Dru leant back in her computer chair and stared vacantly at the ceiling, mind working furiously through the haze of liquor. When the pirates came back, loaded with stolen wares, a riotous party had ensued, and the only smart thing seemed to be to join in. But now they had drunk themselves into a stupor and the house was quiet for the first time hours, allowing Dru some space to check her mail. There had been a CCed message from Crymzon that she read start to finish several times over, trying to glean some kind of useful information out of the mad ramblings. The only thing that stuck out was the very last line, 'Please don't forward to anyone especially the boss ... he'll kill us.' The Boss. Who exactly was that? The sentence implied that the Bad Guys were acting without the knowledge of someone higher up, but then why send the letter if it wasn't part of some grand design dreamed up by The Boss. Dru lowered her head onto the desk. It was nice and cool and all these games were giving her a headache. Who is The Boss? It couldn't be NickB. There was no way the creator of Protagonize would bring all these characters to life, just to send the authors into their own stories. It just didn't make sense. It had to be another character that was The Boss, but who? Crym was already going through the stories on Protag, trying to find the missing villains, but maybe he could use some help.
Just then Dru heard a key turn in the door. Careful of her swimming head, she stood up and peaked into the hall as the door opened. A tall, lithe figure with long hair cautiously pushed opened the door and walked in, stepping over a sleeping piratess. Dru let out a breath she had been holding. Dark was back. Dru stepped into the hall and hissed, catching his attention. Dark looked up and Dru held a finger to her lip, indicating silence, and then made a circular motion with her finger before pointing back at the door. Dark nodded and the both slipped into the corridor outside their flat.
"What's up?" he asked in a hushed voice.
"They're all sleeping," Dru replied. "But we need to talk." She lead the way to the landing, putting two sets of doors between them and the pirates.
"So?" Dark asked.
"Do you have any hard-ass bounty hunters characters?"
"Not really. There's Brad and Jake from My Friend Brad, The Werewolf, but mostly they're just trackers. Or there's Darkform from Dark Genisis." Dark said. Dru looked thoughtful for a moment. "Darkform won't work. You never put that on Protag. What about that drunk cop that got suspended?"
"Same. Also, dead. Are you going to tell me what this is about?"
Dru blinked and looked at him. "Sorry. Of course, I'm just... You know." She shrugged with her hands. Dark sighed and pulled her in for a hug.
"Yes," he said. "I know." Dru hugged back and they parted.
"Right," she said, "so Crym is looking at all the stories on Protag to find the missing villains. Well I figured he could use a man on the inside, so to speak, to help out. Only I don't really have any hard-assed bounty hunters, I thought you might."
"No. Most of my characters tend to be pretty ordinary people, thrown into extraordinary situation. My writing is fairly mundane. Wait, what about The Author, from The Genre-ation Game? She was pretty good at jumping through stories."
"I never put it on Protag. Plus, she's not exactly the kickass kind. Though it is on the internet. Maybe I could get her to go ask your Brad and Jake..."
"I'm not sure it works like that."
"Well, it was just a thought." Dru rubbed her forehead and leant against the landing banister, while Dark pulled out his mobile phone.
"Hey," she said after a while.
"Yeah?" Dark asked, looking up.
"D'you reckon it would be cheating if I wrote a hard-assed bounty-hunter specifically to track these guys down?" Dark's brow furrowed for a second, thinking it over. Then he grinned.