Letting the Fox Out of the Bag

Tale Spin Fan Fic

by Katie Sullivan

Chapter 1

The Captain of the Air Pirates strode jauntily onto the bridge of the Iron Vulture, twirling his sword and humming an off-key tune. Mad Dog turned from the helm to grin at his commander. "Ready to go, Captain?"

Don Karnage struck a dramatic pose before the front windows, pointing onward with his sword. “¡Sí!  Home, Mad Dog, so we may celebrate our good fortune!”

Dumptruck put down his radio mike on the table and gave a goofy smile. “Yah, Captain, it sure vas lucky to run into a government plane wit all dat gold bullion!”

Karnage whirled on him and brought his swordpoint to rest on his nose. “What? Lucky? It was not luck, it was my brilliant plan!”

“Err, uh, sorry Captain.” Dumptruck stared down warily at the sharp point in his face.

“The Great Pirate Don Karnage does not need luck,” he said disdainfully, storming across the bridge. “He need only rely on his own great intellect, cunning, resourcelfullness and devastating good looks.”

A female voice came from the doorway. “And a girlfriend who knows a few secret radio frequencies.” Scarlet posed seductively against the doorframe and gave him a sly smile.

“Well...er...yes,” he stammered reluctantly. “Mil gracias, querida.("A thousand thanks, darling.")

De nada.” She smiled even more widely and walked into his arms for a celebratory kiss.

“What matters is we have a cargo bay stuffed to the bills with gold!”

“That’s ‘stuffed to the gills,’” she whispered into his scarred ear.

“Ssh,” he hissed. “I told you, do not correct me in front of the men.”


“Never mind,” he said with a renewed hug. “We are filthically rich! Hee hee! From now on, everything will be made of gold! Gold faucets, gold door knobs, gold toothedy brushes! Gold silverware!”

Mad Dog interrupted, “But, Captain, if the silverware is gold, wouldn’t it be goldware? ‘Cuz, I mean, it’s not silver, so--”

Karnage kicked his underling in the shin. “Shut up your ugly face and steer. I am busy having a wonderful moment of post-plunder gloating with my lady!”

“Sorry, Cap’n,” winced Mad Dog, holding onto the ship’s wheel for stability and balancing on one leg.

Karnage turned back to Scarlet. “Where was I?”

“Gold silverware,” she replied with a greedy grin.

“Ah yes! Gold silverware! Gold shoes! Gold tweezers! Gold hamsters!”
Scarlet didn’t bother to ask.
“Gold lamps! Gold tables! Gold chairs! Gold everything!” he rejoiced, holding his sword high triumphantly. “¡Un mundo de oro!("A world of gold!")

No sooner had the Iron Vulture returned to Pirate Island than a mangy pirate ran up to Karnage, jailer’s keys jangling at his waist. “Captain, we just caught a weird-lookin’ wolf lady! I dunno how she found the secret entrance, but she flew in like she owned the place. We tried to ask her who she was, but she speaks some funny language...kinda sounds like you!”

“What?” Karnage grabbed the jailer by the lapels of his stained shirt and jerked him closer. “What wolf lady? Where is she?”

“We got her locked up downstairs,” the jailer croaked, squirming in the pirate’s grasp.

Querido, what’s wrong?” Scarlet asked. (Author's note/Last reminder: querido/querida=darling)

Karnage didn’t answer. He just ripped the keys from the hapless jailer’s belt, dropped him and ran down a rock tunnel.

“Wait for me!” Scarlet called, dashing after him.

When she reached the subterranean cells, Karnage had the door unlocked, and was having an urgent conversation with its former occupant. A few confused pirates stood in the shadows, puzzled by the rapid exchange of Spanish. Even with all her studies, Scarlet's mind raced to make sense of it all.

Author's note: This next block of conversation is all in Spanish, so for ease of reading I'm putting the translation in a separate column.

"¿Que pasó? ¿Por qué estás aqui? ¡Mandé que no visiten sin que hay una emergencia!" Karnage's angry voice carried an undercurrent of concern. "What happened? Why are you here? I ordered you people not to visit unless there was an emergency!" Karnage's angry voice carried an undercurrent of concern. 
The stranger was apparently a wolf, judging by her grey fur, but there were undefinable anomalies in her features. Sort of like Don Karnage...

She wore a billowing plum-colored blouse, simple khaki pants and rather pirate-ish boots. Her jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail brushing her waist. She spoke fluent Spanish with the flair of a native speaker. "¡Hay una emergencia! ¿No prestes atención a las noticias?"

The stranger was apparently a wolf, judging by her grey fur, but there were undefinable anomalies in her features. Sort of like Don Karnage...

She wore a billowing plum-colored blouse, simple khaki pants and rather pirate-ish boots. Her jet black hair hung in a loose ponytail brushing her waist. She spoke fluent Spanish with the flair of a native speaker. "There is an emergency! Don't you pay attention to the news?"

"¿Qué noticias?" Karnage asked impatiently. "What news?" Karnage asked impatiently.
"¡Solamente el huracán grande que completamente destruyó Cabo Orgulloso el mes pasado! Nuestra casa fue destruido. Casi todos de nuestros barcos y aviones. ¡Todo! Padre se rompió el brazo, y ¡no sabemos que vamos a hacer!" she said with obvious distress. "Just the great hurricane that completely destroyed Cabo Orgulloso last month! Our house was destroyed. Nearly all our ships and planes. Everything! Father broke his arm, and we don't know what we're going to do!" she said with obvious distress.
"No tuve ninguna idea," Karnage murmured, his face uncharacterisitcally solemn. "¡Que horrible!" "I had no idea," Karnage murmured,his face uncharacterisitcally solemn. "How horrible!"
"Yo sé que has peleado con Padre en el pasado, pero, por favor, Felipe...te necesitamos. Toda la familia está tratando de ayudar, pero necesitamos más. Necesitamos dinero." "I know you have fought with Father in the past, but, please, Felipe...we need you. The whole family is trying to help, but we need more. We need money."
"¿Dinero? ¿Por qué se daría dinero?" he snarled. "Money? Why would I give you money?" he snarled.
"Porque somos tu familia. Porque nos amamos. Porque Cabo Orgulloso es tu casa también. Porque tienes honor." "Because we're your family. Because we love each other. Because Cabo Orgulloso is your home, too. Because you have honor."
Karnage stamped his foot in frustration. "¡Maldito sea, Dolores! Sabes que no puedo regresar ahora. Mi tripulación no pueda saber la verdad de mi familia. ¡De mis padres!" Karnage stamped his foot in frustration. "Dammit, Dolores! You know I can't return now. My crew cannot know the truth of my family. Of my parents!"
She frowned. "De nuestras padres. ¿Tengas vergüenza de nosotros?" She frowned. "Of our parents. Are you ashamed of us?"
"No, no exactamente, pero..." he faltered. "No, not exactly, but..." he faltered.
"¿Pero?" "But?"
"Pero, mi honor, y mi reputación..." "But my honor, and my reputation..."
"¡Olvida tu reputación! ¡Tu familia está sufriendo! Ayudarnos es tu honor." "Forget your reputation! Your family is suffering! To help us is your honor."
"Pero si los otros sepan que soy un...un híbrido...un mestizo, ellos no me respetarán." "But if the others knew that I am a...a hybrid...a mestizo [of mixed blood], they wouldn't respect me."
"¿Quien es más importante? ¿Estos mochos o tu familia?" she challenged. "Who's more important? Those snots or your family?" she challenged.
"Dolores, por favor--" "Dolores, please--" [literately, "for a favor"]
"Por tu familia, Felipito!" "For your family, Felipito!" [Felipito is to Felipe as Johnny is to John.]
"Bueno. Ganas. Pero no traeré el buitre de hierro." "Fine. You win. But I will not bring the Iron Vulture."
Pero lo necesitamos, también. Cabo Orgulloso es un disastre ahora. Tienes muchas cosas útiles. Necesitamos toda la ayuda que es posible. "But we need it, too. Cabo Orgulloso is a disaster right now. You have many useful things. We need all the help possible."
"Bien, bien, bien," he said impatiently. "Pero exigo que no digas a mis hombres la verdad. Eres una amiga. Solamente una amiga." "Fine, fine, fine," he said impatiently. "But I demand that you don't tell my men the truth. You are a friend. Only a friend."
"Sí . Entiendo," she said with a sigh. "Y sabes que no hablo ingles." "Yes. I understand," she said with a sigh. "And you know I don't speak English."

Scarlet put a hand on Karnage's shoulder. "What is going on? Who is she? What's she talking about?"

He roughly pushed her away and snarled, "This is none of your business!"

"But, querido--"

"Stay out of this!" His tone left no room for argument. Karnage beckoned to the stranger and led her off in the direction of his quarters. Scarlet was left to stand, bewildered, and wonder what had just happened.

Don Karnage was not in the Pirate Island dining hall that night. Scarlet sat in her customary place adjacent to the Captain's seat, picking at her food and worrying. After mentally replaying the conversation several times, she was able to translate and understand the general ideas. There had been some sort of disaster on his home island, Cabo Orgulloso, and his family needed help in recovering. He was clearly not happy about this turn of events. Scarlet understood something about reluctance to reveal his family to the crew. Clearly, that included her.
In the past six months, she had found her niche in the crew of air pirates, participating in many successful plundering excursions. The other pirates accepted her as one of their own, but there was one difference: her relationship with the Captain. There had always been an unspoken attraction between them, which had slowly given way to something more definite.
She still vividly recalled the day they relieved a Khan cargo plane of its cargo of jewelry and fine china. Back aboard the Iron Vulture, there was an impromptu party to celebrate their victory. A program of peppy dance music was on the radio, although soon many of the pirates were too drunk to dance. Karnage, however, had other plans. Scarlet soon found herself being whisked across the floor is a combination salsa/flamenco/tango/swing dance that was surprisingly fun. When the song ended, he dipped her far back and kissed her with an intensity that turned her knees to gelatin.
And ever since Scarlet had found herself in a status limbo somewhere between crew member and lover. His curt dismissal of her earlier left her feeling much more the former than the latter.

Scarlet threw down her napkin (a rare commodity on Pirate Island) and stalked out of the dining hall, leaving the raucous din of the others behind. Her feet hastily carried her to Don Karnage's main quarters. Without hesitation, she rapped on the door. It was time to clear some things up once and for all.
Before long, the door flung open. "What is it?" he snapped. His expression softened only a little when he saw who it was. "Oh. Hello Scarlet."

She crossed her arms firmly across her chest and frowned at him. "You want to tell me what's going on?"

"No," he said flatly.

"This Dolores person who showed up all of a sudden...she talks like she's a member of your family. But she's a wolf...isn't she?"

"She is a friend of the family," he said quickly, moving to shut the door.

Scarlet jammed her boot in to keep the door open. "She said 'our parents'!"

"She is adopted."

"I'm not buying it."

Karnage sighed and stopped fighting to close the door. "She has a rare problem-thingy with her blue-genes that makes her fur turn to gray pre-matured-ly."

Scarlet shook her head.

"Look, querida, I do not have time for this right now. Perhaps later--"

"Don't you querida me! I deserve an explanation. Some strange woman shows up out of the blue, talking like she's known you forever, and then you disappear into your quarters with her for the rest of the day!"

"It is not what you think." He tried to shut the door, but her boot again prevented him. "Move your tootsies before I smash them flat as the tortilla, estupida!"


"¡Muevete!" ["Move it!"] He kicked her foot clear of the door and slammed it in her face.

Scarlet stood in the corridor for a moment, hurt tears burning in her eyes. Finally, she directed a furious kick at the door. "I thought I was more than just another pirate to you, but I guess I was wrong! Well, fine, Felipe, keep your secrets! I don't care! But don't forget that I know Spanish, too. I understood what she said to you earlier. She's your sister, isn't she?"

The door opened again, just as she was about to kick it, and she stumbled. Karnage glowered at her, sword in hand. "Look, pretty one. I told you once with the politeness. I do not want to talk about this to you, so leave me alone!"

"But please," she said in desparation, "I just want to know. There's obviously something very wrong here, and I care about you. Don't you see that? I want to help you get through this...whatever it is."

"I am fine. Now keep your nose out of other people's beeswax!"

And once again Scarlet was staring at a closed door.

On to Chapter 2...

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This story and the characters Scarlet and Dolores are © Katie Sullivan and may not be used without permission. Don Karnage, the Iron Vulture, the Air Pirates, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette, Tale Spin and all related indica, etc, are © The Walt Disney Company and are used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes only.