A Journey and a Job
Okay, well, here’s the सेकंड chapter! Sorry about that ridiculously long intro on the पूर्व chapter. This one is shorter. In fact it should be over right about… NOW!
“Skippa?” Private कहा through his beak, “Just how long do we have to stay like this?”
The team was seated in a large pile of beanie शिशु at the LaGuardia souvenir stand.
“Just until our plane comes in, young Private,” the leader answered.
“Well, who’s idea was it to दिखाना up three hours early?” Johnson complained, “I can’t feel my…uh, never mind,” he said, seeing Private staring at him intently.
“Well excuse me for taking precautionary measures!” Manfridi retorted, “Wouldn’t आप rather be सुरक्षित than sorry?” The tension in the stand was beginning to rise.
“Ten bucks on Johnson!” Rico whispered to Skipper. He was immediately slapped.
“Hey, knock it off, आप two!”
Skipper’s words had no impact on Manfridi and Johnson, whose quarrel was beginning to drift away from the original purpose.
“First Lieutenant my foot!”
“You’re not fit to go on this mission!”
“You’ll be डॉल्फिन खाना before we even get there!”
“If आप two don’t shut up, no one goes on the deadly mission!” Skipper yelled. His soldiers were immediately silenced.
“Er, Skipper?” Kowalski pointed to the humans passing by. Almost all of them were cleaning out their ears या glancing curiously at the stand.
“Right,” Skipper said. If he was embarrassed, he didn’t दिखाना it, “Shush!”
At that moment, a toneless, female voice came over the loudspeaker, “Three o’ clock flight to Washington now boarding at gate eight. Three o’ clock flight to Washington now boarding.”
“That’s us, boys!” the penguins slid out of the stand and managed to make it to gate eight without being seen.
“Skipper?” Kowalski कहा tentatively, “Just how do आप expect to get us on the plane without being spotted?” The rest of the team stared at their leader; this was obviously on their minds as well.
“Wait for it!” Skipper peeked out from beneath the chair they were hiding behind.
A man in a business suit was running to catch the plane. He was carrying a huge duffel; easily large enough to hold six penguins. And the fool had left it only half zipped.
“Now!” Skipper cried. The team leapt in with perfect timing and the man, in his hurry, didn’t even notice.
Inside the bag, they exchanged high fives. “Excellent job, men!” Skipper congratulated them. He slapped Private sharply across the face.
“Ow!” the young पेंगुइन complained, “What was that for? Sir!” he added hastily.
“Nothing, Private,” Skipper said, “Just thought I saw a bug!” In truth, Private had strayed dangerously close to several copies of Playboy. Rico and Johnson were already trying to sneak toward them. They were also slapped.
Suddenly, they heard a young female voice, “Welcome aboard!”
“Franklin Pierce! We’re in!” Skipper cried, “Out, men, out!” The team quickly jumped in an open overhead compartment. They backed into the shadows as large bags were tossed hurriedly अगला to them. या in Private’s case, on them.
“Ooof!” Private gasped as the small duffel landed on his back, knocking the wind out of him, “This thing….weighs a TON!”
“Now आप know how I feel every day,” Rico कहा bitterly. This was the longest he had gone without his pack since he joined the team. He felt like a part of him had been ripped away, like his दिल या a kidney! But of course, there was no way around it. Blowhole had made it very clear that the pack was not welcome on this mission. Skipper placed his flipper on Rico’s shoulder.
“Don’t worry, Rico, Operation: Cheat Death will be over before आप know it!” It was a very cheery sentence for a very formidable mission.
द्वारा mentioning the penguins’ death constantly in his note, Dr. Blowhole had attempted to terrify the team: He had succeeded. Even cocky Johnson was silent as the plane slowly took off. The compartment was dark, but if they could see out the window, they would watch as the New York skyline grew further and further away; and the team could only wonder if they would ever see it again.
The plane ride lasted only about forty minutes. In that time, Skipper went over the plan what felt like a million times: They would meet Blowhole, fight him/ foil his plan, and, hopefully, arrive घर सुरक्षित and sound. It was a vague plan, but what else could they do? They had no way of knowing what was coming and therefore their chances of beating him were slim. The team supposed that was what the डॉल्फिन had intended.
When the plane touched down in Washington, the penguins were cramped, tired, and frightened. But they still had a mission. द्वारा the time they had sneaked out of the airport, it was four-fifteen.
Skipper decided that their best weapon was the element of surprise. They would have the upper flipper when they arrived three hours before Dr. Blowhole expected them. That, and the fact that they didn’t really want to hang around Washington for three hours.
“Kowalski, give me options on possible transportation to Pennsylvania Avenue!” Skipper barked.
“I’m on it, Skipper,” Kowalski said, whipping out his clipboard, “We set off a dangerous amount of fireworks! Then, while the humans are distracted, we sneak into Andrews Air Force Base, hijack Air Force One, and ride in luxury to the White House!”
“That या we could take the Metro!” Private pointed out.
“Hmm,” Skipper said, “Well, as much as I would like to hijack Air Force One again, I’m going to have to go with Private’s option, Kowalski.” The tall पेंगुइन hung his head.
They slid through the dark station, avoiding human feet, just in time to get on the Blue train. The team had cleaner accommodations on the plane. Underneath the seats, the penguins found a) Twelve pieces of chewed bubble gum, b) Enough lint to make a sweater, and c) An abandoned visitors guide to the National Museum of Crime and Punishment (which they all examined thoroughly).
Luckily, fifteen मिनटों later the Metro came to a halt and the large sign outside verified that they had reached their destination. Kowalski picked up a map on their way out.
“Well, if we turn approximately 50 degrees southwest, we should reach the White House after about 0.175 miles.” he said. For a penguin, 0.175 miles is almost nothing. But this time, that was a bad thing. There was no turning back now.
All but Private had been to the White House before. Never had it seemed as ominous as it did now. Almost immediately, they came across Secret Service agent. She (yes, it WAS a female!) was knocked out before she even knew there were birds on the premises
“Now how’s THAT for National Security?” Skipper joked while the team exchanged high fives again.
Strangely, they didn’t come across another guard. Skipper blamed Blowhole while Private was secretly thankful they didn’t have to disable another agent.
“Skipper,” Manfridi asked once they got to the front doors, “Dr. Blowhole didn’t tell us exactly where in the White House he was going to meet us. I mean, the building is huge!”
“Yes, it is exactly six stories and has 55,000 ft² of floor space, 132 rooms and 35 bathrooms, 412 doors, 147 windows, twenty-eight fireplaces, eight staircases, three elevators, a टेनिस court, a bowling alley, a movie theater, a jogging track, a swimming pool, and a putting green. That and incredibly comfortable beds.” Kowalski confirmed. The team stared at him; Private in awe; Skipper’s expression of utter disgust.
“How many White House facts did आप memorize, soldier?”
Kowalski looked uncomfortable, “Erm, before या after it became vital information?”
Rico laughed, “That’s our egghead, always wasting his time with one thing या another!”
Kowalski growled, “Well, at least I don’t suck my thumb!”
“That’s classified information!”
“Does this scene look familiar to you?” Private asked Skipper with a sideways glance at Manfridi and Johnson.
“Come on, men, we’re on a mis-SIIIIIIIIIOOOOOOOOOONNNNNNN!!!!!!!” Suddenly, a trapdoor directly underneath them opened up and they immediately fell down into the darkness.
They landed with a thud. No one had made any attempt to soften the fall. They could not see anything but they could hear. They heard crazed laughter coming from directly in front of them.
“Blowhole,” Skipper said. And it was. As the lights came on, they could see the डॉल्फिन towering over them.
“So kind of आप to शामिल होइए me, pain-gu-ins,” he said, in a voice that oozed false kindness, “You are a tad early.”
“Well, we just couldn’t WAIT to see you, Blowhole,” Skipper कहा sarcastically, “New eyepiece?” he added, noting the robotic attachment his nemesis had made to his right eye.
The robotic eye rotated in its socket. Dr. Blowhole’s cocky grin vanished, and was replaced द्वारा a scowl. “Don’t test your luck, Skipper,” he warned. He pressed a button on his segway and, suddenly, the penguins were fastened tightly against a wall.
“Now,” Blowhole began, but was quickly interrupted द्वारा a high pitched voice from another chamber.
Blowhole grimaced, and shot the team a look that was- could it be- embarrassed? “What is it dear? I’m a little busy!”
A pretty, female डॉल्फिन poked her head out of a large pool of water in the center of the room. She looked toward the penguins and smiled, “Oh, I didn’t know आप had prisoners!”
Blowhole sighed, “Doris, how could आप NOT know, I’ve been planning this for weeks!”
She shrugged, “I guess I forgot. Anyway, I brought आप some of that special moisturizer आप like.”
“Put it in the bathroom, and I’ll get to it later!” he looked back at his prisoners, “Now where was I?”
“Well, it would be rather kind of आप to tell us why we’re here,” Private offered.
Blowhole turned to him, “Well, well, well, this must be young Joshua!”
Private looked genuinely confused, “What? No- I’m Private, my name’s Private!”
Dr. Blowhole grinned and looked at Skipper, “You never told him?”
“Just get to the point!” Skipper कहा hastily. He had avoided the truth this long; he could avoid it now.
“Well, to answer PRIVATE’S question, आप are here plainly because I need आप disposed of. And also: I have a task for you. I see आप have already met Doris, who is my new-“
“Girlfriend!” Doris piped up.
“Right,” Blowhole said, “Girlfriend. Anyway, a few nights ago, her segway hit a rock, and its power स्रोत fell into the Anacostia River. I need आप to retrieve it.”
“The WHAT river?” Johnson asked. He was a rather large penguin, and the cuffs on the trap were far too tight. He was in a very bad mood.
“The Anacostia River is known as “The Forgotten River”, Kowalski explained, “Mainly because of the high levels of pollution; most of which is raw sewage.”
“You want us to swim in Washington’s toilet?” Manfridi was appalled.
“You are pain-gu-ins,” Blowhole कहा innocently, “I would think आप could survive any water.”
“Not happenin’,” Skipper said, “If you’re so desperate to fix your प्यार interest’s segway, get it yourself.”
“I don’t think आप quite understand,” Blowhole said, “You don’t really have a say in this matter. आप WILL help me. या else.”
“Or else what?” Skipper smirked.
Blowhole pressed a button on his segway. There was an unmistakable clang of cuffs being released. Skipper fell to the ground and struck his battle pose. Around him, the rest of the team did so as well.
But wait, he hadn’t accounted for the पेंगुइन that was too often forgotten.
Private had not been released.
Blowhole was slowly moving towards him. And the last time Skipper had seen that look in his nemesis’s eye, he had लॉस्ट his best friend.