"What do you mean I have to wait six solar sweeps to get my hovercar back?"
Dr. Ptunk was not a happy Ptok. Of course, he may have looked scary despite the lab coat but the Pigwig bureaucrat at the DMV wasn't phased. Anyone who knows the Ptok closely hardly ever was.
Thing is, the only reason the Ptok are feared in their section of the galaxy is their military and their weapons technology, and both of those are only being held up by extensive government funding.
This is thanks to their current leader and galactic ambassador, Captain "Admiral Bloodeye" Bludeye, whose extensive re-working of "Ptok" society has basically lowered his approval rating to practically nothing. He'd be impeached if he hadn't made himself dictator for life.
The "Ptok" weren't originally called that, but Bloodeye insisted on a menacing name for his species when he reinvented their language. He then went on to name their planet Ptokus and begin a massive takeover of the surrounding empires.
Sporebag leader aside, the Ptok are mostly known for being partygoers. Of course, to say the Ptok are into parties is like saying that a sun gives off light; it's not even close to the whole story.
You see, if there's one productive thing about the Ptok, it's that they are master geneticists. To the point that it's trivial enough for them to use it as a mundane utility. They created the Gestingi, a race of fanservice girls, when they decided dating was "too much trouble". They created the Mekiega, a race capable of diving to the darkest depths of the ocean, so that they wouldn't have to fish. They created the Fernithkus, an animal that eats garbage, to take care of their compost.
So it should come as no surprise that when they got tired of doing paperwork and other bureaucratic stuff, they made something that could do it for them. This new race became known as the Pigwig.
The Pigwig are one of the most hated of the Ptok's creations. Not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic by necessity, officious and callous. They are basically the galaxy's desk clerks. For unknown reasons, most races see little to no physical difference between Pigwigs and the legendary "Human" species.
With all this in mind, you can now see why the fat, drowzy-eyed clerk was all too conscious of the fact that this middle-class Ptok had no power in the argument.
Here's where the irony comes in. Dr. Ptunk was lead geneticist at PtokGen Bioengineering, the company that had created the Pigwig, a project that he himself oversaw. Go figure.
So how did he end up having to try and bargain his vehicle back from the impound lot? Well...
Early that morning...
Dr. Ptunk walks into PtokGen's main lab looking drowsy and unattentive. He heads straight for the breakroom.
"Ugh. Don't even talk to me until I've had my morning cup of Brown Spice..." he manages to groan out.
Now I'm sure you're wondering what that is, so I'll quickly explain. The big commodity of the galaxy, everyone knows about the main varieties of Spice. Red, Yellow, Blue, Green and Purple. So what about this "Brown" spice? Well, recent discoveries in the galaxy have lead to entirely new spices entering the market. One of these is Brown Spice.
Brown Spice is bitter and a strong stimulant, and has gained popularity throughout the galaxy relatively quickly. It is usually drank as pure liquid, sometimes with Pink and Orange Spice mixed in, or eaten as a solid bar composed of Brown and Pink Spice.
"Oh, you kidder, you." a voice says as Ptunk pours some of the hot liquid into his mug.
"Greeeaaat. Just what I need." Ptunk thought.
Dr. Gelck, the newest member of the development team, was already getting on Ptunk's nerves. Knowing the newbie had been transferred from the vaporware "supersoldier" project that Bludeye insisted to continue funding was making it all the worse.
"Cheer up!" Gelck says with his grating happy tone. "I just got wind that the schedule got mixed up and we don't have any projects in progress! As long as we stay in the workplace all day, we're getting paid to do whatever we want!"
That figures. PtokGen was having trouble with it's computer network recently, thanks to outdated equipment. The entire Ptok empire hadn't thought to upgrade to quantum routers once the unused ID numbers for their internet started running low. Not to mention they are completely incompatible with the Galactic Metanet that most empires are already accessing daily.
"Good. Then I can spend the day reading the novel I recently bought." Ptunk replies. "I'll be right here if anyone needs me."
"Oh, good! Then you won't miss the karaoke party we're throwing in here." Gelck proclaims.
"That does it. I'm reading in the lavatory." Ptunk says, annoyed at the prospect of listening to Gelck sing. Badly.
Gelck was a bit disappointed. "Well at least try one of the appetizers before you go."
"No tha- Wait, where would you get the ingredients and equipment to cook appetizers in a genetics lab?" Dr. Ptunk already knew he'd regret the answer as soon as the words left his mouth.
"You'd be surprised what you can make with leftover meatburgers and a genetic construction capsule!" Gelck says, reaching into a paper bag.
"Okay, one? Ew. There is no way I'm eating a genetically modified version of those already mutated foodstuffs. Do you have any idea how long those burgers were in there? I think I saw one move recently!" Ptunk explains. "Two, you aren't even authorized to use the GCCs."
"Well at least take a look before you judge." Dr. Gelck said, pulling a small blue vegetable out of the bag. He holds it out for Dr. Ptunk to see. "It's got twice the nutrients of your average produce, a great taste, sits well with carnivorous digestion AND it purges fat!"
"Hmm..." Ptunk was actually surprised at the skill put into the creation. "Interesting concept, I'll give you that. Most Ptok don't think about plant matter. What's it called?"
"The Screaming Zomato." Gelck says.
"Why's it called that?" Ptunk asks.
Suddenly the Zomato opens an orifice filled with rounded teeth and a tongue, and makes an unmistakable noise.
It then bursts apart into a goopy mess, covering Ptunk in Zomato juice.
"I am SO changing the passwords on the capsules." Ptunk says, storming out of the room.
"Hey, come on! It was just a joke!" Gelck says, trying to apologize. He glances over at the counter where Ptunk had been standing and notices something he had left behind. "Wait, you forgot you book!"
However, Ptunk was already out of hearing range. Gelck takes a closer look at the novel.
"Ancient Ptok Mythology?" Gelck reads aloud. "On paper? Hasn't he ever heard of an eBook? Hmm..."
He opens the book to a random page. "Eh... nah." Flipping through the pages, he scans the pictures of the various fictional beings. "No... Nope... Nada... No way... Oh! Now this might actually work..."
Later that day, Dr. Ptunk is searching for the book in the breakroom.
"I swear I must have left it here!" he says, frustrated. A light flicks on in his head. "Oh, that's just perfect. Gelck must have it."
He heads out the door to the breakroom, passing a diminutive figure that is entering the room as well.
"Hi." Ptunk says out of courtesy.
"Sup." the being responds back.
Ptunk begins walking away, then stops in his tracks. He looks up and slowly turns his head. Here, before his eyes, was a fictional creature from out of myth.
"Ahhhhh!" he yelps in surprise.
"Ahhhhh!" the being responds back, also surprised.
"Gelck!" Dr. Ptunk yells at the top of lungs.
Gelck peaks out of a nearby doorway. "You rang?"
Ptunk is not amused. "You've got some 'splaining to do!"
"Oh, I see you met my latest creation." Dr. Gelck says, opening the book to a page with a huge picture of the basis for his genetic tampering. "A real live Gabear!"
"You can't just up and create a sentient species on a whim!" Ptunk complains. "That's the kind of crap the military wing pulls!"
"This... isn't the military wing?" Gelck said, and received a death glare from Ptunk for it. "How do you know they're sentient?"
"Oh, of course. How rude of me to assume you're in the wrong without proof." Ptunk says, turning to the Gabear. "What's the meaning of life?"
"I dunno. 42?" the nameless Gabear responds.
"Looks like he passes the Turing test to me!" Ptunk glares at Gelck.
"Relax, we'll just put 'em in a zoo!" Gelck says casually.
"WHAT? No way!" the Gabear protests. It runs to a nearby door labeled BIO-CONTAINMENT CHAMBER and taps a code into the keypad, causing the doors to spring open. "To freedom!"
"Oh no, they're escaping!" Gelck says, panicked.
"THEY? You made MORE?" Ptunk says loudly, waving his arms wildly in anger.
"Well how else was I going to product test them?" Gelck replies.
"What possible use could we have for a 1.44 height-unit tall herbivore based on an ancient legend?" Ptunk asks.
"Well, they're a lot more clever than you'd guess. And unlike you, they actually have a sense of humor..." Gelck elaborates. "They were supposed to do stuff like making novelty trinkets and repairing broken electronics."
"Wait a second. PLEASE tell me you weren't using common sense and told them the passcodes for the lab keypads." Ptunk says with dread.
"Not really." Gelck replies.
"Oh no... They're smart alright. SO smart, that the one you let wander around was able to figure out how to bypass the key codes!" Ptunk now has a worried look on his face.
"Is that even possible?" Gelck asks.
"The manufacturers usually put in a secret backdoor code for debugging, and the installation workers never bother to disable it. So yes." Ptunk answers.
"Think we can still catch them before they get out of the building?" Gelck asks.
Ptunk facepalms. "Let's do that now."
In the parking garage, the two Ptok scientists step out of the elevator just in time to find the Gabears hotwiring a car. The engine revs up and it squeals out of the parking space and up the ramp to the street outside.
"They're getting away!" Ptunk shouts. "Where's your car?"
"I take the bus." Gelck responds. "Where's your car?"
"THEY JUST STOLE IT!" Ptunk snaps.
"Oh. Follow them on foot?" Gelck says.
Ptunk was through with being polite. "They're going at 20 times our top speed, idiot!"
"I placed a tracking chip on the one that I let roam around." Gelck explains, turning on his computer watch. A holographic map displays a tiny dot moving down a highway. "Am I still an idiot?"
"Depends." Ptunk said. "How many of those things did you make?"
"I don't know. A dozen, maybe?" Gelck answered.
"You are an absolute moron, and I hope you know that if my car has a scratch on it I'm going to poison your next meal." Ptunk gritted his teeth.
"I don't get it. We should be standing right beside them!" Gelck said, standing in the middle of a freeway.
Ptunk looked down and saw a small object, which he picked up. "Looks like they found your tracking chip." He crunched it in his hand.
"Hey, come on! I paid 100 sporebucks for that!" Gelck complained.
Ptunk pointed further down the highway. "Looks like there's an accident just down the road. Maybe all these people saw something?"
"This is a P-T-O-K News special report!" A broadcast had just interrupted an episode of Spores of Our Lives.
"Werrig Bralk here at the scene of an accident on Ptokway-95, where bystanders are claiming that one of the cars involved in the incident was filled with - get this - a group of Gabears!" a reporter says. "Here with us is Prof. Drohk, an expert on unexplained phenomenon. Tell us, Professor, how would you explain the situation?"
"Most likely just a hoax or a publicity stunt." the apparent expert states. "Global Bio-Scans have long since proven that the myths are false. There is no such thing as a Gabea-"
"No! I saw it!" The cameras turn to the source of the sudden outburst. An older female Ptok standing by her wrecked car is making motions with her hands, a crazed look in her eyes. "It was a Gabear! And it walked like this!"
"...riiiight." the reporter said. "Ma'am, can you tell us more about-"
"Hey!" Dr. Gelck calls over to the assembly of people. "Has anyone seen a bunch of escaped Gabears anywhere near here? We need to get them back to our genetics lab, stat!"
"That's impossible!" says Prof. Drohk. "What kind of prank are you trying to pull here?"
"One that went too far. Those Gabear were created at PtokGen's labs by this moron standing beside me." Ptunk elaborates. "Wait a minute! What happened to my car? Those little furballs better not have crashed it!"
"The yellow one? Whoever was driving knew their stuff. Only vehicle in the pileup to come out unscathed." the reporter answers.
"Then where is it?" Ptunk inquired.
"I think it was towed." said the up-till-now silent cameraptok.
"Oh, well that's perfect! Just my luck!" Ptunk complains. "Did anyone see which way they went?"
"Did you say Genetic engineering?" the Professor ponders. "Well that WOULD explain the-"
"They went that-a-way!" the crazy-eyed Ptok lady points to an off-ramp labeled BLUDEYE GALACTIC SPACEPORT, then takes a swig from a bottle of Rainbow Spice Gargleblaster and passes out. Two police officers put cuffs on her and drag her to a waiting vehicle.
"...thank you?" Ptunk says, quickly running toward the off-ramp.
As the two geneticists approach the spaceport, they see the Gabears fiddling with the controls for the personnel access gate. The guards are mysteriously absent.
The two guards are walking back to their post from the spaceport's spice bar.
"What a deal! 90% off on Brown Spice and donuts!" the first guard says, munching on the day-old pastries.
"Any idea what's going on over there?" the second guard asks, pointing down the road.
The first guard nearly chokes on a mouthful. "Wait a minute! That's the gate!"
The Gabears have already opened and re-locked the gate before Ptunk and Gelck could get in. As they tried to climb the fence, the escaped creations were already preparing a stolen military spacecraft for unknown purposes.
"Hey you!" one of the nameless guards calls out. "Get off that fence!"
"Well then open it up!" Ptunk says back to them.
"Look, buddy, you're just ASKING to get arrested!" the guard warns him.
"And I'm trying to explain that we're here to STOP something much worse than ourselves from messing around in the spaceport whose gate you should have been guarding!" Ptunk responded.
The guard was about to speak, when Gelck interjected. "I think it's too late for that..."
The four Ptok looked up as a state-of-the-art Ptok Deathcruiser blasted into the sky, quickly disappearing from sight.
Ptunk decided it was out of his hands from here on out. "Gelck, consider this your 30 day notice, because when my supervisor finds out about this..."
"Oh, him? He tried to fire me already, but I'm blackmailing him with photos of him and his mistress." Gelck said in his typical upbeat tone. "Besides, the sporebag has been embezzling from the company since last year."
"Never mind." Ptunk muttered.
Years later, in the present day...
"Happy retirement, Dr. Ptunk!" His co-workers had evidently thrown a surprise party on his last day of work.
"Ouch! Hot-hot-hot-hot!" Ptunk hurried over to the sink and poured cold water all over his torso. "I appreciate the effort, but next time make sure I'm not carrying a hot cup of Brown Spice, will ya?" He looked down at his stained lab coat. "Well, it's a good thing I won't be needing this much longer."
"Hey, turn on the news! They're talking about the Gabears!" one of the co-workers says.
"P-T-O-K News!" the television blurted out.
"Hi, I'm Werrig Bralk and you're watching PTOK News." the news anchor begins. "Today is a historic day in the galaxy, as four new races join Operation: Clueless Bludeye. With civil protests building up on Ptokus itself, many are glad to see the rebellion growing in power. Here's Lai Ventura with the story."
The camera cuts to a Gestingi reporter on a cold, snowy planet. "It was 8 years ago today that the Gabear escaped from captivity on Ptokus and came here." she begins. "Crytok is not the most habitable planet, but the Gabear made do with the Genetic Construction Capsule installed aboard their stolen ship, the Ptok Deathcruiser P.K. Annihilation."
"I always wondered about the ship's name." Gelck says.
The reporter continues her recap. "A scary name, but unlike the average Deathcruiser used in space battles, Annihilation was actually fitted as a bioterraforming ship. This meant that the Gabear were able to create several varieties of plant life capable of surviving the extreme cold."
The screen shows images of some of the (un)natural flora of Crytok.
"They named this backwater planet, formerly known as CZ-57, Crytok. A punny homeworld name for a species priding themselves on sillyness, Crytok means 'no Ptok' in the Ptok's modern tongue while simultaneously evoking feelings of cold weather." The Gestingi had been talking in a slightly sped-up tone for some time, trying to compress the air time consumed. "Using their mechanical skill, they built several small industrial towns across the planet in the span of 3 years, fueling their steam-powered technology with Black Spice, a highly flammable resource that is Crytok's main export."
"Makes a good fuel AND smells good." Gelck says.
"You do realize that stuff is bad for your lungs, right?" Ptunk reminded him. "Crytok's main import is Orange Spice, just so they can clean up their atmosphere."
Yes, Orange Spice is basically tasteless and used to nullify other Spices. Not much else to say about it.
"When the Ptok Empire threatened to annex their smaller civilization, the Gabears knew they couldn't fight back alone. Spanning only two systems, the Gabear Empire is far from impressive. Regardless, the Anti-Bloodeye Resistance chose their homeworld as the meeting place for their most recent gathering. We were not informed of the meeting until after it took place, and at this point the participants have already left the planet." The Gestingi finishes up her report with a mystery. "What we do know is that the meeting took off without a hitch, and that the Kado-Zilia, Gestingi and indeed the Gabear are confirmed to have signed an agreement to ally with the rest of the Resistance. It is claimed that a fourth race also did so during the congregation, but wished to remain anonymous for unknown reasons. Back to you, Bralk."
"We now move on to-" The anchorptok pauses for a moment as he is handed a few papers. "This just in, it appears Admiral Bludeye himself is holding a mandatory dictatorial speech on all stations."
The TV blacks out for a second, then switches to Bludeye talking at a podium.
"Citizens of the Ptok Empire, it appears this rebellion against our great civilization has become something we cannot ignore." the arrogant leader states. "As we speak, our genetically engineered servants and several inferior races are refusing to bow before our glory! Rest assured, they will not be doing so for long. I have this to say to the fourth race who thinks it can hide from our grasp... We will find out who you are, we will descend upon you like a swarm of rabid Vingflies, and we will tear you to shreds!"
Canned applause plays in the background.
"As for the corporation responsible for those abominations, the Gabear, I am authorizing the nationalization and subsequent dissolution of PtokGen Bioengineering. That should teach them to betray their neighbors with such heinous acts!" Bludeye spits out. "That is all."
All the co-workers look at Gelck with a death glare.
"You realize this is all your fault, you know." Dr. Ptunk says to Gelck, sipping a bit of Brown Spice nonchalantly. "Any Ptok knows you can't just tell a constructed sentient race what to do. That's what the gengineering process is for, so you can make them happy in their role, and even that only goes so far."
"Okay, so I screwed up!" Gelck responds.
"When you said you were going to put them in a zoo, specifically." Ptunk advised. "If you stay in the genetic construction business, take my advice; literally playing god? Never a good idea. Genes are most definitely not toys."
"Before you all kill me, mind if I give Ptunk his parting gift?" Gelck asks. He handed a wrapped box to Dr. Ptunk, who unwrapped it.
Inside is a purple vegetable.
"I promise this time it won't scream and explode." Gelck grins. "Just take a bite!"
Ptunk takes a big chomp out of it and chews. "You're right, this is actually pretty good!"
"I know, right?" Gelck says proudly. "I modified the original Screaming Zomato, among other changes, to taste like Purple Spice."
"What?" Dr. Ptunk exclaims, nearly choking on the mouthful. "B-b-but I'm allergic to Purple Spice! I break out in hives!" Suddenly hives! "HATE... YOU..."
The Mekiega, Pigwig, Gabear and Captain Twyster were created by me. The Gestingi, Kado-Zilia, Ptok and Captain Bludeye were created by my brother, known here as "Mr.86", and the creation file(s) have been uploaded to my Spore account. The characters "Dr. Ptunk" and "Dr. Gelck" do not have respective creation files as of this writing but were created by me exclusively for use in this fanfiction, with permission from Mr.86 to have them be members of the Ptok species.
Spore is copyright EA and Maxis.