A small town in Alaska...
Jenna sighed as she looked out the window at the blizzard beyond. Absently, the sled-master walked up behind her. "Huh... Still goin' strong. Looks like we'll be stayin' here a few more days." The man patted Jenna's head affectionately. "In dog-speak, that means 'we're staying indoors. Enjoy the warmth.'" The man chuckled and walked off, leaving Jenna alone with her thoughts.
For a while, Jenna continued staring out the window. "A few more days..." She said quietly. "...And we're still a three day journey from home..." Jenna sighed again. "Oh well. Balto has survived without me for two weeks already. One more won't hurt him too much."
Shaking her head, Jenna walked away from the window. When the blizzard started, she and the rest of her sled team were forced to take shelter in the first lodge they came to. It was a small building, and pretty run down. But it was shelter. And the Innkeeper let the dogs stay indoors, so Jenna couldn't complain.
The rest of the sled team was in the lobby lounging in front of the fireplace. The conversation had taken a raunchy turn, so Jenna had decided to stay somewhere else for a bit. But now, staring out at the blizzard had taken its toll, and Jenna was beginning to feel a chill in her bones. Hoping the conversation had turned to something more civil, she walked through the door into the lobby...
...And found herself in a place that was anything but the lobby. As she stepped over the threshold, a wave of dizziness passed over her. Jenna had closed her eyes to fight off the sensation, and when she had opened them again, she standing in a different place entirely. Jenna was momentarily overwhelmed by a feeling of disorientation.
As the feeling faded, Jenna took a look around the room. It was a sizable room, more cluttered than any room Jenna had ever seen, and had a scent to it that Jenna couldn't quite place. Chairs, tables, and various other pieces of beat-up and makeshift furniture covered most of the floor. Jenna's attention was quickly drawn to the center of the room, where a car--or so Jenna assumed, based on the descriptions she'd heard--had been turned into... "A Bar? What kind of place is this?"
"That's what we were wondering. And still are, actually..." Jenna practically jumped out of her skin at the sound of this. "Whoa, sorry about that. I forgot how scared people get when the first arrive." The speaker, a tall, slender Dalmatian, female, judging from her smell, walked towards Jenna. Her voice was soft, with an accent Jenna couldn't quite place. She had been on the other side of the Bar when Jenna arrived, and Jenna had been too overwhelmed to pick up her scent.
"Oh, bite me! I said I was sorry..." Jenna looked past the Dalmatian and saw a second dog following her. A quick appraisal of her (definitely a 'her' again) looks, showed she was a mongrel. One that had seen her share of fights. Her tone didn't sound too friendly either. Instinctively, Jenna took a defensive stance.
The Dalmatian looked back at her companion. "Please, Rita, try to stay calm. She's scared enough as it is." The Dalmatian shook her head. "You'll have to excuse Rita. Her manners are... Well..." The Dalmatian trailed off, glaring at Rita.
In response, Rita snorted, and plopped down next to a table. "My manners are just fine, little Brit prick."
The Dalmatian smiled condescendingly. "Don't worry, Rita's just feeling a little hostile right now. Anyway, my name's Perdi. Perdita, actually, but that's such a fuss to pronounce. Who might you be?"
Jenna relaxed her guard a bit. "Jenna. Just Jenna." Jenna paused as she glanced around the room again. "You said something about knowing where we are..."
"Unfortunately," Perdi replied, "no. Just like you, Rita and I just... Appeared here. We've searched the room, and its abandoned. And all the exits are either blocked off or locked."
"Of all the times for Tito not to be around..." Muttered Rita.
Almost calm now, Jenna asked "So, what do we do now?"
Perdi sighed. "I really don't know. We could try searching the room again, but I don't think well find--"
Suddenly, Rita perked up. "Waitaminute, you two. Quiet down for a sec." Perdi and Jenna exchanged glances while Rita strained her ears. In the near silence, a quiet crackling sound could be heard. "Its coming from the bar..." Rita cautiously approached the refitted car.
As she approached, the sound got steadily louder. Abruptly the sound jumped up several decibels. All three dogs flinched at this. Fortunately the static quickly degenerated back to its earlier decibel level.
Rita jumped up onto the bar, and began investigating. She quickly found the small, white, box-like speaker which was emitting the sounds. "Hey Perdi, did you notice this thing earlier?"
Perdi curiously looked toward the bar. "No, I don't think so..."
As Rita sniffed at the box, the decibel level peaked again, causing her to jump off the bar in surprise. She landed with an ungraceful thud.
"Nice landing," joked Jenna. "You try that often?"
Rita glanced up sourly. "Bite me."
As Rita got back to her feet, the speaker quieted down, and the static died away. It was replaced by a voice, muffled at first, but quickly becoming clearer. "Lets see... ...If I push this lever here... Now this..." There was a burst of static. "...No... Maybe this..." More static. "...Hey Itch, throw that switch over there... Not THAT one!" A feedback loop cut off the conversation.
Rita rubbed her ear as the sound died down. "If I find out who's behind this, I WILL hurt them."
"Fine, but I get the second shot at them..." The noise had not helped Jenna's mood. Perdi, however, didn't seem to mind it as much. Almost as if she was used to such noises.
After a moment, the voice returned. "...Ooh, they probably won't like that... ...Everything else set, Itch? ...Good." A couple thuds came through the speaker, like someone tapping a microphone. "Testing. One, two, three... Anyone here me out there?" The speaker tapped the microphone again. "'Ello? This thing on?"
Perdi was the first one to gather enough courage to speak. "Um... Yeah. We can hear you... Who are you?"
"Yes!" The speaker sounded elated, if somewhat muffled. "See Itchy, I told you this'd work! ...Huh? ...Oh, yeah, right." There was some shuffling sounds, as the speaker was moving the microphone. When the voice returned, it was much clearer, and obviously directed to its audience. "Hello, girls. My name is Charlie."
"Yeah, so?" Rita was unimpressed. "Is that supposed to mean something special?"
"Um, well, uh..."
Jenna spoke up. "Look, do you have any idea how we all got here? Or how we can get out of here? Heck, or even where we are?"
"That I can help you with!" Charlie said with renewed confidence. "Yes, I am the one who brought you all here. And you'll be able to leave as soon our business here is finished. As for where you are..." Charlie chuckled. "You're standing in my old haunt."
"'Old haunt?' This place is a dump," said Rita, flatly.
"Excuse me," cut in Perdi, "but did you say you brought us here? Why? And How?"
"Yes, yes I did," answered Charlie. "I brought you here to participate in a little project of mine. As for how I got you here... I could tell you..."
"...But then you'd have to kill us?" Prompted Rita.
"No, I'd just risk blowing my cover and getting in a load of trouble."
"And that would be bad, how?" Asked Rita, sarcastically. In response, Charlie grumbled something inaudible.
"Please, Rita," said Perdi. "Try not to antagonize him..."
Jenna eyed the white speaker suspiciously. "Exactly what do you mean by 'project?'
"Its a rescue mission," answered Charlie. "I selected you three for this mission because you're the best rescuers I found."
"...That were girls," cut in another voice over the speaker.
"Itchy!" Charlie's voice became muffled, as if he was speaking away from the microphone. "That is not the case at all!"
"Oh yeah," came the other voice, equally muffled, "then why didn't you bring in that Tramp guy? Or Balto? Or Dodger, or--"
"The Tramp has a bad leg." Interrupted Charlie. "I couldn't risk him re-injuring it in a critical situation. And all the other guys would have had some personality problems."
"'Personality problems!?' What do you mean by that?"
"Oh, come on, Itch! Do you really expect a bunch of natural born leaders to work well together? Or to actually listen to someone else's instructions? Besides, they wouldn't have any idea how to deal with the kid..."
"Yeah, but you still could have put one of them in... And why didn't you include Sasha? Wouldn't things go a lot smoother if you had someone down there who knew you? Or do you just not trust her?"
"Listen Itch," Charlie's voice got very quiet and very firm. "I'm going to explain this one more time, and that's it. I didn't include Sasha in this because the higher-ups already know Sasha and I have connections. If they think I'm doing something suspicious, she's the first dog their going to go looking for. If they go looking for Sasha and find this little operation, they'll shut it down like that! And me with it..."
Perdi turned to her companions. "Is anyone else concerned that our lives are now in the hands of some nut working behind his superior's back?"
Rita nodded. "...Who can't even remember to turn off a microphone..."
"...Trust me on this Itch, these girls are the best group for the job."
"But if this so risky, why are you even doing--"
"We'll discuss this later, Itch," growled Charlie. There were some shuffling sounds as the microphone got moved again. "Err, sorry 'bout that girls. We had a little technical difficulties up here. Don't worry, it shouldn't happen again."
"Riiiiiight," muttered Rita.
"Anyway, about the rescue mission..." Abruptly, a screen lowered from the superstructure above the car. A picture of a young child appeared on the screen. "This is Eddie Marcus. He's the kid of Orlando Marcus, a major business leader in Los Angeles--"
"Las Angels?" Interrupted Jenna. "What kind of name is 'Las Angels?"
"Hmm," thought Perdi. "Sounds Spanish to me..."
Rita shook her head dejectedly. "Wonderful... LA..."
"As I was saying..." Charlie didn't sound too happy about being interrupted. "Orlando is the owner of a very successful business in Los Angeles. However, his success has created some animosity between him and some of his, well, less fortunate friends."
Jenna cocked her head and looked at the speaker in confusion. "Say what?"
"A couple of Orlando's childhood friends got jealous that Orlando worked hard and got rich while they didn't..."
"A guy can't even try to articulate things these days without get a weird look," mumbled Charlie. In a clearer tone, he continued. "Of course, I use the term 'old friends' quite loosely. Orlando was never really friends with them, he just grew up around them. They all grew up in a poor part of town--"
"Slum," interjected Rita.
Charlie ignored the interruption. "--And while Orlando was determined to work his way to a better life, most of his 'friends' weren't as inspired. Orlando managed to start his own business, which soon became quite successful. Meanwhile, several of Orlando's 'friends' moved into the underworld."
Jenna blinked in shock. "They died?"
"Um, no," said Perdi. "He means they got involved in organized crime. Gangs, and whatnot."
Rita smirked at Perdi. "Hey, the spoiled girl knows some slang! I'm impressed." This earned Rita a stern glance from Perdi.
Itchy's muffled voice came through the speaker. "And the guys would have been worse than this?"
"Not now, Itch," was Charlie's muffled reply. Charlie addressed the girls again. "Anyway some of these 'friends' have recently decided to pay Orlando a 'visit.'" Charlie's tone became deadly serious. "They kidnapped his kid. They are holding Eddie for ransom. And the ransom is far more than Orlando can afford to pay. For reasons to complex to explain at the moment, the police aren't getting involved. At least not enough as they need to be..."
Jenna's ears flattened down. "I don't like where this is going..."
"You want us to rescue the kid," said Perdi. "Don't you?"
Charlie's reply was a concise "yes."
"How?" Asked Rita. "We don't even know where the kid is being held? And LA's just about as big as New York, so it'd be impossible to find him on our own."
"I'm way ahead of you, Rita." The screen changed from Jason to an aerial shot of the LA skyline. The shot began moving, and soon stared focusing in on a single building: A run-down, low level office building in an older part of town. The camera began circling the building, showing it from every angle. Jenna seemed disoriented by the shot, but the other two remained unaffected.
Charlie continued the narration. "I've tracked Jason's captors to this building. They are holding him in an office on the third floor. He is lightly guarded, but be warned: While not everyone in the building is involved with the gang, they could still cause trouble if they see you. You're mission is to get in, find the kid, and lead him out without being spotted. Once outside the building, you should be able to lead the kid to safety without too many problems."
"One question," Jenna interjected. "How are we supposed to even get to this building?"
"Right through that door." All three turned to the door they had fist appeared next to. To their amazement, it was open. Though nothing could be seen beyond it, a slight breeze came through, carrying all the smells of the inner city. "That should take you to an alley just outside the building. And don't worry, I'll be monitoring you're progress, so I can pull you out if anything goes wrong. Good luck, girls."
For a moment, no one moved. Reluctantly, Jenna walked towards the door. "Well, here goes nothing." Jenna took a deep breath and stepped into the void.
Rita and Perdi exchanged glances, then Perdi shrugged. "I've done weirder." Perdi walked through the door, leaving Rita standing alone.
"Los Angeles. I can't believe I'm actually going to Los Angeles..." Shaking her head, Rita passed over the threshold.
Los Angeles... Evening... In a not so abandoned alley...
Cautiously, Rita stuck her head out of the alley to take a look around. Sure enough, across the street was the building they had seen on the screen. Rita shook her head and walked back into the alley. Sitting at the end of it were Jenna and Perdi, trying to cover their noses. Rita sighed. "Tell me, have you two EVER been in a city before?"
Jenna looked up with a sour expression on her face. "No. And what's with this smell? This place reeks!"
"Yeah," added Perdi. "I grew up in London, but it was never this bad..."
"Welcome to LA..." Muttered Rita, sarcastically. "Smog capitol of the world..."
Perdi got up, trying her best to block out the smell. "Well, the sooner we get this done, the sooner we can leave. Did you find the building, Rita?"
"Yeah, its there all right. Just like ol' Chuckles said it would be..." Rita trailed off, momentarily lost in thought. "...Which begs the question: Who is this Charlie guy? And why the heck are we helping him?"
"I'm not sure," said Perdi. "He seems like a well-intentioned guy, but he definitely has something to hide. You heard what Itchy was saying to him..."
Rita nodded. "You got that right. He's hiding something big...."
"I hate to say it," ventured Jenna, "but I don't think we have a choice about helping him." Both Perdi and Rita stared incredulously at Jenna. "Well, think about it. Somehow, he picked us up from out of nowhere, dumped us in that haunt of his, then sends us to this Las Angels place. Now unless we want to walk back home, we've got to rely on him for transportation. And even if we did try and leave, he could just pick us up and bring us back here..."
"Great," muttered Rita. "So we've got no choice but to help him. But after all this is over, I'm gonna try to get some answers out of him."
Perdi shook her head. "Good luck. You heard him evading questions earlier..."
"Come on, girls, lets move." Still wrinkling her nose, Jenna led way out of the alley. Jenna was just stepping onto the street when a SUV sped by, missing her by little more than a foot. With a yelp, Jenna jumped back into the alley. Panting hard, she looked at her two companions. "What was that?!"
Perdi and Rita glanced at each other, then rolled their eyes.
After Jenna's initial mishap, things went smoothly. The trio sneaked past the building's one security post, and quickly reached the main building. After a few minutes of searching, they had found a maintenance door that had been left unlocked. After another minute, Rita had managed to get the door open.
"I don't like this," said Perdi as they entered the building. "Things are going too smoothly..."
"You just think that because you weren't the one who had to open the door," replied Rita.
Perdi peered anxiously down the hall. Finding it empty, she walked down it, doing her best to tread lightly. "Getting past the security checkpoint was too easy. This reeks of a setup."
"Your just being pessimistic," said Jenna, as she took up the rear.
"And you watch too much TV," added Rita.
Perdi paused and glanced back at her companions. "Try and keep your voices down. We'll have enough problems staying unnoticed as it is." Perdi glanced at Rita. "Besides, you can learn a lot from TV. Now stay alert. I don't smell anyone at the moment, but someone could show up anytime."
The trio continued walking. Beside the low hum of the building's ventilation system, there was little to hear. After a time, the silence seemed almost oppressive. This, of course, made it all the more shocking when the song began.
"One. Two. A one, two, three, four..." All three of the girls jumped in fear. Jenna and Rita took up defensive stances while Perdi bolted through the nearest door. "Some love is just a lie of the heart... The cold remains of what began with a passionate start... And they may not want it to end, but it will, its just a question of when..."
As the song continued, Perdi was the first one to regain her composure. "You'd think I would have gotten used to that sort of thing by now..."
"Whad'd'ya mean?!" Demanded Jenna, almost hysterically. "What's going on?!"
Perdi calmly waked back into the hallway. "Radio. Some janitor must have gotten bored and turned on the radio. And put it over the building's intercom system, just so he could hear it wherever he went."
"So we haven't been discovered?"
"No," chuckled Perdi. "We haven't been discovered. Now come on, we still have to find a way up to the third floor." Perdi and Jenna started walking away before noticing that Rita wasn't with them. Perdi looked back questioningly. "Uh, Rita? Are you coming?"
"Now I know you're an emotional girl... It took a lot for you to not loose your faith in this world..."
Rita stood in place, listening, as if entranced by the song. "I know this voice..."
"Rita!" Perdi tapped Rita's head with her paw a few times. "Attention, Rita..." Rita blinked a few times as the trance ended. "Welcome back to the world of the living. Now c'mon. Lets move."
Still somewhat dazed, Rita followed Perdi down the hall. "I know that voice..." Rita looked at Jenna. "But how could he..."
"Don't think about it, Rita. We've already had enough problems with voices and microphones for one day."
"Diiiing" The elevator doors opened, revealing two calm looking dogs and one fear stricken dog huddling in the corner.
Perdi stepped through the door. "Third floor: biscuits, Canine Crunchies, leashes, and young hostages. Please enjoy your stay."
Rita was second out of the elevator. "Now, Jenna, if you're still in there when the doors close, it'll start moving again." Jenna was out the door before Rita had even finished talking. "I can't believe that that actually scared you..."
"Remember, Rita, she didn't even realize a car when she saw one."
Jenna glanced sourly at her companions. "Will you two let it go? You don't get out much when you live in the arctic."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah..." Muttered Rita. "So, we're on the third floor. Anyone smell the kid?" She took a few sniffs. "I don't..."
"Me neither," added Jenna.
Perdi started sniffing around the floor. "Hmm... This way..."
Rita stared at Perdi incredulously. "You smell him?"
"Not really. I just have a feeling he's this way." Rita continued staring. "Mother's intuition. You just know these things when you're around kids too much." Perdi started walking down the hall, and Rita and Jenna reluctantly followed.
After a moment, Perdi came to an abrupt halt. "Hold on... Do you smell that?" She asked her companions.
Doing her best to stay quiet, Jenna sniffed the air. "Yeah... Two humans... Smelly ones, at that... And..."
"The kid," finished Rita. "Alright, its pretty safe to assume the other two guys are guarding the kid. Any ideas on how to get by them?"
"Well..." Perdi spoke slowly, considering her words. "In my experience, there are two ways to get past thugs. One is to overwhelm them by sheer numbers."
"No good," said Jenna, shaking her head. "Three on two is not overwhelming odds."
"'Sides, they're probably packing heat..."
"Guns," specified Rita.
"...And the second way," continued Perdi, "Was to distract them."
Rita smiled. "Distraction. Yeah, I can do that. What do you suggest? Fire alarm? Slammed door?"
"Actually, the best method was for someone to get the thugs attention, then lead them away."
Jenna smiled mockingly. "I always thought you'd make a great decoy, Rita. Good luck." Jenna broke off, giggling.
Rita sneered back. "Bite me." With a grimace on her face, Rita stalked off down the hall.
"Duuuuude... This is like... Totally kickin'..."
"Yeah..." Wisps of smoke floated around the two guards as they lounged outside the office that served as their temporary holding cell. Both guards seemed to be enjoying themselves, and had a glazed look in their eyes. "Totally..."
As the two guards killed time, a tall, grayish-brown dog timidly came up to them. The dog glanced at the two guards. The guards looked back, smiling.
"Dude... Who let the dog out?"
His companion answered with a almost rhythmic "Woof! Woof, woof, woof!" This caused both men to break out in laughter. After the laughter subsided, the two guards resumed staring off into space.
The dog cocked her head and looked curiously at the guards. The guards continued to ignore her. In a last bid for attentions, she yelled out "Hey! Raiders suck!"
One guard turned to look at his companion, with a huge grin on his face. "Look Joe! A talking dog!" The guards broke out into laughter again, but soon returned to their drug-induced stupor.
The dog continued glaring at the guards for another moment, still getting no response. "Screw this..." Shaking her head in disgust, the dog turned around and walked away.
Jenna glanced nervously at the guards on either side of her. "Hurry up Rita. I don't like this..."
"Oh calm down," replied Rita as she worked on opening the door of the office. "They're so stoned they wouldn't even notice an earthquake. ...And try not to breathe in any of that smoke. Unless you'd like to end up like them..."
"Y'know, even Horace and Jasper were more competent than these two..." Muttered Perdi. "Not that I'm complaining, of course... Just out of curiosity, what are they smoking? Roger lit a pipe occasionally, but he never ended up like this..."
"Will you two stop yacking?! I'm trying to concentrate..." Abruptly, the doorknob gave, and the office door opened. "Yes! Mission accomplished!"
"Well, half-accomplished," said Perdi. "Now lets get the kid and get out. ...Before some normal guards show up..."
"One other point," interjected Jenna, before they went through the door. "Rita said that the guards actually understood her... Well, sort of..." Jenna paused as she eyed one of the guards, suspiciously. "Anyway, my point is that now humans can, apparently, understand us..."
"Hmm," said Perdi. "Probably Charlie's doing. So we wouldn't have any problems getting the kid to follow us out of the compound. Of course, it would have been nice for him to tell us that..."
"It would be like him to leave out a minor detail like that," commented Rita.
"So," continued Jenna, "how do we explain that to the kid?"
There was a moment of silence, which was eventually broken by Rita. "Well, I'll think of something... C'mon, lets get this over with."
"Dude!" Exclaimed a very elated Eddie Marcus. "So you guys are, like, part of X-Files, right?!"
"Umm..." Rita had been explaining to Eddie that she and her two companions were the result of some secret government experiments to increase animal intelligence. She had been about to throw out an area 51 reference, just to make the story sound more credible, but this 'X-Files' thing sounded just as mysterious. "Yeah. Yeah, we are."
"Yes! I knew it was real!" Eddie glanced around excitedly. "Man, wait 'til I tell dad about this!"
"Actually," interjected Perdi, "it would be best if you didn't mention us to you're parents. Or anyone else for that matter."
Eddie looked disappointed for a moment, but quickly perked back up. "Riiiight... Gotta keep yourselves secret. Don't worry, I won't tell anyone!"
"Good. Now follow me, and we'll get you out of here." Perdi led Eddie out of the room. "And keep your voice down. We don't want to attract any unwanted attention."
"Right," whispered Eddie. "Ooh, by the way, are Mulder and Scully on this case?"
"Umm, no. They're busy elsewhere..."
Jenna and Rita were the last ones to leave the room. As they passed the still stoned guards, Jenna whispered to Rita. "Hey Rita, just out of curiosity, what are the X-Files?"
"I have no idea," replied Rita, shaking her head slowly.
Valerie Vedder walked down the hall, followed by one of her assistants. "Remember, as soon as we get the ransom money, we go underground. Everyone keeps a low profile, and no one, and I mean NO ONE is to make any big buys with the money. I don't want the cops to be able to trace us through serial numbers on money..."
"Suppose we put it in a bank," suggested the assistant. "Then just write a check for stuff."
Valerie scowled as her companion's remark. "Dimwit! Then they'll have the check to trace. Then they'll find our account number, names, addresses everything!"
"What if we used a fake name..."
"No!" Replied Valerie, quite firmly. "That would still leave too many possible leads. We sit on the money. Six months minimum." Valerie allowed herself a brief smile at her up-coming wealth. "Think of it like... An investment. One that you can't touch for a certain amount of time."
The couple arrived at an elevator. Valerie press the 'up' button, then turned to her companion. "You still got enough food for the kid?"
The thug smiled and held up a McDonald's take-out bag. "Yup. Right here."
Valerie nodded, then sighed impatiently as she waited for the elevator. "Its a good thing we're getting money from this kid. Keeping him is a real pain. Remind me never to have a kid..."
"Will do, Val."
At that moment, the elevator chimed, and it's doors opened. Valerie was shocked to discover that the elevator contained three dogs, and a young child. Specifically, Eddie Marcus, her hostage. For their part, the occupants of the elevator were just as shocked to see Valerie and her companion. For a moment, nobody moved.
A very short moment. "Okay kid, don't move or your brains are gunna be splattered all over this room!" As she said this, Valerie reached for her gun. Her companion did the same.
Perdi instantly realized what was going on. "Run for it!" She yelled. At her command, all three dogs poured out of the elevator, followed closely by Eddie. Not expecting such a reaction, Valerie and her companion were knocked aside. In the process, both dropped their guns.
Valerie regained her footing just in time to see the last of the dogs disappear around the corner. "That kid is worth a fortune to us... And he's getting away! Move it!" Valerie scooped up her gun and chased after the dogs, with her companion following a few seconds later.
A guardstation outside the office building...
"I can't believe that doofus used a lifeline on that question," exclaimed Scott. "I mean, who could possibly think 'Amnesia' was named after John Lenin?"
"No kidding," replied Brittany. "Everybody knows Amnesia was discovered looooooong before the Beetles got together." Scott raised his eyebrow and stared at his airheaded partner. However, Brittany was still engrossed on the outpost's small television set, and completely missed Scott's look. Scott shook his head disdainfully and turned his attention back to the show.
Dramatic music played as the next question was introduced. "Hmm, this is a toughie," mused Brittany. "I don't have a clue..." Scott mumbled something inaudible under his breathe. "What about you, Mr. Sunglasses-At-Night?"
"Quit bashing my shades! I'm a security guard. All security guards wear sunglasses. No matter what time it is..." Scott glanced at the screen again. "Who was King Arthur's head knight? D, Lancelot."
"I don't know about that, Scotty. 'Lancelot' doesn't sound much like a knight's name. I think it B, Kayley."
Scott shook his head and sighed. "Why do I even bother..." Suddenly, a sound caught Scott's attention. Straining his ears, Scott nudged his fellow guard. "Hey Britt, did you hear that?"
"Yeah, it was Lancelot! You were right!"
"No!" Scott angrily turned off the TV. In the silence that followed, the faint sound of barking dogs could be heard. The sound quickly go louder, as if the source was approaching them. "Odd," muttered Scott. "Strays don't usually make that much noise... What do make of this Bri--"
Scott was cut off by an excited Brittany. "Look Scotty! Puppies!"
Scott turned toward the office building and saw three dogs running at full speed towards him. Running with the dogs was a small child, no more than twelve years old. Scott shook his head as he stepped outside the guardpost. "Hey kid," he called out. "This is private property! No pets allowed! If you want to walk your dogs, go find a park or somethi--
The harsh ring of a gunshot interrupted Scott. The shot hit the ground near the kid, causing him to run even faster. With his mouth open in shock, Scott looked past the fleeing kid towards the office building. There, he saw a figure chasing the kid, and a second one just coming through a door.
Acting on instinct, Scott unholstered his gun. In the most commanding voice he could muster, which, admittedly, wasn't much, he called out. "Halt, in the name of the Privately Contracted Security Force!"
The running figure, who just happened to be Valerie Vedder, stopped short, and turned towards Scott. "You've got to be kidding me..." With that, the she raised her arm toward Scott. However, before she could fire, a grayish-brown dog jumped onto her from behind. The Valerie let out a cry of shock, and fell to the ground. As she hit the ground the gun flew from her grasp..
Sensing he could gain the advantage, Scott rushed forward. The fallen Valerie kicked the dog away from her, and struggled to her feet. Her glance shifted from her gun, to the guard rushing her, then back to her gun. Valerie scrambled towards her gun, attempting to reach it before the guard. However, Scott had the advantage of momentum, and managed to reach the gun first.
Scott skidded to an ungraceful stop as he scooped up the gun. Not quite ready to give up, Valerie changed her course and dove at Scott. However, Scott spun out of Valerie's grasp, causing her to fall to the ground.
"Alright, freeze!" As he regained his balance, Scott pointed both guns at the fallen Valerie. Now knowing her situation was hopeless, Valerie complied. Scott just stood there for a second, catching his breath, until something else clicked in his mind. Still keeping one gun aimed at Valerie, Scott swiveled around to look for the second figure he'd seen. Scott spotted him quickly, as the other figure seemed to be trying to sneak away. "You too!" Ordered Scott, as he pointed his second gun at the figure. The figure reluctantly dropped his gun and raised his hands in surrender.
Although he had the upper hand, Scott was caught in a very uneasy situation. He couldn't move, or one of the figures would be free to flee. Or attack him. "Brittany!" He called out. "Brittany, call the police and get some backup!"
Brittany, who had spent the entire confrontation hiding in the guardpost, nervously peeked out. "So its over now?"
"Yes, now get the cops!"
"Okay..." Brittany looked around, noticing the kid. "Hey Scott, what about--"
The old haunt...
There was a sudden flash of light, and three dogs appeared in the room. All three dogs were panting hard, and looking quite perturbed.
Perdi was the first one to catch her breathe enough to speak. "Okay... We're all back here. I think its safe to assume that everything else has been wrapped up."
"That," gasped Rita, "or the gang's back up arrived and Chuckles pulled us out before we all died."
Perdi glared at Rita for a moment. "Have you always been this pessimistic?"
At that point Charlie's voice interrupted the conversation. "Calm down girls. Everything is fine. As we speak, Brittany has already called the police, and is busy doting over Eddie."
Jenna looked questionably at the speaker. "Brittany?"
"She was the female guard," replied Charlie.
Charlie sighed. "Nevermind... Scott, on the other hand, is still stuck in his little pose. But, there are some police nearby, so he should be able to move shortly. Oh, by the way, nice move Rita."
"If things are under control," prompted Perdi, "why did you bring us here so quickly?"
This caught Charlie off guard. "Uh, well, since things were under control, there just didn't seem to be any reason to keep you around any longer than--"
Charlie was cut off by the muffled voice of Itchy. Though his voice was muffled, it held an unmistakable note of urgency to it. "Hey Charlie! Cha-arlie! Wrap it up, she's coming!"
Jenna and Perdi exchanged worried glances. Rita just smirked and said "Good. Sounds like someone with some authority is coming. Now maybe we can get some answers around here."
However, Rita's hopes were dashed as soon as Charlie got back on the microphone. "Well girls thanks for you're help sorry you got shot at you did a really good job I hope you've had fun maybe we'll try this again some time meanwhile have a good time back home gotta go bye!" Before any of them could speak, there was a white flash and Perdi, Rita, and Jenna disappeared.
There was some muffling sounds, as if the microphone was being hastily hidden, and then a new voice was heard. "Charlie? Charlie, are you in here?"
Charlie responded in his sincerest of tones. "Why, Annabel! I wasn't expecting to see you around here. How've ya been? Itchy and I were just out on a little stroll. Care to join us?"
"Not right now," replied Annabel. "I just came by to give you an update on that situation you seemed so interested in earlier."
"You mean the situation with Eddie Marcus?" Piped Itchy.
"Truly tragic," said Charlie, gravely. "I do so hope the situation gets resolved soon. Have there been any changes?"
"Actually, yes. Eddie has been rescued, and is now safe and sound."
"Do we know how?" Asked Itchy, nervously.
"Details are sketchy at the moment," said Annabel, "but it appears that the police were simply stalling for time, while a special team from the FBI's X-Files handled the case."
"Indeed..." Charlie sounded generally shocked.
At this point, Annabel's voice took on a sweet, almost condescending tone. "Indeed. You see Charlie, situations like these do work themselves out. Even without your help."
"I guess they do," chuckled Charlie. "I guess they do..."
"Well, that's all for now Charlie. I'll talk to you later."
"Later Annabel," called a genuinely relived Charlie. There was a long pause as Charlie and Itchy waited for Annabel to get out of hearing range. The silence was broken by a large sigh of relief from both dogs.
"Wow. I can't believe they actually bought Rita's story." Itchy let out a nervous chuckle. "I mean, when Annabel came around right when things ended, I thought they had us for sure!"
"Just like I told you Itch, they were the best dogs for the job. With the right dogs at the helm, and the right dogs in the field, plans like these run like well oiled machines."
"Yeah... Yeah I guess your right Charlie." Itchy laughed again. "It's just nice for something to finally go off without a hitch."
"You said it buddy. Now, c'mon. Lets go get something to eat.
A small tract of land in the English countryside...
"Any other questions, Miss Jenja?"
Jenna smiled at the small Dalmatian that just mispronounced her name. "No, Freckles, that's all. Thank you for your time."
"Oh, you're welkome." Freckles promptly ran off to join a nearby group of similar looking dogs. "Hey guys, wait up!"
Jenna chuckled as she watched the puppies run around the farmyard. "Well, that settles it. I'm definitely at Perdi's home. Looks like Charlie screwed up... Not that I'm surprised, of course. Still..." Jenna sniffed the air, searching for the nearest source of water. "I do hope he figures things out soon. It's hot out here." Finding one, she trotted off towards it. "I wonder how Perdi's doing..."
New York City... Central Park...
Perdi walked nervously across the grassy lawn. It was early morning, and the park was nearly abandoned. A slight breeze was blowing carrying with it a distinctly salty smell. Beyond the trees, the skyline was unlike anything Perdi had ever seen before.
"Wow." Perdi's voiced was barely above a whisper. "London sure has changed since we moved out..."
The English countryside...
As she walked away from the horse trough, a thought hit Jenna. "Wait a minute. Charlie sent me to wrong place, so I know he had to send Perdi to the wrong place as well. Could he have screwed up with Rita as well?"
Rita was harnessed to a dog sled, along with a variety of other motley looking dogs. There was a fresh layer of snow on the ground, and the team was running at a brisk pace.
"How long... Until... We stop?" Asked Rita, between breathes. She was panting hard, and obviously having a hard time keeping the pace.
"Well, the master usually takes a break about midday," replied Star, who was harnessed next to Rita. "That should be in about 2 hours. Breaks last anywhere between ten minutes and an hour, all depending on the master's mood and whether or not we're on schedule. Sometimes, we even get fed during the break! After that, we run dill dark. Probably about 5 hours after break ends."
"Guh... Huh.... Great..."
There was a pause, during which Star looked curiously at his new companion. The silence became uncomfortable, so he decided to try to make some casual conversation. "So, you new around here?"
"Shut... Up..." Gasped Rita. "Hurts... To... Talk..."
"Sorry," replied Star, sullenly.
"And stop... Staring.... At my... Tail..." This last comment was directed at Nikki, who was harnessed just behind Rita.
"Look lady," came Nikki's gruff reply. "In case you haven't noticed, I don't have much of a choice. I ain't the lead, so my view stays pretty much the same." Rita grunted a few times, not able to make any better of a reply. Nikki ginned slyly. "Not that I want it to change," he added under his breath. "I like it just fine..."
End. Roll credits and the Charlie's Angels Theme. (Whichever one is familiar to your generation.)
Disclaimer: Rita, Perdi, and all related characters and references are copyright Disney. Charlie, Itchy, and other All Dogs Go to Heaven characters are copyright MGM. I'm not sure who exactly owns the Balto material, but I know it ain't me. And I believe Paramount owns the Charlie's Angels franchise, but don't quote me on that. In any case, this has simply been a work of fanfiction, and is not meant to infringe on any of said copyrights, since I have absolutely no intention of making any money off of this. Anywho, please send any questions, comments, and queries about my sanity to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.