It took just a minute to reach his place, which wasn't far from the official
hub of activity in the city. He opened the door, waved me in without a word,
and shut it behind us before sitting down. I had already taken the chair in
front of his desk by the time he was ready to talk. I handed him my business
card without breaking our mutual silence and he looked it over.
"Hmmm.... MonoKeras, Private Investigations." He looked at me. "Work for him,
"Actually, I am him... that picture was taken before I got zapped by the lab
"An abomination. They ought to do away with it."
"I couldn't agree more!" I said fervently. "But that's not really what I wanted
to talk about.
"Right, of course. But what's a private investigator doing in this? We just
appointed a committee to look into it, why aren't you talking with them?"
"Actually I'm already working for them, and that's why I came to you. I was
hoping you could give me some background information on the political situation
He shrugged. "I'm afraid there's nothing I can give you in private that I wouldn't
say in public. Being honest about those sorts of things is something I firmly
"Of course, and I wouldn't ask you to betray any confidences. But if I never
ask, I don't find out anything, do I?"
"Hah! Right. So, what sort of details were you wanting?"
"First off, what's your opinion of the cause? Mind you, I'm simply asking
for ideas. I know they could be wrong and I'm not asking you to authoritatively
state that anything is or isn't true in all this."
Bloriarity leaned back and smiled without amusement. "It's a good thing you
added that last. The truth is that I'm in the dark as much as you are- maybe
even more so, if you know anything about it. All I know is that this government
has continually neglected my people's needs, and I think it's coming back to
bite them. They spent little to no time looking into the distant slopes this
year, and their neglect is showing, in my opinion."
I nodded. "What about the idea of actual sabotage?"
He looked surprised. "Where did you hear anything like that?"
"Nowhere, I'm just throwing out possibilities right now."
"I understand. Well, I'd say you might as well forget that. There are certainly
enough pets with motives that could do such a thing, but I'd hate to think that
they would. Maybe I'm just being naive about it, but I don't like to think that
my political opponents are really that mean-spirited. Again, I could be wrong,
but I'd rather err on the side of kindness than not."
He still seemed bothered, the more he considered my casual mention. "You know,
if it did turn out to be sabotage, we could all be in real trouble. If we found
out that anyone in the government would even think of condoning such action,
much less actually do it, I'd not hesitate to call for their resignation- and
of course, criminal prosecution on charges if they'd done it. The pets that
have been the victims of all this are not your city-bred, safe and fat Bruces.
We're out there in the desolate areas, right next to the dangers caused by avalanches,
wild animals, and whatever other hazards the weather or nature has to throw
at us. We're not just talking about losing a job here, we're talking life and,
well, life in the Tyrannian Volcano. To think that someone would deliberately
start such a terrible thing would be to instigate a revolution!"
I nodded as he became more and more passionate. "It surely won't be that, then.
No one in the government would do such a thing, or even, as you said, condone
"I would hope not! I'll admit, though, there are a few who might not be too
unhappy to see us literally wiped out. Oh, they'd deny it of course, but the
fact is that we Blumaroos are pretty much left out of control here when it comes
to political affairs. I'm the only councilor that we have, and there are virtually
none employed by the government bureaucracy on any level, short of the local
animal control menial type jobs."
"I'd think, though, that they'd still listen to your concerns. Look at how
they formed the commission to look into this."
Bloriarity shook his head. "The commission isn't due to a single shred of decency
on their part, I'm sorry to say. They were forced into doing something by public
pressure. And you'll note that when they DID appoint one, they very carefully
made sure to keep me away from any microphone. They were afraid of what I'd
say, or even worse, that I might undercut them by simply showing everyone that
a Blumaroo helped bring it about."
"Maybe so," I sighed. "I always thought that any reasonable pet could understand
and sympathize with the needs of another, even if they were of different species."
Bloriarity looked almost sad. "Ah, I wish I was that naive again myself, MonoKeras.
But I've come to learn that it's next to impossible for any pet to really truly
see life from someone else's point of view unless they've been in it themselves.
And in this case it's made even worse by the fact that Blumaroos have a whole
different set of experiences and expectations that Bruces just can't understand,
even if they do try. Unfortunately, most of them don't even really seriously
"Which is where you come in."
He chuckled slightly. "I'm afraid so. I try my best to tell them what we need,
but the more I tell them, the more they seem to hate me. I tell them again and
again that it's to their interest to pass laws that consider Blumaroos, but
no matter what I say, I all too often see us get the bad end of every deal that
comes down. We simply don't have any political clout, and I'm afraid it shows.
It's really been discouraging at times, in fact. I keep hoping that someday
someone will start to pay attention to us. Who knows, maybe they will now, although
it's a national shame that it would have to take a disaster like this to get
them to wake up."
"Yes, of course," I murmured.
He seemed to detect my lack of enthusiasm and laughed in a rather embarrassed
way. "I do apologize. It feels good to vent sometimes, but it's not really helping
you, is it."
"Actually, it does give me some background, although not the details I'd hoped
for. I need to run right now, though. I tell you what. My Neomail is on that
card. Would you do me a favour and just write up a brief history and your personal
opinions on all of the councilors and Neomail it to me? I'd truly appreciate
"Of course! Please, accept my apologies for running on that way. I'm afraid
I was a bit upset after being passed over at the press conference a while ago."
"Quite understandable," I reassured him, "and thank you for helping me, I'm
sure what you add will prove valuable."
"My pleasure. I would like nothing more than to see this solved before anything
else goes wrong."
"So do I, Councilor, and I'll do my best to make sure of that. Good day."
"And to you, MonoKeras," he said as I left.
I headed back to my office in a thoughtful mood. Things had pretty much been
confirmed in my mind, but exact details would have to wait the councilor's Neomail
before I could really start looking into our potential suspects. I walked into
my office to find our one suspect being kept under the eagle eye of blchocobo.
He looked up, startled, as I shut the door.
"Oh! Back already?"
"Yes, I was afraid I'd miss something here," I replied dryly, "but you've
got everything pinned down it would seem."
He laughed. "Maybe not quite that, but look- he's entering the suburbs now.
Looks like the north part of central Neopia to me."
I looked and saw what he meant. "Hmmm.... look close, let's see if we can recognise
the exact area." We both huddled over the glass, which, being magical, didn't
fog up with two sets of lungs breathing on it. He went by a park, and I had
it. "Ah-hah! Brooke Lane area, they put that in just a couple of months ago.
He's heading south towards Lakeside View."
"Yeah!" Blchocobo put more excitement into that one word than he had anything
else since I'd known him. The hunt, even if it was just sitting there watching
it, seemed to bring him alive.
We watched for another minute and I couldn't believe our luck as the Lupe went
up to a house and simply walked in. It was an easy matter to figure out the
address. A few quick taps on my Neoterminal gave me the reverse lookup Neoaddress
directory, and soon I had the user lookup onscreen for his owner. "Hah! It figures.
Look at his owner's name. ~a$$a$in~ no less. Hmmm, let's see what sort of family
he has. Well, well... three brothers, and two of them mutants. And his name...
oh, cute, k9evil1. We're not talking subtle here, are we."
"Nuh-uh," blchocobo agreed, staring at my screen in something approaching
awe. "We've got him, haven't we."
"Just about. Now all we have to do is watch until he tries something again,
and in the meantime...."
"In the meantime, we wait," I concluded.
To be continued...