An Audience with The Boss.
Annoyed by the loss of the invitation, you reluctantly follow Hoagy as he leads the way to the Mighty One’s office. “The boss will be real grateful to you for telling him about those rotten Dictators and their plans, yup. And for bringing back that ticket!" the happy robot says. "You’ll get a medal for sure!” It wasn’t a medal you were hoping for but a subscription to 2000ad...but that’s unlikely to happen now as, although you did find the ticket, you also lost it again, to that psycho robo-dog Toby. At least you can still warn him about the Dictators...but what if he doesn’t believe you? What if he thinks you are just some party-crashing kook, making up a crazy story because he got caught? Before you can consider the consequences of this, Hoagy comes to a stop in front of a door – a door from behind which a lilting Christmas melody is oozing - and reaches out to open it. "Evening, boss!" he announces, striding into the christmassy office without a care in the world. Somewhat more tentatively you follow, your eyes going to the desk at the far side of the room, which is flanked on one side by a massive Christmas tree and on the other by a tall, pink-haired woman. She is holding a clipboard and appears to have been in the process of reading it when you entered.
Behind the desk sits Tharg, looking very pleased with himself. "Hoagy, come in, come in!" he gushes. "What were those bells I just heard, setting off the fire alarms again are we, hahaha!" He stops when he sees you and pulls a frown onto his face. "Borag Thungg, earthlet," he says, in a suddenly booming, authoritative voice. "I'm sorry, did we have an appointment?" "Uhh, this guy found a party invite, boss, yup. You dropped it outside." Hoagy explains, before you can open your mouth. "What?" Tharg gasps. "I did?" "Yes, um, Sir," you pipe up, explaining how you came to be here and what you overheard.When you get to the part about Toby stealing the invitation, the pink-haired lady suddenly drops her clipboard, pulls a blaster from a holster strapped to her leg, and swings it up to aim at you. You almost wet yourself as she pulls the trigger, yelping and diving for cover as an energy bolt slams into Hoagy and blows him to pieces! "Quaequam Blag!" Tharg gasps, hopping to his feet. "Jena! What are you doing?" "He stole the invite..." "Toby!" Tharg snaps. "Toby stole the invite. That's my friend Hoagy you just blew up!" "Oh," Jena replies with a disinterested shrug. "Sorry." "Bloody Toby," Tharg continues, sitting back down and turning to work on his computer. "I knew it was a mistake putting that Grexnix back together. Not to worry, I have him fitted with an automatic shut-down, all I have to do is type the activation code and...Presto!" With that, Tharg pounds the return key, then sits back in his chair with a look of contentment. "There we go, no more Toby! Now where were we..." "The Dictators of Zrag," you remind him. "They're going to blow up the party..." "Oh yes, yes, I know all that," Tharg says, with a dismissive wave of one hand. "I found out about that hours ago. Have someone hunting down their imposter as we speak, and I know exactly where the Dictators are holed up. Don't you give it another thought, young man. Now, if there's nothing else..?" "Not really. But..." "But?" "Um, is there any chance of a, you know, reward? For my honesty in returning the invitation?" you venture, scrunching up your face. "Ah! Yes! Of course! Zarjaz!" Tharg laughs, pulling open a desk drawer and rummaging around inside. "Here we are! Happy Christmas!" He removes his hand and flings something towards you, a small, round piece of plastic that flutters across the room into your grasp. "What's this?" you ask, though you already know. "That's a Krill tro Targo, specially for you!" Tharg gushes, standing up and hooking his arm through Jena's as the two walk to an elevator in the wall. "It looks like a space spinner," you say, looking at the toy in disgust. "Same difference!" Tharg bellows, jabbing a finger at the elevator button to open the doors. "I was hoping for, I don't know, a free subscription..?" This raises a belly-laugh from Tharg and a snigger from Jena, as the elevator doors slide open and they step inside. "Away with you, lad!" Tharg says. "What do I look like, a charity?! Sorry, must dash, have to get to the party and make sure everything is in order. Thanks for coming, see yourself out, there's a good chap!" The elevator doors slide shut as Tharg winks and gives you a big thumbs up and then...he's gone. And there's nothing more you can do, but make your way back the way you came, empty-handed and subscription-free...and without so much as a hangover to look forward to in the morning.
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