Khargana woke again. Her brain was finally working, somewhat
anyhow. She wasn't nearly as dizzy. She still couldn't see, though now she could
tell from the streaks of light above and below her direct eye level that there
was some sort of black strip covering her eyes. She could also tell that whatever
she was tied to was metal. Cool, smooth, and very, very solid.
What had woken her? Ah, yes, voices. Voices all
around, though now there didn't seem to be quite so many. She wiggled a bit,
trying to loosen some part of her. It didn't work, just attracted the attention
of her captors.
"She's up, master," shouted an overbearingly
loud baritone voice.
"Very well," announced a calm, sophisticated,
and annoyingly bigheaded voice. "Loose her so I may speak with the famous Wocky
Detective, and shut-up while you're at it."
She knew exactly who it way.
Khargana's blindfold was pulled off, as was the
wire that tied her hind legs. Her eyes were instantly flooded with a bright
artificial light. She blinked a bit, then, as her quick feline eyes adjusted,
"I thought so. Silly me, dropping my guard so
"How could you possibly have known?" asked the
smooth voice. Khargana turned her head to look at the owner of the voice, already
knowing who it was.
"You were foolish enough to walk through my office
with three Grundos: two Slaves and one Mutant," she answered coolly.
She added, "I still find it incredibly odd that
you went barefoot, but then again you haven't been that successful lately, except
for that childish attempt at a Sloth Appreciation Day. Don't you have anything
better to do with your time? Like, attacking Neopia for instance?
Dr. Sloth's eyes narrowed at the insult. Then
they widened and he laughed. "But you, my dear detective, were foolish enough
to think we'd gone."
Khargana sighed overdramatically. "Yes, that
was rather a stupid move. Nice Room, by the way."
The metal block she was tied to was too heavy
to move much, but she could just barely shift it vertical. The two tiny normal
Grundos stared at this show of strength from a mere female Wocky.
Khargana however was thinking to herself that
she drastically needed to visit the Gym. Grundo's Gym. Grundos. Dr. Sloth's
Grundos. And stupid thoughts that would get her nowhere if they didn't start
going in a new direction.
Now propped against the block upright she could
have a better look around the room. Numerous metal tables and parts of electronic
equipment lay scattered about. Khargana could see her own memo-briefcase on
a far desk. Her vest lay on that table, all her stuff having been emptied out
of the pockets. Her gizmos, rubber bands, paper clips, screwdrivers, potions,
etc. had all been laid out neatly.
Dr. Sloth's keen eyes watched her as she scanned
the room. He noticed her stiffen when she saw all her stuff laid about and her
rather original attaché case. "Don't try to be tough, darling, you probably
can't even tell where you are."
"Of course I know where I am, your precious Space
Station, somewhere hidden from the Space Faerie's long high-tech wand. What
would you like?" she asked politely, as if she was discussing dinner instead
of the reason for her own capture. Dr. Sloth ignored her and walked over to
her open deep brown suitcase.
"Beautiful design, Khargana dear. Though I must
say it was rather challenging to break all those ridiculous hidden security
passwords and codes. Congratulations. Though, since I'm a genius, I suppose
it's no surprise that I did break them in the end." He patted the briefcase
Oh, Neoflakes, thought Khargana. It just figures
HE would be enough of a technological know-it-all to break HER passwords and
codes. And she was supposed to be a genius with electronics. Hah! Some genius.
She'd have to have a few words with the Space Station Technological Institute's
alumni. Something or other about revising the curriculum to reject anything
Dr. Frank Sloth ever came up with.
Dr. Sloth smiled wickedly, completely consumed
in his own cunning. "I do say that now I know a tad more about you then you'd
be comfortable about."
Khargana's gaze bravely met his. She hadn't had
a diary or anything. Her day planner was the most personal thing she had. Wait...
DAY PLANNER! And her INFO-PAGES! Mushy Peas and Tigersquash! He knew too much,
indeed, if he got into those!
He bent over the briefcase and tapped a passcode
out on this little keyboard posing as a gold Sakhmet calculator. A small, secret
compartment opened. He pulled out her personal day-planner. His long green fingers
flipped through the pages, day by day, and started reading aloud from last week's
"Monday, meet girls at their house, bring apples
for pie. Tuesday, morning-- case on Raxey's falsified insurance, lunch with
Tanny at Shoney's Italian, pick up others from school at 3 p.m. Wednesday, finish
inquires on Lt. Bob's assistant, 4 pm movie with girls. Thursday, Adri's hair
appt at 10 a.m., Rissa's art class at 1 p.m., go with Tanny to Sakhmet at 3
p.m. for new vases..."
He went on a bit. It was blindingly obvious Khargana
spent a great deal of her time with three girls, sisters, going by the names
Adri, Rissa, and Tanny.
He finally glanced up. Khargana was glaring at
him, slanted brown eyes narrowed dangerously. He smiled.
"Naturally I wondered who these girls a detective
spends so much of her valuable time with were."
He laughed and pulled up Khargana's ultra-private
info-sheets, so important they were, in fact, not even stored on paper.
The inside-top of the suitcase served as a hidden
touch-screen when you typed a certain code into the calculator. There she stored
up-to-date information on everyone she knew, info on any cases she might have
worked for them, current status, paw shape, whether they went to the lab ray,
where they worked, where they could be reached, even strengths and weaknesses
for the Battledome.
And, of course, accessing that was how he could
read those uber-secrets.
Khargana's green face paled beneath her fur as
he found the index page and opened the file for Adriana_Flyer. "Adri, Adriana,
Adriana_Flyer, too simple, my fellow S.S.T.I. honors graduate."
A red Uni's page flicked up on the screen. Any
information Dr. Sloth could possibly want was there, even up-to-date photographs.
Khargana put in everything she could possibly ever need, so that the computer
could automatically give her any answers . He scrolled down the page, focusing
on the section on vanity items and social clubs.
He went back to the index page, and opened the
file reading CarissaOfire. "Rissa, Carissa, CarissaOfire, elementary." His eyes
scanned her page, but this time registered on the little Shoyru's gang-related
past and her special talents as an ex-thief.
Back to the index page, (Tigersquash, thought
Khargana, he's making me sweat before he says whatever he wants!) he opened
the file Stand_Off.
"Slightly harder, dear Khargana: Tanny, Tan,
Stand, Stand_Off." His eyes flicked over the Zafara's ultrasonic hearing info,
and latched onto her charming personality summary.
Leaving the briefcase open, he sauntered over
"I have enough information on your three little
friends to do anything on want to them. It would be easy to capture them with
all that data on Battledome techniques and habitual hangouts. I could easily
set them in dungeons, cages, whatever, guarded against their particular talents."
He leaned closely over Khargana and whispered
in her ear: "Oh, I could kill them soooo easily."
She sweated, her green fur getting slightly damp, though her direct brown eyes
continued to glare dangerously at the doctor.
Sloth laughed. "HAH! I know all about the Great
Detective Khargana! Her 'bravery'! Her ability to face anything that might happen
to her! I know several idiots who waved guns or wands at you, only to have you
slip through their fingers, flip them over, stun them, knock them out, and lock
them up! Turn 'em in to the cops, eh darling?"
He leaned against a table. "I'm not stupid, despite
what many think. I may not be fit to rule Neopia, much as I hate to admit it,
but I am perfect at manipulating people. I know your one weakness: Your best
friends, those three silly girls." He pointed at the briefcase's open top.
Khargana wouldn't open her mouth for fear of
letting her terror for her best friends show through. She swallowed. He wouldn't
say all this for nothing.
"Just tell me what you want already, Frankie,"
she said, deliberately using a nickname he was known to detest at the institute
to try get him to lose his cool. It was so much easier to cream furious bad
guys then calm ones.
It didn't work, though his eyes momentarily flared
at that insubordinate version of his first name. But he knew too much about
her methods. He forcefully calmed himself down, and answered.
"I want you, Detective Khargana, to work for
me. I want your obvious talent for electronics. Your cold, calculating logic.
Copies of all those extremely useful gizmos, some of which even I can't comprehend
the usage of. Even your unusual fighting tactics. Your S.S.T. I. contacts, of
course: mine disowned me except for a select corrupt few that enjoy my sizeable
bribes. And, naturally, all the information you have on that weird briefcase
He leaned over closer to her disgusted face.
"I am well aware, dear detective, that I didn't, perhaps couldn't, access everything
on everyone you have information on. There was this one file on a certain Black
Khargana bared her teeth in a snarl. "You're
crazy! I'd rather die then help you, slimeball! Turkey-Head!"
Dr. Sloth smiled as if this was exactly what
he was expecting. (It probably was.) He gestured to the briefcase, where Tanny's
file was still open on the screen.
A rather pathetic, considering the situation,
picture of the Zafara and her two sisters was on the page. They were resting
under a tree after a hike, and all were smiling brightly.
"The question, dear detective, is not whether
you will risk your own life, but whether you can risk theirs."
Khargana ground her teeth more and didn't answer.
She fussed with the wire tying her to that stupid metal block again. How do
you answer a threat against the lives of your closest friends?
Cruel laughter filled the air as Dr. Sloth, err,
well, laughed hysterically. He calmed down after a minute (or two or three)
and started acting pompous again.
"You might as well give up, girl, you know you
can't fight in your situation. You certainly won't be rescued or anything. And
if you try anything we simply kill your friends. Or," he smiled wickedly, "I
could capture them and force you to watch them be tortured... I have methods
that don't involve immediate death… "
Khargana's outward appearance seemed to shrink.
"Okay, okay. I'll," she gulped, "work for you."
Dr. Sloth smiled. "I knew you'd see it my way,
To be continued...
Stay Tuned... Trust me, this next part is worth the wait! Let me know what
you think, please?! Only one more part to go through!