Splitting Heirs

TaleSpin Fan Fic

by Katie Sullivan


Chapter 9





The Air Pirates had been hoarding weapons and ammunition all summer, and were able to take out most of the cliff guns with a few well-aimed shots. Without a single sign of resistance, the Iron Vulture sailed into Cape Suzette.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:16 P.M.

Baloo, Rebecca and Wildcat stood on the dock in front of Higher for Hire, staring up at the giant purple airship in a daze.

"Why didn't the cliff guns fire?" Rebecca asked no one in particular.

A familiar voice came far behind them. "Baloo! Miz Cunningham!"

They turned around and broke into overjoyed smiles to see Kit rushing toward them. A police car was parked in the street.

"Kit! Where have you been?" Rebecca said, joining Kit and Baloo in a group hug. "We've looked everywhere for you! We've been worried sick! Don't ever do that again!" she scolded in a maternal tone. The overwhelming relief in her voice drowned out any undercurrent of anger, however.

"Lil' Britches, you got no idea how good it is to see you again! Where in the name of hot fudge sundaes have you been?"

Kit broke off from the hug and got down to business. "Listen, we've gotta get going! The Air Pirates are--" He noticed the Iron Vulture heading toward downtown. "Oh, no," he said with quiet dread. "They're here."

"Why aren't the cliff guns working? And where's Khan's air force? Unless Karnage has another Lightning Gun, they should be able to stop him."

"No, Miz Cunningham, they've sabotaged both the guns and Khan's planes! Not to mention they bombed the Dutch Tunnel." Kit headed into the offices. "But, c'mon, listen, I think I've got an idea!"

Baloo and Rebecca looked at each other, shrugged and followed him inside.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:18 P.M.

It was a good thing Shere Khan owned a furniture company, because he ruined one desk per week, on average. His steely claws sprang out and raked across the shiny wood. Yet his face remained nearly impassive. "What do you mean my elite air force is grounded?" he said with deadly menace. A faint explosion was heard somewhere near the bay.

The black panther in front of him swallowed nervously before finding his voice. "Every one of our planes have been s-sabotaged, sir. Except the ones out on a mission, but they won't be back until late tomorrow."

"Sabotaged?" Khan's face was stony, but his eyes showed his temper was nearing its breaking point. "By whom?"

"We don't know, sir."

"How long before they are operational again?"

"S-several days, sir."

Khan gave the desk another set of long claw marks. "Get. Working," he said, grinding out each syllable past his sharp teeth. "Now."

"Yessir!" The panther turned and tried to leave the office as soon as possible without actually running.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:19 P.M.

The Iron Vulture hovered ominously over downtown Cape Suzette, blotting out the last rays of the setting sun. The bomb bay doors opened, and a swarm of CT-37s flew out over the city.

Karnage helped Scarlet into her plane with less than the usual amount of ceremony, eager to be on the ground with his paws in the plunder. Normally, Katarina rode with her sister, but with the baby sharing the cockpit there wasn't nearly enough room.

The red-haired vixen scrambled up the side of Will's plane. "Hey, can I hitch a ride with you?"

"I don't know, Katarina... This is going to be kind of dangerous. Maybe you should just stay up here and--URK!"

She grabbed his lapels and yanked him forward. "Look, accountant-boy. I can take care of myself, capiche?"

"Er...okay," Will croaked.

"Good." She grinned and wiggled into the seat beside him. "Let's go!"

Meanwhile, Karnage gave his wife a quick kiss and headed toward his own plane. "Let us go and plunder the night away, my men!"

Katarina and Scarlet simultaneously cleared their throats.

"And ladies," he added with a sigh before starting the engine.

Soon the Iron Vulture was manned by a skeleton crew, as the pirates spread through downtown Cape Suzette. The bulk of the CT-37s landed in the main town square, and their pilots continued on foot into the commercial district. The air filled with the sounds of citizens fleeing and screaming, alarms ringing, glass shattering...and one particular vixen singing.

"Yo ho, yo ho, a pirate's life for me!" Katarina sang, skipping down the street with an empty loot sack. "C'mon, sis, join me!"

Scarlet frowned at her and pointed at her belly. "I'll sing, but if I started skipping I'd not only break my back, I'd set off seismographs from here to Aridia!"

"Oh, yeah. I forgot. Sorry."

Dumptruck ripped up a fire hydrant with his bare hands and pitched it through a jewelry store window. Katarina, Will, Mad Dog and Scarlet stepped around the plume of water and began scooping jewels into their sacks.

Katarina held a pair of pearl earrings up to Will's ears. "Oh, they're you," she said with a mocking smile.

"Ooh, look!" Scarlet called out. "These are cute!" She grabbed a handful of gold charm bracelets.

"Adorable! Gimme a couple...dozen!" her sister said.

Karnage stuck his head in the door. "Stop fooling around and get looting! We have a whole city to pillage!"

"Oh, yeah..." Scarlet said. "I was having so much fun here, I nearly forgot. Here." She shoved her sack into Dumptruck's hands. "Fill this with jewelry while Katarina and I head on to the next store."

"Duh...okay."

Katarina gave Scarlet an arm for stability as they picked their way through the broken glass to the street. The next store was full of silver, china and other fine gifts. As the vixens wantonly stuffed shopping bags with everything in sight, Katarina laughed happily. "You know, sis, shopping together is fun, but looting together is even better!"

"Yeah," Scarlet giggled. "We must do this more often."

Outside, they heard Dumptruck talking to the Captain. "Vait a minute, how come I haff to carry dese heavy bags? I vanted to go over to da Burger Shack and get some French Fries!"

Katarina froze, dropped the silver candlestick she had been inspecting, and began to growl.

"Uh...sis?" Scarlet said nervously. "Calm down, I'm sure he didn't--"

Katarina bolted out the door, and soon Dumptruck was heard screaming in terror as she chased him down the street. "FRENCH FRIES?! You like French Fries? I'll give ya French Fries, right up your nose, you miserable little..."

"Ow! Hey! Ow! Dat hurts! Vait! Oooohoohooow!"

Scarlet shook her head and resumed pillaging.




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:21 P.M.

Kit Cloudkicker grabbed the phone book from Rebecca's desk and started flipping through it as he talked. "The pirates've sabotaged all Khan's planes, blocked off access through the Dutch Tunnel, and, thanks to one of their spies, the cliff guns are kaput. So we can't expect much outside help. The way I see it, we've got two options. Sit back and do nothing--not really an option at all--or take matters into our own hands, and onto our own wings."

Rebecca, Baloo, Wildcat, Detective Thursday and a police sergeant clustered around. "What've you got in mind?" Thursday asked.

Kit grabbed a pen and circled a number in the phone book as he spoke rapidly. "The Sea Duck doesn't have any weapons, but a lot of the other freelancers do. For the ones that don't, maybe we can borrow some guns off of Khan's wrecked planes. Anyway, if all band together against the Vulture--"

"That's absurd!" the police sergeant interrupted. "The Iron Vulture is over 1600 feet long, and armed to the teeth!"

"Vultures have teeth?" Wildcat asked.

"But it's not invincible. Karnage knows that, and he's not about to risk his airship by hanging around when it's under attack. If we can at least damage it a little, scare him, I'm sure he'll turn tail and leave. Remember the last time? Once we got rid of the Lightning Gun, Khan's pilots knocked the stuffing out of the Vulture, and they retreated! Why do you think they sabotaged Khan's planes? Besides, this time they don't even have a Lightning Gun. They're depending on their preemptive strikes to keep them safe. But I...I know the Vulture's weak spots. We've just got to call up the freelancers to help."

"Baloo to Louie. Come in, Louie." Kit turned to see Baloo on the radio set in the corner, and grinned. Somebody believed him.

"Louie, here, cuz. Whatssup?"

"We've got Air Pirates up the ailerons in Cape Suzette right now. The Iron Vulture, an' everything!"

"You pullin' my leg?"

"Wish I was, pal."

"How'd they get past the cliff guns?"

"It's a long story. Look, round up every freelancer you can find, anyone with a plane, and some weapons, and get them over here, pronto! Have 'em land at Higher for Hire. We're gonna fight back, but we need help."

"You got it, fuzzy!"

"This is crazy," said the police sergeant.

"Not as crazy as sitting on our tails and doing nothing," Kit said firmly.

The policeman was looking at him suspiciously. "Hey, kid, how do you know so much about the Iron Vulture and the pirates?"

Kit acted as if he hadn't heard the question. He picked up the phone and started dialing numbers. Mrs. Snarly answered on the other end.

"Khan Industries. How may I direct your call?"

"I gotta talk to Khan."

"Sorry, sweetie, you can't--"

"Don't give me some dumb excuse. Just put Khan on the line, or this city's gonna be Pirate Central!"

"Er...let me see if he's available."

Rebecca stood back from the others and got a drink from the water cooler. She had never seen Kit like this. He was stern, in command and not taking any nonsense from anyone.

"Khan, this is Kit Cloudkicker. Listen to me. Your air force is grounded, right? Never mind how I know. We're gettin' together a bunch of planes, but we need weapons. The ones on your planes aren't doing anybody any good right now, so I want you to rip 'em out and get 'em over to Higher for Hire, as fast as possible. We've got to stop the Air Pirates before they clean out this whole city like some kind of all-you-can-eat buffet! Got that?"

Shere Khan hung up. Kit swore and slammed down the receiver. "That idiot! All right, c'mon, guys, let's get moving!" He sprang up and was out the door again. Baloo looked at Rebecca, Rebecca looked at Thursday, Thursday looked at the police officer, the police officer looked at Wildcat, and Wildcat looked at Molly.

Baloo spoke up. "Well, what're ya waitin' for? The kid's got a plan, let's help 'im!"




11 Oct 1945 -- 8:29 P.M.

Shere Khan calmly pressed the intercom button on his scarred desk. "Miss Snarly, call my airfield and have all the weaponry removed from the disabled planes and taken to Higher for Hire. The address is the phone book."

"Yessir, Mr. Khan."

The dignified tiger swiveled his chair around 180 degrees and frowned sternly out the window at the Iron Vulture.




11 Oct 1945 -- 9:14 P.M.

Scarlet, Katarina, Will and Ratchet were having the time of their lives pillaging a book store.

"Ooh, lookie here, they got back issues of 'Do-it-Yourself Electronics'!" Ratchet said happily, digging into a box in the storage room.

"Hey, sis, check it out! Treasure Island!" Katarina said, holding up a hardcover volume with a one-legged man on the cover. "Your favorite!"

"I bet Long John Silver didn't have as much fun as this, though!" Scarlet was walking up and down the aisles, grabbing every book that looked interesting (which was most of them) and filling bag after bag.

Hal came into the store dragging a half-filled loot sack. "Whatcha doin'? Aw, just a buncha stupid books! Yuck!"

"Some of us like to broaden our minds," Scarlet said with a haughty sniff.

"And our stomachs," Katarina chided.

"Shut up."

Will grabbed a shopping cart and loaded his bags into it. "Here, allow me," he said, taking Katarina's. "No sense carrying these all the way back to our planes."

Out in the street, they could hear Karnage yelling, "I do not care if you do like ice cream, herring-for-brains! That will all melt before we get it home! Now find something valuable!"

"Ow!" yelped a pirate as his Captain whacked him upside the head. Scarlet and the others emerged from the book store with full shopping bags. There wasn't a single non-pirate to be seen anywhere. The sky was tinged a hazy orange due to fires burning several blocks away.

"Querida!" Karnage snapped. "What are you doing with heavy bags! Put those down and rest your pale-but-beautiful self, now!"

"I'm fine, really," she said with an annoyed sigh. "Just out of breath."

Karnage snatched her bags away and handed them to Hal. "Well, get back in breath!"

"Don't yell at me!" she said crossly. "I'm a grown vixen."

"Yes, but you have grown very large, and you need to be taking care of yourself." Seeing her angry expression, he swiftly placated her with a kiss. "Calmate, mi amor. I just do not want anything not-nice to happen to you, h'okay?"

She grudgingly nodded and let her frown disappear. "I know, I know..."

"Cap'n!" wailed Mad Dog from further down the street. "The cops are comin'!"

Karnage's ears perked up at the sound of approaching sirens. "What? The police? Did we not blow them to kingdoms coming?"

"Apparently not," Katarina said.

The sound of gunfire came from far above. They looked up to see a squadron of cargo planes attacking the Iron Vulture. Most were recognizable as former victims. Among them was the Sea Duck.

Karnage stood, petrified with fury.

Scarlet shook her head in disbelief. "How in the world--"

"Not how. Who," he said quietly. Quivering with anger, he spat out the name vehemently. "Kit Cloudkicker."




11 Oct 1945 -- 9:06 P.M.

Wiley Pole and as many other freelance pilots as Louie could round up arrived at the Higher For Hire dock, ready for action. As Kit was explaining the situation to them, a convoy of trucks pulled up. He turned and grinned when he saw the SK logo. "So the tiger isn't as dumb as I thought," he muttered. He dashed up to the trucks and pointed as the freelancers' planes. "Get 'em transferred, boys! And, thanks!" A horde of black panthers streamed out of the trucks and unloaded weapons.

Baloo came up behind Kit and put a hand on his shoulder. "I don't know what's gotten into you, kid, but I'm proud of ya."

Kit grinned. "Thanks, Papa Bear."

Working with Wildcat and the other freelance mechanics, they soon had weapons mounted on all their planes. Baloo did not like having guns mounted on his "baby", but disliked the thought of ramming the Iron Vulture again even more, so he relented.

Wildcat marched up to Kit and saluted. "We're all, like, set, ready and done!"

Kit nodded. "Good. Let's get going." He looked up at the Iron Vulture hovering above downtown with a distant expression.


11 Oct 1945 -- 9:21 P.M.

Karnage grabbed a portable radio set from the curb, kicked a nearby pirate in frustration, and hailed his airship. "Karnage to Iron Vulture! What is going on up there?"

"Er, we're under attack, Captain."

"I can see that, you nincomskull! Fight back!"

"But, uh, Captain, all the planes are on the ground."

Karnage blinked. It was true. Practically all the CT-37s were on the ground as their pilots pillaged the city. He hadn't counted on anyone attacking the Iron Vulture. He had overlooked the possibility, and his own shortcoming angered him even more than the freelancers' counterattack. A wolfish growl started deep in his chest, and he whirled around to shout at the top of his lungs, "Men! To your planes! Blast those interloping idiots out of the sky!"

Many of the pirates were already dashing toward the town square where they had left their planes. However, they were less concerned with battle and more interested in fleeing from the police. The sirens were getting louder, and looting suddenly lost its allure.

Will took Katarina by the arm and started running. "Come on, wench, let's go!"

"Watch who you're pushing around, you rotten son-of-a--"

"I'm not pushing you around, I'm pulling! Now hurry up!"

Katarina sneered but obliged. "Come on, sis!" she called over her shoulder. "You don't wanna stay behind and get arrested, do you?"

"She is right, for once," Karnage said, setting down the radio. "Let us get back to the planes." Scarlet had a distant look, and didn't reply. "¿Querida? Are you all right?"

"I...think so. I just had a...pain." She put a hand to her stomach and creased her brow in worry.

"What? No. No no no. Do not be laboring now, Scarlet. This is not a good time nor place."

She tried not to panic, but another twinge made the color drain from her face. "I can't help it. I--"

Karnage looked back toward the town square, where several CT-37s were already taking off. "Now, querida, listen. Do not even think about going into labor now. Just come along, and try to hurry."

"Hurry? Have you looked at me lately?"

"The Iron Vulture is big and round too, but it moves quickly," he reasoned. "Now, please get moving!" The police sirens were getting louder.

Scarlet took his arm and tried to attempt jogging, but another faint pain touched her, and she closed her eyes in fear. "Felipe, this is not good," she grimaced.

"Don't think, just move," he said soothingly. "One foot in front of the other. Come on." He did his best to sound calm, but his heart was racing and his breath was tight. This wasn't happening...

She was able to stave off panic and move steadily, but they were easily out-paced by the other pirates. A few blocks behind them, a police car pulled up and two officers sprang out to arrest a terrier dragging a sack of plunder.

Karnage had one arm around his wife, guiding her along. At long last, they reached the town square where the planes were.

Or, least, where they had been.

Scarlet looked around in dismay. "Where are they?" The square was empty. There were no other pirates to be seen, and only one plane: The Captain's Tri-wing.

Police sirens were coming from the other direction now, as well.

Karnage took Scarlet by the hand and started to help her into the cockpit of his plane.

"But there isn't room for the two of us!" she protested.

He gave a diluted smile. "Yes, there is. Room for the two of you."

She looked down at her huge stomach. "But--"

"No butting! Go!"

"What about you?"

"I am a great pirate Captain. I can take care of myself. Now get going before the police arrive!"

She opened her mouth to argue, but realized there wasn't an alternative. Finally, she plopped down in the seat and threw her arms around him. "I love you."

He kissed her deeply. "I love you, too. Now shoo!"

A police car was speeding toward them down the street. She hesitated one last second before starting the engines. He stepped back from the plane and ran down a side street. She was in the air moments later, and flew through the bomb bay doors into the Iron Vulture.

Karnage raced down the street, away from the largest concentration of police. His head was whirling. How had everything fallen apart so rapidly? At least Scarlet was safe, and he... Well, he would figure out something.

But as he rounded a corner, he found himself just yards away from a trio of police cars. He turned on his heel to flee in the other direction, but he had been spotted. Behind him, he heard someone shout, "Halt!" As if that was an option. He ran as he had never run before, down the deserted street, around abandoned cars, through a puddle of water from a broken hydrant, past broken store windows...

Yet another police car pulled out of an alleyway in front of him. He glanced behind, and there were two more. It was over. He made one last attempt to escape down an alley, but a policeman tackled him from behind, and he slammed belly-down on the pavement. Stunned, he did not struggle as the officer on his back roughly fastened handcuffs and read him his rights.


11 Oct 1945 -- 9:36 P.M.

Katarina helped Scarlet out of the brown triwing. "Are you okay? Where's the Captain?" she asked, alarmed by her sister's ghostly pallor.

"He...there wasn't room...he stayed behind..." Scarlet said, disoriented by mild shock. She looked down through the open bomb bay doors to the city below, illuminated by burning fires and flashing police lights. "We've got to go back for him! We--"

The airship shuddered violently, her shaky legs buckled, and she clung to Katarina for stability.

"The starboard engine's on fire!" Ratchet yelled down from a walkway high above the hangar.

"That can't be good," Katarina said.

"We've gotta get out of here," Will said. "We're surrounded by those rotten freelancers. Since when do they all have guns, anyway?"

Mad Dog rushed up. "Where's the Cap'n?"

"He's still down there!" Scarlet said.

The ship was jolted again, and smoke started pouring from one of the ventilation ducts. "We don't have time to look for him," Will said. "We've got to get out of here, and fast."

"But--" Scarlet began, then winced and put a hand to her stomach.

"Whoa, sis, are you all right?" Katarina asked.

"I think I might be in labor," she said with a gasp. "Mad Dog, go to the infirmary, tell Sawbones to get some water boiling, or whatever the hell he's supposed to do."

Mad Dog eyed her nervously as if she might explode. "But Missie Scarlet, I don't know nothing 'bout birthin' no babies!"

"Just go!

He scurried away.

Scarlet hung anxiously on her sister's arm and stared down at the chaotic city below. "Felipe..." she murmured. A black fog suddenly closed in around her, concerned voices receded, and she crumpled in a faint.



Chapter 10
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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, Tale Spin and all related indica, etc, are (c) The Walt Disney Company and are used without permission for non-profit entertainment purposes only.