The sun was sinking lower and lower in the sky and Martina Belcher leaned against a tall tree. She took a deep breath and began.
"It was 'bout six years ago when we got the tip off," Martina said, thinking it was best to start at the very beginning.
"Who's 'we'?" asked Archibald.
"The DDL," replied Martina. She bagan to stroke her whiskers. "The Dunderland Defense League. We were told that this crackpot was gonna build somefink. Somefink dangerous. First off, we was finking it was the mayor. He seemed awfully obsessed with money. They sent me in; I was a good actor, they said, and I was one of 'em people who seemed trustworvy." The lack of grammar in her speech made Archibald cringe slightly. "Well, then I investigated. This planet doesn't know a fing 'bout space travel or DDL, see, so I could pretty much be whoever I wanted. I was finking a prim, posh young lady would do just the trick on that old potato-sack," Martina continued, changing her voice to the uptight tone. "When we knew enough we got to the conclusion that he was just obsessed with money." Her voice changed back to her usual chav tone. "We thought good, done and dusted, but then we was gettin' all these weird readin's and stuff from that clock over there," she gestured to the tower that stood oveer Cambitsville in the far distance. "It turned out that a ship had crashed just behend them hills behind the clock, but we was still not sure if they was good or bad."
Duji Maluji crashed there, thought Archibald. No wonder he's so grumpy, who wouldn't be if they crashed in the middle of nowhere?
"I tried talkin' to the man, but his mind must've been pretty frazzled by that crash," Martina continued. She kicked at the ground a little. "Wouldn't even let me in the door. I sent messages back to the DDL, but they wasn't worried. Said he was just a poor bloke who needed 'elp. I'd've given it to 'im, but that would've blown my covah, see. The DDL was too busy to bother with some chap, so the poor guy went a little mad and locked 'imself up in tha old tower of 'is."
Archibald had a question that was nagging him in the back of his mind. "How come I never knew of this 'DDL'?"
Martina laughed. "It's a secret, silly! In fact, nobody ain't supposed to know 'bout it. Secret force of people hand picked by the Lord Emperor of Dunderland 'imself," she added proudly. "We fight all them freats out there to the empire, make sure everyone's safe. Even the planets that don't even know 'bout Dunderland." She pronounced 'Dunderland' as 'Dun-duh-lind', which made Archibald shudder. How could anyone mispronounce their own empire, yet get into a top secret organisation to defend it?!
"Anyways, I was concerned 'bout this Maluji bloke." Martina just carried on with her story. Clearly she enjoyed talking. "I thought he was some Fat Kat agent or somefink." Archibald raised his eyebrows at her. "You do know about Fat Kat?" she asked, and Archibald shook his head. She just giggled. "Ah, you will do soon. They've been a little rowdy lately, I'd expect them to be up to somefink later." She had a mischeivous grin on her face, revealing her sharp fangs.
"Well, he seemed like a freat to me, so I was gonna find out more then bang!" she said, opening her hands out like an explosion. "Another ship falls out the sky. Seems awfully suspicious, two ships crashing on the same planet, near the same town, in the same year." Archibald looked awkwardly at her. "Don't worry, you ain't in trouble," she laughed. "You ain't very smart, and you wouldn't make a good actor. Then last night, there was sparks all flaming up in the tower," she added in a darker tone.
Archibald sighed. "How is any of this relevant?"
"Well, I've been lookin' round. Them street lamps, I notice that they buzz at night."
"Buzz?" asked Archibald.
The girl nodded. "Like a motor or somefink. Believe me, I'd know, my ears are like inverted megaphones. I can hear everyfink that's goin' on half a mile away. Anyway, along with the buzzing, I noticed that there are cables and stuff added to the innitial wiring to them. I fink..." she was whispering now, "that Maluji has cameras round the place. He can see and hear everyfink in Cambitsville!"
Archibald had a thought. "Could it be that he took my servant?" he whispered back. "If he saw everything, he'd know where Jamelia was. He could've caught him in the night!"
Martina frowned. "Why would he do that?" she said, and Archibald felt upset that his first clever moment wasn't a very clever one. "But it's most likely he took 'im, that Maluji fella is pretty messed up. But there are bigger worries..."
"Bigger? What do you mean?" Archibald asked.
"Last night, I was going over to check the ship that crashed that day, but then there was like, a flash." Martina's voice was almost silent, as if she were afraid she may be overheard. "Like a pulse of energy just burst outta his tower. And a bang, like lightning struck from inside the tower." Her face was more serious than any face Archibald had ever seen. "Mr. Nugget, people like him are dangerous. We have to find out what he's up to!"
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