Splitting Heirs

TaleSpin Fan Fic

by Katie Sullivan


Chapter 8



11 Oct 1945 -- 7:32 A.M.

Don and Mrs. Karnage were finished packing. As Scarlet checked the drawers one last time, he picked up the phone and dialed the front desk. "'Allo, Mr. Clerk-person. My lovely wife and I will be needing the penthouse for one more day... Yes, yes, put it on our bill... Yes, very good. Arrivaderci." He hung up.

Scarlet turned to him with a quizzical look.

"We may be leaving, but a certain bothersome bearcub will not," Karnage explained, gesturing over his shoulder.

"You're going to leave him here?"

"Yes. I will deal with him later." She raised her eyebrows, inviting elaboration, but he dropped the matter. "Where are our buccaneer bellhops?" He checked his watch. "They were supposed to be here ten minuets ago!"

"They probably got lost."

"If we are lucky." He strode to the door to the adjoining room and looked in on his prisoner. Kit was awake, still glaring at him. There was nothing he could do about it, however, for he was tightly tied to a chair and gagged.

*KNOCK KNOCK*

"That'll be the men," Scarlet said, waddling as gracefully as she could to the door. Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Will and Katarina were outside.

"Hiya, sis. Ready to blow this joint?"

"You gotta joint?" Mad Dog asked eagerly.

"No, dumbass," Katarina said, rolling her eyes.

"Yes," Scarlet said in answer to her sister's initial question.

As the three male pirates grabbed the suitcases, Katarina came up close to Scarlet and spoke quietly. "So...did Felipe snuff out the kid?"

"No."

"Is he gonna?"

"I...I'm not sure. I've been trying to talk him out of it," she whispered.

"Ready to go, mi amor?" Karnage asked as he approached.

"Mmm hmm." She took his arm and headed for the elevator.




11 Oct 1945 -- 7:25 P.M.

Everything was ready. The Iron Vulture was full of fuel and ammunition. The crew was as prepared as they ever would be. Ratchet was waiting for the signal to set off the bombs. Kit Cloudkicker was, as far as anyone knew, still tied up in the hotel suite. Karnage himself was a mass of nervous energy, primed and ready to go. There was just one small detail...

"Scarlet, you are as pale as a phantom. Are you sure you feel like coming along? Perhaps you and Katarina should stay behind, and--"

"Absolutely not!" she said indignantly. "I wouldn't miss this for anything! I feel fine. A little tired, sure, but you would be, too, if you were carrying this around!" She arched her back and winced, sticking out her belly. "But I'm not due for a week, and there's no reason why I can't come along. I've been waiting for this almost as long as you have, and I'm not missing it just because I'm the size of a house. ┐Comprende?"

"Better listen to her," Katarina chided, "or you'll be sleeping on the couch for a while, 'Captain'!"

Karnage glowered at her, then turned to his spouse. "Fine, fine, querida. Just do not do anything estupid. You are carrying very precious cargo, yes-no?"

"I've never done an estupid thing in my life," she teased and accepted his embrace.

"Except maybe marrying you," Katarina mumbled.

"What was that?" he snapped.

"Nothing," she said with an innocent grin.

He glanced at the clock on the wall by his office door. "Now then, time is effacing, let us go."

"Huh?" Katarina blinked.

"He meant, 'Time's a-wasting'."

"Then why didn't he say that?"

"Just let it go," Scarlet said with an exasperated sigh, heading for the door before he could argue further.




11 Oct 1945 -- 7:39 P.M.

The highest-ranking Air Pirates were gathered on the bridge of the Iron Vulture. The Captain's wife sat in the command chair, resting her aching back. Katarina stood at her side. The others were at their battle stations. Karnage was at the main window, looking forward into the murky depths of the cavern. His hands were on his hips, his posture straight and proud. All eyes were on him, waiting for his orders.

Finally, he turned to face them all, an anticipatory gleam in his dark eyes. "Well, what are you dumbskulls waiting for?" He drew his sword dramatically and spun around, facing forward again. "Onward to Cape Suzette for the greatest pillaging prospects of all history!"

The crew cheered, Scotty yanked on the sturdy lever on the floor, and the great airship's engines roared to life like a hundred lions rudely awaken from a sound nap. The rotors spun, the floor quivered, and with ponderous grace the Iron Vulture sailed out through the massive doors and into the foggy skies above Pirate Island.

Don Karnage turned and caught Scarlet's eye with a genuine, gleeful smile, and she mirrored his expression.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:05 P.M.

An elderly possum housekeeper stepped off the elevator in of the Fritz Carlton's penthouse. She hummed softly to herself, following no particular tune, and balanced her vaccuum cleaner against her arm as she unlocked the door.

For the first time in days, the "Do Not Disturb" sign was absent, and she was determined to tidy up while Signior and Signora Giovanni were away.

She crossed the room to a convenient electrical outlet and plugged in the vaccuum. As she cleaned, she continued her tuneless humming, her song lost in the growl of the motor. Once the main room was finished, she headed into the bedroom. Odd... There weren't any clothes or other personal belongings. Weren't the Giovannis going to stay another night? Oh well, it was none of her business. She was just there to clean.

The lady possum pushed the vaccuum leisurely into the other room, still humming to herself. It was an opulent chamber like all the rest, furnished with dark oak and--a bear? Gagged and tied to a chair?

She screeched in surprise and dropped the vaccuum at the sight of the captive Kit.

The bear regarded her with beseeching eyes and made muffled cries for help.

When she recovered from her fright, she switched off the vaccuum and rushed to untie him.

"Land sakes, boy! What are you doing here? Are you all right? My goodness, you poor thing!" she babbled as she struggled with the thick knots.

"Ah," Kit winced, stretching his stiff joints. "Thanks, lady!"

"How long have you been here?"

"Two whole days," he moaned, rubbing at the back of his neck. He was weak, shaky, and ravenous, but there was no time to feel sorry for himself. Instead he gobbled down a stale muffin from the room service tray as he stretched his legs.

"What happened to you?" the maid asked.

"Never mind, I've gotta warn somebody!"

"Warn? About what?" asked the startled possum.

Kit was already halfway out the door. "Pirates!" he shouted over his shoulder.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:13 P.M.

Dusk was falling over the Cape Suzette cliff guns. "Hey, Thompson, do you see that?" asked the rabbit officer, squinting into the telescope.

Triggerfinger looked up from his newspaper and walked over to his co-worker. "What is it?"

"I'm not sure, looking into the sun, but something's coming. I think-- It's the Iron Vulture!"

"I guess there's just one thing to do," Triggerfinger said with amazing calmness.

"Sound the alarm!"

"No. This." And he swung a fierce right hook at his companion, knocking him unconscious.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:12 P.M.

Karnage paced the bridge of the Vulture, occasionally shoving Mad Dog away from the peri-telescope to peer ahead. At last, the cliffs came into view. He checked his watch. A quarter after eight. Right on schedule.

Some of the others looked nervous as they neared the cliffs. Every time before, they had been shot at with missiles about now. But no explosions came. The cliff guns were totally silent.

Karnage grinned with unrestrained glee. Perfect. Triggerfinger had done his job. Next... He grabbed the radio microphone. "Ratchet!"

"Here, Cap'n!" came the static-tinged reply.

"It is time!"

"Aye, aye, Cap'n!"




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:04 P.M.

Kit had only run this fast a few times in his life, outside of the track team. In every case, the circumstances were less than favorable.

He illicited a few curious looks from pedestrians as he raced down the sidewalk. How far was it to the police station, anyway?

There! Just one more block!

His legs burned with the sudden exertion after so much time tied to a chair. Damn Karnage! Every time their paths crossed, something bad happened. Well...almost every time...

Regardless, he had to do this. He had to warn the city.

Kit burst through the doors into the police station, skidding across the tile floor to the main desk. As luck would have it, it was Detective Thursday. The trench-coated dog sat with his feet up on a box, nursing a cup of stale coffee. "Hey, I know you! We've been looking for you. Your--"

"P-pirates!" Kit managed to interrupt. He wheezed for breath and hung on the desk as he recovered from his run. "Pirates. Attacking. Tonight."

He had Thursday's attention. "What?" He put aside his coffee and leaned forward.

"Air Pirates. I heard Karnage say they would attack tonight. You've gotta get everybody out of here. They're gonna bomb this building, and the Dutch Tunnel!" Kit wiped sweat off his forehead with the back of his arm.

"Are you sure about that?"

"Why else would I just about give myself a heart attack running down here? Yes, I'm sure!" Kit snapped.

Thursday nodded. "Good point."

"Of course it's a good point! Now get everybody out of here before we're blown sky-high! And call the Shore Patrol, too! The Pirates are gonna sabotage the cliff guns!"

The detective would ordinarily have balked at taking orders from a pushy teenager, but Kit had an authoritative air, and this wasn't the time to argue. A few nearby policemen had overheard, and began instructing everyone to evacuate the building.

As Kit was rushing out the door, he spotted a white-and-pink-striped shopping bag on the floor under the coat rack. Something familiar about that, his brain nagged him. That bag was from Bloomerdale's. Karnage's wife had been shopping at Bloomerdale's. He had seen that bag in their hotel room. Ergo, that bag had to be the bomb!

Kit dashed over, shoving through the stream of near-panicked people, and grabbed the bag. The contents were wrapped in thick tissue paper, but it was ticking. Definitely a problem.

"Comin' through! 'Scuse me, comin' through! Outta the way! Move it! Hey! Move! Excuse me!" One calico cat didn't move out of his way quickly enough, and Kit jabbed his elbow into his side to get past, not wasting breath on an apology. At last he had barged his way past the police and into the street.

Safe spot...safe spot...

He looked around frantically, then saw Bayfront Park down the street. There was a pond there. It would have to do.

Was the bag ticking more loudly, or was it his imagination?

More running was an unwelcome prospect, but unavoidable. He took off full-tilt toward the park.

"Hey! Where are you going?" called Thursday.

Kit didn't have the breath to answer. He pressed himself to the limit of his physical endurance, and at last felt the cool grass under his feet. The bag started beeping. Not a good sign. No time to reach the pond.

Using his best shotput throw, he launched the package toward the water, well over fifteen feet away. Before it could land, it burst into a magnificent fireball with a chest-thumping boom. The nearest trees shattered and toppled to the ground, and Kit was thrown onto his back in the grass. Gasping for breath, he shakily stood up and stared in amazement. The only casualties were some trees and a picnic table.

He allowed himself to exhale. One crisis averted. But by no means the last.

Even as Thursday and the other police ran toward him, a second, more distant explosion reverberated through the air.

Kit looked over his shoulder. Smoke fountained upward from the foot of the mountains as if a new volcano had suddenly arisen.

He put a hand to his eyes. "Oh, no. The Dutch Tunnel."

After a moment of stunned silence, a police officer started barking out orders. "Call the Shore Patrol! Get ambulances and fire support to the Dutch Tunnel! Call the governor!" He turned to Kit and gave a strained smile. "Thanks, kid."

"Thank me later. The Iron Vulture's gonna be here any minute!"




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:13 P.M.

Rebecca Cunningham pushed her chair away from the desk and stretched. At last, the books were balanced! And the bottom line was black ink.

She glanced at the clock and frowned in concern. The police still hadn't called. Kit had been missing over two days, now. She and Baloo were beside themselves with worry, but were helpless. Speaking of her pilot, where had he gotten to? She had planned on inviting him to the malt shop for a snack, hoping to distract themselves from Kit's disappearance. She couldn't invite him if she couldn't find him, for heaven's sake! Now she'd just have to--

A distant, muffled explosion interrupted her thoughts. What the--?

At first she panicked, thinking it was a Houn attack. But no, the war was over now. The treaty had been signed over a month ago. Then what...?

Rebecca went to the window, looking for some sign of excitement. Nothing. She grabbed her sweater off the hook by the door and headed out to the dock.

Wildcat was up to his elbows in a toolbox, an ailing engine at his side. "Oh, hi, Miss Cunningham," he said cheerily. "Baloo eating Mexican again?"

Rebecca wrinkled her nose daintily at the thought. "Er...no. But what was that?"

"A really big soap bubble popping?"

She shook her head, realized she would never get a coherent answer from the mechanic, and turned back toward the Higher For Hire offices.

Baloo was snoozing in a reclining lawn chair around the south wall. The explosion hadn't even stirred him from his nap, judging by the rumbling snores.

"Baloo!" she yelled.

"What? I didn't do it! I swear! I got alibis!" He awoke with a jolt, nearly falling out of the chair.

"Baloo, did you hear that?"

"Hear what? You yellin' at me? Of course I heard it, and I'm tellin' ya, Becky, whatever it is, I didn't do it! I'm innocent, I tell ya!"

"No," she moaned. "The explosion! Didn't you hear it?"

"What explosion?"

"Hey! Did somebody, like, leave the toaster on, or what?" Wildcat asked, coming up behind her.

"No. Why?"

"'Cuz I think something's on fire." The two bears followed his pointing finger over toward downtown, where a plume of smoke was boiling up from Bayfront Park. Even as he looked, a second, louder explosion rocked the waterfront. They spun around to see the source. A giant pillar of smoke and dust rose into the sky from the direction of the train station. The sound of sirens could be faintly heard in the distance.

For once, Rebecca Cunningham was at a loss for words.



Chapter 9
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This story and the characters Scarlet and Sue are (c) Katie Sullivan and may not be used without permission. Katarina is (c) Kayleen Connell and shouldn't be used without permission, either. Don Karnage, the Iron Vulture, the Air Pirates, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette, Kit Cloudkicker, Baloo, Rebecca Cunningham, Wildcat, TaleSpin and all related indica, etc, are (c) The Walt Disney Company and are used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes only.