TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO
 

A fan-fiction Story by jb

Disclaimer: The following story is based on the television series, characters and situations created by Jymn Magon & Mark Zaslove, TaleSpin  © 1990-1991 Buena Vista Television/Walt Disney Company. Fan-fiction story and non-TaleSpin characters are creations by the author and may not be used without permission. This is a work of fan-fiction, using characters and property of the Walt Disney Company without consent and for non-profit use.

Prologue

As the Iron Vulture hovered over the warm waters of the Sub-Mediterranean Sea, nearby swarms of air pirate fighter planes overtook the medium-sized cargo freighter, the September Weed. The crew quickly surrendered.

 

But their charismatic leader, Don Karnage, was not satisfied with the easy conquest. Facing the September Weed’s spaniel captain, he snapped, “Where are the cargo listings? Tell me what you got in your hold!”

 

Trembling in fear, the captain replied, “We’re j-j-just transporting jams and jellies from the Isle of Molta.”

 

“You lie!” Karnage shouted, as he brandished his cutlass. “My sources tell me you have been at an archeological site of great impudence and that you have a treasure worth the plundering!  So now I’ll ask you one… more… time,” he hissed, letting the words sink deep, “where… is… the… treasure? And the archeologist in charge here!”

 

“I-I-I-I don’t know. I swear!” the captain stammered. He knew he was holding back, but if he did tell, they’d grill the expedition leader until it hurt. Literally.

 

Losing all patience, Karnage threw the captain back toward his skeleton crew, avoiding him. “Men!” he shouted, “Tear this ship asunder! Find that archeologist!” adding, “and alive too, please, if you don’t mind.”

 

Two decks below, a lovely young vixen worked furiously, bolting the cargo vault lock hatches very tightly, making sure the hold was ultra-secure. She had anticipated something like this and was well prepared in advance to handle the situation.

 

“Goodness, I hope this works or three years of work will be for nothing,” she muttered under her breath. Slipping a protective vest over her blouse, the vixen grabbed a bazooka and a rocket-propelled grenade. Locking it into its hold, she cautiously made her way up to the upper deck.

 

Meanwhile, Karnage’s men continued to pillage and search the ship for the expedition leader. Mad Dog and Dump Truck had just finished clearing the second level of the ship, when suddenly they spotted a lurking figure in the corridor.

 

Caught! thought the vixen in fear.

 

Hey, you!” shouted the Swedish-accented Dumptruck. “Stop right dere!!” The vixen immediately broke into a run, bazooka bouncing over her shoulder. Mad Dog drew his pistol and yelled nasally, “Hey! Stop right where you are!” He fired a few warning shots, but the vixen pulled out her own firearm and fired back at the pirates.

 

You won’t stop me! You can’t stop me!

 

Bursting through to the upper deck, the vixen charged toward the ship’s stern and encountered a couple of Karnage’s men brandishing their weapons. The vixen knew she couldn’t shoot them in time.

 

Picking up her pace, she ran towards the two corsairs, leaped as high as her long legs could take her, she karate-kicked one in the face and smashed the bazooka across the other’s face, sending them both down on the deck.

 

Master Yuen would have been proud of that move, thought the vixen happily.

 

But her victory was short-lived; she was only a few meters 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…” Karnage jeered. “What do we have here? A troublesome passenger on board, yes-no?”

 

“Back off, Karnage!” shouted the vixen.  All the pirates laughed at her, but not once did she feel intimidated.

 

“Ahh…you seem to know me – for whom you should know my most mah-vellous self – but I know nothing about you, lovely lady,” he continued. “Identify yourself!”

 

“Katie Dodd, archaeology doctorate student!” huffed the red-haired vixen, pointing her bazooka at the pirate leader.

 

“You’re a doctor?” asked Mad Dog. “Gee, maybe you can help me, Doc…I’ve got this really bad hangnail problem and –!”

 

Karnage whacked his stooge with the back of his hand. “Not that kind of a doctor, you ninny-winny-doop-loop! She is the expedition leader we have been looking for!”

 

Ratchet was practically drooling as he eyed her greedily. “I wouldn’t mind doin’ an expedition on her, mate.” All the men leered at the voluptuous archaeologist.

This doesn’t look good
, thought Katie nervously.

 

“Please excuse my men… they have not seen a woman in four months,” apologized Karnage. 

“Believe me,” retorted Katie. “The women of the world aren’t disappointed!”

 

“Oooh, feisty. Just my type!” said the pirate leader. “But first, business is business… where is that treasure? And be quick about it! – Danger Woman comes on in twenty minutes!”

 

“Sorry, Captain. I’m not letting the likes of you get your hands on two years of research and three years field work. The Cache of Molta belongs in a museum, not a private collection!”

 

“Museums, schuseums, Miss Dodd,” said Karnage, stepping closer to the archaeologist.

 

“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.

 

“Pardon me,” sneered the wolf, “but don’t you be thinking that one leetle rocket grenade can stop us all, do you, yes-no?”

 

Katie slowly lowered the bazooka right onto the September Weed’s deck. Karnage stopped and realised her intentions weren’t in stopping him or his minions.

 

“Waitamenudo!” he 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?”

The vixen gave him wicked smirk and said, as she pulled the bazooka’s 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. The September Weed’s crew, who had made a clean getaway when the pirates confronted Katie, barely made it to the lifeboats moorings as the ship rocked in the explosion.

 

Karnage’s entourage had been knocked clean to the deck. Shaking his head to clear it, the pirate leader staggered back onto his feet.

“Cap’n!” Mad Dog called out. “The ship is sinkin’!”

 

“I am the captain!” he shouted back. “That is for me to say!”

 

Another explosion occurred, this time sending a fountain of water splattering about. Karnage panicked. “To the planes, men! This ship is sinking!” They wasted no time obeying their leader, slipping downwards to their planes.

 

As they took off back to the Iron Vulture, Karnage thought angrily: That conniving minx! She denied me of that treasure! I do hope she was killed in that explosion --- And blown into a million itty-bitty pieces as well!

 

Thirty metres away from the wreckage, bits and pieces of the ship bobbed up and down on the water. Some bubbles popped up and then the surface broke into a splash. Gasping heavily for air, Katie thrashed a bit before feeling an incredibly sharp pain from her left shoulder.

 

She howled in agony, grabbing her injured shoulder and gritting her teeth, she felt disjointed, like a doll. Slowly and painfully, Katie paddled to a floating life preserver. Holding the floatation device with her good arm, she saw the September Weed sink rapidly into the Sub-Mediterranean.

 

Her eyes burning with tears, she made a solemn vow in her head before losing consciousness:  If I live through this…I swear…I will be back for the artifacts!

 

End of Prologue

 

 

Part One



1939
Eight years later

 

On an overcast, yet mostly clear day over Cape Suzette, a phone rang in an office in a high-rise building. The secretary picked it up.

 

“Mrs. Snarly,” spoke a baritone yet firm voice, “please send in the ten o'clock appointment.”

 

The mole secretary replied: "Yes, sir. Right away, sir." Mrs. Snarly hung up the phone and turned to the person on her right. “Mister Khan will see you now, Doctor Dodd.”

 

The vixen archaeologist interrupted her coffee in mid-sip and brought her cup down a bit nervously. “Yes…thank you,” she answered.

 

Katie clumsily gathered up her briefcase and rolled-up maps, but broadly strode toward the elevator to Shere Khan’s penthouse office. The leopard security guards, who had ogled her since she stepped into the office, politely took off their caps and called her ‘Miss’, getting a glimpse of her attractive features as she entered the elevator.  She gave them a cool nod. “Gentlemen.” And I use that term loosely…

 

Katie wore a white jacket and skirt with gold buttons going down the centre, white dress gloves and pumps heels, a jade necklace and beige silk hosiery. Her hair was neatly combed and she wore a wide-brimmed hat. Dear lord, Katie prayed silently, please let this meeting with Khan go well. He’s my last hope.

 

Taking out a compact, she quickly reapplied her lipstick.

 

The private elevator stopped and the doors opened. She found herself in a slightly darkened room filled with tropical plant life and for a moment thought she was back in the Amazonian Rain Forest. What in the…she thought to herself. Then a voice from the end of the enormous room came from a table and swivel chair.

 

“Come in, Doctor Dodd. Do come in.”

 

Khan, thought Katie. So the rumours are true…

 

She made her way to Khan’s desk and there sat the infamous tycoon, the Bengal tiger that answered to no one but himself, unsmiling.

 

And I thought Klang was spooky, thought the vixen before clearing her throat. “Good morning, Mr. Khan,” Katie began. “I just want to say thank you for seeing me and for taking the time to hear my prop—”

 

“Doctor Dodd,” Khan interrupted, “you have approximately forty-five minutes of precious time to sell me your idea. Please…do not waste it on useless courtesies.”

 

Direct and to the point, she thought. Fine. Might as well get to it, Kathleen.

For the next twenty-seven minutes, Katie went into her presentation. The archaeological find, years of digging and cataloguing over priceless artifacts and then it came right down to the…

 

“…September Weed incident, Doctor Dodd. I remember from the press and in the preliminary report you sent me, the air pirates lead by Don Karnage raided the ship.”

 

“Yes, Mister Khan,” replied Katie, “I remember.”

 

“According to the crew, they had abandoned ship when the pirates pursued you, and as they jettisoned from the cargo ship, it…blew up,” Khan quoted from his papers.

 

Her voice shook slightly. “Y-yes, Mister Khan. The pirates…must have, in their rampage carelessly destroyed the ship’s engines, causing it to sink.

 

“I… barely escaped with my life.” She tugged her skirt a little.

 

Khan sensed her discomfort, but dismissed it as some post-traumatic emotion. A brief smile tugged at the tiger’s mouth and he let out a small chuckle. “I thought we felines were the only ones who had nine lives.”

 

Khan has a sense of humour? Now there’s a new wonder of the world.

 

“Believe me, sir…I’ve been through worse scrapes that that,” was all she could say.

 

“Hmm, yes…well, Doctor Dodd, I’ve read your dossier and your record is quite impressive to say the least, and your proposal to retrieve the sunken artifacts is… intriguing,” said Khan as he stepped out of his chair, walked around the desk, stood before Katie and continued, “But my questions are these: Why this expedition is of any benefit to Khan Enterprises… and why do you need my funding for it?”

 

Katie had been anticipating those questions and had her answers ready.

 

“Well, sir,” she began, “over a year ago, I had read an article in Science and Technology Today that your company has been working on a underwater hydraulic lift for maritime operations, but have yet to try it on the real thing. Raising the September Weed with this device would be a good start and beneficial for you.” Katie paused.

 

“Go on.”

 

“Think of it, sir…if raising the ship proves to be successful, the amount of publicity you could get would be ten-fold and proof that your hydraulic lift works. Salvage and expedition companies from around the world would want to buy it from you.

 

“And I’m offering with my idea, is that Khan Banking become a corporate sponsor for the planned touring exhibition of the Cache of Molta at museums worldwide. Projecting an image of philanthropy would be a boon to any public relations campaign, sir,” Katie concluded, folding her hands in her lap.

 

Khan rubbed his chin in thought. All of what she said made sense.

 

For an archaeologist, she sure has an insight on the business world, he thought. He returned to his chair and sat down, looking at the vixen with his usual dour expression. Katie faced him back with an equal poker face, but felt perspiration trickle from under her arms.

 

“Very well, Doctor Dodd. I will give you your funding for the expedition and the use of my prototype hydraulic lift. But I do expect positive results from this,” the businessman answered plainly to her.

 

Katie wanted to jump for joy like a kid on Christmas Day, but kept it tightly under wraps.

 

“Thank you, Mister Khan. Thank you very much. You will not regret this,” she said gratefully.

 

“I’ll have my best people at your disposal on your quest, Doctor,” offered Khan.

 

“Umm,” began Katie a bit uncomfortably. “If it’s not too much of a problem, sir…I would like to make just a couple of personal requests for this trip.”

 

Khan looked at her. If she’s going to make some demands on this mission, she’s out of her league, he thought. But since she chose her words carefully and respectfully, he decided to listen.

 

“I will hear your request, Doctor Dodd.”

 

“First and foremost, I’d like to keep this expedition, for now, a secret. The last time we had a huge amount of press over the find and I want security to be a priority,” said Katie. “I’m not interested in running into trouble again, if I can help it.”

 

“Granted,” agreed Khan. “And what else?”

 

“And I would like to choose my own assistant and transportation team. People I know and trust. I have a colleague who’s ready to go at a moment’s notice.”

 

“And who do you want on your transportation team?”

 

Katie smiled. “I have one pilot in mind who’s capable of doing the job…”

Higher for Hire 

“"Take 'er easy, Lil' Britches," said Baloo nervously. "Yer comin' offa that corner too fast.”

 

Clearing the inner cliffs of Cape Suzette and into the famous harbour-lined skyline in the distance, the orange-and-yellow Con-Wing L-19 zoomed toward the docking bay of Higher for Hire with Kit at the controls.

 

At fourteen, the young navigator had been taking flying lessons with Baloo and already he was having the time of his life in the mid-afternoon skies. “Okay, okay, Papa Bear,” Kit replied. “I’ll take her easy. You got to trust me with the Sea Duck sometime in your life, you know.”

 

“After a few more hours of flyin’ time, I will,” replied his instructor ruefully. “I’d wish ya pay more attention of what I’m tryin’ ta teach ya.”

 

Kit looked a little annoyed. “Of course I do, Baloo. You know you’re the closest thing I have to a father figure.”

 

“Then why do I have th’ feelin’ that yer gonna become th’ death of me?” the pilot moaned. “Ya may know yer A-B-D’s of a plane, but ya got a lot ta learn ‘bout flyin’, Ace.”

 

“Okay, Baloo,” said Kit. He looked a little sad.

 

The rugged grey bear saw the look on his young charge’s face and it made him sad too. Although he dearly loved the boy, it was hard for him to play the disciplinarian, even if he had to at times. “Alrighty, Kit. Let’s take ‘er home.”

 

“Aye, aye, Captain.”

 

“Now,” instructed the pilot, “lower the flaps an’ keep the nose up.”

 

Kit followed his words to the letter and gently brought the Seaduck into a smooth textbook landing on the watery surface. Sailing by inertia into the Higher for Hire moorings, the plane taxied right alongside the weather-seasoned dock. Kit switched off the engines and controls before turning to Baloo.

 

“How was that?”

 

“C’mere, son,” said Baloo, holding out his large arms to him.

 

Kit hugged him back. Any other teenager would have balked at the very idea of an adult hugging them, but not Kit. With no recollection of his family, cold orphanage caretakers and a rough life on the streets before hooking up with Karnage, he welcomed them every chance he got from Baloo.

 

He hoped it would never end.

 

“Ya did alright there, Lil’ Britches. Yer on yer way ta greatness,” Baloo commented. “Heck, you could even outdo me.”

 

Kit smiled.

 

Rebecca Cunningham, the owner of Higher for Hire, then came running out of the office with the hem of her white blouse billowing out of her pants and carrying some clothing on each arm towards the Seaduck.

 

“I wonder what’s got ol’ Beckers’ feathers in a knot?” wondered Baloo as they both exited from plane.

 

The petite female bear came up to her flight crew, panting. “Baloo! Kit! You’re back!” she exclaimed. “Thank goodness – and just in time, too!”

 

Uh-oh, thought the pilot uneasily. I sense impendin’ doom…

 

“What’s up, Rebecca?” asked Kit.

 

“We’ve got a major, major meeting to go in twenty minutes and I need my staff to look a bit spiffy,” she explained, “so put these on.” She handed them a pair of dress shirts, jackets and ties.

 

“Aww, Becky,” complained the pilot. “Ya know I hate wearin’ fancy-schmancy duds – ‘specially ties!!!”

 

Rebecca just gave him one of her well-known stony looks. “Do it, Fly Boy or else!! And be by my car in five minutes, pronto!” Having said that, she hurried back into the office.

 

Kit just shrugged at his friend, holding the dress clothes. “Well…you heard the lady, Baloo. Might as well suit up,” he said.

 

“Man,’ Baloo mumbled as they headed back into the plane to change, “whatever it is, I know I’m gonna regret this.”

 

Then he heard Rebecca’s voice, less demanding this time.

 

“Baloo! What skirt should I wear? The purple or the green?” she asked, holding up both pleated skirts in opposite hands.

 

What am I – a pilot or a fashion consultant? Baloo thought. But, in all honesty and to gain a little peace, he answered: “Ya know I always like ya in green, Becky.”

 

Rebecca smiled. She was hoping he’d say that.

 

“Thanks, Baloo,” she said warmly and went inside to change.

 

Baloo smiled to himself. He knew it didn’t take all that much to make her happy.

 

“We’re going to meet Shere Khan?” gasped Kit, as they drove in Rebecca’s car.

 

“Yes,” answered his employer, making a left turn onto Admiral Street and into downtown Cape Suzette. “Khan wants a job done and he specifically requested Higher for Hire to do it.”

 

Baloo didn’t like it. “Becky,” he began, “every time we accept a job from ol’ Khanny, it’s always somethin’ dangerous or devious – an’ I end up getting’ my tail caught in it.”

 

“Now, Baloo…you know things have been slow lately for the business in the last three weeks and our next client won’t have their ready for another two,” Rebecca explained.

 

“We got to keep Higher for Hire afloat until then.”

 

“Got any idea what Khan wants?” Kit asked.

 

“All I got was a telegram around noon, saying: ‘I request you and your flight crew’s appearance at your earliest convenience. Please make sure your earliest convenience is today at three-thirty.’ Besides, he’s paying a huge bundle for the job.”

 

“An’ how much is Khan forkin’ over?” said the pilot sceptically.

 

“Forty-five thousand dollars, Fly Boy. How does that grab you?”

 

Baloo let out a low whistle. Forty-five grand grabbed him a lot.  But past dealings with Khan has always left a sour taste in his mouth, yet Beckers seemed determined to land this deal so he decided to go along with it.

 

“All right, all right,” he sighed. “Let’s see what Khan wants, then.”

 

Rebecca smiled to herself, knowing that she’d won this latest round with her pilot.

 

Knowing that Baloo was probably right about getting tangled up with Khan as well --- she kept that to herself as well.

 

As for Kit, he had much better things to do than to waste his time right now with some business matters between Higher for Hire and Khan, like hanging out with his friends or helping Wildcat. But he was a part of the crew now, taking on adult responsibilities, so he too went along. And this was Shere Khan, and past dealings with him weren't taken lightly.

 

The businesswoman was still driven to succeed in this “boy’s club” business world. But time and experience had toned her down a bit and decided to herself to also allow common sense work alongside her ambitions, not to let sudden riches get the better of her again.

 

She parked her car in front of Khan Plaza; just located before the sky-scraping Khan Tower, and the trio entered the ominous building with trepidation, excitement and the unknown waiting inside.

 

 

End of Part One

 


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