had no incentive to leave. So for a short time, I continued working in the space station. But then it was converted into a recreational and storage facility.
When I was put into the Grundo Adoption Program, I began dealing with what had happened to me. I cried every night and was sick a lot. I was afraid that a Scorchio was going to come through my door and tickle torture me.
Fortunately, I was adopted by a good owner. It has taken me time to trust her. After all, my first adoption was what caused such awful things to happen to me. I’m finally learning what it means to be happy, though. I still get scared whenever my owner plays Spell-or-Starve, but sometimes I think taking trips back to Virtupets Space Station is good for me. It’s therapeutic. I tell my owner: “I ate over there” or “that spot was my work station.” It helps me come to grips with the past.
I implore Neopians to continue adopting ex-slave Grundos. They are not low-maintenance pets. But they are in need of some TLC. I also suggest that part of Virtupets Space Station be preserved for historical reasons.
But regardless, Dr. Sloth’s actions should be maintained in the chronicles of Neopian history. Hopefully, my story will make this chronicle more complete.