Written By: Charles Gray Disclaimer: All characters expect otherwise stated are copyright 1990/1991 Walt Disney Company and are being used without premission. The writer of this fanfic has made sure that no money was made in the creation of this fanfic and that all material is used with the upmost affection and respect to the Walt Disney Company and the Tale Spin Team.
Kit stood in front of "Wild bill" Donovan's desk, waiting for his commander to speak. Donovan finished up some paperwork tossed it into the ‘out’ box, and leaned back in his chair, looking at the muscular bear.
"Heard you had a bit of a problem last week." He said. Kit shrugged.
"Not much of one… our refugee missed the first pickup." Donovan nodded.
"And so you landed a hijacked Storch in front of the main occupation head quarters, jumped out, beat up three armed guards, took off, and then flew them to safety." He shook his head slightly. "Impressive…" Bill looked up at Kit. "And more then a little inconvenient." Kit looked puzzled.
"That’s the kind of things that get our opposite numbers very interested in you personally." Donavon paused. "We really don’t need that, and you in particular probably don’t need the bad guys trying to kill you in particular, not just in general." Kit nodded.
"So, I’ve got a vacation for you. Just smuggle some items, you don’t need to know what they are, into China, and drop them off. It’ll keep you out of sight for about a month, and by that time I’m certain the Alemianian's will have found somebody else to post a reward for." Kit shifted uneasily. The Air Commandos had had their share of fighting, but there was still something unnerving about realizing that people were now gunning for you in particular.
"Where to?" Kit asked, Donovan smiled broadly.
"Why the wonderful and mysterious lands of the Asian pacific, of course… from what I recall, you and your father had several little set toos there…" Kit winced. Apparently Donovan’s idea of dropping out of sight and Kits were two different things.
Three days later, Kit sat in a bar in the central sea republic, trying to look like one of the fixtures. Without imbibing too much of his drink, both because he didn’t want to get drunk, and because the few drinks that had been spilled had eaten holes in the floor. Wearing a stained overcoat and a floppy hat that had seen better days, Baloo himself probably wouldn’t recognize the hunched over figure.
Kit hated the place, but he had made it a point to show up for the last two weeks, just another drifter drinking through his last funds. There was no reason to think he was being observed, but if he were, showing up at a place just once, then never again would raise red flags.
Abruptly, someone got into the seat next to him. Kit looked over, looked back, and then did a double take. The girl, no, woman. Kit corrected himself, looked to be about Kit’s age, maybe just a little younger. The brown haired rabbit looked over her shoulder, then turned and saw Kit, her eyes widening in recognition.
"Tom!" She squealed, leaping up and wrapping her arms around Kit, a distracting sensation in and of itself.
"I’m, um afraid you have the wrong person, Ma’am." Kit said trying to concentrate. The rabbit looked at him, blinked, then smiled.
"Oh, I’m sorry… You’re right." She said, leaping up and waving. "Well, I’ve gotta go, bye!" She said, vanishing out of the bar, pausing for a moment when a police officer entered, checking her bag. Kit turned back to the bar, watching the mirrors reflection as the local cops started checking everyone’s pockets and bags. A sudden, dreadful suspicion hit him… He unobtrusively checked one of his jacket pockets… and yep; there was something in it that hadn’t been in it before.
He looked up and around, trying to keep the worry off of his face. His fake ID wouldn’t stand to an in depth examination, and whatever it was, it was important enough to get better then ten cops rousting people… Kit thought, then got up off the stool, and walking in an unsteady shamble walked over to the toughest looking table.
"I know you…" He slurred…. "You take that back about my Daddd…"
"Get out of my face, drunk." The patron, himself none to sober, growled. Looking up from his
card game he glared at Kit. Kit pretended to cringe, then dropped his hands down into his pockets. He stumbled then where none of the others could see him, pulled the ace out of his pocket. Kit leaped up and then slammed it down on the table.
"Yesh… you said it… what kinda guy keeps five aces in his pants!" One of the other players looked at the Doberman, his pile of winnings and the accusing ace on the table.
"Why you…" He snarled and dove across the table.
"You keep your filthy hands off of my friend!!!" Another player yelled, and flipped the table. Other patrons tried to grab the money now rolling on the floor, and in an instant the entire bar was turned into a chaotic swirl of bodies. Kit ran up to one of the cops.
"They’re crazy… Help me!" He screamed, grabbing the officer’s lapels.
"Stay here, we’ll handle it." The officer said, and charged into the maelstrom, his fellows at his heels. Kit looked back, gave a scream of fear, and charged off into the night. At the first intersection, he turned to the right, dumping the hat and his overcoat in a dumpster, then wandered aimlessly, casually putting distance between him and the bar. About thirty minutes later, a Kit with his hair neatly combed, and not a sign of drunkenness sat at an outdoor diner, sipping a coffee.
Finally, Kit pulled out the small package from where he had hidden it in a pants pocket, and unwrapped it.
+now, what was so important…+
The covering came off, and Kit looked at it, first turning pale, then turning crimson with anger.
+I am going to kill her. + He thought looking at the golden idol.
Terri flopped onto the bed, exhausted and depressed. The payment for the shipment was one delivery, so she had nothing to show for it… and only enough fuel in her plane for a one way flight. She pulled out her wallet, and looked in it, as if some kind soul might have reversed pick pocketed her… but no, it was as empty as before.
"Well…. I said I wanted to make my own fortune… and I am… all twenty cents of it." She muttered. She shouldn’t have been so free tipping that kid in Cape Suzzette, but then she had just come off a job that had paid 650 dollars for three hours work.
How was I to know that was going to be the high point of my career? She thought.
There was a knock on the hotel door. Terri got up and walked over to it.
"Hello?" She asked, one hand on the doorknob. A voice confidently answered.
"Sorry Ma’am, but Room 210 is complaining about a leak in their roof. I think the waterpipes in your bathroom may be leaking."
"Oh for-" She said, opening the door, and letting the workman walk past her into the room. He quickly nudged the door shut, almost catching Terri’s hand in the jamb. She opened her mouth to complain, then closed it, as the workman turned around. It was the guy from the bar. Terri moved to open the door, but Kit grabbed her by the wrist and tossed her on the bed, pinning her arms and glaring down at her.
"Now… why did you try to get me arrested by the cops?" The bear asked, glaring down at her.
"What are you going to do if I don’t tell?" Terri asked. "Beat me up? Rape me?" She glared at him; her anger tinged with more then a little fear. Kit let her go, staying between her and the door. One thing he knew, you never made threats you weren’t willing to follow through on.
"Well?" He continued, "You haven’t answered my question."
"I panicked… you were the closest." Terri said.
"Pretty swift move for someone who was panicked." He replied, dubiously.
"I said I panicked, not that I’m stupid." Terri replied hotly. "I suppose giving a cute feminine squeal and fainting in the middle of the bar was what I should have done?" Kit fought a smile.
"No… I don’t think that would have helped either." He pulled the idol out of his pocket. "Don’t recognize it, but it’s gold and it’s very old." He looked at her. "Where did you steal it?"
"I didn’t steal it!" Terri replied hotly.
"Then you’re smuggling it." Kit said, "big difference….."
"Oh really, Mr. High and Mighty…. I suppose you know what it’s like having to make your living off your wits?"
"Yes. Yes, I do." Kit answered.
"Well, you have a few advantages over me… like everytime you try to get hired, you don’t have to deal with people thinking that your chest size is your main qualification… or an offer for other services." Terri said hotly. Kit looked at her. Very pretty… and very upset. Also, she hadn’t been eating too well, lately. He sighed.
"Look, I was pretty upset about the stunt you pulled, but we can call it even… here." He finished tossing the idol to her. Terri caught it, shocked.
"What do you want for it?"
"Nothing… but be careful about what you do in the future… others might not be so charitable."
"Well I’ll-" Kit heard a sound in the hallway outside. He cut Terri’s comment off with a hand motion. Raising his voice he started talking.
"I agree, our children do deserve a college education." Terri blinked, then nodded.
"Well how are you going to pay for them? I work my fingers to the bone!" She started into a harangue that would have put a fishwife to shame. Kit put on hand on the doorknob, and then with a sudden motion, pulled the door open. Standing in the door was a big… a VERY big gorilla. He had been getting ready to open the door, when it opened in his face. Growling, he took a swing at Kit, but the younger bear dodged back and kicked him back into the hallway. At least three more gorillas were there with him, as Kit slammed the door, locking it and pulling a dresser to block it. Two pairs of hands smashed through the door, while another pair dispensed with the middleman and simply smashed a hole in the wall. Kit turned and grabbed Terri.
"Window." He said shortly, pulling her to the window and kicking out the glass. Terri looked at the rickety fire escape and back at Kit.
"Are you kidding… that thing won’t support us!"
"Unless you want to stay here and chat with your fanclub… we go that way." Kit said, leaping onto the escape. "We’re only on the third floor… come on!" He yelled pulling her onto the escape, as the door splintered inward, the dresser falling over as one of the lumbering giants entered the room. The two ran to the other end, both of them swarming down the ladder to the second floor level. Kit pulled the escape ladder down and he and Terri headed to the ally.
"They’re following us!~" Terri yelled pointing to the escape.
"Good," Kit said, watching. The escape held the first Gorilla, but when the other two joined him, it gave way with a groan of overstressed metal and crumpled gracefully to the ground, trapping their pursuers in it. Kit grinned, then blinked, eyes wide as the entire mass began to rise, the Gorillas not harmed at all. They were however, angry. Very angry. Kit turned to run, the girl at his side as he tried to lose them down the various twisting streets and alleys. Finally, after several minutes, the two paused. Kit turned and looked at his companion.
"Being that we’re together in this… what’s your name?"
"Terri… Terri Conners."
"James Mansen." Kit said. At least that was what the ID in his pocket said, he thought. Terri looked at him for a moment, her large brown eyes measuring and more then a little skeptical.
"Well, I see that’s the name you’re going to hold to, at least." She paused, "OK, James… any suggestions?" Kit paused and thought.
"Who wanted that idol."
"A guy in Cape Suzzette… never gave a name, but a number to contact him at once I got there. A weird looking snake guy had a metal jaw… and a big cloak…" She finished. "Hey! Maybe we could call him and…" Kit looked at her.
"How long have you been smuggling?" Terri didn’t say anything.
"One thing people don’t like to here is that a smuggler has lost a shipment…." Kit paused then continued. "We already have one group of people after us, lets not get another one involved." He looked around the foggy alley. "No. Do you have a plane?"
"Well, of course."
"Good, then I’ll get you on it, and fly to… Macadamia… It should be clear and it’s neutral." Terri glared at him.
"And what about you?"
"I have business here." Kit said.
"Well I don’t’ have any money." Terri replied, somewhat petulantly. "What am I supposed to live on?"
"There’s jobs in Macadamia…. Try the spice flights…they’re more interested in speed then cargo space so you should be able to pick up some flights." Terri blinked and looked at Kit.
How does he now about that? She wondered. Her thoughts were cut off when a twelve-inch knife sank into the building next to her head. Charging thought the fog, two wolves and a greasy looking cheetah came at them, waving knives. Terri sidestepped the Cheetah, and then managed to get him in a headlock, proceeding to try to batter down the wall with his head. The wall proved stronger. As she dropped the unconscious body, she turned and saw Kit standing over his two attackers, both sleeping peacefully on the street. He took her by the arm.
"Time to go." He said. "Where’s your plane."
"Down this way…" Kit turned and walked in the opposite direction. "Hey! James, I said it was this way!"
"They knew where you were staying… they’ll know where your plane is." He said. Then, he gave Terri a sudden boyish smile. "So we’re gonna fake ‘em out." Terri hurried to join him and they vanished into the fog.
At another part of the port, several figures disembarked from a rusty yacht, bobbing lethargically in the water. One figure, showing a great deal more animation then the others, sprang to the top of the wharf.
"Come come, my moronic minions. We will claim the idol for myself, yes-no?" A whiny voice answered him.
"Isn’t that for ourselves, cap’n-ow!" It said as the figure on top of the wharf whacked it in the head with the flat of his sword.
"You are not qualified to correct your loving captain… and if you do again, I will pull you to pieces and feed you to the sharks…. Onward!" He said, leading his men into the town.
Terri paused, exhausted. Kit had led her out of the city, into the steep hills the bordered it, then, moving through the woods, had come back to the place where her plane was moored, less then a mile from the hotel. However, between all the detours, running and the path’s through the heavy undergrowth, Terri’s legs felt like it had been at least twenty miles. Kit, annoyingly, seemed only slightly out of breath. He looked down at the plane.
"Well… look at that." He said. Terri crept up by him, and saw the dim outlines of two figures standing by the pier.
"We could have beaten them." She said, crossly.
"The six we saw.. sure. What about if there were others."
"Well what do we do now?" Kit leaned back on the slope.
"Wait. The path I took I don’t think they’ll be able to follow, and we can hear’em coming anyway."
"How long are we going to wait?" Terri asked,
"Long enough for those fellows on your plane to get bored and sleepy… maybe a couple of hours." Kit said.
"You had an appointment?" The bear asked, his eyes giving a suspicious hint of a twinkle. Terri relented. "Besides, we can talk to each other, and maybe figure why this idol is so popular all of a sudden."
"They want it for the gold?" Terri asked.
"No." Kit said, "Trust me about thieves… six guys would not work together for something this small… or they would be fighting each other as much as they were trying to get us… nope." He looked at her. "Do you remember anything that your boss said about it?"
"No…" Terri said, then she snapped her fingers. "Yes! I remember the last time I talked to him, he wanted to make certain that it got to Cape Suzzette in one piece. He mentioned that that was the only way it could open the eyes of Kala… no Kali!" She said in triumph. She looked over and saw that Kit had actually turned several shades of gray.
"I know why they’re after you…." He said faintly. "And why they didn’t fight each other."
"Oh.. then please enlighten me." She said.
"I think we already knew that, James."
"No, thugs as in sacred assassins of Kali…" Terri blinked.
"Well they didn’t seem that dangerous…" Kit shook his head.
"The ones in the alley were probably apprentices, and thank god I didn’t stick around to fight in the hotel…." He turned and looked over at Terri. "OK, plans have changed. We both get into your plane and leave…. I’ll figure out where to later."
"What’s so big about Kali?" Terri asked, still unmollified. Kit paused. He knew about the cult, largely because it and the OSS had engaged in their share of battles, both overt and covert. He couldn’t exactly say that to Terri, however.
"It’s a cult… they generally engage in assassinations, human sacrifice…and a lot of times they use freelance pilots as the main attraction, since they’ll seldom be missed. I’m surprised you haven’t heard of them."
"I seem to have missed a lot of stuff that only you know." She said, looking at him dubiously. "Why should I believe you?"
"Because all I had to do to get out of this was knock you out, and leave the idol in your hotel room." Kit answered, point blank. Terri reluctantly nodded.
"OK, James… that’s fair enough." Terri said, settling back on the leaves of the forest floor. Pulling her navy jacket around her, she tried to get comfortable. Kit just leaned back against a tree, his gray overcoat blending into the wood of the tree, his hat preventing his hair from standing out against the bark of the tree. After some time, Kit heard Terri’s breathing become more regular, as she fell asleep. He looked over at her, and noticed that her face lost of lot of its tough lines when she was asleep. On the other hand, even asleep, he could see where her skin was being pulled tight against the bones of her face. No, she definitely hadn’t been eating well recently.
Have to remember to get her something to eat once we get out of this. Kit thought, then turned back to watch the plane, and its guards.
The hotel owner looked very uncomfortable, being held by Dumptruck and Maddog. Karnage finished polishing his sword then looked at the sweating possum.
"I must admit, I am disappointed." Karnage tsk, tsked. "I, the magnificent Don Karnage, set you up with a hotel, letting you live out your tiny little life on my money, and then you go and loose the person I want to talk to… maybe you let her pay you to betray my wonderfulness?" The possum’s eyes were huge, looking at the razor sharp point of his sword, all of two inches in front of his face.
"No… no, Cap’n… I’d never betray you… after I got shot up by the coast patrol you bought this place for me…. I owe you everything!"
"And do not forget it!" Karnage said, "But I’m am feeling believing today. Tell me about this girl and the man who got her."
"Well, she came in… I was gonna throw her out, but your said to keep her here, so I didn’t’ ask for money up front…" Karnage nodded, and the possum continued. "Then this guy came in after her, and he seemed pretty angry." Karnage looked at him.
"And what did this guy look like?" The pirate asked.
"Well, he was a bear and he had short brown hair…. He looked like a pilot." The former pirate pursed his lips, then his eyes widened. "Well I’ll be…. I think I know who it was."
"yes, yes…." Karnage said impatiently.
"That Kid! Remember the kid you had on board, the one who stole the crystal and made you look like a-oops." The possum turned even paler if possible, and shut up, but Karnage wasn’t listening to him.
"Kit Cloudkicker! So, once again he attempts to put his pathetic type self in front of my plans… This time, he shall learn what it is like to face Don Karnage!" After saying that he turned to the possum. "When we are back, have your best rooms ready… I am tired of sleeping in bunks."
"Terri… Terri!" Kit said softly, shaking her. She woke up, blinking as she looked around.
"How long has it been?"
"‘Bout, three hours…. They both left, and we’ll wait another twenty minutes to make certain that they aren’t faking us out."
"Why didn’t you wake me up earlier?"
"You looked like you could use the sleep." Kit said. "How did you get into the smuggling business, anyway?" Terri looked at Kit.
"You mean, how did my parents vanish, or drive me out into the cold world to make my own way?" Kit nodded smiling slightly.
"Something like that."
"Not at all, My parents are still around… They wanted me to go to a proper school… maybe find a husband and start punching out kids, or start work somewhere where I could make a living." Terri paused. "I love ‘em, but I wanted to have something of my own life, before I went there. I asked, and they let me take my trust fund to buy a plane, and then I went into business for myself." She sighed, looking down at the plane.
"As a smuggler?" Both of the rabbit’s ears flattened down against her long brown hair.
"No, not at first." She looked over at him. "But do you know how hard it is to be a woman pilot? I got laughed out of the first five places I tried to get a job from, and the last fellow mentioned that I could work… under him, if you get my drift." She grinned more then a little viciously, "I wonder if he’s still singing soprano?" Kit winced. "Anyway," She continued, "A guy offered me 200 dollars to move some woodcarvings past customs… and I took it." She grinned, "That was the easiest 200 dollars I had ever made."
"Let me guess." Kit said to her, "Later, you found out that the work was real uneven."
"Yeah…" Terri said, "Also sometimes they wanted me to ship stuff that I didn’t want to touch… guns, bombs, that kind of thing." She shrugged. "Sometimes I did the delivery and didn’t get paid… and then I found out that legit shippers wouldn’t touch me—they were afraid that I might try to use their cargo to cover a run."
"Old trick… they had good reason to be afraid," Kit told her.
"So now…. I don’t know."
"What about your parents?" Terri looked at him and frowned.
"I’m not going back to them a failure… not until there’s no other way." She paused, "Do you think I could get a job in Macadamia?" Kit shrugged.
"Yeah, like I said, they’re more interested in getting the spice to market, quickly and safely then they are who flies it…. You won’t get rich, but you will be able to make some money." Kit got up. "Let’s go…. "
The two trotted over to her plane, getting in it. Kit looked at the craft. It was a twin-engine seaplane, smaller then the Seaduck, designed more for speed then cargo capacity. Still the rear bay could pay for its flight, as long as the pilot stuck to high value, low bulk cargo. Terri opened the door and got in, and Kit cast off the lines and leapt into the side seat with her. A quick punch to the starter button started the engines, and the aircraft pulled out into the bay, turning and taxiing towards the breakwater.
Kit watched Terri skillfully take off, giving the plane just the right amount of control to lift it gently over the breakwater, taking advantage of the ground effect trapped under the wings.
"You’re good…" He said,
"Thanks." Terri said.
One the waterfront, a certain pirate captain watched the plane take off.
"Oh they make me very very angry!" He snarled, "Dumptruck! Call the Vulture, and tell them to delay our guests… It is only due to my brilliant intellect that we have our own planes hidden on the ship… so well will be right behind them!" He turned and ran off the pirates tagging along after him. From an alley, two of the Gorilla’s watched Karnage's men, then turned and lumbered after them.
On the plane, Kit watched as the island vanished behind them. He looked behind him into the cargo bay and then pulled some crackers out of the pocket of his jacket.
"Want some snacks?" He asked Terri. She looked at him out of the corner of her eyes.
"You usually carry crackers?" Kit shrugged.
"Sometimes I don’t know when I’m gonna get a chance to eat… so they come in handy. " Terri looked at Kit and then the crackers and took them. She ate neatly, but in a few seconds they were gone. "DO you keep water in this plane?"
"Yeah, sure… back of the cargo bay, on the right." Kit nodded and walked back into the bay. Terri watched him go, then opened up the compartment where her maps were. She pulled out the maps, then saw something glittering fall to the ground. "Hey James, did you put something in the glove compartment?" She asked. Kit turned around and came back into the cockpit. Terri was holding a jade scorpion, almost six inches long. "Wow… this looks more valuable then the idol." She said. Holding it up in one hand. Kit opened his mouth, seized with a sense of foreboding when the statuette quivered, moved, and sank its wicked looking tail stinger into Terri’s arm. The rabbit girl screamed, and threw it into the compartment. Kit watched eyes wide was it scuttled towards him, leaving smoking droplets of venom on the deck. He smashed down, feeling it give under his booted feet, as it hissed, then crushed to the deck reduced to fragments of jade.
"Terri!" Kit yelled running up to Terri. She turned and looked at him.
"It stings, but I think I can-" She shuddered, and then swayed in the seat, sending the plane into a spiral. Kit got into the other seat and brought it back under control, then looked over at the rabbit. She was pale and when Kit put his hand to her forehead, he could feel the heat.
"God, you’re already burning up."
"Yeah, well I don’t feel so good, now that you mention it." Terri said, gasping a little. "James, what was that?" Kit looked back.
"I don’t know, but we need to get you to a hospital…" Kit turned the airplane about.
"What-what are you doing?" She asked.
"We need to get to a hospital, and the only one in range is back on the island."
"I’ll worry about them, just keep still and rest," Kit said. Terri looked out one window.
"We’ve got another problem."
"Not what… them." She said, pointing to the dozen or more pirate fighters diving out of the sky at them.
"Wonderful." Kit said.
Kit brought the airplane over in a tight turn, barely avoiding several fighters, which proceeded to nearly smash into each other. Taking advantage of the momentary respite, Kit pulled the stick up, sending the plane clawing for more altitude and skyroom. Unfortunately, another group of fighters, this one led by a familiar triwing, had been circling above, waiting for Kit’s move.
"Karnage’s getting brighter in his old age," Kit muttered, pulling to the right to avoid the streamers of tracer bullets, reaching out like malignant fireflies. He managed to avoid Karnage, but that gave the first group time to get back up to his altitude, and force him into another set of evasive maneuvers. Kit knew precisely what Karnage was doing… he didn’t want to shoot them down, but he was forcing kit to burn fuel evading him, and was in fact forcing the seaplane further from the island, not closer. Finally, kit grabbed the mike.
"OK, Karnage…. I give.": Terri looked at him eyes wide.
"What are you DOING?!" She nearly screamed. Kit pointed to the fuel gauge wordlessly. Terri looked at it, then realized that the plane no longer had the fuel to get back to the island. Defeated she sagged back into her seat. Kit looked at her, concurred.
And I don’t think you’d last the time it would take to paddle back to the island, or get a ship out to use, even if Karnage just let us ditch.
"Of course you do, my foolish bear type person… everyone gives in to the glorious Don Karnage…" Kit censored the first twenty remarks that came to his mind. Karnage continued. "If you will look to the front, you will see your old home arising out of the mists… you know the way." Kit looked up, and watched as the Iron Vulture, rose majestically out of the cloudbank. Grabbing the stick tightly, kit carefully flew into the open mouth, grounding the plane just short of the rear bulkhead. Even before the engines had stopped, dozens of pirates came charging out, tying the aircraft down to the deck, before opening the door, urging Kit and Terri out with ungentle hands. Behind them, the rest of the pirates landed, their planes coming to stop on the deck, or being lowered by elevator from the top flight deck.
One of the planes, even after eight years very familiar to kit, was lowered to the ground and the flamboyantly dressed pirate captain came swaggering over.
"So… Mr. Clownkicker… you have learned the futility of opposing the mighty Don Karnage, Yes-no?"
"Right Karnage, you’ve got us. What do you want?" Karnage peered at kit.
"That is not the argumentative type response I was expecting… Kit." Terri looked over at Kit.
"Kit? What happened to James?" Karnage looked over at Terri.
"You have been seducing the innocent types with false naming?" He asked, "What is wrong with her?" Karnage continued, noticing Terri’s ill look.
"Well, I was…" Kit started.
"Lying to me?" Terri supplied.
"Look, you decided to put something in my pocket, framing me in front of the local cops."
"And I suppose that excuses you?!" Terri yelled, "How many other lies did you give me, ‘Mr.’ And I use the term loosely, ClownKicker?"
"CLOUDKICKER!" Kit yelled, "And we need to concentrate on getting you some he-"
"I can get myself help-" Karnage put his fingers to his lips, and blew a shrill whistle, silencing the two.
"Un momento, my charming captives… " He said, "Firstly, what is her problem." He said pointing at Terri.
"She’s been poisoned, Karnage." Kit gritted out.
"On a first date… You are becoming more like me," Karnage said. Kit glared.
"It wasn’t me. It was some kind of jade scorpion."
"Perhaps having to do with the Golden Horde of the Thuggees?" Karnage asked, a huge smiled on his face.
"No!" Karnage said, poking kit the chest with his sword. "You are not so estupid as to stumbled yourself into this… that is the fat bears job."
"He doesn’t know, and neither do I." Terri said, wiping her brow. Kit looked over with concern. "Look, Mr. Karnage-"
"Don Karnage… all the pretty ladies call me Don Karnage." Karnage supplied helpfully.
"OK, Don Karnage… I was just hired to bring this thing in through customs… somebody caught on and I hid it in Ja-er… Kit’s pocket…. I don’t know what it is for, or anything else. All I know is I feel awful, and could we continue this conversation at a hospital?" Karnage tsked.
"My attractive type rabbit… I have been looking for the Golden Horde… and no hospital can help you from that bite. It is the magic scorpion type thingie, yes-no?" Terri looked stricken; kit didn’t look much better.
"Then I… I die?" Terri asked.
"No… you help me find the Golden Horde and you get the cure, I get the gold, and then I decide if you die." Karnage said, a huge smile upon his face. "Now… where is it?"
"I told you…. WE DON’T KNOW!!!" Terri yelled. Karnage, surprisingly, didn’t get angry. "I am thinking you are telling the truth…. So…. I will help you get the cure anyway."
"For what Karnage." Kit asked.
"Why, for the joy of seeing a pretty lady happy!" Karnage said, affecting a wounded air.
"For what Karnage." Kit repeated, tiredly.
"Well… no that you ask, my ex plundering protégé… I would ask that for this job you join up again!! Work under me, and gaze in awe at my brazen type exploits… and then I will help the girl. You agree?"
"You give your word." Kit said, looking at Terri’s drawn face.
"Of course! What Have I ever done to deserve your distrust?"
"Threw me off the vulture, for one thing…" Kit muttered, then, in a louder voice. "OK, If you help me get Terri the antidote, then I’ll work with you… for this job, and this job only. Got it?"
"Of course!" Karnage said. "Dumptruck! Get my young protégé a plane!"
"But Cap’n… we haven’t any spares…"
"Then give him yours!" Kit looked at the glaring pirate then turned back to Karnage.
"How about if I and Terri use her plane…"
"But, it has no guns to go kaboom…"
"We’ll be subtle about it."
"What is the style in that?" Karnage asked. Kit sighed.
"How are we going to find the horde… if nobody here knows where it is?" Terri asked. Karnage smiled,
"We find someone who can tell us where it is." He said. "Come men! To your planes… Dumptruck! Do not take off before the doors open, this time!" Kit assisted Terri into her plane, which had been refueled.
"Are you ok?" Kit asked.
"I’ve been poisoned, and I’m the captive of a pirate who is a walking cliché… what makes you think I might not be ok?" She said to him. She sat back in the seat with relief. "Well… for now it’s not too bad, but could you fly?" Kit nodded and swung into the copilot’s seat. The controls weren’t too different from the Seaduck's, with no wildcat modifications. He started the engines, and followed the first several planes out of the Vulture, with several others following them to make certain Kit and Terri got no cute ideas. Kit put on the autopilot.
"Got some light paper and a couple of graphite sticks?"
"Sure, why?" Kit smiled.
"Insurance." He said, as he took out the idol (he wasn’t about to give it to Karnage.) and started taking a rubbing of the symbols on it… by the end of the flight, he had completely finished.
Kit waited as they came closer to the island they had left less then an hour before, following the pirates down into a secluded cove. Kit tied up the plane, as Karnage hopped over towards the beach. Turning to the Pirates, he pointed at several.
"Gibber… you stay with the planes. Dumptruck, Maddog… you come with us!" Turning to Kit, he continued. "Bring you girltype friend… We will protect her, or use her for bait, depending on my mood." With that, he airily walked off, blue and scarlet uniform brilliant against the beach.
"Does he always talk like that?" Terri asked, looking at Kit.
"Always. Let’s get this done so we can get you cured."
The group walked into the city, this time from the direction of the woods. Karnage led, Kit beside him, with Terri walking behind them, Dumptruck and Maddog bringing up the rear where they hopefully wouldn’t get volunteered for anything.
"Now…." Karnage said, "She has been living here for the last six months… and yes, here she is." He said, pointing to a small house set back from the street. As they walked up, a chair flew through one of the windows. Karnage raised his eyebrows. "Perhaps she is moving? Maddog! Go in and check it out."
"Why me cap’n…" The pirate whined, "why not Kit?"
"Because I say so… now go!" Karnage answered, grabbing Maddog by the collar and helping him along into the house. Kit winced as he hit the door, went in… and then came flying out with a despairing cry…. Through the same window the chair had exited.
"No one does that to my men!!" Karnage roared. "Except me, of course." Drawing his sword, he bellowed, "CHARGE". Dumptruck went roaring in, kit walked up to the door and peered in, just as Dumptruck took a roundhouse swing at a rhino in the living room, where there was a tied up woman. Kit wasn’t surprised at all that Karnage had not charged with his man. Terri simply waited for them, leaning up against a lightpost.
Kit dodged past the two battling goons, and came closer to the bound woman. Her reddish brown hair disarrayed, she was saying something through her gag…. A lot of something’s. Another goon stood next to her, and he grinned at kit, pulling out a wicked looking saber. Kit backed up, then saw an old broom, its handle heavy oak, and grabbed it. The other man, laughing, charged forward swinging the sword.
Kit dodged back, let the momentum of the sword carry it out of position, then buried the broom’s handle into his stomach, pulling back and coming back down on his head as he doubled over. Kit grinned.
"Should have taken pugil stick training!" he said, turning around to assist Dumptruck.
<CRACK!> The sound of the pistol shot was like a thunderbolt, as another man, this one a nattily dressed cheetah walked through, accompanied by a cobra in an odd looking costume.
"I really hope you have the idol." The cheetah said. Kit looked around. Where was Karnage? Then he saw the fox and Terri, both being prodded into the room by other goons.
"Thanks for the back up, Don." Kit said. Terri reluctantly came to his defense.
"There were 8 of them, Kit." Said Terri.
"Pardon me if I break up this touching scene." The cheetah said, "But my name is Mr. Perry, and I would like to have the idol… before I have to shoot one of you." Kit sidled over to the woman, and removed her gag.
"Klang!" She said, and followed with several unprintable qualifications. "I knew you had to be behind this… what is the meaning of this!"
"Come now, Ms. Dodd." Klang said. "I know that you have been following the legend of the Golden Horde.
"That is a potentially vital find for learning about this part of the worlds history.
"Well… it’s a vital find in our own enrichment," Perry said. He gestured, and the guards began to tie up Karnage, Terri and Maddog and Dumptruck. They came towards kit and kit made a gamble.
"Well… I might be convinced to help you… for a price." Kit said. The others looked at him, shocked.
"For what price?" Klang said.
"Terri was stung by a jade scorpion… do you have the cure?" Klang looked over at Perry, who produced a small vial.
"Some of my servants have had cause to deal with the thuggee’s, so yes, I do have a cure. What do you have?"
"This," Kit said, pulling out the idol. "Cure her first. Then I give you the idol."
"Kit… the money, what are you doing!" Karnage gasped. Kit glared him into silence.
"Why shouldn’t we just take it?" Perry asked.
"Because if you try, or I see a gun barrel swinging on me, I throw it down hard enough to bust it or to obliterate some of the carvings, and those are what you need." Klang paused, then looked over at Perry. The cheetah walked over to Terri and put the vial to her lips. Terri drank it, then sat still for several minutes.
"Terri?" Kit asked.
"I… yeah, I feel better already!" The rabbit girl said, her color already improving. Kit nodded.
"Now you." Perry said. Kit handed him the idol, ignoring Karnage’s strangled gasp. The goons tied him down with the rest, and they headed out the door. Klang paused at it.
"By the time you escape, we will have the horde…" He said leaving it. Then, Perry’s voice came through the open door.
"But better safe then sorry." Perry said, as a Molotov cocktail flew in, breaking against the rear wall, spraying burning gas in all directions, and barely missing the tied people. "Good day everyone." The door was closed, as he left with the others, laughing. Karnage glared at kit.
"Now, my incompetent type flunky… what do you do after loosing us the idol?"
"That’s no problem." Kit said. He looked as a streamer of burning fluid caught the edge of a drape, the dry cloth bursting into flame.
"That, however, is a problem."
TO BE CONTINUED....