Cakes in Space
"WHIPPED CREAM. JAM. SPONGE. FROSTING? ON A SPONGE?"
Another bakery trip for Bashy had proved to be difficult. Dealing with living bakers was so difficult as a robot, as they really didn't understand. Bashy could understand what he wanted to say to the bakers, but he couldn't quite articulate it in a way they were used to. Additionally, Bashy had a very thick Virtupetian accent. Most pets lose the harshness of their accent when they move down to Neopia very quickly, and while others can still pick out the faint pings and clicks and twangs of the accent, communication between robots and living pets goes pretty smoothly.
Bashy had never actually moved to or spent a great amount of time down on the planet, and spent most of his time in a spaceship with other robots. There were the odd space-bugs around in the ship too, but they didn't make great conversational partners. Bashy was only down here to make another cake trip; Kirogyla (his flying companion and, in all truth, boss) had come up with a new theory for a planet which was made of cake. It seemed insane, Bashy knew, but when you looked at the figures and the logic behind Kirogyla's work... well, it seemed insane to think that there wouldn't be an entire planet made of cake.
Even Kirogyla scoffed at the idea of a "Jelly World" on the planet; it just wasn't feasible. The jelly would melt, she'd explained, and just spread all through the oceans. Maraqua would be more colourful than it already was, but the oceans would also be impossible to swim in due to all the melted jelly making the water "thicker" if you like. Kirogyla had an answer and an explanation for everything and that, to Bashy, was really what you wanted in a boss. To never be left wondering, to never have a question unanswered, to always be in the know.
The baker was still looking at him with a look of embarrassment on his face, looking at the queue behind Bashy and then looking worried. "Look, sir, I just don't know what you're asking. Maybe you could write what you want? Or select a cake from the back room?"
"SECOND CHOICE," responded Bashy, happily. He probably didn't sound all that happy unless you could hear and understand the slight sound of springs in the word "choice", but he tried to look happy.
"Right you are, sir," said the baker, leading Bashy around the counter and through a door in the back. "If you see anything you like, just bring me the card next to it, and I'll get it boxed up and brought out to you."
"LIKE ALL CAKE," joked Bashy. He understood humor, but the baker apparently did not catch the tones Bashy's voice, and therefore scurried out of the room nodding. If Bashy could sigh, he would have.
He really needed to get Kirogyla down to a normal bakery sometime, as Kirogyla never took these trips herself. She stayed in orbit with her many different screens of calculations, diagrams, and news channels to scour. She never left the ship at all, and Bashy was starting to think she was scared to. It would be good for both of them to spend some time down on the ground, maybe they could even convince others to help with their cause? They'd probably be relegated to the Jelly World Ramblers scrapheap, but it was worth a go, surely?
He had already tried convincing her, for the sake of research and talking to bakers about all the different types of cake. Of course, Kirogyla liked to eat cake, but she'd surely learn more about the theory behind cake from actual bakers rather than from recipes online?
He picked up the card for a sponge cake, picked up a sponge for a frosted coconut cake, and took them to the baker. He then collected the cakes, took them to his Pod, and flew back up.
Three days later, Bashy had been working on his plan for two days. He had come back defeated from the bakery, handed over the cake, and watched Kirogyla devour the cakes in the first two days. He knew she would need more, he hadn't picked up a lot and – right on cue while he was opening his lenses – he heard her:
"BASHY. CAKE RUN."
"STOLE TWO CAKES. DROPPED NEOPOINTS OUTSIDE POD."
If he could grin, he would have grinned to himself. It was a great plan – forcing her to go down on her own...
She really was desperate. Bashy went to load up the Pod.
"I CAN TAKE YOU DOWN?"
Kirogyla came into the room, all bouncing tail springs and flailing feet for balance – all backwards. You'd never call her graceful. He could tell she was not happy about going to the surface, but at the same time she was happy to be getting cake. It was a difficult situation.
They'd left Commander Jim in charge of the Ship, and they landed in Neopia Central in the Pod. As they went to exit the Pod, Kirogyla stopped dead in front of Bashy and kicked him in the chest.
"TROUBLE. BAKERY IS WHERE?"
"I REMEMBER. FOLLOW THIS PATH UNTIL GINGER BREAD."
Bashy hadn't factored into his plan that he'd have to stay in the Pod to make sure that Kirogyla believed she had to be there. He had a feeling that she didn't want him to come with her anyway, as her first time on the surface in many years was going to be a very personal journey.
Kirogyla stood outside the Bakery, staring at it and taking in all the details. It was glorious, glorious cinnamon scented ginger bread, with frosted windows and a frosted garden, and mixed nuts with glazing all over the roof. She had never considered that anything like it should exist, and so she stood outside until it had closed without noticing. Running up to the baker, she looked in through one of the windows with blue frosting around the edges.
"PLEASE LET ME BUY CAKE. PLEASE LET ME DISCUSS BAKERY."
"We're closed, miss. You can come back tomorrow, though, and we'll have plenty of fresh goods."
"GINGERBREAD SPACE SHIP?"
"Aye, I can mold gingerbread into the shape of a spaceship for you, dear."
"NOT A COOKIE. A FLYING SPACESHIP."
The poor baker looked like he'd just been hit in the face with a flyswatter. He was bemused, shocked, and apparently a little angry.
"Look, miss, I don't have time for jokes, I've got actual cakes to make."
Bashy, by this point, was getting worried. He had been expecting the journey to take a little longer than usual but Kirogyla should have really been back hours ago, and she couldn't really have gotten lost. What had happened?
He jumped out of the Pod, put the Pod on standby and began walking to the bakery – just in time to see something awful happen. Kirogyla crashed through one of the windows, shattering the wall of gingerbread beneath her. The scent of cinnamon grew stronger and Bashy began to run – what on earth was going on?
"Look, lady, you're crazy! Get out! This is my shop, and you've just wrecked one of my walls."
"I WILL REBUILD."
"No, you won't – you'll get out right now!"
"LET ME HELP."
The baker – who could sigh – did so. He could do with some extra help in general, but given that one of his walls was now all over the floor in cookie-sized lumps, he could really, really do with some extra help.
"We'll do it together."
Bashy halted – he could just about hear what was going on – hear the discussions of how to make gingerbread, sponge, how you would make cake harder or softer, lighter or heavier. This didn't just sound like trying to find a cake planet any more – it seemed Kirogyla was doing some real research into cake structures. Bewildered, Bashy strolled back to wait in the Pod. Eventually, he fell asleep.
Bashy opened his lenses, stretched out his stiff springs, and climbed out of the Pod. Kirogyla was bouncing excitedly, holding in her arms what looked like a tiny spaceship – a tiny spaceship made of cake.
"PROTOTYPE, FOR COMMANDER JIM TO TRY."
Bashy was speechless. They flew back in silence while Bashy tried to think of how to say how stupid he thought this all was – a bakery, yes, that's a solid building – a spaceship with moving parts and an engine?! What did the engine even burn? He didn't even want to ask. He docked up, left the Pod and went to his deck. How ridiculous. Her obsession, she'd sucked him into it all with her facts and figures and really she was just mad, just like the Jelly World people.
Bashy had been sitting, angry and confused, wondering what to do now and how to leave, when a little noise outside grabbed his attention. It was a twinkling sound, and then there was a whirring sound like... whisking? He peered outside just long enough to see Commander Jim whizzing around in a tiny cake spaceship, with hundreds and thousands flying out behind it.