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The Neighbors…chapter 9

Archivist note: This post is from an older recovered archive.

The Neighbors…chapter 9…”13″ proves to be a lucky clue

((Posted by Queer Hermit on May 14, 2010))

I step into the laboratory of Mr, Footman’s and call out….“Hello, is there anyone about?”

Mr.Footman’s voice comes from around the corner of his living area, “Hello Miss Hermit”

“Good afternoon Mister Footman I hope I find you in a cheerful mood?”

“I’m in a reasonable mood yes.”

“Might I impose upon your time for a few minutes?”

“Alright, what can I help you with? Have a seat”

The gentleman has manners. I still cannot see why Zac does not like him.

“I have had a chat, well a few, with the spirits in the graveyard and they have dropped a clue to your problem with your machine I believe.”

Mr. Footman perks up at this piece of news…”Really?”

I pause for a moment, remembering my agreement to Daniel to keep silent about him. “What would the number “13” mean to you?”

He thinks upon this for a moment, and then brightens. “13, I am missing a pengi with that number, his cognigator needs recalibrating, as he attacked my maid a few weeks back.”

So the clue was not false!

“They mentioned this number with a sense of danger. They will not mention any more but to say that 13 is the answer to why your machine remains on at all times. Is this number 13 behaving oddly?”

Mr. Footman sits up straight in his chair, “13 is activating it? That would explain the cage ripped off the control panel, I didn’t think the pengi were that mechanically inclined, despite being, you know, mechanical. Attacking Miss Gizzy, yes, that’s acting oddly, the pengi practically adopted her, and they wouldn’t attack her normally”

“I might suggest a trap?”

Mr. Footman stop for a moment and looks at me with interest…“A trap?”

“If it has attacked your assistant and is the cause for the machine being on constantly I would think it a threat.”

Grendel Footman nods “I’ve had the other pengi out hunting him, if he can be brought in, I can recalibrate the cognigator and fix his behavior a bit.”

I shake my head at this band-aid approach. “I was thinking more along the lines of taking it apart…for good.”

“Why would I take apart one of the pengi? The pengi trust me, well, aside from 13, and they hold grudges.”

I shrug; “Better they hold a grudge than 13 winding up holding a knife to your throat.”

Mr. Footman laughs soundly…”Oh, that’s normal for pengi.”

I press on with the idea of taking it apart regardless. “Then, shall we say, we should perform a mechanical autopsy to determine why he attacked your assistant. All in the name of science of course.”

Grendel Footman nods “I still won’t completely disassemble a pengi. Have you ever considered 100, well, 93, little iron bastards with a borderline sociopathic streak and a craving for fish declare a grudge on a city?”

I sigh…deeply…”You would consider working on it to find out why it needs the machine turned on all the time?”

“Oh, working on it yes, I perform maintenance on them frequently as part of my research into them, trying to find who built them and all, if I can check the memories in the memoriator, it might explain why he needs the machine on, none of the others will go near it, and so it is strange enough to look into.”

I will take what I can for now with this man. “Then would you agree to construct a penigi trap so that we could take a look at the beastie? I am very curious why the spirits fear it.”

Grendel Footman nods “Of course, I can throw one together relatively quickly.”

“I would enjoy working with you on this project. Between your background of science and mine of the afterlife perhaps as a team we could get to the bottom of this.”

Grendel Footman nods “Yes, I’d kind of like to know why it wants to use the machine myself, it’s not like summoning the dead would do an iron penguin much good.”

“Exactly, there must be a reason. Couple that with the attack and this becomes a scientific exploration of the highest order.”

“Well, the attack doesn’t worry me as much as who he attacked; Miss Gizzy isn’t just someone they mug for fish.”

“I understand…That is rather odd, given who she is and all. Will you let me know if you have caught it then?”

Grendel Footman nods “I had warned Miss Macbaine afterwards, she is another one the pengi trust, but she’s human, 13 could do much more damage to her of course.”

“I look forward to working with you then Mr. Footman. This could prove to give us closure on several fronts if we can find the cause of all this. Who knows, perhaps we could even lift the wards on the grave yard after this.”

“That would be good, I think they may be affecting my machine slightly, everyone I get is suddenly speaking German for some reason.”

Mr. Footman rises from his chair and offers his hand to me. “Well, I need to be going, I am taking a zeppelin to Armada for some submersible trials, I’ll keep you informed.”

I take the offered hand and shake it firmly. “Thank you kind sir. May you have cheerful adventures. Until the time of the capture then, I wish you good hunting to you.”

“And good luck to you with the spirits as well.” Mr Footman responds as he begins his preperations.

As I leave the building and head back home, I swing past the graveyard and my first apartment at the Arms. I do miss being right next to the graveyard and Tepic’s concerts. Who would have thought that the number 13 would prove to be lucky after all…

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