Chronicles of a Caped Crusader: Morphica Begins - Part Four
Chloe was awoken by a strange noise. She looked around, but it was still pitch black in the room. Her pink Warf slept soundly at the end of her bed. The low buzzing sound continued and after a moment she realized that the noise was coming from her wrist communicator. She pressed a button on it and whispered, "Yeah?"
"Morphica, it's Loraine. We have a hit that Judge Hog feels strongly about. He wants you to get over here now. Go to the shop and take the lift here. The door will open if you put you hand on it."
"Okay, Loraine, I'll write up a quick note to leave for my family and be over as quick as I can," Chloe replied.
Chloe looked at the clock and realized that it was only three-thirty in the morning. She quickly thought up an excuse that would be plausible, so long as no one discovered her disappearance any earlier than five. She left the note on her bed and opened her window and climbed out. She flew several blocks then walked the rest of the way.
She arrived at the shop and got in the lift, wondering all the while who this Veronica could be. When Chloe got out of the lift she headed for the elevator.
"I'm here," Chloe said into her communicator.
"Good. Change into your suit and hurry up here, Morphica," Judge Hog answered.
She quickly went up the room where she had left her suit the night before and changed into it. She then went up the control room where Judge Hog and Loraine were waiting. Judge Hog looked as professional as he always did, but Loraine looked as though she could have used a few more hours of sleep.
"All right, I think this is our girl." Judge Hog jumped right in.
He brought up a profile on the screen. The name was Veronica, but the picture was a of small Pink Acara child with curling pigtails.
"This profile was made a long time ago, huh? She wasn't a villain then or related to a villain. What makes you so certain?" Chloe asked.
"It's her connection," Judge Hog answered, bringing up another profile.
The picture was of an Electric Eyrie and the name was Marcus.
"Who's he?" Chloe asked.
Judge Hog pressed a key and box popped up asking for a password. Judge Hog typed it in and the profile changed and Chloe gasped while Loraine paled and dug her nails into her palms. The profile had updated to a Robot Eyrie named Captain Nefarious.
"No, not again, I thought we were finally done with this." Loraine sighed as she leaned against the wall and stared at the floor.
"I'm sorry, Loraine, I did too," Judge Hog replied.
"Captain Nefarious! He was your arch-nemesis when you started, right? Before you even started the Defenders of Neopia? Not a lot of people know about him anymore, and it's impossible to find anything about him. Every time I tried to do research about him I always hit a wall. Kristy is a journalist so I asked her to look it up for me, but all she could tell me was that the Defenders stopped him years ago and he was probably locked up for good. What does this have to do with him?" Chloe asked.
"Yes, that is him. We purposely buried all mention of Marcus for his sister's sake. She was devastated when she learned the truth about him, and she never recovered from the emotional trauma turning him in. Well, I suppose I should start from the beginning since I think you might you need to know with what's going on," Judge Hog said.
"Marcus was a resident of Neopia Central. He was absolutely brilliant, perhaps the most brilliant mind of his time. From a very young age he was heralded as Neopia Central's most gifted child and everyone expected him to do great things. For a time he did. He became a scientist at an age where most boys still only want to ride bikes and read comics. That lasted a few years, but after a while he lost interest in science. It couldn't provide him enough of a challenge. He was simply too smart for his own good."
"Marcus was also a brilliant engineer and went to work for Doctor Sloth at Virtupets. He was the Doctor's top scientist and engineer for a few years. However, after the Doctor's failed attempts at domination Marcus grew disgusted and decided he could do much better. He left Virtupets to start out on his own as a criminal mastermind."
"About the same time I decided to use my strength to help my fellow Neopians. I donned the costume and cape and began my crusade for justice. It wasn't long before I was considered a hero and everyone was talking about me and my crime fighting. Not all the attention was good."
"When I appeared, he decided that I needed an arch-villain and Captain Nefarious appeared. For years we battled back and forth. I knew how smart he was and that he didn't go as far as he could because it was a game for him and he was amused by it. He purposefully created holes in his plots to see if I could find them and stop him. I knew that when our game bored him, all of Neopia would be in trouble. So I started the Defenders of Neopia to be ready when this day came."
"He was highly amused by my budding hero organization and he took on a few apprentices of his own to match against us. He never let them know who he really was and kept them unaware of his whereabouts so that even when we caught them they would be unable to help us against him. It had continued for so long that I had even begun to despair of ever stopping him."
"However, throughout all those years Marcus kept loose ties with his older sister Vicki. Vicki lived on Mystery Island, far removed from the drama of her brother's reign of terror in the other lands. One day Vicki saw a picture of one of the machines that Captain Nefarious was using. She remembered her brother drawing up the blueprints to a very similar machine when they were children. She also noticed that while he appeared in every other land, he never came to Mystery Island, which would make sense if Captain Nefarious was indeed her brother. For the next six months she tried to deny it to herself, but she couldn't and knew that she couldn't live with that knowledge. She decided that she had to come here and tell us."
"Vicki was able to provide us with an inside look at Captain Nefarious. Armed with that knowledge we were able to combat him better with psychological warfare and even locate his main hideout. We flushed him out and he was forced to make one last stand in Faerieland. It was his last stand. His mechanical battle suit plunged off of the edge of Faerieland with him trapped in it. Super Lupe and I did everything we could to get him out before it reached the ocean, but it was built to withstand us and it was jammed shut, even he couldn't open it. He sank into the depths and that was the end of both a brilliant Eyrie and one of the worst criminals of our time."
"Vicki was devastated by how things ended and asked that in return for her help we try to repress Captain Nefarious' true identity. To do so, we had to bury as much as we could about both Marcus and Captain Nefarious. I really thought that Marcus and everything relating to him was over and done with forever," Judge Hog finished.
"So, how does this girl connect to him?" Loraine asked.
"She's Vicki's daughter," Judge Hog explained.
"Marcus's niece is behind the attacks on us? You said that he only kept loose times with Vicki, her daughter couldn't have known him enough to angry about you stopping him, could she? Wait, he is gone, right? You didn't just leave the suit at the bottom of the ocean. I'm not insulting your intelligence or anything, I'm just clarifying that there is no possibility of his being behind this," Chloe asked.
"There can be no doubt about it; he is gone," Judge Hog confirmed.
"Why would his niece be in this? After all, her own mother brought down Captain Nefarious. It seems highly unlikely that she would take after an uncle she could hardly have known," Loraine reasoned. "Can we be sure it is really her?"
"I really don't know, but I know the one person who can help us, although I hate to put her through any more emotional trauma," Judge Hog sighed.
"You don't mean Vicki? I suppose that she really is the only one who will be able to help if this Veronica is indeed her daughter. Wow, life is so cruel sometimes. Isn't there anything else we can do first? I mean, if it were my mom, I'd really like not to have to tell her than one of kids had gone evil," Chloe replied.
"No, I'm afraid that there isn't. Believe me; I spent half the night trying to think up some other way. I don't want to do this to Vicki, either. However, if Vicki is still the person she was then she will want to help," Judge Hog said.
"All right, does she still live on Mystery Island?" Chloe asked.
"Yes," Judge Hog answered.
Loraine sat down in front of the computer and said, "Switch your communicators to last setting. We've never used that frequency before; hopefully they won't be able to jam that one. I'll go into lockdown mode after you leave. We don't want them trying to come in after you leave to sabotage us on this end. Good luck, you two, and give my regards to Vicki."
To be continued...