TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO
Disclaimer: The following story is based
on the television series, characters and situations, created by Jymn Magon
& Mark Zaslove, TaleSpin ©
1990-1991 Buena Vista Television/Walt Disney Company. Fan-fiction story and
non-Talespin characters are creations by the author and may not be used without
permission. This is a work of fan-fiction, using characters and property of the
Walt Disney Company without consent and for non-profit use.
Baloo, Kit, and Rebecca walked along the smooth imported marble main floor of Khan Tower and sauntered up to a hulky gorilla security guard, situated in front of the main elevators to Khan’s private office.
“Rebecca Cunningham and Higher for Hire here to see Mister Khan for three-thirty,” stated the female bear proudly to the guard.
Unimpressed, the guard glanced at his clipboard and said stoically, “Yes. Mister Khan is waiting for you upstairs.”
“Come on, guys,” Rebecca said. Baloo glanced at the unexpressive security guard as he passed by, leaned over to Kit and whispered: “Geez…where does Khanny get his guards from…the city morgue?” Kit had to stifle a snicker as they walked into the elevator.
“Baloo…” warned the businesswoman with gritted teeth. Please don’t let his big mouth blow this deal or I’m going to put him in the morgue, she thought grimly.
After getting to the secretarial office and another elevator ride to the top, the three bears had finally arrived at Shere Khan’s jungle-like office. Baloo always got a creepy feeling every time he came here.
“Man, ya need a machete just ta get through dis overgrown garden,” muttered Baloo loudly, “or a big lawn mower.” Rebecca elbowed him in the ribs, causing him to react. Surprisingly, it was Khan himself waiting halfway through the carpeted pathway to his desk, which was rare thing for him to do.
“Miz Cunningham, Mister Baloo, Master Cloudkicker --- how good of you to come,” Khan greeted them. He took out his pocket watch and nodded with approval. “And on time, too.”
“Good day, Mister Khan,” said Rebecca. “On behalf of Higher for Hire, I’d like to thank you for giving us this opportunity to work with you…again,” adding the last word quickly.
“Actually…” said Khan, “you should be thanking your pilot for this assignment I’m offering you, Miz Cunningham. It was his… reputation that recommended him. I am inclined to agree.”
Baloo could not help but beam at that statement. Rebecca, while a bit chagrined over this boosting of her pilot’s ego, was puzzled.
“Recommended by...? By whom?”
“Allow me to introduce you to your actual employer for your upcoming assignment,” explained Khan, gesturing to his left, signalling the female figure standing from a large table next to Khan's desk, as she emerged from the darkness.
The pilot thought the figure looked very familiar to him until the light exposed more of her face, then he finally recognized her. “Meet Doctor–” began Khan, when Baloo made past the tiger CEO to greet…
“Katie! Katie Dodd!” he said quite happily, giving her a big hug that the vixen returned.
“Ain’tcha a sight fer sore eyes here!”
“Hello, Baloo!” she laughed lightly. “Long time, no see.” Rebecca and Kit were very surprised by the informality of the two, especially the petite businesswoman.
“You two know each other?” they both said at once.
“Oh, yes…about four years ago. Baloo and his friend Louie helped me on an archaeological find. Practically made my career – and saving my life twice,” said Katie, holding Baloo’s hands in hers.
An uncomfortable feeling arose in Rebecca as she saw her pilot looking at the shapely, drop-dead gorgeous woman, and the way she was holding hands with him, made hers ball up into fists.
She fought that feeling down and said: “Really now? That’s a story I’ve got to hear sometime, Baloo.”
“Yeah, me too!” said Kit enthusiastically. His eyes were wide as saucers, looking at this babe of a fox. At fourteen, he was starting to have those feelings about the opposite sex, but not intense as this hot number standing in front of him.
“And who’s this young gentleman here?” asked Katie very politely.
She called me a gentleman! Yes!! Kit thought wildly, but gathered his cool and went up to her, clearing his throat. "Kick Cloudkitter...I mean, KIT! Kit Cloudkicker -- navigator, ma'am!" he said, offering his hand.
Katie laughed and smiled. "My, that's quite a responsibility. And please, call me Katie... only my students call me 'ma'am' and 'Doctor Dodd,' " she said, shaking hands with him. "From what I heard from Mister Khan, you're quite a remarkable person."
“Hey, he’s the best in these skies, Katie, I can vouch fer that,” added Baloo.
“And this is your employer, Baloo?” she asked, looking at Rebecca.
“Yep! Meet Ree-becca Cunningham, owner and operator of Higher for Hire.” Gee…glad to know I’m not invisible, thought Rebecca sarcastically.
“Hello, Ms. Cunningham…so, you got this big lug working for you, huh?” Katie said, shaking hands with her.
“Uh…yes, yes I do,” she replied. “Nothing but the best for Higher for Hire!” adding a bouncy lilt to her voice. “And it’s pronounced Rebecca.”
“You’re not what I’d expected, Rebecca. I had never figured I would find a young lady at the helm of running her own business nowadays. It’s quite inspiring.”
Rebecca blinked, nonplussed. “Um… thank you.”
Khan cleared his throat.
“I suggest we get to the business at hand, shall we?” he reminded them. “This coffee klatch banter can wait after we’ve discussed matters.”
“Yes, of course. Sorry, Mister Khan,” said Katie, suddenly remembering where she was.
“If you’ll walk this way,” she gestured to the seats waiting for them.
“Anywhere ya say, lady,” Baloo said dreamily, following her.
Oh, great, thought Rebecca. He’s falling for another pretty face again…
"I'll keep this simple and to the point," Katie said, as they said down in the seats provided for them. “About ten years ago, I was on a summer field trip with my university class on the Isle of Molta, earning my doctorate degree. We were excavating around some Neolithic temple ruins when we made a major discovery.
“We found a chamber which gave access to another large chamber that lead us to – the long-lost Cache of Molta.”
“The what-its who-its?” Baloo spluttered.
“The Cache of Molta,” explained the vixen a little impatiently. “It was mainly a huge collection of rare furniture, religious icons and such, plundered by the ruling Guardians of Molta over the centuries on wayfaring vessels, sometimes pirate ships. They were that bold, if not ironic in nature.”
“The Cache was believed to have disappeared when Neapolitan conquered the island, due to the lax of security by the Guardians, who became wayward and arrogant in their duty in protecting Molta.
“Fearing that the treasures they had gathered over the centuries would fall into Gaullist hands, a few Guardians had stashed it away somewhere in one of the numerous caves and when Neapolitan’s forces became too great, they fled without recording the whereabouts of the Cache. This ended their reign over Molta.”
“After Molta was liberated from the Gaullists by Cockneyians, the Cache of Molta was believed to have been either been sent to Gaul in mainland Zoorope, stolen by those Guardians or lost forever. That is, until our discovery.”
Katie took a sip of water and continued.
“After we found the Cache, we spent the next three summers excavating, cataloguing and examining every piece we found…six hundred silver dinner plates that weren’t melted down in the seventeenth century some priceless furniture, a few Attoman trinkets…but the best discovery of all was found by me –” she paused for effect.
“— The Moltese Eagle.”
The three bears gasped and spoke in unison, “The Moltese Eagle?!”
Katie smiled proudly. “Yes, the very same platinum eagle statuette with precious gemstones that the Guardians were supposed to give to the Alhambra Emperor in gratitude and rent for the offer of Molta after the loss of their base in Aker.
“But the Eagle never got the Emperor somehow, and so now we had it in our find. After we had finished the work, my university was ready to take the Cache to the University of Roma for further examination and safe keeping so we loaded it onto a cargo ship, the September Weed.”
“Being my professor’s head assistant, I was given the duty to escort the Cache to Roma. It was going to make my career and my doctorial thesis.” Her expression then became serious and sad.
“Don’t stop there,” urged Baloo, “and then what happened?”
“About a day before our arrival in Lasagne, the September Weed was hijacked by air pirates lead by Don Karnage.”
“Don Karnage?” echoed Kit.
“Seems you already know him,” said Katie.
“Ya ain’t kiddin’ there, Katie,” answered Baloo. “We run inta that fella more time than I can count!”
“And that isn’t very high for you, mister,” Rebecca retorted. “Never mind them, Katie. Please do continue.”
“Thank you. Well…the pirates, as I said, had stormed the ship, demanding we hand over the Cache. Since I knew the ship’s vault combination and the Cache’s inventory by memory, I locked the vault and started to escape.
“The Weed’s vault is made of reinforced super-steel that can’t be cut by a blowtorch or easily be blown apart by dynamite, the air pirates wouldn’t be able to get the artefacts,” Katie said. “Without me, it would be a hollow victory for them.”
“So, what happened next?” Baloo asked.
“During my escape, the September Weed’s engines somehow…exploded, caused by the pirates, perhaps in desperation to get the Cache. I was blown clear off the ship before it sank into the Sub-Mediterranean, knocking me unconscious.
“I woke up three days later in a Moltese hospital… it was over a month before I could leave the place. That was eight years ago.”
Katie became very silent after that.
“Oh, you poor dear!” said Rebecca sympathetically. “To go through such an horrible experience and lose your find, all in one day.”
Katie sighed. “Yes…but that Cache
isn’t lost, Rebecca. I know where it is.” Her voice was suddenly stronger,
determined. “And I’m going to get it back – with your help.”