Somewhere in New Babbage, Miss Ginsburg is having a late evening stroll, when suddenly…
A massive paw-like hand is clamped over her mouth, and she is bodily lifted by three lumbering thugs and carried into a nearby dark alley. This being Babbage, of course, those that do notice this rough treatment….don’t.
In the shadowed alley, there is the usual assortment of grime and detritus, and an lovely, if quite incongruous, high backed chair, occupied by a well-dressed old man with a monocle.
“Ah, Good evening, Miss Ginsburg. I have a proposition for you.”, said Doctor Obolensky, “Don’t be alarmed, you aren’t in any danger at the moment.”
Miss Ginsburg struggles in the arms of the burly thugs, her eyes widening at the sight of the well-known villain, but manages to regain her wits quickly. “Funny, I kind of associated being manhandled by thuggish apes a signal of danger.”, she replied.
The Doctor nodded. “As well you should! But this time, I simply want to have a word with you about your fisticuffs planned for tomorrow.”
A puzzled look crossed Junie’s face. “What interest could you possibly have in a back alley boxing match?”
“That is an excellent question.”, replied Doctor Obolensky. “Which I won’t bother to answer. I expect, in all honesty, that Miss Hienrichs shall pummel you rather handily, given the preparations both she and I have undertaken. However, there is always the remote possibility that something will go wrong, and you shall gain the upper hand. I am here to ensure you are aware of the consequences should that happen.”
Miss Ginsburg: Junie harumphed. “I’m sure she’ll win as well. I’m just doing this to blow off some steam, so to speak. It’s not meant to be a prize match.”
The villain smiled. “Ah, well, but it *is* a prize match, whether it’s meant to be or not. You see, I need you to make enough of an effort to make her victory seem well-earned. And I’m willing to reward you for playing along, so to speak.”
“You must be joking. You’re asking me to take a dive?” Junie gave a small, disbelieving laugh. “That just makes me want to win.”
“Winning would be….unfortunate for you.”, replied the Doctor. “Miss Hienrichs is working quite strenuously at becoming a worthy opponent for me. It wouldn’t be good for my image if she were to be beaten by you. You don’t have to fall over at the first punch, mind you. You’re quite welcome, and even encouraged, to make a good show of it.”
Miss Ginsburg glanced at the three hulking thugs, and then sighed. “Fine. I’ll make sure Book wins. I can’t think of a good reason why I should try to win anyway.”
Obolensky clapped his hands to the arms of the chair. “That’s the spirit! I’ll even arrange for a reward.”
“No, I don’t want your money. I’m only doing this to save my skin, which you’ve so clearly said is in danger. But I won’t do it for payment.”, she replied. “Whatever Ms. Book has done to get involved with you “I can’t imagine what Ms. Book has done to attract the attentions of someone like you…”
Doctor Obolensky chuckles. “She’s proven to be, despite her handicaps, somewhat competent. Well, that’s settled then. Oh, and of course, you’re quite welcome to tell Miss Hienrichs about our little arrangement. *After* the fight, of course. That should annoy her quite a bit.” He gestures again at the thugs, and they release Miss Ginsburg.
Junie Ginsburg takes a good look at the menacing gentleman in the cape and top hat for later reference, then turns and runs back to the street.
Docctor Obolensky chuckles, then breaks into a laugh that echoes from the alley.