Sanity is forbidden Circulation: 81,443,838 Issue: 150 | 23rd day of Swimming, Y6
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What Really Goes On Behind The Neopian Times

by tracypaper12


DEEP CATACOMBS - If you're reading this, you've most probably noticed that this is in fact the 150th Issue of the Neopian Times, a big milestone in its history. I mean it's like... twice as big as the 75th issue milestone and three times as big as the 50th one! What isn't there to love? ...Don't answer that.

Anyway, being the loyal, talented and gorgeous reporter that I am, I felt it my sole duty to bring something a little special to this prestigious issue. However, I failed, and brought you this instead. An in depth look at what really goes on behind the covers of Neopia's fill in the blank source, what really goes into producing so many pages for our merriment. A warning to those who are faint of heart, and weak of bowels, this article may reveal more than you ever dared to dream...

Upon receiving several memos from a reliable source, I managed to find the Headquarters location. However, something tells me the source wasn't quite as reliable as I'd thought, as it had managed to lead me through three packs of wild Doglefoxes, and a nest of Buzzers. When I finally found the building itself, I was greatly surprised. In the middle of a forest clearing, there appeared to be a small, damp wooden shack, with the words "Neopian Times HQ" painted on messily in bright red letters. I entered the shack hastily, still rather paranoid about getting eaten by wild petpets.

The interior of the little hut was so completely different, it knocked me over. Literally. I was like *fallsover*. Anyway, the floors were made of a solid white marble, with tall pillars reaching up high into the ceiling. The walls were made of the same material, and I felt like I'd just walked into a cavern of ice. I approached an Aisha who was sat at an ice-white desk, twiddling about with a pencil idly.

TR: Hi, I'm here from the Neopian Times. You might have been expecting me...

The Aisha pointed casually at a staircase to the left of the desk. I was rather miffed, having wasted my cool interview abbreviation on such an unworthy candidate. However, walked over to the stairs, and read the poster pinned next to them on the wall.

Ground Floor - Entrance
Floor 1 - Printing Room
Floor 2 - Editing
Floor 3 - Experimenting
Floor 4 - Witty Rejection Notice Room
Floor 5 - Ninja Room
Floor 6 - Writing
Floor 7 - Weewoolery
Floor 8 - Snowflake's Turret

I skimmed through the list again, unsure of whether I'd read correctly. I could understand why there'd be a printing room and a writing room, but was fairly baffled as to why there was an experimenting room. I was about to go pay the Ninjas a visit, when someone walked up beside me. He bustled past, carrying a tall stack of papers. It appeared to be Major Spike, staff writer.

TR: Want some help with those papers?

MS: Oh! No thanks, I'm only carrying them for dramatic effect. Which floor are you headed up to?

TR: I'm not sure, actually. There's an awful lot of weird floors.

MS: You get used to it. As long as you feed the Weewoos, and don't get on the wrong side of the technicians down in Experimenting, you'll survive. Hey, would you like a tour?

TR: Sure!

MS: Let's start from the first floor then.

Major Spike led me up the spiralling staircase. A few minutes passed, and I knew we must be getting quite high up. I decided to get a few questions in before we arrived at our destination.

TR: So, how long have you been working here?

MS: 209 years. I might have left, but they sucked out my soul. And they give me free doughnuts, so I guess can't really complain.

TR: I see. So, what are the working hours for most employees?

MS: Oh, we work round the clock! I haven't had a lunchbreak in years.

TR: Well... that can't be healthy. Do you like working here?

MS: I suppose it depends on your idea of 'like'.

TR: I mean... do you enjoy it?

MS: Oh, of course!

The stairs finally ended, and we walked through a door. I found myself in a giant room of desks, a Neopet stationed behind each one, copying down from giant stacks of paper next to them.

MS: This is where the Neopian Times is printed! Copyin with such speed and elegance requires years of dedication and training. Some even translate into foreign languages, like Tyrannian! All our Neopets are experts, except Dr Sloth over there.

I spun round to see the tall super villain, scribbling notes down like the rest of the workers. I noticed a large stack of screwed up papers in the recycling bin next to Sloth's desk.


TR: Ooookay...

Sloth: Hey, some of us need to earn a living between plotting world domination!

MS: Moving on, the ink we use is retrieved from this room here.

I followed Major Spike into a dark, dimly lit room. Inside there were thousands upon thousands of black, inky Bloop.

MS: Those pets over there milk the Bloop for their ink. Bloop are a plentiful source of the stuff for our ink wells. We used to buy ink from a manufacturer, but found it rather costly.

TR: Wow, amazing! Let me guess, the paper's made from sheets of compressed recycled Weewoo feathers-

MS: No, it's just paper.

TR: Oh.

We passed back through the printing room and back over to the next flight of stairs. I followed Major Spike up, and we were soon back on our way. Before stepping through the new door, he warned me.

MS: Be careful what you say to the technicians. They can be very... uhh, temperamental.

TR: Gotcha!

Needless to say, within the next 10 seconds, I found myself running away from a rather large Skeith, who was bounding after me with a rather nasty looking ray gun.


A few minutes later, and after the removal of a couple of extra arms, I managed to get a brief insight of what this room was about.

MS: This is where we create all our technology. It's directly associated with the Space Station warehouses, and some of the employees were trained there. They specialise in finding the most effective ways to reject poor entries, double the speed of our post Weewoos, and get the most out of our writing department.

TR: Then why did they have that mutation ray gun?

MS: Well, they like mutate people sometimes, you see.

I was glad when we eventually left that room; the Skeith kept shifting his eyes from me to what looked like a rather horrific torture device. The next floor was Witty Rejections, according to the poster.

MS: There's normally a meeting going on in there, but we can just drop by to see what's going on. It's just up here.

I stepped into the room and listened. Pets were sat around a circular table, all talking amongst themselves. A Kougra was stood at the head of the table.

KO: All in favour of passing Witty Rejection #2747 "My Grandma could write better than you. And she's got no hands!" please raise your hands now.

A large proportion of the Neopets raised paws and fins into the air.

KO: Motion passed.

TR: No hands, hah, genius!

After listening to a few more of the new rejection replies, we headed back to the stairs.

MS: I'd prefer if we skipped the Ninja room. That's fairly top secret work in there. Plus they like to poke me with their big, pointy sticks. Up we go to the writing room!

Trying to hide my disappointment in not seeing the Ninjas (I like Ninjas), I nodded politely.

MS: Now, most Neopians are under the impression the Neopian Times is written by its users. Well that's only partly true. You see, once they've entered one submission that's up to scratch, we secretly kidnap them in the night, take them down to Experiments, and well...

The door opened, and I nearly *fallsover*ed in shock. The room was enormous, hundreds of thousands of office blocks stacked upon each other, a ladder running down the side of each column. And in each block sat what appeared to be a garden gnome, writing furiously.

MS: ...We turn them into Gnomes! It's ingenious really. They need very little care, no lunchbreaks, no pay... yet most of them still put in 100% effort everyday.

TR: And the ones who don't?

MS: Well, we have a Gnome Incinerator Room in the back. I can show you if you'd li-

TR: Err, no thanks. I'll just take a look around here.

There were hundreds of Gnomes, each with little pointy ears and a little hat. Some of them stood out amongst the crowd. I noticed one Kacheek Gnome was wearing a pair of Lucky Green Boots, and a Blumaroo Gnome was carrying around a mallet instead of a fishing pole. After seeing how many former Neopians I could spot, I returned to the corridor, and continued my tour with Major Spike.

MS: Weewoolery next. This is how we deliver the Neopian Times to everyone in Neopia.

The door swung open, and I was greeted by the sound of a thousand choruses of the song "weeewoooo". The rafters were covered in hundreds of snowy white Weewoos.

MS: We only use the whitest of the white. They're the best natured, plus, they're so beautiful looking.

TR: I see. Aaw this little guy likes me!

How wrong I was. I had to wrestle the petpet to the ground to stop it from gauging my eyes out with its talons.

TR: Out of curiosity... how do these Weewoos fly? They have no wings.

MS: We have a giant Weewoo catapult over here.

He pointed to a large wooden structure, which a handful of Neopets were loading up with Weewoos, a Neopian Times tied to each of their legs. One of them called out, and another released the string. Their cries of "WEEEWOOO" faded away beneath the slightly less... catapulted birds.

MS: We've been getting into trouble with some of the Neopian cleaning staff as of late, however. They claim Weewoo's fairly hard to clean up.

We got back to the final staircase, and headed up to the last floor.

TR: Wow, this is it! I finally get to meet the prestigious editor... Snowflake!

Major Spike opened the door slowly. I stepped into the room, looking for her.

TR: Where is she? This is 'Snowflake's Turret', right?

MS: Indeed.

TR: Then where is she?

Major Spike pointed at a rather large machine, that was lining the right hand wall. "Editor 3000" was written across the side.

MS: Snowflake tried her hardest, she really did. But she sort of became... obsolete, when the staff down in Experiments managed to make a robotic editor. There were a few sabotage attempts, some tears and a few tantrums, but we finally... uh, convinced Snowflake to go down into the writing department.

TR: That would explain the Gnome with the ballgown then. Anyway, this has been great! I'm so glad we could do this.

MS: No problem! It's been great having you.

TR: Now, if you could just show me to the exit...

MS: Exit? You thought you'd be leaving? Oh no, Miss Tracypaper12. You know far too much. I think there's a seat down in Writing, with your name written on it.

TR: Eh...hehe...heh.

And so there you have it! From the robot editor, to the evil demon writing staff, I've shown you everything that goes on behind the Neopian Times. This is Tracypaper12, signing out, about to go comb my nice, new Gnomey beard.

NOTE: This article is one hundred percent not lying about being dishonest about telling the truth. I think. Thanks to my buddy and Staff Writer, Major Spike for letting me use his name. And for giving me extra pointy ears. Whoo!

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