Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Morphica Begins - Part Three
Meanwhile at the Defenders HQ...
“Boss, one of the Grundos is awake,” Chloe reported as she walked into the control room.
“All right, Morphica, you question him,” Judge Hog said.
“Me, sir?” Chloe asked.
“Being able to question the villains properly is part of the everyday job of a Defenders agent,” Loraine explained.
“Okay, well, I guess the best way to learn is first hand, right?” Chloe said.
“We’ll watch through the one way window,” Judge Hog said as he and Loraine left to go to that room.
Chloe took a deep breath and returned to the room where the Grundo was in. She knew that she had to give the aura of a seasoned agent and not a newbie who was only here because everyone else had been kidnapped. She opened the door and walked in.
“How’s your head?” Chloe asked with a sadistic smile.
“You’re the brat who kicked me!” he stated.
“Thank you, Captain Obvious; I would never have realized I did such a thing.” Chloe replied sarcastically.
One thing that all of Chloe’s friends knew about her was that she liked to throw quips at her opponents. It was psychological warfare and Chloe had way too much fun messing in people’s heads.
“Don’t push it,” the Grundo threatened.
“Or what? You’ll make me put you down for a nap again?” Chloe taunted as she sat down across the table.
That silenced him.
“All right, you’re going to tell me all you know about that Acara who hired you,” Chloe said.
“And why would I do that?” the Grundo asked.
“Because, if you don’t I’m going to have to get Judge Hog to come in here. You don’t mess with Judge Hog like that. I’m really nice in comparison. Now, are you going to tell me what I want to know? He’s already mad at you, think of much angrier he’ll be if he has to come and pull that information out of you.”
The Grundo shifted uncomfortably, “It was nothing personal, it was just a job.”
“Really, was it nothing personal? Judge Hog takes all villainy as a personal affront, you know.” Chloe chuckled darkly as she leaned back in her chair.
The Grundo was clearly nervous now, “All right, I’ll tell you all I know. The truth of the matter is I really don’t know anything about the lady who hired us. She wouldn’t even tell us her name. But, this guy contacted her over a communicator and I heard him call her ‘Veronica’. Maybe that was her name. She paid us up-front the full amount, so there is no paper trail or anything either.”
“Are you certain that is all you can tell me?” Chloe asked lazily.
“I’m being honest with you, lady,” the Grundo insisted.
Chloe stood up and said, “I hope your story matches what your partners are saying. The Chia police will be along to pick you up soon.”
Judge Hog and Loraine were waiting in the control room when Chloe got there.
“Did I do okay?” Chloe asked nervously.
“Not bad at all, Morphica. Hopefully the name will yield some clues,” Judge Hog said. “We’re running the name Veronica through the computer, but it could be hours before we have a confirmed hit. It searches not only known villains, but family members and acquaintances of theirs. You would be surprised how many friends and family members join up with their villain in wrong-doing.”
“So, what now? Do we just wait?” Chloe asked.
“That is all we can do. Chloe, you need to go home, it’s eight p.m. and we don’t want concerned siblings or your mother coming looking for you. This Veronica could be watching the building, and that will give you away fast,” Loraine said.
“I can’t just walk out the front door, either,” Chloe said.
“No, we have a secret exit for you to leave through as Chloe. Loraine will show you the way out. You’ll have to leave your costume here. However, keep the communicator so I can call you when we have a hit,” Judge Hog explained.
Chloe followed Loraine back to the dressing room where she left her costume and got back into her normal clothes. Then Loraine took her down to the final floor. There were several doors and Loraine opened on of them. Inside was a lift.
“This will take you about forty yards away to a shop. Just go home and act casual. Remember, Chloe, you and Morphica are two different people. Your family and friends cannot know about it. I hope you’re a good liar.”
“Oh, that’s a nice way to put it, but thanks for reminding me, Loraine. I’ve got to come up with some story before I get home. Kristy’s not always the brightest person, but even she can tell when you’re scrambling to come up with a lie.”
Chloe got in the lift, the doors closed, and it sped along underground. After a minute, it stopped, then started ascending. When it stopped, the doors opened and Chloe found herself in a dressing room. She stepped out and the lift dropped out of sight and a wall rose up covering the shaft.
Chloe came out of the room and the door locked behind her. She looked around; it was a little clothing store. It had almost nothing on the shelves and it was very run down. No one manned the old dusty register. It was clearly a place that would not attract attention. She left and hurried home.
When Chloe came to 80900 Market Street, she looked up at her home. The lights were on in the rooms of her siblings whose windows faced front. It was now eight-thirty now and long past dinner. She decided to go around the side of the house and enter through the dining room’s door. All was silent and no one was around. She was hungry so she decided to go into the kitchen to hunt for leftovers. She opened the door and found her owner sitting at the island drawing in her sketchbook.
Kristy held up the picture and asked, “Do you think Dr. Sloth would ever forgive me if he saw this?”
The picture was drawn in a very cartoony style and Sloth was in his boxer shorts. Chloe was confronted, once again, with the fact that her mother might not be entirely stable.
“Sloth in his underwear is so outdated,” Chloe replied. “Besides, I thought you promised to stop making fun of him. You’re going to push him too far one day and he’ll sludge you.”
“Probably, but I like seeing how far I can go without him harming me,” Kristy replied. “Where have you been? It’s late and you said that you would be home by five at least. I was about to go down to the Defenders HQ to see if you were there or fill out a missing persons report.”
“Um, well, I was about to leave when there was an accident in one of the storerooms at the HQ. A big spill of everything, and it would have only taken Lightning Lenny like five minutes to pick it all up, but he was away so I volunteered to help. It took forever to sort everything out and before I knew it, it was so late, and the storeroom was windowless so I didn’t notice how late it had gotten or else I would have called you. After I found out what time it was, I decided that it was just better to hurry home,” Chloe lied.
Kristy beamed at her, saying, “That’s my girl. You’re so helpful. Sit down at the table. We had pizza and I kept yours warm.”
Kristy got up and went over the oven and pulled out a tray with two slices of pizza on it. She put them on a plate and put in front of Chloe.
“What would you like to drink, sweetie? We have milk, juice, and,” in a very low voice, “Neocola.”
A Christmas Zafara bounced into the kitchen, yelling, “We have soda? Why didn’t you tell me that at dinner? May I have some, please, please, pretty please?”
“No! Not after bedtime, not in a million years at this hour. Over my sludged body! How do you always know? You’re supposed to be in bed. How do you always know?” Kristy freaked out.
“I was thirsty and I was coming to ask for a drink; can I have some soda?” Yanli asked again.
Kristy’s face froze in a grin. “You never hear a word I say, do you?”
“You just said, ‘you never hear a word I say, do you’ right? Can I have some soda now?”
Kristy reached into the fridge and pulled out a bottle of water, handed her the bottle, and pushed her out of the kitchen.
“I’ll have a cup of milk,” Chloe said. “I don’t think I could drink anything with sugar in it after that.”
Kristy poured Chloe a cup of milk and then told her she was going to her room to edit her articles until she went to sleep. Chloe sighed, thankful that Kristy had bought her story. She was even thankful for Yanli’s sudden and frightening appearance since it had prevented Kristy from asking any more questions. She ate her pizza alone and then washed her dishes and put them away. She decided to go right to sleep since she was exhausted.
To be continued...