The group hikes through the tropical undergrowth toward Ozzie's large white bungalow. Iiwi flies ahead looking for the clearest route to take. Squeaks vaporizes bits of brush that get in the way.
Ivan: [to Squeaks, indicating laser-gun] That standard issue?
Squeaks: Not exactly, but since you surprised us all by not having a knife, sword, or other sharp object hardy, we have to improvise.
Ivan: Again with the sarcasm.
Iiwi: Hey, guys, go right for about twenty paces, then it'll clear up!
Ferdie: How is it going to clear up? This is a jungle!
Iiwi: There's a S.A.M. missile launcher over there. Must be new - the undergrowth around it is still crushed.
Group hikes the rest of the way on the trail of crushed undergrowth. They reach the bungalow, which makes Bobetta's summer home look like a shack. The bungalow is silent. Nothing around it moves, except for the swimming pool's water in a slight breeze.
Ferdia: Creepy. This place looks dead. Even the security cameras aren't moving.
Ivan: Unless he's cut back on his staff, this place should be crawling with guards. But I don't see anybody.
Iiwi: [landing] I circled the grounds. I didn't see anybody, or even evidence of anybody ever being here!
Ferdie: Um...okay, so they're all inside.
Bob: I'm not gonna be the one knocking this time.
Squeaks: I'll do it.
Squeaks knocks on the door, which turns out not only not to be locked, but not to be truly shut, either. It slowly creaks open...
[Ferdia and Squeaks pull their pieces, sweeping the large entryway for movement. None is visible.]
Ferdie: Eep. I am gonna have recurring nightmares about this for months!
Ivan: I guess we won't be asking Ozzie much of anything...
The walls, floor, ceiling, and furniture as far as the eye can see are splattered with blood and entrails. Several bodies are whole enough to be identifiable as such; one of them appears to be an osprey. A note is taped to the end of the bayonet skewering him.
Ferdia: I hate Mondays. I really do. Nothing like this ever happens on Tuesdays, or Thursdays, or...
Squeaks: [to Ferdia] You okay?
Ferdia: I'm fine. Just venting...
Ivan: I haven't seen this much carnage since...since...[scratches head] well, actually I haven't ever seen this much carnage...
Iiwi: …I think the cartel takeover two years ago comes close....but it was still a lot cleaner...
Bob: Is this what people mean when they refer to bloodbaths?
Ferdie: [turning green] Urk!
Iiwi: Umm...anybody want to read that note? [indicates note on bayonet]
Ferdia: [walks over to bayonet, peers at note] "Dear Detectives: Congratulations on making it this far! I sincerely hope it hasn't taken you long, but, if it has, sorry about the smell. Isn't this a marvelous accomplishment here? I'll bet you're trying to figure out how it was done - knives, automatic weapons, chemical gas....Let me save you some time there: I used a bit of everything, just to keep the coroner from getting bored. I do believe I have outdone myself. But, I digress. You no doubt came here to see Ozzie. I have therefore made him easily-recognizable. Now then, who fired the missiles, you ask? Ah, that is the fun part. As you know, Ozzie was quite fond of both weapons and automatic systems. You may not know that automatic systems can easily be reprogrammed from remote sites if one has the correct access codes. How remote is remote? Well, now, you're the detectives, you figure it out! This note is my only clue to you! And I won't even sign my name! Ha!"
Ferdia looks at Squeaks, then at the rest of the group. Silence reigns. Each looks around nervously. Suddenly, a loud beeping noise shatters the silence. Bob jumps at the sound, Iiwi leaps into the air, Ivan starts. Ferdia and Squeaks whip around, targeting the sound. It is coming from Ferdie, who, startled enough at the sudden beeping, is thoroughly freaked out when his sister and Squeaks train their guns on him. The small device he had been fumbling out of his pocket goes airborne as Ferdie throws his hands up with a scream. Ivan catches it.
Ivan: [opening cell phone] Hello?...Hold on. [holds phone out to Ferdie] It's for you.
Ferdie: [takes phone sheepishly] Hello?...Hi, Ma...Huh?....Ma, calm down, she's fine....Really. She's right here. Hang on. [hands phone to Ferdia]
[from phone] Thank God, you're all right! I've been worried sick! The TV was talking about Bobetta's butler and they said you and that mouse were working on it, but then they said your car was bombed! And then the radio said you were down in Hawaii at a hotel that exploded, and I called the station but they didn't know where you were and...
Ferdia: [over Ma] It didn't explode, Ma, it got hit by a missile [loud screaming noise from phone]....I'm fine, Ma. Really.
[A red light illuminates on a security camera in the corner. The group looks at it.]
[camera]: One more thing, detectives. I set Ozzie's remaining missiles and whatnot to begin their self-destruct sequences fifteen minutes after heat sensors registered your presence. You have now have five minutes before detonation.
Bob & Ferdie: WHAT?!?
Ivan: Man, that is one sick, demented weirdo...[Squeaks looks over in his direction. Ivan narrows his eyes, puts wings on hips] Don't even say it.
Ferdia: Uh, look, Ma, I gotta go.
Iiwi: [backpedaling towards door as group begins to run out] Yes, c'mon, c'mon, c'mon!
Halfway to the door, Ferdia stops, runs back, & grabs the note on Ozzie, then catches up to retreating group.
Ferdia: [to Squeaks] Evidence...
Ferdie: We're never gonna make it outta here in five minutes!
Iiwi: Guys! I found a jeep! Off to your left!
Squeaks: Great! Everybody in!
Squeaks takes the wheel and guns the engine as the others pile in. The jeep tears through the underbrush, bouncing and tipping dangerously, as Iiwi calls directions down from above. She fails to mention when they draw near the cove, however, and the jeep roars over hill only to become airborne for the few seconds before landing in the cove. The group scrambles out of the jeep and into the sub.
Ivan: Secure the hatch! We're going down!
Ivan begins submerging sub and powering the engines. The sub sinks and picks up speed, and is a few feet beneath the surface when the first explosion rocks the sub. More follow, including some that go off in the water.
Iiwi: He's got mines out here!
Ferdie: Hurry up!
Ivan: I'm going as fast as I can, alright?! I have to avoid the mines!
Bob: [pointing] AAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!
Ivan: [swerving sub to the right]....and the underwater mountains...
The missiles and other explosives put on a spectacular fireworks display for the few people on a nearby beach on the mainland. The lifeguard nearly swallows his whistle, however, when the shark-shaped sub docks at the wharf. The group emerges from the sub.
Ferdie: [embarrassed and still kind of green] Err...Sorry about that....I'll pay to have it cleaned...
Ivan: How can you be related to miss evil-knievil speed-racer daredevil who-needs-gravity over there? [points to Ferdia]
Ferdia: [looking at note] Guess we should go back to the station and have the handwriting analyzed....
Squeaks: Yeah, the results ought to be ready by the time the Chief stops chewing us out...
Bob: Hey, yeah! The autopsy results and stuff should be in! Maybe they found fingerprints on something...
Iiwi: ...Or at least looked up the owner of Hangar 14's jet...
Ferdie: So...we'll meet you two [indicates Ferdia and Squeaks] later?
Ferdia: Sure. We'll call when we get out. [they set off in direction of police headquarters]
Bob: [calling after them] At Bobetta's house. Maybe we missed a clue or something....besides, she needs her big, strong, brave kiwi...
Ivan: ...and how very nice of you to offer to take me there!
Ferdie: I suppose we need to keep you around anyway...
Ivan: Actually, I need to touch base with my Sign Holder to see if he's found anything. I'll catch up with you.
Ferdie: [looking suspicious] You stay with him, Iiwi.
Iiwi: [shrugs] Whatever.
Ferdie and Bob walk over to hail a cab. In the distance, Ferdia and Squeaks have commandeered a beach patrol cop's rover. Ivan contacts the Sign Holder on his wrist communicator.
Sign Holder: Oh, Sir! You're okay! [to partying cronies in background] Hey, guys, keep it down! He's on the phone! ["He's alive?" a voice asks, followed by a round of "d'oh!s"]
Ivan: Ha ha ha. Tell Marty back there to shut his beak or I'll have it shut for him. [background falls silent] That's more like it. Find anything, guys?
Sign Holder: Moles and whistle-blowers all over town are turning up dead, sir! A lot of the better-known hitmen have been hospitalized, and most of them are flat-lining. And a goodly amount of the local gang bosses are missing - most are leaving town.
Sign Holder: You could park an unlocked Porsche on 6th an 8th at midnight and it'd still be there, unharmed, a week later.
Iiwi: Geez, that many are gone?
Ivan: What do those rats know about this ship that I don't?
Sign Holder: Dunno, sir. We think maybe it's 'cause of all the hits from yesterday to now. And it's not just us, sir. Top-ranking business execs are having the same problems, along with a politician or two....And Joe's closed.
Iiwi: Joe's closed?! Joe never closes! Even in a gang war!
Sign Holder: Hey, you're the detective, I'm just a sign holder. I'm just saying what I've heard.
Ivan: Okay, thanks, kid. Call my pilots at the Marlin's Hangar & tell them to stick around a bit and keep their ears open. Ivan Out.
Ivan: Okay, now what?
Iiwi: I want to check a contact of mine. He's not as good as Joe, but he's okay for out-of-town info...
Ivan: Hey, it's your call. Lead on.
Iiwi and Ivan approach an alley lined with motorcycles. Iiwi looks them over, then flies over to one that is heavily decorated with fire and aerodynamic fins. She perches on its seat and looks towards the run-down club entrance. The bouncer looks at her, opens the door a crack and says something into the club.
Iiwi: We'll just wait for him...
Chuck: [coming out of bar] You're a brazen one, you know that, Iiwi?
Iiwi: Hey, Chuckie.
Chuck: Don't call me that, okay? And get off my bike.
Iiwi: [defiantly] No.
Chuck: [sighing] What'd'ya want, bird?
Iiwi: What've you heard?
Chuck: About what? And who's he?
Ivan: I'm the Evil Sir Ivan Kiwi.
Chuck: Oh, really? [to Ivan] So where's your sign holder? [Ivan smolders for a while]
Iiwi: C'mon, Chuck. He's cool. What's up?
Chuck: Everybody's leaving. Either on their own, or in a bag, everybody from the lowest street-bum mugger to the stogie-smokin' officials uptown. Crime's runnin' so high even the crooks're afraid to go out.
Ivan: Any idea who's doing it?
Chuck: No clue. Everybody's blamin' everybody else, general consensus is that nobody knows anything. Don't think anybody here's doin' it. It's all the way up the state, what's I hear. And on the islands.
Iiwi: But nobody knows who?
Chuck: Every time we think we've figured out who's doin' it, that person turns up dead! Word is the governor's callin' in the National Guard, or somthin'!
Iiwi: Did Joe really close?
Chuck: Bomb was found in his place around noon. Didn't go off, but he closed shop for a while.
Ivan: Where's Ed?
Chuck: His bouncer? Hidin', probably.
[A biker mouse leans out the door of the rowhouse they're in front of] Hey, Chuck, hear the latest? Chemical plant down south was robbed blind, then blown up! And pharmacies all over the place are getting' sacked!….Oh, and the president of that Rogaine company is missin'.
Chuck: They find that Propecia guy yet?
[mouse] Floatin' in a river somewhere...
Chuck: Just some top brass in the hair-growth industry. Jack was talkin' about somethin' about them a while ago...but Jack's gone, and I don't remember what he said.
[a blast goes off further down the block. An entire row of buildings collapses on the opposite side of the street.]
Iiwi: Err….maybe we should be getting back...
Chuck: [waving and heading back to club] Knock 'em dead, Redbird.
Ferdia and Squeaks stand in front of the precinct headquarters, staring dumbstruck at the building. Still smoldering, the front wall has crumbled, exposing the offices. A few officers go about their work, but most are on the streets, trying to get a handle on things.
Ferdia: At least they can't pin this one on us.
Squeaks: Looks like something out of the Apocalypse.
Casey: You said it. This whole thing is getting too weird. Bombs are going off all over town, the hospitals are full, and everybody we'd normally suspect is either dead or in the intensive care ward. It's total chaos, but nobody's looting. They're all either running for the border or scrambling for a better hiding place. And I don't mean just the crooks.
Ferdia: Where's the Chief?
Casey: Like I said...
Trevor: Chief went to talk with the governor. National Guard's coming in. So are the feds.
Casey: You guys wanna clue us in as to what this is all about?
Ferdia: Yeah, as soon as we figure it all out. Are Bobetta's butler's reports in?
Casey: What, from yesterday? Probably, if you can get to your desk. Why? Think this is related?
Squeaks: We traced the killing's domino-effect to a small Hawaiian island, then our trail ran cold.
Ferdia: We need to get a handwriting analysis of this. [hands note to Casey]
Casey: [reads note] Whoa! [looks back at them] Tough break, there. Guess who else joined the casualty list?
Trevor: The problem with a lab in the basement...
Casey: Any other leads?
Ferdia: [looking at second floor] Maybe. Squeaks, give me a hand.
Squeaks boosts her up onto the second floor. She returns with the lab results from the butler, as well as a copy of the airfield's results. Before she leaves the floor, however, Bishop hands her a list of all the casualties to date. She drops these down to Squeaks, then climbs down herself.
Ferdia: Maybe there's a connection between all these people.
Squeaks: And we get to look for it. Joy.
Casey: You could also look into the few robberies that are occurring. Most are for chemicals or prescription drugs.
Squeaks: Even better.
Bishop: [from 2nd floor] Hey, we got a call here from Beach Patrol saying you two took one of their rovers!
Ferdia: Tell 'em we'll give it back...
Bishop: I tried. Your reputations precede you. They're faxing us a statement of the value of the vehicle and the shape it's in.
Ferdia: The city's falling apart, and they worry about their stupid car. Let's go meet up with the others....
The land rover climbs up the hilly driveway to Bobetta's house. The ride is silent, despite the fact that they've picked up Ivan & Iiwi on the way there. All eyes are on the flaming landscape before them and the smoldering mansion at the top of what is left of the hill.
Iiwi: Whoa....hard to believe this is the same place....
Ivan: [pounding fist into palm] Man, whoever did this is gonna answer to me!
Ferdia: Hush. [rolls down window] I think I hear screaming...
Moments later, the four have arrived at what remains of the main hall. The police lines hang in tatters, and several bandaged officers are trying to awaken a faint Gracie. Ferdie is rooted a few feet from the doorway, staring wide-eyed about himself. Bob is screaming.
Bob: AAAAAAAAAAA!!! She's gone! GONE! AAAAAAAAAAA!
Iiwi: WHO'S gone?
Ivan: What do you mean, she's gone?!
One of the cops has noticed Ferdia and Squeaks, and limps over to them.
Cop 1: Sorry, guys, we never saw them comin'.
Ferdia: What do you mean, you never saw them coming? Half the precinct was up here guarding her!
Cop 1: Yesterday, maybe. Most of 'em left this morning when the rioting started.
Cop 2: Besides, there wasn't much we could do when the missiles hit.
Squeaks: You were hit with missiles?!?
Ferdia: Since when is San Viano a war zone?!
Cop 1: Man, Blue, where've you been? Some wacko's been throwing these things at us all day! The National Guard's been called!
Iiwi: Forget about the National Guard! What happened to Bobetta?
Cop 1: Fleet o' helicopters came here, shot the place to bits, and grabbed her while we were tryin' to deal with their crossfire!
Iiwi: Arg! This week is beginning to feel like a really bad movie! Exactly when did we fall into the Twilight Zone?!?
Across from them, Ivan is trying to talk to a still-hysterical Bob.
Bob: AAAAAAAA!!! SHE'S GONE!!! AND IT'S ALL MY FAULT!!! WAAAAAA!
Ivan: [angrily] Big strong kiwi, huh? Keep her safe, huh?
Ivan: [losing temper] Grrrrrrr, get a GRIP, BOB! [catches Bob in a right hook to the cheek]
[Bob gets knocked back a few feet, and sits up, rubbing his cheek.]
Bob: Ooooh, this is all YOUR fault! [points accusingly at Ivan]
Ivan: MY fault?! She was YOUR responsibility, and YOU let her stay here!
Bob: Where was she SUPPOSED to go?!
Ivan: I don't know!---Pick a cabin! She's got, what, twenty condos along both coasts and another ten cabins scattered throughout the Midwest? She could'a gone to any one of those, not to mention any of her mother's chateaus in Europe! Why keep her here?!
Bob: I don't know, maybe I'm just a stupid kiwi! Why didn't YOU say anything?!?
Ivan: Oh, yeah, right, like she's gonna listen to ME! She hates me!
Bob: That's because you're evil!
Iiwi: Guys.......Guys!.......GUYS!!!!!!! [they stop fighting and look at her] Maybe we should DO something OTHER than arguing? Like FIND her?
Ferdia: Those two [motions to the two cops] said they were attacked from the south by a squadron of attack helicopters. From their description, the choppers sound like older Apaches and a Huey or two. Know anybody with that type of hardware?
[Bob glares at Ivan, who narrows his eyes and crosses his arms]
Ivan: [to Bob] BESIDES me, she means.
Iiwi: [sadly] Ozzie would've had some....
Ferdie: But he's out of the picture.
Squeaks: True, but that wouldn't have prevented whoever took out his island from taking his aircraft...
Ferdia: We need a lead. Someone must've seen those helicopters...
Bob: Yes! I know! I'll call XYZPDQ!
Ivan: [pats Bob on the head condecendingly] Yes, you do that, Bob. I'll call my pilots.
Bob and Ivan call their respective contacts while Ferdia attempts to call headquarters. Iiwi looks out in the direction the cops said the helicopters had flown off in, thinking.
Ivan: Well, my operatives confirm the whirlybirds' flights in, but say they didn't come back that way.
Bob: Haha! That would be because they flew south, not southwest!
Ivan: That's ridiculous! There's no islands within their flight range to the south!
Iiwi: So maybe they just skirted the coastline.
Ferdie: But what's along the coast?
Iiwi: ....nothing much. But Ozzie had an old factory down there somewhere, I think.
Squeaks: You know quite a bit about this Oswald guy, don't you?
Iiwi: You implying something, Detective?
Ivan: [defensively] Because most o' this stuff's common knowledge. Now that I think about it, I know what factory she's talking about. It's nestled in some cliffs along Cape Curlew.
Squeaks: Common knowledge for who?
Ferdia: Worry about that later, eh? Right now, it's a lead I'll follow -- it's better than nothing, which is about all we have now.
Squeaks: We're grasping at straws, and I don't like the amount of loose ends we're leaving. Very little of this would hold up in court.
Ferdia: As of right now we don't have anyone alive enough to stand trial anyway. And I want to know who blew up my city. So I'm going, with or without you.
Squeaks: [grins] Oh, I never said I wasn't going.
Ivan: Great. My pilots are on their way.
Ivan's jet flies among the clouds, cruising at just under 600 mph at 40,000 feet. The pilots keep a close eye on their radar consoles, watching for bogeys or anything else unusual. In the passenger cabin, a debate rages on.
Squeaks: I just can't help but feel we're being lead through this. It's almost too easy.
Ferdia: Granted, but right now I really want to know who's behind it. This isn't about the death of a butler-turned-informant anymore.
Ivan: If you want my opinion -
Ferdie & Bob: We Don't!!
Ivan: - he probably spilled something he shouldn't've, to someone that wasn't supposed to know --
Iiwi: -- and when his employer found out, he scrambled to do a cleanup!
Ivan: Yeah, except it was too late. Word had spread, necessitating not only a massive cleanup, but also - I think - a stepping-up of his timetable.
Ferdia: So a plan that's been in the works for months is suddenly in jeopardy if he doesn't act fast?
Ivan: [shrugs] I figure. Must've been a major scheme, though, to be causing this much devastation.
Iiwi: Normally, the bosses and political figures that are disappearing would probably have been taken out discreetly, so no one would suspect anything.
Bob: But where does Bobetta fit into all this?
Ferdia: Us. We're getting too close, so he does this to get us off his trail for a while.
Squeaks: It almost makes sense...
Ivan: [shrugs] It's what I'd do if I were in his place. He's killed a lot of high-ranking people on both sides of the track, so he's in deep if he gets caught by anybody.
The plane suddenly banks sharply to the right, diving for a few thousand feet before slip-turning into a leftward dive. The jet picks up speed, its "Seatbelts" light suddenly glowing. The pilot's voice comes over the speaker.
Pilot: Sir! We've got incoming missiles!
Ivan: [grabbing for the mike as the others scramble for seats] Deploy countermeasures!
Pilot: We are, sir! But we're running out!
Ivan: What do you mean, running out?!? There's enough flares and radar decoys on this bird to out-fly the U.S. Navy!
Pilot: That doesn't change the fact that we're out, si--
The pilot is suddenly cut off as the plane goes into a high speed right dive. The dodge is not quick enough, though, and a missile hits the left wing tip, taking out the port engine and sending the jet into a tailspin. Sirens wail and red warning lights flash as the plane tumbles through the clouds. Ivan struggles to the cockpit.
Ivan: What are you idiots doing to my plane?!? Get us out of this dive!
Pilot: I'm trying, sir, but the controls aren't responding!
Ferdia: Cut to half-power on the tail engine and give her full flaps & a hard left rudder!
[The plane settles into a 10 degree, slightly rightward dive, the pilot scrambles to find a landing site.]
Ivan: Where'd you learn that?
Ferdia: Hey, I've got my pilot's license. Just because the Chief won't let me near the Police chopper doesn't mean I'm not an ace pilot.
Squeaks: [from cabin] No, it just means they want to keep their only chopper in one working piece.
Ferdia: And who blew up their other one, huh?
Pilot: Not to interrupt, but we are still going to crash, so you may want to strap yourselves in.
As the pilot dumps their remaining fuel, Ferdia and Ivan take a look at the rapidly-rising ground, then run back into the cabin & fasten their belts. Moments later, they plane impacts the field below, jolting its passengers, snapping its wheels, and bending its remaining wing. It bounces back up a few feet before coming down hard on its crippled right wing, rolling onto its side, and sliding in a half-circle, coming to a halt several hundred feet from their initial touch-down site.
Watching from atop a nearby abandoned factory, the shadow that had launched the last of his stolen missiles swore. ~ They should be a smoldering hole in the ground! ~ he thought angrily ~ Oh well, I wasn't going to need this joint much longer, anyway. I'll just have to leave sooner than I'd planned. ~ He turned and stalked to the stairway, muttering to himself. This was not going as planned. It was going way too fast. And those detectives were getting way too close. ~ But without their airplane, that will soon change. ~
Squeaks gave the hatch another kick, finally dislodging the battered door and sending it flying to the ground. He jumped down, followed by Ferdia, Iiwi, and Ivan. Bob staggered toward the door, lost his balance, and fell out to the ground. Ferdie followed, gingerly stepping to the ground before falling over onto his back.
Ivan: [Looks from Ferdie to Ferdia, then back to Ferdie before scratching his head and turning to Ferdia] Maybe you're adopted, or somethin'....
Ferdie: [still lying on back, stabbing a finger in the air] Can I help it if cast-iron stomachs do NOT run in the male side of our family?!
Iiwi: [surveying the damage] Too bad. She was a good plane.
Ivan: Not to mention one I actually earned. [to shocked looks] Long story.
Squeaks: [looks off-panel] At least we made it to this factory.
Ferdia: [sighs] Not that whoever shot at us is still going to be there once we've hiked half that far...
The group sets off for the factory, leaving the pilot and copilot to guard the wreckage. It sits on the edge of a cliff, and several attack helicopters rest on a cliffside helipad. They approach it carefully, then rush the door when they are met with no opposition. The padlock on the door is dispatched easily enough with a well-aimed shot, then removed and the door kicked open.
The group slowly fans out inside the dark factory, searching for a lightswitch. Ferdia takes out a flashlight, and does a quick sweep of the room, only to discover it is...
Ferdie: Whew! There's a relief! For a moment I thought we were gonna be met with a fully-armored compliment of guerilla soldiers!
The lights flash on, revealing a fully-armored compliment of guerilla soldiers.
Ivan: [smacks Ferdie upside the head] Just HAD to say something, didn't you!?!
A shadow emerges from the manager's office on the second floor, clutching a handcuffed Bobetta in front of him as a living shield.
Shadow: Welcome, detectives. Nice landing, by the way.
Ivan: Why, you--
Shadow: Ah-ah-ah, Ivan, flattery will get you nowhere.
[Ivan looks taken aback that the stranger has recognized him and knows his name. Ferdie goes as far as to whisper that to an equally-stunned Bob.]
Bobetta: Bob! Help!
Bob: Let her go, you evil, maniacal--
Shadow: Now, now, what did I just say about flattery?
Ferdia: [who has forgone the flashlight to hold her gun in both hands] Let her go!
Shadow: [chuckles darkly] Eventually. When I no longer have need of her. Until then, she is my insurance that you six won't follow me. And personally, I would stay out of this if I were you two, Ivan, Iiwi. This does not involve you. Nor any of you. [waves gun at Ferdia and Squeaks] You just go on back home, forget this ever happened, and I'll let her go. [backs down a staircase, headed for a rear exit]
Bobetta: Bob! Help! This guy is a raving lunatic! Just LOOK at him!
Shadow: Shut up! Hey, Ivan! Why don't you tell your buddies what happened the last time you tangoed with Dr. Periwinkle?
Ferdie: PERIWINKLE?!? Ha ha! Isn't that a shade of blue?
Squeaks: Actually, I think it's a type of flower.
Ivan: [scratches head, thinking] Periwinkle, periwinkle.....hmm....[look of recognition passes over his face, followed by a flash of anger] Hey! You owe me three satellites and a spy plane, ya snake!
Shadow: [clucks his tongue] Tut tut. If you didn't want them destroyed, you should've kept your distance....But is that all you remember? [shoots at Ivan's feet]
Ivan: [jumping back] Yipes!
Shadow: How about you, Miss Redbird? No? [shoots at Iiwi, who flutters backward as well, squawking] Very well, then, be that way. But I warn you, stay away! This is a matter of personal vengeance and I will stop at nothing to get it! Understand?!
With that, the he turns and runs out the exit, shouting orders for the guerillas to hold them back. Happily complying with his orders, the guerillas open fire on the group, sending them scattering for cover. Ferdia and Squeaks manage to fell a few of the soldiers before the attack ends as abruptly as it began, the soldiers running out the several exit doors for the remaining helicopters. The exit door is slammed shut, then rocked with an explosion.
Slowly emerging from cover, Bob rushes to the door, followed closely by Ferdie, Ferdia, Squeaks, Ivan, and Iiwi. Bob bursts through the door, stepping out onto the helipad --
-- and realizing too late that it is no longer there. The group plunges off the cliff, head over heels. Iiwi grabs onto a branch conveniently sprouting from one of the cracks in the cliff wall, diving for Ivan. Ivan grabs a fistful of her wing feathers, snatching Squeaks' tail almost as an afterthought. Squeaks catches Ferdia's hand; Ferdie manages to grab his sister's ankle and Bob's tail.
Ivan: Oh, well THIS is just great. Just HAD to see what was behind that door, eh, Bob?
Bob: But...but the helipad was there! And it was door #3!! Door #3 is ALWAYS the right door!!
Squeaks: [kicking his feet, trying to swing them to the cliff wall] Urg, my spine....Knock it off, you two! Bob, Ferdie, climb back up before he pulls my tail off!
Ivan: Oh, the gratitude....
Bob: Okay, I trying....
The branch Iiwi is clinging to by her feet begins to creak and bend. Iiwi glances at it nervously.
Iiwi: Uh, guys?....We're losing the branch!
Ivan: [worried, straining to look up] Please don't say things like that, Iiwi.
Squeaks: "Please"? Did I hear that correctly? Did the Evil Sir Ivan Kiwi actually say "please"?
Ivan: If holdin' you by the tail hurts that much, just say so. No need to get delirious.
The branch snaps, sending the detectives hurtling to the rocky beach shoals once again. Iiwi is overwhelmed by their combined weight, and, though beating her wings frantically, plummets downward with them.
Once in freefall, however, Ivan releases Squeaks, flapping his own wings furiously. Buoyed up by the suddenly lightened load, Iiwi begins to gain altitude, and Ivan grabs onto her feet, offsetting her lift to weight ratio enough that she can only flutter down in a slow spiral.
Iiwi: Ivan! You're wrecking my equilibrium! Leggo!
Ivan: I just did.
Iiwi: I meant of ME!
Ivan: Why? You're doing just fine now. Besides, Bob broke their fall.
Iiwi dives to the beach, forcing Ivan to let go as she lands roughly in the sand, sending him tumbling. Ferdia and Squeaks drag themselves ashore and shake the water out of their uniforms while Ferdie sits rubbing his head in the surf. Bob washes ashore and lies in the sand as waves break over him.
Ferdia: That wasn't very nice, Ivan.
Ivan: Hey, can I help it if you guys are heavy?
Iiwi: [looking after the last of the retreating helicopters] They're following the river now.
Ferdie: [still coughing up seawater] Great. But how're we gonna catch 'em?
Bob: I'll call XYZPDQ! [tries to activate wrist communicator] Aaarg! It's broken!
Ivan: What, the gizmo ain't waterproof?
Ferdia: Somehow I doubt its creators thought to protect it from a three-story fall off a cliff onto rocky shoals.
Ivan: [mumbling] Gotta make everythin' personal, don't we?
Iiwi: The river's probably not deep enough for your sub, is it, Ivan?
Ferdie: So how ARE we gonna follow them?
Squeaks: [looking to trees lining river] Trust me, you don't wanna ask.
A makeshift raft floats down the river, guided by the currents. It occasionally hits a snag, and frequently goes over the small rapids dotting the river. Ferdia and Squeaks sit back to back, napping, at the front of the raft. Ferdie sits cross-legged on the middle of the raft, facing away from them with his head propped up in his hands. The raft goes over a series of rapids, drifting sideways for a bit before swinging back around. Squeaks opens an eye and glares at Ferdie, who hunches a little lower.
Ferdie: [muttering] Not my fault I lost the paddle. I've never been rafting before....
Bob sits at the end of the raft, trailing his feet in the water and singing. Ivan sits on the opposite corner with arms crossed and his back to Bob.
Bob: Stinky feet, stinky feet, stinky stinky stinky feet....
Ivan: [turning to Bob] Bob! Shut UP!
Bob ignores him and continues singing. Ivan covers his ears with his wings, hunching over as Bob sings louder. Finally unable to take it anymore, he snarls and lunges at Bob, and the two tumble off the raft into the river.
Ivan: [pauses, struggling to hold a thrashing Bob's head underwater] Whaaaat?
Iiwi: [narrows eyes] Let him up.
Ivan looks from her to Bob, then to her again. Heaving a sigh of resignation, he gives Bob one last dunk before jumping back onto the raft. Bob flops on behind him and gasps for breath for a few seconds before shaking himself dry and again sitting on the edge of the raft. He looks around for a moment, then resumes signing. Ivan utters a muted scream of frustration, then sits down again.
Iiwi dives down into the river, then splashes up and onto the raft. She shakes the water droplets off and begins preening her feathers. Ivan gives her a pleading look, thumbing over his shoulder at Bob. Iiwi shrugs. Ivan directs his attention to Ferdia and Squeaks instead.
Ivan: Hey! Not that this isn't just downright Twainian an' all, but isn't there something else we could be doing to find them?
In the background, Bob is still singing and dipping his feet in the water. He stops to look into it, wiggling his toes.
Bob: Hi, fishie.
The fish lunges for his foot. Bob jumps up, screaming and hopping on one foot while kicking with the other, to which the fish is now firmly attached.
Ferdia: We have to get there first, and the only ones with working communications devices are you and Iiwi. You don't have anyone who can help us, and Iiwi's headset is out of range.
In the background, Bob grabs the leg with the fish on it and smacks the fish with one wing while flailing the other about. He hops frantically from one end of the raft to the other, spinning around a few times and screaming.
Ivan: What about your radios?
Bob loses his balance and topples over the side of the raft, splashing Iiwi, who looks up from her preening for the source of the splash. More fish converge on Bob.
Squeaks: They weren't exactly designed for a three-story fall into rocky saltwater, either. All we're getting is static. If you're bored, you can make another paddle.
Bob rockets out of the water with a tremendous splash and lands on the raft with a splat, catching everyone's attention. He lays there panting as the others look at his chewed-up feathers in puzzlement.
Ferdie: What happened to you, Bob?
Bob: What happened to me? What happened to me?!? I'll tell you what happened to-
Iiwi: Look! [points ahead] There's a boat up ahead!
Ferdia: Friend or foe?
Squeaks: [peering at it with binoculars that, miraculously, have survived to this point] Hard to say.
Bob: Oh, yeah, go on and change the subject...
The boat turns out to be a simple fisherman's trawler, but hey, when you're in a raft, it's fantastic. Ferdia and Squeaks quickly commandeer the boat, but manage to do so only by taking the fisherman, who insists on steering, with them.
Fisherman: So, what'd y'all say you were lookin' fer?
Ferdia: A couple of military helicopters flying by the river.
Fisherman: Oh, izzat all? They came up 'bout two, three hours ago. Noisy things. Scairt all the fish away.
Bob: [muttering] Not all the fish...
Ferdie: Did you see where they were headed?
Fisherman: Well, toward th' base, I'd reckon.
Squeaks: [raises an eyebrow at Ferdia] Base?
Ferdia: [shrugs] Don't ask me. I don't know of any bases near here.
Fisherman: That's because there aren't any.
Ivan: But you just said!!
Fisherman: Oh, there's somethin' down there, but we're not s'posed to know 'bout it. It's Top Secret.
Ivan: Oh, really? We're a little far from Area 51, don't ya think?
Fisherman: Scoff all ya want, it's still there. With 'lectric fences, an' guards wi' big guns, an' weird strobe lights at night.
Iiwi: Does it have a name?
Fisherman: Now, how can sumthin' that don' exist have a name?
Ferdia: [searching with Squeaks' binoculars] So where is it?
Fisherman: Dunno. But the river forks after a bit, an' ya just foller it to the right, an' ya eventually have one o' those encounter things, is what I hear.
Ferdie: Oh, great. We're putting our live in the hands of a lunatic.
Ivan: No, that was when we followed Bob out the door.
Bob: Oooh, you'se 'a makin' me angry....
Iiwi: I'll fly ahead and check things out.
Iiwi takes off and flies down the river. She returns in half an hour, looking both excited and disappointed.
Iiwi: Well, I found the fork in the river, and the fenced-in "base" -- but I followed the fence all the way around, it's just closing off swampland!
Fisherman: That's just ter throw off th' curious. It's a disguise.
Iiwi: But there's nothing there! It's just swampland, no place to land, and acidic enough to rust anything metal. If there was a base there, it would need to underground, and it'd be hard to keep in working condition.
Ivan: That's the military for ya.
Ferdie: Wait, I remember hearing about a secret base under a lake....
Ivan: Keyword: Lake. As in, closed-off body of freshwater. Iiwi said this is a swamp.
Squeaks: Yes, it would be much harder to build.... and maintain.... so maybe it hasn't been.
Ferdie: Run that by me again?
Squeaks: Even your military will only spend so much money on a project. After that, they're usually willing to admit it's a lost cause and close the operation.
Ferdia: Yes...they close it down, someone else finds it and decides it'd be an excellent spot to head their operations from...and keeps up a military front to keep the locals away.
Squeaks: Sounds feasible.
Ferdie: I don't know.... Are criminals that smart?
Ivan & Iiwi: Yes. [group stares at them] What?
Ivan: What?!? Ya asked a question, ya got an answer. Now stop lookin' at me like I'm about to pull a knife on the lot of you.
Iiwi: What? There are some crafty crooks out there, you know. Mafia, cons, cat burglars...
Ferdie: But, well, you know, uh.....there are plenty of better ways to make a living...
Bob: ...and, besides, crime doesn't --
Ivan: [smirks] Ha! Whoever said crime doesn't pay has evidently never seen my bank statements!
Bob opens his mouth, but never gets a chance to say anything, as the entire group's attention is suddenly drawn to the swamp ahead.
The 'underwater base' rises three stories above the swamp, camouflaged from overhead and distance view by swamp trees, vines, and overgrown weeds. The parts not covered in plant growth are painted in dark, drab colors and have weathered to such a large extent that they at first glance appear to be nothing more than the battered remains of windblown fishing shanties and scuttled boats. Here and there patches of swamp grass grow in clumps, masking the sloping entrances to the true 'underwater' parts of the base.
Ferdie: Uh, Iiwi? You wanna fly over and investiga-
Iiwi: No way, no how. They've probably got machine-gun nests up there.
Ivan: You're right. It's too dangerous. Let Bob go instead.
Ferdia: [scanning area with the infrared binoculars] Later, Bob. Right now you need to be quiet. I don't think they've spotted us yet.
Ivan: [sarcastically] Well, now, that would certainly explain why we're all still alive and breathing. [snaps at fisherman] Turn that motor off!!
Fisherman: But there's no'un here!
Iiwi: Look! On the roof! The helicopters!
Fisherman: Gee, sure are spiffy-lookin' things!
Ferdia: Okay, we know they're here somewhere.
Squeaks: Problem is, where?
Ivan: Underground. It's dark, it's dank, and it's bound to be a regular labyrinth down there. Half your enemies would get lost before they even got to your guards.
Ferdie: You certainly seem to know what you're talking about.
Ivan: [shrugs] Evil knows evil.
Iiwi: I'd go for the upper floors of the building. Secluded, hard to reach, and easily defendable. Plus, you're close to the helicopters if you need to leave in a hurry.
Ferdia: Hmm....They both sound like plausible strategies to me. I'd take the high road. Squeaks?
Squeaks: [shakes his head] Nah, I'd go underground. More intimidating, plus you could have an escape tunnel, so no one'd see you leave.
Ferdie: So, what? We should split up?
Ferdia: [glances at Squeaks] Well...
Squeaks: [half-shrugs] Gonna be difficult to make an arrest if we both go the wrong way.
Bob: Great! We'll go downstairs!
Iiwi: Oh, no. You're not getting me in those tunnels!
Ivan: Me neither. [to stares] Hey, the only underground deathtraps I venture into are the ones I design, okay?!
Ferdia: Fine. Iiwi and Ivan come with me, Ferdie and Bob go with Squeaks. Let's move, people!
Squeaks, Ferdie, and Bob disembark the boat and enter one of the sloping tunnels. Squeaks tests his antennae-radio before entering, and gets a thumbs-up from Ferdia -- their headset radios, at least, are working. Ferdia, Ivan, and Iiwi climb back aboard the raft and pole toward the building using the fisherman's net. The fisherman watches them for a few minutes, then looks around uneasily.
Fisherman: Well, uh, guess I'll be goin' 'long my way now...
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