The room was filled with giant effigies of Emerson Lighthouse: He was a doctor battling the cure for the common cold, Rescuer of Princesses, the Knight of Clockhaven, and the Slayer of Cows just to name a few of the monuments that were dedicated to himself in this room. All of the statues reached all the way to the roof three or four stories high, and in the back of all of this, on a giant pedestal surrounded by strange pipes which released blankets of steam occasionally, was Emerson’s office. It was a giant hookah that had a room inside of it filled with cushions and furniture.
Unfortunately for Arnold, Emerson was posing and pretending to be one of his own statues in a corner, dressed in his jungle attire and presumably ready to surprise the next person who came to see him.
“I can see you, Emerson.” The man didn’t move. “I can smell you too.” When Emerson didn’t respond he reached out and put his paw on his elbow, “I am now physically touching you, Emerson.” When that didn’t work the cat let one claw press against the man’s skin hard enough to break it.
“Damn cat,” Emerson muttered as he straightened up. “What do you want? I am a bit moody.”
Arnold paused for a moment as he considered the situation, and then decided to be blunt, “I want my name. I’ve got the Dinosaur’s Blood.” Or at least he was supposed to have it somewhere…
Emerson stared at him with a curious grin growing, “I consider myself a connoisseur of the finer substances in life, but I have not yet had the pleasure of Dinosaur’s Blood. Perhaps, I could give you a name–in exchange for this mythical substance, of course.” Emerson nodded to himself regally. “How’s Steve? Steve the Cat?”
“Okay, how about Rimmer?”
“Puss. You look like a Puss in those boots.”
“Wait, is this about a name or a title?” Emerson asked and then ran to a case on the floor of his hookah room and pulled out the Majordomo uniform. “I’m a bit desperate really, so you can be “Majordomo” again, as long as you promise to never touch my finances.”
Arnold frowned, his memories of his time working for Emerson had not all returned, but he felt an instinctive horror when he felt the same sensation he had always felt when he was being dressed without his awareness. He had the horrible thought that if Emerson succeeded then there would never be anything more to him than servitude.
“No!” Arnold screamed as he turned away, and the sensation passed. He looked down at this clothes…they hadn’t changed at all. Arnold blinked, surprised. Until now he had thought that the clothes and items he had received were parts of himself…if that was true he had no desire to take that piece of himself back.
“Well, Mr. I-Don’t-Know-What-My-Name-Is, I think you need to be a bit less picky, and I need to be more inebriated if we’re going to sort out a name for you,” Emerson said crankily, and then looked at him for the first time and what he was wearing. “I do like the new outfit though…reminds me of a cook that came by a few times, Janice or something like that.”
“…thanks,” he replied offhandedly. “Are you sure you don’t know why you’d want Dinosaur Blood?”
“I am willing to try a little of anything,” Emerson replied. “However, seeing you in this attire, I think that I have a solution that will be mutually beneficial to the both of us.”
“As all of you may or may not be aware,” Emerson said to the gathering inside the Plank. “The Evil Prime Minister Morningtons massive ego sank the Academy of Industry, and it has been added to the Old Quarter Quarantine.”
“It was an unstable pocket of Anti-Cavorite under the Cocoa-Java and Brunel.” Lottie said, correcting him.
“As such,” Emerson continued, ignoring the mechanical woman, “We have been without the means to gather supplies from the Brunel and procure the ingredients that keep your boss from being very cranky and cross. However, now our beloved mascot has volunteered to brave the quarantine, storm the Brunel, and bring us the cigars and leaf we need.”
“I did?” Arnold asked, who had been the only one among them who had not known any of that. “When?”
“You can’t expect to send him in there, alone,” Cyberfaustus argued, “He’ll be trapped inside and slain!”
“The odds of survival are minimal due to the terrain and zombies,” Lottie added. “And there have been no documented instances of returning over the wall once entered.”
“Shhh! Lottie, there’s no such thing as zombies!” Emerson put a finger to his lips. “And of course he’ll get back over! He’s a cat!”
“Miss Junie reported that she-”
“I got better, Lottie” Junie said dismissively. “There are no more zombies now, of course.”
Arnold growled lightly under his breath at this turn of events, and allowed his friends to argue for him. He knew that before the end of this he was going to make his way to the Brunel if that was where this was leading him. He wasn’t going to stop searching just because his original destination hadn’t been his last.