I sighed as I sat on the Captain's seat. It wasn't where I wanted to be, but someone had to keep this place under control and for the record, I seemed to be the only sane one. Al was getting the ship ready so we could depart and Helga was helping him, or so she claimed. To me, it just seemed like they were fighting and blaming each other for losing Qwark. I had tried to stop the arguing, but they just went back to it, so I let them be. I could not believe how well in control the Captain kept this crew.
"Uhm, Clank?" Al asked, his face now turned to me and his hands still on his keyboard. "We got a call."
"Who is it? The president?" I asked, but he shook his head, turning back to the monitor.
"No, it's, uh... Skid McMarx." He said in a surprised manner. "He's sending a request to come abroad. He's not too far from us." He explained, turning back to look at me and looking very hopeful to hear my approval.
"We have no time for such matters." I simply said and he looked a little disappointed.
"Come on, Clank. He might be able to help us! It would make the kid happy, too." He grinned, striking my weak spot dead-on. Curse this.
"Fine." I approved and he happily turned back to his monitor, typing a response. Not long after, he jumped off his seat and then left the room to welcome our guest in, I assumed. Helga began to walk out as well with a huff and I let out another sigh. "What are your thoughts on this, Helga?" I dared to ask and she snorted.
"If I were you, I'd smash that pesky little man's face into oblivion! Taking our Captain like that is truly unforgivable!" She let out a "HA!" as she left the room, too, and I was left alone in the cockpit for some time. It was unnaturally quiet and while appreciated to a certain extent, this was just... Uncomfortable.
The door behind me opened and I would have turned the chair to face it, if only I had longer legs. Now, I just had to wait for the two to appear in my sight.
"Hi there!" The green-coloured organic suddenly popped next to me, grinning and waving happily. It made me jump a little. "How's it hangin'?"
"I, uh..." I had no idea what he meant by that.
"Hey, where's the lil' dude?" He looked around curiously and I coughed, straightening myself.
"He is currently sleeping. Rather than focusing on that, I would like to ask; what are you doing here?" Maybe it was the way I spoke or my tone, but I received a small laugh from the man as he walked over to Al, who had walked back to his own seat by now.
"I'm here to help ya guys!" He cheered, leaning against Al's seat. "I heard about the Captain! Such a bummer, man!" His words were confusing me and luckily, my silence got Al to translate it for me.
"He means that it's unfortunate."
"Oh." I blinked and the man laughed again.
"Yeah, that." He shook his head, looking at me with a very happy expression. Somehow, I wasn't surprised that Ratchet looked up to him. "Anyways, I was just wonderin' if ya guys knew that Captain Qwark has a headquarters in the planet Umbris." He leered and both Al and I looked at him in a questioning manner.
"Excuse me?" I asked, and the man, Skid, nodded.
"So ya didn't know?" He asked and Al let out a nasal moan as he rubbed his chin in a wondering manner.
"He did say once that he has a place like that, but he never told us where it was. He sometimes liked to go there between missions and I think he used it a lot before he formed this group." Al explained thoughtfully.
"How do you know about this planet?" My question made him grin widely.
"My agent knows some rather... "Informative" people, ya could say." He looked awfully proud of this. "And I want to help ya guys."
"Why?" This was confusing me more than I liked it to.
"Well, I've always wanted to see what's it like to be a hero dude! 'Sides, if the galaxy's most awesome hero is missing, one's gotta do something!" He said cheerfully.
"That is... Awfully nice of you." I stated and he waved his arms at me.
"Ah, don't sweat it! I will put all of my smarts into good use!" He said and I gave him an awkward laugh. He didn't seem to notice my disbelief, but maybe he could be helpful. I doubted him to be a threat. Perhaps we needed all the help we could get to find Qwark.
Still, it was odd. We were supposed to have soldiers at our hand any given time. There has been no sign or word about a fight on this planet, so Drek must not have had much trouble taking Qwark with him. It didn't make any sense. I told Al to contact the president and I grunted inside my head at the situation. What on earth would I say to the president and not cause hysteria?
"Hello, this is the president." The man on the screen said with that campaign-voice of his. Well, one can't win at everything.
"Good day to you, sir. Clank here, from... Qwark Junior. I'm afraid I bring bad news." I said with a slightly distressed tone. He raised his eyebrow.
"Is that so? It's not very usual for you to call. Where's the Captain?" He asked, trying to look around the room.
"That is... The matter of our concern, Mr. president." I placed my right hand on the left, rubbing it nervously. "Chairman Drek took away... The Captain." As I said this, the president let out a dramatic gasp.
"You're kidding?!" He snapped and I shook my head slowly, but I made sure to keep eye contact. It would have been disrespectful not to. "This is unbelievable! How did this happen!" He placed his hands on his head, looking shocked.
"We are currently on planet Rilgar. Al went to see the hoverboard race and I had some purchasing to do. The Captain stood behind on the ship with Helga, but I do not understand how Drek could get past the soldiers you gave us-" I explained and he groaned loudly.
"This is bad. I respect the Captain's decisions with all my heart, but I knew pulling back the soldiers was a mistake..." He said, leaning his shoulders against his work desk while he looked down hopelessly.
"Excuse me? Pulling back the soldiers?" I asked, quite shocked myself.
"Yes... He said he had a perfect plan for capturing Drek and that the troops would only scare Drek off." The president shook his head before raising it up again, but he refused to look at me. "I really thought he knew what he was doing."
"That's odd." I rubbed my rather non-existent chin thoughtfully. "He told me he would tell you to send more troops to other planets. Saying that we'll need some lookout." The situation was certainly nothing too common for us.
"Do you suppose he got captured on purpose?" Al asked and I shot a wondering glance at him, not really sure if that was the case. If it was, why didn't Qwark tell us about it? Why did he lie to both us AND the president?
"Mr. McMarx." I called out for the racer and he just laughed.
"Just call me Skid, lil' dude!"
"Skid... You mentioned the Captain's headquarters. If we go there, maybe we'll find out something." I suggested, but Al looked at me in disbelief.
"I dunno, Clank. Whether the Captain got captured willingly or not, he's still with Drek. I don't think he'd tell Drek about that place or that he'd even be able to escape there." He explained and I would be lying if I said I didn't agree with him. He was right, but one fact still remained.
"Do you have better ideas?" I asked and it became silent. No-one said anything for some time and it was getting a little awkward. "So, we will head to planet Umbris and see, if there is anything worth a clue."
"You do that." The president said as he stood up, looking oddly determined. "I will see what I can find out and I will contact you once I find out anything. Drek sometimes shoots commercials about the planets he's about to attack next, but there hasn't been one in some time, so I can't help you at the moment."
"Thank you Mr. President. Keep us updated." We both gave our farewells and the call was ended. I shot a worried look at Al and he let out a sigh.
"Umbris it is, then." He turned to the screen, giving the computer its commands and soon enough, we were up in the air and not long after, we were traveling through space, as we mostly did. I couldn't really wrap my head around the matter as it was all too confusing. What was Qwark thinking with pulling back the troops? Did he really have a perfect plan to capture Drek and if so, why couldn't he tell us? Maybe he wasn't captured, maybe he left willingly? He wasn't working for Drek, was he?
I let out a quiet, amused chuckle for myself. Of course he wouldn't. He may have been a little arrogant, but he wasn't really a bad guy. I doubt he'd have enough brain power to make evil plans like this.
Well, no matter what, we'll save the captain and bring Drek down. After all, that's what Qwark would do, right?