It's A Jungle Out There

By Jelle (CD) Pieterman

Part Three

“Great, you said it would be alright. Why did you have to go and jinx it?” Flora demanded as she leaned against the jeep.
“How should I have known the guy was a vehicle thief that sells his loot?” Steve replied while he was busy repairing the car.
“Well, you’d better hurry. I don’t want to get stuck in this place.”
“Hey, I’m not Frank! He’s a much better repairman than I.”
“Ahuh, I figured that out,” Flora replied sarcastically.
“And I guess you’ve got bad luck, this thing is going nowhere anymore,” Steve informed her as he got his shirt back on.
“Well you’re lucky there’s a car over there. Perhaps we can get a lift from the owner,” Flora suggested and threw in her feminine charms to get the attention of the driver, who was a male raccoon totally dressed in white with a black band around his hat.
“Salute boys. How can I be of service to you? Or should I say, how could you two serve me?” he asked in a Sicilian accent.
“Uhm, my wife’s no prostitute.” Steve corrected the raccoon, who was quick enough to correct him.
“Mister Lupara says she is. I know he could be mistaken, but weaponry never lies,” The gangster said as he whipped out a sawed-off shotgun. “You girl, get in the front. Your husband will drive, while I make sure he makes no errors capiché?”
Steve and Flora quickly nodded and got in the car while the raccoon sat down behind Flora.
“I’ll let you know I’m a terrible person when it comes to gun fighting,” He told Steve “If you happen to accidentally bump into something I might just accidentally pull this trigger, and that would be disastrous for the dame.”
Steve started to sweat as he started up the engine, hoping for a miracle to save him and his wife.

As Philip and Mercy got of their plane and retrieved their luggage they were now confronted with day-to-day life in Arabia: crowded streets, non-moving traffic, scorching sun and lots of noise.
“Sounds like a fun place, lets get to the hotel,” Mercy ordered as she picked up her stuff.
“Shouldn’t we call a taxi first?” Philip wondered.
“That would be senseless. Walking is much faster and cheaper, plus we probably can’t find a taxi with air conditioning. Believe me, it would take a taxi fifteen minutes to notice us in this crowd and then pull over to pick us up.”
“That does make sense,” Philip admitted and followed his sister.

“Good morning miss and mister,” the receptionist said when she noticed Mercy and Philip, “how can I help you?”
“We’ve booked a room here. Under the name Stoneturner, could you check that please?” Mercy explained as the girl mouse quickly inserted a few words in her computer and waited for the result.
“Ah yes, room 192 is yours. That’s a nice one, you must be pretty rich. Are you oil magnate, software manufacturer, lottery winners?”
“Actually, we got the cash with a lawsuit,” Mercy admitted.
“I see. Wait a minute, I’ll call a bellboy,” the desert mouse informed before she made her way over to the cantina “Achmed, get your lazy butt out of that chair, we’ve got customers to please!”
A moment later a desert rat with fez on his head entered the lobby.
“Don’t mind Achmed’s attitude, he’s a lazy bum who can’t tell north from south but at least he got a sturdy back,” the girl informed, which offended the bellhop.
“I’m not!” he yawned, not sounding very convincing.
“Just get them to room 192 and quit your jibber-jabber,” The receptionist insisted. Achmed grumpily agreed.

A little later Mercy and Philip were in their room and Philip immediately plopped down on the bed.
“Hey, that one’s mine!” Mercy objected as she set her backpack down, opened a luggage case and started putting her clothes in one of the closets “You’re sleeping in the little bed over there,” Mercy motioned over to the door “I’m sleeping in the adults’ room.”
“See if I care,” Philip responded before laying his head down “Man, this feels good. You got to get me one of these Mercy.”
Mercy realized she wouldn’t be able to beat Philip off the bed anymore and took a towel from her luggage case and entered the bathroom. In it was a simple toilet, a sink, bath-shower combination which even had the option to be turned into a bubble bath.
“That’s something we don’t just got at home. I really need to install one of those should I ever get really rich,” Mercy murmured to herself as she adjusted the water flow till it was at a good temperature. She took off her clothes and got in the shower.
Man, this is why some people absolutely crave showering. Such a great feeling to have hot water running down your body after being out in the open for so long, She thought as she cleaned herself. After she was done she got a bathrobe and entered her bedroom were Philip was asleep on her bed, with a stain of drool on the sheets.
Ah well, I should as well put him to bed, it’s been a exhausting trip, Mercy thought, and picked up Philip to drop him off in his own bed. “Sleep tight, you’ve got to be all rested up so we can go see the town when we wake up,” she whispered and got back in her room and got in her own bed.

“So this is we’re they’re from, eh?” Monty inquired as he looked over the base of the BATS, which had been revealed to be the Brazilian Anti Terrorism Squad.
“Looks cool and all! They’ve got everything, barracks, radar installations, weapons factory, airstrips, helipads and even a shipyard!” Dale exclaimed, amazed.
“Just don’t ask Gadget to build all this stuff when we get home, it just isn’t our style,” Chip warned, as he was a bit disappointed to see animal society following that of humans.
“Got to give them credit; they’re efficient,” Gadget complimented, unaware she was actually praising mass destruction.
“Gadget, they kill others to prevent them from committing crimes! That’s not right!” Chip interrupted her.
“I don’t know, it seems those punks they’re up against are even less friendly. They’re selling weaponry to anyone who can pay their price remember?” Geegaw reasoned, not really liking killing himself.
“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve a second chance,” Chip countered, hoping his sympathy wouldn’t be his downfall later on.
“Man, and here I thought you enforced hard judgement,” Dale joked, and seemingly was the only one who enjoyed it, but he did get a bonk from Chip for the remark.
Their discussion was interrupted when they noticed two people who were familiar to them. Both were escorted by a few soldiers and they were tied up. The guards also had a third prisoner with them, whom they didn’t recognize. A raccoon in a white suit, who seemed like he was not having his day.
“Steve, Flora, what are you doing here?” Chip exclaimed in surprise.
“It’s a long story, but could you tell those goons to please buzz off? It’s not that I’m trying to escape already, I just want to have my hands free again,” Steve replied.
“You can let them go, we’re friends of them,” Chip informed the security, who amazingly enough agreed to let the twosome go.
“How did you get here?” Gadget questioned.
“You really want to hear it?” Steve asked as he massaged his wrists.
“I overestimated my dear husband’s tolerance for innocent desserts--” Flora started before she was interrupted.
“There was alcohol in it! You know full well that I get a headache from a simple bottle of beer, not to mention booze. That ice cream was loaded with Vodka! Do I have to remind you of my state when we re-met in that bar in Manhattan a couple of years ago?” Steve interjected.
“Puh-leaze, no. You were like a real bum then, thank goodness my appearance cut you out of it,” Flora countered before continuing. “So mister don’t-keep-your-head-cool got our ship mixed up with one headed for Brazil. We landed in Rio de Janeiro after which Steve got an AWESOME deal from some swindler who traded him a couple of plane tickets to get here, after which we hired a car from a dealer who has quite a reputation with the cops, got stranded in the middle of nowhere due to engine failure, got a ride from that raccoon who could have killed me for all I know and ended up in this blockade of Brazilian soldiers who were masters in negotiation with yells like: ‘Come over here and fight a REAL man!’ or ‘Do you always pick on the little ones?’. Not to mention that they swore so much that the Grim Reaper would run to his mommy, crying his non-existent eyes out.”
“And they aren’t really bright either, they thought we were the henchmen of that Mafioso,” Steve finished.
“Quite a story, at least you’re out of trouble for now,” Monty comforted them.
“Yeah, right. As if you guys aren’t going to drag me into your adventure again,” Steve fumed and crossed his arms “Ah well, this time I won’t resist anymore. What’s it this time? Smugglers, reds, assassins, lawyers?”
Dale smiled before replying, “That and much more!”
“Join the fun, join the fun in our quest for total suicide! And if you’re not totally happy, you get your money back!” Geegaw added sarcastically.
“In that case you already owe me,” Steve replied.
One of the BATS members joined the group and turned to Chip.
“Mr. Maplewood? Colonel Mendoza wants to speak to you. He’s in the comm. center, that big radar building over there,” the private said, and pointed to the communication center.
“Alright, we’ll be on our way then,” Chip replied and made his way over to the indicated building, the others following him.

“Ah, you must be Chip Maplewood, along with your team the Rescue Rangers. Quite pleased to meet you in person signor. I’m Petro Mendoza, colonel of the BATS movement and base commander of this forward command post. I’m here to ensure that the terrorists holed up somewhere in the jungle don’t gain a foot in the nearby towns and villages, hoping that I can somehow find and destroy their stronghold and do all that in time to enjoy supper with my fine wife who’s having to spend so much time without me. Ah well, fighting for the good cause comes at a prize I see…” The Colonel spoke and moved over to one of the computer terminals in the room.
“This place is absolutely amazing! Were did you find all the necessary equipment and tools?” Gadget wanted to know.
“We mostly scavenge from humans, like all rodents do, or copy their technology. Next to that it’s hard work and manpower. Which we also have to balance out with quality so as to remain effective at all times,” The Colonel explained.
“What can you tell me about these smugglers? We’ve come to eliminate them,” Chip inquired.
“Hah, sure you do! Well, first they are holed up somewhere in the jungle which is too difficult to just simply explore. Then they have enlisted some of the finest people in criminal rodent society, a man for every job. And third, they have got guns, really BIG guns. I would be the last one surprised if someone told me they were currently building up an atomic warhead to hold the world for a ransom. You’ll have to come from a good house to finish them off.”
“But why all the serious firepower? What’s it good for if it’s not used?” Chip demanded to know.
“Don’t think we don’t make any progress. We capture some of their people from time to time. Eventually, they’ll run out of experienced henchmen,” The Colonel replied.
“What if they start drafting people from the villages?” Gadget asked, concerned.
“That would indeed be disastrous, but if they use civilians, they’re bound to make a few foul-ups, those civilians, and that’s when we can locate their headquarters and ice them.”
“And you don’t think killing them is wrong?” Chip resumed his questioning.
“What else could we use to neutralize them?”
“Just what you said, neutralize them.” Gadget offered “I can help develop something that can stun or knock out those people without causing physical damage.”
“Wouldn’t that be in stride with the laws of the United Species on chemical and biological weapons?” The Colonel wondered.
“Not really. I myself use plunger crossbows, which are harmless but enough to cause distraction. And I’ve been working on a prototype stun grenade; it creates a cloud of pepper on impact which is the perfect way to keep thugs and hoodlums busy while you sneak up on them,” Gadget explained as she showed the Colonel one of her small yellow grenades.
“Sounds interesting, non-lethal firepower that is more effective than a bullet through the head. Would save us a lot of hassle on our reputation,” The Colonel agreed. “Very well, provided you can help us provide these weapons we shall use them. I’ve already got a supply of harmless smoke grenades and shields that can be used for that purpose, we should use those in the meantime. It seems we’ll have to go with some military reforms now, but if you’re certain it’s for the better and the results pay off, I’m totally in favor. Anything to keep the number of victims this war causes to a minimum.”
“Thanks colonel. Mind if us and the team take care of the scouting part? We’ve gotten ourselves into harder situations before,” Monty proposed.
“Certainly, go right ahead. I doubt you’ll find but a suspicious footprint. But if you find something I want to be the first to know,” The Colonel agreed and saluted.
“Muchas gracias signor,” Geegaw replied.
“One more thing,” Steve interrupted, “can I use all this highly advanced equipment to make a phone call? I got a couple of friends back in New York who I’d like to have over here. They’re much better at handling this type of situation than I am.”
“You’re trying to drag your own friends into this mess?” Flora asked disapprovingly.
“Hey, they’re honestly much better with dealing with this than I am. Besides, it were friends who dragged me into this adventure in the first place,” Steve defended.
“Oh sure, go ahead and blame us, as if we care,” Monty replied grumpily and folded his arms.
“Actually, he’s right on that,” Geegaw admitted, something Zipper agreed on.
“Whatever,” The Colonel dismissed. “Pèpe here will take you to your quarters. It’s not much but we’re running an army base here, not a hotel.”
“Thanks colonel, let’s go,” Chip said and followed the mole assistant who apparently was Pèpe.

Fat Cat and his goons had finally made it to their destination. The occasional foul-up from his goon squad didn’t slow their travel to much, but now that they had reached the island the smugglers were located, they now had a few more issues to deal with. First they didn’t know where to find the Brazilians and Marcus, who according to rumors were hiding in the vast jungle on that island. Another problem was that they had no idea how to deal with it when they finally found the traitor Marcus “Agave” who by now should be surrounded by an entire organization of smugglers who probably wouldn’t just let them take him. Fat Cat was just considering what to do now when he noticed someone from the corner of his eye. He turned around and a moment later that person did as well, as if knowing he was being watched.
“You!?” They screamed as one when they saw each other.
Rat Capone’s goons and Fat Cat’s quickly moved forward to deal with it when the other attacked.
“What are you doing on this god-forsaken island?” Fat Cat demanded to know.
“None of yer business fat!” Capone responded, sending a spat of saliva flying in the cat’s face.
“Well I’m here to get back some fool who dared walk away. If you interfere, it means war! You do understand that right?”
“Youse too? I guess I’m not the only one who’s missing a trusted companion,” Rat Capone revealed and thought it through “Alright, you can go and I’ll avoid you. Only if youse would do likewise.”
“Suits me, I’m much more powerful than you anyway,” Fat Cat agreed and shook paws with Rat, looking in the opposite direction and appearing to be bored.
“In your part of town, yes.” Capone countered, looking at the beautiful Brazilian sky which didn’t interest him at all The surface of New York isn’t really that spectacular to control anyway.

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