by Katie Sullivan
The first thing he was aware of was the fierce headache. Next came the sensation of
cool sand beneath his body, a rock wall at his back, and scratchy ropes lashed firmly
around his wrists and ankles. Don Karnage forced his burning eyes open and found himself
in a subterranean rock chamber, similar to the one where the diamond had been hidden. A
gas lantern sat some distance away, casting blinking shadows on the uneven walls. Outside,
what appeared to be late twilight was giving way to a half moon.
How had he gotten here? Where was "here"? Where were his men?
Slowly the memories seeped back. The cave...the diamond...the small leather pouch...the pitiful gemstones...Scarlet! She betrayed him!
As if on cue, the woman in question slipped past a large fern obscuring the entrance and slid down into the cave. "Oh, you're finally awake. I think I overdid the knockout gas a bit. Sorry about that."
"Sorry? Sorry? When I am done with you, you'll be sorry you were ever born, you traitorous trollop!" He twisted against the ropes, furiously trying to free himself, but only succeeded in tipping over onto his side in the sand. The tight restraints prevented him from sitting up, and she didn't seem in any hurry to prop him up again. She knelt on one knee by his head and grinned.
"So, how did I do? In your professional opinion, I mean."
He thrashed again, realized he was unable to right himself, and glared up at her. It was hard to maintain dignity at such a moment, but he did his best. "What do you mean, how did you do? You cheated, lied and betrayed me, and now you have kidnapped my wonderful self!"
"I know. And as a professional pirate, I want your opinion. How did I do?" There was a mocking twinkle in her eyes. She began tracing patterns in the sand around his head with her dagger.
"Have your senses taken leave of you? You mutinous madam! Now untie me so I can beat you into next Tuesday!"
"Just tell me! Would I make a decent pirate?"
"There is no such thing as a decent pirate!"
She rolled her eyes. "Look who's getting picky over precise wording. Fine, a successful pirate, then."
"The only thing you're going to be succeeding at is decomposing!" he yelled, straining against the ropes again.
"I mean, I think I did pretty well. I managed to deceive and kidnap the greatest pirate in modern history."
"You couldn't plunder a lollipop from a baby! You're-- Wait a minuet, what did you just say?"
"I said, I managed to deceive and kidnap the greatest pirate in modern history. I think that's pretty good for a rookie, right?"
Karnage's ego nudged aside some of his anger. "The greatest pirate in modern history? Really?" He lost the battle to hide his smile.
"Well, yeah! You've managed to transfer the ancient art of piracy into the aviation age! You're a visionary among mercenaries! You've got your own island, you nearly conquered Cape Susette five years ago, and the Iron Vulture is a marvel of modern engineering! So I figured that if I could outwit you, I'd know I was cut out to be a pirate. Jewel thievery is fun and all, but I want more in my life. Excitement, adventure..." She gave him a sly look. "And rrromance!" she added, rolling the R. "Besides, I love to fly. Air piracy is perfect for me."
Karnage was grinning like a cat with canary on its breath. "Well, that is a sow's ear in the bush of a different color, señorita! Do you really mean all that?"
She arched her eyebrows sincerely and nodded.
"Then untie me, and we'll talk."
"Sure you won't kill me or anything?"
"Kill you? Do not be silly! You are the new president of my fan club!"
"Pirate's honor. I'd cross my heart, but..." He shrugged within the tight ropes.
"Okay..." She sliced through his ropes with her dagger. "Let's talk."
He gratefully shook off the itchy ropes and rubbed his chafed wrists. "You did all this as a...a job application?"
"Sort of," she laughed. "I mean, I needed to get back here to retrieve my diamond, anyway. Then I ran into you, and I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to change careers. Not to mention protection from de la Valle. I guess I might have gotten a little carried away, but it was fun."
Karnage shook his head in wonder. "So you want to be a pirate..."
"Uh huh. More'n anything. My whole life, everybody's been telling me I can't do things. 'Cuz it's illegal, or it's not proper, or 'cuz I'm not good enough or smart enough. Well, I'm sick of being told I can't."
Karnage stared into the lantern, his mind somewhere far away in both time and space. "I understand," he said quietly. Before she could question the origin of that comment, he stood stiffly and retrieved his sword the ground nearby. "You are a very unique person, Señorita Hindenfur. Normally I would kill you for what you've done, but..." He cocked his head at her and squinted contemplatively. "I like you."
Her face lit up with relief and joy. "You mean it? I can join your pirates?"
"If you don't mind being the only female in the crew..."
She ran her dagger on a close line parallel to his neck. "I can take care of myself."
"Very well then. But there is still the issue of those jewels. You cheated me!"
"I did no such thing. I offered you all the jewels in the sack, and that's what I gave you," she said with a falsely apologetic smile.
"Sack? That is no sack, that is a teabag!" he sputtered angrily.
"You agreed to the deal. It's not my fault you didn't think to ask any questions about it."
He jabbed an accusing finger at her. "You are a very sneaky person."
"Thanks." She grinned, sheathed her dagger, placed a friendly kiss on his cheek and sauntered out of the cave.
Karnage put a surprised hand to his cheek and stared after her. "Uh...de nada." ("You're welcome.")
On to Chapter 7
Back to Chapter 5
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This story and the character Scarlet are © Katie Sullivan and may not
be used without permisson. Don Karnage, the Air Pirates, Mad Dog, Dumptruck, Cape Suzette,
Tale Spin and all related indica, etc, are © The Walt Disney Company and are used without
permisson for non-profit entertainment purposes only.