TALE SPIN: SUB-MEDITERRANEAN SEAWRECK BALOO

Fan-fiction story by jb


Disclaimer: 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 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.

 

PART NINE

 As the midnight moon hung over the seaside Moltese capital of Velveeta, the raccoon scurried quickly through the empty streets, looking cautiously as if someone was following him. Making his way to an old stone fort overlooking the Grand Harbour , which was closed to the public at night; the raccoon checked to see if all was clear.

He rapped a number of knocks on the wooden door and waited. The door opened a crack and a voice inside riddled him in Molti:

“Do the best bakers come from Mdina…or Qormi?”
   “Depends on how fresh you want your bread,” he replied.

The door opened wider and the raccoon stepped inside. Waiting at the doorway was a grey-hooded figure that held a similar robe over his arm and handed it to the visitor. He put it on immediately.

“You’re late,” said his companion.

“My assignment took longer than anticipated,” answered the raccoon as they strode down the gilded hallway of oil portraits and battle shields lined up along the walls. Coming to a large wooden double door, the two figures walked up and the raccoon knocked the same number of knocks as he previously done outside.

 Swinging wide open revealed a grand hall lit up with torches, filled with large Renaissance paintings, medieval tapestries and statuettes, casting shadows and lights everywhere. Walking into the hall, they were surrounded by several other figures, all dressed in hooded robes and stone silent in their mannerisms.

The raccoon’s companion broke away from him and stood in the empty spot that clearly marked his place among his comrades, while he continued onward until he came upon an imposing red-hooded robe with a golden rope belt around the waist, standing beneath a huge eight-pointed cross, the symbol of Molta itself.

The raccoon dropped to one knee and bowed before his superior.

“Grand Leader,” said the raccoon.

   “State your report, Commander Amante,” the Grand Leader said.

For the next ten minutes, Amante described his observations at the Three Cities Restaurant and his personal assessment of the crew, to which the entire hall assembly listened to intently.

“…they all seem to possess an agreeable level of intelligence, except for that fat pilot of theirs. Doesn’t seem all that sharp. But,” concluded the raccoon with wry humour, “he is quite light on his feet with the ladies of the party.”

Light laughter and chuckles echoed amongst them, which the Grand Leader silenced immediately by raising his hand.

“A wise man once said: ‘Never underestimate your opponent.’ This is never been more stated, my Brothers, as a new element as entered the equation,” said the Grand Leader, to which a photo emerged from within his robe and showed it around.

Murmurs and quiet gasps came from the hooded ensemble.

“This, was taken few hours ago from our operative by the Grand Harbour . It appears that Don Karnage is out to get the Cache of Molta again. We cannot allow either of these parties to do so.”

“What is to be done, Grand Master?” questioned one member.

“The stakes has been raised and we must rise to the challenge, men. More than ever, our honour and heritage is at risk. We’ll have to put Plan ‘C’ into operation – the auxiliary unit can cover for us at the Mission while we are away. I need twenty volunteers for this task, which may cost many lives including our own.”

Everyone raised hands.

“You honour me,” said the Grand Leader, looking around the hall with pride. “Before you return to your homes, you will be given your group assignments, including you, Amante. Tomorrow, the retrieval of the Cache will begin!”

The ensemble all shouted in unison:

 “For the Father, Cross and Molta!”


* * *

The Sea Duck soared over the vast blueness of the Sub-Mediterranean late the next morning, keeping an even level above the water’s surface. Katie and Myra were readying the cameras to take the surface shots, as the marked buoy of the September Weed was approaching shortly, so Baloo, upon Kit’s advice; slowed the plane down in case they missed it.

Rebecca surveyed the watery horizon through her binoculars, alert for the floating object.

“See anything, Rebecca?” asked Kit.

“Nothing yet,” replied the businesswoman. She then turned to the two archaeologists and called out: “Katie! Myra ! Are you sure the buoy’s out here?”

“According to the surviving nautical maps of the Weed, it should be around here somewhere,” called back Katie.

Where is that consarned ship? she thought impatiently.

A minute or two passed before Kit said: “I see it, Papa Bear! Turn ninety degrees, three o’clock!”

The pilot did as his navigator told him and the Sea Duck swerved to the right. The two vixens were raring to shoot. “Remember,” said Rebecca, “When we hit the ten metre mark from the wreckage buoy, start shooting.”

Kit began the countdown.

“Sixty metres…fifty-five…fifty metres…forty-five…”

“Got the right angles on that camera?” said Katie to Myra . “These shots will help us determine how we’ll place the hydraulic lifts for that invention of Khan’s.”

Myra nodded and focused her camera while her colleague did the same with hers. She licked her dry lips and pursed them anxiously.

“…Twenty-five…twenty metres…fifteen…ten metres!…”

Both cameras clicked like crazy and the Sea Duck’s back hatchway doors opened.

“Five metres…four…three…two…one – mark!”

 At that moment, Rebecca quickly pushed out a large, lightweight beacon buoy out the hatchway, where it splashed nearly next to the wreckage buoy and bobbed steadily.

“Buoy away!” called out Rebecca to the cockpit.

“On target!” confirmed Katie through her camera lens.

Mission accomplished, Li’l Britches,” said Baloo, activating the back hatchway door to close. “Back ta Velveeta.”

“Alright!” exclaimed Kit joyfully.

Baloo looked at his navigator puzzlingly, wondering what was so exciting about that.

“I mean…” added Kit quickly, “alright, it’s…back to Velveeta it is.”

Uh-huh,” replied Baloo suspiciously.

Everything seemed different this morning on the flight out to the September Weed, the large pilot pondered. Kit had on usual navigator’s cap, but he wore a respectably light yellow shirt and had put on enough of his borrowed cologne to knock out a horse’s stable in their stateroom back on the Prowler, that Kit had to go back to the bathroom to wash some of it off before joining the flight.

As for Rebecca, she had on a light red cotton blouse with embossed white Bauhinia orchid prints and sand-coloured khaki shorts much like Myra’s, plus a touch of lipstick, eyeliner and mascara seemingly leftover from last night’s outing at the restaurant, which made her look quite nice in a modest way.

 Only he and the vixens were dressed in their usual attire that seemed the only thing that was normal around here.

What’s goin’ on? Baloo thought.

Then he caught Kit fidgeting and looking at the side mirror, checking on his appearance.

“Watcha so nervous ‘bout, Ace?” he asked.

“I…don’t know what your mean,” said Kit evasively.

“Ya lookin’ in that mirror an awful lot like yer face is gonna disappear any minute.”

“It’s nothing, Baloo…really.”

“Why? Ya got yerself a hot date waitin’ fer ya in Velveeta?” he chuckled.

Kit’s face turned a bright crimson and just scowled before storming out of the cockpit without saying a word.

“Hey, Kit! Kit!” called out the large bear. “Aw, c’mon, man!…”

The young navigator stomped into the passenger area, plunked hard into the nearest window seat and looked out the window, sulking. Baloo clanked on his makeshift “autopilot” on the pilot wheel and followed him.

“Wait a minute!” said an alarmed Katie, witnessing all this. “Who’s flying the plane?”

“Relax, he has it on autopilot,” assured Rebecca. “I’ll see what’s going on.”

One of these days I have to put on a real autopilot for this plane, she thought nervously as she went toward the two bears.

“What’s going on here, guys?” demanded the she-bear in low tone. “You’re making the passengers nervous – including me!”

“I dunno, Becky…we were havin’ this conversation an’ next thing I know, Li’l Britches here’s poppin’ a piston on me!” 

Rebecca looked at Kit, who was still scowling, then placed her hand on Baloo’s arm.

“I’ll handle this, Baloo. Just get back and fly the plane, okay?”

Baloo looked uneasy at the two, then resigned himself to let his employer deal with it.

“Well…uh…okay. But I need ya back, ‘kay, Ace?”

Kit remained in furious silence.

As the deflated pilot returned back to the cockpit, Rebecca sat down in the seat next to Kit.

“Kit honey…do you want to talk about it?” she asked soothingly.

A heated silence from the boy still remained. Only if you don’t call me ‘Kit honey’!

“Hey, come on. I’m not that ugly,” Rebecca said jokingly, rubbing his shoulder gently. “Come on, Kit…what happened back there? Did Baloo make fun of you about something?”

“No…” Kit said softly, relaxing his guard a little. “Not really.”

“Then what?”
   “It…uh…it was…about….you see, I…met this…uhm…girl here, and…”

Rebecca understood just then and smiled.

“And you’re anxious to see her, right?”

Kit looked at her in surprise.

“I was fourteen once too, you know.”

Kit blushed a little and looked down at his lap.

“Honey…it’s okay to have those…feelings for girls. It’s a part of growing up. Is that why you wanted to skip fishing with Baloo today?”

“Yeah,” Kit said shyly. “She’s…showing me around town today. She’s…totally awesome.”

“Does ‘she’ have a name?” Rebecca prodded a little.

“Melita,” Kit sighed dreamingly.

The businesswoman tried hard not to giggle, remembering her first crush so long ago.

“I understand, Kit. And I’m sure if you explain it to Baloo, he’ll understand too.”

“You’re right, Rebecca. I’ll go apologize for flying off the handle. Thanks a lot.”

The boy gave Rebecca a warm hug to which she gladly returned.

“Anytime, sweetheart.”

“Kit?” she addressed him, as he made his way back to the cockpit.

“Yeah?”
   “You can have the rest of the afternoon off,” she said with a smirk.

“Thanks, Boss Lady,” he said as he entered the cockpit smiling.

Rebecca was relieved she could defuse an awkward situation between those two and that Kit could be open with her about it. And she felt that was well handled. After all, before long she’d have to deal with Molly when she hit adolescence.

Happily she returned back to the two archaeologists.

“So what was that all about?” asked Myra .

“Oh…just a little…family quibble,” said Rebecca, picking up a clipboard and scribbling away on it. “It’s okay now.”

    Myra and Katie exchanged glances. Although they knew about their cohorts, they didn’t fully understand  the operation that made it work so well. So they just shrugged and went back to their own business.

Landing alongside the Prowler at Dockyards Quay an hour later, Kit craned his neck in the cockpit to spot Melita. As soon as the plane’s engines slowed down, he finally saw her standing by the pier, just as they arranged the other day.

“Right over there, Baloo!” he said, almost excitedly.

“That’s Melita?” said Baloo, getting a good look at the willowy Moltese girl. He turned to his charge and said with a warm smile: “Well, she’s a real fine cutie ya got there, Li’l Britches.”

“A cutie? She’s gorgeous!”

    Baloo hid a smile under his hand.

“Go an’ see yer friend, Kit. Have fun.”

Kit gave him a big hug. “Thanks, Papa Bear. See ya!” he said as he tore out of the cockpit and out of the Sea Duck.

As he made his way to the waiting Moltese, he slowed down his pace.

Alright, alright! he thought, don’t get yourself all worked up to see her. Check your overactive glands at the door, for bejeeper’s sake!

Walking up to her, all he could say was, “Hi.”

“Hello, Kit,” Melita smiled. “Ready for the tour?”

Man, she sure has the prettiest smile…

“Raring to go. Lead the way, Melita.”

As the two youngsters walked away, Baloo and Rebecca looked on.

“I figger we’ll be seein’ more o’ this from now on, eh, Becky?” he said wistfully.

“Better get used to it, ‘Papa Bear,’ giggled Rebecca.

Ah, to be fourteen and in love again, thought the two adult bears in their separate spheres. But then again…thank goodness I ain’t!

 

 * * *

A few minutes later, the Prowler crew had removed the last of the aerial photographing equipment from the Sea Duck that Rebecca checked off her clipboard. Things were going smooth, as Captain Hotspur had personally informed them that they would be underway to the September Weed wreckage by nine o’clock sharp tonight.

The businesswoman inhaled deeply the fresh salt air into her lungs, feeling the sun’s warmth on her back. The scent made her feel invigorated and homesick, all at once. As much as she loved to travel, the marine air reminded her of Cape Suzette and how much she missed Molly.

I hope she’s not getting into any mischief, thought the businesswoman.

Just then, Baloo had come out of the plane, accompanied by the two vixen archaeologists flanking him on both sides.

 “Hey, Beckers…wanna go inta town fer some chow? Katie’s buyin’ lunch.”

“Don’t…you have some things to take care of onboard?” queried Rebecca.

“The photos won’t be developed for a least a couple of hours to be accurate and most of the work’s done for today,” explained Katie. “Besides, I’ve had this nostalgic craving to visit this little bistro I went to during my student summer days here.”

“How about it, Rebecca?” said Myra . “It’ll be the last chance to get some real food before we stick to mess hall staple for the next few days at sea.”

“I’ll…pass. I got some work to finish up.”

“Suit yourself. Come on, guys,” said Katie, as she lead the pilot toward the gangplank with Myra close to the large bear’s side. “ Cappadocia ’s makes a melt-in-your-mouth Fettuccini Alfredo with cracked pepper and prosciutto that’s assolutamente morine per,” gesturing with one wrist, meaning “absolutely to die for”.

“That sounds kinda tantalizin’ when ya say it in French, Red,” commented Baloo, licking his chops vigorously.

Red?? thought Rebecca.

“It’s Italian,” Myra corrected.

“Hmmm…even better,” he replied gleefully.

An animated laughter came from the trio that somehow made Rebecca grit her teeth and  feel a little annoyed seeing her pilot with two attractive young women in that manner. Not so much over Myra , though. Her, she could trust for some reason.

But, that Katie…

A small crunch sounded off somewhere and then the businesswoman felt a sudden crumbly sensation and a little wetness trickle from her right palm. She looked down and discovered that she had unintentionally crushed her fountain pen, now leaking black ink all over her hand, much to her dismay and embarrassment.

“Uh…hold up, guys!” Rebecca called out, running after them after chucking the shattered pen and clipboard into the Sea Duck haphazardly. “Wait for me!”

* * *

 Kit and Melita had a very busy afternoon together in Velveeta. Never had Kit seen so many churches, cathedrals, fortresses and harbours in one day, which made it more interesting with his companion as a tour guide.

They took a trip across St. Julien’s Bay in one of the many colourful fishing boats that docked the harbours and he got a first-hand taste of the local date-filled pastry square called an mqaret, which felt kind of heavy in his mouth.

 “We deep-fry them,” answered Melita in between bites of her own, as she noticed Kit’s reaction on his first bite.

 “It’s good, Melita…really. This would be more of Baloo’s liking, though.”

“You get used to it,” she said with a smile and a wink, taking another bite.

Kit didn’t know if this was just a tease that girls do, but he did find it…well, charming about her. But it all seemed to go by so quickly as the two youngsters watched the sunset burn over the Main Harbour some hours later.

“Beautiful, isn’t it?” said Melita.

Kit just looked at her, with the backdrop of the orangey-red sky behind her, with her ears fluttering in the light sea breeze and the evening light accenting her pleasing features.

“Yeah…beautiful.”

Melita slightly smiled at this compliment and sort of looked at the ground, as if embarrassed.

“Do you always talk to girls like this?”

“No…never,” the navigator replied. Come to think of it, he’d been attracted to some of the girls back at the Cape at school, but never as one that captivated him like this.

What does this all mean?

Then, Kit noticed something hanging from the belt loop of her khaki shorts. It was a silver Moltese Cross with red enamel on each section no bigger than an average thumb.

“What’s that?” he pointed at the little trinket.

She looked and became aware of the object, looking a little flushed.

“Oh! It’s…it’s my crucifix. It’s… very special to me.”

“Funny…it reminds me of one of those emblems I saw in that museum concerning the Guardians.”

“Well…this island nation was founded by them, Kit,” Melita offered an explanation. “You can’t go anywhere in Molta without seeing one It’s been part of our society for at least two hundred and sixty-eight years before your arrival.”

“I see,” was all he could say.

    If he didn’t know any better, Kit swore he was detecting some mixed signals from her, that this Moltese was hiding something from him. But then again; he too had a past that he kept from people, especially from those that he loved the most. As someone once told him when he was much younger, The past is all gone, Kit. It’s better to focus on the future…

    “Say – don’t you have to go back to your friends, Kit?” Melita asked.

    “Yeah,” he sighed. “I’d better get back real soon. We have a…job to do. But I’ll be back in a few days. We could see each other again.”

    “I don’t come down to the harbour that often. I have to help with my…brother at work.”

    “You work? You don’t go to school?”

    “Yes…but I get off early so I can help the family business.”

    “Maybe I can meet you at your workplace when I get back,” Kit said, sounding hopeful.

    “My brother wouldn’t like that very much. He likes to be…the protective elder brother, if you know what I mean.”

    “You don’t have any other family? It’s just you and your brother?”

    The Moltese canine just looked out at the sea and just sighed: “Yes.”

    “Well, still…I’d like to see you again before I go back home.”

    “You will, Kit,” she replied. “I’m pretty sure of it.”

    “When?”

    Melita smiled coyly. “Don’t you like surprises?”

    Now he was puzzled by her secretive behaviour. What is she hiding from me?

    Sensing this, she answered: “Kit…you seem like a nice guy and you really are sweet. And today was great and all that, but…let’s not rush things, okay?”

    “Umm…okay,” he said uneasily. “I just…like you, Melita. I think you really are pretty.”

    With that, the navigator immediately just scrunched up his cap over his face in embarrassment. Ahh, geez! Why’d I have to say something that gushy like that, dopey?!

    The girl just giggled. “Thank you.”

    Somewhere in the town, a church bell chimed off in the distance, ringing seven times.

    “I really have to go now,” said Melita, looking at her watch.

“Me too,” said Kit, shuffling his feet. “Well…until next time. I hope we meet again.”

“Yeah…until next time.”

    They both looked at each other with that universal What now? expression on their faces. Then suddenly, Melita gave a quick peck on Kit’s cheek and quickly walked away, catching him completely by surprise.

    “Bye!” she said, looking back with a big grin.

    All Kit could do was just stand there and touch his face where she had kissed him, feeling a warm sensation inside as the evening began to cover the Moltese sky before heading back to the Prowler five minutes later, his head in a delirious spin.

   * * *

    Melita walked merrily along the cobblestone streets of Velveeta, humming a happy tune to herself. She loved her island home, the familiarities and the people, feeling fiercely proud of the heritage that she was surrounded by.

     But more so, she couldn’t help the feelings that had grown over that Kit Cloudkicker. She didn’t know what it was that was coming over her, but she knew one thing: she liked it – a lot.

    Suddenly, she felt a rough hand grab her off the street and dragging into an alleyway with a hand over her mouth, a flurry of buildings and the evening sky cut an abstract dance before her eyes in confusion and fear. She let out a muffled scream through the fingers, until she hear a voice say:

    “Melita! Melita! It’s only me!!!”

     Melita turned to face the voice, her eyes widening upon the face of her abductor…

 

End of Part Nine       
                                                       

Back to Fiction