TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO

Fan-fiction story by jb

Disclaimer: The following story 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.

PART NINETEEN

“It seems we have overlooked one little, thumb-sucking busybody!” sneered Don Karnage after dropping his rocket-launcher, despite the fact that he was quite pleased at the incandescent sight of the renegade battery turret of Number Four that had suddenly came to life and brazenly attacked his airship. He pointed out a group of pirates and ordered: “You there – search in that turret and bring the saboteur or saboteurs to me, dead, alive and-or barbequed!”

“Aye, Cap’n!”

As the scouting team hurried over the turret, the lupine commander then turned to Ratchet. “Get me the field phone! I must assess what damage has been done to the Vulture!”

Within an instant, he produced one. “Aye, sir! Here you are, sir!”

Churning up the crank, the pirate leader spoke into phone. “Karnage to Iron Vulture! Karnage to Iron Vulture! Come in! Over!”

A crackling static remained momentarily before a slightly audible voice broke through. “Iron Vulture to Karnage! Second Mate Will reporting, sir! Over!”

“Ahh, Will – Damage report! Over!”

“We’ve got…heavy damage on one of the…propellers up on the port bow…and we’re containing fires…on decks two and three…plus one of the engines got quite a wallop and we have about a couple of injuries, sir…over.”

Karnage looked up at the damaged but still-airborne Iron Vulture, drew in a sharp breath between his teeth while he thought for a moment before continuing. “Very well – work on the repairs and keep me informed every ten minuets! Karnage over and out!”

“Aye, Cap’n! Will over and out!”

Slamming down the field phone, he turned back to the burning turret and thought: That mondo mysterioso guest practically rendered the Vulture’s ability to go at top speed. They knew exactly where to hit us!…

 Then a dark realization popped into his head that made him seethe into a boiling rage. Kit Cloudkicker!!

Figuring that this might be some kind of a lure for the young navigator to rescue his friends from the September Weed, the pirate leader planned to thwart this attempt. “You six!” he barked at some nearby corsairs. “Search this ship completely from bow to stern! Hunt down for any other passengers we might have missed! Mad Dog, you’re with me and the rest of you –  keep an eyeball peeled on our prisoners here!”

“Aye-aye, Cap’n!”

Karnage and his underling walked over to the hydraulic lift and looked at it admiringly. “You know, Mad Dog…Shere Khan would pay very a handsomable ransom money for its return…or maybe we can sell it to a rival company like Miniversal, yes-no?”

“But, Cap’n…” noted his lackey, “how would we drag it to the nearest port includin’ the wreck without bein’ noticed?”

Looking at his companion, it surprised Karnage that sometimes, as unintelligent as Mad Dog was; that he could bring up the obvious scenario to a particular situation didn’t come most of the time.

“Hmm…a good point on your head, my usually estupid stooge. Let’s deep-six this thing!!”

 

 

The hatchway shaft between the September Weed’s vault and the upper deck was quite a tight fit for Katie as she crawled through the space upward with a penlight in her teeth, grunting all the way. Having dislocated her shoulder made it somewhat easier to slide up the water-slicked shaft, if not a whole lot plus it constricted her breathing a bit.

If I ever get out of this alive, I’m going on a diet!...

The light at the end of the shaft signalled her deliverance. Grabbing and tucking the penlight into her khaki shirt pocket, the vixen fished out the bent hairpin Rebecca had given her to unscrew the bolts at the vault from between her cleavage that she had placed inside earlier for better access.

 Sometimes, she joked to herself, being blessed can be a blessing.

She reached for the hatch, when she suddenly noticed…

No! Katie, you stupid moo!! The screws for this hatch are on the other side!           Not believing in her own stupidity, the archaeologist angrily slammed on the sealed entrance repeatedly, tears streaming out of her eyes, down her face and choking on her quiet sobs. I can’t believe we’re going to die in here! No! No!! No!!!

Clang!!            

Her ears picked up on the metallic thud that made her stop slamming on the entrance and her eyes popped open. Looking up, she saw that she had made a slight dent in the hatch. Quickly examining further, the metal structure had been weakened to corrosion and rust by seawater.

 Seeing this as her last hope, the vixen lowered herself down the shaft a bit, braced her back and scrunched up her long legs into a ball, then with ferocity began to kick at the hatch opening to the best of her ability repeatedly. The entrance was taking quite a beating, but it was starting to give way. Kicking harder than ever now, Katie grimaced as the pain in her dislocated shoulder bordered into a tortuous ache and silt, seaweed and rusted metal flecks rained down on her muzzle.

Yuck!! I don’t need a facial treatment this badly!

Finally, ten more kicks later flew the hatch open wildly. Clambering out of the shaft, the archaeologist plopped onto the deck like a newborn whelping expelled from its mother’s womb, gasping for breath. She then crawled across the wet floor, haggardly to nearest corner. On her knees, she placed herself at the edge next to her limp shoulder and squeezing her eyelids very tightly, the redheaded vixen drew a deep breath and with tightly clenched teeth, slammed herself against the edge very, very hard, locking the shoulder back to normal.

 Her long, agonizing howl coarsened her vocal chords as pain racked all over her body and fell to the floor, writhing and feeling temporarily paralysed from the neck down, panting as the pain began to ebb away...

Meanwhile at the hydraulic lift controls, Don Karnage looked over the panel. “Alrighty then…this should do the trick!” Pressing the de-locking button, the clamps released the September Weed and the rotted derelict splashed back into the Sub-Mediterranean.

“Have a nice dip, drips!” he laughed cruelly....

Katie felt the vibration of the clamps releasing the ship, which quickly aroused her, then the splashing into the water; she gave out a little surprised squeal and gasped: “Uh-oh!”

Despite not having fully recovered from her recent realignment, the archaeologist managed to gather up all of her strength, pick herself off the deck and staggered back down below to release her friends out of the vault.

 

 

Smoke and fumes from turret Number Four revived Melita after the explosion, choking her lungs and searing her eyes. She felt something heavy weighing down on her lower torso. Dazedly and coughing, she turned around.

That something was Kit. Motionless.

“Omigosh…” murmured the Moltese in horror. “Oh, Kit…no...”

Tears began to well up in her eyes, either from the acrid smoke or the horrible probability that he might be…

Oh, nooh, please no!!

“Kit?! KIT!!!” Melita screamed out, even though her head throbbed some but she didn’t care. Turning him over, she saw a small trickle of blood come down his forehead as his baseball cap flopped off. Placing her hand alongside his neck, she hoped for the best.

 A pulse!…Thank the heavens above!!!

But the increasing smoke and heat was becoming too much for her. Coughing heavily now, the Moltese Dame staggered to her feet and tried to pick up the unconscious navigator. She then heard footsteps in the distance, coming in her direction.

“C’mon, Kit…” she begged weakly. “Get…up…please…”

Collapsing back onto the deck, Melita hacked her lungs out again. She crossed herself and began to pray: O Lord…my soul is prepared…

All of the sudden, she felt something very wet and heavy cover her muzzle, surprising her. A stifled scream from her rose from the top of her lungs through the soft fabric-like material.

 “Don’t be afraid!!” said an equally muffled voice. “I’m here to help! Breathe through this wet facecloth!”

Melita then noticed a small hand attached to the facecloth. Taking it by herself, the she-canine turned to her mystery saviour. It was a young she-bear cub, looking around eight years old; wearing an orange gingham shirt, dark blue denim dungarees, pigtailed blue ribbons on her ears, pilot’s goggles and a wet hand towel wrapped repeatedly around her muzzle and tied firmly behind her head with a rucksack strapped on her back.

“Do you have a first aid kit on you?!”

“Uh, yeah…” the mystified she-canine answered, sliding off the satchel from her shoulder. “In here.”

Wasting no time, the girl quickly dug through it and pulled out a small white box with a red-and-black Moltese Cross on the lid cover. Opening it, she took out a gauzy pad and wrapping bandage from their sterilized casings, while Melita breathed through the white facecloth, noticing that it was embroidered S.S. Prowler in blue on one corner and it also was on the she-bear cub’s hand towel as well.

Probably snatched them from the ship’s laundry, she thought. Clever.

“We’ve got to hurry!!” pleaded the youngster as she quickly but gently wrapped up Kit’s head wound with the bandage, ripping off the needed yardage and tucking the edge into the folds, then grabbed his cap and placed it on her head in the same backward fashion as she rose up. “The pirates are coming this way! I know the safe passageway out of here. Help me pick him up!”

The Moltese seemed confused by all of this but did as she was told. While they both grabbed the navigator under his arms on opposite sides and dragged him down the corridor to safety, she asked their bantam yet brave rescuer: “Who…are you??”

“I’m… Kit’s sister ...Molly...”

 

 

 

Baloo and Rebecca sat silently in the dark vault for the duration of Katie’s attempt to free them. The pilot could tell that his employer had something on her mind since the archaeologist left and in spite of himself, the silence was starting to unnerve him.

“A penny for yer thoughts, Beckers.”

She snapped back to the present with a start, turning to him. “Huh? What, Baloo?”

“A penny for yer thoughts. Yer bein’ awfully quiet for quite a while, even for you.”

Rebecca smirked at the remark, but answered ruefully: “I…was just thinking about Molly…what she’s up to now, how she’s doing…wondering if I’ll ever see her again…”

 He then asked her something that had been bugging him since they left home: “C’mon, Boss Lady…out with it. Why’d ya come out all da way out here for? Why’d ya really wanted ta come with us?”

The she-bear was a bit startled inwardly with that query, but just sighed and said: “I guess…I really wanted to have an adventure.”

“Huh?”
            “You heard me, Fly Boy…an adventure. Sometimes….I hear you and Kit spin all your yarns about the places you’ve gone to and the things you’ve done back home, even when you’re telling your bedtime stories to Molly that she always wants to hear from you guys. I quietly stand in the doorway of her room and listen to one of you while you’re tucking her in and telling your tales until she falls asleep…when you’re not looking.”

“Gee…I thought ya didn’ like ta hear that kinda jazz. Ya keep dismissin’ ‘em as whatcha callit as ‘nonsensical figments of our sordid ‘maginations.’ ”

“I’ll confess…I like those stories too. Maybe it just rubbed off on me after awhile, reminding me of the stories my grandfather used to tell me of his merchant marine days when I was Molly’s age.” And sometimes, it reminds me of what her father used to do when we were together, she thought sorrowfully. And how I miss it so much…and how much he’s missing out on her life...

 “Hmm…” Baloo pondered and then quoted, “‘adventure’…‘ad-ven-cher, noun, verb. One: an excitin’ or very unusual experience…Three: a bold, usually risky undertakin’; hazardous action of uncertain outcome…Five: a) peril; danger; risk, b) chance; fortune; luck…Seven: to take the chance of; dare…’”

Rebecca looked at him surprisingly. “Where’d you learn all that from?”

“From the dictionary, when I was studyin’ to git my elementary school diploma.”

“I didn’t think you could remember those things.”

“I’ve been doin’ some serious readin’ lately, Becky. Kit’s been teachin’ me an’ stuff in exchange fer the flyin’ lessons. I don’ hafta tell ya everythin’, y’know. ‘Sides, ya oughta be careful of whatcha wish for. You jus’ might get it.”

You can say that again…

“Maybe. But, I wanted to have a little glory too for a change, share in something you experience all the time, while me – I’m sitting back at Higher for Hire making business deals, raising my kid and whatnot. I just wanted to get a change of scenery, maybe engage in a little fun…some glamour…some excitement…”

…maybe some romance…

The grey bear chuckled to himself.

“What’s so funny?”

“You were jealous, weren’t ya? Not jus’ ‘cause of me an’ Kit. It was Katie too, wasn’t it?”

“Hmph!” the businesswoman snorted defensively. “You wish! And speaking of Katie, buster…why is it that you trust her more than me?”

 “That’s ‘cause sometimes ya…” began the pilot tersely, then softening his tone, “sometimes… ya git a li’l bit over in yer head, like those crazy get-rich quick schemes you usta have. At least she thinks things through before she decides ta jump inta the fire.”

 I do think things through!” she protested and then added in a small voice, “I mean… I do now.”

Baloo chuckled again. “Yeah…now. But ya come a long way, Becky.”

“So have you… a little.”

“Oh, really?…. In what way?”

“Well…you’re less tardy with the cargo runs than you used to be. A bit more responsible, a bit neater and…and stuff.”

“‘Stuff?’ What kinda ‘stuff’?”

“You know…” she said, feeling a bit uncomfortable now and looking away from him with a nervous gulp, “…stuff.”

“Well, then! I guess ya figger that I’m alright.”

“Sometimes. When you’re not acting like some kind of scoundrel.”

“Scoundrel!” he repeated with a grin. “Hmm…now I kinda like the sound of that!”

You would, Fly Boy, she thought, but secretly smiled at the idea of it.

“Then again, ya could let your hair down every now an’ then. Yer gonna get yerself wound way too uptight before yer time, y’know.”

“Like now?” she said, waving her loose hairdo from side to side teasingly with an enticing smile.

 “Yeah, jus’ like that. It’s very becomin’ of ya.”

  She giddily giggled a little and looked at him, glad that the darkness was hiding her blush. “Thank you.”

Incredible. Who knew he was such a flirt…and at a time like this, too…

“Well…” Baloo began with a mischievous smirk, “it is kinda dark in here an’ my eyes ain’t what they usta be...”

“Why, you smart-aleck! I’ll –!” growled the she-bear and playfully smacked the grey bear as they both shared a hearty laughter between themselves that echoed throughout the vault. It was cut abruptly as the September Weed violently shook suddenly, dropped a few metres down like an elevator and then bobbed a bit after impact with the bottom before stopping.

“W-w-w-what happened??!”

“I-I-I dunno, Beckers…but it sure don’t feel right!!”

Picking up a flashlight, the pilot shook it a couple of times before he managed to get it working a little. Shining it at her, an ashen look of fear crept across his employer’s face as she looked at him.

“The hydraulic lift must have been deactivated,” she said numbly. “The clamps aren’t holding up the ship anymore.”

“Katie didn’t make it,” muttered Baloo grimly.

The two bears looked at each other and realized their situation now. Tears started to spill down Rebecca’s cheeks, then threw herself into her employee’s arms and began to sob. All the pilot could do was to hold her tightly – as much as she did the same.

“Rebecca…” he said softly, “Of all o’ the people I ever wanted ta meet my end with…I’m…I’m glad it’s with you.” He felt it was the right thing to say at a time like this and somehow, holding her close to him seemed so right.

“I’m scared, Baloo,” she whimpered.

“Me too, honey.”

“Don’t let me go…for anything…”

“I won’t, Becky…I promise…” he said, his voice barely a whisper.

Rebecca then looked up from his chest and stared straight into his eyes. “Baloo…?” she started to say, trembling in her voice and body, “I…I’ve wanted to tell you…”

“Yeah?...”

“…for the longest time…that….”

“Uh-huh?...” C’mon, Becky…spill it out…

“Th-th-that…I-I…I-I’ve always lo –”

Just then, a clank and a whirl came from the vault door followed by a sudden opening of the door that allowed a little rush of water, light and air, standing in the doorway all covered with scuffmarks on her clothes, face and a tussled mess of reddish hair was…

“KATIE!!!” shouted Baloo and Rebecca with unbridled joy and surprise, breaking free from each other’s embrace.

 “Come on, you two! Let’s beat it!!”

Quickly as they could, the two bears left the vault to join the vixen as she reached the bottom of the stairwell. “Wha’ happened, Red?!” asked the grey bear as he huffed his way up the staircase.

“That darn scumbag of a pirate released the hydraulic lift’s clamps!! If we don’t get off of this ship – we’re all dead!!!

End of Part Nineteen


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