Chapter 10: Kidnapping on the High Sea
"This, I think," said Greg, "will be one of the best days of my life to date." He straitened his tie and looked back into the mirror. The world-weary look was disappearing, and a new raccoon was emerging. His fur had even begun to change back to what it was previously; a rich grey color that had faded with depression and lack of sun. He felt good about himself. He had thrown the bottle of rum overboard and was now looking at a new life. He felt better to know that there was something left to life yet. He picked up his coat off the bed and put it on around him.
Not to bad, he thought. He looked back to the mirror and then walked out the door. He looked down the hall to see a skunk tail disappearing down the corridor. That tail looked familiarÖ
"Nah," said Greg, to no one. He began walking down the hall, when a menagerie of suit wearing animals passed him by. They all wore the same uniform grey suits, with what looked like plastic shoes. The mouse led the parade with a fox, otter, and stoat following behind. They looked like they were headed up to the ball as well. Greg continued his walk down the hall, and to Angieís room. Though they had spent the night together the first night, they had decided to stay in separate rooms, just to be safe. Julie opened the door and stared at her brother.
"You clean up nicely," said Julie. "You should see your date, though."
"Excuse me?" asked Greg. Julie just snickered and walked out the door. She was wearing a flattering grey dress to offset the black and white in her fur. She always did enjoy dressing up.
"Man, oh man, Greg," said Anne, who had just come up to the door. "You are definitely a piece of work."
"Thanks," said Greg. "Is Angie in?"
"Right," said Anne. "Sheíll be out in a second. I have to go see Captain Badge now. I suggest you wait outside."
Greg leaned up against the wall and checked his watch. 8:45. No hurry, he thought. Plenty of time.
"Itís 8:45, Joseph," said Phyla. "Are you ready yet?"
"Why are you taking me to this silly thing?" asked Joseph. "Iím just here to protect you."
"Exactly," said Phyla. "You couldnít very well do your job if you werenít there."
"Yes, madam," he said.
"Oh, you love me and you know it," said Phyla.
"Not so much as love," said Joseph, emerging from the room. "Itís more of a protective instinct."
"Oh really?" asked Phyla. "What does your protective instinct tell you about tonight?"
"Not much," said Joseph, as he holstered his weapon. "Just to be prepared."
"Thatís your job," said Phyla. "My job is to have fun."
"Yes, I suppose thatís in your linage," he said, putting on his coat. "Both the Foxes and the Coons have both been known for their habits of being playful.
"And being red furred doesnít help either does it?" she asked, playfully.
"Well, I must say that your unique fur patterns give you a playful edge," said Joseph. "Sometimes I find it a trifle difficult to keep up with you."
"Oh, thatís just because youíre getting old," said Phyla. "What time is it?"
"8:50," said the stoat. "The operation begins in T minus 45 minutes."
"Excellent," said the mouse. "Keep track of her as soon as she enters the room. Donít let her out of your sight."
"They are arriving now sir," said the fox. They all turned to look at the stunning beauty entering the door. On her arm was a black and grey raccoon, wearing a suit of grey. "I thought Joseph was a wolverine," said the fox.
Phyla and Joseph climbed up the stairs and into the hall through the back entrance. She noticed a group of animals, standing in a corner. Sheíd have to watch them. They spread out across the room to the corners, and began to mingle. She kept them in the back of her mind. Joseph too was looking around, trying to spot potential trouble. He didnít see anymore than a normal paranoid protector would. He decided to stick close tonight. Something just wasnít correct about the entire affair, but he kept quiet.
"Well, Captain Badge," said Anne, "Are you ready?"
"Certainly," said Badge. He opened the door. "Ladies first," he said. They walked into the room and the entire congregation stopped to look. Captain Badge was notorious for coming to the events alone, but now he had someone just like him on his arm. The lovely badger on his arms told the crowd that he was beginning to enjoy life. They walked into the room together, and the band started playing again. Badge and Anne sat down at the table and began to talk, while Angie and Greg got up to dance. Five pairs of eyes watched them from across the room as they danced.
"Marita? Whatís going on?" asked Geno.
"You see that stoat, mouse, fox, and otter?" asked Marita. Geno looked about as if just scanning the crowd.
"Yes, they are wearing plastic shoes," said Geno. "Those the ones?"
"Right," said Marita. "And thereís their target." She pointed to the middle of the dance floor.
"Youíre kidding," said Geno.
Angie and Greg danced across the floor as Phyla edged in closer to the captain.
"Good evening, captain," said Phyla. "May I have this dance?"
"Cutting in on me?" asked Anne with a smirk. "You can have one dance Angie, but after that, heís all mine." Anne walked over to the punch bowl to get a drink, as Phyla looked confused.
"You wanted a dance, Angie?" asked the Captain, as he held out his hand.
"Sir," said Joseph, "this is Princess Phyla." The captain looked at her through the darkened room, to see a perfect copy of Angie standing before him.
"Iíll be," he said.
Angie and Greg continued to dance across the floor, making their way over to the captain and the red and white raccoon asking for a dance. They were oblivious to the world, just happy being. They didnít notice that the grey suited animals had begun their approach.
"Geno," said Marita, "Theyíre moving." Marita and Geno pulled their side arms and headed for the captain. They went unnoticed in the darkened room as they crept towards the captain, Angie, and the princess.
"See youíre getting better all the time," said Angie.
"Well, Iím still afraid that Iíll trip or..." Greg caught his shoelace under his foot and went sprawling, knocking over both the captain and the princess. The Environs saw someone making a move and pounced, running into the fray and grabbing the girl. Joseph countered with a left hook and sent the otter sprawling backward into a table. The fox charged and knocked Joseph out with a vicious swing, amplified by butt of his pistol. Geno let out a whoop and set a kick to the fox, throwing him over a table, while Greg was just standing up. He saw the mouse beginning to drag a red and white raccoon away.
The world suddenly went dizzy for Greg, and soon he saw nothing but the red haze of anger.
"Not this time!" he yelled and charged at the mouse. The mouse, being taken completely by surprise, stared dumbly as Greg crashed into him. He soon regained himself and stood up, this time wielding a knife. He swung with the blade, missing only by and inch or so. Greg countered, grabbed the knife and plunged it into the table. A savage kick later and the mouse was back on the floor. Greg picked up the red and white raccoon and ran for the nearest exit. Better to leave while you have the upper hand.
Geno dodged the fist of the irate fox, but was caught from behind by the stoat. Geno fell to the floor, and sprang back up. Motivated only by survival now, he spun about and caught the stoat by his shirt. He threw the stoat into the fox, as they both crashed headlong into the wall. Marita picked up the red and white raccoon and rushed for the door. She couldnít just leave Geno like that, so she left her in the hallway. She rushed back in and tackled the fox. Anne had arrived and was tossing the stoat about like a dirty rag.
Sheíd make one hell of an agent, though Marita. Iíll give her the pamphlet if we make it out of here. The fox stood uneasily and looked about for support, only to be blindsided by the Captain. Two more large badgers had already grabbed the mouse and the now unconscious trio. Marita grabbed Geno by the arm and pulled him out the door.
"Get to the life boat," she said. Genoís head was still ringing. He was getting too old for this. He staggered across the deck to the lifeboat and fell inside. Marita followed behind, with the raccoon in her arms. She let off the winches and they radioed the destroyer.
"Weíll be making contact in five minutes," said Marita. "Agent Geno is a bit bruised, but we have the princess."
Greg was tired of running. Besides, he was in his room anyway. He set the raccoon on the bed and plopped down beside her, and began to doze when a memory came back. That fight, something wasnít right about it. His side began to hurt, taking his mind off it.
He promptly passed out.
Angieís head was ringing, but she heard the word "princess" clearly enough. And she felt like she wasnít on the ship anymore. Something a lot smaller, probably. Her head hurt and she didnít want to think about it too much. So she fell back asleep.
"Does anyone know what in the name of god just happened here?" asked the captain. "Who the hell were those idiots? And where is Angie?"
"Better question," said Joseph. "Were is the princess?"
"I think I know," said Julie, who had seen the entire event from across the room. Everyone turned to look at her. She crossed her arms and began her tale.
"Those goons," she began, "saw Greg trip. Heís a horrible dancer. They apparently saw an opportunity to grab..." She thought for a second. "I donít know who they were after," she admitted. "I saw the melee, and I saw two people run off with two red and white raccoons. The one person was Greg, the other was someone else, A skunk I think."
"What skunk?" asked Joseph.
"She ran out of the room with Geno."
"Geno?" asked Joseph and Captain Badge.
"A tall grey fox gentleman who speaks with an Italian accent." said Julie.
"You mean the Geno Vulpes?" asked Joseph. "He was here?"
"Yes, why?" asked Julie. Joseph looked about nervously.
"Then this situation has just gone down hill," said Joseph.
"What?" asked Anne. "Will someone explain what is going on here? Whereís Angie? Where is Greg? And who were those people?" Everyone turned to Joseph, assuming he had the answers.
"Well," said Jospeh. "Last I knew, Geno was one of the Watchers. This skunk probably is too. They should have the answers that weíre looking for."
"Captain," said an approaching otter. "One of the life boats is gone!"
"Can you pick up the signal from it?" asked Badge.
"No, sir," said the otter. ĎThey apparently detached the tracer when they went over the ship."
"Thatís them," said Joseph. "They wonít hurt the princess, but I need to get back to her as soon as possible."
"Good plan," said Anne. "Whereís Angie though?"
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