Murder Market

Chapter one

Finklar

Looking at the vanishing forest, the slig knew that there was alot of moolah in that forest. Looking from tree to tree he noticed a small splat of something on one tree. Curious, the slig walked over and examined it. In a second he noticed it was blood. Confused, he looked froward. There was another tree with a red trunk. He peered around the tree to find Tex the glukkon dead. Shocked, the slig let out a scream and sprinted through the factory to his boss and reported it. His boss' mouth dropped and out came the words "This might mean moolah for finding him." Even the slig didn't feel this was right so he discussed it with some other sligs. Vykker Finklar overheard this conversation. Finklar was an insanely good scientist. Inventing more than any other vykker, he was highly respected. Quite handsome by vykker standards, Finklar was a light shade of pink with heavy glasses that constantly needed washing. "What is all this about Tex?" he asked Finklar. "I found him dead in the forest." replied the slig. Finklar's mouth gaped open in shock. He had know Tex for quite a while. Recovering from his shock he asked "Could you take me to him?". Finklar was going to avenge him and find his murderer.

Chapter 2

Investigation

"Sure it's just outside." The slig answered. Truthfully he didn't really want to go and see it again. It must have showed on his face because Finklar said "Just tell me where it is and I'll investigate myself. You worry about your work." The slig nodded in agreement. After walking out to the forest the slig pointed in the direction Finklar should go. Finklar walked off on his own to the blotch of blood smeared on the trees. Tex lay peacefully on the ground. Finklar checked to see whether or not he was really dead. There was a possibility that he was still alive though Finklar doubted it. After a quick examineation it was clear he was dead. But then Finklar noticed something that he had not excpected. There was no place that the blood had come from. There wasn't any open wounds, blood, or fractured limbs on the glukkon. 'But where did the blood come from?' Finklar wondered 'The murderer must have smeared something else's blood on these trees to disguise the murder as an accident or suicide. 'But how did the glukkon die then?' Finklar asked himself as he paced around. He wasn't clubbed to death because then he would have had most of his limbs fractured. He wan't shot and then sown up because then there would still be blood on the glukkon. Unless they had another suit and after the shooting had put that on instead. Just to be sure Finklar undressed the glukkon to check for stitches. There wasn't any. 'This wasn't a random killing.' he thought. He heard a soft snap of a branch. Finklar, now fully alert ran out of the forest. He didn't stop until he made it to the edge of the forest when he looked behind himself. It was the last thing he ever did. He couldn't breath. He couldn't see. He couldn't even think. His eyeballs rolled into the back of his head as he collapsed. Dead. Or so his would-be killer thought.

Chapter 3

Close Call

Slowly gaining consiousness Finklar rose up from the ground.'What happened?' He wondered. The last thing he remembered was the crunch of a branch. Then everything had gone dark a little after. It was here Finklar realized he had almost been murdered. Finklar was not familiar with the fact that someone was trying to kill him. 'It wasn't very well done because I'm still alive.' He thought 'But why did someone want me dead? I havn't done anything to any mudokons so it wasn't Abe. Maybe I found out a little too much back at the place where Tex was murdered. Yes that must be right. But was it the killer or was it someone hired by the killer.' He couldn't stay here. Go back to the factory and ask for some guards, a voice in his head told him. Walking back to the front entrance he spied the same slig. "I checked it out but I didn't stay. The killer might still be there so could you come with me as guards?" He asked. The other sligs slowly backed off but the one who had told him the way stayed. "I'll come." he said "My name is Germ just so you know." "I'm Finklar." Finklar replied as he shook hands with the slig. Accompanied by his new guard, Finklar walked out to the scene of the crime to examine the glukkon closer.

Chapter 4

Return

Before going into the forest Finklar took a good look around for dangers. Finklar didn't want to end up like that again. 'But who would?' he thought. Checking to see if the slig was still following him, Finklar looked to his side. Yes, the slig was still there. Finklar walked out to where Tex lay. 'So how did you die' Finklar wondered. After an examination Finklar had decided he needed time to think and he wasn't going to find so much of that out here. "Could you help me lift him up? We are going to take him back to my lab." Finklar asked. Nodding obiediantly Germ took one side and heaved. A sack of money fell out. "Well this proves he wasn't killed for money." Finklar said. "Who said this was a murder?" Germ inquired. "Well how could he have commited suicide? And how could it have been an accident? No this was a murder." Said Finklar firmly. At the forest's edge Germ's grip slipped. The glukkon fell to the gorund and his head was crushed on a rock. His fall was so hard his brain was exposed. Finklar was going to shout at the slig for his incompitence but then noticed that with his brain revealed it might tell more about his murder. "Perfect!" Finklar said with no hint of sarcasm. "Sorry my grip slipped." said the slig ashamed. "No that's fine because with an open way to the brain I might be able to find out how he was killed." replied Finklar happily "Here you take this side I'll take the other." As they carried the glukkon through the factory, they were stared at. When they had finnaly carried him to the lab it was lunch time. Finklar locked the door behind him and went out to get his lunch and Germ followed.

Chapter 5

Brain Work

Finklar sat down next to Germ and asked "What's on the menu?"."Well there is paramite pie, elum chubbies, fuzzle bites, paramite juice, and clean water." Germ replied. Finklar pondered over what to have. He decided to have 2 elum chubbies and some water. Walking over to the counter the mudokon asked "What do ya want?". Finklar, not bothering to converse with the worker, grabbed his food and walked back to the table. Eating slowly, he saw that the slig had gotten a paramite pie and ten fuzzle bites. After finishing his meal he looked at the slig. Germ had ordered another ten fuzzle bites and gulped all of them down in a matter of seconds. "I'm going to go and look at the glukkon." Finklar notified the slig but not knowing why. It wasn't necsasarey to tell a simple slig your intentions. Walking back to his lab he noticed that the glukkon's hat had fallen off. Picking it up, he sat it next to the glukkon's lifeless body. It was only then that he realizied the glukkon wasn't there. Looking around the lab franticlly he tried to find any trace of the glukkon. Just then Germ came throught the door. Looking at the vykker he then glanced at something else. Then gunfire was heard. A slig fell to the ground. Finklar walked over to it. Germ followed the vykker to where the slig lay. "Who are you?" Finklar asked. The slig remained silent. It was alive but just barely. Sighing deeply Finklar walked over to where his tools lay. Taking all of them he walked back over to the dying slig and pulled out his sharpest knife and asked again "Who are you?". But the slig wasn't breathing anymore, It was dead. Walking back to his table Finklar tripped. "What the?" Finklar wondered aloud. Looking back he saw it was the glukkon. But now there was a small hole in his suit. 'Germ must have shot through his suit to kill that slig... whoever that was.' Taking the glukkon up and setting him back on the surgery table."Slig, you might want to look away for a little this is going to be really gross. For you." Finklar advised. Slig footsteps were heard. 'He must have gone out for a minute.' He thought as he got to work on taking a brain sample on Tex. Within the next few minutes Finklar knew how the glukkon was killed but who remained a mystery.

Chapter 6

A question
Finklar walked out of his lab. He knew how the glukkon had been killed. His lab would need a good deal of cleaning but he knew nonetheless. Walking over to the slig who had helped him a bit he asked "Is there antone who knows everone in the facility?". Shaking his head the slig looked down at the ground. Suddenly his head popped up again. "There is one. The mudokon at the cafeteria. He probrably won't tell you anything though." Germ replied. Finklar walked off to the cafeteria. It was empty so his every footstep echoed all around the room. The only other inhabitant of the room was the lone mudokon standing behind the counter. Almost asleep. Finklar walked across the room to the counter. "Whadya want now?" The mudokon asked in a quite snappy voice. Apperantley this mudokon wasn't afraid of punishment or execution. "Can you tell me everything you know about everyone in the factory?" Finklar asked quite calmly. "I could." The mudokon replied. A long silence enduared and neither the mudokon or Finklar said a word. "Will you tell me?" inquired Finklar as he broke the silence. "No." The mudokon replied quite simply. "But why not?" asked Finklar again with the same calm voice. "Everyone has left me. Nobody is left to care for me. There is nothing in the world of Odd left for me. This is all I got and now you ask me for something I won't do because I don't wish to be here any longer. Now you will leave me too. And if you do not I will leave you." Said the mudokon. Finklar wondered over how he would get this crazy mudokon to cooperate with him when the mudokon began to hit his head very hard. Knowing that the slig had said that he was the only one who knew everyone in the factory, Finklar grabbed the mudokon's arm and tried to hold it still but he couldn't do it for long. Then the mudokon stopped struggling. He looked the vykker in the eye. "So you are the one who needs me. But I need something too." The mudokon said. Finklar let go of the mudokon's arm and took a chair to sit on.

Chapter 7

Discussion

Finklar sat down as did the mudokon. In the chair, Finklar asked the mudokon again "Do you know everyone in the factory?" The mudokon nodded. "And you are willing to tell me?" Finklar asked. Another nod. "So start talking" said Finklar as he pulled out a paper and a pen. "Well it depends on who you want to know about. The most likely are some sligs, glukkons or some natives. Which do you wish me to start with?" replied the mudokon. "Start with the sligs and glukkons." said Finklar already writing down the label for the sligs and glukkons. "Well the boss here he might be the culprit but if he is then he's got to have some kind of backup. He's kinda like your average glukkon. Hates the wild loves profit. He spat on me once." continued the mudokon. "Now the sligs that are likelist are Germ, Jik, and number #3756. They all have the same personality except for Germ. Germ has always been more helpful. A few of the other workers would be Finja, Jure, and Sapta. Now these muds aren't to be trusted. They've been known to beat up there supervisors together. I've seen them bully other muds. The boss is even a little fearful around them. That is the most likely canidates here. There is no native village close by. It may be possible that some are hiding in the forest near here. Th-" Finklar interupted " It wasn't natives unless one of the sligs here has helped them. Is there a slig with a sort of nature charm?" The mudokon looked thoughtfull. After a good deal of thinking the mudokon firmly said "No. No slig here would ever have gotten in touch with even the outside of the forest." Finklar wondered a little. Then he wrote down his other knowledge. In the end the entire sheet was:
Sligs: #3756 because he was mentioned. Jik: Same reason.
Glukkons: Boss: Highly unlikely because the money remains.
Muds: Finja, Jure, Sapta: Highly dangerous, and native as well.
Natives: Abe and Munch: No slig will convert to nature, Tex was zapped.
Coclusion: Most likely culprit: Abe & Munch or Scrubs.

"Thank you for your time." Finklar said as he rose from his chair. "You forget to deliver my favour." The mudokon reminded Finklar. "And what is this favour?" asked the vykker. "I need you to get me out of here." replied the mudokon.

Chapter 8

The Favour
Finklar listened for an answer. "What I ask in return is that you get me outa here!" answered the mudokon. Surprised at how his formal manner dropped so suddenly, Finklar pondered the request for a while. It was possible maybe even probrable to an extent but it could easily get messy. 'Because just how many muds are freed by the ones they work for?' he thought. Spending a long time wondering how he could do this he didn't hear the unmistakeable sound of mudokon footfalls coming closer. It was no other than the muds on his list, Finja, Sapta and Jure. When Finklar finnaly did see them they were on all sides. Although vykkers aren't typically good fighters they were all somewhat nasty. Doing extremely gory surgeory almost all day isn't something sligs do every day. The one that seemed biggest said "So you bustin a mud out eh? Well the old saying says "Give to one, give to all", so how `bout it? Me and the other three. It's only four." Apperently Finklar had been overheard. 'A more polite person would have said "I couldn't help but overhear..."' he thought. His thoughts trailed off in various directions. While he thought, the leader of this gang seemed to be losing patience and seemed likely to snap soon...

Chapter 9

Decisions
Finja who was standing next to Jure wasn't even halfway tired of waiting for a reply. Finja had brains. Real brains. But in compensation he was nearly always close to sleep. Next to that he wasn't entirely the brute Jure was. Sapta on the other hand, who just so hapened to be the leader, had courage so extreme it passed well over the border of brave and stupid. Sapta was even tougher than Jure on the other hand. Jure had another advantage though. Any order he would take. No matter how evil, gruesome, trouble-causing, hazardous, or unlikely to work he would see it was done. Once deep in it he had never backed out except on a single occassion which only happened because Sapta had called him out. But like all those who had made it to the top, even if it was the bottom of the top, there was nowhere to go then except down. It was when that was the question. Finklar was still deep in thought about how rudely the worthless slaves had interupted. If they were to interupt you could start with an "Excuse me." or "I beg your pardon.". Meanwhile the food serving mudokon was worried and decided if he was going to take action what better time than now? "We'll help you. But it won't be now in broad daylight." He whispered. Sapta merely snorted. "Not now? Don't think we don't know what's going to happen if we do that. You'll just leave without telling. No it's going to be now." Finklar had finnaly come out of his world of critizization and figured out waht was going on. Disobeying his nature he decided to leave it to the mudokon at the counter. He knew he was wasting time when he had a murder to solve so he said "I have buisness. I will return and if I don't I give you permission to look in my labratory." Before Sapta could register what he had said completely. Finklar had dashed off to find out more about the murder. As he observed the glukkon Tex he noticed how clouded his glasses had become. A quick wash after and he took a single look at the glukkon and knew right now that his discovery on what had killed the glukkon was wrong. It hadn't been a zap, It was a strangle. Finklar was about to hit himself for his stupidity when he heard a creak behind him. Germ walked over the threshold and asked "How's the murder solving going?" "I'm getting there" Replied Finklar. Getting there... He had barely left the start line.

Chapter 10
The Escape
Finklar stood by the table thinking about who was suspectable. Abe and Munch of course, but why would they do it? The mudokons maybe what about the motive? In his thoughts he nearly the slig. Never mind the slig, what about the favour he owed? 'Wait... The SLIG!' he remebered it as clearly as a window. The slig that Germ had shot. The mystic blue eyes were a clear sign of possesion. But it wasn't the slig who had killed Tex. Sligs weren't very tall. And Abe couldn't have gotten to Tex without something. So how? Tex hadn't been anywhere near the..."He visited two days ago!" Finklar accidently yelled out. Germ looked up at him in mild surprise. "What?" said Finklar, acting as though he hadn't done anything interesting. Finklar put all the facts together, The slig must have been possesed to kill him. Obviously he knew too much. Abe didn't kill Tex but might have been behing it. The mudokons were at the factory and were tough. Like a puzzle he slowly joined it together. Abe must have broken in and told the mudokons to kill Tex. Then Abe might have found out about him and tried to kill him twice. 'And now the mudokons want to escape with me. Abe must have some kind of contact here.'

Chapter 11
The Escape Part2
As Finklar uncovered the mystery he knew that if he were to get to Abe there would be a good deal of trouble finding him. Even if he did then he simply wouldn't be able to get there. Plans began to grow in his head each more out of reality than the next. First he thought of simply waiting until slig guards subdued him then Finklar could deal with him. But no because sligs were under orders to shoot him on site. Then he thought of using torture on the mudokons to get them to spit out the location. No because even if he got it out of them then Abe wouldn't be stupid enough to name exactly where he was. His next idea was to search everywhere for him. No because Abe would be protected somehow. Just as Finklar thought of a new plan the door burst open and in came a worried-looking lunch mudokon and the three from the gang. "Well..." said Sapta impatiently "When are we going?" Germ, to whom the mudokon had been quite oblivious to, "You're helping them to escape? Why?" Finklar replied through gritted and grimy teeth "They 'overheard' a favour I was promising." Germ was on the brink of asking further but a quick look at the mudokons changed his mind. "I'll help you." he said somewhat mechanically. Finklar would have protested if the slig had not known the factory much better than him. "What way should we take?" he decided to say instead. "There's a back door down by packaging. For sligs only though." At this the mudokons zoomed off down the stairs with the lunch mudokon leaning against the wall of Finklar's lab. Rolling his eyes, Finklar went down the stairs through the corridors and past the conference room to packaging. The door was locked by a slig voice command. The mudokons were desperately trying to open it with no luck. Germ looked around the corridors for intruders before talking into it opening the door. At once the mudokons zipped through it, all but the lunch mudokon. He then went into a slow trot through the door. Finklar slipped through accompanied by Germ who tried to slip through but ended up knocking over two crates of Soulstorm brew. Finklar didn't sigh or say a single word. The hunt was on.

Chapter 12

The Hunt
Finklar and Germ walked along the passageway. Ahead they could hear the low sound of the lunch mudokon plodding along. There weren't any lights in the corridor and no other doors except one single emergency exit from the conference room. A few crates and buckets littered the edges. The lunch mudokon's footfallls could still be heard onward. At long last they came to the end where the now sunken sun provided no light. Even so Finklar could see in the distance that the lunch mudokon had set off into the forest, and, not far behind, the footprints of the three other mudokons were still there. Tough as they were they didn't think much about the possibility that Finklar would follow them. Finklar thought them rather careless. Following the tracks he saw they had gone a rather long way. The factory lights were now far off like a dim lamp in a huge room of darkness. Just as Finklar was begining to wonder wether they really had gone to Abe, a huge cave opening decorated with many torches stood directly in front of him. Knowing exactly what he was looking at, Finklar went into the Raisens cave accompanied by his ever faithful slig. The walls seemed to almost frown at Finklar and Germ but the vykker didn't care. All that mattered was that Abe was punished.

Chapter 13

Truth
Finklar had taken no more than three steps before throwing his back against the wall peering around the corner. Germ close behind him was half frozen in awe and amazement. Finklar tapped him rather violently and beckoned him forward. Germ then took a few quick and rather quiet steps forward. Finklar slowly craned his head to the side and could see at least thirty mudokons all milling around jabbering quitely. Despite the many torches, it was a quite dark in all the corners. Silent and swiftly, Finklar crept along the wallside not so closely followed by the slig who obviously had to slow down because of his mechanical pants. Finklar paused at the open doors of the Raisen's cave. Abe was almost beckoning him in. Germ had caught up and just as Finklar went into the Raisen's cave. Grumbling, he followed. Finklar was the first to catch sight of Abe. Although Finklar ignored it, Abe looked very anxious until he saw the vykker. When Abe had spotted them he gave sort of a resigned look. Finklar had almost teleported to him grabbed him by his neck and asked coldly "Why did you kill him?". Abe's reply was "Who?". Tolerent to an extent Finklar said "Tex.". Abe was puzzled and said "It wasn't me. It was a vykker." In disbeleif Finklar slapped Abe rather hard when the Raisen interupted from his deep slumber "He tells the truth.". Finklar dropped Abe by sheer surprise and turned to the Raisen for an explaination. The Raisens eyes breathed life once again and opened his mouth to speak.

Chapter 14
The Raisen's Speech
Finklar stood staring at the raisen with Abe and Germ just behind, in such shock that they had forgotten their hatred. Finklar was very close to exploding, when the Raisen spoke." A vykker, not one from your service, had Tex the greedy glukkon killed. This vykker is in Vykker Labs living your dream Finklar." Finklar didn't bother asking how the Raisen knew his name, instead he asked "Who did that then!? Hurry up I've had enough ideas that didn't work!" The Raisen old and slow, but nonetheless wise, continued "This vykker will be there and he knows of your companion, your mission, and nearly everything else. For our one-legged freind has been captured secretly by the same vykker. Munch told him everything and I've had to move to this cave. Munch knew a good deal about you and he also told that. The vykker didn't take long to find out the rest. The vykker true to his word hasn't killed Munch or harmed him yet he has not been set free. He feels safer there." Finklar couldn't care less about what the Raisen had to say so far. "Get on with it!" He shouted close to the breaking point. The Raisen went on almost regardless of Finklar. "Since you have been away, the vykker has advertised against you and Germ. In the industrial world you are mad and traiterous. You are no better off here. If you wish to avenge Finklar then you must sneak your way into Vykkers Labs. There is only one way. But this is a way of teamwork. Germ, Stitch-lips-" "Me?" Interrupted Abe and looked at Germ, while Germ did the same. "And you vykker, must make a rich glukkon by the name of Gleg walk into Vykker Labs. Possesion will not help here as he has created the first Anti-Abe device ever. A complex machine detecting the smell, size, look, and sound of Stitch-Lips. Trickery from a slig will never work for he never allows his employes to see him." "Then what are we going to use!?" Screamed Finklar. "You must bribe him by using another glukkon by the name of Glugg. Make Glugg richer than Lulu ever was and Abe will play a part by possessing him in the end to force him into the bribe. Make Glugg rich... and then... and then..." The Raisen had fallen asleep. "I really hate it when he does that." Said Abe.

Chapter 15
Sinzers
Finklar, Abe, and Germ had set out at night so not to risk being seen. Already though was Finklar getting tired of walking through the misty middle of the forest. Dawn was slowly approaching so he could see the dim glow of the sun in the distance if he looked back through the thick shrubs, bushes, and trees. Abe lead them onward still. Until they came to a dried river. For the very first time in his entire long life Finklar realized how beutiful this river and forest could have been. Abe, somewhat reluctant now, led them through the extremely shallow and brown water. Before climbing out Abe peeked over the river shore looking for signs of industry. He came face to face with a pair of pillars. Metalic pillars. Looking up Abe saw smiling gleefully in his face a cigar smoking slig. Puffing a mouthful of smoke into Abe's face, Abe fainted. Chuckling, the slig, who hadn't seen Germ and Finklar argueing about slig pants resistantsy to water, dragged Abe off in the direction of a large factory with the name of Sinzers.
"I'm just saying Finklar, that if I were to walk through that water, I'd be electriced." Germ insisted.
"Electrified you idiot. Now shut up and get through that water. Hey wait, where's Abe?" He asked. Looking around franticaly They saw a slig dragging something off in the distance.
"Oh odd." Said Finklar. "And it looks like a factory he's headed for. What could it be... Well the sign says Sinzers."
"It's a cigar selling factory. I buy all of mine from there." Germ replied almost instantly.
"You know you really shouldn't smoke." Said Finklar bossily. Germ sighed and hurried off in direction of the factory closely pursued by Finklar.

Chapter 16

The plan

Abe was still knocked out as the slig dragged him into the factory of Sinzers. The doors opened and sligs and mudokons alike paused in their work to see what was happening. Most of the sligs started cheering. The others were wary towards Abe. The slaves looked up then some quickly looked back down wishing they hadn't seen it or hoping that they had fallen asleep and it was all a terrible dream. The others stared long with either utter surprise or depressity, knowing they would never be free. Abe stirred. Not so much that the sligs noticed, but enough for the more attentive mudokons to see that he wasn't dead. Yet that didn't bring so much hope. But they had no idea that a vykker and a slig were coming to find Abe.
Finklar suddenly stopped running towards the factory and instead scrambled behind a rock. Germ skidded to a halt and crouched behind the rock.
"Uhhh... What are we doing here?" Asked Germ.
"To save Abe of course!" Snapped Finklar.
"No, why are we behind this rock?" Clarified Germ.
"If you had listened to the Raisen you might have known. We're outlaws. If we barge in there they'll kill us." Replied an annoyed Finklar, "We need a plan. A good one too. Hmmm... there's seven towers on the roof. They haven't spotted us yet. On the ground there's no one. I don't think they can see through those windows. Let me think... There's a waste dump around the back. For some reason those are never guarded. I kept on emphasizing on it back at the older factory. Once we are inside we'll have to get past guards and find some way to get the money to Glugg. I think we may have to get Abe to do that after we've gotten it. Right if you were to pretend that you were the garbage slig taking away the trash over there then you might be able to get the tower's attention. Then I can run to the front of the building and crawl along the wall until I get to the garbage dump where the guards will most likely have lost interest. Then we can quitely get in."
"But I thought we were outlawed? If I go over there I'll get killed." Argued Germ.
"No you won't because the only way they'll recognize you is if you climb up the tower and stare at them. Because you sligs all look nearly the same." Finished Finklar, "But all the same I think you shouldn't look too much at them and try to pick the trash up fast so they don't get a good veiw of you. Ok lets give it a try."

Chapter 17

Breaking In

Abe opened his eyes. The last thing he had seen was the smoking slig's red glowing eyes. Where was he? His eyes slowly snapped into focus. It looked an awful lot like the holding cell he had been in after rescueing all the ninety-nine mudokons from Rupture Farms. It was in fact the precise same cell but it had been moved away into the factory of Sinzers to serve as a reminder, since the news of his capture had travelled straight to the Lady Margret within a single day. The Queen herself had insisted upon coming, but due to the fact that she was on life preserve, she had been unable to. Yet very many glukkons had decided to come to pay back Abe for everthing he did. So Abe had several days of life before almost every glukkon in the mudos had gotten his fair share of tormenting Abe. But none of them knew that before any glukkon set arm or foot inside the factory, Finklar and Germ would hopefully be inside the factory.
Germ had finally given in to the plan, after being unable to find a better one. He walked out to the garbage dump and none of the sligs in the towers had called out. It was by very good fortune that they had abandoned their posts just to see the captured Abe. Otherwise Finklar would soon have found out that there wasn't a garbage slig. Only a small machine. Finklar crept over to the garbage dump and crawled through the small hole and pulled Germ in after him. The pipe was extremely dark and even worse smelling. It seemed that a slig was behind every corner but no living thing but a few slurgs were in the tunnel. Ahead light finnaly came. They were inside.

Chapter 18

Security

Abe had realized that the cell he was in was exactly the same as the one he had been in at Rupture Farms. The owner of the factory had already tried to headbutt him but a few sligs held him back so as not to damage his head. The sligs on the other hand were laughing, punching and whapping at Abe. A few slog were snapping at his heels. Abe's quick reactions were the only thing that saved his feet from being bitten right off. After a slig had gotten close by Abe's front to mock him again, Abe gave a hard kick at the slig with his foot causing a small disorder. After that the sligs tied Abe's feet together, but that didn't stop Abe from using both feet to give the sligs something to think about. So most of them left afterwards or simply stayed a good distance away from Abe. Abe was getting bored and started to fall asleep.
Finklar spent a while looking down at the interior. It looked like a slog hut but with no slogs or huts. On either side there were conveyor belts where mudokons packed, stamped, and closed packages of cigars. Not far from where Finklar and Germ crouched was a small recycler slowly taking very small amounts of greenery into it. Then it was fed into a large metal container where a trio of mudokons pulled levers. All around mudokons scrubbed the floor for hours on end. It was a complete factory missing nothing except security. The only slig that Finklar could see was a BigBro snoozing against the wall.
"Where's all the security?" Asked Finklar.
"Well I think they'd all want to see Abe captured." Replied Germ.
"Well that's good. For us." Said Finklar with a nasty grin which Germ returned. Finklar hopped down dropping his glasses. Picking them up casually, he strolled across the factory floor to where the BigBro lay asleep. Slowly every mudokon abandoned work to see if it was the real outlawed Finklar. Germ crept down the wall without very much of a glance until the sound of slig pants was echoed through the entire room. Once the two had gotten to the BigBro, Finklar clapped very loudly infront of the BigBro who woke up and quickly stood up, saluted and said "I wadn't sleepin'... Hey you idn't my boss. Den I can sleep?"
Finklar then yelled "I work here and you better get up to your boss! He needs your help! He's got a mad slog up there trying to bite off his legs!"
"Right away! I'll save im'!" said the BigBro before hurrying over to the lift where he then pulled away frantically before relizing that this lift wasn't designed to carry BigBros. It creaked and split in two before the rope snapped.
"What are you doing here Mr. Vykker?" asked a mudokon.
"I'm here to save Abe." Said Finklar when he saw that the mudokon who he had just said this to was none other than the lunch mudokon.

Chapter 19

Free
Finklar stood there with his arms hanging limp at his side.
"But-I-You-We-He-What?" Babbled Finklar confused.
"I suppose you're wondering why I'm here?" Guessed the lunch mudokon. "Well it started last night. When you freed me." At these words several of the bored mudokons snapped into attention. The already attentive ones muttered words of aproval.
"I was just taking a walk, because I was in a bit of shock, when suddenly those three other muds bash me on the head. Next thing I know I'm in a cage being ordered to work." He finished. This made every worker gasp. Very few mudokons betrayed their own kind.
"Well your going to get out again." Said Finklar. "This time to some kind of native place. Because I'm here to save Abe."
"He's upstairs. Lots of guards are up there, and the Boss himself." Said a small scrub with a worn loincloth. Finklar went into thought. If he were to distract the sligs while Germ gave a few quick shots then maybe they could free Abe.
"Germ, we'll be going now." Barked Finklar. Nodding the slig was filled in on the plan. If he got to shoot stuff it was ok. Even if he was Abe's freind he still had a lust for guns.
Abe's hands were bound tighter than they had been in Rupture Farms. But he had gotten used to it by now. He was nearly sleeping. The doors opened and Abe opened an eye. It was a shrink. Lady Margret's face was on the TV screen. A long chain of horrific words were hurled out at Abe. Abe was wondering when it would end when the glukkon stopped to take a few deep breaths. Then started again but coughing inbetween. At the end she was hacking non-stop. A vykker appeared and began to inject a needle to send her to sleep. Then the TV went blank. The shrink retreted and sligs filed in. There was only three. Then suddenly Finklar sprang in running around Abe in a circle. The sligs, who had been taken by surprise, started to look at Finklar, heads bobbing back and forth. The suddenly they all fell over and bled. Germ then aimed very carefully and shot the metal bonds off of Abe's hands and legs. Quickly Abe dashed out led all the mudokons to a more out-of-the-way place and chanted opening a portal. Quick as a flash several mudokons had lande in Necrum. The lunch mudokon was amazed that he had actually been freed. Overjoyed, he sprang about stepping on the lush grass and settled dow once he had tired.
Finklar and Germ had caught up with Abe. They then quickly ran out of the factory with Germ swiping two packets of cigars and a spare ammo box. Sinzers was out of buisness for a while now. But Glugg hadn't gotten a single other peice of moolah.

Chapter 20

A New Plan
Finklar slowed his pace down to a slow trot after they had gotten far from the factory. Abe didn't notice until he was about three yards away. Germ had been going much slower on the other hand. Finklar then thought. How could they get Glugg money? It wasn't like Lulu who had donation vendos. It was more like slipping moolah under doors. They would need to discuss that with the Raisen because he must have had some idea.
"What is it?" Asked Abe when he had caught up with him.
"How do you think we should get the moolah to Glugg?" Replied Finklar
"I don't know." Said Abe "The Raisen might have an idea though."
"Yes..." Said Finklar slowly "What way is it?" At this Abe started to walk to the right. Then right again. A left. Right. Forward. Right and then a cave opening. "Here we are." Said Abe. Finklar passed through the cave again but this time the walls seemed to grin and widen. Once by the Raisen's chamber, the Raisen spoke.
"You are back earlier than you should have been." He said.
"Your plan isn't really working out because how are we meant to get the moolah to Glugg?" Finklar said feeling a little annoyed.
"An obstacle I overlooked. Your plans are changed. Only one more way exists into Vykkers Labs. Only a moment before did I find it. A single weakness in an unimpenitreble fortress. The poop shute. The big well will fling you high enough land inside it. Only at regular intervals does it pass over there and open it's weakness to you. Go through the poop chute and then... and then..." He had fallen asleep again.
"There he goes again." Said Abe sighing.
"Can't we wake him up?" Asked Germ hopefully.
"Even if we could, he wouldn't tell us." Replied Abe. Finklar thought for a moment. Was all this really worth it? Going so far and losing all his fame just so he could solve a murder mystery. One thought of Tex was enough to make him to decide firmly.
"We should take a rest first. Then tommorow we'll continue." Decided Finklar. Germ nodded happily. Abe followed suit. Laying down Finklar fell asleep after a few momemts along with a quietly snoring Germ. Abe fell asleep not long after.

Chapter 21

To the Big Well

Finklar raised his eyelids one at a time. He then stood up. He was still inside the cave and Germ and Abe were still asleep. Germ was roused after Finklar took a few steps.
"What?" He demanded.
"Nothing it's just it's about time to go." Finklar replied. Their conversation didn't wake Abe up though. He was still asleep. Germ walked around a little looking at the cave. He had always thought that, even while mudokons got along with him, mudokons were not smarter than him. Now looking at this cave he could see what a wonder mudokons were able to build. While glukkons could build titans of production and industry, mudokons could make great things. Abe sat up and slowly got up on his feet.
"Lets go." He said. Finklar nodded in response, but Germ wasn't paying attention. They started out of the cave, and by the time they were halfway through the entrance hall Germ finally realized they had gone, and had to run across the cave floor as fast as he could before catching up.

The fresh morning air breezed into their faces. After the vykkers had lost their Vykkers Labs they hadn't gotten the time to actually get a hold of the area. So little resistance was along the path. Only a single paramite that had scuttered away at the very sight of them, and a small slog that Germ had managed to tame, had stood in their path. So they quadrio walked and walked until they found the Big Well. It was blasting up debris and still gusts of wind went into their faces. The aircraft wasn't in the right position yet and so they waited.
"Three... Two... One... Now!" Said Germ for the eleventh time.
"No, no, no." Said Finklar. "Wait for it... Wait for it... Now!" He sprang in with Abe pulling Germ in and the small slog, that Germ now called Well, hopped in after Germ.

Finklar was falling and suddenly up he went. The wind cutting into his skin and above the poop chute was slowly opening. He went right through it. He then crept along the edges to avoid falling off. Abe came next and Germ came last holding his little slog, just in time to land on the platform as it closed again. They were inside. Now all Finklar had to do was find the vykker. Easier said than done.

Chpater 22

Sewers
Finklar gave himself a small check-up just to see if the wind had hurt him in any way. There wasn't any. Thankful he then crept along to the door. Opening it slowly he peeked into the next room. What he saw made him slip back away from veiw. There was at least twenty-five Interns and sligs on patrol. Vykker's Labs hadn't gone down in security.
"We'll have to go another way. There's too many guards, and only Germ has a weapon. And he'd need alot more bullets." Said Finklar.

There was another door, just barely visible. Finklar stepped through and landed in cool water. Looking around he saw a sign saying that they were in the sewers.
"This is the sewer system. They won't find us this way." Assured Finklar.
"Yeah but we don't swim even if you do." Argued Germ.
"Maybe that's why there's a low catwalk right there." Added Finklar in as-a-matter-of-fact voice.
"Oh yeah..." Said Abe and with that he crept up on the catwalk and Germ followed. Finklar decided that he might as well so he climbed up as well. After that they scurried along.

After walking a little longer they came to a place where the catwalk bended back down, into a shallow pool with the exit at the end.
"Come on! Lets go!" Said Germ.
"Stop before you hurt yourself." Said Finklar, who had a small peice of metal handy. He threw that out into the middle of the water, where a few barks came as a dozen slogs ran forwaard to investigate it.
"Oh odd..." Said Abe, "Sewer slogs... Didn't they get rid of these?"
"Guess not." Replied Germ who hadn't seen that well had run into the pack to see his bretheren. Barking happily, the slogs turned to him. Surrounding him the slog realized his mistake as the leader sprang forward to take a bite out of him. Well was then ripped to shreds and Germ, who had seen it until too late, opened his mouth in protest. Then he closed and gripped his shotgun and Fired a round killing the leader. Then he aimed and pulled the trigger. Unfortuneatly he had only brought so much ammo and was now on his las shot with just one slog dead.
"Brilliant..." Said Finklar sarcastically, "We'll have to run across."

This proved relatively easy at first for the slogs were too busy consuming the flesh of their leader and Well. Until they had made it halfway they changed targets. Much smarter than normal slogs they made the trio run in circles to outwit them, and when they had actually made it to the exit, Abe had taken a small bite that nobody, not even Abe, noticed. Until later...

Chapter 23

The Hit

The three continued down the small passage that the exit had led to. The walls were so close that only one could walk through at a time. At certain times it seemed as if the threatened to fall down if they didn't leave. Suddenly the walls became muchless close. In the next room the ground bent downwards slightly creating a small trough, filled with a small amount of water. No slogs were visable so Finklar and the others crossed. Then Abe began to stagger slightly. Finklar looked back and could see why.

Around Abe the water was turing from clear to red. Trying to continue he collapsed. Finklar and Germ quickly grabbed him and carried him across, Germ pressing to stop the bleeding.

After getting out of the trought the pathway began to curve upwards in a spiral. About halfway a small room with a sign labelled "Storage" appeared. With little other choice Germ and Finklar went inside. The room was filled with everything that may be needed. Slig pants, fuzzle cages, flying slig harnesses, several jars filled with antitoxins, painkillers, syringes, and liquids. Finklar quickly looked through them and found five things that would prove useful. Working quickly he managed to get Abe back on his feet. But just as Abe got up, muffles were heard. They bacame louder and the door opened.
"Hmmhmmmhmm?" Said one voice, who seemed to be holding the door open.
"Hm." Said the other.
"Look just check it out! It's what the Boss told us to do!" Said a vykker.

The three took the time to hide behind the shelves. Germ had taken one behind a couple of jars on it at the very back, Finklar had chosen a box filled shelf, and Abe had hiden in a shadowy corner. Just a second after A vykker, and two interns went in. They walked down towards the back. Germ then started to inch away still under the cover of shelves. But the uneven motion of slig pants made the jars rustle. An intern quickly turned its attention to the jar stocked shelf. Finklar then motioned to both Abe and Germ to run out. Holding up his claws he slowly lowered them in turn. "NOW!" He yelled. Abe and Finklar were equally fast and Germ ran close behind them. He drew his Shotgun and fired at the alarm, breaking it. Then he sprinted to get out in time. He did.

The locks in Vykkers labs were both very convienient and frusterating. They could be locked from both sides. Finklar locked the door from the outside and the vykker could be heard screaming to open the door.
"I'm out of ammo now. Maybe we should try to find the armoury?" He asked.
"Yes... Weapons could do us some good." Said Finklar. "Wait a minute, there was an alarm in there!"
"Oh I broke that." Said Germ. Finklar made a look of surprise and then smiled in a good-one type of way. At least nobody still knew they were there. Nobody except two interns and a vykker.

Chapter 24

Looting

Finklar led the way up the spiral slope in hopes of finding the armoury. Germ was following closely with Abe looking behind his back every now and again. Finklar personally had doubts about finding the armoury. He expected it to be on the other side of the ship. Germ wasn't thinking about if they would find it. He was thinking about what weapon he would take.

After a good deal of walking a small side passage was noticed. Curious Abe had gone in to see what it was. Doors lined the sides. Abe tried one. It was locked thoroughly. Abe moved onto the next one which wasn't locked. in fact it was half open. A small party of interns and sligs littered the ground along side several bottles of SoulStorm Brew. Carefully Abe stepped through until. It wasn't the armoury but it was as close as it got. Quarters. Abe picked up a snuzi, and loooked for some ammo. He found a few clips and a infra-red visor for Germ. Stepping out with his loot, he closed the door again. Passing the equipment to both Germ and Finklar, they tried the other doors. It seemed that they had been lucky that one particular group had been drunk enough to leave the door open.

Now that they were at least armed they continued onward. The spiral came to an end. A huge imposing door stood there. The label read that inside was the testing area. Finklar had no desire to charge in barely armed.
"Look for another way in. This way is bound to be crowded." Said Finklar.
"I think I've found one." Said Abe gesturing to a pile of crates piled next to the door. Above that was a rusty vent.
"Yes... The ventalation is always useful. Now lets see if we can get up there." Said Finklar who then grabbed hold of a box and pulled himself up. He executed this process several times before standing at the top.
"Well..." He asked expectently. Germ attempted to find smaller boxes to step up on becuase slig were very bad climbers. Mudokons were a different story on the other hand. While they were clumsy, they were good climbers, and Abe made it up reasonably fast. Germ spent a long time finding the smaller crates and piling them on each other to make stairs. In the end he got to the top as well.

Finklar pulled at the vent. It was stuck on harder than he had thought but it only took a few hard pulls to tear it off. Finklar clambered in and crawled along with Germ and Abe trailing after. Abe didn't have three legs or mechanical legs so he had not trouble whereas Germ had to duck very low. Finklar on the other hand was in some way crawling along despite having so many disadvantages. In the distance a small commotion could be heard. Finklar crawled along until he saw that there was a small rafter on the left side of the ventalation system. Peeking out he saw a group of vykkers working away.
"Good thing we didn't take this way." He whispered, as he crawled onward. Ahead a three-way intersection. Finklar paused. He had no idea where the vykker was, so he didn't know which direction to go.
'The Raisen did say that he was living my dream. I would live on the top level. There must be more than one elevator but if we are going to look for one why not do it in a less crowded place?' He thought as he took a right turn.

Chapter 25

The Creature

Finklar had been crawling for some time before he found another vent, but no light shown through this one. Going a little further he peeked down and saw that below there wasn't a single light on.
'It looks deserted so I don't think anyone would hear the vent smash down.' H thought as he pulled it out and let it fall down. It didn't make any kind of crash but instead it was a splash. Then a lamp in the room started to flicker. Illuminating the room long enough to see it was flooded, and it was very deep. The sole lamp that shone on and off was hung in the middle of the room with almost severed wires.

A sudden ripple appeared in the water. Then a huge cylinder-like creature surfaced out of the water flinging itself at the lamp. Opening it's mouth, it revealed a pair of jagged teeth, which cut straight through the lamp. Then it's eyes looked at Finklar.
"Freeesshh mmmeat..." It hissed menacingly. Proppeling itself downwards it launched itself straight at the vent, with a surprising speed. It's hidden arms then stretched out to brab the vent and tear it off. Finklar had backed away just in time. Now the other side of the vent was at a good distance now.
"What was that?" Whispered Abe who was crawling backwards furiously and catchng up with a backpeddaling Germ.
"I don't know, but it's hungry." Said Finklar who had brandished his snuzi.

The creature hadn't had food in days. It's creators had wanted to starve it now that they saw how it could overpower him. But now food walked into its arms. It shot out of the water, just as Finklar had poked out from the vent to shoot. The creature was hit but it wasn't enough to stop its flight. It rammed the vent, initially breaking the peice that the trio was in. It fell, but just as it rammed the water Abe and Germ had clambered atop it. But now it was out of sight, and no light but the one coming from Germ's visor was on.

The Creature hadn't taken a fatal wound but it had to tend it momentarily. Then she looked for her prey. It wasn't in sight, but the wreckage of the vent had a small red glow about it. Slowly swimming upwards it peered at the floating vent. Yes her prey was there.
"Freeeeeshh mmmeat..." She said once more to frighten them. This proved a mistake for Finklar and Germ had heard it and guessed it's direction. A barrage of both snuzi shots and bullets came upon it. Sinking back to the depths she growled in anger. This wasn't prey anymore, it was a competetor.

"Abe posses it." Finklar commanded.
"I'll try." Said Abe as he bagan to chant, trying very hard not to aim for Germ. Germ who knew what would happen if Abe didn't get the creature covered his ears feircely. With that Abe's spirit flew out of Abe, into the water, and on route to the creature.

Her atoned senses told her that something was coming. getting into a battle posistion she felt something come over her. It was an astral being. She hadn't had any training in this but she fought it. Firing arrows of mental energy at Abe's spirit, the two were locked in a struggle. Abe dug at her weak spots, while the creature strengthened them in return. But once abe had collapsed the wall of the creature's mind he overtook it. The creature was now his. She rammed the wall. And again, and again. And on the fourth try the wall broke and the water flooded out. Abe exited in all the commotion and the creature was lost forever.

Abe had come back into himself when he found himself in the now flooded testing area. The trio still stood upon the raft and now they paddled forward to find the elevator. It turned out to be in the testing area. Finklar jumped into the shallow water and pulled the elevator up a slight bit Germ and Abe could climb aboard as well. Then Germ took over and pulled it the rest of the way until they had reached the top level unchallenged. Now it was time to go through the door.

Chapter 26

Tricks And Traps

Finklar stood before the door with Abe and Germ at his sides. Looking at it he guessed how to open it. Giving it a hard kick right in the middle, he stood back. The door didn't open however. Finklar thought again, wondering how this door would open.
"Look around for some kind fo switch. There has to be one." He said. With that Abe, Germ and Finklar walked in diferent directions. Germ walked to the left, Abe walked to the right, and Finklar examined every inch of the door.

Abe looked for a lever. Most of the doors he had seen were controlled by them so he figured this one would be as well. Looking back and forth, he saw something in a corner. It looked like some kind of switch. Curious, Abe inspected it at a closer distance. It was positioned on the wall and in order to pull it he would have to pull to the side. Without a second thought he pulled, with a creak.

Germ was looking around for a control system, or some kind of slig lock. He was having no luck, when he heard a creaking noise. turning around he saw that Abe had found something. Tapping Finklar on the shoulder he gestured at Abe. Finklar looked at the door again hoping for an effect. But it wasn't the door that the lever effected. It was the entire room. The wall had become at least two-hundred levers. Germ looked around in horror. Which one was he to pull?

Abe let go of the lever. But as soon as he did, the lever began to revert back to it's starting point, while the other levers began to retract back into the wall. Abe grabbed the lever and pulled it back, and the levers reverted. Finklar turned arond at this point and his mouth opened in awe. Never before had he seen such a security system. Looking at the levers he tried to spot a difference in all of them, but to no avail. Germ was still staring, until he noticed one part of the wall that hadn't turned. Without thinking over it he walked across the room and pushed it in. The door had opened, only to reveal another door.

Germ retracted his hand and the door closed. Quickly he put his hand back. Finklar who had seen all of this then entered the small room to see that instead of levers, there was now two platforms, labbeled one and two. Finklar thought hard. One of these caused a fatality he was sure, and the other opened the door. His first choice was one, but he didn't step on it. Beforehand he thought very hard. One was the only number that could be mutiplied with itself to give the same number, but on the other hand two was the only even prime number. He then changed his decision to two. He was one step away from touching it when he remembered this was his dream. He would have had it be something entirely different. The solution wasn't two or one, it was three. It had a worn labbel, but a third platform, that surrounded the sides of the room, was visible if he looked hard enough. Without a second thought he put his down upon it and the door opened, with a gust of steam and hard wind. As the steam vanished, Finklar saw that a small craft was taking off through a small hole in the top of the room.
"I think we just missed him." He said over the winds as the craft departed.

Chapter 27

On the Run

Finklar stepped forward through the door into what seemed to be the Vykker's quarters. Germ tested to see if the doors still closed if he took his palm off the square. The doors stayed open, and Germ motioned for Abe to follow. As they caught up with Finklar they saw that this room was circular. Finklar stepped up onto the landing pad looking for anything. Nothing seemed to be on the pad, but on the sides of the room there was a single pannel. Finklar inspected it finding some interesting controls until he came to an odd one. It read "Release test subjects", and the lever was pulled down. Finklar looked from side to side frantically searching for them.

Germ was watching and without knowing what he was looking for copied Finklar. Finklar explained that they were looking for an opening. But what he didn't know was that the openings were on the ceiling and at this moment were opening soundlessly.

Plunk. Finklar turned in the direction to see a mutated beyond recognition slog. Another plunk. This time it was another one of the cylinder-like creatures. Only this one had legs and was somewhat smaller. And his mouth was much bigger. One-by-one tests plonked onto the ground, all sleeping. Finklar motioned to his comrades to be quiet and sneak toward the exit. But just outside the door a last latch opened, releasing a huge supply of slurgs. Finklar's mouth opened in horror. There wasn't any way out now unless they sudenly sprouted wings. Finklar's panic was so great he couldn't think straight, but Abe had a plan.

Abe looked at each of the test subjects and one of them happened to be a huge slog with gigantic wings. Abe then began his chant very quitely. But a scrab who's hearing had been amplified then woke up slowly. Raising it's head slightly he then attempted to get to his feet, only to find that they weren't there. Instead he had a pair of arms. Pushing himself upright on them he focused in on the source of sound which was coming from the other side of the room. He hoped this wasn't another trick. He hadn't gotten any food since the day they had tested out his abilities.

Abe now had control of the slog which he moved silently towards Germ and Finklar. Germ turned a plae shade of green whereas Finklar saw Abe and was releived. Getting on top of a slog was no easy task but he accomplished it, along with Germ. Finklar then picked Abe up and lifted him onto the slog as they began to take off. It was there that Germ saw the charging srab. It was moving at an incredibly fast rate, and it's mouth was open.
"Look out!" He cried as he shot at it in his panic. While this killed it, it also alerted all the other creatures The first one to charge forward was a fuzzle enlarged and fused onto four scrab legs. But none of them got close enough before the slog had take off in direction of the Almighty Raisen.

Calming down Finklar then closed his eyes slowly. Then behind them came a something huge and black. The cylinder was back. Germ pulled his gun out and Finklar brandished his snuzi. Despite firing with all the power they could it didn't go down. It simply got closer and closer. Finklar then told Germ to aim for the creature's eyes. Doing as he was told, the two managed to hit him squarely. He was blind now. In desparation he lew back to the lab, where he hoped for proper treatment. The sinking sun then gave way to the moon. Germ gazed at it seeing Abe's paw on it. It was a new sight for him. But this whole journey was a new sight for him as well.

Chapter 28

The Raisen

As the flying slog began to move closer to the ground Germ gripped the slog tighter. The green grass was coming up faster and faster. As the slogs feet made impact Abe began to deposses the slog. The slog tingled and started to shake. Finklar and Germ saw this as a time to get off and take Abe with them. Just when Abe's feet touched the ground the slog exploded, sending bits and peices of slog meat flying in every direction. Abe regained consioucness and upon doing so asked, "Did it work?"
"Yes it did." Said Finklar.

Now there wasn't any other option but go back to the Raisen for more advice. They began the long trek back. It was night now and the paramites would be out now. Their shrieks could be heard in the distance. The seemed to became louder and louder. Then fast footfalls could be heard coming their way. The paramites were on the hunt. Finklar motioned for them to hide. A couple of rocks on a side path was where they chose to hide. The shrieks were now right next to them. The grew dimmer as something else grew louder. It was like a high-pitched slog bark. Finklar looked to quickly examine it. It was a green six-legged thing with nothing but teeth all over it. It's huge eyes were black and seemed to be stickers rather than actual spheres. It's eyes lit the ground in front of it. Finklar ducked back behind the rock as the creature went on further and further. Once it had dissapeared the trio began to walk again but this time more carefully.

They had no more encounters on the rest of their journey back. They then walked into the Raisen's cave not noticing the burnt out torches. Once inside the Raisen's chambers they expected to see the Raisen towering over them where instead they found nothing. The Raisen was gone. Abe stared in shock and it took Germ three shakes to get him out of his transe. Finklar inspected the place where the Raisen should have been, looking for clues. Germ on the other hand looked for anybody who was still here. The high-pitched slog bark resounded through the cave. Germ turned arond and saw a herd of the green legs coming in through the door. Three of the creatures stayed to blockade the door.
"We've got company." Said Germ. Finklar and Abe looked up from their searching and froze in terror. Finklar pulled out his snuz only to find it's clip empty. Germ loaded his shotgun with shells and took aim for the biggest one. It advanced upon the now surrounded trio. It then stood right before Germ.
"You don't think you can win do you?" It said in a still high-pitched and hoarse voice, "Yes we've learnt the secrets of speech. You may not have seen us before but I doubt you will ever see us again. We aren't against you or with you but the Raisen has made peace with us before and so now we see he is gone. I ask you to tell me the truth, did you take him?"
"No. We're looking for him for advice on how to catch a particular vykker." Replied Finklar.
"And what has he done?"
"Killed a glukkon freind of mine."
"I know the one you speak of. Headly the auctioner. He killed him for solely the action inccedent where he could have outbidded Lulu by a single moolah. Thanks to Lulu getting it he lost his old job as auctioner for selling it to a glukkon who lost the last can of gabbiar. He didn't get the new job until after Tex was killed where he got a part of his money, and managed to buy his way to the top of Vykker's Labs." The leader finished.

Finklar now knew who had killed Tex. But how still remained a question. And Finklar had no idea of his whereabouts now, and he doubted that this green thing would know.
"Thank you. We must be going now." Said Finklar.
"Going? Now? If we let you go where would you go?" Questioned the green leader.
"After the vykker." Said Finklar firmly.
"You wouldn't catch him on foot. We know where he is." Said the green leader as he retracted his teeth.
"You want us to ride on you?" Asked Abe before Finklar could stop him, "Ok then." Abe then jumped on top of the leader. Finklar then climbed on top of a second. Germ clambered atop another. With that they took off into the night.

Chapter 29

Confrontation

It was morning. The sun was creeping over the trees and cliffs. Scrabs were howling. It would have been very tranquil if Finklar had not been preoucupied with his mind racing of possible ways Headly could have killed Tex. Unfortuneatly even though he was a great inventor he wasn't so advanced. They were still riding the green things when Finklar recalled how Tex had died. He had been strangled. But looking at his own claw he wondered how he could have done so. Then the things came to an abrubt stop sending Finklar flying. The entire flock disappeared.

When Finklar got up he saw his commrades where getting up as well. Then he noticed a crashed vykker pod. A dead slig leaned on the steering wheel. and next to him was a motionless Headly. As Germ and Abe caught up Headly stirred. Opening his eyes he then started to speak in a hoarse voice.
"I knew you'd be here. I knew it'd be you. How did I do it? My labours won't go unheard of so I 'll tell you. I took three mudokons. I used them to conduct various things such as brain surgeory, steroids or combinations. Then in my last test I discovered how to manipulate them to my will. So I did what I wanted most to kill Tex. They strangled him, smeared slave blood on the trees and took a portion of his money. Thereafter I discoverd the manipulation effects are short term and they left my will. However I had traced them with hidden cameras. Aftereffects must have caused them to enslave the freed mudokon. At that time I saw you. I thought you were a vykker gone mad so I set up a campaign showing The Mudos how mad you were .Then when I heard of Abe's capture and escape, I knew something else was at work. I looked at the files from nearby factories and found you to be the most likely pursuer. I knew you'd come to Vykker's Labs so I prepared my escape. And my pilot, being untrained crashed. You have my story but you won't ever tell it to anyone." He finished as he flashed out a gun and shot directly a Finklar.
Germ had seen it coming and jumped inbetween them letting the bullet peirce his chest. Crying out in pain as the bullet penatrated and left his body. With his last strength he shot Headly. Headly was peirced through the head and fell over and was no more. The bullet from Headly had slowed from the impact enough to let Finklar move bullet grazed his left enough so the it would only pain slightly. Germ was more important. He was already unconsious. Picking him up he headed for the Raisen's cave at impossible speed. Once inside he began a variety of life saving techniques. None of them having instantanious effects. He then waited. Constantly checking for a pulse and for any kind of device usable as a medical instrument. After a inute a faint pulse began. Thankfull he had used a strap of his travelling cloak as a bandage he waited for Germ to regain consioucness. After another minute of waiting Abe arrived. Looking incredibely tired he collapsed from exahaustion and fell asleep on the spot. Finklar felt he had to stay awake. And so he did.

Chapter 30

Forgetfulness

Germ's vision was blurred. A steadily beeping noise came from his right. His chest pained him slightly. As his vision came back to him he saw Finklar standing to his left.
"What happened?" He asked.
"Your trick worked. And you've been out for about three days now." Replied Finklar. Germ took a moment to look at his surroundings. He was in a white room with several beds not unlike his own where scattered around the room. The beeping noise came from a small device on a table alongside his bed.
"Where are we?" He wondered aloud.
"Alot happened in the past three days. I got Headly's job, Abe's gone back to put the rest of the industrialists out of buisness, and I've been 'redecorating' the entire ship to be enviorment freindly. The other workers seemed ok with it but all the glukkons are laughing at us." Finklar finished. Germ laid his head back into his bed and layy there a while before looking down at his chest. A good deal of finely sowed stitches were visible. It still hurt but not as much as the impact.
"If you ever need any painkillers there's a jar on the table. I have to go check up on the rest of the ship. You should be up and walking within another day or two." Finklar said and with that left.

The engines of the ship had been redone to use less fuel and run mainly on anti-gravity devices. All test were done on a minimal amount of subjects. Despite the changes that most vykkers claimed to have hated they found them just as good if not better. Finklar had his room at the top of the ship with a lookout tower and several security monitors. Each manned by Finklar himself and a select few vykkers. Finklar was on his way there. It felt very memorable but this time nothing was trying to stop him.

When he got to his quarters he had a look at the security monitors, had a few tests of his own, then laid on his bed. Ever since he had gotten here he had felt there was something he had forgotten. He had been trying to figure it out. After giving it some thought he still couldn't think of it. Looking out his wondow he looked below. A green leg dissapeared behind a cluster of trees. He then remembered the Raisen's dissapearance and the green creatures. 'Me, Germ, and maybe Abe have to find him.' He thought as he raced back down the stairs into the patient room and told Germ everything.
"Well I can't go anywhere until anyother day or two." He said when Finklar finished.
"Either way that's about how long it'll take to find Abe," Said Finklar, "I'm off to find him now. I'll have my own craft set out to find him. I'll be back in a day or two." He said as he exited to pack a few of his things and then jetison his own ship.

As his ship left the bay he then set off in direction of the nearest out of buisness factories looking for Abe. It was probable that he had forgotten too, and the factory he used to work in had only been shut down a few hours ago. Luckily Finklar had perhaps the fastest News reports in the Mudos. Abe was most likely on his way to the next factory.