TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO
story by jb
The following story is based on the television series, characters and situations
created by Jymn Magon & Mark Zaslove, Tale
Spin © 1990, 1991 Walt Disney Company/Buena Vista Television. Fan-fiction
story and non-Tale Spin characters are
creations of 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.
In the S.S.
Prowler’s galley, the ship’s chefs worked on making breakfast for its
two hundred crewmembers and passengers. The hefty golden retriever head cook,
Emil, who wore a ponytail underneath his regulatory netting cap, prepared the
captain’s table menu of scrambled eggs sprinkling a portion of shredded
cheddar cheese on top, was distracted for a moment by a kitchen helper going
over the details of the luncheon menu.
back to his task, Emil discovered much to his shock that a big scoop had been
taken out of the scrambled eggs with the ladle in the tray. Looking around, he
saw no one else carrying a plate of eggs. The cook then could have sworn he saw
a pair of hands quickly swipe two hot biscuits from another holding tray out the
corner of his eye.
retriever gritted his teeth. So…the
‘Phantom Nibbler’ makes a bold morning raid!
using a series of hand signals to some nearby staff that were near the galley
exits, he ordered them closed quietly.
alive, sailors!” Emil announced in a thick
galley crew began the search for the elusive thief, looking through all the
nooks and crannies that would be a hiding spot for the next two minutes, until
they heard a large clattering sound coming from the far left corner of the
kitchen. Rushing over to the commotion, they found a pile of steel holding
trays, utensils and such sprawled all over the floor.
mine clean utensils!” Emil bellowed.
thought they heard a scurry of feet running on the floor from behind them, but
upon turning around saw no one there. Then they heard a door lock being unbolted
and an exit door swing open, to which Emil shouted: “He’s escaping! After
kitchen helpers, a panther and a bobcat, hurried to the open door and rushed out
into the connecting corridor, only to find a small contingent of sailors
wondering what the noise was all about that would make their comrades charge out
of the galley like that.
“Did you see anyone run out of here?” asked the panting bobcat. A series of ‘no’s,’ ‘uh-uh’s,’ shrugs and head shakes were their only responses. Looking at each other with defeated expressions, the kitchen helpers slowly went back to tell Emil the bad news while some silent guffaws and snickers filled the corridor by the crew members knowing that the ‘Phantom Nibbler’ – which was making quite a reputation all over the gunship – had eluded capture once again.
bears’ V.I.P. stateroom door opened with Baloo stepping out into the corridor
with a yawn and placing his hat on his head. He turned to hear Rebecca’s
stateroom door open and walking out was the brunette she-bear herself, dressed
in a black rayon blouse with a colourful tropical flower print, the same khaki
shorts she wore the day before in Velveeta and her hair done up in a modest bun
with a ponytail strand trailing behind.
good morning, Baloo,” she responded pleasantly. She looked a little
bleary-eyed, but cheerful.
uh…how was yer slumber party last night?”
pretty good. Best fun I’ve had in awhile. Where’s Kit?”
ya know kids at his age,” he chuckled, “spendin’
the last ten minutes jus’ ta fix-up one
strand o’ hair on his head before he looks good.”
protested the navigator’s voice from the stateroom.
were the days,” replied Rebecca, rolling her eyes. “Before long, it’ll be
Molly’s turn to be doing the same thing.”
– that’s gotta be nothin’, compared to you havin’ ta share the same
bathroom with two other gals.”
agreed the businesswoman, remembering this morning’s chaos in her stateroom
with the vixen archaeologists. “Good point.”
the small talk between them was friendly enough on the surface, but deep down
inside each other held back just one thought: What was last night on deck all about? Did something really happen to
us…or was it just one of those crazy things?
morning, everyone,” said
how!” replied Baloo boisterously,
patting his stomach. “The ‘Big Guy’s’ ready ta do some serious eatin’!’
surprised with that appetite, the
ship’s food stocks haven’t been fully depleted already,” the she-bear
relate,” the Aridian laughed, remembering the first time she met the pilot
when he visited her country. Baloo was about to retort to this banter, when Kit
finally joined the others, wearing a light blue shirt and holding his cap in one
hand while smoothing down his hair with the other.
I’m late…are we all here?”
‘cept Katie, Li’l Britches.”
right here, Baloo,” she said, sounding
rather agitated, tucking in her khaki shirt into her pants. “No need to get
s’matter, Red? Ya look all worked up.”
fine, really,” she answered with a strained attempt at a smile. “I just
haven’t had my first two cups of morning coffee yet. Let’s hit the mess hall
– I’ m pretty sure that the captain will be waiting for us there with some
update on the dredging so far.”
pilot regarded the archaeologist with concern. If he didn’t know any better,
he thought she sounded like the Katie Dodd he remembered in Ghaphia – snippy,
brusque and ardent. Even though she did look beautiful when she was angry, he
preferred the current version even more. Or maybe it was just one of those
“women’s problems” his father had warned him about when he was Kit’s
made their way to breakfast, Baloo hoped that the vixen got her caffeine fix
soon. Hopefully, a gallon o’ java should
mid-morning, the September Weed had
broken the surface as the hydraulic lifts
worked their long, arduous task in dredging up the wreckage. In the operations
room, the archaeologists and Higher for Hire team surveyed the scene with
anticipation, except for Baloo, who had nodded off in boredom about an hour or
so ago, lightly snoozing away on the room’s sofa.
Hotspur, in attendance with the others; looked amazingly at the sleeping bruin.
This was the ace pilot that had defeated the Air Pirates several months ago at
the Master Route – through cognizance by the media, the report on the incident
from Khan Industries and by sheer reputation – plus saving his vessel, crew
and himself from sailing into a deathtrap; was now aboard his ship and…well,
he just couldn’t believe the person
he was seeing before him.
he always fall asleep like that?” he
asked, turning to Rebecca.
she sighed, clasping her hand over her eyes in embarrassment. Oh, how can
that bear fall asleep at a time like this?
He’d sleep through a tropical storm, I’d bet that much…oh, yeah – he did
reminds me,” said Katie, peering through her horn-rimmed spectacles that gave
her the somewhat odd and nebbish appearance of
an average public librarian than that of a world-renowned archaeologist, “I
hope I didn’t bother you with any my snoring last night, Rebecca.”
that’s okay. I’m used to snoring from Baloo all the time.”
now?” the tall vixen grinned with
a knowingly raised eyebrow.
she-bear folded her arms across her chest and smirked back, as if she could read
your mind out of the gutter, sister…I mean, he likes to take naps all the
time, especially during working
I think he looks cute, sleeping there like that,”
great thirteenth-century Purrsian poet Sa’di wrote: ‘Whoever is aware of his own failing, will not find fault in the
failings of others.’ Baloo reminds of Sa’di’s words and I’ve always
lived by that.”
businesswoman looked at her employee again and thought about that. The pilot
never did made a habit of judging people on the surface, something that she had
to wean herself from doing. Perhaps this was what made people – and certain
ladies – take a liking to him almost instantly. It made sense. And admittedly,
it worked on her, too.
mind,” she said, changing the subject and turning to the head archaeologist.
“Will searching through the September
Weed become a problem?”
not at all. I do expect some considerable damage by the explosion and the time
spent underwater on the ship, but the vaults should remain unharmed.”
over the map of the sunken ship on a large table, Katie pointed out the
direction of the vault area and tracing the route with a gloved finger, she
continued her guidance: “According to the proximity of the way the ship’s
being lifted, we should be able to walk on it while the lifts’ locking
mechanisms underneath secure the September
Weed on the surface. Then, we go down two decks of stairs and I should be
able to remember the combination numbers to the locks. If all go well, the
artefacts should be dry and intact.”
if they’re not?” asked Kit.
expression darkened. “Then, I’m really going to be beside myself.”
sure it’ll be okay, Kit. Let’s not dwell on it, right?” Rebecca said,
giving Kit a meaningful look, to which he responded:
sure. Sure it will, Katie.”
hope you’re right, guys,” she said brightening up a little. “I’m pretty
sure.” And the sooner we get rid of that ship, she thought nervously, the
onlookers on deck saw the underwater hydraulic lift do its operation in wonder
but not so much as Kit did. Seeing the model version in Khan’s office back in
consisted of four two-storey tall yellow cylindrical towers – the two frontal
towers already attached to the Prowler
– with the Khan Industries logo on each one, detachable railing platforms
connecting to one another all around in the mid-section. On top of each tower
were the hydraulic cable coils that were hauling up the September Weed with the elevator platforms supporting the shipwreck
underneath as was explained earlier and on the water level were circular bases
that held four massive pontoons on each side.
sight, eh, Kit?” said Baloo, who had recently woke up from his nap upon
hearing the news that the dredging was nearly over.
knew Buzz was a genius, Papa Bear, but this is like…wow.”
ain’t big enough a word, L’il Britches. Ain’t big enough a word,” the
aviator said, placing a gentle arm around the navigator.
naturally, couldn’t contain her excitement as the September Weed’s
second deck finally emerged from the sea surface. From the looks of the ship,
time underwater had not been very kind to it. Disbelief was on the expedition
team’s faces as the corroded and blast-damaged metal, plant life, barnacles
and rust glimmered in the sunlight.
but surely, the ship finally locked under the lift’s securing mechanisms,
giving a very loud clunk to keep the ship above the surface. The hedgehog
engineer checked the controls that flickered a cautionary amber light, then a
locks are secure,” said the engineer. “The ship is at above reasonable
rose from everyone on board, except from the tall vixen.
alright! Save the celebrations until we get to the vault!” she exclaimed
impatiently. “Let’s go!”
a rucksack, Katie quickly paced herself toward the widened gangplank that
connected the Prowler to the September
Weed. Baloo tentatively asked as they followed her to the resurrected
vessel: “Um, Red…don’cha think we oughta make sure the ship is safe
enough ta walk on?”
right, Katie,” agreed Rebecca. “That ship doesn’t look at all that
replied the archaeologist stubbornly, walking along the gangplank as she
prepared to place her foot on the ship’s deck. “Sure, it’s a little worse
for wear, but I’m confident the structure is just fine!”
she said that, Katie’s weight gave way to a weakened part of the deck and
collapsed underneath her feet, causing her to shriek. Luckily, Baloo was close
behind her to grab her wrists and stop her from
falling any further.
over some sharp, twisted objects that were exposed to the light in that dark
hole, Katie reassessed the situation.
again…” she conceded quite sheepishly. “A careful safety check wouldn’t
be amiss!” This
is so embarrassing…
thought the flier as he carefully pulled the archaeologist from out of the hole,
this gal oughta go on a diet!
safety check conducted by Khan’s structural experts took about forty-five
minutes which agonized Katie immensely. I really ought to maintain some kind
of patience, she thought. If Baloo hadn’t been there…
relief of everyone, especially the headstrong vixen, the expedition team
proceeded to enter the lower docks. Using the ship’s map, Katie guided the
team toward the waterlogged corridors and stairwells. Carrying flashlights and
trailing a very long rope behind them, the members began to hear many creaking
and dripping noises, making them nervous.
the mangled mess that surrounded them, Rebecca commented: “Humph…the last
time I saw something this dark, dank and noisy was when I watched Baloo snoring
loudly last week.”
funny, Becky. Ya oughta be in the funnies
is that where you got your pilot’s
licence from…or out of a cereal box?”
from the same brand ya got yer so-called MBA from,” the grey bear snorted.
yeah,” the adolescent moaned.
you both knock it off?!!” said Katie sharply. “It’s hard enough to concentrate in
this damp and dangerous environment without you two playing a live
broadcast Flibber McGee and Dolly!”
bears looked ashamedly at each other.
right, Katie…I’m sorry, Baloo. I…I was just nervous,” Rebecca
place is kind of giving me the willies.”
ferget about it, Beckers. Why don’t we just help out Katie here an’ get the
job done, ‘kay?”
gave a small smile. It amazed – even touched her sometimes – that Baloo
could be counted on by being the pragmatist, even under pressure.
is all very touching,” Katie said tightly,
“but can we please get a move on
the way,” the pilot said.
As they continued, the businesswoman whispered to Baloo: “Is she always this bossy?”
when she hot on the trail of somethin’ big, Becky. It’s like she’s almost
possessed an’ like.”
she really needs to control that temper of hers. I can’t stand people
yeah,” he responded, rolling his eyes. “I
know whatcha mean.”
reaching the vault, Katie turned to the others.
want complete and total silence while I’m working on these
locks,” she announced, glancing at both the adult bears. “All I want from
everyone is to aim your flashlights on the ship’s vault. Not a single peep
out of anybody until I’m done.”
over the sediment and sludge built over the years on the deck, the redheaded
archaeologist carefully studied the lock with her glasses briefly, hooked her
fingers and stretched the arms outward making a cracking sound, and carefully
began to twist and turn the combination dial.
built up in the damp marine air as Katie continued on the combination numbers,
pausing every now and then. Minutes passed and finally a click was made. A faint sign of hope came upon her face, that it
encouraged Baloo enough to end the sanctioned silence.
it right, Katie?”
think so…” she sighed, rising from her haunches, removing her glasses and
turning to her companions. “It has been awhile since I remembered all of this.
Baloo, give me a hand here, please.”
bear lumbered over to the vault lock wheel, standing next to her.
move the wheel to the left.”
then placed his right hand over his chest and muttered: “I pledge
are you doing?!” she asked in astonishment at his strange behaviour.
how I tell my left from right.”
okay,” she said impatiently, rolling her eyes and sighing deeply. “Just move
the wheel to the left!”
Katie on one side and Baloo on the other, they both grunted to turn the wheel
ain’t movin’!” grunted the huge pilot through his gritted teeth.
pushing! It’s got to give!” It’s got
With a heave and a ho, the tightened wheel started to lose its grip.
With a heave and a ho, the tightened wheel started to lose its grip.
working!” exclaimed Kit excitedly.
wheel made several revolutions before the loud clicks indicated the door was
complete unlocked. Hearts racing with anticipation, the vixen pulled the door
open carefully. Everyone held their breaths and aimed their flashlights into the
darkened hold. Both Katie’s and Baloo’s eyes were wide as saucers
as they saw a slight disarray of crates and boxes, but still intact and
“The artefacts…they’re all here – and in perfect
condition.” stated Katie happily. “The Cache of Molta is safe!”
Everyone in the party cheered.
After a few seconds the expedition leader settled her team
down. “Alright now, the
Cache is safe and so are we for the time being. Once we get some proper lighting
in here, we have to work real fast while the lifts can keep the September Weed
suspended. Let’s get every able hand to help us haul all of this away onto the
crew began to install a temporary lighting system on the resurrected derelict,
Katie momentarily took a brief detour to the secured first lower deck alone.
Memories of her extremely miniscule time onboard the cargo ship before the Air
Pirate raid came back to her as he toured through the dank, corroded and
burnt-up corridor with her flashlight as her source of illumination.
upon a door and stared at it briefly. Her heart thumping fitfully, she pulled
out a key from her shirt pocket. She couldn’t believe she had kept it after
all this time, believing she’d never set foot on the September Weed ever again. But here she was, eight years after its
sinking, standing in front of the same door now.
vixen pushed the key into the lock and daintily turned it. She heard a click,
turned the door knob and after giving it a slight push, opened the door. What
she saw gave her a mix of disbelief, yet not too surprised feeling either.
were modest-looking living quarters with a small bunk bed in one corner, a small
closet and desk in another. Everything was a total shambles and sodden with
seawater and silt. Slowly Katie walked about, looking at everything in deep,
respected silence. She then began to pull out the desk drawers, finding nothing
but more silt, seaweed and an occasional dead fish.
toward what looked something like luggage; she unlocked the case of one
water-damaged brown suitcase, seeing a mess of saturated clothing and other
effects, looking like it could never be useful. She sighed heavily and closed
walked over to the closet, opening it quickly, only to step back when a small
gush of water spilled out onto the floor. Then she saw it: a huge notebook bound
with a strap attached to the cover. The archaeologist undid the strap and opened
the book gingerly.
just as she expected. Anything that could be considered writing and some things
that looked like illustrations and sketches were totally illegible and washed
away on the pages that she tenderly turned, finding nothing worth saving. A
started to mist over as she thought: It’s
all gone. Really, in a way I should be relieved about it, but…why does it make
me so sad?...
vixen gasped and nearly jumped out of her skin upon hearing the voice from
behind her. Turning around, she saw the voice’s owner standing in the doorway.
It was Rebecca.
about that, but just wanted you to know that we should have the lighting up in
about a minute or two from now. Then we can start salvaging the Cache onto the
she-bear then walked into the room toward the archaeologist, looking around.
“Katie, what is this…all about?”
used to be my stateroom when I was onboard the Weed escorting the findings to
my favourite wool sweater is shot, that’s for sure.” She forced a chuckle.
nothing for me in this room worth salvaging anymore. I don’t know why I came
in here, Rebecca.”
hurts to satisfy your curiosity,” the businesswoman said philosophically.
again, there are some things you just can’t go back to – even if you want
to,” Katie responded with a hint of conclusion in her voice, tossing the
useless notebook into the closet, closed it and joined Rebecca as the two ladies
left the room. “Come on …let’s get busy with what’s really important
temporary lighting system down to the vault worked with satisfactory results,
allowing whatever available sailors of the Prowler, along with the
expedition team, to promptly but carefully remove the Cache of Molta contents
back aboard the battle cruiser with ease.
off their inventory list, both archaeologists oversaw the removal one by one.
There was a mixture of relief, happiness and nervousness on Katie’s face.
After all these years, the Cache was back in the right hands. The guilt in
having to lose it all to save it from the Air Pirates had been a deep emotional
and career blow for her and she saw all of this, as a personal redemption.
a new anxiety snuck into her conscience, knowing what she had to do to prevent
it from coming into Karnage’s hands. Once the rest of the artefacts were on
the Prowler and some on the Sea Duck, they could deep-sea dump
this rust-bucket phantom of her memory and then carry on with her life, she
was about to pick up a small-sized box next to her, when Katie suddenly shouted:
Don’t move that yet, Baloo! Wait until the rest of these other boxes are
pilot was puzzled by her behaviour, but shrugged it off. “’Kay, yer the
she gestured to a medium-size crate nearby. “Take that box over there
he was told, Baloo discovered how heavy it was.
jeez! What’s in
here – the Guardians’ steel-belted athletic supporters?!!”
winced the pilot, as he staggered out of the vault, just as Kit walked right in.
better be a major bonus fer this job so I can pay fer my hernia operation!”
Papa Bear!” the navigator jokingly called out after him. Turning his
attentions to Katie, he said: “Uh…I was just wondering, Katie…I was
looking about this ship and saw this great big hole though the forward
she said, feeling her mouth go dry.
from what I saw the hole pierced about two decks below to the engine room.”
at the damage done, the holes look like they were going down instead of up,
not to mention the logic of sinking a ship loaded with loads of loot on board.
That’s not the Karnage I know –”
exactly is your point, Kit?”
you said the Air Pirates blew up the ship and I was thinking…they were on
board for only a few minutes, but they seemed to know exactly were the engine
young man!” said Katie pointedly. “I studied archaeology, not criminology
or forensic science! And right now, I’m more concerned with getting this
stuff out of here! Maybe we can play detective on the mystery sinking of the September Weed some other time, but I’d rather see you
busy yourself now with boxes, please!”
annoyed at Katie’s reaction and for her ordering him around. But she was a
client and this wasn’t the time or place for a confrontation.
ma’am,” he answered, taking a hold of another medium-sized box and making
his way upstairs without another word, fuming under his cap.
didn’t have to snap the boy’s head off like that, Katie,” said
hardened features softened.
assistant headed up to the top, the redheaded vixen sighed and thought: That
boy is quite sharp for his age…I’ll explain everything to the others once
this expedition is over…I’m pretty sure they can keep a secret...
End of Part Thirteen
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