Where there's a Weewoo, there's a way Circulation: 196,598,846 Issue: 929 | 26th day of Awakening, Y23
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The Transfer

by _corvus


"What ... is it?"

     It's a fair question — Dr. Death isn't one for silly or inane questions and Rose has known him long enough to know that.

     The Techo crosses his arms. "My dear, if you think I knew what Management was all about — do you think I'd still be here?"

     Between the constant construction of the new wing in the Pound and dealing with hopeful owners and distraught Neopets, neither Dr. Death or Rose had seen the delivery of the large, heavy metal container that now sat inside their joint office. The smell of sawdust and metal is strange, new. Everything felt strange and new with hardly any explanation — and now this. There was no note or detailed list of instruction on the container — nothing to say to whom it was meant for or where it had come from. No one had anything to say about it either, cornered down by Dr. Death or politely asked by Rose. It had just appeared and now — it just sat there as heavy metal containers tend to do.

     Dr. Death was sure it was from Management — they were always sending down new things with only an errant note or memo to go on. They were the ones who okayed the expansion of the Pound and decided it needed another wing. Dr. Death wasn't about to start going around agreeing with Management but ... well, every Neopet needed their space to move! Cramped up as they were, you'd start crying too!

     "Should we open it?" Rose asks, tilting her head. "If it's here, it should be for us, you would think?"

     "Oh, yes, opening an unidentifiable container with no name or note sounds like something we absolutely should do." The sarcasm dripped off his words — the Uni gave a snort and rolled her blue eyes. You work together for as long as they have, you learn quickly what is a barb and meant to hurt — and what's simply personality.

     "Well, what do you think it is? Or, better question, what do you think we should do about it?" she asks.

     "I —" Dr. Death had no idea but he wasn't about to tell Rose that. "We should just leave it here. It's probably for the construction workers. Extra .. spackling or something."

     "Extra ... spackling." Rose looks at him, her brow arched. There's a pause, she looks at him again with a look that would strip the new paint off the walls if she could harness it. New Battledome Item? He'll make a note to mention that in his wrap-ups to Management. Dr. Death immediately looks away. "You can admit that you don't know, y'know."

     "You asked what we should do, that is what we should do."

     "Alright, you're the boss. We'll leave it here and deal with it tomorr—"

     A sharp, high-pitched hiss escapes the metal container, a vacuum releasing and slowly the door to the container begins to lower, folding in on itself. A cold rush of air billows out, a low rolling fog that sends a shiver up Dr. Death's spine. The metallic smell is harsh and new. Dr. Death quickly steps in front of Rose, watching the container dissembled itself. Clicking gears snapping into place, creating pockets for it to slide into and shrink. There was a shape, cold and motionless, Dr. Death realized, within the container.

     Rose whispers under breath, "Fyora above, what is that?"

     "Fyora isn't here."

     Green eyes click on, the slow stuttering of a machine attempting to start. There's a subtle hum that Dr. Death feels through the floor and the wall. A click-click-click of metal shifting against itself the shape began to move forward. He pushes Rose towards the door, ready to bolt out — when it suddenly goes dark and drops — THUD! — hard onto the floor. The machine powers down and sinks into quiet, still and motionless once again.

     There's a long moment before Dr. Death steps towards the — robot. He frowns at it. What was a robot doing here? If it was Management attempting to pull a joke, it was in very poor taste! He would be sure to write up a very sternly worded letter!

     He didn't know too much about robots, leaving that those space-faring few. He ran a Pound, not a high tech Space Station. There have been a few robots that he had seen through the Pound, dropped by owners that either lost their manuals or forgot how much maintenance that a robot required. Dr. Death turns to the container that was now a small, silver cube sitting on the floor in a small divot. The weight of the thing was straining the wood! He had no idea how he was going to move that — not mention what to do with the robot!

     "Well!" he huffs. "This was not funny!"

     "The poor thing," Rose says, stepping up to the robot. "It just stopped working — do you know what happened?"

     "My dear, everything that you saw — I saw and that is the extent of my knowledge."

     "Why is it here, though? No owner? Was it meant to be ... dropped off —" Both of them hated the word abandoned. Dropped off sounded nicer, kinder — you're dropped off and waiting to be picked back up.

     Dr. Death sighed. It was late, they should both be heading home. Getting to his feet, he heads to the filing cabinet next to his desk and begins to slowly flip through the folders. The names of Neopets, how to care for certain types or specific feeding habits — "I was sure there was something — Robot Kougra ... Robot Lenny ... Robot Mynci ... Ah! Here we are — Robot Care!"

     "You're going to wake it up?"

     Dr. Death flips through the pages, slightly worn and water damaged. "I want to know why it's here."

     "I want to know who put it here. A Hissi — wow, you don't see too many of them!"

     "Yes, yes, yes — help me stand it up, my dear."

     They made a job of it, trying to haul the Hissi upright which, considering how heavy the robot was and how many buttons there were that Dr. Death didn't know what did, made it difficult. Half propped up against one of the chairs that hopeful owners sat in, the rest of it sprawled out in a blend of metal and wires, protective green covers gleaming against the red tips of its wings. There was hardly a scratch on it, the reflection in the metal so clear that Dr. Death could see himself as clear as a picture. It was a handsome fellow, that was for sure. Dr. Death flipped through the book and tried to match what he was reading to the Hissi.

     "It must be a new model, this ... doesn't really match."

     "Well, you're reading a book that's several years old."

     "Any help would be much appreciated, my dear."

     "Well, if it's off — we just turn it back on? Or, maybe, it needs to be charged?"

     Dr. Death — guesses. Robots were not his forte — but Neopets were. The robot was built to mimic a Hissi, correct? If he follows the spine, he should find the — ah! He presses a button and there is a sudden whir, the green screens for eyes flick back on and the pupils simulate blinking. "Ah!" It catches him off guard, sending him sprawling back with the book tossed off to the side. Rose gasps, covering her mouth but before she can say anything, there is the hum of machine, a whirling of gears cranking together to cause the robot to move. It shifts, standing up to its full height and then coming to a rest, head ticking from Dr. Death and then towards Rose.

     The computer screens within the office suddenly blink on, a green line of script sprawling across the dark screens.

     A robotic voice speaks, the mouth opening just slightly. "Initiating Manual Download —"

     "Hey, now!" Dr. Death quickly gets to his feet, brushing off his white jacket and gather the book back in hand. "Don't go downloading things —"

     "Download complete. Initiating scan —"

     "Don't go scann—"

     "Scan complete." There's a ding. Dr. Death scowls. "Please state your name."

     Rose glances between the robot and Dr. Death. The old Techo shakes his head as she promptly says: "Rose."

     Does no one listen to him?

     "Rose." The Hissi repeats her name and then turns tick-tick-ticking towards Dr. Death. The clever workings of those inner parts all moving together to mimic the grace of a Hissi were not lost on him, someone had taken the time to design such a robot — but none of that explained why it was here! Oh, Management was getting a stern letter indeed! Green sensors blinked and the Hissi spoke, "Please state your name."

     Dr. Death says nothing, his eyes narrowing at the robot who meets that gaze with an unblinking one of his its down. The request is repeated in its clear, unflinching voice. Dr. Death still remains silent. It's a long, drawn moment between himself and the robot.

     He glares — a glare that has stopped Neopets a plenty in their footsteps but the robot is unfazed. It click-click-clicks closer to him, scraping across the floor in a clatter of metal. It merely blinks those eyes — no, the sensors mimic blinking. Hissis don't even blink! They have no eyelids! Oh, the fallacies that can be sold without a second thought to the masses these days!

     "Please state your name." The voice is untroubled by the glare.

     "Doctor ..." Rose says, stepping toward her.

     He shakes his head, arms crossed in a huff and flare of his white coat. "I don't trust it. You think giving our names out to some ... some robot without any context as to why it's here and what it wants from us?"

     "This unit is identified as Transfer Admin, model H-15.4.05. Please state your name."

     "Transfer?" Rose asks, tilting her head slightly. "What does transfer mean?"

     "When an owner wishes to transfer a pet to another, this unit will guide them through this process. Please state your name."

     "— You mean, the wing they're building is for you? A transfer office?" Rose asks, her brow furrowed as she pieces each part together. "You're here in the office because you are our new co-worker. This is your office too." Dr. Death didn't like the smile when she glanced between him and the Hissi — H-15 whatever.

     "Your assessment is correct, Rose. Please state your name."

     "Well, it's good to meet —"

     "What do you mean, it's good to meet it? It just —"

     The robot quickly and swiftly cuts him of with the request. "Please state your name."

     "Will you stop asking that?" Dr. Death snapped.

     There's a long moment of quiet. It stretches, the green eyes unblinking and the slow, quiet whirl of mechanics ticking and moving in motion in order to allow for the wings to move without any hindrance. Dr. Death can appreciate the elegance of this machine, this H-15. A nickname, those were easier for Rose to remember — as many Neopets as there were in this place, nicknames were easier than strings of numbers and the abomination of the underscore. Management had yet to get back to him about that.

     "Please state your n—"

     He really wasn't going to get out of this, was he? Already, he was drafting the mail he was going to send to Management.

     "Doctor. Death." The old Techo annunciates both words clearly and slowly and the Hissi clicks, a soft ding goes off as a scanner announces that it has finished scanning. He was going to have several words with this H-15 about that, words that Rose would do better not hearing. "You're here for transferring? That's it?"

     "Correct. After scanning and compiling the multitude of letters and proposals, Doctor. Death., Management has decided a system of owner to owner transferrals would be appropriate to incorporate into the Pound. This unit has been created to supervise, direct, and oversee all transferrals. "

     Rose chuckles slightly, stepping up to Dr. Death. She grew too attached too quickly, Dr. Death knew. That generous heart of hers was almost too kind with how many Neopets came in, scared and confused and Rose attempting to soothe away all of their problems. He saw that look in her eyes, one that said she was warming up to H-15. "All of those words mean the same thing."


     Rose turned to Dr. Death with a soft smile. "And here you thought they didn't read your mail."

     "Perhaps, I should have been more specific in the ... help I requested."

     "Oh, don't go start looking a gift Uni in the mouth! I'd be very upset with you."

     "Upset? I haven't done—"

     They are interrupted by H-15. "This unit requires a charging station. Please follow instructions in preparing and installing the charging station. This unit will now switch into low power mode in order to conserve power."

     There is a moment before Dr. Death sighs and shakes his head. There was no winning this — if there was anything to win. Perhaps ... just perhaps, this would help the pound. Fyora knew that it needed all the help it could get, all of these poor souls with no one else to turn to. "Fine. I will set it up."

     "Thank you, Doctor. Death. Your kindness is valued."

     The sudden flush in the old Techo's cheeks is enough to make Rose laugh.

      The End.

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