ADDITIONAL NOTE: I apologize sincerely for the week's delay. I hope you enjoy this week's extra long episode. Hope it makes up for it. Thanks for your patience!1
'What do you mean, she paid you to stay away?!
Saturn Girl flinched and stepped away from the desk.
'I'm sorry, sir! I can't get near her any more. Yowuzupman had already convinced her to be nice, otherwise I would be considerably less mobile right now. What was I supposed to do?'
Red Dog slammed his fist down on his desk.
'My employer has made it CRYSTAL CLEAR that he wants this Quest stopped. I hired YOU to tail sea and keep an eye on her actions. You were supposed to tell me everything she did! Where am I supposed to get insider information now?! I can't believe you! Running off with your boy toys instead of doing your job... I should be arranging YOUR murder instead of...'
He trailed off.
'Well, sir... at least we got the hundred thousand dollars out of the deal...'
Saturn Girl reminded him, hoping the thought of money would placate him.
Red Dog picked up the small bust of Will Rogers sitting on his desk and threw it at Saturn Girl, who ducked just in time. The bust smashed into the wall and stuck there. Saturn Girl stared at Red Dog with wide eyes, stunned.
'Get out! You're fired!'
He shouted, sending Saturn Girl scurrying out the door and slamming it behind her.
Red Dog sat down at his desk and hung his head. How was he going to keep tabs on sea now?
Affy stared in disbelief. This was the riddle to get into DNA's secret underground labyrinth? How simple!
'What walks on four legs in the morning, two in the afternoon, and three in the evening?'
he asked Marv, who was taking what he liked to call a 'drunk break'.
Marv set down his beer to think for a moment.
'I give up. What?'
'It's 'man'. It's the riddle of the Sphinx! Oedipus. Sophocles!'
He looked at Marv, terribly pleased.
Marv was nonplussed.
Affy's exuberance could not be stifled.
'It's man! Get it? Man! See, when you're young, you crawl on all fours...'
Marv and Gw7en turned back to their liquor and tuned out the rest of Affy's explanation. Affy sighed, shook his head, and went back to examining the entrance.
The phone on sea's desk rang three times before she reached it. She picked it up, slightly out of breath.
'This is sea,'
It was Yo.
'You'll never believe where Saturn Girl went, first thing this morning.'
Red Dog sighed, his head still on his desk. What was he going to tell his boss? He groaned. There would definitely be no bonus for him this summer, and he would never be able to move to Oklahoma with his beloved Mrs. Red Dog.
He sighed and sat up, then reached for his phone. He had to call Uncle Heavy and tell him that the plan had gone awry. Red Dog hoped he was in a forgiving mood.
Affy knelt down in front of the entryway with a frown on his face. He leaned closer to the panel he was examining. It was covered in a curious array of upper and lowercase O's and periods. There seemed to be some sort of pattern, but Affy was unfamiliar with it.
'Marv? Marv! Come look at this!'
The raucous, drunken singing coming from Marv and Gw7en stopped abruptly as Marv stood up and trudged over to Affy.
'What is so important that you had to interrupt a perfectly good drunken rendition of... of...'
Marv frowned. He couldn't remember the name of the song.
'Gw7en? What were we just singing?'
Gw7en replied by bursting back into song.
'There were a pretty lass,
Who drove a bonny truck.
Her lips were red; her hair gold.
I said why don't we--'
'I called you over here to look at this,'
Affy indicated the strange markings.
'Do you recognise this? It seems like there's a pattern.'
Marv pondered it for a moment.
'Take a picture. I'll see what I can find on the 'net.'
The phone rang. Uncle Heavy groaned and rolled over to look at the clock. He stared at it for a moment, realising that the numbers made no sense whatsoever. He momentarily forgot about the phone, which rang again and scared the living zark out of him. He grabbed it angrily.
He listened for a moment, then calmly hung up the phone. He counted to ten. He then calmly stalked over to the window, opened it, and returned to the phone. He calmly grabbed the phone, ripping the cord out of the wall, and threw it out the window. Then he calmly closed the window and sat at the foot of the bed to think.
After a moment, he reached for the phone, which he then realised was down on the street in front of his building. He counted to twenty, then calmly stalked out to the elevator, which he calmly took down to the lobby. He calmly trudged outside to find his phone shattered into pieces too small to salvage. He counted to thirty, then stalked down the street to find a phone booth.
sea frowned. Her cell phone was ringing. She glanced at the Caller ID, arched an eyebrow, and got up to close her office door before taking the call.
'Please, please pick up,'
Uncle Heavy whispered, shivering. It had begun to rain, and he had been forced to trudge about the streets for fifteen minutes before he found a phone booth. He nearly wept when he heard the click of someone picking up the phone at the other end of the line.
'Yes, Uncle Heavy. What can I do for you?'
'Well, um, things are... things aren't going well. sea found out about Saturn Girl, and now Red Dog doesn't have anyone following sea.'
There was a pause, then,
'Do you have a contingency plan?'
Uncle Heavy grinned.
'Well then use it!'
The voice had taken a slightly annoyed tone.
'You know, Uncle Heavy, I hired you to be the Big Boss of this operation. Feel free to make decisions without consulting me. I don't exist, eh? I trust your judgement.'
Uncle Heavy grinned wider.
'As well you should. Thank you. I'll put the contingency plan into effect. Sorry to have bothered you.'
He hung up the phone, feeling very much better. He reached into his pocket for some more change, then made another call.
'It's me. Team Red has failed. Plan B is now in effect. That's right. Good luck to you.'
He hung up the phone, then sauntered back to his apartment to have a nice hot shower and some dry clothes.
'Garius, darling. sea. How are you?'
Out of habit, sea turned on the charm she reserved for her best clients.
Garius cleared his throat.
'It's late, sea. Is there a problem?'
'Oh, no, sir. I'm sorry, I should have checked the time there before I called. I just wanted to give you an update on our progress. Including today, we have two days left before the entryway to the fortress opens. This will occur at midnight tomorrow night - England time, that is. Affy, Marv, and Gw7en are deciphering the riddle and messages on the entryway. Yo is currently taking care of a little security breach. Oh, by the way, you might want to watch out for Red Dog.'
'He knows I commissioned the Quest?'
Garius sounded mildly concerned.
'Oh, no, of course not. But he's sniffing around. Tried to take me hostage, made Yo shoot me in the bulletproof vest. Sent people to spy on me, kidnap me, trash my house, all that standard annoying stuff. Anyway, we're right on schedule. Thought you'd like to know, is all.'
'And money? Do you need more? Do you need more people? Don't hesitate to ask, sea. I want this job done right, no matter the cost,'
This was why Garius was sea's favourite customer. He had loads of cash to throw about, and a passion for things that were difficult to obtain. The best part was that he had a public image to maintain, and lacked the time to get his treasures himself, so he was content to pay sea to do it for him. sea appreciated this, and respected it. She took care to keep her - and therefore Garius's - costs as low as possible, making her Garius's preferred acquisitionist in return.
'Thank you, Garius, we've still got plenty of money left. I'll be sure to let you know if we need more. Are you enjoying the Italicship I sold you? Oh, yes, sorry to have woken you. Sleep well, you'll have your scripts soon.'
She hung up the phone, still smiling. All was going according to plan.
Bosses of bosses of bosses! Who's in charge here?! Are you confused yet? I am!
Just who IS Uncle Heavy's mysterious boss? Who was it that was following him, all those weeks ago, after he shot sea? And will sea ever reveal what the New Toy was? Tune in next week!