Breaking News: Part Six
It was Sunday, at 6 p.m., sharp.
Alfonso Might was alone in his office, the Neovision set on his desk providing the only source of light. He stared blearily at the device with sunken eyes.
He was worried, so worried that he hadn’t left his office in two whole days. His business was suffering at a result, but he knew it was worth it. If he could figure out what Mr. Jennings was up to, and stop him, everything would go back to the way it was. He’d be safe. He’d be in control again.
He had pored over the last two shows, determined to find out what Jennings was up to... but they just seemed like regular news shows, albeit with news from further away.
And here it was again, the dynamic music playing over the titles to reveal the two Neopets sitting...
But wait, there was only one Neopet sitting at the desk. The Bruce had gone, leaving only the Xweetok.
“Good evening, Neopia, and welcome to Channel 9 News. I’m Helen Scott,” the Xweetok began, quite obviously not looking to her right on purpose. “Our top stories tonight...”
Alfonso pressed a buzzer on his desk, and the untidy looking Grundo entered.
“Find out the name of the Bruce that used to be the anchor on this show,” Alfonso instructed. “Find out where he lives.”
Alfonso returned his attention to the screen as the Grundo left.
“...and the Neopian Conservation Society issue fresh calls for restoration of Tyrannian Swamp Dwellings.
“We’d like to start by apologising,” the Xweetok continued. “Last night Peter Hopkirk, a former employee of the station, gave a completely false report regarding Queen Fyora of Faerieland. We can confirm now that she is in fact a Faerie, and not a Peophin of any description. We apologise for any offence or confusion this may have caused, and we can assure you that it won’t happen again. The employee concerned has now been let go.”
The Xweetok’s face brightened slightly. “Now, Hattie, I understand you’ve got some good news for people heading down to the Lost Desert this weekend.”
The camera switched to the Cybunny weather girl and her chart. Alfonso meanwhile leaned back in his chair.
Newsreaders didn’t just go insane, at least not only after two shows. The Bruce had been onto something; he must have been.
The rest of the show went fairly as normal, including a segment with the increasingly insane Pteri running the traffic report. No further mention was made of the Bruce.
The title music played as the screen faded out. Alfonso reached to press the off button on his box, but the screen changed.
It had become fuzzy, and a second image seemed to be appearing on top of the news report as it finished.
The screen became clearer, revealing the face of the Bruce, Peter Hopkirk. He stared straight into the camera with sunken eyes.
“I hope you can all hear me,” he began in a broken and tired voice. “My name is Peter Hopkirk. I resigned from Channel 9 News earlier today because of discoveries I made about the station’s owner. I’m using stolen Neovision technology to transmit a pirate signal through the Expellibox; you should be able to get this signal no matter where you are on the planet.”
The Bruce straightened his tie before continuing, “As you may know, Channel 9 News was recently bought by Mr. Jennings. He’s also behind the Expellibox that lets the entire world see the news. What you may not know about Mr. Jennings is that he’s also a criminal. He’s a Shenkuu exile wanted for crimes against the Emperor, and has committed a fair few other crimes since he came to this city and changed his name. He owns the Defenders of Neopia, which means he can’t be arrested, but rest assured he’s as crooked as they come. The reason I left the station is because I discovered his latest scheme. He’s using the combined magical power of the Expellibox and Neovision to create a brain washing machine. That’s why I planted the fake story in the news last night. Anything you people see, you’ll believe. Jennings is going to use this power to take over the entire world. Please, you have to stop watching! You have to help me stop him!”
The screen began to go fuzzy again, and was soon replaced with a simple message that read, ‘Experiencing Technical Difficulties’.
It wasn’t long before the untidy Grundo returned.
“We’ve found him, sir, got his address on file. Peter Hopkirk is his name,” he announced.
“Apparently so,” Alfonso agreed, turning off the Neovision set and taking the address from the Grundo. “I need to meet him, immediately.”
Peter glanced through the crack in his curtains. He saw no one, though he knew that was never a sign that no one was actually there.
He’d been so foolish to film his little pirate broadcast from his house. He hadn’t thought it through; Jennings would be able to find out where he lived easily. He was sure to want revenge. He should have escaped to Kiko Lake and done it in the woods there. He’d have been almost untraceable.
But no, Peter didn’t have time to run, and if he did he knew he’d only be found in the end. Jennings was good at that sort of thing. Instead he’d barred the front door, and most of the windows. This was going to be his little fortress, and he’d continue his pirate broadcast every single night if he needed to. He’d keep going until Jennings was finished.
A sudden tinkle from one of the upstairs windows alerted Peter to an intruder.
So it was time; Mr. Black had come to terminate his contract.
Peter grabbed a golf club and held it close to his side as he crept silently up the stairs. At the top, he carefully pushed open the door to his bedroom and readied his weapon.
The imposing Grarrl he was expecting was not inside. Instead, a starry Yurble sat on the bed, smiling vaguely.
Peter lowered the club. “Mr. Might?”
The Yurble smiled a bit more. “You already know me then.”
“Yes,” Peter admitted. “I was in the middle of investigating your criminal activities when I got sacked from the Neopian Times.”
The Yurble’s face fell again. “Well, a good job you stopped then. I know exactly who you are, Peter.”
“You... do? Mr. Might, what are you doing in my bedroom?” Peter asked. “I was expecting...”
“Mr. Jennings?” the Yurble asked. “Yes, I thought so. Please, call me Alfonso. I’m here because I saw your broadcast after the news. I agree with you, one hundred and ten percent. Jennings needs to be stopped; he’s a criminal.”
“So are you,” Peter considered.
“Yes, but I didn’t kill Seth Vargo,” Alfonso countered.
“You have any proof?”
“I know where he’s buried,” Alfonso said simply. “Together, we can work to bring down Jennings forever.”
“You know where he’s buried?” Peter gasped. “We should set up another pirate broadcast, so we can tell everyone!”
“No, Peter, I have a better idea,” Alfonso told him. “If we were to seek the help of a third party, Jennings would have no way of escaping justice.”
“What are you suggesting?” Peter asked.
“I think we should go and pay the Defenders of Neopia a visit.”
Judge Hog was working late. The extra paperwork incurred by losing prisoners through the Expellibox had doubled his working day. It was long into the night when he finally made his way back through the corridors to the lift. He pressed the button and waited, staring blearily ahead.
The doors slid open, revealing a lift with two occupants.
The word ‘Jennings’ almost escaped the Judge’s lips by accident, for he had become so used to accidentally meeting him in the lift, but this time the occupants were different.
A starry Yurble and a green Bruce.
“Judge Hog! Just the man we wanted to see!” The Yurble beamed.
The Judge sighed and stepped inside, the doors closing behind him.
“I should think about moving my office into this lift,” he observed. “Everyone seems to find me in it. No one ever comes to my office anymore, not even my receptionist. What do you want, Mr. Might?”
“I’m honoured that you know my name, sir,” the Yurble replied. “Do you by any chance know my companion?”
The Judge regarded the Bruce for a moment.
“You’re the news reader,” he said. “The one working for Jennings.”
“Hopkirk,” the Bruce said, nodding.
“And formerly working, I should add,” Alfonso continued. “We’re here to talk to you because we have a common enemy, Judge Hog.”
“And who might that be?” the Moehog asked.
“It’s no secret you don’t like Mr. Jennings,” Alfonso explained. “He’s been making your life difficult ever since he bought the Defenders. Peter here has a personal dislike for his latest scheme, and well... he’s a competitor of mine. We believe we have a way to remove him from our lives, permanently. Legally, of course.”
“Go on,” the Judge said.
“You can’t arrest him for any of the crimes he’s done so far; he’s too clever for that,” Alfonso told him. “But suppose we got him to admit to one, live on his Neovision show. Millions of Neopets would see it. No matter how much of the Defenders he owns, you would have to take him in.”
“And what are you going to get him to admit to?” the Judge asked.
“The mass brain washing of Neopia,” Alfonso announced proudly. “Peter here has solid evidence; it’s all we’ll need.”
The lift came to a stop on the ground floor and the doors slid open.
“Tomorrow, then?” Alfonso asked.
The Judge nodded. “At 6 p.m., sharp.”
To be continued...