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.
“Why do you need Higher for Hire for this job?” Rebecca asked Katie. “We're just a cargo freight service, not a professional salvage company.”
“I need to transport certain equipment to the wreckage site, plus take some of the artifacts on board back here for security reasons,” the archaeologist explained. “And since Baloo was such a big help to me last time around, I just had to have someone I could trust.”
Rebecca, however, was perplexed as to why he looked so darned happy. It just didn't seem... professional.
Helped you with what, I can only guess.
“My plane may be for hire, but I still choose over the clientele,” Rebecca declared firmly. “Just what type of transportation do you require, Katie?”
Baloo felt his luck in helping Katie again sink as he thought, Look who’s talkin’. Yer past clientele “choices” ain’t been top notch either, lady!
“Not much… just some archaeological equipment and my personal luggage,” Katie replied. “Frankly, Rebecca, I need you to fly me with some discretion and security. I wish to get to Molta with as little fanfare as possible.”
Rebecca thought this over. To be part of an historical expedition and the money involved was enticing for her. But for some reason, she didn’t like the idea of someone from Baloo’s past, especially one as attractive as Katie, working so closely with her pilot.
Finally she said, “Very well, we’ll take the assignment, Katie, Mister Khan… but on just one small condition.”
“And what would that be?” asked Khan.
“That I accompany my flight crew on this assignment.”
“Why do you need to come?” Kit asked her.
Turning to her navigator, Rebecca said to him, “Because of the risks involved here, Kit. I am not allowing my one and only pi…uh, crew and plane to get into any trouble that may occur.”
“Pshaw!” Baloo scoffed. “We’ve been through worst tumbles than that, Beckers.”
Beckers? Katie thought, amused.
Rebecca looked at Baloo directly, retorting, “I’m coming along, Baloo – no ifs, ands or buts!”
“Seems fair enough a request. I see no problem with that. Do you, Doctor Dodd?” asked Khan.
“No. None at all,” she said. “Welcome aboard, Rebecca.”
Baloo didn’t know why ol’ Becky wanted to tag along on this particular job. She was more of the stay-in-office type. But he could have sworn he saw a glint of green glowing out of those brown irises of hers.
Nah. It couldn’t be that. Although…
“So how do you plan to get to the September Weed’s cargo?” Kit asked.
“Good question, young sir,” answered Khan. “This way, if you please.”
The Higher for Hire team, Khan and Katie walked over to a model scale of the wreck of the September Weed and one of Khan’s naval vessels. Waiting for them was a short, bug-eyed bird whom Baloo and Kit instantly recognized.
“Buzz!” the two exclaimed.
“Baloo! Kit! Glad to have you two on board,” Buzz returned.
“If you don’t mind, Doctor,” Khan sternly reminded him, “explain to our team how we plan to raise the September Weed.”
Buzz trembled nervously. “Yes, Mister Khan…” Clearing his throat, he began.
“You see, Khan Enterprises has been working on a new underwater hydraulic lift that can raise a section of or a whole ship from the sea bed to the surface within an hour’s time.”
“And how’s that?” Kit inquired.
He indicated the models on the desk. “We place platforms underneath the ship on both ends and slowly bring the September Weed to the top.”
“Now why would it take ‘bout an hour?” said a puzzled Baloo.
“Atmospheric pressure. Sea levels are like atmospheric levels, go up or down too fast and it could spell disaster.”
“I’m dispensing the S.S. Prowler, Khan Enterprises’ top naval vessel, which is en route to Molta as we speak,” Khan informed them. “We’ve had it modified recently and it should suit this mission perfectly. It should arrive at the seaport city Velveeta in two days time, with the hydraulic lift already placed on board.”
“When can you send the equipment we need to carry?” Rebecca asked Katie.
“I’ll have everything over to Higher for Hire’s offices tomorrow morning. Will your plane be ready in time, Baloo?”
“Hey, no problem, people,” said Baloo. “I’ll get Wildcat ta give the ol’ Sea Duck a once over. She’ll be as fit as a baby’s fiddle!”
“Hmm…yes,” replied Khan, arching an eyebrow at the strange euphemism. “Then it’s all settled. I have the contract ready for your signature, Miss Cunningham at my desk and we’ll start tomorrow.”
“Agreed, Mister Khan,” Rebecca promptly.
“And one more thing, people,” Khan addressed the room in general. “All of this is strictly confidential, until the end of this assignment. Not a word of this leaves this room.”
High above Khan Tower, a Slopwith Dromedary circled around in an unassuming pattern over the building. Flying the very vintage aircraft was Dumptruck and wearing headphones and holding a highly advanced receiving dish, was Mad Dog.
Mad Dog spoke into the receiver. “Didja get all that, Cap’n? Over.”
“Si, si, Mad Dog,” replied Don Karnage, sitting in the radio room of the Iron Vulture a few kilometres away from Cape Suzette. “Sooo… the archaeologist-type lady and Khan has hired my inferior nemesis to retrieve the Cache of Molta, yes-no?” he mused. “How intriguing…”
The pirate leader stood up from the chair he was sitting in and paced the room. “If that vixen is to be thinking that she can make a April Foolishness monkey out of me as she did before, she’s got rats in her belfry!” Karnage stomped back to the microphone and responded back to his flying spies.
“Mad Dog and Dumptruck! Head toward the rendezvous point where we shall be picking you up in half-and-hour’s time! Karnage out!”
“Aye, aye, Cap’n,” answered Dumptruck. “Over an’ out.”
Karnage then sat in his commander’s chair on the bridge. “Set a course for Molta, men! We’ll be having a date with destiny!” he ordered.
Then Gibber whispered something into Karnage’s ear to which he replied, quite annoyed: “What do you mean, ‘what does she look like’? I am not talking about a person, you dim-witted light bulb! Just get to Molta!”
As Gibber walked away, disappointed that there was no date for him or the crew, the wolf pirate slumped into his chair and sighed unbelievingly. “Where…do they come from?” he muttered. “And why do I keep hiring them?”
The Higher for Hire crew was busy wrapping up details at Khan’s office. “The hydraulic lift idea sounds like a fantastic one, Buzz,” commented Kit, still looking at the scale model.
“Oh, thank you, Kit. This is definitely one of my better inventions… except for that Quazanark idea, though.”
“So, are you coming with us?”
Buzz looked at him with exasperated disbelief. “What No way! I get seasick very easily! Hmm, maybe I could invent something to cure that.” He pondered for a few seconds before exclaiming, “Eureka!” and began to scribble away on his little notepad he produced out of his lab coat. “A gyro-stabilizer enviro-helmet!”
Kit just rolled his eyes.
Across the room, Katie approached Baloo, whom Rebecca was standing nearby going over the contract she was about to sign with Khan.
“I was wondering,” she began, “if you would be available for dinner tonight, Baloo?”
“Why, absolutely positootly, Katie!” said Baloo happily.
Rebecca, who was signing the contract, overheard them, and applied too much pressure to the pen she was holding, almost bending the nib. Furiously, she scribbled her name.
“Great! It’ll give us a chance to catch up on old times… that is, if your employer doesn’t need you,” said Katie, turning to the businesswoman.
“Oh, no,” answered Rebecca. “I don’t have any reason to keep Baloo around tonight. You two kids have fun.” She managed to force a smile, but thought wickedly, Go ahead, sister. When you get a load of his gaudy attire and awful table etiquette, you’ll run screaming from the restaurant. I ought to know…
“Then it’s settled,” said Katie. “I’ll pick you up around seven at your place, okay?”
“Okee-dokie, Katie. I’ll be there with bells on!” replied the pilot.
“That makes for an interesting mental picture,” muttered Rebecca. Kit watched them, bemused. Seeing Papa Bear going on a dinner date with that archaeologist was definitely the envy of most men. Just like him, he knew Baloo had a life before they met, and wondered what the story was between him and Katie.
And Rebecca, Kit could tell there was a little hint of green in those eyes of hers, like that time with Kitten Kaboodle, who had used her charms to send Baloo’s head into the stratosphere that almost had him and Rebecca killed.
Although he found Katie amiable enough and very pleasing to the eye, there was something about her that troubled him deeply. He was sure he heard of the name, Katie Dodd before, somewhere in the past…
While he was lost in his thoughts over this, Baloo’s voice brought him back to reality.
“Hey, Li’l Britches! Ya spendin’ the night in Khanny’s office or what? Let’s head on home.”
“Um…coming, Baloo,” said Kit and picked up the pace to catch up with the adults making their way to the elevator door.
End of Part Three