Johnny Arrow with Diane and Jm found Mr. Scroop drinking with a group of mutineers in a bar. “I need to talk to you, Mr. Scroop.” Johnny said. “It’s about Billy, my brother.”
“What about him?” Growled Mr. Scroop.
Diane said softly. “Don’t you think he’s been punished long enough for his insult? After all he’s been suffering for eternity. Isn’t that enough?”
Mr. Scroop frowned. “Some would say it was never enough.”
Jim looked Mr. Scroop over and then said. “Diane says your culture is based on balance. It seems the balance is out of whack here.” He then sighed. “I’m out of balance. This has nothing to do with your dispute with Billy Arrow, but I was wrong when I spied on you and even more wrong when I sassed you. I owe you a marking. Whenever you want.”
Mr. Scroop flexed his pinchers and then nodded. “Tomorrow at dawn. These two will bear witness. After that we’ll be in balance and I’ll no longer call you boy.” He turned back to Billy Arrow. “I agree that in the case of your brother I went too far. How shall we find balance?”
Mr. Arrow smiled. “Henry has a few ideas about that.”
Later that night Jim, Diane, Henry, Johnny Arrow and Mr. Scroop stood on the same cliff where Jim had once placed the key to activate the wormholes for Silver and the pirates. Jim placed the key in the slot and the doors opened again. “Okay.” He said. “It’s turned on. What now?”
Henry drifted over to the control globe; his body seemed to emanate from a small box that Billy Arrow held. “We want the black hole that imprisons Billy and you said it was created by Cynapus when it went supernova which would make it.” He paused as he perused the globe and then smiled. “Here.” He touched the globe.
There was a flash as the doors closed and then opened again on a swirling mass of gas plunging in a death spiral into the black hole. Henry frowned. “Too far away. Is there a way to get closer?”
Diane spoke into a wrist communicator, listened to the reply and said. “The Master Computer says you have to hold your finger on the screen and not poke it through. Keep holding it there until you get as close as you need to. He also warns that getting too close will cross the event horizon; causality ends there and the equipment will fail drastically.”
“Good advice.” Henry touched the screen and the black hole rushed up at them. It grew and grew until the door was filled with its blackness. Henry stopped when a wall of static came rushing at them. “End of the line.” He declared.
They all stared at the blackness until Jim asked. “How can we even find him, much less get him out of there if we do?”
“Finding is easy.” Henry told him. “It’s the getting out that’s going to be hard.” He turned to Johnny. “Call for your brother and do it mostly with your mind as thoughts are the only thing unaffected by the pull of a black hole.”
“Billy.” His brother called. “I’m here Billy. Answer me if you can.”
There was a long silence and then Johnny Arrow started calling again. This went on for nearly an hour. Jim was becoming discouraged when a faint voice entered his mind. “Johnny? Is that you Johnny?” Jim had never been a Catholic but at that moment he felt like crossing himself.
“Yes, Billy, it’s me. We’ve come to take you home.”
“I don’t know if I can go home, Johnny. The things I’ve seen would chill your soul. I’ve seen the past and the future and I don’t know if I can live with that.” The faint voice declared.
“Mother doesn’t care about any of that. She only knows she misses you and wants you back.” Johnny stated.
There was a long pause and then the voice said. “I’d forgotten about Mom. But it’s not enough. I feel I will be stuck here until the universe collapses and re-explodes.”
Henry turned to Mr. Scroop. “I feared this. Now it’s time for you to do your part.”
Mr. Scroop nodded and stepped up to the portal. “I’m glad to see you’re enjoying the damnation I arranged for you, First Mate. It warms my heart to see your suffering.” He grinned evilly.
There was another long pause and then the voice said incredulously. “Mr. Scroop?”
“Yes, it’s Mr. Scroop, you coward. I cut the rope that put you there and I’ve come to gloat over your eternal damnation. I bet you don’t have the guts to come and get me. I call you a gutless coward.”
“Mr. Scroop!!” The voice shouted so loud in their minds that they all grasped their heads. “You murderer!! I’ll drag you into hell with me.”
“Big words from a gutless wonder.” Mr. Scroop practically danced in front of the doorway. “I knew you were a gutless piece of trash the first day I met you.”
“I’ll kill you!!” The voice raged. “I’ll tear every limb from you, you worthless monster.” The voice was growing louder.
Mr. Scroop put his face almost on the barrier. “Well, here’s my neck. Come and wring it if you dare.”
“Get ready.” Henry warned them. “We’ll get only one chance at this.”
Just as he finished speaking a hand and part of a red coated arm emerged from the barrier and grabbed Mr. Scroop by the neck and started to pull him through. Jim, Johnny and Diane all lunged to get a grip on the hand but everyone but Diane missed. In a second Jim and Johnny added their hands and strength to hers and with a pop they pulled Billy Arrow through the barrier where Billy then proceeded to put his second hand around Mr. Scroop’s neck and began to strangle him. It took all three of them to pull him off.
“Use the sedative.” Henry shouted as Billy Arrow would not hold still; so great was his desire to kill Mr. Scroop. Jim finally injected it deep into Billy’s arm. Billy rolled up his eyes and collapsed.
Mr. Scroop coughed weakly and said. “No good deed ever goes unpunished.”
The next morning Jim waited with Billy Arrow and Diane as Mr. Scroop approached them on the hill where they’d first met. Mr. Scroop coughed and spat. “Ready, cabin boy?”
Jim nodded. “Just do it.”
Mr. Scroop nodded. He leaned forward. “I warn you that the mark must be received without flinching and with your eyes open or you are dishonored.”
“Just get it over with.”
“Very well.” There was a slash and a moment of pain. “It’s done. You are cabin boy no more. Welcome, warrior.”
“That’s it?” Jim asked incredulously.
Mr. Scroop smiled. “The anticipation of pain is more to be feared then the actual pain. Remember that, warrior.”
Diane started to reach up to clean the wound but Jim stopped her. “I think I’m supposed to let it heal on its own.”
“Very good. You’re learning. Now come. I believe we have a meeting with our fellow warriors.” Mr. Scroop led the way down the hill.
“What a strange fellow.” Johnny Arrow said.
Jim nodded. “Once you understand him though; he’s not so bad.”
The great hall in the Park was filled to overflowing. In addition to the crew of the Ariel, Jim, Diane, Mr. Scroop, Usula, and Kitty, there were beings from the Park who’d gained awareness. Angel sat holding Johnny Arrow’s hand while Snookums purred at their feet. His brother Billy was still mending in the healing machine. Black Pete in his judicial robes held his wife’s hand and she kept shushing him when he got too loud. The Blue Fairy was there with Jimeny and hundreds of others.
The Master Computer held up his hands for silence and when the last murmur had died away he began. “We are gathered here at a momentous moment in the history of the Park. What we decide today will affect millions of lives in the years to come. The Park can no longer go on like it has and on that we are all agreed.” There were murmurs of agreement.
“Having said that we must also realize that the knowledge locked up in the Park must be shared as it is the last remnant of that civilization that collapsed centuries ago. However, it must be shared wisely and slowly as an uncontrolled inrush will do more damage than good.” Again there was agreement, especially from the group from the Ariel.
“Now, one of the most important issues we must deal with is how to handle the aware and the semi-aware. I throw the floor open for discussion.” Thus, began several long and weary days.
It was finally decided that those who wanted to stay could keep the jobs they’d been assigned and the partnerships they’d formed. At this Black Pete shouted in joy and had to be shushed again by his wife. Those who wanted to leave could do so but would always be citizens of the Park.
They voted to leave the Master Computer in charge, but he refused unless they appointed outside overseers who would run the Park like it’d been intended originally for the joy of all who came there. There was near unanimous agreement on the choices as they were all heroes at the moment.
Sarah looked up from cuddling Jane. “Do you think we’ll be happy here, John? Are you sure you don’t want to go a sailing?”
He came over and kissed her forehead. “My port is here now with you. This place is going to be the grandest adventure ever.” He looked over at Jim who was kissing Diane. “Besides we won’t be doing it alone and I’m glad Mr. Arrow decided to stay here with Angel. She would’ve been lost out in our world, especially with a five hundred pound saber tooth tiger.”
Later as they said their goodbyes to the Sergeant and his troop who along with Henry and Billy Arrow were returning the Ariel to Hobarths, Sasha Adore looked sad. “I thought everyone survived the Park, even the pirates, but Song apparently did not.”
She turned at a tap on her shoulder. “Did you think you’d get away from me that easy?” Song said. She shut him up with a kiss.
Mr. Balone had suggested he should return to his home world and inform his people that the pack bond was not unique. After much arguing he was convinced to let Henry tell them as they couldn’t brainwash him if they didn’t want to believe it. Let them come here as his new family declared it needed him as pack leader and to train little Jane. He didn’t argue long.
Dago Flint decided to stay along with several of the pirates from his village. They along with Mr. Scroop were reorganizing the Park Security. They would be recognized only as employees which was fine with most of them as it looked like they would be making an exciting but well-paid living which was what most of them had wanted in the first place.
As for Nathaniel Flint and James Hawkins they were sentenced by Judge Black Pete to thirty years of serving the Park. They would soon find out in what role,
The Officer with the monocle awoke to find himself being herded up a bald mountain by cackling demons. When he saw the real hell that awaited him below the gigantic demon from Fantasia he begged to be sent back to the village. His wish was granted. He worked so hard he was able to become one of Gastone’s assistants, replacing Le Fue who married one of the three blond girls and is now trying out as Quasimodo’s assistant bell ringer.
Willy the Rhino told them he would become an extra in the Roger Rabbit realm and stay on as he was having the time of his life with Cruella.
The first star to the right was just rising when Nathaniel Flint and James Hawkins sailed their pirate ship into the waters off a strange island where mermaids played and Indian tribes danced and sang. “We have to be here thirty years.” Nathaniel Flint growled. “What do they think we’re going to be doing with all that time?”
“Maybe we could loot the island?” James suggested.
“Sail ho!” The lookout shouted. “It’s flying the Jolly Roger.”
“A fellow buccaneer.” Flint chortled. “Let’s make him feel welcome.” He ordered the three cannons rolled out but the crews didn’t know how to load and fire such antique pieces.
While they struggled to prepare the cannons the other ship drew closer and then it’s fully functional bow cannon roared and a cannonball went right through their sail. “Who’s commanding that ship? He sails well.” Flint asked.
James put a glass to his eye and looked. He saw the captain had black hair, was dressed in red velvet, and had a hook on his right hand. A short, chubby man in a blue and white striped shirt was bustling about getting the side gunners in place for a broadside.
“Prepare to fire, Mr. Smee.” The Captain shouted as he swung the wheel to put them in position to deliver a broadside. “We haven’t had this much fun in years. And after we steal everything they have, they can walk the plank. The crocodile is hungry tonight.”
“Aye, aye, Captain.” Mr. Smee replied. Below in the water the crocodile with his clock ticking like mad charged through the water like a reptile version of Captain Nemo’s Nautilus and as he came he licked his chops. Dinner would soon be served.
James looked in shock at Captain Flint. “It’s Captain Hook.” The roar of the cannons drowned him out and was followed by the crash of the masts falling. They looked at each other in horror as the villainous crook known as Captain Hook descended on them in glee with his sword-waving and shouting buccaneers. There would be no quarter asked for or given by Hook.
The Indians built bleachers and sold t-shirts as souvenirs as Peter Pan, Tinkerbell, the mermaids and the lost boys ate popcorn, swigged sodas, and applauded Captain Hook for the first time ever as Captain Flint finally met his match.
The Master Computer smiled as he turned off the viewing screen. Poetic justice. He looked over at a statue of a man holding a mouse’s hand. “I think you would’ve approved, Walt.” He said.
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