It's A Jungle Out There


Part Six

Steve woke up in the hospital bed he had been sharing with his wife, noticing he was still a bit sweaty from their session a little while back. He moved over to the sink to refresh himself when unexpectedly the nurse entered.
“I see you two enjoyed yourselves,” She said with a stern look.
Steve cringed, feeling like a child spotted by his mother with his hands on the cookie jar. “You noticed?” Steve asked, trying to look innocent.
“With that noise it would be difficult not to notice. I heard you two giggling about roughly five times,” She revealed as she folded her arms.
“I hope you don’t mind us two having some fun,” Steve said apologetically with a large blush on his face.
“Don’t worry about it. It’s only natural, and we’re used to worse things. We had quite a good time listening on you two, especially when a doctor imitated you two,” She admitted, smiling.
Steve’s blush turned from strawberry red to tomato red. “Well, its because we might not get another chance anytime soon and there was no one in the ward and we guessed no one would get close to this room anyway so…”
“I understand, but this is the only ward in this hospital,” the nurse explained and left, leaving Steve surprised.
However he was brought back to reality by an explosion. He turned around to see that the wall had been blown up by a small group of the smuggler’s lackeys, who were a tad annoyed that they had to run into people so soon.
“Mama Mia!” cried one. “I said ‘Buona Fortuna’, not blow of the fortification!”
“We’ll probably need hostages to keep people off our tail now,” one advised and eyed Steve and Flora.
Steve simply gulped.

“There you go. One special weapon coming right up,” one of the BATS engineers updated Geegaw on her progress.
“You kinda remind me of my little girl. She’s an inventor too,” Geegaw pointed out.
“Actually, I am no engineer,” The technician denied.
“And I’m not a pilot,” Geegaw stated matter-of-factly.
“No seriously, I am no engineer. I applied for a job as a mad scientist but they rejected that offer because they needed engineers, not nutcases,” she explained while installing the weapon under the wing of the Screaming Eagle.
“By the way, you haven’t even told me your name yet,” Geegaw noted and took a cheese sandwich Monty hadn’t found yet.
The woman got out from under the wing and brushed herself off. She was a white furred mouse with green eyes and long black hair. She wore a dark red latex coverall with similar gloves, goggles and belt which were a brighter color of red. Her speech had a hint of Asian to it.
“Minerva Bilderpavsky is my name, and causing havoc is my game. For that reason, people tend to call me ‘Crazy Mina’, simply because I am a tad unstable,” She explained and sat down next to Geegaw.
“Really?” Geegaw prodded, hoping this mouse was not truly mad.
“Well, my colleagues would probably know. If only they had the guts to talk about me.”
Geegaw carefully moved away from her, not willing to risk his health in a debate about sane and insane. Minerva noticed and raised an eyebrow.
“You truly think I am one ingredient short of a concoction, do you?” she said neutrally.
Geegaw tried not to sweat and was trying to think of a way the steer the conversation away from Mina. “Uh, do you want a sandwich?” he asked nervously.
“If you do not mind,” she agreed and took the peanut butter sandwich he handed her and took a bite.
Geegaw watched as she plunged her teeth into the hapless sandwich and tore a part off it. She proceeded to crush the piece of peanut butter sandwich under her jaws until nothing was left of it. She noticed Geegaw staring at how she ate her prey and swallowed.
“Chew often before you swallow, so the food enters your blood in healthy and normal way,” she instructed and nodded toward Geegaw’s sandwich.
For some reason, Geegaw’s appetite was gone now. He needed another distraction to keep the female from turning the conversation back to her.
“I think I need to go to the bathroom. Excuse me for a moment,” he said and got up.
“You are forgetting your food!” Minerva shouted but the aviator mouse didn’t hear her, apparently his hearing range was really short. “Ah well, would be a waste to leave it here,” She reasoned and took a greedy bite out of it. Hmm, cheese with salad and saliva, she mused as she swallowed.

Flora regained consciousness to find out that she’d been shackled to a wall. She scanned her surroundings to see Steve next to her who was still out of commission. The room she was in was large and it looked very much like a repair garage or empty storage room. A rodent sized truck was parked in it but otherwise there wasn’t much else that was noteworthy.
“You okay darling?” she asked her husband which brought him back to reality.
“What is this place? Who took us here?” Steve wondered as he looked around as well.
“I suppose we can only wait for someone to tell us.”
The large door opened and sunlight greeted the two Nutcrackers. Flora could spot two figures standing, the one a bit taller than the other. The two moved closer and Flora could see them clearer. The big one looked like a Russian Cold War general while the other was dressed as a low ranking officer, both Siberian chipmunks. Flora noted that the higher ranking officer was rather old and wore a fur coat in the heat of the day.
“I see you two have woke up,” The elder noted in heavy accent “I’m Sergei Tcharkovsky and you’re hostages.”
“Thanks for telling me, but I figured that out when I noticed I was shackled to this comfy wall of yours,” Steve retorted grumpily.
“We just don’t want you and your girl to wander off. Someone might take offense at that,” Sergei informed and moved a bit closer “Not that escaping would help at all. We’re in middle of jungle here so it’s unlikely you’ll ever report to what you’ve been through.”
Sergei took his handkerchief out of his pocket and before Steve could protest the general had gagged him. He then turned his attention to Steve’s wife.
“You know, many people would commit a murder to have girl like you. So I’m going to be generous for once; If you were to join me I’d be willing to share my success with you. Ever since Russia’s mighty government fell, I’ve been planning to restore glory to the Motherland. And lately I’ve had a lot of success, so much in fact that I can nearly taste victory, and it’s sweet. Your support could only make it more satisfying so take part in my revolution and you’ll be on the winning side. This has advantages for the both of us, you should consider it. Have you never dreamed of the idea that largest country on the globe should be most powerful? In that case your United States finishes only third. My glory could be that of yours and that of the people of Russia.”
“The ‘glory’ you’re thinking has only brought death and destruction to your home country. And yet, you’re too blind to understand that democracy is the only hope of recovery for your nation?” Flora questioned, hoping to beat this old man to it.
Such was not the case as the Siberian only sighed and shook his head.
“Have you seen what your ‘democracy’ did to this world? Nearly every western nation has nuclear bomb now. And that while masses of people have protested against it! In sixties, right now, and in the future humanity and our version of it there is fierce resistance against development of weapons. Democrats won’t let opinions of millions of people influence their decision, claiming that the people wanted them to rule and they are doing that. Compared to such a government, our kind is not that bad. We never lie, we do what WE want and not what our subjects want. Why would we need to lie to our people if they have no power at all? I’ve served through many skirmishes between your ‘democracy’ and our ‘dictatorship’ and never did public opinion cloud my decision, neither did capitalist generals ever put the wishes of a civilian before mission objective. Democracy will not lead to Utopia, only to more lies and cover-ups. Can you, yourself, rule a country when the burden of hypocrisy and the sin of lying is constantly following you like the Grim Reaper, ready to take you forever? As dictator you’ll never have this problem, you just do what you think is good. Which would you prefer? Or do you perhaps have no interest in the world around you?” Sergei spoke, like a teacher to his pupil.
“Could you move a bit closer so I can bite you?” Flora requested harshly.
“Not surprising to hear that from an inferior creature. You are, after all, American born and bred. You have no idea what some people go through in day-to-day life. Well I can tell you I’m much more accustomed to hazards like grief, coldness and aggression. If you served in the military for as long as I did you might understand, provided you won’t join that group of sissies that call themselves the BATS. We could have put our differences aside and rule as king and queen. Even though you are weaker,” Sergei explained sadly.
“Do you value your life?” Flora remarked but the Siberian already started to leave.
When he had left the building the other free chipmunk took the gag from Steve’s mouth. “And he didn’t even give me any advice.” Steve complained, sarcasm evident.
“Who are you?” Flora asked a bit suspicious.
“I’m Alexander, but everyone simply calls me Alex.”
“What happened to you that you joined these guys? You don’t look like a terrorist to me,” asked Steve, carefully.
“Looks can be deceiving, but in this case you’re right sir. I don’t fancy myself a smuggler, it’s just not me. I joined Russia’s army to defend my country against the ever present threat of a sneaky attack from China. The people’s republic still believes it has claims on everything that is close to its borders. Taiwan, Hong Kong, Tibet, and part of Russia itself.” Alex paused to sit down and rub his feet. “Anyway, one night when I had one too many drinks I was given an offer to join a so-called ‘special forces’ group that later proved to be nothing more than Sergei’s revolt army. And I am glad to be its first and last member up until now. He made abuse of circumstances but I signed up for it, and now I’m stuck with him. When he joined the people in the smuggler camp I was automatically dragged into the situation as well, but escape seems impossible. I can only hope the BATS will find this base soon and they grant me amnesty. Anything better than hanging out here with an army of ne’er-do-wells.”

Geegaw entered the Colonel’s office to find Petro Mendoza overlooking a simulated battlefield of miniature tanks and soldiers, but his playful smile quickly faded when he noticed there was someone to talk to him.
“You’re letting out your inner child, Colonel?” Geegaw prodded teasingly.
“Ehm, no. I was just planning some strategies,” he revealed and picked up one of the small tanks. “You see this? There are people in Korea, New Guinea and Spain that would pay high prices for these, and we’re simply discarding them! Thanks to your daughter we’ve got a gentler way with handling violence, and it seems our new approach caught the eye of other United Species members. Some agreed to adapt the same doctrine we’re now introducing. You’ve been a great help along with your team.”
“Thanks, could I ask a question though?” Geegaw inquired.
“Fire away. What’s on your mind?”
“Well, that engineer who’s been working on my plane, the one they call ‘Crazy Mina’, is she reliable?” Geegaw tried carefully.
“Of course you can trust her! She might have some screws loose but she has a special way with vehicles. To bad she never wears her uniform,” Mendoza replied heartily. “I don’t know how an idiot could know so much about anything.”
“Well, she’s a bit unsettling and she doesn’t seem to be aware of it,” Geegaw pressed on.
“Hah, I’m familiar with that. In fact, everyone at the engineering crew has to put up with her bestial way of eating so nobody pays attention to it anymore. Just humor her, and you’ll find a good and lighthearted friend in her,” The Colonel encouraged.
Before Geegaw could ask another question Chip entered the room. “I just want to know, how long are we going to have to wait until you take care of those smugglers?” he wanted to know.
“Not long, we’ve planned our attack tomorrow. You can sit this one out if you’d prefer, you and your team contributed a fair share in this war.”
“No thanks, I think we’re still needed. Even if it was only to see good win and to get a demonstration of Gadget’s new inventions. I think the others would love it,” Chip declared as he smiled at the idea of vicious smugglers at the mercy of Gadget’s specially designed military non-lethal firearms and gizmos.
“I suppose it would only be fair. In a certain way, this is the reward I owe you for helping us so much,” Petro admitted gratefully. “But I do recommend you Rangers to get some rest before then, the trip alone will be exhausting.”
“Thanks Colonel, glad to be working with you on this,” Chip praised and left, Geegaw following him.
Mendoza just stood there watching them leave. He then turned to the miniature tank he was still holding and huffed. “Who needs these things anyway?” he said and skillfully threw it into the rubbish bin.

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