Undertow

BY : pronker
Category: +M through R > Penguins of Madagascar
Dragon prints: 1371
Disclaimer: I make no profit from this fanfiction set in Dreamworks' Penguins of Madagascar franchise. I do not own its characters, basic premise or settings.

"I gave up on talking to the spider monkeys before Christmas, sir, why do you ask?"

Skipper stroked his beak.  "Rumor has it that they're planning something big on St. Patrick's Day."

Kowalski frowned.  "I don't know how they're spreading rumors.  When I asked them about gift giving advice, they acted as a hive mind and all answered at once, sounding cranky.  What with their Brazilian Portuguese accent, I couldn't understand them.  There doesn't seem to be a leader to interface with.  The troupe is unlike anything we've encountered, even the nasty hornets."  He paused.  "Is there a need to invent a universal translator, because I could start designs --- "

The team quietened as Skipper thought, tapping his forehead.  "Maybe.  One of your doodads could help if we interrogate the source, because rumors can start by somebody's whackadoo imagination."

Kowalski hung his head.  "I know I've been guilty of that in other times, sir, but I've really tried to stay down to earth in the past year --- "

Rico shifted his weight, ready to instinctively defend his love, then he stood down from high alert.  Who would he attack, anyway?  This was just talk and yes, Kowalski got the gold medal for high jumping to conclusions.  He settled for an unsettling neutral expression as he awaited developments.  Skipper was a leader; Skipper would not hurt his men.  He would die for them.  He would kill for them.

Skipper could roll his eyes with the best of them, too.  "What the deuce?  Who said it was you?  Burt loves gossip and he's got that whole artistic thing going on, you know how artists are with their screwball airhead notions, er, I'm leaving Marlene and you, Rico, out of that analogy oh you know what I mean let's move along."  He paced, flippers clasped behind him.  The pleasant Wednesday spring morning provided a crowd of school groups, each chattering and shuffling along from one habitat to the next.  After three acrobatic water routines that made the kiddies squeal, the team enjoyed a break as the commander strove to clean up loose ends before departing on leave.

"If they break out, they could do real damage to people and property. I mean, have you seen their fangs?  Plus their grabby little digits and grabby little tails, it's downright uncanny how their tails act like hands."  Skipper shivered.  "Ew."

Kowalski dredged up a Dr. Phil saying to save vacation plans from destruction by an overactive imagination that wasn't, for once, his.  "Dr. Phil says 'I don't trust words.  I even question actions.  But I never doubt patterns.'  Sir, the monkeys transferred in at the same time as the dwarf fainting goats.  Both groups are pains in the pinfeathers, wouldn't you agree?"

"Mmmf.  Suppose so."

Kowalski warmed to his subject.  "And as Routine Two says, we don't need to like or l-love everybody, it's adequate to tolerate.  Right?"

"Yeah yeah.  Your point?"

Kowalski trumped his commander's ace.  "Whether the spider monkeys riot or not is in doubt. Doubt is the ruination of pleasant times like vacations.  Don't you doubt, sir, that Rico and I can handle whatever arises."

Silence reigned for one full minute.  "Still doesn't tell me how the rumors started."

"I doubt that we'll ever find out," Kowalski said blithely.  "It doesn't really matter.  ESP emanations from spider monkeys like sasquatches are rumored to possess?  Divination by ley lines? Since they appear hive-minded, a dance similar to what bees do to indicate pollen sources?  I could go on and on."

Skipper smiled at last.  "I don't doubt you could.  I don't doubt your or Rico's talents, either.  All right, Operation: Spelunker Bunker is a go and is that a blimp I see in our future?  Boys, look over there!"

"It's bigger than Skorca, Skippa!"

"Sweet!"

"Zinormous!"

The school children couldn't understand penguin talk, but they could follow pointed flippers.  "Oooh, cool!  A blimp!"

One little boy wearing glasses strutted his stuff.  "Yeah uh huh Teach says it's here from Wednesday to Monday.  Teach says it'll take pictures of the St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday and the marathon on Sunday.  Teach is running in the marathon."

One little girl wearing glasses set him straight.  "Teach says, she says it's a Half Marathon.  Awww, it's turning around and we can't see it anymore.  Awwww."

The little boy had more to say.  "It's been eons since it visited New York, Teach says.  I'll bet it sets down to rest someplace and comes back every day."

The little girl loved to argue, it seems.  "A blimp doesn't rest!  It's not alive!"  Teach shepherded her flock to Marlene's habitat. 

Kowalski was beside himself.  "Sir, we'll videocam it for you since you're leaving before dawn tomorrow.  It's a wonderful, wonderful triumph of engineering!"

"I know, right?  Maybe we ought to --- "

"Too bad we'll miss it, but that's life, Skippa."  Private had stayed out of the discussion until he had something worthwhile to add.  He would brook no delays to this important mission of his devising.

Rico pantomimed running, wiping his brow, hydrating, and running some more.  "Yeah, and we'll miss the half marathon on the 18th, too, if we return on Monday.  I dunno, babe, what do you say --- "

Now and then Private growled like Rico did. 

Skipper shelved his misgivings.  "Okayokay, I can take a hint.  We leave on schedule."  He thought better of adding a "Happy now?" because it wasn't his job to keep his troops happy.  The complication of being Private's lover and also his commander did not escape him, but as Private said, such was life.  For any penguin past puberty, compromises made life bearable for teams large and small.

Private thought better of pecking Skipper's cheek in gratitude.  All would go according to plan, no doubt. 

IOIOIOIOIO

That evening, Private arranged the gift pillow from Uncle Nigel on his bunk before double checking the trip's supplies.  Favorite brand of Sardinian sardines?  Check.  Pillow?  No.  Canteen?  Check.  Lunacorn?  No.  He'd do without cuddling except from Skipper.  Marlene's tactic would work at some point in the next five days, he was certain of it.

Skipper focused like a ruby laser on the blimp.  Unlike Kowalski, he never thought a super blimp attack would happen, for the behemoths depended on wind to function and he didn't trust wind as a power source, not really.  It was too fickle.  Tidal power was much more stable and if he ever fell victim to witchcraft and turned human, he'd tell the powers that be to rig tidal turbines.

"Kowalski, lay some intel on me about blimps.  I saw you coming back from the chimps' habitat."

Fifteen minutes later, stuffed to the gullet with facts and figures, he zeroed in on the basics of who sponsored the Goodyear blimp from engineers' dream into stately reality.  "Who says foreigners don't recognize our American technological superiority and want to hitch their wagon to our stars and stripes, huh baby?   So Germany got in on the deal?  Good on them."  He observed Kowalski clutching his clipboard to his chest in intellectual rapture, which was nicer to see than his second's usual dithery mental state of listing options in a hazardous battle sitch.  Hey, this vacation would do everyone a world of good!  Shake up the team like P.E.L.T. did for its leader!  Then when they reunited, they'd be sharper than ever.  Yes, he was glad he'd stuck to his guns when Private acted like he wanted to reschedule due to the weekend's delightful activities.  Oh that Private, as bad as Ringtail was sometimes when the new and shiny appeared.

"Zeppelin Luftschifftechnik contributed equal parts science, components, and manpower to construct it."  Kowalski's tone got nearly as soft as when he cooed to Rico.  He showed his drawing of the blimp all around.  Rico said aaah and Private said oooh.  "Isn't it a thing of beauty?"

"Zipline-Luck-Shit-Technique is all one word?" 

"Phil says it's two words, sir." 

"Yeah, I was worried about that."  Skipper shook his head.  "The German language is made for you, mi amigo."

Kowalski executed a mocking bow complete with flourish.  "Vielen Dank."

"Aaaand we move along to our exit strategy.  Private, we leave at midnight, swim for ten hours past civilization and into the wilderness, by Shinjen's beard!"

Private's smile was indulgent.  "Now, Skippa, just because there's no skyscrapers where we're goin' doesn't mean it's uncivilized --- "

"Ah bup bup bup!  One question, Private: will there be snowcones at the caverns?"

Private stepped out on a limb.  "Maybe not inside them, but you know, a snowcone person like our park's Luigi is bound to cater to guests in the giftshop or thereabouts.  Uncle Nigel says there's always a giftshop at these places, so that's where you could shop for thimbles."  He sought to tempt away any lingering doubts.  "Snowcones, or fudge, or gummi worms could be in stock, too."

Skipper thought some more.  "Will there be soan papdi?"

"We'll see."  Private hustled past questions he couldn't answer.  "Well, then, a rest and off we start."  Skipper rolled into his bunk and patted the space beside him.

"No, not tonight.  I'm sure the Lady Lumberjackers team stays pure before The Big Game to keep their strength up, and a ten hour swim is a good long workout, eh wot?"    Private hadn't mentioned Marlene's final bit of advice.

"Save yourself for the big effort, m'main penguin," she'd said.  "A little abstinence makes the heart grow fonder."  She'd winked until he wanted to slap her. 

"Righto, Marlene.  And I'll ask Skippa to give you a full report on how your techniques succeeded, okay?"

Her eyes showed hesitation after her jolt of surprise.  "Uh, ya think, Private?  I mean, like you said, it's hard to talk about the subject."

The ball was in his court and he smiled his most innocent smile.  "I'm sure he'll wish to thank you properly, Marlene, and you can have the satisfaction of knowin' you were right."  She had agreed, brow still a little perplexed.

Back in present times, Private knew his love better than anyone.  A twist of the beak in disappointment and then Skipper's discipline came to the fore.  "Okay, I can wait.  Private, I'm switching out sardines for anchovies.  Kowalski, set your mental egg timer for zero hour to wake up us deviled eggs. Rico, prep our backpack with the phone, one extra battery, one blanket, one canteen, four tins of anchovies, and the, er, six oysters yeah that's it okay all done lights out team goodnight."  Before anyone could comment, he turned to the inside of his bunk, face tucked out of sight.  "Babe, you check its inventory right before we leave and pack the, the necessary," he mumbled.

"Toilet tissue, sir?"

"No!  And nobody check it except Private."  He snuggled into his pillow to commence a fake-sounding snore.

Out of respect, nobody sniggered at the atypical retreat.  Private retired and patted the dildo which took his love's place by his side tonight.  "Little Giant, rest well.  You've got work to do soon," he whispered as the computer shut down their HQ.  The Hello Kitty backpack hung on Miss Perky's right arm as she posed genially on his trophy fish.  "You, too, Pussy."

IOIOIOIOIO
 



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