It's A Jungle Out There


Part Five

“Hey man, would you look at that bunch there,” a bat told his companions and pointed to a line of trucks driving through the jungle.
“Hoho man, it looks like them food transports heard we moved out of Jamaica. They started recruiting guards to keep us away!” the fat one noted and scanned the convoy with his sonar abilities.
“I haven’t ate a grape since we got here. What would you say if we helped them get rid of their food?” the leader asked the other two and got ready for a dive.
“You don’t have to ask me questions like that, you know the answer is yes!” the little one replied and got ready as well.
“Alright, at the count to three. Three!” the fat one ordered and flew right at a truck, not paying attention to the warning written on it which read ‘Ammunition! Highly Explosive!’
“No fair, you got a head start!” the leader shouted but followed anyway.
One of the escorts noticed their attackers and was quick to shout a warning. “Bommenwerfers, achtung!” the rat cried and ran for cover.
“No you idiot, it are bats!” another guard shouted, causing panic as other soldiers mistook that for the Brazilian Anti Terrorism Squad. A few of them opened fire on the fruit bats who quickly realized they were raiding the wrong convoy.
“Watch out man, they got firepower!” the fat one warned as he evaded one shot.
“Right you are, let’s beat it!” the little one cried and flew off.
“Idiots!” One of the officers shouted to his privates “You could have hit one of the trucks! That might have resulted in a big boom and many casualties!”
“Gee sorry boss, but I thought they were those BATS guys, not just average fruit bats,” The soldier explained while inspecting a truck for damage.

“Did you hear that?” Chip asked his teammates. “That sounded like shots. Maybe we’re near a smuggler patrol.”
“That means we’re close to their base. I don’t like the looks of this,” Dale sounded worried.
“Hey look, over there, those are bats!” Monty shouted and pointed to three figures in the sky.
“Over here!” Steve shouted at the trio, hoping they would have information about what happened.
The bats landed and the Rangers quickly recognized the group.
“You guys? How did you get here?” Chip let out curiously.
“What do you think man? We’re here to eat fruit and have some fun, and we’re all out of fun,” the leader replied.
“Could you tell us what happened over there?” Geegaw inquired, vaguely remembering the bats from Gadget’s story about the case were Fat Cat traded food for valuables.
“You don’t want to know,” The fat one started “Those boomers over there got heavy duty armament!”
“Yeah, they were using these rifles to shoot at us like we were birds! Can you imagine?” the tiny bat let out angrily.
“Those wrecking balls are really a rotten bunch!” the first one stated while twisting his index claw close to his head to add some emphasis.
“Where are they?” Steve inquired, getting a bit nervous about the attitude of these smugglers.
“Not to far away, just get over there and you’ll find those coconut headed gunslingers. But remember that they’re guiding a convoy, they probably passed by now so you’ll have to follow the dirt tracks they left,” the fat one revealed.
“Thanks for your help, just stay out of trouble for now on,” Chip warned as him and the team continued.
“No problem nut head. We’re switching to meat anyway, greens are no peace,” the short one stated as him and his companions took off.

“Now you see what happens when you start flapping your guns to much? We’re being followed now!” An officer whispered to his soldiers after listening on the conversation of the Rangers.
“It wasn’t my fault sir, Hein started shouting!”
“Shut up! It’s all of you who were fault!” The sergeant insisted.
“Yours too,” a private noted while pointing to the leader’s smoking gun.
“Whatever. Let’s warn the convoy and set a trap,” the sergeant ordered and moved.

“What’s that noise?” Steve wanted to know as he raised a hand behind his ear to hear better.
“Who cares?” Dale dismissed as he proceeded into the direction the smugglers were supposed to be.
“No lad, it seems the bloke’s right. It’s like someone’s chopping down a tree,” Monty confirmed, being blessed with better hearing than his comrades.
“TIMB-” Someone shouted before he was interrupted.
The Rangers and their friends quickly scurried out of the way of the tree, while none of them knew where it would come from. When it crashed to the ground the entire group was divided. Chip was the first to recover and quickly set to find the others.
“Guys, were are you?” He called out as he retrieved his hat.
Dale and Monty got out of the vegetation they were hiding in while Gadget climbed out from beneath the felt tree, helping her dad and Mousestein get out as well. Steve dropped down next to Chip while Timbert landed, having apparently flown his boss out of the way of the falling tree. Next was Hiss who climbed out of a tree while Henk got out from behind the same tree. Zipper carefully got out from under Monty’s hat which he had been using as hiding place.
“Where’s Flora? Where is she?” Steve panicked as he looked around.
“Over here!” Flora called out somewhat pained.
Steve and his palls quickly jumped down to find Flora who was lying under one of the branches, which kept her from moving.
“Flora! Are you hurt?” Steve asked worriedly, on the verge of a nervous breakdown.
“Does it look like I’m enjoying myself here?” She asked while trying to get free.
“No worry lass, we’ll get you out from under there,” Monty encouraged as he jumped down and signaled the others to lend a hand. “Dale, you and Steve drag her out from under there while I lift this log here,” Monty ordered as he prepared to lift the branch all by himself.
Steve’s friends quickly rushed over to help him and they succeeded in getting Flora out from under the tree.
“You should thank your guardian angel that that tree didn’t fall on your head.” Steve pointed out and silently thanked whatever deity sent his love her protector from higher circles.
“Steve, there is only one holy bodyguard, and she’s all yours,” Flora corrected him with a loving smile.
“We’d better get you to the hospital. The closest town is not too far away,” Chip suggested while signaling Gadget who instantly started construction of a means of transport.
“That’s not necessary, I don’t want to hold you up,” She insisted but no one paid attention.
“No excuses, you’re going to a hospital. You might have internal bleeding right now without you caring!” Steve brought up as him and Henk helped her on her brancard.
“I guess that leaves us to explore the jungle,” Chip deducted
“Right. Mousestein, Hiss, you two can tag along with the Rangers to help them,” Steve ordered as him and his friends brought Flora to the nearby village.

The explorer group continued in their conquest, and it (along with the dirt tracks) brought them to a very professional encampment that rivaled that of the BATS.
“Strike me starkers! I haven’t seen such fireworks ever since me days in Hong Kong!” Monty recalled upon seeing the smuggler camp.
“Hmm, there’s electric gates, watch towers, pillboxes, gun emplacements, turrets, and probably much more in store for anyone who wants to roll over this joint with a tank division,” Chip observed as he studied the base, while Dale took a good look at the inside of the encampment.
“These guys know who they should hire for the job: the Dutch operative Pete “Koen” Heijn, privateer and genocide dictator; the Frenchman Philip “the Evil” de Burgundy, conqueror and aggressor; the middle European Karl “Troubles” Max, propagandist and liar. And-WHOW! Twins cannons, tight armor and hot rubber!” Dale exclaimed while zooming in and giving a sexy roar.
“What are you looking at?” Chip demanded as he tried to spot his companions’ target, which turned out to be a high ranking female officer “Dale, get a little control over your estrogen production.”
Dale didn’t pay any attention to the insult, either because he didn’t know what estrogen meant or he simply didn’t care.
“Chip, Dale’s body produces mainly testosterone,” Gadget noted but the hopeless look in Monty’s eyes told her she was ranting again.
“Let’s contact Petro Mendoza to tell him what we’ve found,” Geegaw suggested as he turned on the radio the BATS supplied them with.
“Sir, we got some interesting information.” Geegaw started when he finally got contact with the radar tower.

“You see now? Nothing serious,” Flora reassured her husband. She was now lying down in a hospital bed in a ward. The doctors confirmed the damage to her body was minimal and not much of a threat. They only wanted to keep her for a day to observe her recovery closely.
“Thank goodness you’re right. On the other hand, you being in the hospital would give me an excuse to stay out of the Rangers’ adventure,” Steve reasoned.
“You sneaky dog, you,” Flora teased innocently.
A nurse entered the ward with a clipboard. “I got those test result for you Miss Nutcracker.” She said and handed Flora the clipboard, then left to give the two some privacy.
“Tests? Why didn’t you tell me anything?” Steve asked, confused.
“Because, silly, I wanted to keep this a surprise,” Flora explained while studying the results. “YES!!!” She exclaimed and shot up to hug her husband.
“What? What’s up?” Steve asked, bewildered.
Flora just pushed the clipboard in his hands and let Steve read it.

Subject: Flora Nutcracker/Firalda
Date: **-**-****
Health Institute: Las Pesos Hospital, Brazil

-Personal Data-
Name: Flora Nutcracker/Firalda
Sex: Female
Birth date: 19-06-19**
Place of birth: Miami, US
Nationality: USA, North America
Marital state: Married, childless
Occupation: Lounge Singer
City of residence: New York, US

-Test Result: PREGNANT

Steve felt dizzy when he read this. Flora just hugged him again.
“I-it appears those romantic night in Europe paid off,” Steve managed when he got his voice back.
“Long live spring fever,” Flora cheered as she kissed her husband on the lips.
“I suppose we’ll have to plan for when the child gets born,” Steve suddenly realized.
“Sure, I’m starting right after we get home.” Flora reassured him as she lay back on the bed, not letting go of Steve.
“I’m afraid we can’t tell the others yet though,” Steve then said a bit disappointed “We don’t want to get their hopes up in case the child does not develop or unexpectedly dies.”
“That’s not going to happen. I’ll be careful from now on,” Flora countered, but she agreed with keeping it a secret for a while longer. She pulled her husband a bit closer and encouraged him to lie down beside her.
“I wonder what the kid will be like.” Steve wondered and put his hands under his head.
“You know, I realize that if we’re planning to keep the child safe that would mean I’d have to stop with singing and I’ll be unable to enjoy some fun activities that require a lot physical exertion,” Flora noticed as her face turned into a bit of a sad look. Taking Steve by his shirt and pulling him even closer, ready for a kiss. “So let’s do this while I’m still able to.”

Mercy plopped down on the bed after another busy day of touring Saudi Arabia, this time without Philip.
“How was your day?” The youngster asked as he approached his exhausted sister.
“I’ve been sightseeing. And I must say this country is not as bad as people sometimes portray it. And the people have it a lot better here than you’d think. The only problem is water, which is about the only thing that is in short supply in this part of the world. The population is real nice to foreigners. Some of the residents even invited me for tea. You don’t have to expect that in Germany or France, to them we’re just ‘fellow humans’. I’ve talked to a man here who has studied in Colorado while he still acts and thinks like a regular Arab. I really think some people exaggerate the aggression of the population of the Middle East.”
“You said it, what a bunch of hypocrites,” Philip cursed, and Mercy furled her eyebrow.
“When did you learn that word?” She wondered, not recalling she ever taught him that.
“It’s from my time at the orphanage. I learned it from an older boy who used to help me with fending off kids that picked on me,” Philip told her as he started to look a bit pained. “Children used to pick on me a lot just because I wore glasses. They thought that made me a nerd.”
“Well, considering our mother had a relationship with many people, your father might just be a software company owner,” Mercy reasoned, but the comment only saddened Philip.
“They also said that my mother was a dirty--” Philip continued before Mercy cut him short.
“I know what you’re going to say. And while I agree with it, it’s no language for a young boy,” She warned and Philip nodded understandingly.
“True. Anyway I doubted they knew who my mother was, I guess they made a successful gamble. My mother is worse than what they say. But at the time I always dreamed I had a mother, one that loved me; one that would take good care of me. But the others tried to shatter that dream to make me feel bad. Fortunately he interfered and taught me to stand up for myself when needed. I’ll never forget all he did for me, Charles Doublecroix.”
“That sounds like a french name,” Mercy couldn’t help but notice.
“It is, he’s from Orleans. His parents moved out to New York and got a job as the servants at a millionaire’s villa. Both of them died in a fire which traumatized Charles heavily. The millionaire offered to adopt Charles, but he refused firmly as he had enough of rich stinkers for the rest of his life, so he choose to stay at the orphanage.”
“That’s sad. But it’s your bedtime now, so take a bath and brush your teeth. I’m hitting the sack as well so no excuses,” Mercy instructed as she kissed her brother in his forehead.
“Mercy, would you mind if I sleep with you for tonight?” he asked shyly. “I’m scared that I might get nightmares.”
“As you wish, but only if you behave and get yourself cleaned first.”
“Thanks Mercy!” Philip exclaimed energetically and got off the bed.
Mercy grabbed him by his shirt and stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Don’t forget your towel,” Mercy reminded and threw him one of her own.
The boy simply smiled and closed the bathroom door.

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