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Story [Penguins of Madagascar] Watermelon Snow (regulars,OCs, friendship/action/light D=) COMPLETE

Discussion in 'Non Star Wars Fan Fiction' started by pronker, Jan 15, 2016.

  1. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Title: Watermelon Snow

    Author: pronker

    Rating: PG

    Time: Before the TV episodes Skipper Makes Perfect and Kaboom and Kabust.

    Disclaimer: I make no profit from this fanfiction and do not own these characters, Dreamworks does. And boy, do they do a good job with them. *mwah*

    Summary: The boys blow up things closer to the North Pole than the South Pole. Perfidy ensues when Danes enter the picture, but did we expect anything else?

    A/N: No offense meant to any Danes. I am a Jensen myself. First part only is all dialogue, others not. Also, thanks to Ramza for technical help.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "I'm Chuck Charles here with late breaking news about our own adorable penguins from Central Park Zoo. The waddling wonders willingly went on a zoo exchange program all the way from the Big Apple up to the --- to the --- what is this word?"

    "I'm Bonnie Chang here at the Central Park Zoo filling in for Chuck, who'll return in a moment. I'm standing right outside the habitat now housing our latest attraction and just look at this crowd of happy faces! Madam, what would you like to know about these newest arrivals?"

    "How did they find so many white Pomeranians?"

    "Ha ha ha! These are arctic foxes, one of the cutest animals from up north. Let's ask someone about them --- oh, Zookeeper Alice! Over here! Share your expertise with the folks at home and tell us what you know about these adorable newcomers."

    "I'm on break."

    "--- one of the weirdest words I've ever come across in my twelve years of --- am I on? Chuck Charles back with the latest and greatest news from Channel 1. If we say it happened, it did. If we say it's going to happen, it will. And what happened to our beloved penguins? They are delighting new kiddies for four weeks in the Åland Islands Zoo through the Arctic Antarctic Relaxation Program. Yes, folks, A.A.R.P. maintains that just like people, zoo animals need their horizons expanded to avoid boredom. Our popular penguin quartet quickly quelled questions of suffocating staleness when they performed prodigiously for new audiences of Swedes, excuse me, make that the Finns, in the Åland Islands Zoo. Viewers, you're reading the caption correctly and that capital A with the ring over it means that it's pronounced OH-LUND, did you ever hear of such a -- never mind."

    "Zookeeper Alice, what was that? I didn't quite catch it. Bring in the Steadicam, quick! Hayden, pan it here and we'll get a visual of Zookeeper Alice's professional opinion on these fluffy, yipping little cutiepies."

    "I said let the penguins stay up there. These foxes are way less trouble. There hasn't been a weird thing happen since those birds flew the coop."

    "Back to you in the studio, Chuck. I think we can promise that Operation Exchange is well underway."

    "Bonnie, as long as it isn't Operation Sexchange I think we're golden, ha ha."

    "Could you say we're sure if they're sure, Chuck?"

    "Ha. Ha. Tee Em Eye, Bonnie, Tee Em Eye."

    "And that's a wrap."

    "Sports up next with Scooter Alvarez. How about those Rangers, Scooter?"

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  2. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] I love the penguins -- my favorites from the movie :D I'm very interested in this!!

    And if you ever need help in this forum, Mira_Jade and I are happy to help!
     
  3. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Aw, thanks - I'm playing happily in the new sandbox - so I'll keep you guys in mind!
     
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  4. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Pronker hi! [face_dancing] Fun stuff here! Nice blend of I know what I'm talking about, what is all this? [face_laugh] between the reporters. :p

    NYCitygurl - congrats on your WNU mod-status. @};- Branching out I see. ;) [:D]
     
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  5. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    And it's wonderful to have a new player in this sand-box, at that! Welcome. [:D]

    That said, these penguins are a hoot! [face_laugh][face_love] Your story was delightful to read this morning, and I certainty can't wait to see what happens next. :D
     
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  6. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Mira_Jade Nyota's Heart Thanks for the hearty welcome!

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "Outstanding debut routine today, gentlemen. The kiddies cheered the three beak support column with spouting centerpiece action. I told you so." Skipper planted himself in front of their 52-inch television set. "I also told you we could expect top-notch treatment like this ginormous screen. I mean, were they afraid we'd get bored? Is it socialistic preventive therapy propaganda? Count me uncaring and unindoctrinated." He clicked the remote. Lilting, waterfall-sounding music entered the secluded part of the habitat that doubled the size of the one in the Central Park Zoo,except for that one's fourteen hidden levels. Skipper clicked again, and a documentary about ice worms attracted his interest.

    Private rubbed his behind. "Have a care with those beaks next time, everyone."

    "Intel from Imelda the polar bear says that this habitat housed two pair arctic foxes before us." Kowalski was winding up to something because he lacked a lab to take up excess mental energy. The others had been through it all with him before. Rico growled under his breath.

    Private sniffed each corner of the wide bunk he was to share with Skipper and gave a sunny smile. "Crackerjack job done on the cleanin' up, then."

    Kowalski continued, bursting to get information out. "Each pair raised a litter all in one bunk. Then the young ones grew up."

    Skipper stared at Private bustling about, fluffing pillows, plopping their duffels on something that looked like a massage table four feet from the two bunks. "Yes. They do that."

    "So I speculate that our zoo overlords hazarded that since some species of penguins live in burrows, they could take us away from our beautiful HQ with its beautiful lab and shove us into communal living." Kowalski sneaked his options clipboard underneath the pillow of the spot nearest the latrine, then appeared to reconsider.

    Rico grinned and Private hid a smile behind his left flipper. Kowalski looked embarrassed at his own sneer and wiped it off his face. "Um, even more communal than we do already."

    Skipper shrugged. "Meh. Bigger bunks. I could get used to this."

    "Oh, don't be so Magellanic, Skipper. Thank Galileo it's only temporary." Kowalsi finished stowing his gear after slamming his options clipboard underneath the pillow of the spot farthest away from the latrine. "Let's go see what the humans are doing." He charged up the ramp leading to the surface from their large burrow. There wasn't any sort of cover to use as a door, but the zoo architects had curved the tunnel's entrance away from the prevailing cold wind from the nearby Gulf of Bothnia. It would have to do.

    Skipper allowed this. "Very well." He stretched, rising from the concrete floor with his usual fluid grace. One thing this place didn't have was anything like seats.

    Kowalski would have swallowed his teeth if he'd had any. "If it's all right with you," he blurted from the top of the ramp. "I lost my temper, I ---"

    "Forget it. We needed a change. Let's roll." The slap of little penguin feet faded away.

    The television blathered on unwatched, nattering about a mysterious unmarked lorry charging through the Öresund bridge-tunnel tollbooth between Sweden and her southern neighbor without paying fare or disclosing her cargo. The lorry reached the Swedish border all the way from Denmark and it thundered unstoppable into the night, heading northeast. Border officials promised action, possibly as soon as the vernal equinox.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  7. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_laugh] [face_laugh] - Penguin dudes enjoying the cushy lifestyle. =D=
     
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  8. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Nyota's Heart Yup, they relax when they can. They're like firefighters, heavy work, heavy play. :cool:

    IOIOIOIOIO

    Åland Island Zoo's outdoors habitat for foxes and now penguins had a spare charm, Rico would give it that. And there was small chance that he couldn't come up with --- up with, he snickered to himself --- anything they truly needed on this hiatus. Out in the late winter sunshine, the world looked sturdy and stoic, as if this island had weathered many a winter and would weather many more. At the same time, the mood of the zoo spoke of slight weariness, as if come on already! was on all the animals' minds. Spring was right around the corner, as welcome a change of season as it proved to be each year.

    Rico was content, but then he nearly always was. It took an overwhelming menace singling him out from his brothers or the threat of Skipper's prolonged absence to shake his foundation. Even kaboom!ing didn't rattle his soul like those two things did.

    "Got to keep in shape, men. Drop and give me fifty." Nobody whined and Skipper, leading from the front as always, drilled them until they would have sweated if they weren't penguins. "Six laps, and we're done. Find a spot in the sun to lay out, away from each other."

    "Good idea, Skipper. No need to get tired of each other this soon." Kowalski seemed to have been watching psychological TV shows again. "Dr. Oz says that changes in residence are a challenge for relationships because you don't have the usual support system to defuse stress."

    "K'walski, I'm thinkin' you mean Dr. Phil. He's not always right, you know. When have we ever gotten tired of each other?"

    "I'm already tired of this debate. Actions speak louder than words." Skipper performed a flawless open pike dive, Rico cannonballed, Private aced a closed pike, and Kowalski dove backwards with a half somersault. The crowd cheered and when the laps were done, all but a few people had moved along to the polar bear enclosure.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "Hemskola, hemskola, nej nej nej ... "

    "Du vet att. And now let us practice the English, darling. We must not neglect the lesson because of our outing in this lovely weather, nej?"

    "Mummy, I do not like homeschooling."

    "Nonsense, Per. We are having outings and you play with your little comrades every other Thursday for one full hour."

    Per kicked a stray pebble from the immaculate path. It landed near Skipper's lie out by the saltspray rose bush. He observed without seeming to as he waddled casually back and forth in front of the woman and the boy.

    "We move to Åland because your father and I desired the homeschooling for you. We do not regret this. Do not make us regret, Per."

    Bird or mammal, slumped shoulders signified defeat. The boy ran his knuckles back and forth across the smooth steel fencing that would repel a charging polar bear. Typical overkill on the security, thought Skipper, like we penguins are in danger up here in Peaceful Hippie Land. He paced in front of the boy as if he were just another specimen hoping for a tossed snack.

    "Does this make us Finns now?"

    "Never! We are not Finns. Our government in Sweden outlawed the homeschooling and we move to Åland for you, Per. Finnish government here allows the homeschooling."

    Oh ho, spoon on the guilt like tartar sauce, lady, grumbled Skipper to himself. This was becoming a little too soap opera-ish for his taste and he eyed his lie out spot, which was now nicely in full sun.

    "I want more, and I know that I should not, Mummy."

    The woman was manipulative, just like Ma and her fainting spells. She opened her coat and snagged her son inside it, hugging him and tickling him until his bad mood fled. "You will see how much this way is better, my boy. You will not see now but when you are grown, you will be ready for the conquering of the outside world when you leave Åland for career. Oh, yes, you will see."

    "My friends will conquer, too, Mummy?"

    Skipper's mouth dropped open.

    "Yes, yes. All the little homeschoolers will make the legion of informed road warriors in tune with the technology of tomorrow and the world view to conquer first Scandinavia and then, who knows? And it all starts here with my little boy and his little friends with dedicated homeschooling by their loving families. Soon the world will be yours. Come, Per. Du och jag nu." She waltzed him around once while he stood on top of her heavy boots, they both laughed merrily, and then she released him from her coat and led him away. Their footsteps receded. Skipper processed the unexpected intel and forgot about lying out in the sun.

    IOIOIOIO

    The right moment came just after the long winter twilight began. "Brace yourselves, gentlemen. I just found out Åland is Finnish and they allow something sinister to happen to innocent little children!"

    "You don't mean --- "

    "I do. Homeschooling. " Skipper's blue eyes turned as stormy as an ocean churned up with towering waves that were very stormy. "It might be just my imagination" --- from where he stood he couldn't see the others' nods and eye-rolls --- "but I don't think so. Ålanders could be building an entire army of Scandinavian scavengers, sackers, pillagers, and lutfisk eaters." He whipped around to face his team. "Sound familiar?"

    The three spoke at once.

    "Pastry chefs?"

    "Vikings?"

    "Legos?"

    "One vintage 1953 salted herring to you, Kowalski. Private, I'll just chalk up that response to your usual adorable innocence and Rico, Legos coming from" --- Skipper took a calming breath --- "Denmark is the exception that proves the rule that nothing good comes from Denmark."

    "Reptilicus was a good movie from Denmark, Skippa, remember?"

    "I have spoken, Private, and no, it wasn't. There's something up with the humans around these here parts. I want to find out what."

    Kowalski whipped out his tongue to demolish the last crumbs of the danish that a zoo patron had tossed him this morning. He began diplomatically, "Ah, Skipper, a legion of homeschooled Viking warriors isn't completely out of the ballpark, but you'll have to admit that it's unlikely. Hee hee. Skipper? Hee hee? Um, hee?"

    It was a measure of Skipper's leaderly patience that he did not blow up, at least on the outside. "How so?"

    Kowalski whipped out the options clipboard. "One: all of Scandinavia including Denmark is famed for its current peaceful condition. Two: the world has changed since the Vikings ravaged their neighbors."

    "And three?"

    "I don't have a three."

    "These things always come in threes. Try harder."

    Kowalski's frustrated nurturing instinct sometimes got the better of him and never so much as with his commander. "We'll keep an eye out for Scandinavian weirdness, right, boys?" Skipper turned away to make sure everyone was on the same paranoid wavelength or at least within tolerance, and Kowalski pointed both flippers at Skipper's back and nodded wildly. Private and Rico picked up the cues.

    "Righto!"

    "Aye!"

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  9. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] I love that they're SO concerned about the homeschooling :p
     
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  10. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_rofl] !!! Oh dear! Homeschooled conquerors! Loved the reference to the Drs. Oz and Phil [face_laugh] =D=
     
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  11. Mira_Jade

    Mira_Jade The Fanfic Manager With The Cape star 5 Staff Member Manager

    Registered:
    Jun 29, 2004
    The banter here just killed me! Always comes in threes, Legos, Vikings - I can't tell you how much I smiled while reading this. I enjoyed every word. [face_laugh]=D=
     
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  12. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    @Mira_Jade Nyota's Heart NYCitygurl Glad you're enjoying the ride! :) And it just now occurs that a character sheet might help with newcomers to the series ... 8-} so here goes : http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Characters/ThePenguinsOfMadagascar [face_cowboy]

    IOIOIOIOIO​

    "Cálmate, chica, tienes que relajar...you're so beautiful, me haces volverme loco. Sí, como ése, ése ... now! Madre de --- "

    "Skippa, wake up." Private prodded and kicked until he received a response.

    "Huh?"

    "You were talkin' in your sleep. It must have been quite the lovely dream."

    Åland's version of a habitat had no windows and only the dimmest light filtering from the stars and aurora entered through the curved opening. It must have been this soft anonymity that undid Skipper.

    "Dream? I guess. The memory is better, though. We were on Bouvet Island, the most remote island in the world. We swam through swells and crested crescendos of wicked waves until landfall on the sweetest little beach you'd ever want to see. Those ladies kept up with me, swimming I mean, and then some."

    "Um, sounds romantic. You don't have to tell me any more." Private yawned.

    "I did say they were the Chinstrap Sisters, right? From Chile? It was paradise, just we four."

    Private shot awake. "Four? But how? With three, yes, but --- "

    "Never you mind. Someday I'll tell you in a special briefing. Go back to sleep, young Private. That's an order."

    "But how will you --- "

    "I'll deal with it."

    "Can I help?"

    "No."

    Private was asleep again when Skipper rose to survey the northern lights cascading over the island he currently was on. The sight churned up more memories than he wanted to consider, and he didn't stay outdoors long.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    When no one was looking, Kowalski sang to himself in his HQ lab. Here on Åland was precious little privacy like that, but after exercise one morning a week from Skipper's homeschooling announcement, he found a warm lie out between the Calluna vulgaris and the Viscum album. The song lyrics came as easily to him as thinking about Doris. He cleared his throat and directed himself with both flippers as if he were a maestro. "Hummmm. Kaff. Kaff. Me me me me. Ahem. Like a briiiidge over a cup of water, you can lay me down ... no, that's not it."

    A cloud ghosted over the sun. He dropped his flippers and sighed as the Calluna vulgaris' bare branches stirred in a chilly breeze. "Hmmmmph. This is more to the point, Doris. I call your name, but you're not there. Was I to blame for being unfair? Don't you know I can't sleep at night since you've been gone. I always weep at night, I can't go onnnn ... " The weather cleared and some scuffling next to the Viscum album made him peer out at the interloper into his space. There in a splash of sunlight stood Rico with his feathery crest stirring in the zephyr. He gestured for Kowalski to follow him.

    "Team, there's a new animal in this zoo. A fascinating animal. The humans have captured a Sasquatch. She's in a top security section of the primate house temporarily before transfer to Helsinki. I want to meet her. Kowalski, options?"

    Kowalski didn't even need to think. "Imelda says that inside the primate house is an orangutang, and we all know how effective orangs are at getting into and out of enclosures. I think his name is Hugo. I recommend Rico's expertise at exploding entries" --- Rico beamed at the praise --- "tonight into the main primate house and we'll ask Hugo to get us into meeting, meeting her, h-her --- wait --- a Sasquatch?! They're a myth!"

    "Thus the fascination. Rico, I want the smallest possible kaboom, understood?"

    "Awwwwww --- "

    "I know, I know, but we don't want to startle the lady. She's even more a stranger to these parts than we are."

    "Aw riiiiight." Rico's pout could turn the toughest hearts to mush, but not this time.

    "Operation Welcome Wagon is a go."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
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  13. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    [face_rofl] [face_rofl] Skipper is one hot rockin' dude [face_mischief] if his dreams are anything to go by. 8-} Do love the Aurora Borealis reference. :D
     
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  14. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] I can't wait to see what happens!
     
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  15. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    NYCitygurl And this is what happens next, intriguing, I hope! :-B

    Nyota's Heart Yup, Skipper's been around the block with any number of conquests.[face_love]

    IOIOIOIOIO

    In the end, Rico's kaboom! was more a bubbling pop! followed by a slow fizzling splpsh. The primate doors opened obligingly and they were in. The warmth of the building soon made them gag.

    "Onward, men. Through humidity, mist, and thick, choking heat. Follow me!"

    Private stood lookout as Skipper, Kowalski, and Rico slid on condensation-slick tile up to where an ancient orangutan dozed on his perch. The ape's habitat featured glass in the front with an admirable attempt to make it appear Asian. Just enough bamboo screened in three stunted trees in front of a stunning painted backdrop, but that's all it was: a backdrop. The reality for the old orang was right before them. Three dried out trees, whereas on Sumatra he would have had the lush arboreal canopy to explore.

    Kowalski tapped gently on the glass. "Hugo? Hugo?"

    The senior citizen awakened slowly. "Huh. Penguins."

    "Yes. Sorry to wake you. We live next to Imelda." At Kowalski's desultory words, Rico yearned to speak more clearly. Anyone who could infiltrate without kaboom!ing earned his grudging respect and a large amount of pity.

    The surprisingly spry superannuated simian looped himself down from the tree and approached the window. He searched an armpit and came up with a bobby pin. Two clicks and one prod later, the glass door swung open.

    He addressed Rico first. "The scuttlebutt at twilight said you want to meet Orang Pendek."

    Rico didn't get much attention unless he were blowing something up. "Huh?"

    "Otherwise known as Sasquatch."

    Skipper stepped up as leader as was his custom. "Right a rooney. Is she available?" Rico thought that Kowalski and Skipper looked alike at that moment. Their desires practically radiated off them, Skipper's to meet and greet, Kowalski's to scope and probe. Rico shivered.

    "I'll check her calendar." While the three peered around the unfamiliar space and panted with incipient heat exhaustion, Hugo's dark eyes seemed to see into their souls. He reached a conclusion and with a gesture that appeared rude but wasn't, he pointed to a solid door at the end of the main hall.

    "She's in the back room."

    Kowalski couldn't contain himself. "The brutes! Such a rare treasure ought to be in the best habitat the zoo has to offer."

    Hugo shrugged. Past other tropical denizens such as the nocturnal aye-aye who waved bony fingers at them and a colobus monkey that was one indistinguishable fluff of black and white, he led them to what looked like a subverted storeroom. One twist of the bobby pin more and the lock clicked.

    Silently, Hugo gestured for help and the three penguins heaved up the articulated overhead door.

    A dark shape turned.

    "I'll lock up when you're done grilling her. And," Hugo said over his shoulder as he waddled in a penguin-like gait back to his perch, "be nice to her. Orang Pendek, the saola, and my kind are all on the way out."

    Skipper protested to the orang's retreating back, "But we don't want to grill her, we just want to meet --- never mind." He stepped out from the other two penguins. "Miss Sasquatch? I'm Skipper, this is Kowalski and this is Rico. We're pleased to meet you."

    Silently, the furred hulk approached. From a face eerily similar to Hugo's, a contralto voice asked, "What are you?"

    "We are the penguins."

    Sasquatch drew nearer. The silkiest of fur the color of Fred The Squirrel's tree trunk draped a form that dwarfed Commissioner McSlade. "From where?"

    "The splendid continent of Antarctica originally, but we are travelers like you. Where are you from, young lady?"

    The contralto got deeper. "Many places. And I'm not so young."

    This was turning into an interrogation despite good intentions. "What's your name, your real name?"

    "Sasquatch."

    "Come on, that's your species. Do you want a real name? Because I'm going to say Mikaela." Skipper added a winning smile, and he hated to smile.

    "No. Sasquatch will do. It always has."

    "How about Sassy, if you don't mind? Because Quatchie sounds, um, really weird." This wasn't going well. Under the glossy fur were small curves, right to Skipper's liking in a mammal. He imagined himself preening her, but stopped at the thought of pulling a Doris. Not only yearning for another genus, but another class was Kowalski's thing.

    "I mind. It's Sasquatch." She jerked her head in Hugo's habitat's direction. "He thinks I'm related to him somehow because of the orang pendek thing, but I don't think so."

    "But you don't know," Skipper pressed.

    "I do know so." The meet-and-greet seemed to be winding down until Kowalski bustled over.

    "Miss Sasquatch, would you mind lifting your arm so I could take your temperature?" The medico bag that Rico had barfed up bulged with stethoscopes, sutures, syringes, a sphygmomanometer, and six tubes of surgical lubricant. "It's for science!" He drooped at her next words.

    "No. Enough measurements." Sasquatch sulled up. "Are we done here? I want to say we're done."

    Stonewalled, Skipper stepped back more from her personal space. "We are here to help you. It's what we do."

    "You can't." Sadness permeated the small room like a smell of wet fur. She waved a leathery palm and the pelt on its back seemed mismatched, as if an old injury had not healed well. "I'm off to Helsinki, maybe tomorrow, maybe next week. Who knows?" Sasquatch turned away to face the blank wall.

    Despite the ambient heat in the building, the back room felt chilly. Skipper wondered how many blank walls she would need to face in the near future. Well, none thicker than the ones she was putting up now. "Good luck on that. If you change your mind --- "

    "We won't," chimed in Hugo from the open door. He did something at a wall outlet and the door lowered slowly. The penguins smiled and waved goodbye, but Sasquatch remained unmoved.

    After jamming the sphygmomanometer in between the blasted primate house doors to keep in the warmth by keeping them shut, Kowalski muttered, "Let them explain this!" He grumped all the way back to the penguin habitat.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "Skipper's Log, Hiatus Version 1.0. We've met a Sasquatch and she is a riddle trapped inside an enigma with a pretty good reason for being there. She'll never fit in at any zoo. It makes me mad or sad, I can't decide which. She doesn't want our help, but that's never stopped us before, right, Log? We push on to where no penguin has pushed before --- "

    "Sir, you didn't pack your tape recorder. I'll see if Rico can bring it up on his, um, screen, shall I?"

    "No, Private, never mind. It was an unsettling entry anyway."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  16. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] Oy vey. I think they might be in over their heads!
     
  17. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    NYCitygurl They just might be![face_worried]

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "Morning briefing, gentlemen. Private, memorize these minutes. Sasquatch meeting memorable, yet filled with questions. Perhaps the delay in her transportation to Helsinki for three weeks will answer those questions. In the meantime, I'm bored."

    At these words, Private swayed on his feet, Rico choked on something halfway up or maybe it was halfway down, and Kowalski spluttered, "It's always d-dangerous when you get bored, sir. Cultural exchange between zoos is a good thing. Let's give this one a chance. It doesn't have to end like the Great Ethiopian Cultural Exchange program of Ought Nine."

    Skipper bounced on his toes. "Hooha! Wasn't that a trip and a half! Our feathers didn't grow back for weeks. Rico's never did come in right again."

    "I need sugar, sir."

    It was one week and one day into the exchange. Rico had hacked up some simple necessities of life for the four of them. He hadn't packed Miss Perky for some reason and was the only one of the four not to need some grounding in familiar possessions.

    At the mention of feathers, Rico pulled at his ragged topknot and made an indescribable noise, even for him. Private rooted in his duffel and handed Kowalski one of his Peanut Butter Winkies. "But I don't like --- never mind. Thanks, Private. Say what, Skipper?"

    "I'm still bored, gentlemen. We've never been about being just plain playful penguins ---we're about being awesome by solving problems that nobody else could."

    The others nodded. Rico pointed to his scar. "Wif price."

    "Yes, my friend, with a price." Skipper got back on track. "So now boredom is a problem."

    "For you," muttered Kowalski.

    "Yes. Damn straight! And when I have a problem --- "

    "We all have one, Skippa?"

    "Let me finish, soldier. I want my problem put in the solved file ASAP." This was supposed to be a relaxation program. Perhaps one week was all that Skipper could handle, thought Private. Just as if they were back in Central Park Zoo rather than under a foreboding sky that promised a change in the weather, Skipper paced in front of his squad as he waved his coffee mug. "We solve Marlene's problems, we bring Mason and Phil back together when they've broken up again, and blah blahity blah. That's what we're in Zooville for, right? I mean it isn't like we couldn't leave any time we wanted."

    "And do wot, exactly?"

    Ever logical when it suited him and sometimes when it didn't, Kowalski threw out options. "Return to Madagascar?"

    Skipper choked on his coffee sardine. "Aw hell no."

    "Will we be goin' back to Antarctica where there are leopard seals like Hunter? And others not so nice?"

    "Possibly in retirement, but that's a long way off for all of us. Well, for you most of all, you little rapscallion." Private dodged a ruffling of his head feathers.

    "Skipper, Rico and I think that --"

    "Oh, Rico and you."

    "Yes, we were talking the other night and --- "

    "You were. Do tell."

    Kowalski stood his ground, flippers akimbo like Skipper's. "Yes, we were. At any rate, maybe a break from routine would be good for the team in general. We're here in an, an adequate zoo without those lemurs and Marlene and all the rest having problems. We're not bunking on top of a fusion reactor thirteen levels underneath our HQ. Can't we stop and smell the blåklocka?" He crossed his flippers firmly over his chest and favored his leader with a judgmental glare. "That's what you told me to do one time." Rico muttered something. "Oh, all right, Rico. You said that I do it sometimes but not often enough."

    Skipper got his getting-ready-to-prevail look on. "I don't recall saying that. And that was then, this is now. I want action."

    Rico burped up a half-completed ship in a bottle.

    "No. Hobbies don't cut it."

    Private regained his voice. "Skippa, I'd like a break."

    "And normally I'd consider a teensy weensy break, but not now. Do we want these North Polars like Imelda to think we're made of hippie dreams and light frothy metaphors like sea foam and dolphin spray --- oh. Sorry, Kowalski, I forgot ---"

    "It's all right, Skipper. Time marches on."

    "March! That's it!" There was a gleam in Skipper's eye.

    Rico managed to get out four clear words. "I don't get you."

    "Private's never done a March of the Penguins. Even better, what month is it?"

    "March. But Skipper, that's coincidence."

    "No, it isn't. If Ringtail were here, he'd say the Sky Spirits arranged our exchange for a reason. It's so Private can do his March. And it'll be easier on the little guy. It's not as cold as Antarctica and there are fewer humans than in New York City."

    Private dragged one toe in a circle. "Do I have to?"

    "It's a rite of passage. You're ... ready."

    "You hesitated, Skippa."

    "It's just that I can't believe how much time has passed since you joined our unit. Makes me feel old."

    "Too wrong by half, Skippa, you're not --- "

    "Can the sympathy. We leave tonight." Skipper warmed to the subject. "We'll gather intel about homeschooling along the way, Private can do his March, and Rico can swim in the fjord around Kastelholm that we've heard so much about by eavesdropping on the humans. Win-win-win-win."

    Kowalski's voice rose in that way that it did. "All in one night?"

    "Under pressure, the way we act best. Aren't you going to ask what the fourth win is?"

    "Continue! Get on with it! Drop the other herring!" Kowalski really was getting on everyone's nerves. An outing was just the thing that the unit needed. Even Kowalski's performance for the kiddies was subpar these past few days.

    "It's going to snow tonight."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "This watermelon snow is fascinating!" Kowalski, Rico, and Private inspected their feet and gleefully tracked red trails in a checkerboard pattern on the broad island in their temporary home. "Look, it turns our feet pink, too!"

    "Woohoo! Look, everyone! I'm makin' plaid snow!"

    There was no shutting Kowalski up. "Watermelon snow contains a species of algae holding red pigment along with green chlorophyll. It loves the cold!"

    Private spared a thought for the matter. "But, K'walski, when you mix green and red don't you usually get a nasty brown color?"

    "Red is way cooler, so no." Kowalski tromped through the thin layer of snow, head swiveling back and forth as he glanced behind himself to admire the garish tracks, and it wasn't long before he smashed into Rico. Rico had stopped in awe to gaze at the midnight northern light display.

    "Kaboom kaboom kaboom!" Rico rolled onto his back with ninja grace at the impact, forcing Kowalski's long body to sprawl on top of him, toe to almost-toe. He twisted the second-in- command's narrow shoulders until Kowalski, too, beheld the ever-changing ribbons of color that swirled through the brighter-than-bright Milky Way.

    Kowalski grunted and turned away. "We've all seen auroras before, Rico, what's so special ---"

    Rico pinned Kowalski underneath him in a Routine Twelve maneuver, spouting something wild that Kowalski disputed. "I do not need preening at the moment! Stop! What are you --- get that out of my eyes --- my eyes --- what did you do --- it's --- it's --- beautiful --- I never knew it could be like this --- "

    Kowalski was at a loss for words as he flopped nervelessly by Rico's side. White, green, blue, and violet gavotted across the Arctic sky, but underneath the dance of primary and secondary notes glowed colors that Kowalski could not name. He scrubbed at his eyes. "The oil from your preening got into my eyes and I see even more ultraviolet range in the aurora. It must interact with our avian retina's fourth cone and now I see --- I see --- indescribable --- thanks, Rico. You've made a discovery this time."

    Rico crooned a question.

    "No, I already rubbed a lot of it out. But that's okay, I saw enough, you don't need to --- "

    Rico couldn't be dissuaded.

    "All right. Preen me again, big fella."

    "Hey you two, some other time. Let's move out. Form up."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  18. WarmNyota_SweetAyesha

    WarmNyota_SweetAyesha Chosen One star 7

    Registered:
    Aug 31, 2004
    Woohoo, the march of the penguins LOL and watermelon snow. [face_mischief]
     
  19. NYCitygurl

    NYCitygurl Manager Emeritus star 9 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Jul 20, 2002
    [face_laugh] Loved them playing in the watermelon snow :D
     
  20. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    NYCitygurl

    Nyota's Heart

    Howdy, rampant reference to various episodes of the TV show, any plot points cheerfully cleared up![face_thinking]

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "Wot's that lorry doin' parked way out here? Suspicious, right, K'walski?"

    The trickle past the snowy verge of the road contained only inches of water, so Private's march was truly a March. Intel said that the trickle turned into a sizable moat around the impressive castle. Pfft, some defense by a puny moat, snorted Kowalski to himself, as if penguins would ever use water as an effective tactic for protection. Kastelholm lay miles in the distance and personally, Kowalski preferred sliding in the snow to marching. He studied the logo on the lorry's side that depicted starry-eyed parents emoting over their brand new home while a little girl clutched her stuffed polar bear and cried. "Let's consider that Ålanders move house as much as anyone else does in life, Private, and continue until the castle. Skipper, sliding is the optimal method of transport at this point. Permission to slide?"

    "Yeah, my feet hurt, too. Commence sliding on my mark." The four lined up abreast as if competing in the Penguin Olympics 200-meter Breaststroke event. "Mark." The verge was wide enough for four little penguins to slide in a row. After a moment to find proper placement, the team kicked, wriggled, and steered in a perfect formation. Anyone watching would have noted four bodaciously fast seabirds zipping like a Blue Angels aerial routine along the quiescent island countryside. The miles slid away, too, until a slight rise in the landscape made them resume walking.

    Kowalski consulted his abacus. "Kastelholm is still a mile away, Skipper." Some woods sheltered the road, deciduous trees bare and sad while the evergreens supplied spotty cover.

    Skipper brushed ice crystals from his pristine front. "We should march single file."

    After another quarter mile, Private could no longer keep silent. "Skippa, I'm lonely."

    "The March is mostly single file. It's tradition. Suck it up."

    An agreeing squeak issued from Rico at caboose position as he stomped along in close order march behind Kowalski as Kowalski's attention seemed elsewhere. Another quarter mile passed with Private at point and Skipper next in line waiting for the next gripe. It would likely be not long in coming, and then he could put his compromise in place if needed. If he felt like it. For the good of the team, of course. Always think ahead, Skipper thought to himself, a plan B is preferable to being caught flat-flippered. And Private was so damn, um, cussed young, he mused. He wasn't coddling him, he wasn't.

    "Are we there yet?"

    It was best to give reasons for orders when time allowed. "We walk single file so that anyone pursuing can't gauge our numbers."

    "Who would be followin' us?"

    "You never know."

    The snow was plain white in these woods. Kowalski found the regular color boring now that he had experienced watermelon snow. "Skipper, I think we're all right."

    "It's my job not to."

    Two hundred fifty steps later, Private sighed loud enough to be heard but didn't crab anymore.

    "Private, don't make me turn this March around --- okay, fine. Traditions, laws, customs, made to be broken, I say. Did you ever hear New Yorkers talk about something called Prohibition? Fall out and take five."

    "Skipper, come look at this." Kowalski ought to have been nearly invisible in the shade of a mighty roadside pine at night, but he wasn't. An eerie glow illuminated his long form and he looked like a Central Park lamppost in travel size. "Phosphorescent moss and lichen and some fungi known as foxfire."

    Skipper scratched at the lichen and some flaked off on his flipper. He sniffed it. "This could be useful to weaponize. Kowalski, analysis."

    "It's bioluminescent to glow in the dark, but it's unpredictable. Analysis is that a Maglite is more practical. Rico can nearly always upchuck one of those."

    After a moment, Skipper cocked his head. "And Rico isn't unpredictable? But good analysis, Kowalski. Not everything needs to be a weapon."

    "A monumental concession for you, may I say, sir. Sometimes we just appreciate Mother Nature." Kowalski studied his leader. "You look all green like you did when we thought you were a zombie."

    Skipper stretched out each flipper and waved the one that was broken during that fiasco. "Why bring that up?"

    "I did poorly with the team. Maybe I need a do over on training as your second in command."

    Skipper glanced over to where Rico and Private made penguin snow angels. "It was weird and stormy out that night. Your imagination got the better of you. You did all right in the end."

    Kowalski moved away from the glowing moss and was invisible once more. "My imagination does that a lot."

    "So? We all have weaknesses. I just don't like to talk about mine. Hah, there's the sign for the bridge to the castle, see it down the road? Rico! Private! Two minute warning!"

    "Something else, Skipper. Do you like the northern or the southern lights better?"

    "The southern lights are just the same as here, but as an Antarctican through and through, I like them better. I'll never claim to be a citizen of the world. Antarctica is home. That answer your question, Mr. Science Guy?"

    Kowalski put on his softest voice. "Getting to the homeschooling, the odds are 0.005231 that there will ever be a new Viking uprising. Look around you. Isn't this about the most peaceful place we've ever been?"

    Skipper got strident before Kowalski caught his second wind. "Homeschooling would do that, now wouldn't it! All these little kiddies being rested up to learn bright and early tomorrow morning about how to conquer the outside world, prepped by their mommies and daddies. No school dances, no talent shows, no schoolkid crushes, no back to school nights, just work work work."

    Rico and Private came over to see what the loud talk was about. Kowalski tried not to cave in front of them. "Sir, it could be that the woman was encouraging her child to study hard, you know? If I ever had hatchlings, I would do that to help them --- "

    The door to discussion slammed shut. "Do you know that? Do you? Nope. There was a definite solid plan there. I could feel it. We march." Kowalski ignored a loon's laughing cry somewhere around the nearby fjord as he took up his position in the small column.

    They crossed a bridge and stopped at the base of a smallish hill.

    "So this is Kastelholm."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  21. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Private's enthusiasm reached quantum levels. "Oooooh, yayyyyyy! It looks like wot you've all told me about our rookery on Antarctica! It's got oodles of levels and shines in the moonlight like a really shiny thing and it's indigo ice under the stars!"

    "Kowalski, analysis?"

    "Kastelholm is a castle left over from power plays between Finland, Sweden, and Denmark hundreds of Marches ago." Rico cooed and slapped his own rump as if he were a rider on a horse as he galloped towards Private, who played as if grabbing the reins of a recalcitrant steed.

    "Oooh, good question, Rico! Were there faintin' damsels in silks and sword swingin' knights in tournaments ridin' fiery warhorses?"

    "I'm not sure. It's been used to store grain a lot."

    "Oh."

    "And to build ships, Private! Don't look so glum. It's surrounded by a fjord, it's made of brick and mortar with granite capstones in some parts, it has two towers with the bigger one about 70 feet from the ground, and it has two baileys --- " Kowalski hurried to get this infodump out before being interrupted with what he knew would come next.

    Skipper tapped the tips of his flippers together. "Denmark, you say? Those ships. Would those be Viking ships?"

    "Way after the time of the Vikings, sir. Waaaaaayyyyy after."

    "Oh." Skipper surveyed the castle. The tension of past conflicts that lay pulsing in its depths was layered over with masterful control, which was just what he admired about a building or anyone, actually. Late winter constellations wheeled above and really, this March was turning out to be a stellar event for the whole team and not just Private. The castle loomed still before them and there was no traffic on the road ringing the structure. After they had passed the deserted lorry miles back, they had seen no cars and that was, Skipper admitted, quite pleasant after New York City 24/7 bustle. Yes, this was the place.

    Kowalski reached a similar decision. "It would be way cool to scale the heights after jumping this pitiful security fence, Skipper --- "

    "Quiet, I'm thinking. Time until the zoo opens?"

    Kowalski's brain calculated the angle of the moon and the position of the polar stars in a split second. "'About eight hours."

    "Men, it'll be just me and Private on top of that castle. It's time to up Private's security clearance tonight for his 'special briefing.' "

    "Oooooooh, Skippa! Air quotes!"

    "Air quotes. The sign of highest import." Kowalski became the voice of reason. The senior members of the team nodded firmly to each other. "We understand, Skipper. It's time." Kowalski turned away, but Rico stood fixed in place. His grin brought all sorts of angst to Private. "Come along, Rico," said Kowalski. "We'll cannonball into the fjord around the castle. You'd like that, right? Fjord? Like in the Norway cruise brochure? Us two, together? Never swim alone?"

    "Ah huh." Rico continued to grin and Kowalski dragged him away with an apologetic glance at Private.

    "Should I be prepared for somethin' drastic?"

    "You should." Skipper led the way to what Private thought was called a battlement, but to him looked like a crumbling wall. Up, up they climbed through scree clustered at the base, and then they hopped from toehold to toehold up the sheer wall like the athletes they were. Private normally would have made a game of it or even raced Skipper to the top. Something told him not to and to follow instead. Once they reached a stopping point at the top of the crumbly bit thirty feet up from the newfallen snow, he made to continue to the top of the highest tower one hundred feet over and forty more feet up. The roof of all parts of the castle were coated with metallic shingles to ward off snow, but snow stubbornly dotted the metal in several slick-looking places. It would have looked magnificent in the moonlight if it were watermelon snow, but it wasn't.

    Private couldn't help being exuberant. Special briefing! Higher security clearance! Need to know! "Up to the rooftop, then?" The roof of Kastelholm contained the steepest pitch that he'd ever seen. With firm guidance from the excellent example of penguinhood standing before him, how could he fail to reach the tip-toppiest top no matter how slippery the slope?

    Skipper looked around. "Nah, here is good." He plopped his fluffy behind on a granite block bigger than a breadbox and patted the space beside him. He swung his feet. "Plotz."

    "Aww, Skippa, I can make the top."

    "This is high enough. Do you want your 'special briefing' or not? As ranking Private First Class of this unit, you have the right to refuse." Skipper leveled a steady gaze at the anxious young penguin.

    Private glanced yearningly towards the rooftop forty feet above him. He knew he could make it, why New York City's skyscrapers could look down on this castle with stories and stories towering above it, and he had scaled many a tall building on a single zipline or at most several bounds. It wasn't fair.

    Skipper's crisp tones broke Private's sulling up. "Make up your mind. I'm giving you 1.8 more minutes and then I'm outta here. Looking forward to jackknifing into the fjord, now that I see how big it is." He jerked his beak towards the view.

    The full moon shed light on the prettiest vista that Private had seen since jetpacking over the countryside after defeating Dave, AKA Dr. Octavius Brine. The fjord glinted as starlight picked out wavetops riffled by the light breeze, the Ploughman drove the Bears around the Pole Star, and he thought he could see two little splashes emerging from under the bridge that had to have been Rico and Kowalski cavorting. Was that a charming windmill through the linden trees in the distance? Private sat down.

    "Good choice. Let's start on the hard stuff, get it out of the way. Private, this 'special briefing' is about the team and how it works. You'll know more at the end than at the beginning. First off, any questions?"

    "What happened with Doris and K'walski?"

    "Relationships, yes you would want to know about them since you're you and so damn sensitive. Um."

    "A brief briefin', please, Skippa."

    "Outstanding, because I'm not good with words. Like these ones I'm about to say. These ones, starting right ... here." Skipper stopped swinging his feet. "Doris The Dolphin met Kowalski when you were moulting your second set of adorable downy feathers and we left you behind on the Operation: Dolphin Island mission. He was um, oh, er, struck, to put it politely, by her sonar ability and shiny hide, I guess. Rico and I never saw it, but there you go. They dated a few times, she wanted someone hipper, and she broke things off. Kowalski was a wreck for six awful, endless months. When I met her again on a solo mission off Coney Island during the Mermaid Parade that claimed to show real mermaids --- "

    Private was anxious to contribute something to tonight's epic event. "Oooh, yes, the brawl from the Wonder Wheel all the way to the Tilt-a-Whirl when the crowd discovered that there aren't any real mermaids, I remember that --- "

    "Actually, there are real mermaids in Atlantis, but your security clearance isn't high enough for me to tell you more. Back to Doris, Kowalski, and ... your own commanding officer. She said she wanted to be friends with Kowalski --- "

    "But that's super! Just like all of us are friends --- "

    "Not when you want something more, young Private."

    Private shoved this away to think about later. "So wot happened next? When did she tell you that she wanted to be friends with K'walski?"

    "When she kissed me goodnight. And when she kissed me good morning."

    "Oh, Skippa, you didn't."

    Skipper stared at the faraway windmill. "I did. I never wanted Kowalski to find out, but when Doris met Kowalski again and they reconnected, she blabbed everything." He shrugged. "It was just my bad luck day."

    "But why --- "

    "Here's my fail, Private. He didn't speak to me or invent anything for a month and it was hurting the team, so I'll tell you what I told him. 'Kowalski,' I said, 'the morning after, Doris thought that she and I were an item. I got ready to leave, she got mad and asked, 'If you're going to treat me this way, why did you, uh er uh, go out with me?' in this really screechy dolphin voice that haunts me even now. 'Because he couldn't,' I said. 'Because you're the type to run him ragged.' Now you realize, Private, that this was difficult to say to Kowalski."

    "I can imagine."

    "Yes, it was muy difícil to get these words out between dodging punches and roundhouse kicks. I'm only telling you this because your 'special briefing' ought to include fiascos as well as good things about our team. After my black eyes cleared up but before the ulcers went away, he and I were on good terms again. And he and Doris have now moved on, or away, or something, I can't follow all the ups and downs." Skipper rubbed his forehead. "It makes it hurt right here."

    Private rubbed his own forehead. "And you told me you fell down the stairs, right, I remember now. So you, um, with someone you didn't fancy for the team. I get it."

    "Your security clearance just upped a notch. There are lots of things you don't need to know, but" --- Skipper heaved a breath --- "this next part you do need to know, and it's a good thing in life and in the team. Private, when two birds lo-like each other very much --- "

    IOIOIOIOIO

    " --- aaaaand that's why what happened happened between Miss Kitka and myself and that's why you saw what you saw when we did what we ... did. There. Any questions no good we're done here let's go swim."

    "Skippa, I know about sex. Look, I even drew a picture in the snow! Wot I really want to learn is how to be a leader."

    "Pffft, that's easy! Make your word your bond. End of story." Skipper leaned forward. "Let me see the drawing, Private. Hmmm." In a jiffy, Skipper sketched two more figures in convoluted poses. "That's the Chinstrap Sisters and me. Anything else?"

    "Wot's that big hairy thing up there on top of the highest tower?"

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  22. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    And onto the action part! ]-}:xwing:

    IOIOIOIOIO

    Skipper followed Private's gaze one hundred feet over and forty feet up. "It's ... Sasquatch? How did she get out of the zoo and up on the tower roof and we didn't hear anything --- let's go say hello."

    It took agility to navigate in darkness along the battlement, but they each had that in spades. Over and up the 40 feet to the tip-toppiest roof ridge they bounded. Once Private slipped on black ice that formed on top of the indigo ice, but the sure extension of Skipper's foot saved him from a faceplant or even a killing fall. Sasquatch watched in silence as they approached.

    "Hello, you remember me, right? And this is Private. How's it going?"

    No answer. Skipper tried Spanish. There was no telling what traumatic events had led to her escape, if it were an escape. A different language could jolt her into a response. "¿Como está, señorita?"

    Private chimed in with an 'allo!' but there was nothing friendly, welcoming or even curious on Sasquatch's face.

    Something odd about Sasquatch's fur garnered Skipper's attention. In the gloom of the back room in the primate house, it had appeared silky smooth except on the back of her hands, but now under the full moon he saw that the front and sides had mismatched ripples as if there were multiple cowlicks throughout her pelt. Maybe that was the norm for Sasquatches? Was she having a bad fur day? Any lady he had ever known would not take such an observation without offense. He'd play diplomat, just this once.

    He had his mouth open to say "Let us help you" when Sasquatch turned sideways, let her legs sprawl and straddled the icy ridge of the metal roof. Skipper and Private winced in sympathy at the freezing seat, but Sasquatch's expression didn't change. Now that she was more at their level, she crossed her arms and spoke. "Добро пожаловать," she said.

    "Whoa whoa whoa! I haven't spoken Russian since the gulag, and that was ages ago." Skipper rubbed his beak. "So you're saying 'welcome'? Welcome to what, sister?"

    "Холат-Сяхыл."

    Skipper backed away and even stumbled a little on the angled surface. "What? What are you --- why would you bring that up?"

    "Мы вас похороним!"

    Private sensed menace and went into battle mode. Flippers at combat ready, he backed up, too, until the edge of the roof. He looked down. Seventy feet below in the lee of the prevailing wind lay the dark patch of ground where previous snow had melted to form mud. Moonlight bathed the castle with only a few scudding clouds left over from the evening's snowfall, but in the castle's shadow the ground below seemed blacker than the Mariana Trench. In fact, he couldn't imagine a scarier scenario than what they were in. The team was two penguins short and the intel was scanty on Sasquatch's abilities. Skipper, bless him, tried to make peace.

    "Look, whatever's happened to you on Åland or in Canada or wherever else you've suffered, we'll make it right. Just don't mention Death Mountain again, okay? Because Перевал Дятлова creeps me out." Skipper risked a glance back at Private. "Bad thing happened there, you don't need to know more, stay focused."

    Sasquatch reached out with long, strong arms. "I came here for you, Skipper."

    "Lucky Skipper. Private, evasive!" Skipper backpedaled in a controlled skid.

    Private didn't need to be told twice. He spread out his flippers for balance and sidestepped some sort of projection that rose from the roof ridge, but then there he stood at the brink again, looking down off the roof's edge with nowhere else to go. In a daring slide, he launched himself forward diagonally down the slick roof, catching his claws in a spot of soft snow that clung to the metallic shingles despite all odds. He scrabbled for traction and that loosened the snow so that it slid further down the roof's steep pitch. The gutter caught him as well as the snow just in time. He looked up to see how Skipper was faring.

    The projecting bit turned out to be a windvane, because Skipper secured both feet in a stylized metal rooster's tail as he whirled like a horizontal dervish with flippers of fury outstretched. Faster and faster he spun against the backlight of the full moon, a pummeling powerful penguin that Sasquatch could not grab. She may have stretched to her full height again, but the windvane's staff was tall and the rooster enhanced with a spinning Skipper whirled at face level to her. More punches than not reached her jaw. She staggered backwards and for a moment Private thought the battle was won then and there, but she regained her balance with some wild arm waving. She rejoined the fray, and it was time that he did, too.

    He wallowed in the gutter's deep scoop of water to slick his feathers and flung himself flat onto the metal shingles. Using the sharp tips of his flippers to propel himself up the shingles as he kept his center of gravity low, he zigzagged his way back to the roof ridge. With a bit of luck, he could snake behind Sasquatch to provide a second front. How different this ascent was than the half-playful scramble up to the battlement of only an hour ago!

    Private still didn't really want to hurt Sasquatch, but the practical matter was that Sasquatch could withstand a fall from this height better than him or Skipper. Whatever her painful background was that Skipper had divined through their brief conversation tonight, there was no denying the truth in this instant: Sasquatch wanted them out of the picture, whatever the picture was, and she was big and strong enough to do it. Even with Rico and Kowalski at fighting trim and them all doing their utmost as a foursome, the battle would be one for the Awesome Avian Action Arcade video game that Kowalski was always nattering about programming.

    skreeeeongggggggg Off flew the weather vane from its staff with Skipper clinging to the rooster with only one foot. They whirled through the air and even though his commander couldn't technically fly, Private saw that Skipper maneuvered the spinning top-like action of the windvane by sticking out his flippers like ailerons. The rooster and the penguin parted company when they hit the crumbling top of the battlement forty feet below. Sasquatch whooped like an Irish banshee as she skimmed down the slope of the roof à la Tony Hawk. She continued screaming as she homed in on Skipper like a leopard seal with borborygmi.

    Private's blood curdled.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC

    A/N thanks to my friend Nisa for the Russian *mwah*:p
     
    Last edited: Apr 1, 2018
  23. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Whee, more fun than a barrel of [face_monkey]!

    IOIOIOIOIO

    Private slalomed back down the icy roof to the gutter. From there, his leap twenty-five feet down to the battlement occurred with no conscious work on his part. He launched into Routine Thirty-Two: Confuse And Distract. "Look at me, you knucker! I'm the littlest and easiest to catch!" He ran in esses before the battling pair. "Hey, come and get me!" He staged a slip-and-fall when neither Skipper nor Sasquatch paid him mind.

    Right, then. It was time for Routine Eighteen, which admittedly worked best with flying birds. "Oh oh oh, I'm hurt, whatever shall I do?" As well as dragging one flipper on the ground, he shuffled and moaned. "Oh me, I can't run away!" Private produced his signature touch. He lurched along as he added a sprained ankle to the broken flipper. "Oh dear oh dear oh dear!" He threw in a convincing scream because he knew that Skipper would recognize the routine since it was his own invention.

    If Skipper heard him, he didn't let on. Sasquatch glanced at the commotion for a precious moment, allowing Skipper to wriggle his compact muscular body downwards on his foe to assay Routine One. Skipper delivered a firm kick to the crotch that would give any mammal pause, male or female. It had no effect on Sasquatch. Private saw the bullet-like attack and the solid connect. What was she made of, what had shaped her into this unstoppable assassin? He dropped any deception when Sasquatch swept Skipper up in two cruel hands.

    "Let your rapidity be that of the wind, your compactness that of the forest," thought Private as he flashed back on Skipper's relating a lesson to his team from something called The Art of War that Ma had read aloud only to him. There had existed unexpected depths to Ma, Private suspected, as he leaped for Sasquatch's broad back as quickly as a dustdevil could turn into a whirlwind. He scrambled up to her neck and entangled both feet in her fur. He clapped a flipper over each baleful brown eye, keeping himself as small a target as possible.

    "Боже мой!" Sasquatch choked out and when Private savaged her ears or where he thought the ears would be underneath all that fur, she danced and howled. But she didn't do the important thing, she didn't let go of Skipper and if she squeezed hard with both those meaty paws, he'd be done for. Private pecked and squawked as loud as he could while switching tactics to karate chop the thick neck. At last one broad hairy hand released Skipper to bat at the flippered ferocity bedeviling her. When a misstep in the snow sat her down with a jolt, Private thought success was at hand. Not a rousing success, perhaps, but survival was good enough this time. He hung on as Skipper twisted out of Sasquatch's grip completely.

    Skipper gritted, "Go for help!" as he went directly for the throat. Lightning fast karate chops alternated with roundhouse blows and clawing and pecking. Private would have said that Skipper abandoned all his usual grace for barroom brawling techniques, but in a fight like this and in this skittering setting, two little penguins needed a change in tactics.

    He felt this even more when Sasquatch rolled her shoulders, swung her massive head and threw herself onto her back. To avoid being crushed, he tumbled down and wriggled out to freedom, but not before handing her a sound pecking at a mammal's chief tickling spot, the waist. Sure enough, she wrenched to one side and this gave Skipper the chance to flail away without pause on the curve of her neck. He avoided her clutches, but Private wasn't as skillful.

    Sasquatch surged to her feet with Skipper taking the place of Private in karate chopping her neck from a perch on her shoulder. As if to display her own strength offhandedly, she ignored the attack, dropped Private onto one size 15EEE foot and then punted him off the battlement. As he sank out of sight to an anguished "You fiend!" from Skipper, Private thought in a wild delirium that his fall would look splendid in 3D.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    In the dizzying spin towards an unforgiving earth, Private wheeled ass over teakettle and his mind did that thing that it usually did in falls or other memorable moments in his life as part of Skipper's team. The undefinable entity that was Time billowed out unstoppably in the same way whether the event was good or bad. This fall was bad, but Lunacorn episodes were good, and each polar opposite circumstance meant that he was unaware of the outside world for a while. In fact, how much time had his 'special briefing' lasted? He'd thought only an hour, but as impact approached and he saw that he was not going to get skewered by a pine branch or smashed onto rocks, he laughed at his foolish notions. The 'special briefing' had taken far longer than one measly hour as he and Skipper shared experiences and gotten to know each other better. Private made contact with a penguin's best friend, snow, cackling giddily at the sheer relief of staying alive.

    Time did its usual telescoping thing when the snowbank provided an angled surface to deflect his fall as it nestled against immutable Kastelholm. Private turned the rapid slide into a zigzag that slowed his momentum and by the time he had reached bottom, he didn't need Kowalski to tell him that he was A-OK. Once again, he looked up to see how the battle was going.

    Skipper and Sasquatch danced with Lady Danger on the roof ridge once more. Although he was at the top of his game and physically superior to all team members, Skipper had to be wearing down. Private vowed to make sure his virginal March didn't become a Funeral March for anyone on his team. He wouldn't want it to become one for Sasquatch, either, but let the chips fall as they may.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  24. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    Contrary to the spirit of today, we make war, not love.o_O

    IOIOIOIOIO

    Skipper would say to sitch recon before heading back into battle and Private obeyed. He could see Sasquatch and Skipper in a no-holds-barred fight to the death. By everything that was penguin, Skipper was giving it all he had just like in the debut match with the Rat King, but he was bound to need backup. Never swim alone ... Oh no. Skipper's lesson from The Art of War specifically stated that you need to leave an escape route for the enemy so that they could flee your main troops and run into the ambush you had set up before! And there was no Rico or Kowalski to be the ambush! Private wasted no time being the ambush. Going for help was not an option. "Sorry, Skippa, disobeyin' orders."

    Without Rico's auto-barf grappling hook, it would take many New York minutes to reach Skipper's side. Private studied the boarded up windows that he and Skipper had bypassed when scaling Kastelholm what seemed decades ago. This'll be just like cliffhopping, he thought. He kept the fight in view as he dashed for the castle wall and right before the line of sight was cut off, he saw Skipper perform his signature move: the Modified Omega Boom. Skipper used the windvane staff to gain momentum for a full frontal attack, spinning in focused fury while Private watched. What would happen next was that Skipper would rocket off to plant both iron-hard feet in Sasquatch's solar plexus to squash all the air out of her. She'd drop to her knees, fall from the rooftop, and by then Private would have gained the time to scramble topside unless his commander joined him down here. Private halted his steps, gauged which window ledge he'd aim for first and eyed the results of the Modified Omega Boom. This was going to be epic.

    What impossibility was this? Sasquatch was rocked backwards and waving crazy arms like a SkyDancer but she wasn't falling? And Skipper was distracted, oh he of the laser beam intensity that carried on when Private himself was booted off the battlement with possible injuries? Private's jaw dropped as Skipper took his eyes from his foe to look down as if to gauge unsure footing. Sasquatch threw her full length forward in a whip-like crunch exercise and then grabbed Skipper as she lay prone. They must have been face to face and if they exchanged taunts, Private couldn't hear them over the thundering of his heart. He shook his head over and over as Sasquatch gained her feet, brandished Skipper above her head with a triumphant howl and dashed him to the earth seventy feet below. Skipper bounced in mud once three yards from Private's horrified eyes before coming to rest on snowy rocks and lying still. Private did hear Sasquatch yell then even though his heart hammered like a Chinese New Year gong. "Yessss!"

    It must have been his imagination that he heard a sob afterwards.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    Ice ringed the rushes around the shores of the fjord and that afforded well over one hour of ice skating fun for Rico and Kowalski. They wove between the reeds, played hide-and-seek in the bulrushes, practiced ice hockey routines with a frozen oak gall as a puck and generally let time pass them by. Kowalski accused Rico of cherry picking and Rico countered with charges of illegally employing the lacrosse move that NHL rules failed to make illegal although they tried until they both decided that the ice-free rippling water in the middle of the fjord was best. Kowalski analyzed that the water was near freezing, determined that the fish in it weren't to his liking, and estimated that if the Bears ever turned on the Ploughman to devour him, life on earth would end as penguins knew it. He paddled lazily around as he wondered whether dolphins ever made it up the river as far as Ellis Island.

    Rico decided to be a New York City fireboat. Like a penguin possessed, he spewed water from his gut that seemed inexhaustible, but wasn't. He made siren sounds, rolled over and over like Marlene did sometimes, and accomplished what ought to be impossible: he took Kowalski's mind off science and Doris.

    "You fool. You always could make the hours fly by for me ever since we were hatchlings," Kowalski laughed. "Now pretend I'm the fire chief."

    Rico saluted with both flippers. "Ah huh. Wheeee ooooo wheeee ooooo wheeee oooooo wheee oooopblpblppbbllopblhalp. Halp. Halp!" With both flippers stilled, his top part sank into the black depths of the fjord and only his waving feet and round bottom upended at the surface like Mama Duck's did when she searched for sustenance in the sediment of the park's pond. Burps putt-putted from the inky depths in an S-O-S pattern.

    Kowalski was not fooled. "Oh, no, you don't! Not gonna get me to panic, no way, nuh uh. Come and get me!" He slapped the waggling tail feathers, pulled a kicking foot and shot off like a bullet. He was one seventeenth of the way around Kastelholm when a torpedo surged by him. It was Rico, riding a bazooka rocket the way that a cowboy rides a runaway horse.

    The rocket's wake sounded like the noises Rico made on a regular basis inside the stuffy confines of their New York HQ, but Kowalski wasn't alarmed and only laughed harder when Rico croaked, "Lookit meeeee!" as he tried to stand up on the rocket. Its rondeur slewed in the water like the cylinder it was and soon Rico logrolled it as he laughed louder than the loon they'd heard earlier in the night. At last he misstepped and splashed into the water, and this time Kowalski followed him down in a dizzy spin all the way to the bottom of the moat.

    "Moats, boats, floats, notes," sang Kowalski when he popped to the surface. Rico bobbed in front of him after a moment, grinning like he never did before. "Dotes ... totes ... " Kowalski trailed off. "Totally, um, poetry. I haven't composed a single stanza since she --- "

    As they swam under the bridge, Rico regurgitated a brine shrimp delicacy for him. Kowalski gulped it down to derail his train of thought. "These are actually sea monkeys, you know. Children all over the world keep them as pets."

    "Meh."

    "I guess you're right, Rico. Meh."

    A wisp of cloud cleared the moon. The peace that Kastelholm had earned through the centuries broke into shards as snarls and cries of 'Hi-yaaaaaa!' reached their earholes.

    "Look! Skipper and Private up top and what is that thing they're fighting?"

    "Bug owwwwt!" Rico swung like Tarzan from a dangling mooring rope to scuttle upwards and Kowalski followed to the top of the bridge.

    "Faster, Rico, let's go, big fella!"

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC
     
  25. pronker

    pronker Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jan 28, 2007
    "Ow ow ow! Don't touch the belly!"

    "I'm just goin' to roll you over so I can see, keep calm, I know it hurts, stop hyperventilatin' you'll get dizzy, you can't stay on top of these rocks ---"

    "Ow ow ow! Not the chest!"

    Breaking the awful silence, a lone bird gearing up for dawn tweeted from a far above perch in the line of pine trees between Kastelholm and the road. Private brushed away bloody gravel and many damaged feathers from Skipper's chest. When he was done, he realized that Skipper had not said anything in a while.

    "Breathe, Skippa! Breathe!" What sort of bird would keep on singing in a situation like this? Kowalski would know. And where were Kowalski and Rico? Were they having such fun that they forgot the team? Surely the noise of battle in the midst of all this countryside quiet penetrated their select little universe?

    More silence. A heaving breath, then, "Ow! Hurts to breathe! Damn you, Sasquatch! You've done me in!"

    Private's voice got very small as his world narrowed to just this moment. "Don't go. Don't die."

    "Ow ow ouch owww. Ugh. Uhhhhhnnngh --- no good, I can't move. You'll need to help me. Don't touch that, it's sore. That, either. Aggggh, not the left side, ouch!"

    "Sorry! Sorry! Sorry!"

    At Private's distress, Skipper appeared to get it together. "It's more like really ... uncomfortable," he amended.

    "Excruciatin'? Tortuous?"

    "Can't come up with a third thing? Yeah, it's excruciating --- no, worse than excruciating. Worse than Doc's needles. I think ... this is it, amigo." There was little sense in the blank gaze. "Everything looks so gray."

    Private looked around desperately and saw Sasquatch disappearing through the pines as she sped over the horizon in the growing daylight. Private should have tailed her. He wanted to, but he wanted to hear Skipper's last words more. "I've got it easy," gasped Skipper. "I don't have to go back and tell them."

    "Stay for me? For us all?"

    Their lives as commandos were dangerous. Even if every current team member survived for a considerable time against all odds, in the natural course of events his leader would always waddle ahead of him in the long penguin march into eternity.

    Skipper opened his eyes wide as if to memorize Private's face, but drowsiness won out. "It would be the only reason I'd come back, if I could." Even the lone idiot of a dawn bird kept its silence in this moment. There was now no sense left in his leader's words or behind his gaze. "The worms will get me," Skipper whispered. He closed his eyes with a long sigh.

    There was a crash and a spurkle behind them, followed by a crunch into slushy sounding snow. Private scrambled to his feet to defend his own, but it was only an icicle falling from a barren linden branch. With adrenaline pouring into his system but no outlet for it, he stood trembling for a moment and then sagged to the cold white earth.

    IOIOIOIOIO

    "It's a natural thing to die, it is." Private rested on his bottom in the snow and his flippers drew idle circles at his side. That stupid bird twittered again and the rising dawn breeze rustled pine needles until he thought he'd go mad. The dumping of last evening's snow had mostly cleared the skies and it promised to be a cool but pleasant day to die in.

    It hurt like nothing else ever had to see Skipper's limp body. He ran a claw up the sole of Skipper's uninjured foot and when this failed to produce the usual involuntary giggle followed by a reprimanding clout, he slumped further. Then he slammed his flippers down and straightened his spine. "Well, I reject nature!"

    Private leaped to his feet, galvanized. "Think, Private, think! Wot would K'walski say? Keep him warm, that's the ticket, hey!"

    He panicked. "Wot do I do, wot do I do?"

    Blind instinct took over. "Will he fit inside my brood pouch? Ow! No! Try harder, Private. Maybe just the top bits, then? Ow ow ow! No flippin' way, he's too big for me! Now you're bleedin', you git! Stop hurtin' yourself then, you'll not do him any good."

    Adrift on the ice floe that carried them all away from Antarctica to new adventures, there had been storms aplenty. Skipper, Rico, and Kowalski exposed their own backs to the cold polar winds and cuddled newly-hatched Private on their nurturing feet. Decency dictated that he return the lovingkindness. As he pressed himself to Skipper's side and pinched the broken chest together in hopes of stopping a bleed out, Kowalski's words from long ago skittered through his mind. They overpowered the annoying skrawking of the persistent dawn singer. "Private, we are birds, and we heal fast with our metabolism. We just need a fighting chance, that's all."

    Private whimpered when his own front turned red like a cherry snowcone mixed with delicious passion fruit juice. Blood mixed into the dirt of battle there to form a nasty mess. He held the shreds of whitening skin together as time cascaded into a devouring flood. Despair squeezed his heart when the coagulating drips of red seemed to be getting larger, not smaller.

    Something tickled his feet. He kicked away first one, then a stream of black insects that foraged with the dawn despite freezing weather. Now that the immediate press of battle morphed into lifesaving techniques, he scouted around for help from the environment. Scrabbling from hundreds of tiny legs on top of snow reached his earholes.

    The congada line of insects succeeded in making him even more miserable. "Geroff! Bloody aitch ee double hockeysticks! You nasty ... little ... buggers ... eh?" One black larva tweezered his left foot with outsized jaws, decided that he was not prey, and moved along in its own version of a March. Abruptly, Private remembered Kowalski's fascination with a nature documentary about the Mbuti humans' clever medical techniques in the back country where Band-Aids were scarce. He acted.

    "Here now, show me you're good for somethin'! Bite him hard!" Private dangled a wiggling black insect over the largest gaping wound and the jaws pincered its edges shut like a suture. With the gash reduced to a seeping slit, Private did the necessary. "Sorry!" He snapped off the larva's body to leave the head gripping firmly.

    "Sorry!"

    "Sorry!"

    "Sorry!"

    "Sorry!"

    "Sorry!"

    At last the worst of the bleeding stopped and Private huddled closer under Skipper's motionless flipper. His team hadn't forgotten them, he was sure of it.

    When Kowalski and Rico approached the cries of "Penguin down!", they found their youngest member pressed feather-to-bloody-feather with the leader of them all.

    Private saluted. "Fightin' chance secured, sir!" He burst into tears.

    Rico said it first. "Uh oh."

    IOIOIOIOIO

    TBC