It's A Jungle Out There


Part Two

“Hurry up you slowpokes!” Fat Cat demanded as he kicked Mole’s behind to make him walk faster “If that ship leaves without us I swear you four are going to swim all the way to Brazil.”
“Why all the hassle over that worthless Marcus boss?” Wart asked his superior “It’s not like he was important or anything.”
“Don’t you get it? Good personnel are difficult to come by these days, and I can’t risk any other henchmen getting fed up and leaving.”
“Well you don’t have to worry then, you have no personnel next to us, and you always keep telling us we’re worthless anyway so what’s the deal?” Mepps reassured his boss, but achieved the exact opposite.
“No, you four are not bright enough to consider leaving, so that means I can bully you around whatever I want so keep moving!!!” Fat Cat shouted, scaring his goon squad which obeyed.

“I like your new clothing, Mercy,” Philip complimented his sister and took his seat.
“It’s temporary attire, that’s all!” Mercy warned as she sat down next to Philip. She was dressed in a white skirt, a yellow shirt, sandals and a desert hat.
“Why exactly are you wearing that anyway?”
“It’s self preservation, the gulf can be tricky to the unprepared. Muslims can be nasty toward ‘indecent westerlings’ who don’t dress appropriately. My old dress would be a bit too outgoing for the sand people.”
“Why is that?” the youngster asked.
“Saudi Arabia is ruled by several princes and sheiks who all control a part of the country. Some are lenient toward tourists, others keep a strict eye on them. In certain places it’s prohibited to preach any religion that is not Islam, while in other places you find tons of Arabs who studied in America. Just to be careful I decided to keep a low profile, the book I bought advised me to dress in a decent way and not to flirt with the native population, or they’ll cut you to pieces.”
“Is the gulf really that barbaric? If so I want to stay in New York.”
“Take it easy, I’m just scaring you. Things like that only happen in the dangerous Muslim countries like Iraq, Iran, or Libya. Saudi Arabia is by far one of the most tolerant countries in the gulf, possibly only surpassed by Turkey.”
“I hope your book is right,” Philip replied a bit nervous.
“Yeah – Hey!” Mercy replied, a bit angered that her brother thought she needed a book for everything.
Fortunately Philip was saved a sermon by an announcement.
“Good morning ladies and gentlemice, this is your captain speaking. Thank you all for flying Rodent Airlines…”
“Man, this is just like in those movies,” Philip said, annoyed, crossed his arms, and began mocking the pilot. “We’re veeeery thankful you spend your hard earned dollars on this too-expensive flight in a soapbox. We’re going to leave at nine o’ clock and we’ll be up in the air at twelve o’clock. In two days we’ll crash in Tunisia and you’ll all die, have a pleasant flight!”
This earned him a hard look and a slap from Mercy, after which he behaved for the rest for the flight.

“Wonderful, there are no ships leaving for America,” Steve complained as he sat down next to Flora.
“Then what are those tickets doing in your hand?” Flora wondered out loud as she pointed to the passenger licenses Steve carried.
“Oh, these? Some joker tricked me into trading my Swiss watch in exchange for two tickets to Belém. On the bright side: they’re airplane tickets.”
“Why go to Belém? Rio de Janeiro is a lot better than some unknown location.”
“That’s were my sense of geography comes in. Belém is in the north and a lot closer to New York. Besides, I have an old business partner who lives in a town close to Belém who runs a car company. Maybe he’d be friendly enough to lend me a car so we can make it to the Mexican border. It’s a lot safer than staying in Brazil, this city is overflowing with thugs and criminals. We can send that automobile back to him once we reach another port city which has a ships leaving for New York.”
“Man, that’s a dense idea. You should have kept your head cool when we were about to leave from Dublin. I can’t believe I trusted you when you said that ship was headed for New York,” Flora complained and crossed her arms.
“Well, I can’t believe I trusted you when you said that dessert was alcohol free,” Steve retorted and got up.

Somewhere totally else, a Siberian chipmunk checked a list, turning it upside down and mirroring it. “Why can’t those fools just jot it down in Russian?” He complained.
The chipmunk was dressed in a gray fur coat that looked totally out of place in the jungle were he was. On his head was a black hat with a red star on it. He looked somewhat old and talked in a heavy Russian accent. A younger Siberian chipmunk joined him, wearing a white, 1940’s styled sergeant’s uniform.
“You still wearing that? Didn’t you figure out it’s HOT in this place?” The youngster asked while tugging his collar to emphasize his point.
“I wear whatever I want, wherever and whenever. So quit your senseless talk and return when you have important business!”
“Yes sir, understood. And there’s someone here to see you, his name’s Boris.”
The other raised an eyebrow at the mention of the name. He looked up to see a rat in a dirty old green shirt and a bowler hat. “Well, isn’t that just typical,” The chipmunk commented upon seeing the rat.
“You here as well? I thought I never had to compete with you again!” The rat sounded a bit annoyed, but smiled nonetheless.
“Boris, what are you doing here in this disgustingly hot place?” The chipmunk replied.
“Same as you. And by the way Sergei, if it’s hot you should get rid of the fur coat you’re always wearing. It surprised me when you wore it in France but this…! By the way, who’s your friend?”
“I’ll never separate from my coat! They won’t catch Sergei Tcharkovsky without it. Oh, and this here is Alexander, my assistant.”
“You don’t have a family name?” Boris asked wonderingly.
“N-no sir. Not except for the one my stepmother gave me,” The young chipmunk replied.
“Heh, then you missed out a lot if you don’t have relatives or a father!” Sergei taunted and poked his finger in Alex’s chest.
“Hey, stop teasing the brat. He must be new to the Army if he’s already shaking at the first question he’s asked,” Boris defended Alex.
“In that case you’ll need some backbone. Some vodka works miracles,” Sergei suggested and led the other over to the mess hall to see if there was anything for them to salvage.
Alex was only too willing to agree, he was out of place with the rest of the camp anyway.

The Rangers had landed in a small rodent town on the island east of Belém. Geegaw was working on the Screaming Eagle together with Gadget, fueling it up a bit and checking the landing gear.
“You know, we really should do this more often.” Geegaw advised while wiping of his forehead with a rag.
“That’s not necessary, the plane is sturdy enough to last for a few flights.” Gadget noted. Geegaw rolled his eyes, this was still the same Gadget he always knew.
“No, I mean doing something together like father and daughter. I got to make up for those years I was gone you know.”
“That’s not necessary, you’re here now. That’s all that matters.”
“No really, I left you alone for far too long. There’s a lot we have to tell each other,” Geegaw insisted as he cleaned his paws.
“Alright, we’re here together now. Let’s talk,” Gadget agreed, sitting down on the wing of the Screaming Eagle.
Geegaw looked puzzled, he couldn’t think of anything to start with. Why did he even ask for a conversation in the first place?
“No Gadget, I mean just spend more time together, not just talking. Man, we’re starting to look like Indiana Jones and his father right now.”
“Odd, neither of us is wearing a fedora or carries a whip. Only Chip does, although he doesn’t have a whip. But why get him involved? I thought this was between us,” Gadget ranted as Geegaw slapped his hands over his eyes.
“Let me phrase that better: we sound like Indiana Jones and his father. By the way forget it, this is too confusing.”
“Sure, then let’s continue. Could you hand me the wrench?” Gadget asked politely.
A car racing past the hanger they were at interrupted them. It was followed by a hum-vee, which fired shots at the car. A few hit and the tires went flat. The two passengers got out. The one was a gangster rat in a gray suit and hat, carrying a Thomson machine gun. The other was a mouse who wore a camouflage jacket and a white bandana, armed with a shotgun. They fired shots at the armored vehicle, which was pointless since the plating of the hummer was strong enough to survive the shots and keep its passengers safe inside. The Rambo-esque mouse made it over to the service station and put his weapon to Geegaw’s stomach.
“Git us outta here pal, or I’ll change yo diet to blue beans,” he demanded.
The mouse felt a tap on his shoulder. When he turned around he was hit in his face with a wrench.
“You alright dad?” Gadget inquired as she took the shotgun and disarmed it.
“Freeze!” one of the occupants of the Hum-vee ordered, and the gangster rat responded by dropping his weapon.
Three rodents exited the vehicle, all of them dressed in a military uniform, carrying automatic rifles. Two of them got busy arresting the rat while the third entered the hangar.
“Sorry for the inconvenience sir, these guys are dangerous people,” he spoke as he threw a look at the unconscious mouse
“Don’t worry, I’m okay, I’m a Rescue Ranger after all,” Geegaw replied.
“What’s going on in this town?” Gadget demanded to know.
“I can tell you’re from out of country. Not to long ago a weapon smuggler gang rubbed out the AP system and set up shop on this island. They’ve been waging a guerilla war ever since in several countries and toppled quite a few AP organizations in those parts as well. These guys are not to be taken lightly; the number of experienced people they enlisted is shocking. They got a man for every job: smugglers, terrorists, hoodlums, thieves, hi-jackers, mafiosi, generals and even a good number of good people who saw themselves a future as a mercenary soldier. Whoever runs this organization by now has a private army, as well as a lot of dough.”
“I suppose this is what Chip has been looking for,” Gadget reasoned before turning to the soldier. “Is it possible for our teams to work together? We’ve been send by the AP of New York to find out about this smuggler gang that’s been selling weapons in our fair city, they’re making the place unsafe with their trade.”
“If you’re just as eager to fight these clowns as we are, we’re glad to accept. Just where is the rest of your team?”
“I’ll get them,” Geegaw offered and left off to search for the other Rangers.
“Suits me, I’ll call for a transport to get you all to base,” the mouse complied and got to his vehicle and turned on the radio.
“What about…” Gadget started and pointed to the plane.
“Don’t worry, I can just ask for them to send a pilot who will navigate you to our base,” the mouse answered before turning back to his radio.”
“This is hummer 19 to Eagle Hearth, do you read?”
“This is Eagle Hearth, copy,” the person on the other side responded.
“We found a group who offered to lend their services in fighting off those yahoos. I request an APC and a navigator for their plane.”
“Sure, we’re sending requested escort now to your location. By the way, what’s the name of their group?”
“Rescue Rangers,” Gadget answered.
“They’re Rescue Rangers sir.” The soldier repeated and waited for a reply.
“Got that, over and out.”

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