Petpetpet Wars:Part Seven
by Petpetpet Wars:Part Seven
T he Mootix battalion set up the Petpetpet-be-gone bomb as night fell on Spiky Ridge. Perks and his squadron watched as the can of poisonous liquid was stood up on its end, and the complicated masonry of the Veespa was erected around it.
No one in the squad had said anything about the plan to steal the weapon. Shorty was there, and everyone knew he was a straight arrow. If he knew what they were planning, he'd go straight to the Major and they'd fail.
“You know… about Kelly and me, Sarge?” Shorty asked eventually.
“Yes, Private Ryan,” Perks replied. “Don't worry, we won't tell anyone. When this is all over, hopefully it won't matter.”
“What do you mean? When what's over?” Shorty asked.
“Nothing,” Perks muttered, turning away from the Private.
The Major was marching across the grass towards the squad.
“My men say they are more or less finished,” he announced as he reached them. “We'll be falling back to observe the explosion from a safe distance now.”
“It's that big of an explosion, sir?” Perks asked.
“Oh yes, the technicians say it will be quite destructive. Prepare to fall out, Sergeant,” the Major ordered.
Once the Major was out of earshot, Perks turned back to his squad.
“When they head off, we'll stay at the back and get ourselves lost. We don't have Finnegan anymore, so we'll have to deliver it to the Cootys ourselves,” he explained.
“Sarge?” Shorty questioned.
“We're stealing the bomb, Private Ryan, it'll stop the war,” Perks snapped.
“You're giving it to the Cootys!?” Shorty gasped. “That's traitorous! I can't let you do that, Sarge!”
Shorty stood up, with an aim to follow the Major. He found someone stood in front of him. Kelly was blocking his way.
“You can and you will,” he said firmly.
“You can't agree with this, can you?” Shorty asked.
“I've followed you my whole life Shorty, and I'd go to the ends of the world for you… but this war needs to end. This way, no one dies. I thought I'd lost you because of it, I don't want to go through that again.”
“But…” Shorty protested.
“No buts,” Kelly continued. “If you care about me you'll help us do this. If you don't want to be a part of it that's fine, you can distract the Major's troops instead. Just don't try and stop us.”
Shorty stared into Kelly's eyes, and slowly deflated.
“Fine, but if you get caught we'll all be in more trouble that you can imagine,” he pointed out.
“Then we won't get caught,” Perks said simply.
The squad packed up and prepared to follow the Major's troops out of Spiky Ridge. The convoy left the village soon after, leaving only a few burning torches to light the bomb in the centre of the burnt out collection of buildings. The rest of the clearing was plunged into eerie darkness.
“Make sure the Major doesn't suspect a thing,” Perks instructed Shorty as they joined to convoy.
The small Larnikin-come-Mootix nodded, and rushed off to the front of the convoy to engage the Major in conversation. The rest of the squad began to drag their feet, gradually falling behind the others. Then, they quickly darted off the track, into the cover of the undergrowth.
“So far, so good,” Bad observed.
“How are we going to get the bomb over the front lines?” Kelly asked. “They'll start firing if a Mootix goes near one of their checkpoints.”
“You don't have to worry about that,” another voice said nearby.
The squad turned in the dark to the source of the new voice. Another figure was crouched in the grass nearby.
“Finnegan?” Bad hissed.
“I'd have contacted you earlier, but there were soldiers all around,” the Captain explained.
“What happened to Captain Black?” Polish asked.
“I dealt with him,” Finnegan said firmly.
Perks craned his neck to see further down the road.
“I think they're far enough away now, be on guard everyone, crossbows ready,” he ordered.
The group emerged cautiously from the undergrowth and made their way back towards Spiky Ridge. The Major's troops were nothing more than a dot in the distance.
“What do we need to do?” Kelly asked as they approached the bomb.
“Disarm it first,” Finnegan told them. “There's no point stealing it if it detonates as soon as I get it across the border.”
Finnegan scrambled up the wooden framework that surrounded the bomb. As he climbed, he saw that within the framework was an array of cogs and strings that clicked and whirred in the silence of the night. It was an elaborate clock, counting down to detonation. Above him, two strings controlled the trigger, each differently coloured. One would disarm the bomb, the other would trigger it.
“There's two strings,” Finnegan called down once he reached the top. “One's black and one's red. Which shall I cut?”
“You don't know!?” Polish shouted up at him.
“I never took the bomb disposal course! I'm an airman!” Finnegan shouted down.
“Stop right there!” a Mootix shouted as he entered the ring of light that surrounded the bomb.
It was Captain Black, the double agent. He held a loaded crossbow in his arms, pointing it at each of them in turn.
“That Cooty is a dangerous criminal, I'm taking him in,” Black continued.
Perks readied his own crossbow.
“You'll have to go through me first,” he growled.
Black smiled faintly, and took aim at Finnegan atop of bomb.
“No!” Polish screamed, as he ran forward towards Black.
The two collided as Black pulled his trigger. The honey crossbow bolt went wild, impacting centimetres from Finnegan's head. As it travelled, it cut the red string.
Down on the floor, the Mootix restrained Captain Black, while Finnegan shuffled back from the bomb. The clicking noise it was making was becoming more violent.
“Great,” he muttered to himself.
Suddenly, there was a loud crack, and the cogs stopped moving completely.
“It's stopped,” Finnegan said in surprise. “It stopped!”
“Let's get her rigged up then!” Perks ordered.
The Mootix ran around the base of the cart, securing the bomb as best they could.
“It's downhill all the way to Cooty territory,” Perks told Finnegan as the Cooty sat down at the front of the cart. “You'll be able to ride it home, no need for pushing.”
“Ready, Sarge!” Bad shouted from the back of the cart.
“It's been an honour, Captain,” Perks said, saluting the Cooty.
“Likewise, Sergeant,” Finnegan replied, mirroring the salute.
Perks kicked out the wooden blocks holding the cart's wheels in place. The wooden structure slowly began to roll forward.
“Good luck!” Polish called after Finnegan as the cart rolled away towards the road.
“You think it'll work, Sarge?” Bad asked.
Perks was silent for a moment.
“Yes,” he replied. “I think it will.”
The Beekadoodle flew in low over the lake, kicking up water that soaked the tourists on the reed boats.
Tourists… that was something new to the rider of the Beekadoodle, but something he'd be seeing more of.
The Petpet came to a rest on the shore of the lake, and the Cooty hopped off. He was in plain clothes, the army uniform quickly becoming a distant memory. He didn't bother to tether the Beekadoodle to the ground, instead he let it fly off madly into the sky; he wasn't planning to leave the lakeside town any time soon.
The Cooty watched the Petpet fly away… it was free now, like him.
Veespa citizens nearby turned to see as the Cooty made his way into the town.
Peace was still a new thing to them, but Mootix and Cootys were appearing in their lands more frequently now.
Rip Finnegan, no longer a Captain, found the building he was looking for. It was a tavern.
He pushed open the door and entered the smoky room. There was a Veespa sat atop a piano on the stage. She sang the blues.
She paused in her song as she saw Finnegan enter, and a broad smile spread across her face.
Finnegan smiled back, and took a seat at the bar. He ordered a drink, and let the songs of Tanya wash over him. Thoughts of the friends he had made during the war filled his mind, and thoughts of all those who no longer had to die.
He noticed when the songs stopped, and turned to greet Tanya as she sat down beside him.
“Give him the same again,” she said to the bartender.
“You don't have to…” Finnegan objected.
She put her hand on his and half smiled.
“The least I can do, for a brave Cooty who helped end the war,” she smirked.
“I hung up my uniform,” Finnegan pointed out.
“What a coincidence. So did I,” Tanya told him. “No more spying.”
“Can I ask you a question?” Finnegan asked, staring down at his drink.
“Sure,” she replied.
“How much of what you told me was true?”
Tanya smiled at him.
“Everything,” she said simply. “My name is Tanya, and I am a singer.”
Finnegan smiled with relief.
“So how about those new songs you were going to try out on me?” he asked.
She laughed, and around them the tavern continued to buzz. There were no more sunken faces, no more people staring bleary eyed into their drinks.
The world was full of hope, a great new dawn for Petpetpet kind.
There was peace.