TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO
Fan-fiction Story by jb
Disclaimer: The following story is based on the television series, characters and situations, created by Jymn Magon & Mark Zaslove, Tale Spin © 1990-1991 Buena Vista Television/Walt Disney Company. Fan-fiction story and non-Tale Spin 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.
A Khan Industries employee loaded the last of the expedition’s equipment onto the Sea Duck, as the sun slowly glowed in the early morning dawn rising over Cape Suzette’s skyscrapers and surrounding hills.
The Higher for Hire mechanic, Wildcat, had finished wielding the left wing engine’s panel. Switching off the butane torch, the lion took off the wielding shield, removed his cap and wiped his face.
“There ya go, Baloo,” said Wildcat. “All tuned up an’ quick as a wink.”
“Great. Thanks, ol’ buddy.” The pilot then turned to the cockpit and shouted, “Kit! Are we ready ta roll?”
The navigator stuck out his head out the window and gave his partner a thumb’s up. “All systems are A-OK, Papa Bear. Where are Rebecca and Katie?”
“Good question. I’ll look fer them.”
Hurrying to the office, he opened the door and bellowed: “Hey, Beckers! We’re ready ta get this show on the road! Ya ready or what?” Kit cringed at the loudness of Baloo’s voice that could be heard all the way from the deck.
No sense of subtlety in him, that’s for sure, he thought.
Rebecca then came out of the kitchen looking worried. “Oh, Baloo… have you seen Molly? I’ve been looking everywhere for the last five minutes.”
“Nope. Been busy loadin’ the Sea Duck with Kit an’ Wildcat. Where’d ya see her last, Becky?”
“Somewhere by the storage room. I just wanted to say goodbye to her before we leave.”
“Didja check in the spare bedroom?” Baloo suggested. “Maybe she’s playin’ or somethin’. Has Katie arrived yet?”
“She called ten minutes ago from her hotel room, said she was on her way over. I’ll go look upstairs again,” Rebecca answered as she headed up to the spare bedroom. Opening the door, she saw on the bed a little mound buried under a sheet with her favourite doll, Lucy beside her and her suitcase neatly placed by the foot of the bed. On the nightstand there was a note on it, printed in pencil:
Feeling tired, so I went bak to bed.
Unpaked all my cloths already.
Hav a good trip.
Love you lots
The young mother smiled. She’s taking this a whole lot better than I expected, she thought. Deciding not to disturb her sleeping daughter, she quietly closed the door and went back downstairs.
Heading toward the Sea Duck, she noticed that Katie Dodd had just arrived and was talking to Baloo. She approached just in time to hear her say: “Thank you again for last night – and for being a real gentleman. Not too many guys would have passed up the chance you almost had.”
Rebecca was shocked.
What??? What happened last night between those two? she thought anxiously. What chance?
“Aw, think nothin’ of it, Katie. I’m just glad ya had a good time, that’s all,” said Baloo nonchalantly. Hearing that, she felt somewhat relieved, but not much.
Although it did kinda cross my mind, he thought. ‘Bout six or seven times…
“Katie! You made it on time,” said Rebecca, trying to keep a sense of civility in her tone. The archeologist, dressed in a conservative manner of a pith helmet, khaki shirt and pants, turned around and faced her.
“Good morning, Rebecca,” she greeted her. “Did you find your daughter?”
“Yes. Upstairs, sound asleep. Didn’t have the heart to wake her, since I got her down here so early. Are we ready, Baloo?”
“Yep, Beckers. The Sea Duck’s ready when you are.”
“Oh, good,” responded Katie. “Let’s get this flight off to Molta.”
“You two get on board,” said Rebecca. “I just want to get a few instructions to Wildcat about Molly. It won’t take long.”
“All right, Boss Lady,” replied the pilot, elegantly extending his elbow to Katie. “Shall I escort ya onto the plane, m’lady?”
Taking Baloo by the arm, Katie said in turn: “If you please, Captain.”
As they both stepped towards the plane, Rebecca felt herself cringe inside for some reason seeing that scene, before she turned her attention to her mechanic.
“Okay, Wildcat...Molly's asleep upstairs. Here's a short list of her routine --- breakfast at seven --- she likes scrambled eggs, not fried and no-pulp orange juice, please --- make sure she gets to school by eight, pick her up by three-thirty --- she has ballet on Tuesday, violin lessons on Thursday, both are at four; dinner is at six-- she hates fish, loves yellow beans, she can have one Frosty Pep after dinner, no more than that. She can read her favorite book, The Hobble until eight, in bed by eight-thirty and no later, plus she likes sleeping in her white nightgown with the blue bow. She's allergic to raspberries and geraniums, got her hay fever medication in the suitcase, look both ways before crossing the street, make sure she brushes her teeth -- oh, and I hope she won't be too much trouble,” she said, as she handled handed it to him.
“Aw, don’t worry, Rebecca,” Wildcat assured her. “Molly an’ I will be just as fine as peaches an’ carrots with macaroni an’ meatballs.”
“Ahh…right,” Rebecca blinked, then recovered. “Okay then, we should be back in a few days from now. Take care of the place while we’re gone and hold all our calls. Bye, Wildcat.”
“Goodbye, guys…have a good trip,” Wildcat called back.
Getting on board the Sea Duck, Rebecca locked the hatchway and went to the seating area where Katie was already buckled up and overlooking some papers she had dug out of her briefcase.
“Are we all ready back there, Rebecca?” asked Kit.
“Yep, let’s take off!” answered the businesswoman, buckling up across the aisle from Katie.
Turning on the engines, the propellers ran and the plane roared to life. Kit gave the signal to Wildcat to cast off the Sea Duck’s moorings to the deck, which he did.
When they fully cleared the dock, the Con Wing L-19 ran across the bay as it headed for the cliffs. “Man, I just love take-offs!” said Baloo gleefully as he pulled up on the controls, lifted off the surface and into the air as Wildcat waved goodbye.
About six hours into the flight, the Sea Duck’s journey to Molta remained uneventful. Rebecca and Katie had since fallen asleep and the flight crew still remained alert in the cockpit.
Baloo had noticed something was worrying Kit. For the last half-hour, he sat there looking out the window, which he did when he was thinking hard about something.
“Somethin’ on yer mind, Li’l Britches?” he asked him.
With a start, Kit looked up. Hesitantly, he asked, “Baloo…do you…trust Katie?”
Baloo was taken aback at this question. “Whuddya mean?”
“I mean, do you think she’s capable of telling the truth?”
“Kit, yer addin’ two an’ two together an’ comin’ up with nine here.” Baloo was confused and to his surprise, somewhat irritable. He didn’t like where this was going. “What makes ya think she’s bein’ dishonest?”
The navigator looked at him for a moment and explained, “It’s that sinking of the September Weed story… that part about Karnage destroying the ship. It’s just not like him to do something like that when there’s something of value on board before he gets it.”
“C’mon, kid. We all know that Karny is one item short of a combo plate. He’s a pirate – willful destruction is part of his trademark.”
“I know that, Papa Bear. But…”
“When…when I was with Karnage and I found out he was planning to steal that stone of Khan’s a couple of years back, I looked through his personal logs to see what else I could grab from him.”
Baloo had caught interest in what Kit was saying. It helped him sometimes to listen to the boy’s gut feelings, even if it did mean risking his friendship with Katie.
“An’ what’d ya find out?” he pressed further.
“Well…I came across a date in his log about the September Weed, I think. From Karnage’s version of events, that part about storming the ship was true. But…he wrote that it was Katie who sank the ship, not him.”
“That’s what I read. Katie took a bazooka, aimed it at the ship’s deck and fired at the deck, causing it to sink.”
“Aww, that can’t be true. I know Katie. Sure, I’ll admit she can be a spitfire at times, but ta sink an important cargo like that? That ain’t the Katie I know.”
“Hey, I like her too, Papa Bear, honestly,” Kit protested. “But haven’t you noticed that every time she talks about the sinking, she gets a little bit hesitant… like she’s got something to hide?”
“It was a big thing fer her, ya know. Mebbe some things git exaggerated. But fer her ta sink a ship like that… it just ain’t her, Kit. That I do know.”
“I’m pretty sure she’s not. But think about it. You told me before that she was a determined lady, Baloo. But if you had the Moltese Eagle in your possession…wouldn’t you be a little…tempted to keep it for yourself?”
The grey bear looked wearily at the navigator. Without another word, he turned back to his flying. He didn’t like the implication that Katie might actually keep a priceless treasure for herself. But even he couldn’t deny that it wouldn’t be beyond her nature to do so, either…
In the seating area, Katie was deep in slumber, but within the depths of her sub-conscious was in motion, a dream was in performance…
Reliving the sinking of the September Weed, she was running in slow motion on the ship’s deck, her breathing heavily laboured as she toiled with the bazooka she held in her arms.
Behind her, shouts from the air pirates grew louder and louder. She was only a few metres away from the ship railing, when a voice hollered, “STOP!!!” She spun around and found herself surrounded by the pirates.
Darn, she thought. Trapped – and only one way out!
“Well, well, well…” jeered Karnage. “What do we have here? A troublesome passenger on board, yes-no?”
“Back off, Karnage!” she shouted. All the pirates laughed at her, but not once did she feel intimidated.
“I’m not letting the likes of you get your hands on two years of research and three years of field work. The Cache of Molta belongs in a museum, not a private collection!”
Stepping closer to the vixen, Karnage said: “No more stalling! No more phoney brave-acting! Give me the treasure – now!”
Katie’s eyes narrowed as she clicked off the bazooka’s safety switch. “You’ll have to get past me first,” she coolly replied.
Katie slowly lowered her bazooka right onto the September Weed’s deck. Karnage stopped and realized her intentions weren’t in stopping him and his minions.
“Waitamenudo!” Karnage gasped. “You cannot be serious, archaeologist-type lady! You would not dare sink your three-year digging for this treasure of mine! Are you crazy?!!”
Katie gave him a wicked smirk and said, as she pulled the trigger, “Like a fox.”
The grenade pierced through the first two decks in milliseconds, then hit the engine fuel line, erupting into a major explosion that hurled the archaeology student way clear overboard.
Falling through space, Katie felt her heartbeat pounding in her ears while a jumble of blue sky, clouds, water, fire and smoke made a kaleidoscope before her eyes in a dizzying motion.
Although her screams filled the air, she could not hear them. Nothing but her heart rate beating faster and faster than ever before, as gravity pulled her down, down, down into the sparkling bluish-green of the Sub-Mediterranean – then a cold-rushing darkness surrounded her, impacting the water’s surface.
The near-iciness and sting against her body compelled her to kick towards the surface, but she felt herself being pulled deeper into the sea. Kicking harder than ever, Katie struggled to reach for the top. Lungs constricted for oxygen, she began to panic.
But from beneath the surface, she could see a gigantic figure of Don Karnage, grinning evilly at her. Surprised, Katie could hear his voice, shouting into the depths clearly as if she was on land:
“FOOLISH-TYPE DITCH DIGGER!!!” mocked the giant Karnage. “YOU HAVE FAILED! THE TREASURE IS MINE! ENJOY YOUR BURIAL AT SEA! BWA-HAHAHAHAHAHA!!!...”
“Nooo!” screamed Katie, as air bubbles expelled from her mouth, allowing the saline liquid to pour into her lungs, choking her. Thrashing even harder, her struggles were in vain. Karnage's sadistic laughter echoed in her head and the frigid darkness engulfed her, as death crept over her face and body...
Katie snapped out of her nightmare, gasping for air as if her life depended on it. Rebecca was awoken by her loud gasps, turned to her travelling client and saw the eyes of an extremely terrified woman.
Rushing over to her side, she gently placed her hands on the archeaologist's shoulders and tried to get Katie to face her. “Katie!" she exclaimed. “Katie! Are you alright?”
The vixen looked around, panting and eyes wild. Slowly, she began to relax.
“It… it was... horrible. The sinking...the pirates... d-drowning...” As Katie buried her face in her hands, the businesswoman now sat in the next seat and placed a comforting hand on her shoulder, the way she did when Molly had a nightmare.
“Bad dream?” she asked tentatively, gently caressing her back.
“Yes…but it felt like…a premonition, Rebecca,” said Katie, now breathing normally as she looked up. Her face was streaked with tears; self-consciously, she wiped them away. “I have this horrible fear that…that Don Karnage will...”
“Karnage knows nothing about this operation,” Rebecca assured her. “We’ve kept this very well under wraps. It would take sheer cunning from that scummy pirate to know what we’re doing.”
“Maybe you’re right,” said the vixen. “But still... I…” Her voice trailed off.
“Are you going to be okay?” asked Rebecca. “Would you like me to stay with you for a little while?”
“Yes…” Katie spoke. “Just for a little while. Thank you, Rebecca.”
“No problem, Katie.”
Rebecca was a little worried. In the short time she had known her, Katie had struck her as so brave, so sure of herself. But seeing her like this now, it made her realize that everyone had a breaking point, even the bravest.
And it started to make her feel about her own fears about this assignment too…
End of Part Six