Talespin does not belong to me, nor do any of its characters… They're Disney's! I'm not in this for the money, just for fun! All original characters belong to me, but anyone is welcome to use them if they wish. And anyone who wants to use any of my scenes, to attempt a bit of art, then please go right ahead!
Just in case some people get insulted at the way some scenes are written, such as the sexist remarks… etc. Please remember that I'm trying to keep all the characters in line to the show, so things like sexism was typical for Baloo and other characters, and remember that the show was set in the 1930s, so things were different back then.
These fics also came with illustrations, but obviously you can't see them on FF. To see this fic in all its glory, go to the Talespin website (remove spaces)…
www. Animationsource .org/ talespin/ en/ fanfic/storyseeker1/ 20493. html
Don Karnage's Ship (The Iron Vulture);
Day One; 0230AM:
Don Karnage overlooked the platform of his ship, the Iron Vulture, as his men swabbed the deck and went on about their businesses. He glanced distastefully at those who stood about, doing nothing.
'Incompetent idiosyncrasies,' he thought, and then added out loud. "What are you doing, my mindless minions?"
A few of the men jumped at his snippy tone, but quickly collected themselves.
"Err, nothing, sir," one of them replied.
"Exactly!" Karnage snapped. "So why precisely are you doing nothing? When you should be off doing your duties that I, your most magnificent commander Don Karnage, have allocated you! Get back to work!"
The men quickly jumped to their feet, and raced off to their duties.
Don Karnage, pirate of the seven skies, fumed over the deck of his ship. Things had not been going well for him and his crew. They had not had a decent loot and pillage in months, mainly because of Baloo. For such an insufferable and ridiculous pilot, he had sure made enough trouble for them over the past year. Thanks to him, nearly all of Karnage's operations had come to a screeching halt. Every time when they started something worthwhile, Baloo and his annoying crew somehow managed to come in and ruin it all for them.
"We need something to get us back on the track," Karnage thought out-loud. "But what?" His mind pondered a list of options. They could go back to looting planes again, but Kahn's aeroplanes had improved upon their security a lot in the past year. And the freelance pilots, although their planes were nowhere near as advanced as Kahn's, they were still more than enough to give his crew a run for their money.
Karnage sighed, his brain starting to hurt.
"Captain?" a voice yelled out.
Karnage looked to his left to see one of his crew, a shaggy gold-coloured wolf called Hacksaw, come running up to him, carrying something.
"Captain, I found this!" he said, as he held out what looked like nothing more than an old bottle. The bottle appeared to be something of an Arabic style, one of those bottles with a large bottom and a thin spout at the top.
Karnage took the bottle from him, viewing it with distaste, giving the Air Pirate an equal look. "Yes? And just what is it that I am supposed to be observing?"
"Well," the shaggy wolf said nervously. "Well, I found it floating in the sea. It looks very old, and once you wash all the grime off, I'm sure it will look very nice, and… "
"And what?" Karnage clenched his fists, loosing patience. "What is it that I am supposed to do with a filthy old bottle? Use it for a plant-holder?"
Hacksaw backed away, sheepishly. "Well, I thought maybe it could be an antique. I mean, we could use all the luck and money we can get, so… " He stopped at the dangerous look that Karnage was giving him.
"And just what is it that you mean by that remark that you say?" Karnage said, his voice low and hissing.
Hacksaw gulped. "Well, I-I-I thought that… Well, truth be told, we haven't had that whole of a lot of good luck lately. What with Kahn's forces, and… and-and… Baloo."
"What?" Karnage snapped, straining his ears to hear the last word.
"B-B-Baloo," Hacksaw stuttered.
Karnage grabbed the pirate by the scuff of his neck, and forced him to his eye level, staring at him murderously. "Never ever mention that name in my glorious presence again! Understand?"
Hacksaw nodded his head vigorously.
"And in answer to your vulgar description of our so-called lack of good luck," Karnage continued. "There is no problem whatsoever! True, we have not been doing so well in the art of the plundering and pillaging, as we usually do, but that is because it is all due to my masterful plan."
"Ohhh, sorry, boss… I mean captain!" Hacksaw saluted his commanding officer. "I didn't realise you was planning something."
"Of course not," Karnage scoffed. "You are merely one of my many brave and brainless soldiers, how could you know?"
Hacksaw smiled. "Thank you, captain. May I ask, what is the plan?"
"You may." Karnage replied. "Be sure to keep your ears tuned in, as your mind may not be adequate enough to comprehend the sheer brilliance of my ingenious idea… The reason for my lack of attacks on Cape Suzette, and such, is because I am simply buying my time, and leading the land-lovers into a false sense of security. Once they are in their moments of peace-loving harmony, we shall make our move and attack."
"Oh, brilliant, captain!" Hacksaw clapped his hands together in glee. "And what shall be our target?"
Karnage paused at that, his mind going blank for a moment.
"Do not ask me such blandly bothersome questions!" Karnage snapped. "We will obviously go for that, which is the most expensive, and the most highest of high items that there is to steal. What else would we go after?"
"Oh, of course, captain," Hacksaw humbly agreed. "Oh, err, what shall I do with the bottle?"
Karnage rolled his eyes. "I will see to it! Now go back to your station… And inform me immediately when Mad Dog and Dumptruck return. They should have been back hours ago. Where are they?"
"I believe they went out for professions, sir," Hacksaw informed him. "They might have ran into a little trouble on the way. It's hard for us to go out and shop, what with all the bulletins out for us," he said, as he ran back to his station, as told to.
Karnage sighed, wondering where all the good help had gone in the world, and why was he stuck with the rejects? And WHY, pray tell, were Mad Dog and Dumptruck even bothering to shop for professions, when they could just steal them?
He frowned, as he carried the bottle back to his quarters. Truthfully, he had no idea what he and his men would go after. The idea of leading Cape Suzette into a false sense of security sounded good, but even so, what would they steal? Even if nobody expected them, security was always at its highest, particularly when it concerned all of the best items there were to steal.
Karnage scratched the side of his head with the bottle. He cringed at the smell of the ocean grime on it. As he entered his quarters, he flung it over to the side of the room, and went back to check on his maps.
"I need some bit of help," he silently prayed to whatever God would take notice of a pirate's prayer.
Little did he know, from over the other side of the room, a tiny disembodied ear was listening to every word he was saying.
The bottle rolled a little to the left, on the floor, as though waiting impatiently.
Louie's Place; Six Hours Later:
Dumptruck and Mad Dog covered their faces with the hoods of their oversized cloaks, fearful of being discovered, as several of Kahn's pilots entered the club. Fortunately, none of them looked their way, as they had just spent eight straight hours flying from several destinations, delivering Kahn's cargo, and were eager to order and relax.
"Yah, don't cha tink ve should be on our way?" Dumptruck asked his companion.
Mad Dog scraped up some more of the ice cream special. "We've been scouting for professions all night, we deserve a break. Besides, if we wait a bit longer, till some more people fill the place, then they won't notice us leaving."
Mad Dog and Dumptruck had gone out, as ordered, to retrieve professions for themselves, the captain, and the crew. Unfortunately, as anticipated, their faces were well known by the police, and the large reward for their capture did not help matters either. So they had spent the whole night going from one crooked trader to another, until they at long last had all the professions they required.
Dumptruck kept his hood over his head. "Yah, but I don't like being out in the open like this… I 'specially don't like bein' out too long vithout the Cap'ns approval. I warn you, Mad Dog. If he's mad, I'm not gonna be the one that gets yelled at."
Mad Dog waved him off. "Just a little longer. We'll just tell him about the police and everyone out for us. He won't suspect anything, and then we'll… " He stopped, as Dumptruck had practically pulled his hood right over his entire face, his face slumped to the table.
"What are you doing?" Mad Dog asked, but Dumptruck just grabbed his snout and pulled him down to his level.
"Don't look now, but ve have company," Dumptruck warned him, and pointed to the main door.
Mad Dog looked over his shoulder, and immediately felt like running for cover himself.
Baloo walked through the front door, smiling cheerfully at everyone, giving them a tip of his cap as a fellow greeting, before walking up to the bar-stand where Louie was even now preparing one of his Crackatuo Sundae Specials.
"Hey, Louie!" Baloo greeted his long-time friend. "What's up?"
The club was still far from full, and in the stillness, Mad Dog and Dumptruck were close enough to the bar to hear every word that Baloo and Louie said perfectly.
The two of them did their traditional greeting, a high-five, and Louie grinned at his rotund buddy. "How ya been, cous?"
Baloo stretched his muscles. "Couldn't be better, bud," he said, and then noticed something on the wall. "Hey, what's this?"
Louie turned his attention to where Baloo was looking. "Oh that," Louie smirked. "Just something I thought of to get some more customers in."
On the notice board, where there were usually photos of all the pilots that came through Louie's Place, including Baloo's at the top, there was a large poster. It read: -
BE THERE OR BE SQUARE!
"A single's night?" Baloo mused. "Kinda desperate sounding, don't you think, Louie?"
Louie snorted. "Maybe, but there are all sorts of good blokes in this joint, cous. Most of them are way up the dating river without a paddle, and could use a little help. Besides, like I said, it might help bring in a little more business for me, and… it'll give us one heck of a Saturday night to look forward to!"
Baloo laughed. "Now you're talking my language, pal! Oh, and while you're at it, how bout fixing me up one of your… "
Before he could finish, Louie had already placed one of his sundae specials in front of him.
Baloo grinned. "You know me too well, Lou."
"Been wondering where you got to, Baloo?" Louie asked, as he wiped the bar down. "Where you been lately?"
Baloo shrugged. "Ah, you know, the usual. Becky's been getting me up at the crack of dawn to do delivery rounds."
"Why so early?" Louie asked.
Baloo took his sundae, licked his lips, and dove straight in with his spoon. "Mmm… " He spoke with his mouth full. "Wants me to make room… for the shipment… emeralds… "
Mad Dog and Dumptruck's ears both pricked up instantly at the words 'shipment', and more importantly 'emeralds'. That meant two things for the two Air Pirates… One, they could get into the captain's good books with this information… and two, they could finally get to do some real good plundering at long last.
"Suggest we don't stay for third dessert," Dumptruck said to his companion. To which, Mad Dog nodded, and the two of them got up hurriedly to leave.
The Iron Vulture;
Don Karnage's Quarters;
One Hour Later:
Don Karnage sat at his desk, studying his map, plotting any possible heists that he and his men might take up, but so far he had yet to find a heist that his men could even handle.
"Captain?" the voice on the intercom sounded. "Mad Dog and Dumptruck have returned. They wish to speak to you."
"About time, too!" Karnage angrily shouted. "Send them to me at once!"
A few moments later, Dumptruck and Mad Dog came rushing through his door, looking as though they had just run a marathon.
"Dumptruck!" the larger of the two sounded his name.
"Mad Dog!" the other followed his example.
"Reporting for duty as ordered, sir!" they chorused together, saluting their captain.
"Where in the seven skies have you two been?" Karnage ordered. "And second of all, do not, I repeat, do NOT enter my quarters without first hearing from me that it is okay to do so, understand?" He slammed his fists onto his desk.
Dumptruck and Mad Dog saluted again, nodding their heads simultaneously.
"Good!" Karnage then got up, and walked slowly around his desk, touching his sword. "Now, would you be so good as to tell me why you have been gone for so long from your posts?" He drew his sword, and plucked a hair from Mad Dog's moustache.
Mad Dog opened his mouth to speak, but Karnage silenced him.
"Ah, tut, tut, tut!" Karnage said, slapping his pirate's nose. "Do not speak until I have given you the say so… " He waited a few seconds. "Okay, now you can speak."
Mad Dog looked as though he was about to start whining, as he bowed shortly before the captain, practically pleading for mercy. "Sorry, captain. But we lost track of time, and… "
"This is not a good excuse!" Karnage told them, as he tested the sharpness of the blade with Mad Dog's hair. "Timing is everything to a pirate. Have I not always stressed to inform you of that?"
"Yes, sir, but… "
"Ah, ah, ahh, no more with the butting," Karnage toyed with his sword. "Now, what may I ask was so important that you felt it necessary to be so late in your return to your duties, hmmm?"
"We were at Louie's, yah, and… " Dumptruck began.
"Where?" Karnage looked up sharply. "Are you two of your tiny minds? Did you intend on getting yourselves captured by advertising yourselves in one of the most public places of the public? Go out and slap yourselves!"
"But, boss… " Mad Dog whined. "Baloo was there, and we… "
"Baloo!" Karnage's sword was dangerously close to their throats now. "So, to top it all off, you were fraternising with my enemy, no?"
"No, cap'n," Dumptruck interjected. "We were incognito, and we overheard Baloo and one of his buddies talking."
"Talking?" Karnage lowered his blade a little. "Talking about what?"
"About a shipment of emeralds that Baloo's supposed to deliver," Mad Dog finished for his partner.
At the word 'emeralds', Karnage instantly forgot about Mad Dog and Dumptruck's lateness, and his eyes widened, as the thought of precious gemstones began filling his mind.
"Emeralds?" Karnage spoke hungrily. "You are saying that old Baloo has finally got himself a worthwhile loot for us to plunder?"
"Yah, boss," Dumptruck nodded his head vigorously. "We heard him say so to his friend, the ape called Louie."
"When will he be running his run?" Karnage quickly asked.
At his question, Dumptruck and Mad Dog instantly went quiet.
"Ummm… " Mad Dog began.
"Well, you see, cap'n… " Dumptruck tried to speak.
"Well?" Karnage repeated. "When will he be shipping the shipment?"
Dumptruck lowered his head shamefully, and fearfully, while Mad Dog just stepped back, closer to the door.
"We don't know, sir," Mad Dog finally spoke up.
Karnage threw his sword at the wall, impaling it in the metal. "So what type of good news is this to me? What good is it knowing that Baloo, my long-time ever-exasperating enemy, has in his possession some precious stones, when I do not even know when or where he is transporting them?"
Karnage went over and sat down at his desk, rubbing his face in anguish, unsure of what to do. Absently, he picked up the old bottle that the other pirate had given him, idly passing it from hand to hand.
"What if we spied on Baloo?" Dumptruck suggested. "Find out where he has them?"
"Brilliant strategy, dumb one," Karnage said, without even looking at him. "Just one question I have, and that is… How are we, the Air Pirates, supposed to make it into Cape Suzette, past the patrol guards, remain undetected while we spy on Baloo's home without being recognised, and most importantly… not getting shot?"
"Ummm, we could wear a disguise?" Mad Dog said.
Karnage snorted. "Even if we got past the guns, I doubt there is a disguise that could fool Baloo. Thanks to all the number of times we have infiltrated him and his friends, he has I fear become immune to our way of… camouflaging ourselves, cunning though it is." Karnage rested the bottle on his lap, still holding it. "There has got to be a way of finding out all he knows! I will not, repeat, I will NOT allow that shapeless heavy half-wit of a bum have another victory over me."
"I DO NOT KNOW!" Karnage shouted, as he rubbed the bottle furiously in his hands, wiping off some of the dried grime that it had collected from the sea. And that's when it happened…
The first time Karnage rubbed the bottle, it had started out with a tiny little tremor, so small that Karnage did not even notice it. Then with the following rubs that continued, the tremors has escalated, and before Karnage even had time to look down on the bottle in question, the bottle had leapt out of his hands.
Karnage looked up in surprise, as the bottle jumped into the air, and Mad Dog and Dumptruck immediately went for their pistols, as all good pirates were trained to do.
The bottle went on shaking and fidgeting in mid-air, and as they stared at it, they saw a strange orange smoke rising out of it.
"What in blue, green, red and purple blazes!" Karnage swore; reaching for his sword, while Dumptruck and Mad Dog kept their guns pointed at the bottle.
The bottle whizzed and twirled, as the orange smoke piled out of it. As the three of them stared at the mist, the orange smoke started to change colour, from orange to blue, and from blue to green.
The now green smoke however did not dissipate, or float away, as all smokes should do. Instead, it stayed where it was, hovering above the top of the bottle, and seemed to be taking shape. As Karnage and his men continued staring at the smoke, they noticed it beginning to take on the form of a man. They could make out the shape of a head, arms and hands, and with each passing moment, more parts took form.
Then, in a single flash of pure gold lightning, Karnage and his men momentarily lost their sight. They blinked their eyes, wiping them until their eyesight slowly returned. When it did, an awesome sight welcomed them…
"Make way, the Genie with the sass is back in the house!" an Arabic sounding voice announced.
Karnage, Dumptruck and Mad Dog all blinked their eyes in astonishment, even after their sight had returned. There, in front of them, was some sort of man…
The man was a dark-golden coloured Hyena, with a few black spots along his pelt, and a black goatee around his mouth, which had a little curl at the end of his chin. He was wearing a purple sleeveless jacket of some sort, but no shirt, with a blue cloth tied around his waist, a gold medallion around his neck, and a large blue turban wrapped around his head, along with a large white feather that was sticking out at the front of it. He was also wearing a pair of gold bracelets on each of his arms.
He was wearing no pants or shoes, but that was because he didn't seem to have any legs. Where his legs and feet should have been, there seemed only to be more of that smoke, which had yet again changed colour from green into gold.
The strange man floated aimlessly through the air, stretching out his arms, and cracking his knuckles and back muscles.
"Ahh, by the seven deserts," he spoke. "Now that feels good! Nothing like having a good stretch after six thousand years."
Karnage opened and shut his mouth like a goldfish, in shock, as did his men. Karnage kept opening his mouth to try and speak, but the words just refused to come out.
The floating man finally took notice of them, and did a quick bow in the air. "Ah greetings, my noble sirs," he greeted them. "May I enquire as to which one of you fine gentlemen was the one who rubbed my bottle?"
"Who... " Karnage finally found his voice. " Who in… Who the devil are you?"
"Ah, forgive me, kind sir," the stranger bowed yet again. "I am Genie Number 708, level B, Abdul Muhammad Shiraz Rajid Majid Ali Harvinder Aaryan Absi Ghulam Maher Rafi Zamil… Junior. But you can call me Abby."
Karnage blinked at the name. "I would think it best if I do," he replied. "So, mister… Genie?"
The Genie bowed again.
"Umm, am I correct in assuming that you are what I assume you to be?"
"Depends," the Genie said, as he drifted around the room, curiously examining the ornaments and furniture. "What exactly is it that you assume me to be?"
Karnage walked slowly forward, keeping his distance from the supernatural being. "I am believing that… Well, obviously you are not a man per say. And since your name is 'Genie', then perchance you are that what you call yourself. A Genie? A being with unworldly powers, with the ability to grant wishes to whomever commands you?"
The Genie shrugged. "You assume correctly, sir. And since we're all doing a bit of assuming today, might I take a chance in assuming that you are the one who rubbed my bottle, hence released me?"
Karnage just nodded his head.
"Ah, then I commit my services to you, oh master!" the Genie declared, bowing once more. "For whomever holds my bottle in their hand, their every wish is henceforth my command."
Karnage blinked. "This… is too good to be true," he said slowly. He circled the Genie, keeping a safe distance. "But if it is… Then I believe I have just, as they say, hit the jack in the pot!"
"That is one way of putting it," the Genie floated around the room, curiously. "As it is with all Genies, I am bound to grant you anything your heart desires. Whatever you wish is my command, and so shall it be granted."
Karnage slapped his hands together, rubbing them gleefully. "This is unbelievable… truly beyond coincidence. This is destiny! At last I can exact my revenge against all the enemies who dared to humiliate me. And at the same time, reward myself with all the bounty an honest pirate can imagine!"
The Genie sighed. "Just once," he muttered. "I would like to serve a master who doesn't have wealth on the brain." He then spoke more loudly. "Forgive me, my master. But before we continue, I must inform you that there are a few… protocols that we must discuss."
"Protocols?" Karnage looked blankly at him. "What in the seven skies are you talking about? You are my Genie, you grant three wishes, I am your master, I get what I want, everybody is happy… except for my foes of course."
"Yes, no, yes," the Genie replied. "And as for the last two things you just said, master… Yes and no, and it depends on what wish you make."
At Karnage's confused expression, the Genie sighed. "Please, allow me to explain… It is company policy after all."
"Genies have their own company?" Mad Dog looked at Dumptruck astounded.
Dumptruck just shrugged, deciding to stay back and allow the captain to handle this one.
The Genie floated closer to Don Karnage, crossed his arms, and began to speak. "First of all, master… Be aware that not everything you've heard about us Genies is entirely true. I assume you've heard all the tales about Genies granting three wishes per master?"
Karnage nodded, and sat down behind his desk, observing the Genie keenly.
The Genie continued. "Well, that part is true, but not for my level of Genies?"
"Genies have levels?" Karnage asked, curious.
The Genie nodded. "There are two types of Genies, types that I affectionately refer to as Levels A and B. The first ones, Level A Genies, are basically everything you have heard about… They have infinite cosmic powers, they grant three wishes per master, and their spells last forever."
At his last statement, Karnage was beginning to feel that cold dreaded feeling of disappointment starting to sneak its way up.
"They are also bound by three simple rules," the Genie said, sounding bored. "Personally, I don't know why they have these stupid rules, but then what do I know, I'm just a level B Genie, go figure… Anyway, rule number one is that they can't kill anyone. Rule two, no messing with people's emotions, so no trying to get lucky with some bird, okay? And last but not least, no bringing the dead back to life… it's not a pretty picture, trust me. Other than that, anything you want from them, you get it."
"But you're not a Level A Genie," Karnage said lowly, remembering his previous statement.
The Genie nodded. "Sad, but true. But trust me, it's not as bad as all that. Most people actually prefer my level than all the all-powerful ones. For one thing, we don't have as big an ego as the other guys."
Karnage waved his hand. "Whatever, continue with your story. What is the difference between your level and the other? Explain!"
"Okay, geez," the Genie shrugged. "Anyway, I am a level B Genie. Our powers tend to be… a little more limited than the other Genies. On the plus side, we're not bound by any rules, so we can grant any wish you want, anything at all."
Karnage's face immediately brightened, only for it to darken again.
"However," the Genie quickly said. "The reason why we don't have any rules is because, nothing we do lasts."
"They don't last?" Karnage asked. "You mean your powers aren't permanent?"
The Genie nodded. "Yeah, hey, you're big on the uptake, aren't you?" The Genie laughed, but soon stopped when no one joined in.
"Tough crowd," he muttered. "Like I said, we can grant any wish you want, instant service. But the second when the sun goes down, poof! The spell that I cast to grant your wish immediately wears off, and everything goes right back to the way it was before. Classic Cinderella deal, only the deal ends at sunset, not midnight. I frankly believe the wish should have a full twenty-four hour deal, but then again, what do I know? No one listens to me."
"But, you can give us gold and silver, yah?" Dumptruck asked eagerly.
"And jewels?" Mad Dog said hopefully.
Karnage flung him arms up in despair. "Didn't he just say that, you dummies! But what does it matter? He has just revealed that none of his stupid wishes last any longer than a day! Therefore whatever we get from him, we loose by the end of the day!"
"Hey, it's not as bad as all that," the Genie said indignantly. "Like I said, I can grant any wish… "
"But what is the point if you just loose it all at the end of the day?" Karnage complained. "Ahh, so near and yet so far. To come so close, only to… Wait a minute!" Karnage peered at the Genie closely. "None of your wishes last, correct? But tell me, what exactly happens at the end of the day, after a wish is granted?"
"I'm… not sure what you mean?" the Genie said blankly. "The wish just wears off, and everything goes back to the way it was before. That's it."
"No, listen to me!" Karnage said, a little urgently. "Supposing if I was to wish for you to transport for me a large sum of jewels… Not some jewels for you to make out of thin air, with your magic. But some real jewels, from say a jewellery store. If you were to transport them from their shop, to me, then would they stay with me?"
The Genie shook his head. "I'm afraid not, master. Whatever you wish for that was affected by the magic of the wish immediately reverts and/or returns back to whence it came. And no one, save for you and I, will have any memory of the day's events… Well, most people anyway. Some people who have been exposed to magic have been known to…"
"Yes, yes, very interesting," Karnage interrupted, not listening as he had stopped once the Genie had told him that his plan wouldn't work. "Sooooo," Karnage wondered loudly. "If I cannot use my wishes to, how they say, steal the emeralds, as we pirates usually do… Then the answer is, simply, I will have to steal them another way."
Karnage tapped his chin thoughtfully. "Dumptruck! Mad Dog! Think! Did Baloo give any indication of when and where he was transporting these emeralds that he so talked about? Anything at all?"
His men sadly shook their heads. "We never got to hear much of his conversation with the club owner," Mad Dog reported almost mournfully. "But, like we said, we could always… "
"No mentioning of the disguise and infiltrate plan, please!" Karnage said sharply, still tapping his chin, deep in thought. "Maybe," he said. "Maybe if I were to wish that you, the Genie, were to send me to where these emeralds are, then I would know where they are, and then steal them myself and make my way back home."
"That is possible, if that is your wish?" the Genie asked.
"Yes, make it so!" Karnage said gleefully, rubbing his hands in anticipation. "I wish to be wherever the precious gemstones that Baloo will be delivering are!"
"Very well," the Genie coughed once, and then… "Hickety pickety, snap and zoom! Transport this guy to his gemstones really soon!" He threw his hands up in the air, and the gathered pirates stood by expectantly, waiting for some obvious magic to occur.
A few moments went by, and nothing happened.
"Well?" Karnage hissed.
The Genie scratched his head, looking at them with a confounded look on his face. "I can't understand it," he said baffled. "The spell should have worked. I don't know why, but for some reason your wish is un-grantable."
"What do you mean?" Karnage screeched. "I thought, and these were your exact words, that you could grant me anything I desire?"
"They are, I can," the Genie tried to assure him. "I honestly can't explain it, but I can't grant this wish for some reason. The only thing I can hazard a guess at, is that there must be something blocking my magic from getting at the gems. Possibly a protective rune or something."
"Curses!" Karnage swore, and thought. 'Baloo has no doubt not received the emeralds yet for transportation, so they are obviously not with him.' He frowned, as he tried to figure something out, and then he smiled. "Wait! You said that when the wish ends, only you and I will have any memory of the past days events. Correct?"
The Genie nodded. "You, me, and possibly anyone who's ever been in close contact with a really powerful mystical object, or several less powerful ones, but those guys are rare and… "
"Then that's it!" Karnage announced in triumph. "If I can't wish the jewels here, without loosing them at the end of the day, and I can't wish myself to them, then I must simply find out where they are then." Karnage clapped his hands together. "Yes! I will go to Baloo's stronghold, and there I will find out all he knows about the emeralds, and when the time is right… I shall steal them right out from under his big fat nose!"
"But, boss," Mad Dog whined. "You were just saying that Baloo would see through any disguise we could… "
"We never had a Genie working for us before," Karnage sneered. "He claims he can grant any wish. So, with his magic, I can shadow myself in any form I so wish, so to speak, and wander right into Baloo's quarters without him ever suspecting my presence."
Karnage giggled. "Ohhh, it is so brilliant and so utterly magnificent a plan, I amaze myself!"
The Genie rolled his eyes. "What a nutter," he whispered quietly to himself.
"Ah, so, cap'n," Dumptruck commented. "When shall we depart for Baloo's… OW!" He groaned, as Karnage whacked him over the head.
"Imbecile!" Karnage scolded him. "Have we not just empathised that only he who makes the wish remembers all that occurs thereafter? If I were to let you go, then I would not remember anything of the day. And I, the captain, require the information more than anything."
"We could relay the information to you?" Mad Dog suggested.
Karnage snorted. "First rule of being a pirate's captain… Trust no one. Devil knows what you two could get up to if I allowed you such a responsibility?"
"Ye don't trust us, your loyalist of henchmen?" Dumptruck asked, a little shocked.
Karnage looked at him square in the eye. "And I suppose it was not you who once recommended replacing me with a new captain, yourself as one of the candidates? And as I recall, you even once preferred having a wench as your prisoner instead of rescuing me, the time when my brilliant mind was switched with that Rebecca Cunningham woman?"
Dumptruck looked uneasy. "Well, we were… We were having an off day." He looked hopefully to his captain.
"Go jump out an airlock!" Karnage ordered, and then looked straight to the Genie. "Genie!" he cried out, making the Genie jump slightly in mid-air. "I make my first wish! I wish to be… "
"Cap'n?" Dumptruck interrupted him quickly. "I's not so sure you should be doing tis?"
Karnage looked at him sharply. "You dare to question my orders, and my own plans?"
"No, sir," Dumptruck assured him. "It's just that… " He whispered to him. "Well, I used to hear a lot of stories about Genies when I was a nipper, yah. They weren't the trustworthiest of creatures, and were notorious with their wish-granting. I once heard a story about a man who wished for eternal youth, and he… "
"I do not care about your silly childish tales," Karnage waved his hand at him. "We have no other way to recover the information we require. This Genie is offering us a solution, and I intend to take it."
"You should listen to him," the Genie's voice said suddenly, right behind them.
Karnage and Dumptruck jumped, as the Genie was floating right next to them.
"What do you mean by that exactly?" Karnage said, breathing a little heavily to get his heart to slow down.
The Genie shrugged. "It's not really my own fault. But it's like your buddy here said, wishes can sometimes go 'gah gah'."
"Gah gah?" Karnage asked, blinking.
"Yeah," the Genie replied. "Weird, out of this world, stark raving loony… "
"I know what 'gah gah' means!" Karnage snapped.
"Well, just remember this," the Genie tried again. "A wish can go either way. The trick is to be specific. Make sure you nail out all the kinks. Be sure that you have every detail sorted out, from where exactly you want to go, to… "
"Yes, whatever!" Karnage said hurriedly, eager to start gem-hunting. He thought for a moment, and then said. "I wish… I wish to be invisible!"
"Invisible?" the Genie asked, curiously.
"Yes," Karnage said exasperated. "You know, transparent, see through, no one being able to… "
"I know," the Genie said. "I mean, are you sure you want that wish?"
"Of course. What better way to go unnoticed, than to not be noticeable at all?"
The Genie sighed, but nodded at his master's logic. "O-kay, if that's what you want? I assume you wanna be transported to this Baloo's place also?"
"Yes, of course, where else would I want to be?" Karnage snorted.
"All right then!" The Genie cracked his knuckles. "Badda bing, badda boom! To Baloo's place you go, as invisible as a… zoom!"
The pirates looked at him weirdly, at his rhyming, to which the Genie simply shrugged.
There was a bright flash, followed by a huge puff of purple smoke, and before Karnage knew it, he found himself standing on the pier near the doors to 'Higher for Hire'…
At first, Karnage grew fearful and wanted to find someplace to hide before anyone saw him and notified the police, but then… as he looked down on himself, he saw to his wonder that he could not see his hands.
"Ah, so the Genie's spell worked," Karnage said gleefully, realising what must have happened. "A-ha, so now all I have to do is listen in and learn all I can." Karnage rubbed his transparent hands together, and then tiptoed his way up to the front door.
He listened in closely, and heard voices coming from inside. One of them sounded angry, a woman's voice, no doubt that buffoon Baloo's employer, the one who shouted a lot. Karnage listened in closer. He heard something like a pounding, coming closer…
Karnage flew backwards, as the door banged open and sent him soaring through the air. He landed heavily on his back, the air knocked out of him.
"OOF!" Karnage wheezed.
"When I'm done with the Sea Duck, I'll see to your door, too, Miss Cunningham," Wildcat said, as he walked out the door. "It sounds like it could need some oil on its hinges."
Karnage saw stars for a moment, as his vision came back into focus. He slowly lifted his head up… only for it to be pushed back down again.
Wildcat walked forward, first putting his foot onto Karnage's stomach, and then onto his face.
"Hmmm," Wildcat stopped briefly, his feet still on Karnage's face and stomach. "These planks have gotten a lot cushier since an hour ago." He lifted each of his feet in turn, and stamped them onto the floor. "Must have gotten a new paint job." He walked forward finally, but stopped as he heard a low keen groaning sound. "Sounds like the planks need an oiling, too," Wildcat guessed, and then went to look at the Sea Duck's engine.
Karnage groaned, as he slowly got up, clutching his stomach. A large print of Wildcat's foot was imprinted on his face, if you could see his face that is, as he felt the world twirl around him.
"Did anyone get the number of that bus?" Karnage asked out loud, seeing nothing but stars and tiny Wildcats with wings flying around his head.
The door suddenly banged open again.
"Bye, Baloo, Miss Cunningham!" the young Kit Cloudkicker called out, as he raced through the door, and unknowingly kicked Don Karnage right between his legs.
Poor Karnage could do nothing except lie there for a few minutes, his face, which if it was visible, was set in a mask of utter pain. "Ma-ma," he cried silently, his eyes watering fiercely.
A few minutes later, the strength came back to his legs, and he crawled up to his knees, and a few more minutes later he reached his feet.
"All right!" Karnage said intimidating. "No more mister nice pirate! I'm going in!" Karnage marched up to the door, but this time kept close to the side, in case anyone else came barging through it.
After making sure that no one was coming near the door, Karnage silently opened it, inching it open a small millimetre at a time. Luckily, no one appeared to notice.
As Karnage looked in, he saw his enormous beer-bellied foe sitting in a chair, while his female employer, Rebecca Cunningham, sat at her desk shifting through papers.
Karnage snorted under his breath. 'This Baloo is even more pitiful than I took him for. Taking orders from a woman, and in the very same building that was once his. What kind of a man is he to let such a thing happen?'
"Baloo, why haven't you left a gap in the flight schedule?" Rebecca asked sharply. "I told you to leave that open because of the emeralds shipping!"
Karnage's ears pricked up.
Baloo shrugged. "Aw, come on, Becky," he said, his arms folded behind his head. "Ain't no delivery that I can't do in one hour flat."
Rebecca snorted at him. "Yeah, so long as Louie's isn't on your flight plan. I'm taking no chances this time, Baloo. We're getting an awful lot of money for this delivery, and I don't want you to muck it up!"
"Aw, quit worrying, Becky. It's only… "
Karnage tiptoed closer into the room, when his foot creaked down on a loose floorboard.
"Huh?" Baloo looked up, hearing the noise. Rebecca did, too.
They both noticed the open door, but saw no one in sight.
"Baloo!" Rebecca said annoyingly. "Didn't I tell you to remember to shut the door after you come in?"
"Hey, don't look at me," Baloo said defensively. "Wildcat and Kit were the last ones out, not me."
Rebecca sighed and went back to shuffling through her papers. "Well?" she asked.
"Well what?" Baloo asked back.
Rebecca gave him a hard look.
"Oh, yeah, right," Baloo got up and went to close the door. Karnage easily stepped past him, staying well out of his way.
'Ha!' he laughed in his mind. 'As always, my plan has succeeded… I amaze even myself sometimes… So, Baloo is transporting the emeralds some time in the near future, eh? The only question is, exactly what day and time is he transporting them?'
Karnage stepped quietly over to the boss-lady's desk, peering over her shoulder, aiming to look over the papers. Perhaps there was something in them that could hold information for him?
"Baloo!" Rebecca suddenly called out, making Karnage jump back slightly in surprise. "Could you move those boxes that I asked you to move oh say an hour ago?"
"Okay, okay, sheesh!" Baloo moaned, as he walked on over.
Karnage relaxed, and went back to spying over the woman's shoulder. 'Now,' he thought. 'If I can just… ' He didn't get to finish his thoughts however, as something pushed into him, sending him to land on top of a chest of drawers, and which landed heavily onto his lap.
"Watch where you're going, Becky!" Baloo said, as he piled the boxes of heavy old tools and spare engine parts onto the chest of drawers.
"Watch what?" Rebecca said, looking up at him. "I haven't moved from where I'm sitting."
Baloo looked annoyed at her. "You got up and bumped into me, as I was coming to put your precious boxes here." He pointed to the chest.
Rebecca gave him an annoyed look of her own. "I haven't moved from my desk since I first sat down. You must have just bumped into my desk or something."
Baloo grumbled, and unloaded the last of the boxes on top of the chest.
Karnage gasped for breath, as the boxes were piled on his lap, pushing the air right out of his lungs, and crushing his legs.
'I think…' Karnage winced in his mind. 'I think I might have been… too hasty… with this wish.'
"Baloo!" Rebecca called to her employee before he left.
"What?" Baloo asked.
"Before you leave, mind stacking that other box on top with the others?"
A few moments later, Baloo could be heard heaving and panting, as he tried to move whatever it was that Rebecca had for him.
"What in blue blazes have you got in here?" Baloo asked, out of breath. "Feels like you got everything but the kitchen sink in here."
"Funny you should say that," Rebecca said amused. "Because it is. It's the new kitchen sink that I ordered, since you busted the last one."
"Hey! I was trying to do the washing up. How was I to know the darn thing would fall apart?"
Rebecca snorted. "Everything you touch seems to fall apart, Baloo. Just put it on top with the others, would you?"
"Eek!" Karnage squealed.
The Iron Vulture; Sunset:
The Genie floated aimlessly through the air in Karnage's quarters, idly checking his fingernails. As he watched the last rays of sunlight disappear over the horizon, a puff of smoke emitted in the middle of the room, and Don Karnage appeared. The way he looked, you'd think he had just been through a war zone.
"Everything go okay?" the Genie casually asked.
Karnage didn't say anything, and just collapsed onto the floor, clutching his stomach as though in pain.
"I'm guessing not," the Genie answered himself, and looked at the captain curiously. "Do you know what the really important thing is that you should remember when you wish to be invisible?" he asked, looking at the pain-ridden pirate. "Is that you are invisible!"
The Iron Vulture; Day Two;
"Okay, okay!" Karnage complained, as he paced the room. "So my first plan did not go so well… It's all right. With every mistake, I learn, and every time I learn, I ensure that my next plan will come out all the more better."
The Genie rolled his eyes.
"So then," Karnage rubbed his hands together. "Since my plan to be invisible… was not so clever… The next option is simple. Instead of becoming invisible, and risking myself harmful injury, I must therefore remain visible, yet be in complete camouflage!"
The Genie looked up at his master. "Pardon?"
Karnage clapped. "In-genius is it no? I will return to Baloo's headquarters once more, but this time I shall go as a master of disguise! You, Genie, transport me back there, but transport me there as something that will both ensure no one will recognise me, and I will be close to Baloo at all times."
The Genie shrugged. "Your wish, my command, master." He cracked his knuckles. "Abracadabra and a drop of a hat! To the big no-seeing bear you shall go, just like that!"…
The same bright flash, as before, temporarily blinded the Air Pirate. As he blinked his eyes, Karnage tried to raise his hands to wipe them, but for some reason he found that he could not.
"What in the..?" Karnage said surprised. "What is happening here?" He attempted to raise his hands again, but as before he found he was unable to do so.
"What is going on?" Karnage ordered furiously, but found that no one seemed to hear him. As he peered closer at his surroundings, he found that he was once again at Baloo's place. He saw his former pirate-boy, the traitor Kit Cloudkicker, shifting through some papers at the desk-table, but no one else.
"Where is every… " But before he could finish his sentence, something pink, blue, and very loud, suddenly jumped onto him.
"Danger-Woman away!" the innocent and fun-filled voice of Molly, Rebecca Cunningham's daughter, cried out as she jumped on Karnage.
"OOF!" Karnage wheezed. "Hey! You little… OOF!" Karnage ached, as Molly bounced up and down on him. For some reason she didn't seem to notice him, or she simply didn't care? Karnage voted for the latter, since he doubted that he was a favourite in Baloo's place.
"Bad guys beware!" Molly yelled excitedly. "Danger-Woman is here to save the day!"
"I… OW… " Karnage tried to speak… "Will you… OW… Get… OW… I warn you… OW!"… but wasn't very successful.
"Hey there, button-nose," Baloo's cheerful voice suddenly sounded, and Karnage could just make out the beefy grey arms of the pilot, as they reached over and picked the tiresome girl up. "How's about Danger-Woman go outside and check to see if Wildcat needs any help?"
"Yay!" Molly cried out, followed by the quick picker pattering of her little feet exiting the building.
Karnage's eyes rolled about in his flattened face. "Would this be some kind of new interrogation method used by my enemies?" he said, mumbling. "Having their infants leave footprints on my oh so handsome face?"
Karnage's eyesight came back into focus, as he blinked and tried to shake his head, but could only seem to move his face slightly.
"What is wrong with…" he began, but just then a large shadow fell upon him.
"What the…?" Karnage said wondering, as he looked up… and blanched.
"No," he whispered in horror, his pupils dilating to the enormous behemoth about to descend upon him. He started to thrust about, trying to escape, but once more found that none of his body parts were capable of movement. In fact, he couldn't even feel any of them for some reason.
"No!" he shouted, but apparently everyone in this establishment was deaf, as no one showed any sign that they could hear him.
"MOTHER OF MERCY!" Karnage screeched, as the shadow slowly came down on him. "HAVE PITTTMMMMMMMmmmmmm!" His voice reduced into muffles.
"Hey, Baloo?" Kit looked at his friend who was now sitting down in his favourite chair.
"Yup?" Baloo relaxed into his chair, shuffling out the bumps in the big orange cushion that was on it. He wondered where that cushion had come from, as he couldn't remember ever having bought an orange one before?
"Aren't you supposed to be out delivering?" Kit asked curiously. "I remember Miss Cunningham specifically saying that she wanted you to have that cargo of water melons delivered by 1500 hours."
Baloo shrugged. "Ahh, Becky won't miss it if it's a few hours late."
Kit laughed shortly. "Since when?"
Baloo smirked. "Since she got invited to that bosses convention about an hour ago. Seems she's gonna be there all day talking with fellow stiffs about new ideas for businesses, proposals, yadda, yadda, yadda… Ha! She'll be lucky to get out of there by next Tuesday!"
Kit shrugged. "Yeah, but… Doesn't Miss Cunningham like going to those sort of things?"
Baloo nodded. "Yeah, anything for her to make more money, but that isn't the important thing, Little Britches."
Baloo smirked again. "No, the important thing is… with her gone all day, my day is free. I'm only sorry that the Sea Duck's engine had a little problem with it that stopped me from delivering my cargo on time."
"I didn't know the Sea Duck had engine trouble?" Kit said curiously.
Baloo laughed. "Neither did I, but it will do when I get Wildcat to check it. He'll be on it for hours, trying to find the trouble."
Kit sighed, shaking his head. "All right, Poppa Bear. You wanna get Miss Cunningham's ire up, that's your funeral. I'm gonna go take Molly out for an ice cream." Kit picked up his homework, and prepared to go get his young charge. "Do you need anything?" he checked.
Baloo shook his head, as he replied, "Nah, Kit." He patted the side of his chair. "Only thing I need is right here. Me, my duff, and this chair are gonna be spending a lot of long overdue quality time together for the next few hours. So go out and have a good time, I'll catch ya later." Baloo leaned back on the chair, making it creak in protest, shuffled himself comfortably into it, and almost immediately started his chorus of snores.
Kit rolled his eyes.
As he ran outside, he heard the chair creak loudly, and thought for one insane moment that they sounded like muffled screams…?
The Iron Vulture; Sunset:
A spark, a flash, a puff of smoke, and Don Karnage was once more in the safety of his ship. But he was definitely NOT a happy pirate… and neither was his face.
"Ohhh," Karnage staggered about for a bit. His face looked as though it had been squeezed in a vice. The shape of his head looked like a pickle. He shook his head a few times, and then stuck his thumb in his mouth and blew, popping his head back into place.
"WHAT DOES IT TAKE FOR YOU TO GET ONE SIMPLE WISH RIGHT?" Karnage screamed at the quivering Genie.
"You-you-you said you wanted to be visible, but not be noticed, and to always be close to Baloo… " The Genie kept far away from his master as possible, as Karnage's hand was dangerously close to his sword.
Karnage hissed, as he forced his temper down. "Do you have any idea of what I've just been through today?" he stuttered. "Thanks to your wish-granting, I spent the entire day trapped in the form of a cushion on a chair, with Baloo sitting on top of me, his gigantic weight almost crushing me! It's a miracle that I am still alive. Thank Heaven that cushions have no need to breathe."
The Genie held his arms up apologetically. "Forgive me, master, but as I warned you… With wishes, you have to be extremely specific. Otherwise, whatever you wish for may go either way. For example, in this wish, everything you asked for came true, you just didn't specify in what form you wanted the wish to be in. You said you wanted to be visible, yet not be noticed, so it made you into one of the furniture. You wanted to be close to Baloo at all times, so you became the furniture that he uses the most frequently."
"Yes, and now thanks to you," Karnage spat. "I have spent more than enough time with the enormous bear, and learnt absolutely nothing! Except for how many times he snores in an hour, and the fact that he needs to loose about 500 pounds of weight!"
The Genie shrugged. "Well, the thing with wishes is learning. You made a mistake with your last couple of wishes, so you learn from them and make sure that you don't repeat it the next time."
Karnage thought about that, and after a few moments he finally relented, relinquishing to the Genie's logic. "Fine," he said. "But no more slip-ups, understood?"
The Genie crossed his heart and help up his hand. "Whatever you wish for, I grant."
"Fine!" Karnage paced the room. "Okay, I have had enough of the camouflage for the moment. I have been beaten up, stepped on, sat on, used as a chest of drawers, and to top it off, I have so far learnt nothing new of these priceless gems that Baloo is planning to transport. So what am I to do?"
He paced the floor up and down for a few moments more, until even the Genie was beginning to feel dizzy. Finally, he stopped.
"Okay, since none of my other attempts at being specific have been successful, I will attempt to keep the wish simple and clear," Karnage said, clearing his throat. "I wish to be near Baloo at all times," Karnage said simply. "But of course I do not wish for him to know that I am his enemy, and no more being turned into furniture, okay?"
"Of course," the Genie rolled his eyes. "Is that it?"
"Simple and straight to the point is the way to go, as my Papa always said," Karnage replied. "I know that it's past sunset so just arrange it so that the spell takes affect immediately tomorrow morning."
The Genie blew his fingers. "As you wish, Big K," he confirmed. "But you know, just because it's… "
"Get on with it!" Karnage said exasperated, feeling tired after the long day, and wanting to rest.
"Ishka-bibble, Ishka-boo… " the Genie said hurriedly, "…to Baloo's side, as Little Britches, off you go!"
"Little Britches…?" Karnage started to ask, but the genie was gone before he could ask.
Day 3; Sunrise; Somewhere:
Karnage gave a big yawn, as he awoke, smacking his lips together.
"Well, then," he sighed, preparing to get up. "Better get up and… What in blazes?" he shrieked, as there was some kind of mist around him.
When the mist cleared away, Karnage looked around and saw to his surprise that he wasn't on his ship, or at Higher for Hire, as he would have expected… but in some kind of forest?
He looked at the plants surrounding him. A lot of the vegetation looked like tropical plants, like he had seen in jungles, but that was impossible. He had wished to be at Baloo's side, so what would Baloo be doing in a jungle of all places?
He rubbed his hands down his front, and discovered to his shock that he was wearing almost nothing… literally almost nothing, not even his own natural fur-coat. He was wearing a rag of cloth that was tied around his waist, but that was all. His clothes, and even all his fur, aside from a mop of black hair on top of his head, were all gone. His skin felt as smooth as a newborn pup, and was a brownish-gold colour.
"Well, that shouldn't take too long," a voice suddenly spoke up from somewhere.
Karnage looked up in the direction of the voice, but could see nothing, when…
"Now it's like this, Little Britches," Baloo's voice suddenly sounded.
Karnage's head snapped around to see Baloo grinning right down at him, also wearing nothing… except he was wearing absolutely nothing?
"EEK!" Karnage squeaked, and thought, 'Don't tell me he's joined a nudist colony?'
Baloo more or less looked the same, minus the whole being naked part, but for some reason he looked even fatter than he usually did. His butt looked like he had had one, or most likely ten, too many milkshakes, and… Since when did Baloo have a tail?
Baloo continued talking, kneeling down to him, and then rising. "All you gotta do is… " He clapped his hands together, which now seemed to possess some rather long, and razor-sharp looking claws.
"Look for the," Baloo sang, "Bear necessities, the simple Bear necessities! Forget about your worries and your strife…!"
Sunset; Back at The Iron Vulture:
A flash of light, a puff of smoke, and Karnage reappeared in his own quarters where the Genie was waiting for him.
"What in God's name was all that about?" Karnage demanded.
"What was what about?" the Genie asked him back.
"That wish," Karnage growled. "I asked to be at Baloo's side at all times, and you send me into the 5th dimension!"
"Weren't you with him?"
"Yes and no," Karnage frowned. "It was definitely Baloo, but at the same time it wasn't… For starters, I was nowhere near Cape Suzette, and I still have no idea where I was. I was living like a wild animal, but I was… I don't know precisely what I was, but I was definitely not my glorious handsome self. And Baloo was dressed… Well, not dressed is the more accurate term, as he had no clothes on. He was bigger than I remember, but apart from that he was the same Baloo I've had the distress of knowing… And he kept referring to me as Little Britches and Mowgli, for some reason?"
The Genie shrugged. "Hey, you said you wanted to be near Baloo, but you never mentioned which Baloo you wanted to be near."
The Genie shrugged again. "Different dimension, whole other reality, space/time continuum, really technical stuff… Trust me, by the time I got through explaining it to you, you'd have a headache the size of Mount Ever-Worst."
"I spent the whole day getting chased by some black Panther that wanted to take me to some village run by a people he called Man," Karnage complained. "Not to mention Shere Kahn, although he had certainly let himself go, as he wasn't even wearing anything either, and seemed to have taken up walking on all fours. A huge snake that wanted to have me for dinner, and even Baloo's buddy Louie and his dratted monkeys who threw me all over the jungle, trying to kidnap me!"
The Genie shrugged again. "At least you had a fun day out."
Karnage glared at him. "Make a note," he hissed. "From now on, all wishes concerning Baloo are about the Baloo in this reality, understand?"
The Genie saluted. "Yah, my Fuehrer!"
Karnage fumed. "I've wasted a whole day because of this, so let's not waste anymore time! I make my same wish as yesterday, but to remain in this, my own reality, okay? I wish to be able to keep a close eye on Baloo at all times, no matter where I am. So see to it that from first thing in the morning, I shall have nothing but Baloo in my sights… always."
The Genie nodded. "You want it, you got it, master. Badda bing, badda boom, your enemy you shall see in every single room!" The Genie clicked his fingers, and a huge puff of smoke once more filled the room.
Karnage coughed and spluttered until the mist finally died down. (He wished that the stupid Genie would find another way to do his magic without him getting his lungs filled with smoke)
The Genie was gone, but he found that he was still in his room onboard his ship. He was momentarily puzzled, but then remembered that the wish would not be in effect until tomorrow morning, so for now all he could do was wait…
Day 4; 0600AM;
The Iron Vulture:
Karnage yawned, as he awoke to the sound of his alarm clock. He got up, rubbed his eyes, and looked around. Puzzled, he found nothing amiss. He was still onboard his ship, and there was no Baloo in sight?
"What in the…?" Karnage said wondering. Could the Genie's magic be fading?
Karnage went to his wardrobe, and made a selection from all the pirate uniforms he had (all of which were exactly the same) and got dressed. By the time he was finished dressing, there was a knock on the door. "Enter!" Karnage ordered, still looking around to see if anything was out of the ordinary.
The door opened, and a voice spoke, "Captain, I…"
Don Karnage straightened up, recognising the voice instantly, after spending the last two days listening to nothing but it. He turned around and saw, to his amazement, Baloo… wearing his pirate, Hacksaw's, clothes?
"Baloo!" Karnage grabbed his sword and thrust it at his foe's big snout. "We meet again!"
Baloo looked at him curiously. "Whoa, easy with the knife, cap! I just spent $2 getting this suit dry-cleaned!"
Karnage looked at his enemy funnily. This man certainly looked and sounded like Baloo, and he was answering to his name, but why wasn't he scared of him, and why was he wearing one of his men's clothes?
"What pray tell are you doing here on my ship, pilot?" Karnage demanded.
Baloo just shrugged. "Hey, just wanted to give you the morning reports you're usually after. No need to get edgy. Hey, is that a baloney sandwich?"
Before Karnage could answer, Baloo dashed forward and seized what was supposed to be Karnage's late night snack, and stuffed it into his face. Karnage immediately tensed up.
"What do you think you are doing?" he ordered. "That is MINE!" he went to grab it back from him, but Baloo had already finished it.
"Keep your pants on, Karny!" Baloo waved at him to calm down. "There's plenty more where they came from." He then turned around, preparing to leave.
"Hey!" Karnage shouted. "Where do you think you are going? Come back at once! Nobody turns their backs on Don Karnage, most ruthless and feared pirate of the seven skies…!"
"Yeah, yeah, don't get your knickers in a twist, Karny." Baloo belched, and then continued on his way out.
"Why you!" Karnage had had enough of this outrage. Baloo had gone too far this time with his arrogance. Breaking into his stronghold was bad enough, but eating his food and then dissing him was absolutely inexcusable.
"Come back at once!" Karnage held up his sword and ran after the large bear.
He ran out of his room, and stopped…
All over his precious ship, there was at least a hundred Baloos, all dancing around the interior of the ship. They seemed to be having a party, as all of them were sleeping, drinking, eating, dancing, singing, and shouting out at one another.
Two of them were getting into a tussle, as they wrestled each other playfully onto the ground, with the others cheering them on. Others were on the floor dancing, and Karnage could hear the all too familiar words of 'Oh yeah, baby!', 'I'm gone!' and 'Solid gone!' being sounded around all over the place.
"Hey, cap!" one Baloo, who was wearing Mad Dog's clothes, yelled cheerfully up at him. "You're just in time for the party!"
"Pa-pa-party?" Karnage stuttered, as he made his way slowly down the stairs, his eyes twitching at the seemingly numerous Baloos crowding his precious ship.
"Yeah," another Baloo said, grinning. "And take a look at what we had flown in especially for you!"
Karnage followed the direction in which he was pointing, and saw a large gathering of other Baloos. He looked past them to see what it was they were cheering at… and froze.
There, dancing in their midst, was what must have been a lady bellydancer, or at least who used to be… Now, it was just another Baloo dressed in women's clothing, doing a belly-dance.
"Pretty sassy, huh, boss?" another Baloo who was nearest Karnage said, slapping him painfully on the back. "And guess what? She's gonna give you a private dance in your quarters later on, for free!"
Karnage felt like choking, as the Baloo-dancer twirled her hips and shook her enormous wobbling belly when she spotted him staring at her (or him, depending on how you looked at it), and then blew him a kiss while winking at him.
"Okay, people!" another Baloo bellowed. "Let's get the dance music on, and shake the ship! It's PAR-TY time!"
A second later, the sound of some odd dance music came out over the loudspeakers, and before Karnage could even blink, every Baloo on the ship was on the floor dancing themselves silly, practically bouncing off the ship's walls.
"Wa ba dada doo," all the Baloos started singing. "Wa ba dada dee, ooba dooba loopa dooba dee, ooba doopa doobie doobie doo!"
Karnage yelled over the boisterous laughs, when one Baloo bumped his hip into his, shooting him off into another Baloo's arms who grabbed him in a tight bear-hug, twirling him around.
"Let go of me, you…" Karnage started, but stopped…
The Baloo-dancer wiggled his/her eyebrows at him seductively. "Hey, big boy," she said suavely, in Baloo's voice, holding Karnage close to her in an unbreakable embrace. "Wanna dance?"
"Genie…!" Karnage whimpered, as the dancer waltzed him off into the horde of cheering Baloos.
The Iron Vulture; Day Five;
"You said you didn't want to loose sight of Baloo at any time," the Genie defended himself.
Karnage had spent the entire previous day shouting at hundreds of Baloos, watching and listening to them partying the day away, and he had an aching head for all his trouble. As such, he hadn't been in the mood to speak to the Genie last night, and had just wanted to sleep, once the spell was broken. Now, he was fully rested, refreshed… and majorly ticked off.
Karnage glared at him. "Yes, but I did not mean that I wanted my whole crew, not to mention the rest of the world, to be turned into him! Lord, by the seven skies, just one of that buffoon is enough for a thousand worlds!"
Karnage had tried leaving his ship, to escape the Baloo party, only to find that the party had apparently spread worldwide, seeing as every single person in the world had been turned into a Baloo-double.
The Genie simply shrugged. "Sorry, master. But you… "
"I know!" Karnage snapped. "I wasn't specific!" He sneered at the Genie, mixed together with his glare that would kill a wildebeest at that moment.
The Genie sighed. "Sorry, but as I've told you repeatedly… You need to be specific in your instructions with each wish you make, and make sure that they are clear. As a wish can... "
"I know! I know!" Karnage repeated. God, this Genie was worse to deal with than Baloo. He fumed for a few moments. He had hoped that he had been done with the 'camouflage' wishes, but it seemed he had no choice. If he tried wishing Baloo in his sights again, he might end up with another hundred Baloos on his ship, or worse… He might find himself stuck with that Baloo-ified bellydancer again.
The worst part was that when the spell had worn off, the bellydancer had actually turned out to be a very attractive lady-cat, one whom Karnage would have very much liked to have spent some time alone with. But she had been so insulted at having been referred to as a 'pot-bellied, bad-smelling oaf!' by Karnage, that she had taken the first transport off the ship.
Karnage fumed, cursing the fact that although she didn't remember anything at all about being turned into Baloo for the whole day, she could still clearly recall how he had insulted her, when he had been trying to steer clear of her… or him as she was back then.
"On the plus side," the Genie materialised a pair of scissors out of thin air, and began trimming his beard. "I don't think you or your men have had a more wild party than the one yesterday?"
"Or such a long one," Karnage muttered, but shook his head. "Never mind that now! It seems I have no choice, but to once more go into the camouflage, to spy on my nemesis. Listen to my instructions, and make double sure that you get it right this time, comprehende?"
The Genie saluted him, like a soldier, and then crossed his arms, waiting for the wish.
Karnage tapped his snout for a while, wanting to get his wording clear. "Okay, first of all, I do not wish to loose my Fox-hood again, so you will NOT change me into anything other than another Animal Being, understand?"
The Genie nodded. "Oke doke, no more being turned into furniture. Got it!"
"Or anything else!" Karnage warned him. "Second of all… "
"Let me guess?" the Genie interrupted. "You wanna be someth… I mean some-ONE, who will be close to Baloo at all times throughout the day?"
"Correct!" Karnage said happily, glad that the Genie seemed to finally understand. "Just remember, no being turned into anything other than another person, remaining close to Baloo, the real Baloo of this world, and with minimal risk of getting harmed… In fact, turn me into someone that will ensure this time I shall not be harmed."
"How'd you mean?" the Genie asked curiously.
Karnage shrugged. "Turn me into someone that Baloo wouldn't dream of hurting… like a new customer for his pathetic business, or a visiting relative. Is that understood?"
The Genie clicked his fingers, understanding, and cracked his knuckles. "You want it, you got it, master! I'll turn you into someone who will be perfectly safe this time… Mumbo jumbo, bits, ends and bobs! Fulfil this guy's wish, and ensure he'll be as safe as if with his Mom and Pops!"
The flash and puff of smoke followed, and Don Karnage had his wish granted…
One Second Later;
Higher For Hire:
… "There, there," Baloo cooed, cringing his snout at the smell, as he changed the diaper of Higher for Hire's newest 'client'.
"Becky!" he hissed at his employer in the other room, speaking lowly. "Are you completely loco? This is without a doubt the dumbest hair-brain of a scheme you've ever had… A day-care centre, in an air-delivery service?"
Rebecca Cunningham poked her head in, grinning like mad. "Oh, come on, Baloo. Where's your paternal instinct? Loads of people have kids, and many of them don't have the time to do everything they want in a day… So we open a crèche, at least temporarily. We look after the kids, as part of the service, and whenever they need something else delivered, they immediately remember us. It's foolproof!"
"No, it's just foolish!" Baloo snapped, and then immediately tried hushing the baby that he was holding. "I'm no babysitter, I'm a pilot. I'm supposed to be out there delivering."
Rebecca snorted. "That'll be a first," she scoffed, and then added more calmly. "Look, Baloo. Believeme when I say you weren't my first choice for a babysitter… "
'Or even my last,' she thought.
"… I would take care of the baby myself," she said, continuing out-loud, "but I have no time. I've got a load of paperwork that needs doing, so I'm booked solid for the day. And Kit's at school, so he's not available either. There are no deliveries for the rest of today, so that means your schedule is free, hence the reason why you've got the job. You're the logical, and only, choice."
"What about Wildcat?" Baloo near pleaded.
Rebecca gave him a look that he couldn't quite read. "Don't even go there," she finally said. "I barely trust him to make dinner, let alone have him take care of a client's child."
Baloo fumed, and then asked. "Who is the client anyway?"
"GEN-I Enterprises," she replied. "Apparently they're some new company that just started up here in Cape Suzette. The owner wanted someone to look after his kid, just for the day. So if we make a good impression, we could be set up with a new client for life!"
"What's the kid's name?" Baloo then asked.
Rebecca looked as if she was about to reply, but then paused, and frowned. "Hmmm, I can't remember," she answered. "Must have forgot to ask … Huh, never mind. I'll check later." She then turned around, about to return to her office.
"Hey!" Baloo exclaimed. "You're not gonna leave me here alone with him, are ya?"
Rebecca gave him a sideways glance. "The B and the S stand for babysitting, Baloo… not brain-surgery. You'll do fine."
"But what am I supposed to do with him for the rest of the day?" he asked. "You expect me to sit around on my duff all that time?"
Rebecca rolled her eyes. "It's never stopped you before," she murmured. "Play with him, give him a bath, get him to take a nap, or… " She thought for one second. "How about taking him out for a ride?"
Baloo's face brightened. "Yeah, that sounds great! I can take him to Louie's, show him the spots, give him one of Louie's Crackatuo Specials and… "
"Baloo!" Rebecca said warningly. "Two things… One, I didn't mean a ride in the Sea Duck… and two, you don't feed babies ice cream!"
Baloo looked disappointed. "Well, what am I… "
"Take him out for a bicycle-ride is what I meant," Rebecca answered for him.
Baloo's jaw dropped. "A bike-ride? Get serious!"
Rebecca snorted again. "It'll just be for the day. Wildcat found an old bike the other day, which he can easily fix up in no time. You'll get some exercise, fresh air, you and the baby can see some of the sights together, maybe go to the park… " She noticed Baloo's expression and paused.
"Okay then, which do you prefer?" she snapped. "Going out with the baby, or staying here with me?"
That settled it.
"I'll go talk to Wildcat," Baloo quickly said.
"Just make 'triple' sure that absolutely nothing happens to the kid, all right?" Rebecca warned him.
Baloo looked insulted. "Hey, Beckers… I might be, as you say, a tad irresponsible, but I'm no wild animal…" he paused briefly. "Well, except at parties, but that doesn't count… But I am the all around best pilot you could ever hope to get, and a really great looking one at… "
"Baloo," Rebecca said tiredly. "Do you have a point to make?"
Baloo lifted his chin proudly, as he held the baby over his shoulder, patting its back, burping him. "Despite all that, I would never ever do anything that would risk hurting any kid, let alone a baby. You can trust old Baloo on that."
Rebecca gave a small smile. "Fine," she said. "Just make sure I don't live to regret it, okay?"
Baloo saluted her, and then crossed his heart. "Cross my heart, and hope to diaper," he replied.
Rebecca groaned, and went back into her office.
Baloo then wrapped the baby up in its blanket, and placed it into its crib, speaking in baby-talk. "Now you be a good wittle boy for unca Balooie, little mister… " He paused, wondering what to call the kid since he didn't know his name. "Old Babaloo is just gonna go get a new tricy for us to take you outsy for a wittle while. Oke doke… Baby Britches."
The baby gave a little gurgle, to which Baloo gave the kid an affectionate pat on the head, tickled him under the chin, and then tiptoed out of the room.
A few seconds after Baloo had left, a tiny pair of orange hands raised themselves out of the crib, gripped onto the side of the baby's bed, and struggled to pull themselves up. Less than a few moments later, the head of a cute little baby Fox was sitting up in the crib, a look of pure rage on its face…
'GENIE!' Don Karnage wailed, resisting the urge to start bawling and accidentally wetting himself.
To Be Continued…